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Stories: A History of Appalachia-logo

Stories: A History of Appalachia

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A look at the history of Appalachia, one story at a time.

A look at the history of Appalachia, one story at a time.
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United States


A look at the history of Appalachia, one story at a time.






John Paul Riddle

Today on Stories, Rod and Steve share the story of an eastern Kentucky barnstormer and aviation pioneer who went on to train military pilots in World War II, then co-found a world-renown aviation school. If you’d like to subscribe to Stories, you can do so at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or on your favorite podcast app. […]

Duration: 00:11:43

A Tale of Two Mountains

On today’s episode, Rod and Steve tell the story of two 19th century western North Carolina explorers who got into a very public argument over the mountains that are now named after them. We are available for subscription at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Libsyn or on your favorite podcast app. We are also on Twitter and […]

Duration: 00:09:46

The Great Flood of 1916

1916 saw not one but two hurricanes hit the mountains of North Carolina at once, causing flooding, devastation and death in southern Appalachia. On today’s episode, Steve and Rod tell the story of the Great Flood of 1916. You can subscribe to the podcast at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Tune In or on your favorite podcast […]

Duration: 00:13:10

The Big Bull Tunnel

A new podcast episode, and new podcast theme music! On the Norfolk and Southern railroad line between St. Paul and Coeburn, Virginia, are three railroad tunnels drilled into the mountains so that the coal companies could get that black gold out of Appalachia and on to market. From Coeburn to St. Paul those tunnels are, […]

Duration: 00:11:32

Encore: The Laurel Creek Murders

Today, we have an encore episode for you as we travel to the little town of Hurley, Virginia. There, in 1909, a widow sold the timber rights to her 150 acres of land for a tidy sum, making her a target for anyone wanting to take that money for himself. On September 21 of that […]

Duration: 00:07:31

The Fightin’ Blalocks

There have been many examples of women who dressed as men in order to fight in a war. But there was only one example of a woman who did so but also ended up serving on both sides. Today Rod and Steve tell the story of Melinda Blalock, who, along with her husband Keith, joined […]

Duration: 00:10:49

The Train Wreck

On September 26, 1936, a coal train and a passenger train derailed and crashed in separate incidents near Welch, West Virginia. On today’s podcast we tell you the story of those wrecks and what caused them. Thanks for listening to our stories…

Duration: 00:09:46

The Woman In The Blue Polka Dot Dress

In 1924 a young married couple moved to Logan, West Virginia, from Kentucky. Jack Thurman got a job with the Logan police department, and Mamie Thurman started frequenting the Amour Club, a local speakeasy and house of ill repute. And thus began a series of events that eventually led to death and imprisonment. On this […]

Duration: 00:10:24

Haints And Boogers

It’s that time of year, folks, and Rod and I have two short tales for you. First up, we tell the story of the Snallygaster, a Maryland monster that got a lot of attention back in the early part of the 20th century. Then its on to the mountains of western North Carolina, where we […]

Duration: 00:11:20

The Fugitive

We’ve told lots of Stories over the last two years, but this one is special. We were contacted by a listener in Dickenson County, Virginia, with a family mystery that she hoped we could unravel. And the result is this podcast. Today, we tell the story of Robert Compton, a man from the mountains of […]

Duration: 00:10:57

After The Feud

Did you know that Devil Anse Hatfield went on the vaudeville circuit early in the twentieth century? Today we tell you that story and more about the Hatfields and McCoys after the end of their famous feud. You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn or on your […]

Duration: 00:23:19

The Last Civil War Veteran In Scott County

Today Rod and Steve tell the story of John Salling of Scott County, Virginia. Mr. Salling was once listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest living Confederate veteran, until records appeared to challenge that claim. You can subscribe to the podcast at TuneIn, Google Play, Apple Podcasts or on your own […]

Duration: 00:10:37

Clifton Branham

At the turn of the twentieth century the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia were like the Old West, filled with outlaws. Among these was Clifton Branham, who lost his life at the end of a rope for murdering his wife, becoming the last man hanged in Wise County, Virginia. Today, […]

Duration: 00:15:47

Boston Corbett

Photo by Mathew Brady, Library of Congress. A special episode of Stories for you today! As we’ve mentioned, we have a new podcast in which Steve Gilly and Gena Gilly tell stories of the history of not just Appalachia, but all of America, and beyond. I wanted to give those of you who subscribe to […]

Duration: 00:18:15

The Esau System

THIS EPISODE IS NOT SAFE FOR WORK OR FOR SMALL CHILDREN. Whipple Company Store-West Virginia Historical Photographs Collection. We’ve all heard about the hardships miners and their families went through before the UMWA organized the mines. But there were some places in West Virginia where families suffered unspeakably when a miner became disabled. That’s when […]

Duration: 00:11:55

Jack Daniel

On today’s episode, Steve and Rod tell the story of the founder of Tennessee’s preeminent whiskey maker: Jack Daniel’s Whiskey in Lynchburg. You can subscribe to the podcast on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts or on your favorite podcast app. We’re on Twitter @storyappalachia and on Facebook @storiesofappalachia. Here’s a tip of the glass to you…thanks for […]

Duration: 00:10:26


Today we tell the story of the worst mining disaster to occur in the United States, the explosion at the no. 6 and no. 8 mines of the Fairmont Coal Company in Monongah, West Virginia. You can subscribe to the podcast at Apple Podcasts or on your favorite podcast app. Thanks for listening. (Picture by […]

Duration: 00:09:34

Lynchings in Appalachia

On today’s episode, we look at a dark part of Appalachia’s history as we share three stories of racist mob violence and lynching in Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina that occurred early in the 20th century. You can subscribe to the podcast at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play or on your favorite podcast app. We’re […]

Duration: 00:17:40

The Case Of The Missing Appalachian Drug Smuggler

Just before Halloween, 1984, a small plane slammed into the side of Fancy Gap Mountain in Carroll County, Virginia, scattering a half-ton of pot across the mountainside. The discovery of the plane triggered an international manhunt for the Southwest Virginia owner of the plane that didn’t end until 2015 when the U.S. Attorney’s Office finally […]

Duration: 00:11:06

The Flatwoods Monster

Did some Braxton County, West Virginia, kids see a UFO back in 1952? Some folks thought so, especially after locals began exhibiting strange symptoms. Today Steve and Rod tell the tale of the Flatwoods Monster, or the Phantom of Flatwoods, as it was also called. It’s another story that makes up the history of this […]

Duration: 00:10:41

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