Oscar Blevins Farm, Big South Fork, Tennessee
Oscar Blevins Farm, Big South Fork, Tennessee | Photo Credit: Violet Sky Adventures

Situated on 24-acres in the rural woodlands of Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area (NRRA) lies the hidden homestead that once belonged to Oscar Blevins. The historic farm was home to two generations of the Blevins family over the course of 100 years. The farm was lived in until the formation of Big South Fork NRRA which ultimately led to some unusual occurrences at the old farmstead.

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In 1879, John “Jack”, Blevins moved to this land to form his own homestead. The great-grandson of famed settler Jonathan Blevins, Jack built a home, married and raised his children at the site. The home was a modest 1-1/2 story farmhouse cabin but it was sufficient for the family in the rural mountains of the Big South Fork. Jack and his wife Louisa had three children including Oscar, Charles and Bertha.

Jack’s son Oscar eventually took over ownership of the home when his father moved to nearby Winfield. Oscar proudly followed in his father’s footsteps running the farm.

In 1939, 24-year old Oscar married Martha Ermon Smith. Together the couple had two children. Their first child, a daughter, died in infancy in 1941. Their son Lawrence was born in 1951.

In the 1950s, Oscar built a new home on the site along with another outbuilding. He used his childhood home as a barn. The Blevins worked the land, raised livestock and enjoyed the rural lifestyle.

In 1974, the U.S. Department of Interior and its National Park Service began purchasing land to mark the creation of Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area. One of the properties they needed to form the park was Oscar Blevins family farm.

Oscar did not want to the leave the site. He had lived there his entire life and always called the farm home. He continued to refuse to sell the land until finally in 1980, he was given no choice. The National Park Service used eminent domain to acquire the property paying Oscar a sum of money for his land.

Forced from their home, Oscar, who was 65 at the time, and his wife Martha moved into nearby Jamestown. For the last eight years of his life, Oscar was said to have mourned the loss of his family farm. He watched as the park slowly evolved the site and surrounding homesteads into park attractions. While the park tried to preserve the historic integrity of the location, it still broke Oscar’s heart to be removed from his family home.

In 1988, Oscar passed away and was buried in Katie Blevins Cemetery. His wife, Martha passed away in 1994 and was laid to rest beside him.

Oscar Blevins Farm, Big South Fork, Tennessee | Photo Credit: Violet Sky Adventures
Oscar Blevins Farm, Big South Fork, Tennessee | Photo Credit: Violet Sky Adventures

Haunted Occurrences

Park rangers at Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area had heard the tales of Oscar’s pleas to remain at his family farm. As the years went by, the park grew to encompass 125,000-acres across portions of Tennessee and Kentucky. However, it wasn’t until shortly after Oscar’s death in 1988 that strange things started happening at the farm site.

One tale is said to have occurred one afternoon as a Park Ranger was unsaddling his horse. The ranger had just finished a ride on some of the nearby trails within the park and was bringing the horse back to one of the corrals at Oscar Blevins farm. While unsaddling the horse, the ranger got a strange feeling that he was not alone and turned to see an old man staring him down from near the barn. The man wore bib overalls, brogans over his feet, and a slouch hat atop his head.

The park ranger took no notice that he had just witnessed a ghost and instead waved hello with the intent to soon greet the man after he finished up with the horse. However, once he returned to the site, the man was gone. He asked around and later was told that it sounded like “Old Oscar Blevins”.

Another story is quite similar in description and also concerns the barn. One early morning, a man came to the stables at Oscar Blevins farm to pick up one of his horses. There was no one else out at the farmstead yet and he went into the barn to get a mare he had owned for a while out of the barn to be trailed.

As the man and his horse approached the barn door, the horse did something it had never done before. It began rearing on its back legs. The man tried to calm the horse that was continuously whining and frantically moving about. Unsure why the horse was behaving in such a way he began looking around for anything that could be causing it, like a snake or something in the path.

Looking over his shoulder, he immediately saw an old man who looked like he had just stepped out of the old farmhouse cabin. The man wore bib overalls, brogans over his feet, and a slouch hat atop his head. The man made eye contact with the mysterious figure. The old man said in one of the most strongest eastern Tennessee accents the man with the horse had ever heard, “She won’t come out, will she?” The horse continued rearing until finally she calmed down and as they finally made it out the door, the man was gone.

Over the years, numerous other stories are told about the site. Some visitors and rangers have claimed they have spotted Old Oscar Blevins off in the distance, or looking out the windows of the cabin.

Plan Your Visit

The Oscar Blevins Farmstead is located just past the Bandy Creek Visitor Center on W Bandy Creek Road.

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