One of that main things that summarizes why things are the way they are in Appalachia is the power structure of the region. It goes all the way back to the settlers of the region. A few people owned a lot of land and this created a lot of problems. When the land owners rented out their land it caused a lot of problems because if someone wanted to buy a few acres most of the land owners wouldn’t give it up. It created this perception that Appalachian farmers were jolly and happy with living off the land. When in reality they’re living pay check to pay check because they’re paying rent. The worst part is that there’s no way out unless you have an education.
In present time a lot of power is found in natural resources and coal companies are a major contributor to this. Coal companies have a lot of power on every level of the government. There’s a lot of lobbying for pro-coal laws. Some are as simple as rewording a major environmental act that will cause a lot of mountains getting their tops blown off.
It’s important to know how Appalachia functions and I think that the subject of power is a good place to start. I’ve learned a lot about Appalachia thanks to this class. Especially with what goes on in the coal industry.
The quote that I chose from the reading was “Poor health, inadequate diet, ignorance cause the problems”. I thought that this picture accurately depicts the quote.
Did the various government programs help most of the people that worked for the coal companies?
When I was in kindergarten I was lucky enough to have my dad drive us to school because he was a teacher one of the middle schools in Hanover County. However, I didn’t enjoy my dad blasting bluegrass at 7 am in the morning. This early experience made me hate bluegrass at an early age, over the years I’ve become more tolorant of country and bluegrass music.
When Malone said “No style is more traditional or more rooted in mountain culture.” I knew that was the quote that defined music in Appalachia. Everyone in Appalachia can listen to bluegrass because it’s embedded in the culture. There’s a classic bluegrass song that I was forced to listen to at the Battle at Bristol. It’s in the link below.
What do you think Malone meant by saying “No style is more traditional or more rooted in mountain culture.”? Do you agree or disagree with his statement?
A key point in “Merchandising the Mountaineer” that I found was on page 219. This is when the cover of “Cabins in the Laurel” they mention how photos appeared to be quaint and a stereotypical Appalachia hillbilly.
This is an image of the “Mechanicsville Windmill” and it’s located right next to route 360 and it was a landmark of Mechanicsville. Once you saw the windmill you knew that you where in Mechancisville, but now it’s a bank in what used to be the main drag of the town. Now Mechanicsville has another highway or road that goes through town and that’s route 301.Route 301 has always been in existence but it was never developed. Now there’s a lot of development. It’s amazing to see all of the big retail stores and subdivisions that are being built. The windmill represents what Mechanicsville was a small town outside of Richmond and now it’s a growing city.
Sources:Mechanicsville Windmill. Digital image. Http://phillyapartmentco.com. Phillyapartmentco.com, n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2016. <http://phillyapartmentco.com/images/natural/xkCVOU-qAnV4mwC6.JPG>.
What cultural and economic shifts occurred due to political actions surrounding the Civil War?
There’s a lot of myths that surround Appalachia. One of those is the good ole family feud. Most of the myths that I’ve heard about families fighting and killing one another are over stupid things. I found out that the Hatfield and McCoy feud wasn’t a myth but I did think that it was a pretty stupid reason to wage a war on someones family. In 1878, Randolph McCoy accused Floyd Hatfield of stealing one of his hogs. That started the feud that lasted for many years. I found it interesting that the two families lived in different states, which where Kentucky and West Virginia. It’s interesting too because Kentucky was a Confederate state and West Virginia sided with the Union. This had to have had an effect on the feud even though it started 17 years after the surrender and fall of the Confederacy. After a few battles and hangings that happened over 10 years a total of 13 Hatfields and McCoys where dead. All because of a hog that some historians said was a scapegoat. Some believe that it was because of the different views with the Union and the Confederacy. Even though we still don’t know what started the feud we can agree that it was another senseless Appalachian feud.
Source: Conradt, Stacy. “The Real Reason the Hatfields and McCoys Started Feuding.” Mental Floss. Mentalfloss.com, n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2016. <http://mentalfloss.com/article/64538/real-reason-hatfields-and-mccoys-started-feuding>.
There’s a lot of very important historical Civil War sites in my hometown of Mechanicsville, Virginia. Like the two historical landmarks that Williams references to there’s a lot of more important artifacts and landmarks that are left from the Civil War. I find it amazing that people from Mechanicsville haven’t even been to a battlefield and they haven’t taken time to understand what happened. Most of the current routes into Richmond are the same ones that existed when the Union was trying to capture the city. It’s also interesting to see all of the fortifications that are still there!
One of the most interesting battles was the “Seven Days Battles” this is where general Robert E. Lee was trying to prevent the Union from capturing the capital of the Confederacy. All through Hanover County there are many battles that took place during those seven days.
One of those areas that is forgotten is the fortifications on Chickahominy Bluff. On June 26, 1862 Lee had about 20,000 soldiers on a bluff or a hill that overlooks the Chickahominy River. Nothing happened because the Union soldiers where at a severe disadvantage and didn’t push south to Richmond from that location. You can still visit this area and look over the bluff and see what General Lee was looking at on that day.
During Reconstruction most of the roads and boundaries weren’t changed. However many of the “carpetbaggers” or politicians moved south to take advantage of the southerners. They did this to loot a lot of wealth from the southern states. It’s interesting to realize that Appalachia and central Virginia have some similarities. Especially the similarities between carpetbaggers and land speculators.
When the Native Americans where displaced once again from the western part of Virginia. “The state sold 2,590,059 acres to just fourteen speculators”. This was a statement from Dunaway regarding to the capitalism taking place with the natives being displaced. This is a great example of power and place because the fourteen speculators where taking advantage of the native americans being displaced. Most of them are doing this to make a profit. By doing this they also gained a lot of power because they owned most of the land.
Here’s a link to a map from 1755 this was right before the French and Indian War. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d8/Kitfry-1-.jpg
Fry-Jefferson Map. 1755. The Ohio Company, n.p.
Dunaway, Wilma A. “Chapter 2.” Speculators and Settler Capitalists. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Print.