Appalachia Oconaluftee/Smokemont

Names From Lufty Baptist Church

members of smokemont baptist church

During the months since we first visited Lufty Baptist Church, I’ve kept going back to the list of names I found in the book  Ocona Lufta Baptist Pioneer Church of the Smokies 1836-1939 written by Florence Cope Bush.

The book lists over a 1,000 names from church records. I even spent one evening writing down names that struck my fancy, thinking more than once if I’d read the book before I had the girls I might have named them Haseltine and Eximena or maybe Cpradela and Jessomay.

Many of the name entries were initials. I wrote about the numerous men I know from my own community whose names are initials way back when I first started the Blind Pig.

The initials in the church records may stand for names or like the men I know the initials may actually be the name.

As I read through the names some jumped out at me. I’m sure the uniqueness of the name was the reason, but for whatever reason I felt a strong connection to the following names and felt like once again bringing them to life:

  • Cread Ayers
  • Larentine Barton
  • Emina Beck
  • M.E.J. Beck
  • Palestine Beck
  • Teenzy Beck
  • Emer Bradley
  • Exemine Bradley
  • J.C.R. Bradley
  • Marsayas Bradley
  • Manerva Bradley
  • Moas Bradley
  • Theodica Bradley
  • Zadock Bradley
  • Umphrey Braum
  • Narciuss Carver
  • Rintha Carver
  • Arbazena Conner
  • Bushrod Conner
  • Grettie Conner
  • Jahu Conner
  • Darcus Elliott
  • Etter Gibson
  • Turzy Ann Gibson
  • Clerecy Ann Griffith
  • Kezziah Griffith
  • Celinda Harris
  • Severe Husky
  • Arbasure Mack
  • Pudan Matthews
  • Arbazena McMahan
  • Fieldan Minges
  • Necisus Nelson
  • Pleasant Roberts
  • Hosey Ruff
  • Rectaner Treadway
  • Murcipa Watson
  • Haseltine Bradley
  • Eximena Beck
  • Bittie Conner
  • Cluria Beck
  • Corda Beck
  • Merphia Conner
  • Dice Lambert
  • Mrs. Calunbar Lambert
  • Cpradela Maney
  • Simans Mathis
  • Shady Bales
  • Algeria Dowdle
  • Jessomay Redman
  • Pollard Reagan
  • Paralee Treadway
  • Rube Broome

As I’ve already said I didn’t get a Cora Lee Mease story to go with our visit to this historic church. What I got is more of a connection or a thought than a story. At first, I was disappointed it wasn’t like Cora’s story, but I finally realized it is what it is. I asked for something and something came. Drop back by tomorrow for the final post on Lufty Baptist Church and the Oconaluftee area.

And please all you genealogists out there if you recognize any of the names above from your family tree leave a comment and tell us about it.


*Source: Ocona Lufta Baptist Pioneer Church of the Smokies 1836-1939. Text by Florence Cope Bush. Over 1,000 names from church records. Copyright 1990 Misty Cove Press PO Box 22572, Concord, TN  37933-0572



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  • Reply
    October 18, 2021 at 12:46 pm

    After many years of genealogical research, I realized that a huge proportion of unusual names were the result of the poor spelling ability of the people who wrote them on paper.

  • Reply
    Calico Jack
    October 16, 2021 at 9:27 am

    Howdy y’all!

    My father’s family is from McMinn County in East Tennessee outside of the county seat, Athens. My father didn’t have a very interesting name, really. Quite plain. But, his nickname was Bunt. I was told that Bunt was the term for a baby rabbit. His father was Euclid, though, which I always thought was an unusual name. He died of the black lung just after my father was born — he, of course, was the youngest. The only photo I have of my grandfather is of him in his coffin, my grandmother holding my father and the four brothers standing next to her behind the open coffin.

    I’ve enjoyed hearing y’all on YouTube. The accents bring back many memories from my summers spent at my grandmother’s house up in the Great Smokey’s.


