On twitter I have found a tweet about an online exhibition about Songs of Virginia Tragedies which can be found on the homepage of the Blueridge Institute:
Deathly Lyrics: Songs of Virginia Tragedies (link no more available)
A story told in song, the ballad has for centuries been a means for passing history from one generation to the next. Virginia ballads cover a host of tragedies, from military battles and cyclones to train wrecks and broken-love murders.
In this online exhibit of the Blueridge Institute you can find stories about tragedies that happened in Virginia and songs that were made to tell about those tragedies. You can read the complete song text, listen to the audio of historical recordings of many songs and also look at some historical newspaper pages about those events.
Homepage of the Blueridge Institute: http://www.blueridgeinstitute.org/
Ferrum College created the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum in the early 1970s to document, interpret, and present the folk heritage of the Blue Ridge region. Since that time, the Institute has grown steadily, expanding its work throughout Virginia and Appalachia while maintaining an emphasis upon the western portion of the state.
The Blue Ridge Institute & Museum enjoys a national reputation. From festivals and concerts to exhibits and publications, the BRI offers educational and entertaining programming of unmatched quality and authenticity. The Institute’s audience spans all ages and backgrounds, enhancing Ferrum College’s educational mission for all.
More Online Exhibits of the Blueridge Institute: http://www.ferrum.edu/blueridgeinstitute/onlineexhibits/
Another interesting online exhibit tells the story of Moonshine:
Moonshine – Blue Ridge Style (no more available)
Over the course of a century, mountain distillers went from making “mostly legal” whiskey and brandy for nearby markets to producing millions of gallons of untaxed “sugar liquor” for customers in Philadelphia and similar urban centers.Take a long sip of moonshine’s real history.
You can find many songs about historical tradgedies at youtube:
Songs That Recount Historical Tragedies: Hank Snow Sings the “Wreck of the Old 97”
Another song about a cyclone that killed a group of school children in 1929