The Gregg-Cable House, one of the great historical landmarks of the Smokies that can be found in the Cades Cove area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It just so happens to be the first frame house built in the area and a house that not only provided shelter for two families, but also a place of business.
A family business, like the one run out of Becky Cable’s home was usually a farm or store but could be some other enterprise. As soon as children were old enough to be able to help out on the farm or in the family store, their time in school usually came to an abrupt halt. School was secondary in those times to the family’s needs. It was said that even in Cades Cove girls worked in the fields in addition to their chores and duties in the home.
Becky Cable’s house is bears a wealth of history relevant to those times. Built in 1879 by Leason Gregg, it was the first frame house built in Cades Cove and served as a working business as well. The store goods were brought in by wagon from Maryville, Tn. The downstairs housed the store while Gregg and his family lived on the upper floors. People could come and trade goods for other products or just straight up buy what they needed there.
John Cable’s family – his daughter Rebecca, her brother Dan and his wife, eventually bought the land and house, and ran the store. It was converted to a boarding house eight years after that.
Cades Cove provided Becky Cable and her family with much of what they needed to survive including such heirlooms as lettuce, pole beans, turnips, beets and canned beans, peas and tomatoes, all of which flourished in the cove’s rich limestone basin. Chickens were raised, they cooked baked goods with their own eggs, and carrots and potatoes were stored in a root cellar.
The house was also used as a place to stockpile goods, like most homes during that time. The numerous Chestnut groves in Cades Cove were depleted every fall not only by bears but by families like the Cables who came to gather bushels of chestnuts both for their use and to sell. Becky Cable’s family also hunted wild game, picked and preserved blackberries, blueberries and raspberries, and raised their own hogs. Next to the house, they grew their own flower, spice, and herbs in a garden.
Becky Cable was one of Cades Cove’s first clothing designers too. Her family grew their own flax and cotton and raised sheep for wool and spun these in to thread which they wove into cloth, thus making their own clothing. There is a famous picture of Becky Cable sitting at her spinning wheel doing just that. Becky Cable did all this while providing for her family and others before passing away in Cades Cove at 96 years of age. The home bears her and the preceding family’s name still.