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Old November 29th, 2009, 08:51 PM   #1
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Appalachian forgotten history

This thread will be about the people of the Appalachian and its origins.
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Old November 29th, 2009, 09:27 PM   #2

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Re: Appalachian forgotten history

Well, we will just wade into this like we would wade into a cold mountain stream. Well just start taking and let it kinda wind on down to wherever its going. We get it all understood before were done.

The Europeans starting going into the Southern Appalachians in significant numbers in the mid 1700s. These were the "Long Hunters" and the "Overmountain men". They went there in many cases because they just couldnt stand living in a civilization dominated by British colonial laws (or any other laws).

In the Appalachian backcountry, a man was judged by what he was rather than who he was. Many of the early Overmountain men were known personally to the Natives, and they judged him according to this rule. It was an ideal arrangement for a rugged individualist.

These men took native wives in many of the cases. Taking a Native wife meant that the tribe respected the individual Overmountain man enough to allow this. And so, the first contact between Europeans and Natives was one of conflict, and peace. It was often settled at the personal level, rather than tribal or national level.

Next came the Scots-Irish, who were fleeing the oppressions of the British back in the home Isles. Back there, they were oppressed religiously because they didnt want to be part of the Church of England. Because of this, they could not have thier marriages recognized as legal, nor could they inherrit lands, and so on. They were faced with economic oppressions as well. And by the mid 1700s, they just said the heck with the Old Country, and came to America.

Not wanting to be stiffled under British rule anymore, they went into the mountains for the land. There, they were beyond the reach of the British government. They lived with the tacit approval of the Cherokee. They werent looking back. The British laws of 1763 forbid them to do this, but they didnt care about that. They went on anyway. Many of this wave of immigration also took native wives and lived with them thier remaining lives.

Ill stop here so the post wont be too long. But I think we ought to see what the Appalachians look like today, so Ill post a link. This will get us up to the years of the American revolution. Well continue on after we have a look at the link.
Ill stop for comments. As you see from the link, the land demands self sufficiency and resiliance, but it is worth it.
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Bwt5MaGvDQ"]YouTube - APPALACHIA Mountain Montage[/ame]


Last edited by Richard Stanbery; November 29th, 2009 at 09:42 PM.
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Old November 30th, 2009, 02:46 AM   #3
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Re: Appalachian forgotten history

Hey Richard,
What are the Appalachian customs and traditions or native origin that you mention before that become mainstream?
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Old November 30th, 2009, 07:29 AM   #4

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Re: Appalachian forgotten history

Well, the first thing the Anglos would want to know was how to feed themselves from what the land provided. Even though the forrest was full of game animals, they didnt just stand around waiting for somebody to shoot them. These animals had a nastsy habbit of running away when they smelled or saw a human. From the Cherokee, (in many cases from Cherokee wives, or mothers) the Anglos learned how to hunt, which is to say a tremendous piece of education. For somebody that dont already know how, its as much of an achievement as learning a new language, and it is. It is the language of the mountains and the animals that live there. All of this was new to the Scots-Irish, and they learned it in great degree from the Cherokee.

The original "Long hunters", the first whites into the Appalachians, were probably not first generation Americans. Some of them were probably of mixed race themselves. These longhunters had a great knowledge of the Native customs and also how to assimilate with them, live the Native lifestyle. They usually didnt try to change the natives, but rather just wanted to get along with them and live in the wilderness according to the rules of the natives and the mountains.

In the case of the Scots-Irish, most of them were first generation settlers. They pretty much got off the boat and headed inland. When they got to the Watauga settlements, they encountered the first Anglo setlers in this area, the Long hunters who had stayed. These men had many native wives, and from the wives of the longhunters, the Scots-Irish immigrants in that wave learned a lot from the Cherokee wives of the Longhunters, and the long hunters themselves, who might have been of mixed race themselves. The traders also had many Cherokee wives.

Here are some of the things that Cherokee taught the settlers...

