Thursday, May 14, 2009

Kathy Lyday-Lee on Will Allen Dromgoole

Kathy Lyday-Lee did her Phd dissertation on Dromgoole; here is an email we received from her concerning the article we posted Wednesday, May 13, 2009, from The Murfreesboro Post.

Kathy wrote:

Anyone who has read the Melungeon articles automatically assumes that these cost her the clerk job (some senators claimed that she “wrote agin' the mountains" (not Melungeons, as has been quoted sometimes)--that the women were barefoot and the men spoke a "diurlect," but an article in the San Jose Mercury, dated Sept. 20, 1889, seems to negate that by saying she lost her seat (the election of 1889) before the Melungeon articles were published (unless there are Melungeon articles no one has found yet). Ironically, I used this article in my earliest research (found in one of the Dromgoole material (boxes and "scrapbooks") in the UT library), but it has no date or newspaper name on it), The only story that I've been able to find that would be considered unflattering to mountain people in general before 1890 is an early and pretty sappy Appalachian Christmas story called “Mad Moses Heroism,” printed in 1887 published (as far as I can tell) only in the Birmingham Herald; others claim it was her story "The Heart of Old Hickory" that did the damage, but the date on that is 1891 (with the story collection appearing in 1895). When I did the Dromgoole entry for the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, I added possibly to my sentence about this because I couldn't for sure prove that the Melungeon articles caused her defeat.

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