xt7qft8dg840 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7qft8dg840/data/mets.xml Fox, John, 1863-1919 1901  books b92f451f792009 English C. Scribner s sons : New York Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Kentucky --Social life and customs. Kentucky author: Fox, John. Blue-grass and rhododendron; outdoors in old Kentucky. text Blue-grass and rhododendron; outdoors in old Kentucky. 1901 2009 true xt7qft8dg840 section xt7qft8dg840 
B lue-grass a nd R hododendron

Blue-grass and Rhododendron
Out-doors in Old Kentucky

John F o x ,J r .

Charles New



Y o r k :::::::::: i 9 o i



by S ons
1 901

h arles S c r i b n e r ' s
P ublished, O ctober,

T row Directory P rinting dr B ookbinding Company New York








C ontents

The The

Southern M o u n t a i n e e r Kentucky Mountaineer . . . . . .

I 25 55 77 101 1 23 1 49 1 77 2 07 2 37 . . . . . .257 .271

D o w n the K e n t u c k y o n a R a f t

A f t e r B r ' e r R a b b i t i n the Blue-grass T h r o u g h the B a d B e n d F o x - H u n t i n g in K e n t u c k y To the Breaks o f Sandy

Br'er Coon in Ole K e n t u c k y C i v i l i z i n g t he C u m b e r l a n d M a n - H u n t i n g i n the P o u n d The The R e d F o x o f the M o u n t a i n s H a n g i n g of T a l t o n H a l l

L i s t o f Illustrations
M elissa . . . . . .
Frontispiece Page

I nterior o f a Log-cabin on Brownie's Creek " G ritting " C orn and Hand C orn-mill .


8 .16 22 40 48 -58 -94 .106

B reaking F lax near the mouth of-Brownie's Creek A M oonshine S till R ockhouse Post-office and Store, Letcher County F errying at Jackson, K y . . . . . . . . . . .

D own goes her pursuer on top of her . T h e rest of us sat on the two beds C alling off the Dogs . . . . . .

. 132 -136 142 . 158 . 162 168

L istening to the Music of the Dogs A B it of B rush . . .

T hey took us for the advance-guard of a circus A long roads scarce wide enough for one wagon A t the Breaks

" G o it, Black Babe ! G o it, my White C hile ! " . 196 ix

The Southern Mountaineer

The Southern



T was only a l ittle w hile ago that the materialists d eclared that humanity was the product of heredity a nd environment; that history lies not

near b ut in N a t u r e ; and that, i n consequence, m an m ust take his head from the clouds and study himself w ith h is feet w here they belong, to the earth. t hen, m ountains have taken on a new Since importance

f or the part they have played i n the destiny of the race, f or the reason that mountains have dammed the streams of humanity, have let them settle i n the valleys and spread out o ver p lains; or have sent them on long detours around. "When some u nusual pressure has f orced a current through some m ountain-pass, the h ills have cut it off from the main stream and have held i t so stagnant, that, to c hange t he figure, mountains m ay be said to have kept the records of human history somewhat as fossils hold the history of the earth. A rcadia h eld primitive the primitive inhabitants of G reece, who fled to its rough h ills a fter the D o r i a n 3

B lue-grass a nd
i nvasion.


T he Pyrenees kept unconquered and s trik-

ingly u nchanged the Basques   sole remnants perhaps i n w estern Europe of the aborigines who were swept away by the tides of A r y a n i mmigration; just as the E o c k y M ountains protect the American Indian i n p rimitive b arbarism and not wholly subdued to-day, a nd the Cumberland range keeps the Southern mountaineer to the backwoods c ivilization of the revolution. T he reason is p lain. f rom the world. T he mountain dweller lives apart The present is the past when i t

reaches h i m ; and though past, is yet too far i n the f uture to have any bearing on his established order of t hings. T here is, i n consequence, n o incentive whatA n arrest of development folever for h i m to change.

lows; so that once i mprisoned, a c ivilization, w ith i ts dress, speech, religion, customs, ideas, may be caught l ike the shapes of lower life i n stone, and may t ell t he h uman story of a century as the rocks t ell t he story of an age. F o r centuries the Highlander has had p laid a nd k i l t ; the peasant of Norway and the mountaineer of the German and A ustrian A l p s each a habit of his o wn; and every Swiss canton a distinctive dress. M ountains preserve the Gaelic tongue i n which the s cholar may yet read the refuge of Celt from Saxon, a nd i n t urn S axon from the Norman-French, just as t hey keep alive remnants l ike the Ehasto-Eoman, the 4

