Appalachia

Pinnacle Creek Logging Community

go devil and ax on stump

“My grandfather and great grandfather were loggers. Little communities would build up, and after a time would just die out. I can attest loggers  were a very special kind of people, and they showed much evidence of a life of very hard work. In my family there were not very many quiet people, and was actually talkaholics. I was fortunate to have witnessed the changes in a little logging community called Pinnacle Creek. We have old pictures from its heyday showing large groups of men who worked the timbers. Another picture show them getting  together in the 1930’s for corn shuckings. The pictures of men all dressed up to shuck corn is very suspect, and actually made a local paper. I once hid Easter eggs at a company store there before they stopped the timbering. They had their own one room school, and a few rows of houses along with scattered farms. As the timbering came to an end my grandfather decided to stay there where they had rich bottom land in a valley along the creek.  The old houses were torn down and used for his various barns and outhouses. Certain areas of the creek were still used for baptizing and swimming.

Time marches on, and the old folks have died off  but not the memories. Our beautiful Pinnacle Creek became part of the ATV trails of the Hatfield and McCoy trails. We know the old landmarks, and each year a group makes the trek up the holler to see the old home place. Sadly, all that remains of the booming little community is a small neglected cemetery on a hillside. Each grave represents somebody who died during the short time when the area was populated by timber workers. Each little grave is marked by a simple field stone with no name. There is nobody left who knows the names of those who rest there. It is just one of many cemeteries where folks are buried near where a little logging or mining community once thrived.”

—PinnacleCreek – November 2018

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Tipper

bowl of vegetables

Come cook with me!

MOUNTAIN FLAVORS – TRADITIONAL APPALACHIAN COOKING
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. For the rest of the class details go here.

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Tmc
    June 9, 2019 at 7:07 am

    I still have family logging to this day, all tho they’re getting older and just sold off half the operation, the young folks don’t want to continue this way of life, it’s hard work, and dangerous also.

  • Reply
    Yecedrah Beth Higman
    June 8, 2019 at 5:08 pm

    My grandpa was a logger as well as his sons in Arkansas and I married a logger. We lived all over the US when he was working. It was hard living like that but we are now retired and stay put!!!

  • Reply
    Charline
    June 8, 2019 at 11:59 am

    My Dad also grew up in a logging family and small communities in the Ouachita Mountains of western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 8, 2019 at 10:21 am

    Did you know logging is the single most dangerous job in this country? It has always been. Too many men went into the woods and never returned to their families. Perhaps the little graves written about herein are the final resting place of just such men. They followed the logging jobs and the logging companies. Nobody really knew them. When they died their coworkers just buried them. If they had families they weren’t informed because nobody knew about them. They were just a name and a sweat soaked back. When they were gone all that remained was a little sunken place in the ground with an upright stone at one end. But, God knows who they were and exactly where to find them if they are his children. That is what really matters, isn’t it?

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    June 8, 2019 at 9:53 am

    Tipper,
    I loved the story of loggers that left Pinnacle Creek back in the 1930s. We had Corn Shuckings too, only mostly for our hogs. Daddy had 56 Sows and 6 Registered Bores and at one time we had over 300 pigs to deal with. My 2nd oldest brother, Joel, would drive up from Atlanta and get 50 each week until they were all gone. Talk about a screeming mess, that was it. We’d have to catch ’em and put ’em in the back of his ’58 Chevy Pick-up. We had to be careful of their mama’s so we wouldn’t get bit. And Joel had to avoid the Red Lights in any town, cause stopping would cause the pigs to start screeming again. He stopped at Bob Mason’s Store on the way to the house and get many cartons of Cigaretts for his co-workers to help pay for gas. (This was when I was in High School.) Daddy sold the pigs for $10.00 a piece and they were about 7 weeks old.

    Joel would stop at Blevins Popcorn Company and get the spillings and they saved 3 huge boxes, big as a Casket. He brought us about 3 large bags of Hull Less Popcorn that had cheese stuff on it. That way you didn’t get any hulls in it and it was so good.

    Two of my brothers would carry the large boxes of Popcorn to another place and pore it in across the fense (it wasn’t heavy). After all them hogs would finish, the Creek would quit Running for a few minutes. ha

    I’m sorry the folks left Pinnacle Creek, but everything changes. I buried my Mom and Dad and all 5 of my brothers, and now I’m the Last of the Mohicians. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 8, 2019 at 9:39 am

    I remember mining towns that have come and gone. Some had gone before my time. Some had died when I was a boy but could still be found. Some were dying but not yet gone then but are now. My Mom was born in one of them. To a casual visitor today there is nothing to reveal there was once a community there. Drifted over with leaves now and invisible I’m sure, there is a long concrete stairway from down by the river toward the bluff above. Trees have reclaimed all the once open ground.

    I’m glad to know where Pinnacle Creek is from. What she posts sounds so familiar to me. Thanks to both of you for this story.

    On a different subject, in Jim Casada’s May 2019 newsletter he uses the expression “making over”. Tipper, have you ever done a post on “making over” and/or “taking on”? (I plan to go find the Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English online to see if those two are in it but have not yet.)

  • Reply
    Shirl
    June 8, 2019 at 9:23 am

    My uncle was a logger in Eastern KY when he was first married and starting a family. He moved his family to Ohio in the 60’s with hopes of a better life. I think most of his grandsons followed him in the business. My uncle never did well financially but I heard the grandchildren did. With modern equipment to assist in the business, I hope they don’t show as much evidence of a life of hard work as the ones I know and the ones Pinnacle Creek wrote about.

  • Reply
    PinnacleCreek
    June 8, 2019 at 8:37 am

    Thank you, Tipper, for featuring the story about Pinnacle Creek in Wyoming County, WV. There are so many little communities just like this scattered throughout Appalachia. People from everywhere ride the Hatfield and McCoy trail system right by my Grandfather’s old root cellar and pass where my Mom’s family learned to swim. Most are unaware it was ever a thriving community. Nature has reclaimed all except some landmarks made of rock. Some were saddened to see the community they loved turned into a noisy ATV riding trail. I think it may be a mixed blessing, because it will prevent the clearing of the land destroying the landmarks. Meanwhile, there are so many of these stories of communities that claimed our hearts. Life changes, but the memories remain. I am so thankful to you, Tipper, for your effort day in and day out to keep all this alive.

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