Jim Hannah Cabin
Take a look around the Jim Hannah Cabin that sits along the Little Cataloochee Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. Do you like urban exploring? Here is a map with tons of GPS locations for you to get out and explore.
About the Jim Hannah Cabin
In 1855, John Jackson Hannah departed from his father’s residence in Big Cataloochee to establish his own home on Little Cataloochee Creek. Around the same time, he married Martha Ann Simmons, the daughter of Abe Simmons from Tennessee and Polly Jones, a native of Ireland. This marriage resulted in the birth of 11 children, some of whom later left the homeplace. Despite this, the Hannahs played a significant role in the development of the Little Cataloochee community, extending up to the establishment of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Notably, two sons, James A. and Mack W., made remarkable contributions to the area. Mack’s son, Mark Hannah, served as a Ranger for the Cataloochee portion of the Park.
Initially, John Jackson Hannah settled in a small cabin located south of the existing Little Cataloochee road in 1857. Between 1857 and 1864, he constructed a log house on high ground just north of the road. Dan Cook likely assisted in hewing logs and puncheons for the house. In the same year, Hannah obtained a bond for title to 100 acres of land worth $400 from the James R. Love estate. This debt was paid off on April 9, 1884. On that day, Mack, John Jackson’s son, also took ownership of some land adjacent to his father’s.
Mack Hannah later developed one of the most productive apple orchards in Little Cataloochee, while John and Martha lived by subsistence farming. John was known for his strong Republican beliefs, passing them on to his grandson Mark, named after the Ohio Republican senator. Even in his later years, John enjoyed engaging in political discussions with fellow Republicans passing by his home.
When John and Martha passed away, they were buried in the Hannah family cemetery in Little Cataloochee. John was born on July 28, 1831, and died on October 14, 1909, while Martha was born on August 20, 1833, and died on January 10, 1920. In 1893, John transferred his land, including the homeplace, to his son James A. Hannah under the condition that James would take care of his parents for their lifetime.
James A. Hannah, born on June 22, 1871, earned a living through farming and various other jobs, including timber cutting for sawmills. He possessed expertise in locating bee trees and extracting honey. James frequently rented portions of his land to other farmers and was actively involved in the local community. He served as a justice of the peace and taught a Sunday school class at the Little Cataloochee Baptist Church. James married Margaret Melissa Coggins on December 24, 1893, and they had five children.
In 1924, James A. sold his property to his older brother, William J. Hannah, for $1000, ensuring that the property stayed within the family while also providing James with much-needed funds. James and Melissa continued to live on the property until 1935 when it was taken by the North Carolina Park Commission. They then moved to Dellwood in Haywood County. James passed away on August 25, 1946, and was buried in the family’s Little Cataloochee cemetery. Melissa’s exact date of death is unknown.
During the establishment of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Hannahs, along with some neighbors, initially resisted giving up their land, leading to a court case. In the end, the state offered a final purchase price of $1,650 for the Hannah property.
The Hannah family was one of the largest extended families in Little Cataloochee, with significant land holdings and a substantial number of family members. They were active in the community, frequently aiding their neighbors, and remained closely connected even after some family members moved away seeking new opportunities.
F. Chain of Title for the John Jackson Hannah Property:
On February 23, 1857, John Jackson Hannah acquired a deed of trust from the James R. Love estate for “one hundred acres of land, to include the improvements where he is now living,” and he promised to pay $400 for the property. The debt was settled on April 9, 1884, and Hannah received the deed of title to his land. On the same day, April 9, 1884, about 50 acres of the original tract were acquired by his son Mack W. Hannah, along with other property from the James R. Love estate.
On September 29, 1893, John Jackson Hannah gifted his land and homeplace house to his son James A. on the condition that James would take care of John and Martha during their lifetimes. In 1907, James A. donated a small parcel of land to the county Board of Education, but it was returned to him on July 5, 1927. On August 10, 1920, James A. sold approximately 5 acres to his nephew, James B. Hannah. This 5-acre plot became part of James B. Hannah’s property, which the Park acquired in 1930.
On October 25, 1924, James A. sold the homeplace of about 50 acres to his older brother William J. Hannah for $1000. James A. retained the right to live on the property and use it for farming purposes, including the use of wood and timber for firewood and maintenance. This property was taken by the North Carolina Park Commission in 1930, but James A. and Melissa continued to live there until sometime in 1935.