Eaves dropping 2021

“When I first come to this country the Hiwassee River was just a little branch.”


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  • Reply
    Patricia Price
    July 10, 2021 at 1:38 pm

    I do believe the “branch” comment is a great example of Appalachian hyperbole that some of us older ones like to use to brag about our age in a round-about fashion. I also say “older than dirt.”

  • Reply
    Kat Swanson
    July 10, 2021 at 1:11 pm

    I grew up on the Indian Creek…tween Pound and Wise Virginia. I walked ,along with my ugly brothers, to our one room schoolhouse along that creek on Rt. 23. That creek was a little rushing waterway…I was sent across the road to scoop up a half bucket of its water to wash the chalkboard.
    That road ,now a 4laner, is now CALLED THE CROOKED ROAD. …Va.s heritage music trail. That creek is pretty much gone now from decades of strip mining above it. It is really an odd thing to see a little white capping stream nearly disappear. …just shows the destruction coal mining leaves behind.
    When I cross the state and go home, I drive beside the near dry creek bed…and all I have are memories about that water…about catching crawdads that are now gone…about a little creek changed forever.

  • Reply
    Billy Hugh Campbell jr
    July 10, 2021 at 12:15 pm

    Here in the southern part of Washington County. Tennessee, Bacon Branch, named for the Bacon Family, is called Greasy Creek.

  • Reply
    July 10, 2021 at 10:05 am

    We always said “branch”, still do…

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    July 10, 2021 at 10:02 am

    A branch where I grew up was typically a little stream that you could step or jump across. It was a good place to find spring lizards and other little critters. We pronounced it brainche.

    • Reply
      Pastor Lon
      July 10, 2021 at 6:00 pm

      We’ve always used the word branch for describing either a small stream of flowing water or a very wet area that run from county to county usually coming from an underground stream eventually running into or feeding a pond!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 10, 2021 at 9:29 am

    I think the “weak as branch water” comes from the oldtimers’ scientific measurements of the alcoholic content of corn products they were bottling. The idea was to make it as strong as they possibly could then dilute it down to a drinkable state. Branch water was a handy source of such dilution. So if a batch of said product was already at state where it needed fortification rather than dilution then it itself was declared to be “as weak as branch water”.
    I found this information in the encyclopedia of /ed/.

  • Reply
    July 10, 2021 at 9:03 am

    I always loved to stop and play at the little branches that are so plentiful in the Appalachian mountains. One of my favorite was one above Pinnacle Creek, and I was never sure if it was spelled Sherd or Sherrod branch. That little branch name has probably been lost to time. It was sometimes also used as a landmark by those who would say you could go straight up by the branch and come out at the old Lambert place. That is how country people got their bearings walking, and the old places named after the families have also been lost to time. I think we children drank from some of those small branches at one time– probably was not the best idea.

  • Reply
    July 10, 2021 at 8:36 am

    The creek I played in when growing up was always called a branch by my family and neighbors. That old branch has given many generations of children of my community many hours of enjoyment not only in the past but even now in present times. Even now it still gets called branch by people of my generation.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    July 10, 2021 at 8:16 am

    Me to AW. Down in SE KY it was branch, creek then river. Course it was kinda in the eye of the beholder but there was enough commonality those names worked OK.

    As for whoever saw the Hiwassee when it was a branch, they are well on their way, or there already, to being a tall tale spinner. They must be ‘older than dirt’ to have seen that.

    • Reply
      Gene Smith
      July 10, 2021 at 2:23 pm

      An old fiddler told our group that when he first started playing, “those mountains back there were just little-bitty hills.”

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney
    July 10, 2021 at 7:41 am

    Our family always looked forward to our first “mess” of branch ” brainch” lettuce and ramps in the spring of the year. The branch lettuce grew on the banks of the little mountain streams. Both branch lettuce and ramps came in earlier than our cultivated lettuce and onions.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 10, 2021 at 7:23 am

    Wow, that must have been a long while ago, that’s a big river. Makes me think of all the other things that are different now.
    Guess there was not much in the way of roads and no powerpoles and telephone lines. Probably was lots of wide open spaces!
    Something to think about!

  • Reply
    July 10, 2021 at 7:12 am

    Branch is an interesting word I’ve heard all my life referring to a small stream. The way I hear it pronounced sounds more like brainch. I can still hear my Dad saying something was as weak as branch water.

    • Reply
      Sanford McKinney
      July 10, 2021 at 7:48 am

      My interpretation of that expression, as weak as branch water, was referring to the lack of force of the water? The water was always pretty calm “weak” in the mountain branches not to be confused with mountain streams that could be pretty rapid and forceful.

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      July 10, 2021 at 9:08 am

      Brain is pronounced /brayn/ therefore branch is pronounced /brayn/ch. Branch when describing an appendage of a tree is pronounced /lim/.
      I found this in the dictionary of /ed/.

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