T h e Southern


B asque, a nd a number of Caucasian dialects. The C arpathians p rotected C hristianity a gainst the Moors, and i n J ava t he Brahman f aith t ook r efuge on the sides o f the Volcano G u n u n g L awa, a nd there outlived the b an o f Buddha. S o, i n the log-cabin of the Southern mountaineer, i n h is household furnishings, i n his homespun, his l insey, a nd, occasionally, i n his h unting-shirt, h is c oonskin cap and moccasins, one may summon up the garb a nd l ife of the pioneer; i n his religion, his politics, his m oral code, h is folk-songs, and his superstitions, one m ay bridge the waters back to the old country, and t hrough h is speech one may even touch the remote past of Chaucer. F o r to-day he is a distinct remnant of C olonial t imes   a distinct relic of an Anglo-Saxon past. I t is odd to t hink t hat he was not discovered u n t i l t he outbreak of the C i v i l W a r , although he was nearly a c entury old then, and it is really s tartling to realize t hat w hen one speaks of the Southern mountaineers, he speaks of nearly three millions of p eople w ho live i n e ight Southern S tates   Virginia a nd Alabama and t he Southern States between   and o ccupy a r egion e qual i n area to the combined areas of Ohio and P e n n sylvania, as big, say, as the German E mpire, a nd richer, p erhaps, i n timber and mineral deposits than any other r egion of s imilar e xtent i n the world. This region was 5

B lue-grass a nd
a nd is an unknown land. is y et going on.

I t has been a ptly called

" A ppalachian A m e r i c a , " and the work of discovery The American mountaineer was discovered, I say, at the beginning of the war, when the C onfederate leaders were counting on the presumption t hat M ason and Dixon's L ine was the dividing line between the N o r t h and South, and formed, therefore, the plan of marching an army from W h e e l i n g , i n West V irginia, to some p oint on the lakes, and thus dissevering the N o r t h at one blow. The plan seemed so feasible t hat i t is said to have materially aided the sale of C onfederate bonds i n England, but when Captain G a r nett, a West Point graduate, started to carry i t out, he got no farther than Harper's E erry. W h e n he s truck the mountains, he struck enemies who shot at h is m en from ambush, cut down bridges b efore h i m , c arried t he news of his march to the Federals, and G arnett h imself f ell w ith a b ullet from a mountaineer's s quirrel r ifle at Harper's F erry. T h e n the South began to realize what a long, lean, powerful arm of the U n i o n i t was that the Southern mountaineer stretched t hrough i ts very v itals; f or that arm helped hold K e n tucky i n the U n i o n by giving preponderance to the U nion s ympathizers i n the Blue-grass; it kept the East Tennesseans loyal to the m a n ; it made West V i r g i n i a , as the phrase goes, " secede f rom secession " ; 6 it drew

The Southern


out a horde of one hundred thousand volunteers, when L incoln c alled for troops, depleting Jackson County, K y . , f or instance, of every male under sixty years of age and over fifteen, and i t raised a hostile barrier between the armies of the coast a nd the armies of the M ississippi. T he N o r t h has never realized, perhaps, w hat it owes f or its victory to this non-slaveholding S outhern m ountaineer. T he war over, he went back to his cove a nd his c abin, a nd but for the wealth of his h ills a nd the pen of one Southern woman, the world would have forgotten h i m again. Charles Egbert Craddock put h i m i n t he outer world of fiction, and i n recent years r ailroads have been l i n k i n g h i m w ith t he outer world of f act. Religious and educational agencies have begun w ork on h i m ; he has increased i n political importance, a nd a f ew months ago he went down, heavily armed w ith p istol and Winchester   a thousand strong   to assert his political rights i n the State capital of K e n tucky. I t was probably one of these mountaineers w ho k illed W i l l i a m G oebel, and he no doubt thought h imself as much justified as any other assassin who ever slew the man he thought a tyrant. Being a U nionist, because o f the Revolution, a Republican, because o f the C i v i l W a r , and having his antagonism aroused against the Blue-grass people, who, he believes, 7

