The Sequachee News – January 30, 1896



By William C. Hill.

In the early part of the present century there settled in this country of East Tennessee, a gentleman of moderate means whose only desire was to escape the crowded town and enjoy the delights of a primeval existence.

His fortune was not excessive as we have said before. On the contrary it was comparatively meagre, but still he had invested it in funds of such a nature as brought him a sure yearly income, and one that was ever welcome. He was the proud possessor of four promising children, two boys and two girls, and had a helpmate whose knowledge of housewifery was only equaled by her close attention to their very intricate details. By her influence, her husband’s capital had been invested in a banking house, of which her brother was cashier, and for several years the interest realized from the investment was sufficient for their wants. Contented with their pecuniary gains they only desired to found for themselves an earthly Elsium [sic], in which to bring up their young children, and spend their own declining years.

With this determination in view, husband and father had traveled on horseback through various parts of Tennessee seeking a locality which would suit his purpose.

Tennessee at the time was covered with vast forests of gigantic trees, oak, poplar and chestnut. The densest timber lands were of course along the river bottoms and the low valley lands, while those that covered the mountain tops and plateaus were of a more stunted character.

The deer without dread of the hunter’s rifle herded in the dim recesses of the forests; ungainly bears prowled over the fallen logs and made their dens in the caverns under the cliffs; catamounts shrieked defiance to one another, and sharpened their claws upon the standing trunks in their mad wrath, and foxes, squirrels, turkeys, pheasants, and other smaller game, lived and preyed upon each other in the greatest numbers. Snakes were plentiful, too—they always are in a new country. Rattlesnakes sunned themselves upon the rugged cliffs, and copperheads peered sinisterly from the bushes in the vicinity of the few trails that crossed the country. The Indians were peaceable, and had their own villages, and were more or less associated with the whites. Trading posts had been established, and the mighty monarch of the forest was bowed before the heavy strokes of the axe. Such were the characteristics of the epoch. The people were rude and hardy, endowed with sterling qualities for a backwoods life, self reliant and vigorous. They were keen of vision, and constant of hearing through their continual attention to the various sights and sounds of forest life. They had their dances and social gatherings, where buxom girls tread the mazes of their favorite measures with great strapping lumbermen, with violent exertions and mad festivity. Then they had corn-hustings and log rollings, and occasionally a wedding at which all officiated.

Such was the backwoods life at the time when Mr. Fullerton first made his appearance in the vicinity of the place which was afterwards to become his home.

A few months later and there might have been seen a wagon train slowly crossing the Cumberland plateau. There were two covered wagons drawn by mules, an extra team slowly hauled by two yokes of oxen, followed in the rear by several cows, while other domestic animals were stowed away in various parts of the caravan.

As there were no roads in that section and the trails were poor at the best, progress was necessarily slow and it was some time before they arrived on the spot which Mr. Fullerton had fixed upon as the one most suited to his desires. It was on the edge of the mountain, on a gently rolling descent, which rather abruptly ended in a precipice of many hundred feet, strewn at the bottom with enormous boulders, and tangled and thorny vines. The land was mostly covered with cedar and chestnut, and with the exception of occasional pines that soon fell beneath the sturdy strokes of the two black servants who had accompanied Mr. Fullerton, and served, when fallen, as walls for a log house. There was also a fine spring, which after wandering through laurel beds for some distance, fell over the grey cliff in a thin veil of spray, which soon gave it the name of the “Bridal Veil.” In the winter season it was more than a bridal veil, it was demoniac in action, twisting and turning, churning itself into greater fury and greater action at every successive leap until it paused in a wide circular basin in the rocks, where it disappeared as if for ever.

It is needless to relate the first clearing of this charming spot; how the logs were piled in great heaps and fired; how the land was first broken in amid the constant urging and herculean efforts of the laboring oxen; how the the first crops were sown, worked and harvested; how one of their most valued horses fell over the cliff one night in the darkness—a gallant grey, which they had brought with them from old Virginia, one of a pair; or what were their conflicts with bears and catamounts that preyed unceasingly upon their stock and crops, or their expeditions for the more harmless deer. Each succeeding year saw more improvements upon their mountain farm and blessed by sun and rain, it grew in beauty and abundance with every season.

