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Memories from the Homestead: The legacy of Miss Lizzie

Here at the Shepherd of the Hills Homestead and Adventure Park, there's a lady who was loved by many that contributed much to the property. She was a huge fan of “The Shepherd of the Hills” novel. Around here everyone still calls her "Miss Lizzie." Today I'd like to introduce you to the third owner of the property, Elizabeth P. McDaniel.

 



     A native of Springfield, Miss Lizzie was one of four children and the only daughter of William and Emma (Evans) McDaniel. Her brothers were George, William and Horace. Miss Lizzie was born August 31, 1871. Coming from a wealthy family, the McDaniels were shareholders in the Union National Bank of Springfield and remained involved in the banking business for many years.

 

     Active in numerous community and social activities, Miss Lizzie graduated from Springfield's Central High School and attended college in Marshville, Tennessee.

 

     The McDaniel family home place was in southern Greene County, southeast of Springfield. Known as Clove Hollow, the property was popular as Miss Lizzie hosted plays, church events and operettas. Her amphitheater often hosted community theater events as well.

 

     Becoming involved in numerous other civic activities, Miss Lizzie was remembered for being a board member of Springfield's early YMCA, even assisting with the construction of the property. 

 

     In October 1926, Lizzie's brother Horace purchased the Shepherd of the Hills Homestead from William Driver, and in February 1927, Lizzie took over ownership, purchasing the farm for one dollar. A huge fan of “The Shepherd of the Hills” novel, Lizzie made improvements to the property, continued the camping accommodations for the guests, and in her first year as owner, the business saw almost 6,300 visitors in four months.

 

     With great enthusiasm, Miss Lizzie went on a quest to bring back all the furniture and belongings of J.K. and Anna Ross (Old Matt and Aunt Mollie), both whom had passed in 1923. The Ross home in Garber was under new ownership, and Lizzie was able to retrieve the items and bring them back to the cabin, where they remain on display today. Lizzie used the famous cabin as her personal residence, living in it for nearly ten years. No one has lived in it since.

 

  In September 1928, the historic post office at Garber was destroyed by fire. This building was constructed by J.K. Ross and his son in the spring of 1907. The only items that survived were a couple of tobacco leaf cutters and the post office safe. These items are also on display in the cabin today.

 

     In the late 1930s, Miss Lizzie constructed a new home on the south side of the Homestead.

With help from Garber neighbor Newt Cox, the home was completed in four years. Today it's known as Sammy's Sweets 'N Treats. The three-story home included several items from her family's pre-Civil War residence in Springfield. They include the staircase, the fireplace mantel, the doors and windows.

 

    Miss Lizzie had numerous dreams and wishes for the famous property to keep the fans interested in coming back for a return visit. She developed a theatrical stage play of “The Shepherd of the Hills” that was popular for quite some time. Using the cabin as her stage and backdrop, Lizzie used local actors to portray the book characters. Her ultimate goal was to build a large outdoor amphitheater down over the north hillside behind her new home. That dream became a reality in August 1960 when the Trimble family opened the outdoor theater. It's been going ever since.

 

     Unfortunately, Miss Lizzie passed away on February 24, 1946 at the age of seventy-five. When new owners Bruce and Mary Trimble purchased the property, they went through much of Lizzie's personal things and in her papers discovered her notes for future development of the farm. Many of those plans became reality in the 38 years that the Trimble family operated the farm.

 

     Miss Lizzie will certainly be long remembered for her energy and enthusiasm. Many of the Shepherd of the Hills guests today continue to marvel at her wonderful contributions not only to the property, but to the area in general.

 

      Miss Lizzie was laid to rest in Springfield's Maple Park Cemetery with her family.

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