Watauga County

Keeping the Jack tales tradition alive in a changing Appalachian culture

Watauga County’s Ray Hicks drew national acclaim for his storytelling skills focusing on the adventures of a poor but clever boy named Jack. Hicks passed away 20 years ago. Other raconteurs have kept the tales alive, but the High Country way of telling them faces an uncertain future, and changes in the Appalachian region could determine the outlook for this centuries-old tradition.