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NYPL RESEARCH LIBRARIES 



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Joiix P. Abthxjb. 



Western 
North Carolina 



A HISTORY 

(FROM 1730 TO 1913) 



BY 

JOHN PRESTON ARTHUR 



PUBLlSHtD BY 

The Edward Buncombe Chapter of the Daughters of the 

American Revolution, of Ashevllle, N. C. 



RALEIGH, N. C. 
Edwards <fe Broughton Printing Company! » « » ". * 

1914 









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Copyright, 1924 
By E. H. D. Morrison 



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BIBLIOGRAPHY 

The references are to the names of authors or works as follows: 

Allen: means "A History of Haywood County," by W. C. Allen, Waynes- 
ville, 1908. 

Asheville's Centenary: means an article by that name which was pub- 
lished in the Asheville Citizen in February, 1898, by Foster A. 
Sondley, Esq., of the Asheville Bar. 

Balsam Groves: means "The Balsam Groves of the Grandfather Moun- 
tain," by Shep. M. Dugger of Banner Elk, Watauga county. 

Byrd: means the "Writings of Col. Wm. Byrd of Westover," 1901. 

Carolina Mountains, by Margaret W. Morley, 1913 

Col. Rec: means Colonial and State Records of North Carolina. 

Draper: means "Kings Mountain and Its Heroes," by Dr. L. C. Draper. 

Dropped Stitches: means "Dropped Stitches in Tennessee History," by 
Hon. John Allison, Nashville, 1896. 

Dugger: means "The Balsam Groves" named above. 

Fifth Eth. Rep.: means the Fifth Annual Report of the Bureau of 
Ethnology, 1883-'84. 

Foote's Sketches: means "Foote's Sketches of North Carolina." 

Hart: means "Formation of the Union," by A. B. Hart, 1901. 

Heart of the Alleghanies: means a work of that name by Zeigler & Gross- 
cup, 1879. 

Herndon: means "Abraham Lincoln," by W. H. Herndon and J. W. 
Weik, 1892. Vol. I. 

Kerr: means W. C. Kerr's Report of the Geological Survey of North 
Carolina, 1875. 

McClure: means "The Early Life of Abraham Lincoln," by Ida M. 
Tarbell, 1896. 

McGee: means "A History of Tennessee," by R. G. McGee, American 
Book Company, 1900. 

Nineteenth Eth. Rep.: means the Nineteenth Annual Report of the 
Bureau of Ethnology, 1897. 

Polk: means "North Carolina Hand-Book," by L. L. Polk, 1879, 
Raleigh. 

Ramsey: means "Annals of Tennessee," by Dr. J. G. Ramsey. 

Roosevelt: means "The Winning of the West," by Theodore Roose- 
velt, 1905, Current Literature Publishing Company. 

Tarbell: means "Life of Abraham Lincoln," by Ida M. Tarbell, Vol. I, 
1900. 

Thwaites: means "Daniel Boone," by Reuben Gold Thwaites. 

Waddell: means the "Annals of Augusta County, Va., " by Joseph A. 
Waddell, 1886, or the second volume, 1902. 

Wheeler: means "Historical Sketches of North Carolina," by John H. 
Wheeler, 1851. 

Woman's Edition: means the "Woman's Edition of the Asheville Citi- 
zen," published by the women of Asheville, November 1895. 

Zeigler & Grosscup: means "The Heart of the Alleghanies," by them, 1879. 

(5) 



CONTENTS 



Page 

Chapter I — Introductory 7 

Chapter II — Boundaries 18 

Chapter III — Colonial Days 60 

Chapter IV — Daniel Boone 79 

Chapter V — Revolutionary Days 96 

Chapter VI— The State of Franklin 113 

Chapter VII — Grants and Litigation 131 

Chapter VIII — County History 143 

Chapter IX — Pioneer Preachers 215 

Chapter X — Roads, Stage Coaches and Taverns 229 

Chapter XI — Manners and Customs 248 

Chapter XII — Extraordinary Events 292 

Chapter XIII — Humorous and Romantic 327 

Chapter XIV— Duels 356 

Chapter XV — Bench and Bar 373 

Chapter XVI — Notable Cases and Decisions 407 

Chapter XVII — Schools and Colleges 420 

Chapter XVIII — Newspapers 449 

Chapter XIX — Swepson and Littlefield 457 

Chapter XX — Railroads 469 

Chapter XXI — Notable Resorts and Improvements 491 

Chapter XXII — Flora and Fauna 512 

Chapter XXIII — Physical Peculiarities 528 

Chapter XXIV — Mineralogy and Geology 542 

Chapter XXV — Mines and Mining 552 

Chapter XXVI— The Cherokees 566 

Chapter XXVII— The Civil War Period 600 

Chapter XXVIII— Political 628 

Appendix 652 

Index 659 



WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

A HISTORY 



CHAPTER I 
INTRODUCTORY 

Our Lordly Domain. Lying between the Blue Ridge on 
the East and the Iron, Great Smoky and Unaka mountains 
on the West, is, in North Carolina, a lordly domain. It 
varies in width from about forty miles at the Virginia line to 
about seventy-five when it reaches Georgia on the Southerly 
side. Running Northeast and Southwest it borders the State 
of Tennessee on the West for about two hundred and thirty 
miles, following the meanderings of the mountain tops, and 
embraces approximately eight thousand square miles. No- 
where within that entire area is there a tract of level land 
one thousand acres in extent; for the mountains are every- 
where, except in places where a limpid stream has, after ages 
of erosion, eaten out of the hills a narrow valley. Between 
the Grandfather on the east and the Roan on the west, the 
distance in a straight line is less than twenty miles, while 
from Melrose mountain, just west of Try on, to the corner of 
North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee, is over one hundred 
and fifty miles. 

The Appalachians. According to the Smithsonian Insti- 
tution, the name Alleghany is from the language of the Dela- 
ware Indians, and signifies a fine or navigable river. l It is 
sometimes applied to the mountain ranges in the eastern part 
of the United States, but the Appalachians, first applied by 
De Soto to the whole system, is preferred by geographers. 2 

The Grandfather Mountain. The Blue Ridge reaches 
its culmination in this hoary pile, with its five-peaked crown 
of archsean rocks, and nearly six thousand feet of elevation. 

(7) 



HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 



Of this mountain the following lines were written in 1898: 

TO THE GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN. 3 

Oldest of all terrestrial things — still holding 

Thy wrinkled forehead high; 
Whose every seam, earth's history enfolding, 

Grim Science doth defy — 
Teach me the lesson of the world-old story, 

Deep in thy bosom hid; 
Read me thy riddles that were old and hoary 

Ere Sphinx and Pyramid! 
Thou saw'st the birth of that abstraction 

Which men have christened Time; 
Thou saw'st the dead world wake to life and action 

Far in thy early prime; 
Thou caught'st the far faint ray from Sirius rising, 

When through space first was hurled, 
The primal gloom of ancient voids surprising, 

This atom, called the World! 
Gray was thy head ere Steam or Sail or Traffic 

Had waked the soul of Gain, 
Or reed or string had made the air seraphic 

With Music's magic strain! 
Thy cheek had kindled with the crimsoned blushes 

Of myriad sunset dyes 
Ere Adam's race began, or, from the rushes, 

Came Moses, great and wise! 
Thou saw'st the Flood, Mount Arrarat o'er-riding, 

That bore of old the Ark; 
Thou saw'st the Star, the Eastern Magi guiding 

To manger, drear and dark. 
Seething with heat, or glacial ices rending 

Thy gaunt and crumbling form; 
Riven by frosts and lightning-bolts — contending 

In tempest and in storm — 
Thou still protesteth 'gainst the day impending, 

When, striving not in vain, 
Science, at last, from thee thy riddles rending, 

Shall make all secrets plain! 

The Peculiarities of the Mountains. Until 1835 the 
mountains of New Hampshire had been regarded as the 
loftiest of the Alleghanies; but at that time the attention of 
John C. Calhoun had been drawn to the numerous rivers 
which come from all sides of the North Carolina mountains 
and he shrewdly reasoned that between the parallels of 35° and 
36° and 30', north latitude, would be found the highest pla- 



INTRODUCTORY 



teau and mountains of the Atlantic coast. The Blue Ridge 
is a true divide, all streams flowing east and all flowing west 
having their sources east or west of that divide. The Linville 
river seems to be an exception to this rule, but its source is 
in Linville gap, which is the true divide, the Boone fork of 
the Watauga rising only a few hundred feet away flowing west 
to the Mississippi. There are two springs at Blowing Rock 
only a few feet apart, one of which flows into the Yadkin, and 
thence into the Atlantic, while the other goes into the New, 
and thence into the Gulf of Mexico; Avhile the Saddle Moun- 
tain Baptist church in Alleghany county is built so exactly on 
the line that a drop of rain falling on one side of the roof goes 
into the Atlantic, while another drop, falling on the opposite 
side ultimately gets into the Gulf. 

When the Alleghanies Were Higher Than the Alps. 
What is by some called The Portal is the depression between 
the Grandfather on the East and the Roan mountain on the 
West. When it is remembered that the Gulf of Mexico once 
extended further north than Cairo, Illinois, and that both the 
Ohio and the Mississippi once emptied into that inland sea 
without having joined their waters, it will be easy to under- 
stand why these mountains must have been much higher than 
at present, as most of their surface soil has for untold ages 
been slowly carried westward to form the eastern half of the 
valley of the Mississippi from Cairo to New Orleans. Thus, 
the Watauga first finds its way westward, followed in the or- 
der named by the Doe, the Toe, the Cane, the French Broad, 
the Pigeon, the Little Tennessee and last by the Hiwassee. 
The most northerly section of this western rampart is called 
the Stone mountains, and then follow the Iron, the Bald, the 
Great Smoky, the Unaka, and last, the Frog mountains of 
Georgia. The Blue Ridge, the transverse ranges and the 
western mountains contain over a score of peaks higher than 
Mount Washington, while the general level of the plateau 
between the Blue Ridge and the mountains which divide 
North Carolina from Tennessee is over two thousand feet 
above sea level. Where most of these streams break through 
the western barrier are veritable canons, sometimes so nar- 
row as to dispute the passage of wagon road, railroad and 
river. For a quarter of a mile along the Toe, at Lost Cove, 
the railroad is built on a concrete viaduct in the very bed of 



10 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

the river itself. The mountains are wooded to their crests, 
except where those crests are covered by grass, frequently 
forming velvety mountain meadows. The scenery is often 
grand and inspiring. It is always beautiful; and Cowper 
sings : 

"Scenes must be beautiful that, daily seen, 
Please daily, and whose novelty survives 
Long knowledge and the scrutiny of years." 

The Aborigines. This region was, of course, inhabited 
from time immemorial by the Indians. The Catawbas held 
the country to the crest of the Blue Ridge. To the west of 
that line, the Cherokees, a numerous and warlike tribe, held 
sway to the Mississippi, though a renegade portion of that 
tribe, known as the Chicamaugas, occupied the country around 
what is now Chattanooga. 4 Old pottery, pipes, arrow- and 
spear-heads are found at numerous places throughout these 
mountains; and only a few years ago Mr. T. A. Low, a 
lawyer of Banner Elk, Avery county, "picked up quite a num- 
ber of arrow-heads in his garden, some of which were splen- 
did specimens of Mocha stone, or moss agate, evidently brought 
from Lake Superior regions, as no stones of the kind are found 
in this part of the country." 5 None of the towns of these 
Indians appear " to have been in the valleys of the Swan- 
nanoa and the North Carolina part of the French Broad." 6 
Parties roamed over the country. Since many of the arrow- 
heads are defective or unfinished, it would seem that they 
were made where found, as it is unlikely that such unfinished 
stones would be carried about the country. The inference is 
that many and large parties roamed through these unsettled 
regions. 7 Numbers of Indian mounds, stone hatchets, etc., 
are found in several localities, but nothing has been found in 
these mounds except Indian relics of the common type. 8 

Asheville on an Old Indian Battle-Ground? "There 
is an old tradition that Asheville stands upon the site where, 
years before the white man came, was fought a great battle, 
between two tribes of aborigines, probably the Cherokees and 
the Catawbas, who were inveterate enemies and always at 
war. There is also a tradition that these lands were for a 
long while neutral hunting grounds of these two tribes." 9 

Indian Names for French Broad. According to Dr. Ram- 
sey this stream was called Agiqua throughout its entire length; 



INTRODUCTORY 1 1 



but Zeigler & Grosscup tell us that it was known as the Agiqua 
to the Over Mountain Cherokees [erati] only as far as the 
lower valley; and to the Ottari or Valley Towns Indians, as 
Tahkeeosteh from Asheville down; while above Asheville "it 
took the name of Zillicoah." But they give no authority for 
these statements. 

Origin of the Name " French Broad." Mr. Sondley 10 
states that "as the settlement from the east advanced towards 
the mountains, the Broad river was found and named; and 
when the river, whose sources were on the opposite or western 
side of the same mountains — which gave rise to the Broad 
river [on the east] — became known, that ... its course tra- 
versed the lands then claimed by the French, and this new- 
found western stream was called the French Broad." 

Origin of the Name "Swannanoa." The same writer 
(Mr. Sondley), after considering the claims of those who think 
Swannanoa means "beautiful", and of those who think it is 
intended to imitate the wings of ravens when flying rapidly, is 
of opinion that the name is but a corruption of Shawno, or 
Shawnees, most of whom lived in Ohio territory, and he seems 
to think that Savannah may also be a corruption of Shawno, 
which tribe may have dwelt for a time on the Savannah river 
in remote times. He then quotes Mr. James Mooney, "that 
the correct name of the Swannanoa gap through the Blue 
Ridge, east of Asheville, is Suwali Nunnahi, or Suwali trail," 
that being the pass through which ran the trail from the Cher- 
okee to the Suwali, or Ani-Suwali, living east of the moun- 
tains. He next quotes Lederer (p. 57) to the effect that the 
Suwali were also called Sara, Sualty or Sasa, the interchange 
of the I and r being common in Indian dialects. 

The First White Men. It is difficult to say who were 
the first white men who passed across the Blue Ridge. There 
is no doubt, however, that there are excavations at several 
places in these mountains which indicate that white men car- 
ried on mining operations in years long since passed. This 
is suggested by excavations and immense trees now growing 
from them, which when cut down show rings to the number 
of several hundred. It is true that these excavations may 
have been made by the Indians themselves, but it is also 
possible that they may have been made by white men who 
were wandering through the mountains in search of gold, sil- 



12 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

ver or precious stones. Roosevelt (Vol. i, 173-4) says that 
unnamed and unknown hunters and Indian traders had from 
time to time pushed their way into the wilderness and had 
been followed by others of whom we know little more than 
their names. Dr. Thomas Walker of Virginia had found and 
named Cumberland river, mountains and gap after the Duke 
of Cumberland in 1750, though he had been to the Cumber- 
land in 1748 (p. 175). John Sailing had been taken as a 
captive by the Indians through Tennessee in 1730, and in 
that year Adair traded with the Indians in what is now Ten- 
nessee. In 1756 and 1758 Forts Loudon and Chissel were 
built on the headwaters of the Tennessee river, and in 1761 
Wallen, a hunter, hunted near by . . . In 1766 James Smith 
and others explored Tennessee, and a party from South Caro- 
lina were near the present site of Nashville in 1767. 

De Soto. It is considered by some as most probable that 
De Soto, on the great expedition in which he discovered the 
Mississippi river, passed through Western North Carolina in 
1540. x x In the course of their journey they are said to have 
arrived at the head of the Broad or Pacolet river and from 
there to have passed "through a country covered with fields 
of maize of luxuriant growth," and during the next five days 
to have "traversed a chain of easy mountains, covered with 
oak or mulberry trees, with intervening valleys, rich in pas- 
turage and irrigated by clear and rapid streams. These 
mountains were twenty leagues across." They came at last 
to "a grand and powerful river" and "a village at the end 
of a long island, where pearl oysters were found." "Now, it 
would be impossible for an army on the Broad or Pacolet 
river, within one day's march of the mountains, to march 
westward for six days, five of which were through mountains, 
and reach the sources of the Tennessee or any other river, 
without passing through Western North Carolina." 12 But 
the Librarian of Congress says: "There appears to be no au- 
thority for the statement that this expedition [Hernando De 
Soto's] entered the present limits of North Carolina." 13 In 
the same letter he says that Don Luis de Velasco, "as vice- 
roy of New Spain, sent out an expedition in 1559 under com- 
mand of Luna y Arellano to establish a colony in Florida. 
One of the latter's lieutenant's appears to have led an expe- 
dition into northeastern Alabama in 1560." Also, that the 



INTRODUCTORY 13 



statement of Charles C. Jones, in his "Hernando De Soto" 
(1880), that Luna's expedition penetrated into the Valley river 
in Georgia and there mined for gold is questioned by Wood- 
bury Lowery in his "Spanish Settlements within the pres- 
ent limits of the United States" (New York, 1901, p. 367). 14 
There are unmistakable evidences of gold-mining in Macon 
and Cherokee counties which, apparently, was done 300 years 
ago ; but by whom cannot now be definitely determined. How- 
ever, there is no Valley river in Georgia, and the probability 
is that the Valley river of Cherokee county, N. C, which is 
very near the Georgia line, was at that time supposed to be 
in the latter State. 

The Roundheads of the South. Towards this primeval 
wilderness three streams of white people began to converge as 
early as 1730. 1 5 They were Irish Presbyterians, Scotch Sax- 
ons, Scotch Celts, French Huguenots, Milesian Irish, Ger- 
mans, Hollanders and even Swedes. "The western border of 
our country was then formed by the great barrier-chains of 
the Alleghanies, which ran north and south from Pennsyl- 
vania through Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas." Geor- 
gia was then too weak and small to contribute much to the 
backwoods stock; the frontier was still in the low country. 
It was difficult to cross the mountains from east to west, but 
easy to follow the valleys between the ranges. By 1730 emi- 
grants were fairly swarming across the Atlantic, most of them 
landing at Philadelphia, while a less number went to Charles- 
ton. Those who went to Philadelphia passed west to Fort 
Pitt or started southwestward, towards the mountains of 
North Carolina and Virginia. Their brethren pushed into the 
interior from Charleston. These streams met in the foothills 
on the east of the Blue Ridge and settled around Pittsburg 
and the headwaters of the Great Kanawha, the Holston and 
the Cumberland. Predominent among them were the Presby- 
terian Irish, whose preachers taught the creed of Knox and 
Calvin. They were in the West what the Puritans were in 
the Northeast, and more than the Cavaliers were in the South. 
They formed the kernel of the American stock who were the 
pioneers in the march westward. They were the Protestants 
of the Protestants; they detested and despised the Catholics, 
and regarded the Episcopalians with a more sullen, but scarce- 
ly less intense, hatred. They had as little kinship with the 



14 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Cavalier as with the Quaker; they were separated by a wide 
gulf from the aristocratic planter communities that flourished 
in the tidewater regions of Virginia and the Carolinas. They 
deemed it a religious duty to interpret their own Bible, and 
held for a divine right the election of their own clergy. For 
generations their whole ecclesiastic and scholastic systems had 
been fundamentally democratic. The creed of the back- 
woodsman who had a creed at all was Presbyterianism ; for 
the Episcopacy of the tidewater lands obtained no foothold 
in the mountains, and the Methodists and Baptists had but 
just begun to appear in the West when the Revolution broke 
out. Thus they became the outposts of civilization; the van- 
guard of the army of fighting settlers, who with axe and rifle 
won their way from the Alleghanies to the Rio Grande and the 
Pacific. "They have been righthy called the Roundheads of 
the South, the same men who, before any others, declared for 
American independence, as witness the Mecklenburg Declara- 
tion." 16 "They felt that they were thus dispossessing the 
Canaanites, and were thus working the Lord's will in prepar- 
ing the land for a people which they believed was more truly 
His chosen people than was that nation which Joshua led 
across the Jordan. " ' 7 

A New England er's Estimate. In her -" Carolina Moun- 
tains," (Houghton, Mifflin Co., 1913) Miss Margaret W. 
Morley, of New England, but who has resided about a dozen 
years in these mountains (Ch. 14) says that although North 
Carolina was originally settled "from almost all the nations 
of Europe," our mountain population, in "the course of time, 
became homogenious" ; that many had come to "found a fam- 
ily," and "formed the 'quality' of the mountains"; while 
others, "at different times drifted in from the eastern lowlands 
as well as down from the North." Indeed, the early records 
of Ashe county, show many a name which has since become 
famous in New York, Ohio and New England — such as Day, 
Choate, Dana, Cornell, Storie and Vanderpool. Continuing, 
Miss Morley says (p. 140) : "Most of the writers tell us 
rather loosely that the Southern mountains were originally 
peopled with refuges of one sort and another, among whom 
were criminals exported to the New World from England, 
which, they might as well add, was the case with the whole 
of the newly discovered continent, America being then the 



INTRODUCTORY 15 



open door of refuge for the world's oppressed . . . but 
we can find no evidence that these malefactors, many of 
them 'indentured servants', sent over for the use of the colo- 
nists, made a practice of coming to the mountains when their 
term of servitude expired. . . . The truth is, the same 
people who occupied Virginia and the eastern part of the 
Carolinas, peopled the western mountains, English predomi- 
nating, and in course of time there drifted down from Vir- 
ginia large numbers of Scotch-Irish, who, after the events of 
1730, fled in such numbers to the New World, and good 
Scotch Highlanders, who came after 1745. In fact, so many 
of these staunch Northerners came to the North Carolina 
mountains that they have given the dominant note to the 
character of the mountaineers, remembering which may help 
the puzzled stranger to understand the peculiarities of the 
people he finds here today. . . . The rapid growth of 
slavery, no doubt, discouraged many, who, unable to suc- 
ceed in the Slave-States, were crowded to the mountains, or 
else became the "Poor White" of the South, who must not 
be for a moment confounded with the "Mountain White," 
the latter having brought some of the best blood of his na- 
tion to these blue heights. He brought into the mountains 
and there nourished, the stern virtues of his race, including 
the strictest honesty, an old-fashioned self-respect, and an 
old-fashioned speech, all of which he yet retains, as well as 
a certain pride, which causes him to flare up instantly at any 
suspicion of being treated with condescension. . . . " She 
gives the names of Hampton, Rogers, McClure, Morgan, 
Rhodes, Foster and Bradley as indicative of the English, 
Scotch and Irish descent of our people — names that "are 
crowned with honor out in the big world." It is also a well- 
known fact that Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Admiral 
Farragut and Cyrus T. McCormick came from the same 
stock of people. She adds, very justly : "Bad blood there 
was among them, as well as good, and brave men as well as 
weak ones. The brave as well as the bad blood sometimes 
worked out its destiny in Vendetta and "moonshining, " al- 
though there never existed in the North Carolina mountains 
the extensive and bloody feuds that distinguish the annals of 
Virginia and Kentucky." (P. 144). 



16 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

The Moonshiner, she declares, (p. 201) is "a product of 
conditions resulting from the Civil War, before which time 
the moutnaineer converted his grain into whiskey, just as 
the New Englander converted his apples into cider. The act 
of distilling was not a crime, and became so only because it 
was an evasion of the revenue laws. ... At the begin- 
ning of the Civil War for the sake of revenue a very heavy 
tax was placed on all distilled alcoholic liquors. After the 
war was over the tax was not removed, and this is the griev- 
ance of the mountaineer, who says that the tax should have 
been removed; that it is unjust and oppressive, and that he 
has a right to do as he pleases with his own corn, and to 
evade the law which interferes with his personal freedom." 
But, she adds : "Within the past few years the moonshiner, 
along with many time-honored customs, has been rapidly van- 
ishing. 

An Appreciation. Such just, truthful, generous and sym- 
pathetic words as the above, especially when found eminat- 
ing from a New Englander, will be highly appreciated by 
every resident of the Carolina mountains, as we are accus- 
tomed to little else than misrepresentations and abuse by 
many of the writers from Miss Morley's former home. Her 
descriptions of our flowers, our gems, our manners and cus- 
toms, our scenery, our climate and the character of our peo- 
ple will win for her a warm place in the affections of all our 
people. "The Carolina Mountains" is by far the best book 
that has ever been written about our section and our people. 
The few lapses into which she has been betrayed by incorrect 
information will be gladly overlooked in view of the fact that 
she has been so just, so kind and so truthful in the estimate 
she has placed upon our virtues and our section. 

Poor Comfort. Very little comfort is to be derived from 
the fact that some writers claim ("The Child That Toilet h 
Not," p. 13) that a spirit of fun or a "great sense of humor" 
among the mountain people induces them to mislead strang- 
ers who profess to believe that in some sections of the moun- 
tains our people have never even heard of Santa Claus or Jesus 
Christ; by pretending that they do not themselves know any- 
thing of either. Indeed, a story comes from Aquone to the 
effect that a stranger from New England who was there to 
fish in the Nantahala river once told his guide, a noted wag, 



INTRODUCTORY 



that he had heard that some of the mountain people had not 
heard of God or Jesus Christ. Pretending to think that the 
visitor was referring to a man, the guide asked if his ques- 
tioner did not mean Mike Crise, a timber-jack who had 
worked on that river a dozen years before, and when the 
stranger replied that he meant Jesus of Bethlehem, the wag, 
with a perfectly straight face, answered : "That's the very 
p'int Mike came from" — meaning Bethlehem, Pa. There- 
fore, when we read in "The Carolina Mountains (p. 117) 
that "The mountaineer, it may be said in passing, sells his 
molasses by the bushel," and (p. 220) that "Under the Smoky 
mountain we heard of a sect of 'Barkers/ who, the people 
said, in their religious frenzy, run and bark up a tree in the 
belief that Christ is there," we are driven to the conclusion 
that Miss Morley, the author, was a victim of this same irre- 
sistible "sense of humor." 

NOTES. 

'Letter of R. D. W. Connor, Secretary N. C. Hist. Com., January 31, 1912. 

2 Zeigler & Grosscup, p. 9. 

'This mountain is said to be among the oldest geological formations on earth, the 
Laurentian only being senior to it. 

'Roosevelt, Vol. Ill, 111-112. 

«T. A. Low, Esq. 

6 Asheville Centenary. 

'Ibid. 

sibid. 

"Ibid. 

"Ibid. 

n Zeigler & Grosscup, p. 222. 

12 Asheville Centenary. 

"His letter to J. P. A., 1912. 

"Ibid. 

"Roosevelt, Vol. I. p. 137. This entire chapter (ch. 5, Vol. I), from which the follow- 
ing excerpts have been taken at random, contains the finest tribute in the language to 
the pioneers of the South. 

"Ibid., 214. 

"Ibid. 



W. N. C. 2 



CHAPTER II 
BOUNDARIES 

A Digression. The purpose of this history is to relate 
facts concerning that part of North Carolina which lies be- 
tween the Blue Ridge and the Tennessee line; but as there 
has never been any connected account of the boundary lines 
between North Carolina and its adjoining sisters, a digression 
from the main purpose in order to tell that story should be 
pardoned. 

Unfounded Traditions. It is said that the reason the 
Ducktown copper mines of Tennessee were lost to North Car- 
olina was due to the fact that the commissioners of North 
Carolina and Tennessee ran out of spirituous liquors when 
they reached the high peak just north of the Hiwassee river, 
and instead of continuing the line in a general southwest- 
wardly course, crossing the tops of the Big and Little Frog 
mountains, they struck due south to the Georgia line and a 
still-house. The same story is told as to the location of Ashe- 
ville, the old Steam Saw Mill place on the Buncombe Turn- 
pike about three miles south of Asheville, at Dr. Hardy's 
former residence, being its chief rival; but when it is recalled 
that two Indian trails crossed at Asheville, and the legislature 
had selected a man from Burke as an umpire of the dispute, it 
will be found that grave doubts may arise as to the truth of 
the whiskey tradition. 1 It was the jagged boundary between 
North and South Carolina and the stories attributing the 
same to the influence of whiskey that called forth the fol- 
lowing just and sober reflections : 

Abstemious or Capable in Strong Drink? Hon. W. L. 
Saunders, who edited the Colonial Records, remarks in Vol. 
v, p. xxxviii, that "there is usually a substantial, sensible, 
sober reason for any marked variation from the general direc- 
tion of an important boundary line, plain enough when the 
facts are known; but the habit of the country is to attribute 
such variations to a supposed superior capacity of the com- 
missioners and surveyors on the other side for resisting the 
power of strong drink. Upon this theory, judging from prac- 

(18) 



BOUNDARIES 19 



tical results, North Carolina in her boundary surveys, and 
they have been many, seems to have been unusually fortunate 
in having men who were either abstemious or very capable in 
the matter of strong drink; for, so far as now appears, in no 
instance have we been overreached." 2 

A Sanctuary for Criminals. Prior to the settlement of 
these boundary disputes grants had been issued by each col- 
ony to lands in the territory in controversy; which, according 
to Governor Dobbs, "was the creation of a kind of sanctuary 
allowed to criminals and vagabonds by their pretending, as it 
served their purpose, that they belonged to either province." 3 
"But," adds Mr. W. L. Saunders, "who can help a feeling of 
sympathy for those reckless free-lances to whom constraint 
from either province was irksome? After men breathe North 
Carolina air for a time, a very little government will go a 
long way with them. Certainly the men who publicly 'damned 
the King and his peace' in 1762 were fast ripening for the 
20th of May, 1775. " 4 

The First Grant of Carolina. Charles the Second's 
grant of Carolina in 1584 embraced only the land between 
the mouth of the St. Johns river in Florida to a line just north 
of Albemarle Sound; but he had intended to give all land 
south of the settlements in Virginia. This left a strip of land 
between the Province of Carolina and the Virginia settle- 
ments. 5 In 1665 the King added a narrow strip of land to 
those already granted. This strip lay just north of Albe- 
marle Sound, and its northern boundary would of course be 
the boundary line between Carolina and Virginia. It was 
about fifteen miles wide, and had on it "hundreds of fam- 
ilies," which neither colony wished to lose. 6 

The First Survey. In 1709, both colonies appointed 
commissioners to settle this boundary. North Carolina 
appointed Moseley and John Lawson; but Lawson left his 
deputy, Colonel Wm. Maule, to act for him. 7 In 1710 these 
commissioners met Philip Ludwell and Nathaniel Harrison, 
commissioners from Virginia, but our commissioners insisted 
that the surveying instruments used by the Virginians were 
not to be trusted, and the meeting broke up without having 
accomplished anything except the charge from the Virginians 
that Moseley did not want the line run because he was trad- 
ing in disputed lands. 8 When the commissioners from these 



20 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

two colonies did meet in March 1728, it was found that our 
commissioners had been right in 1710 as to the inaccuracy of 
the Virginia instruments, and the Virginians frankly admit- 
ted it. 9 

North Carolina and Virginia Boundary. 1 ° On the 
27th of February, 1728, William Byrd, Will Dandridge, and 
Richard Fitzwilliam, as commissioners from Virginia, met 
Edward Moseley, C. Gale, Will Little and J. Lovick, as com- 
missioners from North Carolina, at Corotuck Inlet, and began 
the survey on the 27th day of March, and continued it till the 
weather got "warm enough to give life and vigor to the rat- 
tlesnakes" in the beginning of April, when they stopped till 
September 20, when the survey was renewed; and after going 
a certain distance beyond their own inhabitants the North 
Carolina commissioners refused to proceed further, and pro- 
tested against the Virginia commissioners proceeding further 
with it. 1 1 In this they were joined by Fitzwilliam of Vir- 
ginia. This protest was in writing and was delivered October 
6, when they had proceeded 170 miles to the southern branch 
of the Roanoke river "and near 50 miles without inhabitants," 
which they thought would be far enough for a long time. To 
this the two remaining Virginia commissioners, Byrd and Dan- 
dridge, sent a written answer, to the effect that their order was 
to run the line "as far towards the mountains as they could; 
they thought they should go as far as possible so that "His 
Majesty's subjects may as soon as possible extend themselves 
to that natural barrier, as they are certain to do in a few 
years;" and thought it strange that the North Carolina com- 
missioners should stop "within two or three days after Mr. 
Mayo had entered with them near 2,000 acres within five 
miles of the place where they left off." 

Byrd and Dandridge Continue Alone. The North 
Carolina commissioners, accompanied by Fitzwilliam of Vir- 
ginia, left on October 8th; but Byrd and Dandridge continued 
alone, crossing Matrimony creek, "so called from being a lit- 
tle noisy," and saw a little mountain five miles to the north- 
west "which we named the Wart. " 1 2 

On the 25th of October they came in plain sight of the moun- 
tains, and on the 26th, they reached a rivulet which "the 
traders say is a branch of the Cape Fear. " Here they stop- 
ped. This was Peters creek in what is now Stokes county. 1 3 



BOUNDARIES 21 



It was on this trip that Mr. Byrd discovered extraordinary 
virtues in bear meat. This point x 4 was on the northern bound- 
ary of that part of old Surry which is now Stokes county. 

The "Break" in the Line Accounted for. A glance 
at the map will show a break in the line between Virginia and 
North Carolina where it crosses the Chowan river. This is 
thus accounted for : * 5 Governors Eden of North Carolina and 
Spottswood of Virginia met at Nansemond and agreed to set 
the compass on the north shore of Currituck river or inlet and 
run due. west; and if it "cutt [sic] Chowan river between the 
mouths of Nottoway and Wiccons creeks, it shall continue on 
the same course towards the mountains; but it it "cutts 
Chowan river to the southward of Wiccons creek, it shall con- 
tinue up the middle of Chowan river to the mouth of Wiccons 
creek, and from thence run due west." It did this; and the 
survey of 1728 was not an attempt to ascertain and mark the 
parallel of 36° 30', but "an attempt to run a line between cer- 
tain natural objects . . . regardless of that line and agreed 
upon as a compromise by the governors of the two States." * 6 

The Real Milk in the Cocoanut. Thus, so far as the 
Colonial Records show, ended the first survey of the dividing 
line between this State and Virginia, which one of the Virginia 
commissioners has immortalized by his matchless account, which, 
however, was not given to the world until 1901, when it was most 
attractively published by Doubleday, Page & Co., after careful 
editing by John Spencer Bassett. But Col. Byrd does not 
content himself in his "Writings" with the insinuation that 
the North Carolina commissioners and Mr. Mayo had lost 
interest immediately after having entered 2,000 acres of land 
within five miles of the end of their survey. He goes further 
and charges (p. 126) that, including Mr. Fitzwilliam, one 
of the Virginia commissioners, "they had stuck by us as long 
as our good liquor lasted, and were so kind to us as to drink 
our good Journey to the Mountains in the last Bottle we had 
left!" He also insinuates that Fitzwilliam left because he 
was also a judge of the Williamsburg, Virginia, court, and 
hoped to draw double pay while Byrd and Dandridge con- 
tinued to run the line after his return. But in this he exult- 
antly records the fact that Fitzwilliam utterly failed. 

The Ninety-Mile Extension in 1749. In October, 1749, 
the line between North Carolina and Virginia was extended 



22 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

from Peters creek, where it had ended in 1728 — which point 
is now in Stokes county — ninety miles to the westward to 
Steep Rock creek, crossing "a large branch of the Mississippi 
[New River], which runs between the ledges of the moun- 
tains" — as Governor Johnston remarked — "and nobody ever 
drempt of before." William Churton and Daniel Weldon 
were the commissioners on the part of North Carolina, and 
Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson on the part of Virginia. "It 
so happens, however, that no record of this survey has been 
preserved, and we are today without evidence, save from 
tradition, to ascertain the location of our boundary for ninety 
miles." 17 

This extension carried the line to within about two miles 
east of the Holston river; and we know from the statute of 
1779 providing for its further extension from that point upon 
the latitude of 36° 30' that it had been run considerably south 
of that latitude from Peters creek to Pond mountain, from 
which point it had, apparently without rhyme or reason, been 
run in a northeastwardly direction to the top of White Top 
mountain, * 8 about three miles north of its former course, 
and from there carried to Steep Rock creek, near the Holston 
river, in a due west course. The proverbial still-house, said 
to have been on White Top, is also said to have caused this 
aberration; but the probability is that the commissioners had 
a more substantial reason than that. 

The Last Extension of This Line. In 1779 North Caro- 
lina passed an act 19 reciting that as "the inhabitants of this 
State and of the Commonwealth of Virginia have settled them- 
selves further westwardly than the boundary between the two 
States hath hitherto been extended, it becomes expedient in 
order to prevent disputes among such settlers that the same 
should be now further extended and marked." To that end 
Orandates — improperly spelled in the Revised Statutes of 1837, 
Vol. ii, p. 82, "Oroondates" — Davie, John Williams Caswell, 
James Kerr, William Bailey Smith and Richard Henderson should 
be the commissioners on the part of North Carolina to meet 
similar commissioners from Virginia to still further extend it. 
But it was expressly provided that they should begin where 
the commissioners of 1749 had left off, and first ascertain if 
it be in latitude 36° 30', "and if it be found to be truly in" 
that latitude, then they were "to run from thence due west 



BOUNDARIES 23 



to the Tennessee or the Ohio river; or if it be found not truly 
in that latitude, then to run from said place, due north or due 
south, into the said latitude, and thence due west to the said 
Tennessee or Ohio river, correcting the said course at due 
intervals by astronomical observations." 20 Colonial Records. 
Vol. iv, p. 13.) 

The Line Run in 1780. Richard Henderson was appoint- 
ed on the part of North Carolina, and Dr. Thomas Walker 
on that of Virginia, to run this line, and they began their task 
in the spring of 1780; and on the last day of March of that 
year Col. Richard Henderson met the Donelson party on its 
way from the Watauga settlements to settle at the French 
Lick, in the bend of the Cumberland. (Roosevelt, Vol. iii, 
p. 242.) But nine years before, in 1771, Anthony Bledsoe, 
one of the new-comers to the Watauga settlement, being a 
practical surveyor, and not being certain that that settlement 
was wholly within the borders of Virginia, extended the line 
of 1749 from its end near the Holston river far enough to the 
west to satisfy himself that the new settlement on the Watauga 
was in North Carolina. 2 * 

Disputed Carolina Boundary Lines. From the Prefa- 
tory Notes to Volume V, Colonial Records, p. 35, etc., it 
appears that the dispute between the two Carolinas as to 
boundary lines began in 1720 "when the purpose to erect a 
third Province in Carolina, 2 2 with Savannah for its northern 
boundary," began to assume definite shape, but nothing was 
done till January 8, 1829-'30, when a line was agreed on "to 
begin 30 miles southwest of the Cape Fear river, and to be 
run at that parallel distance the whole course of said river;" 
and in the following June Governor Johnson of South Caro- 
lina recommended that it run from a point 30 miles south- 
west of the source of the Cape Fear, shall be continued "due 
west as far as the South Sea," unless the "Waccamaw river 
lyes [sic] within 30 miles of the Cape Fear river," in which 
case that river should be the boundary. This was accepted 
by North Carolina until it was discovered that the "Cape 
Fear rose very close to the Virginia border," 23 and would 
not have "permitted any extension on the part of North Caro- 
lina to the westward." Meanwhile, both provinces claimed 
land on the north side of the Waccamaw river." 24 In 1732 
Gov. Burrington [of North Carolina] published a proclama- 



24 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

tion in Timothy's Southern Gazette, declaring the lands lying 
on the north side of the Waccamaw river to be within the 
Province of North Carolina, to which Gov. Johnson [of South 
Carolina] replied by a similar proclamation claiming the same 
land to belong to South Carolina; and also claiming that when 
they [the two governors] had met before the Board of Trade 
in London to settle this matter in 1829-'30, Barrington had 
" insisted that the Waccamaw should be the boundary from 
its mouth to its head," while South Carolina had contended 
that "the line should run 30 miles distant from the mouth of 
the Cape Fear river on the southwest side thereof, as set forth 
in the instructions, and that the Board had agreed thereto, 
unless the mouth of the Waccamaw river was within 30 miles 
of the Cape Fear river; in which case both Governor Barring- 
ton and himself had agreed that the Waccamaw river should 
be the boundary." The omission of the word "mouth" in 
the last part of the instructions Governor Johnson thought 
"only a mistake in wording it. " 2 5 

The Line Partially Run in 1735. In consequence of 
this dispute commissioners were appointed by both colonies, 
who were to meet on the 23d of April, 1735, and run a due 
west line from the Cape Fear along the sea coast for thirty 
miles, and from thence proceed northwest to the 35th degree 
north latitude, and if the line touched the Pee Dee river be- 
fore reaching the 35th degree, then they were to make an 
offset at five miles distant from the Pee Dee and proceed up 
that river till they reached that latitude; and from thence 
they were to proceed due west until they came to Catawba 
town; but if the town should be to the northward of the line, 
"they were to make an offset around the town so as to leave 
it in the South government." They began to run the line 
in "May, 1735, and proceeded thirty miles west from Cape 
Fear . . . and then went northwest to the country road and 
set up stakes there for the mearing 2 6 or boundary of the 
two provinces, when they separated, agreeing to return on the 
18th of the following September." In September the line was 
run northwest about 70 miles, the South Carolina commis- 
sioners not arriving till October. These followed the line run 
by the North Carolina commissioners about 40 miles, and 
finding it correct, refused to run it further because they had 
not been paid for their services. A deputy surveyor, how- 



BOUNDARIES 25 



ever, took the latitude of the Pee Dee at the 35th parallel 
and set up a mark, which was from that date deemed to be 
the mearing or boundary at that place. 

Line Extended in 1737 and in 1764. In 1737 the line 
was extended in the same direction 22 miles to a stake in a 
meadow supposed to be at the point of intersection with the 
35th parallel of north latitude. 2 7 In 1764 the line was ex- 
tended from the stake due west 62 miles, intersecting the 
Charleston road from Salisbury, near Waxhaw creek 28 at a 
distance of 61 miles. 

The "Line of 1772." In 1772, after making the required 
offsets so as to leave the Catawba Indians in South Carolina 
in pursuance of the agreement of 1735, the line was "ex- 
tended in a due west course from the confluence of the north 
and south forks of the Catawba river to Tryon mountain." 
But North Carolina refused to agree to this line, insisting 
that "the parallel of 35° of north latitude having been made 
the boundary by the agreement of 1735, it could not be changed 
without their consent. . . . The reasons that controlled the 
commissioners in recommending this course . . . were that 
the observations of their own astronomer, President Cald- 
well of the University, showed there was a palpable error in 
running the line from the Pee Dee to the Salisbury road, 
that line not being upon the 35th parallel, but some 12 miles 
to the South of it, and that "the line of 1772" was just about 
far enough north of the 35th parallel to rectify the error, by 
allowing South Carolina to gain on the west of the Catawba 
river substantially what she had lost through misapprehen- 
sion on the east of it." North Carolina in 1813 "agreed that 
the line of 1772" should be recognized as a part of the bound- 
ary. 29 "The zig-zag shape of the line as it runs from the 
southwest corner of Union county to the Catawba river is 
due to the offsets already referred to, and which were neces- 
sary to throw the reservation of Catawba Indians into the 
Province of South Carolina." 

Northern and Southern Boundaries. The peace of 
1783 with Great Britain did nothing more to secure our west- 
ern limits than to confirm us in the control of the territory 
already in our possession; for while the Great Lakes were rec- 
ognized as our northern boundary, Great Britain failed to 
formally admit that boundary till the ratification of the Jay 



26 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

treaty, on the ground that we had failed to fulfill certain 
promises; and while she had likewise consented to recognize 
the 31st parallel as our southern boundary, it had been secretly 
agreed between America and Great Britain that, if she recov- 
ered West Florida from Spain, the boundary should run a 
hundred miles further north than the 31st parallel. For this 
land, drained by the Gulf rivers, had not been England's to 
grant, as it had been conquered and was then held by Spain. 
Nor was it actually given up to us until it was acquired by 
Pinckney's masterly diplomacy. (Roosevelt, Vol. iii, p. 
283 et seq.) 

France's Duplicity. The reasons for these reservations 
were that while France had been our ally in the Revolution- 
ary war, Spain was also the ally of France both before and 
after the close of that conflict; and our commissioners had 
been instructed by Congress to "take no steps without the 
knowledge and advice of France." It was now the interest 
of France to act in the interest of Spain more than in that of 
America for two reasons, the first of which was that she wished 
to keep Gibraltar, and the second, that she wished to keep us 
dependent on her as long as she could. Spain, however, was 
quite as hostile to us as England had been, and predicted the 
future expansion of the United States at the expense of Flor- 
ida, Louisiana and Mexico. Therefore, she tried to hem in our 
growth by giving us the Alleghanies as our western boundary. 
The French court, therefore, proposed that we should content 
ourselves with so much of the trans-Alleghany territory as 
lay around the head waters of the Tennessee and between the 
Cumberland and Ohio, all of which was already settled; "and 
the proposal showed how important the French court deemed 
the fact of actual settlement." But John Jay, supported by 
Adams, disregarded the instructions of Congress and negotiated 
a separate treaty as to boundaries, and gave us the Missis- 
sippi as our western boundary, but leaving to England the free 
navigation of the Mississippi. 2 (Roosevelt, Vol. iii, p. 284.) 

Inchoate Rights Only Under Colonial Charters. 
"In settling the claims to the western territory, much stress 
was laid on the old colonial charters; but underneath all the 
verbiage it was practically admitted that these charters con- 
ferred merely inchoate rights, which became complete only 
after conquest and settlement. The States themselves had 



BOUNDARIES 27 



already by their actions shown that they admitted this to be 
the case. Thus, North Carolina, when by the creation of 
Washington county — now the State of Tennessee, — she rounded 
out her boundaries, specified them as running to the Mis- 
sissippi. As a matter of fact the royal grant, under which 
alone she could claim the land in question, extended to the 
Pacific; and the only difference between her rights to the 
regions east and west of the river was that her people were 
settling in one, and could not settle in the other. " (Roosevelt, 
Vol. iii, p. 285.) 

Western Lands an Obstacle. One of the chief objec- 
tions to the adoption of the Articles of Confederation, which 
Congress formulated and submitted to the States November 
15, 1777, by some of the States was that each State had con- 
sidered that upon the Declaration of Independence it was pos- 
sessed of all the British lands which at any time had been in- 
cluded within its boundary; and Virginia, having in 1778, cap- 
tured a few British forts northwest of the Ohio, created out of 
that territory the "County of Illinois," and treated it as her 
property. Other States, having small claims to western ter- 
ritory, insisted that, as the western territory had been secured 
by a war in which all the States had joined, all those lands 
should be reserved to reward the soldiers of the Continental 
army and to secure the debt of the United States. Maryland, 
whose boundaries could not be construed to include much of 
the western land, refused to ratify the articles unless the claim 
of Virginia should be disallowed. It was proposed by Vir- 
ginia and Connecticut to close the union or confederacy with- 
out Maryland, and Virginia even opened a land office for the 
sale of her western lands; but without effect on Maryland. At 
this juncture, New York, which had less to gain from western 
territory than the other claimants, ceded her claims to the 
United States; and Virginia on January 2, 1781, agreed to 
do likewise. Thereupon Maryland ratified the articles, and 
on March 1, 1781, the Articles of Confederation were duly put 
into force. From that date Congress was acting under a 
written charter or constitution. (Hart, Sec. 45.) 

Cession of Western Territory. When, at the close of 
the Revolution, it became necessary that Congress take steps 
to carry out the pledge it had given (October 10, 1780) to see 
that such western lands should be disposed of for the common 



28 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

benefit, and formed into distinct republican States under the 
Union, it urged the States to cede their western territory to it 
to be devoted to the payment of the soldiers and the payment 
of the national debt. The northern tier of States soon after- 
wards ceded their territory, with certain reservations; but 
the process of cession went on more slowly and less satisfac- 
torily in the southern States. Virginia retained both juris- 
diction and land in Kentucky, while North Carolina, in 1790, 
granted " jurisdiction over what is now Tennessee," but every 
acre of land had already been granted by the State. (Hart, 
Sec. 52). This, however, is not strictly true, much Tennessee 
land not having been granted then. 

The Carolinas Agree to Extend "The Line of 1772." 
In 1803 the Legislature of North Carolina passed an act (Rev. 
Stat. 1837, Vol. II, p. 82) for the appointment of three com- 
missioners to meet other commissioners from South Carolina, 
to fix and establish permanently the boundary line between 
these two States "as far as the eastern boundary of the terri- 
tory ceded by the State of North Carolina to the United 
States. This act was amended in 1804, giving "the governor 
for the time being and his successor full power and authoriy 
to enter into any compact or agreement that he may deem 
most advisable" with the South Carolina and Georgia authori- 
ties for the settlement of the "boundary lines between these 
States and North Carolina." But this act seems only to have 
caused confusion and necessitated the passage of another act 
in 1806 declaring that the act of 1804 should "not be con- 
strued to extend or have any relation to the State of Georgia. " 
(Rev. Stat. 1837, p. 84.) 

Commissioners Meet in Columbia in 1808. 30 Commis- 
sioners of the States of North and South Carolina, however, 
met in Columbia, S. C, on the 11th of July, 1808, and among 
other things agreed to extend the line between the two States 
from the end of the line which had been run in 1772 "a direct 
course to that point in the ridge of mountains which divides 
the eastern from the western waters where the 35° of North 
latitude shall be found to strike it nearest the termination of 
said line of 1772, thence along the top of said ridge to the 
western extremity of the State of South Carolina. It being 
understood that the said State of South Carolina does not 
mean by this arrangement to interfere with claims which the 



BOUNDARIES 29 



United States, or those holding under the act of cession to the 
United States, may have to lands which may lie, if any there 
be, between the top of the said ridge and the said 35° of north 
latitude." 

Agreement of September, 1813. 3 1 But, although the 
commissioners from the two States met at the designated 
point on the 20th of July, 1813, they found that they could 
not agree as to the "practicability of fixing a boundary line 
according to the agreement of 1808," and entered into an- 
other agreement "at McKinney's, on Toxaway river, on the 
fourth day of September, 1813," by which they recommended 
that their respective States agree that the commissioners 
should start at the termination of the line of 1772 "and run a 
line due west to the ridge dividing the waters of the north 
fork of the Pacolet river from the waters of the north fork of 
Saluda river; thence along the said ridge to the ridge that 
divides the Saluda waters from those of Green river; thence 
along the said ridge to where the same joins the main ridge 
which divides the eastern from the western waters, and thence 
along the said ridge to that part of it which is intersected by 
the Cherokee boundary line run in the year 1797; from the 
center of the said ridge at the point of intersection the line 
shall extend in a direct course to the eastern bank of Chatooga 
river, where the 35° of north latitude has been found to strike 
it, and where a rock has been marked by the aforesaid com- 
missioners with the following inscription, viz.: lat. 35°, 1813. 
It being understood and agreed that the said lines shall be so 
run as to leave all the waters of Saluda river within the State 
of South Carolina; but shall in no part run north of a course 
due west from the termination of the line of 1772." The 
commissioners who made the foregoing agreement were, on 
the part of North Carolina, John Steele, Montfort Stokes, and 
Robert Burton, and on the part of South Carolina Joseph 
Blythe, Henry Middleton, and John Blasingame. Rev. Stat. 
1837, Vol. ii, p. 86). 

Commissioners Appointed in 1814. Pursuant to the above 
provisional articles of agreement North Carolina in 1814 ap- 
pointed General Thomas Love, General Montfort Stokes and 
Col. John Patton commissioners to meet other commission- 
ers from South Carolina to run and mark the boundary line 
between the two States in accordance with the recommenda- 



30 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

tion of the commissioners who had met and agreed, "at Mc- 
Kinney's, on Toxaway river, on the 4th of September, 1813." 
(Rev. Stat. 1837, Vol. ii, p. 87). 

Around Head Springs of Saluda River. 3 2 But these 
commissioners met and found, "by observations and actual 
experiments that a course due west from the termination of 
the line of 1772 would not strike the point of the ridge divid- 
ing the waters of the north fork of Pacolet river from the 
waters of the north fork of Saluda river in the manner con- 
templated, . . . and finding also that running a line on top of 
the said ridge so as to leave all the waters of Saluda river 
within the State of South Carolina would (in one place) run 
a little north of a course due west from the termination of the 
said line of 1772," agreed to run and mark a line "on the ridge 
around the head springs of the north fork of Saluda river," 
and recommended that such line be accepted by the two 
States. 

Termination of 1772 Line Starting Point of 1815 Line. 
Therefore the Legislature of North Carolina passed an act 
(Rev. Stat. 1837, Vol. ii, p. 89) fixing this line as "beginning 
on a stone set up at the termination of the line of 1772" and 
marked "N. C. and S. C. September fifteenth, eighteen hun- 
dred and fifteen," running thence west four miles and ninety 
poles to a stone marked N. C. and S. C, thence south 25° 
west 118 poles to the top of the ridge dividing the waters of the 
north fork of the Pacolet river from the north fork of the 
Saluda river . . . thence to the ridge that divides the Saluda 
waters from those of Green river and thence along that ridge 
to its junction with the Blue Ridge, and thence along the 
Blue Ridge to the line surveyed in 1797, where a stone is set 
up marked N. C. and S. C. 1813; and from this stone "a direct 
line south 68J4° west 20 miles and 11 poles to the 35° of north 
latitude at the rock in the east bank of the Chatooga river, 
marked latitude 35 AD: 1813, in all a distance of 74 miles 
and 189 poles." 

Confirmation of Boundary Lines. In 1807 the North 
Carolina Legislature passed an act (Rev. Stat. 1837, Vol. ii, p. 90) 
which "fully ratified and confirmed" these two agreements, 
and another act (Rev. Stat. Vol. ii, p. 92) reciting that these 
two sets of commissioners "in conformity with these articles 
of agreement" had "run and marked in part the boundary 



BOUNDARIES 31 



line between the said States." This act further recites that 
the North Carolina commissioners "have reported the run- 
ning and marking of said boundary line as follows: 

"To commence at Ellicott's rock, 33 and run due west on the 35° of 
north latitude, and marked as follows: The trees on each side of the line 
with three chops, the fore and aft trees with a blaze on the east and west 
side, the mile trees with the number of miles from Ellicott's rock, on the 
east side of the tree, and a cross on the east and west side; whereupon the 
line was commenced under the superintendance of the undersigned com- 
missioners jointly: Timothy Tyrrell, Esquire, surveyor on the part of 
the commissioners of the State of Georgia, and Robert Love, surveyor 
on the part of the commissioners of the State of North Carolina — upon 
which latitude the undersigned caused the line to be extended just thirty 
miles due west, marking and measuring as above described, in a conspic- 
uous manner throughout; in addition thereto they caused at the end of 
the first eleven miles after first crossing the Blue Ridge, a rock to be set 
up, descriptive of the line, engraved thereon upon the north side, Sep- 
tember 25, 1819, N. C, and upon the south side 35 degree N. L. G.; then 
after crossing the river Cowee or Tennessee, at the end of sixteen miles, 
near the road, running up and down the said river, a locust post marked 
thus, on the South side Ga. October 14, 1819; and on the north side, 35 
degree N. L. N. C., and then at the end of twenty-one miles and three 
quarters, the second crossing of the Blue Ridge, a rock engraved on the 
North side 35 degree N. L. N. C., and on the south side Ga. 12th Oct., 
1819; then on the rock at the end of the thirty miles, engraved thereon, 
upon the north side N. C. N. L. 35 degrees, which stands on the north side 
of a mountain, the waters of which fall into Shooting Creek, a branch of the 
Hiwassee, due north of the eastern point of the boundary line, between 
the States of Georgia and Tennessee, commonly called Montgomery's 
line, just six hundred and sixty-one yards." 

The Legislature then enacted "That the said boundary- 
line, as described in the said report, be, and the same is hereby 
fully established, ratified and confirmed forever, as the bound- 
ary line between the States of North Carolina and Georgia." 

The last section of the act confirming the survey of the line 
from the Big Pigeon to the Georgia line, as run and marked 
by the commissioners of North Carolina and Tennessee in 
1821, (Rev. Stat. 1837, Vol. ii, p. 97) provides "that a line run 
and known by the name of Montgomery's line, beginning- 
six hundred and sixty -one yards due south of the termination 
of the line run by the commissioners on the part of this State 
and the State of Georgia, in the year one thousand eight hun- 
dred and nineteen, ending on a creek near the waters of Shoot- 
ing Creek, waters of Hiwassee, then along Montgomery's 



32 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

line till it strikes the line run by commissioners on the part 
of North Carolina and Tennessee in 1821, to a square post 
marked on the east side N. C. 1821, and on the west side 
Tenn. 1821, and on the south side G. should to be the divid- 
ing line between North Carolina and Georgia, so soon as the 
above line shall be ratified on the part of the State of 
Georgia. " 

ORIGIN OF THE WALTON WAR. 

"North Carolina claimed for her southern boundary the 35th degree 
of north latitude. The line of this parallel, however, was at that time 
supposed to run about twelve miles north of what was subsequently 
ascertained to be its true location. Between this supposed line of 35° 
north latitude and the northernmost boundary of Georgia, as settled 
upon by a convention between that State and South Carolina in 1787, 
there intervened a tract of country of about twelve miles in width, from 
north to south, and extending from east to west, from the top of the 
main ridge of mountains which divides the eastern from the western 
waters to the Mississippi river. This tract remained, as was supposed, 
within the chartered limits of South Carolina, and in the year 1787 was 
ceded by that State to the United States, subject to the Indian right of 
occupancy. When the Indian title to the country therein described 
was ceded to the United States by the treaty of 1798 with the Cherokees, 
the eastern portion of this 12-mile tract fell within the limits of such 
cession. On its eastern extremity near the head-waters of the French 
Broad river, immediately at the foot of the main Blue Ridge Mountains, 
had been located, for a number of years prior to the treaty, a settlement 
of about fifty families of whites, who, by its ratification became occupants 
of the public domain of the United States, but who were outside of the 
territorial jurisdiction of any State. These settlers petitioned Congress 
to retrocede the tract of country upon which they resided to South Caro- 
lina, in order that they might be brought within the protection of the 
laws of that State. A resolution was reported in the House of Repre- 
sentatives from the committee to whom the subject had been referred, 
favoring such a course, but Congress took no effective action on the sub- 
ject, and when the State boundaries came finally to be adjusted in that 
region the tract in question was found to be within the limits of North 
Carolina." 34 

The Walton War. That there should have been great 
confusion and uncertainty as to the exact boundary lines 
between the States in their earlier history is but natural, 
especially in the case where the corners of three States come 
together, and still more especially when they come together 
in an inaccessible mountainous region, such as characterized 
the cornerstone between Georgia, South and North Caro- 



BOUNDARIES 33 



lina. And that renegades and other lawless adventurers 
should take advantage of such a condition is still more natural. 
It is, therefore, not surprising to read in "The Heart of the 
Alleghanies, " (p. 224-5) that: "In early times, criminals and 
refugees from justice made the fastnesses of the wilderness 
hiding places. Their stay, in most cases, was short, seclusion 
furnishing their profession a barren field for operation. A few, 
however, remained, either adopting the wild, free life of the 
chase, or preying upon the property of the community." 

Walton County. Such a community existed at the com- 
mencement of the last century on the head waters of the 
French Broad river in what are now Jackson and Transyl- 
vania counties. Some even claimed that this territory be- 
longed to South Carolina. But Georgia, about December, 
1803, created a county within this territory and called it 
Walton county. Georgia naturally attempted to exercise 
jurisdiction over what it really believed was its own territory, 
and North Carolina as naturally resisted such attempts. 
Consequently, there were "great dissentions, . . . the said 
dissentions having produced many riots, affrays, assaults, 
batteries, woundings and imprisonments." 

The North Carolina and Georgia Line. On January 
13, 1806, Georgia presented a memorial to the House of Rep- 
resentatives of Congress, complaining that North Carolina 
was claiming lands lying within the State of Georgia, and 
asking that Congress interpose and cause the 35th degree of 
north latitude to be ascertained and the line between the two 
States plainly marked. 

The Twelve Miles "Orphan" Strip. This was referred 
to a committee which, on February 12th, reported that "be- 
tween the latitude of 35° north, which is the southern boundary 
claimed by North Carolina, and the northern boundary of 
Georgia, as settled by a convention between that State and 
South Carolina, intervenes a tract of country supposed to be 
about twelve miles wide, from north to south, and extending 
in length from the western boundary of Georgia, at Nicajack, 
on the Tennessee, to his northeastern limits at Tugalo, and 
was consequently within the limits of South Carolina, and in 
the year 1887 it was ceded to the United States, who [sic] 
accepted the cession." This territory remained in the posses- 
sion of the United States until 1802, when it was ceded to the 

W. N. C. -3 



34 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

State of Georgia, when the estimated number of settlers on it 
was 800. It was not known where these settlers came from; 
but the land had belonged to the Cherokees until 1798 when 
a part of it was purchased by the whites by treaty held at 
Tellico. 3 5 

Walton County, Georgia. At the earnest entreaty of 
these inhabitants Georgia in 1803 formed the inhabited part 
of this territory into Walton county and appointed commis- 
sioners to meet corresponding commissioners to be appointed 
by North Carolina to ascertain and mark the line. But 
Congress took no definite action on this report. 

A Survey Agreed Upon. The two States, in 1807, came 
to an agreement as to the basis of a survey. In a letter dated 
at Louisville, Ga., December 10, 1806, Gov. Jared Irwin to 
Gov. Nathaniel Alexander of North Carolina, enclosed sun- 
dry resolutions adopted by the legislature of Georgia, and 
announced that that body had appointed Thomas P. Carnes, 
Thomas Flournoy and William Barnett as commissioners to 
ascertain the 35th° of north latitude "and plainly mark the 
dividing line between the States of North Carolina and Geor- 
gia. " On January 1, 1807, Gov. Alexander enclosed to Gov. 
Irwin a copy of an act of the legislature passed at the preced- 
ing session assenting to the proposition of Georgia and ap- 
pointing John Steele, John Moore and James Welbourne 
commissioners on the part of North Carolina. It was sub- 
sequently agreed that the commissioners from both States 
should meet at Asheville June 15, 1807; Rev. Joseph Caldwell, 
president of the North Carolina University, was the scientist 
for North Carolina, while Mr. J. Meigs represented Georgia 
in that capacity. 

