When the federal government was buying land that would eventually become the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, records were being kept on the properties acquired. As the properties were identified, a 5×8 index card was made containing information about the property, such as what was on the property at the time of purchase. Cards vary in terms of how much are on each card – some have very little while others quite a bit of information. However, these artifacts give us some insight into how our ancestors lived, though the cards do not tell who was living in the houses or what families occupied the property that was bought.
We have a small database of 623 purchase records which you may search below. You may search by first name, last name, corporate name, area of the park. In each listing, you will find acreage, location, description, price, date of deed to the federal government as well as whether the individual had a life-lease on their property. Many local families chose this option so that they could stay in their family homes until the end of their lives, upon which the property would resort to the federal government and become part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Of the more than 600 properties sold in Sevier County, 85 families chose life-leases.
The records in this database are strict transcriptions. The original digitized index cards are attached to each record.
You may download the entire land records file here: https://scplshistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/GSMNP.land_.purchases.pdf
The Civil Conservation Corps were integral to the development of the National Park we know today. To view a digitized annual of local camps from 1937, go here.