From the Scots-Irish settlers being used to tramping around in Ulster, to the wilds of America, some learning and modification of mannerisms had to be made. If one tramped carelessly around in the Appalachians then, he probably wouldnt live out the week. The Scots-Irish learned a lot from the Cherokee. These Cherokee forrest skills came in very useful to them, and later pioneers.

Talk in a whisper. Walk when the wind blowing will cover your foot noise, step on roots and high spots to hide your back trail, stand in the shadows, not in the sun..dont stare into a camp fire, dont get rocks hot with a winter fire (snakes). We learned how to read sign in the woods, and a million other things that the Scots-Irish learned from the Cherokee. The same things that were passed down through the generations by oral traditions, like how my grandfather taught them to me.They learned how to tan hides with the Cherokee deer brain mixture, how to use herbs for medicie. The list goes on and is endless.

It was a two way street. The culture flowed in both directions. There were Cherokee who adopted Christianity, built log cabins like the Anglos had, they turned away from thier native ways and started hunting for furs to trade with the whites, it was just too economically tempting. They hired themselves out to act as scouts and trappers to the whites, and more and more whites went and visited or lived in the Overhill towns of the Cherokee. By the 1770s, when the Scots-Irish were comming into the Watauga settlements in large numbers, the Cherokee culture was already in a state of change. Assimilation with the whites had already started, and the dillution of the Cherokee lifestyle had already began. Here is a good link...

By the time that the first real serious warfare broke out between the Scots-Irish and the Cherokee, it was the American revolution years. There had been violence before, in the early 1760s, but that was a little bit different. It was a frontier war, the first that I know of...

It was kind of a war within a war, during the chaos of the French-Indian war.
It wasnt until the Revolutionary war years that the really serious violence broke out. It was at exactly that time that the Scots-Irish began arriving in large numbers into the Watauga settlements. And then we see that the Cherokee culture was already in a state of change and cultural pressure. One of the Cherokee chiefs was against this and wanted to drive away the Whites. His name was Dragging Canoe. The older chiefs, like Little Carpenter were for peace with the whites.
But by this time, there were persons of mixed blood that fought on both sides of the wars. Here is an interesting note from my neck of the woods. It is the story of Nancy Ward, a Cherokee woman. I probably wouldnt be here today if not for her. She saved my direct ancestors by warning them of an attack coming which was being led by Dragging Canoe.
[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sycamore_Shoals"]Sycamore Shoals - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

See the fellow mentioned in the above article, Julius Dugger? His full name was Julius Ceasar Dugger, and he was one of my direct ancestors. Here another article below on Nancy Ward.
[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Ward"]Nancy Ward - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

It is interesting to note that General Joseph Martin of the American army of those times was married to the daughter of the Cherokee woman Nancy Ward.

Ill stop here for now. This will get us up to about 1776. Ill take this opportunity to showcase some of the Appalachian culture to end this on a lighter side for now.
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmFsn5VfvVY"]YouTube - Will the Circle be Unbroken - Appalachian Blue Grass, 5-2-08[/ame]

But as you can see from the earlier post, the Cherokee made our life in the mountains possible, we never would have made it without the Cherokee, and thier people such as Little Carpenter and Nancy Ward. We owe them so much.

Last edited by Richard Stanbery; November 30th, 2009 at 08:28 AM.
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Old November 30th, 2009, 10:37 PM   #5

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Re: Appalachian forgotten history

The Appalachian Healing Arts...Oh yes, and let me add this to any who wish to comment on it... I remember a story my grandpa told me when I was young. It was about a certain weed that grows wild in the mountains. It cures snakebite. Other animals go and chew on this weed if they get bit by a poisonous snake. He said the knowledge was passed down from the Cherokee. Hit was good for man or beast.
So, the healing traditions of the Appalachian mountain people are one of the things that we learned in a large way from the Cherokee. True, there was folk medicine in the Old World, but the plants were different here. We needed a helping hand from the Cherokee, and they provided it. The Appalachian healing arts have deep roots. Many is the time that I went and dug Sassafrass root for my Granny, or collected other such things. Here is a link...
and this fellow...
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQj0d-THaVE"]YouTube - Clips from Catfish Man of the Woods (1974)[/ame]

And here is another one.

