Tennessee Mountain Mamas or Belle and Josie Mae’s Scorn

Belle and Josie MaeTennessee Mountain Mamas, sought some form of retribution against their Rebel tormentors, that would always be remembered as, Belle and Josie Mae’s Scorn. During the Civil War, two Tennessee Mountain Mamas, were surviving the best they could, sisters, they had both married young, they were old gals now, in their early twenties. The siblings had hitched up with two brothers who lived just up the cove, they had run the hollows and creeks together, so it just seemed natural to get married and live as neighbors and share the toils and joys of their Smokey Mountain paradise. The rebellion had divided Eastern Tennessee folks in many different directions, Belle and Josie Mae’s husbands and kin had all left home to join the Union Army. The two sisters and their babies were left alone to fend for themselves, caring for the farms, livestock and crops. Belle and Josie Mae’s biggest fear was the Rebel riders that would come at night, dragging them from their beds, scaring the infants and toddlers, searching the small cabins, stealing the meager store of vittles and grain and demanding the whereabouts of the men folk and their political sympathies.

The Tennessee Mountain Mama’s most valued commodity were the clay jugs of Mountain Medicine. This elixir was known far and wide, its value was second to none. The two Tennessee sisters learned at an early age the magic recipe, lots of cool clear Smokey Mountain water, a large helping of local corn, God’s blessing, a hot fire and a lot of patience. Belle and Josie Mae stashed most of their brew in the cave, behind the falls, just up the creek, burying their treasure after dark.

Most of the Rebel night riders had finally got it into their thick heads, that the two Tennessee Mamas didn’t know where their men folk were and had little or nothing left to pillage or plunder. However, two local southern sympathizers, one named Bull and his uglier brother Bart, figured that Belle and Josie Mae might just be scared and lonely enough to share another type of family treasure. Both, being dumber than a bag of hammers, snuck up to the girl’s cabins, knocked on the doors politely, gathered both Tennessee Mamas and babies in one cabin, asked if they could have a bite to eat and a drink of their Mountain Medicine. The sister’s smiled coyly at each, turned and smiled comely toward Bull and his uglier brother Bart, bedded the young’uns down in the next room and started to prepare the feast.

Belle and Josie Mae first poured each guest a tall cup of their famous brew. While Belle kept the cups full, Josie Mae fried up a heaping portion of fat back, heated up a pot of black-eyed peas and baked up some corn bread, the enticing aromas filling the cabin and further enrapturing Bull and his uglier brother Bart. Their thirst being greater than the hunger, the two brothers were feeling the full effects of the Mountain Medicine and began pawing at the two young Tennessee Mountain Mamas. The girls just giggled, kept their distance, cooking and keeping the cups full. Before long the unwanted guests were snoring soundly at the table, having an empty jug, as their only companion.

The Tennessee sisters moved quickly, drug the two, slumbering, treasure seekers outside, staked and tied both spread eagle on the forest floor, a short distance from the cabin. The Mountain Mamas were driven by a vengeance, grabbed the fat back from the frying pan and poured the hot grease into Bull and Bart’s ears. Both Dixie Boys sobered briefly and screamed for their life and were immediately knocked senseless by the cast iron frying pan. The young Tennessee Mamas hauled the bag of hammers to a deep crevice, near the falls, dumping the remains into the bottomless cavern, that was known to be full of poisonous snakes, cleaned up the mess, fed their families and went to bed.

So the tale goes, that Bull and his uglier brother Bart, while seeking the Tennessee Mountain Mama’s Treasure, instead discovered Belle and Josie Mae’s Scorn.


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