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Our southern highlanders / by Horace Kephart. Kephart, Horace, 1862-1931. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images University of Kentucky, Electronic Information Access & Management Center Lexington, Kentucky 2002 b92-133-29323349 Electronic reproduction. 2002. (Beyond the shelf, serving historic Kentuckiana through virtual access (IMLS LG-03-02-0012-02) ; These pages may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Our southern highlanders / by Horace Kephart. Kephart, Horace, 1862-1931. Outing Publishing Company, New York : 1913. 395 p.,  leaves of plates : ill., ports, map. ; 22 cm. Coleman Microfilm. Atlanta, Ga. : SOLINET, 1993. 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm. (SOLINET/ASERL Cooperative Microfilming Project (NEH PS-20317) ; SOL MN03768.01 KUK) Printing Master B92-133. IMLS This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). No corrections have been made to the OCR-ed text and no editing has been done to the content of the original document. Encoding has been done through an automated process using the recommendations for Level 1 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Digital page images are linked to the text file. Mountain whites (Southern States) Big Tom Wilson, the bear hunter, who discovered the body of Prof.. Elisha Mitchell where he perished near the summit of the Peak that afterward was named in his honor, Dy v. :t. rs eve OUR SOUTHERNHIGHLANDERS BYHORACEKEPHARTAUTHOR OF " THIE BOOK OF CAMPING AND WOODCRAFT,' " CAMP CooLcy, " SPORTING FIREARMS," ETC. Illustrated NEW YORKOUTING PUBLISHING MCMXVICOMPANY COPYRIGHT, 1913, BYOUTING PUBLISHING COMPANY All rights reserved First Printing, November 1913 Second Printing. December 1913 Third Printing, January 1914 Fourth Printing, April 1914 CONTENTSCHAPTER PAGE I. "SOMETHING HIDDDEN; GO AND FIND IT" I I II. " THE BACK OF BEYOND. . . . . 28 III. THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS 50 IV. A BEAR HUNT IN THE SMOKIES 75 V. MOONSHINE LAND . . . 1. IIO VI. WAYS THAT ARE DARK . . . . . 126 VII. A LEAF FROM THE PAST . 145VIII. "BLOCKADERS" AND "THE REVENUE i67 IX. THE OUTLANDER AND THE NATIVE . . 191 X. THE PEOPLE OF THE HILLS . . . 2I2 XI. THE LAND OF Do WITHOUT . . . . 234 XII. HOME FOLKS AND NEIGHBOR PEOPLE . 256XIII. THE MOUNTAIN DIALECT.... 276XIV. THE LAW OF THE WILDERNESS 305XV. THE BLOOD-FEUD . . . . . . . 327XVI. WHO ARE THE MOUNTAINEERS 354XVII. "WHEN THE SLEEPER WAKES" 378 This page in the original text is blank. ILLUSTRATIONSBig Tom Wilson, the bear hunter . . . Frontispiece FACING PAGEMap of Appalachia . . . . . . . . . 8A family of pioneers in the twentieth century . . i6" The very cliffs are sheathed with trees and shrubs" 24At the Post-Office ... . . . .... 32The author in camp in the Big Smokies . . . . 40" Bob " . . . . . . . . . . . . 48" There are few jutting crags " . . . . . . 56The bears' home laurel and rhododendron . . 64The old copper mine . . . . . . . . . 72'"What soldiers these fellows would make under leadership of some backwoods Napoleon" . . 8o"By and by up they came, carrying the bear on the trimmed sapling " . . . . . . . . 88Skinning a frozen bear . . . . . . . . 96".. . Powerful steep and laurely . . ." 1I04Mountain still-house hidden in the laurel . . . 112Moonshine still, side view. . . . . . . . 120Moonshine still in full operation . . . . . 128Corn mill and blacksmith forge . . . . . . 136A tub-mill . . . . . . . . . . . . 152Cabin on the Little Fork of Sugar Fork of Hazel Creek in which the author lived alone for three years . . . . . . . . . . . . 160A mountain home . . , . . . , . .. 176 ILLUSTRATIONS FACINGMany of the homes have but one window . . .The schoolhouse . ........."At thirty a mountain woman is apt to have a worn and faded look" . . . . . . . .The misty veil of falling water. . . . . .An average mountain cabin . . . . . ..A bee-gum . . . . . . . .. . . .Let the women do the work . . . . . ."Till the sky-line blends with the sky itself " .Whitewater Falls . . . . . . . . . .The road follows the creek-there may be a dozen fords in a mile . ... . . . .."Dense forest and luxuriant undergrowth" .PAGB1922082i6232240248264288312320336 APPALACHIAThe wavy black line shows the outer boundaries of Southern Appalachian Region. The shaded portion shows the chief areas covered by high mountains, 3,000 to 6,700 feet above sea-level. This page in the original text is blank. OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS This page in the original text is blank. OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS CHAPTER I "SOMETHING HIDDEN; GO AND FIND IT"I N one of Poe's minor tales, written in 1845, there is a vague allusion to wild mountains in western Virginia " tenanted by fierce anduncouth races of men." This, so far as I know,was the first reference in literature to our South-ern mountaineers, and it stood as their onlycharacterization until Miss Murfree (" CharlesEgbert Craddock") began her stories of theCumberland hills. Time and retouching have done little to softenour Highlander's portrait. Among reading peo-ple generally, South as well as North, to namehim is to conjure up a tall, slouching figure inhomespun, who carries a rifle as habitually ashe does his hat, and who may tilt its muzzletoward a stranger before addressing him, theform of salutation being: II 12 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS "Stop thar I Whut's you-unses name Whar'syou-uns a-goin' ter" Let us admit that there is just enough truth inthis caricature to give it a point that will stick.Our typical mountaineer is lank, he is alwaysunkempt, he is fond of toting a gun on his shoul-der, and his curiosity about a stranger's nameand business is promptly, though politely, out.spoken. For the rest, he is a man of mystery.The great world outside his mountains knowsalmost as little about him as he does of it; andthat is little indeed. News in order to reachhim must be of such widespread interest as fairlyto fall from heaven; correspondingly, scarce anyincidents of mountain life will leak out unlessthey be of sensational nature, such as the shoot-ing of a revenue officer in Carolina, the massacreof a Virginia court, or the outbreak of anotherfeud in "bloody Breathitt." And so, from thegrim sameness of such reports, the world infersthat battle, murder, and sudden death are com-monplaces in Appalachia. To be sure, in Miss Murfree's novels, as inthose of John Fox, Jr., and of Alice MacGowan,we do meet characters more genial than feudistsand illicit distillers; none the less, when we haveclosed the book, who is it that stands out clearestas type and pattern of the mountaineer Is it " SOMETHING HIDDEN"not he of the long rifle and peremptory chal-lenge And whether this be because he getsmost of the limelight, or because we have a fur-tive liking for that sort of thing (on paper), orwhether the armed outlaw be indeed a genuineprotagonist-in any case, the Appalachian peo-ple remain in public estimation to-day, as Poejudged them, an uncouth and fierce race ofmen, inhabiting a wild mountain region littleknown. The Southern highlands themselves are amysterious realm. WAhen I prepared, eightyears ago, for my first sojourn in the GreatSmoky Mountains, which form the masterchain of the Appalachian system, I could findin no library a guide to that region. The mostdiligent research failed to discover so much asa magazine article, written within this genera-tion, that described the land and its people.Nay, there was not even a novel or a story thatshowed intimate local knowledge. Had I beengoing to Teneriffe or Timbuctu, the librarieswould have furnished information a-plenty; butabout this housetop of eastern America theywere strangely silent; it was terra incognita. On the map I could see that the SouthernAppalachians cover an area much larger thanNew England, and that they are nearer theI3 14 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERScenter of our population than any other moun-tains that deserve the name. Why, then, so littleknown Quaintly there came to mind thoselines familiar to my boyhood: " Get you upthis way southward, and go up into the moun-tain; and see the land, what it is; and the peoplethat dwelleth therein, whether they be strong orweak, few or many; and what the land is thatthey dwell in, whether it be good or bad; andwhat cities they be that they dwell in, whetherin tents, or in strongholds; and what the landis, whether it be fat or lean, whether there bewood therein or not." In that dustiest room of a great library where"pub. docs." are stored, I unearthed a govern-ment report on forestry that gave, at last, a clearidea of the lay of the land. And here was news.We are wont to think of the South as a lowcountry with sultry climate; yet its mountainchains stretch uninterruptedly southwestwardfrom Virginia to Alabama, 65o miles in an airline. They spread over parts of eight contigu-ous States, and cover an area somewhat largerthan England and Scotland, or about the sameas that of the Alps. In short, the greatest moun-tain system of eastern America is massed in ourSouthland. In its upper zone one sleeps underblankets the year round. " SOMETHING HIDDEN " In all the region north of Virginia and east ofthe Black Hills of Dakota there is but one sum-mit (Mount Washington, in New Hampshire)that reaches 6,ooo feet above sea level, and thereare only a dozen others that exceed 5,0o0 feet.By contrast, south of the Potomac there areforty-six peaks, and forty-one miles of dividingridges, that rise above 6,ooo feet, besides 288mountains and some 300 miles of divide thatstand more than 5,ooo feet above the sea. InNorth Carolina alone the mountains cover 6,ooosquare miles, with an average elevation of 2,700feet, and with twenty-one peaks that overtopMount Washington. I repeated to myself: "Why, then, so littleknown " The Alps and the Rockies, the Pyren-nees and the Harz are more familiar to theAmerican people, in print and picture, if not byactual visit, than are the Black, the Balsam, andthe Great Smoky Mountains. It is true thatsummer tourists flock to Asheville and Toxaway,Linville and Highlands, passing their time atmodern hotels and motoring along a few maca-damed roads, but what do they see of the billowywilderness that conceals most of the nativehomes Glimpses from afar. What do theylearn of the real mountaineer Hearsay. For,mark you, nine-tenths of the Appalachian popu-is i6 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERSlation are a sequestered folk. The typical, theaverage mountain man prefers his native hillsand his primitive ancient ways. We read more and talk more about the Fili-pinos, see more of the Chinese and the Syrians,than of these three million next-door Americanswho are of colonial ancestry and mostly of Brit-ish stock. New York, we say, is a cosmopoli-tan city; more Irish than in Dublin, more Ger-mans than in Munich, more Italians than inRome, more Jews than in nine Jerusalems; buthow many New Yorkers ever saw a Southernmountaineer I am sure that a party of hills-men fresh from the back settlements of the Una-kas, if dropped on the streets of any large cityin the Union, and left to their own guidance,would stir up more comment (and probablymore trouble) than would a similar body ofwhites from any other quarter of the earth; andyet this same odd people is more purely bredfrom old American stock than any other elementof our population that occupies, by itself, sogreat a territory. The mountaineers of the South are markedapart from all other folks by dialect, by cus-toms, by character, by self-conscious isolation.So true is this that they call all outsiders " fur-riners." It matters not whether your descent A Family of Pioneers in the Twentieth Century This page in the original text is blank. " SOMETHING HIDDEN '7be from Puritan or Cavalier, whether you comefrom Boston or Chicago, Savannah or New Or-leans, in the mountains you are a " furriner."A traveler, puzzled and scandalized at this,asked a native of the Cumberlands what hewould call a " Dutchman or a Dago." The fel-low studied a bit and then replied: "Them'sthe outlandish." Foreigner, outlander, it is all one; we are"different," we are " quar," to the mountaineer.He knows he is an American; but his conceptionof the metes and bounds of America is vagueto the vanishing point. As for countries over-sea-well, when a celebrated Nebraskan re-turned from his trip around the globe, one ofmy backwoods neighbors proudly informed me:" I see they give Bryan a lot of receptions whenhe kern back from the other world." No one can understand the attitude of ourhighlanders toward the rest of the earth until herealizes their amazing isolation from all thatlies beyond the blue, hazy skyline of their moun-tains. Conceive a shipload of emigrants castaway on some unknown island, far from theregular track of vessels, and left there for fiveor six generations, unaided and untroubled bythe growth of civilization. Among the descend-ants of such a company we would expect to findI7 iS OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERScustoms and ideas unaltered from the time oftheir forefathers. And that is just what we dofind to-day among our castaways in the sea ofmountains. Time has lingered in Appalachia.The mountain folk still live in the eighteenthcentury. The progress of mankind from thatage to this is no heritage of theirs. Our backwoodsmen of the Blue Ridge andthe Unakas, of their connecting chains, and ofthe outlying Cumberlands, are still thinking es-sentially the same thoughts, still living in muchthe same fashion, as did their ancestors in thedays of Daniel Boone. Nor is this their fault.They are a people of keen intelligence andstrong initiative when they can see anything towin. But, as President Frost says, they havebeen " beleaguered by nature." They are be-lated-ghettoed in the midst of a civilizationthat is as aloof from them as if it existed onlyon another planet. And so, in order to be fairand just with these, our backward kinsmen, wemust, for the time, decivilize ourselves to the ex-tent of going back and getting an eighteenth cen-tury point of view. But, first, how comes it that the mountainfolk have been so long detached from the lifeand movement of their times Why are theyso foreign to present-day Americanism that they " SOMETHING HIDDEN "innocently call all the rest of us foreigners The answer lies on the map. They are crea-tures of environment, enmeshed in a labyrinththat has deflected and repelled the march of ournation for three hundred years. In I728, when Colonel William Byrd, ofWestover, was running the boundary line be-tween Virginia and North Carolina, he finallywas repulsed by parallel chains of savage, un-peopled mountains that rose tier beyond tier tothe westward, everywhere densely forested, andmatted into jungle by laurel and other under-growth. In his Journal, writing in the quaint,old-fashioned way, he said: "Our country hasnow been inhabited more than 130 years by theEnglish, and still we hardly know anything ofthe Appalachian Mountains, that are nowhereabove 250 miles from the sea. Whereas theFrench, who are later comers, have rang'd fromQuebec Southward as far as the Mouth of Mis-sissippi, in the bay of Mexico, and to the Westalmost as far as California, which is either wayabove 2,000 miles." A hundred and thirty years later, the samething could have been said of these same moun-tains; for the " fierce and uncouth races of men"that Poe faintly heard of remained practicallyundiscovered until they startled the nation onI9 20 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERSthe scene of our Civil War, by sending i8o,oooof their riflemen into the Union Army. If a corps of surveyors to-day should be en-gaged to run a line due west from eastern Vir-ginia to the Blue Grass of Kentucky, they wouldhave an arduous task. Let us suppose that theystart from near Richmond and proceed alongthe line of 370 50'. The Blue Ridge is not es-pecially difficult: only eight transverse ridgesto climb up and down in fourteen miles, andnone of them more than 2,000 feet high frombottom to top. Then, thirteen miles across thelower end of The Valley, a curious formationbegins. As a foretaste, in the three and a half milescrossing Little House and Big House mountains,one ascends 2,200 feet, descends i,400, climbsagain i,600, and goes down 2,000 feet on the farside. Beyond lie steep and narrow ridges athwartthe way, paralleling each other like waves atsea. Ten distinct mountain chains are scaledand descended in the next forty miles. Thereare few " leads " rising gradually to their crests.Each and every one of these ridges is a Chinesewall magnified to altitudes of from a thousandto two thousand feet, and covered with thicket.The hollows between them are merely deeptroughs. In the next thirty miles we come upon novel " SOMETHING HIDDEN"topography. Instead of wave following wavein orderly procession, we find here a choppy seaof small mountains, with hollows running to-ward all points of the compass. Instead ofChinese walls, we now have Chinese puzzles.The innate perversity of such configurationgrows more and more exasperating as we toilwestward. In the two hundred miles from theGreenbrier to the Kentucky River, the ridgesare all but unscalable, and the streams spranglein every direction like branches of mountainlaurel. The only roads follow the beds of tortuousand rock-strewn water courses, which may benearly dry when you start out in the morning,but within an hour may be raging torrents.There are no bridges. One may ford a dozentimes in a mile. A spring " tide " will stop alltravel, even from neighbor to neighbor, for a dayor two at a time. Buggies and carriages areunheard of. In many districts the only meansof transportation is with saddlebags on horse-back, or with a "tow sack" afoot. If the pe-destrian tries a short-cut he will learn what thenatives mean when they say: " Goin' up, youcan might' nigh stand up straight and bite theground; goin' down, a man wants hobnails inthe seat of his pants." James Lane Allen was not writing fiction2 V 22 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERSwhen he said of the far-famed Wilderness Roadinto Kentucky: " Despite all that has beendone to civilize it since Boone traced its coursein 1790, this honored historic thoroughfare re-mains to-day as it was in the beginning, with allits sloughs and sands, its mud and holes, and jut-ting ledges of rock and loose boulders, andtwists and turns, and general total depravity. ...One such road was enough. They are said tohave been notorious for profanity, those whocame into Kentucky from this side. Naturally.Many were infidels-there are roads that makea man lose faith. It is known that the morepious companies of them, as they traveled along,would now and then give up in despair, sitdown, raise a hymn, and have prayers beforethey could go further. Perhaps one of the pro-vocations to homicide among the mountainpeople should be reckoned this road. I haveseen two of the mildest of men, after riding overit for a few hours, lose their temper and beginto fight-fight their horses, fight the flies, fightthe cobwebs on their noses." Such difficulties of intercommunication areenough to explain the isolation of the mountain-eers. In the more remote regions this lonelinessreaches a degree almost unbelievable. Miss El-len Semple, in a fine monograph published in " SOMETHING HIDDEN"23the Geographical Journal, of London, in i90i,gave us some examples: " These Kentucky mountaineers are not only cut off fromthe outside world, but they are separated from each other.Each is confined to his own locality, and finds his littleworld within a radius of a few miles from his cabin. Thereare many men in these mountains who have never seen atown, or even the poor village that constitutes their county-seat.. . . The women . . . are almost as rootedas the trees. We met one woman who, during the twelveyears of her married life, had lived only ten miles across themountain from her own home, but had never in this timebeen back home to visit her father and mother. Anotherback in Perry county told me she had never been fartherfrom home than Hazard, the county-seat, which is onlysix miles distant. Another had never been to the post-office, four miles away; and another had never seen theford of the Rockcastle River, only two miles from herhome, and marked, moreover, by the country store of thedistrict." When I first went into the Smokies, I stoppedone night in a single-room log cabin, and soonhad the good people absorbed in my tales oftravel beyond the seas. Finally the housewifesaid to me, with pathetic resignation: " Bush-nell's the furdest ever I've been." Bushnell,at that time, was a hamlet of thirty people, onlyseven miles from where we sat. When I livedalone on "the Little Fork of Sugar Fork of 24 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERSHazel Creek," there were women in the neigh-borhood, young and old, who had never seen arailroad, and men who had never boarded atrain, although the Murphy branch ran withinsixteen miles of our post-office. The firsttime that a party of these people went to therailroad, they were uneasy and suspicious. Near-ing the way-station, a girl in advance came uponthe first negro she ever saw in her life, and ranscreaming back: " My goddamighty, Main,thar's the boogerman-I done seed him !" But before discussing the mountain peopleand their problems, let us take an imaginaryballoon voyage over their vast domain. Southof the Potomac the Blue Ridge is a narrow ram-part rising abruptly from the east, one or twothousand feet above its base, and descendingsharply to the Shenandoah Valley on the west.Across the Valley begin the Alleghanies. Thesemountains, from the Potomac through to thenorthern Tennessee border, consist of a multi-tude of narrow ridges with steep escarpment onboth sides, running southwesterly in parallelchains, and each chain separated from its neigh-bors by deep, slender dales. Wherever one goeswestward from the Valley he will encounter tierafter tier of these ridges, as I have already de-scribed. Photo by U. S.)rest Service"The very cliffs are sheathed with trees and shrubs"-Linville River and Falls, N. C. The wvalls of one gorge are from 50o to 2,000 feet high.M ik , This page in the original text is blank. " SOMETHING HIDDEN" As a rule, the links in each chain can be passedby following small gaps; but often one mustmake very wide detours. For example, PineMountain (every link has its own distinct name)is practically impassable for nearly iSo miles,except for two water gaps and five difficult cross-ings. Although it averages only a mile thick,the people on its north side, generally, know lessabout those on the south than a Maine Yankeedoes about Pennsylvania Dutchmen. The Alleghanies together have a width offrom forty to sixty miles. Westward of them,for a couple of hundred miles, are the labyrin-thine roughs of West Virginia and eastern Ken-tucky. In southwestern Virginia the Blue Ridge andthe Alleghanies coalesce, but soon spread apartagain, the Blue Ridge retaining its name, as wellas its general character, although much loftierand more massive than in the north. The south-east front of the Blue Ridge is a steep escarp-ment, rising abruptly from the Piedmont Pla-teau of Carolina. Not one river cuts throughthe Ridge, notwithstanding that the mountainsto the westward are higher and much more mas-sive. It is the watershed of this whole moun-tain region. The streams rising on its north-western front flow down into central plateaus,25 26 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERSand thence cut their way through the Unakasin deep and precipitous gorges, draining finallyinto the Gulf of Mexico, through the Tennessee,Ohio and Mississippi rivers. The northwestern range, which correspondsto the Alleghanies of Virginia, now assumesa character entirely different from them. In-stead of parallel chains of low ridges, we havehere, on the border of North Carolina and Ten-nessee, a single chain that dwarfs all others inthe Appalachian system. It is cut into seg-ments by the rivers (Nolichucky, French Broad,Pigeon, Little Tennessee, Hiwassee) that drainthe interior plateaus, and each segment has adistinct name of its own (Iron, Northern Unaka,Bald, Great Smoky, Southern Unaka or Unicoimountains). The Carolina mountaineers stillcall this system collectively the Alleghanies, butthe U. S. Geological Survey has given it amore distinctive name, the Unakas. While theBlue Ridge has only seven peaks that rise aboveSoo0 feet, the Unakas have 125 summits exceed-ing 5,ooo, and ten that are over 6,ooo feet. Connecting the Unaka chain with the BlueRidge are several transverse ranges, the Stone,Beech, Roan, Yellow, Black, Newfound, Pis-gah, Balsam, Cowee, Nantahala, Tusquitee, anda few minor mountains, which as a whole are " SOMETHING HIDDEN"much higher than the Blue Ridge, I56 summitsrising over 5,ooo feet, and thirty-six over 6,ooofeet above sea-level. In northern Georgia the Unakas and the BlueRidge gradually fade away into stragglingridges and foothills, which extend into smallparts of South Carolina and Alabama. The Cumberland Plateau is not attached toeither of these mountain systems, but is rathera prolongation of the roughs of eastern Ken-tucky. It is separated from the Unakas by thebroad valley of the Tennessee River. The Pla-teau rises very abruptly from the surroundingplains. It consists mainly of tableland gashedby streams that have cut their way down in deepnarrow gulches with precipitous sides. Most of the literature about our Southernmountaineers refers only to the inhabitants ofthe comparatively meagre hills of eastern Ken-tucky, or to the Cumberlands of Tennessee.Little has been written about the real mountain-eers of southwestern Virginia, western NorthCarolina, and the extreme north of Georgia.The great mountain masses still await their an-nalist, their artist, and, in some places, eventheir explorer.27 CHAPTER II "THE BACK OF BEYOND"O F certain remote parts of Erin, Jane Bar- low says: "In Bogland, if you inquire the address of such or such person, youwill hear not very infrequently that he or shelives ' off away at the Back of Beyond.' . . . ATraveler to the Back of Beyond may considerhimself rather exceptionally fortunate, shouldhe find that he is able to arrive at his destinationby any mode of conveyance other than 'the twostandin' feet of him.' Often enough the laststage of his journey proceeds down some boggyboreen, or up some craggy hill-track, inacces-sible to any wheel or hoof that ever was shod." So in Appalachia, one steps shortly from therailway into the primitive. Most of the rivervalleys are narrow. In their bottoms the soil isrich, the farms well kept and generous, the own-ers comfortable and urbane. But from the val-leys directly spring the mountains, with slopesrising twenty to forty degrees or more. These 28 " THE BACK OF BEYOND"mountains cover nine-tenths of western NorthCarolina, and among them dwell a majority ofthe native people. The back country is rough. No boat norcanoe can stem its brawling waters. No bicy-cle nor automobile can enter it. No coach canendure its roads. Here is a land of lumberwagons, and saddle-bags, and shackly little sledsthat are dragged over the bare ground by har-nessed steers. This is the country that ordinarytourists shun. And well for such that they do,since whoso cares more for bodily comfort thanfor freedom and air and elbow-room shouldtarry by still waters and pleasant pastures. Tohim the backwoods could be only what Burnscalled Argyleshire: "A country where savagestreams tumble over savage mountains, thinlyoverspread with savage flocks, which starvinglysupport as savage inhabitants." When I went south into the mountains I wasseeking a Back of Beyond. This for more rea-sons than one. With an inborn taste for the wildand romantic, I yearned for a strange land anda people that had the charm of originality.Again, I had a passion for early American his-tory; and, in Far Appalachia, it seemed that Imight realize, the past in the present, seeing withmy own eyes what life must have been to my29 30 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERSpioneer ancestors of a century or two ago. Be-sides, I wanted to enjoy a free life in the openair, the thrill of exploring new ground, the joysof the chase, and the man's game of matchingmy woodcraft against the forces of nature, withno help from servants or hired guides. So, casting about for a biding place thatwould fill such needs, I picked out the uppersettlement of Hazel Creek, far up under the leeof those Smoky Mountains that I had learnedso little about. On the edge of this settlement,scant two miles from the post-office of Medlin,there was a copper mine, long disused on ac-count of litigation, and I got permission to oc-cupy one of its abandoned cabins. A mountain settlement consists of all who gettheir mail at the same place. Ours was madeup of forty-two households (about two hundredsouls) scattered over an area eight miles long bytwo wide. These are air-line measurements.All roads and trails "wiggled and wingledaround" so that some families were severalmiles from a neighbor. Fifteen homes had nowagon road, and could be reached by no vehicleother than a narrow sled. Quill Rose had noteven a sledpath, but journeyed full five miles bytrail to the nearest wagon road. Medlin itself comprised two little stores built " THE BACK OF BEYOND" 3of rough planks and bearing no signs, a cornmill, and four dwellings. A mile and a halfaway was the log schoolhouse, which, once ortwice a month, served also as church. Scat-tered about the settlement were seven tiny tub-mills for grinding corn, some of them mere opensheds with a capacity of about a bushel a day.Most of the dwellings were built of logs. Twoor three, only, were weatherboarded framehouses and attained the dignity of a storn and ahalf. All about us was the forest primeval, whereroamed some sparse herds of cattle, razorbackhogs, and the wild beasts. Speckled trout werein all the streams. Bears sometimes raided thefields, and wildcats were a common nuisance.Our settlement was a mere slash in the vastwoodland that encompassed it. The post-office occupied a space about fivefeet square, in a corner of one of the stores.There was a daily mail, by rider, serving fourother communities along the way. The contrac-tor for this service had to furnish two horses,working turnabout, pay the rider, and squeezehis own profit, out of 499 a year. In 'StarRoute days the mail was carried afoot, two bare-footed young men " toting the sacks on theirown wethers " over this thirty-two-mile round3 1 32 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERStrip, for forty-eight cents a day; and theyboarded themselves! In the group that gathered at mail time I of-ten was solicited to " back " envelopes, give outthe news, or decipher letters for men who couldnot read. Several times, in the postmaster's ab-sence, I registered letters for myself, or forsomeone else, the law of the nation being sus-pended by general consent. Our stores, as I have said, were small, yetmany of their shelves were empty. Oftentimesthere was no flour to be had, no meat, cereals,canned goods, coffee, sugar, or oil. It excitedno comment at all when Old Pete would leanacross his bare counter and lament that " Thar'slots o' folks a-hurtin' around hyur for lard, andI ain't got none." I have seen the time when our neighborhoodcould get no salt nor tobacco without making atwenty-four-mile trip over the mountain andback, in the dead of winter. This was due,partly, to the state of the roads, and to the factthat there would be no wagon available forweeks at a time. Wagoning, by the way, wasno sinecure. Often it meant to chop a fallentree out of the road, and then, with handspikes," man-power the log outen the way." Some-times an axle would break (far upon the moun- At the Post-Office This page in the original text is blank. "THE BACK OF BEYOND " tain, of course); then a tree must be felled, and a new axle made on the spot from the green wood, with no tools but axe and jackknife. Trade was mostly by barter, in which 'coon skins and ginseng had the same rank as in the days oi Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone. Long credits were given on anticipated crops; but the risks were great and the market limited by local consumption, as it did not pay to haul bulky commodities to the railroad. Hence it was self- preservation for the storekeepers to carry only a slender stock of essentials and take pains to have little left through unproductive times. As a rule, credit would not be asked so long as anything at all could be offered in trade. When Bill took the last quart of meal from the house, as rations for a bear hunt, his patient Marg walked five miles to the store with a skinny old chicken, last of the flock, and offered to barter it for " a dustin' o' salt." There was not a bite in her house beyond potatoes, and "'taters don't go good 'thout salt." In our primitive community there were no trades, no professions. Every man was his own farmer, blacksmith, gunsmith, carpenter, cobbler, miller, tinker. Someone in his family, or a near neighbor, served him as barber and dentist, and would make him a coffin when he 33 34 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS died. One farmer was also the wagoner of the district, as well as storekeeper, magistrate, veterinarian, and accoucheur. He also owned the only "tooth-pullers" in the settlement: a pair of universal forceps that he designed, forged, filed out, and wielded with barbaric grit. His wife kept the only boarding-house for leagues around. Truly, an accomplished couple ! About two-thirds of our householders owned their homes. Of the remainder about three- fifths were renters and two-fifths were squatters, in the sense that these last were permitted to occupy ground for the sake of reporting trespass and putting out fires-or, maybe, to prevent them doing both. Nearly all of the wild land belonged to Northern timber companies who had not yet begun operations (they have done so within the past three years). Titles were confused, owing to careless sur- veys, or guesswork, in the past. Many boun- daries overlapped, and there were bits of no- man's land here and there, covered by no deed and subject to entry by anyone who discovered them. Our old frontier always was notorious for happy-go-lucky surveys and neglect to make legal entry of claims. Thus Boone lost the fair- est parts of the Kentucky he founded, and was " THE BACK OF BEYOND" ejected and sent adrift. In our own time, over- lapping boundaries have led to bitter litigation and murderous feuds. As our territory was sparsely occupied, there were none of those "perpendicular farms" so noticeable in older settlements near the river valleys, where men plow fields as steep as their own house roofs and till with the hoe many an acre that is steeper still. John Fox tells of a Kentucky farmer who fell out of his own corn- field and broke his neck. I have seen fields in Carolina where this might occur, as where a forty-five degree slope is tilled to the brink of a precipice. A woman told me: "I've hoed corn many a time on my knees-yes, I have;" and another: "Many's the hill o' corn I've propped up with a rock to keep it from fallin' down-hill." Even in our new region many of the fields suffered quickly from erosion. When a forest is cleared there is a spongy humus on the ground surface that is extremely rich, but this washes away in a single season. The soil beneath is A friend of mine on the U. S. Geological Survey tested with his clinometer a mountain cornfield that sloped at an angle of fifty degrees. 35 36 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS good, but thin on the hillsides, and its soluble, fertile ingredients soon leach out and vanish. Without terracing, which I have never seen practiced in the mountains of the South, no field with a surface slope of more than ten degrees (about two feet in ten) will last more than a few years. As one of my neighbors put it: " Thar, I've cl'ared me a patch and grubbed hit out- now I can raise me two or three severe craps!" "Then what " I asked. "When corn won't grow no more I can turn the field into grass a couple o' years." " Then you'll rotate, and grow corn again" "La, no! By that time the land will be so poor hit wouldn't raise a cuss-fight." " But then you must move, and begin all over again. This continual moving must be a great nuisance." He rolled his quid and placidly answered: "Huk-uh; when I move, all I haffter do is put out the fire and call the dog." His apparent indifference was only phil- osophy expressed with sardonic humor; just as another neighbor would say, "This is good, strong land, or it wouldn't hold up all the rocks there is around hyur." Right here is the basis for much of what strangers call shiftlessness among the mountain- " THE BACK OF BEYOND " eers. But of that, more anon in other chapters. In clearing new ground, everyone followed the ancient custom of girdling the tree trunks and letting them stand in spectral ugliness un- til they rotted and fell. This is a quick and easy way to get rid of the shade that otherwise would stunt the crops, and it prevents such trees as chestnut, buckeye and basswood from sprout- ing from the stumps. In the fields stood scores of gigantic hemlocks, deadened, that never would be used even for fuel, save as their bark furnished the women with quick-burning stove- wood in wvet weather. No one dreamt that hemlock ever would be marketable. And this was only five years ago I The tillage was as rude and destructive as anything we read of in pioneer history. The common plow was a " bull-tongue," which has aptly been described as "hardly more than a sharpened stick with a metal rim." The har- rows were of wood, throughout, with locust teeth (a friend and I made one from the green trees in half a day, and it lasted three seasons on rocky ground). Sometimes no harrow was used at all, the plowed ground being " drug" with a big evergreen bough. This needed only to be withed directly to a pony's tail, as they used to do in ancient Ireland, and the picture 37 38 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS of prehistoric agriculture would have been com- plete. After the corn was up, all cultivating was done with the hoe. For this the entire family turned out, the toddlers being left to play in the furrows while their mother toiled like a man. Corn was the staple crop-in fact, the only crop of most farmers. Some rye was raised along the creek, and a little oats, but our settle- ment grew no wheat--there was no mill that could grind it. Wheat is raised, to some extent, in the river bottoms, and on the plateaus of the interior. I have seen it flailed out on the bare ground, and winnowed by pouring the grain and chaff from basket to basket while the women fluttered aprons or bed-sheets. Corn is topped for the blade-fodder, the ears gathered from the stalk, and the main stalks afterwards used as " roughness " (roughage). The cribs generally are ramshackle pens, and there is much waste from mold and vermin. The Carolina mountains are, by nature, one of the best fruit regions in eastern America. Apples, grapes, and berries, especially, thrive exceeding well. But our mountaineer is no hor- ticulturist. He lets his fruit trees take care of themselves, and so, everywhere except on select farms near the towns, we see old apple and "THE BACK OF BEYOND" peach trees that never were pruned, bristling with shoots, and often bearing wizened fruit, dry and bitter, or half rotted on the stem. So, too, the gardens are slighted. Late in the season our average garden is a miniature jungle, chiefly of weeds that stand high as one's head. Cabbage and field beans survive and fig- ure mightily in the diet of the mountaineer. Potatoes generally do well, but few farmers raise enough to see them through the winter. Generally some tobacco is grown for family con- sumption, the strong " twist " being smoked or chewed indifferently. An interesting crop in our neighborhood was ginseng, of which there were several patches in cultivation. This curious plant is native throughout the Appalachians, but has been ex- terminated in all but the wildest regions, on ac- count of the high price that its dried root brings. It has long since passed out of our pharmaco- pceia, and is marketed only in China, though our own people formerly esteemed it as a pana- cea for all ills of the flesh. Colonel Byrd, in his " History of the Dividing Line," says of it: "Though Practice will soon make a man of tolerable Vigour an able Footman, yet, as a help to bear Fatigue I us'd to chew a Root of Ginseng as I Walk't along. This 39 40 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS kept up my Spirits, and made me trip away as nimbly in my half Jack-Boots as younger men cou'd in their Shoes. This Plant is in high Esteem in China, where it sells for its Weight in Silver. . . . Its vertues are, that it gives an uncommon Warmth and Vigour to the Blood, and frisks the Spirits, beyond any other Cordial. It chears the Heart, even of a Man that has a bad Wife, and makes him look down with great Composure on the crosses of the World. It promotes insensible Perspiration, dissolves all Phlegmatick and Viscous Humours, that are apt to obstruct the Narrow channels of the Nerves. It 1;21Aps the Memory and would quicken even Helvetian dullness. 'Tis friendly to the Lungs, much more than Scolding itself. It comforts the Stomach, and Strengthens the Bowels, preventing all Colicks and Fluxes. In one Word, it will make a Man live a great while, and very well while he does live. And what is more, it will even make Old Age amiable, by rendering it lively, chearful, and good-humour'd." Alas that only Chinamen and eighteenth-cen- tury Cavaliers could absorb the virtues of this sovereign herb! A successful ginseng grower of our settlement told me that two acres of the plant will bring an income of 2,500 to 5,000 a year, planting ,ooooo to the acre. The roots take eight years to mature. They weigh from one and a half to four ounces each, when fresh, and one-third of this dried. Two acres produce 25,000 roots a year, by progression. The dried root, at that time, brought five dollars a pound. At present, The Author in Camp in the Big Smokies This page in the original text is blank. " THE BACK OF BEYOND 4" I believe, it is higher. Another friend of mine, who is in this business extensively, tried export- ing for himself, but got only 6.5o a pound in Amoy, when the U. S. consul at that port as- sured him that the real market price was from I2.6o to 24.40. The local trader, knowing American prices, pocketed the difference. In times of scarcity many of our people took to the woods and gathered commoner medicinal roots, such as bloodroot and wild ginger (there are scores of others growing wild in great pro- fusion), but made only a pittance at it, as syn- thetic drugs have mostly taken the place of herbal simples in modern medicine. Women and children did better, in the days before Christmas, by gathering galax, "hemlock" (leucothoe), and mistletoe, selling to the dealers at the railroad, who ship them North for holi- day decorations. One bright lad from town in- formed me, with evident pride of geography, that " Some of this goes to London, England." Nearly everywhere in our woods the beautiful ruddy-bronze galax is abundant. Along the water-courses, leucothoe, which similarly turns bronze in autumn, and lasts throughout the win- ter, is so prolific as to be a nuisance to travelers, being hard to push through. Most of our farmers had neither horse nor 41I 42 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS mule. For the rough work of cultivating the hillsides a single steer hitched to the " bull- tongue " was better adapted, and the same steer patiently dragged a little sled to the trading post. On steep declivities the sled is more prac- tical than a cart or wagon, because it can go where wheels cannot, it does not require so wide a track, and it " brakes " automatically in going downhill. Nearly all the farmer's hauling is downhill to his home, or down farther to the village. A sled can be made quite easily by one man, out of wood growing on the spot, and with few iron fittings, or none at all. The run- ners are usually made of natural sourwood crooks, this timber being chosen because it wears very smooth and does not fur up nor splinter. The hinterland is naturally adapted to graz- ing, rather than to agriculture. As it stands, the best pasturage is high up in the mountains, where there are "balds" covered with succu- lent wild grass that resembles Kentucky blue- grass. Clearing and sowing would extend such areas indefinitely. The cattle forage for them- selves through eight or nine months of the year, running wild like the razorbacks, and the only attention given them is when the herdsmen go out to salt them or to mark the calves. Nearly "THE BACK OF BEYOND " all the beasts are scrub stock. Jerseys, and other blooded cattle thrive in the valleys, where there are no free ranges, but the backwoodsman does not want "critters that haffter be gentled and hand-fed." The result is that many fam- ilies go without milk a great part of the year, and seldom indeed taste butter or beef. The truth is that mountain beef, being fed nothing but grass and browse, with barely enough corn and roughage to keep the animal alive through winter, is blue-fleshed, watery, and tough. If properly reared, the quality would be as good as any. Almost any of our farmers could have had a pasture near home and could have grown hay, but not one in ten would take the trouble. His cattle were only for export-let the buyer fatten them! It should be understood that nobody had any pro- vision for taking care of fresh meat when the weather was not frosty. On those rare occasions when somebody killed a beef, he had to travel all over the neighbor- hood to dispose of it in small portions. The carcass was cut up in the same way as a hog, and all parts except the cheap " bilin' pieces " were sold at the same price: ten cents a pound, or whatever they would bring on the spot. The butchering was done with an axe and a jack- 43 44 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS knife. The meat was either sliced thin and fried to a crackling, or cut in chunks and boiled furiously just long enough to fit it for boot- heels. What the butcher mangled, the cook damned. Few sheep were raised in our settlement, and these only for their wool. The untamed Smokies were no place for such defenseless creatures. Sheep will not, cannot, run wild. They are wholly dependent on the fostering hand of man and perish without his shepherd- ing. Curiously enough, our mountaineer knows little or nothing about the goat-an animal per- fectly adapted to the free range of the Smokies. I am convinced that goats would be more profit- able to the small farmers of the wild mountains than cattle. Goats do not graze, but browse upon the shrubbery, of which there is a vast superfluity in all the Southern mountains. Un- like the weak, timorous and stupid sheep, a flock of goats can fight their own battles against wild animals. They are hardy in any weather, and thrive from their own pickings where other for- agers would starve. A good milch goat gives more and richer milk than the average mountain cow. And a kid yields excellent fresh meat in manageable quan- tity, at a time when no one would butcher a " THE BACK OF BEYOND" beef because it would spoil. I used to shut my eyes and imagine the transformation that would be wrought in these mountains by a colony of Swiss, who would turn the coves into gardens, the moderate slopes into orchards, the steeper ones into vineyards, by terracing, and who would export the finest of cheese made from the sur- plus milk of their goats. But our native moun- taineers-well, a man who will not eat beef nor drink fresh cow's milk, and who despises but- ter, cannot be interested in anything of the dairy order. The chickens ran wild and scratched for a living; hence were thin, tough, and poor layers. Eggs seldom were for sale. It was not of much use to try to raise many chickens where they were unprotected from hawks, minks, foxes, weasels and snakes. Honey often was procured by spotting wild bees to their hoard and chopping the tree, a mild form of sport in which most settlers are ex- pert. Our local preacher had a hundred hives of tame bees, producing I,5oo pounds of honey a year, for which he got ten cents a pound at the railroad. The mainstay of every farmer, aside from his cornfield, was his litter of razorback hogs. " Old cornbread and sowbelly" are a menu complete 45 46 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS for the mountaineer. The wild pig, roaming foot-loose and free over hill and dale, picks up his own living at all seasons and requires no attention at all. He is the cheapest possible source of meat and yields the quickest return: r4no other food animal can increase his own weight a hundred and fifty fold in the first eight months of his life." And so he is regarded by his owner with the same affection that Conne- mara Paddy bestows upon " the gintleman that pays the rint." In physique and mentality, the razorback dif- fers even more from a domestic hog than a wild goose does from a tame one. Shaped in front like a thin wedge, he can go through laurel thickets like a bear. Armored with tough hide cushioned by bristles, he despises thorns, bram- bles, and rattlesnakes, alike. His extravagantly long snout can scent like a cat's, and yet burrow, uproot, overturn, as if made of metal. The long legs, thin flanks, pliant hoofs, fit him to run like a deer and climb like a goat. In courage and sagacity he outranks all other beasts. A warrior born, he is also a strategist of the first order. Like man, he lives a communal life, and unites with others of his kind for purposes of defense. The pig is the only large mammal I know " THE BACK OF BEYOND 47 of, besides man, whose eyes will not shine by reflected light-they are too bold and crafty, I wit. The razorback has a mind of his own; not instinct, but mind-whatever psychologists may say. He thinks. Anybody can see that when he is not rooting or sleeping he is studying devilment. He shows remarkable understand- ing of human speech, especially profane speech, and even an uncanny gift of reading men's thoughts, whenever those thoughts are directed against the peace and dignity of pigship. He bears grudges, broods over indignities, and plans redresses for the morrow or the week af- ter. If he cannot get even with you, he will lay for your unsuspecting friend. And at the last, when arrested in his crimes and lodged in the pen, he is liable to attacks of mania from sheer helpless rage. If you camp out in the mountains, nothing will molest you but razorback hogs. Bears will flee and wildcats sneak to their dens, but the moment incense of cooking arises from your camp every pig within two miles will scent it and hasten to call. You may throw your arm out of joint: they will laugh in your face. You may curse in five languages: it is music to their titillating ears. Throughout summer and autumn I cooked out 47 48 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS of doors, on the woodsman's range of forked stakes and a lug-pole spanning parallel beds of rock. When the pigs came, I fed them red- pepper pie. Then all said good-bye to my hos- pitality save one slab-sided, tusky old boar- and he planned a campaign. At the first smell of smoke he would start for my premises. Hid- ing securely in a nearby thicket, he would spy on the operations until my stew got to simmer- ing gently and I would retire to the cabin and get my fists in the dough. Then, charging at speed, he would knock down a stake, trip the lug-pole, and send my dinner flying. Every day he would do this. It got so that I had to sit there facing the fire all through my cooking, or that beast of a hog would ruin me. With this I thought he was outgeneraled. Idle dream! He would slip off to my favorite neighbor's, break through the garden fence, and raise Ned instanter-all because he hated me, for that pep- pery f raud, and knew that Bob and I were cronies. I dubbed this pig Belial; a name that Bob promptly adapted to his own notion by calling it Be-liar. " That Be-liar," swore he, "would cross hell on a rotten rail to git into my 'tater patch ! " Finally I could stand it no longer, and took " B o b " This page in the original text is blank. " THE BACK OF BEYOND 49 down my rifle. It was a nail-driver, and I, through constant practice in beheading squir- rels, was in good form. However, in the moun- tains it is more heinous to kill another man's pig than to shoot the owner. So I took craft for my guide, and guile for my heart's counsel. I stalked Belial as stealthily as ever hunter crept on an antelope against the wind. At last I had him dead right: broadside to me and motionless as if in a daydream. I knew that if I drilled his ear, or shot his tail clean off, it would only make him meaner than ever. He sported an uncommonly fine tail, and was proud to flaunt it. I drew down on that member, purposely a trifle scant, fired, and-away scuttled that boar, with a broken tail that would dangle and cling to him disgracefully through life. Exit Belial! It was equivalent to a broken heart. He emigrated, or committed suicide, I know not which, but the Smoky Mountains knew him no more. 49 CHAPTER III THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS F OR a long time my chief interest was not in human neighbors, but in the mountains themselves-in that mysterious beckoning hinterland which rose right back of my chimney and spread upward, outward, almost to three cardinal points of the compass, mile after mile, hour after hour of lusty climbing-an Eden still unpeopled and unspoiled. I loved of a morning to slip on my haversack, pick up my rifle, or maybe a mere staff, and stride forth alone over haphazard routes, to enjoy in my own untutored way the infinite variety of form and color and shade, of plant and tree and animal life, in that superb wilderness that tow- ered there far above all homes of men. (And I love it still, albeit the charm of new discovery is gone from those heights and gulfs that are now so intimate and full of memories). The Carolina mountains have a character all their own. Rising abruptly from a low base, 50 THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS Si and then rounding more gradually upward for 2,o00 to 5,ooo feet above their valleys, their ap- parent height is more impressive than that of many a loftier summit in the West which forms only a protuberance on an elevated plateau. Nearly all of them are clad to their tops in dense forest and thick undergrowth. Here and there is a grassy " bald ": a natural meadow curiously perched on the very top of a mountain. There are no bare, rocky summits rising above timber- line, few jutting crags, no ribs and vertebra of the earth exposed. Seldom does one see even a naked ledge of rock. The very cliffs are sheathed with trees and shrubs, so that one tread- ing their edges has no fear of falling into an abyss. Pinnacles or serrated ridges are rare. There are few commanding peaks. From almost any summit in Carolina one looks out upon a sea of flowing curves and dome-shaped eminences un- dulating, with no great disparity of height, unto the horizon. Almost everywhere the contours are similar: steep sides gradually rounding to the tops, smooth-surfaced to the eye because of the endless verdure. Every ridge is separated from its sisters by deep and narrow ravines. Not one of the thousand water courses shows a glint of its dashing stream, save where some far- 52 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS off river may reveal, through a gap in the moun- tain, one single shimmering curve. In all this vast prospect, a keen eye, knowing where to look, may detect an occasional farmer's clearing, but to the stranger there is only mountain and forest, mountain and forest, as far as the eye can reach. Characteristic, too, is the dreamy blue haze, like that of Indian summer intensified, that ever hovers over the mountains, unless they be swathed in cloud, or, for a few minutes, after a sharp rain-storm has cleared the atmosphere. Both the Blue Ridge and the Smoky Mountains owe their names to this tenuous mist. It softens all outlines, and lends a mirage-like effect of great distance to objects that are but a few miles off, while those farther removed grow more and more intangible until finally the sky-line blends with the sky itself. The foreground of such a landscape, in sum- mer, is warm, soft, dreamy, caressing, habit- able; beyond it are gentle and luring solitudes; the remote ranges are inexpressibly lonesome, isolated and mysterious; but everywhere the green forest mantle bespeaks a vital present; no- where does cold, bare granite stand as the sepul- chre of an immemorial past. And yet these very mountains of Carolina are among the ancients of the earth. They were THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS 53 old, very old, before the Alps and the Andes, the Rockies and the Himalayas were molded into their primal shapes. Upon them, in after ages, were born the first hardwoods of Amer- ica-perhaps those of Europe, too-and upon them to-day the last great hardwood forests of our country stand in primeval majesty, mutely awaiting their imminent doom. The richness of the Great Smoky forest has been the wonder and the admiration of every- one who has traversed it. As one climbs from the river to one of the main peaks, he passes successively through the same floral zones he would encounter in traveling from mid-Georgia to southern Canada. Starting amid sycamores, elms, gums, willows, persimmons, chinquapins, he soon enters a re- gion of beech, birch, basswood, magnolia, cu- cumber, butternut, holly, sourwood, box elder, ash, maple, buckeye, poplar, hemlock, and a great number of other growths along the creeks and branches. On the lower slopes are many species of oaks, with hickory, hemlock, pitch pine, locust, dogwood, chestnut. In this region nearly all trees attain their fullest development. On north fronts of hills the oaks reach a diam- eter of five to six feet. Tn cool, rich coves, chest- nut trees grow from six to nine feet across the 54 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS stump; and tulip poplars up to ten or eleven feet, their straight trunks towering like gigan- tic columns, with scarcely a noticeable taper, seventy or eighty feet to the nearest limb. Ascending above the zone of 3,000 feet, white oak is replaced by the no less valuable " moun- tain oak." Beech, birch, buckeye, and chestnut persist to 5,ooo feet. Then, where the beeches dwindle until adult trees are only knee-high, there begins a sub-arctic zone of black spruce, balsam, striped maple, aspen and the " Peru- vian " or red cherry. I have named only a few of the prevailing growths. Nowhere else in the temperate zone is there such a variety of merchantable timber as in western Carolina and the Tennessee front of the Unaka system. About a hundred and twenty species of native trees grow in the Smoky Forest itself. When Asa Gray visited the North Carolina mountains he identified, in a thirty-mile trip, a greater variety of indige- nous trees than could be observed in crossing Europe from England to Turkey, or in a trip from Boston to the Rocky Mountain plateau. As John Muir has said, our forests, "however slighted by man, must have been a great delight to God; for they were the best He ever planted." The undergrowth is of almost tropical lux- THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS SS uriance and variety. Botanists say that this is the richest collecting ground in the United States. Whether one be seeking ferns or fungi or orchids or almost anything else vegetal, each hour will bring him some new delight. In summer the upper mountains are one vast flower garden: the white and pink of rhododendron, the blaze of azalea, conspicuous above all else, in settings of every imaginable shade of green. It was the botanist who discovered this Eden for us. Far back in the eighteenth century, when this was still " Cherokee Country," inhab- ited by no whites but a few Indian-traders, Wil- liam Bartram of Philadelphia came plant- hunting into the mountains of western