Arthur Whitefield Spalding.

The men of the mountains; the story of the southern mountaineer and his kin of the Piedmont; with an account of some of the agencies of progress among them online

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K^t illen of tl^e iHountamss

The Story of the Southern Mountaineer and His

Kin of the Piedmont; with an Account of

Some of the Agencies of Progress

among Them




Nashville, Tennessee

Atlanta, Georgia Fort Worth, Texas

/ 9 '>"


A/^o ID


America knows least of what is most American.
Melting-pot of the nations, with Europe's and Asia's
dross thrown in along with their good metal, she is likely
to forget, in all this conglomerate, the base of the alloy,
which made the nation and which must yet preserve it.
In the providence of God there has been saved to America
a long wedge of that pure metal — a golden wedge of
Ophir. Stretching from North to South, scarce two
hundred miles inland, are the mountains that formed
the frontier of English America when America became
a nation. These mountains are filled with the stock
of the Revolution, a race with the primitive virtues
that won our liberties, that extended our borders, that
preserved the ideal of freedom in its great hour of trial.

A smattering of knowledge — gained mostly from works
of fiction — has the American public of this great moun-
taineer race, a smattering that begets more of idle won-
der and vacant amusement than of honest admiration
and symapthy. Yet the Southern mountaineer is, all
in all, the most admirable type of American. Schooled
to simplicity, not lacking in vigor, he keeps in great de-
gree the powers that preserve nations, powers that too
many of our people are losing in the nerve-racking
strain of our unexampled age. What of opportunity

550589 ^^'

4 Preface

and resource the mountaineer lacks it is the duty of more
fortunate classes to supply. It is a duty of patriotism,
and above all a duty of Christian brotherhood.

For an intelligent application of this aid a correct
and sympathetic understanding of conditions is neces-
sary. It has been the pleasure of a few of the mountain-
eer's friends to help give this understanding; yet,
compared with the greater number of doubtful works
that exploit chiefly his peculiarities and faults, the efforts
of these friends are not too many nor too great. It is,
then, with some confidence of need that this present
volume is put forth, containing a brief account of the
origin and history of the Southern mountaineer, of some
of the most representative agencies for his development,
and in particular of one widespread system that seeks
to minister to the needs and to enlist more ministers.

The credit for the initiation and successful prosecu-
tion of the work on this book is due to Mrs. Ellen G. White
and her son, Wilham C. White. Their deep and prac-
tical interest in the cause of Christianity in the South,
evidenced in many a phase and field, led them to pro-
pose such a work as this and to make possible the re-
search and effort which produced it.

Acknov/ledgment is also gladly given of the aid ren-
dered by the teachers of the Nashville Agricultural and
Normal Institute and of the smaller schools throughout
the South affiliated with them, as also of the assistance
and encouragement of friends in other connections,

Preface 5

who have supplied information, corrected manuscripts,
and given cordial support to the enterprise.

To the author the work has been a labor of love.
Since, when a boy, his lot was first cast among the
Southern mountaineers, his interests and affections have
been closely entwined with theirs, and it is his confident
hope that this book shall be a means of enhsting many
more friends, both youth and those in the prime of life,
in the cause of the mountaineer. a. w. s.

Hendersonville, N. C,
November, 1915.

"The greatest want of the world is the want of
men, — men who will not be bought or sold; men
who in their inmost souls are true and honest; men
who do not fear to call sin by its right name; men
whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to
the pole; men who will stand for the right though
the heavens fall." Ellen G. White.