The Record. In the minute docket of the county court 
of Buncombe, pp. 104 and 363, the proceedings of these com- 
missioners are set forth in full, showing that Thomas Flour- 
noy, one of the Georgia commissioners, did not attend but 
that on the 18th of June, 1807, the others met at Bun- 
combe court house and agreed on a basis of procedure, the 
most important point being that the 35th parallel was to be 
first ascertained, after which it was to be marked and agreed 
on as the line. This they proceeded to do, with the result that 
on the 27th of June, at Douthard's gap on the summit of the 



BOUNDARIES 35 



Blue Ridge, they signed a supplemental agreement to the 
effect that they had discovered by repeated astronomical ob- 
servations that the 35th degree of north latitude is not to be 
found on any part of said ridge east of the line established by 
the general government as the temporary boundary between 
the white people and the Indians, and having no authority to 
proceed over that boundary "in order to ascertain and mark 
that degree," they agreed that Georgia had no right to claim 
any part of the territory north or west of the Blue Ridge and 
east or south of the present temporary line between the whites 
and Indians ; and would recommend to the Georgia Legislature 
that it repeal the act which had established the county of 
Walton on North Carolina soil. Both sets of commissioners 
then agreed to recommend amnesty for all who had been guilty 
of violating the laws of either State under the assumption that 
it had no jurisdiction over that territory. 

Following is the story as to how they had reached this agree- 
ment: 

The "Astonishment" of the Georgians. 36 These scien- 
tists made their first observations at the house of Mr. Amos 
Justice, which they supposed to be on or near the dividing line 
of 35° north latitude, but discovered that it was "22 miles with- 
in old Buncombe," which astonished them; for Mr. Sturges, 
the Surveyor General of Georgia, had previously ascertained 
this meridian to be at the junction of Davidson's and Little 
rivers. But, said the Georgia commissioners in their report 
to their governor, they were "accompanied by an artist [sic] 
appointed by the government [of the United States] whose 
talents and integrity we have no reason to doubt," whose 
observations accorded very nearly with their own; they "were 
under the necessity of suspending our astonishment and pro- 
ceeding on the duty assigned us. " 

Supplementary Agreement at Caesar's Head. When 
they got to the junction of Davidson and Little rivers and 
found that they were still 17 minutes north of the 35th meridian, 
they "proceeded to Caesar's Head, a place on the Blue Ridge 
about 12 horizontal miles directly south and in the vicinity 
of Douthet's Gap, which was from 2' 57" to 4' 54" north of 
the 35th parallel. They then signed the supplementary 
agreement of June 27. 



36 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Georgia's Sporting Blood. On December 28, 1808, Gov. 
Irwin of Georgia wrote to Governor Stone of North Carolina, 
asking for the appointment of a new commission on the part 
of North Carolina to meet one already appointed by the leg- 
islature of Georgia; but Gov. Stone declined in a communi- 
cation of March 21, 1809, in which he states that it "does not 
readily occur to us on what basis the adjustment is to rest, if 
not upon that where it now stands — the plighted faith of two 
States to abide by the determination of commissioners mutu- 
ally chosen for the purpose of making the adjustment those 
commissioners actually made". On December 7, 1807, North 
Carolina had adopted and ratified the joint report of the com- 
missioners of the two States and on December 18 "passed an 
act of amnesty for offenders within the disputed territory. " 3 7 

Georgia is Snubbed. 3 7 But Georgia sent still another 
petition to Congress by way of appeal, and its legislature on 
December 5, 1807, "put forth an earnest protest against the 
decision arrived at by their own commissioners." But al- 
though on April 26, 1810, Mr. Bibb of Georgia, asked the 
United States to appoint some person to run the dividing 
line, and it was referred to a select committee on the 27th of 
the following December, that committee never reported. 
Georgia must have become reconciled, however, for in 1819 
its legislature refused relief to certain citizens who had claimed 
land in this disputed territory. 

Contour Map and 35th Parallel. The late Captain 
W. A. Curtis, for a long time editor of the Franklin Press, said, 
in "A Brief History of Macon County," (1905) p. 23, 38 that 
"it has long been accepted as a fact that the southern bound- 
ary of Macon and Clay counties, constituting the State line 
between North Carolina and Georgia, is located on the 35th 
parallel of north latitude. This is either a mistake or else the 
latest topographical charts are incorrect. According to the 
charts a straight line starts from the top of Indian Camp 
mountain on the southern boundary of Translyvania county, 
654 miles north of the 35th parallel, and dips somewhat south 
of west until it reaches the Endicott (Ellicut) Rock at the 
corner of South Carolina exactly on the 35th parallel, and, 
instead of turning due west at this place, it continues on a 
straight line for about twenty miles, or to 833^2 degrees west 
longitude, which is near the top of the Ridge Pole, close by 



BOUNDARIES 37 



the southwest corner of Macon county; then it turns due west, 
running parallel with the 35th, and about one mile south of it, 
on towards Alabama. One peculiarity of this survey is that 
Estatoa, or Mud Creek Falls, which has long been considered 
as being in Georgia, are, according to the map, in North 
Carolina. Mud creek crosses the State line a few yards 
above the falls into North Carolina, and at about half way 
between the falls and the Tennessee river passes back into 
Georgia. But, by examining some old records belonging to 
the State Library at Raleigh in 1881, I am convinced that the 
line between the States of Georgia and North Carolina has 
never been correctly surveyed." 

The North Carolina and Tennessee Boundary. By 
the Cessions Act, Revised Statutes, 1837, Vol. ii, p. 171, North 
Carolina authorized one or both United States Senators or 
any two members of Congress to execute a deed or deeds to 
the United States of America of the lands west of a line begin- 
ning on the extreme height of the Stone mountain, at the 
place where the Virginia line intersects it, running thence 
along the extreme height of the said mountain to the place 
where Watauga river breaks through it, thence a direct course 
to the top of the Yellow Mountain, where Bright's road crosses 
the same, thence along the ridge of said mountains between 
the waters of Doe river and the waters of Rock creek to the 
place where the road crosses the Iron mountain, from thence 
along the extreme height of said mountain, to where Nole- 
chucky river runs through the same, thence to the top of the 
Bald mountain, thence along the extreme height of the said 
mountain to the Painted Rock, on French Broad river, thence 
along the highest ridge of the said mountain to the place 
where it is called the Great Iron or Smoky mountain, thence 
along the extreme height of said mountain to the place where 
it is called Unicoy or Unaka mountain, between the Indian 
towns of Cowee and Old Chota, thence along the main ridge 
of the said mountain to the southern boundary of this State." 

The 10th section provided that "this act shall not prevent 
the people now residing south of French Broad, between the 
rivers Tennessee and Pigeon, from entering their pre-emp- 
tions on that tract, should an office be opened for that purpose 
under an act of the present general assembly." 



38 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

To Pay Debts and Establish Harmony. The reasons 
for making this cession are set out in the act itself and are to 
the effect that Congress has "repeatedly and earnestly recom- 
mended to the respective States . . . claiming or owning 
vacant western territory," to make cession to part of the 
same, as a further means "of paying the debts and establish- 
ing the harmony of the United States;" "and the inhabitants 
of the said western territory being also desirious that such 
cession should be made, in order to obtain a more ample pro- 
tection than they have heretofore received." The act also 
provides that neither the land nor the inhabitants of the ceded 
territory shall be estimated in ascertaining North Carolina's 
proportion of the common expense occasioned by the war for 
independence. Also that in case the lands laid off by North 
Carolina for the "officers and soldiers of the Continental line" 
shall not "contain a sufficient quantity of lands fit for cultiva- 
tion to make good the quota intended by law for each, such 
officer or soldier who shall fall short of his proportion may 
make up the deficiency out of lands of the ceded territory." 
Having been admonished by the claim of the citizens of Watauga 
that until Congress should accept the ceded territory they 
would be in a state "of political orphanage," the legislature, 
later in the session of 1784, had been careful to pass another 
act by which North Carolina retained jurisdiction and sover- 
eignty over the land west of the mountains, and continued 
in force all existing North Carolina laws, "until the same shall 
be repealed or otherwise altered by the legislative authority 
of said territory." The act ordering the survey is ch. 461, 
Potter's Revisal, p. 816, Laws 1796. 

The First Tennessee Boundary Survey. From the 
narratives of David Vance and Robert Henry of the battles 
of Kings Mountain 3 9 and Cowan's Ford, as well as from the 
dairy of John Strother, can be gathered a fine account of the 
survey from Virginia to the Painted Rock on the French 
Broad and the Stone on the Cataloochee Turnpike. The sur- 
vey began on the 20th of May and ended Friday the 28th of 
June, 1799. The original of Strother's diary is filed in the 
suit of the Virginia, Tennessee & Carolina Steel and Iron Com- 
pany vs. Newman, in the United States court at Asheville, N. C. 
The actual survey began May 22d, "at a sugar-tree and beech 
on Pond mountain, so called from two small ponds on it." 



BOUNDARIES 39 



Both trees are now gone, and a stone four feet by two feet by 
sixteen inches in thickness, is buried in the ground where they 
stood, with a simple cross, east and west, chiseled upon it. Its 
upper surface is level with the ground, and it was placed there 
in 1899 or 1900 by a Mr. Buchanan of the United States 
coast survey. Marion Miller and John and Alfred Bivins 
assisted him. Mr. Miller still lives within a mile and a half of 
the corner rock. Strother's party set out from Asheville May 
12, and reached Capt. Robert Walls on New River, where 
Strother arrived on the 17th, and met with Major Mussendine 
Mathews, of whom Judge David Schenck says 40 that he "rep- 
resented Iredell county in the House of Commons from 1789 
to 1802 continuously. He was either a Tory or a Cynic, it 
seems." They were awaiting the arrival of Col. David Vance 
and Gen. Joseph McDowell, but as they did not come, 
Strother went to the house of a Mr. Elsburg on the 18th. 

The Party Gathers. Col. Vance and Major B. Collins 
arrived on the 19th, and they all went to Captain Isaac 
Weaver's. They were General Joseph McDowell, Col. David 
Vance, Major Mussendine Mathews, commissioners; John 
Strother and Robert Henry, surveyors; Messers. B. Collins, 
James Hawkins, George Penland, Robert Logan, Geo. David- 
son, and J. Matthews, chain-bearers and markers; Major James 
Neely, commissary; two pack-horse men and a pilot. They 
camped that night on Stag creek. On the night of the 23d of 
May they camped "at a very bad place" in a low gap at the 
head of Laurel Fork of New river and Laurel Fork of Holston 
at the head of a branch, "after having passed through extreme 
rough ground and some bad laurel thickets." A road now runs 
through that laurel thicket, built since the Civil War, and 
runs from Hemlock postomce, where there is now a narrow 
gauge lumber railroad and an extract plant, to Laurel Bloom- 
ery, in Tennessee. A small hotel now stands half on the North 
Carolina and half on the Tennessee side of the line those men 
then ran, and the gap is called "Cut Laurel" gap because it is 
literally cut through the laurel for a mile or more. 4 1 Thou- 
sands of gallons of blockade whiskey used to be carried through 
that gap when there was nothing but a trail there. It is called 
by Mr. Strother a low gap, but it is one of the highest in the 
mountains. On the 28th they went to a Mr. Miller's and got 
a young man to act as a pilot. Strother went from Miller's 



40 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

"to Cove creek, where I got a Mr. Curtis and met the company 
in a low gap between the waters of Cove creek and Roan's creek 
where the road crosses the same," on Wednesday night, the 
29th. 

Crossed Boone's Trail. This, in all probability, is the 
gap through which Daniel Boone and his party had passed in 
1769 on their way to Kentucky. It is between Zionville, N. C. 
and Trade, Tenn., and the gap is so low that one is not con- 
scious of passing over the top of a high mountain. Tradition 
says that an Indian trail went through the same gap, and 
traces of it are still visible to the north of the present turn- 
pike. The young man who had been employed as a pilot at 
Mr. Miller's house on the 28th was found on the 29th not to 
be a "woodsman and of course he was discharged." On 
June 1st they came to the "Wattogo" river, where they killed 
a bear, "very poor," upon which and "some bacon stewed 
together, with some good tea and johnny cake we made a Sab- 
bath morning breakfast fit for a European Lord." There is a 
tradition among the people living near the falls of the Watauga 
at the State line, that the line between the peak to the north 
of the falls and the Yellow mountain was not actually run 
and marked; but the field notes of both Strother and Henry 
show that the line was both run and marked all the way. The 
reason the line was run from the peak north of the Watauga 
to the bald of the Yellow was because the act required it to be 
run in precisely that way; the language being "to the place 
where Watauga river breaks through it [the mountain], thence 
a direct course to the top of the Yellow Mountain where 
Bright's road crosses the same." As it is impossible to see 
the Y r ellow from the river at the falls where the river breaks 
through, it was necessary to get the course from the top of the 
peak north of the river. 

Rattlebugs. On Saturday, June 1st, they came upon "a 
very large rattlebug, " which they "attempted to kill, but it 
was too souple in the heels for us. " On the night of May 31st 
they had had "severe lightning and some hard slaps [sic] of 
thunder." 

Laurel and Ivy. There are some who, nowadays, contend 
that ivy and laurel did not grow in these mountains while the 
Indians occupied them, and cite as proof that it is almost 



BOUNDARIES 41 



impossible to find a laurel log with rings indicating more than 
a hundred years of growth. But Bishop Spangenburg men- 
tions having encountered laurel on what is supposed to have 
been the Grandfather mountain in 1752, and John Strother, 
in his diary of the survey between Virginia and North Caro- 
lina in 1799, repeatedly mentions it, both before and after 
crossing the ridge which divides the waters of Nollechucky 
from those of the French Broad. What are now known as the 
"Ivory Slicks," is a tunnel cut through the otherwise impen- 
etrable ivy on the slope between the Hang Over and Dave 
Orr's cabins on Slick Rock, south of the Little Tennessee. 

Two Wagon Roads Across the Mountains. Even at 
that early date there seem to have been two roads crossing the 
mountains into Tennessee, for the very next call of the statute 
is "thence along the ridge of said mountain between the waters 
of Doe river and the waters of Rock creek to the place where 
the road crosses the Iron mountain." Bright used to live at 
the Crab Orchard, long known as Avery's Quarters, about a 
mile above Plum Tree, and where W. W. Avery now lives. 4 2 
On the 5th of June Major Neely "turned off the line today and 
went to Doe river settlements for a fresh supply of provisions, " 
and was to meet them at the Yellow mountain, where on that 
day the trees were "just creeping out of their winter garb," 
and where "the lightning and thunder were so severe that 
they were truly alarming." From "the yellow spot" on the 
Yellow, whither they had gone to take observations, but were 
prevented by the storm, "we went back and continued the line 
on to a low gap at the head of Roaring or Sugar creek of Towe 
[sic] river and a creek of Doe river at the road leading from 
Morganton to Jonesborough, where we encamped as wet as 
we could be. " This fixes the main road between North Caro- 
lina and the Watauga settlement, which had been finished in 
1772, and over which Andrew Jackson was to pass in the 
spring of 1788. 4 3 Robert Henry mentions a Gideon Lewis 
as one of the guides from White Top mountain, and it is re- 
markable that a direct descendant of his and having his name 
is now living at Taylor's Valley, near Konarok, Va., and that 
several others now live near Solitude or Ashland, N. C. 

Was This Ever "No Man's Land"? When the survey- 
ing party came to the Yellow they found that the compass had 
been deflected when it had been sighted from the peak just 



42 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 



north of Watauga Falls, caused doubtless by the proximity to 
the Cranberry Iron mountain, of whose existence apparently 
they then had no knowledge. Of late years some have supposed 
that the "territory between the Iron mountain and the 
Blue Ridge, after the act of cession, was left out of any county 
from 1792 or 1793 till 1818 or 1822, and was without any local 
government till it was annexed to Burke county." L. D. 
Lowe, Esq., in the Watauga Democrat of July 3d, 1913, gave 
the following explanation: "It is quite true that there was 
no local government, but it was not for the reason that this 
part of the territory was not claimed by Burke county; but it 
was because the lands had been granted to a few, and there 
were only a limited number of people within the territory to 
be governed, hence there was very little attention paid to it." 
In previous articles in the same paper he had shown that "the 
reason this territory had not been settled at an earlier date" 
was because "the State had been paid for more than three 
hundred thousand acres embraced within the boundaries of 
six grants, " but had failed to refer to the fact that "these grants 
or some of them had especially excepted certain other grants 
within their boundaries — for example, certain grants to 
Waightstill Avery, Reuben White, John Dobson and others. 
Within the past twenty-five years it has been clearly demon- 
strated that some of the Cathcart grants run with the Ten- 
nessee line for 14 miles." 

Home Comforts. "Mr. Hawkins and myself went down 
to Sugar creek to a Mr. Currey's, where we got a good supper 
and a bed to sleep in," continues the diary. Evidently the 
food in the camp had about given out, for we hear nothing 
more of meals "fit for a European Lord;" but, instead, of the 
comforts of good Mr. Currey's bed and board. Here too they 
"took breakfast with Mrs. Currey, got our clothes washed 
and went to camp, where Major Neely met us with a fresh 
supply of provisions. It rained all day [and] of course we are 
still at our camp at the head of Sugar creek." 

Pleasant Beech Flats. The next day they crossed 
"high spur of the Roan mountain to a low gap therein where 
we encamped at a pleasant Beech flat and good spring. " 

Any one who has never seen one of these "pleasant beech 
flats" would scarcely realize what they are like. As one 
ascends any of the higher mountains of North Carolina, the 



BOUNDARIES 43 



size of all the trees perceptibly diminish, especially near the 
six thousand feet line, to be succeeded, generally, on the less 
precipitous slopes, by miniature beech trees, perfect in shape, 
but resembling the so-called dwarf-trees of the Japanese. 
They really seem to be toy trees. 

John Strother's Flowers of Rhetoric. It was here 
that they "spent the Sabbath day in taking observations from 
the high spur we crossed, in gathering the fir oil of the Balsam 
of Pine which is found on the mountain, in collecting a root 
said to be an excellent preventative against the bite of a rattle- 
snake, and in visioning the wonderful scene this conspicuous 
situation affords. There is no shrubbery grows on the tops 
of this mountain for several miles, say, and the wind has such 
a power on the top of this mountain that the ground is blowed 
in deep holes all over the northwest sides. The prospect 
from the Roan mountain is more conspicuous [extensive?] than 
from any other part of the Appelatchan mountains." 

Cloudland. A modern prospectus of the large and 
comfortable hostelry, called the Cloudland hotel, which has 
crowned this magnificent mountain for more than thirty years, 
the result of the ardor and enterprise of Gen. John H. Wilder 
of Chattanooga, Tenn., could not state the charms of this 
most charming resort, now become the sure refuge of hundreds 
of sufferers from that scourge of late summer and early autumn 
and known as hay fever, more invitingly. 

Unsurpassed View. Of the magnificence of this view a 
later chronicler has this to say: "That view from the Roan 
eclipses everything I have ever seen in the White, Green, Cat- 
skill and Virginia mountains. " This is a statement put into the 
mouth of a Philadelphia lawyer in 1882 by the authors of 
"The Heart of the Alleghanies, " p. 253. 

Mountain Moonshine. On Monday they "proceeded 
on between the head of Rock creek and Doe river, and en- 
camped in a low gap between these two streams. The next 
day they went five or six miles to the foot of the Iron mountain 
to a place they called Strother's Camp, where they had some 
good songs, "then raped [wrapped] ourselves up in our blank- 
ets and slep sound till this morning." Here "Cols. Vance 
and Neely went to the Limestone settlements for a pilot, 
returned to us on the line at two o'clock with a Mr. Collier as 
pilot and two gallons whiskey, we stop, drank our own health 



44 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 



and proceeded on the line. Ascended a steep spur of the 
Unaker mountain, got into a bad laurel thicket, cut our way 
some distance. Night came on, we turned off and camped at 
a very bad place, it being a steep laurelly hollow," but the 
whiskey had such miraculous powers that it made the place 
"tolerably comfortable." 

Bad Luck on the Thirteenth. On Thursday the 13th, 
if they were superstitious, the expected bad luck happened; 
for here they were informed that for the next two or three 
days' march the pack-horses could not proceed on the line — 
that is, could not follow the extreme height of the mountain 
crest. This was a calamity indeed; but what was the result? 
How did these men meet it? We read how: 

Between Hollow Poplar and Greasy Cove. "Myself 
[John Strother] together with the chain-bearers and markers 
packed our provisions on our backs and proceeded on with the 
line, the horses and rest of the company was conducted round 
by the pilot a different route. We continued the line through 
a bad laurel thicket to the top of the Unaker mountain and 
along the same about three miles and camped at a bad laurelly 
branch." On Friday, however, they came "to the path 
crossing [the Unaker mountain] from Hollow Poplar to the 
Greasy Cove and met our company. It rained hard. We 
encamped on the top of the mountain half a mile from water 
and had an uncomfortable evening." 

Devil's Creek and Lost Cove. It seems that the infor- 
mation Mr. Collier had given "respecting the Unaker moun- 
tain was false," and Mr. Strother prevailed upon the com- 
missioners to discharge him on Saturday the 15th of June. 
They then crossed the Nolechucky "where it breaks through 
the Unaker or Iron mountain." Here it is that that match- 
less piece of modern railroad engineering, the C. C. &. O. R. 
R., disputes with the "Chucky" its dominion of the canon 
and transports from its exhaustless coal mines in Virginia 
hundreds of tons of the finest coal to its terminus on the 
Atlantic coast. 

Robert Henry Meets His Fate. Here, too, it being again 
found "impracticable to take horses from this place on the line 
to the Bald mountain, Mr. Henry, the chain-bearers and 
markers, took provisions on their backs [and] proceeded on 
the line and the horses went round by the Greasy Cove and 



BOUNDARIES 45 



met the rest of the company on Sunday on the top of the Bald 
mountain, where we tarried till Tuesday morning." 

"Tarrying" in the Greasy Cove. One cannot help 
wondering why they "tarried" here so long; but no one who 
has ever visited that "Greasy Cove" and shared the hospital- 
ity of its denizens need long remain without venturing a guess; 
for it is a pleasant place to be, with the "red banks of Chucky" 
still crumbling in the bend of the river and the ravens croak- 
ing from their cliffs among the fastnesses of the Devil's Look- 
ing Glass looming near. 4 4 The C. C. & 0. have their immense 
shops here now, covering almost a hundred acres of land. 

Vance's Camp. From the Bald mountain, now in Yancey 
county, it seems that Col. Love became their pilot; and five or 
six miles further on in "a low gap between the head of Indian 
creek and the waters of the south fork of Laurel, we encamped 
and called it Vance's Camp." The richness of the moun- 
tains is noted. 

The Grier Bald. This Bald is sometimes called the Grier 
Bald from the fact that David Grier, a hermit, lived upon it 
for thirty-two years. 4 5 Grier was a native of South Carolina 
who, because one of the daughters of Col. David Vance 
refused to marry him, built himself a log house here in 1802, 
just three years after Colonel Vance had passed the spot, and 
it is probable Grier first heard of it through this gentleman. 
In a quarrel over his land he killed a man named Holland 
Higgins and was acquitted on the ground of insanity "and 
returned home to meet his death at the hands of one of Hol- 
land's friends." 

Boone's Cove. On Wednesday the 19th of June, after 
having suffered severely the previous night from gnats, they 
went to "Boone's Cove, between the waters of Laurel and 
Indian creeks," while on the 20th they had to pass over steep 
and rocky and brushy knobs, with water scarce and a consid- 
erable distance from the line. All day Friday their horses 
suffered from want of water and food, part of the way being 
impassable for horses; while on Saturday it took them "four 
hours and 23 minutes" to cut their way one and one-fourth 
miles to the top of the mountain, where, after getting through 
the laurel, they "came into an open flat on top of Beech moun- 
tain where we camped till Monday at a good spring and excel- 
lent range for our horses." 



46 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

A Recruit of Bacon. On Monday, the 24th of June, 
their provisions began to fail them again, but they proceeded 
on the line six miles and "crossed the road leading from Bar- 
nett's Station to the Brushy Cove and encamped in a low gap 
between the waters of Paint creek and Laurel river." 46 
They had a wet evening here; but as they "suped on venison 
stewed with a recruit of bacon Major Neely brought in this 
day from the Brushy Cove settlement," we may hope their 
lot was not altogether desolate; for it is possible that this 
enterprising commissary, Major Neely, might have brought 
them something besides that "recruit of bacon"; for it will be 
recalled that on a former occasion he went for a pilot and 
returned not only with a pilot but with two gallons of a liquid 
that "had such marvelous powers" that it made a very "bad 
place" "tolerably comfortable." 

Barnett's Station. At any rate, they knew they were 
nearing the end of their long and arduous journey, for they 
had now reached the waters of Paint creek, which they must 
have known was in the neighborhood of the "Painted Rock," 
their destination. The Barnett Station referred to above 
was probably Barnard's old stock stand on the French Broad 
river, five or six miles below Marshall. 

Off the Track for Awhile. After losing their way on the 
25th and "having a very uncomfortable time of it" on Paint 
creek, they got on the "right ridge from the place we got off 
of it and proceeded on the line five miles and encamped between 
the waters of F. B. R. [French Broad river] and Paint creek." 

"Hasey" and "Anctoous." Thursday 27. This morning 
is cloudy and hasey. The Commissioners being anctoous to 
get on to the Painted Rock started us early"; but they took 
a wrong ridge again and had to return and spend an uncom- 
fortable evening. 

Dropping the Plummet from Paint Rock. However, 
on Friday, the 28th day of June, 1799, they reached the Painted 
Rock at last and measured its height, finding it to be "107 
feet three inches high from the top to the base," that "it 
rather projects out," and that "the face of the rock bears but 
few traces of its having formerly been painted, owing to its 
being smoked by pine knots and other wood from a place at 
its base where travellers have frequently camped. In the 
year 1790 it was not much smoked, the pictures of some 



BOUNDARIES 47 



humans, wild beasts, fish and fowls were to be seen plainly- 
made with red paint, some of them 20 and 30 feet from its 
base. " 

Animal Pictures Have Disappeared. How much more 
satisfactory this last sentence would have been if he had only 
added: "I saw them." For, as the rock appears today, 
the red paint seems to be nothing more or less than the oxida- 
tion of the iron in the exposed surfaces, while all trace of 
"some humans, wild beasts," etc., mentioned by him have 
entirely disappeared. 

The Real "Painted Rock." However, he leaves us in 
no doubt that they had reached the real Painted Rock called 
for by the Act of Cession, ceding "certain lands therein de- 
scribed"; for he goes on to say that, while "some gentlemen 
of Tennessee wish to construe as the painted rock referred to" 
another rock in the French Broad river "about seven miles 
higher up on the opposite or S. W. side in a very obscure 
place," that "it is to be observed that there is no rock on 
French Broad river that ever was known as the painted rock 
but the one first described, which has, ever since the River 
F. Broad was explored by white men, been a place of Pub- 
lick Notoriety." 

Surpasses a "Best Seller" of To-day. This is the next 
to the concluding sentence in this quaint and charming nar- 
rative — a narrative that one hundred and fifteen years 
after it was penned can still be read with more interest than 
many of the so-called "best sellers" of the present day. 

"We then went up to the Warm Springs where we spent 
the evening in conviviality and friendship." 

The Loneliness of Bachelorhood. But it is in the very 
last sentence that one begins to suspect that John Strother 
was at that time a bachelor, for we read : 

"Saturday, 29th. The Company set out for home to which place I 
wish them a safe arrival and happy reception, as for myself I stay at the 
Springs to get clear of the fatigue of the Tour." 

One wonders whose bright eyes made his "fatigue" so 
much greater than that of the others and kept him so long 
at the springs. 

To the "Big Pigeon." The line from the Painted Rock 
to the Big Pigeon was run a few weeks later on by the same 



48 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

commissioners and surveyors; but we have no narrative of 
the trip, which, doubtless, was without incident, though the 
way, probably, was rough and rugged. 

Second Tennessee Boundary Survey. North Carolina 
having acquired by the treaty of February 27, 1819, all lands 
from the mouth of the Hiwassee "to the first hill which 
closes in on said river, about two miles above Hiwassee Old 
Town; thence along the ridge which divides the waters of the 
Hiwassee and Little Tellico to the Tennessee river at Talas- 
see; thence along the main channel to the junction of the 
Cowee and Nanteyalee; thence along the ridge in the fork of 
said river to the top of the Blue Ridge; thence along the Blue 
Ridge to the Unicoy Turnpike road; thence by straight line to 
the nearest main source of the Chastatee; thence along its main 
channel to the Chattahoochee, etc.," 47 it became necessary 
to complete its boundary line from the Big Pigeon at the 
Cataloochee turnpike southwest to the Georgia line. To 
that end it passed, in 1819 (2 R. S. N. C, 1832), an act under 
which James Mebane, Montford Stokes and Robert Love 
were appointed commissioners for North Carolina for the pur- 
pose of running and marking said line. These commissioners 
met Alexander Smith, Isaac Allen and Simeon Perry, com- 
missioners representing Tennessee, at Newport, Tenn., at the 
mouth of the Big Pidgeon, July 16, 1821; and, starting from the 
stone in the Cataloochee turnpike road which had been set 
up by the commissioners of 1799, they ran in a southwest- 
wardly course to the Bald Rock on the summit of the Great 
Iron or Smoky mountain, and continued along the main top 
thereof to the Little Tennessee river. The notes of W. Dav- 
enport's field book give as detailed an account of the progress 
of these commissioners and surveyors as did John Strother's 
in 1799; but as they met no one between these two points 
there was little to relate. The same or another party might 
follow the same route to-day and they would meet no one. 
But Mr. Davenport does not call the starting point a "turn- 
pike." He calls it a "track," which was quite as much as it 
could lay claim to, the present turnpike having been built 
from Jonathan's creek up Cove creek, across the Hannah gap, 
passing the Carr place and up the Little Cataloochee, through 
Mount Sterling gap, as late as the fifties. 4 8 At twenty miles 
from the starting point they were on "the top of an extreme 



BOUNDARIES 49 



high pinnacle in view of Sevierville. " At 22 miles they were at 
the Porter gap, from which, in 1853, Eli Arrington of Waynes- 
ville carried on his shoulders W. W. Rhinehart, dying of 
milk-sick, three miles down the Bradley fork of Ocona Luftee 
to a big poplar, where Rhinehart died. Near here, although 
they did not know it then, an alum cave was one day to be 
discovered, out of which, in the lean years of the Southern 
Confederacy, Col. William H. Thomas and his Indians were 
to dig for alum, copperas, saltpeter and a little magnesia to 
be used in the hospitals of this beleaguered land, in default of 
standard medicines which had been made contraband of war. 

Arnold Guyot and S. B. Buckley. Here, too, Arnold 
Guyot, the distinguished professor of geology and physical 
geography of Princeton college, came in 1859, following Prof. 
S. B. Buckley, and made a series of barometric measurements, 
not alone of the Great Smoky mountain chain, but also of that 
little known and rugged group of peaks wholly in Tennessee, 
known as the Bull Head mountains. 

Doubtful of a Road Ever Crossing the Smokies. 
Surveyor Davenport noted a low gap through which "if there 
ever is a wagon road through the Big Smoky mountain, it 
must go through this gap." Well, during the Civil War, 
Col. Thomas, with his "sappers and miners," composed of 
Cherokee Indians and Union men of East Tennessee, did make 
a so-called wagon road through this gap, now called Collins 
gap; and through it, in January, 1864, General Robert B. 
Vance carried a section of artillery, dragging the dismounted 
cannon, not on skids, but over the bare stones, only to be 
captured himself with a large part of his command at Causbey 
creek two days later. But no other vehicle has ever passed 
that frightful road, save only the front wheels of a wagon, 
as it is dangerous even to walk over its precipitous and rock- 
ribbed course. No other road has ever been attempted, and 
this one has been abandoned, except by horsemen and foot- 
men, for years. Not even a wagon track is visible. On the 
7th of August they came at the 31st mile to Meigs' Post. 
At the 34th mile they came in view of Brasstown; and next 
day, at the 45th mile, they reached the head of Little river, and 
must have been in plain view of Tuckaleechee Cove and near 
Thunderhead mountain, both immortalized by Miss Mary 
N. Murfree (Charles Egbert Craddock) in her stories of the 

W. N. C. 4 



50 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Tennessee mountains. On the 11th they were at the head 
of Abram's creek, which flows through Cade's Cove into the 
Little Tennessee at that gem of all mountain coves, the Har- 
den farm at Talassee ford. On the 13th they came to a "red 
oak ... at Equeneetly path to Cade's cove." This is only 
a trail, and is at the head of one of the prongs of Eagle creek 
and not far from where Jake and Quil Rose, two famous 
mountaineers, lived in the days of blockade stills. Of course 
they did not still any! On this same unlucky 13th, they 
came to the top of a bald spot in sight of Talassee Old Town, 
at the 57th mile. This is the Harden farm spoken of above, 
and is a tract of about 500 acres of level and fertile land. On 
the 16th they passed over Parsons and Gregory Balds. On 
this day also they crossed the Little Tennessee river "to a 
large white pine on the south side of the river at the mouth 
of a large creek, 65th mile." From there on to the Hiwassee 
turnpike the boundary line is in dispute, the case being now 
before the Supreme Court of the United States. One of the 
marks still visible is that made on the 19th, at the 86th mile, 
"a holly tree . . . near the head of middle fork of Tellico 
river." They were then close to what has since been known 
as State Ridge, on which in July, 1892, William Hall, stand- 
ing on the North Carolina side of the line, was to shoot and 
kill Andrew Bryson; and if these surveyors had not done their 
work well, Hall might have suffered severely; for, all uncon- 
sciously, this man was to invoke the same law Carson and 
Vance and other noted duellists had relied on, when they 
"fought across the State line." 49 Zim. Roberts, who lives 
under the Devil's Looking Glass, says that a healthy white 
oak tree, under which Hall was standing when he fired at 
Bryson, began to die immediately and is now quite dead. 
On the 20th of August they were at "the 89th mile, at the 
head of Beaver Dam" creek of Cherokee county, N. C, and 
not far from the Devil's Looking Glass, " an ugly cliff of rock, 
where the ridge comes to an abrupt and almost perpendicular 
end. On that day, at the 93d mile, they came to "the trad- 
ing path leading from the Valley Towns to the Overhill set- 
tlements," reaching the 95th mile on that path before they 
paused. 

That Sahara-Like Thirst. On the 24th, at the 96th 
mile, they were on the top of the Unicoy mountain, and on 



BOUNDARIES 51 



the same day they reached "the hickory and rock at the 
wagon road, the 101st mile, at the end of the Unicoy moun- 
tain." It was here that tradition says that the Sahara-like 
thirst overtook the party; as from the 101st mile post their 
course was "due south 15 miles and 220 poles to a post oak 
post on the Georgia line, at 23 poles west of the 72d mile 
from the Nick-a-jack Old Town on the Tennessee river." 

Tryon's Boundary Line. "In the spring and early sum- 
mer of 1767 there were fresh outbreaks on the part of the 
Indians. Governor Tryon had run a boundary-line between 
the back settlements of the Carolinas and the Cherokee hunt- 
ting-grounds. But hunters and traders would persist in wan- 
dering to the west of this line and sometimes they were 
killed." 50 

Indian Boundary Lines. Almost as important as the 
State lines were the Indian boundary lines; but most of them 
were natural boundaries and have given but little trouble. 
There was one notable exception, however, and that is the 

Meigs and Freeman Line. According to the map of the 
"Former Territorial Limits of the Cherokee Indians," ac- 
companying the Fifth Annual Report of the Bureau of Eth- 
nology, 1883-84, there were three lines run to establish the 
boundary between the Cherokees and the ceded territory 
under the treaty of October 2, 1798; the first of which was 
run by Captain Butler in 1798, and extending from "Meigs' 
post on the Great Stone mountain to a fork of the Keowee 
river in South Carolina known as Little river. But, accord- 
ing to the text 51 the line was not run till the summer of 
1799, and is described as "extending from Great Iron moun- 
tain in a southeasterly direction to the point where the most 
southerly branch of Little river crossed the divisional line to 
Tugaloo river." However, "owing to the unfortunate de- 
struction of official records by fire, in the year 1800, it is im- 
possible to ascertain all the details concerning this survey, 
but it was executed on the theory that the "Little River" 
named in the treaty was one of the northermost branches of 
Keowee river." 52 

Return J. Meigs and Thomas Freeman. But, "this sur- 
vey seems not to have been accepted by the War Depart- 
ment, for on the 3d of June, 1802, instructions were issued 
by the Secretary of War to Return J. Meigs, as commissioner, 



52 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 



to superintend the execution of the survey of this same por- 
tion of the boundary. Mr. Thomas Freeman was appointed 
surveyor." 53 "There were three streams of that name in 
that vicinity. Two of these were branches of the French 
Broad and the other of the Keowee.' ' 

Expediency Governed. "If the line should be run to the 
lower of these two branches of the French Broad, it would 
leave more than one hundred white families of white settlers 
within the Indian territory. If it were run to the branch of 
the Keowee river, it would leave ten or twelve Indian vil- 
lages within the State of North Carolina." It was, therefore, 
determined by Commissioner Meigs to accept the upper 
branch of the French Broad as the true intent and meaning 
of the treaty, and the line was run accordingly; whereby 
"not a single white settlement was cut off or intersected, and 
but five Indian families were left on the Carolina side of the 

line." 

Location of the "Meigs Post." In a footnote (p. 181-2) 
Commissioner Meigs refers to the plat and field-notes of Sur- 
veyor Freeman, but the author declares that they cannot be 
found among the Indian office records. 5 4 Also that there is 
"much difficulty in ascertaining the exact point of departure 
of the 'Meigs Line' from the great Iron Mountains. In the 
report of the Tennessee and North Carolina boundary com- 
missioners in 1821 it is stated to be "313^ miles by the cource 
of the mountain ridge in a general southwesterly course from 
the crossing of Cataloochee turnpike; 9}4 miles in a similar 
direction from Porter's gap; 21^ miles in a northeasterly 
direction from the crossing of Equovetley Path, and 333/2 
miles in a like course from the crossing of Tennessee river." 

... It was stated to the author by Gen. R. N. Hood, of 
Knoxville, Tenn., that there is a tradition that "Meigs Post" 
was found some years since about V/i miles southwest of 
Indian gap. A map of the survey of Qualla Boundary, by 
M. S. Temple, in 1876, shows a portion of the continuation 
of "Meigs Line as passing about V/i miles east of Qualla- 
town." Surveyor Temple mentions it as running "south 50° 
east (formerly south 52^° east)." Meigs' Post should have 
stood at the eastern end of the Hawkins Line which had been 
run by Col. Benj. Hawkins and Gen. Andrew Pickens in 
August, 1797, pursuant to the treaty of July 2, 1791, com- 



BOUNDARIES 53 



mencing 1000 yards above South West Point (now Kingston) 
and running south 76° east to the Great Iron Mountain. 5 5 
"From this point the line continued in the same course until 
it reached the Hopewell treaty line of 1785, and was called 
the " Pickens line." 56 The Hopewell treaty line ran from a 
point west of the Blue Ridge and about 12 miles east of Hen- 
dersonville, crossed the Swannanoa river just east of Asheville, 
and went on to McNamee's camp on the Nollechucky river, 
three miles southeast of Greenville, Tenn. "The supposition 
is that as the commissioners were provided with two survey- 
ors, they separated, Col. Hawkins, with Mr. Whitner as sur- 
veyor, running the line from Clinch river to the Great Iron 
Mountains, and Gen. Pickens, with Col. Kilpatrick as sur- 
veyor, locating the remainder of it. This statement is veri- 
fied so far as Gen. Pickens is concerned by his own written 
statement." 67 

Col. Stringfield Follows the Line. George H. Smathers, 
Esq., an attorney of Waynes ville, says there is a tradition 
that the Meigs and Freeman posts were really posts set up 
along this line, and not marks made on living trees; but Col. 
W. W. Stringfield of the same place writes that he measured 
nine and one-half miles southwestwardly of Porter's gap 
"and found Meigs' post, a torn-down stone pile on the top 
of a smooth mountain. . . . Meigs' and Freeman's line was 
as well marked as any line I ever saw; I traced this line 
south 523^ ° east, from Scott's creek to the top of Tennessee 
mountain, between Haywood and Transylvania counties, a 
few miles south of and in full view of the Blue Ridge or South 
Carolina line ... I found a great many old marks, evidently 
made when the line was first run in 1802. I became quite 
familiar with this line in later years, and ran numerous lines 
in and around the same in the sale of the Love "Speculation" 
lands. . . . Many of these old marked trees can still be found 
all through Jackson county, on the waters of Scott's creek, 
Cane or Wurry-hut, Caney Fork, Cold or Tennessee creek, 
and others." 5 8 When he was running the line he was told by 
Chief Smith of the Cherokees, Wesley Enloe, then over 80 
years old, Dr. Mingus, then 92 years old, Eph. Connor and 
others, that he was on the Meigs line. 

Return Jonathan Meigs. "He was the firstborn son 
of his parents, who gave him the somewhat peculiar name 



54 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Return Jonathan to commemorate a romantic incident in 
their own courtship, when his mother, a young Quakeress 
called back her lover as he was mounting his horse to leave 
the house forever after what he had supposed was a final 
refusal. The name has been handed down through five gen- 
erations." 59 . . . 

Treaty of 1761. 60 The French having secured the active 
sympathy of the Cherokees in their war with Great Britain, 
Governor Littleton of South Carolina, marched against the 
Indians and defeated them, and in 1760, concluded a treaty 
with them, under which the Cherokees agreed to kill or im- 
prison every Frenchman who should come into their country 
during the war. But as the Cherokees still continued hos- 
tile South Carolina sent Col. Grant, who conquered them in 
1761, and concluded a treaty by which "the boundaries be- 
tween the Indians and the settlements were declared to be the 
sources of the great rivers flowing into the Atlantic ocean." 
As the Blue Ridge is an unbroken watershed south of the 
Potomac river, this made that mountain range the true east- 
ern boundary of the Indians. This treaty remained in force 
till the treaty of 1772 and the purchase of 1775 to the north- 
ern part of that boundary, or the land lying west of the Blue 
Ridge and north of the Nollechucky river. It remained in 
force as to all land west and south of that territory till 1785 
(November 28), called the treaty of Hopewell. 

Treaty of 1772 and Purchase of 1775. The Virginia 
authorities in the early part of 1772 concluded a treaty with 
the Cherokees whereby a boundary line was fixed between 
them, which was to run west from White Top mountain, which 
left those settlers on the Watauga river within the Indian 
limits, whereupon, as a measure of temporary relief, they 
leased for a period of eight years all the country on the waters 
of the Watauga river. "Subsequently in 1775 (March 19) 
they secured a deed in fee simple therefor, "... and it em- 
braced all the land on "the waters of the Watauga, Holston, 
and Great Canaway [sic] or New river." This tract began 
"on the south or southwest of the Holston river six miles 
above Long Island in that river; thence a direct line in nearly 
a south course to the ridge dividing the waters of Watauga 
from the waters of Nonachuckeh (Ncllechucky or Toe) and 
along the ridge in a southeasterly direction to the Blue Ridge 



BOUNDARIES 55 



or line dividing North Carolina from the Cherokee lands; 
thence along the Blue Ridge to the Virginia line and west along 
such line to the Holston river; thence down the Holston to the 
beginning, including all waters of the Watauga, part of the 
waters of Holston, and the head branches of the New river 
or Great Canaway, agreeable to the aforesaid boundaries." 6 1 

Treaty of Hopewell, 1785. Hopewell is on the Keowee 
river, fifteen miles above its junction with the Tugaloo. It was 
here that the treaty that was to move the boundary line west 
of the Blue Riclge was made. This line began six miles southeast 
of Greenville, Tenn., where Camp or McNamee's creek empties 
into the Nollechucky river; and ran thence a southeast course 
"to Rutherford's War Trace," ten or twelve miles west of 
the Swannanoa settlement. This "War Trace" was the route 
followed by Gen. Griffith Rutherford, when, in the summer 
of 1776, he marched 2,400 men through the Swannanoa gap, 
passed over the French Broad at a place still known as the 
"War Ford "; continued up the valley of Hominy creek, 
leaving Pisgah mountain to the left, and crossing Pigeon river 
a little below the mouth of East Fork; thence through the 
mountains to Richland creek, above the present town of 
Waynes ville, etc. From the point where the line struck the 
War Trace it was to go "to the South Carolina Indian bound- 
ary." Thus, the line probably ran just east of Marshall, 
Asheville and Hendersonville to the South Carolina line, 
though its exact location was rendered "unnecessary by rea- 
son of the ratification in February, 1792, of the Cherokee 
treaty concluded July 2, 1791, wherein the Indian boundary 
line was withdrawn a considerable distance to the west." 62 

North Carolina's Indian Reservation. Meantime, how- 
ever, North Carolina being a sovereign State, bound to the 
Confederation of the Union only by the loose articles of 
confederation, in 1883, set apart an Indian reservation of its 
own; which ran from the mouth of the Big Pigeon to its source 
and thence along the ridge between it and the waters of the 
Tuckaseigee (Code N. C, Vol. ii, sec. 2346) to the South 
Carolina line. This, however, does not seem to have been 
supported by any treaty. The State had simply moved the 
Indian boundary line twenty miles westward to the Pigeon 
river at Canton. 



56 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Treaties of 1791 and 1792. The treaty of 1791 was not 
satisfactory to the Indians and another treaty supplemental 
thereto was made February 17, 1792, which in its turn was 
followed by one of January 21, 1795, and another of October 
2, 1798. They all call for what was afterwards run and called 
the Meigs and Freeman line, treated fully under that head. 6 3 

Treaty of February 27, 1819. This treaty cedes all 
land from the point where the Hiwassee river empties into 
the Tennessee, thence along the first ridge which closes in on 
said river, two miles above Hiwassee Old Town; thence along 
the ridge which divides the waters of Hiwassee and Little 
Tellico to the Tennessee river at Talassee; thence along the 
main channel to the junction of the Nanteyalee; thence along 
the ridge in the fork of said river to the top of the Blue Ridge; 
thence along the Blue Ridge to the Unicoy Turnpike, etc. 
This moved the line twenty miles west of what is now Frank- 
lin. 6 4 

Treaty of New Echota, December 29, 1835. By this 
treaty the Cherokees gave up all their lands east of the Mis- 
sissippi river, and all claims for spoliation for $5,000,000, and 
the 7,000,000 acres of land west of the Mississippi river, guar- 
anteed them by the treaties of 1828 and 1833. This was the 
treaty for their removal, treated in the chapter on the East- 
ern Band. 6 5 

The Rainbow Country. During the year 1898 while 
Judge H. G. Ewart was acting as District Judge of the U. S. 
Court at Asheville, some citizens of New Jersey obtained a 
judgment against the heirs of the late Messer Fain of Chero- 
kee county for certain land in the disputed territory, known as 
the Rainbow Country because of its shape. The sheriff of 
Monroe county, Tennessee, armed with a writ of possession 
from the Tennessee court, entered the house occupied by one 
of Fain's sons and took possession. Fain had him arrested 
for assault and trespass, and he sued out a writ of habeas 
corpus before Judge Ewart, who decided the case in favor of 
Fain; but the sheriff appealed to the Circuit Court of Appeals 
for the 4th circuit, and Judge Ewart was reversed. There- 
upon Fain sued out a writ of certiorari before the Supreme 
Court of the United States; but after the writ had been 
granted Fain decided not to pay for the printing of the 



BOUNDARIES 57 



large record, and the case was dismissed for want of prose- 
cution. This was one of the forerunners to litigation with 
Tennessee. 

Recent Boundary Disputes. There is now pending be- 
fore the Supreme Court of the United States a controversy 
between the State of Tennessee and the State of North Caro- 
lina over what is known as the " Rainbow" country at the 
head of Tellico creek, Cherokee county. Tennessee claims 
that the line should have followed the main top of the Unaka 
mountains instead of leaving the main ridge and crossing one 
prong of Tellico creek which rises west of the range. This is 
probably what should have been done if the commissioners 
who ran the line in 1821 had followed the text of the statute 
literally; but they left the main top and crossed this prong of 
Tellico creek, and their report and field-notes, showing that 
this had been done were returned to their respective States 
and the line as run and marked was adopted by Tennessee as 
well as by North Carolina. 6 6 

Lost Cove Boundary Line. In 1887, Gov. Scales, under 
the law providing for the appointment of a commission to 
meet another from Tennessee to determine at what point on 
the Nollechucky river the State line crosses, appointed Cap- 
tain James M. Gudger for North Carolina, J. R. Neal be- 
ing his surveyor; but there was a disagreement from the 
outset between the North Carolina and the Tennessee com- 
missioners. The latter insisted on going south from the high 
peak north of the Nollechucky river, which brought them to 
the deep hole at the mouth of lost Cove creek, at least three 
quarters of a mile east of the point at which the line run for 
the North Carolina commissioner reached the same stream, 
which was a few hundred yards below the mouth of Devil's 
creek. The North Carolina commissioner claimed to have 
the original field-notes of the surveyors, and followed them 
strictly. Neither side would yield to the other, and the line 
remains as it was originally run in 1799. The notes followed 
by Captain Gudger were deposited by him with his report 
with the Secretary of State at Raleigh. See Pub. Doc. 1887, 
and Dugger v. McKesson, 100 N. C, p. 1. 

Macon County Line. The legislature of North Carolina 
provided for a survey between Macon County, N. C, and 
Rabun county, Ga., in 1879, from Elliquet's Rock, the cor- 



58 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

ner of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to the 
"Locust Stake", and as much further as the line was in dis- 
pute. L. Howard of Macon county was the commissioner for 
North Carolina. (Ch. 387, Laws 1883.) 

Tennessee Line Between Cherokee and Graham. The 
line between these two counties and Tennessee was ordered 
located by the county surveyors of the counties named ac- 
cording to the calls of the act of 1821. See Ch. 202, Pub. 
L. 1897, p. 343. 

NOTES. 

'Asheville's Centenary. 
2 Col. Rec, Vol. V, p. xxxix. 
3 Ibid. 
<Ibid. 

sHill, p. 31-32. 
"Ibid., p. 33. 
'Ibid., p. 89. 
sibid., p. 88. 
'Ibid., 89. 

"Col. Rec, Vol. Ill, p. 23 et seq. 
"Ibid., Vol. II, p. 790. 
i2lbid., p. 794. 

13 "The line thus run was accepted by both Colonies and remains still the boundary 
between the two states." Hill, 89. 
"Byrd, 190. 

"Col. Rec, Vol. II, p. 223. 
"Ibid., Vol. I, p. xxiv. 
"Col. Rec, Vol. IV, p. xiii. 

18 The large green, treeless spot on the top of this mountain, covered with grass, is sur- 
rounded by a forest of singular trees, locally known as "Lashorns. " From a sketch of 
Wilborn Waters, "The Hermit Hunter of White Top," by J. A. Testerman, of Jefferson, 
Ashe Co., N. C, the following description of these trees is taken: "They have a diameter 
of from 15 to 30 feet, and their branches will hold the weight of several persons at one time 
on their level tops. They resemble the Norway Spruce, but do not thrive when trans- 
planted." The diameter given above refers to that of the branches, not of the trunks. 

I9 Ch. 144, Laws 1779, 377, Potter's Revisal; W. C. Kerr in Report of Geological Survey 
of N. C, Vol. I, (1875), p. 2, states that this survey carried the line beyond Bristol, Tenn.- 
Va. 

20 A glance at any map of Tennessee reveals the fact that the line does not run "due 
west" all the way; but that does not concern North Carolina now. 
21 Roosevelt, Vol. I, 217. 

22 Oglethorpe did not sail for Savannah till November 17, 1732. 
2 'Its head waters are in Rockingham and Guilford counties. 

2 4 The mouth of the Waccamaw river must be 90 miles southwest from that of the Cape 
Fear. 

"Col. Rec, Vol. IV, 8. 
26 Mear means a boundary, a limit. 

"Col. Bee, Vol. IV, p. vii, and W. C. Kerr's Report of the Geological Survey of N. C, 
(1875). 

28 It was in the Waxhaw settlement that Andrew Jackson was born, March 15, 1767. 
2 9 Potter's Revisal, p. 1280. 

3 "Potter's Revisal, 1131. 
31 Ibid., 1280. 

32 Ibid., 1318. 

33 EUicott's Bock is on the west bank of Chatooga river. Rev. St. N. C, Vol. II, 145. 
Andrew Ellicott had been previously appointed to survey the line under the Creek treaty 
of 1790, according to Fifth Eth. Rep., p. 163. 

"Fifth Eth. Rep., p. 182. 

3 &N. C. Booklet, Vol. Ill, No. 12. 

3 "Ibid. 

"Ibid. 

38 By the late C. D. Smith, 1905. 

3 'Draper, 259. 

40 In the Narrative of Vance and Henry of the Battle of Kings Mountain, published in 
1892 by T. F. Davidson. 

4 Ambrose gap is a few miles southwest, and is so called because a free negro of that 
name built a house across the State line in this gap, and when he died his grave was dug 
halt in Tennessee and half in North Carolina, according to local tradition. 

"Draper, 176. 

43 Allison, p. 4. 



BOUNDARIES 59 



44 Robert Henry had gone to get Robert Love as a pilot; and a few years later he mar- 
ried Love's daughter Dorcas. 

4S Zeigler & Grosscup, pp. 271-2-3. 

"Bishop Asbury's diary shows that he was at Barnett's Station, November 4, 1802. 

"Fifth Eth., 219, 220. 

"Laws 1850-51, ch. 157. But there was a road of some kind, for Bishop Asbury 
mentions crossing Cataloochee on a log in December, 1810. "But O the mountain — 
height after height, and five miles over!" 

"114 N. C. Rep., 909, and 115 N. C, 811. Also Laws 1895, ch. 169. 

"Thwaite, 69. 

"Fifth Eth., 181. 

6 2Ibid. 

"Ibid. 

"Ibid., 181. 

"Ibid., 168. 

"Ibid. 

"Ibid., 168. 

"154 N. C. Rep., 79. 

"Nineteenth Eth., 214. 

"Fifth Eth., 146. 

"Ibid. 

62lbid., 156-157. 

"Ibid., 158-159, 169. 

"Ibid., 219. 

"Ibid., 253. 

"Rev. St. N. C, Vol. Ill, 96-97. 



CHAPTER III 
COLONIAL DAYS 

Though the mountains were not settled during colonial 
days except north of the ridge between the Toe and Watauga 
rivers, the people who ultimately crossed the Blue Ridge 
lived under colonial laws and customs, or descended from 
those pioneers who did. Therefore, colonial times in North 
Carolina, especially in the Piedmont country, should be of 
interest to those who would know how our more remote ances- 
tors lived under English rule. This should be especially 
true of those venturesome spirits who first crossed the Blue 
Ridge and explored the mountain regions of our State, what- 
ever may have been the object of their quest. For "when 
the first Continental Congress began its sittings the only 
frontiersmen west of the mountains and beyond the limits 
of continuous settlement within the old thirteen colonies were 
the two or three hundred citizens of the Little Watauga com- 
monwealth. l For they were a commonwealth in the truest 
sense of the word, being beyond the jurisdiction of any gov- 
ernment except that of their own consciences. In these 
circumstances they voluntarily formed the first republican 
government in America. "The building of the Watauga 
commonwealth by Robertson and Sevier gave a base of oper- 
ations and furnished a model for similar commonwealths to 
follow." 2 

For the first written compact that, west of the mountains, 
Was framed for the guidance of liberty's feet, 

Was writ here by letterless men in whose bosoms, 
Undaunted, the heart of a paladin beat. 

Earl of Granville. There were eight Lords Proprietors 
to whom Carolina was originally granted in 1663. Among 
them was Sir George Carteret, afterwards Earl of Granville. 3 
On the 3d of May, 1728, the king of England bought North 
Carolina and thus ended the government of the Lords Pro- 
prietors. But he did not buy the interest of the Earl of Gran- 
ville, who refused to sell; though he had to give up his share 

(CO) 



COLONIAL DAYS 61 



in the government of the colony. Hence, grants from Earl 
of Granville are as valid as those from the crown; for in 1743 
his share was given him in land. It included about one-half 
of the State, and he collected rents from it till 1776, his dis- 
honest agents giving the settlers on it great trouble. 

Moravians. The Moravians were a band of religious 
brethren who came to America to do mission work among 
the Indians and to gain a full measure of religious freedom. 
Their plan was to build a central town on a large estate and 
to sell the land around to the members of the brotherhood. 
The town was to contain shops, mills, stores, factories, churches 
and schools. After selecting several pieces of lowlands, 
Bishop Spangenberg bought from the Earl of Granville a 
large tract in the bounds of the present county of Forsyth, 
and called the tract Wachovia, meaning "meadow stream." 4 
On November 17, 1753, a company of twelve men arrived at 
Wachovia, and started what is now Salem. This Bishop 
Spangenberg is spoken of in Hill's "Young People's History 
of North Carolina" as Bishop Augustus G. Spangenberg; 
while the Spangenberg whose diary is quoted from exten- 
sively in the next few pages signs himself I. Spangenberg. 
He will be called the Bishop, nevertheless, because he "spake 
as one having authority. " 5 

First to Cross the Blue Ridge. Vol. V, Colonial Rec- 
ords (pp. 1 to 14), contains the diary of I. Spangenberg, of the 
Moravian church. He is the first white man who crossed 
the Blue Ridge in North Carolina, so far as the records show, 
except those who had prolonged the Virginia State line in 
1749. He, with his co-religionist, Brother I. H. Antes, left 
Edenton September 13, 1752, for the purpose of inspecting 
and selecting land for settling Moravian immigrants. The 
land was to have been granted by Earl Granville, and the 
surveyor, Mr. Churton, who accompanied the expedition, had 
instructions from that proprietor to survey the lands, and as 
he was to be paid three pounds sterling for each 5,000-acre 
tract, he was averse to surveying tracts of smaller acreage. 
His instructions limited him also to north and south and east 
and west lines, which frequently compelled the good Bishop 
to include mountains in his boundaries that he did not par- 
ticularly desire. Having run three lines this surveyor declined 
to run the fourth, and the Bishop notes that fact in order 



62 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

to save his brethern the trouble of searching for lines that 
were never run or marked. The surveyor, however, did sur- 
vey for the Bishop smaller tracts than those containing 5,000 
acres, though reluctantly. 

Quaker Meadows. In Judge Avery's "Historic Homes" 
(N. C. Booklet, Vol. IV, No. 3) he refers to the fact that these 
meadows were so called from the fact that a Quaker (Mora- 
vian) once camped there and traded for furs. This Quaker 
was Bishop Spangenberg. He reached on November 12, 
1752, the "neighborhood of what may be called Indian Pass. 
The next settlement from here is that of Jonathan Weiss, 
more familiarly known as Jonathan Perrot. This man is a 
hunter and lives 20 miles from here. There are many hunters 
about here, who live like Indians: they kill many deer, sell- 
ing their hides, and thus live without much work." On the 
19th of November he reached Quaker Meadows, "fifty miles 
from all settlements and found all we thought was required 
for a settlement, very rich and fertile bottoms. . . . Our 
survey begins seven or eight miles from the mouth of the 3d 
river where it flows into the Catawba. What lies further 
down the river has already been taken up. The other [west- 
ern] line of the survey runs close to the Blue Ridge. . . . This 
piece consists of 6,000 acres. We can have at least eight set- 
tlements in this tract, and each will have water, range, etc. 
... I calculate to every settlement eight couples of brethren 
and sisters." 

Buffalo Trails. There were no roads save those made 
by buffaloes. The surveyor was stopped by six Cherokees on 
a hunt, but they soon became friendly. November 24th they 
were five miles from Table Rock, which with the Hawk's Bill 
is so conspicuous from Morganton, where they surveyed the 
fifth tract of land, of 700 or 800 acres. 

Musical Wolves. "The wolves, which are not like those 
in Germany, Poland and Lapland (because they fear men 
and do not easily come near) give us such music of six differ- 
ent cornets, the like of which I have never heard in my life. 
Several brethren, skilled in hunting, will be required to exter- 
minate panthers, wolves, etc." 

Old Indian Fields. 6 On November 28th they were 
camped in an old Indian field on the northeast branch of 
Middle Little river of the Catawba, where they arrived on 



COLONIAL DAYS 63 



the 25th, and resolved to take up 2,000 acres of land lying 
on two streams, both well adapted to mill purposes. That 
the Indians once lived there was very evident— possibly be- 
fore the war which they waged with North Carolina — "from 
the remains of an Indian fort: as also the tame grass which 
was still growing about the old residences, and from the trees. " 
On December 3d they camped on a river in another old Indian 
field at the head of a branch of New river, "after passing 
over frightful mountains and dangerous cliffs." 

Where Men Had Seldom Trod. On the 29th they were 
in camp on the second or middle fork of Little river, not far 
from Quaker Meadows "in a locality that has probably been 
but seldom trodden by the foot of man since the creation of 
the world. For 70 or 80 miles we have been traveling over 
terrible mountains and along very dangerous places where 
there was no way at all." One might call the place in which 
they were camped a basin or kettle, it being a cove in the 
mountains, rich of soil, and where their horses found abun- 
dant pasture among the buffalo haunts and tame grass among 
the springs. The wild pea- vines which formerly covered these 
mountains, growing even under the forest trees most luxuri- 
antly for years after the whites came in, afforded fine pas- 
turage for their stock. It also formed a tangled mat on the 
surface of the earth through which it was almost impossible 
for men to pass. Hence, the pioneers were confined gener- 
ally to the Indian and buffalo trails already existing. These 
pea-vines return even now whenever a piece of forest land is 
fenced off a year or two. 

On the Grandfather? It would seem that they had been 
misled by a hunter whom they had taken along to show them 
the way to the Yadkin; but had missed the way and on De- 
cember 3d came "into a region from which there was no out- 
let except by climbing up an indescribably steep mountain. 
Part of the way we had to crawl on our hands and feet, and 
sometimes we had to take the baggage and saddles from the 
horses, and drag them up, while they trembled and quivered 
like leaves. The next day we journeyed on: got into laurel 
bushes and beaver dams and had to cut our way through the 
bushes. Arrived at the top at last, we saw hundreds of 
mountain peaks all around us, presenting a spectacle like 
ocean waves in a storm." The descent on the western side 



64 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

was "neither so steep, nor as deep as before, and then we 
came to a stream of water, but no pasture. . . . The next 
day we got into laurel bushes and beaver dams and had to 
cut our way through the bushes. . . . " 

Wandering Bewildered in Unknown Ways. "Then we 
changed our course — left the river and went up the mountain, 
where the Lord brought us to a delicious spring, and good 
pasturage on a chestnut ridge. . . . The next day we came 
to a creek so full of rocks that we could not possible cross it; 
and on both sides were such precipitous banks that scarcely 
a man, certainly no horse could climb them . . . but our 
horses had nothing — absolutely nothing. . . . Directly came 
a hunter who had climbed a mountain and had seen a large 
meadow. Thereupon, we scrambled down . . . and came 
before night into a large plain. . . . 