B lue-grass a nd


are t rying to rob bim of his liberties, he is now the p olitical f actor w ith w hich the Anti-Goebel Democrats   in a ll ways the best element i n the State   have i mperilled the Democratic P a r t y i n K e n t u c k y . Sooner or later, there w i l l be an awakening i n the mountainous parts of the seven other States; already the coal and i ron of these regions are making many a Southern ear l isten to the plea of protection; and some d ay the N a tional D emocratic P a r t y w i l l , l ike t he Confederacy, find a sttbtle and powerful foe i n the Southern mountaineer and i n the riches of his h ills. I n the march of c ivilization w estward, the Southern m ountaineer has been left i n an isolation almost beyond b elief. H e was shut off by mountains that have H e has had no b locked and s till b lock the c ommerce of a century, and there for a century he has stayed. n avigable rivers, no lakes, no coasts, few wagon-roads, and often no roads at all except t he beds of streams. H e has lived i n the cabin i n which his grandfather was b orn, a nd i n l ife, h abit, and thought he has been m erely his grandfather born over again. The first generation a fter the Eevolution had no schools a nd no churches. Both are rare and primitive to-day. a nd c ipher; few, indeed, can do more. 8 To this d ay, few Southern mountaineers can read and write They saw l ittle of the newspapers, and were changeless i n politics as




The Southern
i n e verything else.


They cared l ittle f or what was

g oing on i n the outside world, and indeed they heard n othing t hat did not shake the nation. To the average m ountaineer, the earth was s till f lat and had four corners. I t was the sun that girdled the earth, just The stories of votes y et being e xaggerHe as it did when Joshua told i t to stand s till, a nd precisely for that reason. ated. cast for A n d r e w Jackson are but l ittle

A n old Tennessee mountaineer once t old me

about the discovery of A m e r i c a by Columbus. of the same. p hilosopher.

c ould read his B ible, w ith m arvellous interpretations H e was the patriarch of his district, the H e had acquired the habit of delivering

t he facts of modern progress to his fellows, and it never o ccurred to h i m that a man of m y youth might be a cquainted w ith t hat rather well-known bit of history. I l istened gravely, and he went on, by and by, to speak of the Mexican W a r as we would speak of the fighting i n C h i n a ; a nd when we got down to so recent and b urning a n issue as the late c i v i l s truggle, he dropped his voice to a whisper and hitched his chair across the fireplace a nd close to mine. " Some folks had other idees," he said, " but hit's m y pussonal opinion that niggahs was the cause o' the war." W h e n I l eft his cabin, he followed me out to the fence.


B lue-grass a nd

H e bad been This

" S tranger," lie said, " I ' d ruther you wouldn' say n othin' about whut I been t ellin' y e." a lone rebel i n sympathy, and he feared violence at t his late day for expressing his opinion too freely. the " settlements "     t h a t is, the Blue-grass. o ld m an was a " citizen " ; I was a " furriner " from Columbus was one of the " outlandish," a -term that carried not only his idea of the parts hailed from but his p ersonal opinion of Columbus. L i v i n g t hus, his i n terest centred i n himself, his family, his distant n eighbor, his g rist-mill, h is country store, his county t own; unaffected by other human influences; having no incentive to change, no wish for i t , and remaining therefore unchanged, except w here c ivilization d uring t he last decade has pressed i n upon h i m , the Southern m ountaineer is thus practically the pioneer of the Revolution, the l iving ancestor of the Modern West. T he national weapons of the pioneer   the axe and the rifle   are the Southern mountaineer's weapons today. H e has s till the same fight w ith N ature. His c abin was, and is yet, i n many places, the cabin of the b ackwoodsman   of one room usually   sometimes two, connected by a covered porch, and built of unhewn l ogs, w ith a p uncheon floor, clapboards for shingles, a nd wooden p in and auger-holes for n ails. 10 T he crevices between the logs were filled w ith m ud and stones

The Southern
t he w ind a nd the r ain.


