Reminders of What Once Was at a Place Called Mossy Springs

Joseph Stephens

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.

Share

Advertisement

Articles

Operation Christmas Child Event Set for Sept. 18

Operation Christmas Child Event Set for Sept. 18

Operation Christmas Child by Samaritan's Purse, that yearly effort to pack shoeboxes full of necessities for children in some of the world's most threatening situations, is a blessing for the recipients and donors alike.

Just ask Amie Winstead, Area Coordinator for the Operation Christmas Child Cumberland Pathway Team. She's been packing shoeboxes for nine years, and she says the effort "allows us to be foreign missionaries without leaving our hometowns."

Barbecue Event Upcoming for FFA Homecoming Candidate

Future Farmers of America homecoming queen candidate Savannah Jones

Savannah Jones is running for Union County High School's homecoming queen, representing the Horace Maynard Chapter of Future Farmers of America. But she's not in the competition for the glory or the crown. She's in it because she believes in the FFA and the benefits it gives students. The money she raises as a homecoming candidate will go right back into the FFA program.

Norris Lake Five County Cleanup

Norris Lake Cleanup at Oak Grove

The Norris Lake Project Team is looking for volunteers to help with the Fall Five County Norris Lake Cleanups on September 22nd, 29th and October 6th. “Since 2011, volunteers from the counties surrounding Norris Lake have picked up over 200 tons of trash,” said Stephanie Wells, Director of the Anderson County Tourism Council.

4-H Chickens Auctioned

Golden Comet Winners l to r - Chesney, Richardson, Eubanks, Holt, Sexton, Malone, Smith, Farmer

It is common knowledge that 4-H is a club for kids to learn valuable skills and get their hands dirty. This summer, fifteen Union County 4-Hers were busy carrying water, cleaning cages, and gathering eggs as they indulged in the 2018 Poultry Project. They each received twenty chicks in early March and raised the birds from one day old to young laying hens at twenty six weeks old.

When God Speaks

Terry Kirby

In my years as a journalist, I have had the privilege of meeting many authors. Only a few of those acknowledged God as their inspiration and as the One who impressed them to seek a specific writing goal. Dr. Terry L. Kirby is one of those few.

Kirby is an expository preacher, has been a senior pastor for almost twenty-five years and holds a doctorate in Expository Preaching from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He says the Lord gave him the idea for a different type of Bible.

In the World, Not of the World?

Archie Wilson

(As part of a series entitled “Out of the Skillet and Into the Fire”)

John 17:16
“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

Last time we concluded our 2-part article, JESUS FRIEND OF SINNERS, by pointing out that we should get out of our comfort zones and let our light shine. Someone’s life could be dependent upon you letting your light shine! If Jesus was a “friend of publicans and sinners,” shouldn’t we also do the same?

Crisp Molasses Cookies

Crisp Molasses Cookies

I like molasses. I remember when I was first married and living on the farm, Dad would sprinkle molasses on the milk cows' grain. They loved it. I was curious. The molasses was clean, so I tasted it. It had a better flavor than that you bought in the store back then or nowadays, for that matter. There was no reason not to use it, so I did. We ate a lot of gingerbread and molasses cookies until the molasses ran out. Of course, I didn't tell anybody where the molasses came from. Why bother? Nowadays, don't be concerned. I use Muddy Pond Sorghum when I can find it.

Cool, Man!

Ronnie Mincey

Mincey’s Musings
Year One, Week Thirty-Six

Many people follow the “five second rule”. It goes something like this—if something is dropped on the floor and remains less than five seconds, it is fine to retrieve for consumption by the human body. This holds especially true when referring to the last chip in the bag.

Jesus Picture

Jesus Picture

It’s not something I am too proud of, but I did it. Or rather I didn’t do it. You see, I got out of church for a while. After I started back, I realized I didn’t have any pictures of Jesus in the house. So, guess what I did next? Yep. I went Jesus picture shopping.

I looked at all kinds of Jesus pictures and none of them felt right. Finally, I found one that I really, really liked. That is until I looked at the price tag. You know, it just didn’t seem right to go in debt for it. I didn’t think Jesus would like that.

Identifying Pesky Poop

Bat Poop

I really enjoyed my career as a forester, partly because of the variety. It was rare that I did the same thing two days in a row. I could be walking in the woods collecting field data in the morning and be on a wildfire that afternoon. If you like routine, forestry is not for you. One unique task I did on occasion was identifying animal poop, especially when people would find droppings in their house and badly wanted to know what uninvited visitor left it.

Tags: 

Events

Luttrell neighborhood watch

Thursday, September 20, 2018 - 19:00
Luttrell neighbourhood watch

Luttrell neighbourhood watch meeting every 3rd Tuesday at 7:00pm It takes place in the community building behind the library with speakers each month this can be a great tool for our community to assist one another in brotherly love by watching out for each other. If you need more information contact Jim Bailey at 865-809-4472

Thank you so much
Union County Sheriff's Office
130 veteran’s street suite B Maynardville Tennessee 37807
Phone 865-992-5212
Fax 865-992-2349

Free Eye Exams and Glasses!

Saturday, September 29, 2018 - 08:00

FREE EYE EXAM AND GLASSES AVAILABLE FOR UNION COUNTY RESIDENTS
(South Claiborne County, Washburn, Powder Springs, and Corryton also welcome)
Sponsored by the Union County Lions Club
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2018
8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
150 Main Street, Maynardville, TN 37807 (Union County High School)
BY APPOINTMENT ONLY!
Call Kathy Chesney at (865) 566-3289
Glasses will be distributed 2-3 weeks after this event.
Sponsored by the Union County Lions Club,
In conjunction with the Smokey Mountains Lions Charities.

