Part One: Tracing my roots

rootsI’ve been quiet here on the Appalachian Chained blog for about a month now.  I’ve actually been doing a little soul searching as to where to go with the blog and other endeavors that I am part of.

Besides my co-hosting duties on various podcasts, I have had the opportunity this year to get back to my roots in covering motorsports and more, thanks to Chris Graham and the Augusta Free Press.

Still I have felt empty.

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Voting day in Appalachia

i_voted_today_sticker-r5853b35a1d1f4e3d8b2299e21bc33889_v9wth_8byvr_324It’s election time in Appalachia, particularly in my home region of Southwest Virginia and I’m not very thrilled.

While I value and treasure the right to vote, voting in Appalachia is not all its cracked up to be. In fact, voting on this end of the state just doesn’t seem to carry much weight anymore.

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Saving the mountain and preserving history

Photo Collage

Today is the deadline for comments to be heard concerning Blair Mountain in West Virginia, being set aside as a historical landmark or whether the coal operators will level Blair Mountain.

It’s a fight that has gone on for a long time, even after the initial battle there in 1921. If you are not familiar with Blair Mountain, here is a synopsis.

According to the opening paragraph of the account in Wikipedia, Blair Mountain was the site of one of the “largest labor uprisings in United States history and one of the largest, best-organized, and most well-armed uprisings since the American Civil War.”

Back in 2016, my friend Steve Gilly, the co-host of “Stories: A History of Appalachia”, and I recorded a podcast about Blair Mountain and the history of this significant event.

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Stephen and Owen King, “Sleeping Beauties” horror, murder and stereotypes in Appalachia

In the coming weeks, I may have a guest blogger here on “Appalachian Chained” discussing their opinion and take away from Stephen King and his son Owen’s new collaboration, “Sleeping Beauties”.

You may ask, what does Stephen and Owen King and their new book “Sleeping Beauties” have to do with Appalachia? Plenty, if what I have seen from some of the excerpts from this novel.

According to the publisher, the book is “set in a future Appalachian town whose primary employer is a women’s prison. A disturbing phenomenon occurs (what else could happen in a King novel) when women in the town go to sleep. They become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. When awoken, “the women become feral and spectacularly violent.”

Now let me remind you. I haven’t read the book but a good friend who loves Stephen King and reading, is going through the book now and she has pulled out sections and excerpts from the book that have made me raise an eyebrow, get a little angry and also made my blood boil due to stereotypes as viewed by the New England based writer and his son, with the older King famous for such properties as “Salem’s Lot”, “Christine”, “The Stand” and of course, “It”.

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Turning 52 and still seeking the dream

21761885_10155894288794994_7598315942520132085_nSeptember 26th. 

For some of you fellow history buffs, here’s some dates for you.

On this date, in 1789, Thomas Jefferson was appointed the first Secretary of State of the United States of America.

In 1890, the United States stops minting $1.00 & $3.00 gold coin and the 3 cent piece (maybe because of my great-great grandfather, Brandy Jack and his early counterfeiting, who knows…).

In 1892, the first public appearance of John Philip Sousa’s band and a lot of stuff happened on September 26th during the years prior and during World War II.  There’s way too much to type.

In 1961, Roger Maris hit his 60th home run off Jack Fisher, tying Babe Ruth’s record (Coincidentally, Maris would not hit his 61st home run until October 1, 1961, off fellow Appalachian and Coeburn, VA native, Tracy Stallard ).

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Leaving our mark like the Russell Fork in Appalachia

Breaks Interstate Park


After spending part of the weekend at the Breaks Interstate Park for the “Tales of the Cumberlands” event,  I came away with an even greater love for my roots in Appalachia.

I got to spend Friday with my wife for nearly the entire day and then on Saturday, I made the return trip to the Breaks by myself but taking a different route than the traditional Wise to Clintwood to Haysi to the Breaks route.  I decided to take the Kentucky route this time.

The Kentucky route is scenic, eye opening, depressing and forces you to be reflective, all in the same journey.

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