w hen f illed at a l l , and there were holes i n the roof for S ometimes there was a window w ith a b atten wooden shutter, sometimes no window at a l l . Over the door, across a p air o f buck antlers, l ay t he long, heavy, home-made r ifle o f the backwoodsman, sometimes even w ith a f lint l ock. One c an y et find a c rane swinging i n a b i g stone fireplace, t he spinning-wheel and the loom i n actual use; sometimes t he hominy block that the pioneers borrowed f rom the Indians, and a h and-mill f or grinding corn l ike t he one, perhaps, from which one woman was t aken a nd another left in b iblical d ays. U n t i l a decade a nd a h alf ago they had l ittle m oney, and the medium of exchange was barter. as w ell as moonshine. They d rink m etheglin s till, T h e y marry early, and only A f t e r the

l ast s ummer I saw a fifteen-year-old g i r l r iding b ehind h er f ather, to a log church, to be m arried. service her p illion was shifted to her young husband's horse, as was the pioneer custom, and she rode away b ehind h i m to her new home. ings, a nd q uiltings. There are s till l ogrollings, h ouse-raisings, house-warmings, corn-shuckS ports are s till t he same   as they B r u t a l l y savage fights h ave been for a hundred years   wrestling, racing, j umping, a nd l i f t i n g b arrels. are s till c ommon i n which the combatants s trike, k ick, b ite, a nd gouge u n t i l one is ready to cry " enough."

B lue-grass a nd
E v e n t he backwoods


bully, loud, coarse,

b antering   a d andy who wore long h air a nd embroidered his hunting-shirt w ith p orcupine-quills   is not quite dead. I saw one not long since, but he wore H i s h air was sandy, H e had the air store clothes, a gorgeous r ed tie, a dazzling brass scarfp i n     i n the bosom of his s hirt. b ut his mustache was blackened jet.

a nd s mirk of a l ady-killer, a nd i n the butt of the huge pistol buckled around h i m was a large black b ow   the badge of death and destruction to his enemies. Eunerals are most simple. Sometimes the coffin is slung to poles a nd carried by four men. While

the begum has given place to hickory bark when a c radle is wanted, baskets and even fox-horns are s till made of that material. N ot o nly many remnants l ike these are left i n the life of the mountaineer, but, occasionally, far up some creek, it was possible, as late as fifteen years ago, to come u pon a ruddy, smooth-faced, big-framed old f ellow, keen-eyed, taciturn, avoiding the main-travelled r oads; a great hunter, calling his old squirrel r ifle b y some pet feminine name   who, w i t h a coonskin cap, the scalp i n front, and a fringed huntingshirt a nd moccasins, completed the perfect image of t he pioneer as the books a nd tradition have handed h im d own to us.

T h e Southern
O ld C ountry,


I t i s easy to go on back across t be water to the One finds s till a mong the mountaineers t he pioneer's belief i n signs, omens, a nd the practice o f witchcraft; for whatever traits the pioneer brought over t he sea, the Southern mountaineer has to-day. T he rough-and-tumble fight of the Scotch and the E nglish square stand-up and knock-down boxingmatch were the mountaineer's ways of settling minor d isputes   one or the other, according to agreement     u n t i l t he war introduced musket and pistol. The i mprint of C alvinism o n his religious nature is yet p lain, i n spite of the sway of Methodism for nearly a c entury. p roselyte. H e is the only man i n the world whom D islike o f Episcopalianism is s till s trong t he Catholic Church has made l ittle o r no effort to a mong people w ho do not know, or pretend not to k now, what the word means. " A n y Episcopalians around here? " asked a clergyman at a mountain cabin. o ld w oman. " I don' k n o w , " said the " J i m ' s got the skins of a lot o' varmints

u p i n the loft. Mebbe you can find one up t h a r . " T he Unionism of the mountaineer i n the late war is i n great part an inheritance from the intense A m e r i c a n ism of the backwoodsman, just as that Americanism came f rom the s pirit o f the Covenanters. t hus a t rans-Atlantic remnant. 13 H i s music is I n H a r l a n C ounty,

B lue-grass a nd


K y . , a m ountain g irl leaned her chair against the w all o f her cabin, put her large, bare feet o n one of the r ungs, and sang me an E nglish b allad three hundred years old, and almost as long as i t was ancient. said she knew many others. She I n P e r r y County, where

there are i n the French-Eversole feud M c l n t y r e s , M c Intoshes, M cKnights, C ombs, probably McCombs and E itzpatricks, S cotch ballads are said to be sung w ith S cotch accent, and an occasional c opy o f B u r n s is to be found. I have even run across the modern s urvival of the wandering minstrel   two b lind f iddlers who went through the mountains making up " ballets " to celebrate the deeds o f leaders i n K e n t u c k y feuds. of the verses r a n :
T h e death of these t wo men C aused great trouble i n our l a n d , C aused men to say the bitter w o r d , A n d t ake the p a r t i n g h a n d .


