Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – It Used To Be A Home

Hard to believe it used to be a home with memories like the worst whipping a little boy in overalls ever got.

The house was one of the many places Pap lived when he was a boy. It’s in Pinhook, just over the ridge from here. The fields surrounding the old house are pasture now, but when Pap was a boy they were cornfields.

Mamaw placed her on a blanket spread on the rough rocky ground and told Pap to watch his baby sister while she worked in the corn. He forgot the baby and she ate rocks, that’s where the whipping came from.

Over the last 20 years many of the old houses in Cherokee County have been torn down to make room for new houses, new developments. They say that’s progress. Sometimes I’m not so sure.


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    Dee from Tennessee
    July 29, 2011 at 4:17 am

    Oh Tipper, I JUST got the doorknobs and “doorplate” ?? – anyway the metal thing where the keyhole is from the lil tiny 4 room house – which would be considered a shack — from my God-fearing maternal grandparents’ home. I don’t know how I will display it esp with with both doorknobs…but when I think of how many times my dear precious grandparents ( and my grandmother’s double-first cousin who lived with them for decades) have touched those doorknobs….it melts my heart. I am THRILLED to get it.

  • Reply
    Melissa P (misplaced Southerner)
    July 28, 2011 at 10:36 am

    You’ve inspired me, yet again, Tipper! My grandparents’ house where my mom grew up is still standing (and actually in beautiful) condition. I have so many happy memories in that home. New people own it (although I surely wish it had never left the family and would buy it back if I won the lottery). I took a photo on a recent trip. Guess my blog will have a post on it soon! Oh, the sweet memories (and the scaredy ones, too)!

  • Reply
    July 28, 2011 at 9:27 am

    How neat that the house is still standing and you could get pics before it is torn down in the name of progress. Sad that the new houses sit empty.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    July 27, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Thanks for the kick in the pants, Tipper! My mom wants me to take her out on the mountain to see the places she lived in. Mitchell is really lucky-the 1850’s log cabin he was raised in was bought by two sisters & lovingly restored. The Phillips family is welcome anytime & it is a favorite for weddings, family get togethers, or just a peaceful spot to sit awhile.

  • Reply
    July 27, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    There are many empty houses here in Harnett and Johnston County, NC too – old and new alike.
    When an old home sits empty for long, I often wonder why. They’d make a fine home for someone, especially someone who is homeless, so why not at least rent them out so they can be a home to someone again.
    Makes more sense than paying taxes on an empty house – doesn’t it?
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 27, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Tipper, your pictures and your thoughts touch my heart and bring a tear.
    This is life, we grab a little piece of earth and carve out our place. Then we spend the rest of our lives trying to keep the earth from taking it back.
    Eventually the earth always wins.

  • Reply
    July 27, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    This is another wonderful picture
    of times gone by. It brings back
    memories of hard times but ‘soft’
    love, of honesty and caring for one another, and devotion to God.
    Before our old house was torn down
    and burned I was able to get some
    old wormy chestnut planks to have
    for a keepsake. Your Walnut Cracker base is made from that 100
    year old wood…Ken

    • Reply
      Ray Presley
      February 20, 2021 at 4:32 pm

      My Grandfather Davis had a two storied house in Davis Chapel, TN that had lots of memories after he and his generation departed. I still remember my mother sliding a pan of popcorn over an open “eye” of the cookstove and popping it. Also remember putting quilts over coal stacked under a window, smelling old books and eating the pop corn balls made with molasses

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    July 27, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    tipper… the photo is gorgeous.. im sure just looking at it pap is brought back to another day and time. as the others have said.. please at least get a board or two.. and i love the idea of a painting… even a small piece you can saw into a heart shape.. to be able to hold in your hand.. heck id love one too.. lol
    tell pap that he was a great brother and babies put everything in their mouths…
    i have to laugh at ruths thought.
    have a great day.. and much love and ladybug hugs

  • Reply
    July 27, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    i like old houses much better than new, and the old ones will still be standing when the new ones crumble. we have so many, thousands sitting empty in our county, so sad. i like that photo a lot

  • Reply
    Eva M. Wike, Ph.D.
    July 27, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Tipper: It is amazing how old things can stir up so many memories! I am not much of a collector but I have our front door from my old homeplace (maybe the 30’s) standing ‘safely’ in my garage right where I can see it everyday! After daddy died (1992)Mama wanted a front door with a little window in it! That is exactly what she got!
    I could not bear to see the old door stached away in her smoke house. So I just politely ask her if I could take it to Tennessee! She just smiled and said, “Of course child!” I also have the hinges and ‘hardware’ of the door knob! I don’t know what I will do with them. But I’ll tell you right now my grandson just loves the hardware and other things such as his great-great grandpa’s handsaw (hand made by grandpa in the early 1900’s)! My grandpa was unable to read or write but he was one smart fellow!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Lonnie L. Dockery
    July 27, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Love the picture. You sure have a way with a camera.
    I think B.Ruth may be on to something. At least get enough lumber for some picture frames. If you feel uncomfortable getting it without permission just ask…and then if he says no go back at night…no, you wouldn’t do that! There’s an old house, still standing, that we lived in about 57 years ago. For years I had spotted it through the trees and from the top of a ridge, but was reluctant to ask if I could go look at it. Finally, last summer I went to see the old man who owns it now, and owned it then,(he’s 87). He said “Son, you can go up there anytime you want to, and you don’t need to come and ask me if you can.” And he told me that my grandpa was one of the most honest, hardworking men he ever knew. That was worth the trip. Try it. You never know.

