Appalachians - Sociopolitical Organization

Neighborhood residence is sometimes based on a common occupation, and residents of a neighborhood usually share a church, school, and grist mill. They also tend to interact more often with each other than with outsiders, and there is some limited sense of neighborhood unity. Neighborhoods are often named after family names, geographic features, or manmade features. The combination of the strong family ethic, the familial basis of the neighborhoods, and lack of trust in the judicial system provided a social environment conducive to the development of "clan" feuds. The feuds grew largely from divided loyalties during the Civil War. Although the southern Appalachians have been described as an island of Union sympathy within the otherwise united South, there was considerable difference of opinion within neighborhoods and even within families. The feuds began shortly after the Civil War and continued until about 1915, with the most famous being the one between the Hatfields and the McCoys. Today, with social relations still much the same, disputes often force individuals to side with their family and grudges can run deep.

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: