Courtney Lix wrote an extraordinary book (affiliate link) about 19 women who have lived in the Smokies, from the 1800s and on. Some of them are still alive. One used to be my neighbor before she moved out of state to be closer to her grandchildren.
These ladies accomplished many impressive feats, like Dolly Parton and Pat Summitt. Others, like Hattie Ogle, helped their family build an empire of real estate and shops. Ogle said everything she knew she learned from Irene Mize, whom I met just before she passed away. It’s a small world.
The first woman Superintendent of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park used to be my neighbor. She was kind and very helpful. Too bad she had to move away, but she was following her grandchildren and her daughter to a new location. She is happy to be close to family. We are still friends on Facebook.
The sacrifices made by these ladies who lived 100 years ago in the park have paved the way for my generation to be liberated and empowered. Some of them had to sell their farms to the government when the National Park was created. The stories in the book will touch your heart and inform your mind.