The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Old Time Fox Hunts and Mountain Music

By Monroe Tipton © 1984

Issue: March, 1984

I would like to tell you about two things that took place in the 1930’s and 40’s. One was the old time fox hunts and the other, the old time mountain music. First the fox hunts. At that time it was unlawful to kill a fox or hunt with dogs.

We always went up on a place called the Indian Ridge. The reason it was called that is because there is an Indian cemetery on the north side of the ridge.

Here are some people that were in the fox hunts - Grover Dalton, Marvin Collier, Edd Burnett, Curtis Mabry, Green Mabry, Wirt Goad, Curtis Goad, Carson Newman, Leaborn Nester, Roscoe Dalton, Buck Quesenberry, Monroe Tipton, and Wyatt Nester.

Going up the ridge, half way up, there was a rock fence and a rail fence nine rails high. One night we met at Wyatt Nester’s. Wyatt was in front. He handed me his lantern and climbed to the top of the rail fence and jumped down on the other side. He landed a straddle a big hog! I never heard such woofing and hollering in my life. I don’t know which was the worst scared, Wyatt or the hog.

Now almost at the top of that ridge there stood a huge overhanging rock, under which we built fires on cold nights. We’d sit around and tell jokes and stories and hear the dogs run. I forgot to mention that Flournoy Dalton usually went with us.

One night all above mentioned were along. We had made our fire at the rock. Our dogs hit the fox about 8:00. About 12:00 that night, Marvin Collier went over the crest of the hill to better hear the dogs. We didn’t notice him gone and looked up just as he came back over the crest of the ridge. We thought it was the game warden and all jumped up and ran. Marvin thought we saw something else and he got scared and came running after us. It was every man for him self; I was never so scared in my life. It was about three miles from the top of the ridge. I ran every step of the way and jumped a ten rail fence, never touching a rail. Flournoy Dalton tripped over a sled that was up there and turned a somersault right in a big briar patch. When he got out to the road, he was turned around and went the wrong direction. He wound up at Buffalo. The following Tuesday at 2:00 PM, he got back home. He never would go with us anymore.

Now, about the music; back in those days there were very few things to do, no TV and very few radios. We would get together and have corn cuttings, corn shockings, bean stringings, or what ever. Then following the work would be a dance at whoever’s place we had done the work. Usually the dance would last all night and how some of those people could dance!

I remember we played an old time tune called, “Still House” for one hour and forty-five minutes. They just wiped sweat and still danced. It took a mighty good pair of shoes to last all night.

But that was the good old days. I wish I could see them come back again the way they were. All of this took place in Carroll County in a little place called Dugspur, Virginia.