Georgetown Fish Fry

Edgar Norton and a Big Fish, Georgetown County, S.C., ca. 1912 Photo by Alfred G. Trenholm

For those fortunate enough to live along the South’s coasts, few seasonal traditions are more beloved than the Summer fish fry.  Growing up in a small town in Tennessee (yes, admittedly rather far from the coast), one of the things I looked forward to the most each July was the Bethlehem Methodist Church’s annual catfish fry.

Deep fried catfish fillets, hush puppies as big as small fists, barrels of sweet tea, and rows of clothed tables filled with homemade pies and desserts all made this the social event of the summer.  Everyone was there, and everyone always had a great time.

Come to think of it, I guess that the fish fry can hardly be considered the exclusive domain of the coastal folks.  While I’ve been to some wonderful fish fries and oyster roasts in the Carolinas, I’d put my humble Tennessee catfish fry against any one of them.

Regardless, here are some great images from a small fry in Georgetown, South Carolina, taken right near the turn of the 20th century.

Group of Men with their Fish, Georgetown County, S.C., ca. 1900 Photo by Alfred G. Trenholm

At the Fish Fry, Georgetown County, S.C., ca. 1900 (A.G.Trenholm)

Fish Fry, Georgetown County, S.C., ca. 1920 (A.G.Trenholm)

Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton, Appalachian Moonshiner

Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton, 1946-2009

Excerpted from daughter Sky Sutton’s Daddy Moonshiner, a new book on the life and adventures of her legendary father:

‘Do you know how to make a frog drunk? I bet you don’t. But I do. I fired my pot up one morning and got it going real good. It had just started running high shots. That is what you call it when it first starts to come out. For so many jugs, then it turns to backins. Anyway here come hopping up to the still a damn big frog. I thought to myself ol’ boy I’ll make you drunk as hell. I had heard all my life that a frog will absorb things through its skin. So I got me a can lid and caught me some of that high shots and I dropped it slowly on the old frogs back. Real soon its throat started to swell up and then all at once that frog started singing like hell. When he stopped singing he flopped over in the leaves and didn’t move till I got done running that likker. I guess he passed out. Anyway when I come back the next morning to sweeten it back he was not there. I guess one good damn drunk taught him a lesson.’

To read more, click here.

Maggie Valley, North Carolina, 2007 by Don Dudenbostel, Knoxville Sentinel

"Popcorn" Sutton and Still

Published in: on March 5, 2010 at 10:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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Carnton Plantation, Franklin, Tenn.

Twenty miles south of Nashville sits the beautiful and historic city of Franklin, Tennessee.  Established in 1799, Franklin is the quintessential Southern town, boasting a rich history, proud traditions, and a vibrant local culture.

The highlight – if you’ll excuse the term – of the city’s history was the November 30, 1864 Battle of Franklin, the so-called “Gettysburg of the West,” in which nearly 60,000 Union and Confederate soldiers clashed in and around the small town.  After less than six hours of fighting, the two armies suffered over 8,500 casualties, including fourteen Confederate generals (six of whom were either killed or mortally wounded).  A crushing defeat for Gen. John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee, the Battle of Franklin would prove to be a major turning point for the Confederacy’s Western Campaign.

Just outside Franklin proper stands historic Carnton Plantation, the mid-nineteenth century mansion of the Randall McGavock family.  Though the house escaped any major damage during the fighting, soon after the hostilities ceased, retreating Confederate forces began bringing their wounded and dying inside the home, soon filling the entire house, attic, porches, and outbuildings.

Over the next couple weeks, Carnton would continue to serve as one of the main field hospitals for the Army of Tennessee, with the McGavock family working alongside Confederate doctors and surgeons as the soldiers’ primary caregivers.

Today, almost 150 years later, bloodstains still remain throughout the dark heart pine floorboards and remnants of the five hours of fighting can still be discovered around the home and grounds.  Carnton Plantation is open seven days a week for tours and special events, and hosts numerous social and historic functions throughout the year. For more information, visit www.carnton.org

Published in: on March 4, 2010 at 2:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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