Raft Tide and Railroad

Drawing on local lore, letters, memoirs, and media accounts, the collection combines truth and fiction to sketch the two-hundred-year history of an Appalachian family's life in the rugged Cumberland Mountains in eastern Kentucky. Centering on Jet Thacker Johnson's ancestors and her children, especially her youngest son, Donald, the stories begin with Absalom Thacker's journey on horseback from Virginia in 1812 to find his sister, who has eloped and run away from home, and take the reader through the Civil War, the timbering era, the booms and busts of the coal-mining industry, to a record-breaking sale at the Keeneland thoroughbred auction in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1983. The stories tell of a family--like all families, both ordinary and extraordinary--its work, play, and adventure, success and disappointment, tragedy and comedy