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Online Exhibit: Hall Cabin: Hunting at Hall Cabin

Andy and one of his Wild Turkeys.

Horace Kephart and his companions were among many hunters who occasionally used vacant herders' huts such as Hall Cabin as a base for their ventures.

Kephart kept a photograph of his friend Andy posed with wild turkeys from these and other hunts.

Hall Cabin also played a role in providing shelter during a particularly violent storm when Kephart was bear hunting with some friends. He recalls this event in Chapter Four of Our Southern Highlanders.

At last we were on the saddle of the divide, a mile above sea-level, in a hut built years ago for temporary lodgment of cattle-men herding on the grassy "balds" of the Smokies. A sagging clapboard roof covered its two rooms and the open space between them that we called our "entry." The State line between North Carolina and Tennessee ran through this uninclosed hallway. The Carolina room had a puncheon floor and a clapboard table, also better bunks than its mate; but there had risen a stiff southerly gale that made the chimney smoke so abominably that we were forced to take quarters in the neighbor State.


Granville lifted the lid from a big Dutch oven and reported "Bread's done."

There was a flash in the frying-pan, a curse and a puff from Little John. The coffee-pot boiled over. We gathered around the hewn benches that served for tables, and sat à la Turc upon the ground. For some time there was no sound but the gale without and the munching of ravenous men.

"If the wind'll only cease afore mornin', we'll git us a bear to-morrow."

A powerful gust struck the cabin, by way of answer; a great roaring surged up from the gulf of Defeat, from Desolation, and from the other forks of Bone Valley - clamor of ten thousand trees struggling with the blast.

"Hit's gittin' wusser."

"Any danger of this roost being blown off the mountain?" I inquired.

"Hit's stood hyur twenty year through all the storms; I reckon it can stand one more night of it."

"A man couldn't walk upright, outside the cabin," I asserted, thinking of the St. Louis tornado, in which I had lain flat on my belly, clinging to an iron post.

The hunchback turned to me with a grave face. "I've seed hit blow, here on top o' Smoky, till a hoss couldn't stand up agin it. You'll spy, to-morrow, whar several trees has been wind-throwed and busted to kindlin'."

I recalled that several, in the South, means many - "a good many," as our own tongues phrase it.

"Oh, shucks! Bill Cope," put in "Doc" Jones, "whut do you-uns know about windstorms? Now I've hed some experiencin' up hyur that'll do to tell about. You remember the big storm three year ago, come grass, when the cattle all huddled up a-top o' each other and friz in one pile, solid."

Bill grunted an affirmative.

"Wal, sir, I was a-herdin', over at the Spencer Place, and was out on Thunderhead when the wind sprung up. Thar come one turrible vygrous blow that jest nacherally lifted the ground. I went up in the sky, my coat ripped off, and I went a-sailin' end-over-end."


"Yes. About half an hour later, I lit spang in the mud, way down yander in Tuckaleechee Cove - yes, sir: ten mile as the crow flies, and a mile deeper 'n trout-fish swim."

There was silence for a moment. Then Little John spoke up: "I mind about that time, Doc; but I disremember which buryin'-ground they-all planted ye in."

"Planted! Me? Huh! But I had one tormentin' time findin' my hat!"

The cabin shook under a heavier blast, to match Doc's yarn.

"Old Wind-maker's blowin' liars out o' North Car'lina. Hang on to yer hat, Doc! Whoop! hear'em a-comin'!"

"Durn this blow, anyhow! No bear'll cross the mountain sich a night as this."

"Can't we hunt down the Carolina side? I asked.

"That's whar we're goin' to drive; but hit's no use if the bear don't come over."

"How is that? Do they sleep in one State and eat in the other?"

"Yes: you see, the Tennessee side of the mountain is powerful steep and laurely, so 't man nor dog cain't git over it in lots o' places; that's whar the bears den. But the mast, sich as acorns and beech and hickory nuts, is mostly on the Car'lina side; that's whar they hafter come to feed. So, when it blows like this, they stay at home and suck their paws till the weather clars."

- Our Southern Highlanders, Second edition, pages 76-79.

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