This Pleasant Land

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This Pleasant Land: A Blue Ridge Historyis  available for sale via mail (see ordering information below).  This book may also be purchased in Floyd, Virginia, at  Slaughters Supermarket and at the Floyd Country Store.  Those traveling along the Blue Ridge Parkway may purchase the book at Mabry’s Mill and the Rocky Knob Visitor Center.  

For additional information, send an email to info@HarvestwoodPress.com  

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The Book’s Cover

Click the cover image above to see a larger view of the book’s cover.

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Scroll down this one-page web site to see the following topics:  “About This Book,” ” Ordering Information,”  “Quote from the Author,”  “Quote from the Editor,” “Table of Contents,” and “Press Release.”

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About This Book

This book by Max S. Thomas has been published posthumously by Harvestwood Press. It is a 250-year history of the border areas of Franklin, Floyd, and Patrick Counties in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwestern Virginia. The book covers an area reaching out in all directions from the epicenter where the author lived by the Blue Ridge Parkway.

This Pleasant Land’s ISBN is 978-0-9703758-2-7 and its Library of Congress Control Number is 2009936070. This limited-edition paper-back book has about 200 pages and it contains 20 photographs from the Thomas family archives. It also contains a hand-drawn map by the author. This Pleasant Land is Max Thomas’s second book. His first, Walnut Knob, is a collection of stories and songs. Published in 1977, Walnut Knob is once more out of print, after three printings. Copyright for Walnut Knob was renewed in 2005.

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Ordering Information for This Pleasant Land

This book is for sale by mail and in some stores in the Floyd County, Virginia, area. Cost of each book is $15.95 + $0.80 tax (Virginia only). For orders shipped within the contiguous United States, cost of media shipping & handling is $3.00 per book and $0.50 for each additional book. Orders should be mailed to: Harvestwood Press, P.O. Box 395, Floyd, VA 24091. Make out checks to Harvestwood Press. For more information, or to arrange for faster shipping, send an e-mail to info@HarvestwoodPress.com or phone (540) 745-3173. This Pleasant Land is being sold in Floyd, Virginia,  at  Slaughters Supermarket and at the Floyd Country Store;  it is also for sale along the Blue Ridge Parkway at Mabry’s Mill and at Rocky Knob visitor center.

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Quote from the Author — Max S. Thomas

“I am a fifth-generation descendant of the first settlers in this part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I have lived all of my life on the same piece of land on a high plateau on the Floyd–Franklin County line in southwestern Virginia. Since I was a boy, I have been told stories about my ancestors and their neighbors, men and women who came to and lived in a pleasant and rugged land during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. No matter who told the stories, they were always the same. It is also my story, for I was born in 1908 and witnessed events through most of the twentieth century, including the building of the Blue Ridge Parkway in the 1930s. . . . So in 1997 at age 89, I began writing this history in longhand.”

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Quote from the Editor — Jean Thomas Schaeffer

“In publishing my father’s history posthumously, I have made every effort to be true to his writing and intent. He wanted people to know about the Appalachian heritage of this area, and he wanted them to understand the local history within the context of what was going on in the outside world. He knew what he had to tell was extraordinary. His was a generation that served as a bridge, beginning with the most basic way of life typical of the nineteenth century and evolving into the modern technological age of the late twentieth century. He was a farmer and school teacher. Having lived on the same piece of land for almost ninety-three years, he was drawn to it in a way that a native will understand. Beyond that, he wanted to know all he could and studied about the area the way a scientist or historian studies. He learned from his grandparents and other people, he learned from books, and he learned from his own observations about the natural environment. He knew first-hand about the land and its people and he wrote about them continually. He was interested in everything and was blessed with an excellent memory throughout his life. He was a deep and divergent thinker, and he wrote this history the way he thought and talked—like a conversation he might have had with a visitor on his back porch.”

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Book’s Table of Contents

FOREWORD

MAP OF WALNUT KNOB AREA

PART I

Editor’s Note: Beginning in 1997 when he was eighty-nine years old, the author began writing a 250-year history of life in the Blue Ridge where he lived. He spent about two years writing in longhand. That work follows in Part I of this book. Some of the author’s earlier writings are included in Part II.

Introduction

1 – The Early Ancestors and Their Quest for Freedom

2 – On the Trail and Settling in the Blue Ridge

3 – The Early Settlers and Their Lives in the Blue Ridge

4 – Fashioning Things and Making-Do

5 – Marriage and Family Life

6 – Early Schools and Churches

7 – The Middle Years (1820 to 1860)

8 – The War Between the States

9 – Reconstruction after the War

10 – Schools during the Late 1800s and Early 1900s

11 – Hard Times and a Little Hope (Late 1800s and Early 1900s)

12 – More about the Early 1900s

13 – The Roaring Twenties and The Great Depression

14 – CCC Camps, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and Electricity

15 – World War I

16 – World War II

17 – Post-War Period (1945 to the 1960s)

18 – Schools and Education (1940s to the 1960s)

19 – Korean War

20 – Vietnam War

21 – Worries about Other Countries (1940s to the 1960s)

22 – The 1970s to the 1990s

PART II

Editor’s Note: The author was a life-long, prolific writer and historian. Some of his early, undated pieces about life in the Blue Ridge are included in the remaining chapters that follow.