  • Reply
    Rick Shepherd
    October 6, 2021 at 10:27 am

    Good Morning Tipper…..It was a joy to read through your list of historical Appalachian names and seeing the comments…..I’m 74 and my Dad’s Mother’s name was Flossie Myrtle Bean Shepherd (Bean was her maiden name)….They hailed from south central Kentucky west of Cumberland Falls….Before that northwest Virginia at Shepherdsville that is now in West Virginia back about 1800….Before that Scotland in Europe….Anyway, I always loved Grandma’s lyrical name….I have a Crepe Myrtle tree plated in our front yard in honor of my wife Mary’s Mom, Marilyn, that always makes me think of Grandma Flossie Myrtle, too.

  • Reply
    Steve Kuhn
    August 13, 2019 at 10:33 pm

    We are visiting in Cherokee. We went to what the map calls the Floyd Cemetery and saw my wife’s Grandfather’s grave site. Jim Reagan. We went to the Lufty Baptist Church today. That’s where the Reagans went to church, apparently, before they ended up in Dawsonville, Georgia.

    Looking at the list, I saw the name Pudan Matthews. My wife thought her Great Grandmother’s name was Pudan Mathis, but might have changed her name to Matthews. Supposedly, her daughter’s name was Inkybo Mathis. She was the one married to Jim Reagan.

    Does anyone have any info on this, or does it sound familiar to anyone? Thank you for any response!

  • Reply
    Brenda Turner
    April 12, 2017 at 9:15 am

    Does anyone know where I can get a copy of Florence Cope Bush’s book? I would love to have one but it is no longer in print.

    • Reply
      Sheryl Adams
      October 6, 2021 at 10:07 am

      That is such an interesting list of names. A couple of them I had heard of. Saree and Corrie. I am sure you have said this before, but is Tipper a special name. It is very interesting.
      Thank you! ❤️

  • Reply
    Denise Mauck
    June 26, 2016 at 11:30 am

    Clearcy Ann and Keziah Griffith belong to my Bradley and Reagan
    Family trees as does Zadock and the other Bradleys. The Lamberts married the Bradleys as did some of the Conners. For some reason, Mingus stayed on his side of the river and the Bradleys stayed on theirs.
    The first Bradley, Isaac, appears to have owned land from around Toe String Creek just outside the Qualls Boundary up toward Sugarlands Welcome Center on the right side of the Oconaluftee and Mingus owned land on the left where the mill is. The Reagan family property started somewhere around Sugarlands and went up to Gatlinburg and Sevierville.
    I got sick before I could start researching land revords. My info on the land ownership came from my daddy’s cousin Charles Bradley.

  • Reply
    April 22, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Thank you for the great comment! The story made me laugh too : ) I think its so neat that you have such an interesting history-and the connection to the church too!
    Hope you have a great day-and I hope you drop back by the blind pig often!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Amy Watkins Parker
    April 15, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    I am about a year late reading and commenting on this, but I laughed so hard I wanted to share my response. My granny was born at Smokemont, and I found her aunt’s name (Corda “Cordie” Beck) on the list. One of my last memories of my granny and her sister was the two of them lovingly fussing over their actual names. Apparently, back then no one went by their given name. So, when I commented on my granny’s name (Georgia Lucille Reagan) and her sister’s name (Cordia Maxine Reagan) being unique they began to argue if my aunt’s name was Cordia or Cordelia. She was named after their aunt Cordie. My great aunt Maxine (whom I only called auntie) insisted it was Cordia, and my granny, who went by Lucille, swore it was Cordelia. I asked what her birth certificate said and they both laughed at the thought of having had one. When I saw it was Corda on your list I began to laugh because I don’t believe anyone knew what her name was! I made it easier for my daughter. I named her Reagan, after both my granny and my auntie, and I call her Reagan.

