By Carl E. Feather
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Additional resources for Mountain People In Flat Land: Popular History Of Appalachian Migration
Gertrude recalls making the trip in a touring car that was ill-suited for travel in inclement weather or on mountain roads. The trip took two days and preparations involved cooking enough chicken and other provisions to feed the family on the road. Travel conditions between Ashtabula County and West Virginia had improved by when Albert Franklin Viers sold his Greenbrier County farm and moved his son Robert and wife Katie Elizabeth to a -acre farm in Wayne Township. But the trip was still long and memorable for Robert, who was sixteen when the family moved north.
Lucian “Lou” Philo Tenney, a migrant from Buckhannon, West Virginia, said one of the diﬀerences he has noticed between the southern and northern cultures is that people in West Virginia always have something to laugh about and be thankful for. No matter how bad the times or problems, the migrant could gather with his friends and kin and ﬁnd some elements of joy or humor. Among Ashtabula natives I have often observed the opposite to be true. Conversation is frequently negative and focused upon what is lacking and oppressive in one’s situation.
The family came from Bridgeport, West Virginia, where George Teter was a butcher and meat cutter. Gertrude’s mother had three brothers and a sister in Ashtabula County, and they provided the link that George followed north. George Teter purchased a hundred-acre farm, arranged the sale of the family home in Bridgeport, and brought his family north by train. Gertrude is unsure why her parents left West Virginia. The only reason she was ever given was that “they couldn’t handle me living in town because I kept running away,” she said.
Mountain People In Flat Land: Popular History Of Appalachian Migration by Carl E. Feather