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Stories of Mountain Folk Podcast


Stories of Mountain Folk explore the nature and significance of oral history and storytelling to advance the understanding of the cultures of Western North Carolina. Featuring interviews, memories, discussions and stories from Caucasian, African-American, and Cherokee people living in the Great Smoky Mountains, the Interviewers actually go into the homes of the people to assure them a “safe” place to tell their stories. With a goal to save the heritage of the area and preserve its “sense of place,” Catch the Spirit of Appalachia, a nonprofit organization, is now in its eighth year of producing the contents of this podcast.  Awarded the Mountain Heritage Award (2013) through Western Carolina University, the program has now produced the largest oral history collection in Western North Carolina.


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Stories of Mountain Folk Introduction                

Often the old mountain stories are overlooked. As Amy mentions in this introductory piece…stories entertain, teach, record history, and give us a sense of place.

Cannie from Wolf Mountain

From out of the Blue Ridge Mountains comes the story of Cannie from Wolf  Mountain.

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 Decoration Day in the Mountains

Decoration Day is a widespread folk tradition extending from the east of the Appalachians to west and southwest of the Ozarks.

Often the old mountain stories are overlooked. As Amy mentions in this introductory piece…stories entertain, teach, record history, and give us a sense of place. As cofounder of Catch the Spirit of Appalachia, producer of Stories of Mountain Folk, Amy shares some of the reasons the nonprofit endeavors to honor and preserve a sense of place in their “home place” of Western North Carolina.


From out of the Blue Ridge Mountains comes the story of Cannie from Wolf Mountain. A true slice of life from the backwoods of the early 1940s. Listen as Amy Ammons Garza, mountain storyteller, takes you back in time to a love story… (1) He Came Riding on a Horse, (2) Apple Blossom Time, (3) The Riddle Song, (4) Blue Snow, (5) Strong Comes After, (6) A Shoe Box on Tanassee Mountain, (7) Keep on Keeping on, (8) A Time to Weep-A Time to Keep


Livingston Kelley

Owner of Livingston’s Photo (Main Street, Sylva, NC), Livingston Kelly shares his 45 years of history in the historic mountain Town of Sylva.

Decoration Day is a widespread folk tradition extending from the east of the Appalachians to west and southwest of the Ozarks. The interviewers of Stories of Mountain Folk set out to interview members of the Western North Carolina mountains about Decoration Day in an effort to forever capture and share our traditions of honoring the grave sites of our loved ones.  Herewith are stories from the mountain folk, including the Cherokee, about how we celebrate Decoration Day in the mountains.  People included in this podcast are:  Alan Jabbour & Karen Singer Jabbour, Judy Rhodes, Shelia K. Adams, Loretta Hoxit Womack, Pamela Consign Adams, Gail Stillwell Cooper, Linda Owen Vinson and Ruth Moore Pruitt.



Cakewalks in the Mountains

Cakewalks in the mountains are a traditional way to help neighbors when hard luck strikes.

 by Doreyl Ammons Cain

Owner of Livingston’s Photo (Main Street, Sylva, NC), Livingston Kelly shares his 45 years of history in the historic mountain Town of Sylva. He talks about the changes and lack of changes he has seen in his time on Main Street, including the Mead Corporation, Jackson Paper Company, the old police station, the banks, R.O. Vance’s Hardware, Hooper’s Drug Store, the Rebel Restaurant, Ritz Theater, Johnny Watson’s flying school, and so much more.


by Amy Ammons Garza

Cakewalks in the mountains are a traditional way to help neighbors when hard luck strikes. Within this podcast are interviews from those members of the WNC community who have been involved in producing the benefit, participating in the event by playing in the bands, by being the Master of Ceremonies, by being the recipient of the funds raised, and by baking cakes. Included are interviews with Joe Deitz, Jim Ed Powell, Mary Moody and Zara Ashe.


Planting By the Signs

What a bumper crop of mountain information about preparing the ground, when to plant, old beliefs, going by the signs listed on calendars and the almanac.

What a bumper crop of mountain information about preparing the ground, when to plant, old beliefs, going by the signs listed on calendars and the almanac. In this podcast we hear about mountain ways of gardening, some good, some bad…from vegetables, to flowers, to heirloom seeds; from when to plant vegetables that grew above the ground, and those that matured below the ground. We end up talking about types of fertilizer and the pros and cons of organic gardening.  Included in this podcast are Reverend Robert Blanton, Jack Brown Wiggins, R.O. Wilson, Dorothy Queen Conner, and Stedman Mitchell.



Barbara Sears McRae, A True Historian


Barbara Sears McRae is currently an Alderman at the Town of Franklin, NC. Here Amy interviews her on her extensive history in Macon County. Although not a native of Franklin, she has devoted many years of her life documenting some of its history.


Barbara Sears McRae is currently an Alderman at the Town of Franklin, NC. Here Amy interviews her on her extensive history in Macon County. Although not a native of Franklin, she has devoted many years of her life documenting some of its history. As the past editor of the Franklin Press, the local newspaper for Franklin, and then freelance columnist and feature writer….she has done much research on the the local history— specifically the African American community—along with the local environment, helping to establish the Franklin Greenway. Barbara has proved herself worthy of being called a woman who cares about the local heritage of the town in which she lives.



Pelham Thomas, Alabama Storyteller

93-year old Pelham Thomas, an Alabama native, is currently a blueberry farmer in Cullowhee, North Carolina.

93-year old Pelham Thomas, an Alabama native, is currently a blueberry farmer in Cullowhee, North Carolina. He’s been retired from the Math Department at Western Carolina University for more than 30 years. His stories are so interesting, plentiful, and full of adventure!  We wanted to share some of them with you in this podcast…here’s Pelham Thomas, Alabama storyteller, transplanted to the mountains of North Carolina.



Catch the Spirit of Appalachia 10th Annual Scholarship Dinner

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Dogwood Crafters

The gem of Dillsboro, NC, Dogwood Crafters Cooperative, is celebrating 40 years of creating space for local crafters to complete their dream of working with their hands.

Over 10,000 handmade items make up the shop that only started with 12 crafters in 1976. Herewith are interviews by Doreyl Ammons Cain of Brenda Anders who tells the history of the co-op; then out of the current 70 crafters, are additional personal stories of crafters Cheryl Thompson (stain glass/pottery), Junetta Pell (basket weaver/chair seat weaver/landscape painter), Linda Parrish (card & notepad designer/floral arranger), and Ron Yount (woodcarver).



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