Like the countless generations before me, I was born in the coalfields of Southern West Virginia. Three days following my birth, my mother and father made the same passage my dad’s parents had made only a handful of years earlier; a journey over Logan Mountain and back to the same parcel of ground owned by the Farley family for over a century and a half.
The following year, however, fate would take an unusual turn, as my parents were forced to make the difficult decision to forsake the land of their nativity in search for a more prosperous future in Virginia.
As a small child it was always easy for me to know when we had entered West Virginia, that wild and wonderful land my father always seemed to speak about with an almost sacred reverence – it was just on the other side of the giant, four lane tunnel which tore through the bedrock of East River Mountain.
Growing up, Mom took great pains in teaching my sister and me the path to Heaven, but as far as my Dad was ever concerned, it ran north on Interstate 77 and each time we returned there, he was home and so was I.
As a boy, I spent as much time as possible at the feet of my grandparents, all of which were proud West Virginians, listening to stories of hardship, faith, murder and perseverance. At their core, these were the stories of the mountains and have been told thousands of times over by other grandparents across the Mountain State – true tales of coal wars, bloody tunnels, oppression, political corruption and faith in God.
Upon entering adulthood, I watched helplessly – and with great sadness – as one-by-one my grandparents, towering men and women who in my mind stood larger than life, slipped off into eternity. Like their parents before them, they too were buried in the family cemeteries that pepper the hillsides along the Tug River.
With each burial, the mountains lost a little more of its memories, its stories and its greatest generation of men and women – folks who stood tall and walked proud, unconcerned of what the world around them thought of the places they called home or their way of life. To put it simply, they were true West Virginians who lived up to the states creed, Montani Semper Liberi. Mountaineers are always free.
Fueled by a passion to preserve their legacy, in February 2014 I launched Appalachian Magazine. My original goal was to record the stories of my ancestors and share them with close friends and relatives – to my astonishment, however, the magazine has grown into a widely sought after publication with more than 7,600 online subscribers and a weekly reach that is in excess of a quarter-million individuals. All of this was done on a shoestring budget and with limited resources.
As we approach our second year of operation, we are proud to remain faithful to our original goal of passionately publishing the history and heritage of the mountains of West Virginia and the surrounding regions that touch the jagged borders the Mountain State.
In 2015, we hope to expand our services, which are presently limited to the online publication and quarterly-print publication. These expansions include a weekly newsletter, weekly video documentary show and additional travel to many of the area’s most secluded regions – all part of an effort to tell the story of the hills more effectively and before a larger audience. To do this will require additional funding, that frankly, is not presently in our bank account!
Our online publication is – and always will be – free! These are our collective stories.
In order to raise funds, we are providing an opportunity for our loyal readers and local businesses to assist us through sponsorship of our magazine.
All levels of giving will be greatly appreciated, however, six levels of sponsorship have been set with differing benefits per level — Coal, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Title Sponsorship.
These sponsorships can either be made in one’s own name, in a business or in honor of someone who has departed this life.
Additional details about the 2015 Appalachian Magazine Sponsorship Program can be obtained at the following link: gofundme.com/jziix0
Whether you’re financially able or unable to sponsor our publication, I would personally wish to thank you for reading our content, sharing our articles and faithfully supporting Appalachian Magazine.
This past year has been wonderful and I am looking forward to even greater things in the year to come!
Jeremy T.K. Farley
Founder of Appalachian Magazine
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