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Sarah Pack & William Burress

Sarah, being the oldest, grew up and married a man named William (Bill) Burress. As time went along, Sarah and Bill built a log cabin on the mountain we now know as Stoney Ridge....

Sarah, being the oldest, grew up and married a man named William (Bill) Burress. As time went along, Sarah and Bill built a log cabin on the mountain we now know as Stoney Ridge.

They cleared enough land to plant their crops of corn and wheat and they also kept honeybees for their honey. They raised hogs to kill for winter meat, along with wild meat they obtained.

They had a room on the side or on the back called a storeroom or smoke house. This room couldn't be entered from the outside, you had to go in by way of the kitchen.

This was where the meat was hung from the rafters and the honey was stored in stone crocks. Long strings of dried green beans hung on wooden pegs and a barrel of sauerkraut and pickled beans was kept there as well as burlap sacks of black walnuts, hickory nuts, chestnuts and anything else edible.

One fall after they had harvested their crops and had killed their hogs for the winter, they used all their supply of salt. Bill knew he had to go to town to purchase for $.50 for a 100 lb. sack and his coffee for $.10 a pound, enough to do all winter, and more importantly, to grind the wheat for winter flour and corn for meal.

Back in those days, the only way to travel was to walk or go by buggy or horse wagon. He had to stay overnight in the town of North Tazewell at the home of Susan Shortridge, his sister-in-law. In the meantime, he had to leave his wife Sarah at home on the lonely, dangerous mountain.

After carrying enough water up the hill to do for the night, Sarah hurried to feed the cow, hog, dog and chickens as night comes early in late fall on the mountain.

This left Sarah with one more important thing to do besides bringing in enough wood to do through the cold night and that was to bring in the double bitted axe and stand it in the corner for her and her two week old twins' protection. Sarah carefully latched the wooden door which hung on leather hinges, leaving a two inch crack at the bottom.

She fed her babies, ate her portion of corn meal mush and lay down to sleep for the night. She had put an old coat in the crack at the bottom of the door.

Later that night, she heard an animal prowling around the outside of the storeroom area. Sarah crept out of bed silently and by the light from the big rock fireplace, she saw a mountain bear put his paws under the door and push away the coat and begin trying to lift the door off its hinges.

She grabbed the ace and cut off both paws. The giant bear began making an almost human noise, crying. Sarah peeped through the cracks in the wall and saw the poor bear dipping his paws in the water barrel some short distance away.

He finally left the barrel and went crying into the woods above the house. Quite shaken by the none too pleasant experience, Sarah stayed awake for the remainder of the night.

Late the next day, when Bill returned, Sarah told him of the frightful even. Bill got a couple of neighbors and their best hounds together to track the bear.

The trail was cold but quite easy to follow as it wound through the elder and the laurel beds, a crimson trail which lead up into the pines. There, under a giant overhanging cliff, lay the bear, near death from loss of blood. Bill and Sarah hung their part of the bear meat in the storeroom for the winter.

*Stories written by Georgia Maud Quesenberry Maxfield, an 80 year old Tazewell resident (deceased), of early Tazewell County life as told to her by her great-grandmother and her grandmother. Her Recollections appeared in the Tazewell Newspaper sometime in the early 1980's. Georgia was the daughter of George & Mary Frances Burress Quesenberry.


Linked toWilliam H. "Billy" Burress; Sarah Elizabeth Pack

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