“A Cades Cove Childhood,” by Margaret McCaulley, portrays life as it was lived in the early 1930s, in a mountain community that has now disappeared. J.C. McCaulley lived that life.
Margaret McCaulley will relate stories, anecdotes and experiences from the life of one small boy, illustrated by 16 - 20 slides, and with that boy (now 80 years old) present to provide, if necessary, explanations and answer questions. The presentation will be at the Blount County Public Library today, Monday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m.
“This book was never intended to be a ‘history’ or to contain genealogical tables of various families, etc.; many authors have already done that very well,” says Margaret McCaulley.
J.C. McCaulley was born on June 18, 1929, on his parents’ homestead in Cades Cove, the last of nine children. His mother was 45 and no doctor was present. The farm consisted of 72 hilly acres and yielded a poor living, so his father worked at any job he could find to make a little cash money.
Having sold the farm to the Smoky Mountain National Park Service in 1936, the family left the Cove and relocated to Hubbard, just outside Maryville. J.C. attended elementary school at Hubbard and then high school at Walland.
In 1952 he was drafted into the Army and, after basic training, was posted to England. With an aptitude for operating any kind of machinery, he spent his Army service running heavy equipment and, upon leaving the service, found employment with the US Air Force in that capacity.
Shortly after arriving in England he met his future wife - on a blind date - and a little more than a year later they were married in the Baptist Church on Miller’s Cove Road in Walland. They are the parents of two sons, James and Steven.
After moving to Florida to work at Patrick Air Force Base as the space program was getting under way, then spending 15 years in the mountains of North Georgia, J.C. and his wife have returned to Blount County and are active in the Cades Cove Preservation Association.
Margaret Osborne McCaulley was born in the village of Coalway in Gloucestershire, England, on August 30, 1931, the middle child of Sidney and Eleanor Porter Osborne. There were four other children. Her father had been employed as a coal miner since the age of 13.
On leaving the 500 year old Bell’s Grammar School at 16, Margaret was employed in various secretarial jobs, the last being at the Record Office of the Royal Air Force. While working there, she met an American soldier. Though he was soon transferred to a base some distance away, he kept finding his way back until they became engaged. After he returned to the U.S., she followed and they were married on January 27, 1954.
Margaret says she was warmly received by her husband’s large family and spent many Sunday afternoons ‘visiting’ under the maple trees at the family farm until it became necessary to move away from Blount County. Through many years in Florida and Georgia, J.C. and Margaret made many visits ‘home’ and finally returned to Maryville where they completed ‘remembering’ and writing the book, A Cades Cove Childhood.
Margaret says that she and J.C. began assembling notes and photographs for the book while living in a remote cabin in the North Georgia mountains. Various health problems, plus making the move back to Maryville, delayed progress, but eventually it was completed.
Free and open to the public, the program is at the Blount County Public Library, located at 508 N. Cusick Street, Maryville.
For further information about other library programs or services, call the library at 982-0981 or visit the Web site at www.blountlibrary.org.