This book is the first comprehensive study of the folklife of this unique region and its people. Historically underpopulated, economically poor, and predominantly white until the Reconstruction period following the Civil War, Wiregrass Country is a rare stretch of the American South whose economic and cultural development has been shaped more by yeoman farming and frontier attitudes than by King Cotton, plantations, slave-holders, and slaves.
Eventually, Wiregrass Country experienced a more diverse influx of residents -tenant farmers, African Americans, and northern industrialists. In many ways, however, it has remained characteristically rural. Few malls have invaded it, and high watertowers are more prevalent than stately court houses and city halls.
This study typifies the population within the tristate region as communal-minded, frugal, and hardworking. Its values gain full expression in characteristic musical and verbal arts, such as Sacred Harp singing and personal narratives about the supernatural.
Although virtually neglected by historians and folklorists, the region is a trove of cultural history preserved in folktales, music, festivals, yardscapes, hunting, andfishing.