Lost Cove – Ghost Town in the National Forest

Sunlight filters through the mist in Lost Cove.

Sunlight filters through the mist in Lost Cove.

There’s something alluring about a ghost town in the middle of the forest, where stone chimneys and building remnants hearken back to more vibrant days. You can almost imagine that the stones in fallen walls whisper stories about the families who once lived here.

In mid-December 2012, SAHC purchased a 95-acre portion of historic “Lost Cove” in the remote and rugged Nolichucky Gorge, an in-holding in the Pisgah National Forest. Nestled near the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, the secluded Lost Cove is a ghost town with a colorful history of self-sufficient families, railroad crews, timber, and moonshine.

“The opportunity to save this significant part of Lost Cove was very important and welcome to those of us who live in its vicinity, who know personally of its special natural and historical significance and have long hoped it would one day be protected,” said David Ramsey, SAHC Trustee.

Lost cove is one of the most legendary ghost towns in the Eastern United States. The community was most likely founded during the Civil War era, although a few accounts hint that two families from a Daniel Boone expedition originally settled the area. Lost Cove grew into a self-sustaining, thriving agricultural community until the railroad brought timber and railroad jobs around 1910.

Tree on Lost Cove

Jamie Ervin, Americorps Land Protection Associate with SAHC, visits the site of Lost Cove.

Located on the boundary of Yancey & Mitchell Counties in NC, very near Unicoi County in Tennessee, Lost Cove became notorious for moonshining as early as 1898. Its remoteness and location along the state boundary made it difficult for tax collectors to penetrate. However, the cove’s isolation, as well as economic necessity, eventually led to the community’s demise. The last family moved out in 1957.

“ ‘Lost Cove’ is a phrase every Unicoi County kid hears pretty early in his/her life.  It has long fired our imaginations, made us curious about our mountain surroundings and our history and inspired many of us to dig deeper into – and ultimately care more about – our Appalachian heritage,” continued Ramsey. “To me, this effort is one more example of the amazing and extremely important conservation work of the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy.”

The property recently purchased by the SAHC fronts on the Nolichucky River, a Significant National Heritage Area. It is visible from this popular rafting river as well as a portion of the Appalachian Trail. Four streams originate on the property and flow into the Nolichucky, and populations of federally endangered plants have been noted on (or near) the property.

“The offering of this property for sale presented a unique opportunity to protect an incredible recreational, environmental, and historical asset,” said Carl Silverstein, SAHC Executive Director.

SAHC purchased the tract with the intent that it will eventually be added to the Pisgah National Forest. We plan to lead guided group hikes to Lost Cove in spring or early summer 2013 – look for more details in the future!

Categories: Land Protection Updates | 89 Comments

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89 thoughts on “Lost Cove – Ghost Town in the National Forest

  1. Alicia Swaringen

    I joined this group-sent them $20. This is the one that Tim Sweeney is working with on preserving other parcels of land that he bought. THey look REALLLLY cool! love, alicia ps-they sent a really awesome magazine about the mountains–some stuff near you!


  2. Nancy

    Beautiful. I can’t wait for the hike!

  3. Barbara Jernee, granddaughter of John and Hulda Miller

    My mother was raised in Lost Cove. We journeyed up the mountain from Unaka Springs, TN many times to visit the old homestead. My grandparent’s home was ‘mysteriously’ burned down several years ago. I understand that young boys were in there on 4-wheelers and destroyed much of what was still standing. I am so thankful the remainder will be preserved forever.

    • Christy A. Smith

      I would love to interview any of the family members of Lost Cove Residents. JC Bryant/Homer Tipton have great stories about Lost Cove. I wrote my thesis on Lost Cove and still am trying to finish the book. It’s been a long journey but I hope people will let me interview them about their family stories. Thanks too SAHC for preserving this beautiful settlement!

      • It was your thesis Christy that introduced me to the Lost Cove. Thanks! I’ve recently written a science-fiction book that’s set in a combination of the Lost Cove and Bumpas Cove. It’s available on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H1TC8C6). I’d love to get some reviews from local folks. I’m very proud of the area. I’ve hiked in other places and while it’s always fun to be out in nature, I just feel like these local places belong to me, that they are mine.

      • Steph

        Christy I’d love to purchase a copy of your book. I saw it on Google Books but no where to order it. Thanks Steph stephginla@yahoo.com

      • Christy A. Smith

        Steph…Lost Cove is a beautiful place. You can google my thesis about Lost Cove. I am almost finished with the book and hope to publish within the next year. Of course the thesis isn’t half of the material I have now. Thanks!

      • Hi Christy,

        We’re gearing up for our fall hikes and are planning a hike out to Lost Cove. Your thesis on the history of Lost Cove is very interesting and we’d love to talk with you more about your research and the possibility of having you join us on our hike. Lost Cove is a very special and interesting place and we would love to plan a hike to highlight that. If you are interested, please email Kana Miller at kana@appalachian.org or call 828.253.0095 ext 205

        Thank you!

      • Regina

        I’m JC’s granddaughter and I wanted to thank you taking the time to set the record straight on the mystery of Lost Cove. I read your thesis and look forward to reading your book when its complete. I know someone could provide you with more information about Lost Cove if you would like to private message me I will give you their contact.

      • Christy A. Smith

        Regina…I would love to speak with you as well. My number is 423-737-6522.
        I have become unemployed at this time…so please call me after July 5th. I will be out of town this weekend but would love to have more interviews in the book.

      • Christy A. Smith

        Regina…I need your email. I don’t know how to access it from this website…You can call me at 423-737-6522. I would really like to speak with you. Finishing up the book and would like more material.

      • Claude Finch

        Hi Christy, I stumbled across this website looking for pictures to show my wife of Lost Cove. My name is Claude Finch, Great Grandson of Rev. Bob and Mafrie Miller (Bob’s 2nd Wife I’m told). Rev. Bob is the son of Arch and Cindy Miller.
        My Great Uncles Homer and Archie Miller (sons of Rev. Bob and Mafrie Miller) are alive in Florida. Their three other siblings Elsie (my Grandmother), Evert (Wayne), and Junior Miller have passed away.
        I spoke to my Uncle Homer briefly to get more information. From what I can gather John, Swin, and Bob Miller were brothers. Jane Bryant is Bob’s sister and Velmer and Chester are first cousins of Bob. Esta Arrowood is Bob Miller’s daughter by his first wife, I am told she lives in Wisconsin, but is ill.
        I am sure my Great Uncles would like to talk you about living in the Cove, and share more lineage history and stories. I just looked up your thesis and I am looking forward to reading it to my Uncle Homer the next time I see him. Feel free to contact me with any questions.

      • Mitchell Stout

        Hello, I am a direct descendant of residents of Lost Cove. My grandmother, August Bailey, and great-grandmother, Jettie Hedrick Bailey, and great uncle, Britt Bailey are buried with simple markers somewhere in Lost Cove. I’m beginning to learn more and more of my mother’s roots. She was born and raised between both places of Lost Cove, NC and Erwin, TN. Her father was George W. Tipton of Temple Hill, Erwin. I’ve yet to visit Lost Cove, NC, but it is something I really want to do.

      • Christy A. Smith

        Thanks for the information. In the book, is a family section. I want to be able to add all family members to the section. Anytime you would like to talk please give me a call at 423-737-6522.

      • Mike Knies

        Hi, Christy
        I have become a bit obsessed with Lost Cove after going there for the first time last week and will return tomorrow.
        You did a great job on your treatise.
        I will make a note which isn’t your error but the Chester Bailey house in that picture is actually the Velmer Bailey house. If you follow the sequence of the list of residents in the comment the structure still standing is Chester Baileys house while at first there is a resemblance in the porch upon closer examination you can tell that it is different. An old picture of Swin’s house taken across his truck has Velmer’s in the background. if you look closely you see the porch and slope match the putative Chester picture but the real clincher is the tree with the split trunk on the right in the brown picture that is also in the Swin picture.
        Now how am I sure that location is Velmers. Well it is the one with the spring coming directly out of the mountain behind it as your paper says and it is also next to that big pile of tin that is Velmers barn site.
        I hope this is helpful as you work on your book.

      • Scott

        Christy, my brother hiked up to Lost Cove about 50 years ago while a student at East Tennessee State. He wrote a very pretty song about it that day, which we finally recorded recently. Please let me know if you or anyone you know would be interested in hearing it.