  • Reply
    Jinny La Bar
    December 30, 2013 at 11:19 am

    I think that Rectaner Treadway is the daughter of Moses and Lucresa Treadaway. I think Lucresa (don’t know her real name) was Cherokee Indian. Moses is the son of Moses (confusing, lol) who is thought to be the first white man buried in the TowString Cemetery.

  • Reply
    brenda s 'okie in colorado'
    February 28, 2013 at 12:35 am

    I love the name Cread. I’ll bet a lot of these names came from Europe.

  • Reply
    Peggy Lambert
    February 28, 2013 at 12:27 am

    Tipper, genealogy would take days to write for the names listed for the church. The Lambert names are in my family. They are mixed up with the rest names. If you go back to the Childers Blog. Berthy and Thomas Childers are on the list of Ocona Lufty Church members.
    I’m surprised that Don C. never had an article on the Smoky Mountain Turnpike Road Book head of Oconalufty River heading to Tennesse belonging to Robert Collins. This book contains the names of the workers with their names, male and female personal accounts. These pages have at the top, List of men working on the Smoky Mountain Road by Indians.
    List of Squaws on the Road. The squaws is a Cherokee Indian woman.
    List of Little Boys.
    There is two columns of names and after each name is a ( ) mark for one days work. 1 days work was 25 cents.
    They could take it out in the store. List shows on October15, 1836 each person was paid one pair shoes ($2.25 and one pair socks .75 cents.) They were paid any where from 6 ½ to .50 cents.
    Their names are in Cherokee. One Date was March 5, 6, and 7.
    Some of the women would have 38 marks. Some pages would have 67 marks.
    One these pages I found my second, third and fourth great grandfathers and mothers, along with their sons and daughters.
    Robert Collins was to receive the “ toll” on the Oconalufty Turnpike, and keep it in repair.
    (Have more but to long.)
    This is courtesy of the Museum Of the Cherokee Indians.
    Peggy Lambert

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    February 27, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    I don’t claim to be a geneologist (I can’t even spell it without spell check) but many of those people are in my family tree. A lot of their given names are common in my family. Those named Hazeltine were called Tiny, Hassie or Hazel. Palestine was Pallie, etc. I have nine men named Creed or Cread. Two Creed Ayers. One Creed Ayers is the father of Lessie Ayers Conner who is prominent in one of the Foxfire books. The one on Appalachian Cookery, I think. He could be the first name on your list. I am looking forward to tomorrows post.
    PS. Ever heard the name Frankabelle. Her mother’s name was Leobelle. I love the creative way people in the olden day’s named their children. There was no mistaking lots of them even with only their given names. Ever heard of Quill Rose or Babe Burnett? When I was little Daddy would talk about the old L Etters place. I assumed that he was referring to a Etters man whose name started with L. Come to find out L was Elender Edwards and he was a she. Who woulda thunk it!

  • Reply
    February 27, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    You are so right with the uniqueness of the names. You have given some very interesting information. Thanks! Wish I could visit the site.

  • Reply
    February 27, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    These names are so colorful! I sure do wish I could see them all.

  • Reply
    mike echols
    February 27, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Good old names and good old times are pretty much gone,I’m sorry to say !

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 27, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Tipper, I love the list of names. I feel like I know them.
    Don, of course the home place is more welcoming to you when you know the names of the folks who lived there. Those folks are dead and gone doing other things now. You have to name them to get them to come back and talk to you.
    I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s post Tipper. You asked for some connection a message and of course you get it….just like Don, all you have to do is ask!

  • Reply
    February 27, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    I have enjoyed all the stories of
    life at Lufty Baptist Church. But
    of all the stories we’ve been
    entertained with, nothing compares
    to “Cora Lee Mease.” And it’s set
    in motion with a picture of one of
    your twins…its classic…Ken

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    February 27, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    I love lists of names! Behind each name is a person who lived, breathed, walked, and just maybe, because listed in church records, worshiped and sought to follow the Lord’s teachings. Whether we’re related by blood lines or not, we still have ties that bind us!

