< 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.