Ora Belle Smith
1893 - 1981
Tennessee Farmer's Wife



Ora Belle was a religious, literate woman who was born in 1893 in Tennessee. Nicknamed "Mamaw", she died in 1981. She spent her married years as the wife of a farmer, raising two girls and a boy. Her children were Nancy, Joe, and Jane. In this photo from June 12, 1919 she's shown with husband Blakeley and her oldest daughter, Nancy.

She wrote the following letter on Sept 18, 1974.

Our ancestors came from the East Coast and finally settled in Middle Tennessee, Lincoln County, south of Elk River two miles south of the county seat Fayetteville. They could take any of the virgin land they wanted for Revolutionary War service or perhaps bought it for a very little sum. No one lived around them. For a year they'd live in a quickly thrown up cabin and would not know that perhaps a very fine neighbor lived one mile away.

Now Tennessee is, like "All Gaul", divided into three parts;

West Tennessee, which is flat and grows much cotton - many slaves tended the big plantations. It is noted for beautiful girls. It's hot and humid like Mississippi.

Middle Tennessee has rolling hills, broad vallies, sparkling streams. Here cattle are grown, sheep graze and almost any crop can be grown. Surely the sun shines brighter, the grass grows greener and the many, many beautiful birds sing sweeter than any place on earth. The blue grass is green all winter like in Kentucky. Truly it is a garden spot.

East Tennessee has the grand mountain ranges, narrow vallies, swift flowing streams. They hae lots of game, which helped the pioneers to live. They were hardier people for it was a rugged lving with fierce wild animals that were always a menace.

I am thankful God saw fit to place me in Middle Tennessee.




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