Introduction The Shadow of the Smokies
Abbreviations were used in compiling the transcriptions of tombstones printed in this book to save space, while also attempting to provide all important information found on the tombstone, slate, funeral home marker, or footstone. Consistency was sought both in field work and in data entry, but as in any large group project, some deviations have occurred. We hope these do not detract from the book or lessen its value.
Abbreviations were used in the columns of birth and death dates for the names of the months and to indicate the presence of only one date. NOD ("no other date") indicates that the person appeared to be still alive and that the single date given appears to be a birth date. In some cases it is obvious from the early birth date, that the person is now deceased, but the death date has not been added to the tombstone. OD ("only date") indicates that the transcriber found only one date, which could have been either a birth or death date. The date was arbitrarily entered in the birth or death column, according to the judgement of the transcriber. In cases where the stone stated "born" or "died," the date is listed in the appropriate column with a notation reading (born) or (died).
Abbreviations frequently occur in the "Comments" field. The chief abbreviations used here for words spelled out in full on the tombstone include:
c/o = child of
d/o = daughter of
fhm = funeral home marker
h/o = husband of
i/o = infant of
M/M = Mr. & Mrs.
md. = married
s/o = son of
Tenn. = Tennessee
Tn. = Tennessee
WWI = World War I
WWII = World War II
y,m,d = years, months, days (age)
Multiple names listed on one tombstone (usually husband and wife) are indicated by being linked together on the right with a single parenthesis.
Cemetery listings have been alphabetized within each cemetery by surname and then by given name. Multiple names on one stone are alphabetized arbitrarily by the first Christian name listed, usually the husband's. An effort was made to list the name of the wife under the name of the husband. Unless "h/o" (husband of) or "w/o" (wife of) appears in the "Comments" field, it should be assumed that the transcriber made a judgement based on matching tombstones, side by side stones, or similiar dates.
Surnames are omitted in the "Comments" field unless they are different from those under which the deceased is listed alphabetically. Usually these different names are the maiden names of wives. On those rare occasions where there are two stones for the same person with discrepancies in information, this is indicated in the "Comments." Parentheses around any piece of information should indicate that it was not present on the tombstone itself, but was provided by some knowledgeable person.
The PRIMARY INDEX is the surname index only to those names which were interpreted by the transcribers as the surname of the deceased. These surnames are usually in the left hand column, but in a few instances a burial may be listed in the text. Since other surnames were included in the "Comments" field, a SECONDARY INDEX was created to make available that information. A more careful search of the page indicated will be necessary to derive any benefit from the secondary index. A full name index, while superior to the one provided, would have pushed the book into a two-volume format and substantially increased its cost.
The style of type used in corrections and additions in the second edition was deliberately changed to italic so that the researcher could immediately note the change.
The publication of this book brings to its culmination a decision that originally was made April 18, 1971 at a meeting of the Smoky Mountain Historical Society during the presidency of Elmer Mize. At that time each member agreed to "record the old cemeteries that are being neglected and are rapidly disappearing." Subsequent minutes of Society meetings record the progress made by Lucinda Oakley Ogle, Zola Moore, Sue Lethco, Anna Pearsall, Wanda Fisher, Grace Etherton, Glen Cardwell, Herbert Clabo, Donald Reagan, Randy Trentham, David Templin and others. Ruby Catoe of Houston, Texas, and Pinkney McCarter of Seymour, Tennessee, Contributed cemetery lists which they had begun to record as early as 1959.
On January 16, 1972, under the presidency of Randy Trentham, projects were initiated to preserve the "Church in the Forks" Cemetery in Sevierville, and to get a legal right of way to
the White Oak Flats Cemetery in Gatlinburg. Also in 1972, Duay O'Neil and Nancy L. O'Neil, who published SACRED TO THE MEMORY, and Edward Walker III, the present Cocke County historian, generously shared their neighboring Cocke County lists with us.
In march 1983, during the presidency of Olin Watson, the motion was adopted by the Society to record all cemeteries in Sevier County for publication. Under the able leadership of David Templin the project has now been completed.
