Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Come visit The Walker Sisters with us.

Dan's Mommy is from Maryville, which is just outside The Smoky Mountain National Park. I love hearing her stories about the people who lived in Cades Cove and the park. I went on a trip to the Smokies with Dan's parents last year. My favorite part of that trip was hearing the stories from Dan's Mommy. I was so fascinated by the Walker Sisters. We wanted to hike up to their homestead but the roads were too wet and muddy. Well, they weren't too wet and muddy this time, so off we went. We started at the Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse. It's in the background of the above photo. There were little kids running amuck so I didn't get a good kid-free photo. So we headed to the trail.

It wasn't a long hike, only 1.1 miles but it sure was beautiful. The path was covered with fallen leaves and a little stream ran along side of it.

Dan bought me a companion book, The Walker Sisters of Little Greenbrier, so I could really enjoy my experience. I read little bits of it to Dan while we walked.

Martha, Polly, Margaret, Louisa, and Hettie Walker lived on their family's land their whole lives. They never married and never left the home their parents made for them. They were forced to sell in 1940, when Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Walker Sisters received $4,750 for their land (122.8 acres) and were granted a lifetime lease.

These amazing women would use this trail to walk to and from the schoolhouse which was used as a school and church. Thei Daddy, John Walker, helped build it in 1881. The Walker Sisters went to school up through the the 8th grade.

Here are three of the sisters. They were so amazing. They lived off the land, made there own linsey-woolsey cloth, and made beautiful coverlets and quilts. When they were alive they would sell some of there handi-works and cakes to visitors. I wish I could have met them. I would have loved to spend some time with them, learning.

I imagined what it would have been like to live with my sisters for my entire life. How would it be to lose fiances like Mary and Martha did? I love to think of them looking through catalogs like wish books. They loved to look at seed books and plan their gardens. I really fell in love with these ladies when I read that they loved fancy hats. One of them even had a gold lame' hat.

My favorite sister is Louisa. She was the poet of the family. She was also the last sister to live in the cabin. She died on my birthday, July 13th, in 1964. "She was remembered as always smiling and sometimes giggling." I hope that joy helped her when she was sitting in that home all alone. Oh, it gets me choked up. I imagine she sat in that little cabin on her little bed looking at her sisters' beds and wishing they were there to listen to her poetry readings or share a secret.

It's so sad.
All that remains is their home and tattered remnants of the newspaper they used as wallpaper/insulation.

Walker Sisters, thank you. You've inspired me in so many ways. I will never forget my walk to your home. I hope you all feel like you went with me.


Anonymous said...

well that is more than I expected. Your pics a so pretty and the sisters and the campfire and the wood and the leaves for dan's mom and you looking pretty coming out of the's all just too much. your life just seems so sweet and perfect, like the books I like to read.


Katherine said...

I've never been to the Walker Sisters' place, but remember hearing my mom tell us about them. I really enjoyed your version along with pictures. Thanks!

Amy said...

Thanks for sharing. Its pretty cool to think that you can feel close to people you never met by visiting there home from long ago.

Kat you look especially beautiful in that last photo.

Anonymous said...

I think that the picture of you sitting on the portch is probably my all time favorite picture of you. I just want to get it printed and frame it for my house...someday. Well, maybe I'll put it up in my RV in a few months.