Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 108

COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS RESEARCH CENTER

COURTESY JOHN FOX JR. LIBRARY AT THE DUNCAN TAVERN HISTORIC CENTER, PARIS, KY.

LEFT: John Fox, Jr. reading outside Big Stone
Gap home, ca. 1905.
RIGHT: John Fox Jr. as he was rising to
national fame, circa 1900.

108

BLUERIDGECOUNTRY.COM

collection of papers compiled by his sister,
Elizabeth Fox Moore-Fox waxes poetically about the people he met and came
to befriend in the mountains: Uncle Tommie, Uncle Billy, Old Hon, and a beautiful, young milk maid. "Without knowing
it, I began now gathering material for the
work I was to do," he wrote.
His love of letters helped him cultivate
intimate, lifelong friendships with many
of the most noted regional writers of the
time, including James Lane Allen, Thomas
Nelson Page, and James Whitcomb Riley.
Still, Fox didn't become a published
author himself until he was nearly 30.
His first short story, "A Mountain Europa"
was published in serial format in Century
magazine in 1892, and for it he received a
princely sum of $262. (He was so proud of
the check he had it photographed.)
In 1890, Fox had moved along with
his entire family-including his parents
and younger siblings-to Big Stone Gap,
Virginia, where his eldest half-brother,
James Fox, had established mining and
land development interests. The family
expected to find their fortune there.

But by 1893 or so, Big Stone Gap's anticipated real estate boom had gone bust,
and Fox was forced to turn his full attention to writing. (The economic fallout of
the bust would plague Fox's parents for
the remainder of their lives. In letters
preserved at the University of Kentucky,
Fox opens nearly every missive home-
following the commercial success of
"The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come"
in 1903 until his death in 1919-with a
note of how much money he's enclosing,
often $150, $200, or more. By April 3,
1904, he was promising to send a minimum of $150 per month, and by July 2,
1908, he advised his mother to simply
"go to the bank and transfer the balance
of any account" to his own.)
The call of fame
Appraising Fox's work in 1969, biographer Warren I. Titus confessed that reading all of Fox's writing "proved, frankly,
to be a rather dreary assignment, for the
fictional tastes of 1903 and 1908 are not
those of today."
And yet, for readers of the time, his


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018

Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 5
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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 65
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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 71
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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 73
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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 75
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 76
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 77
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 78
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 79
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 80
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 81
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 82
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 83
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 84
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 85
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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 94
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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 96
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 97
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 98
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 99
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 100
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 101
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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 103
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 104
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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 107
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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 109
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 110
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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 112
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 113
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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 129
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 130
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - Cover4
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