• Big Coal River and Surrounding Area -- Tending the Commons: Folklife and Landscape in Southern West Virginia

    Map of Big Coal River and surrounding area information was compiled from the U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Online Data Base portal for the U.S. Census Bureau's TIGER Mapping Service (Accessed April, 2000). Map information was modified for illustration purposes. Map of West Virginia information was drawn from MapArt Geopolitical Deluxe CD-ROM by Cartesia Software (Copyright 1998). Map information was modified ...

  • Seng Talk and Ginseng Tales -- Tending the Commons: Folklife and Landscape in Southern West Virginia

    Conjuring the Commons For seng aficionados, the ongoing prospect of ginseng makes the mountains gleam with hidden treasure. "It's like catching a big fish," said Randy Halstead. "You're out here all day and you find this big fish, and you know it's everybody's desire to catch this big fish in the lake. You find this big enormous plant and you know everybody that's out ...

  • Stalking the Wily Seng -- Tending the Commons: Folklife and Landscape in Southern West Virginia

    Though in biological terms ginseng is properly flora, in the ginsengers' world it behaves like fauna. Ginseng is not merely "harvested," it is "hunted," and rare six-, seven-, and eight-prong specimens are coveted like twelve-point bucks. There is an agency assigned to ginseng unparalleled among the many plants valued on Coal River. "It hides away from man with seeming intelligence," wrote Arthur Harding in ...

  • Historical Background -- Tending the Commons: Folklife and Landscape in Southern West Virginia

    The history of human interaction with ginseng lurks in the language of the land. Look at a detailed map of almost any portion of the region and ginseng is registered somewhere, often in association with the deeper, moister places: Seng Branch (Fayette County), Sang Camp Creek (Logan County), Ginseng (Wyoming County), Seng Creek (Boone County), Three-Prong Holler (Raleigh). The hollows, deep dendritic fissures created ...