Barry's Genealogy Diary

This online genealogical diary is hosted by Barry T. Self. It is primarily for information pertaining to the SELF surname, more particularly for descendants of John J. and Lydia Avaline Waters Self, who were married in Union County, GA in 1851. Barry Self is the SELF proclaimed family genealogist and historian, having spent over 20 years researching this Self line. This diary is dedicated to preserving and sharing the findings of his research.

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Location: Madisonville, Tennessee, United States

I am married to a wonderful and sweet wife, Svitlana, who is from Ukraine and we have a beautiful daughter, Lydia Elizabeth. I have worked in the funeral business since 1988 and thoroughly enjoy researching my family roots.

Friday, October 20, 2006

"Mountain Memories" Page 13

forth, back and forth. Each steel driver had a "shaker," a man who held the steel being driven into the rock cliffs where they could place the plasting powder. Why they had to shake the steel spikes I don't know, but with a nine-pound hammer going wild swaying back and forth over one's head, I couldn't wonder that John Henry told his shaker he'd better pray "that if I miss this little piece of steel, tomorrow's gonna be your burial day!"

I have often wondered why they made the hammer handles thin and limber but I never thought to ask when I was told this story many years ago.

Babcock Lumber Company made a big difference in the lives of these mountain people. Before, the men struggled to keep bread on the table, and what few vegetables they could raise on the slopes and hollows of this rugged country too soon were eaten up by the large families they also raised. There was hardly any way to preserve the garden vegetables. They dried a lot of their fruits and vegetables to be eaten in the winter months: berries, pumpkins, and most of all apples, from which they made delicious applesauce stack cakes and apple pies.

They also bleached apples. I wish I had the recipe for this, but I never asked my mother for it. In all the years she made these apples she would not let us kids watch her do it. In the process, she somehow burned sulphur and it is a very suffocating odor. She was concerned that the odor would strangle us. She always bleached the apples in the attic and "bleached" was a good description of them: they were very white and tasted strange but good.

When these old timers canned with zinc lids and rubber bands they could not can vegetables, just fruit, and often it would spoil. Sometimes they turned the jars upside down and threw a quilt over them and let them sit over night.

The cattle and hogs were allowed to run loose in the forest and people fenced them out instead of fencing them in. They made slats (thin strips of wood) and put around their gardens. They cut slits in the hogs' ears so they could tell which hog belonged to whom.

Every man in the mountains that wanted to work had jobs after the arrival of Babcock Lumber Company. The company had come in from the "flat lands," as the mountain people called it, to buy the timber that clothed these mountainsides and choked up the valleys like a jungle and spread out on every side as far as the eye could see. Lumber was big business, and Tellico Plains became a booming town. People came from allover the country and men were hired on every side and put to work. Huge buildings had to be quickly thrown together for temporary living quarters. These buildings were called camps and were numbered as you came