Priceless Historical Heirlooms Return To Great Smoky Mountains. Millions of national park visitors visit the Dan Lawson homestead in Cades Cove each year. Generations of people young and old have marveled and wondered what life was like in the Smokies over 100 years ago. Dan Lawson and his wife Sidney carved out a life in the once isolated valley and raised a family. The Lawson’s passed on family heirlooms that have been in safe keeping with their family.
Descendant Robin Derryberry from Chattanooga recently donated items to be preserved by the Smoky Mountain National Park in the Collections Preservation Center in Townsend, TN. The donated items include the Lawson family bible, wedding portraits, assorted family photographs and a chest of drawers.
“Cades Cove played such a huge role in my family’s history,” said Robin Derryberry. “While the items donated were important to us, we realized as a family that they deserved to be in a place where they could be enjoyed by the public and more importantly, preserved for future generations. We know these artifacts are in wonderful hands and we couldn’t be more pleased.”
The Lawson’s were leaders in the Cades Cove Methodist Church. Sidney worked to educate the children of the Cove lifting them up from a lifetime of ignorance. Their home along with several out buildings is found at the junction with Hyatt Lane after passing the Cable Mill historic area.
“We are thrilled to have these pieces as a part of the permanent park collection,” said Museum Curator Baird Todd. “It is rare treasure for us to have the full history behind the artifacts in our collections. This opportunity allows us to preserve and share a much richer story.”
Great Smoky Mountains National Park bans backcountry campfires. Park officials have placed the ban due to recent drought like conditions in the mountains and surrounding area. These conditions sharply increase the chances for wildfires starting and spreading. Backcountry visitors should expect the ban to remain in place until conditions change.
Only people enjoying trail shelters and backcountry campsites will be affected by this ban for now. Front country camp sites like Cades Cove, Cosby, Elkmont, and Smokemont are still allowed to use the fire rings at campsites. Picnickers can continue to enjoy charcoal grills for now also. Visitors are advised to use extreme caution with fire and always be sure and use water to extinguish them. The use of backpacking stoves with pre-packaged gas canisters is currently still allowed in the backcountry.
“The park is experiencing abnormally dry and moderate drought conditions throughout the park,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “With little rain and hot, dry conditions predicted over the next week, it is imperative that we reduce the risk of human-caused wildfires.”
Finding drinking water may also be difficult for hikers and backpackers. Some locations that still have running springs have significantly reduced water flow. If flowing, a quart – sized bottle may take over five minutes to fill. The water sources at campsites 5, 16, 26 and Mollies Ridge Shelter are currently bone dry.
When entering the backcountry use your head and plan your route to maximize available water sources whenever possible. If you know you are heading into a dry area carry as much extra water as you can. Unseasonably high temperatures continue to dry out the region and heat stroke is a real possibility.
Symptoms of Heat Stroke
- Throbbing headache.
- Dizziness and light-headedness.
- Lack of sweating despite the heat.
- Red, hot, and dry skin.
- Muscle weakness or cramps.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak.
- Rapid, shallow breathing
Source material AMA and GSMNP
Smoky Mountain Poets. These mountains have inspired generations to express themselves through songs, deeds and words. Remarkable words that transcend the passage of time and speak to each new generation. So much so that a Smoky Mountain poet laureate was commissioned in the early 20th century.
Ella V. Costner was honored to be the first and only Smoky Mountain poet laureate. Costner (1894-1982) was born in Cosby and grew up on Crying Creek near the Gabes Mountain Trailhead. After her stint as an Army nurse in Pearl Harbor and Guam, she returned to Newport, Tennessee and published several books of poems and essays. Ella’s final resting place can be found in the hills she loved on a short walk up the Snake Den Ridge trail in Cosby.
“There are moments in the lives of some men, so fraught with emotion and beauty, as to make one weep no matter how often one reads or thinks of them.” Ella V. Costner, from the Lamp in the Cabin.
Others have followed in Ella’s footsteps and we are thrilled to share their love of the Smoky Mountain with you here.
I want to spend my summer days with you.
Lying, just you and I, underneath a true blue sky.
Listening to the hum of the June bugs as we talk about all the things we love.
We can watch the dreamy clouds drift on by as we wait on the shooting stars that will – one by one, erase even our deepest scars.
We’ll smile as the young fawns pass by and at the bear cubs as they play – silent to the thought our tomorrows and our yesterdays.
I want to spend my summer days with you.
In the hills that I call home, wrapped up in the Smokies haze, among the beautiful places where I roam and play.
Yes, I want to spend my summer days with you, doing what lovers do and dreaming of a love that’s true….
Because it won’t be long til autumn steals the days away and my blue sky slowly fades to gray.
Written by Kristi Parsons