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Caralyn Davis posted an event

Prose to Picture: A Film Adaptation Workshop for Writers at Sandburg Hall, Unitarian Universalist Church

September 26, 2015 from 10am to 3pm
On Saturday Sept. 26 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Asheville's own Flatiron Writers will host "Prose to Picture," a four-hour workshop led by screenwriter Maryedith Burrell that will lay the foundation for turning prose--from novels to short stories to comics--into a working script.Maryedith has just finished a SOLD-OUT run of her one-woman show, #OUCH!, in The 2015 New York Fringe Festival, and she has written for every major studio in the United States and England. Don't miss out on this…See More
Wednesday
Kathryn Hall posted a blog post

New excerpt from Plant Whatever Brings You Joy in WNC Woman!

The September issue of Western North Carolina Woman is out, and they have kindly included a chapter from Plant Whatever Brings  You Joy! This is the story of my introduction to chipmunks the two years I lived in Asheville--and what they taught me! If you like this what you read, you might consider dropping by Malaprop's and get your copy of my book, and read all 52 stories! Thank you! Kathryn…See More
Tuesday
Kathryn Hall updated their profile
Tuesday
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Carolina Mtns Lit Fest & Ann Patchett interview

Patchett, Kingsolver, and a thrill of writers buzz Burnsvilleby Rob Neufeld             If you take any pleasure or have any interest in literature, you’ll want to be in Burnsville this Friday and Saturday for the Carolina Mountains Literary Festival.            The variety of programs—talks, readings, workshops, performances—are great, as is the variety of subjects; and the 34 presenters are well-chosen.            The Saturday night program, with novelists Barbara Kingsolver and Ann Patchett,…See More
Monday
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Above the Waterfall by Ron Rash, and talk with author

Rash’s suspense novel gives time to poetryby Rob Neufeld             Ron Rash’s new novel, “Above the Waterfall,” weds a contemporary thriller with a portrayal of people tapping an ancient way of being.             A fish kill precipitates the story involving fishing rights, a crystal meth epidemic, and two reeling…See More
Sunday
City Lights Bookstore posted events
Saturday
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson

Adam Johnson reveals how surreal emotions areby Rob Neufeld             Adam Johnson, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “The Orphan Master’s Son,” comes to Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville, 7 p.m., Fri., Sept. 4 to present his new book of short stories, “Fortune Smiles.”            The stories are remarkable…See More
Aug 23
City Lights Bookstore posted an event
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Leanne Brown will Present Her Cookbook at City Lights Bookstore

September 4, 2015 from 6:30pm to 8pm
Leanne Brown will visit City Lights Bookstore to present her cookbook on Friday, September 4th at 6:30 p.m. Her book, Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4 a Day is designed for those on the strictest of budgets, particularly those on the U.S. food stamp budget. This book is great, though, for anyone wanting to eat really well cheaply. Good and Cheap features tips on shopping and kitchen equipment, and more than a hundred easy, flexible recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. To reserve a copy,…See More
Aug 22
Spellbound updated an event
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September Teen Book Club at Spellbound Children's Bookshop

September 18, 2015 from 6pm to 7pm
Our new monthly book club for teens meets the third Friday of each month, 6:00-7:00PM. A different book will be discussed at each meeting, and will cover a variety of genres. No purchase is required to attend, but if you do plan to buy the book, we’d appreciate your support of Spellbound as the hosting store! All book club selections are 20% off until the day of the meeting.September's title: SHE IS NOT INVISIBLE by Marcus Sedgwick.See More
Aug 22
Spellbound posted events
Aug 21
Rob Neufeld posted a blog post

Betty Smith at Hendersonville culture event September 17

Center Kicks Off New Series With A BangNew “Keeping the Fires Burning Series” Launches With Betty Smith and Songcatcher (from press release) (HENDERSONVILLE, NC, August 18, 2015) – The Center for Cultural Preservation, is pleased to announce the launch of its second season of its popular public program series KEEPING THE FIRES BURNING- Heroes of Mountain Culture.  The series features musicians, authors and heritage preservation leaders who are working to keep mountain culture alive.  The…See More
Aug 21
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Pam Durban, author of Soon, gripping, psychological, Southern stories

Pam Durban: Facing reality with a wide-open eyeby Rob Neufeld             John Updike honored Pam Durban’s story, “Soon,” by selecting it for his anthology, “The Best American Short Stories of the Century.”  Now, it’s one of 11 included in Durban’s new volume, also titled “Soon.”            “Soon,” the short story, is a marvel…See More
Aug 21
Rob Neufeld posted blog posts
Aug 19
City Lights Bookstore posted an event
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Mary Joyce Returns with a New Book at City Lights Bookstore

