Saturday, June 30, 2012

To Mingo We Come Creeping

To Mingo We Come Creeping
The Redneck War on Blair Mountain

On a hot summer day in 1921 Clyde Herbert Eastham kissed his young wife and children goodbye and marched out the door of his cramped coal camp cabin to join thousands of other West Virginia miners in a strike that had the attention of the entire country. All day the men walked, bound together by a common cause. “Every drop of blood and every dollar of the union will be spent in the attempt to lift martial law in Mingo County”, swore Frank Keeney, district president of United Mine Workers of America (UMWA).1 The rag-tag miners’ army swelled to as many as 15,000 men as they marched on, spread eight miles along Lens Creek, ready to march through Logan to Mingo County and avenge the death of Sid Hatfield.2

Monday, June 4, 2012

Southern Appalachian Speech

Originally published April 2012
This past Saturday, my local genealogy society, the Genealogical Forum of Oregon, was fortunate to have J. Mark Lowe as the speaker for our spring seminar. He is a talented and engaging speaker and we all enjoyed his presentations. It makes for a great day when you can laugh as you learn.

After the seminar several of our group had dinner with Mark, and we shared a delightful evening. We talked shop, of course, and he entertained us with many of his family stories. I come from a family of southern storytellers so I especially enjoyed his.

At one point during the evening, the conversation turned to the speech of the Southern Appalachian region. I said something like “they were just piddlin’ around” which Mark caught right away. We talked about other terms we used or were familiar with like you all, y’all and you-uns. Mark explained you-uns was used in a section of Eastern Tennessee and was of Scots-Irish origin. We discussed the fact that the local dialects are being lost, especially with the advent of television and the internet, and unfortunately, because people poke fun at us hill folk.