  • Reply
    February 27, 2013 at 6:42 am

    B.-I’m positive many of the names are misspelled-like you said they spelled them the way they sounded. And yes the book lists the names by years : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    February 27, 2013 at 10:14 am

    I almost fell out of my seat when the first name you mentioned was Haseltine. My paternal grandmother was Mary Hazeltine Stonecypher Whitlock. I know it’s spelled differently, but I’ve never seen it used as a first name anywhere although I’ve seen it as a last name a couple of times. She’s descended from John Stonecypher, the Corn Baptist preachers, and the Carters who donated land for Mars Hill College and eventually settled where Rabun Gap Nacoochee now sits. I would love to know who she was named after. She passed away when I was little and didn’t get a chance to ask.

  • Reply
    February 27, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Sheryl’s post caused me to remember that when I was in grammar school I also went by my middle name. It wasn’t until I started high school that I was called Bradley. Don’t really remember how that came about.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    February 27, 2013 at 9:02 am

    Don’s memory is right (at least this time!), the twin daughters of Edgar and Christine Fisher were high school classmates of mine; indeed, we were in school together all 12 years as well as being in a private kindergarten together.
    One other thought on Maisie and Frank. While they had no children of their own (Maisie’s daughter, Agnes, was by her first marriage), they were devoted to work with youth. This manifested itself at Arlington Baptist Church but especially at Camp Living Water on Deep Creek. Both give selflessly to that effort, which continues to grow and expand as a Christian outreach retreat for youth to this day.
    It’s a great setting, with ball fields, a ropes course, swimming pool, and fire ring tight against the banks of Deep Creek. Every time I fish that stretch of stream something I’ve done literally hundreds of times over the years, I think about this wonderful couple.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull, Ph.D.
    February 27, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Tipper: Just the name Mease is barely ‘connected’ to my family. My dear Aunt Mary Mease lived to be 102 years old and was a brilliant lady!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    February 27, 2013 at 8:04 am

    The names are fascinating, some I imagine were actually nicknames.
    I would imagine there would have been a revolt by now if you had given the girls one of the names you mentioned. I was the only Sheryl in my school, I remember in the first grade telling everyone my name was Ann (my middle name) so I wasn’t different.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    February 27, 2013 at 7:50 am

    Another comment about the list of names – I know exactly where some of them lived, having researched and located their home places. Sometimes when I find a home place, I don’t know who lived there. But when I know a name ahead of time, it adds a lot to the visit. I don’t want to get all metaphysical on you, but it seems to me that I usually feel more of a sense of welcome when I can put a name with the place.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    February 27, 2013 at 7:42 am

    I sent the link to the Maisie Queen recording on to several friends I grew up with and had known her. One of them responded with a question that had occurred to me, but I hadn’t followed up to try and answer.
    If you’ll recall, there was a mention of Maisie’s mother Mary being a Fisher and also a twin to Ben Fisher.
    My high school buddy’s uncle’s name was Edgar Fisher. Edgar and his wife, Christine Coggins Fisher (who taught first grade in Bryson City) lived in the Bushnell Community before TVA took the land for Fontana Dam. Edgar was postmaster there and later in Bryson City.
    What really is interesting – and what spurred my friend’s question – was that Edgar and Christine had twin daughters (who were in brother Jim’s class, I believe). In addition to Maisie and Ben and these two girls (both still living, so I’m not naming them), there are apparently a bunch of twins in the Fisher family.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    February 27, 2013 at 6:30 am

    I wonder how many of these names where just spelled the way they sounded. I noticed that narcissus was spelled two different ways.
    Where some of these names on the list, just the persons nickname, I pondered. It seems also, that the last name and the first could be reversed…Does that make sense?
    At any rate it is a very interesting post. I loved it, sure does make me think of reading the 1000 names listed.
    Another thing, is there a breakdown of years that those listed attended this church. Maybe one could see the name changes through the years…
    Thanks for all your work,

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