The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Heart of the Blue Ridge

If the Hills Could Talk

By Rose Carter Parmer © 2014

Online: December, 2014

If the hills could talk on Timbertree, I wonder what they would say.

Would they tell about Samuel McMurray and Jane Ramey who came to this area in the late 1700s or early 1800s? Would they tell of raising their children there, of log cabins, fireplaces, cooking pots hanging over that fire? Would they tell of the men hunting for deer, squirrels, whatever they could find to feed their families?

I bet they would talk about grubbing the fields, clearing stumps and cutting trees for fields to plant corn, beans, and for firewood to keep warm and to cook with. Using the trees they cut to build their homes; dabbing mud in the cracks to keep the wind and cold out.

I am sure they remember killing hogs, building smokehouses, and well houses over springs, putting butter and milk in the spring to keep it cold; running the cows in for milking time; making hominy in barrels; making lye soap; gathering eggs. Chasing bears, coyotes away from the livestock. Wonder if there were wolves in this area back then?

Before them, what did the Native Americans do? Were there teepees and homes on the land I was raised on? Did they raise corn and beans, or were they primarily hunters, or both? Where did they bury their dead? We found plenty of Indian arrowheads there.

What happened during the Civil War? Brother against brother, cousin against cousin. Primarily Confederate, but I do know some folks from Scott were also Union. There were family feuds and quarrels that lasted generations.

Graves on the McMurray hill, all those babies, so many died before penicillin. Know one of them died from appendicitis, some I suspect from the flu epidemic in the early 1900s. Home remedies, such as polecat grease, herbs, willow bark, healers and midwives.

Would they tell of the joys of Mommas and Daddies babies, so many mothers laboring at home, with a midwife; if she was lucky? No birth control and so many mothers who didn't make it through childbirth; so many of the children not living to adulthood. I can't imagine what they went through, what they felt.

Now here we are, living in this tech savvy world, so many things we never imagined when we were growing up. Now we all have electricity, computers, indoor bathrooms, running water.

Wish the hills could talk to me. The wind sings, Timbertree Branch babbles, but doesn't tell me what I want to know. Perhaps one day another Timbertreean will wonder about us and try to figure out what we thought. And life goes on.