N early a ll songs a nd dance tunes are written i n the so-called old Scotch scale, and, l ike n egro music, they d rop frequently into the relative minor; so that i f there be any t ruth i n the theory that negro music is m erely the adaptation of Scotch and I rish f olksongs, and folk-dances, w ith t he added stamp of t he negro's peculiar temperament, then the music

The Southern
negro heard it long ago. I n h is speech mote past.


adapted is to be heard i n the mountains to-day as the the mountaineer touches a very reThe

S trictly s peaking, he has no dialect.

m ountaineer simply keeps i n use old words and meanings that the valley people h ave ceased to use; but n owhere is this usage so sustained and consistent as to form a dialect. To writers of mountain stories the t emptation seems q uite irresistible to use more peculiar words i n one story than can be gathered from the people i n a month. S t i l l , u nusual words are abundant. T here are perhaps two hundred words, meanings, and p ronunciations that i n the mountaineer's speech go b ack unchanged to Chaucer. Some of the words are: a feerd, afore, axe, holp, crope, clomb, peert, beest (horse), c ryke, eet ( ate), f arwel, fer (far), fool (foolish     " them fool-women " ), heepe, h it (it), I is, lepte, pore ( poor), r ight (very), slyk, study (think), souple ( supple), up (verb), " he up and done i t , " usen, yer f or year, yond, i nstid, y i t , etc. There are others which have E nglish d ialect authority: blather, doated, antic, d reen, brash, faze (now modern slang), fernent, ferninst, m aster, size, etc. M a n y of these words, of course, These, the upper classes use throughout the South.

the young white master got from his negro playmates, who took t hem from the lips of the p oor w hites. IS

B lue-grass a nd


T he d ouble n egative, always used by the old E nglish, w ho seem to have resisted it no m ore t han did the Greeks, is invariable w ith the mountaineer. h i m a t riple negative is c ommon. been shot. stop. " H i t jes' raises the ambition i n h i m and don't do no good nohoiv." T he " d i a l e c t " is not wholly deterioration, then. W hat we are often apt to regard as ignorance i n the m ountaineer is simply our own disuse. Unfortunately, the speech is a mixture of so many old E nglish d ialects that it is of l ittle use i n tracing the origin of the people w ho use it. S uch has been t he outward protective m ountains on the Southern mountaineer. t ype he is of unusual interest. N o mountain people are e ver keeps m ountaineers poor. rich. E nvironment AgriT he strength that comes effect of A s a human u rging h im to r evenge. With A m ountaineer had

H i s friends came i n to see h i m and kept A w oman wanted them to

f rom numbers and wealth is always wanting.

culture is the sole s tand-by, and agriculture distributes p opulation, because a rable soil is confined to bottomlands and valleys. dangerous. F a r m i n g on a mountain-side is not o nly arduous and unremunerative   it is sometimes There is a well-authenticated case of a 16

The Southern
field a nd broke his neck. be pathetically p oor.

S t i l l , t hough f airly w ell-

K entucky m ountaineer who f ell o ut of his own cornto-do i n the valleys, the Southern mountaineer can A y oung preacher stopped at H i s hostess, as a c abin i n Georgia to stay a l l night.

a m ark of unusual distinction, k illed a c hicken and dressed it i n a pan. She rinsed the pan and made up her d ough i n it. She rinsed it again and went out and S he came i n , rinsed it again, used it for a m ilk-pail. water.

and w ent to the spring and brought it back f u l l of She f illed u p the glasses on the table and gave T h e woman was not a slattern; i t h im t he pan w ith t he rest of the water i n which to wash his hands. was the only utensil she had. T his p overty of n atural resources makes the mountaineer's fight for life a hard one. i t saves h i m from the comforts A t the same time and dainties that i t gives h i m vigor, hardihood, and endurance of b ody; w eaken; and it makes h i m a formidable competitor, w hen it forces h i m to come d own into the plains, as i t o ften does. F o r this poverty was at the bottom of the m arauding i nstinct of the P i c t and Scot, just as it is at the bottom of the migrating instinct that sends the Southern mountaineers west, i n spite of a love for home t hat is a proverb w ith t he Swiss, and is hardly less strong i n the Southern mountaineer to-day. 17 In-