Many people have given of their "free" time and energy to help us reach our goal. Special recognition should go to James B. Lawson for his contributions. Jim not only directed the typing, format and layout for this book, but, along with his wife Cheryl, spent countless hours typing. Charles Crosby helped prepare the maps, and Steve Cotham, and others, contributed the photographs.
It is our sincere hope that this book will be helpful to those who are searching for the burial places of their ancestors in Sevier county. Some of those who made contributions towards this publication over the years are now themselves deceased. It is our wish that this book be a memorial to them and to all Sevier Countians who have left their footprints on the sands of history.
On Sunday, March 25, 1984, several of us met to re-check the transcription of a cemetery at Boyd's Creek, Sevier County. Even though it was an extremely cold, very windy day, there was an element of enjoyment in the job -- something very moving, and to me, poetic. Later that night I wrote the following poem to share with others the thoughts, we, who have gone about the county recording the cemeteries, sometimes have about the places we have visited. I take the liberty to speak, also, for all the rest of the recorders in the Smoky Mountain Historical Society project.
Thelma Greene Reagan (Mrs. Charles I.)
THE RECORDING OF A CEMETERY
by Thelma Greene Reagan
Today we walked where others walked
On a lonely, windswept hill;
Today we talked where others cried
For loved ones whose lives are stilled.
Today our hearts were touched
By graves of tiny babies,
Snatched from the arms of loving kin,
In the heartbreak of the ages.
Today we saw where the grandparents lay
In the last sleep of their time
, Lying under the trees and clouds -
Their beds kissed by sun and wind.
Today we wondered about an unmarked spot;
Who lies beneath this hollowed ground?
Was it a babe, child, young or old?
No indication could be found.
Today we saw where Mom and Dad lay.
We had been here once before
On a day we'd all like to forget,
But will remember forever more.
Today we recorded for kith and kin
The graves of ancestors past,
To be preserved for generations hence,
A record we hope will last.
Cherish it, my friend; preserve it, my friend,
For stones sometimes crumble to dust
And generations of folks yet to come
Will be grateful for your trust.
Sevier County is a beautiful area of varied topography with an amazing wealth of plant and animal life. The county stretches from the fartherest suburban edges of greater Knoxville on the West to Clingmans Dome, the highest mountain peak in Tennessee, on the east. Sevier County has the unusual distinction in the history of Tennessee's older counties of having original boundaries relatively unaltered since the county was re-created in 1794. The river bottom lands and coves are rolling, rich agricultural country. The hilly tracts and mountains are less amenable to agriculture. Lumber was historically an important product, especially of the mountains, in the late nineteenth century.
The French Broad River, which provides the principal drainage for the county, was an important avenue of commerce in the nineteenth century. All of the county, except for a small portion usually referred to as "North-of-the-River," lies south of the French Broad river. The other important river in the county is the Little Pigeon, the forks of which rise in the Great Smoky Mountains and converge at Sevierville. The Little Pigeon River flows into the French Broad a few miles below Douglas Dam. The Little River rises in the souther most part of the county and flows through Blount County into the Tennessee River. The largest body of water in the area is Douglas lake, which was built by the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1943 on the French Broad River. The lake touches the north side of the county. Boyd's Creek, which flows through a major part of the west side of the county also empties into the French Broad River.
Sevier County has the distinction of having three birthdays, one in 1785 under the State of Franklin, one in 1794 under the Territory South of the River Ohio and one in 1796 under the State of Tennessee. Sevierville, the county seat of Sevier County, is almost as old as the county itself, the town having been established in 1795. Both the county and the town were named for General John Sevier, a hero of the Battle of Kings Mountain, governor of the lost State of Franklin and the first governor of the State of Tennessee.
