I had the privilege of meeting Mrs.Adams at an early age. Shy and backward at the time I wasn’t very interested in what she had to say. As time went on and I outgrew my shyness, I began to see an interest in our history and the lack of documentation of our past. While out shopping we would run into the two of them, Inez and Earl. Both as sweet as honey and caring and loving as they could be. We’d often say, “we have to get over there to visit with them”, but time would never allow it.
It’s best to say that I hold no regrets about visiting with her more, although I would have enjoyed it. But those would have been my personal memories and no one else’s. I have very fond memories of her as with most that ever met “granny”. The last time we spoke she had said she was in the process of writing a book. Hopefully, this will come to light, and then the memories will remain documented.
Visit with your family. Document your history so it can be passed down forever. Even for those that find no interest, someone will at some point.
Love you Granny and can’t wait to see you again!
Inez “Granny” McCauley Adams, 89, passed away Monday, February 8, 2016. She was born October 11, 1926 in Cades Cove. She was a faithful member of Piney Level Missionary Baptist Church. “Granny” was an avid historian and charter member of the Cades Cove Preservation Association.
She is survived by: husband, Earl Adams, Jr.; son, Tony Adams (Vickie); grandchildren, Traci (David) Boone, Lindsey (Nathan) Payne, Allan (Rachel) Adams, Monta Vaden, Monty (Becca) Bebout; Great-grandchildren, Cory Boone, Camden Boone, Greyson Payne, Emory Payne, Lacee Adams, Olivia Adams and many, many precious “adopted” friends and family.
A very special thank you to Blount Memorial Hospice/Palliative Care and Dr. Ousama Dabbagh.
Friends may call at their convenience at Smith Chapel on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm.
Family and friends will assemble for graveside service and interment at 11:00 am, Thursday, February 11, 2016 at West Millers Cove Church Cemetery with Rev. George Macht officiating. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to: Gideons Bibles, www.gideons.org or PO Box 140800, Nashville, TN 37214-0800.
Granny gets her wish for heritage marker
Posted: Sunday, February 14, 2016 12:00 am
by Linda Albert
Cherish the people you love while you can. You never know when the next day — the next moment — is going to be the last time you see them, hear their voices, feel their hugs.
Last Monday, a lady dearly cherished by her family, her “adopted” kids and friends from all over the country passed from this life to the next. Inez Adams, known as Granny to so many of us, died as her granddaughter, Traci Adams Boone, and her “Doctor Son,” Dr. Ousama Dabbagh, stood by her bedside at Blount Memorial Hospital holding her hands.
Granny’s journey began on Oct. 11, 1926, when she was born in Cades Cove to Millard and Dulcie McCauley. The family moved from the Cove after Great Smoky Mountains National Park was formed, when Granny was a small child. She never forgot her roots and her heritage — she descended from the Cove’s first known permanent white settler John Oliver as well as the Tiptons, Cables, Lawsons, Abbotts and more —and worked diligently with her husband, Earl Adams Jr., and many, many others to document and preserve the history of this place that embraced her with an almost hypnotic pull. You could find Granny and Papaw traipsing around the old trails and pathways at almost any time of year, seeking the remnants of long-forgotten cabins, churches and cemeteries, keeping notes and creating maps of where they’d been and what they’d found. Anyone who had a question about Cades Cove knew exactly who could give an answer. They called Granny, who was always more than willing to talk about the people, places and lifestyle of her birthplace.
Granny and Papaw were charter members in the founding of the Cades Cove Preservation Association. They were featured on the popular “Heartland Series” with host Bill Landry, who became another one of their “young’uns,” and she was known to all the Park personnel who also benefited from her knowledge. Granny provided me with a lot of copy for The Daily Times and also talked with Fred Brown, popular Knoxville News Sentinel columnist. One of the most memorable stories both Fred and I did was on the “ghost house” Granny and Papaw found in the Cove. Fred had dibs on the original story, though — Granny made me promise not to write a column about it until Fred’s had run, and it was excellent. I reckon mine was OK, too. If it hadn’t been, Granny would have told me!
I went back in the archives and found that column, published in 2003 shortly before Halloween. Here’s an excerpt:
“On one such trek (in Cades Cove), Granny looked up and saw a house she had never seen before. ‘It was beautiful,’ she told me recently at her Walland home, still awe-struck by the memory over two years later of a log cabin set at the edge of the woods across a field and near a creek. She told Junior to look; he said Granny was nuts, no house was there. Granny had a camera with her and she took a picture of the house that wasn’t there from about a half mile away. She also had a video camera, and with hands shaking so that she could barely hold the camera in place, she shot some video of the cabin. The two started walking across the field, she said, but the closer they got, the less she could see. By the time they reached the place where the cabin sat, Granny could not see it at all. Where did the house come from? Granny doesn’t know. It’s not in the memories of any of the old folks she’s interviewed, not in the lore handed down over time. But Granny knows the house was there at some point in long-ago history. The energy left behind by its inhabitants is as real and as tangible as the film upon which the cabin’s impression may be seen today.
“I’ve not seen the ghost house in the Cove. I’ve looked for it, tried unsuccessfully to catch a glimpse of it. Whether my companion’s skepticism cloaked the sight or I am not one of those gifted to see, I couldn’t say. But in the home of a little granny-woman in Walland are a photograph and a shaky home video of that cabin, big as life near Sparks Lane. No, I haven’t seen the cabin. But I’ve seen the photo, and I’ve seen the video and I know that some things are just not meant to be explained.”
