Hamblen Family

Hamblen Family - 1900
Hugh and Josphine Hamblen, 1900

Some documents refer to this family as “Hamblin”.

Albert Huston “Hugh” Hamblen was a man of many skills. In his short life of only 45 years he was a logger, a farmer, an accomplished blacksmith, and he even worked for the new Tennessee Eastman Company in his latter years. In 1915-16 he helped build the Dam, maintaining and sharpening the tools used to blast and carve the stone.

Hugh married Josephine (Fincher) Hamblen aka “Josie” on Dec. 16, 1900 at the home of her older brother Sam Fincher, not far from the Ledbetter Gap that we know today.. They tied the knot while standing on a large rock near a spring there.

Their grandson Doug Hamblen told us that when they first married, Josie could neither read nor write. Hugh was a good husband and taught his bride these skills, but he may have regretted it later!

You see, after a while Josie felt the calling to become a preacher. It was highly unusual for a woman to preach in the early 1900s, but “Sister Josie” became very popular. She would travel to revivals in the area and people would come from miles around to hear her preach the gospel.

But eventually Hugh got tired of being left with 7 kids while Josie was off preaching, and he told Josie “you can’t keep going off like that!”. We don’t know if he was able to change her mind. Neighbors would later say that they knew when Sister Josie was gone preaching because they would see the Hamblen kids walking down the road with their knapsacks, going to stay with friends or family in the area.

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