Appalachia Oconaluftee/Smokemont

Getting Ready For Church At Lufty Baptist

Highland Homeland: The People of the Great Smokies

Photo and description from Highland Homeland: The People of the Great Smokies.

Before leaving for Lufty Baptist Church, Alfred Dowdle and his family of Collins Creek pose for Joseph S. Hall, who was studying linguistics in the Smokes for the Park Service. 


The photo above reminds me of Sunday mornings at Pap and Granny’s when I was little. A big breakfast with gravy, biscuits, sausage from Chambers over across the GA line, jelly, honey, and if I was lucky a bowl of chocolate gravy too; Mull’s Singing Convention on the tv; Pap rushing us all; piling in the backseat with Paul and Steve; staring out the window and counting the trees as they went by. Even though it was always the same route, I never got the same number of trees counted. Funny to think I thought I could ever get it right.



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  • Reply
    February 28, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    They all look so happy, don’t they.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Mary Rutherford
    February 25, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Just catching up on the last few posts. Us kids would sure giggle every time we heard “Ain’t that right Miss Mull”. Not relegated to the past, It is a phrase that has surfaced within our family repeatedly over the years. And we laugh every time.

  • Reply
    February 25, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Sherry-go here to see how to make chocolate gravy:
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    February 25, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Grandpa Ken-go here to see how to make chocolate gravy:
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    February 24, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    I remember those days when we all
    listened to The Mull Singing
    Convention too. When I lived in
    Atlanta, we ordered a 4 albumn of
    The Chuck Wagon Gang from Mull’s
    program. Another group from up in
    Ohio (I think) was the Wayne Rainey family. Nobody could sing
    “Over the Rollin’ Sea” like them.
    Our local radio station still
    plays the old timey Gospel greats.
    Nice photo of the Alfred Dowdle

  • Reply
    February 24, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    I grew up with the battery powered radio. The Mulls and Cas Walker commercials came along after I was in high school. We were the first in our community to get a TV as well as the first to have electric lights. We thought we struggled for a living but looking back we were probably the most well off finanacially in the area because dad worked in construction and usually had some money all year around. When I left home at 19 there were still people that went to our little church in their horse drawn wagon.

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    February 24, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    I have enjoyed so much this history on Lufty Church. Do you know where I can buy a copy of the book about the history of the church?

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    February 24, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Nice photo. A couple of years ago, my wife and I were wandering around in a little community of Otto, NC looking for the small cemetery where my great-great-great-grandfather, George Patton and his wife Mary Ann McDonnell Patton, were reportedly buried. We knew we were in the right area, but many of these old cemeteries wind up being in the middle of a pasture or in the woods – no sign or gate.
    We stopped at a little shop where men were making component beams for timber trestle houses and asked and they directed us across the highway to Dowdle Farm Supply. I went in and met Charles Dowdle. I asked if he knew where Ebenezer Cemetery was and he gave me directions to it. He asked who I was looking for, and when I told him, he said, “We must be kin, because my great-great-great grandfather is also George Patton.” I pulled out my family tree database (which is on my iPhone) and, sure enough, George Patton’s daughter had married a Charles Dowdle.
    I don’t know if Alfred and his family were related to Charles or not, but they still make a nice picture.

  • Reply
    February 24, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    I remember attending church services as a small child. We got into the car in our best finery, hat, gloves, etc. We lived in the city, so counting trees wasn’t something I thought to do. It was fun riding in the car, because we went to a church owned school and walked the same distance each school day.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    February 24, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    I still hear Rev. J. Basel sayin’,
    “Ain’t that right Ms. Mull!”
    Those were the days…She was always giving him a little push under the table either to stop him talking or get him going! Love it, love it…We watched ’em
    ever Sunday mornin’in the Secret City! Sure do miss some of the old gospel groups he featured on his show..
    Arn’t those the sweetest little buckled shoes? I wonder if she could do a little Irish jig? Loved the picture, and story.
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    February 24, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    How do you make chocolate gravy? Now that is something I missed!

