The Mountain People of the Great Smokies

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Before it was a park, the land of Great Smoky Mountains National Park was full of thriving mountain communities such as Cades Cove and Cataloochee. View these photo snapshots of the people who made their homes on the land and try to imagine what it was like here in the early 1900s.

The John "Gull" Tipton family around 1930. John Tipton operated Cable Mill in Cades Cove for a time during the 1940s and 1950s. Photo by NPS Archives

The John "Gull" Tipton family around 1930. John Tipton operated Cable Mill in Cades Cove for a time during the 1940s and 1950s. Photo by NPS Archives

Molly McCarter Ogle rocks her daughter Mattie on the porch. This photo has become one of the most famous images created of mountain people in the Smokies. Photo taken in 1928. Photo by Laura Thornburgh courtesy of NPS Archives

Molly McCarter Ogle rocks her daughter Mattie on the porch. This photo has become one of the most famous images created of mountain people in the Smokies. Photo taken in 1928. Photo by Laura Thornburgh courtesy of NPS Archives

Law enforcement officers stand beside a captured moonshine still. Photo by NPS Archives

Law enforcement officers stand beside a captured moonshine still. Photo by NPS Archives

John Walker was the father of 11 children, including the famous Walker Sisters. He was a skilled blacksmith, carpenter, miller, and farmer. Proud of his orchard, he posed for this photo with a basket of cherries that he grew. Photo by NPS Archives

John Walker was the father of 11 children, including the famous Walker Sisters. He was a skilled blacksmith, carpenter, miller, and farmer. Proud of his orchard, he posed for this photo with a basket of cherries that he grew. Photo by NPS Archives

Farmers using a mule powered mill to grind sorghum cane to make molasses. Photo by Laura Thornburgh courtesy of NPS Archives

Farmers using a mule powered mill to grind sorghum cane to make molasses. Photo by Laura Thornburgh courtesy of NPS Archives

Sophie Campbell made clay pipes which she sold to people in the Gatlinburg area. Photo by Alan Rhinehart courtesy of NPS Archives

Sophie Campbell made clay pipes which she sold to people in the Gatlinburg area. Photo by Alan Rhinehart courtesy of NPS Archives

Margurett Powell Rider (violin) and Harriett Powell Myers (banjo) play for family members outside the George W. Powell home in Chestnut Flats. Photo taken around 1900. Photo by Robert L. Mason courtesy of NPS Archives

Margurett Powell Rider (violin) and Harriett Powell Myers (banjo) play for family members outside the George W. Powell home in Chestnut Flats. Photo taken around 1900. Photo by Robert L. Mason courtesy of NPS Archives

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Joseph S. Hall traveled throughout the Great Smoky Mountain region in the late 1930s and early 1940s, recording stories and songs to document the speech of the people who lived in the mountains. Steve Woody shared a bear hunting story with Joe Hall and his recording machine at the Woody farm in Cataloochee in 1939. Photo by NPS Archives

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