Appalachia Profiles of Mountain People

Finding Four-Leaf Clovers

4 leaf clovers

“I started collecting four-leaf clovers about 1930 when I found the first one. I started up here the other day to get the paper, and I found two. I found them weeding my garden. They’re not too hard for me to find. Just seems like four-leaf clovers grow where I can find them. I went over there to the other side of the house in the field one evening to see if I could find me a clover and, honey, I found ninety-three in just a few minutes, just as fast as I could pick them.

I like to get out and walk. I’d prefer walking and going to the mountains. I’ve been studying strong of goin’ back up there on the mountain to Face Rock again; I haven’t been up there in years. I really like the mountains myself. And the further back in the mountains I can get to live, the better I like it.

Honey, I like to walk yet. I take a notion to walk every once in a while. I have a brother that lives up on Bear Wallow Road beside the Gerton Post Office. I take out up through the pasture, go over and see him. But it was about ’43, one Monday afternoon, honey, I kinda wished I’d stayed at home. Just a short distance below the head of the road, down in Mr McClure’s pasture, honey, I took me a stick and made a fox club. I’ve never been so scared in all my born days. What made it really worse; I think, than it would’ve been, I had my baby with me. He was about two and a half years old and I had him on my back, and he thought it was my brother-in-law’s cat. He said “Mamas, there’s a cat following us.” And I didn’t pay any attention to it. He said again. “This cat’s a-followin’ us.” I slid him down off my back and I looked around and, honey, it was that fox still a comin’ toward me. And I grabbed me a stick. It come on down to where I was, rubbed in agin’ me, and looked up at me and growled and started walking’ off, and I hit it right between the ears, and, honey, I permed it a-flat; killed it and took it on down to my brother’s.

Ruth Settles—”Mountain Voices” by Warren Moore


My sister-n-law is like Ms. Settles. She can find a four-leaf clover just standing talking in the yard. I can’t recall ever finding one myself.


Appalachian Cooking Class details

Come cook with me!

Location: John C. Campbell Folk School – Brasstown, NC
Date: Sunday, June 23 – Saturday, June 29, 2019
Instructors: Carolyn Anderson, Tipper Pressley

Experience the traditional Appalachian method of cooking, putting up, and preserving the bounty from nature’s garden. Receive hands-on training to make and process a variety of jellies, jams, and pickles for winter eating. You’ll also learn the importance of dessert in Appalachian culture and discover how to easily make the fanciest of traditional cakes. Completing this week of cultural foods, a day of bread making will produce biscuits and cornbread. All levels welcome.

Along with all that goodness Carolyn and I have planned a couple of field trips to allow students to see how local folks produce food for their families. The Folk School offers scholarships you can go here to find out more about them. For the rest of the class details go here.

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  • Reply
    betty stephenson
    March 18, 2019 at 1:35 pm

    have found a few ofthm now and then stillgot some of them

  • Reply
    March 16, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    I’ve looked but never found one, and I met a fellow who said he could find one every time he looked. I thought he was joking, but he stepped outside, walked along for a few minutes, came back in and handed me a 4-leaf clover. Maybe it’s a gift, like water witching?

  • Reply
    March 16, 2019 at 4:45 pm

    Tipper i have never found one on my own. My husband can. He would point em out to me but its just not the same unless you your self find em all by yourself.☘

  • Reply
    Leslie Haynie
    March 16, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    When you’re looking, try finding a square instead of a triangle.
    Once you see one you’ll be able to spot them easily.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    March 16, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    I don’t think I ever tried finding 4 leaf clovers. That’s one folklore I never fooled with. …Ken

  • Reply
    March 16, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    Mom used to say, “Some people ‘look,’ and some people ‘see.’ ”

    I couldn’t find my socks, either.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    March 16, 2019 at 11:27 am

    My paternal grandmother was the best at finding four leaf clovers I’ve ever seen, I think she could have walked down a paved road and found them. All the “Good Luck” she earned must have had something to do with her living to be 102 years old when she passed away.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    March 16, 2019 at 10:53 am

    I’m pretty good at finding them. We used to pick the clover blooms and make chains out of them.

  • Reply
    March 16, 2019 at 10:36 am

    As a child I recall my mom and others sitting casually on the grass searching for four leaf clovers. They were supposed to bring good luck. This pastime is long gone. Everybody seems to prefer searching for the remote. My dear Aunt Bea could find one after another. Her true love was killed in war, and she died at the tender age of 26. I never was patient enough to search.

  • Reply
    March 16, 2019 at 9:56 am

    I have never found a four leaf clover in my life. Looked but to no avail. My husband can walk out in anyone’s yard and just look down by his feet, bend over and bring up one. I never will understand it. I never knew a fox would come up to you and rub against you unless it might be rabid. That is one of many encounters with wild animals, I’m glad I have not experienced.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 16, 2019 at 9:19 am

    I don’t find many here, though I have clover around. There is only one spot along the upper edge of the garden that I have found a few. I was looking for them the other day in a particularly lush patch of clover growing right in the garden fence, liking the garden lime I think. But I didn’t find any.

    If I am where there is clover, I usually look, kinda a habit I guess. Don’t give up Tipper. One day you will surprise yourself and find several at one time.

  • Reply
    Brian P.T. Blake
    March 16, 2019 at 9:04 am

    “Permed it a-flat”! What a wonderfully concise phrase! She killed that animal so dead that it just lay flat on the ground and will never rise up to threaten her again.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    March 16, 2019 at 8:08 am

    I found 4 leaf clovers quite often in Pennsylvania but since moving here in North Carolina I have not. To be honest I have not been looking for them. I guess I should start looking as soon as the weather allows. Hopefully that will be soon.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 16, 2019 at 7:56 am

    I’m like you, Tip, never been able to find many four leaf clovers. I don’t even look much any more. I wonder why some folks can find them all the time and I can’t find one?

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