- [S104] Cocke County, Tennessee, and its People, Cocke County Heritage Book Committee, (Walsworth Publishing, 1992), 188.
- [S120] A Place Called Home: Our Story, David L. Popiel, Duay O'Neil, et. al., (2006, The Newport Plain Talk / Jones Media Inc.), firstname.lastname@example.org., 114.
- [S106] The Mountain Press, 8 May 2016.
Gatlinburg’s historic Ogle cabin has been relocated
On Wednesday, April 20, 2016, the historic Ogle cabin was lifted and moved to the Gatlinburg Welcome Center.
During the month of March, Layman Construction Company and House Movers carefully prepared the historic dwelling for relocation. The Ogle Cabin was officially donated to the city of Gatlinburg during a key ceremony in October 2015.
That the cabin has survived this long in the center of the busy tourist destination is remarkable. Listed on the National Register of Historic Sites since 1986, the cabin was the first house built in what is now Gatlinburg.
Born about 1854, William "Billy" Ogle was a Revolutionary War soldier who came to the area that later became Gatlinburg from Edgefield, South Carolina. It is said that he hunted with the local Indians and decided to build a cabin and move his family there. He reported to his family that the water ran clear and pure, there was plenty of game and fish, and the soil was rich loam. Ogle called the place "The Land of Paradise."
He married Martha Jane Huskey in 1778 and they had seven children. Born Dec. 9, 1756, in Wake County, North Carolina, Martha Jane was said to be part Cherokee Indian.
In 1802, William Ogle selected a building site near a large spring beside a beech tree. He cut and hewed the logs, left them to dry and returned to his home in South Carolina to get his family. After he arrived home, Ogle planted a crop in order to have plenty of food for his family to survive in the wilderness.
Before the crop was harvested, an epidemic of malaria broke out. William Ogle contracted the disease and died in 1803. After William died his widow, who was in her mid-40s, took her five sons and two daughters for a short visit with her relatives in Virginia. From there they traveled with her brother, Peter Huskey, and his family to the land where her deceased husband had prepared a home site.
In 1807, Martha Jane and her children, with the help of the Huskeys, soon finished the little log cabin for which her husband had prepared the logs. Over the next century several generations of the Ogle family resided in the cabin.
Martha Jane and her family were determined to carve out a living in the rugged mountains. According to the minutes of the Forks-of-the-Little Pigeon-River Baptist Church in Sevierville, Martha Ogle was one of the group of people from White Oak Flats Community who asked the Forks-of-the-Little Pigeon Church to establish a church in White Oak Flats as an arm of the church in Sevierville in December 1817.
There are countless descendants of the five Ogle brothers: Hercules, Thomas, John, Isaac and William. The older daughter, Rebecca, married James McCarter and later married Middleton Whaley. The younger daughter, Mary Ann, married William M. Whaley. The following generations married settlers with surnames such as Reagan, Maples, Bohannon, Parton, Trentham, Cole, Bales, King, Oakley, Ownby, Clabo, Grooms, Profitt, Watson, Carr, Ramsey, Dodgen, Bradley, Huff, Eslinger and a few others. These pioneer families made up the nucleus of what became known as the White Oaks Flats settlement.
Andrew Ogle, great-grandson of William and Martha Jane, was the last member of the Ogle family to reside in the cabin. In 1910, he and his wife, Martha Trentham, built a new four-room house just below the cabin.
In 1935, Pi Beta Phi bought Andrew's 35-acre farm, which included the cabin and his new house, for expansion of the settlement school. At the time Evelyn Bishop was the director of the settlement school. Bishop attended a meeting in New York in the spring of 1920 to enlist the services of a nurse for the school. Phyllis Higinbotham, a young, well-educated nurse from Canada, volunteered to go to Gatlinburg. She arrived in 1920 and found there was not a registered nurse in Sevier County.
When Higinbotham came there was nothing for her to work with. The following year, Pi Beta Phi bought the Andrew Ogle farm, which adjoined the E.E. Ogle Farm (also 35 acres), which they had purchased in 1913 for the settlement school.
Higinbotham converted the four-room house into a health center and emergency hospital. Between 1922 and 1926, Evelyn Bishop and Phyllis Higinbotham gathered primitive furniture and other household items from the mountain people to place in the log cabin, and it became a museum that replicated what an early mountain home would have looked like.
In 1969, when the new Arrowmont classroom building was under construction, Administrator Lucile Woodworth had the cabin moved to a site beside the Arrowcraft Shop, the site of the first White Oak Flats Baptist Church.
In 1986, the Little Pigeon Alumnae Club of Pi Beta Phi brought out of storage all the furnishings for this cabin that Bishop and Higinbotham collected some 60 years earlier. They set to cleaning and polishing every item and had some pieces repaired so the Ogle cabin could be opened as a museum for Tennessee Homecoming '86. Since that time the cabin has been visited by thousands of tourists.
Now in its fourth location, the historic cabin will continue to be a museum where visitors can learn about what life was like for Gatlinburg's earliest settlers. Historic antiques such as a loom, spinning wheel, and other tools will be on display.
Carroll McMahan is special projects facilitator for the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce and serves as Sevier County historian.
The Upland Chronicles series celebrates the heritage and past of Sevier County. If you have suggestions for future topics, would like to submit a column or have comments, contact Carroll McMahan at 453-6411 or email@example.com; or Ron Rader at 604-9161 or firstname.lastname@example.org.