In 1802 William “Billy” Ogle claimed he had found “the land of paradise.” Nestled in the hills of the Appalachian Mountains, it was a place of abundant oak trees, teeming rivers and serene mountain views. Planning to settle this untamed land, Ogle hewed great logs with which to build his cabin home; he then returned to South Carolina to fetch his wife and seven children.
Sadly, Billy never dwelt in his Promised Land; he fell ill and died before he could ever return to east Tennessee. Instead, it was his widow Martha Jane Huskey Ogle, their children, and a handful of other relatives who became the first settlers of the place we now call Gatlinburg.
Relics of early life in the Great Smoky Mountains can still be seen by visiting Ogle’s cabin on the grounds of Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts located at 556 Parkway. The log cabin is the original home of Martha Ogle and her family—though it has been moved from its original location. Stop by this historic site and learn how this cabin was used throughout the years as a home, a school, a museum and even a hospital.
In addition, another piece of Gatlinburg and Ogle family history sits just outside of town. It is the home of Martha and William’s great-grandson, Noah “Bud” Ogle. Noah was area’s first merchant of record; his store, which was established in 1850, survived four generations and a change in location before being torn down in the 1970s. His homestead, however, still stands complete with cabin, barn, and grist mill.
Other historic sites of interest that help tell the story of Gatlinburg include the E.L. Reagan Furniture Company located at 149 Poplar Lane and the Pi Beta Phi Settlement School at 556 Parkway. For a vacation rich in American heritage visit the Gateway to the Smoky’s, Gatlinburg, Tennessee.