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Our Southern Highlanders

Horace Kephart

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .La-a-ay down, boys,
Le’s take a nap:
Thar’s goin’ to be trouble
In the Cumberland Gap—


Our ears were stunned by one sudden thundering crash. The roof rose visibly, as though pushed upward from within. In an instant we were blinded by moss and dried mud—the chinking blown from between the logs of our shabby cabin. Dred and Coaly cowered as though whipped, while “Doc’s” little hound slunk away in the keen misery of fear. We men[Pg 83] looked at each other with lowered eyelids and the grim smile that denotes readiness, though no special eagerness, for dissolution. Beyond the “gant-lot” we could hear trees and limbs popping like skirmishers in action.

Then that tidal wave of air swept by. The roof settled again with only a few shingles missing. We went to “redding up.” Squalls broke against the mountainside, hither and yon, like the hammer of Thor testin. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I bought this book when I visited Smokey Mountains National Park last year. Very interesting read and learning about the history and people of the Appalachians. The book was written over 100 years ago and insightful to learn how isolated and unknown this part of America was at the turn of the 20th c

Interesting to me because I am a descendant. His portrayal of the Southern people come from his superior attitude of himself. Interesting none the less. It brings images of another time and place.

This is a really interesting book to me, maybe only because Kephart lived where my grandfather grew up 30 years after the book was published. In my opinion, Kephart does a great job of capturing the backwoods of Appalachia. Some chapters are fascinating, telling stories of moonshining and bear trapp

This one has been on the "To Read" stack a long time. Written in 1913 and considered a "classic", the book is a social history of the mountain folk of the Great Smoky Mountains. The chapters on moonshining and dialect were my favorites. The author lived among the Highlanders near Bryson City NC and

Powerful truth then and now

This work is plum full of powerful truth that still rings true in modern times. I spoke with my grandfather before he passed about questions I had about our mountain ancestors. He answered honestly and bluntly. He told about how our family either proudly supported the unio

Horace Kephart And The Back Of Beyond

In the second chapter of his book, "Our Southern Highlanders: a Narrative of Adventure in the Southern Appalachians and a Study of Life among the Mountaineers" (1913, 1922), Horace Kephart wrote of some of the forces which had impelled him to leave his materially

This is a surprisingly funny and touching book in which Horace Kephart details his experiences with the people of Appalachia -the mountain regions of Kentucky, Tennessee, northern Georgia, and North Carolina. His writing is never condescending or judgemental, which I appreciate. Equally interesting

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