White settlement in Sevier County probably began earlier than some history books record, probably as early as 1781. The land at that time had not, of course, been ceded by the Indians. With Indian towns and villages only a few miles down the Great Indian War Path, friction between the two groups was inevitable. John Sevier inflicted a harsh defeat on the Cherokee Indians at Boyds Creek on December 16, 1780, shortly after the battle of King's Mountain. The Indian lands were first partially ceded by the Treaty of Dumplin Creek, forced on the Cherokees by General Sevier in 1785. Franklinites were determinedly pushing southward, even into present day Blount County and beyond in the 1780's. The collapse of the State of Franklin in 1788 left the Sevier Countians on Indian lands, with no way of obtaining clear title to "their" land under the laws and treaties in force. After the final collapse of Franklin, Sevier countians adopted the "Articles of Association" which provided an interim government for them during the period 1789-1791. The Treaty of Hopewell, signed on July 2, 1791, by William Blount, governor of the new United States territory, finally began the process of clearing the title to these lands and establishing the right of the settlers to be there. The complicated issue of payment to the state for these tracts, part of which had been set aside to support higher education in Tennessee, became a volatile political issue in state politics until at least the 1820's.
Sevier County has tended to be rural, agricultural, non-industrial, and not heavily populated. Only in relatively recent times has it begun to experience an unusually rapid population increase. The increase in population in the nineteenth century was relatively slow and steady. In 1800, the year of its first real federal census with boundaries as we know them, Sevier County had a population of 3,419, which included 162 slaves. By 1860, the population was only 6,920, including 403 slaves and 67 free blacks. Slavery was not an important aspect of the economic life of the county, although there a few large farms in the more traditional southern mold. Sevier County was staunchly opposed to secession in 1861. The county was not so deeply and directly affected by the Civil War as were some other neighboring counties considering the major strategic targets nearby, and the number of battles fought for these. The county was occupied by both armies at different times. Many of Sevier County's sons did fight in the war, a number on both sides. Economic disruption and provisioning the armies brought on extreme privation. The Battle of Gatlinburg on December 10, 1863, has the distinction of being the last battle fought in the East between the Indians and whites. Confederate Cherokees, led by their white chief "Little Will" Thomas, defended the saltpeter caves above Gatlinburg from Union attack. In post-war years, the county returned to its sleepy economic state. It has remained staunchly Republican. With the relatively small number of former Confederates, Reconstruction was much less painful than in some other places. Postwar history was generally quiet and uneventful, with the exception of the era of the "White Caps," moral vigilantes who terrorized "evildoers" in the county from 1892 to 1898.
There had been little manufacturing in the county prior to the Civil War, except for cottage industries. This remained true until the late nineteenth century. In the 1850 census, for example, no major employers with heavy capital investment were listed. The most important industry in the nineteenth century was mills, several of which flourished in the county. Repeated attempts to establish iron works in the county proved relatively unsuccessful. An early iron works built by Isaac Love in 1817 was next to the site of the Old Mill in Pigeon forge. The lumber industry was very important in the eastern part of the county from the late nineteenth century until the development of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the 1930's. The county did not acquire significant industry in the twentieth century until Cherokee Textile Mills moved from Knoxville to a new plant near Sevierville in 1953. Growth of industry and commerce were hampered by a lack of good roads and railroads even into the twentieth century. The railroad finally came to Sevierville in 1909 when W. J. Oliver built the Knoxville Sevierville and Eastern Railroad. (KS & E).
The population growth was very slow until the middle of this century. In 1900, the population was 22,021; in 1905, it was still only 23,375. Out migration for industrial jobs kept population growth at a stand still. By 1980, however, the population had grown to 41,418. Seymour in the western end of the county was one of the fastest growing unincorporated areas in the state.
Tourism has turned out to be a major economic factor in the development of Sevier County in the last forty years. Springs and spas, like Glen Alpine, Henderson, Dupont, Seaton and Line Springs had become well known in the late nineteenth &entury in the heyday of such resorts. While the popular springs and the mountains had promoted the image of the county as a place of good health and beauty, these resorts did not have the economic impact on the county at large that tourism has had in the age of the automobile.Chapman Highway, linking the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Knoxville, was completed in the 1930's. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge have flourished to such an extent that they have become important tourist attractions in themselves, and important employers in the county. Between spill-over of suburban development from Knox County on the west and the tourist attractions on the east, the prospects for growth and developme-nt of the county look bright for decades ahead.