History accounts of Cades Cove say the first European settlers arrived in the Cove in the early 1820s. They constructed log cabins, barns, corncribs, smokehouses and cleared land for farming. A Baptist and Methodist church was built, as faith was a very important part of their lives.
When a member of the church passed away, the church bell would ring to get the people's attention. After a pause, the bell would be rung for each year of the dead person's life. The men would dig the grave and make the coffin. The women would prepare the body for burial as well as prepare food for the family.
The church was a very important part of their early heritage and reminders still remain today in the Cove with three preserved churches, Primitive Baptist, Missionary Baptist and Methodist.
A few years ago on Memorial day, we had the privilege of sitting in on a service in the Primitive Baptist church in Cades Cove. I will never forget the feeling. People were worshiping God and as the praises went up you could almost feel the presence of those gone on, buried in the cemetary surrounding the church.
There's a place dear to me, where I'm longing to be
With my friends at the old country church.
There with mother we went and our Sundays we spent
With our friends at the old country church.
Precious years of memories
Oh, what joy they bring to me
How I long once more to be
With my friends at the old country church
How I wish that today all the people would pray
Like we prayed in that old country church.
If they'd only confess, Jesus surely would bless
As He did in that old country church.