top of page

Secrets of these Hills | 2022 Granville Challenge



The 2022 theme for Historic Granville is, “If These Hills Could Talk.” As we discussed this, the thought was to tell the secrets these hills hold. What are those secrets? What topics do we cover? How do we select content? An on-going point of discussion is, how do we display and preserve these stories in a professional manner for present and future generations. As you can see, this is a challenge and I need your help.



What makes Granville a magical place?

There’s one answer: the people! As I thought about stories from the hills surrounding Granville, I recalled a time that “folks” came to Granville every Saturday, sat on the store porches and shared tales. In the early 1950’s, Granville was a prosperous farming community with many new families moving to the area, some as land owners and some as tenant farmers. That’s it, the hills would tell the story of the people and where they lived!


Come sit on the store porch with me. It’s a Saturday in the early ‘50’s, Granville is bustling; children playing in the street, ladies shopping and exchanging flour sack fabrics, and men sitting around on the store porch whittling. Someone asked, “Did you move to Granville? Where do you live?” The response was, “Just over the county line (That would be Jackson/Smith County line.), out past the Mound (Chestnut Mound) on the ridge (Pea Ridge). All those listening knew where the family lived.

Another man says, “I moved my family from over past Gainesboro, Big Bottom, to the holler just off Martin Creek, the Lambert Holler."


Then, I listen as a lady explains that they live across the river on a farm in Funn's Branch. While another tells her experience of moving into the bend, Holliman’s Bend. Another was living on Spring Fork, and another on a farm on the Dillard’s Creek. No one needed an explanation; these terms were descriptive for “folks” who lived in these hills.



Living in these hills and “hollers” vs. textbook descriptions

Fast forward several decades and I am teaching landforms to second graders. The textbook uses the term valley. I could easily explain valleys as I grew up in the hills and “hollers” of Jackson County, Tennessee. The textbook does not define, ridges, forks, creeks, bends, river bottoms, hills, and “hollers” nearly as well as the visual I can recall from living in these hills.


That’s it! “If These Hills Could Talk”, they would tell the stories of the people. The families that lived in the hills, “hollers”, bends, ridges, forks, and creeks. How do we do that on a display board. As you can see, this is a challenge.

Definition and more

Hollow - noun: A small, sheltered valley that usually but not necessarily has a watercourse. The Southern Appalachian Dictionary labels the “chiefly Southern” pronunciation as holler. Some say it’s a hollow but I disagree, it’s a holler and has always been a holler.


I have mixed feelings about using the word holler to describe a place. Let me explain! I love the Southern Appalachian speech almost as much as I love the hills and hollers around Granville. It makes me sad to know that these descriptive words and this dialect are disappearing. I want to use it and explain the beauty. But I hesitate because for some this is described as “hillbilly talk” or terms used by the uneducated. Neither is the case here; this is the language of the hills. As you can see, this is a challenge!



More than the Definition

If these hills could talk, they would tell you stories about the families who lived in the hills, hollers, branches, ridges, bends, and creeks around Granville. There’s more to this than a definition of the landform. I have great memories of orchards, green pastures, and lovely little homes with front porches for sitting and visiting. Clear streams running over flat rocks and cascading into a pool just the right size to sit and cool off on a hot summer day. Let me share a few facts from the hills.

  • These are places where you can sit on the porch at night and hear the coyote’s howl. If you're lucky, you will hear someone pick up a fiddle (not to be confused with a violin) and play with music echoing through the hills.

  • Dogs, cats, chickens, and children can be seen in the yard and surrounding areas.

  • These are places where children play in the creek, learn to climb trees, and enjoy the natural beauty of the hills.

  • Neighbors become family and help each other when needed.


Most of all, these hills would want you to know, these were good places to live and a wonderful place to raise a family. The hills, creeks and hollers become your playground.

How do we communicate this passion, these stories beyond the definitions in an exhibit for present and future generations? As you can see, this is a challenge!



You can Help

After you read the blog, scroll down to comments. Leave us a comment about what you would like to hear from these hills. Do you have a story to share? Do you have ideas to help us with these 2022 challenges? We are open to suggestions and value input from our readers and visitors.


The 2022 goal of the Granville Museum is to capture these stories, display them in the museum, and preserve this rich history for present and future generations.

Historic Granville is open Wednesday- Friday 11AM-3PM and Saturday 11AM-5PM.








378 views15 comments

Related Posts

See All

15 Comments


Hello, my Father Thurman Mitchell Sadler grew up there. Could you tell me where he went to School there and where is the Black Cemetery at?

Like

Karen Hall Sarraga
Karen Hall Sarraga
Jan 10, 2022

I did not grow up in Granville but my grandfather did. Sadly, he passed away before I was born so I never got to hear the stories of Granville and my family history from him. Through my genealogy research and growing connections with extended family I am slowly starting to build the history I am missing.

I would love to learn more about the families, neighbors and friends that lived in those hollers. The personal stories, the daily life, the ups and downs all help bring the ancestors to life.

Like
lizbennett1
lizbennett1
Jan 10, 2022
Replying to

Thank you for reading and commenting. I, too, hope we can collect these stories.

Like

My mother was born and raised in those hills and hollers. She was Dimple Evangeline Huff O‘Kain. She lived to be 100 years old and I kept her at home in Cookeville until the end. I am an only child but spent many summers with my cousin Ginger Huff Grille in Granville.

Like
lizbennett1
lizbennett1
Jan 10, 2022
Replying to

Thank you for reading and commenting. We hope you will be attending the Huff Reunion.

Like

I live over on Little Indian Creek Road. There is so much history here. I would like to know about the great flood. I have read about it ov in Buffalo Valley. But I have never found anything about it in this area. Although I have heard stories about it.

Like
lizbennett1
lizbennett1
Jan 09, 2022
Replying to

Thank you and I agree about the rich history of the area. I'll see what I can find about The Flood. Thanks for reading and commenting

Like

We were riding the ranger one day and out of the corner of my eye I saw what appeared to be a headstone.

I thought to myself that this is a strange place for a headstone to be located. We decided to check it out.

As we walked closer to these huge trees we saw 2 headstones that were nestled down in the base of the trees.

I knew then that they had been there for a while. They dated back to the 1800's. The names were

Mary Collins and Tom Collins.

The next time we went riding, I laid flowers next to them.

Seeing something like that makes you realize that if these hills could talk we would all…

Like
Karen Hall Sarraga
Karen Hall Sarraga
Jan 11, 2022
Replying to

I did some quick research and may have found some details. There is a Collins Family Cemetery in that area with two graves listed in Find a Grave for a John Collins (b. 1 Oct 1820 - d. 26 Aug 1898) and Mary Collins (b. 13 Nov 1831 - d. 14 May 1898). These are the directions listed for that cemetery. Could this be it and his name is John rather than Tom?


”Civil District # 11.

From Gainesboro take Hwy 53 toward Granville. At Flynn's Lick turn right at the old store of Johnson & Johnson on Ft. Blount Ferry Road. After a few miles turn left on Big Branch Road. After about 8/10 of a mile turn right.…


Like
bottom of page