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Museum sponsoring ‘Lost Cove’ book signing

Contributed Photo • Author and historian Christy Smith holds a copy of her new book featuring the community of Lost Cove.

By Richard Rourk

A local historian and author has finished a new book that is helping to preserve a regional landmark.

Christy  Smith has released “Lost Cove, North Carolina: Portrait of a Vanished Appalachian Community 1864-1957,” which tells the comprehensive story of mountain people who fought to preserve their way of life. 

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“I began hiking into Lost Cove back in 1982,” Smith said. “As a young girl, I met members of the Piercy family and began to learn the history of Lost Cove.”

Smith said that she made more than 20 trips through Lost Cove.

“My first published work occurred when I was 16,” Smith said. “I’ve always been drawn to poetry, but I always knew that I wanted to capture the story of Lost Cove in some way.”

Smith spent many hours collecting data and talking to descendants of Lost Cove in preparation for her work. 

“Thankfully the Archives of Appalachia at ETSU has been a wonderful resource,” Smith said. “Yancey County Library and researching the deeds to the land of Lost Cove provided so much info. I have also spoken to several families that were related to the Millers, Baileys, Bryants and Tiptons. They really became part of my family. It was important to capture that history and make those connections. The community was very close-knit and very self-reliant and self-sustaining. At one time there were close to a hundred people that lived in the cove.”

Reception to Smith’s work has been positive since its release. 

“It’s been great,” Smith said. “It’s available on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble right now. You can also purchase the book at several independent bookstores in both Tennessee and North Carolina.”

“Lost Cove, North Carolina: Portrait of a Vanished Appalachian Community 1864-1957” can also be used as an official reference in academia. 

“The book is a contribution to the Appalachian Studies,” Smith said. “This book could be presented in classrooms by being part of Appalachian Studies.”

Smith is scheduled to be the special guest for a book signing and meet-the-author session. The event is sponsored by the historic Unicoi County Heritage Museum and will be held at Erwin Town Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 19, from 2 to 6 p.m. 

A percentage of sales of “Lost Cove, North Carolina: Portrait of a Vanished Appalachian Community 1864-1957” during the Jan. 19 book signing will be contributed to the historic Unicoi County Heritage Museum.

In case of inclement weather, the event will be postponed to Wednesday. Feb. 2, from 2 to 6 p.m. at Erwin Town Hall.

For more information, call the museum at (423) 743-9449.