      • Christy A. Smith

        Scott. Yes I would love to hear the song. Please let me know how I can hear the song.

      • chadfredb

        Hi Christy, you interviewed my Uncle for your thesis. I have more photos and info on the site. I also wanted you to know, there was one error when I read your thesis. You have my grandmother as my grandfather’s sister.

      • Christy

        Please give me a call when you can. My phone number is 423-737-6522

      • Joe Bailey

        Christy. I am from Erwin. My father was born in Lost Cove. My grandfather was one of the last to leave. I have been there with my father and grandfather. My grandfather was Harley Bailey. My grandmother was Mabel Tipton Bailey. I am Joe Bailey. 423 330 8544

      • Gale Ratliff

        Hi Christy. My grandmother was Elva S. Bailey Tipton, daughter of Jettie Hedrick Bailey, I don’t know her father’s given name. Her sister was Augusta(Gusty) Bailey and brothers, Velmer, Chester , Britt & one or two others that I do not know names. Her father died while she still lived at home, he died at home following an illness. My grandmother married Joel Worth Tipton (Joe). I do not know if he was also from Lost Cove. He had a sister, Sara, who lived in Poplar. He was born in 1893 and passed away in 1981, my grandmother, Elva Bailey Tipton was born in 1906 and passed away in 1994. Most of their married life was spent in Erwin. I hope this information may be helpful to you. I look forward to reading you book.

      • Joe Bailey

        Christy or who ever. I left my cell number posted on this website. My grandmother was Mamel Tipton Bailey and my grandfather was Harley Bailey. I have a nice picture of the Tiptons. you can contact me 423 330 8544. I am Joe Bailey. Email joesephbailey@comcast.net

      • Scott Norris

        Hi Christy, you can listen to the song here….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3E2CoI3sz8&feature=youtu.be
        There is also a recorded commentary about how my brother and his friend ended up going to Lost Cove in the early 60s that I will have to modify and upload. Please let me know how you like it!

      • Hi Christy, please use this link for the song that we did about Lost Cove, https://youtu.be/PIcjvKf-5Sw

      • Christy A. Smith

        Scott…That was a wonderful song! I will link the youtube site to my FB page. Thanks for sending it to me! Best Regards!

    • Dorothy Jane Peterson Dowlinn

      Hi Barbara, I’m looking for as many realitives, and your Dad must be grandma Jane Miller Bryant’s brother. Please email and let me know for sure, I went to lost cove with my Aunt Noami Morgan. A lot of happy kids playing.
      Looking forward to hearing from you,

      • roger guthrie

        Hi Dorothy, my name is Roger Guthrie and i am a great grandson of Jane Bryant, my grandmother was her daughter Trulla and she married my grandfather Arrie Guthrie, he was a tree surgeon by trade, they had three children, my father which was the oldest his name was Richard then Roy Lee and Odell. My grandmother died of TB and is buried in the cove as well as Odell, however my father and Uncle Roy was taken out of the cove and cured of their TB sadly my father is now dead but my Uncle Roy whick was born in the cove is still alive and lives in Barnardsville,NC. I hope this is not to later to reach you i would love to talk with you more oh yes J.C. Bryant is my great uncle. I can swap phone numbers if you would like Thanks, Roger Guthrie, Bryant,Miller family

  4. Homer Tipton Jr.

    I am so glad someone has stepped in to help preserve this place of important mountain history.My Grandfather Dave Tipton was born in Lost Cove and moved to Erwin TN. when he was 12 years old.I believe this was in the 1920’s.The are so many stories I would love to share to help set the record straight.Will be looking for that first group hike.Good job SAHC!

    • dennis Tipton

      hello homer my family came from this area wonder how we are kin my tiptons left that area and moved with the rail road to dickenson county va .think my great great grand pa was mark tipton can you help me

      • Diane Tipton Combs.

