Hog drives through mountains were large and loud

“On a trip through the North Carolina mountains in 1878, Virginia newspaper editor James Cowardin found himself surrounded by thousands of pigs. ‘Hogs were before us and behind us, and both to the right and to the left of us,’ Cowardin wrote. ‘There was whipping and shouting and twisting and turning’ as the swineherds yelled, ”Suey!” “Suey!” “Get out!” “Suey hogs!” “D—d devil take the swine!” ‘

“Cowardin too cursed the pigs at first, but once he settled into the rhythm of the road, he began to daydream about following his ‘grunting friends’ to their destination and enjoying a pig slaughter feast: ‘What luxury in spare ribs, backbone, and sausage we would have,’ he fantasized, ‘not to mention pigs’ tails broiled on hot rocks!’

“The flesh of Cowardin’s traveling companions, though, was destined for other stomachs. He had stumbled upon a seasonal movement of livestock that had been happening each winter for more than half a century. He was in the middle of a pig drive….

“The best estimates suggest that in the antebellum South, five times as many hogs were driven as all other animals combined. In 1847 one tollgate in North Carolina recorded 692 sheep, 898 cattle, 1,317 horses, and 51,753 hogs….”

— From “The Great Appalachian Hog Drives” bMay 4, 2015)

When they’re not being stolen, these pig statues in downtown Asheville commemorate the 19th-century hog drives.


In mountains, ‘lineage of England’s pauperism’

“Anthony Stokes [a Loyalist refugee from Georgia in 1783] spoke for many when he wrote of ‘a swarm of men’ he called ‘Crackers,’ who were overrunning western Virginia and North Carolina. ‘Many of these people are descended from convicts that were transported from Great Britain to Virginia at different times and inherit so much profligacy from their ancestors that they are the most abandoned set of men on earth….’

“David Starr Jordan [author of “The Heredity of Richard Roe, a Discussion of the Principles of Eugenics,” 1911] wrapped himself in the mantle of dispassionate fact as he dissected a mass of degenerate Anglo-Saxons. Pity, for example, the poor whites of the North Carolina mountains consigned by Jordan ‘to the lineage of England’s pauperism transported first to the colonies, afterward driven from the plains to the mountains.’ ”

— From “The History of White People” by Nell Irvin Painter (2010)

Although his advocacy of eugenics hasn’t aged well, Jordan (1851-1931) did compile quite a resume: College president (Indiana and Stanford).  Influential ichthyologist (he and his students discovered more than 2,500 species of fish). Early proponent of evolution, pacifism and Unitarianism. And then there’s this from the “Dictionary of Unitarian and Universalist Biography”: “In 1909, after he addressed the California Socialist Party, a scheduled lecture at the University of North Carolina was canceled.”