Cades Cove Dulcimer
American Chestnut


Peter A. Myers
Circa 1910

More than one hundred and thirty years ago, long before they were destroyed by disease, a beautiful American chestnut tree grew tall and straight in the Cades Cove valley of Eastern Tennessee.  At that time the Smokey Mountains were filled with these beautiful and most useful trees.  They had many applications which included lumber for homes, farm buildings, rail fences as well as fire wood.  Also, the chestnuts that fell to the earth each fall were delicious to eat for humans, wild life, and domesticated animals.  One hundred and thirty years ago this special tree was cut down and sawed into lumber to be used in farm buildings and homes in Cades Cove by Peter Myers and his family.

Later, two of his grandsons, Ted and Wayne Myers, were hauling corn to market from their farm in Cades Cove.  The market was in Maryville, Tennessee and was more than 30 miles away.  Their old truck’s bed was in a bad state of repair and boards were needed to keep the corn from falling to the roadway during the long haul to Maryville.  They selected some wide chestnut boards from the corn crib to help with the repairs.  When the hauling was finished Ted Myers took the beautiful, wide chestnut boards and stored them in one of their barns at the Townsend farm.  Those boards remained in storage there until 2012 when Glenn Myers, Ted’s son, gave one of them to local master craftsman Mike Clemmer to be used in the construction of a very special dulcimer.  The result was a one of a kind dulcimer fashioned from a piece of this one hundred thirty year old chestnut lumber. 

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