        Hello Dennis, I am Dave Tiptons daughter Diane. I am the baby of 12 children. Did you say that Mark Tipton was your great, great grandfather. He was mine too. My mom & dad are burried right across from Mark & Mary Tipton. We were having a reunion every year for the Tipton clan. There aren’t many of us left now. My dad’s brother Mack Tipton is still alive. My grand father was Sam Tipton. Who was your grandfather and father. There are only four of us left now. Homer Tipton Sr. was my older brother. He past last year. My older sister Dixie Lee Bryant is still with us and two brothers, Robert and Ronald Tipton. It is nice to see that we have relatives out there we didn;t even know.

    • Mitchell Stout

      Mr. Tipton, my grandfather, whom I never had the privilege of meeting, was George W. Tipton, son of Samuel Harrison Tipton and Sarah Beam Tipton. I don’t know much about my ancestry but enough to have pride of the roots from where my mother, Shirley Jean Tipton Stout, was born and raised; both in Lost Cove, NC and Erwin, TN. You may contact me via email if you so desire. Thank you. Mitchell Stout

  5. Shannon Bailey

    Please post when the group hikes are available. I would LOVE to go there! Velmer and Chester Bailey who lived in Lost Cove are my grandfather’s brothers. My father would frequently visit Lost Cove as a child and I would love to see what is left of it.

    • Hello Shannon, not sure if you saw my post last year, I’m interested in knowing who is your grandfather. Velmer and Chester are my grandmother’s brothers. Her name: Augusta Bailey. She married George Tipton from Erwin, TN.

      • Shannon Bailey

        Hi Mitchell,

        Just came across this as I was looking up stuff about Lost Cove. I plan to be in Erwin soon and am finally going to do the hike! Here is my story and connection to Lost Cove. My grandparents were John and Bertha Bailey. I believe my grandmother Bertha and my aunts, Faye and Margaret lived with Jettie Bailey when my grandfather was in the war. Jettie was my grandfather’s mother. She is buried in Lost Cove and her husband William was buried in Poplar I’ve been told.

        I actually met both Velmer and Chester when I was kid. I have a picture of Chester and I when I was baptized in the river at Unaka Springs.

        So you must know Hillard Tipton then? I think Augusta was his mother? As a kid I always called him Uncle Hillard even though he is technically my second cousin.

        Email me at shaweist@gmail.com maybe we can share pictures that we have of the family. 🙂

  6. Carolyn Adams, daughter of Bonnie Cooper Delffs

    My mother visited the Lost Cove several times when she was a little girl. Frank Bryant was her uncle. Emma Bryant Miller, wife of Bob Miller, was her aunt. Her mother was Dora Bryant Cooper. It is sad that so much destruction has been done. Thank you so much for preserving what is left.

  7. Laurie A. Johnson Bryant

    I’m thrilled that this area is being taken care of and preserved. I made numerous hikes up there with my ex husband and his father. I also knew Mr. Dave Tipton that Mr. Homer Tipton Jr. mentioned above and listened to many of his stories about living in Lost Cove. It’s sad to hear that parts of it have been destroyed, but at least now, it will be protected. If you haven’t made the hike and get a chance to do so, I urge you to go. Once you get there, well, just go experience it for yourself.

  8. Roy Lee Guthrie

    Roy Lee Guthrie was born in lost cove 7/2/1941 Frank @ Jane Bryant was my grand parants

    • Chris

      Was Roy Lee Guthrie killed by revenuers in Habersham County Georgia? Maybe he’s not the same one. I just heard a tale while taking a horseback trail ride up here by the house.
      Thanks, Chris

  9. Diane Tipton Combs

    I am also glad to hear that the rest of Lost Cove will be protected. My dad, Dave Tipton lived there and Homer Tipton Jr. is my nephew. We used to go to Lost Cove and spend the night in some of the old houses that were there. They had feather beds and old wood cook stoves. It was quiet an experience when I was younger. The last time we were there, it was just about destroyed. The old wood cook stove had been dragged outside, and the feather beds were no more. All kinds of things carved in the wood on the houses. I understand that the old houses were even burned down. It broke my heart to see everything destroyed. I wish I was able to see it to see it again.

  10. Marcella Bryant

    My dad J.C. Bryant ( Frank and Jane Bryant son ) was raised there. He has took us there many time. He told us a lot of stories. I stay there for a week once with my great uncle John Miller ( and his family). It was great.