Caught in a Mountain Snowstorm. "We pitched our 
tent, but scarcely had we finished when such a fierce wind- 
storm burst upon us that we could scarcely protect ourselves 
against it. I camiot remember that I have ever in winter 
anywhere encountered so hard or so cold a wind. The ground 
was soon covered with snow ankle deep, and the water froze 
for us aside the fire. Our people became thoroughly dis- 
heartened. Our horses would certainly perish and we with 
them." 

In Goshen's Land. "The next day we had fine sunshine, 
and then warmer days, though the nights were 'horribly' cold. 
Then we went to examine the land. A large part of it is al- 
ready cleared, and there long grass abounds, and this is all 
bottom. Three creeks flow together here and make a con- 
siderable river, which flows into the Mississippi according to 
the best knowledge of our hunters." There were countless 
springs but no reeds, but "so much grass land that Brother 
Antes thinks a man could make several hundred loads of hay 
of the wild grass. . . . There is land here suitable for wheat, 
corn, oats, barley, hemp, etc. Some of the land will prob- 
ably be flooded when there is high water. There is a mag- 
nificent chestnut and pine forest near here. Whetstones and 
millstones which Brother Antes regards the best he has seen 
in North Carolina are plenty. The soil is here mostly lime- 
stone and of a cold nature. . . . We surveyed this land and 
took up 5,400 acres. . . . We have a good many mountains, 



COLONIAL DAYS 65 



but they are very fertile and admit of cultivation. Some of 
them are already covered with wood, and are easily acces- 
sible. Many hundred — yes, thousand crab-apple trees grow 
here, which may be useful for vinegar. One of the creeks 
presents a number of admirable seats for milling purposes. 
This survey is about 15 miles from the Virginia line, as we 
saw the Meadow mountain, and I judged it to be about 20 
miles distant. This mountain lies five miles from the line 
between Virginia and North Carolina. In all probability this 
tract would make an admirable settlement for Christian In- 
dians, like Grandenhutten in Pennsylvania. There is wood, 
mast, wild game, fish and a free range for hunting, and admir- 
able land for corn, potatoes, etc. For stock raising it is also 
incomparable. Meadow land and pasture in abundance." 
After "a bitter journey among the mountains where we were 
virtually lost and whichever way we turned we were literally 
walled in on all sides," they came on December 14, 1752, 
to the head of Yadkin river, after having abandoned all 
streams and paths, and followed a course east and south, and 
"scrambling across the mountains as well as we could." 
Here a hunter named Owen, "of Welch stock, invited us 
into his house and treated us very kindly." He lived near 
the Mulberry Fields which had been taken up by Morgan 
Bryant, but were uninhabited. The nearest house was 60 
miles distant. 

The First Hunters. The hunters who assisted the Bishop 
in finding the different bodies of suitable land were Henry 
Day, who lived in Granville, John Perkins, who lived on the 
Catawba, "and is known as Andrew Lambert, a well-known 
Scotchman," and Jno. Rhode, who "lives about 20 miles 
from Capt. Sennit on the Yadkin road." John Perkins was 
especially commended to the Brethren as "a diligent and true 
worthy man, and a friend to the Brethren." The late Judge 
A. C. Avery said he was called "Gentleman John," and that 
Johns river in Burke was named for him. 7 

Settlers from Pennsylvania. "Many of the immi- 
grants were sent to Pennsylvania, and they had traveled as 
far west as Pittsburg early in the 18th century. The Indians 
west of the Alleghanies were, however, fiercer than any the 
Quakers had met; but to the southwest for several hundred 
miles the Appalachians "run in parallel ranges . . . through 
w. n. c. — 5 



66 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Virginia, West Virginia, the Carolinas and East Tennessee 
..." and through these "long, deep troughs between these 
ranges . . . Pennsylvanians freely wandered into the South 
and Southwest . . . "and "between the years 1732 and 1750, 
numerous groups of Pennsylvanians — Germans and Irish large- 
ly, with many Quakers among them — had been . . . grad- 
ually pushing forward the line of settlement, until now it had 
reached the upper waters of the Yadkin river, in the north- 
west corner of North Carolina." 8 "Thus was the wilder- 
ness tamed by a steady stream of immigration from the older 
lands of the northern colonies, while not a few penetrated 
to this Arcadia through the passes of the Blue Ridge, from 
eastern Virginia and the Carolinas." 9 

Nick-a-Jack's Cave. Almost the first difficulties those 
who first crossed the mountains encountered was from the 
depredations of renegade Indians and desperate white men 
defiant of law and order. There was at this time (1777-78) 
a body of free-booters, composed of "adventurous and unruly 
members from almost all the western tribes — Cherokees, 
Creeks, Chickasaws, Choctaws, and Indians from the Ohio, 
generally known as Chickamaugas. Many Tories and white 
refugees from border justice joined them and shared in their 
misdeeds. Their shifting villages stretched from Chicka- 
mauga creek to Running Water. Between these places the 
Tennessee twists down through the somber gorges by which 
the chains of the Cumberland range are riven in sunder. 
Some miles below Chickamauga creek, near Chattanooga, 
Lookout mountain towers aloft into the clouds; at its base 
the river bends round Moccasin Point, and then rushes through 
a gap between Walden's Ridge and the Raccoon Hills. Then, 
for several miles, it foams through the winding Narrows 
between jutting cliffs and sheer rock walls, while in its boulder- 
strewn bed the swift torrent is churned into whirlpools, cata- 
racts, and rapids. Near the Great Crossing, where the war 
parties and hunting parties were ferried over the river, lies 
Nick-a-jack's cave, a vast cavern in the mountain-side. Out 
of it flows a stream up which a canoe can paddle two or three 
miles into the heart of the mountain. In these high fastnesses, 
inaccessible ravines, and gloomy caverns the Chickamaugas 
built their towns, and to them they retired with their prisoners 
and booty after every raid on the settlements." 



COLONIAL DAYS 67 



French and Indian War Land Warrants. l ° The Chick- 
amaugas lived on Chickamauga creek and in the moun- 
tains about where Chattanooga now stands; they were kins- 
men of the Cherokees. In 1748 Dr. Thomas Walker and a 
party of hunters , came from Virginia into Powell's Valley, 
crossing the mountains at Cumberland gap, and named it 
and the river in honor of the Duke of Cumberland, Prime 
Minister of England. In 1756-7 the English built Fort Lou- 
don, 30 miles from Knoxville, as the French were trying to 
get the Cherokees to make war on the North Carolina set- 
tlers. After the treaty of peace between France and England 
in 1763 many hunters poured over the mountains into Ten- 
nessee; though George III had ordered his governors not to 
allow whites to trespass on Indian lands west of the moun- 
tains, and if any white man did buy Indian lands and and the 
Indians moved away the land should belong to the king. 
He appointed Indian commissioners; but the whites persisted, 
some remaining a year or more to hunt and were called Long 
Hunters. Land warrants had been issued to officers and 
soldiers who had fought in the French and Indian wars and 
those issued by North Carolina wanted to settle in what is 
now Tennessee. The Iroquois complained that whites were 
killing their stock and taking their lands, and at a great Indian 
council at Fort Stanwix, at Rome, N. Y., the northern tribes 
gave England title to all their lands between the Ohio and 
Tennessee rivers in 1767. But the Indian commissioners for 
the southern tribes called a council at Hard Labor, S. C, and 
bought title to the same land from the Cherokees. These 
treaties were finished in 1768. William Bean in 1769 was 
living in a log cabin where Boone's creek joins the Watauga. 
In 1771 Parker and Carter set up a store at Rogersville, and 
people from Abingdon (called Wolf's Hill) followed, and 
the settlement was called the Carter's Valley settlement. 
In 1772 Jacob Brown opened a store on the Nollechucky river, 
and pioneers settling around, it was called Nollechucky set- 
tlement. Shortly before Bean had settled the Cherokees had 
attacked the Chickasaws and been defeated, and the settlers 
got a ten years' lease from Indians for lands they claimed. 
In May 1771, at Alamance, Tryon had defeated the Regula- 
tors and many of them had moved to Tennessee. Most 
settlers in Tennessee thought they were in Virginia, but either 



68 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Richmond or Raleigh was too far off, so they formed the 
Watauga Association in 1772 and a committee of 13 elected 
five commissioners to settle disputes, etc., with judicial powers 
and some executive duties also. It was a free government 
by the consent of every individual. When the Revolution- 
ary War began Watauga Association named their country 
Washington District and voted themselves indebted to the 
United Colonies for their share of the expenses of the war. 

The Watauga Settlement and Indian Wars. This 
caused the British government to attempt the destruction 
of these settlements by inciting the Cherokees to make war 
upon them. Alexander Cameron was the Indian commis- 
sioner for the British and he furnished the Indians with guns 
and ammunition for that purpose; but in the spring of 1776, 
Nancy Ward, a friendly Indian woman, told the white settlers 
that 700 Cherokee warriors intended to attack the settlers. 
They did so, but were defeated at Heaton's Station and at 
Watauga Fort. In these battles the settlers were aided by 
Virginia. James Robertson and John Sevier were leaders 
in these times. It was after this that Virginia and North 
Carolina and South Carolina sent soldiers into the Cherokee 
country of North Carolina for the extermination of the sav- 
age Cherokees. 1 * In August 1776 the Watauga Settlement 
asked to, be annexed by North Carolina, 113 men signing 
the petition, all of whom signed their names except two, who 
made their marks. There seems to be no record of any formal 
annexation; but in November, 1776, the Provisional Congress 
of North Carolina met at Halifax and among the delegates 
present were John Carter, John Sevier, Charles Robertson 
and John Haile from the Washington District. It is, there- 
fore, safe to conclude that Watauga had been annexed, for 
these men helped to frame the first free constitution of the 
State of North Carolina. But this Watauga Association 
seems to have continued its independent government until 
February, 1778; for in 1777 (November) Washington Dis- 
trict became Washington county with boundaries cotermi- 
nous with those of the present State of Tennessee. Magis- 
trates or justices of the peace took the oath of office in Feb- 
ruary, 1778, when the entire county began to be governed 
under the laws of North Carolina. Thus, the Watauga Asso- 
ciation was the germ of the State of Tennessee, and although 



COLONIAL DAYS 69 



there is on a tree near Boone's creek an inscription indicating 
that Daniel Boone killed a bear there in 1760, William Bean 
appears to have been the first permanent settler of that sec- 
tion. Indeed, this author states that Col. Richard Hender- 
son, of North Carolina, induced Boone to make his first visit 
to Kentucky in the spring of 1769, and that James Robertson, 
afterwards "The Father of Middle Tennessee, " accompanied 
him; but stopped on the Wautaga with William Bean and 
raised a crop, removing his family from Wake county in 1770 
or 1771. 

Forts Loudon and Dobbs. Fort Loudon was on the Little 
Tennessee. It was attacked and besieged by the Indians, 
and surrendered August 9, 1760, after Indian women had 
kept the garrison in food a long time in defiance of their own 
tribesmen. l 2 In 1756 Fort Dobbs was constructed a short 
distance south of the South Fork of the Yadkin. 1 3 For 
the first few years Fort Dobbs was not much used, x 4 the 
Catawbas being friendly; but in 1759 the Yadkin and Ca- 
tawba valleys were raided by the Cherokees, with the usual 
results of ruined crops, burned farm buildings, and murdered 
households. The Catawbas, meanwhile, remained faithful 
to their white friends. Until this outbreak the Carolinas had 
greatly prospered; but after it most of the Yadkin families, 
with the English fur-traders, huddled within the walls of 
Fort Dobbs, but many others fled to settlements nearer the 
Atlantic. x 5 In the early winter of 1760 the governors of 
Virginia and North and South Carolina agreed upon a joint 
campaign against the hostiles, and attacked the Cherokee 
towns on the Little Tennessee in the summer of 1760, com- 
pletely crushing the Indians and sent 5,000 men, women and 
children into the hills to starve. 1 6 With the opening of 1762 
the southwest border began to be reoccupied, and the aban- 
doned log cabins again had fires lighted upon their hearths, 
the deserted clearings were again cultivated, and the pursuits 
of peace renewed. 1 7 

Remains of Fort Loudon. In June, 1913, Col. J. Fain 
Anderson, a noted historian of Washington College, Tenn., 
visited Fort Loudon, and found the outline of the ditches and 
breastworks still visible. The old well was walled up, but 
the wall has fallen in. He says there were twelve small iron 
cannon in this fort in 1756, all of which had been "packed 



70 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

over the mountains on horses," and that a Mr. Steele who 
lives at McGee's Station — the nearest railroad station to 
the old fort— has a piece of one of them which his father 
ploughed up over forty years ago. The land on which the 
fort stood now belongs to James Anderson, a relative of J. F. 
Anderson, near the mouth of Tellico creek. But no tablet 
marks the site of this first outpost of our pioneer ancestors. 

Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way. 
From Judge A. C. Avery's "Historic Homes of North Caro- 
lina" (N. C. Booklet, Vol. iv, No. 3) we get a glimpse of the 
slow approach of the whites of the Blue Ridge : "According 
to tradition the Quaker Meadows farm near Morganton was 
so called long before the McDowells or any other whites 
established homes in Burke county, and derived its name 
from the fact that the Indians, after clearing parts of the 
broad and fertile bottoms, had suffered the wild grass to 
spring up and form a large meadow, near which a Quaker 
had camped before the French and Indian War, and traded 
for furs." This was none other than Bishop I. Spangenberg, 
the Moravian, who, on the 19th of November, 1752, (Vol. v, 
Colonial Records, p. 6) records in his diary that he was en- 
camped near Quaker Meadows "in the forest 50 miles from 
any settlement." 

The McDowell Family. Judge Avery goes on to give 
some account of the McDowells : Ephraim McDowell, the 
first of the name in this country, having emigrated from the 
north of Ireland, when at the age of 62, accompanied by two 
sons, settled at the old McDowell home in Rockbridge coun- 
ty, Virginia. His grandson Joseph and his grandnephew 
"Hunting John" moved South about 1760, but owing to the 
French and Indian War went to the northern border of South 
Carolina, where their sturdy Scotch-Irish friends had already 
named three counties of the State, York, Chester and Lancas- 
ter. One reason for the late settlement of these Piedmont 
regions was because the English land agents dumped the 
Scotch-Irish and German immigrants in Pennsylvania, from 
which State some moved as soon as possible to the unclaimed 
lands of the South. 

"Hunting John" and His Sporting Friends. "But as 
soon as the French and Indian war permitted the McDow- 
ells removed to Burke. 'Hunting John' was so called be- 



COLONIAL DAYS 71 



cause of his venturing into the wilderness in pursuit of 
game, and was probably the first to live at his beautiful home, 
Pleasant Gardens, in the Catawba Valley, in what is now 
McDowell county. About this time also his cousin Joseph set- 
tled at Quaker Meadows; though 'Hunting John' first en- 
tered Swan Ponds, about three miles above Quaker Meadows, 
but afterwards sold it, without having occupied it, to Waight- 
still Avery. . . . The McDowells and Carsons of that day 
and later reared thorough-bred horses, and made race-paths 
in the broad lowlands of every large farm. They were su- 
perb horsemen, crack shots and trained hunters. John 
McDowell of Pleasant Gardens was a Nimrod when he lived in 
Virginia, and we learn from tradition that he acted as guide 
for his cousins over the hunting grounds when, at the risk of 
their lives, they, with their kinsmen, James Greenlee and 
Captain Bowman, [who fell at Ramseur's Mill in the Revo- 
lutionary War] traveled over and inspected the valley of the 
Catawba from Morganton to Old Fort, and selected the large 
domain allotted to each of them." 

Log-Cabin Ladies' Whims. "They built and occupied 
strings of cabins, because the few plank or boards used by 
them were sawed by hand and the nails driven into them 
were shaped in a blacksmith's shop. I have seen many old 
buildings, such as the old houses at Fort Defiance, the Lenoir 
house and Swan Ponds, where every plank was fastened by 
a wrought nail with a large round head — sometimes half an 
inch in diameter. From these houses the lordly old propri- 
etors could in half an hour go to the water or the woods and 
provide fish, deer or turkeys to meet the whim of the lady 
of the house. They combined the pleasure of sport with the 
profit of providing their tables. . . . 'Hunting John' prob- 
ably died in 1775." 

Living Without Law or Gospel? William Byrd, the Vir- 
ginia commissioner who helped to run the boundary between 
North Carolina and Virginia in 1728, wrote to Governor Bar- 
rington, July 20, 1731, x s that it "must be owned that North 
Carolina is a very happy country where people may live with 
the least labor that they can in any part of the world," and 
"are accustomed to live without law or gospel, and will with 
great reluctance submit to either." This is still true of North 
Carolina, except the statement — which was never true — that 



72 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

we were accustomed to live without law or gospel in 1731; for 
when this identical gentleman was seeking to get paid for his 
services as a commissioner to run the boundary line in 1728, 
he wrote the Board of Trade that the Reverend Peter Foun- 
tain, the chaplain of that survey "christened over 100 chil- 
dren among the settlers along the line in North Carolina." 

A "Bird" Who Spelt His Name Improperly. In spite 
of his animadversions upon the pioneer settlers of the eastern 
part of our State, we must always incline to forgive Col. Wil- 
liam Byrd of Westover after reading his piquant and learned 
disquisitions upon many matters in the "Dividing Line." He 
must truly have been what we of more modern times call a 
"Bird," although he spelt his name with a y. 

Where Every Day was Sunday. 1 9 Following are Col. 
Byrd's Pictures of Colonial Days: "Our Chaplain, for his 
Part, did his Office, and rubb'd us up with a Seasonable Ser- 
mon. This was quite a new Thing to our Brethren of North 
Carolina, who live in a climate where no clergyman can Breathe 
any more than Spiders in Ireland. For want of men in Holy Or- 
ders, both the Members of the Council and Justices of the Peace 
are empowered by the Laws of that Country to marry all 
those who will not take One another's Word; but for the 
ceremony of Christening their children, they trust that to 
chance. If a parson come in their way, they will crave a 
Cast of his office, as they call it, else they are content their 
Offspring should remain Arrant Pagans as themselves. They 
account it among their greatest advantages that they are 
not Priest-ridden, not remembering that the Clergy is rarely 
guilty of Bestriding such as have the misfortune to be poor. 
. . . One thing may be said for the Inhabitants of that Pro- 
vince, that they are not troubled with any Religious Fumes, 
and have the least Superstition of any People living. They 
do not know Sunday from any other day, any more than 
Robinson Crusoe did, which would give them a great Advan- 
tage were they given to be industrious. But they keep so 
many Sabbaths every week, that their disregard of the Seventh 
Day has no manner of cruelty in it, either to servants or 
cattle." 

Nymph Echo in the Dismal Swamp.' 20 Once, when sep- 
arated from their companions, Col. Byrd "ordered Guns to 
be fired and a drum to be beaten, but received no Answer, 



COLONIAL DAYS 73 



unless it was from that prating Nymph Echo, who, like a 
loquacious Wife, will always have the last word, and Some- 
times return three for one. " 

They Brought no Capons for the Parson. 2 l Some of 
the people were apprehensive that the survey would throw 
their homes into Virginia. "In that case they must have sub- 
mitted to some Sort of Order and Government; whereas, in 
North Carolina, every One does what seems best in his own 
Eyes. There were some good Women that brought their 
children to be Baptiz'd, but brought no Capons along with 
them to make the solemnity cheerful. In the meantime it 
was Strange that none came to be marry'd in such a Multi- 
tude, if it had only been for the Novelty of having their Hands 
Joyn'd by one in Holy Orders. Yet so it was, that tho' our 
chaplain Christen'd above an Hundred, he did not marry so 
much as one Couple during the whole Expedition. But 
marriage is reckon'd a Lay contract, as I said before, and a 
Country Justice can tie the fatal Knot there, as fast as an Arch- 
bishop." 

Gentlemen Smell Liquor Thirty Miles. 22 "We had 
several Visitors from Edenton [who] . . . having good Noses, 
had smelt out, at 30 Miles Distance, the Precious Liquor, 
with which the Liberality of our good Friend Mr. Mead had 
just before supply 'd us. That generous Person had judg'd 
very right, that we were now got out of the Latitude of Drink 
proper for men in Affliction, and therefore was so good as to 
send his Cart loaden with all sorts of refreshments, for which 
the Commissioners return'd Him their Thanks, and the Chap- 
lain His Blessing." 

Getting up an Appetite for Dog. 23 "The Surveyors 
and their Attendants began now in good earnest to be alarm- 
ed with Apprehensions of Famine, nor could they forbear look- 
ing with Some Sort of Appetite upon a dog that had been the 
faithful Companion of their Travels." 

Poverty with Contentment. 2 4 The following is Col. 
Byrd's idea of some of our people who lived near Edenton in 
1728: 

"Surely there is no place in the world where the Inhabitants live with 
less labor than in North Carolina? It approaches nearer to the descrip- 
tion of Lubberland than any other, by the great felicity of the Climate, 
the easiness of raising provisions, and the Slothfulness of the People. . . . 



74 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

The Men, for their Parts, just like the Indians, impose all the Work upon 
the poor Women. They make their Wives rise out of their Beds early 
in the morning, at the same time that they lye and Snore, till the sun 
has run one third his course, and disperst all the unwholesome damps. 
Then, after Stretching and Yawning for half an Hour, they light their 
Pipes, and, under the Protection of a cloud of Smoak, venture out into 
the open Air; tho', if it happens to be never so little cold they quickly 
return Shivering into the Chimney corner. When the weather is mild, they 
stand leaning with both their arms upon the corn-field fence, and gravely 
consider whether they had best go and take a Small Heat at the Hough; 
but generally find reasons to put it off till another time. Thus they 
loiter away their fives, like Solomon's Sluggard, with their arms across, 
and at the Winding up of the Year Scarcely have Bread to Eat. To 
speak the truth, 'tis aversion to Labor that makes People file off to N. 
Carolina, where Plenty and a warm Sun confirm them in their disposition 
to Laziness for their whole Lives." 

Our Commissioner Treats the Parson to a Fricassee 
of Rum. 2 5 The chaplain went once to Edenton, accompanied 
by Mr. Little, one of the North Carolina commissioners, 
"who to shew his regard for the Church, offer'd to treat Him 
on the Road with a fricassee of Rum. They fry'd half a Doz- 
en Rashers of very fat Bacon in a Pint of Rum, both of which 
being disht up together, served the Company at once for 
meat and Drink." 

The Democracy of the Colonists. 26 "They are rarely 
guilty of Flattering or making any Court to their governors, 
but treat them with all the Excesses of Freedom and Famil- 
iarity. They are of opinion their rulers wou'd be apt to 
grow insolent, if they grew Rich, and for that reason take 
care to keep them poorer, and more dependent, if possible 
than the Saints in New England used to do theit Governors. " 

The Men of Alamance. Meantime the exactions of 
the British tax collectors had brought .on the Regulators 
War, and the battle of Alamance in May, 1771, resulted 
in the departure of a "company of fourteen families" from 
"the present county of Wake to make new homes across the 
mountains. 2 7 The men led the way and often had to clear 
a road with their axes. Behind the axmen went a mixed 
procession of women, children, dogs, cows and pack-horses 
loaded with kettles and beds." These settled in Tennessee 
on the Watauga river. James Robertson, "a cool, brave, 
sweet-natured man was the leader of the company." Then 
came John Sevier and many others. In the language of the 



COLONIAL DAYS 75 



Hon. George Bancroft, historian and at that time minister 
to England, "it is a mistake if anyone have supposed that 
the Regulators were cowed down by their defeat at Alamance. 
Like the mammoth, they took the bolt from their brow and 
crossed the mountains." Of them and those who followed 
them, Hon. John Allison in his "Dropped Stitches of Ten- 
nessee History" (p. 37) says: 

"The people who made it possible for Tennessee to have a centennial 
were a wonderful people. Within a period of about fifteen years they 
were engaged in three revolutions; participated in organizing and lived 
under five different governments; established and administered the first 
free and independent government in America, founded the first church 
and the first college in the Southwest; put in operation the second 
newspaper in the 'New World West of the Alleghanies' ; met and 
fought the British in half a dozen battles, from Kings Mountain to the 
gates of Charleston, gaining a victory in every battle; held in check, 
beat back and finally expelled from the country four of the most power- 
ful tribes of Indian warriors in America; and left Tennesseans their fame 
as a heritage, and a commonwealth of which it is their privilege to be 
proud." 

The Freest of the Free. The historian, George Ban- 
croft, exclaims: "Are there any who doubt man's capacity 
for self-government? Let them study the history of North 
Carolina. Its inhabitants were restless and turbulent in their 
imperfect submission to a government imposed from abroad; 
the administration of the colony was firm, humane and tran- 
quil when they were left to take care of themselves. Any 
government but one of their own institution was oppres- 
sive. North Carolina was settled by the freest of the free. " 2 8 

The First Public Declaration of Independence. This 
was made at Halifax, N. C, by the Provisional Congress, 
April 12, 1776, when its delegates to the Continental Con- 
gress were authorized to concur with other delegates in 
"declaring independence and forming foreign alliances," 
reserving the right of forming a constitution and laws for 
North Carolina. 

The Scotch-Irish; Their Origin and Religion. 29 "Men 
will not be fully able to understand Carolina till they have 
opened the treasures of history and drawn forth some few 
particulars respecting the origin and religious habits of the 
Scotch-Irish and become familiar with their doings previous 
to the Revolution — during that painful struggle — and the 



76 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

succeeding years of prosperity; and Carolina will be respected 
as she is knwon. " 

In Pioneer Days. 3 ° The men and boys wore moccasins, 
short pantaloons and leather leggings, hunting shirts, which 
were usually of dressed deerskin, cut like the modern shirt, open 
the entire length in front and fastened by a belt. In this 
belt were carried a small hatchet and a long, sharp hunting 
knife. They wore caps of mink or coon skin, with the tail 
hanging behind for a tassel. The rifles were long, muzzle- 
loading, flint-locks, and in a pouch hung over one shoulder 
were carried gun-wipers, tow, patching, bullets, and flints, 
while fastened to the strap was a horn for powder. The 
women and girls wore sun bonnets, as a rule, and had little 
time to spend on tucks and ruffles. There was no place at 
which to buy things except the stores of Indian traders, and 
they had very few things white people wanted. . . . The 
pioneer moved into a new country on foot or on horse back 
and brought his household goods on pack horses. They were 
about as follows : The family clothing, some blankets and a 
few other bed clothes, with bed ticks to be filled with grass 
or hair, a large pot, a pair of pothooks, an oven with lid, a 
skillet, and a frying pan, a hand mill to grind grain, a wooden 
trencher in which to make bread, a few pewter plates, spoons, 
and other dishes, some axes and hoes, the iron parts of plows, 
a broadax, a froe, a saw and an auger. Added to these were 
supplies of seed for field and vegetable crops, and a few fruit 
trees. When their destination was reached the men and boys 
cut trees and built a log house, split boards with the froe and 
made a roof which was held on by weight poles, no nails be- 
ing available. Puncheons were made by splitting logs and 
hewing the flat sides smooth for floors and door shutters. 
Some chimneys were made of split sticks covered on the in- 
side with a heavy coating of clay; but usually stones were 
used for this purpose, as they were plentiful. The spaces 
between the log walls were filled in by mortar, called chinks 
and dobbin. Rough bedsteads were fixed in the corners of 
the rooms farthest from the fire place, and rude tables and 
benches were constructed, with three-legged stools as seats. 
Pegs were driven into the walls, and on the horns of bucks 
the rifle was usually suspended above the door. Windows 
were few and unglazed. Then followed the spinning wheel, 



COLONIAL DAYS 77 



the reel, and the hand loom. Cards for wool had to be 
bought. The horses and cattle were turned into the woods 
to eat grass in summer and cane in winter, being enticed 
home at night by a small bait of salt or grain. The small 
trees and bushes were cut and their roots grubbed up, while 
the larger trees were girdled and left to die and become leaf- 
less. Rails were made and the clearing fenced in, the brush 
was piled and burnt, and the land was plowed and planted. 
After the first crop the settler usually had plenty, for his land 
was new and rich. Indeed, the older farmers of this region 
were so accustomed to clearing a "new patch" when the first 
was worn out, instead of restoring the old land by modern 
methods, that even at this time they know little or nothing 
of reclaiming exhausted land. Cooking was done on the open 
hearths by the women who dressed the skins of wild animals 
and brought water from the spring in rude pails, milked the 
cows, cut firewood, spun, wove, knit, washed the clothing, 
and tended the bees, chickens and gardens. When the men 
and boys were not at work in the fields they were hunting 
for game. After the first settlement time was found for cut- 
ting down the larger trees for fields, and the logs were rolled 
together by the help of neighbors and burned. The first rude 
cabin home was turned into a stable or barn and a larger and 
better log house constructed. When the logs had been hewed 
and notched neighbors were invited to help in raising the 
walls. The log-rollings and house-raisings were occasions for 
large dinners, some drinking of brandy and whiskey, games 
and sports of various kinds. There were no schools and no 
churches at first, and no wagon roads; but all these things 
followed slowly. 

Other Early Explorers. In the case of Avery v. Walker, 
(8 N. C, p. 117) it appears that Col. James Hubbard and 
Captain John Hill had "been members of Col. George Do- 
horty's party" and explored "the section of country around 
Bryson City, Swain county, shortly before April 22, 1795"; 
that Col. John Patton, the father of Lorenzo and Montreville 
Patton of Buncombe, and who owned the meadow land on 
the Swannanoa river which was sold to George W. Vander- 
bilt by Preston Patton, and the "haunted house" at the ford 
of that river, when the stage road left South Main street at 
what is now Victoria Road and crossed the Swannanoa, there, 



78 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

instead of at Biltmore, was then county surveyor of Bun- 
combe, and refused to survey land on Ocona Lufty for Waight- 
still Avery because it was "on the frontier and the Indian 
boundary had not then actually been run out, and it might 
be dangerous to survey near the line." Also that Dohorty's 
party had a battle with the Indians at the mouth of Soco 
creek, and that what is now Bryson city was then called Big 
Bear's village. In Eu-Che-Lah v. Welch (10 N. C, p. 158) 
will be found an exhaustive study of the laws of Great Britain 
in colonial days regarding the granting of Indian lands and of 
the various treaties made by the State with the Cherokee In- 
dians since July 4, 1776. 

NOTES. 

'Roosevelt, Vol. Ill, 276 to 280. 

=Ibid. 

'Hill, pp. 32, 116. 

«lbid., p. 121 

'Ibid., pp. 89, 90, 116. 

6 There were other Old Fields, doubtless made by Indians years before America was 
discovered, at the mouth of Gap creek in Ashe; at Valle Crucis in Watauga, at Old Fields 
of Toe in Avery, at "The Meadows" in Graham, and at numerous other level places. 

'There is a family of Perkinses living at Old Field now, 1912, the descendants of Luther 
Perkins. 

8 Thwaites, p. 14. 

•Ibid., p. 15, and Col. Rec:, Vol. IV, p. 1073. 

10 From R. G. McGee's "A History of Tennessee." 

"Ibid. 

"Thwaites, pp. 46-17. 

"Ibid., p. 37. 

"Ibid., p. 41. 

15 Ibid., p. 42. 

"Ibid., p. 48. 

"Ibid., p. 59. 

18 Col. Rec, Vol. Ill, pp. xii and 194. Thwaite also says: "There was for a long time 
neither law nor gospel, upon this far-away frontier. Justices of the Peace had small 
authority. Preachers were at first unknown." "Daniel Boone," p. 33. 

"Byrd, 60-61. 

"Ibid., 62. 

"Ibid, 63. 

"Ibid. 

"Ibid., 66-67. 

"Ibid., 75-76. 

"Ibid., 76. 

"Ibid., 80-81. 

"McGee, p. 214. 

"Asheville's Centenary. 

"Foote's Sketches, p. 83. 

30 Condensed from G. R. McGee's "A History of Tennessee." 



CHAPTER IV 
DANIEL BOONE 

Just as seven cities contended for the honor of having been 
the birthplace of Homer; so, too, many states are proud to 
boast that Boone once lived within their borders. But North 
Carolina was the home of his boyhood, his young manhood 
and the State in which he chose his wife. From his home at 
Holman's Ford he passed to his cabin in the village of Boone 
on frequent occasions, making hunting trips from that point 
into the surrounding mountains. From there, too, he started 
on his trips into Kentucky. 

From an address read by Miss Esther Ransom, daughter 
of the late U. S. Senator Matt. W. Ransom, to Thomas Polk 
Chapter, D. A. R., the following is copied : 

"It has been argued that Boone did not fight in the Revolutionary 
war. This is true. He was too busy fighting Indians in Kentucky, the 
'dark and bloody ground.' Let me impress it upon you that but for Boone 
and Clark and Denton and the other Indian fighters there wouldn't have 
been any Revolutionary war; no Kings Mountain, no Guilford Court 
House, no Yorktown. The Indians were natural allies of the British. 
British money supplied them with arms and ammunition and King George 
III was constantly inciting them through his officers, to murder and 
destroy the Patriots. 

"Just suppose for a moment if, at Kings Mountain where the moun- 
tain men surrendered Ferguson they, in their turn, had been surrounded 
by five hundred or a thousand Indians. The day would have ended in 
dire disaster and it would have taken another Caesar to have rescued the 
Patriots from that terrible predicament. 

"Daniel Boone did as much or more service for our country in fight- 
ing Indians and keeping them back as if he had served in the war with 
Washington and Green. 

"Like Washington, Boone was a surveyor. He surveyed nearly all 
the land in Kentucky. He was a law maker. He passed a law for the 
protection of game in Kentucky and also one for keeping up the breed 
of fine horses. 

"Roosevelt in his vigorous English calls him 'Road-Builder, town-maker 
and Commonwealth founder,' and when Kentucky had representation 
in Virignia, Boone sat in the house of commons as a Burgess. 

"He might be styled the 'Nimrod' of the United States, for truly 'He 
was a mighty hunter before the Lord.'" 

(79) 



80 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

John Finley. Finley was the Scotch-Irishman who had 
descended the Ohio river as far as Louisville in 1752; and 
who, after Boone's return from his trip to the Big Sandy in 
1767, turned up at Boone's cabin at Holman's Ford in the 
winter of 1768-69. x He had suggested when on the Brad- 
dock expedition that Boone might reach Kentucky "by fol- 
lowing the trail of the buffaloes and the Shawnese, northwest- 
ward through Cumberland gap." 2 "Scaling the lofty Blue 
Ridge, the explorers passed over Stone and Iron mountains 
and reached Holston Valley, whence they proceeded through 
Moccasin gap of Clinch mountain and crossed over interven- 
ing rivers and densely wooded hills until they came to Powell's 
Valley, then the furthest limits of white settlement. Here 
they found a hunters' trail which led them through Cumber- 
land gap. " 3 If they did this by the easiest and shortest route, 
they passed up the Shawnee trail on the ridge between Elk 
and Stony forks through Cooks gap, down by Three Forks 
of New river, through what is now Boone village and Hodges 
gap, across the Grave Yard gap down to Dog Skin creek, 
following the base of Rich mountain to State Line gap be- 
tween Zionville and Trade to the head of Roan creek to the 
crossing of the two Indian trails at what is now Shoun's Cross 
Roads, and thence over the Iron mountains. Any other route 
would have been deliberately to go wrong for the sake of 
doing so. From any eminence- that route seemed to have 
been marked out by nature. 

Benjamin Cutbirth. This name was pronounced Cut- 
baird according to the recollection of Cyrus Grubb, a prom- 
inent citizen of Watauga, and Benjamin Cuthbirth's name 
appears on the records of Ashe county as having conveyed 
100 acres of land on the South Fork of New river to Andrew 
Ferguson in 1800. This is the same "Scotch-Irishman" who 
had married Elizabeth Wilcoxen, a neice of Daniel Boone, at 
the close of the French and Indian war, and when he was 
about twenty-three years old. In 1767 he and John Stuart, 
John Baker and John Ward, crossed the mountains and went 
to the Mississippi river, where they spent a year or two, go- 
ing even to New Orleans. 4 

Holman's Ford. About this time Daniel Boone moved 
sixty-five miles west from the Yadkin settlement near Dutch- 



DANIEL BOONE 81 



man's creek, "choosing his final home on the upper Yadkin, 
just above the mouth of Beaver creek. 5 Col. James M. Is- 
bell's grantfather, Martin, told him that Daniel Boone used 
to live six miles below James M. Isbell's present home near 
the bank of the Yadkin river, on a little creek now known as 
Beaver creek, one mile from where it flows into the Yadkin 
river, near Holman's ford. The Boone house was in a little 
swamp and canebrake surrounding the point of a ridge, with 
but one approach — that by the ridge. The swamp was in 
the shape of a horse-shoe, with the point of the ridge pro- 
jecting into it. The foundations of the chimney are still 
there, and the cabin itself has not been gone more than 52 
years. Alfred Foster who owned the land showed Col. Isbell 
the cabin, which was still there during his boyhood, and he 
remembered how it looked. His grandmother, the wife of 
Benjamin Howard, knew Boone well as he often stayed with 
her father, Benjamin Howard, at the mouth of Elk creek, 
now Elkville. 6 

Boone's Trip to Kentucky. There is no evidence except 
the inscription on the leaning beech at Boone's creek, nine 
miles north of Jonesboro, Tenn., that Boone was at that spot 
in 1760. Thwaite's life of Boone, compiled from the Draper 
manuscript in the Wisconsin State library, says that in the 
spring of 1759, Boone and two of his sons went to Culpepper 
county, Virginia, where he was employed in hauling tobacco 
to Fredericksburg, and that he was again a member of Hugh 
Waddell's regiment of 500 North Carolinians, when, in 1761, 
they fought and defeated the Cherokees at Long Island on 
the Holston. He cites the inscription but gives no other 
facts. 7 As 1769 is generally considered the date of his first 
trip across the mountains, it becomes important to state that 
Thwaite (p. 69) says that, in 1767, Boone's brother-in-law, 
John Stewart, and Benjamin Cutbirth, who had married 
Boone's niece, and several others, went west as far as the 
Mississippi, crossing the mountains and returning before 
1769; and that Boone himself, and William Hall, his friend, 
and, possibly, Squire Boone, Daniel's brother, in the fall of 
1767, still desiring to get to Kentucky — of which he had been 
told by John Finley, whom he had met in the Braddock expe- 
dition — crossed the mountains into the valleys of the Hol- 
w. n. c. — 6 



82 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

ston, and the Clinch, and reached the headwaters of the west 
fork of the Big Sandy, returning to Holman's Ford in the 
spring of 17G8. 

Colonel James M. Isbell. According to the statement 
made by this gentleman, in May, 1909, Benjamin Howard, 
his grandfather, owned land near the village of Boone, and 
used to range his stock in the mountains surrounding that 
picturesque village. He built a cabin of logs in front of what 
is now the Boys' Dormitory of the Appalachian Training 
School for the accommodation of himself and his herders 
whenever he or they should come from his home on the head 
waters of the Yadkin, at Elkville. Among the herders was 
an African slave named Burrell. When Col. Isbell was a boy, 
say, about 1845, Burrell was still alive, but was said to have 
been over one hundred years of age. He told Col. Isbell that 
he had piloted Daniel Boone across the Blue Ridge to the 
Howard cabin the first trip Boone ever took across the moun- 
tains. 

Boone's Trail. 8 They went up the ridge between Elk 
creek and Stony Fork creek, following a well-known Indian 
trail, passed through what is now called Cook's gap, and on 
by Three Forks church to what is now Boone. There is 
some claim that Boone passed through Deep gap; but that 
is six miles further north than Cook's gap, and that much out 
of a direct course. If Boone wanted to go to Kentucky he 
knew his general course was northwest; and having reached the 
town of Boone or Howard's cabin, his most direct route would 
have been through Hodge's gap, down Brushy Fork creek 
two miles, and then crossing the Grave Yard gap to Dog 
Skin creek; then along the base of Rich mountain, crossing 
what was then Sharp's creek (now Silverstone) to the gap 
between what is now Zionville in North Carolina and Trade 
in Tennessee. He would then have been at the head of Roan's 
creek, down which he is known to have passed as far as what 
is now known as Shoun's Cross Roads. There, on a farm 
once owned by a Wagner and now by Wiley Jenkins, he 
camped. His course from there in a northwesterly direction 
would have led him across the Iron and Holston mountains 
to the Holston river and Powell's Valley. There is also a 
tradition that he followed the Brushy Fork creek from Hodge's 
gap to Cove creek; thence down Cove creek to Rock House 



DANIEL BOONE 83 



branch at Dr. Jordan B. Phillips' — also a descendant of Ben- 
jamin Howard — across Ward gap to the Beaver Dams; 
then across Baker's gap to Roan's creek; thence down it to 
its mouth in the Watauga at what is now Butler, Tenn. Also, 
that when he got to the mouth of the Brushy fork he crossed 
over to the Beaver Dams through what has for many years 
been called George's gap; and thence over Baker's gap. 9 If 
he took either of these routes he preferred to cross two high 
mountains and to follow an almost due southwest course to 
following a well-worn and well-known Indian trail which was 
almost level and that led directly in the direction he wished 
to go. A road now leaves the wagon road nearly opposite 
the Brushy Fork Baptist church, about three miles from 
Boone, and crosses a ridge over to Dog Skin creek, and thence 
over the Grave Yard gap to Silverstone, Zionville, and Trade, 
thus cutting off the angle made by following Brushy Fork to 
its mouth. x ° Tradition says the Indian trail also crossed 
Dog Skin and the Grave Yard gap. Yet, while this seems 
to be the most feasible and natural trail, the venerable Levi 
Morphew, now well up in ninety, thinks Boone had a camp 
on Boone's branch of Hog Elk, two miles east of the Winding 
Stairs trail, by which he probably crossed the Blue Ridge, 
which would have taken him four miles northeast of Cook's 
gap, and Col. Bryan states that there is a tradition that Boone 
passed through Deep gap, crossed the Bald mountain and Long 
Hope creek, through the Ambrose gap and so into Tennessee. 
No doubt all these routes were followed by Boone during his 
hunting trips through these mountains prior to his first great 
treck into Kentucky; but on that important occasion it is 
more than probable that, as his horses were heavily laden 
with camp equipage, salt, ammunition and supplies, he fol- 
lowed the easiest, most direct, and most feasible route, and 
that was via Cook's gap, Three Forks, Hodges' gap, across 
Dog Skin, over the Grave Yard gap, to Zionville and Trade 
and thence to what is now known as Shoun's Cross Roads. 
Boone's Cabin Monument. The chimney stones of the 
cabin in which it is said that Boone camped while hunting in 
New river valley are still visible at the site of that cabin where 
it is said Boone was found one snowy night seated by a roar- 
ing fire when the young couple who had occupied it the night 
before and had allowed their fire to go entirely out, returned 



84 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

from a trip to the Yadkin for a "live chunk" with which to 
rekindle it; but which they had dropped in the snow when 
almost at Boone's cabin, thus putting it out, and leaving them 
as badly off as when they had set out that morning. Boone 
had struck fire from his flint and steel rifle and caught the spark 
in tow, from which he had kindled his blaze. Upon this site, 
that public-spirited citizen, the venerable and well-informed 
Col. W. L. Bryan, now in his 76th year, has erected an impos- 
ing stone and concrete monument, whose base is seven by 
seven feet, with a shaft 26 feet in height. On the side facing 
the road is the following inscription, chiseled in white marble: 
" Daniel Boone, Pioneer and Hunter; Born Feb. 11, 1735; 
Died Sep. 26, 1820." On the opposite side of the monument 
on a similar stone is the following: "W. L. Bryan, Son of 
Battle and Rebecca Miller Bryan; Born Nov. 19, 1837; Built 
Daniel Boone Monument, Oct. 1912. Cost $203.27." 

Boone's Watauga Relatives. William Coffey married 
Anna Boone, a sister of Jesse Boone and a neice of Daniel 
Boone. She had another brother called Israel Boone. Jesse 
Boone undoubtedly lived in a cabin which used to stand in a 
field four miles from Shull's mills and two miles from Kelsey 
post office, where he had cleared a field. The chimney foun- 
dation is still shown as his. On the 8th of July, 1823, Jesse 
Boone conveyed to William and Alexander Elrod for $600 
350 acres of land on Flannery's fork of New River and on 
Roaring branch, about two miles southeast of Boone village; 
adjoining land then being owned by John Agers, Jesse Council 
and Russell Sams, and now owned in part by J. W. Farthing. 
This deed was registered in Book M, page 391, of Ashe county 
records, July 2, 1841. When Jesse Boone's sister, Anna Cof- 
fey, was nearly one hundred years old she talked with Mr. 
J. W. Farthing while he was building a house for her grand- 
son Patrick Coffey, on Mulberry creek, Caldwell county, in 
1871. Mr. Mack Cook of Lenoir is a direct descendant of 
Daniel Boone's brother, Israel, Boone and has a rifle and pow- 
der horn that used to belong to him. Arthur B. Boone of 
Jacksonville, Fla., claims direct descent from Daniel Boone, 
and his son Robbie E. Boone, has a razor said to have been the 
property of Daniel Boone. There are many others who are 
related to the Boone family. Col. W. L. Bryan thinks that 
Thwaites is mistaken in stating that Rebecca Boone was the 



DANIEL BOONE 85 



daughter of Joseph Bryan, as her father's name was Morgan, 
from whom he himself and William Jennings Bryan are di- 
rectly descended. * x Smith Coffey was born in 1832 in Cald- 
well county, and says that Jesse was a brother of Daniel 
Boone, and had three daughters; Anna, who married William 
Coffey; Hannah, who married Smith Coffey, and Celie, who 
married Buck Craig. The Smith Coffey who married Han- 
nah Boone was the present Smith Coffey's grandfather. 
Smith Coffey's father moved to Cherokee in 1838 and set- 
tled on Hiwassee river four miles above Murphy, after which 
he moved to Peach Tree creek where he died a year later, 
his family returning to Caldwell. In 1858 Smith returned to 
Cherokee and lived on a place adjoining the farm of George 
Hayes on Valley river, and had a fight with that gentleman 
concerning a sow just before the Civil War. Nevertheless he 
joined Hayes' company, when the war began, which became 
Company A in the Second N. C. Cavalry. After the battle 
before New Bern, Hayes resigned and returned to Cherokee, 
and William B. Tidwell of Tusquitte, now Clay county, was 
elected captain from the ranks, and retained that place till 
the close of the war. 

The Henderson Purchase. Although the purchase of In- 
dian lands by white men had been prohibited by royal proc- 
lamation 12 as early as October 7, 1763, and although much of 
the territory was in the actual possession of the Indians, 
Richard Henderson and eight other private citizens deter- 
mined to buy a large tract of land in Kentucky and the north- 
ern part of Middle Tennessee. To anticipate somewhat, it 
may be here stated that this intention was carried out but 
afterwards repudiated by both Virginia, which claimed the 
Kentucky portion, and North Carolina, which claimed the 
Tennessee tract, and Henderson and his associates were par- 
tially compensated by grants of much smaller bodies of 
land; 13 nevertheless, at the treaty of Hopewell, S. C, on the 
Keowee river, fifteen miles above its junction with the Tuga- 
loo, on the 18th of December, 1785, Benjamin Hawkins, An- 
drew Pickens, Joseph Martin and Lachlan Campbell, com- 
missioners representing the United States, had the face to 
deny the claim of the Indians to this identical territory — 
contending that they had already sold it to Henderson and 
associates. * 4 



86 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Boone's Split-Bullet. About 1890 John K. Perry and 
another were felling trees in Ward's gap on Beaver Dams, 
Watauga county, when Perry's companion cut a bullet in 
two while trimming a young poplar. He remarked that it 
might have been fired there by Daniel Boone, as it was on 
his old trail. Perry said that whether Boone fired it or not 
it should be a Boone bullet thereafter. So, he filed two cor- 
ners off a shingle nail and pressing the point of the nail thus 
filed on to the clean surface of the split bullet made the first 
part of a B. Then he finished the second part by pressing 
the nail below the first impression, and found he had a per- 
fect B. Filing a larger nail in the same way he made the 
impression of a D, which completed Boone's initials. This 
was shown around the neighborhood for a number of years, 
and most people contended that the bullet really had been 
fired from Boone's rifle. But in June, 1909, Mr. Perry dis- 
closed the joke rather than have the deception get into se- 
rious history. 

Daniel Boone, the Path Finder. From Chief Justice 
Walter Clark's "The Colony of Transylvania," (N. C. Booklet, 
Vol. iii, No. 9) we learn that Boone was a wagoner under 
Hugh Waddell in Braddock's campaign of 1755, when Boone 
was 21 years old; and that "in the following years he made 
the acquaintance of Col. Richard Henderson, who, struck 
with Boone's intelligence, and the opportunity for fortune 
offered by the new lands south of the Ohio, since known as 
Kentucky, organized a company, and employed Boone in 
1763 to spy out the country 1 5 . . . Years passed before it 
took final shape. Boone is known to have made one of his 
visits to Kentucky in 1769, and was probably there earlier. ' 6 
In 1773 he again attempted to enter Kentucky, carrying 
his family, but was driven back with the loss of six men 
killed by the Indians, among them his eldest son at Wallen's 
gap." But in 1768 Henderson had been appointed a judge, 
which position he held till 1773 and which probably delayed 
his land scheme; but in 1774 Nathaniel Hart, one of Hender- 
son's partners, journeyed to the Otari towns to open negoti- 
ations with the Cherokees for the grant of suitable territory 
for a colony of whites. On March 17, 1775, the Overhill 
Cherokees assembled at the Sycamore Shoals of the Watauga, 
pursuant to an order of their chief, Oconostata, where a treaty 



DANIEL BOONE 87 



was made and signed by him and two other chiefs, Savanoo- 
koo and Little Carpenter (Atta Culla Culla), by which, in 
consideration of £12,000 in goods, the Cherokees granted the 
lands between the Kentucky and Cumberland rivers, em- 
bracing one-half of what is now Kentucky and a part of Ten- 
nessee. But Dragging Canoe, a chief, had opposed a treaty 
for four days, and never consented to it. The share of one 
brave was only one shirt. But, the Cherokees had no title 
to convey, as this land was a battle-ground where the hostile 
tribes met and fought out their differences. Besides, this con- 
veyance of the land by Indians was unlawful under both the 
British and colonial laws. Henderson called this grant Tran- 
sylvania. 

As soon as Henderson thought this treaty would be signed 
he started Boone ahead on March 10, 1775, with 30 men, to 
clear a trail from the Holston to Kentucky — the first regular 
path opened in the wilderness. 

The Boone Family. Many people of the mountains 
claim descent or collateral relationship with Daniel Boone. 
His father was Squire Boone, who was born in Devonshire, 
England and came to Pennsylvania, between 1712 and 1714, 
when he was about 21 years old. He mariecl Sarah Morgan 
July 23, 1720. Their children were Sarah, Israel, Samuel, 
Jonathan, Elizabeth, Mary, Daniel, George, Edward, Squire 
and Hannah, all born at Otey, Penn. Daniel was the sixth 
child and was born November 2, 1734. Edward was killed 
by Indians when 36 years old, and Squire died at the age of 
76. Daniel married Rebecca Bryan, daughter of Joseph, in 
the spring of 1756. Daniel's children were James, Israel, 
Susannah, Jemima, Lavinia, Rebecca, Daniel Morgan, John 
B. and Nathan. The four daughters married. The two 
eldest sons were killed by Indians, and the three younger 
emigrated to Missouri. 1 7 None of Daniel's children was 
named Jesse, but there was a Jesse Boone who lived just 
west of the Blue Ridge, about four miles east of Shull's Mills 
and one mile west of Kelsey postoffice in Watauga county, 
N. C. This was on what has been called "Boone's Fork" 
of Watauga river. 

The Calloways. Among the Kentucky pioneers was 
Col. Richard Calloway 18 . Two of his daughters, Betsy and 
Fanny, were captured with Jemima, Boone's second daugh- 



88 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

ter, in a boat at Boonesborough, Ky., on the 17th of July, 
1776. They were recovered unharmed soon afterwards; 19 
and in the following August Betsy was married to Samuel 
Henderson, one of the rescuing party. 2 ° Jemima Boone 
afterwards married Flanders Calloway, a son of Colonel Cal- 
loway. 2 x It was this Colonel Calloway who accused Boone 
of having voluntarily surrendered 26 of his men at the Salt 
Licks; that when a prisoner at Detroit he had engaged with 
Gov. Hamilton to surrender Boonesborough, and that he had 
attempted to weaken the garrison at Boonesborough before 
its attack by the Indians by withdrawing men and officers, 
etc. ; 2 2 but Boone was not only honorably acquitted, but 
promoted from a captaincy to that of major. Related to this 
Colonel Calloway was Elijah Calloway, son of Thomas Cal- 
loway of Virginia, who "did much for the good of society 
and was a soldier at Norfolk, Va., in the War of 1812." 23 
John Calloway represented Ashe county in the House in 1800, 
and in the Senate in 1807, 1808, 1809; and Elijah Calloway 
was in the House from 1813 to 1817, and in the Senate in 1818 
and 1818, and 1819. One of these men is said to have walked 
to Raleigh, supporting himself on the way by shooting game, 
and in this way saved enough to build a brick house with glass 
windows, the first in Ashe, near what is now Obid. He was 
turned out of the Bear creek Baptist church because he had 
thus proven himself to be a rich man; and the Bible said no 
rich man could enter the kingdom of heaven. The church in 
which he was tried was of logs, but the accused sat defiantly 
during the trial in a splint-bottomed chair, which he gave to 
Mrs. Sarah Miller of that locality. This may have been 
Thomas Calloway, whose grave is at Obid, marked with a 
long, slender stone which had marked one of the camping 
places of Daniel Boone. 2 4 

An Important Historical Contribution. Dr. Archi- 
bald Henderson, a descendant of Richard Henderson, pub- 
lished in the Charlotte (Sunday) Observer, between the 16th 
of March and the 1st of June, 1913, a series of articles entit- 
led "Life and Times of Richard Henderson," in which much 
absolutely new matter is introduced, and numerous mistakes 
have been corrected in what has hitherto been accepted as 
history. It is especially valuable regarding the Regulators' 
agitation and the part therein borne by Richard Henderson. 



DANIEL BOONE 89 



Dr. Henderson is a member of the faculty of the University of 
North Carolina, of the State Library and Historical Associa- 
tion, and of the American Historical Association, and in the 
forthcoming volume, soon to appear, he will put the result 
of years of study and research into permanent form. He 
may be relied on to give adequate authority for every state- 
ment of importance concerning his remarkable kinsman and 
the times in which he lived. 

Henderson's Share in Boone's Explorations. Roose- 
velt, Ramsey and other historians have related the bare fact 
that Boone went on his first trip into Kentucky in 1764 at 
the instance of Richard Henderson; but in these papers the 
details of the association of the two men are set forth. Cer- 
tainly as early as 1763, Boone and Henderson, then a lawyer, 
met, and discussed the territory lying to the west of the moun- 
tains. Henderson was seated as a Superior Court judge at 
Salisbury, March 5, 1868, and ceased to represent Boone as 
attorney in litigation then pending before the Superior Court 
of Rowan county; but in March, 1769, when the distinguished 
Waightstill Avery, then fresh from his birthplace, Norwich, 
Conn., and from Princeton College, where he had graduated 
in 1766, made his first appearance before the bar of that 
county, we are told that he might have seen also "the skilled 
scout and hunter, garbed in hunting shirt, fringed leggings 
and moccasins, the then little known Daniel Boone," who 
attended that term of court in defence of a lawsuit, and must 
have (as shown by the sequel) conferred with Judge Hen- 
derson at this time about his contemplated trip into Tennessee 
and Kentucky in the interest of himself, John Williams and 
Thomas Hart, Henderson's first associates in the coloniza- 
tion enterprize he contemplated even at that early date, and 
while holding a commission as judge of the colony. 25 

The Six Nations' Claims to "Cherokee." Before Rich- 
ard Henderson's appointment as judge by Governor Try on 
in 1768, he and Hart and Williams had engaged Boone to 
spy out the western lands for them as early as 1764, though 
the proclamation of George IV, in 1763, forbidding the East- 
ern Colonists to settle on lands west of the Blue Ridge, may 
have retarded their plans for "securing title to vast tracts 
of western lands, and no move was made by Henderson 
to that end until after the treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1768, by 



90 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

which Great Britain had acquired by purchase from the Six 
Nations their unwarranted claim to all the territory east and 
southeast of the Ohio and north of the Tennessee rivers, which 
territory had always been claimed by the Cherokees, and 
that country was then known as "Cherokee." 26 

Title of the Cherokees. "The ownership of all the 
Kentucky region, with the exception of the extreme north- 
eastern section, remained vested absolutely in the tribe of 
Cherokee Indians. Their title to the territory had been 
acknowledged by Great Britain through her Southern agent 
of Indian Affairs, John Stuart, at the Treaty of Lochaber in 
1770." 27 

King George's Proclamation Made to be Broken? 
Dr. Henderson insists that the King's proclamation forbid- 
ding the acquisition of Indian lands by the settlers was uni- 
versally disregarded by the settlers of the east. And while 
he points out that Richard Henderson obtained an "opinion, 
handed down by the Lord Chancellor and the Attorney Gen- 
eral, " which "cleared away the legal difficulties" in the way 
of securing "an indisputable title from the Indian owners and 
. . . to surmount the far more serious obstacle of Royal 
edict against the purchase of lands from the Indians by pri- 
vate individuals, he would doutbless have been justified in 
his purchase by the popular sentiment of the day in view of 
the universal disregard of the Royal Proclamation of 1763." 
Dr. Henderson points out that "George Washington expressed 
the secret belief of the period when he hazarded the judgment 
that the Royal Proclamation of 1763 was a mere temporary 
expedient to quiet the Indians, and was not intended as a 
permanent bar to Western Civilization. . . . George Wash- 
ington, acquiring vast tracts of western land by secret pur- 
chase, indirectly stimulated the powerful army that was 
carrying the broadax westward. . . . It is no reflection upon 
the fame of George Washington to point out that, of the two, 
the service to the nation of Richard Henderson in promoting 
western civilization was vastly more generous in its nature 
and far-reaching in its results than the more selfish and pru- 
dent aims of Washington. " 2 8 

Henderson's Title. "The valid ownership of the terri- 
tory being [now] actually vested in the Cherokees, Hender- 
son foresaw that the lands could be acquired only by lease 



DANIEL BOONE 91 



or by purchase from that tribe, and he forthwith set about 
acquiring an accurate knowledge of the territory in question. 
To get this information the services of Daniel Boone were 
secured, and the latter must have " conferred with Judge 
Henderson at Salisbury where he was presiding over the 
Superior Court, and plans were soon outlined for Boone's 
journey and expedition. At this time Boone was very poor 
and his desire to pay off his indebtedness to Henderson [law- 
yer's fees] made him all the more ready to undertake the exhaus- 
tive tour of exploration in company with Finley and others"; 
but "at the time of Boone's return to North Carolina Judge 
Henderson was embroiled in the exciting issues of the Regu- 
lation. His plan to inaugurate his great western venture 
was thus temporarily frustrated; but the dissolution of the 
Superior Court (under the judiciary act of 1767) took place 
in 1773," and left Richard Henderson free to act as he saw 
fit. 29 

Henderson and Daniel Boone. "In the meantime, 
Daniel Boone grew impatient over the delay . . . and on 
September 25, 1773, started from the Yadkin Valley . . . 
for Kentucky, with a colony numbering eighteen men, besides 
women and children;" but, being attacked by Indians, and 
some of Boone's party, including his own son, having been 
killed, "the whole party scattered and returned to the set- 
tlements. This incident is significant evidence that Boone 
was deficient in executive ability, the power to originate and 
execute schemes of colonization on a grand scale . . . Boone 
lacked constructive leadership and executive genius. He 
was a perfect instrument for executing the designs of others. 
It was not until the creative and executive brain of Richard 
Henderson was applied to the vast and daring project of West- 
ern colonization that it was carried through to a successful 
termination." 30 

Henderson's Scheme Denounced. "When, on Christmas 
Day, 1774, there was spread broadcast throughout the colony 
of North Carolina 'Proposals for the encouragement of set- 
tling the lands purchased by Messrs. Richard Henderson & 
Co., on the branches of the Mississippi river from the Chero- 
kee tribe of Indians,' a genuine sensation was created." Archi- 
bald Neilson, deputy auditor of the colony, asked : "Is Richard 
Henderson out of his head?" and Governor Josiah Martin 



92 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

issued "a forcible-feeble proclamation against Richard Hender- 
son and his confederates in their daring, unjust and unwar- 
rantable proceeding. In letters to the Earl of Dartmouth, 
Martin speaks scathingly of 'Henderson, the famous invader/ 
and of 'the infamous Henderson and his associates' whom he 
dubs 'an infamous company of land Pyrates.' He denounced 
their project as a 'lawless undertaking,' and 'an infraction of 
the royal prerogative.' But these 'fulminations' were un- 
heeded and 'the goods already purchased were transported 
over the mountains in wagons to the Sycamore Shoals.' " 3 1 

Failure of the Transylvania Colony. "Serious dan- 
gers from without began to threaten the safety and integrity 
of the colony. While the Transylvania legislature was in 
session, Governor Josiah Martin of North Carolina inglori- 
ously fled from his 'palace', and on the very day that his 
emissary, a British spy, arrived at Boonesborough, Lord 
Dunmore, the royal governor of Virginia, escaped to the pro- 
tection of the British vessel, the 'Fowey' ... At Oxford, 
N. C, on September 25, 1775, the proprietors of the Tran- 
sylvania company drew up a memorial to the Continental 
Congress, then in session at Philadelphia, for the recognition 
of the Transylvania company as the fourteenth American 
colony; but this was refused "until it had been properly ac- 
knowledged by Virginia." Application was then made to the 
Virginia convention at Williamsburg for recognition, but the 
effort of Henderson, assisted by Thomas Burke, was "de- 
feated chiefly through the opposition of two remarkable men : 
George Rogers Clark, who represented the rival settlement of 
Harrodsburg in Kentucky, and Patrick Henry, who sought to 
extend in all directions the power and extent of the 'Ancient 
Dominion of Virginia.' Under pressure of Henderson's repre- 
sentations, Virginia finally acknowledged the validity of the 
Transylvanians' claims against the Indians; but boldly con- 
fiscated the purchase, and made of Transylvania a county of 
Virginia. Instead of the 20,000,000 acres obtained by the 
treaty of Sycamore Shoals, Virginia granted the company 
200,000 acres between the Ohio and Green rivers, and North 
Carolina later granted to the company a like amount on Powell 
and Clinch rivers in Tennessee." 3 2 

Henderson and James Robertson. Dr. Archibald Hen- 
derson claims for his kinsman the honor of "having accom- 



DANIEL BOONE 93 



plished for Tennessee, in the same constructive way as he had 
done for Kentucky [at Boonesborough], the pioneer task of 
establishing a colony in the midst of the Tennessee wilder- 
ness, devising a system of laws and convening a legislature 
for the passage of those laws." This was nothing less than 
the settlement of Nashborough (now Nashville) and the coun- 
try surrounding it; for he claims that "under Henderson's 
direction Robertson made a long and extended examination 
of the region in the neighborhood of the French Lick, just as 
Boone in 1769-1771 had made a detailed examination under 
Henderson's direction of the Kentucky area. Upon his re- 
turn to the Watauga settlements on the Holston, Robertson 
found many settlers ready and eager to take the great step 
towards colonization of the new lands, inspired by the prom- 
ise of Henderson and the enthusiastic reports of Robertson 
and his companions." It was while Henderson was engaged 
in surveying the line between Virginia and North Carolina — 
"the famous line of latitude of 36° 30' "—"that the Watauga 
settlers set out for the wilderness of the Cumberland. Part 
of these settlers went by water — down the Tennessee and up 
the Cumberland rivers — under the leadership of Col. John 
Donelson, father of Mrs. Andrew Jackson, and the others, 
under Robertson, overland. Donelson's diary records the 
meeting of Richard Henderson on Friday, March 31, 1780. 
Henderson not only supplied the party with all needed in- 
formation but informed them that "he had purchased a quan- 
tity of corn in Kentucky to be shipped at the Falls of Ohio 
(Lousville) for the Cumberland settlement. . . . James 
Robertson's party had already arrived and built a few log 
cabins on a cedar bluff above the 'Lick', when Donelson's 
party arrived by boat, April 24,1780. Henderson himself ar- 
rived soon afterwards, and, assisted by James Robertson, 
drew up and adopted a plan of civil government for the col- 
ony. A land office was established; the power to appoint 
the entry-taker was vested in Henderson, as president of the 
Transylvania company, and the Transylvania company was to 
be paid for the lands at the rate of 26 lbs., 13 shillings and 4 
pence, current money, a hundred acres, as soon as the com- 
pany could assure the settlers a satisfactory and indisputable 
title. This resulted in perpetual non-payment, since in 1783, 
North Carolina, following Virginia's lead, expropriated the 



94 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

lands of the Transylvania company, granting them in com- 
pensation a tract of 200,000 acres in Powell's Valley." Hen- 
derson returned to North Carolina, and died in 1785, aged 
fifty; and although memorials in his honor have been erected 
in Tennessee and Kentucky, his grave at Nutbush creek in 
North Carolina is unmarked; "and North Carolina has erected 
no monument as yet to the man who may justly be termed 
the founder of Kentucky and Tennessee." 3 3 

The Shadow of Coming Events. 34 "One sentence of this 
backwoods constitution [of Nashborough], remarkable in its 
political anticipation, is nothing less than that establishing for 
the first time in America the progressive doctrine of which so 
much is heard today, the recall of judges . . . and must for- 
ever be associated in American history with the names of 
Henderson and his coadjutor, Robertson : 'As often as the 
people in general are dissatisfied with the doings of the judges 
or triers so to be chosen, they may call a new election in any 
of the said stations, and elect others in their stead, having 
due respect to the number now agreed to be elected at each 
station, which persons so to be chosen shall have the same 
power with those in whose room they shall or may be chosen 
to act."' 

