Profiles of Mountain People

Mountain Folk


I’d like to introduce you to Hubert Kirkland. Hubert is a native Appalachian-born and raised in the mountains of Western North Carolina. I recently interviewed Hubert about his life in Appalachia.


What was life like when you were a child?

There was lots of work to be done and everybody had to help. Having a garden was a major chore-the whole family helped with it cause you had to have the food it produced to survive. Cutting wood was a full time job cause you used it to cook and to heat your home. Two neighbor boys cut wood everyday from 10-4 just to provide enough wood for their family.

hubert and pap

What did your Mother usually plant in the garden?

Mother kept the seed from year to year so she always had a supply of what she liked to plant. We grew beans, corn, squash, parsnips, turnips, greens and some other things as well.

Can you share a few memories of your childhood days?

I mowed folks yards and did other chores to make money. One time I mowed this little old lady’s yard and when I was through she handed me a dime.That was the last time I ever mowed her yard I was expecting at least 35 cents! I used to collect bottles to sell to the bootleggers. One of my neighbors threw his empty liquor bottles at the back of his house and I’d sneak in there and get them. The bootleggers paid a penny a piece for coke bottles and a nickle a piece for liquor bottles.

The funnest times I ever had was running around with my friend Glenn. He had an old jeep and we’d drive to Tellico Plains and jump off the waterfalls or the high rock. Sometimes we’d go to the Ocoee River. Those times are some of my best memories.

huberts bowls

Hubert is a master craftsman when it comes to woodworking. He turns beautiful bowls,

huberts carvings

carves animal figures, hand crafts fiddles (you can see one he made in the picture at the top), and made most of the furniture in his home.

Hubert grows a garden each year-saving the seeds as his Mother once did. Hubert has pear, apple, and fig trees-he also has had great success grafting trees.

Showing true Appalachian generosity-Hubert shared some of his saved seeds with me and dug up some of his Blueberry Bushes for me. As the interview wound down, I asked Hubert one last question.

Can you sum up what you think of Appalachia-the past and the present?

The government has to much influence over our lives now. One bunch of people get paid too much one bunch too little. I believe if they’re going to have a minimum wage they should have a maximum wage too. I’m afraid greed has took over the mountains-it’s got too crowded with houses all over the mountainsides. Growing up in Appalachia was a rough way of life but a joyful way of living. I wish I could go back to the way it was.

If you’re wondering when Hubert was born-he wouldn’t tell me. He said he would for sure tell me how much he weighed-but if I found out how old he was-it wouldn’t be from him!

Hope you’ll leave a comment for Hubert.


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  • Reply
    May 25, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Thanks Hubert, for your story, I enjoyed it very much,and you are right, everything is so crowed, and people don’t act like they use to, Thanks again so much and let us hear some more good story’s, God Bless and keep you, kay

  • Reply
    The Tile Lady-Marie
    March 14, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    What a talented man he is! I loved looking at his wonderful woodwork, and reading the stories of his younger days. Thanks so much for posting this, Tipper.

  • Reply
    margaret sistrunk
    February 24, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Hubert is my brother and he is one of a kind.He has been a father and brother to me.

  • Reply
    February 24, 2009 at 2:30 am

    Wonderful interview with Hubert. I really enjoyed hearing about his life and quite agree with his statement about money and the way we live today. I would go back to the ways of my childhood in a minute. Those were simpler times, for sure. None of the luxuries and lots of hard work, but families were closer.
    Hubert is a talented man. My father used to work on a wood lath and I have some of his creations. They’re beautiful.

  • Reply
    February 20, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    What a wonderful interview. He reminds me of my grandparents. Talented, hardworking people who understood the meaning of many things.

  • Reply
    February 20, 2009 at 10:22 am

    That was a fantastic post! More please!
    Those carvings are absolutely beautiful, and I’d agree with Mr. Kirkland that I wish we could go back a bit too.
    His stories were great.

  • Reply
    February 20, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Hi Tipper,
    I’ve given you the Kreativ Blogger award, because I absolutely love your stories! You can pick it up at and pass it on!

  • Reply
    Kim Campbell
    February 19, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    Awesome interview! What beautiful bowls and animals. Wow!

  • Reply
    February 19, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Wow! Wow! What an amazing person. My daughter plays the violin/fiddle.

  • Reply
    Judith Richards Shubert
    February 19, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Hi Tipper, what a great interview! And what a talented gentleman.
    I have awarded you with a Kreativ Blogger Award. You can pick it up at Genealogy Traces.

  • Reply
    February 19, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Thanks for sharing your interview. Hubert is such an interesting person, and such a talented wood worker. Enjoyed reading. blessings,Kathleen

  • Reply
    February 19, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Hubert is funny… and interesting!
    I probably wouldn’t want all those houses popping up everywhere, either. But I have to say I’d tell me age ANY day before my weight!

  • Reply
    February 19, 2009 at 8:26 am

    I enjoyed that interview. 🙂 Sad how things have changed.

  • Reply
    trisha too
    February 18, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    those bowls and sculptures are wonderful, the wood is so beautiful!

  • Reply
    February 18, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Always good Tipper! Very good Hubert! 🙂

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 18, 2009 at 8:56 am

    Aren’t mountain folks the best! They know who they are and what is of value in life. They know what they believe and are not afraid to speak it. We sure could use a dose of that now!
    I like Mr Kirkland’s bowels and carvings but mostly I like his spirit. Reminds me of some other folks I know!!!
    Thanks for introducing us to Mr Kirkland.

