Friday, September 23, 2011

Church on Sunday, rain or shine

Church was important to the God-fearing settlers in the Smoky Mountains, not only as a place to worship, but also as a place to get to know one's neighbors, some of whom might have lived miles away.

My sister and I visited three churches on the Cades Cove Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and before I end the park segment of this travelogue, I want to show you those churches.

They all look very much alike, at least on the outside.

First up was the Primitive Baptist Church, exterior and interior:

Then came the Cades Cove Methodist Church:

And the Missionary Baptist Church, established in 1839:

Each of these churches had an adjacent cemetery. We didn't walk through all of them, but we did spend some time looking at individual gravestones in the cemetery behind the Primitive Baptist Church.

The genealogist in me wanted to know more about the people buried beneath these old markers, and some of the inscriptions assured me that these folks would have had interesting stories to tell.

This grave, and so many others in this small cemetery, 
reminded me how high the infant mortality rate was back in those days.

This man would have been 69 years old when he died, 
so the word "murdered" may have been an accurate
description of his cause of death.

What brave people the Olivers must have been to settle where they did.
Their home was the subject of the lead photo in my last post.


  1. The Olivers remind me of the movie "Last of the Mohicans" with Daniel Day-Lewis.

    It's amazing those stones are still readable after being exposed to the elements for over a hundred years. I wonder if some are replacements, seeing as how it's a tourist area?

  2. Janet, you're very observant. There were a lot of gravestone inscriptions that were illegible or nearly so, so I'd guess it's highly likely that some of the more historic markers have been replaced.


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