The Rustic Poetry of Louisa Walker

The Great Smoky Mountain Association has a great deal of information on the Walker Sisters, and they kindly allowed us to reprint a poem from Louisa Walker.

The Walker Family in 1918
Walker family portrait, taken in 1918 by Jim Shelton.
Photo courtesy of Great Smoky Mountains Association.

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The Great Smoky Mountain Association has a great deal of information on the Walker Sisters, and they kindly allowed us to reprint a poem from Louisa Walker (spelling is hers):

Walker sisters ginning cotton
Hettie, Martha and Louisa ginning cotton, 1936.Photo courtesy of Great Smoky Mountains Association.

There’s an old weather bettion house
That stands near a wood
With an orchard near by it
For almost one hundred years it has stood

It was my home in infency
It sheltered me in youth
When I tell you I love it
I tell you the truth

For years it has sheltered
By day and night
From the summer’s sun heat
And the cold winter blight

Walker sisters' cabin
In this cabin, with nothing but the implements and methods of their forebears, the Walkers grind their meal, card their own wool and spin cloth for dresses and blankets.

But now the park commisioner
Comes all dressed up so gay
Saying this old house of yours
We must now take away

They coax they wheedle
They fret they bark
Saying we have to have this place
For a National Park

For us poor mountain people
They don’t have a care
But must a home for
The wolf the lion and the bear

But many of us have a tltle
That is sure and will hold
To the City of Peace
Where the streets are pure gold

Walker sister churning butter
Louisa at the churn and Martha and Hettite behind her on the porch.Photo courtesy of Great Smoky Mountains Association.

There no lion in its fury
Those pathes ever trod
It is the home of the soul
In the presence of God

When we reach the portles
of glory so fair
The Wolf cannot enter
Neither the lion or bear

And no park Commissioner
Will ever dar
To desturbe or molest
Or take our home from us there

-By Louisa Walker, with permission of Great Smoky Mountains Association

Download this article as a PDF Read the original full article “Time Stood Still in the Smokies,” published in The Saturday Evening Post in 1946.

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  1. These ladies were my great-aunts. I wish I could have known them. I would love to talk to them about our family and our history.

  2. Loved the article about the sisters. What strong women they were. So wonderful they were able to stay in there home till the end. I want to go to the park and see their home and the school there father and brothers built. Louisa poem was so true.

  3. I loved the articles about the Walker sisters, the poem, and the Smokies! I’ve only been thru the Smokies twice. This was when I was taken over the Smokies into Cherokee, N.C. I am Cherokee Indian. This was such a beautiful area! I cannot express in words how I felt as a Cherokee! Thank you so much for sharing the article and poems!

  4. First I must thank the Great Smoky Mountains Association for letting the Post publish this in 1946 and I must thank the post for including it in my e-mail. I appreciate poetry(am a very non-traditional college student. English maj/writing minor), especially when it speaks of love of the land. I have been to Asheville, N.C., and it is absolutely beautiful; the mountains are majestic. I could not imagine having to leave my home that stood in such beauty. Her poem was very plain and simple, but I still felt her hurt and betrayal and her sadness.

  5. When “Time Stood Still in the Smokies” I was 22 years old and a new bride. My husband’s grandparents lived in Munday, West Virginia. My grandparets were dead, and my aunts and uncles lived in or near Quaker City, Ohio. Grandma Wolverton and my aunts wore dresses much like those pictured in this afticle. The home in Quaker City was owned by a utility company until they had pumped all the natural gas from under it and then it was abandoned. The Wolverton home, I believe, has been retained and turned into a sort of tourist attraction by some of his great, great grandchildren.


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