Patchwork Pieces -- the Stories


Memories of our lives are like tiny swatches of fabric, patchwork pieces trimmed and tucked away for a quilt. Vividly colorful squares, triangles, rectangles, and diamonds do not always fit together into sensible patterns. Yet, all lie there just waiting to be set into certain configurations. Blessed is the person with a great quilter in one's life -- someone able to fit the pieces together beautifully so that all makes sense in the grand design with each piece complimenting and affecting the others. Such memories are set together meaningfully into patchwork quilts. I thank God for Mama, a beautiful product of the Knobs. Besides her many handmade quilts, she was the quilter of my life -- influencing me, making me remember, and leading me to understand relationships, causes, effects, and outcomes. She patched the pieces together for me.

Here you will find my patchwork pieces -- vignettes, anecdotes, short stories, legends, biographies, etc. Some selections are my own personal experiences; others are stories of ancestors and relatives as told me by various kinfolks. I will always be grateful for their taking time to share these stories with me. Some selections were written by distant cousins scattered far and wide across this country. Other articles below represent many years of personal research and a compilation of data found in numerous widespread sources. Pull up a chair at Granny's quilting frame, and rest a spell. Hear a web of stories spun and threaded together for you.
"Across the Unakas, Hitched to Buck and Baldy" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"Bonnie Lass by the Well" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"Chief's Car" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"Cold Saturday" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"The Corpse That Grew a Beard" by Shane Ratledge

"Courting in a Tin Lizzie" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"Eerie Light in the Knobs" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"The Face in the Well" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"Granddaddy's Search for Sassafras" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"How Aunt Pet Got a Nickname and Lost an Eye" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge ~ photo! ~ second revision

"In the Shade of Starr Mountain" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge ~ with photo! ~

"James Thomas Baker's Biographical Sketch"

"The James and Jemima McDonald Story" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge ~ with photo! ~

"John Cline's Saddle-Rigging Prank" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge ~ N E W ! ~

"The John Cobb Welch Story" by Irene (Williams) Welch

"John Nichols Murphy's Biographical Sketch"

"The Jonathan A. McDonald Family" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"Joyce Discovers the Dockerys of Dixie" by Morris Burkett

"A Kerchief and a Corncob Pipe" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"The Louis and Mary Jane (Ervin) Rhea Story" by David Stiles

"Martin Roberts' Biographical Sketch"

"Medicine in the Saddlebags" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"My Mom and the Christmas of 1937" by "Aunt Billie" Brite (aged 11; her school photo)

"The Person I Most Admire" by Shane Ratledge ~ with photo! ~

"The Night the Stars All Fell" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"A Rich Heritage" by Harley Hampton

"Standing My Watch" by Tommy Nipper ~ with photo! ~

"Summer with Granny" by Anthony Wilson

"Sweet Cheerio" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge ~ with photo! ~

"The Wesley Avans Story" by Mike Avans

"Where's Sister Ide?" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge ~ with photo! ~

"Wild Times in Martin's Creek" by J. Kurt Matheson

"The William Marcus McDonald Story" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"The William Marion McDonald Story" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"The Wrist Watch" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

W A N T    M O R E    S T O R I E S ?    C L I C K    L I N K S    B E L O W .

Appalachian Pioneers, (stories and anecdotes about my husband's ancestors and relatives)

Cherokee County, North Carolina ~ A History ~

School Days, Golden Rule Days -- Stories & School Group Photos

~ F O R T H C O M I N G ~    C H E C K    B A C K    F O R    M O R E !

"Annie Blythe, Story of a Wildcrafter" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"Aunt Polly Casteel's Last Sweet Tater" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"Betty" or "Betsy" Blye, Heroine of Judge Strange's Romance Story, "Yonaguska"

"Boots and Leghorns" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"Buckeyes in Boxes" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"Bushwhacked at the Hog Pen : A Legend" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"Emmer Lee's Carnival Glass Pitcher" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"The First Funeral That I Remember" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"Grandma Tucker's Ocean Voyage" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"Grandpa George McKeehan's Christmas of 1858" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge, great-great-great-granddaughter

"How F. B. Nipper Got His Name" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"Jonathan Blythe's Amazing Life" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"John B. Welch's Story" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"The Last Soap Making in North Athens" (with photos) by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"Living at the Chatsworth Hotel" (with photos) by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"Love Blossoms in the Knobs for Joe and Azilee Cline" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"The Mark" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"The Milkman Cometh and the Iceman Scareth" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"Old Dan Burchfield's Bear Trap Snares Revenue Agent" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"Poke Salad Hunting" (with photos) by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"Susie Stares Down the Barrel of a Twenty-two" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge

"Uncle Bun's Idea of Fun in the Knobs" by Sandra (Nipper) Ratledge



Public Domain, but please include this site in your sources

Sandra Ratledge

This site is dedicated to the memory of my mother,
Beulah Cline Nipper, a beautiful product of the Knobs.