History of the Land
Clabough Brothers: 1880s
The history of the land began in the mid-1880s when a young pair of brothers, Samuel Hammer Clabough and Archie Clabough, traveled across the Smoky Mountains from Mill Creek. Drawn in by the quaint countryside, they purchased 200 acres of land to start a life in Wears Valley. A carpenter by trade, Samuel owned the front half of the land where he farmed and raised cattle.
Dairy Farm: 1900s
In the early 1900s, Samuel Hammer Clabough married Mary Jane Cotter. The couple had two children, James Wesley Clabough and Mattie Pearl Clabough. James Wesley Clabough engineered a novel dairy farm utilizing steam for production to pasteurize and bottle milk on the land during the 1930s and 40s. The farm produced dairy in the area and sold milk in nearby Gatlinburg.
The King Family Transition: 1940s
During the dairy days, Mattie Pearl Clabough married Stacy King and had a son, James King, Sr. James King, Sr. joined the Army, but when he returned, he formed a partnership with James Wesley Clabough to manage the farm. The pair invested in Black Angus cattle in the late-1940s and early 50s to transition the emphasis from dairy to beef. When James Wesley Clabough fell ill in the 1950s, James King, Sr. took over the farm, and shifted the focus again to raising crops such as tobacco, corn, wheat, hay and oats. King, Sr. married Emma Huskey and had a son, Jim King, Jr., in the 1960s.
A Lodge Fit for a King: 1980s
Raised on the farm, Jim King, Jr. was the third generation to grow up in the family home. The original home, built in 1906, consisted of a living room, bedroom and kitchen downstairs while the upstairs featured two bedrooms and a loft. A den was added in 1980, and 12 years later, two more bedrooms and a three-car garage were added.
In the early 1980s, Jim King, Jr. married Judy Ann Curtis. In 2006, the couple renovated the house on the farm. Spearheading the transformation, Judy put her creativity to work as she turned the century-old home into a lodge fit for a king’s standards, revitalizing the inside and out while keeping the ambiance of charming Wears Valley.
The King family continued to manage the farm until they were ready to focus on opportunities elsewhere. They were happy to pass off the responsibility of the farm and watch Blairs Valley Ranch preserve and enhance the valley.
Building up Blairs Valley Ranch: 2000s
Horses had been essential during the early days of the farm (1880s-1920s) as a means of transportation prior to vehicles. But it wasn’t until 2014 when Blair and Monica Retchin purchased the land from the King family that it turned into the horse boarding ranch it is today.
As its reputation continues to grow in the community, Blairs Valley Ranch focuses on quality services while maintaining the serenity of the land. Surrounded by supportive neighbors whose families have been in the area since the Claboughs first settled here, you’ll find Southern hospitality and welcoming peacefulness at Blairs Valley Ranch.
Buildings on the Property
Of the five buildings on the land, three were built in the early 1900s. The Clabough’s former farmhouse, which was later renovated into the current King’s Lodge, was originally built in 1907. During this time, there was also a bee house and well house on the property.
In the 1930s and 40s when the land was primarily used as a dairy farm, two more buildings were built to sustain dairy production – one that housed the steam engine to ramp production and bottling, and the other to house the cows for milking. Both of these buildings are still used today.
The current office building, where you can often find Bitty the dog and Barn Cat lounging, was the former wheat house used to dry out wheat and grain. The main barn that holds the stalls, tack room and wash room was transformed from a machine shed built in the 1980s where the Kings kept their tractors and equipment. Each stall in the barn was hand-made and built by Blairs Valley Ranch manager Paul.
Other renovations throughout the 2000s have enhanced the property, while keeping the nostalgia of the past.