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by Jean Thomas

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Text extracted from opening pages of book: : APPALACHIAN RITUAL Emerald nobility Reaching to the sky, Makes the eye a ruler Fit to measure by. In the spring an ecstasy Lies upon the hills-Purpling with new red-buds, Ruffling colored frills. Make an early ritual For the mountain side; Pine and beech are spectators, White dogwood a bride. Give a pair of ivory birch For a wedding gift, All the mountain side a church Where wild flowers sift Velvet carpet-petals down To the edge of hill and town, Showing wild-grape fringes through Opal cloud-thrones dropped from blue. Now the summer like a queen Does her mountain home in green; With a season for a bier Some old majesty lies here. Autumn gold is swift and fleet With a wing upon the feet, Rushing toward a winter breath Pausing for immaculate death. In such economic bliss And a swift parenthesis In immortal mountain trails, There are resurrection tales. All the while the mountains know Sudden death is never so. Rachel Mack Wilson Contents jr. The Country and th& People 3 THE LAND 3 THE PEOPLE 1O BLAZING THE TRAIL l6 THE MOUNTAINEER 40 2,. Land of Feuds and Stills 46 HATFIELDS AND MG COYS 46 PEACEMAKER 55 TAKING SIDES 73 MARTIN-TOLLIVER TROUBLES 91 FAMILY HONOR 105 3. Products of the Soil 1 1 % TIMBER 112 WOMAN S WORK 1 1 7 4. Tradition 122 PHILOMEL WHIFFET S SINGING SCHOOL 122 RIDDLES AND FORTUNES 135 THE INFARE WEDDING 151 5. Religious Customs 155 FUNERALIZING 155 OLD CHRISTMAS 158 FOOT-WASHING 1 6 1 NEW LIGHT 164 Contents 6. Superstition 168 BIG SANDY RIVER l68 WATER WITCH 169 MARRYING ON HORSEBACK I* J2 DEATH CROWN 1* 7 7 A WHITE FEATHER 178 7. Legend 180 CROCKETT S HOLLOW 1 80 THE SILVER TOMAHAWK l86 BLACK CAT 189 THE DEER WOMAN AND THE FAWN 1Q4 GHOST OF DEVIL ANSE 1Q9 THE WINKING CORPSE 2Og THE HOUSE WITH THE GREEN GABLES 205 8. Singing on the Mountain Side 210 OF LAND AND RIVER 2 1O FEUD 2l6 LEGEND 2 1 8 TRAGEDY 228 PATRIOT 239 9. Reclaiming the Wilderness 248 VANISHING FEUDIST 248 SILVER MOON TAVERN 250 BLOOMING STILLS 255 LEARNING 258 MOUNTAIN MEN 269 COAL 273 PUBLIC WORKS 274 BACK TO THE FARM 283 VALLEY OF PARKS gOl WHEN - SINGING COMES IN, FIGHTING GOES OUT 317 VANISHING TRAIL 337 Index 331 BLUE RIDGE COUNTRY 1. The Country and the People THE LAND HIGH mountain walls and bridgeless streams ma rooned the people of the Blue Ridge for centuries, shut them off from the outside world so that they lost step with the onward march of civilization. A forgotten people until yesterday, unlettered, content to wrest a meager liv ing from the grudging soil, they built for themselves a nation within a nation. By their very isolation, they have preserved much of the best that is America. They have held safe and unchanged the simple beauty o the song of their fathers, the unsullied speech, the simple ideals and traditions, staunch religious faith, love of freedom, courage and fearlessness. Above all they have maintained a spirit of independence and self-reliance that is unsurpassed any where in these United States of America. They are a hardy race. The wilderness, the pure air, the rugged outdoor life have made them so: a people in whom the Anglo-Saxon strain has retained its purest line. , The Blue Ridge Country comprises much of Appa lachia, happily called from the great chain that runs along the Atlantic coast from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the Gulf of Mexico. It is a well-watered region having numer ous streams and rivers throughout, being drained by the Cumberland and Tennessee as well as by smaller, though 3 Blue Ridge Country equally well-known, rivers Big Sandy in northeastern Kentucky, which flows into the Ohio, and the Yadkin in North Carolina, which eventually reaches the Atlantic Ocean. In general the region includes three parallel chains, the Cumberlands, Alleghenies, and Blue Ridge. Like a giant backbone the Blue Ridge, beginning in the southwest por tion of Old Virginia, continues northeasterly, holding to gether along its mountainous vertebrae some eight south ern states; n



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