Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Research-y Bits and Bobs

This is the post I was going to do yesterday before Blinkin' popped those three babies out.

This post was going to be another installment of "The Dark Hole", but I just can't get my dark, sinister and Gothic up with those three little charmers outside my window.

Anyhoo...needed to jot down some research notes I gathered this past Sunday.

Foot Logs

There was a huge and terrible flood here in 1972. It took out all of the bridges and the foot logs. The cattle were swept 10 miles from here all the way to Del Rio. There were cows everywhere stuck up to their bellies in mud. Dying livestock, dead livestock, deep, deep mud.

They just had many many days of rain and it all came sweeping down from the Gulf and the creek flooded all of the hollers all the way to Del Rio.

I've not found much about this flood online. But there are two weather events that stick out in everyone's memory who has lived long enough. One of them is the Flood of 1972 and the other is the Snow of 1992. Two feet of snow fell in '92 and power was knocked out for weeks.

1972 was also the year of the famous Buffalo Creek Flood in West Virginia. I'm imagining this was a very heavy rainfall year.

I thought when I heard that the foot logs were washed away that they were just logs thrown down to cross the creeks. That's not the case. They would cut down a really big tree then plane one side flat. Then they would plank that side and put up railings. So it was really more of a foot bridge. And they call all foot bridges whatever they are made of, "foot logs".

Everyone would ride their horses up to the foot log, dismount, then lead the horse across the creek while they were on the foot log to the other side. Then mount up and be on their way.

I photographed a very small one of these that went across a very small branch. I didn't know what I was looking at, at the time. But that's what it was. A foot log.


I wasn't really entirely clear on this and needed to get more clear on it. Race relations here are very complicated since there are an additional two races not seen in most Southern communities.

There are four established races in the area. Whites, Blacks, Cherokee and Melungeon. Melungeons are actually more north than I am, but everyone here knows about them. Hispanics are relative newcomers and I think the jury is still out on them.

I'm using the marriageability factor as a scale because it's the most easily understood concept for the people I talk to.

Best I can figure, it is acceptable for Whites, Cherokee and Melungeons to intermarry. It is acceptable for Cherokee and Blacks to intermarry. Melungeons have traditionally married Whites. It gets confusing since there is a really wide range of skin tones for both Melungeons and Cherokee. There are Melungeons who look very African American. There are very dark Cherokee.

The Melungeons claim a Portuguese ancestry as well as being mixed white, black and Cherokee. I still haven't worked out exactly how this Mediterranean influence plays out. But I have seen archival photos of people who look very Italian or Spanish.

At any rate, the Melungeons are really fascinating as a tri-racial isolate. I recommend The Melungeon Heritage Association if you want to know more about them. They seem to be the most evidence based group out there.

Oddly funny.

I went to see the nephrologist yesterday and started giggling since phrenologist was that word turned around sideways. I'd much rather be getting the bumps on my head analyzed. They had curiously up to date magazines in the waiting room. I told them they would get their waiting room permits canceled for shenanigans like that.


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