Cades Cove in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park
The chestnut tree in the Cove was important to both man and beast. Cove dwellers gathered bushels of chestnuts from the large stand of chestnut trees which they ate raw or cooked with meats. The bears gorged themselves on chestnuts before their winter hibernation. They were also food for the wild hogs, turkey, squirrels and deer. Cades Cove reached a population of 685 (132 families) in 1850. The inhabitants built churches and schools. It was a custom in the Cove when a person died that someone go to the deceased's church and ring the bell to get everyone's attention and then pause the ringing. They would then ring the bell for every year that person's life. The old expression "for whom the bell tolls" meant something.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park began as a gift from the state's of Tennesse and North Carolina. The states began buying the land in and around the Cove. One resident did resist the efforts of the state to buy the land and that was John W. Oliver. He fought the state of Tennesse in the courts for six year and finally lost. The last of the residents, those who had sold their land and allowed to live out their lives on the property, left in the late 1940's.