(SNP017) Preston Breeden interviewed by Edward B. Garvey, Charles Anibal and Samuel Moore, transcribed by Peggy C. Bradley
1 audio file (running time: 1:20:23)
Location of Interview
Pocosin Cabin, in Fairfax County, Virginia
Date of Interview
Records the reminiscences of Preston Breeden, who was born in 1917 and raised on a small farm where Pocosin Cabin now stands near the Appalachian Trail route through Shenandoah National Park. Mr. Breeden was interviewed by Edward B. Garvey and Samuel Moore of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, (PATC), which maintains the cabin, and Charles Anibal, Assistant Park Naturalist for Shenandoah National Park (SNP). The tone of the interview is largely conversational, with all four men contributing information about the region at the time of the founding and construction of Shenandoah National Park in the 1930s. Mr. Breeden describes his youth and early home life on the farm, including the crops grown by his family and the livestock they raised. Discusses his early working years in the local saw mills and barrel stave mills, hauling wood for the tan bark industry and his two-year stint with the Civilian Conservation Corps, where he worked as a foreman during the construction of Skyline Drive. The group visits the remains of the Upper Pocosin Mission, an Episcopal church where Mr. Breeden's mother and aunt lived briefly after their home was taken by the state by eminent domain. Mr. Breeden recalls the general mood of the local community regarding their forced evictions by the state of Virginia. He speaks at length of many of the local families, prominent landowners and small businessmen. Includes comments on the area's fish and wild game in his youth, the annual apple and chestnut harvests, general stores, cemeteries, grist mills and the activities of some local moonshiners.
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Breeden, Preston, 1917-2003, Interviews
Civilian Conservation Corps (U.S.) -- Virginia -- Shenandoah National Park – History; Civilian Conservation Corps (U.S.). Camp NP-12 -- Shenandoah National Park (Va.) – History; Civilian Conservation Corps (U.S.). Company 1393 (Va.) – History; Mountain people -- Blue Ridge Mountains -- Social life and customs; Mountain life -- Shenandoah River Valley (Va. and W. Va.) – History; Mountain people -- Virginia -- Shenandoah National Park -- Social life and customs; Rural poor – Virginia; Farm life -- Appalachian Region, Southern; Country life -- Appalachian Region, Southern; Agriculture -- Appalachian Region, Southern; Food habits -- Appalachian Region, Southern; Forest products industry -- Shenandoah River Valley (Va. and W. Va.) – History; Land use -- Government policy – Virginia; Funeral rites and ceremonies -- Appalachian Region, Southern; Distilling, Illicit – Virginia; Camp sites, facilities, etc. -- Virginia -- Shenandoah National Park.
Skyline Drive (Va.) – History; Appalachian Trail – History; Fairfax County (Va.) – History; Shenandoah River Valley (Va. and W. Va.) -- Manners and customs; Shenandoah National Park (Va.) -- History, Local.
Garvey, Edward B.; Anibal, Charles; Moore, Samuel
Bradley, Peggy C.
Shenandoah National Park oral history collection
Preston Breeden interviewed by Edward B. Garvey, Charles Anibal, and Samuel Moore, November 19, 1982, SdArch SNP-17, Shenandoah National Park Oral History Collection, 1964-1999, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University