    • Roy Lee Guthrie

      Roy Lee Guthrie [Frank @ Jane Bryant grandson – I live in democrat n.c. 828-626-2883

    • Roger Guthrie

      hello Dollie, Frank and Jane Bryant was my great grand parents and their daughter trula was my grandmother,and her son Richard was my father, also Roy Lee Guthrie is my dads brother who was born there in lost cove. I have been to lost cove and the last time i was there, there was only one house left. I have heard a lot of stories and have a very old letter from one of the residents there that was given to my great uncle Charles Guthrie.J.C. Bryant is my great uncle and is very knowledgeably about lost cove. Maybe you could talk with him.

      • Marcella Bryant

        Hi my dad ( J.C. Bryant ) told me that Ann Miller was your grandmother.

  11. I recently published a science-fiction novel, “Flightsuit”, that is based on Lost Cove and Bumpas Cove. I’ve hiked to the Lost Cove many times, and I’m sure we all enjoy and appreciate many of the same elements of this experience. Here’s an excerpt…

    “Sometimes the houses were gone entirely, leaving only smooth brown river stones stacked to form a house’s crude foundations. Each spring daffodils bloomed. They marked boundaries of porch and path between the little houses where mothers and daughters planted them. They’d not realized all their hands went to would be left behind and forgotten. The wood and stones that had sheltered them from freezing cold winters and the deluge downpours of Tennessee summer rains crumbled without human attention, but the most fragile efforts they’d laid their hands to, the flowers, outlasted all. The flowers bloomed every summer, with none to admire them.”

    I hope the book is especially enjoyable for those who have actually been to these places and I welcome local feedback and reviews. It’s available at Amazon.

    Thanks for the excellent website and your preservation of this experience for everyone.

    • Suzi

      I live in Bakersville and discovered this page today while perusing the web. I’m gonna download this eBook tonight (after Midnight when my WildBlue/Exede internet service is free, of course). I’m a fan of the area AND Sci-Fi, and a sometimes writer myself. I used to be friends with Fredrick Pohl’s stepdaughter… Pohl was one of my favorite Sci-Fi writers. Looking forward to reading your book.

  12. The science fiction book I set in the Lost Cove is doing really well. 560 copies sold in January!

    I received permission from the ETSU Archives of Appalachia to use the cool train wreck photograph from Christy’s excellent thesis on the book’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/FlightsuitBook). I can’t wait to take this picture and find the site of the wreck when it gets warmer.

  13. Mike Kelly

    In the early 70’s several members of my family hiked a few miles up the tracks. At the little gravel lot where we parked, a local guy hanging around for no particular reason told us not to go up to the old settlement, because a “mean ol’ man” was living up there who didn’t welcome strangers. Of course, that made us all the more determined to go. We hiked a few miles up the track and made a sharp right turn on an old road up the ridge. There were No Trespassing sighs everywhere, the expensive store-bought kind. Of course, that made us even more determined to see what was up there. Sure enough, we reached the village, and sure enough, there was a mean-looking man standing on the front porch at the very last house in the village. His only words were: “Those No Trespassing signs mean exactly what they say, boys.” For most of us, that was the cue to apologize, say farewell and start back down the mountain. My friend, David, didn’t quite get the message. He asked the old gentleman for a glass of water. That old man turned on his heels, and just as he did so, we saw shotguns or rifles hanging on the porch wall. None of us stuck around to see if the old man was bringing water or buckshot. We ran back down the mountain nearly to the train tracks. We’ll never know whether he was going to shoot us or quench our thirsts, but we’ll never forget those few minutes we spent in that little mountain village. Some of the buildings had been lovingly painted white with dark green trim, as if the lone resident had hunkered down for a spell. I think about that place about once a week and wonder just what that old man was doing back up in that holler.

    Mike Kelly
    Originally from Kingsport, Tennessee and now exiled in northern New York

  14. Dalton Walters

    I hike up to Lost Cove periodically to try to keep things “maintained” a bit. A friend and I went this past October to clean up the cemetery some, and plan to go back again soon. Just want to try to do whatever we can to help preserve this nostalgic piece of American history.

  15. Fred

    Since the SAHC purchased part of the area, is it ok to visit the old community site without worry about trespassing?

    • Hi Fred, and thank you for asking!

