The Story Behind the Song – “Allegheny Moon”

“Allegheny Moon” is the biography of Cynthia grand mother, Edna (Nanna) Bell. You are seeing her wedding picture here. She was raised in a house overlooking the railroad line and would lie in her big feather bed and listen to the coal trains as they went by each night. Her father worked first as a coal miner and then ultimately for the railroad. Edna’s aunt Nell and uncle Henry lived “up the holler” and became the foster family for 4 year old John Bell when his father died of TB (his mother had died giving birth to him).

Aunt Nell and Uncle Henry
John and Edna Bell Wedding Pic Core WVA

Edna and John fell in love, married and moved up north to a succession of homes outside Morgantown West Virginia in the area around Pedlar’s Run. *Note here that in that part of the world a “run” is called a “creek” in most other places.* They raised 4 children on a coal miner’s pay. One of those children was Nancy who was Cynthia’s mother. John eventually came down with black lung and they lived for quite a while on the United Mine Worker’s Black Lung pay of $90 a month plus what they could make share cropping on a small place up Pedlar’s Run Road. While this was Edna Bell’s story it was also the story of so many wives and mothers in the Allegheny Mountain’s.

this track is from the Gypsyfire CD “Voices of the Veil” – Vocals: Cynthia Whiddon Green and Charles Stacey; Bass: David Thorp; Guitar: Charles Stacey; Bodhran: Stephanie Dietrich