Carolina, and spread their fame to the world. One of his choicest finds was the fiery azalea, of which he recorded: "The epithet fiery I annex to this most celebrated species of azalea, as being expressive of the appearance of its flowers; which are in general of the color of the finest red-lead, orange, and bright gold, as well as yellow and cream-color. These various splen- did colors are not only in separate plants, but frequently all the varieties and shades are seen in separate branches on the same plant; and the clusters of the blossoms cover the shrubs in such incredible profusion on the hillsides that, sud- 56 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS denly opening to view from dark shades, we are alarmed with apprehension of the woods being set on fire. This is certainly the most gay and brilliant flowering shrub yet known." And we of a later age, seeing the same wild gardens still unspoiled, can appreciate the al- most religious fervor of those early botanists, as of Michaux, for example, who, in 1794, ascending the peak of Grandfather, broke out in song: "Monte au sommet de la plus haut montagne de tout l'Amerique Septentrionale, chante avec mon compagnon-guide l'hymn de Marsellois, et crie, 'Vive la Liberte et la Ripublique Franfaise!'" Of course Michaux was wildly mistaken in thinking Grandfather "the highest mountain in all North America." It is far from being even the highest of the Appalachians. Yet we scarcely know to-day, to a downright certainty, which peak is supreme among our Southern highlands. The honor is conceded to Mount Mitchell in the Black Mountains, northeast of Asheville. Still, the heights of the Carolina peaks have been taken (with but one exception, so far as I know) only by barometric measure- ments, and these, even when official, may vary as much as a hundred feet for the same moun- tain. Since the highest ten or a dozen of our ioto by U. S. Forest Service "There are few jutting crags"-Soutlleast profile of Whiteside Mountain, N. C. This page in the original text is blank. THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS 57 Carolina peaks differ in altitude only one or two hundred feet, their actual rank has not yet been determined. For a long time there was controversy as to whether Mount Mitchell or Clingman Dome was the crowning summit of eastern America. The Coast and Geodetic Survey gave the height of Mount Mitchell as 6,688 feet; but later fig- ures of the U. S. Geological Survey are 6,711 and 6,7I2. In i859 Buckley claimed for Cling- man Dome of the Smokies an altitude of 6,941 feet. In recent government reports the Dome appears variously as 6,6i9 and 6,66o. In i9ii I was told by Mr. H. M. Ramseur that when he laid out the route of the railroad from Ashe- ville to Murphy he ran a line of levels from a known datum on this road to the top of Cling- man, and that the result was " four sixes " (6,666 feet above sea-level). It is probable that second place among the peaks of Appalachia may belong either to Clingman Dome or Guyot or LeConte, of the Smokies, or to Balsam Cone of the Black Mountains. In any case, the Great Smoky mountains are the master chain of the Appalachian system, the greatest mass of highland east of the Rockies. This segment of the Unakas forms the boundary between North Carolina and S8 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS Tennessee from the Big Pigeon River to the McDaniel Bald. Although some parts of the Smokies are very rugged, with sharp changes of elevation, yet the range as a whole has no one dominating peak. Mount Guyot (pronounced Gee-o, with g as in get), Mount LeConte, and Clingman Dome all are over 6,6oo feet and under 6,700, according to the most trustworthy measure- ments. Many miles of the divide rise 6,ooo feet above sea-level, with only small undula- tions like ocean swells. The most rugged and difficult part of the Smokies (and of the United States east of Colo- rado) is in the sawtooth mountains between Collins and Guyot, at the headwaters of the Okona Lufty River. I know but few men who have ever followed this part of the divide, al- though during the present year trails have been cut from Clingman to Collins, or near it, and possibly others beyond to the northeastward. In August and September, i900, Mr. James H. Ferriss and wife, naturalists from Joliet, Illinois, explored the Smokies to the Lufty Gap northeast of Clingman, collecting rare species of snails and ferns. No doubt Mrs. Ferriss is the only white woman who ever went beyond THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS 59 Clingman or even ascended the Dome itself. She stayed at the Lufty Gap while her husband and a Carolina mountaineer of my acquaint- ance struggled through to Guyot and returned. Of this trip Mr. Ferriss sent me the following account: "We bought another axe of a moonshiner, and, with a week's provisions on our backs, one of the guides and I took the Consolidated American Black Bear and Ruffed Grouse Line for Mount Guyot, twenty miles farther by map measurement. The bears were in full posses- sion of the property, and we could get no infor- mation in the settlements, as the settlers do not travel this line. They did not know the names of the peaks other than as tops of the Great Smokies-knew nothing of the character of the country except that it was rough. The Tennes- seeans seem afraid of the mountains, and the Cherokees of the North Carolina side equally so; for, two miles from camp, all traces of man, except surveyors' marks, had disappeared. In the first two days we routed eight bears out of their nests and mud wallows, and they seemed to stay routed, for upon our return we found the blackberry crop unharvested and had a bag pudding-' duff '-or what you call it. "A surveyor had run part of the line this 6o OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS year, which helped us greatly, and the bears had made well-beaten trails part of the way. In places they had mussed up the ground as much as a barnyard. We tried to follow the boundary line between the two States, which is exactly upon the top of the Smokies, but often missed it. The government [state] surveyor many years ago made two hacks upon the trees, but sometimes the linemen neglected to use their axes for half a mile or so. It took us three and one-half days to go, and two and one-half to return, and we arose with the morning star and worked hard all day. The last day and a half, going, there was nothing to guide us but the old hacks. "Equipped with government maps, a good compass, and a little conceit, I thought I could follow the boundary-line. In fact, at one time we intended to go through without a guide. A trail that runs through blackberry bushes two miles out of three is hard to follow. Then there was a huckleberry bush reaching to our waists growing thickly upon the ground as tomato vines, curled hard, and stubborn; and laurel much like a field of lilac bushes, crooked and strong as iron. In one place we walked fully a quarter of a mile over the tops of laurel bushes and these were ten or twelve feet in height, but THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS 6i blown over one way by the wind. Much of the trail was along rocky edges, sometimes but six inches or so wide, but almost straight down on both sides for hundreds of feet. One night, delayed by lack of water, we did not camp till dark, and, finding a smooth spot, lay down with a small log on each side to hold us from rolling out of bed. When daylight came we found that, had we rolled over the logs, my partner would have dropped Soo feet into Tennessee and I would have dropped as far into North Caro- lina, unless some friendly tree top had caught us. Sometimes the mountain forked, and these ridges, concealed by the balsams, would not be seen. Then there were round knobs-and who can tell where the highest ridge lies on a round mountain or a ball My woolen shirt was torn off to the shoulders, and my partner, who had started out with corduroys, stayed in the brush until I got him a pair of overalls from camp." Even to the west of Clingman a stranger is likely to find some desperately rough travel if he should stray from the trail that follows the divide. It is easy going for anyone in fair weather, but when cloud settles on the moun- tain, as it often does without warning, it may be so thick that one cannot see a tree ten feet away. Under such circumstances I have my- 62 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS self floundered from daylight till dark through heart-breaking laurel thickets, and without a bite to eat, not knowing whither I was going except that it was toward the Little Tennessee River. In i906 I spent the summer in a herders' hut on top of the divide, just west of the Locust Ridge (miscalled Chestnut Ridge on the map), about six miles east of Thunderhead. This time I had a partner, and we had a glorious three months of it, nearly a mile above sea-level, and only half a day's climb from the nearest settle- ment. One day I was alone, Andy having gone down to Medlin for the mail. It had rained a good deal-in fact, there was a shower nearly every day throughout the summer, the only sem- blance of a dry season in the Smokies being the autumn and early winter. The nights were cold enough for fires and blankets, even in our well. chinked cabin. Well, I had finished my lonesome dinner, and was washing up, when I saw a man approach- ing. This was an event, for we seldom saw other men than our two selves. He was a lame man, wearing an iron extension on one foot, and he hobbled with a cane. He looked played-out and gaunt. I met him outside. He smiled as though I looked good to him, and asked with THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS 63 some eagerness, " Can I buy something to eat here" "No," I answered, " you can't buy anything here "-how his face fell !--" but I'll give you the best we have, and you're welcome." Then you should have seen that smile! He seemed to have just enough strength left to drag himself into the hut. I asked no ques- tions, though wondering what a cripple, evi- dently a gentleman, though in rather bad repair, was doing on top of the Smoky Mountains. It was plain that he had spent more than one night shelterless in the cold rain, and that he was quite famished. While I was baking the biscuit and cooking some meat, he told his story. This is the short of it: " I am a Canadian, McGill University man, electrician. My company sent me to Cincin- nati. I got a vacation of a couple of weeks, and thought I'd take a pedestrian tour. I can walk better than you'd think," and he tapped the short leg. I liked his grit. " I knew no place to go," he continued; " so I took a map and looked for what might be interesting country, not too far from Cincinnati. I picked out these mountains, got a couple of 64 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS government topographical sheets, and, thinking they would serve like European ordnance maps, I had no fear of going astray. It was my plan to walk through to the Balsam Mountains, and so on to the Big Pigeon River. I went to Mary- ville, Tennessee, and there I was told that I would find a cabin every five or six miles along the summit from Thunderhead to the Balsams." I broke in abruptly: " Whoever told you that was either an impostor or an ignoramus. There are only four of these shacks on the whole Smoky range. Two of them, the Russell cabin and the Spencer place, you have already passed without knowing it. This is called the Hall cabin. None of these three are occupied save for a week or so in the fall when 'the cattle are being rounded up, or by chance, as my partner and I happen to be here now. Beyond this there is just one shack, at Siler's Meadow. It is down below the summit, hidden in timber, and you would never have seen it. Even if you had, you would have found it as bare as a last year's mouse nest, for nobody ever goes there except a few bear-hunters. From there onward for forty miles is an uninhabited wilderness so rough that you could not make seven miles a day in it to save your life, even if you knew the course; and there is no trail at all. \ l 11 l =z E i g a-X; l l All5 ! ! ! ! E 7 This page in the original text is blank. THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS 65 Those government maps are good and reliable to show the approaches to this wild country, but where you need them most they are good for nothing." " Then," said he, " if I had missed your cabin I would have starved to death, for I depended on finding a house to the eastward, and would have followed the trail till I dropped. I have been out in the laurel thickets, now, three days and two nights; so nothing could have induced me to leave this trail, once I found it, or until I could see out to a house on one side or other of the mountain." "You would see no house on either side from here to beyond Guyot, about forty miles. Had you no rations at all" " I traveled light, expecting to find entertain- ment among the natives. Here is what I have left." He showed me a crumpled buckwheat flap- jack, a pinch of tea, and a couple of ounces of brandy. " I was saving them for the last extremity; have had nothing to eat since yesterday morn- ing. Drink the brandy, please; it came from Montreal." "No, my boy, that liquor goes down your own throat instanter. You're the chap that 66 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS needs it. This coffee will boil now in a minute. I won't give you all the food you want, for it wouldn't be prudent; but by and by you shall have a bellyful." Then, as well as he could, he sketched the route he had followed. Where the trail from Tennessee crosses from Thunderhead to Haw Gap he had swerved off from the divide, and he discovered his error somewhere in the neigh- borhood of Blockhouse. There, instead of re- tracing his steps, he sought a short-cut by plung- ing down to the headwaters of Haw Creek, thus worming deeper and deeper into the devil's nest. One more day would have finished him. When I told him that the trip from Clingman to Guyot would be hard work for a party of expe- rienced mountaineers, and that it would prob- ably take them a week, during which time they would have to pack all supplies on their own backs, he agreed that his best course would be down into Carolina and out to the railroad. Of animal life in the mountains I was most entertained by the raven. This extraordinary bird was the first creature Noah liberated from the ark-he must have known, even at that early period of nature study, that it was the most saga- cious of all winged things. Or perhaps Noah THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS 67 and the raven did not get on well together and he rid himself of the pest at first opportunity. Doubtless there could have been no peace aboard a craft that harbored so inquisitive and talkative a fowl. Anyway, the wild raven has been superlatively shy of man ever since the flood. Probably there is no place south of Labrador where our raven (Corvus corax principalis) is seen so often as in the Smokies; and yet, even here, a man may haunt the tops for weeks with- out sight or sound of the ebon mystery-then, for a few days, they will be common. On the southeast side of the Locust Ridge, opposite Huggins's Hell, between Bone Valley and the main fork of Hazel Creek, there is a " Raven's Cliff" where they winter and breed, using the same nests year after year. Occasionally one is trapped, with bloody groundhog for bait; but I have yet to meet a man who has succeeded in shooting one. If the raven's body be elusive his tongue as- suredly is not. No other animal save man has anything like his vocal range. The raven croaks, clucks, caws, chuckles, squalls, pleads, " pooh-poohs," grunts, barks, mimics small birds, hectors, cajoles-yes, pulls a cork, whets a scythe, files a saw-with his throat. As is 68 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS well known, ravens can be taught human speech, like parrots; and I am told they show the same preference for bad words-which, I think, is quite in character with their reputation as thieves and butchers. However, I may be prej- udiced, seeing that the raven's favorite dainties for his menu are the eyes of living fawns and lambs. A stranger in these mountains will be sur- prised at the apparent scarcity of game animals. It is not unusual for one to hunt all day in an absolute wilderness, where he sees never a fresh track of man, and not get a shot at anything fit to eat. The cover is so dense that one still- hunting (going without dogs) has poor chance of spying the game that lurks about him; and there really is little of it by comparison with such huntings fields as the Adirondacks, Maine, Canada, where game has been conserved for many years. It used to be the same up there. The late W. J. Stillman, writing in 1877 of the Maine woods, said: "The most striking feature of the forest, after one has become habituated to the gloom, the pathlessness, and the apparent impenetrability of the screen it forms around him, is the absence of animal life. You may wander for hours without seeing a living creature. . .. One thinks of THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS 69 the woods and the wild beasts; yet in all the years of my wilderness living I can catalogue the wild creatures other than squirrels, grouse, and small birds (never plenty, gen- erally very rare) which I have accidentally encountered and seen while wandering for hunting or mere pastime in the wild forest: one deer, one porcupine, one marten (com- monly called sable), and maybe half a dozen hares. You may walk hours and not see a living creature larger than a fly, for days together and not see a grouse, a squirrel, or a bird larger than the Canada jay. . . . Lands running with game are like those flowing with milk and honey; and when the sporting books tell you that game is abundant, don't imagine that you are assured from starvation thereby. I have been reduced, in a country where deer were swarm- ing, to live several days together on corn meal." It is much the same to-day in our Appalach- ian wilderness, where no protection worthy the name has ever been afforded the game and fish since Indian times. There is a class of woods- loafers, very common here, that ranges the for- est at all seasons with single-barrel shotguns or " hog rifles," killing bearing females as well as legitimate game, fishing at night, even using dynamite in the streams; and so, in spite of the fact that there is no better game harborage granted by Nature on our continent than the Carolina mountains, the deer are all but exter- minated in most districts, turkeys and even squirrels are rather scarce, and good trout fish- 70 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS ing is limited to stocked waters or streams flow- ing through virgin forest. The only game ani- mal that still holds his own is the black bear, and he endures in few places other than the roughest districts, such as that southwest of the Sugarland Mountains, where laurel and cliffs daunt all but the hardiest of men. The only venomous snakes in the mountains are rattlers and copperheads, the former com- mon, the latter rare. The chance of being bit- ten by one is about as remote as that of being struck by lightning-either accident might hap- pen, of course. The mountaineers have an absurd notion that the little lizard so common in the hills is rank " pizen." Oddly enough, they call it a " scorpion." From those two pests of the North Woods, black-flies and mosquitoes, the Smokies are mercifully exempt. At least there are no mos- quitoes that bite or sing, except down in the river valleys where they have been introduced by railroad trains-and even there they are but a feeble folk. The reason is that in the moun- tains there is almost no standing water where they can breed. On the other hand, the common house-fly is extraordinarily numerous and persistent - a THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS 71 daily curse, even on top of Smoky. I imagine this is due to the wet climate, as in Ireland. Minute gnats (the " punkies " or " no-see-ums " of the North) are also offensively present in trout-fishing time. And every cabin is alive with fleas. A hundred nights I have anointed myself with citronella from head to foot, and outsmelt a cheap barber-shop, to escape their plague. In a tent, and without dogs, one can be immune. In most years there are very few chiggers, except on pine ridges. They are worse along rivers than in the mountains. The ticks of this country are not numerous, and seldom fasten on man. The climate of the Carolina mountains is pleasantly cool in summer. Even at low alti- tudes (i,6oo to 2,000 feet) the nights generally are refreshing. It may be hot in the sun, but always cool in the shade. The air is drier (less relative humidity) than in the lowlands, not- withstanding that there is greater rainfall here than elsewhere in the United States outside of Florida and the Puget Sound country. The annual rainfall varies a great deal according to locality, being least at Asheville (42 inches) and greatest on the southeastern slope of the 72 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS Blue Ridge, where as much as ioS inches has been recorded in a year. The average rainfall of the whole region is 73 inches a year. In general the mornings are apt to be lowery, with fogs hanging low until, say, 9 o'clock, so that one cannot predict weather for the day. Heavy dews remain on the bushes until about the same hour. The winters are short. What Northerners would call cold weather is not expected until Christmas, and generally it is gone by the end of February. Snow sometimes falls on the higher mountains by the first of October, and the last snow may linger there until April (ex- ceptionally it falls in May). Tornadoes are unknown here, but sometimes a hurricane will sweep the upper ranges. On April i9, i900, a blizzard from the northwest struck the Smokies. In twenty minutes everything was frozen. At Siler's Meadow seventeen cattle climbed upon each other for warmth and froze to death in a solid hecatomb. A herdsman who was out at the time, and narrowly escaped a similar fate, assured me that " that was the beatenest snow- storm ever I seen." In the valleys there may be a few days in January and February Average annual rainfall of New York City, 44 inches; of Glencoe, in the Scotch Highlands, nearly 130 inches. The old copper mine This page in the original text is blank. THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS 73 when the mercury drops to zero or a few de- grees lower. On the high peaks, of course, the winter cold often is intense, and on the sunless north side of Clingman there are overhangs or crevices where a little ice may be found the year around. Undoubtedly there is vast mineral wealth hidden in the Carolina mountains. A greater variety of minerals has been found here than in any other State save Colorado. But, for the present, it is a hard country to prospect in, owing to the thick covering of the forest floor. Not only is the underbrush very dense, but be- neath it there generally is a thick stratum of clay overlaying the rocks, even on steep slopes. Gold has been found in numberless places, but finely disseminated. I do not know a locality in the mountains proper where a working vein has been discovered. At my cabin I did just enough panning to get a notion that if I could stand working in icy water ten hours a day I might average a dollar in yellow dust by it. The adjacent copper mine carries considerable gold. Silver and lead are not common, so far as known, but there are many good copper and iron properties. Gems are mined profitably in several of the western counties. The corundum, mica, talc, and monazite are, I believe, unex- 74 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS celled in the United States. Building stone is abundant, and there is fine marble in various places. Kaolin is shipped out in considerable quantities. The rocks chiefly are gneisses, gran- ites, metamorphosed marbles, quartzites, and slates, all of them far too old to bear fossils or coal. CHAPTER IV A BEAR HUNT IN THE SMOKIES G 1j IT up, pup I you've scrouged right in hyur in front of the fire. You Dred! what makes you so blamed conten- tious " Little John shoved both dogs into a corner, and strove to scrape some coals from under a beech forestick that glowed almost hot enough to melt brass. " This is the wust coggled-up fire I ever seed, to fry by. Bill, hand me some Old Ned from that suggin o' mine." A bearded hunchback reached his long arm to a sack that hung under our rifles, drew out a chuck of salt pork, and began slicing it with his jackknife. On inquiry I learned that "Old Ned" is merely slang for fat pork, but that itsuggin" or " sujjit " (the u pronounced like oo in look) is true mountain dialect for a pouch, valise, or carryall, its etymology being some- thing to puzzle over. 75 76 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS Four dogs growled at each other under a long bunk of poles and hay that spanned one side of our cabin. The fire glared out upon the middle of an unfloored and windowless room. Deep shadows clung to the walls and benches, char- itably concealing much dirt and disorder left by previous occupants, much litter of our own contributing. At last we were on a saddle of the divide, a mile above sea-level, in a hut built years ago for temporary lodgment of cattle-men herding on the grassy " balds " of the Smokies. A sag- ging clapboard roof covered its two rooms and the open space between them that we called our " entry." The State line between North Caro- lina and Tennessee ran through this uninclosed hallway. The Carolina room had a puncheon floor and a clapboard table, also better bunks than its mate; but there had risen a stiff south- erly gale that made the chimney smoke so abom- inably that we were forced to take quarters in the neighbor State. Granville lifted the lid from a big Dutch oven and reported " Bread's done." There was a flash in the frying-pan, a curse and a puff from Little John. The coffee-pot boiled over. We gathered about the hewn benches that served for tables, and sat a la Turc A BEAR HUNT IN THE SMOKIES 77 upon the ground. For some time there was no sound but the gale without and the munching of ravenous men. " If this wind '11 only cease afore mornin', we'll git us a bear to-morrow." A powerful gust struck the cabin, by way of answer; a great roaring surged up from the gulf of Defeat, from Desolation, and from the other forks of Bone Valley-clamor of ten thousand trees struggling with the blast. " Hit's gittin' wusser." "Any danger of this roost being blown off the mountain " I inquired. " Hit's stood hyur twenty year through all the storms; I reckon it can stand one more night of it." "A man couldn't walk upright, outside the cabin," I asserted, thinking of the St. Louis tornado, in which I had lain flat on my belly, clinging to an iron post. The hunchback turned to me with a grave face. "I've seed hit blow, here on top o' Smoky, till a hoss couldn't stand up agin it. You'll spy, to-morrow, whar several trees has been wind- throwed and busted to kindlin'." I recalled that several, in the South, means many-" a good many," as our own tongues phrase it. 78 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS " Oh, shucks I Bill Cope," put in " Doc " Jones, " whut do you-uns know about wind- storms Now, I've hed some experiencin' up hyur that '11 do to tell about. You remember the big storm three year ago, come grass, when the cattle all huddled up a-top o' each other and friz in one pile, solid." Bill grunted an affirmative. "Wal, sir, I was a-herdin', over at the Spencer Place, and was out on Thunderhead when the, wind sprung up. Thar come one turrible vyg'L rous blow that jest nacherally lifted the ground. I went up in the sky, my coat ripped off, and I went a-sailin' end-over-erd." "Yes" " Yes. About half an hour later, I lit spanq in the mud, way down yander in Tuckaleechee Cove-yes, sir: ten mile as the crow flies, and a mile deeper 'n trout-fish swim." There was silence for a moment. Then Little John spoke up: " I mind about that time, Doc; but I disremember which buryin'-ground they- all planted ye in." " Planted! Me Huh ! But I had one tor- mentin' time findin' my hat!" The cabin shook under a heavier blast, to match Bill's yarn. "Old Wind-maker's blowin' liars out o' A BEAR HUNT IN THE SMOKIES 79 North Car'lina. Hang on to yer hat, Doc! Whoop! hear 'em a-comin'l " " Durn this blow, anyhow! No bear '11 cross the mountain sich a night as this." " Can't we hunt down on the Carolina side" I asked. " That's whar we're goin' to drive; but hit's no use if the bear don't come over." " How is that Do they sleep in one State and eat in the other" " Yes: you see, the Tennessee side of the mountain is powerful steep and laurely, so 't man nor dog cain't git over it in lots o' places; that's whar the bears den. But the mast, sich as acorns and beech and hickory nuts, is mostly on the Car'lina side; that's whar they hafter come to feed. So, when it blows like this, they stay at home and suck their paws till the weather clars." " So we'll have to do, at this rate." " I'll go see whut the el-e-ments looks like." We arose from our squatting postures. John opened the little clapboard door, which swung violently backward as another gust boomed against the cabin. Dust and hot ashes scattered in every direction. The dogs sprang up, one encroached upon another, and they flew at each other's throats. They were powerful beasts, 8o OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS dangerous to man as well as to the brutes they were trained to fight; but John was their master, and he soon booted them into surly subjection. " The older dog don't ginerally raise no ruc- tion; hit's the younger one that's ill," by which he meant vicious. " You, Coaly, you'll git some o' that meanness shuck outen you if you tackle an old she-bear to-morrow! " "Has the young dog ever fought a bear" "No; he don't know nothin'; but I reckon he'll pick up some larnin' in the next two, three days." " Have these dogs got the Plott strain I've been told that the Plott hounds are the best bear dogs in the country." " 'Tain't so," snorted John. " The Plott curs are the best: that is, half hound, half cur- though what we-uns calls the cur, in this case, raelly comes from a big furrin dog that I don't rightly know the breed of. Fellers, you can talk as you please about a streak o' the cur spilin' a dog; but I know hit ain't so-not for bear fightin' in these mountains, whar you cain't fol- ler up on hossback, but hafter do your own runnin. "What is the reason, John" " Waal, hit's like this: a plumb cur, of course, cain't foller a cold track-he just runs by sight; - I I S . - 7:Z .i rL 7= E c fi- a., 7- ` N, x lo f ,11 This page in the original text is blank. A BEAR HUNT IN THE SMOKIES 8i and he won't hang-he quits. But, t'other way, no hound '11 raelly fight a bear-hit takes a big severe dog to do that. Hounds has the best noses, and they'll run a bear all day and night, and the next day, too; but they won't never tree -they're afeared to close in. Now, look at them dogs o' mine. A cur ain't got no dew- claws-them dogs has. My dogs can foller ary trail, same's a hound; but they'll run right in on the varmint, snappin' and chawin' and wor- ryin' him till he gits so mad you can hear his tushes pop half a mile. He cain't run away- he haster stop every bit, and fight. Finally he gits so tired and het up that he trees to rest hisself. Then we-uns ketches up and finishes him." " Mebbe you-uns don't know that a dew- clawed dog is snake-proof " But somebody, thinking that dog-talk had gone far enough, produced a bottle of soothing- syrup that was too new to have paid tax. Then we discovered that there was musical talent, of a sort, in Little John. He cut a pigeon-wing, twirled around with an imaginary banjo, and sang in a quaint minor: Did you ever see the devil, With his pitchfork and ladle, And his old iron shovel, 82 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS And his old gourd head 0, I will go to meetin', And I will go to meetin', Yes, I will go to meetin', In an old tin pan. Other songs followed, with utter irrelevance -mere snatches from "ballets " composed, mainly, by the mountaineers themselves, though some dated back to a long-forgotten age when the British ancestors of these Carolina woods- men were battling with lance and long-bow. It was one of modern and local origin that John was singing when there came a diversion from without- La-a-ay down, boys, Le's take a nap: Thar's goin' to be trouble In the Cumberland Gap- Our ears were stunned by one sudden thun- dering crash. The roof rose visibly, as though pushed upward from within. In an instant we were blinded by moss and dried mud -the chinking blown from between the logs of our shabby cabin. Dred and Coaly cowered as though whipped, while " Doc's " little hound slunk away in the keen misery of fear. We men A BEAR HUNT IN THE SMOKIES 83 looked at each other with lowered eyelids and the grim smile that denotes readiness, though no special eagerness, for dissolution. Beyond the " gant-lot" we could hear trees and limbs popping like skirmishers in action. Then that tidal wave of air swept by. The roof settled again with only a few shingles miss- ing. We went to " redding up." Squalls broke against the mountainside, hither and yon, like the hammer of Thor testing the foundations of the earth. But they were below us. Here, on top, there was only the steady drive of a great surge of wind; and speech was possible once more. " Fellers, you want to mark whut you dream about, to-night: hit'll shore come true to-mor- row. " "Yes: but you mustn't tell whut yer dream was till the hunt's over, or it'll spile the charm." There ensued a grave discussion of dream- lore, in which the illiterates of our party de- clared solemn faith. If one dreamt of blood, he would surely see blood the next day. An- other lucky sign for a hunter was to dream of quarreling with a woman, for that meant a she- bear; it was favorable to dream of clear water, but muddy water meant trouble. The wind died away. When we went out for 84 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS a last observation of the weather we found the air so clear that the lights of Knoxville were plainly visible, in the north-northwest, thirty- two miles in an air line. Not another light was to be seen on earth, although in some directions we could scan for nearly a hundred miles. The moon shone brightly. Things looked rather favorable for the morrow, after all. "Brek-k-k-fust!" I awoke to a knowledge that somebody had built a roaring fire and was stirring about. Be- tween the cabin logs one looked out upon a starry sky and an almost pitch-dark world. What did that pottering vagabond mean by arousing us in the middle of the night But I was hungry. Everybody half arose on elbows and blinked about. Then we got up, each after his fashion, except one scamp who resumed snoring. " Whar's that brekfust you're yellin' about" " Hit's for you-uns to help git! I knowed I couldn't roust ye no other way. Here, you, go down to the spring and fetch water. Rustle out, boys; we've got to git a soon start if you want bear brains an' liver for supper." The " soon start " tickled me into good huumor. A BEAR HUNT IN THE SMOKIES 85 Our dogs were curled together under the long bunk, having popped indoors as soon as the way was opened. Somebody trod on Coaly's tail. Coaly snapped Dred. Instantly there was ac- tion between the four. It is interesting to ob- serve what two or three hundred pounds of dog can do to a ramshackle berth with a man on top of it. Poles and hay and ragged quilts flew in every direction. Sleepy Matt went down in the midst of the melee, swearing valiantly. I went out and hammered ice out of the wash-basin while Granville and John quelled the riot. Presently our frying-pans sputtered and the huge coffee-pot began to get up steam. "Waal, who dreamt him a good dream" " I did," affirmed the writer. " I dreamt that I had an old colored woman by the throat and was choking dollars out of her mouth " "Good la!" exclaimed four men in chorus; " you hadn't orter a-told." " Why Wasn't that a lovely dream" "Hit means a she-bear, shore as a cap- shootin' gun; but you've done spiled it all by tellin'. Mebbe somebody'll git her to-day, but you won't-your chanct is ruined." So the reader will understand why, in this veracious narrative, I cannot relate any heroic 86 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS exploits of my own in battling with Ursus Major. And so you, ambitious one, when you go into the Smokies after that long-lost bear, remember these two cardinal points of the Law: (i) Dream that you are fighting some poor old colored woman. (That is easy: the victuals you get will fix up your dream, all right.) And- (2) Keep your mouth shut about it. There was still no sign of rose-color in the eastern sky when we sallied forth. The ground, to use a mountaineer's expression, was " all spewed up with frost." Rime crackled under- foot and our mustaches soon stiffened in the icy wind. It was settled that Little John Cable and the hunchback Cope should take the dogs far down into Bone Valley and start the drive, leaving Granville, "Doc," Matt, and myself to picket the mountain. I was given a stand about half a mile east of the cabin, and had but a vague notion of where the others went. By jinks, it was cold! I built a little fire be- tween the buttressing roots of a big mountain oak, but still my toes and fingers were numb. This was the 25th of November, and we were at an altitude where sometimes frost forms in A BEAR HUNT IN THE SMOKIES 87 July. The other men were more thinly clad than I, and with not a stitch of wool beyond their stockings; but they seemed to revel in the keen air. I wasted some pity on Cope, who had no underwear worthy of the name; but after- wards I learned that he would not have worn more clothes if they had been given him. Many a night my companions had slept out on the mountain without blanket or shelter, when the ground froze and every twig in the forest was coated with rime from the winter fog. Away out yonder beyond the mighty bulk of Clingman Dome, which, black with spruce and balsam, looked like a vast bear rising to con- template the northern world, there streaked the first faint, nebulous hint of dawn. Presently the big bear's head was tipped with a golden crown flashing against the scarlet fires of the firma- ment, and the earth awoke. A rustling some hundred yards below me gave signal that the gray squirrels were on their way to water. Out of a tree overhead hopped a mountain " boomer " (red squirrel), and down he came, eyed me, and stopped. Cocking his head to one side he challenged peremp- torily: " Who are you Stump Stump Not a stump. What the deuce! " 88 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS I moved my hand. " Lawk-the booger-man I Run, run, run I" Somewhere from the sky came a strange, half- human note, as of someone chiding: " Wal- lace, Wal-lace, Wat! " I could get no view for the trees. Then the voice flexibly changed to a deep-toned " Co-logne, Co-logne, Co-logne," that rang like a bell through the forest aisles. Two names uttered distinctly from the airl Two scenes conjured in a breath, vivid but un- related as in dreams: Wallace-an iron-bound Scottish coast; Cologne-tall spires, and cliffs along the Rhine! What magic had flashed such pictures upon a remote summit of the Smoky Mountains The weird speaker sailed into view-a raven. Forward it swept with great speed of ebon wings, fairly within gunshot for one teasing moment. Then, as if to mock my gaping stupor, it hurtled like a hawk far into the safe distance, whence it flung back loud screams of defiance and chuckles of derision. As the morning drew on, I let the fire die to ashes and basked lazily in the sun. Not a sound had I heard from the dogs. My hoodoo was working malignly. Well, let it work. I was comfortable now, and that old bear could go to any other doom she preferred. It was pleas- 0 r- C- CZ v] C.) Cd r. 1:5 co .E c: 8. This page in the original text is blank. A BEAR HUNT IN THE SMOKIES 89 ant enough to lie here alone in the forest and be free! Aye, it was good to be alive, and to be far, far away from the broken bottles and old tin cans of civilization. For many a league to the southward clouds covered all the valleys in billows of white, from which rose a hundred mountain tops, like islands in a tropic ocean. My fancy sailed among and beyond them, beyond the horizon's rim, even unto those far seas that I had sailed in my youth, to the old times and the old friends that I should never see again. But a forenoon is long-drawn-out when one has breakfasted before dawn, and has nothing to do but sit motionless in the woods and watch and listen. I got to fingering my rifle trigger impatiently and wishing that a wild Thanks- giving gobbler might blunder into view. Squirrels made ceaseless chatter all around my stand. Large hawks shrilled by me within tempting range, whistling like spent bullets. A groundhog sat up on a log and whistled, too, after a manner of his own. He was so near that I could see his nose wiggle. A skunk wad- dled around for twenty minutes, and once came so close that I thought he would nibble my boot. I was among old mossy beeches, scaled with polyphori, and twisted into postures of torture 90 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS by their battles with the storms. Below, among chestnuts and birches, I could hear the t-wee, I-wee of " joree-birds " (towhees), which win- ter in the valleys. Incessantly came the chip- chip-cluck of ground squirrels, the saucy bark of the grays, and great chirruping among the " boomers," which had ceased swearing and were hard at work. Far off on my left a rifle cracked. I pricked up and listened intently, but there was never a yelp from a dog. Since it is a law of the chase to fire at nothing smaller than turkeys, lest big game be scared away, this shot might mean a gobbler. I knew that Matt Hyde could not, to save his soul, sit ten minutes on a stand without calling turkeys (and he could call them, with his unassisted mouth, better than anyone I ever heard perform with leaf or wing-bone or any other contrivance). Thus the slow hours dragged along. I yearned mightily to stretch my legs. Finally, being certain that no drive would approach my stand that day, I ambled back to the hut and did a turn at dinner-getting. Things were smoking, and smelt good, by the time four of our men turned up, all of them dog-tired and disappointed, but stoical. " That pup Coaly chased off atter a wildcat," A BEAR HUNT IN THE SMOKIES 9i blurted John. " We held the old dogs together and let him rip. Then Dred started a deer. It was that old buck that everybody's shot at, and missed, this three year back. I'd believe he's. a hant if 't wasn't for his tracks-they're the biggest I ever seen. He must weigh two hun- derd and fifty. But he's a foxy cuss. Tuk right down the bed o' Desolation, up the left prong of Roaring Fork, right through the Devil's Race-path (how a deer can git through thar I don't see!), crossed at the Meadow Gap, went down Eagle Creek, and by now he's in the Little Tennessee. That buck, shorely to God, has wings ! " We were at table in the Carolina room when Matt Hyde appeared. Sure enough, he bore a turkey hen. " I was callin' a gobbler when this fool thing showed up. I fired a shoot as she riz in the air, but only bruk her wing. She made off on her legs like the devil whoppin' out fire. I run, an' she run. Guess I run her half a mile through all-fired thickets. She piped 'Quit- quit,' but I said, ' I'll see you in hell afore I quitl' and the chase resumed. Finally I knocked her over with a birch stob, and here wve are." Matt ruefully surveyed his almost denuded 92 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS legs, evidence of his chase. "Boys," said he, "I'm nigh breechless!" None but native-born mountaineers could have stood the strain of another drive that day, for the country that Cope and Cable had been through was fearful, especially the laurel up Roaring Fork and Killpeter Ridge. But the stamina of these "withey" little men was even more remarkable than their endurance of cold. After a small slice of fried pork, a chunk of half-baked johnny-cake, and a pint or so of coffee, they were as fresh as ever. What soldiers these fellows would make, under leadership of some backwoods Napoleon who could hold them together!-some man like Daniel Morgan of the Revolution, who was one of them, yet greater! I had made the coffee strong, and it was good stuff that I had brought from home. After his first deep draught, Little John exclaimed: " Hah ! boys, that coffee hits whar ye hold it I" I thought that a neat compliment from a sharpshooter. We took new stands; but the afternoon passed without incident to those of us on the mountain tops. I returned to camp about five o'clock, and was surprised to see three of our men lugging A BEAR HUNT IN THE SMOKIES 93 across the " gant-lot" toward the cabin a small female bear. " Hyur's yer old nigger woman," shouted John. The hunters showed no elation-in fact, they looked sheepish-and I suspected a nigger in the woodpile. " How's this I didn't hear any drive." "There wa'n't none." "Then where did you get your bear" " In one of Wit Hensley's traps, dum himI Boys, I wish t' we hed roasted the temper outen them trap-springs, like we talked o' doin'." " Was the bear alive " "Live as a hot coal. See the pup's head I" I examined Coaly, who looked sick. The flesh was torn from his lower jaw and hung down a couple of inches. Two holes in the top of his head showed where the bear's tusks had tried to crack his skull. "When the other dogs found her, he rushed right in. She hadn't been trapped more'n a few Gant-lot: a fenced enclosure into which cattle are driven after cutting them out from those of other owners. So called because the mountain cattle run wild, feeding only on grass and browse, and " they couldn't travel well to market when filled up on green stuff: so they're penned up to git gant and nimble." 94 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS hours, and she lamed Coaly somethin' about the bear business." " Won't this spoil him for hunting here- after " " Not if he has his daddy's and mammy's grit. We'll know by to-morrow whether he's a shore- enough bear dog; for I've larned now whar they're crossin'-seed sign a-plenty and it's spang fraish. Coaly, old boyl you-uns won't be so feisty and brigaty atter this, will yel" "John, what do those two words mean" " Good la! whar was you fotch up Them's common. They mean nigh about the same thing, only there's a differ. When I say that Doc Jones thar is brigaty among women-folks, hit means that he's stuck on hisself and wants to show off " " And John Cable's sulkin' around with his nose out o' jint," interjected " Doc." " Feisty," proceeded the interpreter, " feisty means when a feller's allers wigglin' about, wantin' ever'body to see him, like a kid when the preacher comes. You know a feist is one o' them little bitty dogs that ginerally runs on three legs and pretends a whole lot." All of us were indignant at the setter of the trap. It had been hidden in a trail, with no A BEAR HUNT IN THE SMOKIES 95 sign to warn a man from stepping into it. In Tennessee, I was told, it is a penitentiary offense to set out a bear trap. We agreed that a similar law ought to be passed as soon as possible in North Carolina. " It's only two years ago," said Granville to me, " that Jasper Millington, an old man living on the Tennessee side, started acrost the moun- tain to get work at the Everett mine, where you live. Not fur from where we are now, he stepped into a bear trap that was hid in the leaves, like this one. It broke his leg, and he starved to death in it." Despite our indignation meeting, it was de- cided to carry the trapped bear's hide to Hens- ley, and for us to use only the meat as recom- pense for trouble, to say nothing of risk to life and limb. Such is the mountaineers' regard for property rightsI The animal we had ingloriously won was undersized, weighing scant 175 pounds. The average weight of Smoky Mountain bears is not great, but occasionally a very large beast is killed. Matt Hyde told us that he killed one on the Welch Divide in 190T, the meat of which, dressed, without the hide, weighed 434 pounds, and the hide "squared eight feet" 96 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS when stretched for drying. "Doc" Jones kill- ed a bear that was "kivered with fat, five inches thick." Afterwards I took pains to ask the most f a- mous bear hunters of our region what were the largest bears they had personally killed. Uncle Jimmy Crawford, of the Balsam Mountains, estimated his largest at 500 pounds gross, and the hide of another that he had killed weighed forty pounds after three days' drying. Quill Rose, of Eagle Creek, said that, after stripping the hide from one of his bears, he took the fresh skin by the ears and raised it as high as he could reach above his head, and that four inches of the butt end of the hide (not legs) trailed on the ground. " And," he added severely, " thar's no lie about it." Quill is six feet one and one-half inches tall. Black Bill Walker, of the middle prong of Little River (Tennessee side), told me " The biggest one I ever saw killed had a hide that measured ten feet from nose to rump, stretched for drying. The biggest I ever killed myself measured nine and a half feet, same way, and weighed a good four hundred net, which, allowin' for hide, blood, and entrails, would run full five hunderd live weight." Within the past two years two bears of about 5oo pounds each have been killed in Swain and Graham counties, the Cables getting one of Skinning a frozen bear This page in the original text is blank. A BEAR HUNT IN THE SMOKIES 97 them. The veteran hunters that I have named have killed their hundreds of bears and are men superior to silly exaggeration. In the Smoky Mountains the black bear, like most of the trees, attains its fullest development, and that it occa- sionally reaches a weight of Soo pounds when " hog fat" is beyond reasonable doubt, though the average would not be more than half that weight. We spent the evening in debate as to where the next drive should be made. Some favored moving six miles eastward, to the old mining shack at Siler's Meadow, and trying the head- waters of Forney's Creek, around Rip Shin Thicket and the Gunstick Laurel, driving to- wards Clingman Dome and over into the bleak gulf, southwest of the Sugarland Mountains, that I had named Godforsaken-a title that stuck. We knew there were bears in that re- gion, though it was a desperately rough country to hunt in. But John and the hunchback had found "sign " in the opposite direction. Bears were crossing from Little River in the neighborhood of Thunderhead and Briar Knob, coming up just west of the Devil's Court House and " using " around Block House, Woolly Ridge, 98 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS Bear Pen, and thereabouts. The motion car- ried, and we adjourned to bed. We breakfasted on bear meat, the remains of our Thanksgiving turkey, and wheat bread shortened with bear's grease until it was light as a feather; and I made tea. It was the first time that Little John ever saw " store tea." He swallowed some of it as if it had been boneset, under the impression that it was some sort of " yerb " that would be good for his insides. Without praising its flavor, he asked what it had cost, and, when I told him " a dollar a pound," reckoned that it was " rich man's medicine "; said he preferred dittany or sassafras or golden- rod. " Doc " Jones opined that it " looked yal- ler," and he even affirmed that it " tasted yaller." "Waal, people," exclaimed Matt, " I 'low I've done growed a bit, atter that mess o' meat. Le's be movin'." It was a hard pull for me, climbing up the rocky approach to Briar Knob. This was my first trip to the main divide, and my heart was not yet used to mountain climbing. The boys were anxious for me to get a shot. I was paying them nothing; it was share-and- share alike; but their neighborly kindness moved them to do their best for the out- lander. A BEAR HUNT IN THE SMOKIES 99 So they put me on what was probably the best stand for the day. It was above the Fire- scald, a brule or burnt-over space on the steep southern side of the ridge between Briar Knob and Laurel Top, overlooking the grisly slope of Killpeter. Here I could both see and hear an uncommonly long distance, and if the bear went either east or west I would have timely warning. This Fire-scald, by the way, is a famous place for wildcats. Once in a blue moon a lynx is killed in the highest zone of the Smokies, up among the balsams and spruces, where both the flora and fauna, as well as the climate, resemble those of the Canadian woods. Our native hunt- ers never heard the word lynx, but call the ani- mal a " catamount." Wolves and panthers used to be common here, but it is a long time since either has been killed in this region, albeit im- pressionable people see wolf tracks or hear a "pant'er " scream every now and then. I had shivered on the mountain top for a couple of hours, hearing only an occasional yelp from the dogs, which had been working in the thickets a mile or so below me, when suddenly there burst forth the devil of a racket. On came the chase, right in my direction. Presently I could distinguish the different ioo OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS notes: the deep bellow of old Dred, the hound- like baying of Rock and Coaly, and little Towse's feisty yelp. I thought that the bear might chance the com- paratively open space of the Fire-scald, because there were still some ashes on the ground that would dust the dogs' nostrils and throw them off the scent. And such, I believe, was his in- tention. But the dogs caught up with him. They nipped him fore and aft. Time after time he shook them off; but they were true bear dogs, and, like Matt Hyde after the turkey, they knew no such word as quit. I took a last squint at my rifle sights, made sure there was a cartridge in the chamber, and then felt my ears grow as I listened. Suddenly the chase swerved at a right angle and took straight up the side of Saddle-back. Either the bear would tree, or he would try to smash on through to the low rhododendron of the Devil's Court House, where dogs who followed might break their legs. I girded myself and ran, "wiggling and wingling" along the main di- vide, and then came the steep pull up Briar Knob. As I was grading around the summit with all the lope that was left in me, I heard a rifle crack, half a mile down Saddle-back. Old "Doc" was somewhere in that vicinity. I A BEAR HUNT IN THE SMOKIES ioi halted to listen. Creation, what a rumpus! Then another shot. Then the warwhoop of the South, that we read about. By and by, up they came, John and Cope and " Doc," two at a time, carrying the bear on a trimmed sapling. Presently Hyde joined us, then came Granville, and we filed back to camp, where " Doc " told his story: " Boys, them dogs' eyes shined like new money. Coaly fit agin, all right, and got his tail bit. The bear div down into a sink-hole with the dogs a-top o' him. Soon's I could shoot without hittin' a dog, I let him have it. Thought I'd shot him through the head, but he fit on. Then I jumped down into the sink and kicked him loose from the dogs, or he'd a-killed Coaly. Waal, sir, he wa'n't hurt a bit-the ball jest glanced off his head. He riz an' knocked me down with his left paw, an' walked right over me, an' lit up the ridge. The dogs treed him in a minute. I went to shoot up at him, but my new hulls [cartridges] fit loose in this old cham- ber and this one drap [dropped] out, so the gun stuck. Had to git my knife out and fix hit. Then the dad-burned gun wouldn't stand roost- ered [cocked]; the feather-spring had jumped out o' place. But I held back with my thumb, and killed him anyhow. 102 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS " Fellers," he added feelingly, "I wish t' my legs growed hind-side-fust." "What fer " "So 's 't I wouldn't bark my shins " "Bears," remarked John, " is all left-handed. Ever note that Hit's the left paw you wanter look out fer. He'd a-knocked somethin' out o' yer head if there'd been much in it, Doc." " Funny thing, but hit's true," declared Bill, "that a bear allers dies flat on his back, onless he's trapped." " So do men," said "Doc" grimly; men who've been shot in battle. You go along a battlefield, right atter the action, and you'll find most o' the dead faces pintin' to the sky." " Bears is almost human, anyhow. A skinned bear looks like a great big-bodied man with long arms and stumpy legs." I did not relish this turn of the conversation, for we had two bears to skin immediately. The one that had been hung up over night was frozen solid, so I photographed her standing on her legs, as in life. When it came to skin- ning this beast the job was a mean one; a fellow had to drop out now and then to warm his fingers. The mountaineers have an odd way of sharing the spoils of the chase. They call it " stoking A BEAR HUNT IN THE SMOKIES i03 the meat," a use of the word stoke that I have never heard elsewhere. The hide is sold, and the proceeds divided equally among the hunters, but the meat is cut up into as many pieces as there are partners in the chase; then one man goes indoors or behind a tree, and somebody at the carcass, laying his hand on a portion, calls out: "Whose piece is this" " Granville Calhoun's," cries the hidden man, who cannot see it. " Whose is this " " Bill Cope's." And so on down the line. Everybody gets what chance determines for him, and there can be no charges of unfairness. It turned very cold that night. The last thing I heard was Matt Hyde protesting to the hunchback: " Durn you, Bill Cope, you're so cussed crooked a man cain't lay cluss enough to you to keep warm! " Once when I awoke in the night the beech trees were cracking like rifle-shots from the intense frost. Next morning John announced that we were going to get another bear. " Night afore last," he said, " Bill dremp that 104 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS he seed a lot o' fat meat layin' on the table; an' it done come true. Last night I dremp me one that never was kno wed to fail yet. Now you see ! " It did not look like it by evening. We all worked hard and endured much-standers as well as drivers-but not a rifle had spoken up to the time when, from my far-off stand, I yearned for a hot supper. Away down in the rear I heard the snort of a locomotive, one of those cog-wheel affairs that are specially built for mountain climbing. With a steam-loader and three camps of a hundred men each, it was despoiling the Tennessee for- est. Slowly, but inexorably, a leviathan was crawling into the wilderness and was soon to consume it. " All this," I apostrophized, " shall be swept away, tree and plant, beast and fish. Fire will blacken the earth; flood will swallow and spew forth the soil. The simple-hearted native men and women will scatter and disappear. In their stead will come slaves speaking strange tongues, to toil in the darkness under the rocks. Soot will arise, and foul gases; the streams will run murky death. Let me not see it! No; I will XXX Aim Site; :;::SitED:ut: :::: : :: :E ::: of 5::X0fft00000 ff ffFf:fff00000000000000ffb;S ff000 :V0000:0: 00:faV;f f t Of:: 000S i: f :0:;0: ::X t :0:; tS000 ::Xt0\000000:S fffff:0 Ace; 0 A:: ::0gr; S:d fff0 Gil id :0;0X::: A:: 00bgALLL00fdf 00 0 i 9A45 000g 00000;0 :;:00S;i:; :i00 000:0 0 :: 0 :0i X S : S\\y0S :,X00 tut00000000 0000 t-d of CtV lE j E _E _0EaaW. __ ___ l i g l ___ g ; Z I 11 ".... Powerful steep and Laurely ...." This page in the original text is blank. A BEAR HUNT IN THE SMOKIES ioS " . Get me to some far-off land Where higher mountains under heaven stand . . . SWhere other thunders roll amid the hills, Some mightier wind a mightier forest fills With other strains through other-shapen boughs."' Wearily I plodded back to camp. No one had arrived but " Doc." The old man had been thumped rather severely in yesterday's scrim- mage, but complained only of " a touch o' rheu- matiz." Just how this disease had left his clothes in tatters he did not explain. It was late when Matt and Granville came in. The crimson and yellow of sunset had turned to a faultless turquoise, and this to a violet afterglow; then suddenly night rose from the valleys and enveloped us. About nine o'clock I went out on the Little Chestnut Bald and fired signals, but there was no answer. The last we had known of the drivers was that they had been beyond Thun- derhead, six miles of hard travel to the west- ward. There was fog on the mountain. We did some uneasy speculating. Then Granville and Matt took the lantern and set out for Briar Knob. "Doc" was too stiff for travel, and I, being at that time a stranger in the Smokies, io6 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS would be of no use hunting amid clouds and darkness. " Doc " and I passed a dreary three hours. Finally, at midnight, my shots were an- swered, and soon the dogs came limping in. Dred had been severely bitten in the shoulders and Rock in the head. Coaly was bloody about the mouth, where his first day's wound had re- opened. Then came the four men, empty- handed, it seemed, until John slapped a bear's "melt" (spleen) upon the table. He limped from a bruised hip. "That bear outsharped us and went around all o' you-uns. We follered him clar over to the Spencer Place, and then he doubled and come back on the fur side o' the ridge. He crossed through the laurel on the Devil's Court House and tuk down an almighty steep place. It was plumb night by that time. I fell over a rock clift twenty feet down, and if 't hadn't been for the laurel I'd a-bruk some bones. I landed right in the middle of them, bear and dogs, fightin' like gamecocks. The bear dim a tree. Bill sung out 'Is it fur down thar ' and I said 'Purty fur.' 