Rural System's


RuraLives is a human resource. It is a collection of information about the the people of rural places and conditions of the world. Staff of Rural System realized in 2004 that concern for preserving wild animals and plants and for historic buildings seems a little silly if people do not preserve knowledge about themselves, their neighbors, friends, and associates.
Leave somethings better than you got them.
"Conservation" has to include conserving knowledge of the people around us. Ancient people, before writing, passed along such knowledge verbally around the campfire. Communities failed when key people with superior memory were lost. "History" has taken on a formal, book-bound connotation. Johnson and Bowker (2004) noted that Halbwachs in 1980 said
GILES, Robert Hayes Sr., 82, of Hudd1eston, passed away Tuesday, March 30, 1993, in the Bedford County Memorial Hospital. He was born September 15, 1910, in Lynchburg, a son of the late Robert H. Giles and Carrie Estelle Pfeiffer Giles. He was a retired real estate broker and was a member of the Old Dominion Episcopal Church, Virginia Beach. He is survived by his wife, Edith Rebecca Parker Giles; two sons, Robert Hayes Giles Jr., Blacksburg, George R. Giles Morristown, Tenn.; a stepdaughter, Susan L. Hudson, Huddleston. Funeral services will be conducted Thursday, April 1, 1993, at 2 p.m. from the Updike Funeral Chapel, Huddleston, by the Rev. Wayne Murphy. Interment will follow in the Patmos United Methodist Church Cemetery. There will be no viewing or visitation. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Saunders Fire Department, Huddleston Rescue Squad or the Huddleston Fire Department. Arrangements are being handled by Updike Funeral Home, Huddleston.
that memory is only retained in communities of people and that for events to withstand the test of time, there must be a mutual sharing of information about such events; otherwise memories die. Now, except for brief remembrances and shared comments, as life around the dinner table declines and TV time consumes conversation time, the life of a person may disappear with little more residual than a death-notice in the local newspaper or a few bought inches of an obituary column.

"The great strength of the practice of history in a free society is its capacity for self correction."
Arthur Schlesinger

Perhaps RuraLives can be united with StoryCorps

Perhaps seen as competitive with, RuraLives is about the living and the dead and moves past the death notice or customary obituary. It is rural centered.

RuraLives provides an option to those unpleasant, disrespectful-of-human-life, and often unfortunate losses. It provides a place (with backup) for you to present a biography or autobiography. While the newspaper obituary is appropriate, we suggest that these are too limiting, too formal, and often of little meaning to families or others. They are available for only a brief period. We think that most people know things of value to others, have had experiences that need to be avoided. They have special insights and lessons learned. It may be that within RuraLives there can be a time after life-monitoring for suggesting and applying feedback to correct and improve human conditions and actions for the future.
We strongly encourage submitting a RuraLives entry at major birthdays, a retirement, or any honorary event for yourself or others.
RuraLives is the place to share knowledge that may be for the good of the people of rural areas. It will become a knowledge base that can be searched for key words, perhaps used in genealogy, perhaps used to further justify special study, to acknowledge the invention or originator of an idea. We suspect it will be wonderful reading and may be the source of materials for poems and stories. We know some will be amusing, for many life experiences are … or have to be treated that way.

Life can be better from knowing how others have lived theirs.

We shall have an effective search procedure for the site.

We'll include any participant but wish to encourage people with more than 25% of their life lived in rural areas of the world. See the links below for samples. We recommend adding to RuraLives as part of activities within the Memorials Group. We want the entry on the form but we will scan a typed entry for a modest fee. We'll include the formal entry from the newspaper but we encourage more meaningful contributions discussed below. We'll quickly edit the text and will not allow profanity, libelous, or obscene words. (Note: Our rule, we are a private business with no issues of freedom of speech; take it or leave it. We decide on whether to leave or delete material submitted. You can object. We'll review your comment, but we'll probably suggest that you look elsewhere for presenting your material.) The material will be copyrighted. You, the author or person described, may copy the materials, but fees are charged for permission for others to use the entries. The current cost is 5 cents a word and the text remains indefinitely. We maintain a dual backup and will seek additional backup within national or regional archives. All funds are used to support and improve RuraLives, The Writers' Camp, and the collective objectives of Rural System.

We hope that many of you will support maintaining this information system for the future. Contributions and donations through the Rural System Foundation will eventually build a lasting financial base preserving your information and that of others.

We have a form that you must complete.