Chapter Page

1. The Explorers 11

2. The Pioneers 21

3. In Times of War 32

4. Education and Religion 48

5. The Modern Mountaineer 61

6. The Heart of Appalachia 79


7. The Pioneer School 97

8. The Premier of Home Missions 108

9. Redeeming the Time 116

10. Coals from the Altar 129


11. A School of Simplicity 149

12. Learning to Teach 160

13. The Out-School Movement 166


14. On an Old Frontier 177

15. Behind the Back of Mammon 187

16. Preaching by Hand 197

17. Sermons in Soil 206


18. Following the Great Physician 221

19. The Rural Sanitarium 227

20. The Nurse and the Medical Missionary 235


21. The Schools of God 243

22. The Mountain Child and the World 252

23. Vice and Victory 262


24. Whosoever Is Not Against Us 279

25. The Times of Cheer 285


26. The Torch-Bearer 297

27. A Chosen People 307




The Maker of the Home Frontispiece

Battle of King's Mountain 16

On Watch 31

Baker Mountain School and Church 48

Relief Map of Appalachia 64

Old and New 78

Crossing the Branch 93

Lincoln Memorial University 94

Chapel, Berea College • 97

Students at Highland College 112

First Cabin, and Recitation Hall, Berry School. . , . 129

Oneida Institute 144

An Ancient Art 146

On Madison Campus 160

At Fountain Head School 168

NiCKOJACK Cave 186

Shops, Eufola Academy 192

A New Industry 208

At Cowee Mountain School 216

Eager for Progress 226

Madison Rural Sanitarium 240

Primitive Motive Power 251

Going to Market 275

In the Sapphire Country 276

Self-Supporting Workers' Convention 288

A Kentucky Homestead 294

A Family Reunion 304



\I0 PART of the United States is more interesting
than the section generally known as the Southern
Appalachian mountain region, the upland South. In
area this mountain country, together with the hill country
immediatly adjoining it, is twice as large as all New
England. It is rich in abundance and variety of natural
resources, genial climate, fertile soils adapted to a very
large variety of fruits and field and garden crops, hard-
wood forests, waterpower, iron, coal, oil, zinc, copper,
marble, granite and other building stones, clays, material
for concrete and other raw materials for the most im-
portant and valuable standard manufactured products.
The people of the country are of the purest American
stock, if indeed we may speak of an American stock.
They are almost wholly the descendants of the English,
Scotch, Scotch-Irish, Germans, and French Huguenots,
who settled in America before the Revolution. They
are a hardy, intelligent, courageous, self-reliant people,
as is well shown by the part they played in the Revolution-
ary War, the War of 1812, the Indian wars, Mexican War,
and on both sides in the Civil War. Their native intel-
ligence and individualistic tendencies have only been
accentuated by the hardships imposed on them by their
environment, their isolation, and their separation into
very small communities, the long continued pioneer
conditions under which they still live after such conditions



have passed away from almost all parts of the country.
Away from the routes of commerce and the centers of
population, these people may be backward in their
industrial and commercial development, retarded to
such an extent that they have aptly been called ''our
contemporary ancestors," but no one who knows them
well ever thinks of them as weaklings or degenerates
or as dull or as slow witted. In native ability, physical
and mental, they are the full equals of any people in
the United States — a fact proven thousands of times
by the sons and daughters of this section who with little
preparation from the schools have made their homes
in other portions of the country and have come in close
competition with other peoples in all the industries and

The actual wealth of this section is small as compared
with other sections; but, as already stated, this is not
because of paucity of natural resources; it is rather
because of the greater difficulty of unlocking the treasure
house of this section and making its rich stores of wealth
available for use. Some day this will be one of the
wealthiest and most progressive sections of the United
States, and these people in their own home land will be
recognized for the worth of their sturdy qualities.

Knowing this section and its people intimately, I

am convinced that their greatest need is in good schools

adapted to their conditions — schools that will make

them intelligent about the life they live; that will teach

them what they need to know to enable them to adjust


themselves to their environment and to conquer it;
schools that will appeal to children and grown people
alike; schools with courses of study growing out of their
daily life as it is and turning back into it a better and
more efficient daily living. States, churches, benevolent
societies, and individuals are now trying to help these
people to establish and maintain such schools, and many
interesting experiments in education can be found here.
Some of these are wise and successful to a degree. Others,
in which the necessary fundamental principles have
been omitted, are doomed to failure. All the world
knows of some of the larger of these schools, Berea
College, the Burns School, and others. The smaller
schools maintained by the Seventh- day Adventists,
described in the latter part of this book, are not so well
known by the outside world. Indeed, they are hardly
known by the people who live a few miles away. Yet
a careful study of these schools, their spirit and methods,
their accomplishments and the hold that they have on
the people of the communities in which they are located,
as well as of the earnest and self-sacrificing zeal of their
teachers, has led me to believe that they are better
adapted to the needs of the people they serve than most
other schools in this section. They have discovered
and adapted in the most practical way the vital prin-
ciples of education too often neglected.

I can never forget the summer day of 1913 when
in company with Dr. Sutherland and Dr. Magan, of the

school and rural sanitarium at Madison, Tennessee, I



first visited some of these schools and learned how thor-
oughly they had adapted themselves to the conditions
and needs of the people. I am sure they are worthy
of the most careful study of all who are interested in
adapting schools of whatever kind to the needs of the
people of all this mountain section and of all the South-
ern mountain countries, and that they contain valuable
lessons for the improvement of rural schools in all parts
of the United States.

For the intelligent and sympathetic account of the
section and people described, and for the interesting and
detailed description of these small schools, — and Madison,
in which teachers for the small schools are prepared —
this book has unusual value. I feel sure that many
others will find in reading it some part of the pleasure
which it has given me. I commend it to all who are
interested in any way in the people of these Southern
highlands and in helping to improve their opportuni-
ties for a better type of education.