'Waal, I'm a-comin',' says he; and with that he grabbed a laurel to swing his- self down by, but the stem bruk, and down he come suddent, to jine the music. Hit was so dark I couldn't see my gun barrel, and we wuz A BEAR HUNT IN THE SMOKIES 107 all tangled up in greenbriers as thick as plough- lines. I had to fire twiste afore he tumbled. Then Matt an' Granville come. The four of us tuk turn-about crawlin' up out o' thar with the bear on our back. Only one man could handle him at a time-and he'll go a good two hun- derd, that bear. We gutted him, and left him near the top, to fotch in the mornin'. Fellers, I'm bodaciously tired out. This is the time I'd give half what I'm worth for a gallon o' liquor -and I'd promise the rest!" " You'd orter see what Coaly did to that var- mint," said Bill. " He bit a hole under the fore leg, through hide and ha'r, clar into the holler, so t' you can stick your hand in and seize the bear's heart." " John, what was that dream of yours" "I dremp I stole a feller's overcoat. Now d'ye see That means a bear's hide." Coaly, three days ago, had been an inconse- quential pup; but now he looked up into my eyes with the calm dignity that no fool or brag- gart can assume. He had been knighted. As he licked his wounds he was proud of them. " Scars of battle, sir. You may have your swag- ger ribbons and prize collars in the New York dog show, but this for me !" Poor Coaly! after two more years of valiant io8 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS service, he was to meet an evil fortune. In con- nection with it I will relate a queer coinci- dence: Two years after this hunt, a friend and I spent three summer months in this same old cabin on top of Smoky. When Andy had to return North he left with me, for sale, a .30-30 carbine, as he had more guns than he needed. I showed this carbine to Quill Rose, and the old hunter said: "I don't like them power-guns; you could shoot clar through a bear and kill your dog on the other side." The next day I sold the weapon to Granville Calhoun. Within a short time, word came from Granville's father that " Old Reel- foot" was despoiling his orchard. This Reel- foot was a large bear whose cunning had defied our best hunters for five or six years. He got his name from the fact that he "reeled" or twisted his hind feet in walking, as some horses do, leaving a peculiar track. This seems rather common among old bears, for I have known of several " reelfoots" in other, and widely sep- arated, regions. Cable and his dogs were sent for. A drive was made, and the bear was actually caught within a few rods of old Mr. Calhoun's stable. His teeth were worn to the gums, and, as he could no longer kill hogs, he had come down to A BEAR HUNT IN THE SMOKIES i09 an apple diet. He was large-framed, but very poor. The only hunters on the spot were Gran- ville, with the .30-30, and a northern lumberman named Hastings, with a Luger carbine. After two or three shots had wounded the bear, he rose on his hind feet and made for Granville. A .30-30 bullet went clear through the beast at the very instant that Coaly, who was unseen, jumped up on the log behind it, and the missile gave both animals their death wound. CHAPTER V MOONSHINE LAND I WAS hunting alone in the mountains, and exploring ground that was new to me. About noon, while descending from a high ridge into a creek valley, to get some water, I became enmeshed in a rhododendron " slick,"1 and, to some extent, lost my bearings. After floundering about for an hour or two, I suddenly came out upon a little clearing. Giant hemlocks, girdled and gaunt, rose from a steep cornfield of five acres, beyond which loomed the primeval forest of the Great Smoky Mountains. Squat in the foreground sat one of the rudest log huts I had ever seen, a tiny one-room shack, without window, cellar, or loft, and without a sawed board showing in its construction. A thin curl of smoke rose from one end of the cabin, not from a chimney, but from a mere semi-circle of stones piled four feet high around a hole cut through the log wall. The stones of this fire- HO MOONSHINE LAND place were not even plastered together with mud, nor had the builder ever intended to raise the pile as high as the roof to guard his premises against the imminent risk of fire. Two low doors of riven boards stood wide open, opposite each other. These, helped by wide crevices be- tween the unchinked logs, served to let in some sunlight, and quite too much of the raw Novem- ber air. The surroundings were squalid and filthy beyond anything I had hitherto witnessed in the mountains. As I approached, wading ankle-deep in muck that reached to the door- sill, two pigs scampered out through the op- posite door. Within the hut I found only a slip of a girl, rocking a baby almost as big as herself, and trying to knit a sock at the same time. She was toasting her bare toes before the fire, and crooning in a weird minor some mountain ditty that may have been centuries old. I shivered as I looked at this midget, com- paring her only garment, a torn calico dress, with my own stout hunter's garb that seemed none too warm for such a day as this. Knowing that the sudden appearance of a stranger would startle the girl, I chose the quickest way to reassure her by saluting in the vernacular: If I I I2 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS "Howdy " "Howdy " she gasped. "Who lives here" "Tom Kirby." "Kirby Oh! yes, I know him-we've been hunting together. Is your father at home" " No, he's out somewheres." "Where is your mother" " She's in the field, up yan, gittin' roughness." I took some pride in not being stumped by this answer. " Roughness," in mountain lingo, is any kind of rough fodder, specifically corn fodder. " How far is it to the next house" " I don't know; maw, she knows." "All right; I'll find her." I went up to the field. No one was in sight; but a shock of fodder was walking away from me, and I conjectured that " maw's" feet were under it; so I hailed: " Hello! " The shock turned around, then tumbled over, and there stood revealed a bare-headed, bare- footed woman, coarse featured but of superb physique-one of those mountain giantesses who think nothing of shouldering a two-bushel sack of corn and carrying it a mile or two without letting it down. C's '-4, 0 0 This page in the original text is blank. MOONSHINE LAND She flushed, then paled, staring at me round- eyed-frightened, I thought, by this apparition of a stranger whose approach she had not de- tected. To these people of the far backwoods everyone from outside their mountains is a doubtful character at best. However, Mistress Kirby quickly recovered her aplomb. Her mouth straightened to a thin slit. She planted herself squarely across my path, now regarding me with contracted lids and a hard glint, till I felt fairly bayoneted by those steel-gray eyes. " Good-morning. Is Mr. Kirby about " I inquired. There was no answer. Instead, the thin slit opened and let out a yell of almost yodel quality, penetrating as a warwhoop-a yell that would carry near half a mile. I wondered what she meant by this; but she did not enlighten me by so much as a single word. It was puzzling, not to say disconcerting; but, charging it to the custom of a country that still was new to me, I found my tongue again, and started to give credentials. " My name is Kephart. I am staying at the Everett Mine on Sugar Fork " Another yell that set the wild echoes flying. " I am acquainted with your husband; we've I I13 I I4 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS hunted together. Perhaps he has told you " Yell number three, same pitch and vigor as before. By this time I was quite nonplussed. I waited for her to speak; but never a word did the woman deign. So there we stood and stared at each other in silence-I leaning on my rifle, she with red arms akimbo-till I grew embar- rassed, half wondering, too, if the creature were demented. Suddenly a light flashed upon my groping wits. This amazon was on picket. Her three shrieks had been a signal to someone up the branch. Her attitude showed that there was no thoroughfare in that direction at present. Circumstances, whatever they were, forbade ex- planation. Clearly, the woman thought that I could not help seeing how matters stood. Not for a moment did she suspect but that her yells, her belligerent attitude, and her refusal to speak, were the conventional way, this world over, of intimating that there was a contretemps. She considered that if I was what I claimed to be, an acquaintance of her husband and on friendly footing, I would be gentleman enough to retire. If I was something else-an officer, a spy-well, she was there to stop me until the captain of the guard, arrived. MOONSHINE LAND For one silly moment I was tempted to ad- vance and see what this martial spouse would do if I tried to pass her on the trail. But a hunter's instinct made me glance forward to the upper corner of the field. There was thick cover beyond the fence, with a clear range of a hundred and fifty yards between it and me- too far for Tom to recognize me, I thought, but deadly range for his Winchester, I knew. One forward step of mine would put me in the status of an armed intruder. So I concluded that common sense would better become me at this juncture than a bit of fooling that surely would be misinterpreted, and that might end inglori- ously. " Ah, well I" I remarked, "when your hus- band gets back, tell him, please, that I was sorry to miss him; though I did not call on any special business-just wanted to say ' Howdy' you know. Good day! " I turned and went down the valley. All the way home I speculated on this queer adventure. What was going on " up yan " A month before, when I had started for this wildest nook of the Smokies, a friend had inti- mated that I was venturing into a dubious dis- trict-Moonshine Land. It is but frank to con- fess that this prospect was not unpleasant. My I1IS ii i6 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS only fear had been that I might not find any moonshiners, or that, having found them, I might not succeed in winning their confidence to the extent of learning their own side of an in- teresting story. As to how I could do this with- out getting tarred with the same stick, I was by no means clear; but I hoped that good luck might find a way. And now it seemed as if luck had indeed favored me with an excuse for broaching the topic to some friendly mountain- eer, so I could at least see how he would take it. And it chanced (or was it chance) that I had no more than finished supper, that evening, when a man called at my lonely cabin. He was the one that I knew best among my scattered neighbors. I gave him a rather humorous ac- count of my reception by Madame Kirby, and asked him what he thought she was yelling about. There was no answering smile on my visitor's face. He pondered in silence, weighing many contingencies, it seemed, and ventured no more than a helpless " Waal, now I wonder! " It did not suit me to let the matter go at that; so, on a sudden impulse, I fired the ques- tion point-blank at him: " Do you suppose that Tom is running a still up there at the head of that little cove " MOONSHINE LAND The man's face hardened, and there came a glint into his eyes such as I had noticed in Mis- tress Kirby's. " Jedgmatically, I don't know." " Excuse me! I don't want to know, either. But let me explain just what I am driving at. People up North, and in the lowlands of the South as well, have a notion that there is little or nothing going on in these mountains except feuds and moonshining. They think that a stranger traveling here alone is in danger of being potted by a bullet from almost any laurel thicket that he passes, on mere suspicion that he may be a revenue officer or a spy. Of course, that is nonsense; but there is one thing that I'm as ignorant about as any novel-reader of them all. You know my habits; I like to explore-I never take a guide-and when I come to a place that's particularly wild and primitive, that's just the place I want to peer into. Now the dubious point is this: Suppose that, one of these days when I'm out hunting, or looking for rare plants, I should stumble upon a moonshine still in full operation-what would happen What would they do " Pure bluff of mine, at that time; but it was good policy to assume perfect confidence. II 7 I I8 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS "Waal, sir, I'll tell you whut they'd do. They'd fust-place ask you some questions about yourself, and whut you-uns was doin' in that thar neck o' the woods. Then they'd git you to do some triflin' work about the still-feed the furnace, or stir the mash-jest so 's 't they could prove that you took a hand in it your own self." "What good would that do " "Hit would make you one o' them in the eyes of the law. " I see. But, really, doesn't that seem rather childish I could easily convince any court that I did it under compulsion; for that's what it would amount to." " I reckon you-uns would find a United States court purty hard to convince. The judge 'd right up and want to know why you let grass go to seed afore you came and informed on them." He paused, watched my expression, and then continued quizzically: " I reckon you wouldn't be in no great hurry to do that." " No! Then, if I stirred the mash and sam- pled their liquor, nobody would be likely to mistreat me " " Shucks! Why, man, whut could they gain by hurtin' you At the wust, s'posin' they was convicted by your own evidence, they'd only git MOONSHINE LAND a month or two in the pen. So why should they murder you and get hung for it Hit's all 'tarnal foolishness, the notions some folks has! " " I thought so. Now, here! the public has been fed all sorts of nonsense about this moon- shining business. I'd like to learn the plain truth about it, without bias one way or the other. I have no curiosity about personal affairs, and don't want to learn incriminating details; but I would like to know how the busi- ness is conducted, and especially how it is re- garded from the mountain people's own point of view. I have already learned that a stran- ger's life and property are safer here than they would be on the streets of Chicago or of St. Louis. It will do your country good to have that known. But I can't say that there is no moonshining going on here; for a man with a wooden nose could smell it. Now what is your excuse for defying the law You don't seem ashamed of it." The man's face turned an angry red. " Mister, we-uns hain't no call to be ashamed of ourselves, nor of ary thing we do. We're poor; but we don't ax no favors. We stay 'way up hyar in these coves, and mind our own busi- ness. When a stranger comes along, he's wel- come to the best we've got, such as 'tis; but if fIgI i20 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS he imposes on us, he gits his medicine purty damned quick!" "And you think the Government tax on whiskey is an imposition." " Hit is, under some sarcumstances." My guest stretched his legs, and " jedgmati- cally " proceeded to enlighten me. " Thar's plenty o' men and women grown, in these mountains, who don't know that the Gov- ernment is ary thing but a president in a biled shirt who commands two-three judges and a gang o' revenue officers. They know thar's a president, because the men folks 's voted for him, and the women folks 's seed his pictur. They've heered tell about the judges; and they've seed the revenuers in flesh and blood. They be- lieve in supportin' the Government, because hit's the law. Nobody refuses to pay his taxes, for taxes is fair and, squar'. Taxes cost mebbe three cents on the dollar; and that's all right. But revenue costs a dollar and ten cents on twenty cents' worth o' liquor; and that's robbin' the people with a gun to their faces. "Of course, I ain't so ignorant as all that- I've traveled about the country, been to Ashe- ville wunst, and to Waynesville a heap o' times -and I know the theory. Theory says 't reve- nue is a tax on luxury. Waal, that's all right- MOONSHINE MILL-SIDE VIEW The trails that lead hither are blind and rough. Behind the mill rises an almnost precil)itt us nmou1ttain--side. Much of the c )rn is brought in on men's backs at the dead of night This page in the original text is blank. MOONSHINE LAND anything in reason. The big fellers that makes lots of money out o' stillin', and lives in luxury, ought to pay handsome for it. But who ever seen luxury cavortin' around in these Smoky Mountains " He paused for a reply. Even then, with my limited experience in the mountains, I could not help wincing at the idea. Often, in later times, this man's question came back to me with peculiar force. Luxury! in a land where the little stores were often out of coffee, sugar, kerosene, and even salt; where, in dead of winter, there was no meal, much less flour, to be had for love or money. Luxury! where I had to live on bear-meat (tough old sow bear) for six weeks, because the only side of pork that I could find for sale was full of maggots. My friend continued: " Whiskey means more to us mountain folks than hit does to folks in town, whar thar's drug-stores and doctors. Let ary thing go wrong in the fam'ly-fever, or snake bite, or somethin'-and we can't git a doctor up hyar less'n three days; and it costs scand'lous. The only medicines we-uns has is yerbs, which customarily ain't no good 'thout a leetle grain o' whiskey. Now, th'r ain't no saloons allowed in all these western counties. The nighest State dispensary, even, is sixty miles I 2I' 122 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS away. The law wunt let us have liquor shipped to us from anywhars in the State. If we git it sent to us from outside the State it has to come by express-and reg-lar old pop-skull it is, too. So, to be good law-abiding citizens, we-uns must travel back and forth at a heap of expense, or pay express rates on pizened liquor-and we are too durned poor to do ary one or t'other. "Now, yan's my field o' corn. I gather the corn, and shuck hit and grind hit my own self, and the woman she bakes us a pone o' bread to eat-and I don't pay no tax, do I Then why can't I make some o' my corn into pure whiskey to drink, without payin' tax I tell you, 'tain't fair, this way the Government does! But, when all's said and done, the main reason for this 'moonshining,' as you-uns calls it, is bad roads." " Bad roads " I exclaimed. " What the " "Jest thisaway: From hyar to the railroad is seventeen miles, with two mountains to cross; and you've seed that road! I recollect you-uns said every one o' them miles was a thousand rods long. Nobody's ever measured them, ex- cept by mountain man's foot-rule-big feet, and a long stride between 'em. Seven hundred This was in 1904. There are no dispensaries in North Carolina now. MOONSHINE LAND pounds is all the load a good team can haul over that road, when the weather's good. Hit takes three days to make the round trip, less'n you break an axle, and then hit takes four. When you do git to the railroad, th'r ain't no town of a thousand people within fifty mile. Now us folks ain't even got wagons. Thar's only one sarviceable wagon in this whole settle- ment, and you can't hire it without team and driver, which is two dollars and a half a day. Whar one o' our leetle sleds can't go, we haffter pack on mule-back or tussle it on our own wethers. Look, then! The only farm produce we-uns can sell is corn. You see for yourself that corn can't be shipped outen hyar. We can trade hit for store credit-that's all. Corn juice is about all we can tote around over the country and git cash money for. Why, man, that's the only way some folks has o' payin' their taxesI" " But, aside from the work and the worry," I remarked, " there is the danger of being shot, in this business." " Oh, we-uns don't lay that up agin the Gov- ernment! Hit's as fair for one as 'tis for t'other. When a revenuer comes sneakin' around, why, whut he gits, or whut we-uns gits, that's a ' fortune of war,' as the old sayin' is." I123 1 24 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS There is no telegraph, wired or wireless, in the mountains, but there is an efficient substi- tute. It seemed as though, in one night, the news traveled from valley to cove, and from cove to nook, that I was investigating the moon- shining business, and that I was apparently " safe." Each individual interpreted that word to suit himself. Some regarded me askance, others were so confiding that their very frank- ness threatened at times to become embarrassing. Thereafter I had many talks and adventures with men who, at one time or other, had been engaged in the moonshining industry. Some of these men had known the inside of the peni- tentiary; some were not without blood-guilt. I doubt not that more than one of them could, even now, find his way through night and fog and laurel thicket to some " beautiful piece of copper " that has not yet been punched full of holes. They knew that I was on friendly terms with revenue agents. What was worse, they knew that I was a scribbler. More than once I took notes in their presence while interviewing them, and we had the frankest understanding as to what would become of those notes. My immunity was not due to any promises made or hostages given, for there were none. I did not even pose as an apologist, but merely MOONSHINE LAND I25 volunteered to give a fair report of what I heard and saw. They took me at my word. Had I used such representations as a mask and secretly played the spy or informer-well, I would have deserved whatever might have befallen me. As it was, I never met with any but respectful treat- ment from these gentry, nor, to the best of my belief, did they ever tell me a lie. CHAPTER VI WAYS THAT ARE DARK O JUR terms moonshiner and moonshining are not used in the mountains. Here an illicit distiller is called a blockader, his business is blockading, and the product is block- ade liquor. Just as the smugglers of old Britain called themselves free-traders, thereby pro- claiming that they risked and fought for a prin- ciple, so the moonshiner considers himself sim- ply a blockade-runner dealing in contraband. His offense is only malum prohibitum, not ma- lum in se. There are two kinds of blockaders, big and little. The big blockader makes unlicensed whiskey on a fairly large scale. He may have several stills, operating alternately in different places, so as to avert suspicion. In any case, the still is large and the output is quite profitable. The owner himself may not actively engage in the work, but may furnish the capital and hire confederates to do the distilling for him, so that personally he shuns the appearance i26 WAYS THAT ARE DARK of evil. These big fellows are rare. They are the ones who seek collusion with the small-fry of Government officialdom, or, failing in that, instruct their minions to " kill on sight." The little moonshiner is a more interesting character, if for no other reason than that he fights fair, according to his code, and single- handed against tremendous odds. He is inno- cent of graft. There is nothing between him and the whole power of the Federal Government, except his own wits and a well-worn Winchester or muzzleloader. He is very poor; he is very ignorant; he has no friends at court; his ap- paratus is crude in the extreme, and his output is miserably small. This man is usually a good enough citizen in other ways, of decent stand- ing in his own community, and a right good fel- low toward all the world, save revenue officers. Although a criminal in the eyes of the law, he is soundly convinced that the law is unjust, and that he is only exercising his natural rights. Such a man, as President Frost has pointed out, suffers none of the moral degradation that comes from violating his conscience; his self-respect is whole. In describing the process of making whiskey in the mountain stills, I shall confine myself to the operations of the little moonshiner, because I 27 128 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS they illustrate the surprising shiftiness of our backwoodsmen. Every man in the big woods is a jack-of-all-trades. His skill in extemporiz- ing utensils, and even crude machines, out of the trees that grow around him, is of no mean order. As good cider as ever I drank was made in a hollowed log fitted with a press-block and operated by a handspike. It took but half a day's work to make this cider press, and the only tools used in its construction were an ax, a mattock in lieu of adze. an auger, and a jack- knife. It takes two or three men to run a still. It is possible for one man to do the work, on so small a scale as is usually practiced, but it would be a hard task for him; then, too, there are few mountaineers who could individually furnish the capital, small though it be. So three men, let us say, will " chip in " five or ten dol- lars apiece, and purchase a second-hand still, if such is procurable, otherwise a new one, and that is all the apparatus they have to pay money for. If they should be too poor even to go to this expense, they will make a retort by invert- ing a half-barrel or an old wooden churn over a soap-kettle, and then all they have to buy is a piece of copper tubing for the worm. In choosing a location for their clandestine r. 0. c) 0. 0 -E En c)A 0 0 1- This page in the original text is blank. WAYS THAT ARE DARK work, the first essential is running water. This can be found in almost any gulch; yet, out of a hundred known spring-branches, only one or two may be suitable for the business, most of them being too public. In a country where cattle and hogs run wild, and where a good part of every farmer's time is taken in keeping track of his stock, there is no place so secret but that it is liable to be visited at any time, even though it be in the depths of the great forest, several miles from any human habitation. Moreover, cattle, and especially hogs, are pas- sionately fond of still-slop, and can scent it a great distance, so that no still can long remain unknown to them. Consequently the still must be placed several miles away from the residence of anyone who might be liable to turn informer. Although nearly all the mountain people are in- dulgent in the matter of blockading, yet per- sonal rivalries and family jealousies are rife among them, and it is not uncommon for them It is a curious fact that most horses despise the stuff. A celebrated revenue officer told me that for several years he rode a horse which was in the habit of drinking a mouth- ful from every stream that he forded; but if there was the least taint of still-slop in the water, he would whisk his nose about and refuse to drink. The officer then had only to follow up the stream, and he would infallibly find a still. I29 130 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS to inform against their enemies in the neighbor- hood. Of course, it would not do to set up a still near a common trail-at least in the far-back settlements. Our mountaineers habitually notice every track they pass, whether of beast or man, and " read the sign" with Indian-like facility. Often one of my companions would stop, as though shot, and point with his toe to the fresh imprint of a human foot in the dust or mud of a public road, exclaiming: " Now, I wonder who that feller was! 'Twa'n't (so-and-so), for he hain't got no squar'-headed bob-nails; 'twa'n't (such-a-one), 'cause he wouldn't be hyar at this time o' day "; and so he would go on, figuring by a process of elimination that is extremely cunning, until some such conclusion as this was reached, "That's some stranger goin' over to Little River [across the line in Tennessee], and he's footin' hit as if the devil was atter him- I'll bet he's stobbed somebody and is runnin' from the sheriff! " Nor is the incident closed with that; our mountaineer will inquire of neighbors and passersby until he gets a descrip- tion of the wayfarer, and then he will pass the word along. Some little side-branch is chosen that runs through a gully so choked with laurel and WAYS THAT ARE DARK briers and rhododendron as to be quite impass- able, save by such worming and crawling as must make a great noise. Doubtless a faint cat- tle-trail follows the backbone of the ridge above it, and this is the workers' ordinary highway in going to and fro; but the descent from ridge to gully is seldom made twice over the same course, lest a trail be printed direct to the still- house. This house is sometimes inclosed with logs, but oftener it is no more than a shed, built low, so as to be well screened by the undergrowth. A great hemlock tree may be felled in such posi- tion as to help the masking, so long as its top stays green, which will be about a year. Back far enough from the still-house to remain in dark shadow when the furnace is going, there is built a sort of nest for the workmen, barely high enough to sit up in, roofed with bark and thatched all over with browse. Here many a dismal hour of night is passed when there is nothing to do but to wait on the "cooking." Now and then a man crawls on all fours to the furnace and pitches in a few billets of wood, keeping low at the time, so as to offer as small a target as possible in the flare of the fire. Such precaution is especially needed when the num- ber of confederates is too small for efficient I3I 132 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS picketing. Around the little plot where the still-shed and lair are hidden, laurel may be cut in such way as to make a cheval-de-frise, sharp stubs being entangled with branches, so that a quick charge through them would be out of the question. Two or three days' work, at most, will build the still-house and equip it ready for business, without so much as a shingle being brought from outside. After the blockaders have established their still, the next thing is to make arrangements with some miller who will jeopardize himself by grinding the sprouted corn; for be it known that corn which has been forced to sprout is a prime essential in the making of moonshine whiskey, and that the unlicensed grinding of such corn is an offense against the law of the United States no less than its distillation. Now, to any one living in a well-settled country, where there is, perhaps, only one mill to every hundred farms, and it is visited daily by men from all over the township, the finding of an accessory in the person of a miller would seem a most hopeless project. But when you travel in our southern mountains, one of the first things that will strike you is that about every fourth or fifth farmer has a tiny tub-mill of his own. Tiny is indeed the word, for there are WAYS THAT ARE DARK few of these mills that can grind more than a bushel or two of corn in a day; some have a ca- pacity of only half a bushel in ten hours of steady grinding. Red grains of corn being harder than white ones, it is a humorous saying in the mountains that " a red grain in the gryste [grist] will stop the mill." The appurtenances of such a mill, even to the very buhr-stones them- selves, are fashioned on the spot. How primi- tive such a meal-grinder may be is shown by the fact that a neighbor of mine recently offered a new mill, complete, for sale at six dollars. A few nails, and a country-made iron rynd and spindle, were the only things in it that he had not made himself, from the raw materials. In making spirits from corn, the first step is to convert the starch of the grain into sugar. Regular distillers do this in a few hours by using malt, but at the little blockade still a slower process is used, for malt is hard to get. The unground corn is placed in a vessel that has a small hole in the bottom, warm water is poured over the corn and a hot cloth is placed over the top. As water percolates out through the hole, the vessel is replenished with more of the warm fluid. This is continued for two or three days and nights until the corn has put forth sprouts a couple of inches long. The 133 134 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS diastase in the germinating seeds has the same chemical effect as malt-the starch is changed to sugar. The sprouted corn is then dried and ground into meal. This sweet meal is then made into a mush with boiling water, and is let stand two or three days. The "sweet mash" thus made is then broken up, and a little rye malt, similarly prepared in the meantime, is added to it, if rye is procurable. Fermentation begins at once. In large distilleries, yeast is added to hasten fermentation, and the mash can then be used in three or four days; the blockader, however, hav- no yeast, must let his mash stand for eight or ten days, keeping it all that time at a proper temperature for fermentation. This requires not only constant attention, but some skill as well, for there is no thermometer nor saccharo- meter in our mountain still-house. When done, the sugar of what is now " sour mash " has been converted into carbonic acid and alcohol. The resulting liquid is technically called the " wash," but blockaders call it " beer." It is intoxicat- ing, of course, but "sour enough to make a pig squeal." This beer is then placed in the still, a vessel with a closed head, connected with a spiral tube, the worm. The latter is surrounded by a closed WAYS THAT ARE DARK jacket through which cold water is constantly passing. A wood fire is built in the rude fur- nace under the still; the spirit rises in vapor, along with more or less steam; these vapors are condensed in the cold worm and trickle down into the receiver. The product of this first dis- tillation (the "low wines" of the trade, the " singlings " of the blockader) is a weak and im- pure liquid, which must be redistilled at a lower temperature to rid it of water and rank oils. In moonshiners' parlance, the liquor of sec- ond distillation is called the " doublings." It is in watching and testing the doublings that an accomplished blockader shows his skill, for if distillation be not carried far enough, the re- sulting spirits will be rank, though weak, and if carried too far, nothing but pure alcohol will result. Regular distillers are assisted at this stage by scientific instruments by which the " proof " is tested; but the maker of " mountain dew " has no other instrument than a small vial, and his testing is done entirely by the "bead" of the liquor, the little iridescent bubbles that rise when the vial is tilted. When a mountain man is shown any brand of whiskey, whether a regular distillery product or not, he invariably tilts the bottle and levels it again, before tast- ing; if the bead rises and is persistent, well and I v 136 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS good; if not, he is prepared to condemn the liquor at once. It is possible to make an inferior whiskey at one distillation, by running the singlings through a steam-chest, commonly known as a "thumpin'-chist." The advantage claimed is that " Hit allows you to make your whiskey afore the revenue gits it; that's all." The final process is to run the liquor through a rude charcoal filter, to rid it of most of its fusel oil. This having been done, we have moonshine whiskey, uncolored, limpid as water, and ready for immediate consumption. I fancy that some gentlemen will stare at the words here italicised; but I am stating facts. It is quite impracticable for a blockader to age his whiskey. In the first place, he is too poor to wait; in the second place, his product is very small, and the local demand is urgent; in the third place, he has enough trouble to con- ceal, or run away with, a mere copper still, to say nothing of barrels of stored whiskey. Cheer- fully he might " waive the quantum o' the sin," but he is quite alive to " the hazard o' con- cealin'." So, while the stuff is yet warm from the still, it is taken by confederates and quickly disposed of. There is no exaggeration in the answer a moonshiner once made to me when I C 0 .0 This page in the original text is blank. WAYS THAT ARE DARK asked him how old the best blockade liquor ever got to be: "If it 'd git to be a month old, it 'd fool me ! " They tell a story on a whilom neighbor of mine, the redoubtable Quill Rose, which, to those who know him, sounds like one of his own: "A slick-faced dude from Knoxville," said Quill, "told me once that all good red- liquor was aged, and that if I'd age my block- ade it would bring a fancy price. Well, sir, I tried it; I kept some for three months-and, by godlings, it aint so." As for purity, all of the moonshine whiskey used to be pure, and much of it still is; but every blockader knows how to adulterate, and when one of them does stoop to such tricks he will stop at no halfway measures. Some add washing lye, both to increase the yield and to give the liquor an artificial bead, then prime this abominable fluid with pepper, ginger, to- bacco, or anything else that will make it sting. Even buckeyes, which are poisonous themselves, are sometimes used to give the drink a soapy bead. Such decoctions are known in the moun- tains by the expressive terms " pop-skull," " bust head," " bumblings" (" they make a bumbly noise in a feller's head"). Some of them are so toxic that their continued use might be fatal I37 I38 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS to the drinker. A few drams may turn a nor- mally good-hearted fellow into a raging fiend who will shoot or stab without provocation. As a rule, the mountain people have no com- punctions about drinking, their ideas on this, as on other matters of conduct, being those cur- rent everywhere in the eighteenth century. Men, women and children drink whiskey in family concert. I have seen undiluted spirits drunk, a spoonful at a time, by a babe that was still at the breast, and she never batted an eye (when I protested that raw whiskey would ruin the infant's stomach, the mother replied, with widened eyes: " Why, if there's liquor about, and she don't git none, she jist raars!"). In spite of this, taking the mountain people by and large, they are an abstemious race. In drink- ing, as in everything else, this is the Land of Do Without. Comparatively few highlanders see liquor oftener than once or twice a month. The lumberjacks and townspeople get most of the output; for they can pay the price. Blockade whiskey, until recently, sold to the consumer at from 2.50 to 3.oo a gallon. The average yield is only two gallons to the bushel of corn. Two and a half gallons is all that can be got out of a bushel by blockaders' methods, even with the aid of a " thumpin'-chist," unless WAYS THAT ARE DARK lye be added. With corn selling at seventy- five cents to a dollar a bushel, as it did in our settlement, and taking into account that the aver- age sales of a little moonshiner's still probably did not exceed a gallon a day, and that a boot- legger must be rewarded liberally for market- ing the stuff, it will be seen that there was no fortune in this mysterious trade, before prohibi- tion raised the price. Let me give you a picture in a few words.- Here in the laurel-thicketed forest, miles from any wagon road, is a little still, without so much as a roof over it. Hard by is a little mill. There is not a sawed board in that mill- even the hopper is made of clapboards riven on the spot. Three or four men, haggard from sleepless vigils, strike out into pathless forest through driving rain. Within five minutes the wet un- derbrush has drenched them to the skin. They climb, climb, climb. There is no trail for a long way; then they reach a faint one that winds, winds, climbs, climbs. Hour after hour the men climb. Then they begin to descend. They have crossed the divide, a mile above sea-level, and are in another State. Hour after hour they "climb down," as they would say. They visit farmers' homes at dead of night. I139 I40 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS Each man shoulders two bushels of shelled corn and starts back again over the highest mountain range in eastern America. It is twenty miles to the little mill. They carry the corn thither on their own backs. They sprout it, grind it, distill it. Two of them then carry the whiskey twenty miles in the opposite direction, and, at the risk of capture and imprisonment, or of death if they resist, peddle it out by dodging, secret methods. This is no fancy sketch; it is literal truth. It is no story of the olden time, but of our own day. Do you wonder that one of these men should say, with a sigh-should say this " Blockadin' is the hardest work a man ever done. And hit's wearin' on a feller's narves. Fust chance I git, I'm a-goin' ter quit! " And it is a fact that nine out of ten of those who try the moonshining game do quit before long, of their own accord. One day there came a ripple of excitement in our settlement. A blockader had shot at Jack Coburn, and a posse had arrested the would-be assassin-so flew the rumor, and it proved to be true. Coburn was a northern man who, years ago, opened a little store on the edge of the wilder- WAYS THAT ARE DARK ness, bought timber land, and finally rose to affluence. With ready wit he adapted himself to the ways of the mountaineers and gained as- cendancy among them. Once in a while an emergency would arise in which it was necessary either to fight or to back down, and in these contests a certain art that Jack had acquired in Michigan lumber camps proved the undoing of more than one mountain tough, at the same time winning the respect of the spectators. He was what a mountaineer described to me as " a prac- ticed knocker." This phrase, far from meaning what it would on the Bowery, was interpreted to me as denoting " a master hand in a knock- fight." Pugilism, as distinguished from shoot- ing or stabbing, was an unknown art in the mountains until Jack introduced it. Coburn had several tenants, among whom was a character whom we will call Edwards. In leasing a farm to Edwards, Jack had expressly stipulated that there was to be no moonshining on the premises. But, by and by, there was reason to suspect that Edwards was violating this part of the contract. Coburn did not send for a revenue officer; he merely set forth on a little still-hunt of his own. Before starting, he picked up a revolver and was about to stick it in his pocket, but, on second thought, he con- I 41 142 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS cluded that no red-headed man should be trusted with a loaded gun, even in such a case as this; so he thrust the weapon back into its drawer, and strode away, with nothing but his two big fists to enforce a seizure. Coburn searched long and diligently, but could find no sign of a still. Finally, when he was about to give it up, his curiosity was aroused by the particularly dense browse in the top of an enormous hemlock that had recently been felled. Pushing his way forward, he discov- ered a neat little copper still installed in the tree- top itself. He picked up the contraband uten- sil, and marched away with it. Meantime, Edwards had not been asleep. When Jack came in sight of the farmhouse, humped under his bulky burden, the enraged moonshiner seized a shotgun and ran toward him, breathing death and destruction. Jack, however, trudged along about his business. Ed- wards, seeing that no bluff would work, fired; but the range was too great for his birdshot even to pepper holes through the copper still. Edwards made a mistake in firing that shot. It did not hurt Coburn's skin, but it ruffled his dignity. In this case it was out of the ques- tion to pommel the blackguard, for he had swiftly reloaded his gun. So Jack ran off with WAYS THAT ARE DARK the still, carried it home, sought out our magis- trate, Brooks, and forthwith swore out a war- rant. Brooks did not fuss over any law books. Moonshining in itself may be only a peccadillo, a venial sin-let the Government skin its own skunks-but when a man has promised not to moonshine, and then goes and does it, why that, by Jeremy, is a breach of contract! Straight- way the magistrate hastened to the post-office, and swore in, as a posse comitatus, the first four men that he met. Now, when four men are picked up at random in our township, it is safe to assume that at least three of them have been moonshiners them- selves, and know how this sort of thing should be done. At any rate, the posse wasted no time in discussion. They went straight after that malefactor, got him, and, within an hour after the shot was fired, he was drummed out of the county for good and forever. But Edwards had a son who was a trifle brash. This son armed himself, and offered show of battle. He fired two or three shots with his Winchester (wisely over the posse's heads) and then took to the tall timber. Dodging from tree to tree he led the impromptu officers such a dance up the mountainside that by the time they 143 I44 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS had corralled him they were " plumb overhet." They set that impetuous young man on a sharp-spined little jackass, strapped his feet un- der the animal's belly, and their chief (my hunt- ing partner, he was) drove him, that same night, twenty-five miles over a horrible mountain trail, and lodged him in the county jail, on a charge more serious than that of moonshining. In due time, a United States deputy arrived in our midst, bearing a funny-looking hatchet with a pick at one end, which he called a " devil." With the pick end of this instrument he punched numerous holes through the offend- ing copper vessel, until the still looked some- what like a gigantic horseradish-grater turned inside out. Then he straightened out the worm by ramming a long stick through it, and tri- umphantly carried away with him the copper- sheathed staff, as legal proof, trophy, and bur- geon of office. The sorry old still itself reposes to this day in old Brooks's backyard, where it is regarded by passersby as an emblem, not so much of Federal omnipotence, as of local efficiency in adminis- tering the law with promptitude, and without a pennyworth of cost to anybody, save to the of- fender. CHAPTER VII A LEAF FROM THE PAST N the United States, moonshining is seldom practiced outside the mountains and foot- hills of the southern Appalachians, and those parts of the southwest (namely, in south- ern Missouri, Arkansas and Texas), into which the mountaineers have immigrated in consider- able numbers. Here, then, is a conundrum: How does it happen that moonshining is distinctly a foible of the southern mountaineer To get to the truth, we must hark back into that eighteenth century wherein, as I have al- ready remarked, our mountain people are lin- gering to this day. We must leave the South; going, first, to Ireland of i50 or I75 years ago, and then to western Pennsylvania shortly after the Revolution. The people of Great Britain, irrespective of race, have always been ardent haters of excise laws. As Blackstone has curtly said, " From its original to the present time, the very name of I45 I46 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS excise has been odious to the people of Eng- land." Dr. Johnson, in his dictionary, defined excise as " A hateful tax levied upon commodi- ties, and adjudged not by the common judges of property, but by wretches hired by those to whom excise is paid." In i659, when the town of Edinburgh placed an additional impost on ale, the Convenanter Nicoll proclaimed it an act so impious that immediately " God frae the heavens declared his anger by sending thunder and unheard tempests and siorms." And we still recall Burns' fiery invective: Thae curst horse-leeches o' the Excise Wha mak the whisky stills their prize! Haud up thy han', Deil! ance, twice, thrice! There, seize the blinkers! [wretches] An bake them up in brunstane pies For poor d-n'd drinkers. Perhaps the chief reason, in England, for this outspoken detestation of the exciseman lay in the fact that the law empowered him to enter private houses and to search at his own discre- tion. In Scotland and Ireland there was an- other objection, even more valid in the eyes of the common people; excise struck heaviest at their national drink. Englishmen, at the time of which we are speaking, were content with A LEAF FROM THE PAST 147 their ale, not yet having contracted the habit of drinking gin; but Scotchmen and Irishmen pre- ferred distilled spirits, manufactured, as a rule, out of their own barley, in small pot-stills (pot- een means, literally, a little pot), the process being a common household art frequently prac- ticed "every man for himself and his neigh- bor." A tax, then, upon whiskey was as odious as a tax upon bread baked on the domestic hearth-if not, indeed, more so. Now, there came a time when the taxes laid upon spirituous liquors had increased almost to the point of prohibition. This was done, not so much for the sake of revenue, as for the sake of the public health and morals. Englishmen had suddenly taken to drinking gin, and the im- mediate effect was similar to that of introducing firewater among a race of savages. There was hue and cry (apparently with good reason), that the gin habit, spreading like a plague, among a people unused to strong liquors, would soon ex- terminate the English race. Parliament, alarmed at the outlook, then passed an excise law of extreme severity. As always happens in such cases, the law promptly defeated its own purpose by breeding a spirit of defiance and re- sistance among the great body of the people. The heavier the tax, the more widespread be- I48 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS came the custom of illicit distilling. The law was evaded in two different ways, the method depending somewhat upon the relative loyalty of the people toward the Crown, and somewhat upon the character of the country, as to whether it was thickly or thinly settled. In rich and populous districts, as around Lon- don and Edinburgh and Dublin, the common practice was to bribe government officials. A historian of that time declares that "Not in- frequently the gauger could have laid his hands upon a dozen stills within as many hours; but he had cogent reasons for avoiding discoveries unless absolutely forced to make them. Where informations were laid, it was by no means un- common for a trusty messenger to be dispatched from the residence of the gauger to give due notice, so that by daybreak next morning ' the boys,' with all their utensils, might disappear. Now and then they were required to leave an old and worn-out still in place of that which they were to remove, so that a report of actual seizure might be made. A good understanding was thus often kept up between the gaugers and and the distillers; the former not infrequently received a ' duty' upon every still within his jurisdiction, and his cellars were never without ' a sup of the best.' .... The commerce was car- A LEAF FROM THE PAST ried on to a very great extent, and openly. Poteen was usually preferred, even by the gen- try, to ' Parliament' or ' King's' whiskey. It was known to be free from adulteration, and had a smoky flavor (arising from the peat fires) which many liked." Another writer says that " The amount of spirits produced by distillation avowedly illicit vastly exceeded that produced by the licensed distilleries. According to Wakefield, stills were erected even in the kitch- ens of baronets and in the stables of clergymen." However, this sort of thing was not moon- shining. It was only the beginning of that sys- tem of wholesale collusion which, in later times, was perfected in our own country by the " Whis- key Ring." Moonshining proper was confined to the poorer class of people, especially in Ireland, who lived in wild and sparsely settled regions, who were governed by a clan feeling stronger than their loyalty to the central Government, and who either could not afford to share their profits with the gaugers, or disdained to do so. Such people hid their little pot-stills in inac- cessible places, as in the savage mountains and glens of Connemara, where it was impossible, or at least hazardous, for the law to reach them. With arms in hand they defied the officers. I49 i5o OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS " The hatred of the people toward the gauger was for a very long period intense. The very name invariably aroused the worst passions. To kill a gauger was considered anything but a crime; wherever it could be done with compara- tive safety, he was hunted to the death." Thus we see that the townsman's weapon against the government was graft, and the mountaineer's weapon was his gun-a hundred and fifty years ago, in Ireland, as they are in America to-day. Whether racial character had much to do with this is a debatable question. But, having spoken of race, a new factor, and a curious one, steps into our story. Let it be noted closely, for it bears directly on a prob- lem that has puzzled many of our own people, namely: What was the origin of our southern mountaineers The north of Ireland, at the time of which we have been speaking, was not settled by Irish- men, but by Scotchmen, who had been imported by James I. to take the place of native Hiber- nians whom he had dispossessed from the three northern counties. These immigrants came to be known as the Scotch-Irish. They learned how to make poteen in little stills, after the Irish fashion, and to defend their stills from intrusive foreigners, also after the Irish fashion. By and A LEAF FROM THE PAST I5I by these Scotch-Irish fell out with the British Government, and large bodies of them emi- grated to America, settling, for the most part, in western Pennsylvania. They were a fighting race. Accustomed to plenty of hard knocks at home, they took to the rough fare and Indian wars of our border as naturally as ducks take to water. They brought with them, too, an undying hatred of excise laws, and a spirit of unhesitating resistance to any authority that sought to enforce such laws. It was these Scotchmen, in the main, assisted by a good sprinkling of native Irish, and by the wilder blades among the Pennsylvania-Dutch, who drove out the Indians from the Alleghany border, formed our rear-guard in the Revolu- tion, won that rough mountain region for civili- zation, left it when the game became scarce and neighbors' houses too frequent, followed the mountains southward, settled western Virginia and Carolina, and formed the vanguard west- ward into Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, and so onward till there was no longer a West to conquer. Some of their descendants remained behind in the fastnesses of the Alleghanies, the Blue Ridge, and the Unakas, and became, in turn, the progenitors of that singular race which, by an absurd pleonasm, is now commonly known i52 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS as the "mountain whites." but properly south- ern highlanders. The first generation of Pennsylvania f rontiers- men knew no laws but those of their own mak- ing. They were too far away, too scattered, and too poor, for the Crown to bother with them. Then came the Revolution. The backwoods- men were loyal to the new American Govern- ment-loyal to a man. They not only fought off the Indians from the rear, but sent many of their incomparable riflemen to fight at the front as well. They were the first English-speaking people to use weapons of precision (the rifle, intro- duced by the Pennsylvania-Dutch about I700, was used by our backwoodsmen exclusively throughout the war). They were the first to employ open-order formation in civilized war- fare. They were the first outside colonists to assist their New England brethren at the siege of Boston. They were mustered in as the First Regiment of Foot of the Continental Army (be- ing the first troops enrolled by our Congress, and the first to serve under a Federal banner). They carried the day at Saratoga, the Cowpens, and King's Mountain. From the beginning to the end of the war, they were Washington's favorite troops. A Tub Mill This page in the original text is blank. A LEAF FROM THE PAST i53 And yet these same men were the first rebels against the authority of the United States Gov- ernmentl And it was their old commander-in- chief, Washington himself, who had the un- grateful task of bringing them to order by a show of Federal bayonets. It happened in this wise: Up to the year I791 there had been no excise tax in the United Colonies or the United States. (One that had been tried in Pennsylvania was utterly abortive). Then the country fell upon hard times. A larger revenue had to be raised, and Hamilton suggested an excise. The meas- ure was bitterly opposed by many public men, notably by Jefferson; but it passed. Immedi- ately there was trouble in the tall timber. Western Pennsylvania, and the mountains southward, had been settled, as we have seen, by the Scotch-Irish; men who had brought with them a certain fondness for whiskey, a certain knack in making it, and an intense hatred of excise, on general as well as special principles. There were few roads across the mountains, and these few were execrable-so bad, indeed, that it was impossible for the backwoodsmen to bring their corn and rye to market, except in a con- centrated form. The farmers of the seaboard had grown rich, from the high prices that pre- I54 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS vailed during the French Revolution; but the mountain farmers had remained poor, owing partly to difficulties of tillage, but chiefly to difficulties of transportation. As Albert Gal- latin said, in defending the western people, " We have no means of bringing the produce of our lands to sale either in grain or in meal. We are therefore distillers through necessity, not choice, that we may comprehend the greatest value in the smallest size and weight. The in- habitants of the eastern side of the mountains can dispose of their grain without the additional labor of distillation at a higher price than we can after we have disposed that labor upon it." Again, as in all frontier communities, there was a scarcity of cash in the mountains. Com- merce was carried on by barter; but there had to be some means of raising enough cash to pay taxes, and to purchase such necessities as sugar, calico, gun powder, etc., from the peddlers who brought them by pack train across the Alle- ghanies. Consequently a still had been set up on nearly every farm. A horse could carry about sixteen gallons of liquor, which repre- sented eight bushels of grain, in weight and bulk, and double that amount in value. This whiskey, even after it had been transported A LEAF FROM THE PAST across the mountains, could undersell even so cheap a beverage as New England rum-so long as no tax was laid upon it. But when the newly created Congress passed an excise law, it virtually placed a heavy tax on the poor mountaineers' grain, and let the grain of the wealthy eastern farmers pass on to market without a cent of charge. Naturally enough, the excitable people of the border re- garded such a law as aimed exclusively at them- selves. They remonstrated, petitioned, stormed. " From the passing of the law in January, 1791, there appeared a marked dissatisfaction in the western parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Vir- ginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia. The legis- latures of North Carolina, Virginia and Mary- land passed resolutions against the law, and that of Pennsylvania manifested a strong spirit of opposition to it. As early as I791, Washington was informed that throughout this whole region the people were ready for revolt." "To tax their stills seemed a blow at the only thing which obdurate nature had given them-a lot hard in- deed, in comparison with that of the people of the sea-board." Our western mountains (we call most of them southern mountains now) resembled somewhat those wild highlands of Connemara to which I55 i56 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS reference has been made-only they were far wilder, far less populous, and inhabited by a people still prouder, more independent, more used to being a law unto themselves than were their ancestors in old Hibernia. When the Fed- eral exciseman came among this border people and sought to levy tribute, they blackened or otherwise disguised themselves and treated him to a coat of tar and feathers, at the same time threatening to burn his house. He resigned. Indignation meetings were held, resolutions were passed calling on all good citizens to dis- obey the law, and whenever anyone ventured to express a contrary opinion, or rented a house to a collector, he, too, was tarred and feathered. If a prudent or ultra-conscientious individual took out a license and sought to observe the law, he was visited by a gang of " Whiskey Boys " who smashed the still and inflicted corporal pun- ishment upon its owner. Finally, warrants were issued against the law- breakers. The attempt to serve these writs pro- duced an uprising. On July i6, I794, a com- pany of mountain militia marched to the house of the inspector, General Neville, to force him to give up his commission. Neville fired upon them, and" in the skirmish that ensued, five of the attacking force were wounded and one was A LEAF FROM THE PAST i157 killed. The next day, a regiment of Soo moun- taineers, led by one " Tom the Tinker," burned Neville's house, and forced him to flee for his life. His guard of eleven U. S. soldiers surren- dered, after losing one killed and several wounded. A call was then issued for a meeting of the mountain militia at the historic Braddock's Field. On Aug. i, a large body assembled, of whom 2,000 were armed. They marched on Pittsburgh, then a village of I,200 souls. The townsmen, eager to conciliate and to ward off pillage, appointed a committee to meet the mob half way. The committee, finding that it could not induce the mountain men to go home, made a virtue of necessity by escorting 5,400 of them into Pittsburgh town. As Fisher says, "The town was warned by messengers, and every prep- aration was made, not for defense, but to ex- tinguish the fire of the Whiskey Boys' thirst, which would prevent the necessity of having to extinguish the fire they might apply to houses. . . .Then the work began. Every citizen worked like a slave to carry provisions and buck- ets of whiskey to that camp." Judge Bracken- ridge tells us that it was an expensive as well as laborious day, and cost him personally four barrels of prime old whiskey. The day ended i58 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS in a bloodless, but probably uproarious, jollifi- cation. On this same day (the Governor of Pennsyl- vania having declined to interfere) Washington issued a proclamation against the rioters, and called for iS,ooo militia to quell the insurrec- tion. Meantime he had appointed commission ers to go into the disaffected region and try to persuade the people to submit peacefully before the troops should arrive. Peace was offered on condition that the leaders of the disturbance should submit to arrest. While negotiations were proceeding, the army advanced. Eighteen ringleaders of the mob were arrested, and the " insurrection" faded away like smoke. When the troops arrived, there was nothing for them to do. The insur- gent leaders were tried for treason, and two of them were convicted, but Washington pardoned both of them. The cost of this expedition was more than one-third of the total expenditures of the Government, for that year, for all other purposes. The moral effect upon the nation at large was wholesome, for the Federal Govern- ment had demonstrated, on this its first test, that it could enforce its own laws and maintain do- mestic tranquility. The result upon the moun- tain people themselves was dubious. Thomas A LEAF FROM THE PAST i59 Jefferson wrote to Madison in December: " The information of our [Virginia's] militia, returned from the westward, is uniform, that though the people there let them pass quietly, they were objects of their laughter, not of their fear; that one thousand men could have cut off their whole force in a thousand places of the Alleghany; that their detestation of the excise law was uni- versal, and has now associated with it a detesta- tion of the Government; and that a separation which was perhaps a very distant and proble- matical event, is now near and certain, and de- termined in the mind of every man." But Jefferson himself came to the presidency within six years, and the excise tax was promptly repealed, never again to be instituted, save as a war measure, until within a time so recent that it is now remembered by men whom we would not call very old. The moonshiners of our own day know noth- ing of the story that has here been written. Only once, within my knowledge, has it been told in the mountains, and then the result was so unex- pected, that I append the incident as a color contrast to this rather sombre narrative.