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LOCAL FAMILIES HAVE TIES TO CADES COVE
By Marshall McClung
Several families in Graham County can trace their roots to Cades Cove. It is not known for sure how Cades Cove got its name, although Cade is a family name scattered about east Tennessee. It has had this name for a long time though. Hugh Dunlap was issued a land grant by the state of North Carolina in 1794 for 5,000 acres of land in Cades Cove. A community existed in Cades Cove for 115 years, from 1821 until 1936, when the area became part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Cades Cove is a relatively flat, fertile valley, and pioneers on their way west, realized it was ideal land for farming and raising cattle. Many stopped and settled there. As more people came, local governments were formed, churches and schools were built, and strong community ties developed.
Blount County, Tennessee was established in September, 1795, and Tennessee became a state the following year. Cades Cove at the time, was still a part of the Cherokee Nation. A few white settlers were probably in Cades Cove at the time, but whites could not legally claim land there until 1819 when the Cherokees signed the Calhoun Treaty. The first recorded legal land title in Cades Cove was granted to William Tipton in March, 1821 for 1,280 acres. William Tipton, along with his brothers Abraham and Thomas, obtained possession of most of the valley floor of Cades Cove containing the best farm land. The usual fee for land grants then was $1 .00 per acre. A Jacob Tipton was listed as a justice of the county court, and also a captain in the local militia. By 1830, the population of Cades Cove had grown to 271, increasing to 451 by 1840, and 685 in 1850. Just prior to the Civil War in 1860, the population had decreased to 275.
Members of the Ledbetter family came to live in Cades Cove sometime between 1850-1860. The population began to increase again, reaching 373 in 1870. Some new names to Cades Cove at this time included Wilson, Myers, and Lequire. By 1900, the population had reached 708. By 1917, the population was down again. Mail routes had been established, with records listing a population of 540. Families began to leave the cove because of employment with the Aluminum Company of America in Alcoa, and its power dam construction sites in North Carolina. Some families that entered Cades Cove in the 1830~s and stayed included the Burchfields and Gregorys. The Russell D. and Jane Whitehead Burchfield family were still in the Cove in 1920, and had just constructed a new home.
The Tipton family has a long history in east Tennessee. They may have well been the family that opened up Cades Cove. John Tipton was a Revolutionary War veteran, as was William "Fighting Billy" Tipton. Benjamin Tipton owned property near the Primitive Baptist Church in Cades Cove. Jacob Tipton was killed by Indians while hunting in Cades Cove in the late 1820's. Jacob Tipton was said to be "hot headed", and usually started fighting before asking questions. Once he attacked his father, Joshua Jobe Tipton, who being a smaller man, used rocks to defend himself.
Peter Cable and Dan Cable purchased land in Cades Cove in June, 1825 and were from Carter County, Tennessee. A brother Samuel Cable, also lived in the Cove, moving to Hazel Creek in 1839. It is from Samuel Cable that Cable Cove in Graham County is said to have gotten its name. Peter Cable and wife Catherine Hallows Cable lived in Cades Cove around 1830. Peter Cable helped found the Primitive Baptist Church in Cades Cove. John Cable moved to the Cove in 1867, shortly after the end of the Civil War. Rebecca Cable, and brother Dan Cable, operated a store in Cades Cove until 1896.
The Burchfields of Cades Cove came from Yancey County, North Carolina. The 1840 census lists Robert, Moses Y., Nathan, and Wilson "Wilse" Burchfield in Cades Cove. Robert owned 150 acres there in 1834. Wilson Burchfield owned 5,000 acres in 1884, later assigning it to his sons Zeke and Sam Burchfield. Samuel "Smoke" Burchfield came to Cades Cove in. 186.6. His wife was Mary Ann "Polly" Shuler. Sam was convicted of shooting and killing "Chicken Eater" John Tipton in August, 1901. He was sent to the penitentiary, became ill, was sent home, and died in 1904.
The Cades Cove Gregorys descended from Russell Gregory and Susan Hill Gregory of North Carolina. They were in Cades Cove as early as 1850. They owned 1,150 acres including the area now known as Gregory Bald.
The Myers family of Cades Cove descended from John Myers and Jane Dunn Myers. They owned Tuckaleechee Cove. Dan Myers was well known for his bee gums and honey production. "Baldy" John Myers was a maker of fine furniture from black cherry and other hardwoods that grew locally.
As a summary, the following names, common to Graham County have historic ties to Cades Cove: Cable, Garland, Ledbetter, Myers, Tipton, Shuler (sometimes spelled Schuler), Johnson, Gregory, Lequire, Buchanan, Cooper, Hill, Brown, Burchfield, Roberts, and Wilson.
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This page is maintained by Tom Livingston, Robbinsville, North Carolina