The Walker sisters at home in Sevier County, Tennessee, c.1962 ~ Margaret Jane (seated) & Louisa Susan.

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The Walker Sisters were a group of five sisters who lived in the Little Greenbrier Cove of the Great Smoky Mountains in Sevier County, Tennessee. They gained fame for their isolated and self-sufficient lifestyle, living on a farm in the mountains. The sisters were known for preserving traditional Appalachian ways of life well into the 20th century.

The five Walker sisters were Margaret Jane, Louisa Susan, Sarah Caroline, Polly, and Hettie. They were the last residents of Little Greenbrier Cove, and their home became part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Margaret Jane and Louisa Susan, mentioned in your query, were two of the Walker Sisters. They continued to live in their ancestral home even after the creation of the national park in the 1930s. The sisters gained national attention for their resilience and commitment to their traditional way of life.

In 1946, the Walker Sisters sold their property to the federal government with the condition that they could live out their lives on the land. They continued to reside there until the last sister, Louisa Susan, passed away in 1964. The Walker Sisters’ home and farmstead are preserved as a historic site within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, allowing visitors to glimpse into the past and learn about the unique cultural heritage of the region.

The Walker Sisters’ story is a fascinating glimpse into the history and culture of the Appalachian region. Here are a few more details:

Self-Sufficient Lifestyle: The Walker Sisters were known for their self-sufficient lifestyle. They raised their own food, grew crops, and tended to livestock on their farm. They made their own clothes and household items. Despite the changing times, they resisted many modern conveniences and continued to live much as their ancestors had.

Isolation and Independence: The sisters lived in relative isolation in Little Greenbrier Cove, which helped them maintain their traditional way of life. They were determined to remain on their family’s land, even as the national park was established around them. Their commitment to independence and their refusal to sell their land made them a symbol of traditional Appalachian life.

Preservation Efforts: The Walker Sisters’ homestead, including their log cabin, apple orchard, and other structures, has been preserved by the National Park Service. Visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park can hike to the Walker Sisters’ Cabin and see the artifacts and structures that offer a glimpse into the past.

Legacy: The Walker Sisters’ legacy extends beyond their own lives. Their story is often shared as part of the cultural and historical heritage of the Appalachian region. It highlights the challenges faced by traditional mountain communities as the modern world encroached on their way of life.

Lasting Impact: The Walker Sisters’ decision to sell their land to the National Park Service with the condition of a lifetime lease had a lasting impact. It allowed them to live out their days in their home, and it also contributed to the preservation of the cultural and natural heritage of the Great Smoky Mountains.

The Walker Sisters’ story is a testament to the resilience of Appalachian culture and the importance of preserving the history of those who lived in the region.