The First Cabin in the Smokies
The Smokies pioneers started settling Cades Cove on the north eastern side where the loop begins, for this is the higher and dryer part of the cove, away from the swampy land found elsewhere. John and Lurany Oliver were the first to come to this area of the Smokies.
Typical of the European immigrants and their descendants, the Olivers came despite the fact that there was no Indian treaty allowing them access to the Smoky Mountain land. Generally speaking this practice of settlement without treaty was the source of much friction between new settlers and the Native Americans already in the mountains. However, in the case of John and Lurany the Cherokee Indians actually helped the interlopers survive their first winter. Just as fortunate, for the Olivers, the Calhoun Treaty gave whites the right to settle the cove just one year after they arrived. The Olivers purchased their land in 1826.
Members of the Oliver family lived in Cades Cove when it became part of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Of course the Oliver’s Smoky Mountain happy ending was not evident to them when they decided to settle Cades Cove. Their decisions and efforts were made in an atmosphere of uncertainty with challenges posed by both nature and the difficulty of leaving the familiar for the unknown, and yet somehow their choices served to strengthen them.
The Oliver’s original Cades Cove cabin stood fifty yards or so behind the cabin now identified as their cabin. For instance, the cabin, still standing and preserved by The Great Smoky Mountain National Park service and identified as the Oliver’s cabin is actually the honeymoon house which the their family built for their son to use when he married.
Buried in Cades Cove at the Primitive Baptist church which they helped to found, John Oliver and his friend Peter Cable had once signed the deed for land the church had been given by William Tipton.