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Clay was a lifelong mountain man and often my guide. He appreciated my interest in the local culture and valued the old traditions and lore of the region. He was independent – a man’s man. Like many from his generation he spent much of his time away from home – “off on a job.”

In earlier times men from the mountains would hop trains to regions where timber was being cut and live in lumber camps for months at a time. More recently he spent time looking after the sale of a fall crop of apples at mountain orchard. He was comfortable “batchin’ it” – taking care of basic cooking and routine daily details.

During my time in the mountains I visited him at his cabin home often, spent time with his 3rd wife Hazel and tried to understand the many comings and goings of his many children. They ranged in age from adolescent to adults in their 40s with families of their own. But mostly we traveled alone as he took me to meet many “old time” folks who made music and told tales about the early days.

[ a selection of photographs from the complete portfolio ]

Note: a video journal of this subject is currently in development and will be posted here when complete.

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