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A Literary Tour of Bryson City’s Hillside Cemetery

Thomas Wolfe angel

While the author never said, many scholars believe that the statue described in Thomas Wolfe’s “Look Homeward Angel” is the gravestone of Fanny Everett Clancy in the Bryson City hillside cemetery (above). Others believe Wolfe’s “angel” was a composite of two statues, the one in Bryson City and another in Hendersonville, NC. Both were imported from Carrara, Italy and sold at the Asheville tombstone shop owned by Thomas Wolfe’s father in the early 1900s. The Hendersonville angel has the smile and the foot of the angel described in the novel, while the Bryson City angel holds the lily that Wolfe described.

While at the Bryson City cemetery, also look for the large boulder marking the grave of Horace Kephart (1862-1931). The plaque reads “Scholar, Author, Outoorsman. He loved his neighbors and pictured them in “Our Southern Highlanders”. His vision helped to create The Great Smoky Mountains National Park.” Kephart also penned “Camping and Woodcraft” based on a series articles he wrote for Field and Stream.


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