Boone's Trail. The North Carolina Society of the Daugh- 
ters of the American Revolution marked Boone's trail in North 
Carolina by planting iron tablets bolted to large boulders at 
Cook's Gap, Three Forks' Church, Boone Village, Hodge's 
Gap, Graveyard or Straddle Gap, and at Zionville, in October, 
1913. Addresses were made at Boone courthouse October 23, 
1913, by Mrs. W. N. Reynolds, State Regent, Mrs. Lindsay 
Patterson, chairman of committee on Boone's trail, and Mrs. 
Theo. S. Morrison, Regent of Edward Buncombe Chapter. 

Record Evidence of the Residence of the Boones. 
Jonathan Boone sold to John Hardin (Deed Book No. 5, p. 
509, Ashe county) 245 acres on the 15th of September, 1821, 
for $600 — on the North side of New river and on both sides 
of Lynches' Mill creek, adjoining Jesse Councill's line, and 
running to Shearer's Knob. This was near the town of Boone. 
The John Hardin mentioned above was the father of John and 
Joseph Hardin of Boone, and his wife was Lottie, the daugh- 
ter of Jordan Councill, Sr., and the daughter of Benjamin 
Howard. On the 7th of November, 1814, Jesse Boone entered 



DANIEL BOONE 95 



100 acres on the head waters of Watauga river, beginning on a 
maple, Jesse Coffey's corner, and obtained a grant therefor 
on the 29th of November, 1817. (Deed Book "F," Ashe 
county, p. 170.) 

NOTES. 

ir Thwaites' "Daniel Boone," pp. 22, 69. 

=Ibid., 23. 

3Ibid., 73. 

«Ibid., p. 66. 

6 Statement of James M. Isbell to J. P. A. in May, 1909, at latter's home. 

6 It "could still be seen, a few years ago, at the foot of a range of hills some seven and 
a half miles above Wilkesboro, in Wilkes county." Thwaites' "Daniel Boone," p. 68. 

'That inscription is not legible now. The picture of it opposite page 56 of Thwaites' 
"Daniel Boone" shows that. If it had been made in 1760 it would not have been legible 
in 1856 when Captain W. T. Pritchett of Jonesboro, Tennessee, was a boy, as he stated was 
the case in June, 1909, to J. P. A. 

•Some think Boone went down Brushy Fork to Dr. Phillips's present home on Cove 
creek and crossed Phillips' gap to Beaver Dams and thence by Baker's gap to Roan's 
creek. This, however, would not have brought him to Shoun's Cross Roads, below which 
about three-fourths of a mile he is said to have made a camp on the old Wagner farm, 
now owned by Wiley Jenkins. 

9 Dr. Jordan B. Phillips has always heard that George's gap is so called from George 
Finley who so often hunted with Boone. 

1 "Holland Hodges says Dog Skin creek is so called because settlers on it used to kill 
all stray dogs to get their skins for tanning. 

"Thwaites, 25. 

12 Martin's North Carolina, Vol. II, p. 339, cited in Fifth Annual Report of the Bureau 
of Ethnology, 1883-84, p. 149. 

1 'Ramsey's Annals of Tennessee, p. 204, cited in Fifth Annual Report of the Bureau of 
Ethnology, 1883-84, p. 149. 

"Fifth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, 1883-S4, p. 153. 

15 Thwaites' "Life of Boone, "p. 21. 

16 The only evidence of that is the inscription on the beech tree nine miles north ol 
Jonesboro, Tennessee, about killing a bear on that tree in 1760. 

1 'Thwaites, pp. 1, 2, 25, 43. 

"Thwaites' "Daniel Boone," p. 117. 

"Ibid., p. 1356. 

"Ibid., p. 143. 

"Ibid., p. 158. 

"Ibid., p. 165-7. 

""Footprints on the Sands of Time," bv Dr. A. B. Cox, p. 106. 

"Statement of T. C. Bowie, Esq., to J. P. A., in September, 1912. 

25 "Life and Times of Richard Henderson," Charlotte Observer, April 6, 1913. 

2»Ibid., May 11, 1913. 

"Ibid. 

"Ibid. 

"Ibid. " 

3 "Ibid. 

"Ibid. 

aslbid. 

33 Ibid., June 1. 

"Ibid. 



CHAPTER V 

REVOLUTIONARY DAYS 

Our Part in the Revolution. 1 In the summer of 1880 
"the British were making a supreme effort to dismember the 
colonies by the conquest of the Southern States." "They 
thought," says Holmes, "that important advantages might be 
expected from shifting the war to the rich Southern colonies, 
which chiefly upheld the financial credit of the Confederacy 
in Europe, and through which the Americans received most 
of their military and other supplies." "The militiaman of 
Western North Carolina was unique in his way. Regarded 
by his government, in the words of Governor Graham, as 'a 
self-supporting institution,' he went forth to service gener- 
ally without thought of drawing uniform, rations, arms or 
pay. A piece of white paper pinned to his hunting cap was 
his uniform; a wallet of parched flour or a sack of meal was 
his commissariat; a tin-cup, a frying-pan and a pair of sad- 
dle-bags, his only impedimenta; his domestic rifle — a Deckard 
or a Kutter — and sometimes a sword, made in his own black- 
smith shop, constituted his martial weapons; a horse capable of 
'long subsisting on nature's bounty' was his means of rapid 
mobilization or 'hasty change of base'; a sense of manly duty 
performed, his quarter's pay. Indeed, his sense of propriety 
would have been rudely shocked by any suggestion of reward 
for serving his endangered country. . . An expert rider and 
an unerring shot, he was yet disdainful of the discipline that 
must mechanaze a man into a soldier or convert a mob into 
an army ... he was so tenacious of personal freedom as to 
be jealous of the authority of officers chosen by his vote." 

The Mecklenburg Resolves. Alamance was but the 
forerunner of the declaration of independence at Mecklen- 
burg, the proof of which follows : 

Hon. George Bancroft, the historian, and at the time Min- 
ister to England, wrote to David L. Swain, at Chapel Hill, 
July 4, 1848, as follows : "The first account of the Resolves 
'by the people in Charlotte Town, Mecklenburg County,' was 

(96) 




tflvUd- 




(From a daguerreotype taken when he was in his 94th year.) 



REVOLUTIONARY DAYS 97 

sent over by Sir James Wright, then Governor of Georgia, in 
a letter of the 20th of June, 1775. The newspaper thus trans- 
mitted is still preserved, and is in number 498 of the South 
Carolina Gazette and Country Journal. l Tuesday, June 13, 
1775. I read the Resolves, you may be sure, with reverence, 
and immediately obtained a copy of them, thinking myself 
the sole discoverer. I do not send you the copy, as it is iden- 
tically the same with the paper you enclosed to me, but I for- 
ward to you a transcript of the entire letter of Sir James 
Wright. The newspapers seem to have reached him after he 
had finished his dispatch, for the paragraph relating to it is 
added in his own handwriting, the former part being written 
by a secretary. ... It is a mistake if any have supposed 
that the Regulators were cowed down by their defeat at Ala- 
mance. " 

The Men of Ashe and Buncombe. As many of those 
who had taken part in the Mecklenburg Resolves bore their 
part in the Revolutionary War which followed, and then 
moved into Ashe and Buncombe counties, west of the Blue 
Ridge, the interest of their descendants in the reality of that 
heroic step is intense. As, also, many of these men were with 
Sevier and McDowell in the expedition to and battle of 
Kings Mountain, the following account of their experiences 
through the mountains of Western North Carolina and of 
the landmarks which still mark their old trails must be of 
equal importance. 

Western North Carolinians Won the Revolutionary 
War. 3 After the battle of Alamance, the defiance declared 
at public meetings, the declaration of independence at Meck- 
lenburg and at Halifax; after Gates' defeat at Camden, Au- 
gust 16, 1780, and Sumter's rout at Fishing creek, Corn- 
wallis started northward to complete the conquest of Vir- 
ginia and North Carolina. "At this dark crisis the Western 
North Carolinians conceived and organized and, with the aid 
which they sought and received from Virginia and the Wa- 
tauga settlement [the latter being then a part of North Caro- 
lina] now in Tennessee, carried to glorious success at Kings 
Mountain on October 7, 1780, an expedition which thwarted 
all the plans of the British commander, and restored the 
almost lost cause of the Americans and rendered possible 
its final triumph at Yorktown on October 19, 1781. This 

w. n.c. — 7 



98 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

expedition was without reward or the hope of reward, under- 
taken and executed by private individuals, at their own 
instance, who furnished their own arms, conveyances and 
supplies, bore their own expenses, achieved the victory, and 
then quietly retired to their homes, leaving the benefit of 
their work to all Americans, and the United States their 
debtors for independence." 

Vance, McDowell and Henry. "The white occupation 
of North Carolina had extended only to the Blue Ridge when 
the Revolution began"; but at its close General Charles 
McDowell, Col. David Vance and Private Robert Henry were 
among the first to cross the Blue Ridge and settle in the new 
county of Buncombe. 4 As a reward for their services, no 
doubt, they were appointed to run and mark the line between 
North Carolina and Temiessee in 1799, McDowell and Vance 
as commissioners and Henry as surveyor. While on this work 
they wrote and left in the care of Robert Henry their narra- 
tives of the battle of Kings Mountain and the fight at Cowan's 
ford. After his death Robert Henry's son, William L. Henry, 
furnished the manuscript to the late Dr. J. F. E. Hardy, and 
he sent it to Dr. Lyman C. Draper, of Wisconsin. On it is 
largely based his "King's Mountain and its Heroes" (1880). 

David Vance. He was the grandfather of Governor and 
General Vance; "came south with a great tide of Scotch-Irish 
emigration which flowed into the Piedmont country from 
the middle colonies between 1744 and 1752, and made his 
home on the Catawba river, in what is now Burke, and was 
then Rowan county, where he married Miss Brank about 
1775; and here, pursuing his vocation as a surveyor and teacher, 
the beginning of the Revolutionary war found him. He was 
one of the first in North Carolina to take up arms in support 
of the colonies, and in June, 1776, was appointed ensign in 
the second North Carolina regiment of Regular Continental 
troops, and shortly thereafter was promoted to a lieuten- 
ancy, and served with his regiment until May or June, 1778, 
"when the remnant of that regiment was consolidated with 
other North Carolina troops. He served at Brandywine, 
Germantown, Monmouth, and was with Washington at Val- 
ley Forge through the terrible winter of 1777-78. In command 
of a company he fought at Ramseur's Mill, Cowpens, and 
King's Mountain in 1780-81. His son David was the father 



REVOLUTIONARY DAYS 99 

of Zebulon and Robert B. Vance, the United States senator 
and Confederate general respectively, was a prominent and 
influential citizen of his time, and a captain in the War of 
1812, which, however, terminated before his regiment reached 
the theater of war. 

Captain William Moore. He was from Ulster county, 
Ireland, and was the first white man to settle west of the 
Blue Ridge in Buncombe. He was with his brother-in-law, 
Griffith Rutherford when that officer came through Buncombe 
in 1776 on his way to punish the Cherokees, and was struck 
with the beauty and fertility of the spot on which he after- 
wards settled, six and a half miles west of Asheville, the pres- 
ent residence, remodeled and enlarged, of Dr. David M. 
Gudger. He was a captain of one of Rutherford's com- 
panies. He returned in 1777 and built a fort on the site 
above referred to, obtaining a grant for 640 acres from Gov- 
ernor Caswell soon afterwards, for "land on Hominy creek, 
Burke county." But he had to leave his new home for the 
Revolutionary War, in which he served gallantly, returning 
at its close with his own family — his wife being Gen. Ruth- 
erford's sister — and five others. He had three sons, William, 
Samuel, and Charles, and three daughters, all of whom mar- 
ried Penlands, brothers. William and Samuel moved to 
Georgia, and Charles, the youngest, fell heir to the home 
place. Of him Col. Allen T. Davidson says in The Lyceum for 
April, 1891, page 24, that he had been born in a fort on Hom- 
iny creek "and was one of the most honorable, hospitable, 
open-hearted men it was my good fortune to know, whom 
I was taught by my parents to revere and respect; and I can 
now say I never found in him anything to lessen the high es- 
timate placed upon him by them." 

Mountain Tories. There was a man named Mills men- 
tioned in "The Heart of the Alleghanies" as living in Hen- 
derson county during the Revolutionary War; local tradi- 
tion says there was a Tory named Hicks who at some time 
during the Revolutionary War built himself a pole cabin on 
what is now the Meadow Farm near Banners Elk; but which 
was for years known as Hick's Improvement. Benjamin How- 
ard built what is known as the Boone cabin for the accommo- 
dation of himself and his herders when they were looking after 
the cattle grazing on the mountains near what is now the 

6 



100 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

town of Boone. Howard's Knob, where he is said to have 
had a cave, and Howard's creek are named for him. His 
daughter Sarah married Jordan Council, Sr., a prominent 
citizen, and they lived near the oak tree that has buck-horns 
embedded in its trunk, near Boone village. There is also here, 
at the spring, a large sycamore tree which grew from a switch 
stuck in the moist soil by Jesse Council, eldest son of Jordan 
Council, about one hundred years ago. Howard was a Tory. 
Some of the Norris family are said to have been Tories also; 
and two men, named White and Asher, were killed by the 
Whigs near Shull's Mills during the Revolutionary War. 5 
There were, doubtless, other Tories hidden in these mountains 
during those troublous times. Daniel Boone himself was not 
above suspicion, and escaped conviction under charges of dis- 
loyalty at Boonesborough, Ky., by pleading that his acts of 
apparent disloyalty were due to the fact that he had been 
"playing the Indians in order to gain time for getting rein- 
forcements to come up." 6 

The Norris Family. William Norris settled on Meat 
Camp, and his brother Jonathan on New river, about 1803, 
probably, as William was less than ninety when he died in 1873. 

Thomas Hodges came to Hodges' gap one, and a half miles 
west of what is now Boone, during the Revolutionary War. 
He came from Virginia, and brought his family with him. He 
was a Tory and was seeking to keep out of taking up arms 
against Great Britain when he came to his new home. There 
was a Norris in this section who was also a Tory. Thomas 
Hodges' son Gilbert married a daughter of Robert Shearer who 
lived on New River, three miles from Boone, and died there 
about 1845. Robert Shearer was a Scotchman who had fought 
in the American army. In 1787 Gilbert was born, and lived at 
the place of his birth in Hodges' gap till his death in December, 
1862. Hollard Hodges, a son of Gilbert, was born there 
July 18, 1827, and is still there. He still remembers that 
about 1856 he and Jordan McGhee in one day killed 432 
rattlesnakes on a rocky and cliffy place on the Rich mountain 
about three miles from Boone; and that he has always heard 
that Ben. Howard had entered all the land about Hodges gap. 
His wife was born Elizabeth Councill, and is a grand-doughter 
of Jordan Councill, Sr., whose wife was Sallie, daughter of 
Ben. Howard. 



REVOLUTIONARY DAYS 101 

Henderson County Heroes. In her history of Hender- 
son county, written for this work, Mrs. Mattie S. Candler 
says, "here are unquestionably numbers of quiet sleepers 
in the little old and neglected burying grounds all over the 
county who followed Shelby and Sevier at Kings Mountain," 
and mentions the grandfather of Misses Ella and Lela McLean 
and Mrs. Hattie Scott as having fought against his immediate 
relatives in the British army on that occasion, receiving a se- 
vere wound there. Elijah Williamson is said to have lived 
in Henderson county on land now owned by Preston Patton, 
his great grandson. Williamson was born in Virginia, moved 
to Ninety-Six, S. C, and afterwards settled on the Patton farm, 
where he planted five sycamore trees, naming each for one 
of his daughters. They still stand. Samuel Fletcher, ances- 
tor of Dr. G. E. Fletcher and of Mrs. Wm. R. Kirk and Miss 
Estelle Edgerton of Hendersonville, owned an immense tract 
adjoining the Patton farm, to which it is supposed he came 
about the time that Elijah Williamson did. 

Descendants of Revolutionary Heroes. Representatives 
of several Revolutionary soldiers reside in these mountains, 
among whom are the Alexanders, Davidsons, Fosters, 
McDowells, Coffeys, Bryans, Penlands, Wisemans, Aliens, 
Welches, and scores of others, who fought in North Caro- 
lina. Others are descendants of Nathan Horton, who was a 
member of the guard at the execution of Major Andre, when 
he carried a shot-gun loaded with one ball and three buck- 
shot. J. B. Horton, a direct descendant, has the gun now. 
J. C. Horton, who lives on the South Fork of the New River, 
near Boone, has a grandfather's clock which his ancestor, 
Nathan Horton, brought with him from New Jersey over one 
hundred years ago. The late Superior Court Judge, L. L. 
Greene of Boone, and the Greenes of Watauga generally, trace 
their descent directly from General Nathanael Greene, who 
conducted the most masterly retreat of the Revolutionary 
War, when he slowly retired before Cornwallis from Camden 
to Yorktown, and won the applause of even the British. 7 

The Old Field. Where Gap creek empties into the South 
Fork of New River is a rich meadow on which, according to 
tradition, there has never been any trees. It has been called 
the "old field" time out of mind. It was here that Col. 
Cleveland was captured by a notorious Tory named Riddle 



102 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

and his followers during the Revolutionary War. 8 The apple 
tree under which it is said he was seated when surprised and 
captured is still standing in the yard of the old Luther Per- 
kins home, 9 now occupied by a son of Nathan Waugh. The 
tree is said to be 180 years old. It is three feet in diam- 
eter six feet from the ground, and still bears fruit. It is 
said that Mrs. Perkins sent her daughter to notify Ben Greer 
And Joseph Calloway of Cleveland's capture and that they 
followed him by means of twigs dropped in the river as he 
was led up stream, having joined the party of Captain Cleve- 
land, who had gone in pursuit. Greer lived four miles above 
Old Field and Calloway two miles below. It is said that 
Greer shot one of the captors at Riddle's knob, to which 
point Cleveland had been taken, and that the rest fled, Cleve- 
land himself dropping behind the log on which he had been 
seated while slowly writing passes for his captors. It is also 
claimed that Ben. Greer fired the shot which killed Col. Fer- 
guson at Kings Mountain. 1 "Roosevelt says Ferguson was 
pierced by half a dozen bullets. (Vol. iii, 170). 

The Wolf's Den. Riddle's knob is ten miles north of 
Boone, and is even yet a "wild and secluded spot, being very 
near the noted Elk Knob, the place where this noted Tory 
had his headquarters. It is known as the "Wolf's Den," and 
is the place where the early settlers caught many young 
wolves." About 1857 Micajah Tugman found Riddle's 
knife in the crevices of the Wolf's Den. It was of peculiar 
design, the "jaws" being six inches long, and the handle was 
curved. x * 

Benjamin Cleveland. This brave man was born in Vir- 
ginia May 26, 1738. When thirty-one years of age he came 
to North Carolina to live, settling in Wilkes county. In 1776 
he became a Whig. He was himself somewhat cruel, as it is 
related of him that "some time after this (his capture at Old 
Field) this same Riddle and his son, and another was taken, 
and brought before Cleveland, and he hung all three of them 
near the Mulberry Meeting House, now Wilkesborough." 12 
Cleveland weighed over three hundred pounds, and his men 
called him "Old Roundabout," and themselves "Cleveland's 
Bull Dogs." The Tories, however, called them "Cleveland's 
Devils." He was a captain in Rutherford's expedition across 
the mountains to punish the Cherokees in 1776, for which 



REVOLUTIONARY DAYS 103 

service he was made a colonel, and as such rendered great 
service in suppressing Tory bands on the frontier. He raised 
a regiment of four hundred men in Surry and Wilkes counties 
and with them took part in Kings Mountain fight. Before 
he died he weighed over 450 pounds, but was cheerful and 
witty to the end, which came in October, 1806. * 3 

Dr. Draper's Account. In his "Kings Mountain and Its 
Heroes," Dr. Draper tells us (Ch. 19, p. 437, et seq.) that the 
Old Fields belonged to Colonel Cleveland, and served, in 
peaceful times, as a grazing region for his stock, and there 
his tenant, Jesse Duncan, resided. On Saturday, April 14, 
1881, accompanied only by a negro servant, Cleveland rode 
from his "Round About" plantation on the Yadkin to the 
Old Fields, where he spent the night. Captain William 
Riddle, a son of Col. James Riddle of Surry county, both of 
whom were Royalists, was at that time approaching Old 
Field from Virginia, with Captain Ross, a Whig captive, and 
his servant, enroute to Ninety Six, in South Carolina. Cap- 
tain Riddle's party of six or eight men, reached the home of 
Benjamin Cutbirth, some four miles above Old Field, on the 
afternoon of the day that Cleveland arrived at Jesse Dun- 
can's, and abused Cutbirth, who was a Whig and suffering 
from wounds he had but recently sustained in the American 
cause. Riddle, however, soon left Cutbirth's and went on to 
the upper end of Old Fields, where Joseph and Timothy 
Perkins resided, about one mile above Duncan's. Both these 
men were absent in Tory service at the time; but Riddle 
learned from their women that Cleveland was at Duncan's 
"with only his servant, Duncan and one or two of the Callo- 
way family." Riddle, however, was afraid to attack Cleve- 
land openly, and determined to lure him into an ambush 
the next morning. Accordingly, that night, he had Cleve- 
land's horses secretly taken from Duncan's to a laurel thicket 
"just above the Perkins house," where they were tied and 
left. But, it so happened, that on that very Saturday, Rich- 
ard Calloway and his brother-in-law, John Shirley, went down 
from the neighboring residence of Thomas Calloway, to see 
Col. Cleveland, where they remained over night. On the 
following (Sunday) morning, discovering that his horses were 
missing, Cleveland and Duncan, each with a pistol, and Cal- 
loway and Shirley, unarmed, went in pursuit, following the 



104 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

tracks of the stolen horses, just as Riddle had planned. 
"Reaching the Perkins place, one of the Perkins women, 
knowing of the ambuscade, secretly desired to save the Colo- 
nel from his impending fate, and detained him as long as she 
could, while his three companions went on, Cleveland follow- 
ing some little distance behind." She also followed, retard- 
ing Cleveland by enquiries, until his companions had crossed 
the fence that adjoined the thicket, where they were fired 
upon by Riddle's men from their places of concealment. 
Calloway's thigh was broken by the shot of Zachariah Wells, 
but Duncan and Shirley escaped. Cleveland "dodged into 
the house with several Tories at his heels." There he sur- 
rendered on condition that they would spare his life; but 
when Wells arrived he swore that he would kill Cleveland 
•then and there, and would have done so had not the latter 
"seized Abigal Wallers and kept her between him and his 
would-be assassin." Riddle, however, soon came upon the 
scene and ordered Wells to desist; after which, "the whole 
party with their prisoner and his servant were speedily 
mounted and hurried up New river," traveling "mostly in 
its bed to avoid being tracked, in case of pursuit." Two 
boys, of fourteen and fifteen, "Daniel Cutbirth and a youth 
named Walters," had resolved to waylay Riddle on his return 
to Benjamin Cutbirth's, and rescue whatever prisoners he 
might have with him; but they were deterred from their pur- 
pose by the size and noise of Riddle's party as they passed 
their place of concealment that Sunday morning. Riddle's 
party got dinner at Benjamin Cutbirth's where one of Cut- 
birth's daughters was abused and kicked by Riddle because 
of her reluctance in serving Riddle's party. After dinner 
Riddle's party proceeded up the bed of New river to the 
mouth of Elk creek, where the new and promising town of 
Todd now flourishes at the terminus of a new railroad now 
building from Konarok, Va., Cleveland meanwhile breaking 
off overhanging twigs and dropping them in the stream as a 
guide to his friends who, he knew, would soon follow in pur- 
suit. "From the head of the south fork of Elk, they as- 
cended up the mountains in what has since been known as 
Riddle's Knob, in what is now Watauga county, and some 
fourteen miles from the place of Cleveland's captivity," 
where they camped for the night. Meantime, early that 



REVOLUTIONARY DAYS 105 

Sabbath morning, Joseph Calloway and his brother-in-law, 
Berry Toney, had called at Duncan's, and hearing firing in 
the direction of Perkins's home, hastened there; but, meeting 
Duncan and Shirley in rapid flight, they learned from them 
that Richard Calloway had been left behind for dead and 
that Cleveland was either dead or captured. Duncan, Shir- 
ley and Toney then went to notify the people of the scattered 
settlements to meet that afternoon at the Old Fields, while 
Joseph Calloway rode to Captain Robert Cleveland's place 
on Lewis Fork of the Yadkin river, a dozen miles distant. 
His brother, William Calloway, started forthwith up New 
river and soon came across Benjamin Greer and Samuel 
McQueen, who readily joined them, and together they fol- 
lowed Riddle's trail till night overtook them ten miles above 
the Old Fields, where Calloway and McQueen remained, 
while Greer returned to pilot whatever men might have 
gathered to engage in the pursuit of the Tories. Greer 
soon met Robert Cleveland and twenty others at the Old 
Fields, and all started at once, reaching Calloway and Mc- 
Queen before day Monday morning. John Baker joined 
Calloway and McQueen to lead the advance as spies or ad- 
vance guards; and, soon after sunrise, the nine men who were 
in advance of the others fired upon Riddle's party, while 
Cleveland tumbled behind the log on which he was slowly 
writing passes for his Tory captors. But Wells alone was 
shot, being hit as he scampered away by William Calloway, 
and was left as it was supposed that he had been mortally 
wounded. Riddle and his wife mounted horses and escaped 
with the others of his band. " Cleveland's servant, who had 
been a pack-horse for the Tory plunderers, " was rescued with 
his master. Captain Ross, Riddle's Virginia prisoner, was also 
rescued. Shortly after this Riddle captured on Kings creek at 
night two of Cleveland's noted soldiers, David and John Wither- 
spoon, who resided with their parents on Kings creek, and 
spirited them many miles away in the mountain region on 
Watauga river. Here they escaped death by taking the oath 
of allegiance to the King of England, and were released ; but as 
soon as they reached their home, David hastened to notify Col. 
Ben. Herndon, several miles down the Yadkin, who with a 
party of men, under the guidance of the Witherspoon brothers, 
returned and captured Riddle and two of his noted associates, 



106 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Reeves and Gross, who were taken to Wilkesboro and "executed 
on the hill adjoining the village on a stately oak. 
Mrs. Riddle," who seems to have accompanied her husband on 
his wild and reckless marauds, "was present and witnessed his 
execution." Wells had been captured and hanged by Cleve- 
land a short time before. (P. 446.) 

David and John Witherspoon. Of these heroes Dr. 
Draper says (p. 461), "David was a subordinate officer — per- 
haps a lieutenent — in Cleveland's regiment at Kings moun- 
tain, and his younger brother John was a private." They 
were of Scotch origin, but natives of New Jersey. David was 
born in 1758 and John in 1760. They were collateral rela- 
tives of John Witherspoon, president of Princeton college, and 
a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Each afterwards 
represented Wilkes in the legislature. David died in May 
1828 while on a visit to South Carolina, and John in Wayne 
county, Tenn., in 1839. Captain William Harrison Wither- 
spoon, of Jefferson, was descended from John Witherspoon, 
and was born near Kings creek, January 24, 1841. He was 
a sergeant major of the 1st N. C. Infantry, was shot in the 
leg at Seven Pines in 1862, and in the forehead at Spottsyl- 
vania Court House, May 12, 1864, returning for duty in less 
than two months. He surrendered with Lee at Appomattox, 
after serving four years and nine days in the Confederate 
army. His wife was born Clarissa Pennell in Wilkes county. 
In the Spring of 1865, while seven of Stonemen's men — three 
negroes and four white men — were trying to break into her 
father's stable near Wilkesboro, for the purpose of stealing 
her father's horses and mules, she warned them that if they 
persisted she would shoot; and as they paid her no heed, she 
did actually shoot and kill one of the white robbers, and the 
rest fled. Gen. Stoneman, when he heard of her conduct, 
sent her a guard and complimented her highly for her courage 
and determination. 

The Perkins Family. J. D. Perkins, Esq., an attorney at 
Kendrick, Va., in a letter to his brother, L. N. Perkins, at 
Boone, N. C, of date December 1, 1913, says that his ances- 
tors Joseph and Timothy Perkins were tax gatherers under 
the colonial government of Massachusetts about the com- 
mencement of the Revolutionary War, but removed to Old 
Fields, Ashe county on account of political persecution. They 



REVOLUTIONARY DAYS 107 

remained loyal to the King during the whole of the Revolu- 
tionary War, and Timothy was killed somewhere in Ashe in 
a Tory skirmish. Timothy left several sons and one daugh- 
ter, Lucy, J. D. Perkin's great grandmother, who married a 
man named Young. Joseph also left sons and daughters. "I 
have forgotten the names of most of our great grand uncles," 
wrote J. D. Perkins in the letter above mentioned, "but I 
remember to have heard our mother tell about seeing 'Granny 
Skritch,' a sister to our great-great-grandfather, and who 
was very old at that time, and living with one of her Perkins 
relatives up on Little Wilson. Our mother was then quite 
small and the old lady (Granny Skritch) was very old and 
confined to her bed; but our mother was impressed with 
Granny Skritch's loyalty, even then, to King George, and the 
manner in which she abused the Patriot soldiers in her talk." 

Other Important Facts. Dr. Draper says (p. 435), "In 
the summer of 1780 he (Cleveland) was constantly employed 
in surpressing the Tories — first in marching against those as- 
sembled at Ramsour's mill, reaching them shortly after their 
defeat; then in chasing Col. (Samuel) Bryan from the State, 
and finally in scouring the region of New River including the 
Tory rising in that quarter, capturing and hanging some of 
their notorious leaders and outlaws." 

Cleveland's Character. Dr. Draper tries to temper the 
facts of Benjamin Cleveland's career as much as possible, but 
that this hero of the Revolutionary War was inhumanly cruel, 
cannot be disguised. His compelling a horse-thief, socalled — 
for he had not been tried — to cut off his own ears with a 
case knife in order to escape death by hanging, was inexpres- 
sibly revolting. (P. 447). Cleveland lost his "Round About 
Farm" "by a better title" at the close of the war, and moved 
to the "fine region of the Tugalo on the western border of 
South Carolina" and "though the Indian title was not yet 
extinguished," he resolved to be among the early squatters 
of the country, and "removed to his new home in the forks 
of the Tugalo river and Chauga creek in the present county 
of Oconee" in 1785. He served many years as a "judge of 
the Court of Old Pendleton county, with General Pickens and 
Col. Robert Anderson as his associates, . . . 'frequently 
taking a snooze on the bench' says Governor B. F. Perry, 
while the lawyers were making long and prosy speeches." He 



108 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

was defeated for the legislature in 1793 by seven votes. 
"He had scarcely any education," and "was despotic in his 
nature" declares Dr. Draper; but "North Carolina deservedly 
commemorated his services by naming a county after him." 
Here he died and was buried; but "no monument — no inscrip- 
tion — no memorial stone — point out his silent resting place." 
(P. 453-4.) 

Ashe a Battle Ground. From Robert Love's pension 
papers it appears that the first battle in which he took part 
was when he was in command of a party of Americans in 
1880 against a party of Tories in July of that year. This 
band of Tories was composed of about one hundred and fifty 
men, and they were routed "up New River at the Big Glades, 
now in Ashe county, North Carolina, as they were on the way 
to join Cornwallis." "In the year 1780 this declarent was 
engaged against the Torys at a special court first held on 
Toms creek down the New river, and afterwards upon Crip- 
ple creek; then up New river . . . then, afterwards at 
the Moravian Old Town . . . making an examination 
up to near the Shallow Ford of the Yadkin . . . rout- 
ing two parties of Tories in Guilford county, hanging one of 
the party who fell into his hands up the New River, and 
another, afterwards, whom they captured in Guilford." This 
activity may explain the presence of the mysteriuos battle 
ground in Alleghany county. (See ch. 13, "A Forgotten Bat- 
tlefield.") 

The Big Glades. This may be the Old Field, and it is 
most probable that this is the spot reached and lauded by 
Bishop Spangenberg in 1752. (See ch. 3, "In Goshen's 
Land.") 

But whether they are identical with that locality or not, 
the following is an account of that well-known spot: 

Short Story of an Old Place. This land was granted 
to Luther Perkins by grant No. 599, which is recorded in Ashe 
county July 28, 1904, Book WW, page 254. But the grant itself 
is dated November 30, 1805, while the land was entered in May, 
1803. This tract is the one on which the apple tree stands 
under which Cleveland is said to have been captured; but it is 
probably not the first tract nor the best, which was conveyed 
by Charles McDowell, a son of Gen. Charles McDowell 
of Revolutionary fame, to Richard Gentry for $1,000 in 



REVOLUTIONARY DAYS 109 

1854. There seems to be several hundred acres in that bound- 
ary, beginning on a Spanish oak in the line of Joseph Perkins's 
Old Field Tract, and crossing Gap creek. There is no record in 
Ashe county, of how Charles McDowell got this place, though 
he probably inherited it. Richard Gentry divided his property 
into three parts, two in land and one in slaves. Adolphus 
Russeau, who married one of Gentry's daughters got the land 
now owned by Arthur Phillips. Nathan Waugh got the other 
tract, while James Gentry, a son, took the slaves. It was on 
this tract that the first 100 bushels of corn to the acre of land 
in Ashe county was raised by Richard Gentry. He was a mem- 
ber of the family of whom Dr. Cox said in his "Foot Prints," 
(p. 110): "The Gentry family have been distinguished for 
their principles and patriotic love of constitutional liberty and 
justice." Of Hon. Richard Gentry himself he said (p. 116): 
"He married a Miss Harboard and his residence was at Old 
Field. He was a Baptist preacher, justice of the peace and 
clerk of the Superior Court and a member of both branches 
of the legislature." 

Sword-tilt Between Herndon and Beverly. "The 
depredations of the Tories were so frequent, and their conduct 
so savage, that summary punishment was demanded by the 
exigencies of the times. This Cleveland inflicted without 
ceremony. General Lenoir relates a circumstance that occur- 
red at Mulberry Meeting-house. While there, on some pub- 
lic occasion, the rumor was that mischief was going on by the 
Tories. Lenoir went to his horse, tied at some distance from 
the house, and, as he approached, a man ran off from the oppo- 
site side of the horse. Lenoir hailed him, but he did not stop; 
he pursued him and found that he had stolen one of the stir- 
rups of his saddle. He carried the pilferer to Colonel Cleve- 
land, who ordered him to place his two thumbs in a notch for 
that purpose in an arbor fork, and hold them there while he 
ordered him to receive fifteen lashes. This was his peculiar 
manner of inflicting the law, and gave origin to the phrase, 
'To thumb the notch.' The punishment on the offender 
above was well inflicted by Captain John Beverly, whose 
ardor did not stop at the ordered number. After the fifteen 
had been given, Colonel Herndon ordered him to stop, but 
Beverly continued to whip the wincing culprit. Colonel 
Herndon drew his sword and struck Beverly. Captain Bev- 



110 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

erly drew also, and they had a tilt which, but for friends, 
would have terminated fatally." 14 

Shad Laws' Oak. There is a tree on the public road in 
Wilkes, which to this day bears the name of "Shad Laws' Oak, " 
on which the notches, thumbed by said Laws under the sen- 
tence of Cleveland, are distinctly visible. : 5 

Sevier, the Harry Percy of the Revolution. When 
"General Charles McDowell, finding his force too weak to 
stop Ferguson," "crossed the mountains to the Watauga 
settlements, he found the mountaineers ready to unite 
against the hated Ferguson. . . . These hardy men set 
out to search for Ferguson on September 25 (1780). They 
were armed with short Deckard rifles, and were expert shots. 
They knew the woods as wild deer do, and from boyhood 
had been trained in the Indian ways of fighting. They fur- 
nished their own horses and carried bags of parched flour for 
rations." 16 

According to Dr. Lyman C. Draper's "Kings Mountain 
and Its Heroes," page 176, Sevier followed the Gap creek from 
Mathew Talbot's Mill, now known as Clark's Mill, three 
miles from Sycamore Shoals, "to its head, when they bore 
somewhat to the left, crossing Little Doe river, reaching the 
noted 'Resting Place,' at the Shelving Rock, about a mile 
beyond the Crab Orchard, where, after a march of some twenty 
miles that day, they took up their camp for the night. . . . 
Here a man named Miller resided, who shod several of the 
horses of the party." The next morning, Wednesday, the 
twenty-seventh (of September, 1880,) . . . they reached 
the base of the Yellow and Roan mountains and ascended the 
mountain by following the well-known Bright's Trace, through 
a gap between the Yellow mountain on the north and the 
Roan mountain on the south. The sides and top of the moun- 
tain were "covered shoe-mouth deep with snow." On the 
100 acres of "beautiful table land" on top they paraded and 
discharged their short Deckard rifles; "and such was the rar- 
ity of the atmosphere, that there was little or no report." 
Here two of Sevier's men deserted. They were James Craw- 
ford and Samuel Chambers, and were suspected of having 
gone ahead to warn Ferguson of Sevier's approach. Sevier 
did not camp there, however, as there was still some hours 
of daylight left after the parade and refreshments, but "passed 



REVOLUTIONARY DAYS 1 1 1 

on a couple of miles, descending the eastern slope of the moun- 
tains into Elk Hollow, a slight depression between the Yellow 
and Roan mountains, rather than a gap; and here, at a fine 
spring flowing into Roaring creek, they took up their camp 
for the night. Descending Roaring creek on the 28th four 
miles they reached its confluence with the North Toe river, 
and a mile below they passed Bright's place, now Avery's; and 
thence down the Toe to the noted spring on the Davenport 
place, since Tate's, and now known as the Childs place, a 
little distance west of the stream." 

HAYWOOD IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR. 

"Long before white people had come into the mountain country, all 
the land now included in Haywood county was occupied by the war- 
like Cherokees. As the western frontier of civilization, however, ap- 
proached the Indian territory, the simple natives of the hills retired 
farther and farther into the fastnesses of the mountains. While the 
Regulators were resisting Tryon at Alamance and the patriots under 
Caswell and Moore were bayonetting the Tories at Moore's Creek Bridge, 
the Cherokees of what is now Haywood county were smoking their pipes 
in peace under the shadows of Old Bald or hunting along the banks of 
the murmuring Pigeon and its tributaries. 

"When, however, the tide of western immigration overflowed the 
French Broad and began to reach the foothills of the Balsams the Cher- 
okees, ever friendly as a rule to the white man, gave up their lands and 
removed to the banks of the Tuckaseigee, thus surrendering to their 
white brothers all the land eastward of a line running north and south 
between the present town of Waynesville and the Balsam range of moun- 
tains. Throughout the period of the early settlement of Haywood county 
and until the present the most friendly relations have existed between 
the white people and the Cherokees. 

"Only one incident is given by tradition which shows that any hos- 
tile feeling existed at any time. It is related that a few Indians from 
their settlement on the Tuckaseigee, before the close of the eighteenth 
century, went across the Smoky mountains into Tennessee and stole 
several horses from the settlers there. A posse of white men followed 
the redskins, who came across the Pigeon on their way home, encamped 
for the night on Richland near the present site of the Hardwood factory 
in Waynesville. While encamped for the night, their white pursuers came 
up, fired into them, recaptured the horses, and began their journey back 
to Tennessee. The Indians, taken by surprise, scattered, but soon recov- 
ered themselves and went in pursuit of the white men. At Twelve Mile 
creek they came upon the whites encamped for the night. Indian fashion 
they made an attack, and in the fight which ensued one white man by the 
name of Fine was killed. The Indians, however, were driven off. Before 
leaving their camp next morning the white men took the body of their 



1 12 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 



dead comrade, broke a hole in the ice which covered the creek, and put 
him in the ice cold water to remain until they could return for the body. 
A big snow was on the ground at the time, and it was bitter cold. From 
this story Twelve Mile creek came to be called Fines creek. 

"Haywood county's citizenship has always been at the front in times 
of war. From the best information obtainable it is quite certain that 
most of the earliest settlers had been in the Continental army and fought 
through the entire war of the Revolution, and later on many of them were 
in the war of 1812. Still later a number of these veterans of two wars 
moved to the great and boundless West, where the hazardous life might 
be spent in fighting savage tribes of Indians. 

"As best it can be learned, only seven of these grand old patriots died 
and were buried within the confines of Haywood county, to-wit: at 
Waynesville, Colonel William Allen and Colonel Robert Love; at Canton, 
George Hall, James Abel, and John Messer; at upper Fines creek, Hughey 
Rogers; at Lower Fines creek, Christian Messer. There were doubtless 
others, but their names have been lost. 

"All of these old soldiers were ever ready to fight for their homes. 
They came in almost daily contact with the Cherokee Indians, once a great 
and warlike tribe controlling the wilderness from the glades of Florida to 
the Great Lakes. While these savages were friendly to the settlers it was 
ever regarded as not a remote possibility that they might go upon the 
warpath at any time. Hence our forefathers had them constantly to 
watch while they were subduing the land." 17 

NOTES. 

iN. C. Booklet, Vol. I, No. 7, p. 3. 

2 Dropped Stitches, 2, p. 17. 

3 Asheville's Centenary. 

4 McDowell entered land and settled his children near Brevard. 

'Captain W. M. Hodge's statement to Col. W. L. Bryan of Boone, 1912, in letter from 
latter to J. P. A., November 26, 1912. 

6 Thwaites, p. 167. 

'N. C Booklet, Vol. I, No. 7. 

8 \Vheeler's History of North Carolina, p. 444. 

9 He was probably related to "Gentleman George" Perkins who had piloted Bishop I. 
Spangenberg's party in 1752. Col. Rec, Vol. V, pp. 1 to 14. 

10 This tradition is also preserved in the family of Prof. Isaac G. Greer, professor of 
history in the Appalachian Training School, Boone. 

"From Col. W. L. Bryan's "Primitive History of the Mountain Region," written in 
1912 for this work. 

12 Wheeler's History of North Carolina, p. 444. 

"N. C. Booklet, Vol. I, No. 7, p. 27. 

14 Wheeler's History of North Carolina, p. 445. 

15 Ibid., citing Mss. of General Wm. Lenoir. 

i6Hill, p. 189. 

i 'Allen, p. 21. 




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CHAPTER VI 

THE STATE OF FRANKLIN 

The Act of Cession of Tennessee. As Congress was 
heavily in debt at the close of the Revolutionary War, North 
Carolina, in 1784, "voted to give Congress the twenty-nine 
million acres lying between the Alleghany mountains and the 
Mississippi river." 1 This did not please the Watauga set- 
ters, and a few months later the legislature of North Carolina 
withdrew its gift, and again took charge of its western land 
because it feared the land would not be used to pay the debts 
of Congress. These North Carolina law makers also "ordered 
judges to hold court in the western counties, arranged to 
enroll a brigade of soldiers, and appointed John Sevier to 
command it." 2 

Franklin. In August, 1784, a convention met at Jones- 
boro and formed a new State, with a constitution providing 
that lawyers, doctors and preachers should never be mem- 
bers of the legislature; but the people rejected it, and then 
adopted the constitution of North Carolina in November, 
1785, at Greenville. They made a few changes in the North 
Carolina constitution, but called the State Franklin. John 
Sevier was elected governor and David Campbell judge of the 
Superior court. Greenville was made the capital. The 
first legislature met in 1785; Landon Carter was the Speaker 
of the Senate, and Thomas Talbot clerk. William Gage was 
Speaker of the House, and Thomas Chapman clerk. The Con- 
vention made treaties with the Indians, opened courts, 
organized new counties, and fixed taxes and officers' salaries 
to be paid in money, corn, tobacco, whiskey, skins, etc., includ- 
ing everything in common use among the people. 3 

Tennessee's View of the Act of Cession. "The set- 
tlers lived and their public affairs were conducted under the 
jurisdiction of the County Court of Pleas and Quarter Ses- 
sions for a period of about six years, in a quiet and orderly 
manner; but ever since that May day of 1772 when they 
organized the first "free and independent government," 
their dream had been of a new, separate and independent 

(113) W. N. C. 8 



1 14 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

commonwealth, and they began to be restless, dissatisfied 
and disaffected toward the government of North Carolina. 
Many causes seemed to conspire to increase their discontent. 
The first constitution of North Carolina had made provision 
for a future State within her limits, on the western side of 
the Alleghany mountains. The mother State had persistently 
refused, on the plea of poverty, to establish a Superior Court 
and appoint an attorney general or prosecuting officer for the 
inhabitants west of the mountains. In 1784, many claims 
for compensation for military services, supplies, etc., in the 
campaigns against the Indians, were presented to the State 
government from the settlements west of the Alleghanies. 
North Carolina was impoverished; and, notwithstanding 
the fact that these claims were just, reasonable and honest, 
it was suggested, and perhaps believed, 'that all pretenses 
were laid hold of (by the settlers) to fabricate demands against 
the government, and that the industry and property of those 
who resided on the east side of the mountains were become 
the funds appropriated to discharge the debts contracted by 
those on the west. ' Thus it came about that, in May, 1784, 
North Carolina, in order to relieve herself of this burden, 
ceded to the United States her territory west of the Alle- 
ghanies, provided that Congress would accept it within two 
two years. At a subsequent session, an act was passed re- 
taining jurisdiction and sovereignity over the territory until 
it should have been accepted by Congress. Immediately 
after passing the act of cession, North Carolina closed the 
land office in the ceded territory, and nullified all entries of 
land made after May 25, 1784. 

"The passage of the cession act stopped the delivery of a 
quantity of goods which North Carolina was under promise to 
deliver to the Cherokee Indians, as compensation for their 
claim to certain lands. The failure to deliver these goods 
naturally exasperated the Cherokees, and caused them to 
commit depredations, from which the western settlers were 
of course the sufferers." (McGhee's History of Tennessee). 

"At this session the North Carolina Assembly at Hillsboro laid taxes, 
or assessed taxes and empowered Congress to collect them, and vested 
in Congress power to levy a duty on foreign merchandise. 

"The general opinion among the settlers west of the Alleghanies was 
that the territory would not be accepted by Congress . . and 



STATE OF FRANKLIN 115 

that, for a period of two years, the people in that territory, being under 
the protection neither of the government of the United States nor of 
the State of North Carolina, would neither receive any support from 
abroad nor be able to command their own resources at home — for the 
North Carolina act had subjected them to the payment of taxes to the 
United States government. At the same time, there was no relaxation 
of Indian hostilities. Under these circumstances, the great body of 
people west of the Alleghanies concluded that there was but one thing 
left for them to do, and that was to adopt a constitution and organize a 
State government of their own. This they proceeded to do." 

(McGhee's History of Tennessee.) 

Sevier and North Carolina. In this condition of affairs 
the State of Franklin had been organized. The cession act 
was repealed and a judge sent to Tennessee to hold court; 
but there were two rival governments attempting to exer- 
cise power in the Watauga settlement, and there were, in con- 
sequence, frequent clashes, between Col. John Tipton's forces, 
representing North Carolina, and those of John Sevier. Accord- 
ing to Roosevelt, from whose history 4 the balance of this ac- 
count has been taken, the desire to separate from the Eastern 
States was strong throughout the west owing to the unchecked 
ravages of the Indians and the refusal of the right to the set- 
tlers to navigate the Mississippi. The reason the Watauga 
settlers seized upon the first pretext to separate from the 
mother State was because most of them were originally from 
Virginia, and in settling where they did, supposed they were 
still on Virginia soil. Then, too, North Carolina had a weak 
government, and Virginia was far more accessible to the 
pioneers than the Old North State. While Kentucky had 
settled up after the Revolutionary War with "men who were 
often related by ties of kinship to the leaders of the Virginia 
legislatures and conventions," the North Carolina settlers 
who came to Watauga "were usually of the type of those who 
had first built their stockaded hamlets on the bank of the 
Watauga, and the first leaders of Watauga continued at the 
head of affairs." Many of these, including Robertson and 
Sevier, had been born in Virginia, where there was intense 
State pride, and felt little loyalty to North Carolina. It is, 
however, but just to say that James Robertson had no part 
in this attempt to set up a separate State government, he 
having already gone to the French Licks where he had estab- 
lished a government which was as loyal to North Carolina as 



116 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

its remoteness admitted. North Carolina herself wished to 
be rid of the frontiersmen, because it was poor and felt the 
burden of the debts contracted in the Indian wars of the border. 
Then, too, the jurisdiction of the State courts had not been 
extended over these four western counties, Davidson, Wash- 
ington, Sullivan and Greene, although they sent representa- 
tives to the State legislature at Hillsborough. Consequently, 
those counties became a refuge for outlaws, who had to be 
dealt with by the settlers without the sanction of law. In 
June 1784 the legislature passed an act ceding all the western 
lands to the Continental Congress, to be void in case Con- 
gress did not accept the gift within two years; but continuing 
its sovereignty and jurisdiction over the ceded lands. Even 
the members from these four counties then in the legislature 
of the mother State voted for the cession. It was a time of 
transition between the weakness of the Confederation and 
the adoption of the constitution of 1787; but North Carolina 
did not propose to allow this new State to set up for itself 
without her formal and free consent. It therefore set about 
reducing the recalcitrants to submission, and soon the last 
vestige of the Sevier government had become extinct. 

Colonel John Tipton. Although this gentleman had at 
first favored the separation, he had opposed putting the act 
of independence into force till North Carolina could be given 
an opportunity to rectify the wrongs complained of, and it 
was he who became the leader in the suppression of Sevier's 
government. About March, 1788, a writ was issued by North 
Carolina courts and executed against Sevier's estate, the sher- 
iff seizing his negroes, and taking them to the house of Col. 
Tipton on Sinking creek for safe keeping . . . Sevier, 
with 150 men and a light field-piece, marched to retake them, 
and besieged Tipton and from thirty to forty of his men for 
a couple of days, during which two or three men were killed 
or wounded. Then the county lieutenant of Sullivan with 
180 militia came to Tipton's rescue, surprised Sevier at dawn 
on the last of February, 1788, killing one or two men and 
taking two of Sevier's sons prisoners. Tipton was with dif- 
ficulty dissuaded from hanging them. This scrambling fight 
marked the ignoble end of the State of Franklin. Sevier fled 
to the uttermost part of the frontier, where no writs ran, and 
the rough settlers were devoted to him. Here he speedily 



STATE OF FRANKLIN 117 

became engaged in the Indian war, during which some ma- 
rauding Indians killed eleven women and children of the fam- 
ily of John Kirk on Little river, seven miles south of Knox- 
ville while Kirk and his eldest son were absent. 

A Blot on Sevier's Escutcheon. Later on young Kirk 
joined about forty men led by Sevier to a small Cherokee 
town opposite Chilhowa. These Indians were well known to 
have been friendly to the whites, and among them was Old 
Tassel, or Corn Tassel, "who for years had been foremost in 
the endeavor to keep the peace and to prevent raids on the 
settlers. They put out a white flag; and the whites then 
hoisted one themselves. On the strength of this, one of the 
Indians crossed the river, and on demand of the whites fer- 
ried them over. Sevier put the Indians in a hut, and then a 
horrible deed of infamy was perpetrated. Among Sevier's 
troops was young John Kirk, whose mother, sisters and broth- 
ers had been so foully butchered by the Cherokee, Slim Tom 
and his associates. Young Kirk's brutal soul was parched 
with longing for revenge, and he was, both in mind and heart, 
too nearly kin to his Indian foes greatly to care whether his 
vengeance fell on the wrong-doers or on the innocent. He 
entered the hut where the Cherokee chiefs were confined, and 
brained them with his tomahawk, while his comrades looked 
on without interfering. Sevier's friends asserted that he was 
absent; but this is no excuse. He knew well the fierce blood- 
lust of his followers, and it was criminal negligence to leave 
to their mercy the friendly Indians who had trusted to his 
good faith; and, moreover, he made no effort to punish the 
murderer." 

The Horror of the Frontiersmen. Such was the indig- 
nation with which this deed was received by the better class 
of backwoodsmen that Sevier's forces melted away, and he 
was obliged to abandon a march he had planned against the 
Chickamaugas. The Continental Congress passed resolutions 
condemning such acts, and the justices of the court of Abbe- 
ville, S. C, with Andrew Pickens at their head "wrote to the 
people living on Nollechucky, French Broad and Holstein" 
denouncing in unmeasured terms the encroachments and out- 
rages of which Sevier and his backwoodsmen had been guilty. 
"The governor of North Carolina, as soon as he heard the 
news, ordered the arrest of Sevier and his associates [for trea- 



118 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

son] doubtless as much because of their revolt against the 
State as because of the atrocities they had committed against 
the Indians. . . . The Governor of the State had given 
orders to seize him because of his violation of the laws and 
treaties in committing wanton murder on friendly Indians; 
and a warrant to arrest him for high treason was issued by 
the courts." 

Sevier Is Arrested for High Treason. Sevier knew of 
this warrant, and during the summer of 1788 led his bands of 
wild horsemen on forays against the Cherokee towns, never 
fighting a pitched battle, but by hard riding taking them by 
surprise. As long as he remained on the frontier he was in 
no danger; but late in October, 1788, he ventured back to 
Jonesborough, where he drank freely and caroused with his 
friends. He soon quarreled with one of Tipton's side, who 
denounced him for the murder of Corn Tassel and the other 
peaceful chiefs. "Finally they all rode away; but when some 
miles out of town Sevier got into a quarrel with another man; 
and after more drinking and brawling, he went to pass the 
night at a house, the owner of which was his friend. Mean- 
time, one of the men with whom he had quarreled informed 
Tipton that his foe was within his grasp. Tipton gathered 
eight or ten men and early next morning surprised Sevier in 
his lodgings. Sevier could do nothing but surrender, and Tip- 
ton put him in irons, and sent him across the mountains to 
Morganton in North Carolina." 

Dr. Ramsey's Account of the Arrest. In his Annals of 
Tennessee (p. 427) this writer copies Haywood's History of 
Tennessee : "The pursuers then went to the widow Brown's, 
where Sevier was. Tipton and the party with him rushed 
forward to the door of common entrance. It was about sun- 
rise. Mrs. Brown had just risen. Seeing a party with arms 
at that early hour, well acquainted with Colonel Tipton, prob- 
ably rightly apprehending the cause of this visit, she sat her- 
self down in the front door to prevent their getting into the 
house, which caused a considerable bustle between her and 
Colonel Tipton. Sevier had slept near one end of the house 
and, on hearing a noise, sprung from his bed and, looking 
through a hole in the door-side, saw Colonel Love, upon which 
he opened the door and held out his hand, saying to Colonel 



STATE OF FRANKLIN 119 

Love, 'I surrender to you.' Colonel Love led him to the 
place where Tipton and Mrs. Brown were contending about 
a passage into the house. Tipton, upon seeing Sevier, was 
greatly enraged, and swore that he would hang him. Tipton 
held a pistol in his hand, sometimes swearing he would shoot 
him, and Sevier was really afraid that he would put his threat 
into execution. Tipton at length became calm and ordered 
Sevier to get his horse, for that he would carry him to Jones- 
boro. Sevier pressed Colonel Love to go with him to Jones- 
boro, which the latter consented to do. On the way he 
requested of Colonel Love to use his influence that he might 
not be sent over the mountains into North Carolina. Colonel 
Love remonstrated to him against an imprisonment in Jones- 
boro, for, said he, 'Tipton will place a strong guard around 
you there; your friends will attempt a rescue, and bloodshed 
will be the result'. ... As soon as they arrived at 
Jonesboro, Tipton ordered iron hand-cuffs to be put on him, 
which was accordingly done. He then carried the governor 
to the residence of Colonel Love and that of the widow Pugh, 
whence he went home, leaving Sevier in the custody of the 
deputy sheriff and two other men, with orders to carry him 
to Morganton, and lower down, if he thought it necessary. 
Colonel Love traveled with him till late in the evening. 

"Before Colonel Love had left the guard, they had, at his 
request, taken off the irons of their prisoner. ... A 
few days afterwards James and John Sevier, sons of the Gov- 
ernor, . . . and some few others were seen by Colonel 
Love following the way the guard had gone. . . . The 
guard proceeded with him to Morganton where they deliv- 
ered him to William Morrison, the then high Sheriff of Burke 
county. . . . General McDowell and General Joseph 
McDowell . . . both followed him immediately to 
Morganton and there became his securities for a few days 
to visit friends. He returned promptly. The sheriff then, 
upon his own responsibility, let him have a few days more to 
visit friends and acquaintances. ... By this time his 
two sons . . . and others, came into Morganton with- 
out any knowledge of the people there, who they were, or 
what their business was. Court was . . . sitting in 
Morganton and they were with the people, generally, without 



120 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

suspicion. At night, when the court broke up and the people 
dispersed, they, with the Governor, pushed forward towards 
the mountains with the greatest rapidity, and before morning 
arrived at them." 

Roosevelt Repudiates the Sensational Account. In 
a foot note on page 226, Vol. iv, Roosevelt says: " Ramsey 
first copies Haywood and gives the account correctly. He 
then adds a picturesque alternative account — followed by 
later writers — in which Sevier escapes in an open court on a 
celebrated race mare. The basis for this last account, so far 
as it has any basis at all, lies on statements made nearly 
half a century after the event, and entirely unknown to Hay- 
wood. There is no evidence of any kind as to its truthfulness. 
It must be set aside as mere fable." The late Judge A. C. 
Avery, in 1889, published in the Morganton Weekly Herald 
a third account, to the effect that after having been released 
on bond a few days Sevier surrendered himself to the sheriff 
of Burke and went to jail; that afterwards, when his case 
was called the sheriff started with him to the court, but Se- 
vier's friends managed to get him separated from the sheriff 
and to open a way for him to his horse then being held near 
by. But this, too, rests upon what old men of thirty years 
prior to 1889 said their fathers had told them. 

