Reprinted from Montgomery's Vindicator, Sevierville, TN, Wednesday, September 29, 1937

State Representative Relates History of Grandparents Life in the Smokies
(by Mrs Ruth W. O' Dell)


The following account is of the writer's grandparents -- their early life, courtship and marriage, information gathered from other relatives.

It was springtime in the Great Smokies in the year 1860.  Joseph Shrader and wife, Nancy Martin Shrader, were prosperous, happy, God fearing, homeloving people.  They had a rather large family of grown children.  They were William, Carroll, James, Dicie, Cassandra and Chrisley, then Mary Anne who was always called "Polly".  To be a member of this particular Shrader family in Sevier county, in Tennessee, was like being a "Van" in some other states.

Homes of peace and plenty in the East Tennessee mountains were the rule and not the exception as many people have thought.  The pioneer settlers of this particular region were called Scotch-Irish but in truth were more Scotch than Irish, having merely emigrated to Ireland to escape religious persecution and failing to find their freedom there, they journeyed on to the New World and settled in Pennsylvania and Maryland, gradually following the Appalachian mountains from their Pennsylvania homes to the foothill of Alabama, which of course brought them through Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee along its eastern border.

No section of the whole world is so marked by blood as the South and particularly the mountain section.  These people are not the "poor whites" of the southern lowlands, but Scotch-Irish and English, always protestant in their faith, wonderful colonizers, thrifty, honest and highly honorable and intelligent citizens.  If their customs and language seem grotesque it is purest English of the 17th century with a few Shakespearian expressions added.

The Shrader children in the home of Joseph and his wife were well born, well bred and well loved by the entire neighborhood around about Cedar Bluff, their home community, where many of their grandchildren and great grandchildren live today, If there was ever a "black sheep" among them no one ever heard about it.  The girls were all beautiful; Polly Anne was the most striking of them all.  She was tall and slender with a head of gorgeous, dark red hair, truly auburn with its scintillating gold and copper lights, a Titian blonde, rare as they are beautiful.

The morning that Polly Anne was 18 was a day in April, it was Sunday, which meant that all must go to church.  Polly arose early that morn and climbed to the top of Cedar Bluff near her home so that she could better watch the sun come up over the mountain top and so that she could be alone and dream her dreams undisturbed.  One of her chief attractions at times was a wistful, half pensive yearning that often brought a far away look into her extremely fair face.  She was not one of those maidens who had reluctant feet but she was eager and ready to meet life with a zest, and she somehow felt that lovely spring morning that she was close to some great change in her life.

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