- [S9] Smoky Mountain Historical Society Newsletter, Smoky Mountain Historical Society, Vol. XXVI, Issue 1, page 42-45, 2000.
This is the remembrance of Hattie Ogle McGiffin as she grew up and lived her entire life in Gatlinburg, Sevier County, Tennessee. She was born in Gatlinburg in February 1898 and is the daughter of Isaac L. and Jemima Whaley Maples. She had two brothers, Lillard and Cecil Maples, and two sisters, Emma and Arlena Maples and one half sister, Louise. Her grandfather was David Crockett Maples, Sr., and a Corporal in the Union Army during the Civil War. His father was Noah Maples the founder of the Banner Settlement that is now a part of Gatlinburg.
Mrs. McGiffin’s home in Gatlinburg was in the center of town and on the banks of the Little Pigeon River. She has always had a love for the waters. She attended the schools in Gatlinburg, one of which was the school established by the Pi Beta Phi Sorority. In addition to the sorority’s school, one of their social events was their spelling bees. They also formed a club they called the Tomato Club in which they grew, canned, and sold tomatoes. Their social gatherings were enhanced by the entertainment of little local string bands.
One of the stories Hattie remembers is a tale of her grandfather, David Crockett Maples, Sr. being trapped in a blizzard near the top of the Smoky Mountains and having his legs frozen. A stranger had come to his home and asked to be led to the top of the mountain so he could make it to Cherokee, NC. On his way back, David was caught in a blizzard and found refuge in a large hollow log. His horse kept moving all night, suffered no ill effects, and was able to bring her grandfather home the next day. David’s feet and legs were so badly frozen that they were amputated (without anesthesia) about mid-calf. He improvised and built his own artificial legs and lived a normal life. Mrs. McGiffin also remembers seeing the doctor remove one of her grandfather’s eyes (again without anesthesia.)
At the age of 14, she went to work in her father Isaac’s General Store. Local hunters would dry the skins of the animals they killed and bring them to the store to trade. She learned to evaluate the value of these skins well and was put in charge of that part of the business. When they had accumulated a wagon full of skins, they would head to Knoxville to sell them. By wagon, Knoxville was a two-day trip. They would camp overnight on Meigs Mountain. One of these nights they were short for food at suppertime. She had been riding on a chicken coop in the back of the wagon snacking on the cheese they had brought for supper.
They were making one of these trips when the Gay Street Bridge was first completed. In those days, there was even a speed limit for the wagons. As they crossed the new bridge, Isaac decided to speed the mules up to a trot. He was stopped, charged with speeding, and pleaded his own case in trial. Since the bridge was so new, he was let off with a warning.
While working in her father’s store, she fell in love with the son of a competing merchant. This young gentleman was Charles A. Ogle whom she married in 1917. They had four children. C. Earl was born on July 29,1918 and Elizabeth came on March 1, 1920. Antoinette followed on April 11, 1923 and Thomas Austin was born on September 21,1929.
After the children started school, she still had a desire to be a part of the business world. In 1932, the young entrepreneur opened her first craft shop. One of the things the Pi Beta Phi School had done was to revive craft making and encourage area handcrafters. Mrs. McGiffin sold strictly handcrafts from the local area or nearby regions. Her favorite items were locally made baskets and hand-woven goods. She employed around 25 local crafters to supply her with merchandise to sell.
She recalls a disappointing experience she had with a friend who wanted to sell her weavings. After the two ladies agreed upon a contract, her friend took Mrs. McGiffln’s weavings and displayed them in her tearoom. Unfortunately, she used them only for display and didn’t sell any at all. When interest was shown in an item, she would go to her car and get weavings she had been buying up from other sources.
Soon after Mrs. McGiffin entered the Gatlinburg business world with her craft shop, more visitors started discovering the relaxing mountain town. Realizing they needed a place to stay, she opened and operated a tourist home. She next added two motels and an RV park to her growing business empire. She worked long hours and often made sacrifices for the good of the business. In order to make payments on her first investment, as she was building the motel she would rent her apartment for $35 a night (quite a large sum of money at that time) and sleep on a cot in her laundry room. When she felt it was time to retire from the business world, she began leasing the properties she had acquired throughout her career. Mrs. McGiffin says, “I credit my long time secretary, Irene M. Mize, as having most influenced my life.”
Mrs. McGiffln happily recalls many exciting experiences from her past. One of her favorites is the remembrance of presenting a hand-woven tie she had made for President Roosevelt to his wife, Eleanor, when the First Family was here for the Great Smoky Mountain National Park Dedication. Another fond recollection is a horseback ride up to Mt. LeConte when she chaperoned her daughter, Annette, her secretary, Irene Mize, and their boyfriends on an overnight trip.
“Granny Hattie”, as she is called by the younger generations of her family, and several “adopted” grandkids, often speaks of the changes that have occurred throughout the century. She recalls the progress in transportation - from riding in mule-drawn wagons or on horseback to rail, automobile and airplane. She considers the most important improvements and inventions during the century in communication, radio, TV and electricity. In the early part of the century, her father built a small dam to manufacture his own electricity. In the early 1900’S, their only communication with friends in other communities was a letter or postcard delivered by a mail carrier on horseback. She has seen comparable advances in the medical field. In the early part of the century when a doctor was needed, he came to the home on horseback carrying his little “black satchel” that contained his tools, supplies and remedies. She has seen such drastic changes in medicine; when she was a young woman, receiving basic dental work or a pair of eyeglasses meant an overnight trip to Knoxville.