Sevier's Second Treason Against the State. Miro 
in New Orleans and Gardoqui in Washington, were the chief 
representatives of Spain in America in 1778, and the unrest 
"in the West had taken the form, not of attempting the 
capture of Louisiana by force, but of obtaining concessions 
from the Spaniards in return for favors to be rendered to 
them. Clark and Robertson, Morgan, Brown and Innes, 
Wilkinson and Sebastian, were all in correspondence with 
Gardoqui and Miro, in the endeavor to come to some profit- 
able agreement with them. Sevier now joined the number. 
His new-born State had died; he was being prosecuted for 
high treason; he was ready to go to any lengths against North 
Carolina; and he clutched at the chance of help from the 
Spaniards. At the time North Carolina was out of the Union 
(not having yet ratified the Constitution) so Sevier committed 
no offense against the Federal Government." So, when 
Gardoqui heard of the fight between Sevier's and Tipton's men, 



STATE OF FRANKLIN 121 

he sent an emissary to Sevier, who was in the mood to grasp 
"a helping hand stretched out from no matter what quarter." 
He had no organized government back of him, but he was in 
the midst of his successful Cherokee campaigns, and he knew 
the reckless Indian fighters would gladly follow him in any 
movement, if he had a chance of success. He felt that if he 
were given money and arms, and the promise of outside assist- 
ance, he could yet win the day. He jumped at Gardoqui's 
cautious offers; though careful not to promise to subject him- 
self to Spain, and doubtless with no idea of playing the part 
of Spanish vassal longer than the needs of the moment required. 
In July he wrote to Gardoqui, eager to strike a bargain with 
him, and in September sent him two letters by the hand of 
his son, James Sevier, who accompanied White [Gardoqui's 
emissary] when the latter made his return journey to the 
Federal Capital. " In one of these letters he assured Gardo- 
qui "that the western people had grown to know that their 
hopes of prosperity rested on Spain, and that the principal 
people of Franklin were anxious to enter into an alliance with 
and obtain commercial concessions from, the Spaniards. He 
importuned Gardoqui for money, and for military aid, assur- 
ing him that the Spaniards could best accomplish their ends 
by furnishing these supplies immediately, especially as the 
struggle over the adoption of the Federal Constitution made 
the time opportune for revolt. . . . He sent them to New 
Orleans that Miro might hear and judge their plans, neverthe- 
less nothing came of the project, and doubtless only a few peo- 
ple in Franklin ever knew that it existed. As for Sevier, 
when he saw that he was baffled, he suddenly became a Fed- 
eralist and an advocate of a strong central government; and 
this, doubtless, not because of love of Federalism, but to 
show his hostility to North Carolina, which had at first refused 
to enter the new Union. Thus the last spark of independent 
life flickered out in Franklin proper. The people who had set- 
tled on the Indian borders were left without government, 
North Carolina regarding them as trespassers on the Indian 
territory. They accordingly met and organized a rude gov- 
ernmental machine, on the model of the Commonwealth of 
Franklin; and the wild little State existed as a separate and 



122 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

independent republic until the new Federal government 
included it in the territory south of the Ohio." 5 

Washington county sent Sevier as a representative to the 
North Carolina legislature in 1789, and late in that session 
he was reluctantly admitted. He was also a member of the 
first Congress of the United States from North Carolina, 
March 4, 1789 to March 3, 1791, and was elected the first gov- 
ernor of Tennessee. 

Sevier and Tipton. It must be admitted that Sevier had, 
upon the repeal of the act of session "counselled his fellow 
citizens to abandon the movement for a new State" 6 and after 
the expiration of his term and the collapse of the Franklin 
government he wrote to one of the opposing party, not per- 
sonally unfriendly to him, that he had been dragged into 
the Franklin government by the people of the county; that 
he wished to suspend hostilities, and was ready to abide by the 
decision of the North Carolina legislature ; but that he was 
determined to share the fate of those who had stood by him, 
whatever it might be. 7 John Tipton, on the other hand, 
while favoring the formation of an independent State at the 
outset, voted against putting the new government into imme- 
diate operation, presumably because he hoped that when the 
mother State realized the seriousness of the defection in Wa- 
tauga, she would remedy the wrongs of which the frontiersmen 
had complained. In this he was right; but when in Novem- 
ber, 1785, the convention met at Greenville to provide a per- 
manent constitution for the new State, he favored the adop- 
tion of a much more radical charter as a remedy for the ills 
under which the people suffered than Sevier, whose influence 
secured the adoption of the constitution of the very State 
from which the western people had withdrawn. To some 
this document favored by Tipton seems absurd, but it had 
been drawn by no less a man than the redoubtable Sam Hous- 
ton, afterwards president of the Republic of Texas. 

James Robertson. In May, 1771, James Robertson, his 
brother Charles, and sixteen families from Wake county 
reached Watauga, preceding Sevier by about one year. Rob- 
ertson at once became the brains of the settlement — its balance 
wheel, so to speak. Robertson and Sevier proved themselves 
to be, "with the exception of George Rogers Clark, the 



STATE OF FRANKLIN 123 

greatest of the first generation of trans-Alleghany Pioneers, " 
for they were the fathers of the first self-governing body in 
America. 

For there on the banks of the sparkling Watauga 
Was cradled the spirit that conquered the West — 

The spirit that, soaring o'er mountain and prairie, 
E'en on the Pacific shore paused not for rest. 

In 1779-1780 he founded the Cumberland settlement where 
Nashville now stands, and Roosevelt gives him the chief 
credit for the tuition under which those frontiersmen were 
governed from the first, 8 though Richard Henderson was 
present, counselling and aiding. When, however, Hender- 
son's title proved null, he returned home, while Robertson 
remained, and piloted the settlers through the dangers of 
that early day. Thus, though he had no share in Kings 
Mountain, he was at that time doing a work quite as impor- 
tant as fighting the British ; for he was guiding the most remote 
of the western settlements in America on the difficult path 
of self-government. 

Sevier's Spring at Bakersville. There is a fine spring 
at Bakersville, nearly in front of the old Penland House, now 
the Young hotel, at which it is said that Sevier and his party 
stopped and rested after leaving Morganton. About 1850 an 
old sword was found near this spring, and was supposed to 
have been lost by one of these mountaineers. They reached 
Cathey's, or Cathoo's, plantation that night, after coming 20 
miles from Elk Hollow, at the mouth of a small eastern tribu- 
tary of the North Toe flowing north from Gillespie's gap, and 
called Grassy creek. Here they camped. It is near what is 
now Spruce Pine on the line of the Carolina, Clinchfield and 
Ohio Railroad. "On Friday the 29th they passed up Grassy 
creek and through Gillespie's gap in the Blue Ridge, where 
they divided; Campbell's men, at least, going six or seven 
miles south to Henry Gillespie's, and a little below to Colonel 
William Wofford's Fort, both in Turkey Cove; while the oth- 
ers pursued the old trace in a easterly direction, about the 
same distance, to the North Cove, on the North Fork of the 
Catawba, where they camped for the night in the woods, on 
the bank of that stream, just above the mouth of Honeycutt's 
creek." 



124 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Sycamore Shoals Monument. Monuments have been 
placed along this route to mark it permanently; Sycamore 
Shoals, Tennessee, at Elk Hollow, at the mouth of Grassy 
creek near Spruce Pine, and at the junction of Honey cutt's 
creek and the North Fork, near a station on the C. C. & O. 
Railroad known as Linville Falls. The monument at Syca- 
more Shoals is beautiful, and was erected September 26, 1909, 
by Bonny Kate, John Sevier and Sycamore Shoals chapters, 
D. A. R. Here it was that the patriots on their way to 
Kings Mountain assembled under Sevier, Shelby and Camp- 
bell, September 25, 1780. On the southern face is the inscrip- 
tion: "The Sword of the Lord and of Gideon." Also a 
statement that Fort Watauga, the first settlers' fort built 
west of the Alleghanies, was erected here in 1770. Also a 
statement that "Here was negotiated the Treaty of Sycamore 
Shoals under which Transylvania was acquired from the Cher- 
okees, March 19, 1775." 

Robert Love. He was born near the Tinkling Spring 
Meeting house, Augusta county, Va., May 11, 1760. His 
father was Samuel, son of Ephraim Love, captain of the Col- 
onial Horse; and his mother Dorcas, second daughter of James 
Bell, to whom had been issued on the formation of Augusta 
county, October 30, 1745, a "commission of the Peace." 9 
Samuel Love and Dorcas Bell were married July 3, 1759. 
Robert Love was christened by Rev. John Craig, who was 
pastor of the Tinkling Spring church from 1740 to 1764. ! ° 
It was at this old church that the eloquent James Waddell, 
afterwards immortalized by Wm. Wirt, was pastor for sev- 
eral years, though he did not become "The Blind Preacher" 
till after the Revolutionary War and he had removed to Gor- 
donsville, his blindness having been caused by cataract. Robert 
Love's pension papers show x 1 that he was on the expedition un- 
der Col. Christie in 1776 against the Cherokees; that he was at 
Fort Henry on Long Island of the Holston in 1777; that he was 
stationed in 1778 at the head of the Clinch and Sandy rivers 
(Fort Robertson), and operated against the Shawnees from April 
to October; that from 1779 to 1780 he was engaged against the 
Tories on Tom's creek, New River, and Cripple creek, at 
Moravian Old Town, and at the Shallow ford of the Yadkin, 
under Col. Wm. Campbell; that in 1781 he was engaged in 
Guilford county "and the adjoining county" against Corn- 



STATE OF FRANKLIN 125 

wallis, and "was in a severe battle with his army at White- 
sell mill and the Rudy ford of the Haw river, under Gen. 
Pickens; that from this place, with Capt. Wm. Doach, he was 
sent back "from the rendezvous at the Lead Mines to col- 
lect and bring more men;" that in 1782 he "was again sta- 
tioned out on the frontiers of the Clinch, at Fort Robertson 
from June to October." He was living in Mont- 
gomery, now Wythe county, Va., when he entered the service 
in 1776, and after the Revolutionary War, his parents being 
dead, he moved with Wm. Gregory and his family to Wash- 
ington county, N. C. (now Tennessee), in the fall of 1782. 
Having moved to Greasy Cove, now Erwin Tenn., he married 
Mary Ann Dillard, daughter of Col. Thomas Dillard of 
Pittsylvania county, Va., on the 11th day of September, 1783; 
and on the 5th of April, 1833, he made application for a pen- 
sion under the act of Congress of June 7, 1832, attaching his 
commission signed by Ben. Harrison, governor of Virginia; 
but, a question having arisen as to the date of this commis- 
sion Andrew Jackson wrote from The Hermitage on October 
12, 1837, to the effect that he had known Col. Love since the 
fall of 1784, and that there "is no man in this Union who has 
sustained a higher reputation for integrity than Col. Robert 
Love, with all men and with all parties, although himself a 
uniform democratic Republican, and that no man stands 
deservedly higher as a man of great moral worth than Col. 
Love has always stood in the estimation of all who knew him. " 
Even this endorsement, however, did not serve to secure the 
pension; but when E. H. McClure of Haywood filed an affi- 
davit to the effect that the date of the commission was 1781 
or 1782, official red-tape had no other refuge, and granted the 
pension. He was a delegate to the Greenville convention of 
the State of Franklin, December 14, 1784, and voted to adopt 
the constitution of North Carolina instead of that proposed 
by Sam Houston. x 2 In 1778 he was engaged against the Chick- 
amauga Indians as colonel of a regiment operating near White's 
fort. 1 3 

He also drew a pension from the State (Colonial Records, 
Vol. xxii, p. 74). He and John Blair represented Washing- 
ton county (formerly the State of Franklin) in the North 
Carolina legislature in November, 1$89 (Ibid., Vol. xxi, p. 
194). Later in the same session John Sevier appeared and 



126 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

was sworn in as an additional representative from the same 
county (Ibid., pp. 584-85). Love was also a justice of the 
peace for Washington county in October, 1788. (Ibid., Vol. 
xxii, p. 702); and the journal of the North Carolina State 
convention for the ratification of the constitution of the 
United States shows that Robert Love, Landon Carter, John 
Blair, Wm. Houston and Andrew Green were delegates, and 
that Robert Love voted for its adoption. (Ibid., Vol. xxii, 
pp. 36, 39, 47, 48). 

He moved to Buncombe county, N. C, as early as 1792, and 
represented that county in 1793, 1794, 1795 14 in the State 
Senate. According to the affidavit of his brother, Gen. Thos. 
Love, Robert Love "was an elector for president and vice- 
president when Thomas Jefferson was elected, and has been 
successively elected ever since, down to (and including) the 
election of the present chief magistrate, Andrew Jackson. " 1 5 
This affidavit is dated April 6, 1833. In a letter from Robert 
Love to William Welch, dated at Raleigh, December 4, 1828, 
he says that all the electors were present on the 3d "and gave 
their votes in a very dignified manner and before a very large 
concourse of people," the State House being crowded. 16 Fif- 
teen cannon were fired "for the number of electoral votes and 
one for the county of Haywood, and for the zeal she appeared 
to have had from the number of votes for the Old Hero's 
Ticket. It was submitted to me to bring forward a motion 
to proceed to ballot for a president of the United States 
and of course you may be well assured that I 
cheerfully nominated Andrew Jackson. ... I was much 
gratified to have that honor and respect paid me. From the 
most authentic accounts . . . Adams will not get a vote 
south of the Potomac or west of the mountains. Wonderful 
what a majority! For Jackson 178 and Adams only 83, leav- 
ing Jackson a majority of 95 votes. So much for a bargain 
and intrigue." 17 The reason for firing an extra gun for Hay- 
wood county was because that county had cast a solid vote 
for Robert Love as elector for Andrew Jackson, such staunch 
Whigs as William Mitchell Davidson and Joseph Cathey hav- 
ing induced their fellow Whigs to refrain from voting out of 
regard for their democratic friend and neighbor, Robert Love. 
He carried the vote to Washington in a gig that year. He 



STATE OF FRANKLIN 127 

named the town of Waynesville for his friend "Mad" Anthony 
Wayne, with whom he had served at Long Island during the 
Revolution. 

In 1821 he was one of the commissioners who ran the bound- 
ary line between North Carolina and Tennessee from Pigeon 
river south. On the 14th day of July, 1834, he was kicked 
on the hip by a horse while in Green county, Tenn., and so 
crippled that he had to use a crutch till his death. 1 8 The gig, 
too, had to be given up for a barouche, drawn by two horses 
and driven by a coachman. His cue, his blue swallow-tailed 
coat, and knee breeches with silver knee-buckles and silk 
stockings are remembered yet by a few of the older people. 
He died at Waynesville, July 17, 1845, " loved by his friends 
and feared by his enemies." 19 He was largely instrumental 
in having Haywood county established, became its first clerk, 
defeating Felix Walker for the position; and in 1828, he wrote 
to Wm. Welch (December 4) from Raleigh: "The bill for 
erecting a new county out of the western part of Burke and 
northeastern part of Buncombe after severe debate fell in 
the house of commons, on its second reading by a majority 
against it of three only. The bill for the division of Haywood 
county has passed the senate the third and last reading by a 
majority of seven; and, I suppose, tomorrow it will be taken 
up in the house of commons and in a few days we will know 
its fate. I do not like the division line, but delicacy closes 
my mouth for fear its being construed that interest was my 
motive." 20 

He left an estate which "at one time was one of the largest 
estates in North Carolina." 21 "He acquired great wealth 
and died respected, leaving a large fortune to his children." 
He was the founder of Waynesville. "Besides the sites for the 
public square, court-house and jail, land for the cemetery 
and several churches was also the gift of Col. Love." Of 
him and his brother Thomas, Col. Allen T. Davidson said: 22 
"These two men were certainly above the average of men, 
and did much to plant civilization in the county where they 
lived, and would have been men of mark in any community. " 

Edmund Sams. In "Asheville's Centenary," Dr. Sond- 
ley tells us that this pioneer was "one of the first settlers who 
came from Watauga," and established a ferry at the place 



1 28 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

where the French Broad is now crossed by Smith's Bridge; 
had been in early life an Indian fighter, and lived on the west- 
ern side of the French Broad at the old Gaston place. He 
was later a soldier in the Revolution. In 1824 his son Ben- 
oni Sams represented Buncombe in the House. 

General Thomas Love. He was a brother of Robert Love, 
and was born in Agusta county, Va., November 15, 1765. 
The date of his death is not accurately known, as he removed 
to Maury county, Tenn., about 1833. 23 Prof. W. C. Allen, 
in his "Centennial of Haywood County", says (p. 55) that 
he was a soldier of the Revolution, and served under Wash- 
ington, " but this must have been towards the close of that 
struggle, as he could not have been quite eleven years of age 
on the 4th of July, 1776. 2 4 At the close of that war, however, 
"he went to East Tennessee and was in the Sevier-Tipton 
war when the abortive State of Franklin was attempted." 25 
Ramsey's "Annals of Tennessee" (p. 410) records the fact 
that on one occasion one of Tipton's men had captured two 
of Sevier's sons, and would have hanged them if Thomas 
Love had not argued him out of his purpose. He was one of 
Tipton's followers, but he showed Tipton the unworthiness 
of such an act. "He came to what is now Haywood comny 
about the year 1790. When Buncombe was formed in 1791 
he became active in the affairs of the new county," continues 
Prof. Allen. In 1797 he was elected to the house of commons 
from Buncombe, and was re-elected till 1808, when Haywood 
was formed, largely through his efforts. There is a tradition 2 6 
that in 1796 he had been candidate against Philip Hoodenpile 
who represented Buncombe in the commons that year, but 
was defeated. For Hoodenpile could play the violin, and all 
of Love's wiles were powerless to keep the political Eurydices 
from following after this fiddling Orpheus. But Love bided 
his time, and when the campaign of 1797 began he charged 
Hoodenpile with showing contempt for the common herd by 
playing the violin before them with his left hand; whereas, 
when he played before "the quality," as Love declared, Hood- 
enpile always performed with his right hand. This charge 
was repeated at all the voting places of the county, which 
bore such significant names as Upper and Lower Hog Thief, 
Hardscrabble, Pinch Stomach, etc. Hoodenpile who, of 
course, could play only with his left hand, protested and 



STATE OF FRANKLIN 129 

denied; but the virus of class-feeling had been aroused, and 
Hoodenpile went down in defeat, never to rise again, while 
Love remained in Buncombe. "From the new county of 
Haywood General Love was one of the first representatives, 
the other having been Thomas Lenoir. Love was continu- 
ously re-elected from Haywood till 1829, with the exception 
of the year 1816. Who it was that defeated him that year 
does not appear, though John Stevenson and Wm. Welch were 
elected to the house and Hodge Raborne to the senate. This 
Hodge Raborne was a man of influence and standing in Hay- 
wood county, he having been elected to the senate not only 
in 1816, but also from 1817 to 1823, inclusive, and again in 
1838; but whether it was he or John Stevenson who defeated 
Thomas Love, or whether he ran that year or no, cannot now 
be determined. 2 7 William Welch was a nephew by marriage 
of Thomas Love, and it is not likely that he opposed him. 
Gen. Love moved to Macon county in 1830, where his wife 
died and is buried in the Methodist church yard of the town 
of Franklin. He was one of the commissioners for North 
Carolina who ran the line between this State and South Caro- 
lina in 1814. 28 "He resided in Macon for several years, and 
then removed to the Western District of Tennessee; was 
elected to the legislature from that State, and was made pre- 
siding officer of the senate. He was a man of very fine appear- 
ance, more than six feet high, very popular, and a fine elec- 
tioneer. Many amusing stories are told of him, such as 
carrying garden seeds in his pocket, and distributing them" 
with his wife's special regards to the voter's wife. 2 9 His 
service in the legislature for such an unprecedented length of 
time was due more to his genial manner and electioneering 
methods, perhaps, than to his statesmanship; though, unless 
he secured what the voters most desired he would most prob- 
ably have been retired from public life. He never was 
so retired. 

A Curious Bit of History. William Blount, a native of 
this State and brother of John Gray Blount to whom so much 
land had been granted, was territorial governor of Tennessee 
until it became a State, and was then elected one of its first 
senators; but served only from 1796 to 1797. He was charged 
in the United States senate with having entered into a con- 
spiracy to take Louisiana and Florida from Spain and give 

W. N.C. 9 



130 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

them to England in the hope that England would prove a bet- 
ter neighbor than had Spain, which had restricted the use of 
the Mississippi. Articles of impeachment were brought against 
him in 1797 by the House, and on the day after he was expelled 
by the Senate. But the impeachment trial was to have pro- 
ceeded, and an officer was sent to arrest him. But Blount refused 
to go, those summoned to aid the officer refused to do so, and 
the trial would have proceeded without him in December 1798, 
if Blount's attorney had not appeared after the Senate had 
formed itself into a court and filed a plea that Blount had not 
been an officer of the United States when the offence charged 
was committed, and it was decided, 14 to 11, that the Senate 
had no jurisdiction, on the ground that a senator is not a civil 
officer of the United States. The specific charge was that Blount 
had made an attempt to carry into effect a hostile expedition 
in favor of the British against the Spanish possessions in Flor- 
ida and Louisiana, and to enlist certain Indian tribes in the 
same. 30 

NOTES. 

iHill, p. 215. 

2 Ibid. 

3 Dropped Stitches, 28; McGee, p. 80. 

4 Roosevelt, Vol. IV, ch. 4. 

sibid., 231. 

"Ibid., 182. 

'Ibid., 211. 

sibid., Vol. Ill, 26. 

Waddell (First Edition), 20, 30, 33, 210, et seq. Ibid. (Second Edition), 288. 

1 'Augusta county records. 

1 'Pension office files. 

12 Dropped Stitches, 28. 

"Ramsey, 417, 427. 

14 W. C. Allen's "Centennial of Haywood county," p. 52. 

15 Robert Love's Pension Papers. 

"Published in Waynesville Courier, but date of publication not known, except that it 
was about 1895, probably. 

17 This refers to the alleged "puritan and blackleg trade" between Adams and Clay 
four years before. 

18 W. C. Allen's "Centennial of Haywood County," 1908, p. 51. 

"Ibid., p. 52. 

2 "Private letter. 

21 W. C. Allen's "Centennial of Haywood County," p. 52. 

22 Col. A. T. Davidson's "Reminiscenses" in "The Lyceum," January, 1891. 

23 Prof. Allen says that he died about 1830, but he signed an affidavit in April 6, 1833, 
in Robert Love's pension matter. 

"Although but a boy, he was a private in the Continental Line. Col. Rec, Vol. XXII, 
73. 

"Allen, 55. 

"Statement of Capt. J. M. Gudger, Sr. 

27 Wheeler, 54, 206. There is no other record that approaches this. Col. A. T. David- 
son in Lyceum, January, 1891. 

2 *Rev. Stat. N. C, 1837, Vol. II, p. 87. 

29 The Lyceum, p. 9, January, 1891. 

"Manual of the constitution of the United States, by Israel Ward Andrews, pp. 199, 200. 



CHAPTER VII 

GRANTS AND LITIGATION 

Public Lands. Immediately upon the declaration of inde- 
pendence the State began to dispose of its immense tracts of 
vacant lands. It was granted at first in 640-acre tracts to 
each loyal citizen, with one hundred additional acres to his 
wife and each child at five cents per acre; but for all in addi- 
tion to that amount, ten cents per acre was charged, if the 
additional land was claimed within twelve months from the 
end of the session of the legislature of 1777. 1 The price was 
expressed in pounds, two pounds and ten shillings standing 
for the lower and five pounds for the higher price. Ten cents 
was the charge for all lands in 1818. No person in Washing- 
ton county, however, could take more than 640 acres and 100 
additional for wife and each child, 2 until the legislature should 
provide further; but the county was ceded as part of Tennes- 
see before this restriction was removed. When the State ac- 
quired the Cherokee lands it reduced the price per acre in 
1833 to five cents per acre again; but it was afterwards 
restored to ten cents where it remained for a long time. 
There is also a curious proviso in the act of 1779 (ch. 140, s. 
5) to the effect that no person shall be entitled "to claim any 
greater quantity of land than 640 acres where the survey 
shall be bounded in any part by vacant lands, or more than 
1,000 acres between the lines of lands already surveyed and 
laid out for any other person." Both the provision for the 
payment of five pounds for all in excess of 640 acres, etc., in 
any one year, and this last proviso, seem to have been dis- 
regarded from the first; for in 1796 the State granted to John 
Gray Blount over one million acres in Buncombe for fifty 
shillings a hundred acres. Under a statute allowing swamp lands 
to be granted in one body land speculators laid their entries 
adjoining each other in 640-acre tracts, and took out one 
grant for the entire boundary. 3 These large tracts usually 
excepted a considerable acreage from the boundary granted, 
which acreage had been determined by the secretary of state 

(131) 



132 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

from the surveys made upon the warrants; but unless the 
grants themselves showed upon their face the number of acres 
of each tract and the names of the grantees to the excepted 
lands, the grantees could not show title by proving dehors 
that their land lay within the limits of the granted tract, as 
such excepted acreage merely, was held to be too vague to 
confer title; but the boundaries of these excepted tracts could 
be determined by the Secretary of State, and shown by certified 
copies from his office. 4 

Cherokee Lands. Up to 1826 all lands had been ranked 
alike; but with the acquisition of the large Cherokee terri- 
tory, with bottom, second bottom, hill, timber, mountain and 
cliff lands, a classification was imperative. So in that year 
commissioners were appointed to ascertain all the Cherokee 
lands that were worth more than fifty cents an acre, lay them 
off into sections containing from fifty to three hundred acres, 
and to note the quality of the land, stating whether it was 
first, second or third. 5 But this limited classification was 
soon found to be inadequate, and in 1836 commissioners were 
required to ascertain all unsold Cherokee lands as would sell 
for 20 cents per acre and over, and divide them into sections 
or districts and expose them for public sale; lands of the first 
quality to be sold for four dollars per acre; lands of the sec- 
ond quality for two dollars per acre; lands of the third quality 
for one dollar per acre; lands of the fourth quality for fifty 
cents per acre and lands of the fifth quality for not less than 
twenty cents per acre. 6 The surveyor was also required to 
note in his field-book the mines, mineral springs, mill seats, 
and principal water-courses; and to make three maps before 
November 1, 1837, one of which was to be deposited in the 
governor's office, the second in the office of the secretary of 
state, and the third in the office of the county clerk of the 
county of Macon. All the lands worth less than twenty 
cents per acre were denominated vacant and unsurveyed 
lands, but they could be entered, while those classified could 
be bought only at auction. 

How Lands Were to be Surveyed. These surveyed and 
classified tracts were to be bounded by natural boundaries or 
right lines running east and west, north and south, and to 
be an exact square or oblong, the length not to exceed double 
the breadth, unless where such lines should interfere with lands 



GRANTS AND LITIGATION 133 

already granted or surveyed, or should bound on navigable 
water, in which last case the water should form one side of the 
survey, etc. 

Preferences. Those who had made entries under the 
crown or Lord Granville, or, who since his death had made 
improvements on the lands were to have preference in enter- 
ing them. 7 

Indian Bounds. 8 In 1778 (ch. 132) it was provided that 
no lands within the Indian boundaries should be entered, sur- 
veyed or granted, and those boundaries were described as 
starting from a point on the dividing line agreed upon between 
the Cherokees and Virginia where the Virginia and North 
Carolina line shall cross the same when run ; thence a right line 
to the north bank of the Holston river, at the mouth of Clouds 
creek, which was the second creek below the Warrior's ford 
at the mouth of Carter's valley; thence a right line to the 
highest point of High Rock or Chimney Top; thence a right 
line to the mouth of Camp or McNamee's creek on the south 
bank of Nollechucky river, about ten miles below the mouth 
of Great Limestone; and from the mouth of Camp creek a 
southeast course to the top of the Great Iron mountain; and 
thence a south course to the dividing ridge between the waters 
of French Broad and Nollechucky rivers; thence a south- 
westwardly course along said ridge to the Blue Ridge, and 
thence along the Blue Ridge to the South Carolina line. This 
excluded from entry and grant all of the mountain region 
west of the Blue Ridge that was south of the ridge between 
the French Broad and the Nollechucky rivers; but opened 
a territory now covered by the counties of Alleghany, Ashe, 
Watauga, Avery, Mitchell and a part of Yancey, and a good 
deal of the northeastern corner of what is now Tennessee. 

Houses of Worship on Vacant Lands. 9 All churches on 
vacant lands were given outright to the denominations which 
had built them, together with two acres adjoining. 

Officers and Soldiers of the Continental Line. In 
1782 (ch. 173), each soldier and officer of the Continental 
line, then in service and who continued to the end of the 
war; or who had been disabled in the service, and subse- 
quently all who had served two years honorably and had 
not re-enlisted or had been dropped on reducing the forces, 
were given lands as follows: 



134 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Privates 640 acres each; Non-commissioned officers 1000 
acres each; Subalterns 2560 each; Captains 3840 each; Majors 
4800 each; Lieut.-Colonels 7200 each; Lieut.-Colonel Com- 
manders 7200 each; Colonels 7200 each; Brigadiers 12000 
each; Chaplains 7200 each; Surgeons 4800 each; and Sur- 
geons Mates 2560 each. Three commissioners and a guard 
of 100 men were authorized to lay off these lands without 
expense to the soldiers. 

Lands for Soldiers of the Continental Line. In 1783 
(ch. 186) the following land was reserved for the soldiers and 
officers of the Continental line for three years : Beginning on 
the Virginia line where Cumberland river intersects the same; 
thence south fifty-five miles; thence west to the Tennessee 
river; thence down the Tennessee river to the Virginia line; 
thence with the Virginia line east to the beginning." This 
was a lordly domain, embracing Nashville and the Duck 
river country which was largely settled up by people from 
Buncombe county, including some of the Davidsons and 
General Thomas Love, who moved there about 1830. For 
it will be remembered that in the act of cession of the Ten- 
nessee territory it was expressly provided that in case the 
lands laid off for "the officers and soldiers of the Continental 
line" shall not "contain a sufficient quantity of lands for 
cultivation to make good the quota intended by law for each, 
such officer or soldier who shall fall short of his proportion 
shall make up the deficiency out of the lands of the ceded 
territory." But, while preference was given to the soldiers 
in these lands, they were not restricted to them, but could 
enter and get grants for any other land that was open for 
such purposes. 

The Forehandedness of Certain Officers. From Hart's 
"Formation of the Union," Sec. 51, we learn that although 
Congress had provided bounty lands for the soldiers of the 
Revolution, our officers demanded something better for them- 
selves; and, to appease them, Congress, on the 26th of April, 
1778, had voted them half pay for life, as an essential measure 
for keeping the army together. This caused great dissatis- 
faction; but on the 10th of March, 1783, the so-called "New- 
burgh Address" appeared. This anonymous document urged 
the officers of the army not to separate until Congress had 
done justice to them; and on the 22d of March following, 



GRANTS AND LITIGATION 135 

Washington used his influence to induce Congress to grant 
the officers full pay for the ensuing five years. This was 
done; but as the treasury was empty, certificates of indebt- 
edness were issued in lieu of cash. These certificates bore 
interest. But in June, 1783, 300 mutineers surrounded the 
place of meeting of Congress, and demanded a settlement of 
the back pay; and the executive council of Pennsylvania 
declined to disperse them. This caused Congress to leave 
Philadelphia forever. 

Revolutionary Pensions. 1 ° On August 26, 1776, Con- 
gress promised, by a resolution, to the officers and soldiers of 
the army and navy who might be disabled in the service, a 
pension, to continue during the continuance of their disa- 
bilities; and on June 7, 1785, recommended that the several 
States should make provision for the army, navy and militia 
pensioners resident within them, to be reimbursed by Congress. 
On September 29, an act was passed providing that the mili- 
tary pensions which had been granted and paid by the States, 
respectively, in pursuance of the foregoing acts, to invalids 
who were wounded and disabled during the late war, should 
be paid by the United States from the fourth day of March, 

1789, for the space of one year; and the act of March 26, 

1790, appropriated $96,000.72 for paying pensions which may 
become due to invalids. The act of April 30, 1790, provides 
for one-half pay pensions to soldiers of the regular army dis- 
abled while in line of duty; and the act of July 16, 1790, pro- 
vides that the military pensions which have been granted and 
paid by the States respectively shall be continued and paid 
by the United States from the fourth of March, 1790, for 
the space of one year. 

The first general act providing for the pensioning of all 
disabled in the actual service of the United States during the 
Revolutionary War was the act approved March 10, 1806, 
which was to remain in force but six years, but was subse- 
quently extended and kept in force by acts of April 25, 1812, 
May 15, 1820, February 4, 1822, and May 24, 1828. ! » 

Land Speculation. Immediately after the formation of 
Buncombe the rush began, and large grants were issued to 
Stokely Donelson, Waightstill Avery, William Cathcart, David 
Allison and John Gray Blount, besides many others. The 
Flowery Garden tract on Pigeon was regarded as of the finest 



136 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

quality of land, and was granted to one of the McDowells. 
As the boundaries of the Cherokees were moved westward 
the same greed for land continued, and many large boundaries 
were entered, Robert and James R. Love of Waynesville hav- 
ing obtained tracts — those belonging to the Love speculation 
in 1865 containing in Haywood two hundred thousand, in 
Jackson fifty thousand, and one hundred and twenty-five 
thousand acres, in two tracts in Swain; a total of 375,000 
acres in all. 

Enlargement of the Western Boundary. x 2 In 1783 
(ch. 185) the western boundary was enlarged so as to take 
in all lands south of the Virginia line and west of the Ten- 
nessee river to the Mississippi, then down that stream to 
the 35th parallel of north latitude; thence due east to the 
Appalachian mountains, and thence with them to the ridge 
between the French Broad and the Nollechucky [sic] river, 
and with that line till it strikes the line of the Indian Hunt- 
ing grounds, set forth in chapter 132 of the laws of 1778. 
This, however, was superceded by the Act of Cession, 1789, 
ch. 299, accepted by Congress, April 2, 1790, Vol. ii, p. 85, 
note on p. 455. 

Entries West of the Mississippi Void. 1 3 It would seem 
that some of our enterprising citizens had been entering lands 
west of the Mississippi river at some time prior to 1783, for 
there is an act of that year (ch. 185) which declares that all 
entries of land heretofore made, or grants already obtained, 
or which may be hereafter obtained in consequence of the 
aforesaid entries of land, to the westward of the line last above 
described in this act . . . are hereby declared to be null 
and void. . . . " 

Entries of Indian Lands Void. 1 4 Section 5 of the act of 
1783 (ch. 185) reserves certain of the lands to the Indians, 
which embrace part of the enlarged western boundary, with 
the Pigeon river as the eastern boundary, including the ridge 
between its waters and those of the Tuckaseegee river to the 
South Carolina line. All entries of such lands were void and 
all hunting and ranging of stock thereon were prohibited. But 
all other lands not reserved to the Indians were subject to entry; 
but at the price of five pounds per hundred acres. 

Entry Taker's Office Closed in 1784. x 5 By chapter 196 
of the laws of 1784 North Carolina passed an act to remove 



GRANTS AND LITIGATION 137 

all doubts as to the ceded territory of Tennessee by expressly 
retaining jurisdiction over it till Congress should accept it; 
but until Congress did accept it it was considered "just and 
right that no further entries of lands within the territory 
aforesaid should be allowed until the Congress [should] refuse 
the cession." Therefore, it closed the entry taker's office and 
declared void all entries made subsequent to the 25th of May, 
1784, John Armstrong having been the entry-taker; except 
"such entries of lands as shall be made by the commissioners, 
agents and surveyors who extended the lines allotted to the 
Continental officers and soldiers, and the guards and hunters, 
chain-carriers and markers "who had alloted the lands to the 
soldiers." This, however, applied only to the ceded territory 
of Tennessee. 

Grants to John Gray Blount and David Allison. Two 
of the largest grants of land West of the Blue Ridge were to 
John Gray Blount of Beaufort, North Carolina, and David 
Allison. The grant to Blount called for "320,640 acres and 
is dated November 29, 1796. 1 6 It began in the Swannanoa 
gap and ran to Flat creek, and thence to Swannanoa river 
and to its mouth; thence down the French Broad to the 
Painted Rock; thence to the Bald mountain, thence to Nolle- 
chucky river, or Toe, thence to Crabtree creek, and thence 
to the beginning. The grant to David Allison is for 250,240 
acres and is dated November 29, 1796. 1 7 l 8 This land lies on 
Hominy creek, Mills and Davidson's rivers, Scott's creek, 
Big Pigeon and down it to Twelve-Mile creek to the French 
Broad and to the beginning. These lands were sold Septem- 
ber 19, 1798, by James Hughey, Sheriff of Buncombe, for 
the taxes of 1796, and were purchased by John Strother of 
Beaufort for £115, 15 shillings, and the Sheriff gave him a 
deed dated September 29, 1798. 19 Strother sold some of 
these lands and made deeds to them, and in each deed he 
recited this Sheriff's deed as his source of title. 20 Strother 
was the friend and agent of John Gray Blount, and it is not 
clearly known why this large body of land was suffered to go 
on sale for the nonpayment of taxes, only to be bought in 
by the man whose duty it had been, presumably, to see that 
the taxes were paid. But it is certain that, on the 22d of 
November, 1806, Strother made his last will (describing him- 
self as of Buncombe county) and devised all of the lands he 



1 38 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

had received through Sheriff Hughey's deed as formerly be- 
longing to John Gray Blount to that gentleman, describing 
him as his "beloved friend." This will was admitted to pro- 
bate in Davidson County, Tennessee, March 1, 1816, and 
later on in Haywood and Madison counties, North Carolina. 
It was executed according to North Carolina laws of that 
date; but only one of the two subscribing witnesses to it was 
examined and he omitted to state that he had subscribed his 
name in the presence of the other subscribing witness. Chap- 
ter 52 of the Private Laws of 1885 validated this defective 
probate. The constitutionality of the act was questioned nev- 
ertheless, in Vanderbilt v. Johnston (141 N. C, p. 370) but 
upheld by the Supreme Court on the ground that only the 
heirs of Blount or Strother could object to the probate. 

Love Speculation. After the death of Strother, Robert 
Love became the agent of the executors of J. G. Blount for 
the sale of these lands 2 1 , but, on the 10th of December, 1834, 
these executors conveyed what was left of the Blount lands 
to Robert and James R. Love of Haywood county for $3,000. 
This deed, however, was not recorded till October 5, 1842, it 
having been probated by the late R. M. Henry, a subscribing 
witness, before Richmond M. Pearson, October 2, 1839, who 
for years was the Chief Justice of this State. 2 2 

The Cathcart Grants. Other large tracts were granted to 
William Cathcart in July, 1796, 33,280 at the head of Jona- 
than's creek, and covering Oconalufty and Tuckaseegee river; 
49,920, on Tuckaseegee river and Cane creek, "passing Wain's 
sugar house in a sugar tree cove, " 2 3 and a like acreage on 
Scott's and Cane creeks. Much of this lay west of the divide 
between the headwaters of Pigeon river and those of Tucka- 
seegee river in what is now Jackson, and which was not sub- 
ject to entry and grant in July, 1796, because it had been 
reserved to the Cherokee Indians by North Carolina by an 
act of 1783. (Sec. 2347, Code of N. C.) The State being 
the sovereign, the fee in such lands reverted to it whenever 
a new treaty with the Indians removed their boundary fur- 
ther west; which had happened by the treaty of Holston made 
in July, 1791 and that of Tellico, made afterwards. If Cath- 
cart had taken out a new grant to this part of the land after 
that treaty his title thereto would have been good. But he 
did not. 




James Robert Love. 



GRANTS AND LITIGATION 139 

Latimer v. Poteet. The question as to the validity of the 
Cathcart grant to land west of that divide came up in Lati- 
mer v. Poteet (14 Peters U. S. Reports, p. 4), in which it was 
decided that while there may have been doubt as to the loca- 
tion of the eastern line of the Cherokees — subsequently known 
as the Meigs and Freeman line — the parties to that treaty 
had the right to determine disputes as to its location and 
remove uncertainties and defects, and that private rights could 
not be interposed to prevent the exercise of that power; which 
was tantamount to saying that Cathcart's title to that part 
of the land was null. 

Brown v. Brown. 2 4 But, as land grew more valuable 
on account of the timber on it, the same question was brought 
up in the State court when a grant was taken to a part of the 
land which had been granted to David Allison in November, 
1796, and lay west of the reservation divide between Pigeon 
and Tuckaseegee. This land had been sold by the heirs of 
Robert Love, who held under the deed from Sheriff Hughey, 
of September 29, 1798. On the trial of the case in the Supe- 
rior Court, the judge held that the last grant was valid and that 
the original grant to Allison in 1796 was invalid. On appeal, 
great consternation was caused in the fall of 1888 by the 
decision of the Supreme Court (in Brown v. Brown, 103 N. C, p. 
213) to the effect that all grants of land extending west of the 
"dividing ridge between the waters of Pigeon river and Tuck- 
aseegee river to the southern boundary of this State, were 
utterly void" (Code N. C, sections 2346-47) because when 
granted they were "within the boundary prescribed of the lands 
set apart to and for the Cherokee Indians." It was further 
held "that the treaty of Holston, concluded on the 2d day of 
July, 1791, between the United States and the Cherokee 
Indians, did not "extinguish the title and right of those Indians 
to the territory embracing the lands embraced by the grant 
in question" — that to David Allison, of date 29th November, 
1796. Immediately there was a rush to enter and secure grants 
to all lands to which grants had been issued west of the divid- 
ing ridge between the Pigeon and the Tuckaseegee. Where 
would the effect of that decision reach? No one knew. But, 
on a petition for a rehearing, Chief Justice Merrimon discov- 
ered "among a vast number of very old uncurrent statutes" 
one (Acts 1784, 1 Pot. Rev., ch. 202) that required surveyors 



140 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

in the "eastern part of the State" to survey lands that any 
person or persons "have entered or may hereafter enter"; 
which was afterwards extended (Acts 1794, 1 Pot. Rev., ch. 
422; Haywood's Manual, p. 188) to apply to "all lands in this 
State lying to the eastward of the line of the ceded territory," 
which was construed to mean "all the lands of this State not 
specially devoted to some particular purpose, and the impli- 
cation intended was that they should be subject to entry and 
survey just as were the lands mentioned in the statutes 
amended, " it having been the purpose to embrace "the lands so 
acquired from the Cherokee Indians." Hence, the words, 
"lying to the eastward of the line of ceded territory"; this 
was the line separating this State from Tennessee which had 
been ceded to the United States in 1789; while the land ac- 
quired from the Indians by the treaty of Holston "lay imme- 
diately to the eastward of a part of that line." In the lan- 
guage of the chief justice, "it is fortunate that it has been 
discovered, as it rendered the land subject to entry and makes 
valid and sustains the grant in question, under which, no 
doubt, many excellent people derive title to their land." 
Upon the rehearing (106 N. C, 451) the Supreme court held 
that by an act of 1777 it was made lawful for any citizen of 
the State "to enter any lands not granted before the fourth 
of July, 1776, which have accrued or shall accrue to this State 
by treaty or conquest"; and that the title of the Indians to 
all lands east of the Holston treaty line were extinguished. 
This line had been fixed by the Meigs and Freeman survey, 
which location the State could not without breach of faith 
question; and the land in controversy, while lying west of the 
reservation of 1784, was east of the Meigs and Freeman sur- 
vey. This settled the dispute. 

Waightstill Avery Grants. About 1785 Hon. Waight- 
still Avery of Burke took out "hundreds of grants," gener- 
ally for 640-acre tracts, covering almost the entire valley of 
North Toe river, from its source to somewhere below Toe- 
cane, there being, here and there, along the valley, some 
older grant wedged in between his tracts. He took out grants 
also for lands on most all of the tributaries of the North Toe, 
including the lower part of Squirrel creek, of Roaring creek,' 
of Henson's creek and of Three-Mile creek 25 and also along 
the lower valley of South Toe and of Linville river, down to 



GRANTS AND LITIGATION 141 

the Falls, and the upper valley of Pigeon in Haywood county 
and of Mills river in Henderson and Transylvania. . 
William Cathcart took out in 1795 two large grants, one 
known as the "99,000-Acre Tract," and the other as the 
"59,000-Acre Tract," which two large boundaries covered 
practically all of Mitchell county and of Avery county, except 
some tracts along the Blue Ridge. . . . " 2 6 They also 
covered about all that had been previously granted to Waigh- 
still Avery. For the litigation that subsequently ensued see 
"Cranberry Mine" under chapter on "Mines and Mining." 
Many grants were also made to William Lenoir and others. 

Cherokee Lands. By the act of 1819 2 7 no portion of 
the lands recently acquired from the Cherokees was required 
to be surveyed except such that, in the opinion of the commis- 
sioners appointed for that purpose, would sell for fifty cents 
per acre and over, while the rest was reserved for future dis- 
position to be made by a subsequent legislature, and the act 
of 1826 required such lands to be classified into three tracts, 
as we have already seen. This was to be sold at auction, 
and in the meantime, no land not subject to survey — that is 
not worth fifty cents an acre or more — was subject to entry. 
But by the act of 1835 28 all such lands as were not worth 
fifty cents an acre were made subject to entry. Under the 
law of 1836 29 the Cherokee lands were required to be laid 
off into districts, which were to be numbered, and divided into 
tracts of from fifty to four hundred acres each, the first class 
of which was to be sold at auction for not less than $4 per acre, 
the second class for not less than $2, the third class for not 
less than $1, the fourth cla^s for not less than fifty cents, and 
the fifth class for not less than 25 cents per acre. All the rest 
of the Cherokee lands which were not considered by the com- 
missioners to be worth at auction more than 20 cents per 
acre were subject to entry. The surveyors were to note all 
the mines, mill sites, etc., on each tract, and three maps were 
to be made, showing the lands surveyed and the "vacant 
and unsurveyed lands, " one of which was to be deposited in the 
office of the governor, another in the office of the secretary of 
state at Raleigh, and the third in the office of the register of 
deeds in Franklin, Macon county. 

Act for the Relief of Purchasers of Lands. Under 
this act of 1836 several purchasers found that they could not 



142 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

pay for the lands bid in by them at the auction sales, and in 
1844-45 another act was passed providing that such persons 
might surrender such lands, after which the lands were to be 
reassessed by commissioners, when they could be repur- 
chased by the former bidders at the new valuation by giving 
bonds with good security, if they so desired, and if not, then 
they could be sold at the new valuation to anyone. This 
law also provided for the sale of such lands as had not been 
sold at all under the first appraisement of their value, and for 
the relief of such poor and homeless people as had settled on 
the less valuable lands and had made improvements thereon 
in the hope of being able to pay for them at some future time 
and had been unable to do so, as well as for insolvent people 
who had been unable to pay for lands they had bought. New 
valuations were to be made and certificates given to such 
persons, which certificates gave them preemption rights for the 
purchase of such lands upon giving good bonds for the payment 
of the purchase price. Much of the best lands were subse- 
quently held under these "Occupation Tracts," they having 
the refusal of the lands they had settled on and improved. 
Floating Entries. Such entries were those which stated in 
the entry that land beginning on a natural object in a certain 
district had been entered but, without further description, they 
were void against enterers whose surveys covered it. 

NOTES. 

l Potter's Revisal, p. 275. 

2 Ibid., p. 280. 

*Melton v. Munday, (64 N. C. Rep., p. 295); Waugh v. Richardson, 8 Ired Law, (30 N. C, 
p. 470). 

^Potter's Revisal, p. 463. 

52 Vol. Rev. St. 1837, p. 201. 

6 Ibid., pp. 210-11. 

'Potter's Revisal, p. 280. 

sibid., p. 355. 

9 Potter's Revisal, p. 356. 

1 "Potter's Revisal, p. 442. 

"From "Dropped Stitches", pp. 71-72. 

"Potter's Revisal, p. 435. 

"Ibid., p. 456. 

"Ibid., p. 436. 

"Potter's Revisal, p. 457. 

"Book No. 4, p. 230. 

"Book 2, p. 458. 

"43,534 acres already granted are excepted from this boundary. 

"Book 4, p. 230. 

20 The lands embraced in this sale aggregated one million and seventy-four thousand 
acres. The tax title stood all tests. Love v. Wilbourn, 5 Ired., N. C. Rep., p. 344. 

"Will BookE, p. 42. 

22 Book 22, p. 88. 

"Book 22, p. 393. 

"Daniel Webster represented the defendant in this case, and Chief Justice Roger B. 
Taney filed a dissenting opinion. 

25 So called because it is almost exactly three miles in length. 

"From letter of December 5, 1912, from Hon. A. C. Avery to J. P. A. 

"Rev. St. 1837, Vol. II, p. 190. 

28 Ibid., p. 209. 

29 Ibid., p. 210. 

Note : For Forge Bounty grants see ch. 293, laws 1788, Potter's Revisal, p. 592. 



CHAPTER VIII 

COUNTY HISTORY 

Buncombe County. l In 1781 or 1782 settlers from the 
blockhouse at Old Fort, McDowell county as it is now, crossed 
the mountains to the head of the Swannanoa river, and became 
trespassers on the Cherokee territory, the Blue Ridge at that 
time being the boundary line. Samuel Davidson, his wife and 
child were among the first. They brought a female negro 
slave with them, and settled a short distance east of Gudger's 
ford of Swannanoa river, and near what is now Azalia. He 
was soon afterwards killed by Indians, and his wife and child 
and slave hurried through the mountains back to Old Fort. 
An expedition to avenge his death set out, with the late 
Major Ben. Burgin, who died at Old Fort in November, 1874, 
at the age of ninety-five, among the number and conquered 
the Indians at the mouth of Rock House creek. By this 
time, however, several other settlements had been effected 
on the Swannanoa from its head to its mouth by the Alex- 
anders, Davidsons, Smiths and others, the earliest being about 
the mouth of Bee Tree creek, a little above this being the 
Edmundson field, the first cleared in Buncombe. Soon an- 
other company passed through Bull gap and settled on upper 
Reems creek, while still others came in by way of what is 
now Yancey county and settled on lower Reems and Flat 
creeks. Some of the people who had been with Sevier at 
Watauga settlement settled on the French Broad above the 
mouth of Swannanoa, and on Hominy creek. Some from 
South Carolina settled still higher on the French Broad. 

The Cheery Name of Buncombe. 2 The Swannanoa was 
now recognized as the dividing line between Burke and Ruth- 
erford counties, from portions of which counties Buncombe 
was subsequently formed, and named for Edward Buncombe, 
who had been a colonel in the Revolutionary War. 3 In 1791 
David Vance and William Davidson, the former representing 
Burke and the latter Rutherford, agreed upon the formation 
of a new county from portions of both these counties west of 
the Blue Ridge, its western boundary to be the Tennessee line. 

(143) 



144 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

First Court at the Gum Spring. 4 In April, 1792, at the 
residence of Col. William Davidson on the south bank of the 
Swannanoa, half a mile above its mouth, subsequently called 
the Gum Spring place, Buncombe county was organized, pur- 
suant to the act which had been ratified January 14, 1792. 
On December 31, 1792, another act recited that the com- 
missioners provided for in the first act had failed to fix "the 
center and agree where public buildings" should be erected, 
and appointed Joshua Inglish, Archibald Neill, James Wilson, 
Augustin Shote, George Baker and John Dillard of Buncombe, 
and Wm. Morrison of Burke, commissioners, in place of Phil- 
lip Hoodenpile, William Brittain, Wm. Whitson, James Brit- 
tain and Lemuel Clayton, who had failed to agree, to select 
a county seat. There was rivalry for this position, many 
contending for the "Steam Saw Mill Place on the road after- 
wards known as the Buncombe Turnpike Road about three 
miles south of Asheville, where Dr. J. F. E. Hardy re- 
sided at the time of his death," says Dr. Sondley in his 
Asheville's Centenary. They selected the present site, which 
at first was called Morristown. As the Superior Court was 
at this time held at Morganton, five men from Buncombe 
were required to serve there as jurors, for the July term, 
1792. These were Matthew Patton, Wm. Davidson, David 
Vance, Lambert Clayton and James Brittain. The first 
court house stood in the middle of the street upon the public 
square at the head of what is now Patton avenue, and was of 
logs. The first county court held there was on the third Mon- 
day in July, 1793. In January, 1796, commissioners were ap- 
pointed to lay off a plan for public buildings; but in April, 1802, 
the grand jury complained that the county had no title to the 
land on which the jail, etc., stood, and in April, 1805, steps 
were taken to secure land for a public square. In April, 
1807, the county trustee, or treasurer, was ordered to pay 
Robert Love one pound for registering five deeds made by 
individuals for a public square. . . . The next court 
house was made of brick, a little further east, in the erection 
of which the late Nicholas W. Woodfin, while a poor boy, 
carried brick and mortar. This gave way to a handsome 
brick building fronting on Main street, which was destroyed 
by fire on the 26th day of January, 1865. Some years later 
a small one-story brick structure was built nearly in front 



COUNTY HISTORY 145 

of W. O. Wolf's storeroom, the late Rev. B. H. Merrimon 
having been the contractor. In 1876 this gave way to a 
larger building with three stories, J. A. Tennent being the 
architect. In the erection of this a workman fell from the 
southwest corner of the tower to the ground and was killed. 
His name has been forgotten. The first jail was succeeded 
by a brick building now a part of the Library building; but 
a new jail was built afterwards on the site of the present 
city hall, its site being sold to the city when the Eagle street 
jail was built some years afterwards. The first jail was a 
very poor structure, every sheriff from 1799 to 1811 com- 
plaining of its insufficiency. In 1867 the county began to 
sell off portions of the public square on the north and south 
sides, thus reducing it to its present dimensions. 

Morristown. John Burton's grant was "by private con- 
tract laid out . . . for a town called Morristown, the 
county town of Buncombe county, into 42 lots, containing, 
with the exception of the two at the southern end, one-half 
an acre each, lying on both sides of a street 33 feet wide," 
which runs where the southern part of North Main street 
and the northern part of South Main street now are. 5 There 
were two cross streets across the public square. "Nobody^ 
seems to know why the name of Morristown was bestowed 
upon the place . . . but there is a seemingly authentic 
tradition that it was named for Robert Morris, who success- 
fully financed the American Revolution, yet himself died a 
bankrupt." 6 About this time he owned large bodies of land 
in Western North Carolina; indeed it is shown in the record 
of one case in the Federal Court here (Asheville) that Robert 
Tate of York county, Pennsylvania, and William Tate, of 
Burke county, N. C, conveyed to him in one deed 198 tracts 
of land, only one tract of which, containing 70,400 acres and 
lying in what are now Yancey, Burke, and McDowell coun- 
ties, was involved in that litigation. The State grant for 
these lands was issued to Robert and William Tate on May 
30, 1795, and they conveyed the same lands to Morris on 
August 15 of the same year. "The Tates were evidently the 
agents of Morris. . . . Morris was one of the heroes of 
the Revolution, and . . . it is small wonder that . . . 
the people . . . should name it for him." His will 
(dated in 1804) was probated in McDowell county on April 

W. N.C. 10 



146 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

21, 1891. In November 1797, the village was incorporated 
by the legislature as Asheville in honor of Samuel Ashe of 
New Hanover, governor. 

Old Asheville. On Thanksgiving Day, 1895, Miss Anna 
C. Aston, Miss Frances L. Patton and other ladies published 
a "Woman's Edition" of the Asheville Daily Citizen. It con- 
tained much valuable and important information of that 
city. But in February, 1898, Foster A. Sondley, Esq., a de- 
scendant of the Fosters and Alexanders of Buncombe county, 
and a leading member of the Asheville Bar, published a his- 
torical sketch of Buncombe county and Asheville, contain- 
ing practically all that could then be ascertained concerning 
the early history of this section. Hon. Theo. F. Davidson 
and the late Albert T. Summey also contributed their recol- 
lections. There was a woodcut reproduction of an oil paint- 
ing of Asheville by F. S. Duncanson, which was taken from 
Beaucatcher, and it appears that there were not more than 
twenty five residences in 1850 that were visible from that 
commanding eminence, all the buildings, including outhouses, 
not exceeding forty, and they were between Atkin, Market 
and Church streets. The painting itself, now owned by Mrs. 
Martha B. Patton, shows five brick buildings, the old Pres- 
byterian church, on the site of the present one, with the cupola 
on its eastern end, because the street ran there; the little old 
Episcopal church, on the site of the burned Trinity; the old 
jail, standing where the city hall now stands; Ravenscroft 
school, and the Rowley house, now occupied by the Drhumor 
building. The old jail was three stories high. The other 
buildings were white wooden structures, and included the 
central portion of the old Eagle hotel and the old Buck hotel. 
Mr. Ernest Israel also has a similar picture. 

Dr. J. S. T. Baird's facile pen has given us an equally vivid 
picture of Asheville in his "Historical Sketches of Early 
Days," published in the Asheville Saturday Register during 
January, February and March, 1905, as it appeared in 1840. 
He records the facts that the white population then did not 
exceed 300, and the total number of slaves, owned by eight or 
nine persons, did not exceed 200. In the 400 acres embracing 
the northeastern section of the city, between the angle formed 
by North Main and Woodfin streets, he recalled but two 
dwellings, those of Hon. N. W. Woodfin and Rev. David 



COUNTY HISTORY 147 



McAnally, both on Woodfin street. There was an old tan- 
nery and a little school house near the beginning of what is 
now Merrimon avenue, the school having been taught by 
Miss Katy Parks, who afterwards became Mrs. Katy Bell, 
mother of Rev. George Bell of Haw Creek. This 400-acre 
boundary, now so thickly settled, was then owned by James 
W. Patton, James M. Smith, Samuel Chunn, N. W. Wood- 
fin and Israel Baird. There was a thirty-acre field where 
Doubleday now is, and was called the "old gallows field," 
because Sneed and Henry had been hanged there about 1835. 
Standing south of Woodfin and East of North and South Main 
streets to the southern boundary, there were but eight resi- 
dences, not including negro and outhouses. 

Southwest Asheville. Just north of Aston street was 
the brick store of Patton & Osborne, and later Patton & 
Summey, adjoining which was the tailor shop of "Uncle" 
Manuel, one of James W. Patton's slaves. Then came a 
white house which was kept for guests when there was an 
overflow crowd at the Eagle hotel. Between this house and 
the Daylight store, J. M. Smith some years later erected a two- 
story building for the use of Dr. T. C. Lester, a physician who 
came from South Carolina and settled here about 1845. He 
kept a sort of drug store, the first of its kind in Asheville. 
The negroes called it a shot-i-carry-pop, in their effort to call 
it an apothecary shop. Hilliard Hall now stands where it 
stood. Just above was the residence and place of business of 
James B. Mears, now the Daylight store. Then came Drake 
Jarrett's place — better known as the Coche 7 place "where 
for many years the little short-legged * monsieur' and his 
'madam' dealt out that which Solomon says biteth like a 
serpent and stingeth like an adder." Thus was reached what 
was the Chunn property, which, beginning at the lower side 
of T. C. Smith's drug store, ran straight back to Church 
street. Samuel Chunn had lived in a large brick house which 
fronted north, and which was later replaced by a building 
used as a banking house, known as the Bank building. This 
was about 1845. The Asheville branch of the Bank of Cape 
Fear occupied it till the Civil War period. The residence of 
A. B. Chunn stood on the corner now occupied by Pat Mcln- 
tyre's grocery store. An old stable stood at the corner of 
Patton and Lexington avenues. 



148 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Church Street. The grounds of the Methodist church 
extended from Patton avenue and Church street to the Aston 
property and several rods back, forming an oblong plat of 
several acres. On the corner of Patton avenue and Church 
street stood a large brick building used as a boarding house 
in connection with the school for girls which was taught for 
many years in the basement of the Methodist church. The 
late William Johnston afterwards bought and occupied this 
building as a residence. The land south of the Methodist 
church was used as a cemetery till long after the Civil War. 

The Presbyterian church of that day stood nearly where 
the one of this day stands, opposite that of the Methodist 
church, and its cemetery extended down to Aston street. 
Near where Asheland and Patton avenues join the late James 
M. Smith had a large barn, which stood in a ten-acre field. 

Northwest Asheville. In the angle formed by North Main 
street and Patton avenue, in 1840, there were not many houses. 
Beginning at the north end, Mrs. Cassada — "Granny Cassie" — 
occupied a one-room house which stood where the Rankin tan 
house afterwards stood. She baked and sold ginger cakes, 
and brewed cider. Coming up North Main street was a 
house built by Israel Baird in 1839, now known as the Brandt 
property. Israel Baird had lived two and a half miles north 
of Asheville at what is now the Way place, but about 1838 
he bought 40 acres, commencing at the junction of North 
Main street and Merrimon avenue, running west to the pres- 
ent auditorium, thence to Starnes avenue and thence back 
to North Main street. The only other building within this 
area was the wooden store and shoe-shop opposite the old 
Buck hotel, now occupied by the Langren hotel, and the 
barns, stables, sheds and cribs of J. M. Smith, which cov- 
ered a large portion of the lot lying between West College 
street, Walnut and Water streets. From the foregoing it is 
evident that the artist Duncanson did not get all the houses 
into his oil painting of 1850. 

East and South Asheville. In these sections of the town 
the land was owned by James M. Smith, James W. Patton, 
Montraville Patton, Dr. J. F. E. Hardy, Mrs. Morrison and 
Thomas L. Gaston, principally. The old Buck Hotel, a small 
frame building near it, what was known as the Dunlap store, 
the court house, the jail, the office of the Highland Messenger 



COUNTY HISTORY 149 

on what is now North Pack Square, east of the Gazette News 
office, were then the oldest houses in town. The old jail stood 
where the new Legal building now stands; the court house 
stood where Vance's monument stands, with the whipping 
post and stocks immediately in its rear. Mrs. Rose Morri- 
sons' residence occupied the site now covered by the present 
court house, while the store of Montraville Patton occupied 
the corner now used by the Holt Furniture Company. Lower 
down on South Main street lived William Coleman in a brick 
building in a part of which the post-office was kept. Later on 
Col. R. W. Pulliam lived there and Rankin and Pulliam did 
a large mercantile business. Just below this, embowered in 
green vines and fragrant flowers, was the stylish wooden 
dwelling occupied for years by Dr. J. F. E. Hardy, and was 
later to fall into such disrepute as to be called "Greasy Cor- 
ner." This, however, was about 1890 after the handsome 
old residence had for years been used as a negro hotel and 
restaurant. On it now stands the large Thrash Building. 

