Reminders of What Once Was at a Place Called Mossy Springs
On the last day of May in 2015, as a gentle off and on rain fell upon the tin roof of an open air shelter, a window into times past opened at a place called Mossy Springs. While seated in the picturesque setting, overlooking the clearing near the spring from which the sacred place takes its name, time seemed to come to halt and at times flow backwards-to the time before “the move”- to the time before the “water came up”.
Former residents and descendants of those who rest beneath the soil at Mossy Springs and numerous cemeteries scattered about the depopulated area meet twice a year to renew the ties of kinship and neighborliness, to remember generations who lived and died on the now forsaken land as well as the old, the young, and everyone in-between who was uprooted, disposed, and dispersed in conjunction with the Tennessee Valley Authority's first project.
The phrases “the move” and “when the water came up” were familiar phrases to them and continue to resonate among their descendants. Of course, the water never came up to Mossy Springs, but I suspect that the large flow of water that opens from the side of a ridge and reenters the earth at the bottom of a deep sink hole, empties again somewhere beneath the surface of Norris Reservoir.
On a day that descendants outnumbered former residents at Mossy Springs, little imagination was required to recreate the one room school upon its stone foundation, behind the circular steps as Flonze Sorey, only eight years old at the time of “the move”, shared stories of his schooldays at Mossy Springs. As Sorey remembered his classmates, some of the older boys must have been practically grown but trailing far behind their chronological age academically. I strongly suspect that many of them had been held out of school at critical times to perform essential farm work for their families-an all too common social ill of the times. Sorey also recalled that the one room structure was transformed into two classrooms by a curtain drawn across the floor.
Sorey's childhood memories before the move also include the tragic death of his young niece, Joan Arlene Boruff, is a house fire near the adjoining community of Privy Flats.
Unlike Mossy Springs, Privy Flats is mostly, if not completely submerged beneath the waters of Norris Reservoir. As youth my brother and I, snickered at the mention of Privy Flats. According to my Grandmother's cousin. Mary Bolinger Snodderly, the community was named for a plant, but practically anything involving privies is funny to young boys.
The strong clear spring from which Mossy Springs took its name never runs dry and served a practical purpose for the pioneers and successive generations. Later captured in a series of at least two tanks, it provided water for a Civilian Conservation Corps camp in between the time of “the move” and the Second World War. Obviously, the spring continues to be fertile in nutrients that facilitate the growth of moss as much of the lower tank is covered in thick moss.
Descendants continue to return for a drink or to cool their hands and splash their faces with refreshing water on hot days. Others come from a distance to bottle up water from the spring to take home for consumption.
The picnic area at Mossy Springs is one of my favorite places to go for contemplation and prayer much as the pioneers must have done years ago. The surroundings have an unworldly air about them. Perhaps therein is a place where angels ascend and descend such as Jacob of old dreamed in the 28 the chapter of Genesis. In the seventeenth verse we read that Jacob declared that “this is the gate of heaven.” Years ago, when I was a student at Cumberland College, a long-neglected spot, behind Johnson Hall, known as the Garden of Gethsemane, was said to be a place where angels ascend and descend.
Before the move, one church building set across the glen from the spring below the largest burial ground at Mossy Springs. Another was on out the ridge from the spring near the McCarty Cemetery. The steps to the second church in the woods nearby are also remain as a reminder of what was once at a place called Mossy Springs.
Historians will record 2018 as the second year in a row of a balanced budget for Union County; likely the most significant legislative accomplishment of the County Commission in a generation. Union County’s budget is one of the most important pieces of public policy the Commission enacts every year.
My husband's widowed mother married her former brother-in-law in our living room. Uncle Charlie had hurt his leg putting down our well on the property of what was to be our new home, closer to my husband's work. The minister said it wasn't written anywhere that you had to stand to be married. We were all seated.
Back to the well. The water table was high at the new place. We didn't need to drill a well, Uncle Charlie said. He would help us pound down a well. It was cheaper to do than drilling a well. The three of us could do it.
Some spices I am privileged to experience from the side line.
That spring evening, my daughter Sara’s softball team was playing the number one, undefeated team in their league. The other team were all 12 years old whereas Sara’s teammates were barely 10. We went in with no illusions of victory. If we were lucky, we may get one run.
At the top of the third inning, Sara went up to bat. At this point, none of ours girls had made it to first base, which was no surprise. At least they looked cute in their red, white, and blue outfits.
The pitcher threw. Sara swung.
I remember when I worked full time in a sewing factory. My mind would wander while sewing. After you do the same stitching over and over, it doesn't take all your attention to do the job. My mind would wander to wondering what I would fix for supper that evening. My kids were in the lower grades in school and came home about the same time I did. They had a long bus ride.
When you run across a snake, their normal reaction is to get away. But if they feel threatened enough all snakes will bite defensibly. If you are bitten, here are some recommended first aide treatments.
Try to determine if it’s venomous or not. If you’re confident it’s not you can treat the bite like you would a puncture wound. Check with your doctor to see if you might need a tetanus shot booster.
