The Story Behind Our Bed and Breakfast in Gatlinburg Tennessee
Our guests often ask why our B&B near Sevierville, TN is named The Foxtrot Bed and Breakfast. The story actually begins after the Revolutionary War. At the end of the war, the fledgling government of the United States of America did not have enough money to pay the soldiers who fought for freedom from England. To pay their debt, the government awarded land grants in the territories to their loyal soldiers. My great, great, great, great, great grandfather Adam Fox received one of those grants and came from Pennsylvania with his brother Mark to Sevier County in 1783. They were some of the first residents in Sevier County.
When Adam and Mark first arrived in Sevier County, they had to deal with a lot of hardships. One of which was the real threat of Indian attacks. The Cherokee Indians were unhappy with the encroachment of white settlers on the land where they roamed free. Please don’t feel too upset about the Indians. You see, they fought for the British during the Revolutionary War. So, to the winners belong the spoils including the land. During one of those skirmishes (1787) with the Indians, Mark was killed and scalped. He was the first death recorded in the settlement, and his grave was the first in the Fox cemetery. You can see his tombstone today with its graphic description of Mark’s death: “Mark Fox killed and scalped by Indians in 1787.”
If you move forward in history about 140 years, my great-grandmother Eliza Huff Fox was doing her best to survive and make a living. Eliza and her husband Riley lived in Walden’s Creek, Sevier County, Tennessee. Their charming farmhouse still stands close to the creek. Of Eliza and Riley’s twelve children, my grandmother-Emma–was the eldest. Eliza was a premier weaver in the area. My cousin told me that Eliza said her weaving patterns were a gift from God. Eliza was so good at her craft that she was invited to travel all over the United States to demonstrate her skills.
Eliza would load her loom on the back of a wagon at her Waldens Creek home and drive the team of horses to Sevierville. At Sevierville, her loom would be loaded on a train and off she would go-a mountain woman who could not weave with her shoes on her feet.
These trips gave Eliza an independent income. With the money that she earned, she sent her girls to college at a time in Sevier county when women were lucky to receive a sixth grade education.
Her daughter, Vertie, kept all the painstakingly written letters and postcards from her mother’s trips. From those letters and postcards, we know that Eliza visited Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and St. Louis. Some newspaper articles also document her trips.
Back to the naming of The Foxtrot Bed and Breakfast, Bob and I always knew that we wanted to honor the rich history of the Fox family when we named our business. We had thought of several options. Then, one afternoon, Bob suggested, “Foxtrot.” I had to laugh, because he didn’t know the rest of the story.
You see, while my great grandmother was out on her weaving trips, my great grandfather was at home with the children and farm. Riley was also a Methodist minister, who strictly forbade dancing. So, while he would be pleased that his great-granddaughter named a business after him, he would be less than pleased to know that it was also a dance.