Mile 190.0 - Puckett Cabin
Blue Ridge Parkway, there are countless stories of past inhabitants of
the mountains. And at Mile 190 in Southern Virginia, the Parkway
tells the tale of one truly remarkable woman. Puckett's Cabin is
the former home of Orlena Hawks Puckett, whose story of strength and goodwill
has survived generations.
"Aunt Orlene" was born in 1837 and her story to many is a perfect strength of Appalachian women in the 1800 and the early 1900's. For over seven decades, Mrs. Puckett served as a midwife, and assisted in the birth of over 1000 babies. She was well known throughout the mountains of Southern Virginia and continued to serve as a midwife until her death in 1939 at the age of 102. What makes the seventy plus years as a midwife in the rural mountains remarkable is the tragedy of the loss of 24 of her own children between 1862 and 1881. Many of her children were stillborn and none of her children survived infancy.
Today, Orlena Puckett's story continues to be told. Phyllis Smith performs "They Call Me Aunt Orlene" at the Parkway's cabin site a few times each year. Smith wrote the one-woman play in 2003. Also, Puckett's story is told by Karen Cecil Smith's book, "Orlean Puckett: The Life of a Mountain Midwife."
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Page Created: March 31, 2008
© 2008 Adam Prince