Hogskin Festival

Saturday, September 29, 2018 - 11:00
Spinning wheel

On Saturday, September 29th, Narrow Ridge Earth Literacy Center will hold its 19th annual Hogskin History Day Celebration from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This event is family friendly and provides a fun way to celebrate the rich culture and history of our Hogskin Valley community in Grainger County. Event attractions include local musicians, artists, artisans, and historians; children’s activities; exhibits of alternative technology; tours of Narrow Ridge’s eco-friendly facilities and Natural Burial Preserve; a silent auction; good food; and a variety of local vendor and display booths.

Obituary

Melvin Corum

Melvin Corum – age 78 of Maynardville, passed away peacefully at his home with his loving wife of 60 years by his side on Saturday, September 15, 2018. He was a member of Fellowship Christian Church in Luttrell. He especially loved the yearly fall festival and The Life of Christ drive thru exhibit. Melvin was a dirt track race car driver and won many championship races during his career. His latest hobby was restoring vintage cars and trucks.

Glen C. Carmon, Sr.

Glen C. Carmon, Sr.-age 72 of Maynardville passed away Monday morning, September 17, 2018 at Willow Ridge Center. Glen was a member of Fairview Baptist Church and a U. S. Army Veteran. Preceded in death by parents, Thurman and Hester Carmon; brother, Ed Carmon; sister, Ina Carmon.

Survivors: son, Carroll Carmon of Maynardville; daughter, Jennifer Buckner and husband, Tony of Luttrell; three grandchildren, Kali Buckner, Caleb Carmon and Christian Carmon; sisters, Mary Campbell, Marie Johnson and Betty Williams, all of Maynardville. Several nieces and nephews.

George David "Dave" Murphy

George “Dave” David Murphy, Sr., age 63, of Powell went to be with the Lord on September 16, 2018. He was a member of Central View Baptist Church. He enjoyed farming, raising pigs, and working. He adored his grandchildren. He loved helping people, as he would give you his last of anything. He was a selfless man of God. Preceded in death by parents Hobert and Christine Murphy; and brother Phillip Murphy. Survived by his wife of 45 years Kathy Murphy; children David Murphy, Jr.

Ermon T. Bullen, Jr.

Ermon T. Bullen, Jr.-May 2, 1932-Sept 14, 2018 of Corryton, known by everyone as Junior Bullen originally from Washburn, born to the late Ermon T. Bullen, Sr and Hila Johnson Bullen. Preceded in death by the love of his life of 58 years, Mildred Marsee Bullen. Junior was an Army Veteran and retired maintenance man from Claiborne County Hospital. He also loved traveling with Mamaw, watching grandkids and great grandkids at sporting events, plays and such and faithfully attended church where he was a member at Union Missionary Baptist Church.

Carl Edward Fielden

Carl Edward Fielden, age 84 of Halls Crossroads, peacefully entered into his eternal rest in the presence of his Lord Jesus Christ on September 15, 2018. Saved by God's merciful grace as a young man, Carl was a faithful member of Emory Valley Baptist Church. He served his country in the United States Air Force, honorably. He retired from Fairmont Supply located in Nashville, Tennessee. Preceded in death by parents Hobert and Amy Fielden, son Greg Fielden, all of Heiskell, sister Ann Tudor of Manchester, sister Geneieve Humphrey and brother Rev. Glen Fielden, all of Knoxville.

Raymond Eugene Clark

Raymond Eugene Clark age 71, of Knoxville went to be with with his Heavenly Father on Thursday, September 13, 2018 at his home surrounded by family. He was a member of Texas Valley Baptist Church. Raymond lived most of his life in the Halls Community and was an avid sports fan of all Halls community and school sports teams. He was often thought of as the Honorary “Mayor” and Cheerleader of the Halls Community. Preceded in death by parents; Jack Raymond and Allene Wooten Clark. Survivors; sisters, Rosalee Clark Highland and Diane Clark Woods. Brother; Phillip David Clark.

James Warren "J.W." Hughes

James Warren "J.W." Hughes, age 82, of Halls Crossroads went to his heavenly home, Thursday morning, surrounded by his family. He was a member of Fairview Freewill Baptist Church. He served in the U.S. Army and retired from Jefferson Smurfit Corp. J.W. loved the outdoors; hunting, fishing and camping.

He is preceded in death by parents, C.M and Mary Hughes; and brother-in-law, Leon Spangler.

Mitchell Elvis Kitts

Mitchell Elvis Kitts-age 62 of Luttrell passed away suddenly Saturday, September 8, 2018 while away in Florida for work.

Mitchell was a Journeyman painter who took pride in his craft. He was employed by Larry Mitchell Painting Company. Over the years he coached his son’s youth baseball teams in the Knoxville Area. He was an avid fisherman and loved spending time with his boys on the lake.

Myrtle Anne Covington

Myrtle Anne Covington-age 59 of Sevierville passed away Sunday, September 9, 2018 at Physicians Regional Medical Center with her husband by her side. Those who knew Ann will remember her kindness and sense of humor. She was a member of Walnut Hill Baptist Church.

Velma Lozena Dyer Davis

Velma Lozena Dyer Davis, age 87, born at home on April 9, 1931 in Luttrell, TN and passed away on September 8, 2018 after losing her battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She retired from Standard Knitting Mill. Velma was a member of Greenway Baptist Church for over 60 years and a member of the Golden Circle Sunday School Class. She loved her garden, especially picking and canning her green beans. Her life was spent caring for other people, especially her family who she loved with all her heart.

The opinions expressed by columnists and those providing comments are theirs alone, and may not reflect the opinions of Russell Computer Systems, Inc or any employee thereof.