I did manage to catch a glimpse of the house later on. It was faint, but I could see it exactly as Granny had described it and as it appeared in the photos.
In one of our last conversations, Granny told me she’d discovered the secret of that cabin, which has been slowly fading even from her sight over the intervening years. She believed the John Oliver family had lived in that cabin, on that site, before building the house we now know as the John Oliver cabin. Could she prove it? No. But it’s probable and it’s possible, and remnants of a well show that a home place had once been there. All Granny could say for sure is that she was given the gift to see and document that particular building at that particular time.
Bucket list finished
Granny also had the gift of dowsing, a method in which she used two wires to determine the location of long-gone buildings, fences, even unmarked graves. One day, on a trip to the Cove probably 10 or more years ago with Papaw, my sister, Jackie, and me, she showed us how to use the dowsing wires at the site of the Hyatt Hill Missionary Baptist Church and its adjoining cemetery, a church that served Cades Cove from 1895 to 1915. Jackie used the wires first. When they moved slowly in and out without interference from her, her eyes got big. My turn came. I followed Granny’s instructions and the wires swung around so quickly and with such power that they hit me in the chest. Granny said, matter-of-factly, that I’d just dowsed a grave where the person had died a violent death. OK, I’m done now! I handed the dowsing wires back to Granny and she showed us the location of a picket fence, the wires moving in and out to show where each of the pickets as well as the gate had been placed. It was fascinating. I took a lot of photos, using a film camera at that time, and never got the film developed. I was a bit afraid of what I’d find. The film is still at the house someplace. It’s time to see what’s there …
And this is what is so remarkable about Granny. She was determined to have the site of the church and cemetery marked; she and Papaw talked with GSMNP personnel, making the argument that other cemeteries have been marked and the folks at Hyatt Hill deserved to be remembered, too. Cades Cove Preservation Association members and officers also supported the marker, and CCPA had funds set aside to purchase it. They continued to be turned down in their request, however. Granny talked about this almost every time we conversed, not giving up or giving in. Even after her health declined, this project was not going by the wayside. As her granddaughter, Traci told me this week, “The very first thing on her bucket list when she was diagnosed with cancer was to see this completed.”
In October, when Granny knew her time was getting short, she hosted current Park Superintendent Cassius Cash at her home. He, too, became one of her kids, and in a letter dated Feb. 10 and emailed to Granny’s family after her death on Feb. 8 with a hard copy to follow, Cash wrote, “Please accept our sincere condolences in the passing of our Granny. She was an incredibly special woman and I’m honored I had the chance to meet her … I regret that I was not able to share this news directly with Granny, but I think somehow she knows.
“Recently Inez requested that the Park consider a request to place a marker at a cemetery which is located near by the former location of the Missionary Baptist Church along Hyatt Lane in the Cades Cove area of the Park. In 2012, the Park received a similar request to install a marker commemorating the former location of the church and by extension the cemetery. That 2012 request was considered by Park management and ultimately denied for very valid concerns …
“After careful consideration, Park management has decided to grant the current request … to mark the location of a well-documented cemetery. While the Park has not and does not intend to mark the fomer location of structures, there is precedence for placing markers at individual grave sites in the Park. By extension this precedence can be extended to marking an entire cemetery. In this instance, all previous grave markers had been removed by a previous landowner before the cemetery became part of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and there is currently no marker at this cemetery.”
Cash goes on to say that specifics of names and dates are not known, but the historic record indicates active use of the cemetery from 1894 to 1915, and the location of a cemetery here is supported by ground penetrating radar data. These results are the reason for the granting of Granny’s request, and the fulfillment of the final item on her bucket list.
On Thursday, the day Granny was laid to rest at West Millers Cove Church Cemetery, Traci told me, “We were talking with Papaw yesterday about what it took to get that marker. He said he and Granny went at least 10 times to the Park headquarters fighting for the marker in 2012 when the then-superintendent denied it. So many people; Pedro Ramos (the acting superintendent before Cash) has been working with Cash to get it approved and Pedro is all the way in Florida. The CCPA has fought for it, too.
“If it is possible, Granny is smiling even brighter today. Her bucket list is complete and she is in heaven. It is indeed a good day. A hard day … But a good day. GOD IS GOOD!” When the marker is completed and installed at the site, there will be a special ceremony, Traci said.
Every time I talked with Granny after she got so bad with the cancer, she would tell me she couldn’t wait to hop on her cloud and ride over the Cove and see her loved ones again. Shortly before she passed away, Traci said “Dr. Son” asked Granny if she could see her cloud; she said she did. “He told her, ‘Get on your cloud, Granny, and go!’” Traci said.
The family had been called in when Granny’s passing was imminent, sooner than expected after breaking her hip in a fall the day before. As her son, Tony, entered the parking lot at the hospital, he told Traci, “When I pulled in, there was the biggest, most beautiful cloud over the hospital.” Traci said, “I told Tony, that was her cloud!”
I am going to miss this wonderful lady — this artist, poet, writer, historian — so much. She will never know how many lives she’s touched or all the good she’s done in this world.
Goodbye, Granny. Enjoy that cloud and that happy reunion with your God and all the people you’ve missed for so long. In the meantime, I will remember what you used to say: “We’re not gone — we’re just out of sight,” and I will take comfort in that.
Linda Albert is Sunday Life editor The Daily Times.