B lue-grass a nd


v ariably t he Western wanderer conies h ome a gain. T ime and again an effort was made to end a feud i n the Kentucky mountains by sending the leaders away. T hey always came b ack. I t is this poverty of arable land that further isolates the mountaineer i n his loneliness. F o r he must live apart not only from the world, but from his neighbor. T he result is an enforced self-reliance, and through t hat, the gradual growth of an individualism that has been " the strength, the weakness; the personal charm, the political stumbling-block; the ethical significance a nd the h istorical i nsignificance of the mountaineer the w orld o ver." It is this isolation, this individualism, that makes unity of action difficult, public sentiment weak, and takes from the law the righting of private wrongs. It is this individualism that has b een a r ich m ine for the writer of fiction. I n the Southern mountaineer, its most marked elements are religious feeling, h ospitality, and pride. So far these last two traits have been l ightly touched upon, for the reason that t hey appear only by contrast w ith a h igher c ivilization t hat has begun to reach them only i n the last few years. T he latch-string hangs outside every cabin-door i f the men-folks are at h ome, b ut you must shout " hello " a lways outside the fence. 18

The Southern


" W e uns is pore," you w i l l be told, " but y'u're w elcome ef y ' u k i n put up w ith w hat we have." A f t e r a stay of a week at a mountain cabin, a young " f urriner " asked what his b i l l was. taineer waved his hand. come a gin! " A b elated traveller asked to stay a l l night at a cabin. T he mountaineer answered that his wife was sick and they were " sorter out o' fixin's to eat, but he reckoned he mought step over to a neighbor's an borrer s ome." H e d id step over and he was gone t hree hours. He b rought back a l ittle b ag of meal, and they had cornbread and potatoes f or supper and for breakfast, c ooked b y the mountaineer. The stranger asked how far away his n ext neighbor lived. " A leetle the rise o' six miles I r eckon," was the answer. "Which way?" " O h, jes' over the mountain thar." H e h ad stepped six miles over the mountain and back for that l ittle b ag of meal, and he would allow his guest to pay nothing next morning. I have slept w ith n ine others i n a single room. his w ife slept w ith t he rest of us on the floor. The host gave u p his bed to two of our party, and he and H e g ave us supper, kept us a l l night, sent us away next morning w ith a p arting draught of moonshine apple-jack, of 19 The old moun" N o t h i n ' , " he said, " ' cept

B lue-grass a nd

That man was

h is o wn brewing, by the way, and would suffer no one to pay a cent for his entertainment. f rom the sheriff at that very time. T wo outlaw sons were supposed to be k illed b y officers. I offered aid to the father to have them decently They had c lothed and buried, but the old man, who was as bad as his sons, declined it w ith some d ignity. enough left for that; and i f not, why, he had. A w oman whose h usband was dead, who was sick to death herself, whose f our children were almost starved, s aid, w hen she heard the " furriners " were t alking about sending her to the poor-house, that she " would go out on her crutches and hoe com f u s t " (and she d id), and that " people w ho talked about sending her to the po'-house h ad better save their breath to make prayers w i t h . " I t is a f a c t     i n the Kentucky mountains at least    t hat the poor-houses are usually empty, and that i t is considered a disgrace to a whole clan i f one of its members is an inmate. I t is the exception when a I saw a boy once, a stride f amily i s low and lazy enough to take a revenue from t he State for an idiot c hild. a steer which he had bridled w ith a r ope, barefooted, w ith h is yellow h air s ticking from his crownless hat, a nd i n blubbering ecstasy over the fact that he was

a desperado, an outlaw, a moonshiner, and was running

T h e Southern
y ear from the State.


no longer under the humiliation of accepting $ 75 a H e had proven his sanity by his answer to one question. " D o you work i n the field ? " a sked the commissioner. " W e l l , ef I d i d n ' t , " was the answer, " thar wouldn't be no work d one." I h ave always feared, however, that there was another reason for his happiness than balm to his suffering p ride. Relieved of the ban of idiocy, he had g ained a privilege   unspeakably dear i n the mountains     the privilege of matrimony. L ike a l l mountain races, the Southern mountaineers are deeply religious. I n some c ommunities, religion They is about the only form of recreation they have. times Ironsides feet-washing B aptists.

