The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

Visit us on FaceBookGenerations of Memories
from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge


  • Memories of a vanishing era

    Left to right: Coy Oliver Yeatts, mountain philosopher and nature lover; Ella Hughes Boyd, midwife and grit best describe this wonderful lady; Adam Clement, beekeeper extraordinaire. They are just a few among hundreds who have shared their stories and memories in The Mountain Laurel. Their stories are a national treasure.

  • Picturesque Blue Ridge Backroads

    Discover the Real Blue Ridge

    Scenes like this are just around the next bend or over the next hill along the hundreds of miles of backroads you'll discover with our easy to follow self-guided Backroad Tours.

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  • The Stoneman Family

    A Heritage of Mountain Music

    It was more than a concert, it was a rare privilege to be attending the Stoneman Family Festival at Willis, Virginia in August. The reason it was more than a concert was that family members from Maryland and Tennessee traveled here for a reunion.

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  • Making Old Fashion Mountain Molasses

    B. L. (Bunny) and Tella Mae Cockram

    B.L. (Bunny) and Tella Mae Cockram are each 73 years old. They’ve been married for 50 years and since 1935, home for them has been their 60 acre farm in the Mountain View section of Meadows of Dan, Virginia. Tella Mae has a hundred laying hens and she sells eggs to a lot of the folks here-'bouts. In addition to the 100 laying hens, she and Bunny have 50 head of cattle and 25 head of sheep.

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  • Woodrow (Woody) Dalton on the old Appalachian Trail

    Arrowhead Marker built by John Barnard

    The original route of the Appalachian Trail crossed the Pinnacles of Dan, traversed the Dan River Gorge and climbed Indian Ladder to the plateau known locally as the Rich Bent. This path carried hikers through some of the most breathtakingly beautiful terrain the Blue Ridge Mountains have to offer. Earl Shaffer on his historic first ever through hike of the entire Appalachian Trail in one season, passed through this area and described it ...

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Coal Mine Orphans

By Allan Young © 2015

Online: March, 2015

Allan Ishmael YoungAllan Ishmael Young(About the author: Allan Ishmael Young, of Lee County, Virginia originally, is a man of many hats, having done over a hundred things to make a living—all of which have served as grist for his writing mill. That mill has turned out over a hundred published books in all a genres, including seven engineering reference and college textbooks—as well as thousands of magazine and newspaper articles, starting with the first paid one while he was in sixth grade. A manufacturing engineer by education, he has served as an executive at several levels, including president, in manufacturing and publishing. He is a collegiate instructor, a lecturer to various groups, a worldwide consultant in three professions, with sidelines as a livestock judge and river boat captain—among other things. He is/was owner of a publishing company with five newspapers, a regional farm magazine, six rural, horse and nostalgia magazines, and a book publishing division.)

Please, Daddy, don't work in the mines, today,
For dreams have so often come true.
Please, Daddy, don't work in the mines today,
I never could live without you.

Ishmael Young had heard his father sing that song, in all of its sadness, hundreds of times. Beyond these lines of the repeated chorus, it went on to tell of a little girl's dream of a coal mine explosion, cave-in and fire, in which her father, and many others, were killed. It spoke of sweethearts and wives gathered around the mine drift mouth to see who had survived. None did, of course.

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Growing Up On Tuggles Creek - Lightning Strikes Twice

By YKW © 1985

Issue: June, 1985

(Editor's Note: Tuggles Creek is located in the Heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, near the tiny mountain community of Meadows of Dan, Virginia. Meadows of Dan is a crossroads community where US Highway 58 Business and the Blue Ridge Parkway cross. Mabry Mill is north about 1.6 miles and Mayberry Trading Post is about 2.8 miles south on the Blue Ridge Parkway.)

On the hot muggy morning of June 22, 1910, my father rose early and prepared to make his rounds of delivering the mail on what was then Route 2 in Floyd County. There was something ominous and foreboding in the atmosphere even as early as six o'clock, but the mail had to be delivered.

As the morning wore on, dark thunderclouds began to bulge up in almost every direction. Higher and higher they grew and darker and more threatening.

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The Ray Medicine Company

By Boyd S. Ray © 1992

Issue: July-August-September, 1992

Developing a remedy to relieve, or cure, arthritis or rheumatism became a major project for my Daddy. He had certain aches and pains which needed relief quite often, as did many people throughout the region. Any remedy that was reported was eagerly accepted and passed on by word of mouth. But nobody, then in the late 1920s, or even later, had a really successful remedy to aid the affliction.

Daddy's remedy started with the mountain tea oil which he manufactured or distilled. He used it to rub on the inflicted areas or joints. To this was added camphor, kerosene and several other chemicals which I do not know. But I do remember the camphor, kerosene and mountain tea oil because of the horrible odor it left through the entire house. He never told his formula to anybody, and to my knowledge he never wrote it down. He just mixed it up out in the garage and tried it on himself. He later gave some to his friends and neighbors. In doing this he gradually developed a concoction that evidently helped relieve the aches and pains and got the person back on their feet.

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Latest Additions

Latest Additions to The Mountain Laurel Archive:

The stories in The Mountain Laurel Archive are sorted from the earliest edition (1983) to the latest (2015). This is done so that articles continued from one month to the next will appear in order as they were originally printed. Unfortunately, this causes the newest articles to appear at the very end of the stories listed in each category. In order to highlight the latest stories added we have created this page.

Orchards and The Hollow – Backroads Tour

Pet Heaven

Coal Mine Orphans

Tribute to a Mountain Church

The Storied Queen Anne of Sidna and Bette Allen

TV Repair, Once Upon a Time

Teen-Age Queen - a Beauty Contest

How to Get a Good Nights Sleep

Mother's Pecan Pie Recipe

Alabama Adventure of a Mountain Girl

The Mountain Laurel Cookbook

Mamie Crowder Adams - Recipe for Raising Children

Sunny Side Store

An Adams by Another Name

The Insurance Man

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