Hattie Ogle McGiffin is very proud of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park not only for its beauty, but also for what it has done for the citizens of Gatlinburg. Her secretary remembers she was very selective in choosing her tenants as she leased her properties; she always wanted to make sure they were an asset to the city of Gatlinburg and the National Park.
Mrs. McGiffin has lived through a number of wars. She had friends in the armed forces during World War I. Her oldest son, Earl, fought to protect our freedoms in the Pacific Theater during World War II and her youngest, Tom, proudly served his country during the Korean War. As she visits the past, she recalls the heartbreak of sending the two boys into battle.
Mrs. McGiffin is a woman of amazing ability who has built her remarkable vision for the future of Gatlinburg into a reality. She works for, and has assisted with, any endeavors that she felt would benefit her community. She has instilled in her children and four generations of grandchildren the principle that “they should always be fair and honest in all their dealings”. With a sly smile, she explains she has also advised them “Never Sell - Always Buy” and one easily realizes she is speaking of real estate, the land that has always been her passion. She continues, “I credit a good life to working hard and enjoying your work.” And adds that the only change she would make in her life would be “to go back to college and get a better education.”
Mrs. McGiffin has used the rewards of her labor to benefit many worthy causes. She is one of the founders of the Dr. Robert F. Thomas Foundation and a strong supporter of both the Fort Sanders Sevier Medical Center and Walters State Community College. She is the oldest-living member of the First Baptist Church in Gatlinburg where she has worshipped her entire life and one of the church families instrumental in building the New First Baptist Church. She gave the land for both the beautiful First United Methodist Church and the Episcopalian Church parsonages. In 1996, she was honored by being named the first female inductee into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame.
“Grannie Hattie” has shared her business talents and visions for the Gatlinburg area with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She has gradually turned over the business responsibilities to them, but continues to advise and guide the family in the endeavors. Over the last few years, they have continued to realize her dreams for the resort town with their involvement in several distinctive projects in the Gatlinburg area. Mrs. McGiffin states with a great deal of pride, “The grandchildren are a part of the legacy I am leaving.”
Hattie Ogle McGiffln is now living in her Douglas Lake home where she can enjoy the peaceful waters and her awe-inspiring Great Smoky Mountains. Yet still, at 101 years old, she often “goes for a ride” with her companion every few days to monitor the growth that is taking place just as she envisioned.
Resides in: Dandridge, TN
Birth date: February 24,1898
Father-Isaac Levator Maples
Mother-Jemima Whaley Maples
Brothers-Sidney Lillard Maples, Cecil Maples
Sisters-Emma Frances Maples, Arlena “Flossie” Maples, Louise Maples
Assistance by: Mrs. Irene M. Mize
- [S4] Knoxville News-Sentinel (Tennessee), 31 Dec 1998.
Elizabeth "Lib" (Ogle) Whaley Obituary.
- [S23] Atchley Funeral Home, (http://www.atchleyfuneralhome.com/), 29 Oct 2001.
Gloria Ogle Falk obituary
- [S23] Atchley Funeral Home, (http://www.atchleyfuneralhome.com/), 23 Jun 2002.
Hattie Ogle McGiffin
February 24, 1898 - June 21, 2002
Birthplace: Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Resided In: Gatlinburg Tennessee USA
Visitation: June 24, 2002
Service: June 24, 2002
Cemetery: Smoky Mountain Memory Gardens
Hattie Ogle McGiffin, age 104 of Gatlinburg, died Friday, June 21, 2002. She was a Gatlinburg pioneer and a member of First Baptist Church, Gatlinburg.
She was preceded in death by her husbands, Charles A. Ogle and Ira A. McGiffin; son,
C. Earl Ogle, Sr.; daughter, Elizabeth O. Whaley; granddaughter, Gloria O. Falk; parents, Isaac L. “ Squire” and Jemima Whaley Maples; brothers, Lillard and Cecil Maples; sisters, Arlena and Emma Maples.
Antoinette O. Ogle
Son and Daughters-in-law:
Thomas A. and Jean C. Ogle
Beth A. Ogle
Grandchildren and Spouses:
Charles E. and Pat Ogle
Sandy and Mark McCown
Mary Alice Cox
Tom and Susan Dunn
Dave and Mindy Ogle
Sara and Harry Valentine
27 Great Grandchildren
14 Great-Great Grandchildren
Funeral service 7 PM Monday at First Baptist Church, Gatlinburg with Rev. Marvin Cameron and Rev. Larry Burcham officiating. Interment 10 AM Tuesday in Smoky Mountain Memory Gardens with her grandsons serving as pallbearers. The family will receive friends 2-6:30 PM Monday at First Baptist Church, Gatlinburg.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: The Hattie Ogle McGiffin Memorial Fund at First Baptist Church, Gatlinburg—111 Oglewood Lane—Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738 or to The Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic—P.O. Box 5937—Sevierville, Tennessee 37864.
Arrangements by Atchley Funeral Home, Sevierville. (www.atchleyfuneralhome.com)
Hattie Ogle McGiffin obituary