The “Smuteye Plantation” Story

This website is dedicated to Joe and Barbara Pickett (aka Papa Joe and Bobbie).  Thank you for raising us to love our Lord, our family, and the outdoors. 

     ♦ Steven & Phillip Pickett

Whether we knew it or not, the legacy of Smuteye Plantation was born over 30 years ago when, as young boys, we developed a love of the outdoors and hunting with our dad.  Our family lived in Birmingham, Alabama, and attended Green Valley Baptist Church.  Some of the men in the church formed a hunting club in Marengo County, Alabama, to share their love of hunting and the outdoors with each other and with their sons.  We learned a lot of lessons from the men in that club – practical hunting skills, gun safety, and respect for game animals and for life in general.  We also learned that our time outdoors with our dad was a gift to be cherished. 
In the years that followed, we hunted as members of paid hunting clubs in Florida and in many other Alabama counties.  We enjoyed those experiences, but we always knew that we would want our own "family place" if God would grant that blessing. 
During the mid-90s, we began looking for our own family hunting property in Alabama.  In October 1995, we were presented with the opportunity to buy the first piece of property in South-Central Bullock County in the community of Smuteye.  The property was approximately 280 acres and had a lot of potential for recreational hunting.  The property also had a 100 year old run-down house that needed a lot of work. 
In the early days after purchasing the property, we would meet up with Dad and other guests and stay at the Greenway Inn in Union Springs – about a 20 minute drive from the property.  Over the years, we fixed up what is now commonly referred to as “The Camphouse” and began staying on the property during our hunting trips.  The decision to restore the Camphouse was a pivotal point in Smuteye Plantation history  Not only did it provide comfort and convenience for our hunter guests, but it also became a focal point for our family who, at the time, was spread out between Florida, Georgia and Alabama.  Mom and Dad would come to Smuteye to meet us and our growing families for special occasions.  Even our relatives from as far as Texas and California began making an annual trek to Smuteye.  For many years, that little Camphouse sheltered as many as eleven people for the week of Thanksgiving! 
Over the years, our family has been able to acquire more tracts of contiguous land and further develop the property.  At the present time, Smuteye Plantation consists of approximately 1,000 acres of hardwood and pine timberland, fields, roads, trails and excellent fishing ponds.  The "vision" from so many years ago now includes the main “Lodge” that Papa Joe and Bobbie now call their primary home, the restored Camphouse and a newer cabin nearby. 
Mom and Dad have always promised to use Smuteye Plantation for God's glory, and they have encouraged us to do the same.  As a reminder of that promise and our blessings from God, we placed a cedar cross in the middle of the property for all to see.   It serves as a reminder to us and our guests that God should always be the center of our lives.  The cross contains two placards with the following Bible verses that seem so relevant to our family and this special place: 
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD.  “Plans to prosper 
you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11 
“As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”  Joshua 24:15 

Smuteye Plantation might only be a dot on the map in Bullock County, but for the people who know and love it the way we do, it is a place of wonderful memories and a legacy for future generations to enjoy.