Eagle Hotel. Just below Eagle street stood and still 
stands the building then and for years afterwards known far 
and wide as the Eagle hotel, then owned by James Patton 
and later by his son James W. Patton. There were a large 
blacksmith shop just below this hotel, where Sycamore street 
now leaves South Main, and a tannery on the branch back 
of and below this. Joshua Roberts lived on the hill where 
Mrs. Buchanan lived until her recent death, and it was the 
last house on that side of the street. 

Large Land Owners. In the angle formed by Patton 
avenue and South Main street, according to Dr. Baird, the 
lands were owned principally by James M. Smith, Col. James 
M. Alexander, James W. Patton, and Samuel Chunn, but 
James B. Mears and Drake Jarrett owned from T. C. Smith's 
drug store down to and including Mears' Daylight store. The 
Methodist and Presbyterian churches owned and occupied 
the land now used by them for their present places of wor- 
ship. Within this area were eleven residences, two stores, 
two churches, two stables, one tanyard and one barn. At 
the corporate line on South Main street, at the forks of the 
road, lived Standapher Rhodes, and north of him was the 
blacksmith shop of Williamson Warlick whose sign read : 
"Williamson Warlick Axes," his axes being especially fine. 



150 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

He died and was succeeded there by Elias Triplett. Two 
hundred yards north was the home of Rev. William Mor- 
rison, a Presbyterian minister and the father of Mr. Theo- 
dore S. Morrison. J. M. Alexander afterwards lived in this 
house. Then came a tannery of J. M. Smith's, while David 
Halford occupied a residence at the corner of South Main 
and Southside avenue, known as the Goodlake curve because 
of the reverse curve of the street railway tracks at that point. 
There was a frame house about halfway between the Hal- 
ford house and Mrs. M. E. Hilliard's residence. Mrs. Hil- 
liard's home site was formerly occupied by a large two-story 
frame house which stood upon the street, and was occupied 
at one time by Col. J. M. Alexander before he removed to 
"Alexander's, " ten miles down the French Broad river. Then 
John Osborne occupied the Alexnader (Hilliard) house for a 
long time, to be followed by Isaac McDunn, a tailor. It was 
finally bought by the late Dr. W. L. Hilliard, and occupied 
as a residence. From his house to Aston street there was no 
dwelling, though a large stable belonging to the Eagle hotel 
stood where now stands the Swannanoa-Berkeley Hotel. 

George Swain. He was born in Roxborough, Mass., June 
17, 1763, and on September 1, 1784, he left Providence, R. I., 
for Charleston, S. C; but as a storm had required that much 
of the cargo be thrown over board, Swain arrived at Charles- 
ton penniless. He walked to Augusta, Ga., where he lived a 
year, and then removed to Wilkes, afterwards Oglethorpe 
county, where he engaged in hat-making, and was a member 
of the legislature of Georgia five years, and of the Constitu- 
tional convention held at Louisville about 1795, in which year 
he moved to Buncombe county and settled in or near Ashe- 
ville, soon afterward marrying Carolina Lowrie, a sister of 
Joel Lane, founder of the city of Raleigh, and of Jesse Lane, 
father of Gen. Joseph Lane, Democratic candidate for Vice- 
President in 1860. She was the widow of a man who had 
been killed by the Indians. In the early part of his residence 
George Lane lived at the head of Beaverdam creek, where the 
late Rev. Thomas Stradley afterwards resided and died, and 
where, on January 4, 1801, David Lowrie Swain, afterwards 
judge, governor and president of the University, was born. 
Here the future statesman saw the first wagon ever in 
Buncombe brought up the washed out bed of Beaverdam 



COUNTY HISTORY 151 

creek in default of a road. At this sight, "he incontinently 
took to his heels and rallied only when safely entrenched 
behind his father's house, a log double cabin." "About 1805 
a post-route was established on the recently constructed road 
through Buncombe county. ... In 1806, the post- 
office at Asheville was made the distributing office for Georgia, 
Tennessee and the two Carolinas, and George Swain became 
postmaster," the commission issuing in 1807. He was a rul- 
ing elder in the Presbyterian church. He used to say his 
father was a Presbyterian and an Arminian, and his mother 
was a Methodist and a Calvinist. He was a trustee of the 
Newton academy. He afterwards carried on the hatter's bus- 
iness in the house now called the Bacchus J. Smith place in 
Grove Park, where his son-in-law, William Coleman, succeeded 
him as a hatter. For some time before his death he was 
insane. He died December 24, 1829. 

Samuel Chunn. In 1806 he was chairman of the Bun- 
combe county court, having been a tanner for years, his tan- 
yard being where Merrimon avenue crosses Glenn's creek. In 
1807 he was jailer, and from him Chunn's Cove took its name. 
He died in 1855, on the bank of the French Broad in Madison 
county at what is known as the Chunn place, where he had 
resided in his old age. 

William Welch. He was at one time a member of the 
Buncombe county court, and in January, 1805, was coroner. 
He was interested in lands on what are now Haywood and 
Depot streets. He afterwards removed to Waynesville and 
married Mary Ann, a daughter of Robert Love. In 1829 he 
was a senator from Haywood county, a member of the con- 
stitutional convention of 1835 and for many years clerk of 
the court. He was born April 8, 1796, and died February 6, 
1865. 

Colonel William Davidson. He was a son of John Da- 
vidson and first cousin of Gen. Wm. Davidson, who succeeded 
Griffith Rutherford in the generalship when the latter was 
captured at Camden. Gen. Davidson was killed February 1, 
1781, at Cowan's ford of Catawba river. Col. Davidson was a 
brother of the Samuel Davidson who was killed by the Indians 
in 1781-2 at the head of the Swannanoa river, and was the 
first representative of Buncombe county in the State Senate, 
taking a prominent part in the preparations made by the 



152 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 



North Carolinians for the Battle of Kings Mountain. He was 
the father of William Mitchell Davidson of Haywood county, 
whose son, Col. Allen T. Davidson, was a prominent lawyer 
and represented this section in the Confederate Congress. 

William Mitchell Davidson. He was born January 2, 
1780, and died at Rock Island Ferry, on the Brazos river, 
Washington county, Texas, May 31, 1846, and was buried 
in the Horse Shoe Bend of that stream in the private burying 
ground of Amos Gates. On January 10, 1804, he married 
Elizabeth Vance (who was born on Reem's creek, Buncombe 
county, North Carolina, March 23, 1787), the ceremony being 
performed by the Rev. Geo. Newton. She died at the home of 
her son, Col. Allen Turner Davidson, on Valley river, Cher- 
okee county, April 15, 1861. They settled on a beautiful 
farm on Jonathan's creek, in Haywood county, where they 
remained until October 24, 1844, when the family went to 
Santa Anna, 111., where they remained until the first of March, 
1845, when they again set out for Texas. They settled on 
Wilson's creek of Collin county in April. From there they 
moved to Rock Island Ferry, where Mr. Davidson died. The 
family then returned to North Carolina — April, 1847. One 
cause of his removal to Texas was an unfortunate mercantile 
venture which he had made with his sons, W. E., H. H., an 
A. T., at Waynesville, in 1842. The story of the adventures 
of this family to and from Texas at that early day, as preserved 
in a manuscript written by John M. Davidson, one of W. M. 
Davidson's sons, reads more like a romance than a sober 
recital of real facts. (See Appendix.) 

Isaac B. Sawyer. Was born on Tuskeegee creek in Macon, 
now Swain, county in 1810. James W. Patton, John Burgin 
and 'Squire Sawyer were, for years, the three magistrates 
composing the Buncombe county court. He was the first 
mayor of Asheville and was clerk and master for many years 
before the Civil War and until the adoption of the Code. 
He was the father of Captain James P. Sawyer, who for years 
was the president of the Battery Park bank, a successful 
merchant and a public spirited and enterprising citizen. 
Isaac B. Sawyer died in 1880. 

James Mitchell Alexander. He was born on Bee Tree 
creek, Buncombe county, May 22, 1793. His grandfather, 
John Alexander, of Scotch-Irish descent, was a native of Rowan 



COUNTY HISTORY 153 



county, where he married Rachel Davidson, a sister of Wil- 
liam and Samuel Davidson, and resided in Lincoln county, 
during the Revolutionary war. They were afterwards among 
the first settlers of Buncombe, but moved to Harper's river, 
Tenn. His son, James Alexander was born in Rowan, Decem- 
ber 23, 1756. He fought on the American side at Kings 
Mountain, and Cornwallis's camp chest, captured by him, was 
in Buncombe in 1898 when "Asheville's Centenary" was writ- 
ten by F. A. Sondley, Esq. March 19, 1782, he married in 
York district, South Carolina, Miss Rhoda Cunningham, 
who had been born in Pennsylvania, October 13, 1763. They 
then moved to Buncombe with their father and uncle and 
settled on Bee Tree, where he died in the Presbyterian faith. 
James Mitchell Alexander was their son, and on September 
8, 1814, he married Nancy Foster, oldest child of Thomas 
Foster, who was born November 17, 1797. In 1816 he removed 
to Asheville and bought and improved the Hilliard property 
on South Main street. He was a saddler, and at this house 
he lived till 1828, carrying on his trade and keeping hotel. 
In 1828, upon the completion of the Buncombe turnpike, he 
bought and improved the place on the right bank of the French 
Broad, ten miles from Asheville, afterwards famous as Alex- 
ander's hotel, also carrying on a mercantile business there. 
In the latter part of his life he turned over this business to his 
son, the late Alfred M. Alexander, and one of his sons-in-law, 
the late Rev. J. S. Burnett, and improved the place three 
miles nearer Asheville called Montrealla, where he died June 
11, 1858. His wife died January 14, 1862. 

Andrew Erwin. He is the man to whom Bishop Asbury 
referred as " chief man." He was born in Virginia about 1773 
and died near the War Trace in Bedford county, Tenn., in 
1833. When seventeen years old he entered the employment 
of the late James Patton, afterwards becoming his partner as 
inn-keeper and merchant at Wilkesborough. In 1800-01 
he was a member of the House of Commons from Wilkes. 
He was Asheville's first postmaster. In 1814 he moved to 
Augusta, Ga. 

Thomas Foster. He was born in Virginia October 14, 
1774. In 1776 his father, William Foster came with his 
family and settled midway between the road leading to the 
Swannanoa river by way of Fernihurst from Asheville. He 



154 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

married Miss Orra Sams, whose father, Edmund Sams, was 
one of the settlers from Watauga. After his marriage Thomas 
Foster settled on the bank of Sweeten's creek, afterwards 
called Foster's Mill creek, the first which enters Swannanoa 
from the south above the present iron bridge on the Hender- 
son ville road. He was a member of the House of Commons 
from Buncombe from 1809 to 1814, both inclusive, and repre- 
sented that county in the State senate in 1817 and 1819. 
He died December 24 (incorrectly on tombstone December 
14), 1858. He was a farmer and accumulated a considerable 
property. A large family of children survived him. His 
wife died August 27, 1853. He is mentioned in Wheeler's 
History of North Carolina, Bennett's Chronology of North 
Carolina and Bishop Asbury's journal. 

Weaverville, Buncombe County. The greater part of 
the early settlers of this country was made up of men and wom- 
en seeking religious liberty. This motive no less prompted 
the immigrants from Northern Europe than the great body of 
Scotch-Irish that emigrated to this country from Scotland 
and Ireland. In Pennsylvania and down through the valley 
of the Shenandoah we find the Dutch of Holland and the 
Scotch-Irish, living side by side dominated by a single purpose. 

One of the pioneers in Buncombe county came from the 
valley of Virginia from this large Dutch settlement into what 
is now Buncombe county, and was the ancester of the large 
family of Weavers now living in that section. 

Previous to 1790 John Weaver and wife, Elizabeth, with 
their infant son (Jacob), came from Virginia via the Watauga 
in Tennessee, crossing the Ball mountain in what is now Yan- 
cey county, and settled on Reems creek, near the present 
town of Weaverville. From the first census of the United 
States 1790 (see page 110) it appears that John Weaver was 
a resident of Burke county, which then included what is now 
Buncombe county. His family then consisted of wife, two 
daughters and one son under sixteen years of age. From this 
it is evident that he reached North Carolina sometime between 
1786 and 1790. In the office of Register of Deeds for Bun- 
combe county, in Book No. 1 at page 100, is recorded a deed 
from John McDowell of Burke county, conveying to John 
Weaver of Buncombe county 320 acres of land; consideration 
100 pounds; description, "On both sides of Reems creek and 



COUNTY HISTORY 155 

on both sides of the path leading from Green river to Nola- 
chuckee." This is interesting inasmuch as it seems to locate 
the old Indian trail from the east to the lands west of Unakas. 
There is little doubt that this young pioneer brought his 
young wife and infant son from the Watauga over this trail 
in quest of a permanent home. 

John Weaver was born December, 1763, and died December, 
1830. In his will, probated April Session, 1831, was found 
the following names: wife, Elizabeth; daughters, Susannah, 
Christiana, Mary, Elizabeth, Matilda and Catherine; sons, 
Jacob, James, John (better known as Jack), Christopher G., 
and Michael Montreville. From this family of six daughters 
and five sons sprang the largest number of descendants, or most 
numerous group of related families in Buncombe county, 
springing from one ancestor. Some of the oldest related 
families living in Buncombe county have their origin in more 
than one ancestor; for instance, the Baird family sprang from 
two brothers, Zebulon and Bedent; the Alexander family, 
from James Alexander, followed by a brother, nephew and 
other kinsmen; the Davidson family, from Samuel and Wil- 
liam. These last named pioneers entered Buncombe county 
from the east through the Swannanoa gap. John Weaver, 
as stated above, came from Virginia and entered this county 
from the northern section and what is now Yancey county. 
His oldest son, Jacob, married Elizabeth Siler of Macon county. 
From this union were born four sons and three daughters, 
John S., Jesse R., William W., and James Thomas, Elizabeth, 
Saphronia and Mary. All these children of Jacob Weaver 
married and became the heads of families living in Buncombe 
county. Their descendants constitute the large majority of 
Weavers and Weaver relations now living in this county. 
John S. Weaver first married Mary Miller of Bolivar, Ten- 
nessee; she died in 1867 and his second wife was Mary Mc- 
Dowell of Macon county, daughter of Silas McDowell. Jesse 
R. Weaver married Julia Coulter of Greenville, Tennessee. 
William Weimer Weaver married Evalin Smith of Buncombe 
county, daughter of Samuel Smith. James Thomas Weaver 
married Hester Ann Trotter of Macon county. Elizabeth 
Weaver married Burdie Gash. Saphronia Weaver married 
Jamison McElroy. Mary Weaver married Robert V. Black- 



156 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

stock. Nearly all of the living descendants of these families 
now live in Buncombe county, except the McElroy family, 
which moved to Arkansas shortly after the Civil War. 

The next child of the pioneer, John Weaver, was Susannah, 
who married a Mr. McCarson; from these are descendants 
living in this and adjacent counties. 

The second daughter, Christiana, married Samuel Vance, 
uncle of Z. B. Vance, who later moved to Bedford county, 
Tennessee. The third daughter, Mary, married Henry 
Addington of Macon county, where many descendants from 
this union still live. The fourth daughter, Catherine, mar- 
ried Andrew Pickens from South Carolina, who settled in 
Buncombe county. Rev. R. V. Pickens, Tarpley Pickens, 
Christly Pickens, Mrs. Eliza Gill, and Mrs. Martha Carter, 
who became the heads of large families in this county, were 
sons and daughters of Andrew and Catherine Pickens. The 
fifth daughter, Elizabeth, married Robert Patton Wells. 
From this union were many sons and daughters, some of 
whom, known to the writer and living in Buncombe county, were 
Robert C. Wells, W. F. Wells, Saphronia, who married Capt. 
R. P. Moore, Jane, who married Dr. Micheaux, and Matilda, who 
married Mathias Faubion of Tennessee. The sixth daughter 
of John Weaver, Matilda, married Jefferson H. Garrison. 
From this union were born sons and daughters in this and 
adjacent counties. Two sons, William and John, were gal- 
lant soldiers in the Civil War. 

Referring to the sons of John Weaver, other than Jacob, 
who has already been referred to, James first married a Miss 
Barnard. Their daughter, Christiana, married William R. 
Baird, and these were the parents of Capt. I. V. Baird, Wil- 
liam Baird, Zebulon Baird, Dr. Elisha Baird, John R. Baird, 
Misses Mollie and Catherine Baird, all now living in Bun- 
combe county, except Dr. Elisha and John R. Baird, who 
died within the last ten years. James Weaver's second mar- 
riage was to Mrs. Gilliland. Children were born to James 
Weaver by both of these unions, but they moved in early life 
to Tennessee and Missouri. 

James Weaver first represented Buncombe county in the low- 
er house of the legislature in 1825, serving with David L. Swain. 
He was subsequently re-elected to this office in 1830, 1832, 
1833 and 1834, serving with William Orr, John Clayton and 



COUNTY HISTORY 157 

Joseph Henry resepectively. Later he moved to Cocke 
county, Tennessee, died July 28, 1854, and was buried on the 
old homestead, at the place known as Weaver Bend, just below 
Paint Rock. Subsequently, one of his daughters removed 
his remains and re-interred them at Knoxville, Tenn. Over- 
looking this grave, and on the very apex of a high, steep moun- 
tain, at Weaver Bend, is a small white cross set in a rock, 
by whose hands no one knows. It can be seen from the car 
window as the train moves through the river gorge 500 feet 
below. It is a tradition that some Jesuits placed a few of 
these crosses on conspicuous promontories through the Smoky 
mountains long before any of the settlements had been made 
by white men. However, this may be, this little emblem 
has rested on this western "Horeb" for possibly two cen- 
turies, looking out and towards the rolling rivers and alluvial 
valleys of East Tennessee, which to the early settlers was a 
real land of promise flowing with milk and honey. 

John, or Jack, Weaver married and lived on the French 
Broad river just above the mouth of Reems creek. Some of 
his descendants are still living in this county; of those who 
moved elsewhere little is now known. 

Christopher G. Weaver married a Miss Lowry and lived 
on Flat creek three miles north of Weaverville. He died in 
early life and has no descendants now living in Buncombe 
county. 

Montreville Michael Weaver was the youngest son of John 
Weaver. He was born August 10, 1808, married Jane Baird. 
To this union was born four sons and five daughters. The sons 
were Fulton, who died unmarried, and Capt. W. E. Weaver, who 
married Miss Hannah Baird and is now living at Weaverville, 
N. C. The third son, John, married Miss Garrison, neither 
of whom is now living. Dr. Henry Bascomb Weaver mar- 
ried Miss Hattie Penland, daughter of Robert Penland of 
Mitchell county, N. C. Dr. Weaver is now living in Ashe- 
ville, a practicing physician who possesses the confidence 
and esteem of those who know him. The daughters of Mon- 
treville Weaver: Mary Ann, married Dr. J. A. Reagan; 
Martha, married Dr. J. W. Vandiver; Margarette, married 
Capt. Wylie Parker; Catherine, married Dr. I. A. Harris; 
Eliza, married D. H. Reagan; all of whom have many descend- 
ants living in Buncombe county. Montreville Weaver, the 



158 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

last surviving child of the family of John Weaver, died in 
September, 1882. 

Among these people are many strong men and women who 
have left their impress upon the communities in which they 
lived and have largely contributed to the upbuilding of the 
country. John Weaver the First left the information with 
his children that his father was a Holland gentleman. Other 
information obtainable indicates that his father came from 
Holland to Pennsylvania, and in company with other brothers 
and kinsmen of the same name settled near Lancaster, Penn- 
sylvania, later migrating across Maryland into the valley of 
the Shenandoah in Virginia. The name of Weaver appears 
frequently in the public records about Lancaster, Pennsyl- 
vania, and in Virginia. From the report of Mr. H. J. Ecke- 
rode, the Archivist of the State of Virginia, it appears that 
there were two men by the name of John Weaver in the Re- 
olutionary War from Virginia. One of these men was from 
Augusta county. In the same report also appear the fol- 
lowing Weavers : Aaron Weaver, Princess Ann county, Till- 
man Weaver, Captain of Fauquier Militia. From the Penn- 
sylvania Archives, Third Series, Vol. 23, appear the names 
of Captain Martin Weaver and Captain Jacob Weaver of 
Fifth and Seventh Companies of the Tenth Pennsylvania 
Regiment (see pages 314 and 383). The commissions of 
these men bear date July 1, 1777, and January 13, 1777, 
respectively. Other Weavers who figured in the Revolution- 
ary history of Pennsylvania are George, Dolshen, Daltzer, 
Daniel, Henry, Adam, Jacob and Joshua. In fact this name 
appears in some muster roll of United States forces in every 
conflict in which the country has been engaged, beginning 
with the subjugation of the savage tribes, through all the 
wars with England and down to the Spanish-American war 
of recent date. 

It is easy to believe that these Dutch people found con- 
genial friends and neighbors in the Scotch-Irish people that 
were thrown together in the valley of the Shenandoah. They 
were all dominated by a single purpose, to hew out for them- 
selves and their posterity a civil and ecclesiastic system, free 
from the domination of king or pope. There is no doubt but 
that the ancestors of these Dutch people were the loyal sup- 
porters of William, Duke of Nassau, called "William the 



COUNTY HISTORY 159 

Silent' ' who broke the power of Catholic Spain over the Neth- 
erlands in his defeat of Philip the Second in the latter part of 
the Sixteenth Century. 

Ashe County. The act to establish the county of Ashe is 
one of the shortest on record. It was passed in 1799 (Laws 
of N. C, p. 98) and provides that "all that part of the county 
of Wilkes lying west of the extreme height of the Appalachian 
mountains shall be, and the same is hereby erected into a 
separate and distinct county by the name of Ashe," followed 
later by an act to establish permanently the dividing line 
between Ashe and Buncombe counties, the same to begin at 
"the Yadkin spring, and thence along the extreme height of 
the Blue ridge to the head spring of Flat Top fork of Elk 
creek, thence down the meanders of said creek to the Ten- 
nessee line." 

The first record of the county court of Ashe is at the May 
term, 1806, with Alexander Smith, John McBride and Charles 
Tolliver, esquires, present. The following were the jurors : 
Sidniah Maxwell, foreman, James Sturgill, Allen Woodruff, 
Samuel Griffith, Seth Osborn, George Koons, John Green, 
James Dickson, Levi Pennington, Benjamin Hubbard, Charles 
Kelly, James Murphy, Wm. Harris, Alex. Lethern, Sciras 
Fairchilds. Edward King was appointed constable to attend 
the grand jury. Elisha Collins was excused from road duty 
"by reason of infirmity." At the February Term, 1807, 
James Cash recorded his "mark" for stock, being a crop and 
slit and under keel on the right ear; and Elijah Calloway 
and Mathias Harmon were qualified as justices of the peace. 
The jury appointed to "view the road from Daniel Harper's 
into the Elk spur road" made report that it "was no road." 

From the Old Court Records. If there was a term of 
the Superior Court held in Ashe county prior to the March 
term, 1807, there is no record of it. On the 9th day of March 
of that year, however, Francis Locke presided as judge, and 
appointed John McMillan clerk, with bond of £2,000. Thomas 
McGimsey was appointed clerk and master, but resigned at 
the September Term, 1807. The grand jurors were Nathan 
Horton, foreman, James Bunyard, David Earnest, John Brown, 
Eli Cleveland, Joseph Couch, John Koons, Jonathan Baker, 
Elijah Pope, Jesse Ray, Samuel C. Cox, John Holman, Joshua 
Cox, Elijah Callaway, John Judd, Alex. Johnson, Morris 



160 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Baker, Wm. Weaver. Henry Hardin, constable, was sworn to 
attend the jury. Only two cases were tried, the first of which 
was John Cox v. Isaac H. Robinett and Nathan Gordon, 
debt, judgment for £596, 14-6d and costs. At the Septem- 
ber term, 1807, Judge Spruce McCay presided and fined the 
delinquent jurors £10 each, but afterwards released them. 
Six cases were tried. Judge Francis Locke returned for the 
Spring Term, 1808, and Judge Samuel Lowrie followed him 
at the Fall term. At the September term, 1810, on motion 
of Robert H. Burton, who was to become judge and preside 
at a future term, Samuel Cox, sheriff, was amerced, nisi, for 
not returning execution in the case of Robert Nail v. Jno. 
Burton and others. At the March term, 1811, Peter Hart 
was committed to jail for 24 hours and fined 40 shillings for 
making a noise and contempt of court, and Gideon Lewis and 
John Northern were fined 20 shillings each for not answering 
when their names were called. Judge Henderson presided at 
the March term, 1812, when John A. Johnson resigned his 
appointment as clerk and master. John Hall presided at the 
September term, while at the March term, 1813, the jury 
acquitted Wm. Pennington of rape. At this term Waugh 
& Findlay recovered judgment for $55.06^2 against Elizabeth 
Humphries, but judgment was arrested and a new trial or- 
dered. Duncan Cameron presided at the March term, 1814, 
while at the September term, 1815, the jury found that Wm. 
Lambeth, indicted for malicious mischief (Betty Young pros- 
scutrix) had taken "a mare from his cornfield to a secret 
place and stabbed her to prevent a repetition of injuring his 
crop, but were unable to say whether he was guilty or not 
and the judge, Hon. Leonard Henderson, ordered that a tran- 
script of the bill of indictment and verdict be sent to the 
Conference court. At the September term, 1817, Judge Low- 
ery did not get to court on Monday, but arrived the follow- 
ing Tuesday, and ordered Thomas Calloway, county surveyor, 
to survey the land in dispute between Thomas McGimsey 
and Elisha Blevins. There is a grant to Gideon Lewis to 200 
acres on Spring branch, entered September 16, 1802, of date 
November 27, 1806, and a grant to Reuben Farthing for 200 
acres on Beaver Dams, entered July 4, 1829, of date Decem- 
ber 5, 1831. Benjamin Cutbirth conveyed 100 acres on South 
Fork of New river to Andrew Ferguson, the execution of 



COUNTY HISTORY 161 

which deed was proven by the oath of Joseph Couch at the 
May term, 1800, of the county court. 

Second Jail West of the Blue Ridge. The first jail 
stood behind what is now the Jefferson Bargain store, con- 
ducted by Dr. J. C. Testerman, from which some of the logs 
were removed to and made into the old stable in east Jefferson, 
where they are still visible. The next jail was of brick and 
stood on the site of the present jail on Helton road, and was 
built, probably, about 1833. It was burned in the spring of 
1865 by men in the uniform of the United States army. A pris- 
oner set the jail on fire about 1887 and Felix Barr repaired it. 

Jefferson. A tract of fifty acres was deeded to Ashe 
county on which the town of Jefferson was built early in the 
18th century; but the records of the grantor and grantee are 
lost. A map in the possession of G. L. Park, Esq., is sup- 
posed to have been made about 1800. It was made by J. 
Harper and shows the location of all lots, the court house and 
the crossing of the Helton road. The first court house was 
of logs and stood at the intersection of this road and the road 
running east and west, and now known as Main street. The 
next court house was of brick, and stood flush with Main 
street, in front of the present structure, and was built about 
1832 or 1833, according to statement of Edmund C. Bartlett 
to Felix Barr, who also remembers seeing the date on a tin 
gutter, the tin work having been done by Lyle & Wilcox of 
Grayson county, Va. The present court house was built 
in 1904, the old road for Helton still going by it, but passing 
on both sides now, in narrow alleys or lanes, but coming to- 
gether again before crossing the gap of the Phoenix mountain, 
nearly two miles to the north. There is a conflict of opinion 
as to where the first court was held, some claiming that it was 
in an old log church in the meadow immediately in front of 
the present court house and known as the McEwen meadow, 
and others that it was held in an old Baptist church half a 
mile from Jefferson on the Beaver creek road, near which a 
Mr. and Mrs. Smithdeal kept a tavern and on the opposite side 
of the road. The three rows of black-heart cherry trees on 
the main street give not only shade but an air of distinction 
not noticeable in newer towns, while the colonial style of 
several of the houses indicates a degree of refinement among 
the earlier inhabitants sadly missing from many places of equal 

W. N. C. 11 



162 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

antiquity. Like Charleston, S. C, Jefferson has the air of 
having been finished years ago ; but as the Methodist Conference 
has appropriated $20,000 and the citizens of Ashe $10,000 
to build a school and college, and Mrs. Eula J. Neal, widow 
of the late J. Z. Neal has conveyed eight or ten acres of choice 
land for that purpose, and as a railroad from Virginia is ex- 
pected soon, Jefferson is looking to the future with pride in 
her past and a determination to achieve greater and greater 
results. Before the coming of railroads Asheville was no 
larger than Jefferson is now, nor had it any greater evidences 
of culture and education than is here indicated by the citi- 
zenship of Jefferson. The large numbers of negroes in and 
around Jefferson indicate that the former residents were men 
of wealth and leisure. In 1901, the legislature incorporated 
the Wilkesboro and Jefferson Turnpike company 7 , and five 
years later a finely graded road was completed between those 
two places. By the terms of this act the State furnished 
the convicts while the stockholders furnished the provisions 
and paid the expenses. This road has been of greater help 
to North Wilkesboro than to Jefferson; but if the town of Jef- 
ferson and the county of Ashe would secure trackage rights 
over the narrow gauge road now operated for lumber exclu- 
sively between Laurel Bloomery, Term., and Hemlock, N. C, 
and then secure convicts to complete the line to Jefferson, under 
the same terms as were granted for the building of the turn- 
pike, and operate it by electricity, it need not wait for the 
pleasure of lumber companies to construct a standard gauge 
road at their convenience 

Old Buildings. The building now known as Jefferson 
Inn was built in two parts by the late George Bower. The 
part used by the Bank of Ashe was built first, but the date can- 
not be determined definitely, and the eastern part some years 
later. The frame building next to the east was George Bow- 
er's store, in which the postoffice was kept, and holes in the 
partitions are still visible which had been used for posting 
letters. James Gentry was killed one snowy Christmas 
night about the year 1876, in front of this building while 
Mont. Hardin was keeping hotel. Douglas Dixon was tried 
for the murder, but was acquitted. It was in this building 
also that Judge Robert R. Heath, sick and delirious, inflicted 
a wound upon himself from which he afterwards died (May 



COUNTY HISTORY 163 

26, 1871). The hand-forged hinges and window fastenings 
indicate that the building is old. 

Waugh and Bartlett Houses. But what is still known 
as the Bartlett house, east of the present postoffice, is prob- 
ably the oldest house in town. It was occupied by Sheriff 
E. C. Bartlett, grandfather of the Professors Dougherty of 
Boone. Another old building is that still known as the Waugh 
house, notwithstanding its modern appearance. It is now 
a part of the Masonic building, apparently, but its main 
body, like the Bartlett house, is of logs. In it Waugh, Poe 
and Murchison sold goods in the first part of the nineteenth 
century. Certain it is that to this firm there were grants 
and deeds to land at a very early date, and the first map of 
Jefferson was made by J. Harper for Wm. P. Waugh, the 
senior member of this firm; Mathias Poe, the third member 
is said to have lived in Tennessee; but Col. Murchison for 
years occupied the large old residence which still stands on 
the hill at the eastern end of town. 

Early Residents of Jefferson, Ashe County. Nathan 
H. Waugh moved to Jefferson from Monroe county, Tenn., 
in 1845. He was born April 24, 1822. Among those living 
in Jefferson in 1845 were Col. George Bower, Rev. Dr. Wagg, 
a Methodist preacher, and the Rev. William Milam, also a 
Methodist preacher, and the jailer; also Sheriff E. C. Bart- 
lett, Cyrus Wilcox, a tinner, George Houck, blacksmith, whose 
daughter married Cyrus Grubb of the Bend of New river; 
and Wm. Wyatt. Daniel Burkett, who lives one mile South 
of Jefferson and whose daughter married Rev. Dr. J. H. 
Weaver of the Methodist Church, South. William Willen, an 
Englishman and a ditcher, lived one mile east of Jefferson on 
the farm now owned by D. P. Waugh. Mrs. Lucy A Carson 
moved to Jefferson in 1870, and remembers as residents at 
that time S. C. Waugh, Wiley P. Thomas, Mrs. America 
Bower, Dr. L. C. Gentry, Rev. James Wagg, J. E. and N. A. 
Foster, E. C. Bartlett. The Fosters delivered salt to Ashe 
county during the Civil War. Mrs. Milam owned a residence 
opposite J. E. and N. A. Foster's, but gave the lot to Adam 
Roberts, colored, who subsequently sold it and built the brick 
house on the hill to the south of town. The Carson house, 
brick, was built in 1845, Geo. Bower giving John M. Carson, 



164 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

his brother-in-law, the lot on which it stands. Captain Joseph 
W. Todd built the house to the west of the Carson resi- 
dence in 1870, and the Henry Rollins house had been built 
long before that time. The Negro mountain was so called 
because a runaway negro, during or before the Revolutionary 
War, escaped and hid in a cave on the mountain till his hid- 
ing place was discovered and he was recaptured and returned 
to his master east of the Blue Ridge. The Mulatto mountain 
is said to have taken its name from the color of the soil, but 
no plausible reason was given for the names applied to the 
Paddy and Phoenix mountains. 

Aras B. Cox. Aras B. Cox was born in Floyd county, 
Va., January 25, 1816, and married Phoebe Edwards, Febru- 
ary 23, 1845. They settled in Ashe county. In 1849 he was 
elected clerk of the Superior Court, and also in 1853. He 
sold his farm in Alleghany county, and bought one seven 
miles from Jefferson. He was in the Confederate War. He 
was a distinguished physician and the author of "Footprints 
on the Sands of Time," published at Sparta, N. C, in August, 
1900. He died soon after. 

Colonel George Bower. So higly regarded was Col. 
Bower for his wisdom and sagacity that he was almost uni- 
versally called "Double Headed Bower," or "Two Headed 
Bower." He was born in Ashe county, January 8, 1788. His 
father was John Bower, whose will as recorded in Ashe county 
disposed of considerable property. 8 George was a merchant, 
farmer, live-stock raiser and hotellist at Jefferson. He mar- 
ried a Miss Bryant first, and after her death Miss America 
Russeau. He was elected State Senator when Andrew Jack- 
son was elected president both times. 9 He became one of 
the bondsmen of John McMillan as clerk of the Superior 
Court as early as the September term, 1813. 10 At sub- 
sequent terms he was appointed clerk and master and gave 
bond as such. ' l He owned a large number of slaves and 
many State bonds. He was drowned in the Yadkin river, 
October 7, 1861. His will was probated in 1899, Book 
E, p. 387. His widow married Robert R. Heath, who was 
born in New Hampshire October 25, 1806, and died at Jef- 
ferson, May 26, 1871. "He was an able lawyer and an up- 
right judge," is engraved on his tomb. Mrs. Heath then 



COUNTY HISTORY 165 

married Alston Davis. She was born February 26, 1816, and 
died May 25, 1903. Her will was probated in 1903, Book E, 
p. 524. 

A Tragic Death. In October, 1861, George Bower fol- 
lowed a runaway slave to the ford of the Yadkin river. He 
was in his carriage, and the negro driver told him the river 
was too swollen to admit of fording it at that time. Col. 
Bower, insisting, however, the colored man drove in. The cur- 
rent took the carriage with its single occupant far beyond the 
bank. Col. Bower was drowned, but the driver and horses 
escaped. 

Stephen Thomas. This gentleman was a progressive and 
valuable citizen of Creston, having kept a store and tavern 
there. He was born in May, 1796, and died in May, 1864. 
His wife was a daughter of Timothy Perkins. He reared 
a splendid family. l - 

David Worth. He was descended from William Worth, who 
emigrated from England in the reign of Charles the Second. 
His father had owned considerable property under the Com- 
monwealth, but at the Restoration it had been confiscated, and 
his family scattered in search of safety. William had a son, 
Joseph, born in Massachusetts, and Joseph's son Daniel, mar- 
ried Sarah Husey. Daniel Worth was a son of Joseph and 
was born in Guilford county, October 15, 1810. Daniel Worth 
was the father of David Worth, who came to Creston about 
1828, and died December 10, 1888. He was a tanner by 
trade. He also was a most valuable citizen and highly re- 
spected. He married Miss Elizabeth Thomas, daughter of 
Stephen Thomas. She was born January 18, 1821, and died 
October 22, 1895. 13 

Zachariah Baker. He lived at Creston and was a suc- 
cessful farmer and stock raiser. His wife was Miss Zilphea 
Dickson. They reared a large family of influential and suc- 
cessful citizens. One of his sons, John, married Delilah Eller, 
and the other, Marshall, married Mary Eller, a daughter of 
Luke Eller. 1 4 

The Graybeals. They are said to be of Dutch ancestry, 
are generally thrifty and successful folk, and own much real 
estate and live stock. They are honest, frugal and among 
the best citizens of Ashe. 



166 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Jacob, Henry and John Eller. They were sons of Chris- 
tian Eller, once a resident of the Jersey Settlement in David- 
son county. The two former came to Ashe and settled on 
the North Fork of New river, reared large families, and were 
successful, useful, respected citizens. Their sons were Peter, 
Luke, William, John, David and Jacob. John settled on the 
South Fork and later moved to Wilkes. His sons were Sim- 
eon, David, Absalom, John and Peter, who reared large fam- 
ilies which are scattered over Western North Carolina, Ten- 
nessee, Virginia, Iowa and Nebraska. x 5 

Some Early Settlers of Ashe. 16 "These noble, self- 
sacrificing men and women of the early times endangered 
their lives and braved many hardships in the wild Indian 
coutry to open the way to happy homes, schools, churches 
and the blessings of our present civilization. Some of these 
were Henry Poe, Martin Gambill, Thomas Sutherland, Tim- 
othy Perkins, Captain John Cox, Henry Hardin, Canada 
Richardson, James Douglas, Daniel Dickson and Elijah Cal- 
loway. Besides these were many others whose names awaken 
much unwritten history : Miller, Blevins, Ham, Reeves, 
Woodin, Barr, Baker, Eller, Goodman, Ray, Burkett, Gray- 
beal, Houck, Kilby, Ashley, Jones, Gentry, Smith, Plummer, 
Lewis, Sutherland, McMillan, Colvard, Barker, Senter, Max- 
well, Calhoun, Sapp, Thomas, Worth, Oliver and others." 

Haywood County. 17 "In the legislature of 1808, Gen- 
eral Thomas Love, whose home was near where the 'Brown' 
house now stands back of the McAfee cottage in Waynesville, 
and who was that year representative from Buncombe county 
in the General Assembly, introduced a bill having for its pur- 
pose to organize a county out of that portion of Buncombe 
west of its present western and southwestern boundary and 
extending to the Tennessee line, including all the territory in 
the present counties of Haywood, Macon, Jackson, Swain, 
Graham, Clay, and Cherokee. The bill met with favor, was 
passed, ratified and became a law December 23, 1808. 

"On Richland creek, about the year 1800, the neucleus of a 
village had been formed on the beautiful ridge between its 
limpid waters and those of Raccoon creek. The ridge is less 
than a mile wide and attracted settlers on account of the pic- 
turesque mountains on either side and the delightfulness of the 
climate. At that early time a considerable population was 



COUNTY HISTORY 167 



already there. Several men, who were well known in the State 
and who afterwards became prominent in public affairs, had 
built homes upon that nature favored spot and were living 
there. Such men as General Thomas Love, Colonel Robert 
Love, Colonel William Allen, John Welch, and others of Rev- 
olutionary fame were leaders in that community. Without 
changing his residence General Thomas Love was a member 
of the State Legislature, with two or three years intermission, 
from 1797 to 1828, for nine years as a member from Buncombe 
county and the remainder of the time from Haywood. Most 
of the time he was in the House of Commons but for six years 
he was also in the Senate. Colonel Robert Love served three 
years in the senate from Buncombe county, from 1793 to 1795. 
William Allen and John Welch were veterans of the Revolu- 
tion and men of considerable influence in that community. 
"As already stated that law was ratified on December 23, 

1808, but it did not become operative until early in the year 

1809. On the fourth Monday in March of that year the 
justices of the peace in the territory defined by the act erect- 
ing the county met at Mount Prospect in the first court of 
pleas and quarter sessions ever held in the limits of Haywood 
county. The following justices were present at that meeting: 
Thomas Love, John Fergus, John Dobson, Robert Phillips, 
Abraham Eaton, Hugh Davidson, Holliman Battle, John Mc- 
Farland, Phillip T. Burfoot, William Deaver, Archibald 
McHenry, and Benjamin Odell. 

"One of the first things the court thus constituted did was 
to elect officers for the new county. There were several can- 
didates for the different positions, but after several ballots 
were taken the following were declared duly elected: Clerk 
of the court, Robert Love; Sheriff, William Allen; register 
of deeds, Phillip T. Burfoot; constable of the county, Samuel 
Hollingsworth; entry taker, Thomas St. Clair; treasurer, Rob- 
ert Phillips; stray master, Adam Killian; comptroller, Abra- 
ham Eaton; coroner, Nathan Thompson; solicitor, Archi- 
bald Ruffin; standard keeper, David McFarland. 

"Thus officered the county of Haywood began its career. 
The officers entered at once upon their respective duties, and 
the county became a reality. The first entry in the register's 
book bears date of March 29th, 1809, signed by Philip T. 



168 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Burfoot, and the first in the clerk's book is the same date by- 
Robert Love. 

"Until the court house and jail could be built the county 
officials met at private residences at Mount Prospect and 
prisoners were carried to jail in Asheville. Such proceedings 
were inconvenient and the commissioners appointed by the 
legislature, therefore, made haste to locate and erect the 
public buildings. It was expected that they would be ready 
to make their report to the court of pleas and quarter sessions 
as to the location of the county seat at the March session. 
Instead, however, they asked at that session to be indulged 
until the June term, and that request was granted. 

"On Monday, June 26, 1809, the court met at the home of 
John Howell. The old record names the following justices 
as being present: Thomas Love, Philip Burfoot, Hugh Da- 
vidson, John McFarland, Abraham Eaton, John Dobson, Wil- 
liam Deaver, Archibald McHenry, and John Fergus. At this 
meeting the commissioners named in the act of the legislature 
erecting the county made their report, in which they declared 
that it was unanimously agreed to locate the public buildings 
somewhere on the ridge between Richland and Raccoon creeks 
at or near the point then called Mount Prospect. As the 
commissioners were clothed with full power to act, it required 
no vote of the justices, but it is more than probable that the 
report was cheerfully endorsed by a majority of the justices 
present. 

"At this June term of the court, the first for the trial of 
causes, the following composed the grand jury: John Welch 
foreman, William W^elch, John Fullbright, John Robinson, 
Edward Sharteer, Isaac Wilkins, Elijah Deaver, David 
McFarland, William Burns, Joseph Chambers, Thomas St. Clair, 
John Shook, William Cathey, Jacob Shock, and John St. 
Clair. The following grand jurors for the next term of the 
Superior court that was to be held in Asheville in September: 
Holliman Battle, Hugh Davidson, Abraham Eaton, Thomas 
Lenoir, William Deaver, John McFarland, John McClure, 
Felix Walker, Jacob McFarland, Robert Love, Edward Hyatt 
and Daniel Fleming. This was done because of the fact that 
no Superior court was held in Haywood for several years after 
the formation of the county; but all cases that were appealed 
from the court of pleas and quarter sessions came up by law 



COUNTY HISTORY 169 



in the Superior court of Buncombe county at Asheville. For 
this court Haywood county was bound by law to send to 
Asheville six grand jurors and as many more as desired. 

"At the June term inspectors of election, that was to take 
place in August, were also selected. There were then two 
voting precincts, and this election was the first ever held in 
the county. For the precinct of Mount Prospect the follow- 
ing inspectors were appointed: George Cathey, William 
Deaver, John Fergus, and Hugh Davidson. For the precinct 
of Soco, Benjamin Parks, Robert Reed, and Robert Turner 
were appointed. 

"In the location of the public buildings at Mount Prospect, 
there was laid the foundation of the present little city of 
Waynesville. Tradition says and truthfully, no doubt, that 
the name was suggested by Colonel Robert Love in honor of 
General Anthony Wayne, under whom Colonel Love served 
in the Revolutionary War. The name suited the community 
and people, and the village soon came to be known by it. In 
the record of the court of pleas and quarter sessions the name 
of Waynesville occurs first in 1811. 

"Some unexpected condition prevented the immediate 
erection of the public buildings. The plans were all laid in 
1809, but sufficient money from taxation as provided for in 
the act establishing the county had not been secured by the 
end of that year. It was, therefore, late in the year 1811 
before sufficient funds were in hand to begin the erection of 
the courthouse. During the year 1812 the work began and 
was completed by the end of the year. Mark Colman is said 
to have been the first man to dig up a stump in laying the 
foundation for that building. On December 21, 1812, the 
first court was held in this first court house." 

Haywood's Six Daughters. Formerly belonging to Hay- 
wood were Macon, Cherokee, Jackson, Swain, Clay and Gra- 
ham counties. Of many of the pioneer residents of these 
counties when they were a part of Haywood Col. Allen T. 
Davidson speaks in The Lyceum for January, 1891. Among 
them were David Nelson and Jonathan McPeters, Jonathans 
creek having been named for the latter. David Nelson was 
the uncle of Col. Win. H. Thomas, and died at 87 highly 
respected and greatly lamented. "He was of fine physical 
form, honest, brave and hospitable." "Then there were 



170 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Joshua Allison, George Owens, John and Reuben Moody, 
brothers, all sturdy, hardy, well-to-do men and good citi- 
zens, who, with Samuel Leatherwood constituted my father's 
near neighbors." "Joseph Chambers of this neighborhood 
moved to Georgia about the opening of the Carroll county 
gold mine, say, about 1831-32. He was a man of more than 
ordinary character, led in public affairs and reared an elegant 
family. His daughters were splendid ladies and married well. 
His wife was a sister of John and Reuben Moody." John 
Leatherwood was well known for his "thrift and industry, 
fine hounds, fine cattle and good old-time apple brandy; a 
good citizen who lived to a good old age. James McKee, 
father of James L. McKee of Asheville, lived on this creek, 
was sheriff of Haywood for many years, and died at an 
advanced age at Asheville. Near him lived Felix Walker. 
He was a man of great suavity of manner, a fine 
electioneer, insomuch that he was called "Old Oil Jug." He 
went, after his defeat for Congress in 1824 by Dr. Robert 
Vance, to Mississippi, where he died about 1835. The manu- 
facture and sale of gensing was begun on Jonathans creek by 
Dr. Hailen of Philadelphia, who employed Ximron S. Jarrett 
and Bacchus J. Smith, late of Buncombe county, to conduct 
the business. It was abundant then and very profitable, the 
green root being worth about seven cents a pound. A branch 
of this business was established on Caney river in Yancey 
county. I well remember seeing great companies of moun- 
taineers coming along the mountain passes (there were no 
roads then only as we blazed them) with packed horses and 
oxen going to the "factory," as we called it; and it was a 
great rendezvous for the people, where all the then sports of 
the day were engaged in such games as pitching quoits, run- 
ning foot-races, shooting matches, wrestling, and, sometimes 
a good fist and skull fight. But the curse and indignation of 
the neighborhood rested on the man who attempted, as we 
called it, "to interfere in the fight, or double-team," or use a 
weapon. The most noted men were John Welch, John 
McFarland, Hodge Reyburn, Thomas Tatham, Gen. Thomas 
Love and Ninian Edmundson. The leading families of Hay- 
wood were the Howells, being two brothers, John and Henry, 
who came from Cabarrus about 1818; the Osborns; the Plotts, 
Col. Thomas Lenoir; the Catheys, Deavers, McCrackens, Pen- 



COUNTY HISTORY 171 



lands, Bryers; David Russell of Fines creek, Peter Nolan, 
Robert Penland, Henry Brown, James Green, who was born 
in 1790, and was living in January, 1891, and many others. 

Joseph Cathey. He was born March 12, 1803, and died 
June 1, 1874, was a son of William Cathey, one of the first 
settlers on Pigeon river; was a delegate to the State conven- 
tion of 1835, and in the senate and declined further political 
honors. 

Ninian Edmundson. He was born in Burke, October 21, 
1789, of Maryland ancestry, and came with his father to 
Pigeon Valley prior to 1808, where the family remained. He 
was in the War of 1812; was four years sheriff of Haywood. 
He served several terms in the State senate and many in the 
house. He was a most successful farmer and useful citizen. 
He died in March, 1868, highly esteemed. 

James Robert Love. He was born in November, 1798, 
and died November 22, 1863. He represented Haywood 
county many times in the legislature. He married Miss 
Maria Williamson Coman, daughter of Col. James Coman of 
Raleigh, who died January 9, 1842, aged 75 years. This 
marriage occurred November 26, 1822. Charles Loehr, a 
German professor of music, taught his children music for 
years, and Loehr's son afterwards became professor of music at 
the Asheville Female college. Love was so anxious to encour- 
age the building of a railroad that he set aside a lot for the 
depot long before he died. He bought large boundaries of 
vacant and unsurveyed lands, and died wealthy. 

Dr. Samuel L. Love. He was born August 5, 1828, and 
died July 7, 1887. He received his diploma as a physician 
from the University of Pennsylvania ; but was soon elected to the 
legislature, where he served many terms. He was a surgeon in 
1861 on the staff of Gov. Ellis, and a delegate to the Consti- 
tutional convention of 1875. In 1876 he was elected State 
auditor. 

Thomas Isaac Lenoir. Was born on Pigeon river August 
26, 1817, a son of Thomas Lenoir of Wilkes. He went to 
the State University, and did not return to Haywood till 
1847. He was a farmer and stock raiser and a progressive 
citizen. On June 13, 1861, he married Miss Mary E. Garrett. 
He died January 5, 1881. His brother, Walter Lenoir, was a 
captain in the Confederate army, and spent much of his life 



172 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

at Joseph Shull's in Watauga county, where he died July 26, 
1890, aged sixty-seven years. He was graduated with high 
honor at the State University. He studied law and was 
admitted in 1845. He married Miss Cornelia Christian of 
Staunton, Va., in 1856, but she died soon afterward. He lost 
a leg in the Civil War at the battle of Ox Hill, September, 1862. 

William Johnston was the fourth son of Robert John- 
ston, Sr., and was born two miles from Druhmore, the county 
town of Down county, Ireland, July 26, 1807, his ancestors 
having emigrated from Scotland to Ireland in 1641. He came 
with his father's family to Charleston, South Carolina, in 
December, 1818, and settled in Pickens District, South Caro- 
lina. About 1828 he moved to Buncombe county and mar- 
ried Lucinda, the only daughter of James Gudger and his 
wife Annie Love, daughter of Col. Robert Love of Waynes- 
ville, March 18, 1830, and settled in Waynesville, where he 
accumulated a large fortune. About 1857 he moved with his 
family to Asheville. After the Civil War he, with the late 
Col. L. D. Childs of Columbia, South Carolina, became the 
owner of the Saluda factory, three miles from that city. It 
was burned, however, and Mr. Johnston returned to Ashe- 
ville, where he died. He was admittedly the most success- 
ful business man in this entire section of the State; and some 
think that the same business ability, if it had been exerted 
in almost any other field, would have produced results that 
would have rivaled the fortunes of some of our merchant 
princes. 

Jerry Vickers was a tinner who worked for Win. John- 
ston, and also made gravestones out of locust, paradoxical as 
that may appear; but his head-boards in Waynesville ceme- 
tery, with names and dates neatly carved in this almost inde- 
structible wood, are still sound and legible today. 

Wm. Pinckney Welch. He was born in Waynesville 
November 14, 1838, and died at Athens, Ga., March 18, 1896. 
His mother's father was Robert Love, and his father was 
William the son of John Welch, one of the pioneers. The 
Welches came from Philadelphia soon after the Revolution- 
ary War. He attended school at Col. Stephen Lee's school 
in Chunn's cove, after which he went to Emory and Henry 
college, leaving there in May, 1861, to join the Confederate 
army. He was a lieutenant in the 25th N. C. regiment, and 



COUNTY HISTORY 173 



took part in the battles of from Gaines Mills to Malvern 
Hill, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg and in the campaign near 
Kinston and Plymouth, Petersburg, Bermuda Hundreds, and 
surrendered as a captain with Lee at Appomattox. The sur- 
vivors of that war have named their camp after him. He 
practiced law after the war, was in the legislature in 1868 
and 1870 and helped to impeach Gov. Holden. He was mar- 
ried first to Miss Sarah Cathey, a daughter of Col. Joseph 
Cathey of Pigeon river, soon after the war, and on the 26th 
of January, 1875, he married Miss Margaretta Richards 
White of Athens, Ga., his first wife having died soon after 
marriage. No braver man ever lived than Pink Welch. 

The People of Macon. Macon was organized into a 
county in 1828 "and was singularly fortunate in the char- 
acter of the people who first settled it. 1 8 It was first repre- 
sented in the legislature in 1831 by James W. Guinn in the 
senate and Thomas Tatham and James Whitaker in the house, 
and was thereafter represented in the senate four times by 
Gen. Ben. S. Britton, with James Whitaker, Asaph Enloe, 
James W. Guinn and Jacob Siler and Thomas Tatham in the 
house." Luke Barnard, Wimer Siler, and his sons William, 
Jesse R., Jacob and John; John Dobson, John Howard, Henry 
Addington, Gen. Thomas Love, Wm. H. Bryson, James K. 
Gray, Mark Coleman, Samuel Smith, Nimrod S. Jarrett, 
George Dickey, Silas McDowell, George Patton, and William 
Angel were typical men of the early population. " Wm. and 
Jacob Siler having married sisters of D. L. Swain, and Jesse 
R. Siler having married a daughter of John Patton of Bun- 
combe, sister of the late lamented Mont. Patton, it is not 
difficult to account for the great moral worth of the county 
that now exists and has from its first settlement. 
Samuel Smith was the father of Bacchus J. Smith and Rev. 
C. D. Smith, and volunteered as a messenger to bear a letter 
from Gen. McDowell, at the Old Fort, to the principal chief 
of the Cherokees, at the Coosawattee towns about the close 
of the Revolutionary War. 1 9 The undertaking was full of 
peril, the whole country west of the Blue Ridge being then in 
the Cherokee Nation, then in arms, and before any white 
men lived in this country. The Coosawattee towns were on 
a river of that name in Georgia at least 250 miles away; but 
the mission was accomplished by this valiant man who aided 



174 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

largely in bringing these people into peaceable terms with the 
whites. He moved to Texas, after having raised a family of 
distinguished sons in North Carolina, — dying in Texas when 
over ninety years of age. " 2 ° 

Franklin. This was called the Sacred Town by the Cher- 
okees 21 and was not named for Benjamin Franklin, as so 
many think, but for Jesse Franklin, once governor of this 
State. 2 2 The county was named for John Haywood, treasurer 
of the State in 1787. According to Rev. C. D. Smith in his 
Brief History of Macon county, p. 2, Macon was never a part 
of Buncombe county, because its western boundary line never 
extended west of the Meigs and Freeman line of 1802, and 
the territory embraced in Macon and a portion of Jackson and 
Swain was acquired from the Cherokees by treaty in 1817-18. 
In the spring of 1820 the State commissioners, Jesse Franklin 
and James Meabin, in accordance with an act of the legisla- 
ture, came to the Tennessee valley and organized for the 
survey of lands "a corps of surveyors of whom Captain Rob- 
ert Love, a son of Gen. Thomas Love, who settled the place 
at the bridge where Capt. T. M. Angel recently lived 23 , was 
chief. Robert Love had been an honored and brave captain 
in the war of 1812, was much respected on account of his 
patriotic devotion to American liberty, and was consequently 
a man of large influence." Watauga plains, where the late 
Mr. Watson lived, was first settled upon for the county site 
and 400 acres, the land appropriated for that purpose, was 
located and surveyed there; but Captain Love favored the 
present site, and by a vote of all six companies of surveyors 
then in the field, on the ridge where Mrs. H. T. Sloan resided 
in 1905, the 400 acres appropriated was located. 

First Settlers in Franklin. Joshua Roberts, Esq., built 
the first house on the Jack Johnston lot, "a small round log 
cabin;" but Irad S. Hightower built the first " house proper," 
one built of hewn logs on the lot where stands the Allman 
hotel. Capt. N. S. Jarrett bought the first house proper, 
then Gideon F. Morris got it, and then John R. Allman. 
Lindsey Fortune built a cabin on the lot where the Jarrett 
hotel stood in 1894, and Samuel Robinson built on the lot 
occupied in 1905 by Mrs. Robinson. Silas McDowell first 
built where the residence of D. C. Cunningham stood, and 
Dillard Love built the first house on the Trotter lot. N. S. 



COUNTY HISTORY 175 

Jarrett built on the lot owned by S. L. Rogers, and John F. 
Dobson first improved the corner lot owned in 1894 by C. C. 
Smith. James K. Gray built the second hewn-log house on 
the lot owned by Mrs. A. W. Bell, and Jesse R. Siler, one of 
the first settlers, built at the foot of the town hill where Judge 
G. A. Jones resided. He also built the second house on the 
Gov. Robinson lot and the brick store and dwelling owned 
in 1894 by the late Capt. A. P. Munday. James W. Guinn 
or Mr. Whitaker built the house afterwards owned by Mr. 
Jack Johnston. John R. Allman opened the first hotel in 
Franklin, followed soon afterward by a house at the "foot of 
the hill" built by Jesse R. Siler. 24 " 

Prominent Residents of Macon. 2 5 James Cansler was 
born February 22, 1820, in Rutherford county, and died in 
Macon, July 24, 1907. He aided in the removal of the Cher- 
okees in 1836-38, and was a captain in the Civil war. Cap- 
tain James G. Crawford was born May 6, 1832, and in 1855 
was appointed deputy clerk, being elected sheriff in 1858. He 
was a captain in the Civil War in the 39th regiment, serving 
till the end. He was in the legislature, and in 1875 was elected 
register of deeds, which place he held till near the end of his 
life. He married Miss Virginia A. Butler. One of the early 
settlers was Henry G. Woodfin, a physician and brother of 
Col. N. W. Woodfin of Buncombe. He was born December 
27, 1811, and was married June 5, 1838 to Miss E. A. B. How- 
arth. He settled first on Cartoogechaye, but later moved to 
Franklin. He was a member of the county court, serving as 
chairman, and was in the legislature two terms. He died in 
1881. He stood high as a physician and citizen. Dr. James M. 
Lyle came to Macon before the Civil War and formed a copart- 
nership with Dr. Woodfin. He married Miss Laura Siler, 
and after her death, he married Miss Nannie Moore. Dr. 
G. N. Rush, of Coweta station, was born in 1824, in Rock- 
ingham county, Va., and read medicine under Dr. A. W. 
Brabson, graduated in medicine at University of Nashville 
in 1854. He served in the legislature in 1876-7. In 1854 he 
married Miss Elizabeth Thomas. He died December 12, 
1897. Dr. A. C. Brabson was born in Tennessee in 1842, 
served through the Civil War, graduated from the College at 
Nashville in medicine, 1866-67, married Miss Cora Rush, 
March 30, 1881. Mark May, son of Frederick and Nellie 



176 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

May, was born in Yadkin county December 7, 1812, and 
married Belinda Beaman at the age of 24. Early in life he was 
ordained a Baptist minister, coming to Macon county after 
serving as a minister 17 years in Yadkin and two years in 
Tennessee. He is the father of Hon. Jeff May of Flats, N. C. 
Rev. Joshua Amnions was born in Burke, February 14, 1800, 
and moved to Macon in 1822, settled on Rabbit creek, 
was ordained a Baptist minister at Franklin in 1835, and 
died September 27, 1877, after a very useful life. Logan 
Berry was born December 18, 1813, in Lincoln county, and 
died February 8, 1910. He married Matilda Postell of Bun- 
combe, served as county commissioner, and was a useful and 
respected citizen. Stephen Munday was born in Person 
county about the beginning of the nineteenth century but 
moved to Buncombe county before the Civil War, where he 
built a mill at Sulphur Springs. He then moved to Macon, 
and lived with his son, the late Alexander P. Munday at 
Aquone, till his death in the seventies. 2 6 He was a useful 
and highly respected citizen. His son Alexander P. Munday 
married Miss Addie Jarrett a daughter of the late Nimrod 
S. Jarrett, and they resided first at the Meadows in what is 
now Graham county about 1859, where they remained till 
after the Civil War, moving thence to Aquone where they 
died early in this century. Captain Nimrod S. Jarrett was 
born in Buncombe county in 1800, married a Miss McKee, and 
moved to Haywood county in 1830, engaging in the "sang" 
business, till he moved to Macon, where he resided at Aquone 
in 1835, afterwards at the Apple Tree place six miles down 
the river, and still later at Jarretts station on the Murphy 
railroad. He owned large tracts of mountain lands, and the 
talc mine now operated at Hewitts. He was murdered in 
September, 1873, by Bayless Henderson, a tramp from Ten- 
nessee. Henderson was executed for the crime, at Webster, 
in 1874. 

John Kelly. He was born in Virginia, married a Miss 
Pierce, a neice and adopted daughter of Bishop Pierce, and 
moved to Buncombe where he lived till about 1819, when he 
moved to Macon to what is now known as the Barnard farm, 
but soon moved to the Hays place, waiting for the land sale, 
at which he bought a boundary of land lying in both Georgia 
and North Carolina, including Mud and Kelly's creeks in 



COUNTY HISTORY 177 

Georgia. His third son, Samuel, was born in Westmoreland 
county, Va., and in 1825 bought land six miles from Franklin, 
where he lived till his death in 1852. He married Miss Mary 
Harry. Three of his sons enlisted in the Confederate army, 
where one was killed in battle, the other two serving till the 
close of hostilities. They were N. J. and M. L. Kelly. 2 7 

Nathan G. Allman. 28 He was born in Haywood, Jan- 
uary 5, 1818, and came to Franklin in 1846, where he lived 
46 years continuously. He was a merchant and hotel keeper, 
and died February 17, 1892. He was a useful and influential 
citizen. 

Dr. W. Levy Love. He was born in Chautauqua, N. Y., Sep- 
tember 30, 1827, and early in life went to Kentucky with his 
father. There he joined the army and went to the war in 
Mexico, taking part in several battles. Returning, he was 
educated at Bacon college, Kentucky, where he also studied 
medicine, completing his course at Philadelphia. He then 
moved to Franklin, where, in 1868, he married Miss Maggie, 
a daughter of N. G. Allman. In this year he was elected to 
the State senate, where he served six years. He was also a 
lawyer, enjoying a fine practice. He died July 29, 1884. 
He was generally known as Levi Love. 

