Month: June 2014

Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier…

Stop 7: Bear Paw at Davy Crockett Tavern Museum

2002 Morningside Drive, Morristown TN 37814

Open May-October, Tues-Saturday 11 am-5 pm

General Admission $5, $1 for students

 

Appalachia is filled with so much history, from how our area was settled by immigrants who weren’t supposed to settle in the mountains, to our music, to our way with food. Even our early settlers and pioneers were characters whose histories are filled with just as much folklore as they are with genuine facts. Appalachians are known for their storytelling and I got my fill of it, both historic and of the tall-tale kind, on my latest trail stop: The Davy Crockett Tavern.

 

David Crockett (who never referred to himself as Davy) was a frontiersman, politician, Americana figure, and solider. He was born and raised in the Limestone/Green County/Hamblen County area of Tennessee. Although his childhood home is in Limestone, the tavern, run by his parents, is located in Morristown. Here, individuals could eat, sleep, drink, and rest their horses. Growing up, David helped steer cattle and hunt game for the tavern, and he really did shoot black bears and wear coonskin caps. Crockett was part of the Tennessee House of Representatives and later held a seat in the 21st United States Congress. He served two terms, then went off to fight in the Texas Revolution, where he died defending the Alamo. What makes him such a folklore legend in Appalachia are tales of his larger-than-life personality, his charisma and his appearance. Crockett was known for his pointed nose, rosy cheeks,large forehead, and small chin. He also told some stories himself. While many people get him confused with Daniel Boone, Crockett and Boone never knew each other. Boone was alive 50 years before Crockett.

 

I learned this and so much more from my tour guide, Sally. I could tell that Sally loved telling the story of Crockett and life in the pioneer days. As she walked me around the premises of the historical site, she told me tales of the fire that made the Crocketts relocate, how David’s grandparents are buried in Rogersville, and about the grist mill his dad had. Sally also took me through a looming room and taught me about looming, spindles, the different kinds of thread they used (like flax! it isn’t just for eating!), and how they used a certain type of bug, called cochineal, to dye things bright red. I even learned where the childhood song, “Pop goes the weasel” comes from (and it isn’t about a real weasel chasing a mulberry bush). I saw old cast iron skillets, pots, irons, and curling irons. Sally showed me old coins and old paper money. There was even a ledger from the store that David’s mom, Rebecca, bought from. Believe it or not one could get a lot of stuff from that store. She was filled with so much knowledge that I could have stayed all day and listened to her. She was that good. While I was finishing up my trip more visitors came in for a tour. Sally’s face just lit up; she was so eager to show them around the tavern.

 

The Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities is the group that helped to restore, rebuild and acquire items for the Tavern.The APTA acquired the land in 1957 and the museum was built between 1957 and 1958. The furnishings have been donated by local families via the APTA. Outreach is very important to them, so they hold educational field trips and do work with Eagle Scouts. Their quilt square is a 4×4 piece painted by a local Morristown artist, Robert Spirko. The quilt square came to them from Nana Bear Quilts, which was a popular quilt store/quilting place in Morristown. When they closed, Nana Bear Quilts gave the bear paw square to Davy Crockett Tavern. It is significant because Davy Crockett was very proficient in his hunting skills, and it is one of the things he is known for.

 

In addition to all of this, they hold Live History Days and celebrate Davy’s birthday! The Live History Days are where people can come and learn about pioneer life and do things like our ancestors did. On Davy’s birthday they celebrate all things Davy and even have knife throwing competitions! Check the website for more information: http://crocketttavernmuseum.org/news.html

 

This is a great place for families and those interested in history. For $5 you get a guided tour and your money goes to help keep up the Tavern, which is taken care of by volunteers.

 

 

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The tavern, front view

The tavern, front view

back of the tavern, the original tavern was where the trees are

back of the tavern, the original tavern was where the trees are

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up close view. It is covered by a protective glass to keep it from getting weathered.

Up close view. It is covered by a protective glass to keep it from getting weathered.

Bear Paw quilt pattern. It was painted by a local.

Bear Paw quilt pattern. It was painted by a local.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The shed and an original wagon of what the Crockett's would have used

The shed and an original wagon of what the Crockett’s would have used

 

The original grist mill that Davy's dad used

The original grist mill that Davy’s dad used

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A loom

A loom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A spindle with some linen cloths in the background

A spindle with some linen cloths in the background

 

spinner's weasel/clock wheel: where "Pop! Goes the weasel" comes from

spinner’s weasel/clock wheel: where “Pop! Goes the weasel” comes from

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up for a game of checkers? They would use the end of the corn cob, dry it out and use different color corn for the different sides.

Up for a game of checkers? They would use the end of the corn cob, and color them with a market to differentiate the sides. They were called draughts.

Stop 6: The Red Barn in Russell Co, VA

Sometimes my travels for work take me outside Tennessee. The other day I was going to a Clinch River Valley Initiative meeting up in Cleveland, Virginia. Yes, there is a Cleveland in Virginia. This Cleveland only has ~200 people and is out in God’s country (another term for out in the boonies, out yonder, middle of nowhere). It was a lovely drive, very scenic and peaceful. I had found the poem below right before my trip and wanted to find a red barn to go with it. I am driving down this curvy back road on my to Cleveland I stumble across this bard. It was perfect for the poem! The farm is called Bluegrass Farm and they had cows in the pasture. I believe the pattern is called Rising Sun. 

The Red Barn Remembers by Barbara Gorelick

The red barn stands, silhouetted against the sky.

An oak tree wraps its tired limbs around her

As if to protect her from time and age.

Her roof, sagging, color faded,

An errant plume of red along her frame.

Yet, proudly she stands, remembrance of a happy time.

Shelter from the rain, children

Playing in her hair, lovers hiding in her shadows.

Beauty I see now, not bright, not boastful.

With dignity and respect she bows to age.

 

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Winding roads, horses, honeysuckle, and quilt squres Pt 2

Last week I shared with you my first two stops on my sunny days tour around Rutledge, TN. For those of you who might be new, here is the link for last weeks entry: https://sawtoothstories.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/winding-roads-horses-honeysuckle-and-quilt-squares-pt-1-rutledge-tn/.

I also got some lovely comments and new followers, so thank you very much! Here are stops 3-5, enjoy!

Stop 3: Trip Around the World

Located right on 11 W at the side of the road, just getting off the road to take a picture was an adventure. 5 turnarounds and a driveway later I finally found a good spot to land a picture or two. Look at those wild daisies and other wild flowers! To view the square, click the picture below to enlarge it.

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Stop 4: Confederate Rose on Joppa Mountain Road

Isn’t this a beauty? This is a little shed on the right side of the road. It is right across from a very gorgeous old fashioned home that house two great Pyrenees dogs. I found that out because they barked at me as I stopped in the middle of the road to take a picture (yes, I did it country style, just stopped in the middle of road). I loved the honeysuckle that was creeping all around the shed. It made the air so fragrant and luscious.

 

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Stop 5: Little Dutch Girl @ The Corum House

This sweet girl is right next door to the Bryan House. She is all ready for summer decked out in  her pale yellow gingham dress and sun bonnet to match. The old shed really adds character to the quilt square. Not only is the little Dutch girl sweet, it is also a family quilt!  Julie Wilson’s grandmother, Nana, made this quit for her and Julie in turn made it into a barn quilt square.

 

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