Friday, July 25, 2014

Cades Cove ~ Part two

For most of its history Cades Cove has been a place to visit, but for more than  100 yrs. it also was a great place to live. In the 1860s John P. Cable bought land in the Cove and built a water-powered grist mill and sawmill in 1870.  It was a technological advancement of its day.
The water wheel driven mill could grind wheat into flour in addition to processing cornmeal.  The families now could make biscuits instead of a diet of pure cornbread.  Tub mills which were the alternative could only process a bushel of corn a day and it was time consuming, where John Cables mill could do it for them and a portion of the flour or meal or even money was the payment.
The same wheel also provided power for a sash sawmill with a heavy reciprocating blade.  It was a relatively slow way of turning a log into lumber but that is how the Cove was able to build houses of frame construction.  Most owners of the log homes in Cades Cove bought lumber for siding to cover that fact that they were living in old fashioned cabins.
A son James V. Cable inherited the mill and operated it well into the twentieth century. 
 Gregg-Cable House
Leason Gregg bought an acre of land from John Cable in 1879 and built a small house with lumber sawed at the mill. He later enlarged the house and ran a store on the first floor.  It is believed to be the first all-frame house in the cove.  In 1887 Rebecca Cable and her brother Dan bought the house and acre their father had sold to Gregg.
 "Aunt Becky" as she was known never married or had children but she reared her brothers children when his wife became ill with tuberculosis and mental illness.She also  ran the boarding house, took care of the farm, tended the mill, and lived a long and successful life until she was 96 in 1940.
 Near the house was the smokehouse where large sections of hogs were cured by smoking or salting and stored.  Deer and bear were
eaten fresh because it was not easily cured.  Sunday dinner could be a chicken killed, cleaned and cooked and eaten the same day.
This type of barn was located behind the house with the drive-through in the center and stalls on each side. Two men could unload hay with pitchforks, one from the wagon and the other from the loft. The hay was feed to draft animals and milk cows in the stalls below. The drive through also served as a storage place for farm equipment.
Aunt Becky attended the missionary Baptist church and was a loyal member right up until her death.(born Dec.7th 1844-died Dec. 19th 1940)

When we entered the church a nest of barn swallows greeted us from above.

Inside the church I found a bulletin from that morning so it must still be used.

Becky could be seen barefoot in the fields, plowing or mowing with this piece of machinery hooked to the mules or herding cattle.
 Behind the barn a stream runs (part of the water supply for the wheel in the mill) but on this day some young girls were cooling off on some rocks. A very different picture from the 1860s.
Around 2million visitors come each year to drive the eleven mile loop road.  They like to feel the Cove's pastoral serenity and protection of the surrounding mountains. Some as do I, delight in imaging themselves in the places of those who cut the trees, built the houses and worked a living from the land.  It's one of great Smoky Mountains most popular places to visit.

To God be The Glory  ~~  Great Things He Hath Done


Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Fascinating story and pictures.It is good to remember the past,but I am sure happy that we now have all the modern conveniences.

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