U. S. Commissioner of Education.
Washington, D. C,
Nov. 24, 1915

Htghfanris mti Htghfenri:ers

"To THE mountains, in time to come, we may
look for great men, thinkers as well as workers,
leaders of religious and poetic thought, and states-
men above all." Emma B. Miles.


THE Englishmen who set foot upon the shores of wil-
derness Virginia in the seventeenth century found
themselves shut up against the sea by a long range of
mountains in the west. Seeking a clear passage through,
they might wander in vain far toward the northern
confines of Penn's woods and deep into the southern
recesses of the Carolina grants. Everywhere the un-
known country beyond, which they sought to explore,
was shut from their view by the blue, hazy, sentinel
line of those mountains. They called them the Blue

The early settlers believed that these mountains
looked out upon the "South Seas." The blue haze
that always surmounted them seemed proof that the
ocean with its mists lay just beyond, and they thought
they had only to find a convenient pass to enable them
to embark upon a voyage to the Indies. It was to find
such a pass that the valiant and venturesome John
Smith, seven months after the landing at Jamestown
in 1607, set out on that expedition which ended in his
captivity to the sour-looking old Powhatan, and —
perhaps — in his rescue from death by the tender-
hearted Pocahontas.

Sixty miles above Jamestown, Smith's two companions
were surprized and slain by Indians; and he himself,


12 The Men of the Mountains

after a plucky fight, was taken captive by Opekan-
kano, the brother of the king. He saved his life at the
moment by exhibiting to his captor his mystifying com-
pass, and following up the effect by a bewitching "dis-
course of the roundnes of the earth [and] the course
of the sunne, moone, starres, and plannets.'* The sav-
age loves no one so much as an entrancing liar, and evi-
dently putting Smith in this catalog, the Indians carried
him first to Opekankano's town, where they treated him
most kindly. Thereafter he was taken about from town
to town, until at last he was brought to the chief vil-
lage of the Powhatans, the principal member of a
confederacy of the coastal tribes. The head of this
confederacy — the emperor, as Smith styles him — was
also the chief of the Powhatan tribe, and was himself
called, by distinction, ''The Powhatan."^

Here for some days these two worthy representa-
tives of the white and the red races sat exchanging their
entertaining tales, each solemnly assuring himself —
and with some reason — that the other believed him.
John Smith informed his Indian majesty that the white
men, being defeated in battle on the seas by their ene-
mies the Spaniards, had been forced to fly for refuge
into the red man's land, and then were compelled to
stay there by the leaking of their ship. Further, he ex-
plained, the reason of his expedition up the river was
to discover the way to the salt sea on the other side of
the mountains, for there his father had had a child
slain, whose death they intended to revenge.

Not to be outdone, the red man, "after good de-
hberation," began to describe that same country upon
the salt sea, which he declared lay only just over the
mountains, some five, or six, or eight days' journey.
So exact was his information that he named the people
v/ho had slain Smith's supposititious brother, and told
of their relations with other great peoples who sailed
the seas. One of these was a man-eating nation, with

»John Fiske, The Colonization of the New World, p. 246.

The Explorers 13

shaven crowns and long queues, and ''Swords like Poll-
axes." Another wore short coats with sleeves to the
elbows, and went in great ships like the Englishmen.
These were only a few of the wonders; for there were
many other mighty nations, some of them having walled
houses and plenty of brass. At last the king, warming
to his subject, disclosed the information that his
village lay but one day and a half, two days, and six
days from various ports upon "the south part of the
backe sea."

All this at least, along with his safe return to James-
town, is told in ''Captain John Smith's True Relation,"
published in 1608,^ though his romantic story of res-
cue by Pocahontas he did not put forth until many years
later. How much of this "relation" of the great "backe
sea" just over the mountains came from the lips of
Powhatan, and how much from John Smith's own fer-
tile brain, we may not know; but the account at least
explains one cause of the world's persistent faith in the
western sea lapping the lower slopes of the Appa-
lachian chain.

Smith, for the two years he remained in America,
continued active in his efforts to find a passage or a
path to the South Seas through those mountains. And
not Smith alone; for there were many to whom not
merely the wealth of the Indies, but the very real ro-
mance of discovery, appealed. In the fall of 1608 Cap-
tain Christopher Newport, who had commanded the
expedition which founded Jamestown, and who had since
with his ships kept up communication between England
and Virginia, obeyed the injunctions of the London
Company by attempting an expedition that should
pierce the mountains to the seas. He succeeded, how-
ever, in doing no more than to penetrate forty miles
above the village of the Powhatan, from which point

^American History Leaflets, No. 27, pp. 9-17; Narratives of Early
Virginia, Tyler, pp. 41-52; Works of John Smith, edited by Arber, pp.

