The Myth of Obsolescence: Writing Appalachia as Relic Culture

The conceptual touchstone of obsolescence has blamed and continues to blame working-class Appalachian subjects for what they lack in terms of current mainstream, middle-class normativity.  But shifting the blame into the past does not address the need to see contemporary poverty, extreme class stratification, economic and environmental woes, and susceptibility to reactionary rhetoric as functions of the present society that continues to produce them.

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Certificate of Death – Clay Henry Cooper – 1913

From the death certificate of Clay Henry Cooper we learn that he was buried on Halloween in 1913. We find that Doctor Hopkins attended to Clay Henry during his last days, assigning the cause of death to “chronic asthma” and “engorgement of R. lung.” He died at 6:00am on October 28th, 1913. The “place of burial” was recorded as “Upper Twin Creek, O.,” with an undertaker’s address of “Buena Vista, O.”

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Epitaph

Behold ye stranger
As you pass me by
As you are now
So once was I
As I am now
So you must be
Prepare for death and
Follow me.

Thus reads the epitaph of Clay Henry Cooper of Upper Twin Creek whose memorial obelisk and grave is located on the ridge top, high above the old Cooper homestead.

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