I was born and raised in Sevierville, TN. Like many Sevier County locals (including Dolly Parton, my schoolmate) during that era, my family had extensive roots in the mountains now known as The Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Logging was king during that era and had helped to sprout many small communities like Elkmont and Tremont in the Smokies. The garden was the lifeblood of our family. Preserving and canning helped to ensure that families had plenty to help get through the harsh winters of the East Tennessee mountains. Once the Great Smoky Mountain National Park was dedicated in 1940, many of these mountain families, including my grandparents, Eldridge & Ida Ownby, relocated to nearby areas in Sevier County.
I was affectionately known as “Sannie” by my grandfather and spent countless summer days with my grandparents and soaked up the stories of life in the mountains. I still talk of walking barefoot in the freshly plowed fields of my “Papaw” Ownby. Those special times with my grandparents on the family farm in Waldens Creek help to ignite my passion for gardening and canning.
Do you have a special memory of your grandparents? If so, share your memory with us in the comments.