- I was calling on a white-bearded patriarch who was a trifle vain of his historical learning. 'He could not read, but one of his daughters i6o OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS read to him, and he had learned by heart nearly all that lay between the two lids of a " Univer- sal History " such as book agents peddle about. Like one of John Fox's characters, he was fond of the expression " hist'ry says " so-and-so, and he considered it a clincher in all matters of de- bate. Our conversation drifted to the topic of moonshining. " Down to the time of the Civil War," de- clared the old settler, " nobody paid tax on the whiskey he made. Hit was thataway in my Pa's time, and in Gran'sir's, too. And so 'way back to the time of George Washington. Now, hist'ry says that Washington was the Father of his Country; and I reckon he was the greatest man that ever lived-don't you " I murmured a complaisant assent. " Waal, sir, if 't was right to make free whis- key in Washington's day, hit's right now! " and the old man brought his fist down on the table. " But that is where you make a mistake," I replied. "Washington did enforce a whiskey tax." Then I told about the Whiskey Insur- rection of I794. This was news to Grandpa. He listened with deep attention, his brows lowering as the nar- rative proceeded. When it was finished he Cabin on the Little Fork of Sugar Fork of Hazel Creek in which the author lived alone for three years This page in the original text is blank. A LEAF FROM THE PAST ni6t offered no comment, but brooded to himself in silence. My own thoughts wandered far afield, until recalled to the topic by a blunt demand: " You say Washington done that" " He did." " George Washington" "Yes, sir: the Father of his Country." "Waal, I'm satisfied now that Washington was a leetle-grain cracked." The law of I79i, although it imposed a tax on whiskey of only 9 to i i cents per proof gal- lon, came near bringing on a civil war, which was only averted by the leniency of the Federal Government in granting wholesale amnesty. The most stubborn malcontents in the mountains moved southward along the Alleghanies into western Virginia and the Carolinas, where no serious attempt was made to collect the excise; so they could practice moonshining to their heart's content, and there their descendants re- main to-day. On the accession of Jefferson, in i8oo, the tax on spirits was repealed. The war of 1812 com- pelled the Government to tax whiskey again, but as this was a war tax, shared by commodities generally, it aroused no opposition. In I817 i62 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS the excise was again repealed; and from that time until i862 no specific tax was levied on liquors. During this period of thirty-five years the average market price of whiskey was 24 cents a gallon, sometimes dropping as low as 14 cents. Spirits were so cheap that a "burning fluid," consisting of one part spirits of turpen- tine to four or five parts alcohol was used in the lamps of nearly every household. Moonshining, of course, had ceased to exist. Then came the Civil War. In i862 a tax of 20 cents a gallon was levied. Early in i864 it rose to 6o cents. This cut off the industrial use of spirits, but did not affect its use as a beverage. In the latter part of i864 the tax leaped to i.So a gallon, and the next year it reached the prohibitive figure of 2. The result of such excessive taxation was just what it had been in the old times, in Great Britain. In and around the centers of population there was wholesale fraud and collusion. " Efforts made to repress and punish frauds were of absolutely no account whatever. . . . The current price at which distilled spirits were sold in the markets was everywhere recognized and commented on by the press as less than the amount of the tax, allowing nothing whatever for the cost of manu- facture." A LEAF FROM THE PAST I63 Seeing that the outcome was disastrous from a fiscal point of view-the revenue from this source was falling to the vanishing point-Con- gress, in i868, cut down the tax to 5o cents a gallon. " Illicit distillation practically ceased the very hour that the new law came into opera- tion; . . . the Government collected during the second year of the continuance of the act 3 for every one that was obtained during the last year of the 2 rate." In I869 there came a new administration, with frequent removals of revenue officials for political purposes. The revenue fell off. In 1872 the rate was raised to 70 cents, and in 1875 to 90 cents. The result is thus summar- ized by David A. Wells: " Investigation carefully conducted showed that on the average the product of illicit dis- tillation costs, through deficient yields, the nec- essary bribery of attendants, and the expenses of secret and unusual methods of transportation, from two to three times as much as the product of legitimate and legal distillation. So that, calling the average cost of spirits in the United States 20 cents per gallon, the product of the illicit distiller would cost 40 to 6o cents, leaving but io cents per gallon as the maximum profit to be realized from fraud under the most favor- I64 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS able conditions-an amount not sufficient to off- set the possibility of severe penalties of fine, imprisonment, and confiscation of property. . . . The rate of 70 cents . . . constituted a moderate temptation to fraud. Its increase to go cents constituted a temptation altogether too great for human nature, as employed in manufacturing and selling whiskey, to resist. . . . During 1875-6, highwines sold openly in the Chicago and Cincinnati markets at prices less than the average cost of production plus the Government tax. Investigations showed that the persons mainly concerned in the work of fraud were the Government officials rather than the distillers; and that a so-called 'Whis- key Ring' . . . extended to Washington, and embraced within its sphere of influence and par- ticipation, not merely local supervisors, collect- ors, inspectors, and storekeepers of the revenue, but even officers of the Internal Revenue Bu- reau, and probably, also, persons occupying confidential relations with the Executive of the Nation." Such being the condition of affairs in the centers of civilization in the latter part of the nineteenth century, let us now turn to the moun- tains, and see how matters stood among those A LEAF FROM THE PAST i65 primitive people who were still tarrying in the eighteenth. Their situation at that time is thus briefly sketched by a southern historian : " Before the war these simple folks made their apples and peaches into brandy, and their corn into whiskey, and these products, with a few cattle, some dried fruits, honey, beeswax, nuts, wool, hides, fur, herbs, ginseng and other roots, and woolen socks knitted by the women in their long winter evenings, formed the stock in trade which they bartered for their plain necessaries and few luxuries, their homespun and cotton cloths, sugar, coffee, snuff, and fiddles. . .. The raising of a crop of corn in summer, and the getting out of tan-bark and lumber in winter, were almost their only re- sources. . . . The burden of taxation rested lightly on them. For near two generations no excise duties had been levied. . . . The war came on. They were mostly loyal to the Union. They paid the first moderate tax without a murmur. "They were willing to pay any tax that they were able to pay. But suddenly the tax jumped to i.So, and then to 2, a gallon. The people were goaded to open rebellion. Their corn at that time brought only from 25 to 40 cents a Ellwood Wilson, Sr., in the Sewanee Review. i66 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS bushel; apples and peaches, rarely more than io cents at the stills. These were the only crops that could be grown in their deep and narrow valleys. Transportation was so difficult, and markets so remote, that there was no way to utilize the surplus except to distill it. Their stills were too small to bear the cost of govern- ment supervision. The superior officers of the Revenue Department (collectors, marshals, and district-attorneys or commissioners) were paid only by commissions on collections and by fees. Their subordinate agents, whose income de- pended upon the number of stills they cut up and upon the arrests made, were, as a class, brutal and desperate characters. Guerrilla warfare was the natural sequence." CHAPTER VIIr " BLOCKADERS" AND Cc THE REVENUE " L ITTLE or no attention seems to have been paid to the moonshining that was going on in the mountains until about 1876, owing, no doubt, to the larger game in regis- tered distilleries. In his report for 1876-7, the new Commissioner of Internal Revenue called attention to the illicit manufacture of whiskey in the mountain counties of the South, and urged vigorous measures for its immediate sup- pression. "The extent of these frauds," said he, " would startle belief. I can safely say that during the past year not less than 3,ooo illicit stills have been operated in the districts named. Those stills are of a producing capacity of IO to 50 gallons a day. They are usually located at inac- cessible points in the mountains, away from the ordinary lines of travel, and are generally owned by unlettered men of desperate character, armed and ready to resist the officers of the law. Where occasion requires, they come together in i67 i68 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS companies of from ten to fifty persons, gun in hand, to drive the officers out of the country. They resist as long as resistance is possible, and when their stills are seized, and they themselves are arrested, they plead ignorance and poverty, and at once crave the pardon of the Govern- ment. "These frauds had become so open and noto- rious . . . that I became satisfied extraordi- nary measures would be required to break them up. Collectors were . . . each authorized to employ from five to ten additional deputies. . . . Experienced revenue agents of persever- ance and courage were assigned to duty to co- operate with the collectors. United States mar- shals were called upon to co-operate with the collectors and to arrest all persons known to have violated the laws, and district-attorneys were enjoined to prosecute all offenders. "In certain portions of the country many citizens not guilty of violating the law them- selves were in strong sympathy with those who did violate, and the officers in many instances found themselves unsupported in the execution of the laws by a healthy state of public opinion. The distillers-ever ready to forcibly resist the officers-were, I have no doubt, at times treated with harshness. This occasioned much indigna- "THE REVENUE" tion on the part of those who sympathized with the lawbreakers.. The Commissioner recommended, in his re- port, the passage of a law " expressly providing that where a person is caught in the act of oper- ating an illicit still, he may be arrested without warrant." In conclusion, he said: "At this time not only is the United States defrauded of its revenues, and its officers openly resisted, but when arrests are made it often occurs that pris- oners are rescued by mob violence, and officers and witnesses are often at night dragged from their homes and cruelly beaten, or waylaid and assassinated." One day I asked a mountain man, "How about the revenue officers What sort of men are they" "Torn down scoundrels, every one." "Oh, come, now!" " Yes, they are; plumb onery-lock, stock, barrel and gun-stick." " Consider what they have to go through," I remarked. " Like other detectives, they cannot secure evidence without practicing deception. Their occupation is hard and dangerous. Here in the mountains, every man's hand is against them." i6q 170 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS " Why is it agin them We ain't all block- aders; yet you can search these mountains through with a fine-tooth comb and you wunt find ary critter as has a good word to say for the revenue. The reason is 't we know them men from 'way back; we know whut they uster do afore they jined the sarvice, and why they did it. Most of them were blockaders their own selves, till they saw how they could make more money turncoatin'. They use their authority to abuse people who ain't never done nothin' no- how. Dangerous business Shucks! There's Jim Cody, for a sample [I suppress the real name] ; he was principally raised in this county, and I've knowed him from a boy. He's been eight years in the Government sarvice, and hain't never been shot at once. But he's killed a blockader-oh, yes! He arrested Tom Hay- ward, a chunk of a boy, that was scared most fitified and never resisted more'n a mouse. Cody, who was half drunk his-self, handcuffed Tom, quarreled with him, and shot the boy dead while the handcuffs was on him! Tom's relations sued Cody in the County Court, but he carried the case to the Federal Court, and they were too poor to follow it up. I tell you, though, thar's a settlement less 'n a thousand mile from the river whar Jim Cody ain't never showed his " THE REVENUE" nose sence. He knows there'd be another reve- nue ' murdered.'" " It must be ticklish business for an officer to prowl about the headwaters of these mountain streams, looking for 'sign.'" " Hell's banjer! they don't go prodjectin' around looking for stills. They set at home on their hunkers till some feller comes and in- forms." "What class of people does the informing" "Oh, sometimes hit's some pizen old bum who's been refused credit. Sometimes hit's the wife or mother of some feller who's drinkin' too much. Then, agin, hit may be some rival block- ader who aims to cut off the other feller's trade, and, same time, divert suspicion from his own self. But ginerally hit's jest somebody who has a gredge agin the blockader fer family reasons, or business reasons, and turns informer to git even." It is only fair to present this side of the case, because there is much truth in it, and because it goes far to explain the bitter feeling against revenue agents personally that is almost uni- versal in the mountains, and is shared even by the mountain preachers. It should be under- stood, too, in this connection, that the southern highlander has a long memory. Slights and 17I! 172 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS injuries suffered by one generation have their scars transmitted to sons and grandsons. There is no denying that there have been officers in the revenue service waho, stung by the contempt in which they were held as renegades from their own people, have used their authority in settling private scores, and have inflicted grievous wrongs upon innocent people. This is matter of official record. In his report for 1882, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue himself de- clared that " Instances have been brought to my attention where numerous prosecutions have been instituted for the most trivial violations of law, and the arrested parties taken long dis- tances and subjected to great inconveniences and expense, not in the interest of the Government, but apparently for no other reason than to make costs." An ex-United States Commissioner told me that, in the darkest days of this struggle, when he himself was obliged to buckle on a revolver every time he put his head out of doors, he had more trouble with his own deputies than with the moonshiners. " As a rule, none but desper- adoes could could be hired for the service," he declared. " For example, one time my deputy in your county wanted some liquor for himself. He and two of his cronies crossed the line into " THE REVENUE" South Carolina, raided a still, and got beastly drunk. The blockaders bushwhacked them, riddled a mule and its rider with buckshot, and shot my deputy through the brain with a squir- rel rifle. We went over there and buried the victims a few days later, during a snow storm, working with our holster flaps unbuttoned. I had all that work and worry simply because that rascal was bent on getting drunk without paying for it. However, it cost him his life. " They were not all like that, though," con- tinued the Judge. " Now and then there would turn up in the service a man who had entered it from honorable motives, and whose conduct, at all times, was chivalric and clean. There was Hersh Harkins, for example, now United States Collector at Asheville. I had many cases in which Harkins figured." " Tell me of one," I urged. "Well, one time there was a man named Jenks [that was not the real name, but it will serve], who was too rich to be suspected of blockading. Jenks had a license to make brandy, but not whiskey. One day Harkins was visiting his still-house, and he noticed something du- bious. Thrusting his arm down through the peach pomace, he found mash underneath. It is a penitentiary offense to mix the two. Har- I73 174 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS kins procured more evidence from Jenk's dis- tiller, and haled the offender before me. The trial was conducted in a hotel room, full of people. We were not very formal in those days -kept our hats on. There was no thought of Jenks trying to run away, for he was well-to-do; so he was given the freedom of the room. He paced nervously back and forth between my desk and the door, growing more restless as the trial proceeded. A clerk sat near me, writing a bond, and Harkins stood behind him dictating its terms. Suddenly Jenks wheeled around, near the door, jerked out a navy revolver, fired and bolted. It is hard to say whom he shot at, for the bullet went through Harkins's coat, through the clerk's hat, and through my hat, too. I ducked under the desk to get my revolver, and Harkins, thinking that I was killed, sprang to pick me up; but I came up firing. It was won- derful how soon that room was emptied! Har- kins took after the fugitive, and had a wild chase; but he got him." It was my good fortune, a few evenings later, to have a long talk with Mr. Harkins himself. He was a fine giant of a man, standing six feet three, and symmetrically proportioned. No one looking into his kindly gray eyes would suspect " THE REVENUE" that they belonged to one who had seen as hard and dangerous service in the Revenue Depart- ment as any man then living. In an easy, unas- suming way he told me many stories of his own adventures among moonshiners and counterfeit- ers in the old days when these southern Appa- lachians fairly swarmed with desperate charac- ters. One grim affair will suffice to give an impression of the man, and of the times in which his spurs were wvon. There was a man on South Mountain, South Carolina, whom, for the sake of relatives who may still be living, we will call Lafonte. There was information that Lafonte was running a blind tiger. He got his whiskey from four brothers who were blockading near his father's house, just within the North Carolina line. The Government had sent an officer named Merrill to capture Lafonte, but the latter drove Merrill away with a shotgun. Harkins then received orders to make the arrest. Taking Merrill with him as guide, Harkins rode to the father's house, and found Lafonte himself working near a high fence. As soon as the criminal saw the officers approaching, he ran for the house to get his gun. Harkins galloped along the other side of the fence, and, after a rough-and-tumble fight, captured his man. The officers then carried 17S 176 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS their prisoner to the house of a man whose name I have forgotten-call him White-who lived about two miles away. Meantime they had heard Lafonte's sister give three piercing screams as a signal to his confederates in the neighborhood, and they knew that trouble would quickly brew. Breakfast was ready in White's home when the mob arrived. Harkins sent Merrill in to breakfast, and himself went out on the porch, carbine in hand, to stand off the thoroughly angry gang. White also went out, beseeching the mob to disperse. Matters looked squally for a time, but it was finally agreed that Lafonte should give bond, whereupon he was promptly released. The two officers then finished their breakfast, and shortly set out for the Blue House, an abandoned schoolhouse about forty miles dis- tant, where the trial was to be conducted. They were followed at a distance by Lafonte's half- drunken champions, who were by no means placated, owing to the fact that the Blue House wvas in a neighborhood friendly to the Govern- ment. Harkins and Merrill soon dodged to one side in the forest, until the rioters had passed them, and then proceeded leisurely in the rear. On their way to the Blue House they cut up 0 0 .- ct . This page in the original text is blank. " THE REVENUE" four stills, destroyed a furnace, and made sev- eral arrests. The next day three United States commis- sioners opened court in the old schoolhouse. The room was crowded by curious spectators. The trial had not proceeded beyond prelimi- naries when shots and shouts from the pursuing mob were heard in the distance. Immediately the room was emptied of both crowd and com- missioners, who fled in all directions, leaving Harkins and Merrill to fight their battle alone. There were thirteen men in the moonshiners' mob. They surrounded the house, and imme- diately began shooting in through the windows. The officers returned the fire, but a hard-pine ceiling in the room caused the bullets of the attacking party to ricochet in all directions and made the place untenable. Harkins and his comrade sprang out through the windows, but from opposite sides of the house. Merrill ran, but Harkins grappled with the men nearest to him, and in a moment the whole force of des- peradoes was upon him like a swarm of bees. Unfortunately, the brave fellow had left his car- bine at the house where he had spent the night. His only weapon was a revolver that had only three cartridges in the cylinder. Each of these shots dropped a man; but there were ten men I77 I78 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS left. Nothing but Harkins's gigantic strength saved him, that day, from immediate death. His long arms tackled three or four men at once, and all went down in a bunch. Others fell on top, as in a college cane-rush. There had been swift shooting, hitherto, but now it was mostly knife and pistol-butt. It is almost incredible, but it is true, that this extraordinary battle waged for three-quarters of an hour. At its end only one man faced the now thoroughly ex- hausted and badly wounded, but indomitable officer. At this fellow, Harkins hurled his pis- tol; it struck him in the forehead, and the battle was won. A thick overcoat that Mr. Harkins wore was pierced by twenty-one bullets, seven of which penetrated his body. He received, besides, three or four bad knife-wounds in his back, and he was literally dripping blood from head to foot. This tragedy had an almost comic sequel. After all danger had passed, a sheriff appeared on the scene, who placed, not the mob-leader, but the Federal officer under arrest. Harkins left a guard over the three men whom he had shot, and submitted to arrest, but demanded that he be taken to the farmhouse where he had left his horse. This the sheriff actually refused to " THE REVENUE" permit, although Harkins was evidently past all possibility of continuing far afoot. Disgusted at such imbecility, the deputy stalked away from the sheriff, leaving the latter with his mouth open, and utterly obsessed. A short distance up the road, Harkins met a countryman mounted on a sorry old mule. " Loan me that mule for half an hour," he re- quested; " you see, I can walk no further." But the fellow, scared out of his wits by the spec- tacle of a man in such desperate plight, refused to accommodate him. " Get down off that mule, or I'll break your neck! " The mule changed riders. When the story was finished, I asked Mr. Harkins if it was true, as the reading public generally believes, that moonshiners prefer death to capture. " Do they shoot a revenue officer at sight " The answer was terse: "They used to shoot; nowadays they run." We have come to the time when our Govern- ment began in dead earnest to fight the moon- shiners and endeavor to suppress their traffic. It was in I877. To give a fair picture, from the official standpoint, of the state of affairs at that 179 i8o OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS time, I will quote from the report of the Com- missioner of Internal Revenue for the year I 877-78: " It is with extreme regret," he said, "I find it my duty to report the great difficulties that have been and still are encountered in many of the Southern States in the enforcement of the laws. In the mountain regions of West Vir- ginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama, and in some portions of Missouri, Arkansas and Texas, the illicit manufacture of spirits has been carried on for a number of years, and I am satisfied that the annual loss to the Government from this source has been very nearly, if not quite, equal to the annual appropriation for the collection of the internal revenue tax throughout the whole coun- try. In the regions of country named there are known to exist about 5,ooo copper stills, many of which at certain times are lawfully used in the production of brandy from apples and peaches, but I am convinced that a large portion of these stills have been and are used in the illicit manu- facture of spirits. Part of the spirits thus pro- duced has been consumed in the immediate neighborhood; the balance has been distributed and sold throughout the adjacent districts. " This nefarious business has been carried on, " THE REVENUE" as a rule, by a determined set of men, who in their various neighborhoods league together for defense against the officers of the law, and at a given signal are ready to come together with arms in their hands to drive the officers of in- ternal revenue out of the country. "As illustrating the extraordinary resistance which the officers have had on some occasions to encounter, I refer to occurrences in Overton County, Tennessee, in August last, where a posse of eleven internal revenue officers, who had stopped at a farmer's house for the night, were attacked by a band of armed illicit distillers, who kept up a constant fusillade during the whole night, and whose force was augmented during the following day till it numbered nearly two hundred men. The officers took shelter in a log house, which served them as a fort, re- turning the fire as best they could, and were there besieged for forty-two hours, three of their party being shot-one through the body, one through the arm, and one in the face. I di- rected a strong force to go to their relief, but in the meantime, through the intervention of citizens, the besieged officers were permitted to retire, taking their wounded with them, and without surrendering their arms. " So formidable has been the resistance to the I82 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS enforcement of the laws that in the districts of Sth Virginia, 6th North Carolina, South Caro- lina, 2d and Sth Tennessee, 2d West Virginia, Arkansas, and Kentucky, I have found it neces- sary to supply the collectors with breech-loading carbines. In these districts, and also in the States of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, in the 4th district of North Carolina, and in the 2d and Sth districts of Missouri, I have authorized the organization of posses ranging from five to sixty in number, to aid in making seizures and arrests, the object being to have a force suffi- ciently strong to deter resistance if possible, and, if need be, to overcome it." The intention of the Revenue Department was certainly not to inflame the mountain peo- ple, but to treat them as considerately as pos- sible. And yet, the policy of " be to their faults a little blind " had borne no other fruit than to strengthen the combinations of moonshiners and their sympathizers to such a degree that they could set the ordinary force of officers at defi- ance, and things had come to such a pass that men of wide experience in the revenue service had reached the conclusion that " the fraud of illicit distilling was an evil too firmly estab- lished to be uprooted, and that it must be endured," " THE REVENUE" The real trouble was that public sentiment in the mountains was almost unanimously in the moonshiners' favor. Leading citizens were either directly interested in the traffic, or were in active sympathy with the distillers. "In some cases," said the Commissioner, " State officers, including judges on the bench, have sided with the illicit distillers and have encour- aged the use of the State courts for the prose- cution of the officers of the United States upon all sorts of charges, with the evident purpose of obstructing the enforcement of the laws of the United States. . . . I regret to have to re- cord the fact that when the officers of the United States have been shot down from ambuscade, in cold blood, as a rule no efforts have been made on the part of the State officers to arrest the murderers; but in cases where the officers of the United States have been engaged in enforce- ment of the laws, and have unfortunately come in conflict with the violators of the law, and homicides have occurred, active steps have been at once taken for the arrest of such officers, and nothing would be left undone by the State au- thorities to bring them to trial and punishment." There is no question but that this statement of the Commissioner was a fair presentation of facts; but when he went on to expose the root 183 I84 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS of the evil, the underlying sentiment that made, and still makes, illicit distilling popular among our mountaineers, I think that he was singularly at fault. This was his explanation-the only one that I have found in all the reports of the Department from I870 to I904: " Much of the opposition to the enforcement of the internal revenue laws [he does not say all, but offers no other theory] is properly attribut- able to a latent feeling of hostility to the gov- ernment and laws of the United States still pre- vailing in the breasts of a portion of the people of these districts, and in consequence of this con- dition of things the officers of the United States have often been treated very much as though they were emissaries from some foreign country quartered upon the people for the collection of tribute." This shows an out-and-out misunderstanding of the character of the mountain people, their history, their proclivities, and the circumstances of their lives. The southern mountaineers, as a class, have been remarkably loyal to the Union ever since it was formed. Far more of them fought for the Union than for the Confederacy in our Civil War. And, anyway, politics has never had anything to do with the moonshining question. The reason for illicit distilling is " THE REVENUE" purely an economic one, as I have shown. If officers of the Federal Government have been treated as foreigners they have met the same reception that all outsiders meet from the moun- taineers. A native of the Carolina tidewater is a " furriner " in the Carolina mountains, and so is a native of the " bluegrass " when he enters the eastern hills of his own State. The high- lander's word "furriner" means to him what g4p,3apoS did to an ancient Greek. Ordinarily he is courteous to the unfortunate alien, though never deferential; in his heart of hearts he re- gards the queer fellow with lofty superiority. This trait is characteristic of all primitive peo- ples, of all isolated peoples. It is provincialism, pure and simple-a provincialism more crudely expressed in Appalachia than in Gotham or The Hub, but no cruder in essence for all that. The vigorous campaign of I877 bore such fruit that, in the following year, the Commis- sioner was able to report: "We virtually have peaceable possession of the districts of 4th and Sth North Carolina, Georgia, West Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, and Arkansas, in many of which formidable resistance to the enforcement of the law has prevailed. . . . In the western portion of the Sth Virginia district, in part of West Virginia, in the 6th North Carolina dis- i86 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS trict, in part of South Carolina, and in the 2d and 5th districts of Tennessee, I apprehend fur- ther serious difficulties. . . . It is very desir- able, in order to prevent bloodshed, that the internal revenue forces sent into these infected regions to make seizures and arrests shall be so strong as to deter armed resistance." In January, i88o, a combined movement by armed bodies of internal revenue officers was made from West Virginia southwestward through the mountains and foothills infested with illicit distillers. " The effect of this move- ment was to convince violators of the law that it was the determination of the Government to put an end to frauds and resistance of authority, and since that time it has been manifest to all well-meaning men in those regions of the coun- try that the day of the illicit distiller is past." In his report for 1881-82 the Commissioner de- clared that " The supremacy of the laws . . has been established in all parts of the country." As a matter of fact, the number of arrests per annum, which hitherto had ranged from i,ooo to 3,ooo, now dropped off considerably, and the casualties in the service became few and far be- tween. But, in i894, Congress increased the tax on spirits from the old go cents figure to i.io a gallon. The effect was almost instantaneous. " THE REVENUE" We have no means of learning how many new moonshine stills were set up, but we do know that the number of seizures doubled and trebled, and that bloodshed proportionally increased. Again the complaint went out that " justice was frequently. defeated," even in cases of convic- tion, by failure to visit adequate punishment upon the offenders. It is, to-day, a notorious fact that our blockaders dread their own State courts far more than they do the Federal courts, because the punishment for selling liquor in the mountain counties is surer to follow conviction than is the penalty for violating Federal law. The latter is severe enough, if it were enforced; for defrauding, or attempting to defraud, the United States of the tax on spirits, the law pre- scribes forfeiture of the distillery and apparatus, and of all spirits and raw materials, besides a fine of not less than 500 nor more than 5,ooo, and imprisonment for not less than six months nor longer than three years. I am not able to say what percentage of arrests is followed by conviction, nor how many convicted persons suffer the full penalty of the law. I only know that public opinion in the mountains did not consider an arrest, or even a conviction, by the Federal authorities, as a very serious matter during the period from i88o up to the past two I87 i88 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS or three years, and little resistance was offered by blockaders when captured. Recently, however, a new factor has entered the moonshining problem and profoundly al- tered it: the South has gone " dry." One might have expected that prohibition would be bitterly opposed in Appalachia, in view of the fact that here the old-fashioned principle still prevails, in practice, that mod- erate drinking is neither a sin nor a disgrace, and that a man has the same right to make his own whiskey as his own soup, if he chooses. Undoubtedly those who fight the liquor traffic on purely moral grounds are a small minority in the mountains. But the blockaders them- selves are glad to see prohibitory laws enforced to the letter, so far as saloons and registered dis- tilleries are concerned, and the drinking public prefer their native product from both patriotic and gustatory motives. Such a combination is irresistible. When pure "blockade" of normal strength sold as cheaply as it did before prohibition there was no great profit in it, all risks and ex- penses considered. But to-day, even with inter- state shipments of liquors to consumers, a gallon of " blockade " will be watered to half-strength, then fortified with cologne spirits or other " THE REVENUE" abominations, and peddled out by bootleggers, at i.5o a quart, in villages and lumber camps where somebody always is thirsty and can find the coin to assuage it. Thus, amid a poverty- stricken class of mountaineers, the temptation to run a secret still, and adulterate the output, in- flames and spreads. In any case, the fact is that blockading as a business conducted in armed defiance of the law is increasing by leaps and bounds since the mountain region went " dry." The profits to- day are much greater than before, because liquor is harder to get, in country districts, and consumers will pay higher prices without ques- tion. Correspondingly, the risks are greater than ever. Arrests have increased rapidly, and so have mortal combats between officers and out- laws. Blockading has returned to much the same status described (as previously quoted) by our Commissioner of Internal Revenue in 1876. I have not seen recent revenue reports, but I do not need to; for the war between officers and moonshiners is so close to us that we almost live within gun-crack of it. If Mr. Harkins were alive to-day, he would say: "They used to shoot-and they have taken it up again." Observe, please, that this is no argument for I89 t90 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS or against prohibition. That is not my business. As a descriptive writer it is my duty to collect facts, whether pleasant or unpleasant, regard- less of my own or anyone else's bias, and present them in orderly sequence. It is for the reader to deduce his own conclusions, and with them I have nothing at all to do. I have given in brief the history of illicit dis- tilling because we must consider it before we can grasp firmly the basic fact that this is not so much a moral as an economic problem. Men do not make whiskey in secret, at the peril of imprisonment or death, because they are outlaws by nature nor from any other kind of depravity, but simply and solely because it looks like " easy money to poor folks." If I may voice my own opinion of a working remedy, it is this: Give the mountaineers a lawful chance to make decent livings where they are. This means, first of all, decent roads whereby to market their farm produce without losing all profit in cost of transportation. The first problem of Appalachia to-day is the very same problem as that of western Pennsylvania in I784- CHAPTER IX THE OUTLANDER AND THE NATIVE A MONG the many letters that come to me from men who think of touring or camp- ing in Highland Dixie there are few but ask, " How are strangers treated " This question, natural and prudent though it be, never fails to make me smile, for I know so well the thoughts that lie back of it: " Sup- pose one should blunder innocently upon a moonshine still-what would happen If a feud were raging in the land, how would a stranger fare If one goes alone into the moun- tains, does he run any risk of being robbed" Before I left the tame West and came into this wild East, I would have asked a few ques- tions myself, if I had known anyone to answer them. As it was, I turned up rather abruptly in a backwoods settlement where the " furriner " was more than a nine-days wonder. I bore no credentials; and it was quite as well. If I had presented a letter from some clergyman or from the President of the United States it would have '9' 192 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS been-just what I was myself-a curiosity: as when the puppy discovers some weird and mar- velous new bug. Everyone greeted me politely but with un- feigned interest. I was welcome to sup and bed wherever I went. Moonshiners and man-slayers were as affable as common folks. I dwelt alone for a long time, first in open camp, afterwards in a secluded hut. Then I boarded with a na- tive family. Often I left my belongings to look out for themselves whilst I went away on expe- ditions of days or weeks at a time. And nobody ever stole from me so much as a fish-hook or a brass cartridge. So, in the retrospect, I smile. Does this mean, then, that Poe's character- ization of the mountaineers is out of date Not at all. They are the same " fierce and un- couth race of men " to-day that they were in his time. Homicide is so prevalent in the dis- tricts that I personally am acquainted with that nearly every adult citizen has been directly interested in some murder case, either as prin- cipal, officer, witness, kinsman, or friend. This grewsome subject I shall treat elsewhere, in detail. It is introduced here only to empha- size a fact pertinent to the present topic, namely: that the private wars of the highlanders are limited to their own people. In our corner of Many of the homes have but one window This page in the original text is blank. OUTLANDER AND NATIVE I93 North Carolina no traveler from the outside ever has been a victim, nor do I know of any such case in the whole Appalachian region. And here is another significant fact: as re- gards personal property I do not know any race in the world that is more honest than our back- woodsmen of the southern mountains. As soon as you leave the railroad you enter a land where sneak-thieves are rare and burglars almost un- heard of. In my own county and all those ad- joining it there has been only one case of high- way robbery and only one of murder for money, so far as I can learn, in the past forty years. The mountain code of conduct is a curious mixture of savagery and civility. One man will kill another over a pig or a panel of fence (not for the property's sake, but because of hot words ensuing) and he will "come clear" in court because every fellow on the jury feels he would have done the same thing himself under similar provocation; yet these very men, vengeful and cruel though they are, regard hospitality as a sacred duty toward wayfarers of any degree, and the bare idea of stealing from a stranger would excite their instant loathing or white- hot scorn. Anyone of tact and common sense can go as he pleases through the darkest corner of Appa- 194 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS lachia without being molested. Tact, however, implies the will and the insight to put yourself truly in the other man's place. Imagine your- self born, bred, circumstanced like him. It implies, also, the courtesy of doing as you would be done by if you were in that fellow's shoes. No arrogance, no condescension, but man to man on a footing of equal manliness. And there are " manners " in the rudest com- munity: customs and rules of conduct that it is well to learn before one goes far afield. For example, when you stop at a mountain cabin, if no dogs sound an alarm, do not walk up to the door and knock. You are expected to call out Hello! until someone comes to inspect you. None but the most intimate neighbors neglect this usage and there is mighty good reason back of it in a land where the path to one's door may be a warpath. If you are armed, as a hunter, do not fail to remove the cartridges from the gun, in your host's presence, before you set foot on his porch. Then give him the weapon or stand it in a cor- ner or hang it up in plain view. Even our sheriff, when he stopped with us, would lay his revolver on the mantel-shelf and leave it there until he went his way. If you think a moment you can see the courtesy of such an act. It OUTLANDER AND NATIVE i95 proves that the guest puts implicit trust in the honor of his host and in his ability to protect all within his house. There never has been a case in which such trust was violated. I knew a traveler who, spending the night in a one-room cabin, was fool enough (I can use no milder term) to thrust a loaded revolver under his pillow when he went to bed. In the morning his weapon was still there, but empty, and its cartridges lay conspicuously on a table across the room. Nobody said a word about the incident: the hint was left to soak in. The only real danger that one may encounter from the native people, so long as he behaves himself, is when he comes upon a man who is wild with liquor and cannot sidestep him. In such case, give him the glad word and move on at once. I have had a drunken " ball-hooter" (log-roller) from the lumber camps fire five shots around my head as a fett-de-joie, and then stand tantalizingly, with hammer cocked over the sixth cartridge, to see what I would do about it. As it chanced, I did not mind his fire- works, for my head was a-swim with the rising fever of erysipelas and I had come dragging my heels many an irk mile down from the moun- tains to find a doctor. So I merely smiled at the fellow and asked if he was having a good i96 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS time. He grinned sheepishly and let me pass unharmed. The chief drawback to travel in this region, aside from the roads, is not the character of the people, but the quality of bed and board. Of course there are good hotels at most of the sum- mer resorts, but these are few and scattering, at present, for a territory so immense. In most regions where there is noble scenery, unspoiled forest, and good fishing, the accommodations are extremely rude. Many of the village inns are dirty, and their tables a shock and a despair to the hungry pilgrim. There are blessed ex- ceptions, to be sure, but on the other hand the traveler sometimes will encounter a cuisine that is neither edible nor speakable, and will be shown to a bed wherein it needs no Sherlock Holmes to detect that the previous biped re- tired with his boots on, or at least with much realty attached to his person. Such places often are like that unpronounceable town in Russia of which Paragot said: " The bugs are the most companionable creatures in it, and they are the cleanest." If one be of the same mind as the plain-spoken Dr. Samuel Johnson, that " the finest landscape in the world is not worth a damn without a cozy inn in the foreground," he should keep to OUTLANDER AND NATIVE 197 the stock show-places of our highlands or seek other playgrounds. By far the most comfortable way to stay in the back country at present is in a camp of one's own where he can keep things tidy and have food to suit him. If you be, though, of stout stomach and wishful to get true insight into mountain ways and character you can find some sort of boarding-place almost anywhere. In such case go first to the sheriff of the county (in person, not by letter). This officer is a walking bureau of information and dispenses it freely to any stranger. He knows almost every man in the county, his character and his cir- cumstances. He may be depended upon to di- rect you to the best stopping-places, will tell you how to get hunting and fishing privileges, and will recommend a good packer or teamster if such help is wanted. Along the railways and main county roads the farmers show a well-justified mistrust about admitting company for the night. But in the back districts the latch-string generally is out to all comers. " If you-uns can stand what we- uns has ter, w'y come right in and set you a cheer." If the man of the house has misgivings as to the state of the larder, he will say: " I'll ax I98 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS the woman gin she can git ye a bite." Seldom does the wife demur, though sometimes her pa- tience is sorely tried. A stranger whose calked boots betrayed his calling stopped at Uncle Mark's to inquire, " Can I git to stay all night " Aunt Nance, peeping through a crack, warned her man in a whisper: " Them loggers jest louzes up folkses houses." Whereat Mark answered the lumber- jack: " We don't ginerally foller takin' in strangers." Jack glanced significantly at the lowering clouds, and grunted: " Uh-looks like I could stand hitched all nightl " This was too much for Mark. "WellI" he exclaimed, " mebbe we-uns can find ye a pallet -I'll try to enjoy ye somehow." Which, being interpreted, means, " I'll entertain you as best I can." The hospitality of the backwoods knows no bounds short of sickness in the family or down- right destitution. Travelers often innocently impose on poor people, and even criticise the scanty fare, when they may be getting a lion's share of the last loaf in the house. And few of them realize the actual cost of entertaining company in a home that is long mountain miles from any market. Fancy yourself making a OUTLANDER AND NATIVE i99 twenty-mile round trip over awful roads to carry back a sack of flour on your shoulder and a can of oil in your hand; then figure what the transportation is worth. Once when I was trying a short-cut through the forest by following vague directions I swerved to the wrong trail. Sunset found me on the summit of an unfamiliar mountain, with cold rain setting in, and below me lay the im- penetrable laurel of Huggins's Hell. I turned back to the head of the nearest water course, not knowing whither it led, fought my way through thicket and darkness to the nearest house, and asked for lodging. The man was just coming in from work. He betrayed some anxiety but admitted me with grave politeness. Then he departed on an errand, leaving his wife to hear the story of my wanderings. I was eager for supper; but madame made no move toward the kitchen. An hour passed. A little child whimpered with hunger. The mother, flushing, soothed it on her breast. It was well on in the night when her husband returned, bearing a little " poke " of cornmeal. Then the woman flew to her post. Soon we had hot bread, three or four slices of pork, and black coffee unsweetened-all there was in the house. It developed that when I arrived there was 200 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS barely enough meal for the family's supper and breakfast. My host had to shell some corn, go in almost pitch darkness, without a lantern, to a tub-mill far down the branch, wait while it ground out a few spoonfuls to the minute and bring the meal back. Next morning, when I offered pay for my entertainment, he waved it aside. " I ain't never tuk money from company," he said, "and this ain't no time to begin." Laughing, I slipped some silver into the hand of the eldest child. "This is not pay; it's a present." The girl was awed into speechless- ness at sight of money of her own, and the par- ents did not know how to thank me for her, but bade me "Stay on, stranger; pore folks has a pore way, but you're welcome to what we got." This incident is a little out of the common, nowadays; but it is typical of what was custom- ary until lumbering and other industrial works began to invade the solitudes. To-day it is the rule to charge twenty-five cents a meal and the same for lodging, regardless of what the fare and the bed may be. When you think of it, this is right, for " the porer folks is the harder it is to git things." The mountaineers always are eager for news. OUTLANDER AND NATIVE 20I In the drab monotony of their shut-in lives the coming of an unknown traveler is an event that will set the whole neighborhood gossiping. Every word and action of his will be discussed for weeks after he has gone his way. This, of course, is a trait of rural people everywhere; but imagine, if you can, how it may be inten- sified where there are no newspapers, few vis- itors, and where the average man gets maybe two or three letters a yearl Riding up a branch road, you come upon a white-bearded patriarch who halts you with a wave of the hand. " Stranger-meanin' no harm-whar are you gwine " You tell him. "What did you say your name was" You had not mentioned it; but you do so now. " What mought you-uns foller for a living" It is wise to humor the old man, and tell him frankly what is your business " up this 'way-off branch." Half a mile farther you espy a girl coming toward you. She stops like a startled fawn, wide-eyed with amazement. Then, at a bound, she dodges into a thicket, doubles on her course and runs back as fast as her nimble bare legs 202 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS can carry her to report that " Some-body 's comnin'! " At the next house, stopping for a drink of water, you chat a few moments. High up the opposite hill is a half-hidden cabin from which keen eyes scrutinize your every move, and a woman cries to her boy: " Run, Kit, down to Mederses, and ax who is he! " As you approach a cross-roads store every idler pricks up to instant attention. Your pres- ence is detected from every neighboring cabin and cornfield. Long John quits his plowing, Red John drops his axe, Sick John ("who 's allers ailin', to hear him tell ") pops out of bed, and Lyin' John (whose " mouth ain't no praar- book, if it does open and shet") grabs his hat, with " I jes' got ter know who that feller is! " Then all Johns descend their several paths, to congregate at the store and estimate the stranger as though he were so many board-feet of lumber in the tree or so many pounds of beef on the hoof. In every settlement there is somebody who makes a pleasure of gathering and spreading news. Such a one we had-a happy-go-lucky fellow from whom, they said, "you can hear the news jinglin' afore he comes within gun- shot." It amused me to record the many ways OUTLANDER AND NATIVE 203 he had of announcing his mission by indirec- tion. Here is the list: " I'm jes' broguin' about." " Yes, I'm jest cooterin' around." " I'm santerin' about." "Oh, I'm jes' prodjectin' around." "Jist traffickin' about." "No, I ain't workin' none-jest spuddin' around." "Me I'm jes' shacklin' around." "Yea, Ia! I'm jist loaf erin' about." And yet one hears that our mountaineers have a limited vocabulary! Although this is no place to discuss the moun- tain dialect, I must explain that to " brogue" means to go about in brogues (brogans nowa- days). A "cooter" is a box-tortoise, and the noun is turned into a verb with an ease charac- teristic of the mountaineers. " Spuddin' around " means toddling or jolting along. To "shum- mick" (also "shammick") is to shuffle about, idly nosing into things, as a bear does when there is nothing serious in view. And " shack- lin' around " pictures a shackly, loose-jointed way of walking, expressive of the idle vagabond. A stranger takes the mountaineers for simple characters that can be gauged at a glance. This illusion-for it is an illusion-comes from the 204 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS childlike directness with which they ask him the most intimate questions about himself, from the genuine good-will with which they admit him to their homes, and from the stark open- ness of their domestic affairs in houses where no privacy can possibly exist. In so far as simplicity means only a shrewd regard for essentials, a rigid exclusion of what- ever can be done without, perhaps no white race is nearer a state of nature than these highlanders of ours. Yet this relates only to the externals of life. Diogenes sat in a tub, but his thoughts were deep as the sea. And whoever estimates our mountaineers as a shallow-minded or open- minded people has much to learn. When Long John asks, " What you aimin' to do up hyur How much money do you make Whar's your old woman " he does not really expect sincere answers. Certainly he will take them with more than a grain of salt. Conver- sation, with him, is a game. In quizzing you, the interests that he is actually curious about lie hidden in the back of his head, and he will pro- ceed toward them by cunning circumventions, seeking to entrap you into telling the truth by accident. Being himself born to intrigue and skilled in dodging the leading question, he as- sumes that you have had equal advantages. OUTLANDER AND NATIVE 205 When you discuss with him any business of serious concern, if you should go straight to the point, and open your mind frankly, he would be nonplussed. The fact is that our highlanders are a sly, suspicious, and secretive folk. That, too, is a state of nature. Primitive society is by no means a Utopia or a Garden of Eden. In wil- derness life the feral arts of concealment, spy- ing, false " leads," and doubling on trails, are the arts self-preservative. The native back- woodsman practices them as instinctively and with as little compunction upon his own species as upon the deer and the wolf from whom he learned them. As a friend, no one will spring quicker to your aid, reckless of consequences, and fight with you to the last ditch; but fear of betrayal lies at the very bottom of his nature., His sleep- less suspicion of ulterior motives is no more, no less, than a feral trait, inherited from a long line of forebears whose isolated lives were preserved only by incessant vigilance against enemies that stalked by night and struck without warning. Casual visitors learn nothing about the true character of the mountaineers. I am not speak- ing of personal but of race character-type. No outsider can discern and measure those power- 206 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS ful but obscure motives, those rooted prejudices, that constitute their real difference from other men, until he has lived with the people a long time on terms of intimacy. Nor can anyone be trusted to portray them if he holds a brief either for or against this people. The fluttering tour- ist marks only the oddities he sees, without knowing the reason for them. On the other hand, a misguided champion flies to arms at first mention of an unpleasant fact, and either denies it, clamoring for legal proof, or tries to befog the whole subject and run it on the rocks of altercation. The mountaineers are high-strung and sensi- tive to criticism. No one has less use for " that worst scourge of avenging heaven, the candid friend." Of late years they are growing con- scious of their own belatedness, and that touches a tender spot. " Hit don't take a big seed to hurt a sore tooth." Since they do not see how anyone can find beauty or historic interest in ways of life that the rest of the world has cast aside, so they resent every exposure of their peculiarities as if that were holding them up to ridicule or blame. Strange to say, it provokes them to be called mountaineers, that being a " furrin word" which they take as a term of reproach. They OUTLANDER AND NATIVE 207 call themselves mountain people, or citizens; sometimes humorously "mountain boomers," the word boomer being their name for the com- mon red squirrel which is found here only in the upper zones of the mountains. Backwoods- man is another term that they deem opprobri- ous. Among themselves the backwoods are called " the sticks." Hillsman and highlander are strange words to them-and anything that is strange is suspicious. Hence it is next to im- possible for anyone to write much about these people without offending them or else falling into singsong repetition of the same old terms. I have found it beyond me to convince anyone here that my studies of the mountain dialect are made from any better motive than vulgar curi- osity. It has been my habit to jot down, on the spot, every dialectical word or variant or idiom that I hear, along with the phrase or sentence in which it occurred; for I never trust memory in such matters. And although I tell frankly what I am about, and why, yet all that the folks can or will see is that- A chiel 's amang ye, takin' notes, And, faith, he'll prent 'em. Nothing worse than dour looks has yet be-. fallen me, but other scribes have not got off so 208 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS easy. On more than one occasion newspaper men who went into eastern Kentucky to report feuds were escorted forcibly to the railroad and warned never to return. The feudists are scarce to blame, for the average news story of their wars is neither sacred nor profane history. It is bad enough to be shown up as an assassin; but when one is posed as " cocking the trigger " of a gun, or shooting a " forty-four " bullet from a thirty-caliber " automatic revolver," who in Kentucky could be expected to stand it The novelists have their troubles, too. Presi- dent Frost relates that when John Fox gave a reading from his Cumberland tales at Berea College " the mountain boys were ready to mob him. They had no comprehension of the nature of fiction. Mr. Fox's stories were either true or false. If they were true, then he was 'no gen- tleman' for telling all the family affairs of peo- ple who had entertained him with their best. If they were not true, then, of course, they were libellous upon the mountain people. Such an attitude may remind us of the general condem- nation of fiction by the 'unco gude' a genera- tion ago." As for settlement workers, let them teach more by example than by precept. Bishop Wilson has given them some advice that can- 0 0 (f) FH This page in the original text is blank. OUTLANDER AND NATIVE 209 not be bettered: " It must be said with empha- sis that our problem is an exceedingly delicate one. The highlanders are Scotch-Irish in their high-spiritedness and proud independence. Those who would help them must do so in a perfectly frank and kindly way, showing always genuine interest in them but never a trace of patronizing condescension. As quick as a flash the mountaineer will recognize and resent the intrusion of any such spirit, and will refuse even what he sorely needs if he detects in the accents or the demeanor of the giver any indication of an air of superiority." " The worker among the mountaineers," he continues, " must 'meet with them on the level and part on the square ' and conquer their of ten- times unreasonable suspicion by genuine broth- erly friendship. The less he has to say about the superiority of other sections or of the defi- ciencies of the mountains, the better for his cause. The fact is that comparatively few workers are at first able to pass muster in this regard under the searching and silent scrutiny of the mountain people." Allow me to add that this is no place for the "unco gude" to exercise their talents, but rather for those whose studies and travels have taught them both tolerance and hopefulness. 