Looking to fill your bookshelf, DVD rack, or playlist with media with a local connection?
Here’s a selection of items from, or about, or created by people from, Walker County and Northwest Georgia.
Most of these purchases support the ongoing work of local artists/authors/musicians, and by buying through these links you additionally support The LaFayette Underground.
Many of these also make great gifts.
LOCAL AUTHORS AND ARTISTS
- Beth Youngblood
Beth Youngblood grew up on Little Sand Mountain, where Walker, Chattooga, and Floyd County meet. She’s a historian for Southern States Paranormal and enjoys both hearing and investigating ghost stories. Her one book Haunted Northwest Georgia: The Legend of the Ghost Hearse and Other Spooky Tales is a compilation of local ghost lore.
- Cory Lee Woodard
Cory Lee Woodard of LaFayette will need a wheelchair for the rest of his life, but he hasn’t let disability keep him down. Cory Lee turned that challenge into a hobby, and then a business, with a Web site about traveling while wheelchair bound. His blog Curb Free With Cory Lee has, so far, led to one book: Air Travel for Wheelchair Users.
- KC Sprayberry
KC Sprayberry originates from California and has lived all over the country while serving in the military, but now calls LaFayette her home. She’s a prolific writer, turning out several fictional ebooks a year, regularly contributing to short story compilations, and frequently commenting on LU’s Facebook page. She is best known for Softly Say Goodbye, a 2013 novel about underage drinking. more…
- Rocky Perry
Rocky Perry of Flintstone, despite struggling with dyslexia, has come into his own as a writer. Painting at an early age, then writing with the help of speech to text software, Mr. Perry is best known for the fictional Luke Banderloft series. He’s also written a text on education reform and a novel – The Change – about a Hurricane Katrina refugee moving to Chattanooga. more…
- luke kurtis
Jordan Scoggins grew up in Villanow, but as an adult moved to New York City to launch an art career. There he writes and designs as luke kurtis. kurtis’ work includes art design for a book of southern gothic tales, a volume of photography that includes images of Walker County, a book about being in New York on 9/11, and illustrations for a collection of gay erotica. more…
- Ed Dodd
Ed Dodd was born in LaFayette in 1902 while his father was pastor of First Baptist Church. He later worked for the Boy Scouts in Pennsylvania and became a professional cartoonist, specializing in animal illustrations. He penned several children’s books – Flapfoot and Chipper the Beaver – but is most famous for creating the Mark Trail comic strip that still runs in papers around the country.
- Other Authors & Artists: Rev. David Autry, Patrick Suttle, Howard Finster, Joan Hetzler, Janie Dempsey Watts
- Hoyt Scoggins
LaFayette native Hoyt Scoggins was a well regarded rockabilly performer in the 50’s, with several popular records, regular radio appearances, and an early TV show on what eventually became channel 9.
After years of recording and performing with top country music stars, Scoggins left music to become a preacher. He was later inducted to the Atlanta Music and Rockabilly halls of fame, before passing away in January 2016. His biggest hit, before going into ministry, was 1956’s Tennessee Rock. Unfortunately none of Scoggins’ albums are around to purchase, but several of his songs are available as digital downloads. more…
- Channing Wilson
Channing Wilson grew up on “the real side of the tracks” right here in LaFayette. He learned guitar at age 17 and taught himself how to put together songs. He formed his first band at age 25 and has since performed live around the south with a number of well-known musicians. Wilson, whose style is definitely old school country, has a sizable repotoire of songs, but so far has only released one professional album, 2012’s Channing Wilson. Other tracts and samples, plus his schedule of upcoming shows, are available on his Web site.
- Dust to Digital
After moving from LaFayette to Atlanta, Lance Ledbetter founded Dust to Digital Productions with his wife, April. Together they began collecting Grammy awards for their work; not for songs they wrote or played, but lost music they rescued and beautifully repackaged for modern ears to enjoy.
Dust to Digital has released an impressive (and growing) collection of albums and books filled with music history, film, obscure recordings, and photographs. Check out: Goodbye, Babylon, Desperate Man Blues, Parchman Farm, and The Year of Jubilo. more…
- Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash needs little introduction. The Man in Black was a cornerstone of American music from the mid-50’s until his death in 2003, and has since then had multiple top-selling posthumous releases from his studio archives.
Cash never lived in LaFayette, but did credit a one-night stay in the Walker County Jail during 1967 for changing his life around from drug addiction. In 1970 he returned to the city, along with the Statler Brothers and Carter Family, for a fundraiser concert.
