Benefits of Homesteading
A truly sustainable lifestyle requires a strong desire for self-sufficiency, hard work and a commitment to your family. Those with those qualities often find a homesteading lifestyle the perfect fit.
It’s also a great way to spend time with your family while learning about the natural world. So if you haven’t already, start thinking about where you might want to begin your journey into a more self-sufficient lifestyle.
Second- and third-generation Homesteaders were invited and welcomed by the Cumberland Homesteads Tower Association to the Homesteader Reunion at Cumberland Mountain State Park on April 23. The reminiscing yielded stories of their childhoods, retellings from their fathers and grandfathers, remembering what their mothers and grandmothers said, for an incredible collection of their oral history.
“I’m just so excited,” said Brenda King, Cumberland Homestead Tower Association president. “We’ve had such a great turnout. Look at this crowd!”
As they enjoyed a barbecue lunch provided by the Association, Gretchen Thurman interviewed second-generation Homesteaders to record shared memories of their heritage as the sons and daughters of original Homesteaders for the Association’s collection of their oral history for posterity.
“It’s such a great part of our history,” said Bruce Huntley, who attended with his father-in-law, second-generation Homesteader Glenn Blaylock. Blaylock was born in the Homestead barn his family lived in while their home was being built.
Once given the land grant, it was common practice for original Homesteaders to build the barns first and live in them until their homes were completed.
“I wanted Glenn to interview so my kids would know the history,” Huntley continued, explaining the importance of recording the Homesteaders’ history. “[The history] is commonplace here, but our kids need to know that this is part of our history.”
Ruth Beaty, a second-generation Homesteader, was raised on a Homestead farm. Three of her nephews traveled to be with her and represent their family at the reunion. Others came to visit with the faces of their childhood.
Embracing Lynn Cobb and Baxter Sherrill, Luther Tilley said, “I’ve known them my whole life. We grew up together. We went to school together.”
Pam Burnett Anderson brought a photo of her grandmother, original Homesteader Cecil Hyder, and a quilt top from her personal collection. The quilt top was made by Hyder and about a dozen other women who formed a homemaking skills group. Together they practiced cooking, sewing and other domestic skills to create beautiful homes for their families in the Homesteads. An excellent representation of the practices and skills of Homesteaders during the Great Depression, the hand-stitched flowers on the quilt top made beautiful use of scraps of fabric, and each of the women signed and embroidered their signatures into the quilt top.
For more information about the Historic Homesteads, visit cumberlandhomesteads.org.