14 The Men of the Mountains

he and his company returned worn in body and dis-
appointed in hopes/

The ambition of the London Company, far more
than the desire of the sore-pressed colonists, inspired
the earhest attempts to pass the mountains. The com-
pany's commands were laid upon Captain Newport,
on his third voyage, never to return to England without
having made at least one of three discoveries: the way
to the South Seas, a lump of gold, or a white man from
Raleigh's lost colony on Roanoke Island.^

Newport, however, was compelled to return without
accomplishing any one of these three behests, and no
doubt his explanation of his failure was greatly helped
by John Smith's accompanying "Rude Answer" to a
letter of reproach and instruction the company had
sent him. In this spirited statement of conditions,
Smith laid stress upon the need of establishing a firm
basis for the colony by the sending of a good class of
settlers, the development of agriculture, and attention
to the needs and requirements of the colony, rather
than to the immediate enrichment and glory of the
company. For a time thereafter, while curiosity may
not have lessened concerning the blue heights to the
west, and what they might be hiding, the practical

lAmos Todkill and others, in "Description of Virginia and Proceed-
ings of the Colonic," Tyler, Narratives of Early Virginia, pp, 151, 155,
156; Works of John Smith, pp. 121, 124, 125.

^Fiske, Old Virginia and Her Neighbors, p. 113; Works of John Smith,
p. 121.

Sir Walter Raleigh was the first to attempt English colonization in
America. He sent an expedition, of men only, in 1585, who settled on
Roanoke Island, off the coast of North Carolina. These men, however,
returned within a year. In 1587 Raleigh sent, under the command of
John White, a better equipped company, which included in its number
seventeen women. This company likewise settled on Roanoke Island;
and here, on August 18, was bom the first English white child on Ameri-
can soil, Virginia Dare. White returned to England for supplies, only
to find himself in the midst of the Spanish war. It was two years before
he could return to the infant colony in America; and when he did arrive,
it was only to find a deserted place. And though search was made for
many a year thereafter, no certain trace of the fate of this first and im-
fortunate colony was ever found.

The Explorers 15

energies of the little Virginia colony were absorbed in
their local affairs.

Through the next quarter century, we catch a note
now and then of interest and enterprise toward the
west. In 1626 the governor and council of Virginia
wrote the English government desiring that provision
be made for exploring the mountain country, with the
hope of finding passage to the South Seas.^ In 1641
four prominent gentlemen of the colony applied for per-
mission to undertake discoveries to the southwest of
the Appomattox River. ^ An Indian report to the gov-
ernor in 1648, of high mountains, beyond which were
great rivers and a great sea to which came red-capped
men in ships, almost induced an expedition thither.^

The governor at that time was that bluff, enterpri-
sing, grasping, ruthless British gentleman, Wilham Ber-
keley. He had received from his patron, Charles I, a
monopoly of the fur trade in the English colony; and as
from the other side of the mountains there now began
to come not only furs, but Indians with wondrous tales,
Berkeley grew eager to open a route to the over-moun-
tain country. Perhaps it would launch him upon the
South Seas and the Indian trade; if not, there was profit
as great in buying for a few hatchets and handfuls of
beads, beaver and fox and otter furs worth thousands
of dollars.

The governor, though ever upon the verge of going
himself to view that good land, never really saw even
the base of the mountains; but from 1650 to 1670 he
dispatched or authorized several expeditions which,
while they discovered no ''backe sea," did open to the
view of the English a broader field and a wider oppor-
tunity than the South Seas could ever have afforded

There lived in 1650 at Fort Henry,"* on the York

lAlvord and Bidgood, The First Explorations of the Trans-AUe'
gheny Region by the Virginians, p. 45.

*Id., p. 28. ^Id., p. 46. <Now Petersburg, Virginia.

1 6 The Men of the Mountains

River, a captain and merchant of adventurous disposi-
tion by the name of Abraham Wood. A servant lad
brought over from England, and indentured^ to a
planter for the payment of his journey's expense, Abra-
ham Wood had risen step by step until he was one of
the largest landowners in the colony, and a principal
dealer, under Berkeley, in the fur trade.^

In 1650 this Captain Wood, with an English gentle-
man named Bland, and two others, with white servants
and an Indian guide, made the first notable western ex-
ploration on record for the English. Their course led
them southwesterly; but though they went some dis-
tance into Carolina, they did not reach the mountains;
and their discovery, supposedly, of a "westward flowing
river" helped for a brief time to encourage the belief
in a near-by western sea.^

Online LibraryArthur Whitefield SpaldingThe men of the mountains; the story of the southern mountaineer and his kin of the Piedmont; with an account of some of the agencies of progress among them → online text (page 1 of 24)