Johnny Cash’s infamous At Folsom Prison album of 1968 is from the same era as his LaFayette show, and probably the closest to what he performed on the football field that night. Other highlights from the man’s career include The Fabulous Johnny Cash (1959), Ring of Fire (1963), Highwayman (1985), American IV (2002), and Out Among the Stars (2014) – among many, many more…
- Rissi Palmer
Black country singer Rissi Palmer was born in Pennsylvania and lives in North Carolina, but spent time as a child with relatives from Chattooga County. Her 2014 album Back Porch Sessions was inspired by her experiences in Northwest Georgia, and a single off that album is actually titled Summerville. In June 2016 she performed the song live IN Summerville for a music video. more…
IT HAPPENED HERE
- Local History
Two officially sanctioned books document Walker County’s past. The first – History of Walker County, Georgia – was written by school superintendent James Alfred Sartain in 1932. Despite being out of print for eight decades, copies of that tome regularly pop up for sale on Amazon. The book is also available for the Kindle and can be downloaded free as a PDF since it’s out of copyright.
The second book – Walker County Georgia Heritage 1833-1983 – was published in 1983 for the county’s 150th anniversary. The volume is a collaborative work written by various members of the community, edited by now-retired LHS teacher Sherman Gibbs, and drawing liberally from newspaper archives and the prior work of Mr. Sartain. This is unfortunately becoming a rare book; Copies pop up for sale infrequently and are usually quite expensive, but all three libraries in the county have multiples available for reference. (Walker County should release the copyright to that one too, and put it online.)
LaFayette commissioned its own official history book a decade ago: A Proud Little Town LaFayette, Georgia 1835-1885. That volume is rarely available online, but copies may still be purchased at the Bank of LaFayette and found at the library.
Likewise hard to find, Beverly Carter’s Appalachian African Americans, Northwest Georgia, Walker County documents the county’s black families from slavery into the 21st century.
Relevant to specific areas of local history are Railroads of Chattanooga, Southern Tufts: The Regional Origins and National Craze for Chenille Fashion, Lookout Mountain: Images of America, and Mackie Carson’s Island Town: The True Story of Trion Georgia. Professor Donald Davis’ Where There Are Mountains is an excellent resource on the broader Appalachian region’s environment.
- Corpsewood Murders
Three decades later, the grisly Corpsewood murders are still subject to much discussion and speculation. Corpsewood Manor is a long-abandoned property deep in the woods near the Chattooga/Walker line between Subligna and Trion. That site is where two men, rumored to be homosexual, drug-using satan worshippers, were brutally killed in 1982.
The first book on Corpsewood, Murder At Corpsewood, was put together by the Espy’s of The Summmerville News shortly after the killings were headline news. That book is out of print and hard to find second-hand. More recent works on the case are Corpsewood: The Eyewitness Account (2015), Corpsewood: A True Crime Like No Other (2016), and The Corpsewood Manor Murders in North Georgia (2016).
- Tri-State Crematory
Walker County’s most notorious crime wasn’t a killing, but the criminal non-disposal of people already dead. Tri-State Crematory became a global headline in 2002 after several hundred bodies were found in the woods of Noble, between LaFayette and Rock Spring. The ensuing investigation and prosecution of Ray Brent Marsh remained newsworthy for years, and the case still frequently comes up in conversation about the area.
Surprisingly, only one book has (so far) been written about the case: Legal Deception (2011). Self-published by nurse and victim family member Teri Crawford, Legal Deception goes into detail about the investigation into the Marsh family and is highly, highly critical of law enforcement officials, lawyers, and judges who handled the case. The book is rough, obviously not professionally written, but contains significant information not available elsewhere.
A 2014 short film Sahkanaga is loosely based on the crematory case, a fiction that barely resembles what actually occurred. The film isn’t notable for accuracy, but is mentioned here because it was shot in Chickamauga with many locals in acting roles.
- Tonya Craft Case
In 2008, Chickamauga teacher Tonya Craft was charged with 22 counts of child molestation. After two years of agony in court, Craft was found not guilty. She blamed the witchhunt on a child custody battle and a personal conflict between herself and the family of coroner DeWayne Wilson – a figure also mentioned frequently (and no more kindly) in the Crawford book on Tri-State Crematory.
Craft co-wrote a book – Accused: My Fight for Truth, Justice, and the Strength to Forgive – about her ordeal and the situation leading up to those false charges made against her. Craft’s investigator/bodyguard Eric Echols wrote Catoosa County Justice, his own account of the drummed-up case.
- Other Works Filmed In or Set In The Area: Water for Elephants (movie), Mama Flora’s Family (TV Movie), Dark Green Shadows (Fiction), Warm Springs (TV Movie).