© 2017 by Boones Creek Historical Trust

A 501-3c not-for-profit organization

525 West Oakland Ave. Suite 1

Johnson City, TN 37604

Phone: 423-461-0151

Belle Hylton Keefauver (1872 - 1949)

Written by Joseph D. Clark, Ph.D., Raleigh, NC - 1970

Belle Hylton Keefauver, called "Miss Belle" by children and many adults, was an exceedingly important woman on Boones Creek where she lived all her life with fortitude and significant meaning. She loved all sorts of people, and they, in turn, loved her with deep affection and high respect.

She was an expert in farm management, in part, motivated by the early death of her husband, Joseph D. Keefauver (1861 - 1917), a victim of typhoid fever. Great as was her loss, she alone assumed a full responsibility for a large family (seven children and an 83-year-old grandfather), an expansive and productive farm, and a country general store.

At her lowest financial point, Miss Belle courageously purchased a pair of half-sister Percheron horses, daughters of Don Degas, twice International Champion, and out of the granddaughters of Laet, the greatest Percheron stallion, living or dead. The purchase price was staggering, but the horses bred on Miss Belle's farm became known as the finest throughout the South and produced good revenues.

Miss Belle pursued the full view of life. She read everything she could lay her hands on - pamphlets and magazines about farming, livestock, education, politics, and religion. She devoured the news from near and far, homely affairs and matters of state that always whetted her appetite. And, withal, she was a colorful and dynamic conversationalist, and hard to surpass. Dr. Joseph Clark delivered all her children without any anesthetic, had many leisurely talks with her. She stimulated company, with good humor and singular insights.

As regards the public schools, she was among the first to express recommendations about new equipment, more efficient teaching, and vitalized courses. And at the church, the Boones Creek Christian Church, she was superior to the average man who served as an elder. For many years in that church, she taught a Sunday School class with intelligent and forceful ability. And hundreds of her successive classes never forgot her sound religious principles and high moral standards in personal and business enterprises. They forget not her fine spirit, with her heart open to relieve the needs of the poor.