Collections: 
0-9 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Page 5 of Anglo-Saxons of the Kentucky mountains : a study in anthropogeography / by Ellen Churchill Semple.

item | thumbnails | details | text | pdf
Download this image
Thile .4Anglo-Saxronis of thle Kenttucky A!omitatlins "My man and me has been living here on Quicksand only ten years. I was born tup on Troublesome." All passenger travel is on horseback. The important part which the horse plays, therefore, in the economy of the mountain family re- calls pioneer days. Almost every cabin has its blacksmith's forge under an open shed or in a low outhouse. The country stores at the forks or fords of the creek keep bellows in stock. Every mountaineer is his own blacksmith, and though he works with very simple imple- ments, he knows a few fundamental principles of the art, and does the work well. Men and women are quite at home in the saddle. The men are superb horsemen, sit their animals firm and erect, even when mounted on top of the meal-bag, which is the regular accom- paniment of the horseman. We saw one day a family on their way to the country store to exchange their produce. The father, a girl, and a large bag of Indian corn were mounted on one mule, and the mother, a younger girl, and a black lamb suspended in a sack from the saddle-bow on the other. It is no unusual thing to see a woman on horseback, with a child behind her and a baby in her arms, while she holds an umbrella above them. But such travel is not easy, and hence we find that these Kentucky mountaineers are not only cut off from the outside world. but they are separated from each other. Each is confined to his own locality. and finds his little world within a radius of a few miles from his cabin. There are many men in these mountains who have never seen a town, or even the poor village that constitutes their county-seat. Those who have obtained a glimpse of civilization have gone down the head-waters of the streams on lumber rafts, or have been sent to the State penitentiary at Frankfort for illicit distilling or feud murder. The women, however, cannot enjoy either of these privi- leges; they are almost as rooted as the trees. We met one woman who, during the twelve years of her married life, had lived only IO miles across the mountain from her old home, but had never in this time been back home to visit her mother and father. Another back in Perry county told us she had never been farther from home than Hazard, the county-seat, which was only 6 miles distant. Another had never been to the post-office, 4 miles away; and another had never seen the ford of the Rockcastle River, only 2 miles from her home, and marked, moreover, by the country store of the district. A result of this confinement to one locality is the absence of any- thing like social life, and the close intermarriage of families inhabit- ing one district. These two phenomena appear side by side here as 5