Brasstown Blotter – True Story


The Brasstown Blotter was a small publication published in the late 1930s and early 1940s by the John C. Campbell Folk School. In their own words: “The Brasstown Blotter aims to soak up local news, to boost local programs and enterprises, to be interesting reading.”

Since the blotter was published during war time, each issue contained short notes from folks who were relocated from Brasstown to elsewhere to serve or help out in the war effort.

Today I’m going to share a piece from the April 1941 issue. Be on the lookout for more interesting tidbits from the Brasstown Blotter in the coming months.



Cold. Dark. Midnight. A young man rapped at a door. “FRED!” (Jud Brendle at the door; Fred Smith in the bed) Presently Jud drove off in Fred’s car.

At Bass Duvall’s Jud phoned–in vain! Soon he was headed back, Lona Brendle beside him. She got out. Jud drove on. Now Fred was with him. **** Keith House at the Folk School was blacked out. An upstairs window finally opened. No, she’s not here. She’s over at Scroggses! *** A little later: “No, not here” – a drowsy voice at Neal Scroggses. *** And again: “Not here. Everybody’s well here far’s I know.” -Fred O speaking. *** Back home: “May be with Matt Smith at Granny Scroggses,” -Lenda this time. *** At Granny’s she was–Nurse Gayle Isensee, a woman much in demand since she arrived last October. ***

Shortly past two in the cold, quiet hours, the young man sighed; Gayle was there. Jud sighed more heavily than Fred.

At close to 9 the morning of February 25, Brasstown’s male population was up one.

CHEERS FOR THE HEALTH ASSOCIATION which gives us a competent nurse in a time of doctor-shortages.


What an exciting night for Jud and his wife. I can just see him borrowing Fred’s car and searching from one Brasstown abode to another trying to find the nurse to help deliver their child. Although the story doesn’t clearly indicate it, I’m betting the folk school organized the health association and had a major role, if not the only role, in getting a nurse to serve the community of Brasstown.


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  • Reply
    June 30, 2018 at 10:26 am

    PaPaw must be a hoot to be around. (A ‘”Certified” Hoot?) Anyway – I like his idea of a 1 page newspaper with an almanac and events calendar on the back – may snitch it. . . .

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    June 29, 2018 at 10:31 pm

    That’s when newspapers were newspapers! Sigh.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 29, 2018 at 5:58 pm

    Reminds me of a story about my uncle. One of my cousins was very sick and my uncle went for the doctor and took his 38.When he found the doctor he said, “Get your bag Doc and let’s go and don’t tell me you ain’t going ’cause you’re going somewhere.” And the Doctor did without saying a word. Maybe he had a reputation for not coming. I don’t know.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    June 29, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    I didn’t know about the Brasstown Newspaper being published in 1941, but that was 7 years before I was born. I noticed you mentioned Bass Duvall, he had the Rollin’ Store and he was a brother to my
    daddy’s mom. She was Ola Duvall and had a twin brother, Rass Duvall. Grandma was short and reminded me of a Dutchman, but her generation of people came from France. …Ken

    • Reply
      June 29, 2018 at 2:44 pm

      Ken could publish “THE TOPTON TOPIC”!

  • Reply
    June 29, 2018 at 11:55 am

    Needmore never had a newspaper that I know of. I was sitting here trying to think of a catchy word that would go with Needmore as name for a newspaper. I settled for Needmore News. Needmore anything would work because everybody could a use little more of about everything except fleas, flies, flows and flums. It would have to be a monthly due to lack of notable events at Needmore. One page would be enough and I could put next month’s calendar on the back. Yeah, that’s a great idea! An almanac calendar with planting, canning and krauting signs on it! You read the paper then flip it over and you’re all set for a whole month.

    Speaking of almanac calendars, my grandmother always had one on a nail on the kitchen wall. I can remember as a little kid looking at that calendar to see when fishing would be best. I fished on the days I thought it recommended but didn’t do as well as most other days. I often wondered why they recommended fishing in the middle of winter. I thought maybe the calendar was made up north and they were talking about ice fishing. Just today it dawned on me that I had been fishing in Pisces. I am a certified genius!

    • Reply
      June 29, 2018 at 12:00 pm

      That last paragraph I just made up this morning. Nothing in it is true except Grammaw did have a calendar like that and I am certified. A Certified____________? You fill in the blank.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    June 29, 2018 at 9:47 am

    I was just a fresh new appearance myself when this was written in April 1941! I can’t believe how times have changed since this account of this new arrival and the search for the nurses help. One thing that stands out in my mind. I suppose this was beginning to be more modern times, even with the shortage of nurses and doctors, because I thought in the late thirties and early forties mid-wives, usually an experienced mothering neighbor gathered the ladies together to help birth a baby..
    Loved this post..
    Thanks Tipper,

    • Reply
      June 29, 2018 at 12:03 pm

      Lula Sanders was the midwife in attendance at my birth on 1 Oct 1950.

  • Reply
    Sheryl A. Paule
    June 29, 2018 at 7:34 am

    What a great story, I can imagine the panic trying to find a nurse

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 29, 2018 at 6:08 am

    Now that’s a story! Never knew there was a Brasstown Newspaper but them I’m a new comer so I guess I wouldn’t. Let me say that as an almost newcomer with family ties here I’ve sure come to love the area and the people in it and I love that the Folk School is just down the road!

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