I grew up near the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. In the 1960's settlers still lived in many homesteads around the Cades Cove loop road. I loved their furnishings and ended up capturing images that document a lifestyle long forgotten.
When the states of Tennessee and North Carolina begin to purchase land for the creation of the national park, the first large piece of land purchased in 1927 included most of the land in the mountains north of Cades Cove. A few families welcomed the state's effort to buy land for the park; some families did resist the effort. One resident, John W. Oliver went to court several times before he finally lost.
Some residents signed life-leases that allowed them to live on their land for the rest of their life. People who agreed to a life lease were given less money for their land and were required to live by the rules set by the National Park Service, such as restrictions on hunting, trapping and timber cutting but they were allowed to graze cattle, raise bees and make sorghum molasses.
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