By Daniel W. Patterson
On a wintry evening in 1831, a guy named Charlie Silver used to be murdered with an awl and his physique burned in a cabin within the mountains of North Carolina. His younger spouse, Frankie Silver, used to be attempted and hanged for the crime. In later years humans claimed tree transforming into close to the ruins of the previous cabin was once cursed--that someone who climbed into it might be not able to get out. Daniel Patterson makes use of this "accurst" tree as a metaphor for the grip the tale of the homicide has had at the imaginations of the local people, the broader global, and the famous Appalachian conventional singer and storyteller Bobby McMillon.
For approximately a hundred and seventy years, the reminiscence of Frankie Silver has been stored alive by way of a ballad and native legends and via the inside track money owed, fiction, performs, and different works they encouraged. Weaving Bobby McMillon's own story--how and why he turned a taleteller and what this tale potential to him--into an research of the Silver homicide, Patterson explores the genesis and makes use of of folklore and the interaction among folklore, social and private historical past, legislation, and narrative as humans and groups try and comprehend human personality and fate.
Bobby McMillon is a furnishings and health facility employee in Lenoir, North Carolina, with deep roots in Appalachia and a lifelong ardour for studying and acting conventional songs and stories. He has bought a North Carolina people historical past Award from the state's Arts Council and likewise the North Carolina Folklore Society's Brown-Hudson Folklore Award.
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Extra resources for A Tree Accurst: Bobby McMillon and Stories of Frankie Silver
Bobby missed recording that and the other stories told during the visit. ’’ He never had another chance to go back and try again. Bobby can still remember much of what the man told but says that ‘‘there was some of it I would have loved to had. He had a sister that was real rough and nearly killed one of the brothers, and he had to save him. And oh, it was just wonderful what he told. ’’ He recalls another time after that when the same thing almost happened. ’’ After about forty-ﬁve minutes, Bobby realized he was not recording the story, got his machine working, and started over again.
In turn, they invited Bobby to come later that year to their Folk Festival of the Smokies. He says, ‘‘I thought I was just going to experience what a festival’s like, and then they put my name up on the board. They wanted me to get up and tell the story of old Joe Dawson and sing the ‘Cabbage Head’ song or something like that. I’ve never been that shy around a crowd . . ’’ 33 Another thing was Bobby’s visit the next year to my folksong class in Chapel Hill; George Holt, an undergraduate in that class, later asked Bobby McMillon and Oral Tradition Bobby to appear in a folk festival he organized on the campus of Duke University in .
He wants you to leave that behind when you come in the door—which Bobby McMillon and Oral Tradition you can’t do. Or I can’t. Never have been. And nobody else there—I mean, everybody daydreams. But some of them don’t have daydreams toward anything that they can do something with, other than wishing that they were somewhere else. Of course, I’m always thinking where I could be singing, or studying about Frankie Silver or Tom Dula, or something like that. I guess I do daydream a whole lot. But of course I have hopes that someday I’ll be able to leave that behind.