  • Reply
    February 24, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Oh, how I love the Blind Pig. One of these days I will try all the recipes! I love reading about the churches and the wonderful down to earth people. I remember listening to the Mull’s Singing Convention when I grew up Oak Ridge. Sweet memories. I close my eyes and see the mountains. Cannot wait to start this RV and head north!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    February 24, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    I had a sudden urge to find out more about Jacob Bazzel Mull. Surprisingly he was born and got his start right near where I live, in Valdese NC.
    I reckon I’ll look into the Alfred Dowdle family next.
    It is a beautiful sunny Sunday here. I need to get out an work on my vitamin D. Hope you all are on the sunny side too!

  • Reply
    Phyllis S
    February 24, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Like the smile on each face in the
    photo,especially the children.
    Would enjoy the CD you offer.

  • Reply
    grandpa Ken
    February 24, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Tipper do you have a recipe for chocolate gravy. It’s only second time I have heard of it.
    Grandpa Ken

  • Reply
    February 24, 2013 at 9:36 am

    I LOVE this photo! Every one is smiling from their eyes..not just for the camera.

  • Reply
    Ray P Algee
    February 24, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Life looked simpler then, however, I’m sure the stresses of life were basically the same as today. Parents concerned about how to feed cloth and protect their children.
    I suspect the playing field was the same, except for the game, players, rules and penalties have all changed.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    February 24, 2013 at 9:02 am

    It is a lovely picture, I love the little girl sitting on the towel. Your mention of chocolate gravy brings back memories of my childhood, my grandmother would make pancakes and hot chocolate syrup, which I am guessing is the same as chocolate gravy.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    February 24, 2013 at 8:46 am

    Seeing how the Dowdle family is all dressed up in their Sunday-go-to-meeting-clothes after a hard week of working soil, “scratching out a livin'”–no doubt–going to church on Sunday was important! It provided a little time of rest, but most importantly it gave strength to faith to gather and worship with other believers and to talk and exchange news after services were over. Instead of riding in a vehicle (when I was a child) we walked–but it was only a mile; not too far! We often walked together with other neighbors along our road, so even walking to and from church provided times of “togetherness” and visiting–something we didn’t have much time for in our work-filled week-days! My family lived closest to the church on our road, so we had to “drop out” of the procession and let the others go on! And then came the “country-dinner” meal for our family and any guests that had been left in the “warming closet” of the old Home Comfort wood stove range! Yummm!

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    February 24, 2013 at 8:39 am

    I love this photo! The children are darling. They remind me of my grandson and granddaughter. I like the little boy’s suit. Is that a scrape on her knee? I bet she was a tomboy like me. I had many a scraped knee. All dressed upand happy about going to church, the center of their lives.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull, Ph.D.
    February 24, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Beautiful children and beautiful memories. That MULL SINGING CONVENTION was a ‘new one’ for me when I moved to Oak Ridge. We rarely missed the singing and Rev. J. Basel Mull talking to his faithful wife! In Rev. J. Basel’s last years, our son was his doctor and they loved talking about ‘the Mull’s’ during his visits. AND HE INVITED our son and grandson, Jacob (which was the Rev. J. name!) to appear on his morning TV show! Jacob was just three years old and when the camera was on him he kept closing his eyes! I believe the Rev. J. was the first blind person Jacob ever met! SWEET MEMORIES!
    Eva Nell Mull!

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    February 24, 2013 at 7:56 am

    in the first Foxfire book they introduced Happy Dowdle — couldn’t help but wonder if this was the same family.

  • Reply
    February 24, 2013 at 5:08 am

    What sweet kids in that photo! Kinda reminds me of you kids in that Maggie’s Chapel Church picture you posted a long time back! Wish I could have been there; we might have got the number of trees right.

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