210 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS Some well-meaning missionaries are shocked and scandalized at what seems to them incur- able perversity and race degeneration. It is nothing of the sort. There are reasons, good reasons, for the worst that we find in any Hell- fer-Sartin or Loafer's Glory. All that is the inevitable result of isolation and lack of oppor- tunity. It is no more hopeless than the same features of life were in the Scotch highlands two centuries ago. But it must be known that the future of this really fine race is, at bottom, an economic prob- lem, which must be studied hand-in-hand with the educational one. Civilization only repels the mountaineer until you show him something to gain by it-he knows by instinct what he is bound to lose. There is no use in teaching cleanliness and thrift to serfs or outcasts. The independence of the mountain farm must be preserved, or the fine spirit of the race will vanish and all that is manly in the highlander will wither to the core. It is far from my own purpose to preach or advise. " Portray the struggle, and you need write no tract." Still farther is it from my thought to let characterization degenerate into caricature. Wherever I tell anything that is unusual or below the average of backwoods life, OUTLANDER AND NATIVE 211 I give fair warning that it is admitted only for spice or contrast, and let it go at that. But even in writing with severe restraint it will be neces- sary at times to show conditions so rude and antiquated that professional apologists will growl, and many others may find my statements hard to credit as typical of anything at all in our modern America. So, let me remind the reader again that full three-fourths of our mountaineers still live in the eighteenth century, and that in their far- flung wilderness, away from large rivers and railways, the habits, customs, morals of the peo- ple have changed but little from those of our old colonial frontier; in essentials they are closely analogous to what we read of lower- class English and Scottish life in Covenanter and Jacobite times. CHAPTER X THE PEOPLE OF THE HILLS IN delineating a strange race we are prone to disregard what is common in our own experience and observe sharply what is odd. The oddities we sketch and remember and tell about. But there is little danger of misrepresenting the physical features and men- tal traits of the hill people, because among them there is one definite type that greatly predomi- nates. This is not to be wondered at when we remember that fully three-fourths of our high- landers are practically of the same descent, have lived the same kind of life for generations, and have intermarried to a degree unknown in other parts of America. Our average mountaineer is lean, inquisitive, shrewd. If that be what constitutes a Yankee, as is popularly supposed outside of New Eng- land, then this Yankee of the South is as true to type as the conventional Uncle Sam himself. A fat mountaineer is a curiosity. The hill folk even seem to affect a slender type of come- 212 THE PEOPLE OF THE HILLS 213 liness. In Alice MacGowan's Judith of the Cumberlands, old Jepthah Turrentine says of one of his sons: " I named that boy after the finest man that ever walked God's green earth -and then the fool had to go and git fat on meI Think of me with a fat son! I allers did hold that a fat woman was bad enough, but a fat man ort p'intedly to be led out and killed! " Spartan diet does not put on flesh. Still, it should be noted that long legs, baggy clothing, and scantiness or lack of underwear make peo- ple seem thinner than they really are. Our highlanders are conspicuously a tall race. Out of seventy-six men that I have listed just as they occurred to me, but four are below average American height and only two are fat. About two-thirds of them are brawny or sinewy fel- lows of great endurance. The others generally are slab-sided, stoop-shouldered, but withey. The townsfolk and the valley farmers, being better nourished and more observant of the prime laws of wholesome living, are noticeably superior in appearance but not in stamina. Nearly all males of the back country have a grave and deliberate bearing. They travel with the long, sure-footed stride of the born woods- man, not graceful and lithe like a moccasined Indian (their coarse brogans forbid it), but 214 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS shambling as if every joint had too much play. There is nothing about them to suggest the Swiss or Tyrolean mountaineers; rather they resem- ble the gillies of the Scotch Highlands. Gen- erally they are lean-faced, sallow, level-browed, with rather high cheek-bones. Gray eyes pre- dominate, sometimes vacuous, but oftener hard, searching, crafty-the feral eye of primitive man. From infancy these people have been schooled to dissimulate and hide emotion, and ordinarily their faces are as opaque as those of veteran poker players. Many wear habitually a sullen scowl, hateful and suspicious, which in men of combative age, and often in the old women, is sinister and vindictive. The smile of comfortable assurance, the frank eye of good- fellowship, are rare indeed. Nearly all of the young people and many of the adults plant themselves before a stranger and regard him with a fixed stare, peculiarly annoying until one realizes that they have no thought of imperti- nence. Many of the women are pretty in youth; but hard toil in house and field, early marriage, frequent child-bearing with shockingly poor attention, and ignorance or defiance of the plainest necessities of hygiene, soon warp and THE PEOPLE OF THE HILLS 2i5 age them. At thirty or thirty-five a mountain woman is apt to have a worn and faded look, with form prematurely bent-and what won- der Always bending over the hoe in the corn- field, or bending over the hearth as she cooks by an open fire, or bending over her baby, or bending to pick up, for the thousandth time, the wet duds that her lord flings on the floor as he enters from the woods-what wonder that she soon grows short-waisted and round-shouldered The voices of the highland women, low toned by habit, often are singularly sweet, being pitched in a sad, musical, minor key. With strangers, the women are wont to be shy, but speculative rather than timid, as they glance betimes with " a slow, long look of mild in- quiry, or of general listlessness, or of uncon- scious and unaccountable melancholy." Many, however, scrutinize a visitor calmly for minutes at a time or frankly measure him with the gipsy eye of Carmen. Outsiders, judging from the fruits of labor in more favored lands, have charged the moun- taineers with indolence. It is the wrong word. Shiftless many of them are-afflicted with that malady which Barrie calls " acute disinclina- tion to work "-but that is not so much in their physical nature as in their economic outlook. 2i6 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS Rarely do we find mountaineers who loaf all day on the floor or the doorstep like so many of the poor whites of the lowlands. If not laboring, they at least must be doing something, be it no more than walking ten miles to shoot a squirrel or visit a crony. As a class, they have great and restless physi- cal energy. Considering the quantity and qual- ity of what they eat there is no people who can beat them in endurance of strain and privation. They are great walkers and carriers of burdens. Before there was a tub-mill in our settlement one of my neighbors used to go, every other week, thirteen miles to mill, carrying a two- bushel sack of corn (I12 pounds) and returning with his meal on the following day. This was done without any pack-strap but simply shift- ing the load from one shoulder to the other, betimes. One of our women, known as " Long Goody" (I measured her; six feet three inches she stood) walked eighteen miles across the Smokies into Tennessee, crossing at an elevation of 5,ooo feet, merely to shop more advantageously than she could at home. The next day she shouldered fifty pounds of flour and some other groceries, and bore them home before nightfall. Uncle Jimmy Crawford, in his seventy-second year. "A.Nt thirty a mountain woman is apt to have a worn and faded look" This page in the original text is blank. THE PEOPLE OF THE HILLS 217 came to join a party of us on a bear hunt. He walked twelve miles across the mountain, carry- ing his equipment and four days' rations for himself and dogs. Finding that we had gone on ahead of him he followed to our camp on Siler's Bald, twelve more miles, climbing an- other 3,000 feet, much of it by bad trail, finished the twenty-four-mile trip in seven hours-and then wanted to turn in and help cut the night- wood. Young mountaineers afoot easily out- strip a horse on a day's journey by road and trail. In a climate where it showers about two days out of three through spring and summer the women go about, like the men, unshielded from the wet. If you expostulate, one will laugh and reply: " I ain't sugar, nor salt, nor nobody's honey." Slickers are worn only on horseback- and two-thirds of our people had no horses. A man who was so eccentric as to carry an um- brella is known to this day as " Umbrell"' John Walker. In winter, one sometimes may see adults and children going barefoot in snow that is ankle deep. It used to be customary in our settle- ment to do the morning chores barefooted in the snow. "Then," said one, " our feet 'd tin- gle and burn, so 't they wouldn't git a bit cold 218 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS all day when we put our shoes on." I knew a family whose children had no shoes all one winter, and occasionally we had zero weather. It seems to have been common, in earlier times, to go barefooted all the year. Frederick Law Olmsted, a noted writer of the Civil War period, was told by a squire of the Tennessee hills that "a majority of the folks went bare- foot all winter, though they had snow much of the time four or five inches deep; and the man said he didn't think most of the men about here had more than one coat, and they never wore one in winter except on holidays. 'That was the healthiest way,' he reckoned, 'just to toughen yourself and not wear no coat.' No matter how cold it was, he ' didn't wear no coat.'" One of my own neighbors in the Smokies never owned a coat until after his mar- riage, when a friend of mine gave him one. It is the usual thing for men and boys to wade cold trout streams all day, come in at sunset, disrobe to shirt and trousers, and then sit in the piercing drafts of an open cabin drying out before the fire, though the night be so cool that a stranger beside them shivers in his dry flan- nels. After supper, the women, if they have been wearing shoes, will remove them to ease their feet, no matter if it be freezing cold-and THE PEOPLE OF THE HILLS 2i9 the cracks in the floor may be an inch wide. In bear hunting, our parties usually camped at about 0oo0 feet above sea level. At this ele- vation, in the long nights before Christmas, the cold often was bitter and the wind might blow a gale. Sometimes the native hunters would lie out in the open all night without a sign of a blanket or an axe. They would say: "La! many's the night I've been out when the frost was spewed up so high [measuring three or four inches with the hand], and that right around the fire, too." Cattle hunters in the mountains never carry a blanket or a shelter-cloth, and they sleep out wherever night finds them, often in pouring rain or flying snow. On their ar- duous trips they find it burden enough to carry the salt for their cattle, with a frying-pan, cup, corn pone, coffee, and "sow-belly," all in a grain sack strapped to the man's back. Such nurture, from childhood, makes white men as indifferent to the elements as Fuegians. And it makes them anything but comfortable companions for one who has been differently reared. During " court week " when the hotels at the county-seat are overcrowded with coun- trymen, the luckless drummers who happen to be there have continuous exercise in closing doors. No mountaineer closes a door behind 220 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS him. Winter or summer, doors are to be shut only when folks go to bed. That is what they are for. After close study of mountain speech I have failed to discern that the word draft is understood, except in parts of the Virginia and Kentucky mountains, where it means a brook. One is reminded of the colonial, who, visiting England, remarked of the British people: " It is a survival of the fittest-the fittest to exist in fog." Here, it is the fittest to survive cold, and wet, and drafts. Running barefooted in the snow is excep- tional nowadays; but it is by no means the limit of hardiness or callosity that some of these peo- ple display. It is not so long ago that I passed an open lean-to of chestnut bark far back in the wilderness, wherein a family of Tennesseans was spending the year. There were three chil- dren, the eldest a lad of twelve. The entire worldly possessions of this family could easily be packed around on their backs. Poverty, however, does not account for such manner of living. There is none so poor in the mountains that he need rear his children in a bark shed. It is all a matter of taste. There is a wealthy man known to everyone around Waynesville, who, being asked where he resided, as a witness in court, answered: THE PEOPLE OF THE HILLS 22i "Three, four miles up and down Jonathan Creek." The judge was about to fine him for contempt, when it developed that the witness spoke literal truth. He lives neither in house nor camp, but perambulates his large estate and when night comes lies down wherever he may happen to be. In winter he has been known to go where some of his pigs bedded in the woods, usurp the middle for himself, and bor- row comfort from their bodily heat. This man is worth over a hundred thousand dollars. He visited the world's fairs at Chicago and St. Louis, wearing the old long coat that serves him also as blanket, and carrying his rations in a sack. Far from being demented, he is notoriously so shrewd on the stand and so learned in the law that he is formidable to every attorney who cross-questions him. I cite these last two instances not merely as eccentricities of character, but as really typical of the bodily stamina that most of the moun- taineers can display if they want to. Their smiling endurance of cold and wet and priva- tion would have endeared them to the first Na- poleon, who declared that those soldiers were the best who bivouacked shelterless throughout the year. In spite of such apparent " toughness," the 222 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS mountaineers are not a notably healthy people. The man who exposes himself wantonly year after year must pay the piper. Sooner or later he " adopts a rheumatiz," and the adoption lasts till he dies. So also in dietary matters. The backwoodsmen through ruthless weeding-out of the normally sensitive have acquired a wonder- ful tolerance of swimming grease, doughy bread and half-fried cabbage; but, even so, they are gnawed by dyspepsia. This accounts in great measure for the " glunch o' sour disdain" that mars so many countenances. A neighbor said to me of another: " He has a gredge agin all creation, and glories in human misery." So would anyone else who ate at the same table. Many a homicide in the mountains can be traced directly to bad food and the raw whiskey taken to appease a soured stomach. Every stranger in Appalachia is quick to note the high percentage of defectives among the people. However, we should bear in mind that in the mountains proper there are few, if any, public refuges for this class, and that home ties are so powerful that mountaineers never send their " fitified folks" or "half-wits," or other unfortunates, to any institution in the lowlands, so long as it is bearable to have them around. Such poor creatures as would be segregated in THE PEOPLE OF THE HILLS 223 more advanced communities, far from the pub- lic eye, here go at large and reproduce their kind. Extremely early marriages are tolerated, as among all primitive people. I knew a hobble- dehoy of sixteen who married a frail, tubercu- lous girl of twelve, and in the same small settle- ment another lad of sixteen who wedded a girl of thirteen. In both cases the result was wretched beyond description. The evil consequences of inbreeding of per- sons closely akin are well known to the moun- taineers; but here knowledge is no deterrent, since whole districts are interrelated to start with. Owing to the isolation of the clans, and their extremely limited travels, there are abun- dant cases like those caustically mentioned in King Spruce: "All Skeets and Bushees, and married back and forth and crossways and up- side down till ev'ry man is his own grand- mother, if he only knew enough to figger relationship." The mountaineers are touchy on these topics and it is but natural that they should be so. Nevertheless it is the plain duty of society to study such conditions and apply the remedy. There was a time when the Scotch people (to cite only one instance out of many) were in 224 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS still worse case, threatened with race degenera- tion; but improved economic conditions, fol- lowed by education, made them over into one of the most vigorous of modern peoples. When I lived up in the Smokies there was no doctor within sixteen miles (and then, none who ever had attended a medical school). It was inevitable that my first-aid kit and limited knowledge of medicine should be requisitioned until I became a sort of " doctor to the settle- ment." My services, being free, at once be- came popular, and there was no escape; for, if I treated the Smiths, let us say, and ignored a call from the Robinsons, the slight would be resented by all Robinson connections through- out the land. So my normal occupations often were interrupted by such calls as these: " John's Lize Ann she ain't much; cain't you- uns give her some easin'-powder for that hurtin' in her chist " "Old Uncle Bobby Tuttle's got a pone come up on his side; looks like he mought drap off, him bein' weak and right narvish and sick with a head-swimmin'." In mountain dialect such words as settlement, govern- ment, studyment (reverie) are accented on the last syllable, or drawled with equal stress throughout. THE PEOPLE OF THE HILLS 225 " Ike Morgan Pringle's a-been horse-throwed down the clift, and he's in a manner stone dead." " Right sensibly atween the shoulders I've got a pain; somethin' 's gone wrong with my stum- mick; I don't 'pear to have no stren'th left; and sometimes I'm nigh sifflicated. Whut you reckon ails me " " Come right over to Mis' Fullwiler's, quick; she's fell down and busted a rib inside o' her! " On these errands of mercy I soon picked up some rules of practice that are not laid down in the books. I learned to carry not only my own bandages but my own towels and utensils for washing and sterilizing. I kept my mouth shut about germ theories of disease, having no troops to enforce orders and finding that mere advice incited downright perversity. I admin- istered potent drugs in person and left nothing to be taken according to direction except placebos. Once, in forgetfulness, I left a tablet of cor- rosive sublimate on the mantel after dressing a wound, and the man of the house told me next day that he had " 'lowed to swaller it' and see if it wouldn't ease his headache! " A geologist and I, exploring the hills with a mountaineer, fell into discussion of filth diseases and germs, not realizing that we were overheard. Hap- 226 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS pening to pass an ant-hill, Frank remarked to me that formic acid was supposed to be antago- nistic to the germ of laziness. Instantly we heard a growl from our woodsman: " By God, I was expectin' to hear the like o' that! " Ordinarily wounds are stanched with dusty cobwebs and bound up in any old rag. If in- fection ensues, Providence has to take the blame. A woman gashed her foot badly with an axe; I asked her what she did for it; dis- dainfully she answered, " Tied it up in sut and a rag, and went to hoein' corn." An injured person gets scant sympathy, if any. So far as outward demeanor goes, and public comment, the witnesses are utterly cal- lous. The same indifference is shown in the face of impending death. People crowd around with no other motive, seemingly, than morbid curiosity to see a person die. I asked our local preacher what the folks would do if a man broke his thigh so that the bone pro- truded. He merely elevated his eyebrows and replied: "We'd set around and sing until he died." The mountaineers' fortitude under severe pain is heroic, though often needless. For all minor operations and frequently for major ones they obstinately refuse to take an anesthetic, THE PEOPLE OF THE HILLS 227 being perversely suspicious of everything that they do not understand. Their own minor surgery and obstetric practice is barbarous. A large proportion of the mountain doctors know less about human anatomy than a butcher does about a pig's. Sometimes this ignorance passes below ordinary common sense. There is a " doctor" still practicing who, after a case of confinement, sits beside the patient and presses hard upon the hips for half an hour, explaining that it is to " push the bones back into place; don't you know they allers comes uncoupled in the socket " This, I suppose, is the limit; but there are very many practicing physicians in the back country who could not name or locate the arteries of either foot or hand to save their lives. It was here I first heard of " tooth-jumping." Let one of my old neighbors tell it in his own way: " You take a cut nail (not one o' those round wire nails) and place its squar p'int agin the ridge of the tooth, jest under the edge of the gum. Then jump the tooth out with a hammer. A man who knows how can jump a tooth with- out it hurtin' half as bad as pullin'. But old Uncle Neddy Cyarter went to jump one of his own teeth out, one time, and missed the nail 228 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS and mashed his nose with the hammer. He had the weak trembles." "I have heard of tooth-jumping," said I, "and reported it to dentists back home, but they laughed at me." " Well, they needn't laugh; for it's so. Some men git to be as experienced at it as tooth- dentists are at pullin'. They cut around the gum, and then put the nail at jest sich an angle, slantin' downward for an upper tooth, or up- wards for a lower one, and hit one lick." "Will the tooth come at the first lick" " Ginerally. If it didn't, you might as well stick your head in a swarm o' bees and fergit who you are." "Are back teeth extracted in that way" "Yes, sir; any kind of a tooth. I've burnt my holler teeth out with a red-hot wire." "Good God!" "Hit's so. The wire'd sizzle like fryin'." " Kill the nerve " " No; but it'd sear the mar so it wouldn't be so sensitive." " Didn't hurt, eh" " Hurt like hell for a moment. I held the wire one time for Jim Bob Jimwright, who couldn't reach the spot for hisself. I told him to hold his tongue back; but when I touched THE PEOPLE OF THE HILLS 229 the holler he jumped and wropped his tongue agin the wire. The words that man used ain't fitty to tell." Some of the ailments common in the moun- tains were new to me. For instance, " dew pizen," presumably the poison of some weed, which, dissolved in dew, enters the blood through a scratch or abrasion. As a woman described it, "Dew pizen comes like a risin', and laws-a-marcy how it does hurt! I stove a brier in my heel wunst, and then had to hunt cows every morning in the dew. My leg swelled up black to clar above the knee, and Dr. Stinch- comb lanced the place seven times. I lay on a pallet on the floor for over a month. My leg like to killed me. I've seed persons jest a lot o' sores all over, as big as my hand, from dew pizen." A more mysterious disease is " milk-sick," which prevails in certain restricted districts, chiefly where the cattle graze in rich and deeply shaded coves. If not properly treated it is fatal both to the cow and to any human being who drinks her fresh milk or eats her butter. It is not transmitted by sour milk or by buttermilk. There is a characteristic fetor of the breath. It is said that milk from an infected cow will not foam and that silver is turned black by it. 230 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS Mountaineers are divided in opinion as to whether this disease is of vegetable or of min- eral origin; some think it is an efflorescence from gas that settles on plants. This much is certain: that it disappears from "milk-sick coves" when they are cleared of timber and the sunlight let in. The prevalent treatment is an emetic, followed by large doses of apple brandy and honey; then oil to open the bowels. Perhaps the extraordinary distaste for fresh milk and butter, or the universal suspicion of these foods that mountaineers evince in so many localities, may have sprung up from experience with " milk-sick " cows. I have not found this malady mentioned in any treatise on medicine; yet it has been known from our earliest frontier times. Abraham Lincoln's mother died of it. That the hill folk remain a rugged and hardy people in spite of unsanitary conditions so gross that I can barely hint at them, is due chiefly to their love of pure air and pure water. No mountain cabin needs a window to ventilate it: there are cracks and cat-holes everywhere, and, as I have said, the doors are always open except at night. "Tight houses," sheathed or plastered, are universally despised, partly from inherited shiftlessness, partly for less obvious reasons. THE PEOPLE OF THE HILLS 231 One of Miss MacGowan's characters fairly insulted the neighborhood by building a mod- ern house. " Why lordy ! Lookee hyer, Creed,"' remonstrated Doss Provine over a question of matching boards and battening joints, " ef you git yo' pen so almighty tight as that you won't git no fresh air. Man's bound to have ventila- tion. Course you can leave the do' open all the time like we-all ado; but when you're a- holdin' co't and sech-like maybe you'll want to shet the do' sometimes-and then whar'll ye git breath to breathe . . . All these here glass winders is blame foolishness to me. Ef ye need light, open the do'. Ef somebody comes that ye don't want in, you can shet it and put up a bar. But saw the walls full o' holes an' set in glass winders, an' any feller that's got a mind to can pick ye off with a rifle ball as easy as not whilst ye set by the fire of an evenin'." When mountain people move to the lowlands and go to living in tight-framed houses, they soon deteriorate like Indians. It is of no use to teach them to ventilate by lowering windows from the top. That is some more " blame fool- ishness "-their adherence to old ways is stub- born, sullen, and perverse to a degree that others cannot comprehend. Then, too, in the lowlands, they simply cannot stand the water. 232 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS As Emma Miles says: " No other advantages will ever make up for the lack of good water. There is a strong prejudice against pumps; if a well must be dug, it is usually left open to the air, and the water is reached by means of a hooked pole which requires some skillful manipulation to prevent losing the bucket. Cisterns are considered filthy; water that has stood overnight is 'dead water,' hardly fit to wash one's face in. The mountaineer takes the same pride in his water supply as the rich man in his wine cellar, and is in this respect a con- noisseur. None but the purest and coldest of freestone will satisfy him." Once when I was staying in a lumber camp on the Tennessee side, near the top of Smoky, my friend Bob and I tramped down to the near- est town, ten miles, for supplies. We did not start until after dinner and intended to spend the night at a hotel. It was a sultry day and we arrived very thirsty. Bob took some ice- water into his mouth, and instantly spat it out, exclaiming: " Be damned if I'll stay here; that ain't fit to drink; I'm goin' back." And back he would have gone, ten miles up a hard grade, at night, if someone had not shown us a spring. A little colony of our Hazel Creek people took a notion to try the Georgia cotton mills. by Arthur Neitni A misty veil of falling water This page in the original text is blank. THE PEOPLE OF THE HILLS 233 They nearly died there from homesickness, tight houses, and "bad water." All but one family returned as soon as they possibly could. While trying to save enough money to get away one old man said: " I lied to my God when I left the mountains and kem to these devilish cotton mills. Ef only He'd turn me into a var- mint I'd run back to-night! Boys, I dream I'm in torment; an' when I wake up I lay thar an' think o' the spring branch runnin' over the root o' that thar poplar; an' I say, could I git me one drink o' that water I'd be content to lay me down and die!" Poor old John! In his country there are a hundred spring branches running over poplar roots; but "that thar poplar": we knew the very one he meant. It was by the roadside. The brooklet came from a disused still-house hidden in laurel and hemlock so dense that direct sunlight never penetrated the glen. Cold and sparkling and crystal clear, the gushing water enticed every wayfarer to bend and drink, whether he was thirsty or no. John is back in his own land now, and doubtless often goes to drink of that veritable fountain of youth. CHAPTER XI THE LAND OF DO WITHOUT H OMESPUN jeans and linsey used to be the universal garb of the mountain peo- ple. Nowadays you will seldom find them, except in far-back places. Shoddy " store clothes " are cheaper and easier to get. And this is a sorry change, for the old-time material was sound and enduring, the direct product of hard personal toil, and so it was prized and taken care of; whereas such stuff as a back- woodsman can buy in his crossroads store is flimsy, soon loses shape and breaks down his own pride of personal appearance. Our average hillsman now goes about in a dirty blue shirt, wapsy and ragged trousers toggled up with a nail or two, thick socks sagging untidily over rusty brogans, and a huge, black, floppy hat that desecrates the landscape. Presently his hatband disappears, to be replaced with a groundhog thong, woven in and out of knife slits, like a shoestring. When he comes home he " hangs his hat on 234 THE LAND OF DO WITHOUT 235 the floor " until his wife picks it up. He never brushes it. In time that battered old headpiece becomes as pliant to its owner's whim, as expres- sive of his mood, as a clown's cap in the circus. Commonly it is a symbol of shiftlessness and unconcern. A touch, and it becomes a banner of defiance to law and order. To meet on some lonesome road at night a horseman enveloped to the heels in a black slicker and topped with one of those prodigious funnels that conceals his features like a cowl is to facethe Ku Klux or the Spanish Inquisition. When your young mountaineer is properly filled up on corn liquor and feels like challeng- ing the world, the flesh, and the devil, he pins up the front of his hat with a thorn, sticks a sprig of balsam or cedar in the thong for an aigrette, and then gallops forth with bottle and pistol to tilt against whatsoever may dare op- pose him. And on the gray dawn of the morn- ing after you may find that hat lying wilted in a corner, as crumpled, spiritless and forlorn as -its owner, upon whom we charitably drop the curtain. I doubt, though, if anywhere in this wide world mere personal appearance is more de- ceitful than among our mountaineers. The slovenly lout whom you shrink from approach- 236 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS ing against the wind is one of the most inde- pendent and self-satisfied fellows on earth, as quick to resent alms as to return a blow. And it is wonderful what soap and clean clothes will do! About the worst specimen of tatter- demalion that I ever saw outside of trampdom used to come into town every week, always with a loaded Winchester on his shoulder. He may have washed his face now and then, but there was no sign that he ever combed his mane. I took him for one of those defectives alluded to in a previous chapter; but no, I was told he was " nobody's fool." The rifle, it was explained, never left his hand when he was abroad: they said that a feud was brewing " over on 'Larky," and that this man was " in the bilin'." Well, it boiled over, and the person in question killed two men in front of his own door. When the prisoner was brought into court I could not recognize him. A bath, the barber, and a new store suit had transformed him into a right good-looking fellow-anything but a tramp, anything but a desperado. He bore himself throughout that grilling ordeal like the downright man he was, made out a clear case of self-defense, was set at liberty and-promptly reverted to a condition in which he is recog- nizable once more. THE LAND OF DO WITHOUT 237 The women of the back country usually go bareheaded around home and often barefooted, too, as did the daughters of Highland chiefs a century or two ago, and for the same reason: simply that they feel better so. When " visit- in'" or expecting visitors their extremities are clad. They make their own dresses and the style seems never to change. When traveling horseback they use a man's saddle and ride astride in their ordinary skirts with an ingenu- ity of " tucking up " that is beyond my under- standing (as no doubt it should be). Often one sees a man and a woman riding a-pillion, in which case the lady perches sidewise, of course. If I were disposed to startle the reader, after the manner of impressionistic writers who strive after effect at any cost, I could fill a book with oddities observed in the mountains, and that without exaggeration by commission or omis- sion. Let one or two anecdotes suffice; and then we will get back to our averages again. I took down the following incident verbatim (save for proper names) from lips that I know to be truthful. It is introduced here as a speci- men of vivid offhand description in few words: "There was a fam'ly on Pick-Yer-Flint that was named Higgins, and another named the McBees. They married through and through 238 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS till the whole gineration nigh run out; though what helped was that they'd fly mad sometimes and kill one another like fools. They had great big heads and mottly faces-ears as big as sheepskins. Well, when they dressed up to come to church the men-grown men-'d have shirts made of this common domestic, with the letters AAAA on their backs; and them bare- footed, and some without hats, but with three yards of red ribbon around their necks. The sleeves oftheir shirts looked like a whole web of cloth jest sewed up together; and them sleeves'd git full o' wind, and that red ribbon a-flyin'- O my la! "There was lots o' leetle boys of 'em that kern only in their shirt-tails. There was cracks between the logs that a dog could jump through, and them leetle fellers 'd git 'em a crack and grin in at us all through the sarmon. 'T ain't no manner o' use to ax me what the tex' was that day! " I may explain that it still is common in many districts of the mountain country for small boys to go about through the summer in a single abbreviated garment and that they are called " shirt-tail boys." Some the expedients that mountain girls in- vent to make themselves attractive are bizarre THE LAND OF DO WITHOUT 239 in the extreme. 'Without invading the sanc- tities of toilet, I will cite one instance that is interesting from a scientific viewpoint. They told me that a certain blue-eyed girl thought that black eyes were "purtier" and that she actually changed her eyes to jet black whenever she went to " meetin'" or other public gather- ing. While I could see how the trick might be worked, it seemed utterly absurd that an un- schooled maid of the wilderness could acquire either the knowledge or the means to accom- plish such change. Well, one day I was called to treat a sick baby. While waiting for the medicine to react I chanced to mention this tale as it had been told me. The father, who had blue eyes, solemnly assured me that there was " no lie about it," and said he would con- vince me in a few minutes. He stepped to the garden and plucked a leaf of jimson weed. His wife crushed the leaf and instilled a drop of its juice into one of his eyes. I took out my watch. One side of the eyeball reddened slightly. The man said " hit smarts a leetle-not much." Within fifteen minutes the pupil had expanded like a cat's eye in the dark, leaving a rim of blue iris so thin as to be quite unnoticeable without close inspection. The eye consequently was jet black and its ex- 240 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS pression utterly changed. My host said it did not affect his vision materially, save that " things glimmer a bit." I met him again the next day and he still was an odd-looking crea- ture indeed, with one eye a light blue and the other an absolute black. The thing puzzled me until I recalled that the Latin name of jimson weed is Datura stramonium; then, in a flash, it came to me that stramonium is a powerful mydriatic. If our man killer, hitherto mentioned, had had blue or gray eyes and had not chosen to stand trial, then, with a cake of soap and a new suit and a jimson leaf he might have made him- self over so that his own mother would not have known him. These simple facts are offered gratis to writers of detective tales, whose stock of disguises nowadays is so threadbare and (pardon me) so absurd. The mountain home of to-day is the log cabin of the American pioneer-not such a lodge as well-to-do people affect in Adirondack " camps " (which cost more than framed struc- tures of similar size), but a pen that can be erected by four " corner men " in one day and is finished by the owner at his leisure. The commonest type is a single large room, with maybe a narrow porch in front and a plank An Average Alotuntaini Cab)in : c : ;: m 11; I :: This page in the original text is blank. THE LAND OF DO WITHOUT 241 door, a big stone chimney at one end, a single sash for a window at the other, and a seven or eight-foot lean-to at the rear for kitchen. Some of the early settlers, who had first choice of land, took pains in building their houses, squaring the logs like bridge timbers, joining them closely, smoothing their punch- eons with an adze almost as truly as if they were planed, and using mortar instead of clay in laying chimney and hearth. But such houses nowadays are rare. If a man can afford so much effort as all that he will build a framed dwelling. If not, he will content himself with such a cabin as I have described. If he pros- pers he may add a duplicate of it alongside and cover the whole with one roof, leaving a ten or twelve-foot entry between. In Carolina they seldom build a house of round logs, but rather hew the inner and outer faces flat, out of a curious notion that this adds an appearance of finish to the structure. If only they would turn the logs over, so that the flat faces joined, leaving at least the outside in the natural round, the house would need hardly any chinking and the effect would be far more pleasing to good taste. As it is they merely notch the logs at the corners, leaving wide spaces to be filled up with splits, rocks, mud- 242 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS anything to keep out the weather. As a matter of fact, few houses ever are thoroughly chinked and he who would take pains to make a work- manlike job of chinking would be ridiculed as " fussin' around like an old granny-woman."' Nobody but a tenderfoot feels drafts, you know. It is hard to keep such a dwelling clean, even if the family be small. The whole structure being built of green timber throughout, soon shrinks, checks, warps and sags, so that there cannot be a square joint, a neat fit, a perpendic- ular face, or a level place anywhere about it. The roof droops in a season or two, the shingles curl and leaky places open. Flooring shrinks apart, leaving wide and irregular cracks through which the winter winds are sucked upward as through so many flues (no mountain home has a cellar under it). Everywhere there are crannies and rough surfaces to hold dust and soot, there being probably not a single planed board in the whole house. But, for all that, there is something very attractive and picturesque about the little old log cabin. In its setting of ancient forests and mighty hills it fits, it harmonizes, where the prim and precise product of modern carpentry would shock an artistic eye. The very rough- THE LAND OF DO WITHOUT 243 ness of the honest logs and the home-made fur- niture gives texture to the picture. Having no mathematically straight lines nor uniform curves, the cabin's outlines conform to its sur- roundings. Without artificial stain, or varnish, or veneer, it is what it seems, a genuine thing, a jewel in the rough. And it is a home. When wind whistles through the cracks and snow sifts into the corners of the room one draws his stumpy little split-bottomed chair close to the wide hearth and really knows the comfort of fire leaping and sap singing from big birch logs. Every room except the kitchen (if there be a kitchen) has a couple of beds in it: enough all told for the family and, generally, one spare bed. If much company comes, some pallets are made on the floor for the women and children of the household. In a single-room cabin there usually is a cockloft, reached by a ladder, for storage, and maybe a bunk or two. Closets and pantries there are none, for they would only furnish good harborage for woods-rats and other vermin. Everything must be in sight and accessible to the housewife's little sedge broom. Linen and small articles of apparel are stored in a chest or a cheap little tin trunk or two. Most of the family wardrobe hangs from pegs in the walls 244 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS or nails in the loft beams, along with strings of dried apples, peppers, bunches of herbs, twists of tobacco, gourds full of seeds, the hunter's pouch, and other odd bric-a-brac interesting to " furrin " eyes. The narrow mantel-shelf holds pipes and snuff and various other articles of fre- quent use, among them a twig or two of sweet birch that has been chewed to shreds at one end and is queerly discolored with something brown (this is what the mountain woman calls her "tooth brush "-a snuff stick, understand). For wall decorations there may be a few gaudy advertisements lithographed in colors, perhaps some halftones from magazines that travelers have left (a magazine is always called a " book " in this region, as, I think, throughout the South). Of late years the agents for photo- enlarging companies have invaded the moun- tains and have reaped a harvest; for if there be one curse of civilization that our hillsman craves, it is a huge tinted " family group " in an abominable rococo frame. There is an almanac in the cabin, but no clock. " What does man need of a clock when he has a good-crowin' rooster" Strange as it may seem, in this roughest of backwoods coun- tries I have never seen candles, unless they were brought in by outsiders like myself. Beef, you THE LAND OF DO WITHOUT 245 must remember, is exported, not eaten, by our farmers, and hence there is no tallow to make candles with. Instead of these, every home is provided with a kerosene lamp of narrow wick, and seldom do you find a chimney for it. This is partly because lamp chimneys are hard to carry safely over the mountain roads and partly because "man can do without sich like, any- how." But kerosene, also, is hard to transport, and so one sometimes will find pine knots used for illumination; but oftener the woman will pour hog's grease into a tin or saucer, twist up a bit of rag for the wick and so make a " slut " that, believe me, deserves the name. In fact, the supply of pine knots within convenient dis- tance of home is soon exhausted, and anyway, as the mountaineer disdains to be forehanded, he would burn up the knots for kindling rather than save any for illumination. Very few cabins have carpet on the floor. It would hold too much mud from the feet of the men who would not use a scraper if there was one. Beds generally are bought, nowadays, at the stores, but some are home-made, with bed- cords of bast rope. Tables and chairs mostly are made on the spot or obtained by barter from some handy neighbor. In many homes you will still find the ancient spinning-wheel, with a 246 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS hand-loom on the porch and in the loft there will be a set of quilting frames for making kivers." Out in the yard you see an ash hopper for running the lye to make soap, maybe a few bee gums sawed from hollow logs, and a crude but effective cider press. At the spring there is a box for cold storage in summer. Near by stands the great iron kettle for boiling clothes, making soap, scalding pigs, and a variety of other uses. Alongside of it is the " baatlin' block " on which the family wash is hammered with a beetle (" battlin' stick") if the woman has no wash- board, which very often is the case. Naturally there can be no privacy and hence no delicacy, in such a home. I never will for- get my embarrassment about getting to bed the first night I ever spent in a one-room cabin where there was a good-sized family. I did not know what was expected of me. When everybody looked sleepy I went outdoors and strolled around in the moonlight until the women had time to retire. On returning to the house I found them still bolt upright around the hearth. Then the hostess pointed to the bed I was to occupy and said it was ready whenever I was. Well, I " shucked off my clothes," tum- bled in, turned my face to the wall, and imme- THE LAND OF DO WITHOUT 247 diately everybody else did the same. That is the way to do: just go to bed! I lay there awake for a long time. Finally I had to roll over. A ruddy glow from the embers showed the family in all postures of deep, healthy slumber. It also showed something glittering on the nipple of the long, muzzle-loading rifle that hung over the father's bed. It was a bright, new percus- sion cap, where a greased rag had been when I went out for my moonlight stroll. There was no need of a curtain in that house. They could do without. I have been describing an average mountain home. In valleys and coves there are better ones, of course. Along the railroads, and on fer- tile plateaus between the Blue Ridge and the Unakas, are hundreds of fine farms, cultivated by machinery, and here dwell a class of farm- ers that are scarcely to be distinguished from people of similar station in the West. But a prosperous and educated few are not the peo- ple. When speaking of southern mountaineers I mean the mass, or the average, and the pic- tures here given are typical of that mass. It is not the well-to-do valley people, but the real mountaineers, who are especially interesting 'to the reading public; and they are interesting chiefly because they preserve traits and manners 248 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS that have been transmitted almost unchanged from ancient times-because, as John Fox puts it, they are " a distinct remnant of an Anglo- Saxon past." Almost everywhere in the backwoods of Appalachia we have with us to-day, in flesh and blood, the Indian-fighter of our colonial border-aye, back of him, the half-wild clans- man of elder Britain-adapted to other condi- tions, but still virtually the same in character, in ideas, in attitude toward the outer world. Here, in great part, is spoken to-day the lan- guage of Piers the Ploughman, a speech long dead elsewhere, save as fragments survive in some dialects of rural England. No picture of mountain life would be com- plete or just if it omitted a class lower than the average hillsman I have been describing. As this is not a pleasant topic, I shall be terse. Hundreds of backwoods families, large ones at that, exist in " blind " cabins that remind one somewhat of Irish hovels, Norwegian saeters, the- " black houses " of the Hebrides, the win- dowless rock piles inhabited by Corsican shep- herds and by Basques of the Pyrenees. Such a cabin has but one room for all purposes. In rainy or gusty weather, when the two doors must be closed, no light enters the room save through A Bee-Guni This page in the original text is blank. THE LAND OF DO WITHOUT 249 cracks in the wall and down the chimney. In the damp climate of western Carolina such an interior is fusty, or even wet. In many cases the chimney is no more than a semi-circular pile of rough rocks and rises no higher than a man's shoulder, hence the common saying, " You can set by the fire and spit out through the chimbly." When the wind blows " contrary" one's lungs choke and his eyes stream from the smoke. In some of these places you will find a " pet pig" harbored in the house. I know of two cases where the pig was kept in a box directly under the table, so that scraps could be chucked to him without rising from dinner. Hastening from this extreme, we still shall find dire poverty the rule rather than the excep- tion among the multitude of "branch-water people." One house will have only an earthen floor; another will be so small that " you cain't cuss a cat in it 'thout gittin' ha'r in yer teeth." Utensils are limited to a frying-pan, an iron pot, a coffee-pot, a bucket, and some gourds. There is not enough tableware to go around, and chil- dren eat out of their parents' plates, or all " soup-in together" around one bowl of stew or porridge. Even to families that are fairly well-to-do there will come periods of famine, such as Lin- 250 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS coin, speaking of his boyhood, called "pretty pinching times." Hickory ashes then are used as a substitute for soda in biscuits, and the empty salt-gourd will be soaked for brine to cook with. Once, when I was boarding with a good family, our stores ran out of everything, and none of our neighbors had the least to spare. We had no meat of any kind for two weeks (the game had migrated) and no lard or other grease for nearly a week. Then the meal and salt played out. One day we were reduced to potatoes "straight," which were parboiled in fresh water, and then burnt a little on the surface as substitute for salt. Another day we had not a bite but string beans boiled in unsalted water. It is not uncommon in the far backwoods for a traveler, asking for a match, to be told there is none in the house, nor even the pioneer's flint and steel. Should the embers on the hearth go out, someone must tramp to a neighbor's and fetch fire on a torch. Hence the saying: " Have you come to borry fire, that you're in sich a hurry you can't chat " The shifts and expedients to which some of the mountain women are put, from lack of uten- sils and vessels, are simply pathetic. John Fox tells of a young preacher who stopped at a cabin in Georgia to pass the night. " His hostess, as THE LAND OF DO WITHOUT 25i a mark of unusual distinction, killed a chicken, and dressed it in a pan. She rinsed the pan and made up her dough in it. She rinsed it again and went out and used it for a milk-pail. She came in, rinsed it again, and went to the spring and brought it back full of water. She filled up the glasses on the table, and gave him the pan with the rest of the water in which to wash his hands. The woman was not a slattern; it was the only utensil she had." Such poverty is exceptional; yet it is an all but universal rule that anything that cannot be cooked in a pot or fried in a pan must go beg- ging in the mountains. Once I helped my hostess to make kraut. We chopped up a hun- dred pounds of cabbage with no cutter but a tin coffee-can, holding this in the two hands and chopping downward with the edge. Many times I stopped to hammer the edge smooth on a round stick. Verily this is the land of make- it-yourself-or-do-without! Yet, however destitute the mountain people may be, they are never abject. The mordant misery of hunger is borne with a sardonic grin. After a course of such diet as described above, a woman laughingly said to me: " I'm