are for the most part Methodists and Baptists   someT hey w i l l w alk, or ride when possible, eight or ten miles, and sit a l l day i n a close, w indowless log-cabin on the flat side of a slab supported by pegs, l istening to the highwrought, emotional, and, at times, unintelligible ranting of a mountain preacher, while the young men sit outside, w hittling w i t h t heir Barlows and h uge j ackknives, a nd swapping horses and guns. " I f anybody wants to extribute anything to the export of the gospels, h it w i l l be gradually received."


B lue-grass a nd
of the pastor.


possible remark of this sort w i l l gauge t be intelligence The cosmopolitanism of the congregation c an be guessed from the fact that certain elders, filling a v acancy in their pulpit, once d ecided to " take that ar man Spurgeon i f they could git h i m to c ome." I t is hardly necessary to add that the " extribution to the export of the gospels " i s very, very gradually r eceived. N aturally, t heir religion is sternly orthodox and most l iteral. T he infidel is unknown, and no mountaineer is so bad as not to have a f u l l share of religion deep d own, though, as i n his more civilized brother, i t is not always apparent u ntil d eath is at hand. In the famous Howard and Turner war, the last but one of the Turner brothers was shot by a H o w a r d while he was d rinking at a spring. H e leaped to his feet a nd f ell i n a l ittle creek, where, from behind a sycamoreroot, he emptied his Winchester at his enemy, and between the cracks of his gun he could be heard, half a m ile away, praying aloud. T he custom of holding funeral services for the dead a nnually, f or several years after death, is common. I h eard t he fourth annual funeral sermon of a dead f eud leader preached a few summers ago, and it was c onsoling to hear that even he had a l l the virtues that so few men seem to have i n l ife, a nd so few to lack

The Southern
w hen dead.


B u t i n spite of the universality of religious

f eeling and a surprising knowledge of the B i b l e , it is possible to find an ignorance that is almost incredible. T he mountain evangelist, G eorge O . Barnes, it is said, once s topped at a mountain cabin and told the story of the crucifixion as few other men can. W h e n he was q uite through, an old woman who had listened i n absorbed s ilence, asked: " S tranger, you say that that happened a long while ago?" " Y e s , " said M r . Barnes; " almost two thousand years ago." " A n d t hey treated h i m that way when he'd come d own fer nothin' on earth but to save ' em? " " Yes." T he old woman was crying softly, and she put out h er hand and l aid i t on his knee. " W e l l , s tranger," she said, " let's hope t hat hit a in't s o." S he did not want to believe that humanity was capable o f such ingratitude. W h i l e ignorance of this k ind i s rare, and while we may find men who know the B i b l e from " kiver to k i v e r , " it is not impossible to find children of shrewd native intelligence who have not heard of Christ and the B i b l e . N o w , whatever interest the Southern mountaineer 23

B lue-grass a nd


has as a remnant of pioneer clays, as a relic of an A n g l o Saxon past, and as a peculiar type that seems to be the invariable result of a mountain environment   the K entucky m ountaineer shares i n a marked degree. M oreover, he has an interest peculiarly his own; for I believe him to be as sharply distinct from his fellows, as the blue-grass Kentuckian is said to be from his.


The Kentucky


The Kentucky

are practically



K e n t u c k y mountaineers

v alley p eople.

There are the three forks of

t he Cumberland, the three forks of the K e n It was n atural t hat these lands There were many slave-

tucky, a nd the tributaries of B i g S a n d y     a l l w ith r ich r iver-bottoms. m ountaineer. s hould a ttract a better class of p eople t han the average T h e y did. holders among them   a fact that has never been m entioned, as far as I know, by anybody who has w ritten a bout the mountaineer. The houses along these rivers are, as a r ule, w eather-boarded, and one w i l l o ften f ind i nterior decorations, s tartling i n color a nd p uzzling i n design, painted a l l over porch, w all, a nd c eiling. The people are better fed, better clothed, less lank i n figure, more intelligent. They wear less h omespun, and their speech, while as archaic as elsewhere, is,