23 – Language of this Little Land

24 – Old-Time Music

25 – Roads, Transportation, and the Postal Service

26 – Mountain Economy and Making a Living

27 – Country Stores

28 – Sparrel Tyler Turner

29 – Old-Time Tools

30 – Fences

31 – Cattle Buyers

32 – Foraging

33 – Early Marriages

34 – Women and Their Lives

35 – Cabins, Furniture, Home Life, and Gadgets

36 – Children, Their Dress and Play

37 – Sport and Molly

38 – Peddlers

39 – Photography

40 – Weather

41 – Rocks, Minerals, and Other Geological Information

42 – Critters and Maladies that Caused Problems

43 – Passing On

44 – Old-Time Medicine and Medical Care

45 – Asafetida

46 – Communicable Diseases

47 – Mountain Life Conducive to Good Health

48 – The Almost Holy Land

Epilogue

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

PHOTOGRAPHS

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Press Release – 2010

New Book by Max S. Thomas

A new book by Max S. Thomas is now available.  Titled THIS PLEASANT LAND: A Blue Ridge History, it has been published posthumously by Harvestwood Press. The author’s daughter, Jean Thomas Schaeffer, has served as editor, compiler, and publisher of the book.

This Pleasant Land is a 250-year chronological history of the border areas of Floyd, Franklin, and Patrick Counties in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwestern Virginia.  The book covers an area reaching out from the epicenter where the author lived by the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The book is a local history but it is written within the context of what was happening in the outside world during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.  This paperback book has about 200 pages and begins with the first settlers coming to the area.  The book goes on to explain how certain events impacted the local people – events such as the American Civil War, Reconstruction, the American chestnut blight, the Great Depression, the building of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and World War I and II.

The last half of the book is a collection of the author’s earlier writings on a variety of topics such as early music, the language of the area, early roads, the mountain economy, country stores, old-time tools, fences, foraging, early marriages, women and their lives, photography, weather, geology, critters and maladies that caused problems, passing on, old-time medicine, and communicable diseases.  One chapter tells about Sparrel Tyler Turner who represented the area in the Virginia House of Delegates and the Virginia State Senate. The book has twenty photographs, including a picture of Turner.

Speaking about the manuscript he was writing, Max Thomas said, “I am a fifth-generation descendant of the first settlers in this part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I have lived all of my life on the same piece of land on a high plateau on the Floyd–Franklin County line in southwestern Virginia. Since I was a boy, I have been told stories about my ancestors and their neighbors, men and women who came to and lived in a pleasant and rugged land during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. No matter who told the stories, they were always the same. It is also my story, for I was born in 1908 and witnessed events through most of the twentieth century, including the building of the Blue Ridge Parkway in the 1930s. . . . So in 1997 at age 89, I began writing this history in longhand.”

Jean Schaeffer has this to say about her father’s book:  “In publishing my father’s book, I have made every effort to be true to his writing and intent.  He wanted people to know about the Appalachian heritage of this area, and he wanted them to understand the local history within the context of what was going on in the outside world.  He knew what he had to tell was extraordinary.  His was a generation that served as a bridge, beginning with the most basic way of life typical of the nineteenth century and evolving into the modern technological age of the late twentieth century.  He was a farmer and school teacher.  Having lived on the same piece of land for almost ninety-three years, he was drawn to it in a way that a native will understand.  Beyond that, he wanted to know all he could and studied about the area the way a scientist or historian studies.  He learned from his grandparents and other people, he learned from books, and he learned from his own observations about the natural environment.  He knew first-hand about the land and its people and he wrote about them continually.  He was interested in everything and was blessed with an excellent memory throughout his life.  He was a deep and divergent thinker, and he wrote this history the way he thought and talked – like a conversation he might have had with a visitor on his back porch.”

For more information about this book, send an e-mail to  info@HarvestwoodPress.com, or phone  (540) 745-3173. The book’s ISBN is 978-0-9703758-2-7. This is the author’s second book.  His first, Walnut Knob, was first published in 1977 and is a collection of songs and stories of the area.  Its copyright was renewed in 2005 but, after three printings, Walnut Knob is once more out of print.

Book’s Cover


Cover Design and Front Cover Photograph are by John R. Coiner, Jr.

(Single click the cover image to see a larger view of the book’s cover.)

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Information and graphics on this website pertaining to Harvestwood Press are under copyright:

Copyright  ©  Harvestwood Press  2009  – All Rights Reserved

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