Narrow Ridge invites our friends and neighbors to join us for our open music jam on Saturday, July 21 at our outdoor stage just up the road from our Mac Smith Resource Center at 1936 Liberty Hill Rd. We are happy to announce that local artists, Dixie Nicely and Wendal Sturgill, will kick off the festivities from 6:30 to 7:00 pm. 7:00 will begin the open mic/jam portion of the evening when we invite guests to share their talents in a forum that provides equal time to all who wish to participate.
"We invite all area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders to come together on the last Thursday of each month at Hardee's at 7:30 am. This is to be a time of fellowship, prayer, and discussion about how we as a community of Faith can work together to have a positive impact on our county. All are welcome!" Margaret Chesney
The next regular workshop and meeting of the Union County Board of Education will be held on Thursday, July 26, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. at Union County High School. The workshop will begin at 6:00 p.m. with the meeting immediately to follow.
REGULAR WORKSHOP UNION COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION THURSDAY, JULY 26, 2018 6:00 p.m. Union County High School
1. Discuss School Trips
· None at Time of Publication
2. Budget Amendments and Transfers/Director’s Monthly Report—Ann Dyer
On February 22, 2018, A Call To Prayer was made in the Luttrell Community. Several community pastor agreed to go back to their respective churches and call on their members to pray for the Lord to guide in an effort to unite our churches with a common goal of a Community Worship & Revival leading folks to Jesus the only begotten son of God.
Benny went to sit on the lap of his LORD and SAVIOR Saturday July 14, 2018 at children's hospital.
Benny our sweet angel is the son of April King. Grandson to Sherri and Matt Bridges. Benny was also a brother to Kyle King and Jesse Perry. Great Grandchild of Barbara Brown along with Ronnie and Tina Bridges. Benny was the nephew of Alley King, Jacob King, Ethan Muehliesen, Leah Bridges, Isaiah Bridges, Faith Bridges and Noah Bridges.
Proceeded in death by great grandfather W.L. Carmon Our love for our sweet Benny will forever be. Always our sweet Angel!!
Donald H. Norris-age 64 of Maynardville passed away Monday morning, July 16, 2018 at his home. He was a member of Cedar Grove Baptist Church. Preceded in death by parents, Roy and Maude E. Norris; brother, David Norris.
Barbara Kay “Momma” Burkhert, age 72, went to be with the Lord on July 15, 2018. She had 3 kids, John J. Viglasky, Liesa Canupp, and Greg Viglasky. She also had 3 grandkids Ashley Taylor, Stacey Canupp, Taylor Viglasky, as well as, 4 great-grandkids. Family will receive friends 5:00-7:00pm Thursday July 19, 2018 at Mynatt Funeral Home Halls Chapel with service to follow. Family and friends will meet 10:45am Friday July 20, 2018 at Fort Sumter Cemetery for and 11:00am interment. Please leave online condolences at www.mynattfh.com
LaVerne McLain Cummings, of Knoxville, suddenly went to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Wednesday, July 11th, 2018 at Parkwest Hospital. Preceded in death by parents Ed and Mildred McLain, grandson Chad Breeden, and sister Sandra Leach. Survived by loving husband Harlan J. Cummings, daughter Angelia (Bob) Love, son Brent Cox, grandson whom she raised Matthew (Amber) Cox, granddaughters Amanda Dykes and Brittney Russell, sisters Faye (Roger) Neff and Burlene Tolman, as well as 6 great grandkids. She was looking forward to seeing her great grandson Grantley expected in August.
Michael Ernest Smith – age 53 of Maynardville, passed away suddenly Saturday, July 8, 2018.
Michael is preceded in death by his parents, Ernest and Mary Smith; and sister, Barbara Smith. He is survived by his son, Daniel; sister, Debra (Stacy) Lynn; special niece, Emily; special nephews, Derrick and Aaron Lynn; several aunts, uncles and other nieces and nephews.
Jackie Owen Carpenter, age 83, passed away at home on July 9, 2018. Jack was born October 28, 1934 in Claiborne County and graduated from Claiborne County High School in 1952. He served in the U.S. Army from 1957-1960. He earned his BA from University of California, Northridge in 1972. Jack accepted Christ at an early age and was a member of Salem Baptist Church, where he taught Sunday School for many years. He retired in 1998 from Harrison-Chihowee Baptist Academy (The Kings Academy) after 22 years of working as Business Manager.
Carolyn Lee Underwood-age 52 of Maynardville went to be with the Lord, Monday, July 9, 2018 at her home. She was a member of Grace Full Gospel Baptist Church. Preceded in death by husband, Richard Williams; grandson, Richard Dylangaddy.
Survivors: daughters, Alicia Williams, Chassitty Williams; son, Cory Underwood; husband, Randy Underwood; sisters, Charlene Gouldie, Sandra Bryant, parents, Alice and Robert England; two granddaughters, Mackenzie Mixon and Alyssa Gaddy; many nieces, nephews and a host of friends.
Steven James See, age 35 of Knoxville, went to be with the Lord July 6, 2018. He was a member of Bethlehem Baptist Church. Steven was always a friendly, outgoing young man and always had a smile on his face. He loved going to church and enjoyed fishing with his friends. He was a great uncle to his niece and nephews, as well as, a wonderful step-dad to Courtney and Austin. Preceded in death by father Steve See; grandmother, Bobbie Franklin; uncle Jack McClain.