Lora Blevins Historic Farmstead, Big South Fork NRRA, Tennessee
Lora Blevins Historic Farmstead, Big South Fork NRRA, Tennessee | Photo Credit: Violet Sky Adventures

There are only four preserved homestead sites within the entirety of Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. The Lora Blevins Historic Farmstead happens to be one of those sites. While the years of hot Tennessee summers and cold mountain winters have slowly aged this once bustling farm site, the cabin and barn still welcome visitors today. Drive along the rugged dirt road and experience the history and a feeling of stepping back in time at this rustic home.

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The Lora Blevins farm dates back to 1927. It all began when Rev. Lora Elzick Blevins and his wife Tealie Ann (Slaven) Blevins purchased 45 acres of land with the intent to start their very own farm. The farm would be the place where they would raise their children. In fact, the Blevins’ had nine children during their marriage which began in 1915. Of their 9 children, 7 lived to adulthood.

The farm was self-sufficient, as it needed to be to survive the remote wilderness that surrounded the small house that was built by the family. Even though cars and tractors had been growing more common by the late 1920s, Lora and his wife decided to continue using hand tools and livestock to plow fields and build buildings. Their home was built in 1928. During that time, the West Bandy Creek Road was actually the main transit corridor between the towns of Oneida and Jamestown.

Lora was a man who was very active in the community. Not only did he tend to his farm, he was also an ordained Baptist minister. He often traveled about the area to deliver his sermons at local churches. Throughout his life, Lora was a minister for about 60 years and enjoying spreading the word of God. In fact, the tobacco barn that once stood on the homestead would occasionally be used as one of Lora’s churches.

Tealie Ann stayed home to raise the children while tending to the house and gardens. Poppie Blevins was the youngest of their children and loved to tell the story about her childhood in the home and how snow would even blow into their upstairs bedroom on cold winter nights. The Blevins’ children shared that their house was never without love.

After Tealie Ann passed away in 1969, Lora moved away from the farm he and his wife had built. He eventually remarried about a year later to a woman by the name of Eva Coffey. Lora sold the farm to two of his sons, Leonard and George. The two young men continued to run the farm for another decade.

In 1974, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area was founded. The National Park Service began purchasing property in the area to be preserved in the park area. It was not until 1980 that the Lora Blevins Historic Farmstead was acquired to become a part of the park.

Lora Blevins Homestead, Oneida, Tennessee
Lora Blevins Historic Farmstead, Big South Fork NRRA, Tennessee | Photo Credit: Violet Sky Adventures

Plan Your Visit

The Lora Blevins Historic Farmstead is located just a short drive from the Bandy Creek Visitors Center.

While the farm used to be much larger, the Army Corps of Engineers removed many of the older buildings that were not deemed necessary to the preservation of the historic site such as the blacksmith shop and chicken coop. The three buildings that remain on site include the log house, barn and the corn crib. Surrounding the home, there are still traces of the farmstead in the fruit trees, dirt-worn road tracks and old foundations.

Adjacent to the homestead is the historic Katie Blevins Cemetery which contains the graves of many Blevins, Slaven and Litton family members. Lora, Tealie Ann and Lora’s second wife Eva, are all buried in this cemetery. There is also the graves of a few of Lora and Tealie Ann’s children in the cemetery.

Just a short way up the road is the Oscar Blevins Homestead. Oscar was a second cousin to Lora.

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