gittin' the dropsy-the meat is all droppin' off my bones." During the campaign of I904 a brother 252 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS Democrat confided to me that "The people around hyur is so pore that if free silver war shipped in by the carload, we-uns couldn't pay the freight." So, when a settlement is dubbed Poverty, it is with no suggestion of whining lament, but with the stoical good-humor that shows in Needmore, Poor Fork, Long Hungry, No Pone, and No Fat-all of them real names. Occasionally, as at " hog-killin' time," the poorest live in abundance; occasionally, as at Christmas, they will go on sprees. But, taking them the year through, the highlanders are a notably abstemious race. When a family is re- duced to dry corn bread and black coffee un- sweetened-so much and no more-it will joke about the lack of meat and vegetable3. And, when there is meat, two mountaineers engaged in hard outdoor work will consume less of it than a northern office-man would eat. Indeed, the heartiness with which " furriners " stuff themselves is a wonder and a merriment to the people of the hills. When a friend came to visit me, the landlady giggled an aside to her husband: " Git the almanick and see when that feller '11 full!" (as though she were bidding him look to see when the moon would be full). In truth, it is not so bad to be poor where everyone else is in the same fix. One does not THE LAND OF DO WITHOUT 253 lose caste nor self-respect. He is not tempted by a display of good things all around him, nor is he embittered by the haughtiness and ex- travagance of the rich. And, socially, the mountaineer is a democrat by nature: equal to any man, as all men are equal before him. Even though hunger be eating like a slow acid into his vitals, he still will preserve a high spirit, a proud independence, that accepts no favor un- less it be offered in a neighborly way, as man to man. I have never seen a mountain beggar; never heard of one. Charity, or anything that smells to him like charity, is declined with patrician dignity or open scorn. In the last house up Hazel Creek dwelt " old man " Stiles. He had a large family, and was on the verge of destitution. His eldest son, a veteran from the Philippines, had been invalided home, and died there. Jack Coburn, in the kindness of his heart, sent away and got a blank form of application to the Gov- ernment for funeral expenses, to which the family was entitled by law. He filled it out, all but the signature, and rode away up to Stiles's to have the old man sign it. But Stiles per- emptorily refused to accept from the nation what was due his dead son. " I ain't that hard pushed yit," was his first and last word on the 254 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS subject. This might seem to be the very per- versity of ignorance; but it was, in fact, renun- ciation on a point of honor, and native pride re- fused to see the matter in any other light. The mountaineer, born and bred to Spartan self-denial, has a scorn of luxury, regarding its effeminacies with the same contempt as does the nomadic Arab. And any assumption of superi- ority he will resent with blow or sarcasm. A ragged hobbledehoy stood on the Vanderbilt grounds at Biltmore, mouth open but silent, watching a gardener at work. The latter, an- noyed by the boy's vacuous stare, spoke up sharply: "What do you want" Like a flash the lad retorted: " Oh, dad sent me down hyur to look at the place-said if I liked it, he mought buy it for me." Once, as an experiment, I took a backwoods- man from the Smokies to Knoxville, and put him up at a good hotel. Was he self-conscious, bashful Not a bit of it. When the waiter brought him a juicy tenderloin, he snapped: " I don't eat my meat raw! " It was hard to find anything on the long menu that he would eat. On the street he held his head proudly erect, and regarded the crowd with an expression of "Tetch me gin ye dar!" Although the sur- roundings were as strange to him as a city of THE LAND OF DO WITHOUT 255 Mars would be to us, he showed neither concern nor approval, but rather a fine disdain, like that of Diogenes at the country fair: " Lord, how many things there be in this world of which Diogenes hath no need!" The poverty of the mountain people is naked, but high-minded and unashamed. To com- ment on it, as I have done, is taken as an imper- tinence. This is a fine trait, in its way, though rather hard on a descriptive writer whose mo- tives are ascribed to mere vulgarity and a taste for scandal-mongering. The people, of course, have no ghost of an idea that poverty may be more picturesque than luxury; and they are quite as far from conceiving that a plain and friendly statement of their actual condition, published to the world, is the surest way to awaken the nation to consciousness of its duties toward a region that it has so long and so sin- gularly neglected. The worst enemies of the mountain people are those public men who, knowing the true state of things, yet conceal or deny the facts in order to salve a sore local pride, encourage the supine fatalism of "what must be will be," and so drug the highlanders back into their Rip Van Winkle sleep. CHAPTER XII HOME FOLKS AND NEIGHBOR PEOPLE D ESPITE the low standard of living that prevails in the backwoods, the average mountain home is a happy one, as homes go. There is little worry and less fret. No- body's nerves are on edge. Our highlander views all exigencies of life with the calm forti- tude and tolerant good-humor of Bret Harte's southwesterner, " to whom cyclones, famine, drought, floods, pestilence and savages were things to be accepted, and whom disaster, if it did not stimulate, certainly did not appall." It is a patriarchal existence. The man of the house is lord. He takes no orders from any- body at home or abroad. Whether he shall work or visit or roam the woods with dog and gun is nobody's affair but his own. About family matters he consults with his wife, but in the end his word is law. If Madame be a bit shrewish he is likely to tolerate it as natural to the weaker vessel; but if she should go toc fir 256 HOME FOLKS 257 he checks her with a curt " Shet up! " and the incident is closed. " The woman," as every wife is called, has her kingdom within the house, and her man seldom meddles with its administration. Now and then he may grumble " A woman 's allers findin' somethin' to do that a man can't see no sense in ;" but, then, the Lord made women fussy over trifles-His ways are inscrutable-so why bother about it The mountain farmer's wife is not only a household drudge, but a field-hand as well. She helps to plant, hoes corn, gathers fodder, sometimes even plows or splits rails. It is the commonest of sights for a woman to be awk- wardly hacking up firewood with a dull axe. When her man leaves home on a journey he is not likely to have laid in wood for the stove or hearth: so she and the children must drag from the hillsides whatever dead timber they can find. Outside the towns no hat is lifted to maid or wife. A swain would consider it belittled his dignity. At table, if women be seated at all, the dishes are passed first to the men; but generally the wife stands by and serves. There is no con- scious discourtesy in such customs; but they be- token an indifference to woman's weakness, a disregard for her finer nature, a denial of her 258 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS proper rank, that are real and deep-seated in the mountaineer. To him she is little more than a sort of superior domestic animal. The chivalric regard for women that characterized our pioneers of the Far West is altogether lack- ing in the habits of the backwoodsman of Appa- lachia. And yet it is seldom that a highland woman complains of her lot. She knows no other. From aboriginal times the men of her race have been warriors, hunters, herdsmen, clearers of forests, and their women have toiled in the fields. Indeed she would scarce respect her husband if he did not lord it over her and cast upon her the menial tasks. It is " manners" for a woman to drudge and obey. All respectable wives do that. And they stay at home where they be- long, never visiting or going anywhere without first asking their husband's consent. I am satisfied that there is less bickering in mountain households than in the most advanced society of Christendom. Certainly there are fewer divorces in proportion to the marriages. This is not by grace of any uncommon regard for the seventh commandment, but rather from a more tolerant attitude of mind. Mountain women marry early, many of them at fourteen or fifteen, and nearly all before they HOME FOLKS are twenty. Large families are the rule, seven to ten children being considered normal, and fifteen is not an uncommon number; but the in- fant mortality is high. The children have few toys other than rag dolls, broken bits of crockery for "play-pur- ties," and such " ridey-hosses " and so forth as they make for themselves. They play few games, but rather frisk about like young colts without aim or method. Every mountain child has at least one dog for a playfellow, and some- times a pet pig is equally familiar. In many districts there is not enough level land for a ballground. A prime amusement of the small boys is "rocking" (throwing stones at marks or at each other), in which rather doubtful pas- time they become singularly expert. To encourage a child to do chores about the house and stable, he may be promised a pig of his own the next time a sow litters. To know when to look for the pigs an expedient is prac- ticed that I never heard of elsewhere: the child bores a small hole at the base of his thumbnail. I was assured by a mountain preacher that the hole " will grow out to the edge of the nail in three months and twenty-four days "-the period, he said, of a sow's gestation (in reality the average term is about three months). 2S9 26o OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS Most mountaineers are indulgent, super-in- dulgent parents. The oft-heard threat " I'll w'ar ye out with a hick'ry! " is seldom carried out. The boys, especially, grow up with little restraint beyond their own natural sense of filial duty. Little children are allowed to eat and drink anything they want-green fruit, adul- terated candy, fresh cider, no matter what-to the limit of repletion; and fatal consequences are not rare. I have observed the very perver- sity of license allowed children, similar to what Julian Ralph tells of a man on Bullskin Creek, who, explaining why his child died, said that " No one couldn't make her take no medicine; she just wouldn't take it; she was a Baker through and through, and you never could make a Baker do nothin' he didn't want to! " The saddest spectacle in the mountains is the tiny burial-ground, without a headstone or head- board in it, all overgrown with weeds, and per- haps unfenced, with cattle grazing over the low mounds or sunken graves. The spot seems never to be visited between interments. I have remarked elsewhere that most mountaineers are singularly callous in the presence of serious in- jury or death. They show a no less remarkable lack of reverence for the dead. Nothing on earth can be more poignantly lonesome than one HOME FOLKS of these mountain burial-places, nothing so mutely evident of neglect. Funeral services are extremely simple. In the backwoods, where lumber is scarce, a coffin will be knocked together from rough planks taken from someone's loft, or out of puncheons hewn from the green trees. It is slung on poles and carried like a litter. The only exercises at the grave are singing and praying; and some- times even those are omitted, as in case no preacher can be summoned in time. In all back settlements that I have visited, from Kentucky southward, there is a strange custom as to the funeral sermon, that seems to have no analogue elsewhere. It is not preached until long after the interment, maybe a year or several years. In some districts the practice is to hold joint services, at the same time and place, for all in the neighborhood who died within the year. The time chosen will be after the crops are gathered, so that everybody can attend. In other places a husband's funeral sermon is post- poned until his wife dies, or vice versa, though the interval may be many years. These collec- tive funeral services last two or three days, and are attended by hundreds of people, like a camp- meeting. Strange scenes sometimes are witnessed at the 26 i 262 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS graveside, prompted perhaps by weird super- stitions. At one of our burials, which was at- tended by more than the usual retinue of kins- folk, there were present two mothers who bore each other the deadliest hate that women know. Each had a child at her breast. When the clods fell, they silently exchanged babies long enough for each to suckle her rival's child. Was it a reconciliation cemented by the very life of their blood Or was it a charm to keep off evil spirits No one could (or would) explain it to me. Weddings never are celebrated in church, but at the home of the bride, and are jolly occasions, of course. Often the young men, stimulated with more or less " moonshine," add the liter- ally stunning compliment of a shivaree. The mountaineers have a native fondness for music and dancing, which, with the shouting- spells of their revivals, are the only outlets for those powerful emotions which otherwise they studiously conceal. The harmony of "part singing " is unknown in the back districts, where men and women both sing in a jerky treble. Most of their music is in the weird, plaintive minor key that seems spontaneous with primitive people throughout the world. Not only the tone, but the sentiment of their hymns and ballads is HOME FOLKS usually of a melancholy nature, expressing the wrath of God and the doom of sinners, or the luckless adventures of wild blades and of maid- ens all forlorn. A highlander might well say, with the clown in A Winter's Tale, " I love a ballad but even too well; if it be doleful mat- ter, merrily set down, or a very pleasant thing indeed, and sung lamentably." But where banjo and fiddle enter, the vapors vanish. Up strike The Fox Chase, Shady Grove, Gamblin' man, Sourwood Mountain, and knees are limbered, and merry voices rise.- Call up your dog, 0 call up your dog! Call up your dog! Call up your dog! Let 's a-go huntin' to ketch a groundhog. Rang tang a-whaddle linky day! Wherever the church has not put its ban on twistifications " the country dance is the chief amusement of young and old. I have never suc- ceeded in memorizing the queer " calls " at these dances, in proper order, and so take the liberty of quoting from Mr. Haney's Mountain People of Kentucky.- "Eight hands up and go to the left; half and back; corners turn; partners sash-i-ate. First four, forwards and back; forward again and cross over; forward and back and 263 264 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS home you go. Gents stand and ladies swing in the center; own partners and half sash-i-ate. "Eight hands and gone again; half and back; partners by the right and opposite by the left-sash-i-ate. Right hands across and howdy do Left and back and how are you Opposite partners, half sash-i-ate and go to the next (and so on for each couple). "All hands up and go to the left. Hit the floor. Cor- ners turn and sash-i-ate. First couple cage the bird with three arms around. Bird hop out and hoot-owl in; three arms around and hootin' agin. Swing and circle four, ladies change and gents the same; right and left; the shoo- fly swing (and so on for each couple)." In homes where dancing is not permitted, and often in others, " play-parties " are held, at which social games are practiced with childlike abandon: Roll the Platter, Weavilly Wheat, Needle's Eye, We Fish Who Bite, Grin an' Go 'Foot, Swing the Cymblin, Skip t' m' Lou (pro- nounced " Skip-tum a-loo ") and many others of a rollicking, half-dancing nature. Round the house; skip t' m' Lou, my darlin'. Steal my partner and I'll steal again; skip (etc.). Take her and go with her-I don't care; skip (etc.). I can get another as pretty as you; skip (etc.), Pretty as a red-bird, and prettier too; skip (etc.). A substitute for the church fair is the " poke- supper," at which dainty pokes (bags) of cake Let the women do the work This page in the original text is blank. HOME FOLKS and other home-made delicacies are auctioned off to the highest bidder. Whoever bids-in a poke is entitled to eat with the girl who pre- pared it, and escort her home. The rivalry excited among the mountain swains by such art- ful lures may be judged from the fact that, in a neighborhood where a man's work brings only a dollar a day, a pretty girl's poke may be bid up to ten, twenty, or even fifty dollars. As a rule, the only holidays observed in the mountains, outside the towns, are Christmas and New Year's. Christmas is celebrated after the southern fashion, which seems bizarre indeed to one witnessing it for the first time. The boys and men, having no firecrackers (which they would disdain, anyway), go about shooting re- volvers and drinking to the limit of capacity or supply. Blank cartridges are never used in this uproarious jollification, and the courses of the bullets are left to chance, so that discreet people keep their noses indoors. Christmas is a day of license, of general indulgence, it being tacitly assumed that punishment is remitted for any or- dinary sins of the flesh that may be committed on that day. There is no church festivity, nor are Christmas trees ever set up. Few mountain children hang up their stockings, and many have never heard of Santa Claus. 265 266 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS New Year's Day is celebrated with whatever effervescence remains from Christmas, and in the same manner; but generally it is a feeble reminder, as the liquid stimulus has run short and there are many sore heads in the neighbor- hood. Most of the mountain preachers nowadays de- nounce dances and " play-parties " as sinful di- versions, though their real objection seems to be that such gatherings are counter-attractions that thin out the religious ones. Be that as it may, they certainly have put a damper on frol- ics, so that in very many mountain settlements " goin' to meetin'" is recognized primarily as a social function and affords almost the only chance for recreation in which family can join family without restraint. Meetings are held in the log schoolhouse. The congregation ranges itself, men on one side, women on the other, on rude benches that some- times have no backs. Everybody goes. If one judged from attendance he would rate our high- landers as the most religious people in America. This impression is strengthened, in a stranger, by the grave and astoundingly patient attention that is given an illiterate or nearly illiterate minister while he holds forth for two or three mortal hours on the beauties of predestination, HOME FOLKS free-will, foreordination, immersion, foot- washing, or on the delinquencies of "them acorn-fed critters that has gone New Light over in Cope's Cove." After an al fresco lunch, everybody doggedly returns to hear another circuit-rider expound and denounce at the top of his voice until late afternoon-as long as "the spirit lasts " and he has "good wind." When he warms up, he throws in a gasping al or uh at short intervals, which constitutes the "holy tone." Doctor MacClintock gives this example: "Oh, breth- ren, repent ye, and repent ye of your sins, ah; fer if ye don't ah, the Lord, ah, he will grab yer by the seat of yer pants, ah, and held yer over hell fire till ye holler like a coonI " During these services there is a good deal of running in and out by the men and boys, most of whom gradually congregate on the outside to whittle, gossip, drive bargains, and debate among themselves some point of dogma that is too good to keep still about. Nearly all of our highlanders, from youth upward, show an amazing fondness for theo- logical dispute. This consists mainly in cap- ping texts, instead of reasoning, with the single- minded purpose of confusing or downing an opponent. Into this battle of memories rather 267 268 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS than of wits the most worthless scapegrace will enter with keen gusto and perfect seriousness. I have known two or three hundred mountain lumber-jacks, hard-swearing and hard-drinking tough-as-they-make-'ems, to be whetted to a fighting edge over the rocky problem " Was Saul damned " (Can a suicide enter the kingdom of heaven) The mountaineers are intensely, universally Protestant. You will seldom find a backwoods- man who knows what a Roman Catholic is. As John Fox says, " He is the only man in the world whom the Catholic Church has made little or no effort to proselyte. Dislike of Epis- copalianism is still strong among people who do not know, or pretend not to know, what the word means. 'Any Episcopalians around here' asked a clergyman at a mountain cabin. 'I don't know,' said the old woman. 'Jim's got the skins of a lot o' varmints up in the loft. Mebbe you can find one up thar.'" The first settlers of Appalachia mainly were Presbyterians, as became Scotch-Irishmen, but they fell away from that faith, partly because the wilderness was too poor to support a regu- lar ministry, and partly because it was too dem- ocratic for Calvinism with its supreme author- ity of the clergy. This much of seventeenth HOME FOLKS century Calvinism the mountaineer retains: a passion for hair-splitting argument over points of doctrine, and the cocksure intolerance of John Knox; but the ancestral creed itself has been forgotten. The circuit-rider, whether Methodist or Bap- tist, found here a field ripe for his harvest. Being himself self-supporting and unassuming, he won easily the confidence of the people. He preached a highly emotional religion that worked his audience into the ecstasy that all primitive people love. And he introduced a mighty agent of evangelization among outdoor folk when he started the camp-meeting. The season for camp-meetings is from mid- August to October. The festival may last a week in one place. It is a jubilee-week to the work-worn and home-chained women, their only diversion from a year of unspeakably monotonous toil. And for the young folks, it is their theater, their circus, their county fair. (I say this with no disrespect: " big-meetin' time " is a gala week, if there be any such thing at all in the mountains-its attractiveness is full as much secular as spiritual to the great body of the people.) It is a camp by day only, or up to closing time. No mountaineer owns a tent. Preachers 269 270 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS and exhorters are housed nearby, and visitors from all the country scatter about with their friends, or sleep in the open, cooking their meals by the wayside. In these backwoods revival meetings we can witness to-day the weird phenomena of ungov- ernable shouting, ecstasy, bodily contortions, trance, catalepsy, and other results of hypnotic suggestion and the contagious one-mindedness of an overwrought crowd. This is called " tak- ing a big through," and is regarded as the mad- ness of supernatural joy. It is a mild form of that extraordinary frenzy which swept the Ken- tucky settlements in i8oo, when thousands of men and women at the camp-meetings fell vic- tims to " the jerks," " barking exercises," erotic vagaries, physical wreckage, or insanity, to which the frenzy led. Many mountaineers are easily carried away by new doctrines extravagantly presented. Re- ligious mania is taken for inspiration by the superstitious who are looking for " signs and wonders." At one time Mormon prophets lured women from the backwoods of western Carolina and eastern Tennessee. Later there was a similar exodus of people to the Castel- lites, a sect of whom it was commonly remarked that " everybody who joins the Castellites goes HOME FOLKS crazy." In our day the same may be said of the Holy Rollers and Holiness People. In a feud town of eastern Kentucky, not long ago, I saw two Holiness exhorters prancing be- fore a solemnly attentive crowd in the court- house square, one of them shouting and exhib- iting the " holy laugh," while the other pointed to the Cumberland River and cried, " I don't say if I had the faith, I say I have the faith, to walk over that river dry-shod!" I scanned the crowd, and saw nothing but belief, or willing- ness to believe, on any countenance. Of course, most mountaineers are more intelligent than that; but few of them are free from supersti- tions of one kind or other. There are to-day many believers in witchcraft among them (though none own it to any but their intimates) and nearly everybody in the hills has faith in portents. The mountain clergy, as a general rule, are hostile to "book larnin'," for "there ain't no Holy Ghost in it." One of them who had spent three months at a theological school told Presi- dent Frost, " Yes, the seminary is a good place ter go and git rested up, but 'tain't worth while fer me ter go thar no more 's long as I've got good wind." It used to amuse me to explain how I knew 271 272 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS that the earth was a sphere; but one day, when I was busy, a tiresome old preacher put the ever- lasting question to me: " Do you believe the yearth is round " An impish perversity seized me and I answered, " No-all blamed hum- bug ! " " Amen ! " cried my delighted catechist, "I knowed in reason you had more sense." In general the religion of the mountaineers has little influence on every-day behavior, little to do with the moral law. Salvation is by faith alone, and not by works. Sometimes a man is " churched " for breaking the Sabbath, "cuss- in', " tale-bearin' "; but sins of the flesh are rarely punished, being regarded as amiable frailties of mankind. It should be understood that the mountaineer's morals are " all tail- first," like those of Alan Breck in Stevenson's Kidnapped. One of our old-timers nonchalantly admitted in court that he and a preacher had marked a false corner-tree which figured in an important land suit. On cross-examination he was asked: "You admit that you and Preacher X- forged that corner-tree Didn't you give Preacher X a good character, in your tes- timony Do you consider it consistent with his profession as a minister of the Gospel to forge corner-trees " HOME FOLKS Aw," replied the witness, " religion ain't got nothin' to do with corner-trees!" John Fox relates that, "A feud leader who had about exterminated the opposing faction, and had made a good fortune for a mountaineer while doing it, for he kept his men busy getting out timber when they weren't fighting, said to me in all seriousness: "'I have triumphed agin my enemies time and time agin. The Lord's on my side, and I gits a better and better Christian ever' year.' "A preacher, riding down a ravine, came upon an old mountaineer hiding in the bushes with his rifle. "'What are you doing there, my friend' "' Ride on, stranger,' was the easy answer. 'I'm a-waitin' fer Jim Johnson, and with the help of the Lawd I'm goin' to blow his damn head off.'" But let us never lose sight of the fact that these people, intellectually, are not living in our age. To judge them fairly we must go back and get a medieval point of view, which, by the way, persisted in Europe and America until well into the Georgian period. If history be too dry, read Stevenson's Kidnapped, and espe- cially its sequel David Balfour, to learn what that viewpoint was. The parallel is so close- 273 274 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS eighteenth century Britain and twentieth cen- tury Appalachia-that here we walk the same paths with Alan and David, the Edinboro' law- sharks, Katriona and Lady Allardyce. The only difference of moment is that we have no aristocracy. As for the morals of our highlanders, they are precisely what any well-read person would ex- pect after taking their belatedness into consid- eration. In speech and conduct, when at ease among themselves, they are frank, old-fashioned Englishmen and Scots, such as Fielding and Smollet and Pepys and Burns have shown us to the life. Their manners are boorish, of course, judged by a feminized modern standard, and their home conversation is as coarse as the mixed-company speeches in Shakespeare's com- edies or the offhand pleasantries of Good Queen Bess. But what is refinement What is morality " I don't mind," said the Beloved Vagabond, "I don't mind the frank dungheap outside a German peasant's kitchen window; but what I loathe and abominate is the dungheap hidden beneath Hedwige's draper papa's parlor floor." And we do well to consider that fine remark by Sir Oliver Lodge: "Vice is reversion to a lower type after perception of a higher." HOME FOLKS I have seen the worst as well as the best of Appalachia. There are " places on Sand Moun- tain " -scores of them- where unspeakable orgies prevail at times. But I know that be- tween these two extremes the great mass of the mountain people are very like persons of similar station elsewhere, just human, with human frail- ties, only a little more honest, I think, in owning them. And even in the tenebra of far-back coves, where conditions exist as gross as any- thing to be found in the wynds and closes of our great cities, there is this blessed difference: that these half-wild creatures have not been hoplessly submerged, have not been driven into desperate war against society. The worst of them still have good traits, strong characters, something responsive to decent treatment. They are kind-hearted, loyal to their friends, quick to help anyone in distress. They know nothing of civilization. They are simply the unstarted- and their thews are sound. 275 CHAPTER XIII THE MOUNTAIN DIALECT ONE day I handed a volume of John Fox's stories to a neighbor and asked him to read it, being curious to learn how those vivid pictures of mountain life would impress one who was born and bred in the same atmos- phere. He scanned a few lines of the dialogue, then suddenly stared at me in amazement. " What's the matter with it " I asked, won- dering what he could have found to startle him at the very beginning of a story. "Why, that feller don't know how to spell! " Gravely I explained that dialect must be spelled as it is pronounced, so far as possible, or the life and savor of it would be lost. But it was of no use. My friend was outraged. " That tale-teller then is jest makin' fun of the mountain people by misspellin' our talk. You educated folks don't spell your own words the way you say them." A most palpable hit; and it gave me a new point of view. 276 THE MOUNTAIN DIALECT 277 To the mountaineers themselves their speech is natural and proper, of course, and when they see it bared to the spotlight, all eyes drawn to- ward it by an orthography that is as odd to them as it is to us, they are stirred to wrath, just as we would be if our conversation were reported by some Josh Billings or Artemas Ward. The curse of dialect writing is elision. Still, no one can write it without using the apostrophe more than he likes to; for our highland speech is excessively clipped. " I'm comin' d'reck'ly " has a quaintness that should not be lost. We cannot visualize the shambling but eager moun- taineer with a sample of ore in his hand unless the writer reports him faithfully: " Wisht you'd 'zamine this rock fer me-I heern tell you was one o' them 'sperts." Although the hillsmen save some breath in this way, they waste a good deal by inserting sounds where they do not belong. Sometimes it is only an added consonant: gyarden, acrost, corkus (caucus) ; sometimes a syllable: loaf- erer, musicianer, suddenty. Occasionally a word is both added to and clipped from, as cyarn (carrion). They are fond of grace syl- lables: "I gotta me a deck o' cyards." " There ain't nary bitty sense in it." 278 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS More interesting are substitutions of one sound for another. In mountain dialect all vowels may be interchanged with others. Va- rious sounds of a are confused with e, as hed (had), kern (came), keerful; or with i, grit (grate), rifle (raffle); with o, pomper, toper (taper), wrop; or with u, fur, ruther. So any other vowel may serve in place of e: sarve, chist, upsot, turrible. Any other may displace i: arn (iron), eetch, hender, whope or whup. The o sounds are more stable, but we have crap (crop), yan, clus, and many similar vari- ants. Any other vowel may do for u: braysh or bresh (brush), shet, sich, shore (sure). Mountaineers have peculiar difficulty with diphthongs: haar (hair), cheer (chair), brile, and a host of others. The word coil is vari- ously pronounced quile, querl or quorl. Substitution of consonants is not so common as of vowels, but most hillsmen say nabel (navel), ballet (ballad), Babtis', rench or rinch, brickle (brittle), and many say atter or arter, jue (due), tejus, vascinator (fascinator- a woman s scarf). They never drop h, nor substitute anything for it. The word woman has suffered some strange sea-changes. Most mountaineers pronounce it correctly, but some drop the w ('oman), others THE MOUNTAIN DIALECT 279 add an r (womern and wimmern), while in Michell County, North Carolina, we hear the extraordinary forms ummern and dummern (" La, look at all the dummerunses a-comin'l ") On the other hand, some words that most Americans mispronounce are always sounded correctly in the southern highlands, as dew and new (never doo, noo). Creek is always given its true ee sound, never crick. Nare (as we spell it in dialect stories) is simply the right pronun- ciation of ne'er, and nary is ne'er a, with the a turned into a short i sound. It should be understood that the dialect varies a good deal from place to place, and, even in the same neighborhood, we rarely hear all families speaking it alike. Outlanders who essay to write it are prone to err by making their characters speak it too consistently. It is only in the backwoods, or among old people and the penned-at-home women, that the dia- lect is used with any integrity. In railroad towns we hear little of it, and farmers who trade in those towns adapt their speech some- what to the company they may be in. The same man, at different times, may say can't and cain't, set and sot, jest and jes' and jist, atter and arter or after, seed and seen, here and hyur and hyar, heerd and heern or heard, sich and sech, took 280 OUR SOUTHERN' HIGHLANDERS and tuk-there is no uniformity about it. An unconscious sense of euphony seems to govern the choice of hit or it, there or thar. Since the Appalachian people have a marked Scotch-Irish strain, we would expect their speech to show a strong Scotch influence. So far as vocabulary is concerned, there is really little of it. A few words, caigy (cadgy), coggled, fer. nent, gin for if, needcessity, trollop, almost ex- haust the list of distinct Scotticisms. The Scotch-Irish, as we call them, were mainly Ulstermen, and the Ulster dialect of to-day bears little analogy to that of Appalachia. Scotch influence does appear, however, in one vital characteristic of the pronunciation: with few exceptions our highlanders sound r dis- tinctly wherever it occurs, though they never trill it. In the British Isles this constant sound- ing of r in all positions is peculiar, I think, to Scotland, Ireland, and a few small districts in the northern border counties of England. With us it is general practice outside of New Eng- land and those parts of the southern lowlands that had no flood of Celtic immigration in the eighteenth century. I have never heard a Caro- lina mountaineer say niggah or No'th Ca'lina, though in the last word the syllable ro is often elided. THE MOUNTAIN DIALECT 28I In some mountain districts we hear do' (door), fl', mo', yo', co'te, sca'ce (long a), pusson; but such skipping of the r is common only where lowland influence has crept in. Much oftener the r is dropped from dare, first, girl, horse, nurse, parcel, worth (dast, fust, gal, hoss, nuss, passel, wuth). By way of compensa- tion the hillsmen sometimes insert a euphonic r where it has no business; just as many New Englanders say, "The idear of it!" Throughout Appalachia such words as last, past, advantage, are pronounced with the same vowel sound as is heard in man. This helps to delimit the people, classifying them with Penn- sylvanians and Westerners: a linguistic group- ing that will prove significant when we come to study the origin and history of this isolated race. An editor who had made one or two short trips into the mountains once wrote me that he thought the average mountaineer's vocabulary did not exceed three hundred words. This may be a natural inference if one spends but a few weeks among these people and sees them only under the prosaic conditions of workaday life. But gain their intimacy and you shall find that even the illiterates among them have a range of expression that is truly remarkable. I have my- self taken down from the lips of Carolina 282 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS mountaineers some eight hundred dialectical or obsolete words, to say nothing of the much greater number of standard English terms that they command. Seldom is a " hill-billy " at a loss for a word. Lacking other means of expression, there will come " spang " from his mouth a coinage of his own. Instantly he will create (always from English roots, of course) new words by com- bination, or by turning nouns into verbs or otherwise interchanging the parts of speech. Crudity or deficiency of the verb character- izes the speech of all primitive peoples. In mountain vernacular many words that serve as verbs are only nouns of action, or adjectives, or even adverbs. " That bear '11 meat me a month." " They churched Pitt for tale-bearin'." " Granny kept faultin' us all day." "Are ye fixin' to go squirrelin' " " Sis blouses her waist a-purpose to carry a pistol." " My boy Jesse book-kept for the camp." " I disgust bad liquor." "This poke salat eats good." " I ain't goin' to bed it no longer" (lie abed). "We can muscle this log up." "I wouldn't pleasure them enough to say it." " Josh ain't much on sweet-heartin'." " I don't confidence them dogs much." " The creek away up thar turkey-tails out into numerous leetle forks." THE MOUNTAIN DIALECT 283 A verb will be coined from an adverb: "We better git some wood, bettern we" Or from an adjective: "Much that dog and see won't he come along" (pet him, make much of him). "I didn't do nary thing to contrary her." " Baby, that onion '11 strong ye! " " Little Jim- my fell down and benastied himself to beat the devil." Conversely, nouns are created from verbs. "Hit don't make no differ." " I didn't hear no give-out at meetin' (announcement). " You can git ye one more gittin' o' wood up thar." "That Nantahala is a master shut-in, jest a plumb gorge." Or from an adjective: "Them bugs-the little old hatefuls! " " If anybody wanted a history of this county for fifty years he'd git a lavish of it by reading that mine-suit testimony." Or from an adverb: "Nance tuk the biggest through at meetin'!" (shouting spell). An old lady quoted to me in a plaintive quaver: "It matters not, so I've been told, Where the body goes when the heart grows cold; "But," she added, " a person has a rather about where he'd be put." In mountain vernacular the Old English strong past tense still lives in begun, drunk, 284 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS holped, rung, shrunk, sprung, stunk, sung, sunk, swum. Holp is used both as preterite and as infinitive: the o is long, and the I distinctly sounded by most of the people, but elided by such as drop it from almost, already, self (the I is elided from help by many who use that form of the verb). Examples of a strong preterite with dialec- tical change of the vowel are bruk, brung, drap or drapped, drug, friz, roke or ruck (raked), saunt (sent), shet, shuck (shook), whoped (long o). The variant whupped is a Scotti- cism. Whope is sometimes used in the present tense, but whup is more common. By some the vowel of whup is sounded like oo in book (Mr. Fox writes "whoop," which, I presume, he in- tends for that sound). In many cases a weak preterite supplants the proper strong one: div, driv, fit, gi'n or give, rid, riv, riz, writ, done, run, seen or seed, blowed, crowed, drawed, growed, knowed, throwed. There are many corrupt forms of the verb, such as gwine for gone or going, mought (mowt) for might, clim, het, ort or orter, wed (weeded), war (was or were-the a as in far), shun (shone), cotch (in all tenses) or cotched, fotch or fotched, borned, hurted, dremp. THE MOUNTAIN DIALECT 285 Peculiar adjectives are formed from verbs. "Chair-bottoming is easy settin'-down work." "When my youngest was a leetle set-along child" (interpreted as " settin' along the floor"). " That Thunderhead is the torn- downdest place ! " " Them's the travellinest hosses ever I seed." " She's the workinest woman!" "Jim is the disablest one o' the fam'ly." "Damn this fotch-on kraut that comes in tin cans!" A verb may serve as an adverb: " If I'd a- been thoughted enough." An adverb may be used as an adjective: " I hope the folks with you is gaily" (well). An adjective can serve as an adverb: " He laughed master." Some- times a conjunction is employed as a preposi- tion: "We have oblige to take care on him." These are not mere blunders of individual illiterates, but usages common throughout the mountains, and hence real dialect. The ancient syllabic plural is preserved in beasties (horses), nesties, posties, trousies (these are not diminutives), and in that strange word dummerunses that I cited before. Pleonasms are abundant. "I done done it" (have done it or did do it). "Durin' the while." " In this day and time." " I thought it would surely, undoubtedly turn cold." " A 286 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS small, little bitty hole." " Jane's a tol'able big, large, fleshy woman." " I ginerally, usually take a dram mornin's." " These ridges is might' nigh straight up and down, and, as the feller said, perpendic'lar." Everywhere in the mountains we hear of biscuit-bread, ham-meat, rifle-gun, rock-clift, ridin'-critter, cow-brute, man-person, women- folks, preacher-man, granny-woman and neigh- bor-people. In this category belong the fa- mous double-barreled pronouns: we-all and you-all in Kentucky, we-uns and you-uns in Carolina and Tennessee. (I have even heard such locution as this: " Let's we-uns all go over to youerunses house.") Such usages are regarded generally as mere barbarisms, and so they are in English, but Miss Murfree cites correlatives in the Romance languages: French nous autres, Italian noi altri, Spanish nosotros. The mountaineers have some queer ways of intensifying expression. " I'd tell a man," with the stress as here indicated, is simply a strong affirmative. "We had one more time" means a rousing good time. " P'int-blank " is a super- lative or an epithet: "We jist p'int-blank got it to do." " Well, p'int-blank, if they ever come back again, I'll move! " A double negative is so common that it may THE MOUNTAIN DIALECT 287 be crowded into a single word: " I did it the unthoughtless of anything I ever done in my life." Triple negatives are easy: " I ain't got nary none." A mountaineer can accomplish the quadruple: "That boy ain't never done nothin' nohow." Yea, even the quintuple: " I ain't never seen no men-folks of no kind do no washin. On the other hand, the veriest illiterates often startle a stranger by glib use of some word that most of us picked up in school or seldom use informally. " I can make a hunderd pound o' pork outen that hog-tutor it jist right." "Them clouds denote rain." "She's so dilitaryl" " They stood thar and caviled about it." " That exceeds the measure." " Old Tom is blind, but he can discern when the sun is shinin'." " Jerry proffered to fix the gun for me." I had sup- posed that the words cuckold and moon-calf had none but literary usage in America, but we often hear them in the mountains, cuckold being employed both as verb and as noun, and moon- calf in its baldly literal sense that would make Prospero's taunt to Caliban a superlative insult. Our highlander often speaks in Elizabethan or Chaucerian or even pre-Chaucerian terms. His pronoun hit antedates English itself, being the Anglo-Saxon neuter of he. Ey God, a fa- 288 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS vorite expletive, is the original of egad, and goes back of Chaucer. Ax for ask and kag for keg were the primitive and legitimate forms, which we trace as far as the time of Layamon. When the mountain boy challenges his mate: "I dar ye-I ain't afeared1" his verb and participle are of the same ancient and sterling rank. Afore, atwixt, awar, heap o' folks, peart, up and done it, usen for used, all these everyday expressions of the backwoods were contemporary with the Canterbury Tales. A man said to me of three of our acquaint- ances: "There's been a fray on the river-I don't know how the fraction begun, but Os feathered into Dan and Phil, feedin' them lead." He meant fray in its original sense of deadly combat, as was fitting where two men were killed. Fraction for rupture is an archaic word, rare in literature, though we find it in Troilus and Cressida. " Feathered into them! " Where else can we hear to-day a phrase that passed out of standard English when "villain- ous saltpetre " supplanted the long-bow It means to bury an arrow up to the feather, as when the old chronicler Harrison says, "An other arrow should hatie beene fethered in his bowels." Our schoolmaster, composing a form of oath Photo by Arthur Keith "Till the skyline blends with the sky itself.-Great Smokies, N. C. from Mt. Collins This page in the original text is blank. THE MOUNTAIN DIALECT 289 for the new mail-carrier, remarked: " Let me study this thing over; then I can edzact it "-a verb so rare and obsolete that we find it in no American dictionary, but only in Murray. A remarkable word, common in the Smokies, is dauncy, defined for me as " mincy about eating," which is to say fastidious, over-nice. Dauncy probably is a variant of daunch, of which the Oxford New English Dictionary cites but one example, from the Townley Mysteries of circa 1460. A queer term used by Carolina mountaineers, without the faintest notion of its origin, is doney (long o) or doney-gal, meaning a sweet- heart. Its history is unique. British sailors of the olden time brought it to England from Spanish or Italian ports. Doney is simply dofia or donna a trifle anglicized in pronuncia- tion. Odd, though, that it should be preserved in America by none but backwoodsmen whose ancestors for two centuries never saw the tides! In the vocabulary of the mountaineers I have detected only three words of directly foreign origin. Doney is one. Another is kraut, which is the sole contribution to highland speech of those numerous Germans (mostly Pennsylvania Dutch) who joined the first settlers in this re- gion, and whose descendants, under wondrously g9o OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS anglicized names, form to-day a considerable element of the highland population. The third is sashiate (French chasse), used in calling figures at the country dances. There is something intrinsically, stubbornly English in the nature of the mountaineer: he will assimilate nothing foreign. In the Smokies the Eastern Band of Cherokees still holds its ancient capital on the Okona Lufty River, and the whites mingle freely with these redskins, bearing them no such despite as they do negroes, but eating at the same table and admitting Indians to the white compartment of a Jim Crow car. Yet the mountain dialect con- tains not one word of Cherokee origin, albeit many of the whites can speak a little Cherokee. In our county some Indians always appear at each term of court, and an interpreter must be engaged. He never goes by that name, but by the obsolete title linkister or link'ster, by some lin-gis-ter. Many other old-fashioned terms are pre- served in Appalachia that sound delightfully quaint to strangers who never met them outside of books. A married woman is not addressed as Missis by the mountaineers, but as Mistress when they speak formally, and as Mis' or Miz' for a contraction. We will hear an aged man THE MOUNTAIN DIALECT 29i referred to as " old Grandsir'" So-and-So. "Back this letter for me" is a phrase un- changed from the days before envelopes, when an address had to be written on the back of the letter itself. "Can I borry a race of ginger" means the unground root-you will find the word in A Winter's Tale. "Them sorry fel- lers" denotes scabby knaves, good-for-nothings. Sorry has no etymological connection with sor- row, but literally means sore-y, covered with sores, and the highlander sticks to its original import. We have in the mountains many home-born words to fit the circumstances of backwoods life. When maize has passed from the soft and milky stage of roasting-ears, but is not yet hard enough for grinding, the ears are grated into a soft meal and baked into delectable pones called gritted- bread. In some places to-day we still find the ancient quern or hand-mill, jocularly called an arm- strong-machine. Someone who irked from turn- ing it invented the extraordinary improvement that goes by the name of pounding-mill. This consists of a pole pivoted horizontally on top of a post and free to move up and down like the walking-beam of an old-fashioned engine. To one end of this pole is attached a heavy pes- 292 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS tie that works in a mortar underneath. At the other end is a box from which water flows from an elevated spout. When the box fills it will go down, lifting the pestle; then the water spills out and the pestle's weight lifts the box back again. Who knows what a toddick or taddle is I did not until my friend Dargan reported it from the Nantahala. " Ben didn't git a full turn o' meal, but jest a toddick." When a farmer goes to one of our little tub-mills, men- tioned in previous chapters, he leaves a portion of the meal as toll. This he measures out in a toll-dish or toddick or taddle (the name varies with the locality) which the mill-owner left for that purpose. Toddick, then, is a small meas- ure. A turn of meal is so called because " each man's corn is ground in turn-he waits his turn." When one dines in a cabin back in the hills he will taste some strange dishes that go by still stranger names. Beans dried in the pod, then boiled "hull and all," are called leather-breeches (this is not slang, but the regular name). Green beans in the pod are called snaps; when shelled they are shuck-beans. The old Germans taught their Scotch and English neighbors the merits of scrapple, but here it is known as poor-do. THE MOUNTAIN DIALECT 293 Lath-open bread is made from biscuit dough, with soda and buttermilk, in the usual way, except that the shortening is worked in last. It is then baked in flat cakes, and has the peculiar property of parting readily into thin flakes when broken edgewise. I suppose that poor-do was originally poor-doin's, and lath-open bread denotes that it opens into lath-like strips. But etymology cannot be pushed recklessly in the mountains, and I offer these clews as a mere surmise. Your hostess, proffering apple sauce, will ask, "Do you love sass " I had to kick my chum Andy's shins the first time he faced this question. It is well for a traveler to be fore- warned that the word love is commonly used here in the sense of like or relish. If one is especially fond of a certain dish he declares that he is a fool about it. " I'm a plumb fool about pickle-beans." Conversely, " I ain't much of a fool about liver " is rather more than a hint of distaste. " I et me a bait " literally means a mere snack, but jocosely it may admit a hearty meal. If the provender be scant the hostess may say, " That's right at a smidgen," meaning little more than a mite; but if plente- ous, then there are rimptions. To "grabble 'taters" is to pick from a hill 294 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS of new potatoes a few of the best, then smooth back the soil without disturbing the immature ones. If the house be in disorder it is said to be all gormed or gaumed up, or things are just in a mommick. When a man is tired he likely will call it worried; if in a hurry, he is in a swivvet; if nervous, he has the all-overs; if declining in health, he is on the down-go. If he and his neighbor dislike each other, there is a hardness between them; if they quarrel, it is a ruction, a rippit, a jower, or an upscuddle-so be it there are no fatalities which would amount to a real fray. A choleric or fretful person is tetchious. Survigrous (ser-vi-grus) is a superlative of vigorous (here pronounced vi-grus, with long i): as " a survigrous baby," " a most survigrous cusser." Bodaciously means bodily or entirely: " I'm bodaciously ruint " (seriously injured). " Sim greened him out bodaciously " (to green out or sap is to outwit in trade). To disfurnish or disconfit means to incommode: "I hope it has not disconfit you very bad." To shamp means to shingle or trim one's hair. A bastard is a woods-colt or an outsider. Slaunchways denotes slanting, and si-godlin or THE MOUNTAIN DIALECT 295 si-antigodlin is out of plumb or out of square (factitious words, of course-mere nonsense terms, like catawampus). Critter and beast are usually restricted to horse and mule, and brute to a bovine. A bull or boar is not to be mentioned as such in mixed company, but male-brute and male-hog are used as euphemisms. A female shoat is called a gilt. A spotted animal is said to be pieded (pied), and a striped one is listed. In the Smokies a toad is called a frog or a toad-frog, and a toadstool is a frog-stool. The woodpecker is turned around into a peckerwood, except that the giant wood- pecker (here still a common bird) is known as a woodcock or woodhen. What the mountaineers call hemlock is the shrub leucothoe. The hemlock tree is named spruce-pine, while spruce is he-balsam, balsam itself is she-balsam, laurel is ivy, and rhododen- dron is laurel. In some places pine needles are called twinkles, and the locust insect is known as a ferro (Pharaoh ). A treetop left on the So also in the lowland South. An extraordinary affec- tation of propriety appeared in a dispatch to the Atlanta Constitution of October 29, 1912, which reported that an exhibitor of cattle at the State fair had been seriously horned by a male cow, 296 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS ground after logging is called the lap. Sobby wood means soggy or sodden, and the verb is to sob. Evening, in the mountains, begins at noon in- stead of at sunset. Spell is used in the sense of while (" a good spell atterward ") and soon for early ("a soon start in the morning"). The hillsmen say " a year come June," " Thursday 'twas a week ago," and " the year nineteen and eight." Many common English words are used in peculiar senses by the mountain folk, as call for name or mention or occasion, clever for obliging, mimic or mock for resemble, a power or a sight for much, risin' for exceeding (also for inflammation), ruin for injure, scout for elude, stove for jabbed, surround for go around, word for phrase, take off for help yourself. Tale always means an idle or malicious report. Some highland usages that sound odd to us are really no more than the original and literal meanings, as budget for bag or parcel, ham- pered for shackled or jailed. When a moun- tain swain " carries his gal to meetin' " he is not performing so great an athletic feat as was re- ported by Benjamin Franklin, who said, " My father carried his wife with three children to New England" (from Pennsylvania). THE MOUNTAIN DIALECT 297 A mountaineer does not throw a stone; he "flings a rock." He sharpens tools on a grind- in'-rock or whet-rock. Tomato, cabbage, mo- lasses and baking powder are used always as plural nouns. " Pass me them molasses." " I'll have a few more of them cabbage." " How many bakin'-powders has you got " Many other peculiar words and phrases are explained in their proper place elsewhere in this volume. The speech of the southern highlanders is alive with quaint idioms. " I swapped hosses, and I'll tell you fer why." "Your name ain't much common." " Who got to beat " " You think me of it in the mornin." " I 'low to go to town to-morrow." " The woman's aimin' to go to meetin'." " I had in head to plow to-day, but hit's come on to rain." "I've laid off and laid off to fix that fence." "Reckon Pete was knowin' to the sarcumstance" "I'll name it to Newt, if so be he's thar." " I knowed in reason she'd have the mullygrubs over them doin's." " You cain't handily blame her." "Air ye plumb bereft" "How come it was this: he done me dirt." " I ain't carin' which nor whether about it." " Sam went to Andrews or to Murphy, one." " I tuk my fut in my hand and lit out." " He lit a rag fer home." " Don't 298 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS much believe the wagon '11 come to-day." "'Tain't powerful long to dinner, I don't reckon." " Phil's Ann give it out to each and every that Walt and Layunie 'd orter wed." " Howdy, Tom: light and hitch." " Reckon I'd better git on." " Come in and set." " Cain't stop long." "Oh, set down and eat you some supper!" "I've been." "Won't ye stay the night Looks like to me we'll have a rainin' windin' spell." " No: I'll haifter go down." "Well, come agin, and fix to stay a week." "You-uns come down with me." "Won't go now, I guess, Tom." "Giddep! I'll be back by in the mornin'." " Farwell! I Rather laconic. Yet, on occasion, when the mountaineer is drawn out of his natural reserve and allows his emotions free rein, there are few educated people who can match his picturesque and pungent diction. His trick of apt phrasing is intuitive. Like an artist striking off a por- trait or a caricature with a few swift strokes his characterization is quick and vivid. Whether he use quaint obsolete English or equally delightful perversions, what he says THE MOUNTAIN DIALECT 299 will go straight to the mark with epigrammatic force. I cannot quit this topic without reference to the bizarre and original place-names that sprinkle the map of Appalachia. Many readers of John Fox's novels take for granted that the author coined such piquant titles as Lonesome, Troublesome, Hell fer Sar- tin, and Kingdom Come. But all of these are real names in the Kentucky mountains. They denote rough country, and the country is rough, so that to a traveler it is plain enough why travel and travail were used interchangeably in old editions of Shakespeare. There is nothing like first-hand knowledge of mountain roads to revive sixteenth-century habits of thought and speech. The most scrupulous visitor will fain admit the aptness of mountain nomenclature. Kentucky has no monopoly of grotesque and whimsical local names. The whole Appalach- ian region, from the Virginias to Alabama, is peppered with them. Whatever else the south- ern mountaineer may be, he is original. Else- where throughout America we have place- names imported from the Old World as thick as weeds; but the pioneers of the southern hills either forgot that there was an Old World or they disdained to borrow from it. 300 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS Personal names applied to localities are common enough, but they are those of actual settlers, not of notables honored from afar (Mitchell, LeConte, Guyot, were not the high- landers' names for those peaks). Often a sur- name is put to such use, as Jake's Creek, Old Nell Knob, and Big Jonathan Run. We even have Granny's Branch, and Daddy and Mammy creeks. In the main it is characteristic of our Appa- lachian place-names that they are descriptive or commemorate some incident. The Shut-in is a gorge; the Suck is a whirlpool; Pinch-gut is a narrow passage between the cliffs. Calf- killer Run is "whar a meat-eatin' bear was usin'," and Barren She Mountain was the death- ground of a she-bear that had no cubs. Kem- mer's Old Stand was a certain hunter's favorite ambush on a runway. Meat-scaffold Branch is where venison was hung up for " jerking." Graining-block Creek was a trappers' rendez- vous, and Honey Camp Run is where the bee hunters stayed. Lick-log