  • Reply
    July 27, 2011 at 11:47 am

    When I see old houses like that I wonder about the people that lived there and what kinds of lives they had.

  • Reply
    Debby Brown
    July 27, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Wonderful photo, wonderful words not only from you but all who commented. The saddest thing to me is to go through the country side and see in the middle of no where, large old trees placed in a certain way, old time roses, still blooming though there is no one there to smell them, buttercups.. apple trees, all these things that surrounded a home, a home with a family. They worked, played and loved each other each day, trying to take care of their home. And then, they are all gone and even the house is gone, But the land remembers and continues to live, though no one can smell the roses, nor feel the cool breeze through the branches, nor see the view off the front porch that no longer stands. Its just sad to me. So many times I want to go back to that place in my mind, but its not there anymore either.

  • Reply
    July 27, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Old houses are a fascination for me, always wondering about the people who lived there. The house my father grew up in was in really good condition until my aunt had to move into a retirement center and her great-granddaughter moved into it. Now it’s not being loved because it doesn’t mean anything to her; just an old house, with unlevel floors; just a stopping off point until she can have a new house.

  • Reply
    Mary Jane Plemons
    July 27, 2011 at 10:56 am

    I have an old cold cream jar we found at an old falling-down house where my husband and his big family lived for a while when he was growing up. He thinks it was his mother’s. We got a brick, too, but it got misplaced in a move of ours.

  • Reply
    July 27, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Tipper – That is such a good photograph. It would be good motivation for a water color or oil or acrylic.
    The mainest thing (for me) it further emphasizes that thing about timelyness. This day, looking at this old house I will get to take another mind trip! So many memories in an old house even though I have never been there. HOW YOU DO DAT Tipper? Well, it doesn’t matter I guess but, still I thank You.

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    July 27, 2011 at 10:03 am

    I think I know where this house is at Tipper. My old homeplace looks like this. I wrote a poem about it a few years ago. When I was a young girl in school, some of us worked in the school lunch room and bekieve it or not I worked with your mamaw. What a great lady she was. She would let me slip around and use a little snuff. I’ll never forget that as long as I live.. Wonderful memories, thanks foe sharing..Susie

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    July 27, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Tipper–As someone for whom the past has been a career, old houses, old graveyards, mementoes and memorabilia, indeed any vestiges of those who dwelt in a world we have lost fascinate me.
    The same is true of Don, who is engaged in an immense, challenging, and potentially very important project, with another equally eager and adept research/hiker/student of the past, to document a small portion of that lost world–people and places from the past in what is now the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I’ll guarantee that this will strike a responsive chord with him.
    In addition, as you well know, both of us make it a point to visit the place in the Park where our father spent the most meaningful days of his youth.
    For the rest of you, Tipper, Chitter, and Chatter were part of a sizeable group which journeyed to that spot, far off trail, in the aftermath of the death of Don’s and my father back in late winter. He lived 101 years but five or so of those years spent on a small mountain farm where they didn’t even have an outhouse lingered in his memory more than any other aspect of his life.
    I might add that as a youngster I was always sneaking into abandoned houses–searching for treasure, thinking of ghostly things, wondering about those who had lived there, and just plain prowling. Even today I can remember some of those experiences as if they happened yesterday.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    July 27, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Great story, wonderful history, warm family memories.

  • Reply
    Barbara Johnson
    July 27, 2011 at 9:42 am

    I would be finding myself a good metal detector. I bet the button came off Paps overalls the same day as the whippin!

  • Reply
    July 27, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Kat and B.Ruth-the old house is on someone elses land-they’ve used it in the past to store hay in. It’s too rickety for that now. I did find an old button underneath the porch portion that’s left. I’m telling myself it came off of one of Pap’s shirts : ) Although I realize other people lived there through the years.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    July 27, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Only if those old walls could talk! Have to agree with B Ruth, I’d be over there getting everything i could carry. Old boards, door knobs, window frames and even rocks. Wonderful pieces of history to use in crafts and decoration. Did u find any old flowers that has survived all the years?

  • Reply
    July 27, 2011 at 8:54 am

    I love these old abandoned houses. If they could talk their stories would be well worth listening to.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    July 27, 2011 at 8:20 am

    I’m sorry but I can’t let this just lay around in my head…
    Could you not go over there to the old homeplace with your “expert hammer fellow” and grab yourself a few of those old boards…I see paintings titled “Pinhook” painted on them..(gesso first)…or a little cabinet or shelves made
    to hold momentoes from the time period…
    Sorry, it’s an artsy thing I have..and the ‘tiquey thing I would do next would be to look under the floor for some old jars, etc…
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Canned Quilter
    July 27, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Isn’t it sad to see those old houses and cabins torn down : )

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    July 27, 2011 at 7:58 am

    Carpe Diem!
    I woke up one morning and I was 70 years old…Where did the years go…reguardless of what I was doing or tried to do or thought was so important at the moment…Time marches on!
    So don’t forget to pluck a little bit of life for yourself as well as others…
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…Tell Pap that without those rocks in his sisters craw she might not have enjoyed that corn so much in her later years…

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