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HAGETT COVE WAS ROAMING GROUNDS FOR YOUNG BOYS
One of my favorite places to roam in while a young boy on Atoah Creek was an area known as Hagett Cove. It lay directly across the valley from our hillside farm behind the present day location of the Robbinsville Pallet mill. In those days, this section of the Atoah Creek valley was a combination of cow pastures, meadows, and cornfields. From time to time, we grew corn there for our cows and chickens and to be ground for corn meal.
the youngest child of four and was five years younger
than my brother Sam. This
meant that for the first few years of my childhood, I was
at home while they were in school. Our home was in the
edge of the woods, well out of view from
At a very early age, I set about exploring the area. I asked my father how it got its name, and found that a family by the name of Hagett had once lived there. One story had it that old man Hagett had hung himself in the cove and that some people called it Hanging Cove, although other residents thought that Hanging Cove was located near the old Ambrose and Ethel Worley house near the intersection of Snowbird Road and what today is known as Atoah Circle. This made me want to explore the area even more.
My first journeys into Hagett Cove were short ones due to my early age. Each time I went, I would force myself to go farther into the cove without stopping. Finally, I thought I was ready to tackle going all the way to the top. One winter day when Hagett Knob was frozen white with rime ice, I decided this was the day. I set out from the house at a brisk pace and never let up, never stopping until I went all the way to the top. The view amazed me. I felt like I was looking down from the top of the world. The rime ice frozen on the bare trees and especially the evergreens was beautiful. When the wind blew on the rime ice, it produced a sound similar to our wind chimes of today. Of course, some of it also went down my neck.
In those early days of childhood innocence, it never once entered my mind to wonder who owned the land or had owned it. Children in those days pretty much had free range, roaming over neighboring property at will. This was no problem as long as no damage occurred or gates were left open allowing livestock to escape. We were taught to respect the property of others. Failure to do this would result in severe disciplinary measures being applied to a certain part of the anatomy. I continued my treks into other parts of the nearby woods including an adjacent area known as Nichols Cove. I gradually was able to cover more and more distance faster and without ever stopping. Little did I know at the time how well this was preparing me for a career in forestry and search and rescue missions with our local rescue squad looking for people lost in the woods.
I decided to check into the history of Hagett Cove, and was told that Dewey Sharpe was knowledgeable of the area. Was he ever! Dewey has a name of being able to get through the woods at a fast clip despite his age( he is in his 90s) and had the name of busting or breaking people much younger that tried to keep up with him. It was interesting to find that he had trained himself as a child in the woods much like I had.
recalled going into Hagett Cove with his father J.M.
Mark Sharpe to pick blackberries around 1916. At that time, there
were still old fields visible with piles of rocks that
had been cleared from them.
Deweys home place was across the dividing ridge
on Long Creek in an area known as Poplar Cove near where
the pavement ends on
Gibbs was very helpful in assisting me in obtaining
information about the Hagetts who had once inhabited this
area. In 1892, Eben
Hagett purchased 1,120 acres of land from W.B. Lenoir for
$1300. This included
Hagett Cove and areas on Long Creek and Rock Creek. Eben Hagett was from
the town of
Eben Hagett sold the land to Ebenezer Hagett of
the Buffalo-Snowbird Railroad Company, owned by Bemis
Lumber Company and Champion Paper and Fiber, began
construction of a railroad up Atoah Creek that went
through I.U. Gap and on to Snowbird. Hagett Cove was said
to be the first area along the railroad to be logged.
Today, most of Hagett Cove is a part of the
recently returned to Hagett Cove. Much change is evident
from my childhood days. I
entered the bottom of the cove.
I could have gone in by a Forest Service logging road
and shortened my hike considerably, but I wanted to go
the way I did as a small boy, all the way from the bottom
to the very top of Hagett Knob.
I was surprised to find that the cove is still
very open, the old road still is much in evidence. Once into the cove, it
was very peaceful and quiet with only the sound of the
wind blowing and the rustle of falling leaves. Brilliant patches of
autumn color were still visible here and there. Once on top of the
knob, the view is still worth the hike. From one side of the
knob, I could see down Atoah and outlying areas around
moving to the other side of the knob, I could look down
Long Creek with its church visible in the distance. By turning around, I
could see Joanna Bald with its forest fire lookout and
cell phone tower. As
I viewed this domain, I though of the Hagetts living
there, of Dewey Sharpe visiting the cove, then myself,
then others after me. It
reminded me of a couple of Bible verses found in
Ecclesiastes 1:4, 10; One generation passes away
and another generation comes --- Is there anything
whereof it may be said, See, this is new? It has been already of
old time, which was before us.