      Since SAHC acquired a portion of the Lost Cove, we have led several guided hikes into the cove and plan to continue to do so in the future. We did purchase the 95-acre Lost Cove in-holding with the intent to transfer it to the Forest Service, but until that transfer is completed we do ask that you join one of our guided hikes (see upcoming events at http://www.appalachian.org/news/) if you would like to visit the Lost Cove tract. Check back periodically; we are regularly organizing, planning and adding new hikes to our calendar!

      In April, we also organized a clean-up of the tract with 24 volunteers who removed over a half ton of trash which had been left on the tract from illegal use over the years. We may organize a similar clean up in the future, and would be happy to have interested volunteers contact us.

      Also, there are adjoining in-holding tracts that remain privately owned by landowners other than SAHC. We do certainly want to respect the rights of these landowners. The publicly owned, National Forest land in the Lost Cove area ends about 2.5 miles down the Lost Cove trail (TR 196), at the junction with the Devil’s Creek Trail (TR 188).

      SAHC will continue to manage our Lost Cove in-holding until a transfer to the US Forest can be completed. I hope this information helps, and again – thank you for asking!

  16. Tammy Morgan

    I just recently discovered the Lost Cove and can not wait to visit! I have a question! Does anyone know if you can ride horses in/around the lost cove? We are big horse back/trail riding people and I would LOVE to ride in here! Thanks so much,

  17. Carlos

    I’m very interested in doing the lost cove hike. Hopefully the group can schedule one soon

  18. Steph

    I need to plan a trip to Lost Cove! I am a descendent of one the “moonshiners” of the area, John D. Tipton was my 3rd great grandfather. Looks like a beautiful place.

  19. Dorothy Jane Peterson Dowlinn

    I am so happy to see Lost Cove coming alive again. I see so many of my cousin with their
    Remarks. I loved Lost Cove, I visit my grandma Jane Bryant, I knew my Great grandma Cindy. I remember when she passed. This was a sad time.
    I am one of the old cousin Richard was around my age. He was my love so sorry to here of his passing.
    I would love to hear from all of my cousins so fill free to get in touch with me by phone or email.
    Thank you all for making Lost Cove a swell place to visit,because it sure is a beauty,,,,,,

    • Carl Miller

      My name is Carl Miller grandparents was Nat&Rudy Miller I have a sad story on my Dad Eddie Miller an still living please email me at my email love to hear from u thank u

      • Dollie

        Hi There, I was told that we are kin, did you ever hear of Janie’s sister Ann Miller ? she was my mother’s Mother so I was told. please email me and let me know if you can, I was born in Poplar NC,thanks so much.

  20. We really appreciate everyone expressing interest in and inquiring about the hiking access to Lost Cove! With that said, we are very excited to announce our next Lost Cove Hike, happening on Saturday November 8, 2014. Christy Smith, who wrote her thesis on the history of the Lost Cove community, will be joining us and sharing stories from the abandoned town. The hike is free for all participants, but we ask that you email or call Kana Miller at kana@appalachian.org or 828-253-0095 ext. 205 to reserve a spot. We welcome all of you to join us!

    Thank you!

  21. Danny layton

    I’m going.. Bucket list.. …

  22. Scott Ball

    I generally visit Lost Cove twice a year. In the spring and then in November. I have been doing this since the late 1990s. It is a beautiful yet sometimes mysterious place. Very haunting at times. It is a shame what damage has been done to the former homes and buildings there. I can only imagine what times might have been like there when it was an active and productive community.

  23. We’re very excited to announce that we will be leading another hike into Lost Cove in October! It has been great hearing everyone’s personal stories and connections to Lost Cove. Since SAHC acquired a portion of the Lost Cove, we have led several guided hikes into the cove and this hike will continue that tradition.

    We did purchase the 95-acre Lost Cove in-holding with the intent to transfer it to the Forest Service, but until that transfer is completed we do ask that you join one of our guided hikes (see upcoming events at http://www.appalachian.org/news/) if you would like to visit the Lost Cove tract.
    Info about our October hike can found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/723204127823217/

    Thank You!

