In the 1930’s Mrs. Amelia Meares Greenlee asked the students in her classroom to collect stories that told of the “pioneer days” in our community – (Spruce Pine and Grassy Creek.) This is one of the stories which was shared.

Born In A Hollow Tree

About one hundred and twenty years ago (this was written down in the 1930’s) there was much land to be taken up in what is now Mitchell County. At that time a young man named Burnett, from down in the cove (McDowell County) decided to come up into the mountains and take up some land and make a home for himself and wife. Perhaps it was a pretty winter day when he and his wife started out with a small bundle of clothes and a little food, but when they reached the top of the mountain it was very cold. Soon the snow began to fall fast. It was getting colder and colder and the snow was almost blinding them. They did not know how much farther they had to go. Mr. Burnett had planned to reach a friend’s house, but he knew that his wife was cold and tired so when he saw a large hollow chestnut tree he and his wife took shelter in it. They built a fire, ate what they had with them, and were soon warm and comfortable. And what do you think happened? That night a little baby girl was born in that hollow tree. They named her Lizzie. The neighbors were kind and they must have been very happy and comfortable in their hollow tree house, for they lived there until spring and then built a cabin close by. Maybe there was no room to spare in their tree house, but the tellers of the story never handed down any word of complaint. It was told though, that a man standing up, could hold his rifle on his shoulder in the usual way and turn around without touching the walls. And in those days rifles were much longer than now. The barrel measure was thirty-two inches long. We do not know how pretty that little baby was, but if she is as pretty as her flaxen-haired, brown eyed, great-great-great grand daughter in our room, she was very pretty indeed.

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