Prior to his death in 1985, Cratis Williams was a leading scholar of and spokesperson for Appalachian life and literature and a pioneer of the Appalachian studies movement. Williams was born in a log cabin on Caines Creek, Lawrence County, Kentucky, in 1911. To use his own terms, he was ""a complete mountaineer."" This book is an edited compilation of Williams' memoirs of his childhood. These autobiographical reminiscences often take the form of a folktale, with individual titles such as ""Preacher Lang Gets Drunk"" and ""The Double Murder at Sledges."" Schooled initially in traditional stories and ballads, he learned to read by the light of his grandfather's whiskey still and excelled at the local one-room school. After becoming the first person from Caines Creek to attend and graduate from the county high school in Louisa, he taught in one-room schools while pursuing his own education. He earned both a BA and MA from the University of Kentucky before moving to Appalachian State Teacher's College in 1942; later he earned a Ph.D. from New York University and then returned to Appalachian State.
David Cratis Williams, son of Cratis, is an associate professor of communication at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Patricia D. Beaver is director of the Center for Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.