  24. Donna Pickard Rogers

    I lived in Lost Cove with my family in 1960 – 1961. I was eight years old. Our last name was Pickard and a local newspaper reporter came and took our picture and did a story about us. A Miller family lived in the Cove as well. I have many fond memories of our time there but my brother and two sisters have better memories of our experience. I have never returned to the Cove but a number of my family hike in quite often.

  25. Carl Miller

    My name is Carl Miller my grandparents was Nat&ruby Miller never got to meet them I no alot about the Miller’s n lost cove hear it from my cousins dolly & Polly John Miller kids love looking at the old pic. Of lost cove thank you for posting them

  26. Scott Norris

    My brother hiked up to Lost Cove almost 50 years ago while a student at East Tennessee State. He wrote a very pretty song about it that day, which we finally recorded recently. I’m sure he would be willing to share and he would love to talk to some of you folks who had family there. Please drop me a message if interested.

  27. Harvey Howell

    My name is Harvey Howell great grandson of Lizzie Howell who was the mid-wife mentioned in Christy’s excellent work. The Howell family lived across into Tennessee in the Granny Lewis Creek section miles from Erwin near the NC line. I would love to have more information and photos of Lizzie if anyone should have such information. whitetail126@gmail.com

  28. Pamela Linville

    My Grandmother was raised on lost cove. I can remember her talking about how they would wait on the train for supplies or had to ride horseback to go buy supplies. What a beautiful place to have lived. many years ago you could hike to lost Cove. I am so happy that they are preserving what is left.

  29. Gale Ratliff

    My grandmother was Elva S. Bailey Tipton. She was the daughter of Jettie Hedrick Bailey, sister of Augusta Bailey and Britt Bailey, Chester,Bailey and Velmer Bailey. She married Joel (Joe) Tipton. She was raised in Lost Cove. Most of her married life was spent in Erwin, TN. She passed away in 1994. She was born May 30, 1906. My grandfather,(Joel) Joe Tipton passed away in 1982. He was born June 23, 1893. I don’t know if my grandfather was from Lost Cove, he had a sister Sara who lived in Poplar NC., and a brother called “Doc”. My grandparents had 5 children, Leonard, Barbara, Betty, J.R. and Lynda Tipton. My grandmother told me a few stories about growing up in Lost Cove. I don’t know her fathers given name but he died when she was still living at home. Any information would be welcome.

    • chadfredb

      Hey Gale, I talked to your cousin Beverly Owens (daugter of Betty) not to long ago. She emailed me. Lynda and my aunt were good friends. Velmer was my grandfather. Augusta’s grandson was in last year and I showed him what I had on Lost Cove. August married a Tipton to that was a brother to Joel and he has info on the Tiptons. Feel free to email me, chadfredb@gmail.com or add me on facebook at facebook.com/chadfredb. I’m trying to get all the family connections back together. Facebook has helped.

    • Hello Gale, I am that grandson of August Bailey Tipton’s our cousin Chad referenced in his message. Your grandmother, though unfortunately I never met in person, wrote me a wonderful letter and we spoke on the phone once. She only had wonderful things to say about my grandmother, her sister, which meant a great deal to me. Up to that point, I only knew very little about Augusta. My grandfather, George W. Tipton, married Augusta Bailey and they had two children. My uncle Hillard and my mother Shirley. They’re all gone now, including my mother. I do wish I could have met Elva. Feel free to email me direct if you should desire: stolmit@gmail.com. After all, we are cousins and have quite an amazing connection to Lost Cove, NC.
      Best, Mitchell Stout

  30. I am hoping that SAHC has another guided tour before long but preferably when the leaves are off the trees for visibility. I have been to Lost Cove twice coming in from Poplar the second time and have many questions about the place. I am particularly interested in where the second cemetery might be.

    • Dalton W.

      A second cemetery? That’s interesting. I’ve been all over that area and I’ve never come across anything that looked like another cemetery. Where did you get that information?

      • chadfredb

        There is only one cemetery in Lost Cove. My Family was there since the beginning. One cemetery only!

      • There was a post on this site and a guy mentioned a second cemetery and that “it was hard to find”
        I made a reply but neither of those posts are on this site now??
        On my second trip I went to all the logical spots for a mtn cemetery as I have a lot of experience in looking for them in the smokies and a friend is cataloging all of them for the NPS but I didn’t find anything.