Does folk medicine work? Sometimes it does. Somethings it cannot help. But in the wilderness when nothing else was available, people would try it. Sometimes lesser ailments can be treated well with it? Moonshine cures bee poisoning. Uncapped honey is deadly poison, but moonshine will counter act its effects.
The Cherokee belived pretty much that sickness were caused by natural, rather than supernatural things. They were a practical people in many ways.

And so there is some stuff to look at concerning the Appalachian healing arts.
In the next link, we can see how many Appalachian people were still living up till the 1960s and beyond. It was a very primitive life, almost miedeaval. If you note the interior of the house, you will still see little brooms on the wall, homemade crafts learned from the Cherokee. Listen to the old Appalachian dialect. Look at the poverty that the peole live in, some even today. This explains a lot about the lost history of the Appalachians.
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmoR3C-9Tlw"]YouTube - A Simple Life in the Appalachian Mountains - Chapter II[/ame]
Now you can see why accedemics didnt pay much attention to the Appalachians. They were just a forgotten people.

What is perhaps so unusual about the Southern Appalachians is that most folks here seem proud of thier heritage. Festivals are held so that people can come and celebrate thier heritage. The same people who go to this festival and remember that one or more of thier ancestors were like this...
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueqbN42vAMg"]YouTube - Trade Day 09 3[/ame]
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tF0NkmPmklo"]YouTube - Horn in the West Fire Dance '07[/ame]

Were also like this...
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXUhtgCf-xw"]YouTube - 1940 Applalachian Pioneer's Mountain Life And Their Children[/ame]
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxPxN4iJGh4"]YouTube - Bagpipes at Grandfather Mountain, NC[/ame]

They never forgot thier Cherokee ancestors, who gave us so much. Niether did they forget thier Scotch-Irish Ancestors, who also gave so much to the Appalachian culture. They left us thier cultural ties in such things as thier rugged determination to be free and to build up a great nation, if need be, with thier bare hands and thier lives. They left us a rich legacy that is still remembered every time the sun tops the Lords good mountains in the misty dawning. The culture of the Ulster Scots, and the Scots-Irish is solid with the scriptures. Though many depart from that, the cultural roots are still there and run very deep in the region. Here in the next link comming up is a musical group of Ulster Scots today back in Ireland singing a centuries old song that was also a part of the Appalachian culture. In many a tiny log cabin church, or perhaps even just a meadow with a circuit rider, the hearty Scots-Irish met and practiced thier faith.

Imagine now a small crude Church building, from any century from the 1700s right on up to today. Listen to the words of the old song from the 1780s. Hear how similar are the voices of the Ulster-Scots of today with those of the Appalachians we have visited. Note the strong cultural ties. This group of singers could be in any small Church in Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, West Virginia, South Carolina, Kentucky, or North Carolina.

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3ZZZ6VHkGI"]YouTube - low country boys[/ame]

And it is still done today, that faith of the Scotch-Irish pioneers. In the little places that might not even have a name, and with only a simple service, these solid mountain people lovingly continue thier traditions as if time has no meaning, and the advances in human technology are no more than the buzzings of the "Katie-dids" in the trees.
Ignored and spurned by the outside world, the Appalachian mountain people struggle on to maintain thier culture. Life has always been a dogged and often times brutal struggle to live in the poverty and isolation of the region. But it is good enough for the mountain people of the Appalachians. They consider that "A body should be thankful for what 'e does have".

And so the Appalachians go on with thier ways, paying no mind to the scorn of the outside world, which has left them by the wayside of history. The Appalachians dont mind one bit, they figure they will last until the end, however long that may be.
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9GebvRJlxs"]YouTube - Appalachia Old Regular Baptist (Baptismal) Ball Branch[/ame]

Strange, isnt it? It just shows how diverse and strong the culture of the region is.

Last edited by Richard Stanbery; December 5th, 2009 at 11:29 PM.
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