Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Western North Carolina Its Mountains and Its People to 1880
We decided to mosey on up and spend some time in the mountains of North Carolina which we missed doing on our trip there over three years ago. I happened to find this book about the mountains and was entralled by all the history of the region. I've taken a slight detour in my reading habits to include a bit of history of the mountains of North Carolina.
I just finished reading Western North Carolina Its Mountains and Its People to 1880 by Ora Blackmun. Someone happened to donate a signed copy to our library complete with the color illustrated dust cover. The book is filled with historical photographs of battle scenes, cabins, maps, and many of the historical figures of the day. I really enjoyed reading about the history of the early settlers in the eastern United States and learing more about my ancestors the Cherokee Indians. I was surprised to learn the discovery of gold in North Carolina was one of the reasons the Cherokee were finally completely forced out via the Trail of Tears. I particularly like the descriptions of the flora and fauna of the mountains. Normally I don't like historical books but I found myself turning page after page captured by the narrative. Here are a few teasers:
"Of the thousands of plant forms in Western North Carolina and the number reaches 3,600 in the Smoky Mountains the rhododendron and laurel covering the balds and their relativee, the flame azalea, growing both on the balds and grassy slopes, furnish spring's most spectacular display".
"Until after the Civil War, mountain women made their dyes from vegetables, roots, and bark. With these dyes they colored linen thread and the woolen yarns which they wove into the linsey-woolsey cloth for their families' clothing".
"They were all men of the woods and hills, trained by necessity in self protection, in quick decisions, in precise timing. The spared not a thought on uniforms and army equipment, and they had not time to enlist in the American army (even if any of them by chance thought of such action)".
"Murphey led a crusade for an east-west highway, a state public school system, and the revision of the state's constitution. After his death, western leaders continued the crusade that in time led to reforms. Murphy, the county seat of Cherokee County, was name in his honor".
"By the time the most westerly counties were formed, the Cherokees had long been accustomed to the white men's dress. They no longer lived in lodges but in cabins like those of the white settlers".
Judging from the hardships the settlers faced it's truly a wonder any survived enabling generations who followed to make this country what it is today. Can't wait to get up to some cool mountains air. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.