Mr. Fullerton was a passionate admirer of flowers. He came from a paternal line of florists, one of whom had been chief gardener to Evelyn, that lover of all things pertaining to floriculture, whose parks had often been enriched by the fertile imaginings of his brain. As we have said, Mr. Fullerton was an enthusiast in his way. A choice variety of lily or a collection of cacti was of greater value to him than a whole mint full of precious stones. His flowers were his pride. Early and late he watched for their first opening, or even for the first tiny leaf that pierced the rich mold of his garden. He loved them with that earnest attention that admits of no waverings, no distractions. There are things in flowers which are well worth study. Mr. Fullerton appreciated that in its broadest development. His earliest desire was to know more of their qualities and peculiarities, and to understand the reasons thereof. Of course there were an infinitude of difficulties in his path, but after all, what such to a man of his mold.

So with an enthusiast’s eagerness, almost before the ground had been laid out, he had sent for all the flowers that were the prime favorites of his heart—dahlias, peonys [sic], fuschias [sic], flaunting gladioli, and a host of others.

It was a great hour when they arrived, carefully packed, and in good condition from their long and difficult journey from older civilization. The minute it took to unwrap the bundles seemed an age to his impatient fingers, and when the leafless treasures were exposed to view his eye fairly gloated upon them. Nor had he forgotten those fruits which delight the taste as well as the eye.

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The Sequachee News – July 18, 1895


The Story of Naomi.

By Clarence H. Pearson.

She had lived all her life in a log cabin on the side of one of the Cumberland mountain in eastern Tennessee. To her the little towns in the Sequachee Valley represented the great centres of manufacture and commerce. She had once visited South Pittsburg, which was said to have a population of something over four thousand, and the strange and wonderful things she saw there furnished her with food for many days of reflection. Her daily life was extremely uneventful, She kept house for her father who was her sole surviving relative and her only companion. He was a grave, unostentatious man who pursued his chosen occupation quietly and industriously, but never tried to extend his business beyond certain limits, and never advertised. He was a moonshiner.

One day late in August, a party of campers from Chattanooga came and pitched their tents on the mountainside not far from the little cabin. The company consisted of a married of thirty-five or thereabout, several lively and exceedingly noisy young people, who have nothing in particular to do with this story, and little Dot, the baby, aged four. They disported themselves very much after the manner of campers in general, exploring every nook and cranny of the mountain, and singing, laughing and shouting until they awakened the echoes for miles around.

“Game’ll be powerful sca’ce this fall ef this yer pack o’ yellin’ lunatics don’t shove out soon,” grumbled Naomi’s father one, day, “for I ‘low they’ll skeer every livin’ thing outen the kentry.”

One afternoon, when, everyone thought she was asleep in one of the tents, little Dot started on a tour of discovery. About the first object of interest she found was a long, slender, graceful, golden-brown creature with beautiful, seal-brown markings, and a queer little rattle on the tip of its tail. Its eyes shone like diamonds, and little Dot thought he had never seen anything quite so lovely and attractive in her whole life.

Naomi came upon the child and her new acquaintance at a very opportune moment. The reptile irritated by the too close approach of the little one had struck, fortunately burying its deadly fangs in the folds of the brightly colored dress instead of the white, delicate flesh. Without a moment’s hesitation, the girl caught the squirming reptile by the neck so close to tie terrible, gaping jaws that it could not turn to bite her. It coiled so tightly around her arm as to almost paralyze it, but she held it in a firm grasp, and taking a stone in her left hand, laid the ugly triangular head on a boulder and pounded it to a shapeless mass. Then, contrary to all precedant [sic], she refrained from fainting.

Little Dot’s parents were profuse in their expressions of gratitude, and the rest of the party were so loud in their praises of her courage that at first they made Naomi very uncomfortable. They came to the house frequently and little Dot followed her about like a shadow. It was very easy to learn to love the beautiful little creature whose life she had saved, and to conceive a strong friendship for the parents whose kindly feeling toward their child’s preserver was so manifest.

About this time Naomi’s father met with a serious reverse in business. Two strangers who were ostensibly prospecting for coal discovered the the cave where he kept all the tools and implements of his occupation and carried them away. They also took the owner before the Federal Court to answer to the charge of violating the United States revenue laws. In a few days, for justice is not always leaden-footed, especially when dealing with illicit distillers, word came back that the old man had been sentenced to imprisonment for two years.

And so it happened that Naomi, having nowhere else to go, accompanied her new friends to Chattanooga. Two years amid new scenes and surroundings make a great change in the life of a simple mountain maid. At the end of that time one would hardly have known her; indeed the moonshiner’s daughter scarcely knew herself. At last came the day to which, in spite of herself, she had been looking forward for a long time with a secret dread. With a sinking heart, she read the scrawling, ill-spelled epistle notifying her that her father was once more a free man. She knew that she ought to be glad. She was glad that the long, weary days of her father’s imprisonment were over, but how could she return to the dull, staring monotonous existence which she had known before ? She slept little and wept much that night, for she had decided after a sharp struggle with her inclinations that the path of duty led her to the lone cabin on the mountain. She thought how sadly she should miss little Dot and her parents to whose kindness she owed so much ; and then with a sharp twinge of pain she thought of the handsome, manly, young mechanic who had sought her society so frequently during the past few months.

