I became interested in Aunt Becky during one of my trips to Cades Cove. I have visited the Cable house a number of times but for some reason this time the story caught my eye. Aunt Becky must have been an incredible woman. She ran a store and boarding house, took care of her ailing brother and his wife and then managed to amass 600 acres during a time when it was a struggle for women to have financial independence. Read below the complete story of Aunt Becky and the Cable House:
The Becky Cable House, which was originally built in 1879 by Leason Gregg, is constructed out of lumber that was milled at the nearby Cable Grist Mill. The home was initially situated on a one-acre tract that John Cable sold Leason Gregg. Once completed, the Gregg family lived in the home and ran a small store out of the first floor.
Almost a decade after the home was built, the home was purchased by John’s daughter and son (Rebecca Cable and Dan Cable) in 1887. The brother and sister operated the store for approximately eight more years before closing the store and opening a boarding house.
Around 1896, Dan Cable and his wife became ill and Rebecca Cable took over all day-to-day operations of the business. In addition, Aunt Becky as she was affectionately called, also was responsible for caring for Dan Cable and his family during their time of poor health.
Aunt Becky was known as a capable and resilient woman. She frequently completed labor intensive tasks including running the grist mill, plowing fields, and herding cattle. Aunt Becky had several close calls including a grist mill accident that severely injured her leg and stepping on a rattlesnake while plowing barefoot.
Although she did not marry or have children, she amassed over 600 acres of land and lived to be 96 years old! She was known for her benevolence and even donated land for the nearby Cable School that educated area children.
Following the death of Rebecca Cable in 1940, the Becky Cable Home was moved to its current spot near the grist mill and visitors center.
A small house with a big story
The more I read about her the more I am fascinated with what drove her and what she was like. Next time you are in Cades Cove take a minute and pay homage to Aunt Becky and the Cable house. It is a small house compared to houses today, but its story is so much bigger.