  31. Scott Ball


    I have spent a lot of time there but only know of one cemetery. Have never seen evidence of another one there. But that means nothing. There could be a small family plot hidden there somewhere. The place has been taken over by nature. Things become hidden.

    • Scott here is the copy of the post I made but I can’t find it above so don’t know who made it

      However, there are 2 graveyards still there. One is VERY hard to find, and only a few people have found it. And also your wrong about why the cove is abandoned. The people that lived there, started getting very sick. Diseases started going around really bad. If you read the headstones in the graveyard that’s hard to find, you will find this out. But they eventually almost died out. So the people that were still living there, decided that it was just better to leave. So they hopped the train, and left. Ever since then it’s been called “The Lost Cove”. We also call the bridge “Imbred Bridge”. And if you go up the trail beside the Imbred Bridge, you will then find “The Devils Washbowl” That is a VERY beautiful place. I have pics on my face book and my space. If any would like to see these pictures.

      • chadfredb

        Volbike, I have to call you out on what you wrote below. That is definately wrong. My dad was one of the last to leave and he was old enough to know what happened. The CC&O took out the sidetrack so they could not get stuff in and out so they moved out. I have newspaper clippings that show they tried to get a road into the cove. As well, disease was a part of life. My great grandmother died of TB. As well only 1 cemetery is in Lost Cove, not two.

      • Harvey Howell

        chadfredb’s account of why people left Lost Cove is correct and totally consistent with the history of that entire area. Another variable in the mix was that North Carolina was supposed to have a state road built close to Lost Cove that would have enable better transit of people and product from that area, but it was built much further away than promised. This was another reason people began to leave the area. My Great Grandmother was Lizzie Howell the,” medicine woman” who visited Lost Cove often with her mountain remedies to help the sick. I understand that she also served as mid-wife who aided in the birth of several Lost Cove babies.

    • BTW I know there are a 1000 Balls in the area but are you by chance related to my good friend in Newport Junior Ball? He passed away last October. A great man and mountaineer!

  32. hi, Chad
    You misread. I didn’t write that I copied that post from this site into a 20 page story I wrote about my two trips but unfortunately didn’t copy his handle so I don’t know who made the comment. I replied but neither of those post are on this site anymore??? And I never saw a reply to my question. I forgot I had pasted it. Maybe whoever did it will see one of these comments and clear up the mystery.

  33. Larry Winston

    I have photos from the late 60’s, of Lost Cove.

  34. Larry, I would love to see your photos as well! I led a hike into the cove for my third trip.
    I am revising a story I wrote that is about 20 pages with current and a few historic pictures that I would love to share with you. It will be a week or so before I finish.
    My email is Knies06@att.net
    we have had some discussion about a second cemetery. coincidentally a friend of mine camped over nite and I had mentioned the issue of the 2nd cemetery. Here is what he said
    “We wandered all over Lost Cove and didn’t find your missing cemetery. We ran into some locals who said they found one well up in the area of the trail out to Joe Lewis. I can send you my tracks and show you where we went. It isn’t anywhere we went!”

    • Dalton W.

      I can tell you I’ve been all over that area 10 or 15 times now and have never found anything that looked like a second cemetery.

  35. Pingback: Lost Cove, NC – Tri-County Christian School

  36. Hate to beat a dead horse but according to find a grave all the legible markers in the cemetery are between 1919 and 1949 I think so it might be likely that people dying earlier could have been buried in small plots
    Now the issue at hand is the reference by one of Christies interviewees about Mack English having a home on Devils Creek where he had the center of his timer operation. I wondered if he really meant beside Lost Cove Branch as I found a nice sized terrace for a home place and chimney fall on the west side with an old grade running toward it not far above the RRT.
    Last Snday I finally got a chance to explore Devils Creek. LSS there is no place a home could have been build beside the creek as it comes out in an almost chasm like space between two steep slopes.
    I did find evidence of the logging effort in a bowl about 2/3 mile back though after following a goat path that workers much have used to get to work from Unaka Springs and LC. It gradually widens to be able to suppost logging activity but is pretty rough. The stream is beautiful as well!

  37. Scott Ball

    And the trout fishing in Devils Creek is good as well.

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