Col. Bill Newsom’s Aged Kentucky Country Ham | Southern Foodways Alliance arrow left envelope headphones search facebook instagram twitter flickr menu rss play circle itunes calendar

Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

< Back to Oral History project: Kentucky Bacon


Nancy Newsom Mahaffy

Nancy Newsom Mahaffey, known far and wide as The Ham Lady, is one of the few women who dry-cures pork. Her family has been curing ham in the town of Princeton, Kentucky, for generations. H.C. Newsom, Nancy’s grandfather, worked from a cure, handed down in an eighteenth century family will. Before long, he was selling hams and bacon in the family-owned general store. Eventually, his son, Colonel Bill Newsom, started working on his own and developed a traditional sugar cure, which caught the attention of famous eaters like James Beard. Nancy grew up learning the value of tradition and the secret to her father’s success. Today, she carries on her father’s legacy in the same store, curing the same way, in the same ham house, catering to some of the same customers who have frequented Newsom’s Old Mill Store for decades.

Date of interview:
2005-08-24 00:00

Amy Evans

Amy Evans

Download Transcript



The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


Alex Raij Txikito

Let’s Stay in Touch

Sign up for the SFA newsletter to have the latest content
delivered directly to your inbox.