The property on which Sampson’s Hollow sits has been in the Flynn family since before 1879 – and that’s as far back as we have been able to officially trace through recorded archives. Bill Livingston, proprietor of the property, is the grandson of Sampson Flynn, for whom the facility is named. All the grandchildren called their grandfather “Dada”. His father was Joseph Winfield Scott Flynn and it was through Joseph that the farm was originally deeded. Joseph was born in 1861 to Joseph and Rebecca Hatcher Flynn. The older Joseph had fought in the War Between the States and died of smallpox while still in service in 1864. He is buried in a military cemetery in Nashville because the family didn’t have the money to have his remains brought back to his home in Walland. At that time, the name Flynn was spelled Flinn.
In addition to his son Joseph W., the senior Joseph and Rebecca Flinn had 5 other children. At the age of 18, his son, Joseph W. married Mary Jane Kinnamon. After 20 years of marriage, Mary Jane and the child she was carrying died in childbirth. To this union were born 11 children. Joseph married again to Sarah Jane Settlemeyer Smith, who had 4 children by a previous marriage. Sarah and Joseph had 8 more children, one of whom was our Dada, Sampson Flynn.
If our records are correct, the younger Joseph was blessed with 23 children in all. His son Sampson Flynn married Bonnie Mae Cagle in November of 1920. To this union were born 1 son and 5 daughters; Sampson, Jr., Sarah, Louise, Dee, Vonnie, and Velda.
Sampson’s Hollow lies in the middle of over 100 acres of beautiful farmland that is just about a stone’s throw away from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Flynn Livingston inherited approximately 16 acres of the land from her father and mother. Several years ago, Sarah decided to leave it to her 4 grandchildren as their inheritance.
Sampson’s father, Joseph W. Flynn, owned 1 of the original homesteads in W. Miller’s Cove. The only remains of that homestead on the property are the remnants of an old well and a stand of daffodils that continue to bloom each spring. In the winter of 2001, Josh Livingston and his fiancée, Lesley Roberson, announced that they planned on getting married on the family farm.
The following journal entry was written:
“ Even with the threatening weather, I could not have asked God for a more perfect evening for my son’s wedding. It was as if His Handprint was on every aspect of the event. As I sat there on the front row in the middle of the field, I felt the first raindrops and heard the thunder. There was no back-up plan. If it rained, everyone was going to be soaked. There was no alternate location. Then the thunder got louder and the wind picked up. Our pastor was just standing in the middle of the “pulpit” of God’s creation, smiling, not seeming to worry one little bit. He seemed to already have it on higher authority that all would be well. It was amazing. The clouds parted to the left and right of our assembly. I could see the rain in the distance on both sides, but not overhead. The wind calmed, the thunder still rolled, but now ever more gently. After the ceremony had concluded and the worst did not occur, people came up to me and told me that they were praying for the storm to hold off. Then one of my dear friends said that the thunder was Heaven’s way of applauding. One of the cousins said that Mamaw and Dada were in heaven negotiating with God to hold the rain. As I think about it now, it’s almost as if He were saying, “Be still and know that I am God” when the thunder sounded. The wind cooled the temperature and there were no bugsâ€”at all. And when the bluegrass group played “Dooley” from the Andy Griffith show as Josh and Lesley drove away in the horse and carriage, I smile to think that God might have been tapping His feet–just a little bit.”
—Mother of the groom