denotes a notched log used for salting cattle. Still-house Branch was a moonshiners' retreat. Skin-linn Fork is where the bast was peeled from young lindens. Big Butt is what Westerners call a butte. Ball-play Bottom was a lacrosse field of the Indians. THE MOUNTAIN DIALECT 30I Pizen Gulch was infested with poison ivy or sumach. Keerless Knob is " a joyful place for wild salat" (amaranthus). A " hell " or " slick " or " woolly-head " or " yaller patch " is a thicket of laurel or rhododendron, impassable save where the bears have bored out trails. The qualities of the raw backwoodsmen are printed from untouched negatives in the names he has left upon the map. His literalness shows in Black Rock, Standing Stone, Sharp Top, Twenty MNile, Naked Place, The Pocket, Tumbling Creek, and in the endless designa- tions taken from trees, plants, minerals, or ani- mals noted on the spot. Incidents of his lonely life are signalized in Dusk Camp Run, Mad Sheep Mountain, Dog Slaughter Creek, Drowning Creek, Burnt Cabin Branch, Broken Leg, Raw Dough, Burnt Pone, Sandy Mush, and a hundred others. His contentious spirit blazes forth in Fighting Creek, Shooting Creek, Gouge-eye, Vengeance, Four Killer, and Disputanta. Sometimes even his superstitions are com- memorated. In Owesley County, Kentucky, is a range of hills bearing the singular name of Whoop fer Larrie. A party of hunters, so the legend goes, had encamped for the night in the shelter of a bluff. They were startled from Jo2 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS sleep by a loud rumble, as of some wagon hur- rying along the pathless ridge, and they heard a voice shouting " Whoop fer LarrieI Whoop fer Larrie! " The hills would return no echo, for the cry came from a riotous " ha'nt." A sardonic humor, sometimes smudged with "that touch of grossness in our English race," characterizes many of the backwoods place- names. In the mountains of Old Virginia we have Dry Tripe settlement and Jerk 'em Tight. In West Virginia are Take In Creek, Get In Run, Seldom Seen Hollow, Odd, Buster Knob, Shabby Room, and Stretch Yer Neck. North Carolina has its Shoo Bird Mountain, Big Bugaboo Creek, Weary Hut, Frog Level, Shake a Rag, and the Chunky Gal. In eastern Tennessee are No Time settlement and No Business Knob, with creeks known as Big Soak, Suee, Go Forth, and How Come You. Georgia has produced Scataway, Too Nigh, Long Nose, Dug Down, Silly Cook, Turkey Trot, Broke Jug Creek, and Tear Breeches Ridge. Allowing some license for the mountaineer's irreverence, his whimsical fancies, and his scorn of sentimentalism, it must be said that his de- scriptive terms are usually apposite and some- times felicitous. Often he is poetically imagin- ative, occasionally romantic, and generally pic- THE MOUNTAIN DIALECT 3o3 turesque. Roan Mountain, Grandfather, the Lone Bald, Craggy Dome, the Black Brothers, Hairy Bear, the Balsam Cone, Sunset Moun- tain, the Little Snowbird, are names that linger lovingly in one's memory. The writer recalls with pleasure not only the features but the mere titles of that superb land- scape that he shared with the wild creatures and a few woodsmen when living far up on the di- vide of the Great Smoky Mountains. Imme- diately below his cabin were the Defeat and Desolation branches of Bone Valley, with Hazel Creek meandering to the Little Tennessee. Cheoah, Tululah, Santeetlah, the Tuckaseegee, and the Nantahala (Valley of the Noonday Sun) flowed through gorges overlooked by the Wauchecha, the Yalaka and the Cowee ranges, Tellico, Wahyah, the Standing Indian and the Tusquitee. Sonorous names, these, which our pioneers had the good sense to adopt from the aborigines. To the east were Cold Spring Knob, the Miry Pronounced Chee-o-ah, Chil-how-ee, Cow-ee, Cul-lo- whee, High-wah-see, Nan-tah-hay-lah, O-ko-na Luf-ty, San-teet-lah, Tel-li-co, Tuck-a-lee-chee, Tuck-a-see-gee, Tuh-loo-lah, Tus-quit-ee, Wah-yah (explosively on last syllable), Wau-ke-chah, Yah-lah-kah (commonly Ah-lar-ka or 'Lar-ky by the settlers), You-nay-kah. 304 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS Ridge, Siler's Bald, Clingman's Dome, and the great peaks at the head of Okona Lufty. On the west rose Brier Knob, Laurel Top, Thun- derhead, Blockhouse, the Fodder-stack, and various "balds" of the Unakas guarding Hi- wassee. To the northward were Cade's Cove and the vale of Tuckaleechee, with Chilhowee in the near distance, and the Appalachian Valley stretching beyond our ramparts to where the far Cumberlands marked an ever-blue horizon. What matter that the plenteous roughs about us were branded with rude or oppro- brious names Rip Shin Thicket, Dog-hobble Ridge, the Rough Arm, Bear-wallow, Woolly Ridge, Roaring Fork, Huggins's Hell, the Devil's Racepath, his Den, his Courthouse, and other playgrounds of Old Nick-they, too, were well and fitly named. CHAPTER XIV THE LAW OF THE WILDERNESS T is only a town-dreamed allegory that rep- resents Nature as a fond mother suckling her young upon her breast. Those who have lived literally close to wild Nature know her for a tyrant, void of pity and of mercy, from whom nothing can be wrung without toil and the risk of death. To all pioneer men-to their women and children, too-life has been one long, hard, cruel war against elemental powers. Nothing else than warlike arts, nothing short of warlike hazards, could have subdued the beasts and savages, felled the forests and made our land habitable for those teeming millions who can exist only in a state of mutual dependence and cultivation. The first lesson of pioneering was self-reliance. " Provide with thine own arm," said the Wilderness, " against frost and famine and skulking foes, or thou shalt surely die! " But there were compensations. As the school of the woods was harsh and stern, so it brought 305 306 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS up sons and daughters of lion heart. And its reward to those who endured was the most out- right independence to be had on earth. No king was so irresponsible as the pioneer, no czar so absolute as he. It needed no martyr spirit in him to sing: "I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul." We have seen that the Appalachian region was peculiar in this: that good bottom lands were few and far between. So our mountain farmers were cut off more from the world and from each other, were thrown still more upon their individual resources, than other pioneers. By compulsion their self-reliance was more complete; hence their independence grew more haughty, their individualism more intense. And these traits, exaggerated as they were by force of environment, remain unweakened among their descendants to the present day. Here, then, is a key to much that is puzzling in highland character. In the beginning isola- tion was forced upon the mountaineers; they accepted it as inevitable and bore it with stoical fortitude until in time they came to love solitude for its own sake and to find compensations in it for lack of society. THE LAW OF THE WILDERNESS 307 Says a native writer, Miss Emma Miles, in a clever and illuminating book on The Spirit of the Mountains: " W\e who live so far apart that we rarely see more of one another than the blue smoke of each other's chimneys are never at ease without the feel of the forest on every side-room to breathe, to expand, to develop, as well as to hunt and to wander at will. The nature of the mountaineer demands that he have solitude for the unhampered growth of his per- sonality, wing-room for his eagle heart." Such feeling, such longing, most of us have experienced in passing moods; but in the high- lander it is a permanent state of mind, sustain- ing him from the cradle to the grave. To enjoy freedom and air and elbow-room he cheerfully puts aside all that society can offer, and stints himself and bears adversity with a calm and steadfast soul. To be free, unbeholden, lord of himself and his surroundings-that is the wine of life to a mountaineer. Such a man cannot stand it to be bossed around. If he works for another, it must be on a footing of equality. Poverty may oblige him to take a turn on some "public works" (by which he means any job where many men work together, such as lumbering or railroad building), but he must be handled with more 308 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS respect than is shown common laborers else- where. At a sharp order or a curse from the foreman he will flare back: "That's enough out o' you! I" and immediately he will drop his tools. Generally he will stay on a job just long enough to earn money for immediate needs; then back to the farm he goes. Bear in mind that in the mountains every person is accorded the consideration that his own qualities entitle him to, and no whit more. It has always been so. Our highlanders have neither memory nor tradition of ever having been herded together, lorded over, persecuted or denied the privileges of free-men. So, even within their clans, there is no servility nor any headship by right of birth. Leaders arise, when needed, only by virtue of acknowledged ability and efficiency. In this respect there is no anal- ogy whatever to the clan system of ancient Scot- land, to which the loose social structure of our own highlanders has been compared. We might expect such fiery individualism to cool gradually as population grew denser; but, oddly enough, crowding only intensifies it in the shy backwoodsman. Neighborliness has not grown in the mountains-it is on the wane. There are to-day fewer log-rollings and house- raisings, fewer husking bees and quilting parties THE LAW OF THE WILDERNESS 309 than in former times; and no new social gather- ings have taken their place. Our mountain farmer, seeing all arable land taken up, and the free range ever narrowing, has grown jealous and distrustful, resenting the encroachment of too many sharers in what once he felt was his own unfenced domain. And so it has come about that the very quality that is his strength and charm as a man-his staunch individualism -is proving his weakness and reproach as a neighbor and citizen. The virtue of a time out- worn has become the vice of an age new-born. The mountaineers are non-social. As they stand to-day, each man "fighting for his own hand, with his back against the wall," they recognize no social compact. Each one is sus- picious of the other. Except as kinsmen or partisans they cannot pull together. Speak to them of community of interests, try to show them the advantages of co-operation, and you might as well be proffering advice to the North Star. They will not work together zealously even to improve their neighborhood roads, each mistrusting that the other may gain some trifling advantage over himself or turn fewer shovelfuls of earth. Labor chiefs fail to organize unions or granges among them because they simply will not stick together. 310 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS Miss Miles says of her people (the italics are my own): " There is no such thing as a community of mountaineers. They are knit to- gether, man to man, as friends, but not as a body of men. . . . Our men are almost incapable of concerted action unless they are needed by the Government. . . . Between blood-rela- tionship and the Federal Government no rela- tions of master and servant, rich and poor, learned and ignorant, employer and employee, are interposed to bind society into a whole. . . . The mountaineers must awake to a con- sciousness of themselves as a people. For al- though throughout the highlands of Kentucky, Tennessee and the Carolinas our nature is one, our hopes, our loves, our daily life the same, we are yet a people asleep, a race without knowl- edge of its own existence. This condition is due . . . to the isolation that separates the moun- taineer from all the world but his own blood and kin, and to the consequent utter simplicity of social relations. When they shall have estab- lished a unity of thought corresponding to their homogeneity of character, then their love of country will assume a practical form, and then, indeed, America, with all her peoples, carn boast no stronger sons than these same moun- taineers," THE LAW OF THE WILDERNESS 311 To the highlanders of four States here men- tioned should be added all those of Old Virginia, West Virginia, Georgia, and Alabama, making an aggregate to-day of close on four million souls. Together they constitute a distinct peo- ple. Not only are they all closely akin in blood, in speech, in ideas, in manners, in ways of liv- ing; but their needs, their problems are iden- tical throughout this vast domain. There is no other ethnic group in America so unmixed as these mountaineers and so segregated from all others. And the strange thing is that they do not know it. Their isolation is so complete that they have no race consciousness at all. In this respect I can think of no other people on the face of the earth to which they may be likened. As compensation for the peculiar weakness of their social structure, the highlanders dis- play an undying devotion to family and kindred. Mountaineers everywhere are passionately at- tached to their homes. Tear away from his native rock your Switzer, your Tyrolean, your Basque, your Montenegrin, and all alike are stricken with homesickness beyond speech or cure. At the first chance they will return, and thenceforth will cling to their patrimonies, however poor these be. 312 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS So, too, our man of the Appalachians.-" I went down into the valley, wunst, and I declar I nigh sultered! 'Pears like there ain't breath enough to go round, with all them people. And the water don't do a body no good; an' you cain't eat hearty, nor sleep good o' nights. Course they pay big money down thar; but I'd a heap-sight ruther ketch me a big old 'coon fer his hide. Boys, I did hone fer my dog Fiddler, an' the times we'd have a-huntin', and the trout-fishin', an' the smell o' the woods, and nobody bossin' and jowerin' at all. I'm a hill- billy, all right, and they needn't to glory their old flat lands to me! " Domestic affection is seldom expressed by the mountaineers-not even by motherly or sisterly kisses-but it is very deep and real for all that. In fact, the ties of kinship are stronger with them, and extend to remoter degrees of consan- guinity, than with any other Americans that I know. Here again we see working the old feudal idea, an anachronism, but often a beau- tiful one, in this bustling commercial age. Our hived and promiscuous life in cities is breaking down the old fealty of kith and kin. " God gives us our relatives," sighs the modern, "but, thank God, we can choose our friendsI " Such words would strike a mountaineer deep with Photo by U. S. Forest Service Whitewater Falls This page in the original text is blank. THE LAW OF THE WILDERNESS 313 horror. Rather would he go the limit of Stev- enson's Saint Ives: " If it is a question of going to hell, go to hell like a gentleman, with your ancestors I " When the wilderness came to be settled by white men, courts were feeble to puerility, and every man was a law unto himself. Many hard characters came in with the pioneers - bad neighbors, arrogant, thievish, bold. As society was not organized for mutual protection, it was inevitable that cousin should look to cousin for help in time of trouble. So arose the clan, the family league, and, as things change very slowly in the mountains, we still have clan loyalty out- side of and superior to the law. " My family right or wrong!" is a slogan to which every highlander will rise, with money or arms in hand, and for it he will lay down his last dollar, the last drop of his blood. There is scarce any limit to which this fealty will not go. Your brother or cousin may have committed a crime that shocks you as it does all other decent citi- zens; but will you give him up to the officers and testify against him Not if you are a moun- taineer. You will hide him out in the laurel, carry him food, keep him posted, help him to break jail, perjure yourself for him in court- anything, everything, to get him clear. 314 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS We see here a survival, very real and wide- spread, in this twentieth-century Appalachia, of a condition that was general throughout the Scotch Highlands in the far past. "The great virtue of the Highlander," says Lecky, "was his fidelity to his chief and to his clan. It took the place of patriotism and of loyalty to his sovereign. . . . In the reign of James V., an insurrection of Clan Chattan having been sup- pressed by Murray, two hundred of the insur- gents were condemned to death. Each one as he was led to the gallows was offered a pardon if he would reveal the hiding-place of his chief, but they all answered that, were they acquainted with it, no sort of punishment could induce them to be guilty of treachery to their leader. ... In I745 the house of Macpherson of Cluny was burnt to the ground by the King's troops. A reward of pound;i,ooo was offered for his apprehen- sion. A large body of soldiers was stationed in the district and a step of promotion was prom- ised to any officer who should secure him. Yet for nine years the chief was able to live con- cealed on his own property in a cave which his clansmen dug for him during the night, and, though upwards of one hundred persons knew of his place of retreat, no bribe or menace could extort the secret." THE LAW OF THE WILDERNESS 3I5 The same chivalrous, self-sacrificing fidelity to family and to clan leader is still shown by our own highlanders, as scores of feuds and hundreds of criminal trials attest. All this is openly and unblushingly " above the law "; but let us remember that the law itself, in many of these localities, is but a feeble, dilatory thing that offers practically no protection to those who would obey its letter. So, in an imper- fectly organized society, it is good to have blood- ties that are faithful unto death. And none knows it better than he who has missed it-he who has lived strange and alone in some wild, lawless region where everyone else had a clan to back him. So far as primitive society is concerned, we may admit with the Scotch historian Henderson that " the clan system of government was in its way an ideally perfect one-probably the only perfect one that has ever existed. ... The clansman was not the subject-a term implying some sort of conquest-but the kinsman of his chief. . . . Obedience became rather a privi- lege than a task, and no possible bribery or menace could shake his fidelity. Towards the Sassenach or the members of clans at feud with him he might act meanly, treacherously, and cruelly without check and without compunc- 316 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS tion, for there he recognized no moral obliga- tions whatever. But as a clansman to his clan he was courteous, truthful, virtuous, benevolent, with notions of honor as punctilious as those of the ancient knight." The trouble with clan government was, as this same writer has pointed out, that " it was the very thoroughness of its adaptation to early needs that made it so hard to adjust to new necessities. In its principles and motives it was essentially opposed to the bent of modern influ- ences. Its appeal was to sentiment rather than to law or even reason: it was a system not of the letter but of the spirit. . . . The clan system was efficient only within a narrow area; it gave rise to interminable feuds; and it was inapplic- able to the circumstances created by the rise of modern industry and trade." Everywhere throughout Highland Dixie to- day we can observe how clan loyalty interferes with the administration of justice. When a case involving some strong family comes up in the courts, immediately a cloud of false wit- nesses arises, men who should testify on the other side are bribed or run out of the country before subpoenas can be served, and every juror knows that his peace and prosperity in future depend largely upon which side he espouses. THE LAW OF THE WILDERNESS 3I7 To what lengths the hostility of a clan may go in defying justice was shown recently in the massacre of almost a whole court by the Allen clan at Hillsville, Virginia. The news of that atrocity swept like wildfire throughout all Ap- palachia, its history is being reviewed to-day in thousands of mountain cabins, and it is deeply significant that, away out here in western Caro- lina, where no Allen blood relationship preju- dices men's minds, the prevailing judgment of our backwoodsmen is that the State of Virginia did wrong in executing any of the offenders. " There was something back of it-you mark my words," say the country folk. And the drummers, cattle-buyers, and others who pass this way from southwestern Virginia tell us, " Everybody up our way sympathizes with the Allens." In some measure this morbid sentiment is due to the spectacular features of the Hillsville tragedy. If there be one human quality that the mountaineer admires above all others, it is "nerve." And what greater display of nerve has been made in this generation than for a few clansmen to shoot down a judge at the bench, the public prosecutor, the sheriff, the clerk of the court, and two jurymen, then take to the mountain laurel like Corsicans to the maquis, 318 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS and defy the armed power of the country The cause does not matter, to a mountaineer. Our highlanders are anything but robbers, for in- stance, and yet the only outsider who has ballads sung in his memory throughout Appalachia is Jesse James!--unless Jack Donohue was one- I do not know.- Come all ye bold undaunted men And outlaws of the day, Who'd rather wear the ball and chain Than work in slavery! Said Donohue to his comrades, " If you'll prove true to me, This day I'll fight with all my might, I'll fight for liberty; Be of good courage, be bold and strong, Be galliant and be true; This day I'll fight with all my might," Says bold Jack Donohue. Six policemen he shot down Before the fatal ball Pierced the heart of Donohue And 'casioned him to fall; And then he closed his struggling eyes, And bid this world adieu. Come all ye boys that fear no noise, And pray for Donohue! THE LAW OF THE WILDERNESS 319 No doubt the mountain minstrels are already composing ballads in honor of the Allens; for it is a fact we cannot blink at that the outlaw is the popular hero of Appalachia to-day, as Rob Roy and Robin Hood were in the Britain of long ago. This is not due to any ingrained hos- tility to law and order as such, but simply to admiration for any men who fight desperately against overwhelming odds. There is a glamour about bold and lawless adventure that fascinates mature men and women who have never out- grown youthful habits of mind. Whoever has the reputation of being a dangerous man to cross -the " marked " man, who carries his life upon his sleeve, but bears himself as a smiling cava- lier-he is the only true aristocrat among a valorous but primitive people. But this is only half an explanation. The statement that our highlanders are not hostile to law and order must be qualified to this extent: they have a profound distrust of the courts. The mountaineer is not only a born fighter but he is also litigious by nature and tradition. A stranger will be surprised to find how deeply the average backwoodsman is versed in the petty subtleties of legal practice. It comes from expe- rience. " Court-week " draws bigger crowds than a circus. The mountaineer who has never 320 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS served as juror, witness, or principal in a law- suit is a curiosity. And this familiarity has bred secret contempt. I violate no confidence in saying that many a mountaineer would hold up one hand to testify his respect for the law while the other hand hovered over his pistol. Why so Just because his experience has taught him (rightly or wrongly-but he firmly believes it) that courts are swayed by sinister influences when important matters are at stake. Those influences are clan money and clan votes. Hence, if he or a kinsman be involved in "lawin'" with a member of some rival tribe, he does not look for impartial treatment, but prepares to fight cunning with cunning, local influence with local influence. There are no moral obligations here. "All's fair in love and war "-and this is one form of war. If the reader will take down his David Bal- four and read the intrigues, plots, and counter- plots of David's attorneys and those of the Crown, he will grasp our own highlanders' viewpoint. That mountain courts are often impotent is due in part to the limitations under which their officers are obliged to serve. For example, in the judicial district where I reside, the solicitor Photo by Arthur Keith The road follows the Creek,-There may be a dozen fords in a mile This page in the original text is blank. THE LAW OF THE WILDERNESS 321 (State's attorney) receives nothing but fees, and then only in case of conviction. It might seem that this would stir him to extra zeal, and per- haps it does; but he has a large circuit, there are no local officials specially interested in se- curing evidence for him while the case is white- hot, everything spurs the defendant to get rid of dangerous witnesses before the solicitor can get at them, public opinion is extremely lenient toward homicides, and man-slayers so often get off scot-free after the most faithful and labori- ous efforts of the solicitor, that he becomes dis- couraged. The sheriff, too, serves without salary, getting only fees and a percentage of tax collections. How this works, in securing witnesses, may be shown by an anecdote.- I looked up from my work, one day, to see a neighbor striding swiftly along the trail that passed my cabin. " You seem in a hurry, John. Woods afire" "No: I'm dodgin' the sheriff." " Whose pig was it " "Awl He wants me as witness in a concealed weepon case." " One of your boys" " Huk-uh: nobody as I'm keerin' fer." " Then why don't you go " 322 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS " I cain't afford to. I'd haffter walk nineteen miles out to the railroad, pay seventy cents the round-trip to the county-site, pay my board thar fer mebbe a week, and then a witness don't git no fee at all onless they convict." "What does the sheriff get for coming away up here" " Thirty cents for each witness he cotches. He won't git me, Mister Man; not if I know these woods since yistidilv." Verily the law of Swain is hard on the solic- itor, hard on the sheriff, and hard on the witness, too! Mountaineers place a low valuation on hu- man life. I need not go outside my own habitat for illustrations. In our judicial district, which comprises the westernmost seven counties of North Carolina, the present yearly toll of homi- cides varies, according to counties, from about one in i,000 to one in 2,500 of the population. And ours is not a feud district, nor are there any negroes to speak of. Compare these figures with the rate of homicide in the United States at large, about one to 8,300 population; of Italy, one to 66,ooo; Great Britain, one to iii,ooo; Germany, one to 200,000. And the worst of it is that no Black Hand con- spirators or ward gun-men or other professional THE LAW OF THE WILDERNESS 323 criminals figure in these killings. Practically all of them are committed by representative citi- zens, mostly farmers. Take that fact home, and think what it means. Remember, too, that most of these murderers either escape with light penal sentences or none at all. The only capital sen- tence imposed in our district within the past ten years was upon an Indian who had assaulted and murdered a white girl (there was no red tape or procrastination about that trial, the court- house being filled with men who were ready to lynch him under the judge's nose if the sentence were not satisfactory). I said at the very outset of this book that "Our mountain folk still live in the eighteenth century. The progress of mankind from that age to this is no heritage of theirs. . . . And so, in order to be fair and just with these our backward kinsmen, we must, for the time, deciv- ilize ourselves to the extent of going back and getting an eighteenth century point of view." As regards the valuation of human life, what was that point of view The late Professor Shaler of Harvard, him- self a Southerner, one time explained the preva- lence of manslaughter among southern gentle- men. His remarks apply with equal truth to our mountaineers, for they, however poor they 324 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS may be in worldly goods, are by no means " poor white trash," but rather patricians, like the ragged but lofty chiefs and clansmen of old Scotland.- "Nothing so surprises the northern people as the fact that southern men of good estate will, for what seems to the distant onlooker trifling matters of dispute, proceed to slay each other. Nothing so gravely offends the character- istic southern man as the incapacity of his brethren of north- ern societies to perceive that such action is natural and con- sistent with the rules of gentlemanly behavior. The only way to understand these differences of opinion is by a proper consideration of the history of the moral growth of these diverse peoples. "The Southerner has retained and fostered-in a certain way reinstated-the medieval estimate as to the value of life. In the opinion of those ages it was but lightly es- teemed; it was not a supreme good for which almost all else was to be sacrificed, but something to be taken in hand and put in risk in the pursuit of manly ideals. " Modernism has worked to intensify the passion for exist- ence until those who are the most under its dominion can- not well conceive how a man, except for some supreme duty to which he is pledged by altruistic motives, can give up his own life or take that of his neighbor. If these people of to-day will but perceive that the characteristic Southerner has preserved the motives of two centuries ago, if they will but inform themselves as to the state of mind on this subject which prevailed in the epoch when those motives were shaped in men, they will see that their judgment is harsh and unreasonable. It is much as if they judged the actions of THE LAW OF THE WILDERNESS 325 Englishmen of the seventeenth century by the changed standards of to-day. "Nor will it be altogether reasonable to condemn the lack of regard of life which we find in the southern gentle- man as compared with his northern contemporary. We must, of course, reprobate in every way the evil conse- quences of this state of mind; but the question as to the propriety of that extreme devotion to continued mundane existence which is so manifest in our modern civilization is certainly open to debate. Irrational and brutal as are the ways in which the old-fashioned gentleman of the South shows that his regard for his own honor or that of his household outweighs his love of life, it must be remembered that the same condition existed in the richest ages of our race-those which gave proportionally the largest share of ability and nobility to its history. "As long as men are more keenly sensitive to the opin- ions of their fellows than they are to the other goods which existence brings them, as long as this opinion makes personal valor and truthfulness the jewels of their lives, we must ex- pect now and then to have degradation of the essentially noble motives. It is, undoubtedly, a dangerous state of mind, but not one that is degraded."-(North American Review, October, i89o.) "The motives of two centuries ago" are the motives of present-day Appalachia. Here the right of private war is not questioned, outside of a judge's charge from the bench, which everybody takes as a mere formality, a conven- tion that is not to be taken seriously. The argu- ment is this: that when Society, as represented 326 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS by the State, cannot protect a man or secure him his dues, then he is not only justified but in duty bound to defend himself or seize what is his own. And in the mountains Society with the big S is often powerless against the Clan with a bigger C. CHAPTER XV THE BLOOD-FEUD I Corsica, when a man is wronged by an- other, public sentiment requires that he redress his own grievance, and that his family and friends shall share the consequences. " Before the law made us citizens, great Na- ture made us men." "When one has an enemy, one must choose between the three S's - schiopetto, stiletto, strada: the rifle, the dagger, or flight." " There are two presents to be made to an enemy-palla calda o ferro freddo: hot shot or cold steel." The Corsican code of honor does not require that vengeance be taken in fair fight. Rather should there be a sudden thrust of the knife, or a pistol fired point-blank into the enemy's breast, or a rifle-shot from some ambush picked in advance. The assassin is not conscious of any cowardice in such act. If the trouble between him and his foe had been strictly a personal matter, to be 327 328 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS settled forever by one man's fall, then he might have welcomed a duel with all the punctilios. But his blood is not his alone-it belongs to his clan. Whenever a Corsican is slain his family takes up the feud. A vendetta ensues-a war of extermination by clan against clan. Now, the chief object of war, as all strategists agree, is to inflict the greatest loss upon the enemy with the least loss to one's own side. Hence we have hostilities without declaration of war; we have the ambush, the night attack, masked batteries, mines and submarines. Thus we murder hundreds asleep or unshriven. This is war. Moreover, while a soldier must be brave in any extremity, it is no less his duty to save him- self unharmed as long as he can, so that he may help his own side and kill more and more of the enemy. Therefore it is proper and military for him to "snipe" his foes by deliberate sharp- shooting from behind any lurking-place that he can find. This is war. And the vendetta, says our Corsican, is noth- ing else than war. When Matteo has been slain by an enemy, his friends carry his body home and swear ven- geance over the corpse, while his wife soaks her handkerchief in his wounds to keep as a token THE BLOOD-FEUD whereby she will incite her children, as they grow up, to war against all kinsmen of their father's murderer. Then a son or brother of Matteo slips forth into the night, full-armed to slay like a dog any member of the rival faction whom he may find at a disadvantage. The deed done, he flies to the maquis, the mountain thicket, and there he will hide, dodging the gendarmes, fighting off his enemies-an outlaw with a price upon his head, but pitied or admired by all Corsicans out- side the feud, and succored by his clan. It is a far cry from the Mediterranean to our own Appalachia: so why this prelude Our mountaineers never heard of Corsica. Not a drop of South European blood flows in their veins. Few of them ever heard one word of a foreign tongue. True. And yet we shall mark some strange analogies between Corsican ven- dettas and Appalachian feuds, Corsican clan- nishness and Appalachian clannishness, Corsi- can women and our mountain women-before this chapter ends. Long, long ago, in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, Dr. Abner Baker married a Miss White. Daniel Bates married Baker's sister, but separated from her in 1844. Baker charged Bates with undue intimacy with his wife, and 329 330 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS killed him. The Whites, defending their kins- woman, prosecuted the Doctor, but he was acquitted, and moved to Cuba. Afterwards Baker returned. In flat violation of the Constitution of the United States, he was tried a second time for the murder of Bates, was convicted, and was hanged. Thenceforth there was " bad blood " between the Bakers and the Whites, involving the Garrards on one side and the Howards on the other, as allies to the re- spective clans. In 1898, Tom Baker, reputed to be the best shot in the Kentucky mountains, bought a note given by A. B. Howard, for whom he was cut- ting timber. Howard became furious, a fight ensued, one of the Howard boys and Burt Stores were killed from ambush, and the elder Howard was wounded. Thereupon Jim Howard, son of the clan chief, sought out Tom Baker's father, who was county attorney, compelled the unarmed old man to fall upon his knees, shot him twenty-five times with careful aim to avoid a vital spot, and so killed him by inches. Howard was tried and convicted of murder, but it is said that a pardon was offered him if he would go to the State Capitol at Frankfort and assassinate Governor Goebel, which he is charged with having done, THE BLOOD-FEUD In Clay County, where this feud waged, the judge, clerk, sheriff, and jailer were of the White clan. Tom Baker killed a brother of the sheriff and took to the hills rather than give himself up to a court ruled by his foemen. Then Albert Garrard was fired upon from ambush while riding with his wife to a religious meet- ing. He removed to Pineville, in another county, under guard of two armed men, both of whom were shot dead "from the bresh." Governor Bradley sent State troops into Clay County, and Tom Baker surrendered to them. Baker was tried in the Knox Circuit Court, on a change of venue, and was sentenced to the penitentiary for life. On appeal his attorneys secured a reversal of the verdict, and Baker was released on bail. The new trial was set for June, I899. Governor Bradley again sent a company of State militia, with a Gatling gun, to Manchester where the trial was to be held. Baker was put in a guard-tent surrounded by a squad of soldiers. A hundred yards or so from this tent stood the unoccupied residence of the sheriff, at the foot of a wooded mountain. An assassin hidden in this house spied upon the guard-tent, and, when Baker appeared, shot him dead with a rifle, then took to the woods and escaped. 331 332 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS I quote now from a history of this feud pub- lished in Munsey's Magazine of November, I903.- "Captain John Bryan, of the 2d Kentucky, said to the widow of the murdered Tom Baker, after they returned from the funeral: "' Mrs. Baker, why don't you leave this miserable coun- try and escape from these terrible feuds Move away, and teach your children to forget.' "' Captain Bryan,' said the widow, and she spoke evenly and quietly, ' I have twelve sons. It will be the chief aim of my life to bring them up to avenge their father's death. Each day I shall show my boys the handkerchief stained with his blood, and tell them who murdered him.'" Corsican vendetta or Kentucky feud-what are language and race against age-long isolation and an environment that keeps humanity feral to the core Shortly after Baker's death, four Griffins, of the White-Howard faction, ambushed Big John Philpotts and his cousin, wounding the former severely and the latter mortally. Big John fought them from behind a log and killed all four. On July 17, i899, four of the Philpotts were attacked by four Morrises, of the Howard side. Three men were killed, three mortally wound- ed, and the other two were severely injured. No arrests were made. THE BLOOD-FEUD Finally, in i90i, the two clans fought a pitched battle in front of the court-house in Manchester. At its conclusion they formally signed a truce. This is a mere scenario of a feud in the wealthiest and best-schooled county of eastern Kentucky. Two of the families involved were of distinguished lineage, counting in their ranks a governor, three generals, a member of Con- gress, and a prohibition candidate for the Presi- dency. In reviewing this feud, Governor Bradley stated: "The whole fault in Clay County is a vitiated public sentiment and a failure of the civil authorities to do their duty. The laws are insufficient for the Governor to apply a remedy. Such feuds have been in progress more or less for years, and no Governor of the State has ever been able to queU them. They have terminated only when their force was spent by one side or the other being killed or moving out of the country." "The laws are insufficient for the Governor to apply a remedy." One naturally asks, " How so " The answer is that the Governor cannot send troops into a county except upon request of the civil authorities, and they must go as a posse to civil officers. In most feuds these of- ficers are partisans (in fact, it is a favorite ruse 333 334 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS for one clan to win or usurp the county offices before making war). Hence the State troops would only serve as a reinforcement to one of the contending factions. To show how this works out, we will sketch briefly the course of another feud.- In Rowan County, Kentucky, in I884, there was an election quarrel between two members of the Martin and Toliver families. The Logans sided with the Martins and the Youngs with the Tolivers. The Logan-Martin faction elected their candidate for sheriff by a margin of twelve votes. Then there was an affray in which one Logan was killed and three were wounded. As usual, in feuds, no immediate redress was attempted, but the injured clan plotted its ven- geance with deadly deliberation. After five months, Dick Martin killed Floyd Toliver. His own people worked the trick of arresting him themselves and sent him to Winchester for safe-keeping. The Tolivers succeeded in hav- ing him brought back on a forged order and killed him when he was bound and helpless. The leader of the Young-Toliver faction watts a notorious bravo named Craig Toliver. To strengthen his power he became candidate for THE BLOOD-FEUD town marshal of Morehead, and he won the office by intimidation at the polls. Then, for two years, a bushwhacking war went on. Three times the Governor sent troops into Rowan County, but each time they found nothing but creeks and thickets to fight. Then he prevailed upon the clans to sign a truce and expatriate their chiefs for one year in distant States. Craig Toliver obeyed the order by going to Missouri, but returned several months before the expiration of his term, resumed offlce, and renewed his atrocities. In the warfare that ensued all the county officers were involved, f rom the judge down. In 1887, Proctor Knott, Governor of Ken- tucky, said in his message, of the Logan-Toliver feud: "Though composed of only a small portion of the com- munity, these factions have succeeded by their violence in overawing and silencing the voice of the peaceful element, and in intimidating the officers of the law. Having their origin partly in party rancor, they have ceased to have any political significance, and have become contests of personal ambition and revenge; each party seeking apparently to pos- sess itself of the machinery of justice in order that it may, under the forms of law, seek the gratification of personal animosities. " During the present year the local leader of one of these 335 336 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS factions came in possession of the office of police judge of the town of Morehead. Under color of the authority of that office, and sustained by an armed band of adherents, he exercised despotic sway over the town and its vicinage. He banished citizens who were obnoxious to him; and, in one instance, after arresting two citizens who seem to have been guilty of no offense, he and his party, attended by a deputy sheriff of the county, murdered them in cold blood. "This act of atrocity fully aroused the community. A posse acting under the authority of a warrant from the county judge attacked the police judge and his adherents on the 22d of June last, killed several of their number, and put the rest to flight, and temporarily restored something like tranquility to the community. "The proceedings of the Circuit Court, which was held in August, were not calculated to inspire the citizens with confidence in securing justice. The report of the Adjutant General on this subject shows, from information derived 'from representative men without reference to party affilia- tions,' that the judge of the Circuit Court seems so far under the influence of the reputed leader of one of the fac- tions as to permit such an organization of the grand juries as will effectually prevent the indictment of members of that faction for the most flagrant crimes." The posse here mentioned was organized by Daniel Boone Logan, a cousin of the two young men who had been murdered, a college grad- uate, and a lawyer of good standing. With the assent of the Governor, he gathered fifty to seventy-five picked men and armed them with the best modern rifles and revolvers. Some of ,oto by l. S. forest Service "Dense forest luxuriant utldergrowth."-'Mixed hardwvoods, Jackson Co., N. C. This page in the original text is blank. THE BLOOD-FEUD the men were of his own clan; others he hired. His plan was to end the war by exterminating the Tolivers. The posse, led by Logan and the sheriff, suddenly surrounded the town of Morehead. Everybody gave in except Craig Toliver, Jay Toliver, Bud Toliver, and Hiram Cook, who barricaded themselves in the railroad station, where all of them were shot dead by the posse. Boone Logan was indicted for murder. At the trial he admitted the killings; but he showed that the feud had cost the lives of not less than twenty-three men, that not one person had been legally punished for these murders, and that he had acted for the good of the public in ending this infamous struggle. The court accepted this view of the case, the community sustained it, and the " war " was closed. A feud, in the restricted sense here used, is an armed conflict between families, each endeavor- ing to exterminate or drive out the other. It spreads swiftly not only to blood-kin and rela- tives by marriage, but to friends and retainers as well. It may lie dormant for a time, perhaps for a generation, and then burst forth with re- cruited strength long after its original cause has ceased to interest anyone, or maybe after it has been forgotten. 337 338 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS Such feuds are by no means prevalent throughout the length and breadth of Appa- lachia, but are restricted mostly to certain well defined districts, of which the chief, in extent of territory as well as in the number and feroc- ity of its " wars," is the country round the upper waters of the Kentucky, Licking, Big Sandy, Tug, and Cumberland rivers, embracing many of the mountain counties of eastern Kentucky and adjoining parts of West Virginia, Old Vir- ginia, and Tennessee. In this thinly settled re- gion probably five hundred men have been slain in feuds since our centennial year, and only three of the murderers, so far as I know, have been executed by law. The active feudists, as a rule, include only a small part of the community; but public senti- ment, in feud districts, approves or at least tol- erates the vendetta, just as it does in Corsica or the Balkans. Those citizens who are not di- rectly implicated take pains to hear little and see less. They keep their mouths shut. They can neither be persuaded, bribed, nor coerced into informing or testifying against either side, but, on the contrary, will throw dust in the eyes of an investigator or try to stare him down. A jury composed of such men will not convict anybody. THE BLOOD-FEUD When a feud is raging, nobody outside the warring clans is in any danger at all. A stranger is safer in the heart of Feuddom than he would be in Chicago or New York, so long as he at- tends strictly to his own business, asks no ques- tions, and tells no " tales." If, on the contrary, he should express horror or curiosity, he is re- garded as a busybody or suspected as a spy, and is likely to be run out of the country or even "laywayed " and silenced forever. What causes feuds Some of them start in mere drunken rows or in a dispute over a game of cards; others in quarrels over land boundaries or other property. The Hatfield-McCoy feud started because Ran- dolph McCoy penned up two wild hogs that were claimed by Floyd Hatfield. The spite over these hogs broke out two years later, and one partisan was killed from ambush. The feud itself began in 1882 over a debt of I.75, with the hogs and the bushwhacking brought up in recrimination. Love of women is the primary cause, or the secondary aggravation, of many a feud. Some of the most widespread and dead- liest vendettas have originated in political strifes. It should be understood that national and state politics cut little or no figure in these " wars." Local politics in most of the mountain 339 340 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS counties is merely a factional fight, in which family matters and business interests are in- volved, and the contest becomes bitterly per- sonal on that account. This explains most of the collusion or partisanship of county officers and their remissness in enforcing the law in murder cases. Family ties or political alliances override even the oath of office. Within the past year I have heard a deputy sheriff admit nonchalantly, on the stand, that when a homicide was committed near him, and he was the only officer in the vicinity, he advised the slayer to take to the mountains and "hide out." The judge questioned him sharply on this point, was reassured by the witness that it was so, and then-offered no comment at all. Within the same period, in another but not dis- tant court, a desperado from the Shelton Laurel, on trial for murder, admitted that he had shot six men since he moved over from Tennessee to North Carolina, and swore that while he was being held in jail pending trial for this last offense the sheriff permitted him to "keep a gun in his cell, drink whiskey in the jail, and eat at table with the family of the sheriff." Feuds spread not only through clan fealty but also because they offer excellent chances to pay off old scores. The mountaineer has a long THE BLOOD-FEUD memory. The average highlander is fiery and combative by nature, but at the same time cun- ning and vindictive. If publicly insulted he will strike at once, but if he feels wronged by some act that does not demand instant retalia- tion he will brood over it and plot patiently to get his enemy at a disadvantage. Some moun- taineers always fight fair; but many of them prefer to wait and watch quietly until the foe gets drunk and unwary, or until he is engaged in some illegal or scandalous act, or until he is known to be carrying a concealed weapon, whereupon he can be shot down unexpectedly and his assailant can " prove " by friendly wit- nesses that he acted in self-defense. So, if a man be involved in feud, he may be assassinated from ambush by someone who is not concerned in the clan trouble, but who has hated him for years on another account, and who knows that his death now will be charged up to the oppos- ing faction. From the earliest times it has been customary for our highlanders to go armed most of the time. This was a necessity in the old Indian- fighting days, and throughout the kukluxing and white-capping era following the Civil War. Such a habit, once formed, is hard to eradicate. Even to-day, in all parts of Appalachia that I 341 342 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS am familiar with, most of the young men, I judge, and many of the older ones, carry con- cealed weapons. Among them I have never seen a stand-up and knock-down fight according to the rules of the ring. They have many rough-and-tumble brawls, in which they slug, wrestle, kick, bite, strangle, until one gets the other down, whereat the one on top continues to maul his victim until he cries "Enough!" Oftener a club or stone will be used in mad endeavor to knock the oppo- nent senseless at a blow. There is no compunc- tion about striking foul and very little about " double-teaming." Let us pause long enough to admit that this was the British and American way of man-handling, universal among the com- mon people, until well into the nineteenth cen- tury-and the mountaineers are still ignorant of any other, except fighting with weapons. Many of. the young men carry home-made billies or " brass knucks." Every man and boy has at least a pocket-knife with serviceable blade. Fights with such crude weapons are frequent. There are few spectacles more sickening than two powerful but awkward men slashing each other with common jack-knives, though the fa- talities are much less frequent than in gun-fight- ing. I have known two old mountain preachers THE BLOOD-FEUD to draw knives on each other at the close of a sermon. The typical highland bravo always carries a revolver or an automatic pistol. This is likely to be a weapon of large bore and good stopping- power that is worn in a shoulder-holster con- cealed under the coat or vest or shirt. Most mountaineers are good shots with such arms, though not so deadly quick as the frontiersmen of our old-time West-in fact, they cannot be so quick without wearing the weapon exposed. When a highlander has time, he prefers to hold his pistol in both hands (left clasped over right) and aims it as he would a rifle. To a Westerner such gun practice looks absurd; but it is accurate, beyond question. Few mountain gun-fights fail to score at least one victim. The average mountain woman is as combative in spirit as her menfolk. She would despise any man who took insult or injury without showing fight. In fact, the woman, in many cases, delib- erately stirs up trouble out of vanity, or for the sheer excitement of it. Some of the older women display the ferocity of she-wolves. The mother of a large family said in my presence, with the calm earnestness of one fully experienced: " If a feller 'd treated me the way did I'd git me a forty-some-odd and shoot enough 343 344 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS meat off o' his bones to feed a hound-dog a week." Three of this woman's brothers had been shot dead in frays. One of them killed the first husband of her sister, who married again, and whose second husband was killed by a man with whom she then tried a third matrimonial venture. Such matters may not be interesting in themselves, but they give one pause when he learns, in addition, that these people are re- ceived as friends and on a footing of equality by everybody in their community. That the mountaineers are fierce and relent- less in their feuds is beyond denial. A warfare of bushwhacking and assassination knows no refinements. Quarter is neither given nor ex- pected. Property, however, is not violated, and women are not often injured. There have been some atrocious exceptions. In the Hatfield- McCoy feud, Cap Hatfield and Tom Wallace attacked the latter's wife and her mother at night, dragged both women from bed, and Cap beat the old woman with a cow's tail that he had clipped off " jes' to see 'er jump." He broke two of the woman's ribs, leaving her injured for life, while Tom beat his wife. Later, on New Year's night, i888, a gang of the Hatfields sur- rounded the home of Randolph McCoy, killed the eldest daughter, Allaphare, broke her moth- THE BLOOD-FEUD er's ribs and knocked her senseless with their guns, and killed a son, Calvin. In several in- stances women who fought in defense of their homes have been killed, as in the case of Mrs. Charles Daniels and her i6-year-old daughter, in Pike County, Kentucky, in November, i909. The mountain women do not shrink from feuds, but on the contrary excite and cheer their men to desperate deeds, and sometimes fight by their side. In the French-Eversole feud, a woman, learning that her unarmed husband was besieged by his foes, seized his rifle, filled her apron with cartridges, rushed past the firing- line, and stood by her " old man " until he beat his assailants off. When men are " hiding out " in the laurel, it is the women's part, which they never shirk, to carry them food and information. In every feud each clan has a leader, a man of prominence either on account of his wealth or his political influence or his shrewdness or his physical prowess. This leader's orders are obeyed, while hostilities last, with the same unquestioning loyalty that the old Scotch re- tainer showed to his chieftain. Either the leader or someone acting for him supplies the men with food, with weapons if they need them, with ammunition, and with money. Sometimes mercenaries are hired. Mr. Fox says that " In 345 346 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS one local war, I remember, four dollars per day were the wages of the fighting man, and the leader on one occasion, while besieging his en- emies-in the county court-house-tried to pur- chase a cannon, and from no other place than the State arsenal, and from no other personage than the Governor himself." In some of the feuds professional bravos have been employed who would assassinate, for a few dollars, any- body who was pointed out to them, provided he was alien to their own clans. The character of the highland bravo is pre- cisely that of the western " bad man " as pictured by Jed Parker in Stewart Edward White's Ari- zona Nights: " ' There's a good deal of romance been written about the "bad man," and there's about the same amount of nonsense. The bad man is just a plain murderer, neither more nor less. He never does get into a real, good, plain, stand-up gun-fight if he can possibly help it. His killin's are done from behind a door, or when he's got his man dead to rights. There's Sam Cook. You've all heard of him. He had nerve, of course, and when he was backed into a corner he made good; and he was sure sudden death with a gun. But when he went out for a man deliberate, he didn't take no special chances. . . "'The point is that these yere bad men are a low-down, miserable proposition, and plain, cold-blooded murderers, willin' to wait for a sure thing, and without no compunq- THE BLOOD-FEUD 347 tions whatever. The bad man takes you unawares, when you're sleepin', or talkin', or drinkin', or lookin' to see what for a day it's goin' to be, anyway. He don't give you no show, and sooner or later he's goin' to get you in the safest and easiest way for himself. There ain't no romance about that.' And there is no romance about a real moun- tain feud. It is marked by suave treachery, "double-teaming," "laywaying," "blind-shoot- ing," and general heartlessness and brutality. If one side refuses to assassinate but seeks open, honorable combat, as has happened in several feuds, it is sure to be beaten. Whoever appeals to the law is sure to be beaten. In either case he is considered a fool or a coward by most of the countryside. Our highlander, untouched by the culture of the world about him, has never been taught the meaning of fair play. Magna- nimity to a fallen foe he would regard as sure proof of an addled brain. The motive of one who forgives his enemy is utterly beyond his comprehension. As for bushwhacking, " Hit's as fa'r for one as 'tis for t'other. You can't fight a man fa'r and squar who'll shoot you in the back. A pore man can't fight money in the courts." In this he is simply his ancient Scotch or English ancestor born over again. Such was the code of Jacobite Scotland and Tudor Eng- 348 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS land. And back there is where our mountaineer belongs in the scale of human evolution. The feud, as Miss Miles puts it, is an outbreak of perverted family affection. Its mainspring is an honorable clan loyalty. It is a direct conse- quence of the clan organization that our moun- taineers preserve as it was handed down to them by their forefathers. The implacability of their vengeance, the treacheries they practice, the murders from ambush, are invariable features of clan warfare wherever and by whomsoever it is waged. They are not vices or crimes pe- culiar to the Kentuckian or the Corsican or the Sicilian or the Albanian or the Arab, but nat- ural results of clan government, which in turn is a result of isolation, of physical environment, of geographical position unfavorable to free intercourse and commerce with the world at large. The most hideous feature of the feud is the shooting down of unarmed or unwarned men. Assassination, in our modern eyes, is the last and lowest infamy of a coward. Such it truly is, when committed in the civilized society of our day. But in studying primitive races, or in going back along the line of our own ancestry to the civilized society of two centuries ago, we must face and acknowledge the strange paradox THE BLOOD-FEUD 349 of a valorous and honorable people (according to their lights) who, in certain cases, practiced assassination without compunction and, in fact, with pride. History is red with it in those very " richest ages of our race " that Professor Shaler cited. Until a century or two ago, throughout Christendom, the secret murder of enemies was committed unblushingly by nobles and kings and prelates, often with a pious "Thus sayeth the Lord ! " It was practiced by men valiant in open battle, and by those wise in the counsels of the realm. Take Scotland, for example, as pictured by a native writer.