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Mtn. Talk: Women’s Stories from Big & Little Cowan

Mtn. Talk: Women’s Stories from Big & Little Cowan

Carol Ison (second from right) and other women gathered at the Cowan Community Center for a meal. Photo by Malcolm Wilson courtesy of the Letcher County Culture Hub.

In this episode we’re celebrating Women’s History Month in the mountains by featuring an oral history project which aims to document the stories and experiences of women in Little Cowan and Big Cowan in Letcher County, Kentucky.  Letcher County’s own Nell Fields tells us about her motivation for recording women’s stories in her own community, and about some of the women on Cowan who have inspired her personally.

Then we’ll hear excerpts from two of the oral history interviews Nell recorded in October 2018 at the Cowan Community Center.  The first, is with Carol Ison who shares stories of growing up on Cowan, raising and cooking their own food to feed a hard working family, and some advice for younger women.  The second is an excerpt of Nell’s interview with  and the Pat Yinger, who grew up in Pennsylvania but moved to Eastern Kentucky with her husband in the 1960’s and settled on Big Cowan in 1970.  Pat shares stories of her childhood in Pennsylvania, talks about her faith, and shares her own advice for younger women.

Music on this episode features Addie Graham performing a tune called “Ida Red – Went up on the Old Hillside,” from her album Been a Long Time Travelling from Appalshop’s own June Appal Recordings.






appalachian history,
arts & culture,
Women's History Month,