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Thanks for joining us for some History of the Big South Fork.

Today, we are in Laurel Hill, KY and I am standing here next to what is known as Etta's


But over a century ago it was known as the Granny Hole and all the kids in the Laurel

Hill Community would meet here to play.

The spotlight for today's session is on the Smith Family.

The Smith Family was a typical late 1800's early-1900's family living in the Kentucky

portion of Big South Fork.

Most families on the Cumberland Plateau during this time experienced their fair share of

hard times.

It was no different for James or (Jim) Patton Smith and wife Susie Anna Kidd.

Jim Patton was the son of Harmon Smith and Rhoda Foster and the grandson of Station Camp

settlers Elijah Smith and Nancy West.

Susie Anna was the daughter of John Lindsey Kidd and Eddie Blevins and the great granddaughter

of the long hunter Jonathan Blevins and Catherine Katy Troxel.

Jim Patton and Susie Anna lived in the Laurel Hill Community, just up the ridge from No

Business, where they raised 13 children.

Jim didn't really have a trade or a skill, he did whatever he could to earn enough money

to support his large family, including moonshining.

They barely got by.

Early March 22, 1925, Susie Anna went into labor to deliver twin girls.

Her husband was nowhere to be found.

But she knew exactly where he was.

He was down in No Business with his moonshine.

Susie Anna called for her oldest daughter, Stella.

She pleaded for her to stay by her side during the delivery and to never leave her alone.

Stella, only 17 years of age at the time, was faithful to comfort her mother till she

took her last breath.

Like many women during that time living in a mountain community where doctors were scarce,

Susie Anna died giving birth.

The twins were born alive.

Stella tried everything in her power to feed and nurture them but they both passed away

after only a few months.

The three of them are buried on Rock Creek at the Kidd Cemetery.

Soon after, Jim Patton hitched a wagon and headed to Parmleyville to fetch himself a

new wife.

Stella wasn't happy about his choice.

Roxy Gregory was only 3 years older than Stella was when she married Jim Patton, then 50 years

of age.

This was a common occurrence back then.

Stella, young and grieving the loss of her dear mother, cared for her younger brothers

and sisters.

She was very protective of them.

She did all their washing, cleaning, cooking, sewing and now she had a garden to think about.

Jim Patton and Roxy had six children, for a total of 19 children in all.

They are both buried outside Bell Farm, Kentucky, at the Sherd-Dobbs Cemetery.

Stella lived to be 93 and always referred to the days of her childhood living in Big

South Fork as the best days of her life.

The question of the day is, "why do you think Stella referred to those days of extreme adversity

as the best days of her life?"

I'm Ranger Mary Grimm and Stella is my grandmother.

Join us next time for more History of the Big South Fork.

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