We hope that you will include in your writing about yourself (or the person being described) information about the following (rather than just birth dates, family members, jobs, and relocations):

Often poems can express as well, or better, something about the life of a person. You are invited to submit such poems with your RuraLives entry or best of all, to make a separate submission to Floats.

If the person is living, his or her signature authorizing the entry is necessary. This omits the possibilities of surprise announcements (e.g., for a party), but it is necessary.

Teachers: This can be an excellent class writing and grammar project as well as one for history classes. Contact us for information and discount costs for student submissions.

At the end of each year we shall award a prize of Rural System cybercatalog coupons for the best entry during the year.

Here are sample entries:

See our note of the memories benefits being produced by Rural System.

Staff will see for potential collaboration.

Regional and local history book reviews and book-seller connections with commissions. See also Ebay Group.

Staff will contact Mr. Bass (see following note) for possible role and in capture of the above and for his involvement after retirement (age 59 in 2008) in a book or web site with images on historic places.

From: Terry Seyden

Subject: Cleveland: Tracking forest history; Chattanooga Times Free Press

Sunday, Oct. 5, 2008 , 12:00 a.m.

By: Ron Clayton (Contact)

CLEVELAND, Tenn. Most people who visit the Cherokee National Foreest have never heard of Quentin Bass. But if they walk on the Old Copper Road, read interpretive signs or hear of historic discoveries in the forest, they are seeing work largely due to the forest's archaeologist.

Sitting at his somewhat cluttered desk in a hidden corner of the district office in Cleveland, Mr. Bass has a low-key way of explaining his job.

We are charged with taking care of the cultural resources, structures and architectural remains in the forest, Mr. Bass said of himself and assistant Chris Vassett.

He said the forest is a storehouse for signs from thousands of years of human occupation, and with 1,000 square miles of forest, there has been a lot of occupation.

Mr. Bass has techniques for finding sites of historical activity, many of which are kept secret until they are secured. But some of the major projects he's worked on now are open to the public.

He oversaw restoration of sections of Old Copper Road, which was used to transport copper ore from the Copper Basin to smelters in Cleveland. He also renovated the old Richard Donnelly cabin in the North River area, which was built about 1811.

Cherokee forest spokesman Terry McDonald said he's known Mr. Bass for 18 years.

He is really passionate about what he does with cultural resources, Mr. McDonald said. He is highly intelligent, has an amazing memory, and it's not just a job to him; he lives it.

Mr. Bass campaigned to save structures at the Tellico Ranger District built during the Civilian Conservation Corps days early in the 20th century.

I learn something new from Quentin every time I'm able to work with him," said Ms. Vassett, who is working on a database of sites in the Cherokee. “It can be a real experience."

Mr. Bass was born in Cleveland and attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He has triple undergraduate degrees in archaeology, anthropology and Russian language along with a master's in archaeology.

After a stint as a translator with the U.S. Air Force and a job with the National Security Agency, he lived for a time in Turkey.

Now, at 59, he is writing a book on ecology and looking forward to developing other sites.

"People want the "now" and often have no memory," Mr. Bass said. "My job is to be their memory with findings. Truth remains where it has always been. People have a right to their opinions, but facts are facts. How long does it take to grow a 500-year-old oak?"

One of his current projects is a push to get the Unicoi Trail named a National Historic Trail.

Mr. Bass said the former turnpike, which starts at Fort Loudon and travels 173 miles to Fort Prince George, N.C., has been an Appalachian Mountain crossing for more than 10,000 years. Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto used it in the 1500s, and American Indians and pioneer settlers followed its path.

He's also working on a project for college students to do hands-on surveys to search for archaeological sites. Next year a walking survey is planned for the North River area in Monroe County. Over several decades, Mr. Bass hopes the surveys will cover the Tellico, Hiwassee, Ocoee, and Conasauga watersheds.

"My goal is to just let people see what I see," Mr. Bass said. "That not only includes settlements and other findings, but also to understand the ecology and growths of the forest and how it has changed over the decades."


Johnson, C. Y. and J.M. Bowker. 2004. African-American wildland memories, Environmental Ethics 26:59-75.

The auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History: A Special Library of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System

The Oral History Association

Making Sense of Oral History http://history

A Do-it-yourself Oral History Guide:

See Prof Jim Granville (retired Chemistry) for early history of Virginia and Southwest Virginia Spanish in Lee County

See Folktalk .org and a story of the folk lore recording work of the Klines in West Virginia.

Rural System
Robert H. Giles, Jr.
October 17, 2005; August 13, 2009