“I love nature, I love the landscape, because it is so sincere. It never cheats me. It never jests. It is cheerfully, musically earnest. I lie and relie on the earth.”Henry David Thoreau
The Great Smoky Mountains lie in the midst of the Cherokee homeland for more than 1,000 years.
They created a complex systems of government, trade and agriculture.
1830s: The Cherokee developed a written language and adopted new methods of agriculture from white settlers.
Nevertheless, they suffered one of the most tragic episodes in our nation’s history—forced removal from their homeland in what became known as the Trail of Tears. The few who remained, or managed to return, are the ancestors of the Cherokee living on the reservation near the park today.
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The large drover’s barn at the Mountain Farm Museum was a “hotel” for livestock being driven from the mountains to market.
For 50 years, nearby farmers brought their corn and wheat to Mingus Mill, built in 1886. The miller usually charged a toll of one-eighth of the grain the customer brought for milling.
The gristmill’s stone was turned by a water-powered, cast-iron turbine. From water pressure built up in the penstock at the flume’s end, the turbine generated 11 horsepower – enough to run all the mill’s machinery.
On the second floor, the smut machine blew wheat grain free of debris, while the bolting chest separated ground wheat into grades by sifting it through fine to coarse bolts of cloth.
Mingus was the largest gristmill in the Smokies. Its 200-foot-long wooden flume brings water to the mill’s turbine. As early at the 1820s, more progressive millers began using turbines to power their mills rather than waterwheels.