Last updated: January 25, 2021
Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Parking - Auto, Scenic View/Photo Spot
Born around 1837, “Aunt Orlean” Puckett is a local legend. She lived here with her husband, John. Aunt Orlean was revered as a midwife who successfully delivered more than 1,000 babies.
Orlean had 24 children of her own, but tragically, each one died in infancy. Many people speculate that this is why she worked so tirelessly to aid other mothers. “Aunt” Orlean Hawks Puckett died in 1939 at the age of 94 or 102, no one is quite sure which! (Not only is her age unknown, the spelling of her name varies based on the historical source.)
An informational wayside on the site explains, "Born in 1837, “Aunt” Orelena Hawks Puckett lived here during the latter of her 102 years. She was often heard to say, “The Forest was green when I was a-born and I’m green yet.” A bride at 16, Mrs. Puckett and her husband first farmed below nearby Groundhog Mountain.
Mrs. Puckett was past age 50 when she began a long career of midwifery. She assisted at the births of more than 1,000 babies, delivering the last in 1939, the year she died. It has been said she never lost a child or mother through her own fault. Ironically, none of Mrs. Puckett’s own 24 children lived beyond infancy.
Regardless of weather, “Aunt” Orelena went wherever and whenever called. Sometimes on horseback, often walking, the midwife brought assurance and kindness to all she visited. When she began her practice around 1890 her fee was one dollar, and “when time was good,” six dollars. Often receiving food or other goods in lieu of money, she generously shared all she had with neighbors or those in need. Today, Orelena Puckett is remembered in this area for her witty, cheerful personality, as well as for her unselfish and skillful practice as a midwife.”
Orlean and John Puckett lived in a larger house that was located in what is now the garden plot on this site. The cabin here currently was moved to the property for one of John’s sisters to live in. It is preserved by the National Park Service to keep the memory of Orlean alive.