Memoirs of Grassy Creek

Growing Up in the Mountains on the Virginia–North Carolina Line


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About the Book

Born on January 5, 1907, Zetta Hamby spent much of her life in the northwestern mountains of North Carolina, keenly watching the changes in her community of Grassy Creek and in the world. Families, homes, weddings and funerals, politics, health, world war, race relations, the telephone—those are among the topics touched on in this firsthand look at rural Appalachia in the early decades of the present century. Sometimes poignant, often humorous, and surely authentic, these stories are yet another reminder of recent history that is all too quickly being lost.

About the Author(s)

Zetta Barker Hamby, a retired school teacher and principal, lived in the Grassy Creek, North Carolina, area for most of her 90 years, observing modernization with wry wisdom. She died in the summer of 1997.

Bibliographic Details

Zetta Barker Hamby

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 264
Bibliographic Info: photos, facsimiles, index
Copyright Date: 1998
pISBN: 978-0-7864-0416-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3207-0
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Contributions to Southern Appalachian Studies

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     v
Foreword      1

Families     7
Homes     30
Weddings and Funerals     57
Religion     72
Schools     82
Activities     109
Clothing     129
Health and Remedies     145
Food     159
Crops and Farm Animals     196
The Store and the Blacksmith     217
Roads and Automobiles     224

Appendix: Neighboring Families, ca. 1910–1924     231
Index     235

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “a particularly valuable contribution to the history of Appalachia…deftly describes and includes sketches of a number of ordinary household items that were at one time central to most rural households”—Appalachian Journal
  • “a must read for anyone interested in mountain history, culture or living. For those seeking a simpler, more natural lifestyle, it could almost serve as a textbook”—Ashe Mountain Times
  • “editors have preserved the charm of her manuscript and included her pen-and-ink illustrations of farmstead artifacts…good source material for Appalachian cultural history…well-indexed”—North Carolina Libraries