Smoky Mountains History: Plemmons Cemetery

Smoky Mountains History: Plemmons Cemetery © William Britten use with permission only

We began our exploration of the False Gap area in the Greenbrier last week. To refresh our memory, this is the area just over the first two bridges as you turn to head up to Ramsey Cascades Trail. Park near the old road with a chain across it to your right. Today we will be taking the short half-mile walk up to Plemmons Cemetery.

The largest cemetery in the Greenbrier area of the Smoky Mountains, and one of the largest in the National Park, is the old Greenbrier Cemetery. After the formation of the Park, it became known as Plemmons Cemetery, named for David Plemmons, the preacher who lived in a home just up False Gap creek.

I spent an hour or so here walking respectfully among the graves, many of which are extremely old. The names here are mostly Whaley and Bohannon … two homesteading families with long histories that we’ll explore in some later blog posts. Some of the grave markers are little more than names and dates scratched onto rocks, such as in the photo at the bottom of the page. Others have been replaced with more modern granite markers.

The grave marker below is that of William Whaley, born in 1788 in North Carolina. William went off to war as a fifer in the War of 1812, and returned to live in the Smoky Mountains for another 62 years!  His brother Middleton settled further down the Little Pigeon River near Emerts Cove, which today is just outside the National Park boundary. 100’s of the Whaley ancestors lived in the Greenbrier for more than a century.

Plemmons Cemetery

Plemmons Cemetery © William Britten use with permission only

If you want to dive deeper into the history of the Greenbrier, and of the folks buried in Plemmons Cemetery, Mike Maples offers some incredible information, some of which I’ve borrowed for this blog post. Thanks Mike!

When you are ready for a break from your wanderings, please consider a stop at the William Britten Gallery on the Historic Arts and Crafts Loop on Glades Rd. in Gatlinburg, TN.  My complete display of Smoky Mountains photos might tempt you with a special memory to take home.

Old Gravestone in Plemmons Cemetery

Old Gravestone in Plemmons Cemetery © William Britten use with permission only

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  1. Loretta Buchanan Robinson

    Enjoy your photos, William M.Whaley is my. 4great grandfather and my Grsndfather owned The Le-Conte Hotel his name was Elbert Whaley.

  2. Larry Woods

    My mother is Nola Whaley Woods, daughter of Lavator Whaley. I understand there is an annual Whaley family reunion in Greenbrier, probably at Plemmons Cemetery. Can you give me a contact person to find out when and where? Thanks.

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