Jackson Johnston. He was born in Pendleton district, 
S. C, November 25, 1820, and at sixteen years of age removed 
to Waynesville, where for several years he clerked for his 
brother William. While there, he married Miss Osborne of 
Haywood county; late in the forties he removed to Franklin, 
and became a merchant, accumulating a handsome fortune. 
His first wife having died he married Miss Eugenia Siler in 
1859. She was a daughter of William Siler. His hospitality 
and humor were famous. He died April 10, 1892. He was 
charitable, intelligent and of high character. 

Thomas Tatham. He served in the State senate from Hay- 
wood in 1817, removed to Macon and served in the legislature 
from that county from 1831 to 1834 inclusive, after which he 
removed to Valley river where he died. He was a good man 
and left many friends. 

James Whitaker. He was born in Rowan April 3, 1779, 
one mile from Lexington, now Davidson. He was a justice 
of the peace in that county and removed to Buncombe in 1817, 
from which, in 1818 he was elected to the legislature and 

W. N.C. 12 



178 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

served till 1823, and removed to Macon in 1828, lived one mile 
from Franklin, and was elected to the legislature in 1828 and 
served continuously till 1833. He was appointed Superior 
court clerk at the first term of Cherokee county, and was 
elected to the legislature from that county in 1832 and 1842. 
He died on Valley river November 2, 1871, aged 92 years. 
He was a man of great intellect, high character and unsullied 
reputation; a stern man, a strong Baptist and did perhaps as 
much for his church as any other man in the State. 

Yancey. Yancey county was formed in 1833. It was cut 
off from Burke and Buncombe. Three counties have since 
been partly formed out of Yancey. They are: Watauga 
in 1849; Madison in 1851; and Mitchell in 1861. Yancey 
county is now bounded on the north by Mitchell county and 
the State of Tennessee; on the east by Mitchell and McDowell 
counties; on the south by McDowell and Madison; on the 
west by Madison and Buncombe counties and the Tennessee 
line. Mt. Mitchell, the highest mountain in the eastern half 
of North America, is in Yancey county. It was named for 
Dr. Elisha Mitchell, a teacher in the University, who explored 
it. Mt. Mitchell is a part of the Black mountains which 
extend partly across this county. Yancey county contains 
eighteen mountain peaks that rise above 6,300 feet. These 
mountains are very fertile and are covered with great forests 
of gigantic trees. Cherry trees in Yancey often grow four 
feet, the walnut eight feet, and the poplar ten feet in diameter. 

The county was named for Bartlett Yancey, a native of 
Caswell county. He was educated at the University of North 
Carolina, studied law, and became eminent in his profession. 
He was twice a member of the Congress of the United States, 
and eight times a member of the senate of North Carolina. 
He was one of the first men in the State to favor public schools 
for all the people. 

The county seat of Yancey is Burnsville, named in honor 
of Capt. Otway Burns, of Beaufort, N. C. He won fame in 
the war of 1812 against England. With his vessel, the "Snap- 
Dragon," he sailed up and down the Atlantic coast, captur- 
ing many English vessels and destroying the British trade. 
He had many wild adventures, and his name became a terror 
to British merchants. Finally the English government sent 
a war vessel, called the "Leopard," to capture Captain Burns. 



COUNTY HISTORY 179 

The "Leopard" succeeded in capturing the "Snap-Dragon" 
while Captain Burns was on shore sick. After the war he 
was frequently a member of the legislature. A monument 
to his memory was recently erected at Burnsville. 

Yancey has an approximate area of 193,000 acres, with an 
average assessed value of $2.60 per acre. Over 40 per cent 
of the land is held in large tracts of 1,000 acres or more in 
extent. These holdings are valued chiefly for their timber 
and are held principally as investments. 

The topography is generally rough and the average eleva- 
tion is high. The Black mountain range in the southern 
portion of the county contains many peaks more than 6,000 
feet high, and Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the 
Rockies, rises to an elevation of 6,711 feet above sea level. 
In the northern and western sections of the county the ridges 
have an average elevation of about 4,000 feet above sea level, 
Bald mountain rising to 5,500 feet. 

Four considerable streams, South Toe and Caney rivers, 
and Jacks and Crabtree creeks, rise within the county, and 
flowing in a northerly direction empty into Toe river, which 
forms the northern boundary of the county. 

Mrs. Nancy Anderson Gardner. There are many old 
people in these mountains, but Mrs. Nancy Gardner of Burns- 
ville was 98 the 15th of January, 1913. She was in full pos- 
session of all her faculties, and in 1912 furnished for this his- 
tory a list of names of the first settlers of Yancey county. 
Her husband's father was Thomas Gardner, who was born 
in Virginia in 1793, and died in Yancey in 1853. He settled 
on Cane river when a boy. Her father was W. M. Anderson 
and her mother Patty Elkins, who was born in Tennessee in 
1790. Her parents were married in 1809. James Anderson 
was from Ireland and served in Virginia with the Americans 
during the Revolutionary War, after which he moved (1870), 
first to Surry, and then to Little Ivy, where D. W. Angel now 
lives and where Mrs. Gardner was born, January 15, 1815. 
Her husband was William Gardner, to whom she was mar- 
ried March 22, 1832. Thomas Dillard, father of the wife of 
Robert Love, was her mother's uncle. She died early in 1913. 

First Settlers of Burnsville. Mrs. Gardner gave the 
following as the first settlers of Burnsville: John L. Williams 
and his sons Edward and Joshua; Dr. Job, Dr. John Yancey, 



180 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Abner Jarvis, Dr. Jacob Stanley, Samuel Flemming, Gen. 
John W. McElroy, James Greenlee, John W. Garland, " Knock" 
Boone, Amos Ray, W. M. Westall, J. Bacchus Smith, Joseph 
Shepard, Adam Broyles, Mitchell Broyles, W. M. Lewis, 
John Woodfin, James Anderson, Milton P. Penland, Jack 
Stewart and John Bailey. 

First Settlers of Yancey. Among them Mrs. Gard- 
ner mentioned the following, giving also the names of their 
wives: Henry Roland, Berry Hensley, Ed. and James 
McMahan, Thomas Ray, Edward Wilson, Jacob Phipps, Jerry 
Boons, Hiram Ray, John Bailey, John Griffith, Joseph Shep- 
ard, Strowbridge Young, James Proffitt, James Greenlee, 
Blake Piercy, Thomas Briggs, John McElroy, Wm. Angel, 
James Evans, W. M. Angelin, John Allen, Rev. Samuel Byrd. 

Interesting Facts About Old Times. Mrs. Gardner's 
grandfather, James Anderson, was said to be the first Methodist 
west of the Blue Ridge. She remembered Parson Brownlow and 
the "lie bill" suit and the sale of his bridle, saddle and horse; 
also that William Angel lived near the present site of Burns- 
ville but moved to Georgia, carrying his family and "One 
hundred geese, which they drove." She gave not only the 
names of the wives of the first settlers, but their children, 
and where the first settlers lived. Also, that John Bailey 
married Hiram Ray's daughter and donated the land for the 
town of Burnsville; that Joseph Shepard married Betsy Hor- 
ton, the grandparents of the late Judge J. S. Adams; that 
Thomas Ray married Ivey Hensley and lived in Cane river 
valley; that Jacob Phipps married Nancy Hampton, and 
lived four miles west of Burnsville; that Edward Wilson mar- 
ried Polly Gilbert and lived on Cane river; that Jerry Boone 
was a noted blacksmith and married Sallie McMahan. They 
lived where Burnsville now stands; also that Hiram Ray 
married a Miss Cox and was a wealthy and influential man. 
Also that Zepheniah Horton lived one mile west of Burns- 
ville, but none of his descendants now live in Yancey, though 
some live in Buncombe and the State of Kansas; that Henry 
Roland married Sallie Robinson and lived on Cane river; that 
Berry Hensley married Betsy Littleton, among whose de- 
scendants were B. S., W., and Jas. B. Hensley. Edward and 
James McMahan were the first settlers of Pensacola, and 
Strowbridge Young married Patty Wilson. She spoke of 



COUNTY HISTORY 181 

James Proffitt as having lived on Bald creek, and of his direct 
descendants, but did not give the name of his wife. She 
also spoke of James Greenlee as having married Polly Poteet 
and living on Cane river, but having had no children; Blake 
Piercy who married Fanny Turner, and lived on Indian creek, 
Thomas Briggs who married Jane Wilson and lived on Bald 
creek, John McElroy who married Miss Jamison and lived 
on Bald creek, James Evans who married a Miss Bailey and 
lived on Jack's creek, W. M. Angelin who married Miss Betsy 
Austin and lived on Banks creek, John Allen who married 
Molly Turner, and the Rev. Samuel Byrd who married a Miss 
Briggs and lived in the northern part of the county, naming 
many of his descendants. 

Fine River Bottoms. Those splendid lands, extending 
from the mouth of Prices creek up Cane river to within two 
or three miles of Burnsville, were in possession of white people 
as early as 1787, and were originally granted to John McKnitt 
Alexander and Wm. Sharp. The 640-acre tract at the mouth 
of Bald and Prices creeks is owned by descendants of Thomas 
L. Ray, who was among the first settlers of Yancey county. 
The Creed Young place, originally the John Griffith farm, 
on Crabtree, about two miles from Burnsville, is another fine 
farm. Milton P. Penland was another early settler, and 
owned valuable land near Burnsville. He was a man of 
influence and ability. 

Celo or Bolen's Pyramid. What is known on govern- 
ment maps as Celo Peak used to be called Bolen's Pyramid; 
but why either name should have been given to this northern- 
most peak of the Blacks is not known, though, as there is a 
Bolen's creek between it and Burnsville, it is probable that a 
man of that name once lived near what is now called Athlone. 

Henderson County. 3 ° Until 1838 Henderson was a part 
of Buncombe, and the story of its first settlement belongs to 
that county. . . . But in 1838, when Hodge Rabun was 
in the senate and Montreville Patton and Philip Brittain were 
in the house, it was erected into a separate county and named 
in honor of Leonard Henderson, once chief justice of the 
State, the county seat also having been named in his honor. 
In 1850 it had only 6,483 population, while in 1910 it contained 
16,262. 



182 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

"The crest of the Blue Ridge, in Henderson county, is an 
undulating plateau, which will not be recognized by the trav- 
eler in crossing. The Saluda mountains, beyond Green river, 
are the boundary line of vision on the south. The general 
surface features of the central part of this pearl of counties 
will be best seen by a glance at the pictorial view from Dun 
Cragin, near Hendersonville. " 3 1 

With a general altitude about that of Asheville, with broad 
river bottoms along the French Broad, Mud creek and else- 
where, its agricultural and grazing advantages surpass those 
of Buncombe; while as a summer and health resort, Hender- 
sonville, its county seat, with its fine and well-kept hotels 
and boarding houses, surpasses in many important respects 
the only town that exceeds it in population, the famed city 
of Asheville. The social charm of this beautiful place, as well 
as of Flat Rock and Fletcher, is at least not surpassed in 
Buncombe or in Asheville itself. Hendersonville has every- 
thing in the way of hotels, boarding houses, clubs, banks, 
street railways, parks, lights, water, livery and other advan- 
tages that could be wished. The points of interest in the 
immediate vicinity are numerous and appealing. Last sum- 
mer there were 15,000 visitors in town and 25,000 in the 
county. The churches represent every denomination. 

John Clayton, of Mills river section, was in the legislature 
in 1827 and 1828, and in the senate in 1833. Largely through 
his influence Henderson was formed into a separate county. 
He was the grandfather of Mrs. Mattie Fletcher Egerton, 
first wife of Dr. J. L. Egerton and great-grandfather of Mrs. 
Wm. Redin Kirk. He with his son, John, was among the 
first jurors of this county. R. Irvine Allen, brother of Dr. 
T. A. Allen, the latter being the oldest male inhabitant of this 
county, and Jesse Rhodes were among the chain-bearers when 
the county lines were first surveyed. A committee, consist- 
ing of Col. John Clayton, Col. Killian, and Hugh Johnston, 
was appointed to select and lay off a county seat, and their 
first choice was the land at what is now called Horse Shoe in 1839. 
But there was so much dissatisfaction with this that two 
factions arose, called the River and the Road parties, the 
River party favoring the Horse Shoe site, it having been on 
the French Broad river. In 1839, however, the Road party 
enjoined the sale in lots of the land selected at Horse Shoe, and 



COUNTY HISTORY 183 



the controversy soon waxed so warm that the legislature 
authorized an election to determine the matter by popular 
vote, resulting in the success of the Road party. Judge 
Mitchell King of Charleston, S. C, who had been among the 
first settlers of this section and owned much of the land where 
Hendersonville now stands, conveyed fifty acres for the county 
site; and this was laid off into lots and broad, level right-angled 
streets, and sold in 1840. Dr. Allen died early in 1914. 

Hendersonville. At the time the Civil War commenced 
there were on Main street, the Episcopal church, completed 
save for the spire; the Shipp house, adjoining, which for- 
merly stood where the Pine Grove lodge now stands, and where 
Lawyer Shipp, father of Bartlett Shipp, Esq., lived. The 
present Sample home was then owned by the Rev. Collin 
Hughes, the Episcopal clergyman. The old Virginia House 
stood on the corner now occupied by the First National bank, 
and was built by David Miller and William Deaver, the latter 
having been killed in the Civil War. It was conducted many 
years by Mr. C. C. Chase; but about eighteen years ago it 
became the property of Hall Poole. A still older house was 
the old hotel built by John Mills, and stood on the present 
site of the St. John. It later became the property of Colonel 
Ripley, and was known far and wide as the Ripley House. 
There was nothing south of the court house site except the 
old Ripley residence, built by the Kings, and the house that 
is now Col. Pickens' residence. The only two houses stand- 
ing prior to the formation of Henderson county in the town 
of Hendersonville, and remaining unchanged now, are the 
Arledge house on Main street, and the stone office-building in 
front of the Pine Grove lodge, near the Episcopal church. 

Bowman's Bluff. About forty years ago a small colony 
of English people came to this section, and bought a vast 
acreage of land. Among them were the Valentines, well 
known in Hendersonville for many years, the Thomases, 
the Jeudweines, the Malletts (who still live on their place) 
and the Holmeses, still owning the place above referred to. It 
would be hard to describe this beautiful place. To the south 
of the old-fashioned house lies a tangle of garden, with its 
riot of vines, and its numerous overgrown arbors, and old 
trees trimmed in fantastic shapes. The house is approached 
by a long winding drive, between great old pines, and just in 



184 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 



front of the house is the immense bluff, whereon wild crab- 
apples bloom in profusion. This falls away, a sheer descent 
many feet to the river below, and it was here that Mary 
Bowman was said to have leaped to her death many years ago, 
desperate over a hopeless love. 

Centrally located to what was this English colony and on 
top of a hill, sits the little Episcopal church where they were 
wont to worship on Sunday, and which is used irregular^ 
still. 

Mr. Frank Valentine, who came to America in this colony, 
was educated at Cambridge, England, graduated with highest 
honor, holding several degrees. He went from Bowman's 
Bluff to Asheville, and later moved to Henderson ville, where 
he spent his remaining days. He was known as one of the 
finest educators in Western North Carolina. 

Former Citizens. Peter Stradley lived at Old Flat Rock, 
and in 1870 died there almost 100 years old, highly respected 
and loved; Joseph Dotson lived to the age of 104 on his farm 
near Bat Cave, and made baskets and brooms. He was cap- 
tured while in the Confederate army but escaped, running 18 
miles over the ice. Govan Edney of Edneyville, also lived to 
a great age, and had a large experience as a hunter. Harvey 
Johnston and his wife once owned nearly all the land on the 
west side of South Main street, Hendersonville, and having 
no horse, managed to make fine crops notwithstanding. Robert 
Thomas, first sheriff of Henderson county, was killed by bush- 
whackers during the Civil War. Solomon Jones lived on Mount 
Hebron, and was known as a builder of roads, having con- 
structed one from Hendersonville to Mount Hebron, and an- 
other up Saluda mountain; lived to be nearly 100, and made 
his own tombstone. 

Business Enterprises. The Freeze Hosiery mills were 
opened June 15, 1912; the Skyland Hosiery Co., at Flat Rock 
make silk and cotton hose and have been operating several 
years; the Green River Mfg. Co., at Tuxedo, six miles south 
of Hendersonville, was started in 1909. They make combed 
peelers and Egyptain yarns, their annual output being 350,- 
000 pounds; employing 250 hands, of whom 200 are skilled. They 
support an excellent school eight months every year; the Case 
Canning factory on the Edneyville road six miles from Hen- 
dersonville, at Dana, has a capacity of 500,000 *cans a season; 



COUNTY HISTORY 185 



the Hendersonville Light & Power Co., 73^ miles east of Hen- 
dersonville, have 1,250 horsepower, using only 400 at present; 
George Stephens operates a mission furniture factory, at Lake 
Kanuga, six miles out, where also is Kanuga club. 

Country Resorts. Besides the excellent hotels in Hender- 
sonville, there is a fine hotel at Osceola lake, one mile from 
town on the Kanuga road; Kanuga club on Kanuga lake; 
Highland lake club, one and a half miles out on the Flat Rock 
road, with cottages, is a stock company; Chimney Rock, 
twelve miles east, is in the Hickory Nut canon; Buck Forest, 
now the property of the Frank Coxe estate, was for years a sum- 
mer resort, and the falls in the vicinity are noted; Fletcher, 
near the Buncombe line is also popular, and the social charms 
of the neighborhood are well recognized; Buck Shoals is near, 
and the famous Rugby Grange, the attractive country estate 
of the Westfelts of New Orleans, is one of the "show-places" 
of Western North Carolina. 

A Literary Curiosity. A poem written on white satin in 
quatrain form, into each of which was incorporated a clause 
of the Lord's prayer, is known to have been written by Mrs. 
Susan Baring and is now in the possession of a Henderson- 
ville lady. 

Settling the Graham Boundary Line. By ch. 202, Pub. 
Laws, 1897, 343, the county surveyors of Cherokee and Gra- 
ham were authorized to locate the line between these two coun- 
ties and Tennessee, according to the calls of the act of 1821. 

Cherokee and Murphy. As early as 1836 the legislature 
provided that the Indian lands west of Macon should remain 
under the jurisdiction of that county till a new county should 
be formed for them, whose county seat should be named Mur- 
phy. (Rev. St. 1837, Vol. ii, p. 213 and p. 214). In 1842 
the State granted to A. Smith, chairman of the County court, 
433 acres for a court house, etc. (Deed Book A, p. 429, 
dated March 23, 1842.) 3 2 

Old County Buildings. The old jail was back of the J. 
W. Cooper residence and the whipping post stood near where 
a street now runs, and the first court house, a very plain and 
unpretentious affair, stood at the intersection of the two main 
roads from the country. The new court house was built 
where the present one now stands, in 1891, at a cost of about 
$20,000., but it was burned in 1892. In 1893 and 1894 it 



186 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

was rebuilt, as the marble foundations and brick walls stood 
intact after the fire, at a cost of $12,000. There was no 
insurance on the burned building. 

Preeminent Advantages. Murphy's location between two 
clear mountain rivers, its broad and almost level streets, its 
fine court house, schools and hotels form the nucleus around 
which a large city should grow. It has two competing rail- 
roads, and a climate almost ideal. Its citizens, too, are enter- 
prising and progressive, good streets and roads being appre- 
ciated highly 

Murphy's First Citizens. Daniel F. Ramseur kept the 
old "Long Hotel," with offices, that used to stand near the public 
square. Felix Axley was the father of the Murphy bar and of 

F. P. and J. C. Axley. J. C. Abbott lived at the old A. T. 
Davidson place, and was a leading merchant after the Civil 
War. Samuel Henry, deceased, was an ante-bellum resident, 
was U. S. Commissioner for years, and a friend of the late 
U. S. District Judge R. P. Dick. A. M. Dyche (pronounced 
Dike) was sheriff, justice of the peace and a good citizen. S. 

G. R. Mount was postmaster and lived in the southern part 
of town. Dr. John W. Patton was a leading physician and 
lived near Hiwassee bridge. Mercer Fain lived where the 
Regal hotel stands now, and was a merchant, farmer and land 
speculator. Benjamin S. Brittain lived in East Murphy from 
the organization of the county till his death, and was register 
of deeds. Drewry Weeks lived on the northeast corner of the 
Square and was from the organization of the county till his 
death clerk of the old county court. Seth Hyatt, sheriff, 
lived where Capt. J. W. Cooper afterwards resided. John- 
son King lived where S. Hyatt had lived, and married his 
widow. He was a partner of the late Col. W. H. Thomas, 
and the father of Hon. Mark C. King, several terms in the 
legislature. Dr. C T. Itcgers was another leading physician. 
Jesse Brooks was a merchant and lived on what is now Church 
street. G. L. D. McClelland lived first on Church and after- 
wards on the east side of Main street and lived to be over 
ninety years of age, being highly esteemed. William Berry 
was a merchant and farmer; Xenas Hubbard was a tinner; 
James Grant was a merchant and kept store where the Dickey 
hotel now stands; John Rolen was a lawyer; J.J. Turnbill was 
a blacksmith, and a man of unusual sense. 



COUNTY HISTORY 187 



William Beale. This scholarly man came to Murphy 
from Canada just prior to the Civil War and taught school; 
was several times sheriff, and lived on the south side of Hi- 
wassee bridge. 

David and John Henesea. Just after the Civil War they 
moved from a fine farm at the head of Valley river. John 
kept a hotel, now the residence of C. E. Wood. 

James W. Cooper. He moved to Murphy from Graham 
soon after the Civil War, and was a most successful lawyer 
and land speculator. 

Residents of Cherokee County. Among the more prom- 
inent may be mentioned Abraham Harshaw, the largest slave 
owner, four miles south of Murphy; John Harshaw, his 
brother; Abraham Sudderth, who owned the Mission farm six 
miles south of Murphy, where Rev. Humphrey Posey had 
established a mission school for the Cherokees; William Strange 
owned a fine farm at the mouth of Brasstown creek; Gideon 
Morris, a Baptist preacher, who married Yonaguska's daughter; 
Andrew Moore; David Taylor; David Henesea; James W. C. 
Piercy, who, from the organization of the county till his death, 
located most of the land in Cherokee; James Tatham, the father 
of Purd and Bent, who lived a mile west of Andrews; James 
Whitaker and his son Stephen, who lived near Andrews; 
Hugh Collett and his father, who lived just above Old Valley 
Town and were men of industry and integrity; Buck and 
Neil Colvard, who lived at Tomotla; Wm. Welch, who lived 
in the same neighborhood; and Henry Moss, who lived at 
Marble, Ute Hyatt living on the adjoining farm. Elisha P. 
Kincaid lived four miles east of Murphy, and above him lived 
Betty Welch, or Betty Bly or Blythe, the heroine of Judge 
Strange's romance, " Y^onaguska. " John Welch was her hus- 
band, a half-breed Cherokee, and an "Avenger of Blood." 
(See ch. 26.) In the western part of the county were Burton 
K. and George Dickey, Wm. C. Walker, who was killed at 
the close of the Civil War, having been colonel of the 29th 
N. C. regiment; Abel S. Hill, sheriff; Calvin C. Vest; and 
others, who lived on Notla. In the northern part lived Har- 
vey Davidson, sheriff and farmer; and the Hunsuckers, Black- 
wells, Longwoods, Gentrys and others. Goldman Bryson 
lived on Beaver Dam, and was said to have been at the head 



188 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

of a band of banditti during the Civil War, and was followed 
into the mountains and killed by a party of Confederates. 
Andrew and Jeff Colvard were founders of large and influen- 
tial families. They were bold and daring frontiersmen and 
citizens of character and ability. "Old Rock Voyles," as he 
was affectionately called, lived on Persimmon creek, ten miles 
from Murphy, and was a man of originality and humor. He 
lived to a great age. 

A Cemetery in the Cliffs. All along the crest of the 
ridges which terminate in rock cliffs on the bank of the Hi- 
wassee river about one mile below Murphy are large deposits 
of human bones, supposed to be the bones of Cherokees. The 
number of shallow graves on the crests of these ridges, cov- 
ered over by cairns of loose stones, indicate that this must 
have been the burial place of Indians for many years. 

Early Watauga and Boone History. The first court in 
Watauga was held in an old barn near the home of Joseph 
Hardin one mile east of Boone, Judge Mitchell presiding, 
and E. C. Bartlett being clerk. The first court house was 
built in Boone in 1850 by John Horton for $4,000, but was 
burned in 1873, with the records. The records were restored 
afterwards by legislative authority upon satisfactory evidence 
being furnished, and T. J. Coffey & Bro. in 1874 rebuilt the 
court house for $4,800, the building committee having been 
Henry Taylor, Dudley Farthing and Jacob Williams. The 
present fine court house was erected in 1904 by L. W. Cooper 
of Charlotte for $19,000. Alex. Green, J. W. Hodges and 
George Robbins were the county commissioners. The first 
jail was of brick and built by Mr. Dammons for $400, and the 
second jail was a wooden building of heavy logs. On the sec- 
ond floor the timbers were twelve inches square, crossed with 
iron, and when it was torn away by W. P. Critcher in 1909 
the logs were made into lumber of the finest grade. A splen- 
did new jail, with iron cages and rooms, was built in 1889 by 
Wm. Stephenson of Mayesville, Ky., for $5,000. The follow- 
ing have been sheriffs of Watauga : Michael Cook, John 
Horton, Cob McCanles, Sidney Deal, A. J. McBride, John 
Horton, A. J. McBride, D. F. Baird, J. L. Hayes, D. F. 
Baird, J. L. Hayes, D. F. Baird, W. M. Calloway, W. B. Baird, 
J. H. Hodges, D. C. Reagan. The following have been clerks: 
Mr. McClewee, J. B. Todd, Henry Blair, W. J. Critcher, J. 



COUNTY HISTORY 189 

B. Todd, M. B. Blackburn, J. H. Bingham, Thomas Bingham, 
W. D. Farthing. 

W. L. Bryan in 1872 started the Bryan hotel and conducted 
a first class hotel for 27 years. In 1865 T. J. Coffey & Bro. 
came to Boone, and started the Coffey hotel, where they main- 
tained an up-to-date stopping place for many years. It is 
now being conducted by Mr. Murry Critcher. 

In 1858 Marcus Holesclaw, Thomas Greene and William 
Horton ran for the legislature upon the issue of moving the 
court house from Boone to Brushy Fork, and Holesclaw was 
elected by one vote. This meant that the court house must 
be moved; and Holesclaw introduced the bill for that pur- 
pose; but Joe Dobson represented this district in the senate, 
and although he was from Surry county, he managed to keep 
Holesclaw's bill at the foot of the calendar until the legisla- 
ture adjourned. Of course, Holesclaw was never satisfied 
that his bill never reached a vote in the senate. 

From ordinary circumstances L. L. Green came from the 
farm, studied law and became a leader in politics; was elected 
judge and performed his duties well. His portrait hangs in the 
court room, to the left of the judge's stand, while on the right 
is a portrait of his friend, Major Bingham, who was a fine law- 
yer and a great teacher of law. His name and fame went out 
over the whole State. 

E. Spencer Blackburn was one of the most attractive men 
this section has produced. His father was Edward Blackburn, 
and his mother Sinthia Hodges. He was one of nine chil- 
dren. He was four times nominated for Congress, was elected 
twice; was assistant district attorney of the United States 
court, and died at Elizabethtown early in 1912. 

W. B. Councill was a student of the learned Col. G. N. 
Folk, who after being admitted to the bar was elevated to the 
position of judge of the Superior court of this judicial district. 
He declined a renomination. 

A Family of Preachers. William Farthing came as a 
missionary from Wake county to Beaver Dams, now in Wa- 
tauga county, about 1826, but lived only three months after 
settling there. He bought what was then known as the Webb 
farm, about one-half mile from the principal Baptist church 
of that settlement. He had owned many acres near Durham 
before going to the mountains. His sons and those of John, 



190 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

his brother, who soon followed him to Watauga, were men 
of the highest character and standing. Many of them have 
been preachers, and four brothers of his family were in the 
ministry. Like the descendants of the original Casper Cable 
who settled on Dry Run, just in the edge of Tennessee, no 
drop of rowdy blood ever developed in any of the descendants 
of the pioneer Farthings. Dudley, son of Wm. Farthing, was 
for years judge of the county court and chairman of the board of 
county commissioners. 

The Browns of Watauga. Joseph Brown came from 
Wilkes to Watauga long before the Civil War, and settled at 
Three Forks, where he married Annie Haigler, and reared 
eight children. Captain Barton Roby Brown of May Mead, 
Tenn., was a grandson, and married Callie Wagner in 1864. 
He was in the Sixth North Carolina cavalry, and a gallant 
soldier. 

The Mast Family. Joseph Mast, the first of the name to 
come to Valle Crucis, Watauga county, was born in Randolph 
county, N. C, March 25, 1764, and on the 30th of May, 
1783, married Eve Bowers who had been born between the 
Saluda and Broad rivers, South Carolina, December 30, 1758. 
Joseph was a son of John, who was brother of the Jacob Mast 
who became bishop of the Amish Mennonite church in Cones- 
toga, Pa., in 1788. They had left their native Switzerland 
together, and sailed from Rotterdam in the ship "Brother- 
hood," which reached Philadelphia November 3, 1750. John 
Mast was born in 1740, and shortly after becoming 20 years 
of age left his brother Jacob, who had married and was living 
near the site of what is now Elverson, Pa. John wandered 
on foot through many lonely forests, but finally settled in 
Randolph county, where Joseph was born. There he married 
a lady whose given name was Barbara. From Joseph and 
Eve Mast have descended many of the most substantial and 
worthy citizens of Western North Carolina, while the Mast 
family generally are people of influence and standing in Penn- 
sylvania, Ohio, Nebraska, Iowa, Montana, Oregon, Florida, 
Illinois, Missouri, California, Kansas, and in fact nearly 
every State in the Union. C. Z. Mast of Elverson, Pa., in 
1911, published a volume of nearly a thousand pages all of 
which are devoted to an excellent record of all the Masts in 
America. John A. Mast was born on Brushy creek Sep- 



COUNTY HISTORY 191 

tember 22, 1829. He married Martha Moore of Johns river, 
December 5, 1850. He died February 6, 1892. His pater- 
nal grandfather, John Mast, and maternal grandfather, Cut- 
liff Harman, were among the pioneers of this section, and 
were Germans, settling on Cove creek. His wife, Martha 
Mast, was bom April 13, 1833. She died February 15, 1905. 

The Moretz Family. John Moretz came from Lincoln- 
ton long before the Civil War and settled on Meat Camp, 
seven miles from Boone, where he built and operated a large 
mill, which was burned but rebuilt. He prospered greatly, 
and his descendants are numerous and influential. 

The Shull Family. Philip P. Shull was born at Valle 
Crucis, February 15, 1797, and married Phcebe Ward of 
Tennessee. He died January 9, 1866. His father, Simon 
Shull was one of the first settlers of this country, having been 
a German, and settled near Valle Crucis. His wife, Phcebe- 
was born May 28, 1801, and died September 29, 1882. Jo- 
seph Shull, who was desperately wounded in May, 1863, at the 
Wilderness fight, is a son of Philip P. Shull. 

The Councill Family. Jordan Councill, Sr., was the first 
of the name to settle in Watauga, then Ashe county. He mar- 
ried Sally, the daughter of Benjamin Howard, and from them 
have descended a long line of virile men and lovely women, 
who for years have been the backbone of this section. 

Other First Settlers were Amos and Edward Greene 
near Blowing Rock; Ransom Hayes at Boone; Jackson, Steven 
and Abner Farthing at Beaver Dams, James McCanless, 
Elisha Coffey, Amos Greene, Isaac Greene, Lee Foster and 
Joel Moody, at and near Shull's Mills; Maiden Harmon, Cal- 
vin Harmon, Seaton Mast, Lorenzo Whittington, and George 
Moody, on Cove creek. Henry Taylor came to Valle Crucis 
long before the Civil War and married a Miss Mast. 

Forgot How to Make an "S." In the graveyard of the 
old German Reformed church, one mile from Blowing Rock, 
is an old gravestone which, tradition says, was brought by a 
Mr. Sullivan from the Jersey settlement in Davidson county 
for the purpose, as he stated, of "starting a graveyard." On 
it are carved or scratched the following letters and numbers: 

E E g 1794. 
This stone is said to mark the grave of the pioneer who 
brought it to Blowing Rock. But whether he died or was born 



192 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

in the year given, is not known. It is quite evident that he 
had forgotten in which way an "S" is turned. 

Jackson County. While the late Michael Francis was in 
the senate and R. G. A. Love was in the house from Haywood 
in 1850-52, Jackson county was formed with Webster as the 
county seat. Daniel Webster had just died, and the naming 
of this town for him was a graceful concession to the Whig 
element of the country, while giving to "Old Hickory" the 
honor of naming the county for him pleased the Democrats. 
Col. Thaddeus D. Bryson, a son of Daniel Bryson of Scott's 
creek, was the first representative in the house from Jackson, 
while Col. W. H. Thomas represented it in the senate. John 
R. Dills, a member of the large and influential Dills family of 
Dillsborough, represented this county in 1856. Joseph Keener, 
an influential and valuable citizen represented the county in 
1862, followed by W. A. Enloe, a representative of the ex- 
tensive and leading Enloe family of Jackson. Following are 
the names of some of the more prominent legislators : J. N. 
Bryson, E. D. Davis, G. W. Spake, F. H. Leatherwood, J. W. 
Terrell, J. M. Candler, R. H. Brown, W. A. Dills, C. C. 
Cowan, and John B. Ensley. The late John B. Love lived 
near Webster, and kept a store, W. H. Thomas being a part- 
ner for a while. Mr. Love owned much of the land in that 
section, and his sons settled on Scott's creek from Addie to 
Sylva. He also owned the famous "Gold Spring," near the 
head of Tuckaseegee, in the basin of which a small amount 
of gold was deposited each morning; but a blast ruined even 
that small contribution. He married a Miss Comans of Wake 
county. Philip Dills was another pioneer, and was born in 
Rutherford, January 10, 1808, and came with his father to 
Haywood soon after his birth, and about the time Abraham 
Enloe settled on Soco creek. . . . He was a useful and 
respected citizen. Abraham Battle was born in Haywood in 
1809, and his father was one of the three men who came from 
Rutherford to Haywood with Abraham Enloe. Wm. H. Con- 
ley was another important citizen of Jackson before Swain was 
taken from it, and was born in 1812 within fifteen miles of 
Abraham Enloe's Ocona Lufty place, his father, James Con- 
ley having been the first white man to settle on that stream. 
James W. Terrell was born in Rutherford county, December 
31, 1829, and at sixteen years of age, came to Haywood and 



COUNTY HISTORY 193 



lived with his grandfather, Wm. D. Kilpatrick, till 1852, when 
he went into business with the late Col. Wm. H. Thomas. 
In 1854 he was made disbursing agent for the Cherokees, 
was a captain in the Civil War, and in the legislature for sev- 
eral terms. The late Daniel Bryson kept a hotel or stopping 
place on the turnpike road below Hall's and above Addie, in 
the turn of the road, where all the judges and lawyers stopped 
while attending the courts of the wetsern circuit. He was a 
most excellent and useful citizen, and left several sons who 
have been prominent and influential citizens. Rev. William 
Hicks lived in Webster after the Civil War, where he taught 
school for two years; but in 1868 he was appointed presiding 
elder and moved to Hendersonville where he remained till 
1873, when he returned to Webster and resumed his school. 
Later he moved to Quallatown where he taught school till 
he was appointed to a district in West Virginia, where he 
afterwards died. He was a fine public speaker, a Confeder- 
ate soldier, a member of the Secession convention from Hay- 
wood in 1861, and with Rev. J. R. Long, in 1855, built up a 
large school near the junction of Richland and Raccoon creeks, 
giving the place the name of Tuscola. This school flourished 
till the beginning of the Civil War. Mr. Hicks also edited 
The Herald of Truth, a newspaper in Asheville, for a few years. 
He was born in Sullivan county, Tennessee, in 1820, became 
a Methodist preacher and came to Buncombe in 1848, hold- 
ing that year the first conference ever held in Haywood, the 
meeting being held at Bethel church. 

Webster and the Railroad. With the coming of the 
railroad, Webster, the county seat, found itself about three 
miles from that artery of trade and travel; and, soon after- 
ward, an agitation began for the removal of the court house 
to Dillsboro or Sylva, and has continued ever since. The 
question was submitted to the people but they voted to retain 
Webster as the county site; a new court house was built, and 
it was supposed that the matter had been settled forever; but 
in 1913 a more vigorous movement was started to change the 
county court house to Sylva, which offered a bonus in case it 
should be done. The legislature of 1913 authorized the people 
to vote on the proposition, and the result changed the county 
site to a point between Dillsboro and Sylva, May 8, 1913. 
Webster is a pretty little town with many attractive and 

W. N. C. 13 



194 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

useful citizens. The improvements along the line of railroad 
from Hall's to Whittier have been remarkable. The talc mine 
and factory of C. J. Harris at Dillsboro, the nickel mine nearer 
Webster of W. J. Adams, and the tannic acid plant at Sylva 
contribute much to the prosperity of these towns and to that 
of the county generally. With a railroad up Tuckaseegee a 
large tract of timber will find an outlet, and the copper mine 
on that stream may come into development. Jackson is a 
rich and productive county and its people are thriving and 
energetic. Lake Fairfield and Inn, and Lake Sapphire are 
in this county on Horsepasture creek. Ellicotte mountain is 
near the extreme eastern end of the county. Cashiers Val- 
ley, Chimney top, Whiteside Cove and mountain, Glenville, 
East LaPorte, Cullowhee and Painter are places of interest 
and importance. 

Scott's Creek. As this creek was on the eastern border 
of the Cherokee country from which the Indians were removed, 
and as Gen. Winfield Scott was in charge of their removal in 
1835-38, some suppose that the creek took its name from him; 
but in two grants to Charles McDowell, James Glascow and 
David Miller, dated December 3, 1795, (Buncombe Deed Book 
No. 4, p. 104) the State conveyed 300 acres on the waters of 
Scott's creek, waters of Tuckaseegee river, including the forks 
of Scotts creek and "what was said to be Scott's old lick 
blocks," and on the same date there was a further grant to 
the same parties to 300 acres on the same stream, including a 
cane brake, with the same reference to Scott's old lick blocks. 
(Book 8, p. 85.) But a careful search revealed no grant to 
any Scott in that section at or near that time; and the Scott 
who gave his name to this fine stream was doubtless but a 
landless squatter who was grazing and salting his cattle on 
the wild lands of that day. He probably lived in Haywood 
county, near the head of Richland creek. 

Madison County. It was formed in 1851 from Buncombe 
and Yancey; it was named for James Madison, while its county 
seat bears the name of the great chief justice, John Marshall. 

Jewel Hill or Lapland? It is almost forgotten that the 
postofnce at what is now Marshall was called Lapland in 
1858, and that it used to be said that pegged shoes were first 
made there because the hills so enclose the place that it would 
be impossible for a shoemaker to draw out his thread to the 



COUNTY HISTORY 195 

full width of his arms, and consequently had to hammer in 
pegs, which he could do by striking up and down. It is also 
uncertain whether the name of Madison's first county seat 
is Jewel Hill or Duel Hill. One thing, however, is certain, 
and it is that there once was a spirited contest over keeping 
the seat of government there. There were several "settle- 
ments" which desired to become the county seat of Madison 
county, Lapland, on the French Broad river, being barred by 
the act of the legislature (1850-1), which provides that the 
"county seat is to be called Marshall which is not to be 
within two miles of the French Broad river. The principal 
candidates for this honor were "Bryants," Barnards and 
Jewel Hill. The last named was selected at first and several 
terms of court were held there. 

The location of the county site at Jewel Hill soon proved 
unsatisfactory, and the legislature of 1852-53 appointed a com- 
mission to fix the plan for a county government. They de- 
cided on what is now Marshall "on lands of T. B. Vance where 
Aclolphus E. Baird now lives." But a doubt as to the legality 
of this selection was immediately raised, though the county 
offices remained at Jewel Hill. But David Vance, in order 
to comply with the terms of the act, deeded to Madison 
county fifty acres of land for a town site, by deed dated April 
20, 1853. 33 

The location of the county site entered into the politics of 
that year, and the legislature of 1854-55 (ch. 97, Pr. Laws) 
passed an act which provided for an election to be held the 
first Thursday in June, 1855, to determine whether the new 
location should stand or another location be chosen. In 
case a new location should be decided on, a commission of nine 
citizens was named, any five of whom might determine the 
new location; or if five did not agree, then they were to name 
two places, one of which should be on the French Broad river, 
one of which was to be chosen by a majority of the voters at 
an election to be held at a time to be fixed by the county court. 

The act further provided that "if the Supreme court now 
sitting [February, 1855] should decide that the location of the 
county seat at Adolphus Baird's" was lawful, then this act 
should be null and inoperative. Pursuant to this act the 
question as to whether the location of the county site at Adol- 
phus E. Baird's should stand or a new location be chosen was 



196 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

decided at a popular election held on the first Thursday in 
June, 1855, pursuant to the act of 1852-53, and an order of the 
county court made at its April term, 1855. 3 4 The votes 
for and against the present location, however, is not stated 
in the minutes; but there is a tradition that Marshall won 
by only one vote. At the fall term, 1855, of this court, a 
building committee was appointed and the building of a brick 
court house decided upon, which was ordered to be built in 
1856. The records show, however, that the county court 
was still held at Jewel Hill up to the fall of 1859. There 
appears to be no record of any litigation to test the legality of 
the selection of the commissioners under the Act of 1852-53, 
notwithstanding the allusion to such a suit in the act itself. 

Old Residents of Madison. Dr. W. A. Askew was born 
on Spring creek in August, 1832, his father having been G. C. 
Askew, and his mother Sarah H. Lusk, daughter of Wm. Lusk, 
and a sister of Col. Virgil S. Lusk of Asheville. There were 
only four men living on Spring creek when G. C. Lusk settled 
there in 1820, and they were Wm. and Sam Lusk, a Mr. Craw- 
ford and Wm. Garrett. Later on Wm. Moody and Josiah 
Duckett of South Carolina, a soldier of the Revolution, came. 
Wm. Woody also lived there, and his son Jonathan H. Woody 
moved to Cataloochee and married, first Malinda Plemmons, 
and afterwards Mrs. Mary Caldwell, a widow. The Gaha- 
gans and Tweeds lived on Laurel, while on Turkey creek Jacob 
Martin, James Alexander, A. M. Gudger, R. L. Gudger, Wm. 
Penland, Robert Hawkins, Irwin West and John Alexander 
lived and prospered. Col James M. Lowrie, a half-brother 
of Gov. Swain, with John Wells, John Reeves, lived on Sandy 
Mush. Ebbitt Jones also lived on Sandy Mush; and on Lit- 
tle Sandy Mush G. D. Robertson, Jackson Reeves, Jacob 
and John Glance and others lived. Nathaniel Davis, Nathan 
Worley and the Worleys lived on Pine creek. James Nichols 
married a Barnard and lived at Marshall. Robert Farnsworth 
lived and died at Jewel Hill, where Mrs. Clark now lives, 
and was a son of David Farnsworth who kept a stock stand 
on the French Broad. James Gudger and his wife Annie Love 
also lived in this county, and Col. Gudger was a delegate to 
the State convention of 1835. 

Alleghany County. 3 5 "Alleghany" is, in the language of the 
Delaware Indians, "a fine stream." Up to 1858-59 Alleghany 



COUNTY HISTORY 197 

was a part of Ashe. Wm. Raleigh and Elijah Thompson of 
Surry, James B. Gordon of Wilkes, and Stephen Thomas and 
John F. Green of Ashe were appointed commissioners by the 
act creating the county to locate the county seat, and had 
power to purchase or receive as a gift 100 acres for the use of 
such county, upon which the county site, to be called Sparta, 
should be located. In April, 1859 Wm. C. DeJournett, a 
Frenchman, of Wilkes, made a survey and plat locating the 
center of the county; James H. Parks and David Evans donated 
50 acres where Sparta now stands, near the geographical 
center located by DeJournett, but the deed was destroyed 
by a fire which burned Col. Allen Gentry's house, and another 
deed was executed in 1866. In 1859 the county court ap- 
pointed commissioners to lay off and make sales of town lots, 
but at the next term revoked their appointment and directed 
them not to proceed. A mandamus was asked and the Supe- 
rior and Supreme courts both ordered that it be granted; but 
nothing further seems to have been done till the April term, 
1866, when the county court appointed F. J. McMillan, Rob- 
ert Gambill, Sr., James H. Parks, Morgan Edwards and S. 
S. Stamper commissioners to lay off and sell lots from the 
tract donated for a county seat, etc.; and at the October 
term following these commissioners were directed to adver- 
tise for bids for building a court house, etc. But, at the Jan- 
uary term, 1867, all bids were rejected and the plans altered 
so that the court house and jail should be in one and the same 
building. This was the first term held in Sparta, and the 
court was composed of Morgan Bryan and Wm. L. Mitchell. 
The first term of the Superior court was held at Sparta in the 
spring of 1868, with Anderson Mitchell as presiding judge, 
J. C. Jones, sheriff, and W. L. Mitchell as foreman of the 
grand jury. Stephen Landreth was officer in charge of the 
grand jury. 

Before the Revolution. It seems that there were no 
settlers in Alleghany prior to the Revolutionary War; but 
it had been visited by hunters both from Virginia and the cen- 
tral part of this State, among whom were three brothers 
named Maynard from what is now Surry, who crossed the Blue 
Ridge and built cabins along Glade creek. This was about 
1786, and they had lived there about six years when Francis 
Bryan, from Orange county, in 1793, located within five miles 



198 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

of them. About the same time Joel Simmons, Wm. Wood- 
ruff and Crouce settled along the top of the Blue 

Ridge, thus making seven families in the county. But this 
was too much for the Maynard brothers, and claiming that 
the country was too thickly settled, they moved to Kentucky. 
But who was the first white man to visit this section is un- 
known; though Wm. Taylor, the Coxes, Gambills and Reeves 
probably lived in the borders of what is now Alleghany during 
the Revolutionary War. Two men named Edwards settled 
here also at an early date, viz: David and William Edwards. 
John •McMillan came from Scotland in 1790 and was the first 
clerk of Ashe court. Joseph Doughton from Franklin county, 
Va., was an early settler, and represented Ashe in the House 
of Commons in 1877. Joseph Doughton was the youngest 
son of Joseph. This family has always been prominent in 
the county. H. F. Jones built the present court house for 
$3,475, and it was received September 4, 1880, J. T. Hawthorn 
and Alex. Hampton, building committee. 

Principal Office-Holders. The following are the names 
of those who have held the principal offices in the county. 

Senators: 1879, Jesse Bledsoe; 1880, F. J. McMillan; 1893, 
W. C. Fields; 1899, W. C. Fields; 1906, Stephen A. Taylor; 
1909, R. L. Doughton; 1911, John M. Wagoner. 

Representatives: 1869, Dr. J. L. Smith; 1871, Robert Gam- 
bill; 1873, Abram Bryan; 1875, W. C. Fields; 1877, E. L. 
Vaughan; 1879 and 1881, E. L. Vaughan; 1883, Isaac W. 
Landreth; 1885, Berry Edwards; 1887, R. A. Doughton; 1891, 
R. A. Doughton; 1893, C. J. Taylor; 1895, P. C. Higgins; 
1897, H. F. Jones, 1899; J. M. Gambill; 1901, J. C. Fields; 
1903, R. A. Doughton; 1905, R, K. Finney; 1907, 1909, 1911, 
1913, R. A. Doughton. 

Clerk of County Court: 1859 to 1862, Allen Gentry; 1862 
to 1866, Horton Reeves; 1866 to 1868, C. G. Fowlkes. 

Clerk Superior Court: 1864 to 1868, Wm. A. J. Fowlkes; 
1868 to October, 1873, B. H. Edwards. Edwards resigned 
and J. J. Gambill appointed. October 1873 to March 1882, 
J. J. Gambill; Gambill resigned and R. S. Carson appointed. 
March 1882 to 1890, R. S. Carson; 1890 to 1898, W. E. Cox; 
1898 to 1910, J. N. Edwards; 1910 to 1914, S. F. Thompson. 

Sheriff: 1859 to 1864, Jesse Bledsoe; 1864 to 1870, J. C. 
Jones; 1870 to 1882, J. R. Wyatt; 1882 to 1884, Berry Edwards; 



COUNTY HISTORY 199 

1884 to 1885, George Bledsoe (died while in office); 1885 to 
1888, W. F. Thompson; 1888 to 1894, W. S. Gambill; 1894 to 
1898, L. J. Jones; 1898 to 1904, D. R. Edwards; 1904 to 1908, 
S. A. Choate; 1908 to 1910, John R. Edwards; 1910 to 1914, 
S. C. Richardson. 

Register of Deeds: 1865 to 1868, Thompson Edwards; 1868 
to 1880, F. M. Mitchell; 1880 to 1882, F. G. McMillan; 1882 
to 1886, F. M. Mitchell; 1886 to 1892, J. C. Roup; 1892 to 
1898, J. N. Edwards; 1898 to 1904, S. F. Thompson; 1904 to 
1908, John F. Cox; 1908 to 1914, G. D. Brown. 

The following is a list of the first Justices of the Peace of 
the county: 

A. B. McMillan, John Gambill, Berry Edwards, John A. 
Jones, Solomon Jones, W. P. Maxwell, Solomon Long, Nathan 
Weaver, Wm. Warden, C. G. Fowlkes, F. J. McMillan, John 
Parsons, Caleb Osborn, Wm. L. Mitchell, C. H. Doughton, 
James Boyer, Wm. Anders, Thomas Edwards, Thomas Doug- 
lass, I. C. Heggins, Hiram Heggins, Morgan Bryan, A. M. 
Bryan, A. J. Woodruff, Alfred Brooks, Wm. T. Choate, Dan- 
iel Whitehead, Goldman Heggins, Absalom Smith, Martin 
Carico, Ruben Sparks, Spencer Isom, Chesley Cheek. 

Of this number, Dr. C. G. Fowlkes and Nathan Weaver 
are the only ones now living, 1912. 

First Marriage Certificate. This is a copy of the first 
marriage record in the county: 

"This is to certify that I married Calvin Caudill and 
Sarah Jones the 16th day of March, 1862. 

Daniel Caudill." 

Two Noted Lawsuits. What is probably the most im- 
portant lawsuit that ever existed in the county was W. D. 
Maxwell v. Noah Long, for the recovery of the "Peach Bottom 
Copper Mines" and for about 1000 acres of land. This cause 
was carried to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals and 
then to the United States Supreme Court. Polk, Fields, 
Doughton, Watson & Buxton represented Maxwell. Vaughan, 
Linney, and Judge Schenk represented Long. Maxwell finally 
gained the suit, Chief Justice Fuller writing the opinion. 

Another historical lawsuit in this county, was one of eject- 
ment, Wm. Edwards v. Morgan Edwards. This litigation was 
begun about the year 1864, and lasted nearly thirteen years. 
The action was moved to Ashe county at one time, and prob- 



200 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

ably to Watauga at another. It was finally disposed of at 
Spring term 1877 of Alleghany Superior Court. After a des- 
perate battle, which lasted for nearly a week, the jury gave 
a verdict in favor of Morgan Edwards. 3 6 

Mitchell's County Seat. By ch. 8, Pub. Laws of 1860-61 
Mitchell county was created out of portions of Yancey, 
Watauga, Caldwell, Burke and McDowell; and by chapter 9 
of the same laws it was provided that the county court of 
Pleas and Quarter Sessions should be "held in the house of 
Eben Childs on the tenth Monday after the fourth Monday 
in March, when they shall elect a clerk, a sheriff, a coroner, 
a register of deeds and entry-taker, a surveyor, a county 
solicitor, constables and all other officers. Thomas Farthing 
of Watauga, John W. McElroy of Y^ancey, Joseph Conley of 
McDowell, A. C. Avery of Burke, David Prophet of Yancey, 
John Harden of Watauga and James Bailey, Sr., of Yancey, 
were appointed commissioners to select a permanent seat of 
justice and secure fifty acres of land, to meet between the 
first of May and June, 1861. Tilmon Blalock, J. A. Person, 
Eben Childs and Jordan Harden were appointed commis- 
sioners to lay off town lots; "and said town shall be called 
by the name of Calhoun." 

A Hitch Somewhere. But, at the first extra session of 
1861 (Ratified September 4, 1861), Moses Young, John B. 
Palmer of Mitchell, John S. Brown of McDowell, Wm. C. 
Erwin of Burke, and N. W. Woodfin of Buncombe were 
appointed commissioners to "select and determine a perma- 
nent seat of justice," to meet between October 1, 1861, and 
July 1, 1862. 

Still Another Hitch. By chapter 34, Private Laws, second 
extra session, 1861, the boundary lines of Mitchell were so 
changed as to detach from Mitchell and re-annex to Yancey 
all the country between the mouth of Big Rock creek and the 
Tennessee line, so that the county line of Mitchell should 
stop on Toe river at the mouth of Big Rock creek and run 
thence with the ridge that divides Rock Creek and Brum- 
metts creek to the State line at the point where the Yancey 
and McDowell turnpike road crosses the same. 

The Land is Donated. On the 17th of October, 1861, 
Lysander D. Childs and Eben Childs conveyed to Tilmon 
Blalock, chairman of the County Court, fifty acres of land 



COUNTY HISTORY 201 

(Deed Book C, p. 30) the which fifty acres were to be used 
"for the location thereon of a permanent seat of justice in 
said county; two acres for a public grave-yard, one acre for 
the site of a public school building, and one-half acre to be 
devoted to each of the following denominations for the erec- 
tion thereon of church buildings; to wit: Episcopalians, Pres- 
byterians, Methodists and Baptists"; the location of lots in 
the grave-yard and for the school and church buildings to be 
made by the commissioners charged by law with the duty 
of laying off the town lots in said seat of justice. 

Calhoun. This town was not far from Spruce Pine and 
Ingalls, "on a lane leading from the Burnsville and Boone 
road. " 3 7 It was what was afterwards called Childsville. But, 
although by chapter 61 of the second session of the laws of 1861, 
a term of the Superior court was directed to be held "for 
Mitchell county in the town of Calhoun on the sixth Monday 
after the fourth Monday each year," the county seat never 
assumed town-like proportions. The people never liked it; 
and at the first session of the legislature after the Civil War it 
was changed to the present site of what is now called Bakers- 
ville. But, it seems, it was first called Davis; for by chapter 
2, Private Laws of 1868, the name of the "town site of 
Mitchell county" was changed from Davis to Bakersville. 

Bakersville. On the 27th of July, 1866, for $1,000 Rob- 
bert N. Penland conveyed to the chairman of the board of 
county commissioners 29 acres on the waters of Cane creek 
"and the right of way to and the use of the springs above the 
old Baker spring . . . to be carried in pumps to any 
portion of said 29 acres. 3 8 This was a part of the land on 
which Bakersville is situated. In 1868 there was a sale of 
these lots, and at the December, 1868, session of the commis- 
sioners the purchasers gave their notes, due in one and two 
years for balances due on the lots. The first court house in 
Bakersville was built by Irby & Dellinger, of South Carolina, 
in 1867, and on the first of November, 1869, M. P. and W. 
Dellinger gave notice of a mechanic's lien in the building for 
work done under a contract for the sum of $1,409.85 subject 
to a set-off of about $200. The first court held in Bakersville 
was in a grove near the former Bowman house, when it stood 
on the top of the ridge above its present site. Judge A. S. 
Merrimon presided. The next court was held in a log house 



202 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

built by Isaac A. Pearson. The present court house was built 
by the Fall City Construction Company, of Louisville, Ky. 
Transylvania. 39 This county was formed in 1861, while 
Marcus Erwin was in the senate and Joseph P. Jordan of 
Henderson county was in the house. M. N. Patton was its 
first representative, in 1864. Court was held in a store room 
on what is now Caldwell street, Brevard. The first regular 
court house was a small frame building which stood on site 
of present building. It was built by George Clayton and 
Eph. England, contractors, and was not quite complete in 
1866. The first jail was also small and of wood. Both these 
buildings were moved across the street and are still in exist- 
ence. The present court house was built about 1874 by 
Thomas Davis contractor. Probit Poore built what is still 
known as the "Red House," before the Civil War; but it was 
not used as a hotel till William Moore opened it as such, and 
this was the first hotel in Brevard. In 1872 or 1873 Nathan 
McMinn built a store and afterwards a hotel where the present 
McMinn house stands and opened a hotel there about 1879. 
George Shuford, the father of Judge G. A. Shuford, used to 
own the Breese or Hume place in Brevard, and sold it to 
Meredith D. Cooper who built the present mansion, and sold 
it to Mrs. Hume. George Shuford bought the mill place 
from Ethan Davis and built a grist mill there, but when M. D. 
Cooper got it he built a flour mill, which was burned. Cooper 
afterwards sold the mill to Mr. Lucas and he sold it to Mrs. 
Robert L. Hume, who conveyed it to her daughter, Mrs. 
Wm. E. Breese, the mill having been rebuilt. About 1800 
George Shuford moved from Catawba county and bought 
land below Shuford's bridge on the French Broad river, and 
took up a lot of mountain land, considered valueless, but 
which is held today by John Thrash at $25 per acre. It 
is in the Little river mountains. John Claj^ton, father of 
John, George and Ephriam Clayton, settled on Davidson's 
river, above the mill, at the Joel Mackey place. The Gash 
family were originally from Buncombe. Leander S. Gash 
lived for a time in Hendersonville where he died. He was a 
prominent and influential man, having represented Henderson 
county in 1866 in the senate; while Thomas L. Gash repre- 
sented Transylvania in the house in 1874. Their ancestor 
had fought in the Revolutionary War. The Duckworths are 



COUNTY HISTORY 203 

another large and influential family, John having settled at 
the mouth of Cherryfield creek on a part of the David Allison 
grant, which corners there, after following the present turn- 
pike from Boylston creek. It was here, too, that the Pax- 
tons lived. Just prior to the Civil War, while Transylvania 
was a part of Henderson county, many wealthy and fashion- 
able people from the lower part of South Caroliua bought 
many of the finest farms and built what were palatial homes 
for those days. Among them were Frank McKune and 
William Johnston from Georgetown, S. C. Their fine teams 
and liveried servants are still remembered. Then, too, Rob- 
ert Hume built a stone hotel at the foot of the Dunn Rock, 
about four miles southwest of Brevard, where he kept many 
summer boarders prior to the Civil War; but, during that 
awful time, the hotel was burned; the ruins still standing. 
What is still known as the Lowndes Farm, on the French 
Broad river, about five miles below Brevard, originally be- 
longed to Benjamin King, a Baptist minister, who married 
Miss Mary Ann Shuford; but when the Cherokee country was 
opened to the whites, Mr. King sold it to William Ward, a 
son of Joshua Ward. William Ward built the fine house which 
stands on the land still; his father having built Rock Hall, the 
present home of the Westons. Ephriam Clayton was the 
contractor who built the Lowndes house for William Ward, 
and it was then one of the show-places of Transylvania. The 
Wards were South Carolina rice planters, and quite wealthy; 
but during the Civil War William got into debt to Mr. Lowndes, 
a banker of Charleston, who obtained judgments and sold 
the land after the war, bidding it in, and afterwards plac- 
ing the farm in charge of a Scotch gardner named Thomas 
Wood, who immediately put the land in splendid condition — 
the amount spent for the land and improvements having cost 
the estate nearly one hundred thousand dollars. Mr. Lowndes 
was very much attached to this place and spent much of 
his time there; but after his death, his grandson did not care 
much for it, and sold it, with stock and farm implements for 
a small sum to John Thrash, and he in time sold it to Col. 
Everett, a genial and popular gentleman of Cleveland, 
Ohio. He has improved the place greatly. The original 
farm now includes the James Clayton, the Wm. Allison and 
the Henry Osborne places — all fine farms. The late A. Toomer 



204 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Porter, of Charleston, started to build a home on top of a 
small mountain, three and one half miles down the French 
Broad river, and a Mr. Clarkson of South Carolina started 
a summer residence on the opposite side, but the war stopped 
both enterprises. A relative of the late P. T. Barnum, owns 
the Hankel place about three miles from Brevard on the 
French Broad river. He has an extensive chicken farm, 
containing 5,000 white Leghorns. His name is Clark. Buck 
Forest, nine miles south of Brevard on Little river, containing 
the shoals and three picturesque falls or cascades of that stream, 
graphically described the "Land of the Sky," was originally 
the property of Micajah Thomas, who after building a hotel 
there before the Civil War, kept summer boarders when deer 
hunting was popular; but after the war sold it to Joseph Car- 
son. The late Frank Coxe, Carson's brother-in-law, how- 
ever, paid for it, and in the litigation which followed retained 
the title and possession by paying Carson's estate about 
$12,000 in 1910. The Coxe estate have since bought large 
tracts of land in that neighborhood and it is said will create 
a large lake and build a hotel on the property. The Patton 
family of Transylvania is one of the largest and most influential 
of that section, the original of that name having owned from 
Clayton's to the Deaver farm, a distance along the French 
Broad river of about three miles. They were a large family, 
but there was land enough to go around to about a dozen 
children. No better people live anywhere than the Pattons. 

Cherry Field. In November, 1787, Gen. Charles McDow- 
ell and Willoughby Williams entered 200 acres in Ruther- 
ford county (Buncombe county Deed Book A, p. 533), "ad- 
joining the upper end of his Cherry Field survey on French 
Broad river and extending up to his Meadow Camp survey"; 
and in November, 1789, the State granted to Charles McDow- 
ell 500 acres on both sides of the French Broad river, includ- 
ing the forks of said river where the Path crosses to Estatoe 
(Deed Book No. 9, p. 200, Buncombe). This old Indian path 
to Estatoe crossed near Rosman. 

