The Sequatchie Valley by Guy N. Woods
Recently it was my honored and happy privilege as it has been for more than thirty years to preach in a week-end meeting for the Mt. Airy congregation in Tennessee’s lovely, inspiring and breath-taking Sequatchie Valley. There towering mountains rise to meet the sky. At night the stars appear to nestle in their craggy heights, and the moon, along its pathway of gold, seems to pause in wonder as it moves over their airy peaks. For this magnificent valley, the majestic mountains which overshadow it and the sturdy and stalwart saints who live there I entertain the highest appreciation. Its most distinguished inhabitant, long since gone to be with the Lord whom he so well served, Theophilus Brown Larimore, once said that the Indian word “Sequatchie” most likely meant “land of many waters,” but added that were an angel from heaven to stand on some towering peak among the mountains which surrounded it, and see it as Moses saw the promised land the angel might call it “Paradise”!
On this most recent trip through the good offices of a dear friend, Tom Mosley, I saw the house where brother Larimore lived and the creek he crossed when the evening shadows gathered and this pitiful little boy wearily returned to his mother from the fields in which he had toiled all the day long, in an effort to provide food so desperately needed by his mother and sisters. When only ten years old he hired out to plow for $4 per month and so weak and frail was he that often the plow handles were covered with blood from his nose and, weak and dizzy from its loss, he reeled and staggered between the plow handles like a drunk man.
It was always dark when his day’s work was over and along his path were deep shadows from the tall mountains nearby and he was often afraid. His mother, knowing this, and also afraid, nevertheless always came to meet him in the ravine’s darkest spot and, when she heard his footsteps would softly say, “Is that you, my son?” When the little lad heard her words which were to him as sweet as the words of an angel, his fears were gone and he joyfully and gladly accompanied her home no longer timid or afraid. Long years after when he had become the brotherhood’s most loved and dedicated preacher, possessed of an eloquence unequalled by the ablest speakers of his day, he was to recall this incident, recite its details and say, “I sometimes wonder if, when I come to cross the valley of death, I shall hear my mother’s voice on the other side as she waits for me to come. I know she will be there, if she can.” Is it any wonder that in his later years, tears always appeared in his eyes when he mentioned his mother?
Thank God for our dear sweet mothers!