Cas Walker Stories Project
The Cas Walker Stories project gathers the stories and legends told about one of 20th century Knoxville’s most famous citizens. Cas Walker was a grocer-politician-media celebrity-music promoter-coon hunter whose colorful life has become the stuff of the region’s favorite urban legends.
The project has recorded the oral histories of many who knew Cas Walker, as friends, employees, and political rivals or allies, and collected others from the public. Many of these are gathered in Cas Walker: Stories on his Life and Legend, published by UT Press and edited by Joshua Hodge, a PhD student in the History Department who passed away while the book was in its final stages of completion. An endowment fund, raised in his honor, supports graduate research. The oral histories that Josh recorded will be deposited with the Knox County Library’s archives.
You can also hear more about the project in this episode of the Raised in Knoxville podcast, where host Todd Steed discusses the project with Ernie Freeberg. To learn more about the book or leave your own Cas Walker story, visit the link below.
From the University of Tennessee Press about Cas Walker: Stories on His Life and Legend
This wonderfully entertaining book brings together selections from interviews with a score of Knoxvillians, various newspaper accounts, Walker’s own autobiography, and other sources to present a colorful mosaic of Walker’s life. The stories range from his flamboyant advertising schemes—as when he buried a man alive outside one of his stores—to memories of his inimitable managerial style—as when he infamously canned the Everly Brothers because he didn’t like it when they began performing rock ’n’ roll. Further recollections call to mind Walker’s peculiar brand of bare-knuckle politics, his generosity to people in need, his stance on civil rights, and his lifelong love of coon hunting (and coon dogs). The book also traces his decline, hastened in part by a successful libel suit brought against his muckraking weekly newspaper, the Watchdog.