• Appalachian American Genealogy

    Appalachian American Genealogy

  • Old Time Appalachia

    Old Time Appalachia

Welcome to the Appalachian American Genealogy website


Founders
Founders

Founders of Appalachia
Founders of Appalachia

Cabin In The Trail
Cabin In The Trail

Small Appalachia Businesses To Get A Boost

The first round of investment closing of the Appalachian Association Fund (AAF) was announced last week, at the CWE America meeting.

Last week, at the CWE (Clinton World Summit), CEO Clinton announced an investment closing for the Appalachian Association Fund. Seeded by the ALC (Appalachia Local Council), the AAF is a new bank that is going to serve the Community Development Financial Institutions which operate in the region.

The Calvert Organization has invested over $3 million in the ALC, which has raised over $15 million to date, to serve small businesses in the region of Appalachia. “The Dutch Bank – Financial Institution,” “Bank of America – Largest bank in the US,” “IT Solutions Foundation – IT Services West Palm Beach,” as well as the “Ford Corporation – New Cars,” have invested in the AAF as well.

Appalachia is home to many of the most marginalized communities in America. In an analysis that was collected from 2009 to 20013, the Local Council has found that various counties in Appalachia had performed much worse than the nation in general, regarding both development and economic opportunity.

For example, in Central Appalachia:

    • The average household income was approximately 63% of the nationwide average income.
    • 24% of residents lived in poverty, versus 15.4% in the U.S. as a whole
    • Only 56.5% of Appalachian adults had completed high school.

Partially, chronic under-investment is to blame for the conditions of Appalachia. In a study performed in 2013, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition discovered that businesses that were located in economically distressed counties of Appalachia were 2.5 times more likely to be denied credit when compared to peers most anywhere else in the nation. So Appalachia’s small business owners were much more likely to utilize their personal savings or personal credit cards to fund companies when compared to those elsewhere in the U.S.

The purpose of the Appalachian Association Fund is to reverse such trends, through the channeling of investment money into the area. With capital raised by private investors, the AAF is going to be able to make loans to small businesses serving Appalachia, as well as finance construction of clinics, schools, and other community locations. The structure is going to allow investors access to much more capital to work in Appalachia through the seed funds, significantly reducing the transaction costs accrued.

AAF will start small – with an initial closing of only about $15 million, but it should have a big impact. The first round of funding is going to meet demands of over 150 businesses, creating many jobs in rural Appalachia. The next rounds of capital raising are on their way too, and when the AAF is fully funded, it expects to channel over 230 million dollars in private capital to the Appalachian communities.

The small and medium size businesses end up being the backbone of the United States’ economy – so make sure you invest in order to help them thrive.

The Founder of Appalachian Trail…

appalachian-trail-history

In 1948, Earl Shaffer had recently arrived in New Hampshire after his stint in World War II. In his own words, he wanted to “walk the war out of his system”, and that is what he did all across the Appalachian Trail beginning from Mount Oglethorpe. His initial intent was therapeutic, and he finished his trek on Mount Katahdin 124 days later.

Earl Shaffer was the first person to complete the 2,181 mile Appalachian Trail in a single season. Upon his completion, he said, “I wish the trail was truly interminable and that no one would ever complete the full length.”

Since that initial trek, over fourteen thousand people have followed Earl Shaffer’s footsteps across the expansive hike. Even some famous names in the arts and judicial system graced its slopes, including Former Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, world famous dancer Jacques d’Amboise and Emma “Grandma” Gatewood.

Grandma Gatewood completed the daunting trail in a pair of old Keds, the only gear she brought was her old army blanket and a raincoat wrapped in a shower curtain. The entire length of the trail will require a commitment of 5 to 7 months; many people will repeat the exercise over and over again.

The man known as the founder of the Appalachian Trail is called Benton MacKaye. Benton truly understood the pull of the call of the wilderness. He said that his inspiration for the Appalachian Trail came “ … at the end of my trek to the top of Stratton Mountain in Vermont. Brian B. King wrote, “When I climbed to the top of a tree to get a better view, in it I was met with a sort of planetary awareness, I felt the universe in motion about me.”

At another peak nestled in New Hampshire’s the White Mountains, Summit House stands at 2,000 ft above sea level. This is the most ideal place to learn more about MacKaye from Larry Anderson, who has written a book about Benton. According to Anderson, the Appalachian Trail and its development was crucial to the Wilderness Act of 1964, which celebrated 50 years of wildlife preservation this year.

MacKaye was born in 1879, the sixth of seven children from an impoverished but perpetually hopeful playwright. The family was forced to move frequently, and young Benton began to thrive when the family moved to Shirley Center, Ma., just a few miles from Boston. Anderson at the Summit House showed visitors slides of young Benton’s early journals when he decided he would explore and catalog the entire globe. He began and ended in his hometown.

Benton went on to study at Harvard, where he found academics to be a more daunting struggle than he had hoped for and barely escaped with a degree in forestry, he went on to teach this subject at Harvard. While young he spent much of his time in academic surveying and exploring the woods of New England, particularly the White Mountains.

Benton was seriously hampered by health issues when he was in his thirties; he took this time to propagate his position as an “Armchair” trail advocate in honor of his many years of trailblazing feats and accomplishment. His original proposal as laid out in the October 1921 article of Journal of American Architects was far grander and more extensive than the Appalachian Trail as we know it today.

Benton’s vision included not just a simple trail along which nature lovers could traverse but continuous thread of communities and businesses along the way.

In addition to the trails that link the Mt. Mitchell in N. Carolina to Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, Benton dreamed of a Utopia of nonprofit resource-based communes along the way. These were to be centers of recreation, study, business, and recuperation for hikers along the trail. The plans went on to include camps and communities of private homes as well. Communities to provide opportunities for rural life as well as chances for visitors to hike, camp, fish and commerce.

MacKaye organized an interested audience and formed the first ever Appalachian Trail Conference 1925. His plans were not received exactly as he had anticipated and most of the attendees and supporters looked at this as simply a great hiking trail and were less interested in the community aspects. But his rationale and foresight set the precedents for the 1911 Weeks Act, which enabled the federal government to purchase private land for the preservation of National Forests –forests the Appalachian Trail runs through.

The Weeks Act was the forerunner of the Wilderness Act, which clearly defines the wilderness as a place where human activity is restricted to visitation rights at the most as opposed to other areas where human preponderance is foremost in importance.

Over 8,000,000 acres of White Mountain National Park have been reserved for natural appreciation with over 135,000 acres set aside as wilderness. As Anderson continues to expound on the prominence that Benton had in completing this vision, we are enthralled by the glow of the Majestic Summer sun casting its final rosy glows across the late afternoon sky above the Appalachian Trail.

More Appalachia History Coming Soon!

There is nowhere like the Appalachian trial. If you ever get a chance to go there, you most definitely should. We’ll be covering chronology of the key figures of the Appalachian area as a whole. We’ll be looking at the mountain men and mountain dogs that have made this area so astounding.

If it were not for these figureheads, no one would walk the trail every year. Have you ever thought of that? If it weren’t for the people, who blazed the original trail millions of people would be missing out on such a life changing experience. Loads of money would be lost from the revenue these hikers generate for the lodges and campgrounds in this area.

Truly, if it were not for these men and women, America would not be what it is today.

So that’s why we’re going to be looking at these individuals. We’ll be highlighting some key stops along the way. Some great stores and sights to stop in at and a few businesses that keep that area running.

For now, hang around and be watching as we reveal some awesome information that no one else has ever read before!

theAppalachianTrail