  • Reply
    February 18, 2009 at 1:21 am

    Excellent interview, Tipper! I’m sure it was fascinating picking his brain. His woodworks are amazing!

  • Reply
    February 17, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    Incredibly beautiful woodwork! Absolutely gorgeous. I love your interviews, Tipper, and this one did not disappoint~

  • Reply
    February 17, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    Hubert, you have some truly wonderful insights and I greatly admire your seed-saving and wood-carving ways. You are very talented and very wise. If only there were more like you in the world!

  • Reply
    February 17, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    What a lovely man. He is a talented craftsman, too. What is it about woodworkers? They seem to have such great sensitivity to the form and shape of wood.

  • Reply
    February 17, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Liked your interview with Mr.Kirkland. He is a very talented wood worker.

  • Reply
    Brenda Kay Ledford
    February 17, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Fantastic profile on Mr. Kirkland. We have some neighbors who are related to the Kirklands. I’m wondering if they are his kin folks? Great story. Loved it!

  • Reply
    February 17, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    I love the carved animals and the bowls. What a great interview.

  • Reply
    Amy @ parkcitygirl
    February 17, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    Great interview! He has led an amazing life!

  • Reply
    Nancy M.
    February 17, 2009 at 11:28 am

    I love the bowls Hubert made. I especially love the chicken figurine. I kinda agree with him about the maximum wage. Some people do make way too much money.
    I like your blog! Thanks for stopping by mine!

  • Reply
    February 17, 2009 at 10:02 am

    What a great person. I love his wood work!

  • Reply
    fishing guy
    February 17, 2009 at 9:20 am

    Tipper: What a neat post of a talented guy. I love his bowls and carving. He has lived a good life and he seems to be self sufficient. We did do a lot of odd jobs for money during youth.
    One of my favorite was one year I worked at a cemetery for a summer job.

  • Reply
    February 17, 2009 at 6:19 am

    Beautiful bowls, and I sure wish I could hear that fiddle!

  • Reply
    February 17, 2009 at 12:31 am

    I am presently home where my roots grow deep. We lived a simple life on the farm here and it was nostalgic today to visit the home where I lived for half my life. Simple it was when I was a child just like Mr. Hubbert says. That is why I moved to Appalachia to revisit that feeling of a simple life. But they keep coming and the simple gets more complicated.

  • Reply
    February 16, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    Hubert reminds me of my papaw. I bet he knew him too if he spent alot of time in Tellico!

  • Reply
    February 16, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Hello again…not sure if you would like to participate or not but I just tagged you and your blog in the Nightstand Tag. Go here to check it out if you are interested:

  • Reply
    Helen G.
    February 16, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    Mr. Hubert Kirkland is ageless… how fortunate you are, Tipper, to know and be able to share this gentleman with us. Hardworking, artistic, not afraid to get his hands in the dirt and yet have the gentle touch to be able to craft a violin or graft trees. Thank you, thank you for sharing this man of the ‘mountains.

  • Reply
    JoLyn Day
    February 16, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    Thanks for sharing Hubert’s story. What a talent he has – It’s neat to get to know him a little. Don’t we all wish we could go back to simpler times?

  • Reply
    February 16, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    I love his wooden bowls and critters they are beautiful. He’s also a true gardener. Gardeners always are delighted to share something wonderful.

  • Reply
    February 16, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    He may be on to something about a maximun cap on earnings. I’ll bet a lot of fellows would like to know how he raises that full head of hair-no matter what his age.

  • Reply
    February 16, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Mr. Kirkland has beautiful hair!
    His hand carved critters are beautiful too.
    Mr. Kirkland it’s crowded every where……Where are they coming from????

  • Reply
    February 16, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Wish I had that talent! Mr. Kirkland is a very interesting soul. I would love to sit and talk with him awhile.
    By the way, I have been white water rafting on the Ocoee River. Fun, but terrifying!

  • Reply
    The Texican
    February 16, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Great story as usual. Hubert has the right idea about things today. I love the simplicity of communication present in those who have lived a simple life. It has a lot to recommend it. Pappy

  • Reply
    Carolyn A.
    February 16, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    I love your attitude Hubert. I too long for the old ways of the hills. I adore your handwork on those bowls and wish I had me some of them. I also enjoyed your interview with Tipper. And even though it will make me blush, you aren’t hard on the eyes either. *Smile* xxoo

  • Reply
    petra michelle
    February 16, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Tipper, I don’t know where to start. Your interview with Hubert reflects how many of us feel about life. Times were simpler and better back then. We helped each other out when we needed it. It wasn’t uncommon even while I was growing up for youngsters to get money for empty bottles.
    Hubert’s craftsmanship is jaw dropping! I can just imagine what his home looks like! Absolutely stunning work! I’m marvelling! Thank you for sharing, Tipper! :))

  • Reply
    Julie at Elisharose
    February 16, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    What a wonderful interview. And those bowls, beautiful! Thanks for a peek into the way it was (and still should be!)

  • Reply
    February 16, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    What a great story. His handiwork is gorgeous!

  • Reply
    February 16, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    I very much enjoyed your interview with Mr. Kirkland. I was not lucky enough to have been raised in a place like Appalachia, but I must have been in another life because I sure yearn for a time like he describes.

  • Reply
    February 16, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Oh and I forgot to mention. I LOVE those bowls. What craftsman.

  • Reply
    February 16, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Tipper Hubert sounds like a true good hearted person. I love his humor as well. Thanks for sharing his viewpoint and a bit of his history.

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