- " No tenet nor practice, no influence nor power nor prin- cipality in the Scotland of the past has outvied assassina- tion in ascendancy or in moment. Not theoretically, indeed, but practically, it occupied for centuries a distinct, almost a supreme, place in her political constitution-was, in fact, the understood if not recognized expedient always in reserve should other milder and more hallowed methods fail of accomplishing the desired political or, it might be, religious consummation. . . . " For centuries such justice as was exercised was hap- hazard and rude, and practically there was no law but the will of the stronger. Few, if any, of the great families but had their special feud; and feuds once originated sur- vived for ages; to forget them would have been treason to the dead, and wild purposes of revenge were handed down from generation to generation as a sacred legacy. 350 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS "To take an enemy at a disadvantage was not deemed mean and contemptible, but- 'Of all the arts in which the wise excel Nature's chief masterpiece.' To do it boldly and adroitly was to win a peculiar halo of renown; and thus assassination ceased to be the weapon of the avowed desperado, and came to be wielded unblushingly not only by so-called men of honor, but by the so-called re- ligious as well. A noble did not scruple to use it against his king, and the king himself felt no dishonor in resorting to it against a dangerous noble. Jarmes I. was hacked to death in the night by Sir Robert Graham; and James II. rid himself of the imperious and intriguing Douglas by sud- denly stabbing him while within his own royal palace under protection of a safe conduct. "The leaders of the Reformation discerned in assassina- tion (that of their enemies) the special 'work and judgment of God.' . . . When the assassination of Cardinal Beaton took place in I546, all the savage details of it were set down by Knox with unbridled gusto. 'These things we wreat mearlie,' is his own ingenuous comment on his per- formance. " The burden of George Buchanan's De Jure Regni apud Scotos is the lawfulness or righteousness of the removal-by assassination or any other fitting or convenient means-of incompetent kings, whether heinously wicked and tyranni- cal or merely unwise and weak of purpose; and he cites as a case in point and an 'example in time coming,' the murder of James III., which, if it were only on account of the assassin's hideous travesty of the last offices of the Church, would deserve to be held in unique and everlast- THE BLOOD-FEUD ing detestation."-(Henderson, Old-world Scotland, 182- I86.) Yet the Scots have always been a notably war- like and fearless race. So, too, are our southern mountaineers: in the Civil War and the Spanish War they sent a larger proportion of their men into the service than almost any other section of our country. Let us not overlook the fact that it demands courage of a high order for one to stay in a feud-infested district, conscious of being marked for slaughter-stay there month in and month out, year in and year out, not knowing at what moment he may be beset by overpowering num- bers, from what laurel thicket he may be shot, or at what hour of the night he may be called to his door and struck dead before his family. On the credit side of their valor, then, be it entered that few mountaineers will shrink from such ordeal when, even from no fault of their own, it is thrust upon them. The blood-feud is simply a horrible survival of medievalism. It is the highlander's misfor- tune to be stranded far out of the course of civil- ization. He is no worse than that bygone age that he really belongs to. In some ways he is better. He is far less cruel than his ancestors were-than our ancestors were. He does not 35I 352 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS torture with the tumbril, the stocks, the ducking- stool, the pillory, the branding-irons, the ear- pruners and nostril-shears and tongue-branks that were in everyday use under the old criminal code. He does not tie a woman to the cart's tail and publicly lash her bare back until it streams with blood, nor does he hang a man for picking somebody's pocket of twelve pence and a far- thing. He does not go slumming in bedlam, paying tuppence for the sport of mocking the maniacs until they rattle their chains in rage or horror. He does not turn executions of crimi- nals into public festivals. He never has been known to burn a condemned one at the stake. If he hangs a man, he does not first draw his en- trails and burn them before his eyes, with a mob crowding about to jeer the poor devil's flinching or to compliment him on his " nerve." Yet all these pleasantries were proper and legal in Christian Britain two centuries ago. This isolated and belated people who still carry on the blood-feud are not half so much to blame for such a savage survival as the rich, powerful, educated, twentieth-century nation that abandons them as if they were hopelessly derelict or wrecked. It took but a few decades to civilize Scotland. How much swifter and surer and easier are our means of enlightenment THE BLOOD-FEUD 353 to-day! Let us not forget that these highlanders are blood of our blood and bone of our bone; for they are old-time Americans to a man, proud of their nationality, and vassionately loyal to the flag that they, more than any other of us. accord- ing to their strength, have fought and suffered for. CHAPTER XVI WHO ARE THE MOUNTAINEERS T HE Southern Appalachian Mountains happen to be parceled out among eight different States, and for that reason they are seldom considered as a geographical unit. In the same way their inhabitants are thought of as Kentucky mountaineers or Carolina moun- taineers, and so on, but not often as a body of Appalachian mountaineers. And yet these in- habitants are as distinct an ethnographic group as the mountains themselves are a geographic group. The mountaineers are homogeneous so far as speech and manners and experiences and ideals can make them. In the aggregate they are nearly twice as numerous and cover twice as much ter- ritory as any one of the States among which they have been distributed; but in each of these States they occupy only the backyard, and gen- erally take back seats in the councils of the commonwealth. They have been fenced off from each other by political boundaries, and 354 WHO ARE THE MOUNTAINEERS 355 have no such coherence among themselves as would come from common leadership or a sense of common origin and mutual dependence. And they are a people without annals. Back of their grandfathers they have neither screed nor hearsay. " Borned in the kentry and ain't never been out o' hit " is all that most of them can say for themselves. Here and there one will assert, "My foreparents war principally Scotch," or " Us Bumgyarners [Baumgartners] was Dutch," but such traditions of a far-back foreign origin are uncommon. Who are these southern mountaineers Whence came they What is the secret of their belatedness and isolation Before the Civil War they were seldom heard of in the outside world. Vaguely it was understood that the Appalachian highlands were occupied by a peculiar people called " mountain whites." This odd name was given them not to distinguish them from mountain negroes, for there were, practically, no moun- tain negroes; but to indicate their similarity, in social condition and economic status, to the " poor whites" of the southern lowlands. It was assumed, on no historical basis whatever, that the highlanders came from the more ven- turesome or desperate element of the " poor 356 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS whites," and differed from these only to the extent that environment had shaped them. Since this theory still prevails throughout the South, and is accepted generally elsewhere on its face value, it deserves just enough consid- eration to refute it. The unfortunate class known as poor whites in the South is descended mainly from the con- victs and indentured servants with which Eng- land supplied labor to the southern plantations before slavery days. The Cavaliers who found- ed and dominated southern society came from the conservative, the feudal element of England. Their character and training were essentially aristocratic and military. They were not town- dwellers, but masters of plantations. Their chief crop and article of export was tobacco. The culture of tobacco required an abundance of cheap and servile labor. On the plantations there was little demand for skilled labor, small room anywhere for a middle class of manufacturers and merchants, no inducement for independent farmers who would till with their own hands. Outside of the planters and a small professional class there was little employment offered save what was menial and degrading. Consequently the South was shunned, from the beginning, by British WHO ARE THE MOUNTAINEERS 357 yeomanry and by the thrifty Teutons such as flocked into the northern provinces. The de- mand for menials on the plantations was met, then, by importing bond-servants from Great Britain. These were obtained in three ways.- i. Convicted criminals were deported to serve out their terms on the plantations. Some of these had been charged only with political offenses, and had the making of good citizens; but the greater number were rogues of the shift- less and petty delinquent order, such as were too lazy to work but not desperate enough to have incurred capital sentences. 2. Boys and girls, chiefly from the slums of British seaports, were kidnapped and sold into temporary slavery on the plantations. 3. Impoverished people who wished to emi- grate, but could not pay for their passage, vol- untarily sold their services for a term of years in return for transportation. Thus a considerable proportion of the white laborers of the South, in the seventeenth cen- tury, were criminals or ne'er-do-wells from the start. A large number of the others came from the dregs of society. As for the remainder, the companionships into which they were thrust, the brutalities to which they were subjected, their impotence before the law, the contempt 358 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS in which they were held by the ruling caste, and the wretchedness of their prospect when released, were enough to undermine all but the strongest characters. Few ever succeeded in rising to respectable positions. Then came a vast social change. At a time when the laboring classes of Europe had achieved emancipation from serfdom, and feud- alism was overthrown, African slavery in our own Southland laid the foundation for a new feudalism. Southern society reverted to a type that the rest of the civilized world had out- grown. The effect upon white labor was deplorable. The former bond-servants were now freedmen, it is true, but freedmen shorn of such oppor- tunities as they were fitted to use. Sprung from a more or less degraded stock, still branded by caste, untrained to any career demanding skill and intelligence, devitalized by evil habits of life, densely ignorant of the world around them, these, the naturally shiftless, were now turned out into the backwoods to shift for themselves. It was inevitable that most of them should degenerate even below the level of their former estate, for they were no longer forced into steady industry. The white freedmen generally became squat- WHO ARE THE MOUNTAINERS 359 ters on such land as was unfit for tobacco, cotton, and other crops profitable to slave-owners. As the plantations expanded, these freedmen were pushed further and further back upon more and more sterile soil. They became "pine-land- ers " or " piney-woods-people," " sand-hillers," " knob-people," " corn-crackers " or " crackers, gaining a bare subsistence from corn planted and " tended " chiefly by the women and chil- dren, from hogs running wild in the forest, and from desultory hunting and fishing. As a class, such whites lapsed into sloth and apathy. Even the institution of slavery they regarded with cynical tolerance, doubtless realizing that if it were not for the blacks they would be slaves themselves. Now these poor whites had nothing to do with settling the mountains. There was then, and still is, plenty of wild land for them in their native lowlands. They had neither the initia- tive nor the courage to seek a promised land far away among the unexplored and savage peaks of the western country. They were a brave enough folk in facing familiar dangers, but they had a terror of the unknown, being densely igno- rant and superstitious. The mountains, to those who ever heard of them, suggested nothing but laborious climbing amid mysterious and por- 360 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS tentous perils. The poor whites were not high- landers by descent, nor had they a whit of the bold, self-reliant spirit of our western pioneers. They never entered Appalachia until after it had been won and settled by a far manlier race, and even then they went only in driblets. The theory that the southern mountains were peo- pled mainly by outcasts or refugees from old settlements in the lowlands rests on no other basis than imagination. How the mountains actually were settled is another and a very different story.- The first frontiersmen of the Appalachians were those Swiss and Palatine Germans who began flocking into Pennsylvania about I682. They settled westward of the Quakers in the fertile limestone belts at the foot of the Blue Ridge and the Alleghanies. Here they formed the Quakers' buffer against the Indians, and, for some time, theirs were the westernmost set- tlements of British subjects in America. These Germans were of the Reformed or Lutheran faith. They were strongly democratic in a so- cial sense, and detested slavery. They were model farmers and many of them were skilled workmen at trades. Shortly after the tide of German immigra- tion set into Pennsylvania, another and quite WHO ARE THE MOUNTAINEERS 36i different class of foreigners began to arrive in this province, attracted hither by the same lodestones that drew the Germans, namely, democratic institutions and religious liberty. These newcomers were the Scotch-Irish, or Ulstermen of Ireland. When James I., in i607, confiscated the estates of the native Irish in six counties of Ulster, he planted them with Scotch and Eng- lish Presbyterians. These outsiders came to be known as Scotch-Irish, because they were chiefly of Scotch blood and had settled in Ire- land. The native Irish, to whom they were alien both by blood and by religion, detested them as usurpers, and fought them many a bloody battle. In time, as their leases in Ulster began to ex- pire, the Scotch-Irish themselves came in con- flict with the Crown, by whom they were perse- cuted and evicted. Then the Ulstermen began immigrating in large numbers to Pennsylvania. As Froude says, " In the two years that fol- lowed the Antrim evictions, thirty thousand Protestants left Ulster for a land where there was no legal robbery, and where those who sowed the seed could reap the harvest." So it was that these people became, in their turn, our westernmost frontiersmen, taking up 362 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS land just outside the German settlements. Im- mediately they began to clash with the Indians, and there followed a long series of border wars, waged with extreme ferocity, in which some- times it is hard to say which side was most to blame. One thing, however, is certain: if any race was ordained to exterminate the Indians that race was the Scotch-Irish. They were a brave but hot-headed folk, as might be expected of a people who for a cen- tury had been planted amid hostile Hibernians. Justin Winsor describes them as having " all that excitable character which goes with a keen- minded adherence to original sin, total deprav- ity, predestination, and election," and as seeing "no use in an Indian but to be a target for their bullets." They were quick-witted as well as quick-tempered, rather visionary, imperious, and aggressive. Being by tradition and habit a border people the Scotch-Irish pushed to the extreme western fringe of settlement amid the Alleghanies. They were not over-solicitous about the quality of soil. When Arthur Lee, of Virginia, was telling Doctor Samuel Johnson, in London, of a colony of Scotch who had settled upon a particularly sterile tract in western Virginia, and had expressed his wonder that they should WHO ARE THE MOUNTAINEERS 363 do so, Johnson replied, "Why, sir, all barren- ness is comparative: the Scotch will never know that it is barren." West of the Susquehanna, however, the land was so rocky and poor that even the Scotch shied at it, and so, when eastern Pennsylvania became crowded, the overflow of settlers passed not westward but southwestward, along the Cum- berland Valley, into western Maryland, and then into the Shenandoah and those other long, narrow, parallel valleys of western Virginia that we noted in our first chapter. This west- ern region still lay unoccupied and scarcely known by the Virginians themselves. Its fer- tile lands were discovered by Pennsylvania Dutchmen. The first house in western Virginia was erected by one of them, Joist Hite, and he established a colony of his people near the fu- ture site of Winchester. A majority of those who settled in the eastern part of the Shenan- doah Valley were Pennsylvania Dutch, while the Scotch-Irish, following in their train, pushed a little to the west of them and occupied more exposed positions. There were represen- tatives of other races along the border: English, Irish, French Huguenots, and so on; but every- where the Scotch-Irish and Germans predomi- nated, 364 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS And the southwestward movement, once started, never stopped. So there went on a gradual but sure progress of northern peoples across the Potomac, up the Shenandoah, across the Staunton, the Dan, the Yadkin, until the western piedmont and foot-hill region of Caro- lina was similarly settled, chiefly by Pennsyl- vanians. The archivist of North Carolina, the late William L. Saunders, Secretary of State, said in one of his historical sketches that " to Lan- caster and York counties, in Pennsylvania, North Carolina owes more of her population than to any other known part of the world." He called attention to the interesting fact that when the North Carolina boys of Scotch-Irish and Pennsylvania Dutch descent followed Lee into Pennsylvania in the Gettysburg campaign, they were returning to the homes of their an- cestors, by precisely the same route that those ancestors had taken in going south. Among those who made the long trek from Pennsylvania southward in the eighteenth cen- tury, were Daniel Boone and the ancestors of David Crockett, Samuel Houston, John C. Calhoun, " Stonewall " Jackson, and Abraham Lincoln. Boone and the Lincolns, although English themselves, had been neighbors in WHO ARE THE MOUNTAINEERS 365 Berks County, one of the most German parts of all eastern Pennsylvania. So the western piedmont and the mountains were settled neither by Cavaliers nor by poor whites, but by a radically distinct and even antagonistic people who are appropriately called the Roundheads of the South. These Roundheads had little or nothing to do with slavery, detested the state church, loathed tithes, and distrusted all authority save that of conspic- uous merit and natural justice. The first char- acteristic that these pioneers developed was an intense individualism. The strong and even violent independence that made them forsake all the comforts of civilization and prefer the wild freedom of the border was fanned at times into turbulence and riot; but it blazed forth at a happy time for this country when our liberties were imperilled. Daniel Boone first appears in history when, from his new home on the Yadkin, he crossed the Blue Ridge and the Unakas into that part of western Carolina which is now eastern Ten- nessee. He was exploring the Watauga region as early as I760. Both British and French In- dian traders and soldiers had been in this region before him, but had left few marks of their wanderings. In 176i a party of hunters from 366 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS Pennsylvania and contiguous counties of Vir- ginia, piloted by Boone, began to use this re- gion as a hunting-ground, on account of the great abundance of game. From them, and especially from Boone, the fame of its attrac- tions spread to the settlements on the eastern slope of the mountains, and in the winter of 1768-69 the first permanent occupation of east- ern Tennessee was made by a few families from North Carolina. About this time there broke out in Carolina a struggle between the independent settlers of the piedmont and the rich trading and official class of the coast. The former rose in bodies under the name of Regulators and a battle fol- lowed in which they were defeated. To escape from the persecutions of the aristocracy, many of the Regulators and their friends crossed the Appalachian Mountains and built their cabins in the Watauga region. Here, in 1772, there was established by these " rebels " the first re- public in America, based upon a written consti- tution " the first ever adopted by a community of American-born freemen." Of these pioneers in " The Winning of the West," Theodore Roosevelt says: "As in western Virginia the first settlers came, for the most part, from Penn- sylvania, so, in turn, in what was then western WHO ARE THE MOUNTAINEERS 367 North Carolina, and is now eastern Tennessee, the first settlers came mainly from Virginia, and indeed, in great part, from this same Penn- sylvania stock." Boone first visited Kentucky, on a hunting trip, in 1769. Six years later he began to colo- nize it, in flat defiance of the British govern- ment, and in the face of a menacing proclama- tion from the royal governor of North Carolina. On the Kentucky River, three days after the battle of Lexington, the flag of the new colony of Transylvania was run up on his fort at Boonesborough. It was not until the following August that these "rebels of Kentuck" heard of the signing of the Declaration of Independ- ence, and celebrated it with shrill warwhoops around a bonfire in the center of their stockade. Such was the stuff of which the Appalachian frontiersmen were made. They were the first Americans to cut loose entirely from the sea- board and fall back upon their own resources. They were the first to establish governments of their own, in defiance of king and aristocracy. Says John Fiske: "Jefferson is often called the father of modern American democracy; in a certain sense the Shenandoah Valley and adjacent Appalachian regions may be called its cradle. In that rude frontier society, life assumed many new aspects, 368 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS old customs were forgotten, old distinctions abolished, social equality acquired even more importance than unchecked in- dividualism. The notions, sometimes crude and noxious, sometimes just and wholesome, which characterized Jeffer- sonian democracy, flourished greatly on the frontier and have thence been propagated eastward through the older communities, affecting their legislation and their politics more or less according to frequency of contact and inter- course. Massachusetts, relatively remote and relatively an- cient, has been perhaps least affected by this group of ideas, but all parts of the United States have felt its influence powerfully. This phase of democracy, which is destined to continue so long as frontier life retains any importance, can nowhere be so well studied in its beginnings as among the Presbyterian population of the Appalachian region in the i8th century." During the Revolution, the Appalachian frontier was held by a double line of the men whom we have been considering: one line east of the mountains, and the other west of them. The mountain region itself remained almost uninhabited by whites, because the pioneers who crossed it were seeking better hunting grounds and farmsteads than the mountains afforded. It was not until the buffalo and elk and beaver had been driven out of Tennessee and Kentucky, and those rolling savannahs were being fenced and tilled, that much attention was given to the mountains proper. Then small WHO ARE THE MOUNTAINEERS 369 companies of hunters and trappers from both east and west began to move into the highlands and settle there. These explorers, pushing outward from the cross-mountain trails in every direction, found many interesting things that had been over- looked in the scurry of migration westward. They discovered fair river valleys and rich coves, adapted to tillage, which soon attracted settlers of a better class; and so, gradually, the mountain solitudes began to echo with the ring of axes and the lowing of herds. By I830 about a million permanent settlers occupied the south- ern Appalachians. Naturally, most of them came from adjoining regions-from the foot of the Blue Ridge on one side and from the foot of the Unakas or of the Cumberlands on the other, and hence they were chiefly of the same frontier stock that we have been describing. No colonies of farmers from a distance ever have been imported into the mountains, down to our own day. Deterioration of the mountain people began as soon as population began to press upon the limits of subsistence. At first, naturally, the best people among the mountaineers were at- tracted to the best lands. And there to-day, in the generous river valleys, we find a class of 370 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS citizens superior to the average mountaineers that we have been considering in this book. But the number and extent of such valleys was narrowly limited. The United States topog- raphers report that in Appalachia, as a whole, the mountain slopes occupy 90 per cent. of the total area, and that 85 per cent. of the land has a steeper slope than one foot in five. So, as the years passed, a larger and larger proportion of the highlanders was forced back along the creek branches and up along the steep hillsides to " scrabble " for a living. It will be asked, Why did not this overplus do as other crowded Americans did: move west First, because they were so immured in the mountains, so utterly cut off from communica- tion with the outer world, that they did not know anything about the opportunities offered new settlers in far-away lands. Moving " west " to them would have meant merely going a few days' wagon-travel down into the lowlands of Kentucky or Tennessee, which already were thickly settled by a people of very different social class. Here they could not hope to be anything but tenants or menials, ruled over by proprietors or bosses-and they would die rather than endure such treatment. As for the new lands of the farther West, there was scarce WHO ARE THE MOUNTAINEERS 371 a peasant in Ireland or in Scandinavia but knew more about them than did the southern moun- taineers. Second, because they were passionately at- tached to their homes and kindred, to their own old-fashioned ways. The mountaineer shrinks from lowland society as he does from the water and the climate of such regions. He is never at ease until back with his home-folks, foot-loose and free. Third, because there was nothing in his en- vironment to arouse ambition. The hard, hope- less life of the mountain farm, sustained only by a meager and ill-cooked diet, begat laziness and shiftless unconcern. Finally, the poverty of the hillside farmers and branch-water people was so extreme that they could not gather funds to emigrate with. There were no industries to which a man might turn and earn ready money, no markets in which he could sell a surplus from the farm. So, while the transmontane settlers grew rap- idly in wealth and culture, their kinsfolk back in the mountains either stood still or retro- graded, and the contrast was due not nearly so much to any difference of capacity as to a law of Nature that dooms an isolated and im- poverished people to deterioration. 372 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS Beyond this, it is not to be overlooked that the mountains were cursed with a considerable incubus of naturally weak or depraved charac- ters, not lowland " poor whites," but a miscel- laneous flotsam from all quarters, which, after more or less circling round and round, was drawn into the stagnant eddy of highland so- ciety as derelicts drift into the Sargasso Sea. In the train of western immigration there were some feeble souls who never got across the mountains. These have been described tersely as the men who lost heart on account of a broken axle. The anemic element thus introduced is less noticeable in Kentucky than in Virginia and the States farther south-for the reason, no doubt, that it took at least two axles to reach Kentucky-but it exists in all parts of Appa- lachia. Moreover, the vast roughs of the moun- tain region offered harborage for outlaws, des- peradoes of the border, and here many of them settled and propagated their kind. In the back- woods one cannot choose his neighbors. All are on equal footing. Hence the contagion of crime and shiftlessness spreads to decent families and tends to undermine them. We can understand, then, how it happened in many cases that highland families founded WHO ARE THE MOUNTAINEERS 373 by well-informed and thrifty pioneers deteri- orated into illiterate and idle triflers, all run down at heels. Lincoln's family is an apt illus- tration. His grandfather sold his Virginia farms for seventeen thousand dollars and bought large tracts of land in Kentucky. But Abraham Lincoln's father set up housekeeping in a shed, later built a log hut of one room without doors or windows (although he was a carpenter by trade), then moved to another cabin a little better, tired of it, moved over into Indiana, and made his family spend the winter in a half-faced camp, where they were saved from freezing by keeping up a great log fire in front of the lean-to through days and nights when the temperature was far below zero. The Lincolns were not mountaineers, but they were of the same stock, and were subjected to much the same vicissitudes. So the southern highlanders languished in isolation, sunk in a Rip Van Winkle sleep, until aroused by the thunder-crash of the Civil War. Let John Fox tell the extraordinary result of that awakening.- "The American mountaineer was discovered, I say, at the beginning of the war, when the Confederate leaders were counting on the presumption that Mason and Dixon's 374 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS Line was the dividing line between the North and South, and formed, therefore, the plan of marching an army from Wheeling, in West Virginia, to some point on the Lakes, and thus dissevering the North at one blow. " The plan seemed so feasible that it is said to have mate- rially aided the sale of Confederate bonds in England. But when Captain Garnett, a West Point graduate, started to carry it out, he got no farther than Harper's Ferry. When he struck the mountains, he struck enemies who shot at his men from ambush, cut down bridges before him, carried the news of his march to the Federals, and Garnett himself fell with a bullet from a mountaineer's squirrel rifle at Harper's Ferry. "Then the South began to realize what a long, lean, powerful arm of the Union it was that the southern moun- taineer stretched through its very vitals; for that arm helped hold Kentucky in the Union by giving preponderance to the Union sympathizers in the Blue-grass; it kept the east Tennesseans loyal to the man; it made West Virginia, as the phrase goes, 'secede from secession'; it drew out a horde of one hundred thousand volunteers, when Lincoln called for troops, depleting Jackson County, Kentucky, for in- stance, of every male under sixty years of age and over fifteen; and it raised a hostile barrier between the armies of the coast and the armies of the Mississippi. The North has never realized, perhaps, what it owes for its victory to this non-slaveholding southern mountaineer." President Frost, of Berea College, says: " The loyalty of this region in the Civil War was a sur- prise to both northern and southern statesmen. The moun- WHO ARE THE MOUNTAINEERS 375 tain people owned land but did not own slaves, and the national feeling of the revolutionary period had not spent its force among them. Their services in West Virginia and east Tennessee are perhaps generally known. But very few know or remember that the whole mountain region was loyal [except where conscripted]. General Carl Schurz had soldiers enlisted in the mountains of Alabama, and the writer has recently seen a letter written by the Confederate Gov- ernor of South Carolina in which he relates to General Hardee the troubles caused by Union sentiment in the moun- tain counties. " It is pathetic to know how these mountain regiments disbanded with no poet or historian or monument to per- petuate the memory of their valor. The very flag that was first on Lookout Mountain and 'waved above the clouds' was lost to fame in an obscure mountain home until Berea discovered and rescued it from oblivion and destruction." It may be added that no other part of our country suffered longer or more severely from the aftermath of war. Throughout that strug- gle the mountain region was a nest for bush- whackers and bandits that preyed upon the aged and defenseless who were left at home, and thus there was left an evil legacy of neighbor- hood wrongs and private grudges. Most of the mountain counties had incurred the bitter hos- tility of their own States by standing loyal to the Union. After Appomattox they were cast back into a worse isolation than they had ever known. Most unfortunately, too, the Federal 376 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS Government, at this juncture, instead of inter- posing to restore law and order in the high- lands, turned the loyalty of the mountaineers into outlawry, as in I794, by imposing a pro- hibitive excise tax upon their chief merchant- able commodity. Left, then, to their own devices, unchecked by any stronger arm, inflamed by a multitude of personal wrongs, habituated to the shedding of human blood, contemptuous of State laws that did not reach them, enraged by Federal acts that impugned, as they thought, an inalien- able right of man, it was inevitable that this fiery and vindictive race should fall speedily into warring among themselves. Old scores were now to be wiped out in a reign of terror. The open combat of bannered war was turned into the secret ferocity of family feuds. But the mountaineers of to-day are face to face with a mighty change. The feud epoch has ceased throughout the greater part of Appa- lachia. A new era dawns. Everywhere the highways of civilization are pushing into re- mote mountain fastnesses. Vast enterprises are being installed. The timber and the minerals are being garnered. The mighty waterpower that has been running to waste since these moun- tains rose from the primal sea is now about to WHO ARE THE MOUNTAINEERS 377 be harnessed in the service of man. Along with this economic revolution will come, inevitably, good schools, newspapers, a finer and more lib- eral social life. The highlander, at last, is to be caught up in the current of human progress. CHAPTER XVII "WHEN THE SLEEPER WAKES" T HE southern mountaineers are pre-emi- nently a rural folk. When the twentieth century opened, only four per cent. of them dwelt in cities of 8,ooo inhabitants and upwards. There were but seven such cities in all Appalachia-a region larger than England and Scotland combined-and these owed their development to outside influences. Only 77 out of i86 mountain counties had towns of Iooo and upwards. Our highlanders are the most homogeneous people in the United States. In i900, out of a total population of 3,o3g,835, there were only I8,6I7 of foreign birth. This includes the cities and industrial camps. Back in the mountains, a man using any other tongue than English, or speaking broken English, was regarded as a freak. Nine mountain counties of Virginia, four of West Virginia, fifteen of Kentucky, ten of Tennessee, nine of North Carolina1 eight of 378 " WHEN THE SLEEPER WAKES " 379 Georgia, two of Alabama, and one of South Carolina had less than ten foreign-born resi- dents each. Three of them had none at all. Compare the North Atlantic states. In this same census year, 57 per cent. of their people lived in cities of 8,ooo and upwards. As for foreigners-the one city of Fall River, Mass., with 104,863 inhabitants, had 50,042 of foreign birth. The mountains proper are free not only from foreigners but from negroes as well. There are many blacks in the larger valleys and towns, but throughout most of Appalachia the population is almost exclusively white. In I900, Jackson County, Ky. (the same that sent every one of its sons into the Union army who could bear arms), had only nineteen negroes among I0,542 whites; Johnson County, Ky., only one black resident among I3,729 whites; Dickenson County, Va., not a single negro within its borders. In many mountain settlements negroes are not allowed to tarry. It has been assumed that this prejudice against colored folk had its origin far back in the time when " poor whites " found themselves thrust aside by competition with slave labor. This is an error. Our mountaineers never had to compete with slavery. Few of them knew anything about it except from hear- 380 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS say. Their dislike of negroes is simply an instinctive racial antipathy, plus a contempt for anyone who submits to servile conditions. A neighbor in the Smokies said to me: " I b'lieve in treatin' niggers squar. The Bible says they're human-leastways some says it does-and so there'd orter be a place for them. But it's some place else-not around me I " That is the whole thing in a nutshell. Here, then, is Appalachia: one of the great land-locked areas of the globe, more English in speech than Britain itself, more American by blood than any other part of America, encom- passed by a high-tensioned civilization, yet less affected to-day by modern ideas, less cognizant of modern progress, than any other part of the English-speaking world. Of course, such an anomaly cannot continue. Commercialism has discovered the mountains at last, and no sentiment, however honest, how- ever hallowed, can keep it out. The transfor- mation is swift. Suddenly the mountaineer is awakened from his eighteenth-century bed by the blare of steam whistles and the boom of dynamite. He sees his forests leveled and whisked away; his rivers dammed by concrete walls and shot into turbines that outpower all the horses in Appalachia. He is dazed by elec- "WHEN THE SLEEPER WAKES" 381 tric lights, nonplussed by speaking wires, awed by vast transfers of property, incensed by rude demands. Aroused, now, and wide-eyed, he realizes with sinking heart that here is a sudden end of that Old Dispensation under which he and his ancestors were born, the beginning of a New Order that heeds him and his neighbors not a whit. All this insults his conservatism. The old way was the established order of the universe: to change it is fairly impious. What is the good of all this fuss and fury That fifty-story build- ing they tell about, in their big city-what is it but another Tower of Babel And these silly, stuck-up strangers who brag and brag about " modern improvements "-what are they, under their fine manners and fine clothes Hirelings all. Shrewdly he observes them in their rela- tions to each other.- "Each man is some man's servant; every soul Is by some other's presence quite discrowned." Proudly he contrasts his ragged self: he who never has acknowledged a superior, never has taken an order from living man, save as a patriot in time of war. And he turns upon his heel. Yet, before he can fairly credit it as a reality, 382 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS the lands around his own home are bought up by corporations. All about him, slash, crash, go the devastating forces. His old neighbors van- ish. New and unwelcome ones swarm in. He is crowded, but ignored. His hard-earned patri- mony is robbed of all that made it precious: its home-like seclusion, independence; dignity. He sells out, and moves away to some uninvaded place where he " will not be bothered." " I don't like these improvements," said an old mountaineer to me- " Some calls them ' progress,' and says they put money to circu- latin'. So they do; but who gits it" There is a class of highlanders more sanguine, more adaptable, that welcomes all outsiders who come with skill and capital to develop their country. Many of these are shrewd traders in merchandise or in real estate, or they are capa- ble foremen who can handle native labor much better than any strangers could. Such men naturally profit by the change. Others, deluded by what seems easy money, sell their little homesteads for just enough cash to set them up as laborers in town or camp. Being untrained to any trade, they can get only the lowest wages, which are quickly dissipated in rent and in foods that formerly they raised for themselves. Unused to continuous labor, "WHEN THE SLEEPER WAKES" 383 they irk under its discipline, drop out, and fall into desultory habits. Meantime false ambitions arise, especially among the womenfolk. Store credit soon runs such a family in debt. " When I was a young man," said one of my neighbors, " the traders never thought of bring- in' meal in here. If a man run out of meal, why, he was out, and he had to live on 'taters or some- thin' else. Nowadays we dress better, and live better, but some other feller allers has his hands in our pockets." Then it is "good-by" to the old independ- ence that made such characters manly. En- meshed in obligations that they cannot meet, they struggle vainly, brood hopelessly, and lose that dearest of all possessions, their self-respect. Servility is literal hell to a mountaineer, and when it is forced upon him he turns into a mean, underhanded, slinking fellow, easily tempted into crime. The curse of our invading civilization is that its vanguard is composed of men who care noth- ing for the welfare of the people they dispossess. A northern lumberman admitted to me, with frankness unusual in his class, that " All we want here is to get the most we can out of this country, as quick as xwe can, and then get out." This is all we can expect of those who exploit 384 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS raw materials, or of manufactures that employ only cheap labor. Until we have industries that demand skilled workmen, and until manual training schools are established in the moun- tains, we may look for deterioration, rather than betterment, of those highlanders who leave their farms. All who know the mountaineers intimately have observed that the sudden inroad of com- mercialism has a bad effect upon them. As President Frost says, " Ruthless change is knocking at the door of every mountain cabin. The jackals of civlization have already abused the confidence of many a highland home. The lumber, coal, and mineral wealth of the moun- tains is to be possessed, and the unprincipled vanguard of commercialism can easily debauch a simple people. The question is whether the mountain people can be enlightened and guided so that they can have a part in the development of their own country, or whether they must give place to foreigners and melt away like so many Indians." It is easy to say that the fittest will survive. But the fittest for what Miss Miles answers: " I have heard it said that civilization, when it touches the people of the backwoods, acts as a useful precipitant in thus sending the dregs to "WHEN THE SLEEPER WAKES" 385 the bottom. As a matter of fact, it is only the shrewder and more determined, not the truly fit, that survive the struggle. Among these very submerged ones, reduced to dependence on an alien people, there are thousands who inherit the skill of their forefathers who fashioned their own locks, musical instruments, and guns. And these very women who are breaking their health and spirit over a thankless tub of suds ought surely to turn their talents to better account, ought to be designing and weaving coverlets and Roman-striped rugs, or 'piecing' the quilt pat- terns now so popular. Need these razors be used to cut grindstones Must this free folk who are in many ways the truest Americans of America be brought under the yoke of caste division, to the degradation of all their finer qualities, merely for lack of the right work to do" There are some who would have it so; who would calmly write for these our own kindred, as for the Indians, fuerunt-their day is past. In a History of Southern Literature, xritten not long ago by a professor in the University of Virginia, a sketch of Miss Murfree's work closes with these words: " There [at Beersheba Springs, Tenn.] it was that she first studied the curious type of humanity, the Tennessee moun- 386 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS taineer, a people so ignorant, so superstitious, so far behind the world of to-day as to excite won- der and even pity in all who see them. ... [She]' is telling the story of a people who, in these opening years of the 20th century, wander on through their limited range of life much as their ancestors for generations have wandered. They, too, will some time vanish-the sooner the better." One cannot read such a sentiment without wonder and even pity for the ignorance of his- tory and of human nature that it discloses. Is the case of our mountaineers so much worse than that of the Scotch highlanders of two centuries ago We know that those Scotchmen did not " vanish-the quicker the better." What were they before civilization reached them Let us open the ready pages of Macaulay.- "It is not easy for a modern Englishman . . . to believe that, in the time of his great-grandfathers, Saint James's Street had as little connection with the Grampians as with the Andes. Yet so it was. In the south of our island scarcely anything was known about the Celtic part of Scotland; and what was known excited no feeling but contempt and loathing. . . . "It is not strange that the Wild Scotch, as they were sometimes called, should, in the 17th century, have been considered by the Saxons as mere savages. Put it is surely "WHEN THE SLEEPER WAKES" 387 strange that, considered as savages, they should not have been objects of interest and curiosity. The English were then abundantly inquisitive about the manners of rude na- tions separated from our island by great continents and oceans. (Numerous books were printed describing the laws, the superstitions, the cabins, the repasts, the dresses, the marriages, the funerals of Laplanders and Hottentots, Mo- hawks and Malays. The plays and poems of that age are full of allusions to the usages of the black men of Africa and the red men of America. )The only barbarian about whom there was no wish to have any information was the Highlander. . . . "XWhile the old Gaelic institutions were in full vigor, no account of them was given by any observer qualified to judge of them fairly. (Had such an observer studied the character of the Highlanders, he would doubtless have found in it closely intermingled the good and the bad qual- ities of an uncivilized nation. He would have found that the people had no love for their country or for their king, that they had no attachment to any commonwealth larger than the clan, or to any magistrate superior to the chief. He would have found that life was governed by a code of morality and honor widely different from that which is established in peaceful and prosperous societies. He would have learned that a stab in the back, or a shot from behind a fragment of rock, were approved modes of taking satis- faction for insults. He would have heard men relate boast- fully how they or their fathers had wracked on hereditary enemies in a neighboring valley such vengeance as would have made old soldiers of the Thirty Years' War shudder. "He would have found that robbery was held to be a 388 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS calling not merely innocent but honorable. He would have seen, wherever he turned, that dislike of steady industry, and that disposition to throw on the weaker sex the heavi- est part of manual labor, which are characteristic of sav- ages. He would have been struck by the spectacle of ath- letic men basking in the sun, angling for salmon, or taking aim at grouse, while their aged mothers, their pregnant wives, their tender daughters, were reaping the scanty har- vest of oats. Nor did the women repine at their hard lot. In their view it was quite fit that a man, especially if he assumed the aristocratic title of Duinhe Wassel and adorned his bonnet with the eagle's feather, s1hould take his ease, except when he was fighting, hunting, or marauding. To mention the name of such a man in connection with com- merce or with any mechanical art was an insult. Agricul- ture was indeed less despised. Yet a highborn warrior was much more becomingly employed in plundering the land of others than in tilling his own. "The religion of the greater part of the Highlands was a rude mixture of Popery and Paganism. The symbol of redemption was associated with heathen sacrifices and incan- tations. Baptised men poured libations of ale on one Dxemon, and set out drink offerings of milk for another. Seers wrapped themselves up in bulls' hides, and awaited, in that vesture, the inspiration which was to reveal the fu- ture. Even among those minstrels and genealogists whose hereditary vocation was to preserve the memory of past events, an enquirer would have found very few who could read. In truth, he might easily have journeyed from sea to sea without discovering a page of Gaelic printed or written. "The price which he would have had to pay for his " WHEN THE SLEEPER WAKES " 389 knowledge of the country would have been heavy. He would have had to endure hardships as great as if he had sojourned among the Esquimaux or the Samoyeds. Here and there, indeed, at the castle of some great lord who had a seat in the Parliament and Privy Council, and who was accustomed to pass a large part of his life in the cities of the South, might have been found wigs and embroidered coats, plate and fine linen, lace and jewels, French dishes and French wines. But, in general, the traveler would have been forced to content himself with very different quarters. In many dwellings the furniture, the food, the clothing, nay, the very hair and skin of his hosts, would have put his philosophy to the proof. His lodging would sometimes have been in a hut of which every nook would have swarmed with vermin. He would have inhaled an atmosphere thick with peat smoke, and foul with a hundred exhalations. At supper grain fit only for horses would have been set before him, accompanied with a cake of blood drawn from living cows. Some of the company with whom he would have feasted would have been covered with cuta- neous eruptions, and others would have been smeared with tar like sheep. His couch would have been the bare earth, dry or wet as the weather might be; and from that couch he would have risen half poisoned with stench, half blind with the reek of turf, and half mad with the itch. This is not an attractive picture. And yet an enlight- ened and dispassionate observer would have found in the character and manners of this rude people something which might well excite admiration and a good hope. Their courage was what great exploits achieved in all the four quarters of the globe have since proved it to be. Their intense attachment to their own tribe and to their own 390 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS patriarch, though politically a great evil, partook of the nature of virtue. The sentiment was misdirected and ill regulated; but still it was heroic. There must be some elevation of soul in a man who loves the society of which he is a member and the leader whom he follows with a love stronger than the love of life. It was true that the Highlander had few scruples about shedding the blood of an enemy; but it was not less true that he had high no- tions of the duty of observing faith to allies and hospitality to guests. It was true that his predatory habits were most pernicious to the commonwealth. Yet those erred greatly wvho imagined that he bore any resemblance to villains who, in rich and well governed communities, live by stealing. When he drove before him the herds of Lowland farmers up the pass which led to his native glen, he no more con- sidered himself as a thief than the Raleighs and Drakes considered themselves as thieves when they divided the cargoes of Spanish galleons. He was a warrior seizing lawful prize of war, of war never once intermitted during the thirty-five generations which had passed away since the Teutonic invaders had driven the children of the soil to the mountains. . . " His inordinate pride of birth and his contempt for labor and trade were indeed great weaknesses, and had done far more than the inclemency of the air and the sterility of the soil to keep his country poor and rude. Yet even here there was some compensation. It must in fairness be ac- knowledged that the patrician virtues were not less widely diffused among the population of the Highlands than the patrician vices. As there was no other part of the island where men, sordidly clothed, lodged, and fed, indulged them- selves to such a degree in the idle, sauntering habits of an "WHEN THE SLEEPER WAKES" 391 aristocracy, so there was no other part of the island where such men had in such a degree the better qualities of an aristocracy, grace and dignity of manner, self-respect, and that noble sensibility which makes dishonor more terrible than death. A gentleman of Skye or Lochaber, whose clothes were begrimed with the accumulated filth of years, and whose hovel smelt worse than an English hogstye, would often do the honors of that hovel with a lofty cour- tesy worthy of the splendid circle of Versailles. Though he had as little book-learning as the most stupid plough- boys of England, it would have been a great error to put him in the same intellectual rank with such ploughboys. It is indeed only by reading that men can become pro- foundly acquainted with any science. But the arts of poetry and rhetoric may be carried near to absolute per- fection, and may exercise a mighty influence on the public mind, in an age in which books are wholly or almost wholly unknown." So, too, in the rudest communities of Appa- lachia, among the most trifling and unmoral natives of this region, among the illiterate and hide-bound, there still is much to excite admira- tion and good hope. I have not shrunk from telling the truth about these people, even when it was far from pleasant; but I would have pre- served strict silence had I not seen in the most backward of them certain sterling qualities of manliness that our nation can ill afford to waste. It is a truth as old as the human race that sav- 392 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS ageries may co-exist with admirable qualities of head and heart. The only people who can con- sistently despair of the future for even the low- est of our mountaineers are those who deny evo- lution and who believe, with Archbishop Usher, that man was created perfect at 9 A. M. on the 2ISt of October, in the year B. C. 4004. Let us remember, Sir and Madam, that we ourselves are descended from white barbarians. From William the Conqueror, you Very well; how many other ancestors of yours were walking about England and elsewhere at the time of William Untold thousands of them were just such people as you can find to-day brawling in some mountain still-house (unless there has been a deal of incest somewhere along your line), and you have infinitely more of their blood in your veins than you have of the Conqueror's-who, by the way, could he be re-incarnated, would not be tolerated in your drawing-room for half an hour. I may have made the point too bru- tally plain; but if it sinks through the smug self- complacency of those who " do not belong to the masses," who act as though civilization and morals and good manners were entailed to them through a mere dozen or so of selected ancestors, I remain unrepentant and unashamed. Let us " WHEN THE SLEEPER WAKES " 393 thank whatever gods there be that it is not merely thou and I, our few friends and next of kin, but all humanity, that scientific faith em- braces and will sustain. " People who have been among the southern mountaineers testify," says Mr. Fox, " that, as a race, they are proud, sensitive, hospitable, kindly, obliging in an unreckoning way that is almost pathetic, honest, loyal, in spite of their common ignorance, poverty, and isolation; that they are naturally capable, eager to learn, easy to uplift. Americans to the core, they make the southern mountains a storehouse of patriotism; in themselves they are an important offset to the Old World outcasts whom we have welcomed to our shores; and they surely deserve as much consideration from the nation as the negroes, or as the heathen, to whom we give millions." President Frost, of Berea College, who has worked among these people for nearly a life- time, and has helped to educate their young folks by thousands, says: " It does one's heart good to help a young Lincoln who comes walk- ing in perhaps a three-days' journey on foot, with a few hard-earned dollars in his pocket and a great eagerness for the education he can so faintly comprehend. (Scores of our young peo- 394 OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS ple see their first railroad train at Berea.) And it is a joy to welcome the mountain girl who comes back after having taught her first school, bringing the money to pay her debts and buy her first comfortable outfit-including rubbers and suitable underclothing-and perhaps bringing with her a younger sister. Such a girl exerts a great influence in her school and mountain home. An enthusiastic mountaineer described an example in this wise: ' I tell yeou hit teks a moughty resolute gal ter do what that thar gal has done. She got, I reckon, about the tough- est deestric' in the ceounty, which is sayin' a good deal. An' then fer boardin'-place-well, there warn't much choice. There was one house, with one room. But she kep right on, an' yeou would hev thought she was havin' the finest kind of a time, ter look at her. An' then the last day, when they was sayin' their pieces and sich, some sorry fellers come in thar full o' moonshine an' shot their revolvers. I'm a-tellin' ye hit takes a moughty resolute gal." The great need of our mountaineers to-day is trained leaders of their own. The future of Appalachia lies mostly in the hands of those resolute native boys and girls who win the edu- cation fitting them for such leadership. Here is where the nation at large is summoned by a " WHEN THE SLEEPER WAKES " 395 solemn duty. And it should act quickly, be- cause commercialism exploits and debauches quickly. But the schools needed here are not ordinary graded schools. They should be voca- tional schools that will turn out good farmers, good mechanics, good housewives. Meantime let a model farm be established in every moun- tain county showing how to get the most out of mountain land. Such object lessons would speedily work an economic revolution. It is an economic problem, fundamentally, that the mountaineer has to face. THE END