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6 > Page 6 of Anglo-Saxons of the Kentucky mountains : a study in anthropogeography / by Ellen Churchill Semple.

The Anglo-Saxons of the Kentucky Mountains in the upland valleys of Switzerland and other mountain countries w-here communication is difficult. One can travel for 40 miles along one of the head streams of the Kentucky River and find the same names recurring in all the cabins along both its shores. One woman in Perry County told us she was related to everybody up and dowvn the North Fork of the Kentucky and along its tributary creeks. In Breathitt County, an old judge, whose family had been among the early settlers on Troublesome, stated that in the district school near by there were ninety-six children, of whom all but five were related to himself or his wife. This extensive intermarriage stimulates the clan instinct and contributes to the strength of the feuds which rage here from time to time. It is a law of biology that an isolating environment operates for the preservation of a type by excluding all intermixture which would obliterate distinguishing characteristics. In these isolated communi- ties, therefore, we find the purest Anglo-Saxon stock in all the United States. They are the direct descendants of the early Virginia and North Carolina immigrants, and bear about them in their speech and ideas the marks of their ancestry as plainly as if they had disem- barked from their eighteenth-century vessel but yesterday. The stock is chiefly English and Scotch-Irish, which is largely Teutonic in origin. There is scarcely a trace of foreign admixture. Occa- sionally one comes across a French name, which points to a strain of Huguenot blood from over the mountains in North Carolina: or names of the Germans who came down the pioneer thoroughfare of the Great Appalachian Valley from the Pennsylvania Dutch settle- inents generations ago. But the stock has been kept free from the tide of foreign immigrants which has been pouring in recent years into the States. In the border counties of the district where the railroads run, and where English capital has bought up the mines in the vicinity, the last census shows a few foreign-born, but these are chiefly Italian laborers working on the road-bed, or British capitalists and employees. Four of the interior counties have not a single foreign-born, and eight others have only two or three. Though these mountain people are the exponents of a retarded civilization, and show the degenerate symptoms of an arrested de- velopment, their stock is as good as any in the country. They formed a part of the same tide of pioneers which crossed the mountains to people the young States to the southwest, but they chanced to turn aside from the main stream, and ever since have stagnated in these mountain hollows. For example, over a hundred years ago eleven 6