He had made no spoken declaration of love, but she was very sure that a certain very important question had trembled upon his lips at their last meeting, and that only a chance interruption had prevented its utterance. And she must leave the city the next day without an opportunity to bid him good-bye, for he was away on a visit and would not return for nearly a week.

One bright afternoon six weeks later Naomi was far up on the side of the mountain gathering nuts. Chancing to glance up from her work she saw a man standing on a high knoll a few hundred yards below her father’s cabin. His form looked strangely familiar and she watched him curiously. Presently a clump of bushes near him seemed to emit a little puff of white smoke and simultaneously the man threw up his hands and staggering forward fell to the ground. A second or two later the report of a rifle reached her ear. She turned cold with horror as the awful truth dawned upon her. A murder had been committed and worse still she felt sure that her own father was the assassin. Probably the victim was some prowling revenue officer, and yet the figure had been so like that of some one she had known. A terrible thought arose in her mind a possibility that filled her with sickening fear, and she rushed down the mountain’s steep side like some mad creature. Heeding no obstacle in her wild haste she dashed on, tearing through bushes, leaping over fallen logs, dashing her feet against the sharp stones, until breathless and panting she arrived at the spot where she had last seen the stranger. Merciful God, what a sight met her gaze! There prone on the ground lay her handsome lover with the blood still slowly oozing from a wound in his chest, and the terrible, glassy glare of death in his blue eyes. His features were distorted, his limbs were drawn up, and in his right hand was a flowering shrub which he had clutched and uprooted in his strong death agony. Naomi stood there staring with a strange, dazed look on her face. Could this poor, pitiful, helpless object be the strong, self-reliant man she had known and loved? Yes, it must be—it was, and she did not, could not weep or cry out. It was so odd, she thought, that she should stand looking at him, realizing that he was dead, and yet manifesting no grief. She wondered if she really had a heart. She could feel something beating and throbbing in her bosom, but it seemed like a great lump of ice. For a long time she remained apparently as unmoved by the ghastly spectacle as the rocks around her. Then slowly, very slowly a sense of her great loss came upon her. A numb pain unlike anything she had ever before experienced crept into her bosom and became more and more intense until she could hardly refrain from shrieking aloud in her anguish. She leaned against a small tree, covered her face with her lands to shut out that horrible stare and moaned piteously. Presently she was aroused by a light touch on her shoulder. Looking up she saw her father beside her with a world of pity in his usually cold, grey eyes. The old man had divined the whole sad truth, and the strange emotions which struggled within him flooded the wrinkled, old face with tender feeling.

“Come, little gal,” he whispered softly, “come home.”

“O pap !” she broke forth in a wail of agony, “how could you?—how could you?”

“God help me !” he murmured huskily, “I done ‘lowed ’twas a revenue man.”

Granite Monthly.

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Sequatchie Valley News – September 24, 1903



Written for the News.
The Sequatchie Valley is beautiful provided one had wings to view it by, but you positively cannot see the county for the dreadful roads.

A go-cart, a carriage, a wagon or an automobile are out of the question. Only a mule and a man who has lost all sense of feeling, physical, moral, political and religious, can travel such roads, I was going to say, but I will change it and say only a man who has infinite patience, unending endurance, and who has vowed never to break the second commandment should risk his life or his reputation upon them.

Nature gave to the valley beautiful scenery, a fertile yielding soil, and such environments should produce progressive, public-spirited men. Every man in the county who opposes any measure whatsoever that assures us good roads should be buried alive to the tune of Tom Hood’s

“Rattle his bones over the stones,
Only a poor pauper whom nobody

When Rome of old conquered the then known world, she hewed her way into every country by the building of the famous Roman roads, and civilization followed fast in the way of every Roman road.

There is nothing else under the sun so civilizing as well kept roads wherever you find them tor you can count on good schools, thritty [sic] churches, and prosperous people. The man who hauls his produce to market over a fine road holds his head more erect, carries himself more proudly than the man who has all the style thumped out of him jolting over the stones and in to the ruts. Progress and prosperity go hand in hand with good roads. Let us all join bands and girdle the county with a system of fine roads.


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