September 12, 2015 from 3pm to 4:30pm
Sylva author, Mary Joyce will return to City Lights Bookstore on Saturday, September 12th at 3 p.m. to present her latest book.Underground Military Bases Hidden in North Carolina Mountains compiles information gathered by Joyce over several years about secret military facilities in North Carolina. The information about the secret bases is mostly from those with military, law enforcement and high-security backgrounds plus citizens who have stumbled upon evidence. Joyce is also the author…See More
Aug 18
Bill Ramsey posted an event

North Carolina Writer's Network Fall Conference at Asheville Doubletree Hilton

August 20, 2015 to August 22, 2015
When did you last attended a top quality and affordable writer's conference? The North Carolina Writer's Network is returning to western North Carolina. Membership in the Network is encouraged but not required to attend this event. For more info:http://www.ncwriters.org/2014-01-07-18-05-50/conferencesSee More
Aug 15
katherine soniat posted photos
Aug 12

Harmons and Hickses brought stories and songs to Hot Springs

 by Rob Neufeld

 

            Beautiful coves are available in Watauga County! 

            This is what Cutliff Harmon, son of a German immigrant from the Danube River valley, might have heard when he’d gotten a job transporting goods into these mountains in 1790.      

            Except, he would have heard, “Wilkes County,” because the area around Boone did not get set aside as part of Watauga County until 1849.

            Cutliff’s employer, family history relates, had been Daniel Boone, who had established a store in western Virginia and a trading post in the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina.

            Cutliff and his young wife, Susan Fouts, whose family had moved with his from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, had set out on their own after the Revolutionary War to settle in Randolph (now Rowan) County.

             They had seven children with them when they’d made the trek up the Watauga River to Cove Creek, along the way to what had been, up until 1789, the independent State of Franklin in east Tennessee.

            While building his first home there, Cutliff and his family “took shelter beneath a huge rock at the mouth of Phillips Branch known as ‘Shupe's Rockhouse,’” family historian Terry L. Harmon has noted.

            “The rockhouse was a beautiful and lovely chamber midway in the face of a cliff 100 feet high,” he reports.  “The shelter was entered by a descending stairway of three natural stone steps, and Cove Creek ran west almost to the base of the cliff and then turned directly south.”

            The baby of the family at the time of the trip, Andrew Harmon, grew up and married Sabra Hicks, daughter of the Harmons’ neighbor, Samuel Hicks.

            When Andy died at age 25—a snagged shoelace had prevented him from getting out of the way of a tree he was felling—Sabra left her two oldest children, Council and Goulder with her in-laws, Susan Harmon and John Mast.  Council got to know his grandpa, “Big Sammy,” original transmitter of the Jack Tales in this region.

            “One time there was a fine wealthy man lived way out in the forest,” one tale began.  “He went out and put him up an ad-ver-tise-ment” for someone to clear his land, though he was really after a giant-killer; and Jack responded.

            “Jack says, ‘Give me a tomihawk,” and he went out, climbed up a tree, and waited until a two-headed giant came by. 

            “What are you doin’ up there?” the giant asked.

            “I’m a clearin’ timber,” Jack says. 

            That began a series of encounters in which Jack squeezed milk out of a rock; pretended to cut open and sew up his belly when he was really cutting a pouch; and threw rocks at two giants who were carrying a log in which he was hiding—all to get the giants to destroy each other so that Jack could bring their severed heads back to his employer.

            Big Sammy was also the thrice-great-grandfather of the late, great storyteller Ray Hicks of Beech Mountain, famed for adopting the identity of Jack in his tales.

            When Council Harmon’s daughter, Emily, moved with her second husband, Ransom Hicks, to the Warm Springs (now, Hot Springs) area of Madison County (her first husband had died in the Civil War), Council, age 70, went along, entertaining kids and campers with Jack Tales, fiddle-playing, and songs.

            “After the war,” Emily testified about the reasons for leaving, “people just got so mean, stealing and everything, we just decided to leave.”

            Mars Hill, through which the Harmons and Hickses passed, had a college.  Warm Springs had a fancy resort.

            One of the children on that long trip was 12-year-old Jane Hicks (late, Gentry), famed source of traditional ballads for the collector, Cecil Sharp, and others.  Her former home and boarding house still stands in the center of town.

 

CAPTION

Detail of the cover of “The Jack Tales: Stories by Ray Hicks,” as told to Lynn Salsi, illus. by Owen Smith (Callaway, 2000).

 

SOURCES:

An Appalachian Medley: Hot Springs and the Gentry Family by Jacqueline Burgin Painter (Biltmore Pr., 1994).

Jane Hicks Gentry: A Singer among Singers by Betty N. Smith (U. of Ky. Pr., 1998).

The Harmon family, 1670-1984:

The Genealogy of Cutliff Harmon and His Descendants by Terry L. Harmon (Minor’s Pub. Co., 1984).

“Mountain White Folk-Lore: Tales from the Southern Blue Ridge,” told by Jane Hicks Gentry to Isabel Gordon Carter, and published in “Journal of American Folklore,” XXXVIII, 1925.

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