The People of the New River

Oral Histories from the Ashe, Alleghany and Watauga Counties of North Carolina


In stock

Add to Wishlist
Add to Wishlist

About the Book

Said to be one of the oldest rivers in the world, the New River begins at two locations in Watauga County in northwest North Carolina. From there the North and South Forks meander north through Ashe County until they meet near the Virginia border and continue through a corner of Alleghany County before turning north again into Virginia and West Virginia and on to the Ohio. Settlers came to the fertile bottom lands along the New River during the 18th and 19th centuries and many of their descendants still live there today. In this collection of oral histories, 33 people in Ashe, Alleghany, and Watauga counties—most of whom are in their 70s, 80s, and 90s—share memories of their lives and work on the New River and their hopes for its future. They tell of floods, snows, sickness, the Great Depression, education, religion, quilting, weaving and other crafts, and the fight against a large power company that planned to flood thousands of acres of land. They also recall how the river has been central to their lives in providing food, transportation and recreation.

About the Author(s)

The late Leland R. Cooper lived in the Pond Mountain community of Creston, North Carolina.

Mary Lee Cooper lives in Columbus, North Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Leland R. Cooper and Mary Lee Cooper

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 304
Bibliographic Info: 84 photos, map, appendix, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2001
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1190-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1888-3
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Contributions to Southern Appalachian Studies

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “fifth in McFarland’s outstanding ‘Contributions to Southern Appalachian’ series…wonderful…all levels”—Choice
  • “tells the story of the New River through its people”—The Jefferson Post
  • “the Coopers have done the best possible job of revealing what it means and has meant to be ‘from here’”—Ashe Mountain Times