Ben Davidson's Creek. 40 On the 25th of July, 1788, 
Charles McDowell entered 500 acres in Rutherford county on 
Ben Davidson's river, including the Great Caney Cove two or 
three miles above the Indian Path, though the grant was not 



COUNTY HISTORY 205 

issued till December 5, 1798 (Buncombe county Deed Book 4, 
p. 531), and in November, 1790, Ben Davidson got a grant 
for 640 acres in Rutherford county on both sides of French 
Broad river, above James Davidson's tract, including the 
mouth of the Fork on the north side and adjoining Joseph 
McDowell's line, "since transferred to Charles McDowell." 
(Buncombe county Deed Book 1, p. 74.) 

Clay County and Hayesville. Clay county was enacted 
in 1861, but it was organized in 1864. The first sheriff was 
John Patterson, but he could not give the necessary bond and 
the commissioners appointed J. P. Chastine in his place. 
Then came James P. Cherry who was sheriff for many years. 
Wm. McConnell was the first register of deeds. John C. 
Moore, G. W. Bristol and Harvey Penland were the first 
County Commissioners. The county seat was named for 
George W. Hayes. He lived on Valley river near Murphy 
and was the father of Mr. Ham Hayes, who is still living. 
He was an extraordinary man and much respected. He had 
Clay county cut off from Cherokee while he was in the legis- 
lature. 

John H. Johnson of Tennessee, Robert Martin of Wilkes 
county, North Carolina, and Elijah Herbert of Wythe county, 
Virginia, married three daughters of John Alexander, of Ab- 
shers, Wilkes county, North Carolina, about 1823, and after- 
wards moved to Clay, then Cherokee county, when the Chero- 
kee lands were sold. They settled near Hayesville. Elijah 
Herbert, who had married Winifred Alexander, died in March, 
1875, aged seventy-four years. John H. Johnson died about 
1895. Robert Martin died about 1880. 

Clay county lands are exceedingly fertile and, with the 
sparkling Hiwassee river flowing through the center from east 
to west, with its tributaries, Tusquittee, Brasstown, Sweet- 
water, Shooting Creek and various other smaller streams and 
hundreds of clear, sparkling springs, make it a well watered 
country. It is surrounded on three sides by mountains form- 
ing an amphitheatre overlooking a valley that is unexcelled for 
natural beauty. Its soil is adapted to the production of all 
the grains and grasses but more especially to the growth of 
apples. This county has long been noted for the morality of 
its people and the maintenance of a high school at Hayes- 



206 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

ville, the county seat, the courts seldom last longer than two 
days, and often only one day, and the jail is almost always 
free of prisoners. 

This county was settled largely by emigrants from the 
counties east of it. The Cherokee Indians were removed from 
this particular territory in the year 1838, but a number of 
pioneers had settled in the county prior to their removal. G. 
W. Hayes was the representative in the legislature from Cher- 
okee at that time and the county seat was named in his honor. 
The minerals of the county are gold, corundum, asbestos, gar- 
net, mica, kaolin, and iron. 

George W. Bristol came from Burke county in the spring of 
1844 and settled at the Mission Farm on Peachtree creek. The 
Bristols came to Burke from Connecticut. His son, Thomas 
B. Bristol, was born in Burke county July 3, 1830, and mar- 
ried Mary Addie Johnson, a daughter of the late John H. 
Johnson of Tusquittee, January 22, 1852. He died January 
19, 1907. His widow survived him till October 8, 1911. 

Archibald 0. Lyon was born in Tennessee and married Miss 
M. E. Martin September 14, 1856. She was a daughter of 
Robert Martin, one of the first and most prominent settlers 
of Clay county. A. 0. Lyon died February 16, 1885. He 
went to Raleigh soon after the Civil War and obtained a char- 
ter for a Masonic lodge at Hayesville, which was organized 
as Clay Lodge October 2, 1866. He was its Worshipful Mas- 
ter ten years and a faithful member for nineteen years. He 
was a progressive and successful farmer, and was loved and 
respected by all who knew him. James H. Penland also mar- 
ried one of John H. Johnson's daughters, Miss Fanny E. 
Johnson, as did H. G. Trotter of Franklin and Win. B. Tid- 
well of Tusquittee two others. 

John C. Moore was one of the first settlers of Clay county 
and lived in an Indian hut which stood near a beech tree near 
John H. Johnson's house before the land sale. He came from 
Rutherford county and married Polly Bryson of Mills river. 
Their daughter, Sarah, married Wm. H. Herbert about the 
year 1851. 

W. P. Moore, universally called "Irish Bill," was a son of 
Joab Moore and was born in Rutherford county and was a 
brother of John C. Moore. He married Miss Hattie Gash of 
Transylvania county. He was a captain in the Confederate 



COUNTY HISTORY 207 

army and " every inch a soldier." He is still living at his 
home on Tusquittee, aged eighty-three years. 

Alexander Barnard settled on Hiwassee river, three miles 
above Hayesville. Eli Sanderson was born in Connecticut 
and was the father of George W. Sanderson who died some 
years ago. He and William Sanderson were among the first 
settlers of Clay county. James Coleman was also among 
the first settlers and owned a large farm. William Hancock 
lived below Hayesville and Richard Pass came early from 
Georgia to Clay county. One of his daughters married S. H. 
Haigler of Hayesville. 

Joshua Harshaw was the original settler at the mouth of 
Brasstown creek on a good farm. He came early from Burke 
county. Abner Chastine came from Jackson county early 
and died about 1874 or 1875, when an old man. He left sev- 
eral children, among them having been J. P. Chastine the 
first sheriff of Clay county. Byron Brown married Miss 
Nancy Parsons and died about 1901. Daniel K. Moore, of 
Buncombe county, also lived on Brasstown. He married a 
Miss Dickey and was the father of Judge Frederick Moore. 
He is still living. Henry Piatt, the father of the present 
Rev. J. T. Piatt of Clay, was also an early settler, and died 
many years ago. 

George McLure came from Macon county long before the 
Civil War and settled near Hiwassee river. He was the father 
of W. H. McLure who has represented Clay county in the 
legislature. W. H. McLure married one of the daughters of 
R. S. Pass and was one of the California Forty-Niners. He 
stayed in California till the Civil War, when he returned to 
Clay county. 

The Mission farm is now partly owned by the heirs of a 
Mr. Sudderth, originally of Burke county. He was at one 
time sheriff of Clay and a gentleman of fine character. Fort 
Embree, one of the collecting forts at time of the removal 
of the Cherokees, was on a hill just one mile southwest of 
Hayesville. There is an Indian Mound at the mouth of 
Peachtree creek on the old Robert McLure farm. It is about 
the same size as that near Franklin. There is also a mound 
half a mile east of Hayesville which is highest of all these 
mounds. It is on the land of W. H. McLure and S. H. Alli- 
son, their line splitting the mound. 



208 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Among other prominent citizens of Clay should be men- 
tioned Dr. D. W. Killian, Dr. John Duncan, Gailor Bristol 
and S. H. Allison's father, who came to Clay many years ago. 
S. H. Allison married Miss Elizabeth Lyon, daughter of A. O. 
Lyon. John 0. Hicks was born in Rutherford county and 
was among the first school teachers in Clay county. He 
built up a splendid school at Fort Embree and afterwards 
moved to Hayesville. He represented Clay in the legislature. 
He closed his school in 1876 and moved to Walhalla, South 
Carolina, and then went to Texas, where he died in 1910. 

There is now a fine high school at Hayesville. It is in 
charge of Mr. N. A. Fessenden, who succeeded John O. Hicks. 
Among those who have distinguished themselves after attend- 
ing this school are Rev. Ferd. C. McConnell, of Texas, one of the 
finest preachers of the Baptist church; George Truett, another 
fine preacher; and Hon. George Bell of the Tenth Georgia 
Congressional district. 

Swain County and Bryson City. The county was cre- 
ated in 1871. The first court house was a frame building, 
with the upper floor for a court room and the lower for a jail. 
The "cage" was a pen of logs, under the front outside stairs, 
and was used for misdemeanants only. The dungeon was a 
log room within a log room, the space between being filled 
with stones. A padlocked trapdoor from the floor above was 
the only entrance, reached by a ladder let down when required. 
Bryson City was first called Charleston, which name it retained 
sixteen years when it was called Bryson in honor of Col. Thad. 
Dillard Bryson who was instrumental in having the new county 
formed. Col. D. K. Collins built the first house there, Capt. 
Epp Everett the next, and James Raby and M. Battle fol- 
lowed. H. J. Beck was first clerk of court, Epp Everett sher- 
riff, D. K. Collins postmaster, and Wm. Enloe, B. McHane, 
and John DeHart county commissioners. 

Oconalufty. The first settlers on this creek were Robert 
Collins, Isaac Bradley, John Beck, John Mingus, Abraham 
Enloe, after whom came the Hugheses, Connors, Floyds, Sher- 
rills, etc. Col. D. K. Collins' mother had thirteen children, of 
whom twelve lived to be grown. Seven of her sons took part 
in the Civil War, one being killed. Their neighbor had eighteen 
children. The earliest settlers on Deep creek were the Shulers, 
Wiggins, and Millsaps. Those on Alarka were the Cochrans, 
Brendels, Welches, and DeHarts. 



COUNTY HISTORY 209 

Robert Collins. He was the guide and assistant of Pro- 
fessor Arnold Guyot's surveying party in 1858-59, and Col. 
D. K. Collins was along as a helper, to carry the instruments, 
chain, stakes, etc. They followed the summit of the Smoky 
mountains from Cocke county, Tenn., to Blount county, Tenn., 
breaking up the party at Montvale springs, 16 miles from 
Maryville. Robert Collins was born on Oconalufty river 
September 4, 1806, married Elizabeth Beck, December 30, 
1830, and died April 9, 1863, when he was an officer in charge 
of 500 troops, mostly Cherokees, in Sevier county, Tenn. 

Eli Arrington. , He helped to carry Rhynehart, who was ill 
of milk-sick in 1855, near Collins gap. Wain Battle was also one 
of the party who helped carry Rhynehart from the mountains. 
About two years later he was with Dr. John Mingus, Dr. Davis 
and a few others going to the Alum cave where Col. Thomas got 
magnesia and alum during the war, and took sick and died 
alone in one of the roughest countries in the mountains. He 
was found by Col. D. K. Collins and taken to his home in 
Waynesville. 

Danger in Crossing the Unakas in Winter. Andrew 

Sherman and O'Neal, two lumbermen, left camp on 

the head of Tellico creek just before Christmas, 1899, intend- 
ing to cross the Unaka mountains south of the John Stratton 
Meadows, near Haw Knob, so as to reach Robbinsville in time 
for Christmas. They got as far as the Whig cabin where they 
bought some whiskey from Jim Brooksher; after which they 
started to cross the Hooper bald. A blizzard and heavy 
snowstorm began and continued all that night. They were 
never seen again alive. In September following Forest Den- 
ton found their skeletons near the Huckleberry Knob, where 
Sherman's remains were buried; but some physicians took 
O'Neal's remains home with them. 

Origin of Names. Hazel creek was named from a patch 
of hazelnut bushes near its mouth; Noland creek was named 
for Andrew Noland, its first settler; Chambers creek for John 
Chambers; Eagle creek from a nest of eagles near its head; 
Twenty-Mile creek is so called because it is just twenty miles 
from the junction of Tuckaseegee and Little Tennessee rivers. 

William Monteith. He was the father of Samuel and the 
grandfather of Ellis, John, Robert and Western Monteith. He 
married Nancy Crawford. 

W. N.C.— 14 



210 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Col. Thaddeus Dillard Bryson. He was born near the 
present railroad station called Beta, Jackson county, February 
13, 1829, was married to Miss Mary C. Greenlee of Turkey 
Cove, McDowell county, April 4, 1871. He died at his home 
at Bryson City, January 2, 1890. He represented Jackson 
and Swain a number of years in the legislature. He was ap- 
pointed colonel-commandant of the Jackson county regiment 
militia, February 20, 1854, and was commissioned captain in 
the 20th N. C. Infantry of the Confederate army, September 
7, 1861. 

Bryson City has one bank, three hotels, several boarding 
houses, a pump factory where columns and liquor logs are 
made, a roller mill of 35-barrel capacity, an ice plant, bottling 
works, a telephone system, a planing mill, lumber yards and 
builder's supplies, livery stables and a fine retail and whole- 
sale trade with the surrounding country. The town owns its 
own water system and watershed at Rich gap of 200 acres. 
The water is from mountain springs and is piped to a fine 
reservoir on Arlington Heights overlooking the town. There 
is also a sewerage system. The town owns its own water 
power plant three miles up Deep Creek which furnishes elec- 
tricity to operate the ice plant and the roller mill and the 
electric lights of the town, and has surplus power to sell. It 
has 140-horsepower capacity. 

Graham and Robbinsville. Graham was formed in 1872, 
but it was represented in the legislature by the member from 
Cherokee till 1883, when George B. Walker, Esq., was elected 
to the house. The county commissioners-elect met at King 
& Cooper's store on Cheoah river, October 21, 1872, and were 
sworn in by J. W. King, J. P.; J. J. Colvard, John Gholey, G. 
W. Hooper, N. F. Cooper, and John Sawyer, commissioners, 
all being present. J. J. Colvard was elected chairman, and 
the official bond of William Carpenter, register deeds, was 
approved. So were also the bonds of John G. Tatham, as 
clerk, J. S. Hyde, as sheriff, Reuben Carver, surveyor, all of 
whom were sworn in. It was then ordered that the first term 
of the Superior court be held at the Baptist church in Cheoah 
township, about one mile from Robbinsville. Judge Riley 
Cannon held this court at that place in March, 1873; and the 
first court held in the court house in Robbinsville was the fall 
term of 1874. On the 7th of December, 1872, the commission- 



COUNTY HISTORY 211 

ers considered three sites for the county seat : Rhea Hill, Fort 
Hill, and land of C. A. Colvards. They chose the first 
named. Junaluska, the Cherokee chief, lived at Robbinsville 
and is buried there. A tablet on an immense boulder marks 
his grave. Snowbird mountains, the Joanna Bald, the 
Hooper Bald, Huckleberry Knob, Laurel Top, the two Stratton 
Balds, the Hang Over, the Hay 0, the Fodder Stack and the 
Swim Bald are the principal mountain peaks. They are the 
least known of any of our mountains. In them head the 
Santeetla, Buffalo, Snowbird, Sweet Water, the Yellow and 
Tallulah creeks, all of which flow into the Cheoah river. One 
hundred and fifty Cherokee Indians live on the head of Snowbird 
and Buffalo creeks. There is more virgin forest land in this 
county than in any other now. It has immense resources in water 
power, and the gorge at Rocky Point where the Little Tennessee 
goes through has great value as a power site. The Union Devel- 
opment Company has bought up many sites on these streams. 
In 1910-11 the Whiting Manufacturing Company bought up 
many of the lots and houses in Robbinsville and many thousands 
of acres of timber lands. Lafayette Ghormley is the grandson 
of the man of that name who lived near the mouth of Mountain 
creek, and the son of DeWitt Ghormley. Dave Orr went to 
his present home between Bear and Slick Rock creeks in 1866, 
and his fame as a hunter and trapper is now secure. Rev. 
Joseph A. Wiggins, a distinguished Methodist minister of this 
county, was born on Alarka creek in 1832, but moved with his 
father to Graham in 1840, when there was but one wagon 
road, that from Old Valley Town to Fort Montgomery, just 
constructed for the soldiers who removed the Indians in 1838. 
Dr. Dan F. Summey of Asheville was in charge of its con- 
struction. There were no mills except a few grist mills, an 
wheat was "packed" on horses by a trail to a mill five mile 
from what is now Bryson City — a distance of about thirty 
miles. Indian relics were then plentiful at the head of Tallu- 
lah creek at what is called The Meadows. Mr. Wiggins mar- 
ried a daughter of George W. Hayes, after whom Haycsville 
was named. There was not a church in the county and but 
a few log school houses. He began to preach in 1859, and 
served four years as chaplain in the Confederate army, after 
which he rode circuits in Tennessee, Southwestern Virginia 
and Western North Carolina till stationed in Graham county 



212 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

His great-grandfather Garland Wiggins served in the Revolu- 
tionary War, as did his wife's great-grandfather, Edward 
Hayes. Andrew Colvard lived on Long Hungry branch, which 
got its name from the fact that a party of hunters was once 
detained there by high water till their rations gave out and 
they were for a long time hungry. The Stewarts of San- 
teetla came from Georgia and the Lovens from Ducktown, 
Tenn. John and Robert Stratton came from Monroe county, 
Tenn., in the thirties and settled on the Unaka mountains 
between the head of Sassafras ridge and Santeetla creek. 
John lived on the John Stratton Bald ten years and caught 
19 panthers on Laurel Top, making "bacon" of their hams 
and shoulders. He came with nothing but his rifle, blanket, 
skillet and ammunition, but made enough herding cattle and 
selling deer and bear hams and hides, etc., to buy a fine farm 
in Monroe county, Tenn. On a rude stone on the John Strat- 
ton meadow is carved: 

A. S. 

Was born 
1787 

Died 1839. 
A State Line stone stands about a quarter of a mile away. 
John Ropetwister, Organdizer, Big Fat Commisseen and others 
moved from East Buffalo creek to Slick Rock during the 
Removal of 1838, where they remained in concealment till 
Col. Thomas arranged to have the remnant remain. They 
sent their women into Tennessee to swap bear and deer hides 
for meal. Thomas Cooper, the father of James W. Cooper 
of Murphy, lived on Tallulah three miles east of Robbinsville. 
There was a large and influential family of Crisps who settled 
on Stekoah, of whom Hon. Joel L. Crisp is a distinguished 
representative. Rev. Isaac Carringer came from the eastern 
part of this State and lived on Santeetla. He was a Baptist 
minister and died about 1897, highly respected. John Den- 
ton the most picturesque mountaineer in this section, moved 
from Polk county, Tenn., to Little Santeetla in 1879. In 
1900 he was crippled while logging. He stands six feet three 
in his stockings. Soon after his arrival some of the bullies 
of Robbinsville tested John's pluck; but he worsted five of 
them in a fist fight, and since then he has lived in peace. His, 
wife's mother was Jane Meroney, and a first cousin of Jeffer- 



COUNTY HISTORY 213 

son Davis. She married a Turner, Mrs. Denton's given name 
being Albertine. 

Avery County. This was created in 1911, out of portions 
of Watauga and Mitchell counties, principally. 4 L At an 
election held August 1, 1911, Old Fields of Toe was selected 
as the county seat. It so happened that this land had been 
granted to Col. Waightstill Avery November 9, 1783. It was 
in his honor that this, the 100th county, was named, while 
the county seat was called Newland, in honor of Hon. W. C. 
Newland, of Lenoir, then the lieutenant governor of the State. 
The jail and court house were completed sufficiently to allow 
court to be held in April, 1913, Judge Daniels presiding. There 
are two legends concerning the reason this tract was called 
the Old Fields of Toe. L. D. Lowe, Esq., in the Watauga 
Democrat of June 19, 1913, states that one legend relates that 
Estatoe, the daughter of one of two rival chieftains, fell in love 
with the son of the other; but her father refused his consent, 
which caused a bloody war between the two factions. But 
Estatoe caused a pipe of peace to be made with two stems 
of ti-ti so that two could smoke it at once. The two rival 
chiefs assembled their respective followers on the bank of the 
river, and smoked till peace was concluded and Estatoe mar- 
ried her lover. The other legend is that found in The Balsam 
Groves of the Grandfather mountain (p. 221), and in it Esta- 
toe is made to drown herself because she could not wed her 
Indian lover because of her father's implacable opposition. 

Avery County's Long Pedigree. "It was a part of 
Clarendon in 1729; of New Hanover in 1729; of Bladen in 1734; 
of Anson in 1749; of Rowan in 1753; of Surry in 1770; of Burke 
in 1777; of Wilkes in 1777; of Ashe in 1799; of Yancey in 1833; 
of Caldwell in 1841; of Watauga in 1849; of Mitchell in 1861; 
so that that portion taken from Caldwell and attached to 
Avery in 1911 represents the eighth subdivision; and that 
from Watauga the tenth; which is a record probably unsur- 
passed." 42 The principal reason for the formation of this 
new county was the inaccessibility of Bakersville to most of the 
inhabitants of Mitchell, it being in the northeastern part of 
that county and only two and a half miles from the Yancey 
line. 4 3 Lineville City, two miles from Montezuma and Pinola, 
is "the cleanest town in the North Carolina mountains east 
of Asheville, and the only place of the kind where guests 



214 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

have a large, ideal zone for golf." 44 The same author speaks 
of the Yonahlossee road, running from Linville City to Blow- 
ing Rock, as the Appian Way which ran from Rome via Naples, 
to Brundesium, and claims that the latter was not more inter- 
esting than the former. 4 5 The world will one day admit that 
the fine scenery of North Carolina has its culmination in 
Avery county. 



iFrorn Asheville's Centenary. 

nbid. 

'Ibid. 

«Ibid. 

*Ibid. 

"Bourne's Asheville Code, 1909, vi. Scaife v. Land Co., 90 Federal Reporter (p. 238.) 
The deed from Tate to Morris is on parchment nearly fifteen feet in length. It was written 
by an English law clerk, and still looks like copperplate. At page 165 of the Colonial Rec- 
ords is found a letter from Robert Morris to the governor of North Carolina in refernece to 
a settlement of the account between this state and the United States, in which he refers to 
the proposed arbitration in which this State proposed to appoint one arbitrator and retain 
power of objecting to the other! 

*Pronounced Cochay. He was a Frenchman who had been brought to the Sulphur 
Springs by Col. Reuben Deaver as a confectionery and pastery cook. 

5 ill Book B, p. 103, September 23, 1844. 

'Dr. A. B. Cox's "Footprints on the Sands of Time," p. 107. 

1 "Record Book Superior Court, not paged. 
"Ibid. 

"From information furnished by Hon. A. H. Eller, 1912. 

"Ibid. 

i*Ibid. 

"Ibid. 

"Ibid. 

"Allen. 

"Col. Allen T. Davidson, in The Lyceum, January, 1891. 

"Ibid. 

2 "Ibid. 

2 'Nineteenth Annual Report of Bureau of Ethnology, p. 43. 

"Vol. II, Rev. St., 1837, p. 195. 

2''' A Brief History of Macon County," by Rev. C. D. Smith Franklin, 1905. "The 
organization of the county took place nine years after the survey of the lands and the loca- 
ion of the site for the town of Franklin." 

sqbid. 

25 Much of the information about the citizens of Franklin and Macon was furnished by 
Henry G. Robertson, Esq. 

26 In 1852 he represented Macon in the House of Commons. 

"Henry G. Robertson, Esq., to J. P. A., 1912. 

"Ibid. 

"Connor. 

30 \Vritten for this history by Mrs. Mattie S. Candler of Hendersonville. 

31 Zeigler & Grosscup. 

32 The county seat was named in honor of Judge Archibald D. Murphey, who was 
elected to the Superior court bench in 1818 and resigned in 1819. He spelt his name, how- 
ever with an "e". 

"Deed Book G, p. 139, et seq. 

S4 Madison county records. 

35 See ante, page 7. 

36 Facts as to Alleghany county furnished by Hon. S. F. Thompson. 

"Deed Book C, p. 30. 

"Deed Book E, p. 203. 

"Facts Furnished by Hon. George A. Shuford. 

4 "What used to be called Davidson's River settlement is now known as Pisgah Forest. 

* 'Caldwell also contributed to this territory. 

42 L. D. Lowe, Esq., in Watauga Democrat, May 23, 1913. 

< 3 Ibid. 

"Balsam Groves, 223. 

46 The same author claims that the Old Fields of Toe, now Newland, was a muster 
ground before the Civil War, p. 180. 



CHAPTER IX 

PIONEER PREACHERS 

Solitude and Religion. The isolation of the early set- 
tlers was conducive to religious thoughts, especially among 
the uneducated ministry of that day. This is impressively 
told in the following paragraph: 

"There was naught in the scene to suggest to a mind familiar with 
the facts an oriental landscape — naught akin to the hills of Judea. 
Yet, ignorance has license. It never occurred to Teck Jepson [a local 
preacher in the novel] that his biblical heroes had lived elsewhere. 
He brooded upon the Bible narratives, instinct with dramatic movement, 
enriched with poetic color, and localized in his robust imagination, till 
he could trace Hagar's wild wanderings in the fastnesses; could show 
where Jacob slept and piled his altar of stones; could distinguish the 
bush, of all others on the "bald," that blazed with fire from heaven 
when the angel of the Lord stood within it; . . . saw David, the 
smiling stripling, running and holding high in his right hand the bit of 
cloth cut from Saul's garments while the king had slept in a cave at the 
base of Chilhowie mountain. And how was the splendid miracle of 
translation discredited because Jepson believed that the chariot of the 
Lord had rested in scarlet and purple clouds upon the towering summit 
of Thunderhead that Elijah might thence ascend into heaven?" 1 

Early Preachers. Staunton, Lexington and Abingdon, Vir- 
ginia, and Jonesboro, Tenn., and Morganton, N. C, have been 
largely Presbyterian from their earliest beginning. Not so, 
however, Western North Carolina in which the Baptists and 
Methodists got the " start" and have maintained it ever since, 
notwithstanding the presence almost from the first of the Rev. 
George Newton and many excellent ministers of the Presby- 
terian faith since his day. The progress of the Methodists 
was due largely, no doubt, to the frequent visits of Bishop 
Asbury. 

The First Methodist Bishop. "In the year 1800 Bishop 
Francis Asbury began to include the French Broad valley in 
his annual visits throughout the eastern part of the United 
States, which extended as far west as Kentucky and Ten- 
nessee." 2 He was so encouraged by the religious hunger he 

(215) 



216 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

discovered in these mountain coves that he continued his 
visits till November, 1813, notwithstanding the rough fare 
he no doubt frequently had to put up with. Following ex- 
tracts are from his "Journal": 

At Warm Springs in 1800. 

(Thursday, November 6, 1800.) "Crossed Nolachucky at Querton'a 
Ferry, and came to Major Craggs', 18 miles. I next day pursued my 
journey and arrived at Warm Springs, not, however, without an ugly 
accident. After we had crossed the Small and Great Paint mountain, 
and had passed about thirty yards beyond the Paint Rock, my roan 
horse, led by Mr. O'Haven, reeled and fell over, taking the chaise with 
him; I was called back, when I beheld the poor beast and the carriage, 
bottom up, lodged and wedged against a sapling, which alone prevented 
them both being precipitated into the river. After a pretty heavy lift 
all was righted again, and we were pleased to find there was little damage 
done. Our feelings were excited more for others than ourselves. Not 
far off we saw clothing spread out, part of the loading of household fur- 
niture of a wagon which had overset and was thrown into the stream, and 
bed clothes, bedding, etc., were so wet that the poor people found it neces- 
sary to dry them on the spot. We passed the side fords of French Broad, 
and came to Mr. Nelson's; our mountain march of twelve miles calmed 
us down for this day. My company was not agreeable here — there were 
too many subjects of the two great potentates of this Western World, 
whisky, brandy. My mind was greatly distressed." 

Curiously Contrived Rope and Pole Ferry. 

"North Carolina, — Saturday 8. We started away. The cold was 
severe upon the fingers. We crossed the ferry, curiously contrived with 
a rope and pole, for half a mile along the banks of the river, to guide the 
boat by. And O the rocks! the rocks! Coming to Laurel river, we fol- 
lowed the wagon ahead of us — the wagon stuck fast. Brother O'H. 
mounted old Gray — the horse fell about midway, but recovered, rose, 
and went safely through with his burden. We pursued our way rapidly 
to Ivy creek, suffering much from heat and the roughness of the roads, 
and stopped at William Hunter's." 

At Thomas Foster's. 

"Sabbath Day, 9. We came to Thomas Foster's, and held a small 
meeting at his house. We must bid farewell to the chaise; this mode of 
conveyance by no means suits the roads of this wilderness. We were 
obliged to keep one behind the carriage with a strap to hold by, and pre- 
vent accidents almost continually. I have health and hard labor, and a 
constant sense of the favor of God." 

Blacksmith, Carpenter, Cobbler, Saddler and Hatter. 

"Tobias Gibson had given notice to some of my being at Buncombe 
courthouse, and the society at Killyon's, in consequence of this, made an 
appointment for me on Tuesday, 11. We were strongly importuned to 



PIONEER PREACHERS 217 

stay, which Brother Whatcoat felt inclined to do. In the meantime we 
had our horses shod by Philip Smith; this man, as is not infrequently 
the case in this country, makes wagons and works at carpentry, makes 
shoes for men and for horses; to which he adds, occasionally the manu- 
facture of saddles and hats." 

Rev. George Newton at Methodist Service. 

"Monday, 10. Visited Squire Swain's agreeable family. On Tues- 
day we attended our appointment. My foundation for a sermon was 
Heb. ii, 1. We had about eighty hearers; among them was Mr. Newton, 
a Presbyterian minister, who made the concluding prayer. We took up 
our journey and came to Foster's upon Swansico (Swannanoa) — -company 
enough, and horses in a drove of thirty-three. Here we met Francis 
Poythress — sick of Carolina — and in the clouds. I, too, was sick. Next 
morning we rode to Fletcher's, on Mud creek. The people being unex- 
pectedly gathei-ed together, we gave them a sermon and an exhortation. 
We lodged at Fletcher's." 

A Lecture at Ben. Davidson's. 

"Thursday, 13. We crossed French Broad at Kim's Ferry, forded 
Mills river, and made upwards to the barrens of Broad to Davidson's, 
whose name names the stream. The aged mother and daughter insisted 
upon giving notice for a meeting; in consequence thereof Mr. Davis, the 
Presbyterian minister, and several others came together. Brother What- 
coat was taken with a bleeding at the nose, so that necessity was laid 
upon me to lecture; my subject was Luke xi, 13." 

Describes the French Broad. 

"Friday, 14. We took our leave of French Broad — the lands fiat and 
good, but rather cold. I have had an opportunity of making a tolerably 
correct survey of this river. It rises in the southwest, and winds along 
in many meanders, fifty miles northeast, receiving a number of tributary 
streams in its course; it then inclines westward, passing through Bun- 
combe in North Carolina, and Green and Dandridge counties in Tennes- 
see, in which last it is augmented by the waters of Nolachucky. Four 
miles above Knoxville it forms a junction with the Holston, and their 
united waters flow along under the name of Tennessee, giving a name to 
the State. We had no small labor in getting down Saluda mountain.'' 

Again at Warm Springs. In October, 1801, we find this 
entry : 

" Monday, October 5. We parted in great love. Our company made 
twelve miles to Isaiah Harrison's, and next day reached the Warm Springs 
upon French Broad river." 

"Man and Beast 'Felt the Mighty Hills.' " 

"Wednesday, 7. We made a push for Buncombe courthouse: man 
and beast felt the mighty hills. I shall calculate from Baker's to this 
place one hundred and twenty miles; from Philadelphia, eight hundred 
and twenty miles." 



218 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Resting at George Swain's. 
"Friday, 9. Yesterday and today we rested at George Swain's." 

Quarterly Meeting at Daniel Killon's. 
"Sabbath Day, 11. Yesterday and today held quarterly meeting at 
Daniel Killon's, near Buncombe courthouse. I spoke from Isa. lvii, 6, 7 
and I Cor. vii, 1. We had some quickenings." 

A Sermon from N. Snethen. 

"Monday, 12. We came to Murroughs, upon Mud creek; here we 
had a sermon from N. Snethen on Acts xiv, 15. Myself and James Dou- 
that gave an exhortation. We had very warm weather and a long ride. 
At Major Britain's, near the mouth of Mills river, we found a lodging." 

At Elder Davidson's. 

"Tuesday, 13. We came in haste up to elder Davidson's, refreshed 
man and beast, commended the family to God, and then struck into the 
mountains. The want of sleep and other inconveniences made me unwell. 
We came down Saluda River, near Saluda Mountain : it tried my lame 
feet and old feeble joints. French Broad, in its meanderings, is nearly 
two hundred miles long; the line of its course is semi-circular; its waters 
are pure, rapid, and its bed generally rocky, except the Blue Ridge; it 
passes through all the western mountains. " 

At William Nelson's at Warm Springs. Again in No- 
vember, 1802, we find this entry: 

"Wednesday, 3. We labored over the Ridge and the Paint Moun- 
tain : I held on awhile, but grew afraid of this mountain, and with the 
help of a pine sapling worked my way down the steepest and roughest 
parts. I could bless God for life and limbs. Eighteen miles this day 
contented us, and we stopped at William Nelson's, Warm Springs. About 
thirty travelers having dropped in, I expounded the scriptures to them, 
as found in the third chapter of Romans, as equally applicable to nominal 
Christians, Indians, Jews, and Gentiles." 

Dinner at Barnett's Station. 

"Thursday, 4. We came off about the rising of the sun, cold enough. 
There were six or seven heights to pass over, at the rate of five, two or 
one mile an hour — as this ascent or descent would permit : four hours 
brought us to the end of twelve miles to dinner, at Barnett's station; 
whence we pushed on to John (Thomas) Foster's, and after making 
twenty miles more, came in about the going down of the sun. On Friday 
and Saturday we visited from house to house." 

"Dear William McKendree." 

"Sunday, 7. We had preaching at Killon's. William McKendree 
went forward upon 'as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the 
sons of God;' my subject was Heb. iii, 12, 13. On Monday I parted 
from dear William McKendree. I made for Mr. Fletcher's, upon Mud 
creek; he received me with great attention, and the kind offer of every- 
thing in the house necessary for the comfort of man and beast. We 



PIONEER PREACHERS 219 

could not be prevailed on to tarry for the night, so we set off after dinner 
and he accompanied us several miles. We housed for the night at the 
widow Johnson's. I was happy to find that in the space of two years, 
God had manifested his goodness and his power in the hearts of many 
upon the solitary banks and isolated glades of French Broad; some sub- 
jects of grace there were before, amongst Methodists, Presbyterians and 
Baptists. On Tuesday I dined at Benjamin Davidson's, a house I had 
lodged and preached at two years ago. We labored along eighteen miles, 
eight ascent, on the west side, and as many on the east side of the moun- 
tain. The descent of Saluda exceeds all I know, from the Province of 
Maine to Kentucky and Cumberland; I had dreaded it, fearing I should 
not be able to walk or ride such steeps; nevertheless, with time, patience, 
labor, two sticks and above all, a good Providence I came in about five 
o'clock to ancient father John Douthat's, Greenville County, South Caro- 
lina." 

Again at Nelson's. On October, 1803, we meet with 
this entry: 

"North Carolina. On Monday, we came off in earnest; refreshed at 
Isaiah Harrison's, and continued on to the Paint Mountain, passing the 
gap newly made, which makes the road down to Paint Creek much bet- 
ter. I lodged with Mr. Nelson, who treated me like a minister, a Chris- 
tian and a gentleman." 

Ivy Had Been Bridged in 1803. 

"Tuesday, 25. We reached Buncombe. The road is greatly mended 
by changing the direction, and throwing a bridge over Ivy." 

Sisters Kilion and Smith Dead. 

"Wednesday, 26. We called a meeting at Kilion's, and a gracious 
season it was : my subject was I Cor. xv, 38. Sister Kilion and Sister 
Smith, sisters in the flesh, and kindred spirits in holiness and humble 
obedience, are both gone to their reward in glory. On Thursday we 
came away in haste, crossed Swamoat (Swannanoa) at T. Foster's, the 
French Broad at the High (Long) Shoals, and afterwards again at Beard's 
Bridge, and put up for the night at Andrew Mitchell's : In our route 
we passed two large encamping places of the Methodists and Presby- 
terians : it made country look like the Holy Land." 

He Escapes from Filth, Fleas, and Rattlesnakes. 
"Friday, 28. We came up Little River, a sister stream of French 
Broad : it offered some beautiful flats of land. We found a new road, 
lately cut, which brought us in at the head of Little River at the old 
fording place, and within hearing of the falls, a few miles off of the head 
of Matthews Creek, a branch of the Saluda. The waters foaming clown 
the rocks with a descent of half a mile, make themselves heard at a great 
distance. I walked down the mountain, after riding sixteen or eighteen 
miles, before breakfast, and came in about twelve o'clock to father John 
Douthat's; once more I have escaped from filth, fleas, rattlesnakes, hills, 
mountains, rocks, and rivers; farewell, western world, for awhile!" 



220 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

At Fletcher's on Mud Creek. Again in October, 1805, 
we find the following entry: 

"North Carolina. We came into North Carolina and lodged with 
Wm. Nelson, at the Hot Springs. Next day we stopped with Wilson in 
Buncombe. On Wednesday I breakfasted with Mr. Newton, Presby- 
terian minister, a man after my own mind : we took sweet counsel to- 
gether. We lodged this evening at Mr. Fletcher's, Mud Creek. At 
Colonel Thomas's, on Thursday, we were kindly received and hospitably 
entertained." 

Beds a Bench and Dirt Floor of School House. Again 
in September, 1806, we find the following entry: 

"Wednesday, 24. We came to Buncombe : we were lost within a 
mile of Mr. Killion's (Killian's), and were happy to get a school house to 
shelter us for the night. I had no fire, but a bed wherever I could find 
a bench; my aid, Moses Lawrence, had a bear skin and a dirt floor to 
spread it on." 

His Food Brings Back His Affliction. 
"Friday, 26. My affliction returned: considering the food, the labor, 
the lodging, the hardships I meet with and endure it is not wonderful. 
Thanks be to God! we had a generous rain — may it be general through 
the settlement!" 

Camp Meeting on Turkey Creek. 

"Saturday, 27. I rode twelve miles to Turkey Creek, to a kind of 
camp meeting. On the Sabbath, I preached to about five hundred souls : 
it was an open season and a few souls professed converting grace." 

Rode Through Swanino River. 

"Monday, 29. Raining. We had dry weather during the meeting. 
There were eleven sermons and many exhortations. At noon it cleared 
up, and gave us an opportunity of riding home : my mind enjoyed peace, 
but my body felt the effect of riding. On Tuesday I went to a school 
house to preach: I rode through Swanino River, and Cane and Hooper's 
Creeks." 

Little and Great Hunger Mountain. 

"North Carolina, Wednesday, October 1. I preached at Samuel 
Edney's. Next day we had to cope with Little and Great Hunger moun- 
tains. Now I know what Mill's Gap is, between Buncombe and Ruther- 
ford. One of the descents is like the roof of a house, for nearly a mile: 
I rode, I walked, I sweat, I trembled, and my old knees failed; here are 
gulleys and rocks, and precipices; nevertheless the way is as good as the 
path over the Table Mountain — bad is the best. We came upon Green 
River." 

Warm Springs in 1807. Again on October, 1807, we 
find the following entry: 

"Friday 16. We reached Wamping's (Warm Springs). I suffered 
much today; but an hour's warm bath for my feet relieved me consider- 
ably. On Saturday we rode to Killon's." 



PIONEER PREACHERS 221 

George Newton, an Israelite Indeed. 
"North Carolina, Sabbath, 18. At Buncombe courthouse I spoke 
from 2 Kings, vii, 13-15. The people were all attention. I spent a 
night under the roof of my very dear brother in Christ, George Newton, 
a Presbyterian minister, an Israelite indeed. On Monday we made 
Fletcher's; next day dined at Terry's, and lodged at Edwards. Saluda 
ferry brought us up on Wednesday evening." 

Labored and Suffered, But Lived Near God. Again 
in October, 1808, we find the following entry: 

"On Tuesday we rode twenty miles to the Warm Springs, and next 
day reached Buncombe, thirty-two miles. The right way to improve a 
short day is to stop only to feed the horses, and let the riders meanwhile 
take a bite of what they have been provident enough to put into their 
pockets. It has been a serious October to me. I have labored and suf- 
fered; but I have lived near to God." 

Mr. Irwon (Erwin), A Chief Man. 

"North Carolina, Saturday, 29. We rested for three days past. We 
fell in with Jesse Richardson : He could not bear to see the fields of 
Buncombe deserted by militiamen, who fire a shot and fly, and wheel and 
fire, and run again ; he is a veteran who has learned to 'endure hardness like 
a good soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ.' On the Sunday I preached in 
Buncombe courthouse upon I Thess. i, 7-10. I lodged with a chief man, 
a Mr. Irwon. Henry Boehm went to Pigeon Creek to preach to the 
Dutch." 

Wootenpile Asks Pay in Prayer. In October, 1909, we 
find: 

"We crossed the French Broad and fed our horses at the gate of Mr. 
Wootenpile (Hoodenpile) ; he would accept no pay but prayer; as I had 
never called before he may have thought me too proud to stop. Our 
way now lay over dreadful roads. I found old Mr. Barnett sick — the 
case was a dreadful one, and I gave him a grain of tartar and a few com- 
posing drops, which procured him a sound sleep. The patient was very 
thankful and would charge us nothing. Here are martyrs to whiskey! 
I delivered my own soul. Saturday brought us to Killion's. Eight times 
within nine years I have crossed these Alps. If my journal is transcribed 
it will be as well to give the subject as the chapter and the verse of the 
text I preached from. Nothing like a sermon can I record. Here now 
am I and have been for twenty nights crowded by people, and the whole 
family striving to get round me." 

James Patton, Rich, Plain, Humble, Kind. 

"Sabbath, 29. At Buncombe I spoke on Luke xiv, 10. It was a 
season of attention and feeling. We dined with Mr. Erwin and lodged 
with James Patton; how rich, how plain, how humble, and how kind! 
There was a sudden change in the weather on Monday; we went as far 
as D. Jay's. Tuesday, we moved in haste to Mud Creek, Green river 
cove, on the other side of Saluda." 



222 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

At Vater Shuck's on A Winter's Night. Again, in 
December, 1810, we find the following entry: 

"At Catahouche (Catalouche) I walked over a log. But O the 
mountain — height after height, and five miles over! After crossing other 
streams, and losing ourselves in the woods, we came in, about nine o'clock 
at night, to Vater Shuck's. What an awful day! Saturday, December 
1. Last night I was strongly afflicted with pain. We rode twenty-five 
miles to Buncombe." 

George Newton Almost A Methodist. 

"North Carolina, Sabbath, December 2. Bishop McKendree and 
John McGee rose at five o'clock and left us to fill an appointment about 
twenty-five miles off. Myself and Henry Boehm went to Newton's 
academy, where I preached. Brother Boehm spoke after me; and Mr. 
Newton, in exhortation, confirmed what was said. Had I known and 
studied my congregation for a year, I could not have spoken more appro- 
priately to their particular cases; this I learned from those who knew 
them well. We dined with Mr. Newton. He is almost a Methodist, 
and reminds me of dear Whatcoat — the same placidness and solemnitj'. 
We visited James Patton; this is, perhaps, the last visit to Buncombe." 

Speaking "Faithfully. " 

"Monday. It was my province today to speak faithfully to a cer- 
tain person. May she feel the force of, and profit by the truth." 

The Hoodenpile Road is Open. In December, 1812, we 
find the following: 

"Monday, 30. We stopped at Michael Bollen's on our route, where 
I gave them a discourse on Luke, xi, 11-13. Why should we climb over 
the desperate Spring and Paint mountain when there is such a fine new 
road? We came on Tuesday a straight course to Barratt's (Barnett's), 
dining in the woods on our way." 

Back Again at Killion's. 

"North Carolina, Wednesday, December 2. We went over the moun- 
tains, 22 miles, to Killion's." 

At Samuel Edney's and Father Mills's. 

"Thursday, 3. Came on through Buncombe to Samuel Edney's : I 
preached in the evening. We have had plenty of rain lately. Friday, I 
rest. Occupied in reading and writing. I have great communion with 
God. I preached at Father Mills's." 

In Great Weakness. Again, in November, 1813, we 
meet with this entry: 

"Sabbath, 24. I preached in great weakness. I am at Killion's once 
more. Our ride of ninety miles to Staunton bridge on Saluda river was 
severely felt, and the necessity of lodging at taverns made it no better." 

Valedictory to Presiding Elders. 

"Friday, 29. On the peaceful banks of the Saluda I write my vale- 
dictory address to the presiding elders." 



PIONEER PREACHERS 223 

Killian's, so often mentioned with different spellings in the 
foregoing extracts, is the present residence of Capt. I. C. 
Baird on Beaverdam. 3 When the General Conference of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, met at Asheville in 
May, 1910, a gavel made of a portion of the banister of the 
old Killian home was presented to the presiding bishop. 

First Church in the Mountains. According to Col. W. 
L. Bryan of Boone, the first church established west of the 
Blue Ridge and east of the Smokies was at what is still called 
" Three Forks of New river in what is now Watauga county, 
a beautiful spot." It was organized November 6, 1790. The 
following is from its records: "A book containing (as may be 
seen) in the covenant and conduct of the Baptist church of 
Jesus Christ in Wilkes county, . . . New River, Three 
Forks settlement" by the following members: James Tom- 
kins, Richard Greene and wife, Daniel Eggers and wife, 
William Miller, Elinor Greene and B. B. Eggers. "This is 
the mother of all the Baptist churches throughout this great 
mountain region. From this mother church, using the lan- 
guage of these old pioneers, they established 'arms' of the 
mother church; one at what is now known as the Globe in 
Caldwell county, another to the westward, known as Ebi- 
nezer, one to the northeast named South Fork . . . and 
at various other points. Yet, it should be remembered that 
the attendance upon the worship of the mother church extended 
for many, many miles, reaching into Tennessee." After 
these "arms" had been established "there was organized 
Three Forks Baptist association, which bears the name to this 
day, and is the oldest and most venerated religious organiza- 
tion known throughout the mountains. Among the first 
pastors of the mother church were Rev. Mr. Barlow of Yadkin, 
George McNeill of Wilkes, John G. Bryan who died in Georgia 
at the age of 98, Nathaniel Vannoy of Wilkes, Richard Gentry 
of Old Field, Joseph Harrison of Three Forks, Brazilla Mc- 
Bride and Jacob Greene of Cove creek, Reuben Farthing, A. 
C. Farthing, John or Jackie Farthing, Larkin Hodges and 
Rev. William Wilcox, the last named having been the last of the 
Old Patriarchs of this noted church to pass away. They 
were all farmers and worked in the fields for their daily bread. 
To the above list should be added Rev. D. C. Harmon of Lower 
Cove creek, Rev. D. C. Harmon, Rev. Smith Ferguson, who, 



224 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

though they have been gone for many years, yet speak to 
some of those left behind." 4 

Prominent Pioneer Religious Teachers. 5 Among these 
were " Richard Gentry, Aaron Johnson, William Baldwin, 
Richard Jacks, David Smith, all of whom were Baptists favoring 
missions; and among the Methodists were James Wagg, Samuel 
Plumer, A. B. Cox and Hiram and Elihu Weaver. " 

Rev. Humphrey Posey. Of this good man Col. Allen T. 
Davidson says in The Lyceum for January, 1891, p. 11, that 
James Whittaker of Cherokee "and the Rev. Humphrey 
Posey established the leading (Baptist) churches in this upland 
country, to wit: Cane creek, in Buncombe county, and 
Locust Old Field in Haywood county, where the friends of 
these two men have worshipped ever since. . . . There 
they stand, monuments to the memory of these pioneers. . . . 
Perhaps the most remarkable man in this up-country was 
Rev. Humphrey Posey, who was born in Henry county, Va., 
January 12, 1780, was brought to Burke when only five years 
old and remained there until he reached manhood, was ordained 
a minister at Cane creek church in 1806. About 1820 he 
established a mission school at what is now known as the 
Mission Place on the Hiwassee river, seven miles above Mur- 
phy. He removed to Georgia in 1784, and died at Newman, 
Ga., 28 December, 1846. He was a man greatly endowed by 
nature to be a leader, of great physical force, with a profile 
much like that of the Hon. Tom Corwin of Ohio. He had a 
fine voice and manner, was singularly and simply eloquent. . . . 
In fact, by nature, he was a great man, and "his works do fol- 
low him." The effect of his mission schools have been seen 
for many years past, and many citizens of Indian blood are 
left to tell the tale. The Stradley brothers of Asheville 
were two other pioneer Baptist preachers of note. They had 
been in the Battle of Waterloo as members of Wellington's 
army before emigrating to America. Their record is known 
of all men in Buncombe county, and a long line of worthy 
descendants attest the sturdy character of the parent stock. 

Rev. Branch Hamline Merrimon. He was born in Din- 
widdle county, Va., February 22, 1802, and moved with his 
parents as far as Rogersville, Tenn., on their way to the Great 
West, when one member of the family becoming too ill to 
travel further, they stopped there permanently. He joined 



PIONEER PREACHERS 225 

the Methodist Conference at Knoxville in 1824 and became 
an itinerant Methodist preacher, being assigned to this sec- 
tion. In 1829 he married Mary E. Paxton, a daughter of 
William Paxton and his wife Sarah McDowell, a sister of 
Gen. Charles McDowell of Revolutionary fame. William 
Paxton was born in Roxbridge county, Va., and came to 
Burke county, where at Quaker Meadows he married his 
wife. William Paxton and wife then moved to the Cherry 
Fields in what is now Transylvania county, where they bought 
and improved a large tract of fertile land, whither Mr. Mer- 
rimon and his wife followed. William Paxton was a brother 
of Judge John Paxton of Morganton, a Superior court judge 
from 1818 to 1826. He was also a near kinsman of Judge 
John Hall, a member of the first Supreme court of this State. 
Mr. Merrimon died at Asheville in November, 1886, leaving 
seven sons and three daughters. Chief Justice A. S. Merrimon 
was one of his sons, and Ex-Judge J. H. Merrimon of Asheville 
is another. Rev. Mr. Merrimon was a staunch Union man 
during the Civil War. 

The late Rev. J. 'S. Burnett was another pioneer Methodist 
preacher of prominence. 

United They Stood. "It is a striking fact in the char- 
acter of this primitive people," says Col. A. T. Davidson 
in The Lyceum for January 1891, "that they were entirely 
devoted to each other, clannish in the extreme; and when 
affliction, sorrow, trouble, vexation, or offence came to one 
it came to all. It was like a bee-hive — always some one on 
guard, and all affected by the attack from without. They 
were the constant attendants around the bed of the sick; 
suffered with the suffering, wept with those who wept, and 
attended all the funerals without reward, it never having been 
known that a coffin was charged for, or the digging of a grave 
for many long years. Is it a fact that these men were better 
than those of the present day, or does it' only exist in my 
imagination? When I look back to them I think that they 
were the best men I ever knew; and the dear old mothers 
of these humble people are now strikingly engraved upon my 
memory. The men rolled each others' logs in common; they 
gathered their harvests, built their cabins, and all work of a 
heavy character was done in common and without price. 
The log meeting-house was reared in the same way, and it is 

W.N.C.-15 



226 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

a fact that this was done promptly, without hesitation — regard- 
less of creeds or sect — all coming together with a will. The 
Baptists, "rifle, axe and saddle-bag men," or the Methodist 
"circuit rider" supplied the people with the ministry of the 
word; and it is pleasant to look back and reflect upon the 
enjoyment and comfort these humble people had in the admin- 
istration by these humble ministers in the long-ago. Then 
they came together and held what they called "union meet- 
ings," under arbors made with poles and brush, or, at the 
private residence of some good citizen — often at my father's. 
I remember distinctly that Nathaniel Gibson, of Crabtree 
creek, converted the top story of his mill house into one of 
these places of worship; and Jacob Shook, on Pigeon, the 
father of the family near Clyde, turned his threshing floor, 
in his barn, into a place of worship ; and near this was established 
about 1827 or 1828, Shook's Camp Ground. The good old 
Dutchman contributed or donated to the church ten acres 
of land, which have ever been kept for a place of public wor- 
ship. 

Rev. Wm. G. Brownlow. 6 In the year 1832 Rev. Wm. 
G. Brownlow, a Methodist minister, afterwards better known 
as Parson Brownlow and Governor of Tennessee, served as 
pastor of the Franklin circuit in Macon county. These were 
the days of intense religious prejudices and denominational 
controversies. Rev. Humphrey Posey, a kinsman of the late 
Ben. Posey, Esq., was at that time the leading minister of 
the Baptist church in this section. 

"It was impossible for men of the type of Brownlow and Posey to 
long remain in the same community without becoming involved in con- 
troversy. Nor did they. From denominational discussions their con- 
troversy degenerated into matters personal, a personal quarrel. Brown- 
low, as is well known, was a master of invective and his pen was dipped 
in vitriol. On July 23, 1832, he wrote Rev. Posey a 24-page letter which 
is still on file among the records of Macon court and which that gentle- 
man regarded as libelous. He thereupon indicted parson Brownlow, as 
appears from the court records. The first bill was found at fall term 
1832. It is signed by J. Roberts, solicitor pro tern.., and seems to have 
been quashed; at any rate a new bill was sent and the case tried at spring 
term 1833. Wm. J. Alexander was the solicitor when the case was tried. 
The defendant pleaded not guilty but was found guilty by the jury, 
whether upon the ground that the "greater the truth the greater the 
libel" or not does not appear. He was sentenced to pay a fine and the 
costs. The amount of the fine was not given but the record discloses 



PIONEER PREACHERS 227 

that it was paid by J. R. Siler, one of the leading citizens and original 
settlers, and a prominent member of the Methodist church. Execution 
issued for the costs and the return shows that on July 1, 1833, the sheriff 
'levied on dun mare, bridle, saddle and saddle bags. Sold for $65.50. 
Proceeds into office $53.83.' 

"There is a generally accredited story to the effect that when the 
sheriff went to levy on the Parson's horse, Brownlow was just closing a 
preaching service at Mt. Zion church — that he saw the sheriff approach- 
ing and knew the purpose of his coming, and before the sheriff came up 
Brownlow handed his Bible to one lady member of his congregation and 
his hymn book to another and that these books are still in the families 
of the descendants of these ladies. It is also said that when Brownlow 
started to conference that fall, J. R. Siler made him a present of another 
horse in lieu of the one that had been sold." 

William Gunnaway Brownlow was born in Virginia in 
1805, and became a carpenter first and then a Methodist 
preacher. In 1828 he moved to Tennessee and in 1839 became 
a local preacher at Jonesboro and editor of The Whig, but moved 
to Knoxville, taking The Whig with him and continued its 
publication till the beginning of the Civil war. He preached 
many sermons defending slavery, and was defeated by Andrew 
Johnson for Congress in 1843. He wrote several books, the 
most famous of which was called Parson Brownlow's Book, 
in which he gave his unpleasant experiences with the Con- 
federates and his views on secession and the Civil War. He 
was a member of the convention which revised the constitu- 
tion of Tennessee in 1865, and was elected governor in 1865, 
and again in 1867. He was sent to the United States senate 
in 1869 where he remained till 1875. He died at Knoxville 
in April, 1877. 7 

Canario Drayton Smith. 8 He was a son of Samuel and 
Mary Smith, and was born in Buncombe April 1, 1813. His 
grandfather, Joseph Smith, was born on the eastern shore of 
Maryland, April 1, 1730, and his grandmother, Rebecca 
Dath (Welch), was born near the same place on April 1, 1739. 
In 1765 they moved to North Carolina, and on the journey 
C. D. Smith's father was born at a public inn in Albemarle 
county, Va., August 20, 1765. They first settled at Haw- 
fields in Guilford county, where they were living when the 
battle was fought in 1780. His maternal grandfather, Daniel 
Jarrett, was born in Lancaster county, Pa., December 18, 
1747. He was of English blood. His grandmother Jarrett, 
whose maiden name was Catharine C. Moyers, was born in 



228 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Lancaster county, Pa., February 9, 1753. She was a German 
woman. They were married October 25, 1772, moving to 
North Carolina shortly afterwards and settling in Cabarrus, 
where his mother, Mary Jarrett, was born June 23, 1775. 
Soon after the close of hostilities between the Cherokees and 
whites they moved to Buncombe county, where in 1796 his 
father and mother were married. They moved to Macon 
in the winter of 1819-20. At the sale of the Cherokee lands 
at Waynesville in September, 1820, his father bought the 
land known as the Tessentee towns, now Smith's Bridge, 
where C. D. Smith was reared to manhood. He attended 
the subscription schools of the neighborhood, and in 1832 
went to Caney river, then in Buncombe, now in Yancey, to 
clerk for Smith & McElroy, merchants, where he spent five 
years, buying ginseng principally, getting in in 1837 over 
86,000 pounds which yielded 25,000 pounds of choice clarified 
root, which was barreled and shipped to Lucas & Heylin, 
Philadelphia, and thence to China. In the meantime Yancey 
had been created a county and John W. McElroy had been 
elected first clerk of the Superior court, making C. D. Smith 
his deputy. At a camp meeting held at Caney River Camp 
Ground in 1836, by Charles K. Lewis, preacher in charge, of 
the Black Mountain circuit, he was converted and joined the 
church. At the quarterly conference at Alexander chapel the 
following June he was licensed to preach by Thos. W. Catlett, 
presiding elder. He continued to preach till 1850 when he 
went on the supernumerary list on account of bad health. In 
1853 he became agent for the American Colonization Society 
for Tennessee and sent to Liberia two families of emancipated 
negroes. In 1854 he became interested in mineralogy, and 
continued this study of mineralogy and geology till his death. 
He was assistant State Geologist under Prof. Emmons and 
a co-worker with Prof. Kerr. He is mentioned in Dr. R. N. 
Price's works on Methodism, and has an article in Kerr's 
Geology of North Carolina. He died in 1894. 



'"The Despot of Broomsedge Cove," by Mary N. Murfree. 
2 Asheville's Centenary. 
'Reference is to 1898. 

4 From "A Primitive History of the Mountain Region," by Col. W. L. Bryan. 
5 Facts Furnished by Hon. A. H. Eller of Ashe county, 1912. 
s By Fred S. Johnston, Esq., of Franklin, N. C. 
'McGee, p. 173. 

8 From the "Autobiography of Dr. C. D. Smith," and statements of Henry G. Robert- 
eon, Esq. 



CHAPTER X 

ROADS, STAGE COACHES, AND TAVERNS 

[-Buffalo Trails and Trading Paths. It is probable 
that buffaloes made the first roads over these mountains, and 
that the Indians, following where they led, made their trading 
paths by pursuing these highways. It is still more probable 
that the buffaloes instinctively sought the ways that were lev- 
elest and shortest between the best pastures, thus insuring a 
passage through the lowest gaps and to the richest lands. The 
same applies to deer, bear and other wild animals — they wanted 
to go by the easiest routes and to the countries which afforded 
the best support. It is still said in the mountains that when 
the first settlers wanted to build a new road they drove a 
steer or "cow-brute" to the lowest gap in sight and then drove 
it down on the side the road was to be located, the tracks made 
by it being followed and staked and the road located exactly 
on them. The fact that John Strother mentions no trading 
paths in the 1799 survey simply indicates that the Indians 
had not used them for years in the territory north of the ridge 
between the Nollechucky and the French Broad. No doubt 
there had been trading paths until the whites came to inter- 
rupt their passage over the mountains. But Davenport 
mentions crossing several on the 1821 survey, viz.: the Cata- 
loochee track at the mouth of Big creek, "the Equeneetly path 
to Cades cove" at the head of Eagle creek, and at the 60th 
mile from Pigeon river, in "a low gap at the path of Eque- 
neetly to Tallassee. " Seven miles further on they came to 
another trading path of Cheogee (Cheoah) now known as the 
Belding trail. At the ninety-third mile they reached "the 
trading path leading from the Valley Towns to the Overhill 
Settlements" and reaching the ninety-fifth mile on the path 
before they paused. On August 24th they passed the white 
oak, 96th mile, on top of the Unicoi mountain, and on the same 
day reached the "hickory and rock at the wagon road, the 
101st mile, at the end of the Unicoi mountain." 

Hard Roads to Build as Well as to Travel. Powder 
was scarce and tools were wanting for the construction of 

(229) 



230 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

roads in the early days. Dynamite and blasting powder were 
then unknown. Ridges offered least resistence to the con- 
struction of a roadway because the timber on their crests 
was light and scattered and because, principal consideration, 
they were generally level enough on top to allow wagon wheels 
to pass up or down them. But they were frequently too 
steep even for the overtaxed oxen and horses of that time. 1 
The level places along creeks and rivers were the next places 
where roads could be built with least labor; but these were 
always subject to overflow; and cliffs shutting in on one side 
always forced the road to cross the stream to get lodgment on 
the opposite bank. Sometimes there were cliffs on both sides 
of the stream, and then the road had to run up the nearest 
"hollow" or cove to the head of the branch flowing in it and 
across the gap down another branch or brook to the stream 
from which the road had just parted company. When there 
was no escape from it, "side-cutting" was resorted to; but as 
it took a longer road to go by a gentle grade than by a steep 
climb, the steeper road was invariably built. 

"Navigating Wagons." James M. Edney, in his Sketches 
of Buncombe Men in Bennett's Chronology of North Carolina, 
written in 1855, says: 

"Col. J. Barnett settled on French Broad seventy years ago, and was 
the first man to pilot or navigate wagons through Buncombe by putting 
the two big wheels on the lower side, sometimes pulling, sometimes push- 
ing, and sometimes carrying the wagon, at a charge of five dollars for 
work and labor done. "2 

The First Road Builders. "Most of the work done at 
the earlier sessions of the county court of Buncombe related 
to laying out and working roads. These roads or trails, rude 
and rough, narrow and steep as they were, constituted the 
only means of communication between the scattered settlers 
of this new country, and were matters of first importance to its 
people. They were located by unlettered hunters and farmers, 
who knew nothing of civil engineering, and were opened by 
their labor, and could ill afford to spare time from the support 
and protection of their families. Roving bands of Indians 
constantly gave annoyance to the white settlers, and frequently 
where they found the master of the house absent, would 
frighten the women and children into taking refuge in the 
woods, and then burn the furniture and destroy the bedding 



ROADS, STAGE COACHES AND TAVERNS 231 

which they found in the house. Many were the privations 
incident to a life in a new country suffered by these early set- 
lers, and many were the hardships which they underwent at 
the hands of these predatory savages. We can scarcely 
wonder that they saw in the red man none of the romantic 
feature of character which their descendants are so fond of 
attributing to him. This state of affairs continued even up 
into the present century. 3 

The Hard, Unyielding Rocks. Whenever rock ledges 
and cliffs were encountered our road-builders usually "took 
to the woods." That is, they went as far around them as 
was necessary in order to avoid them. But, in some cases, they 
had to be removed; and then holes were drilled by driv- 
ing steel-tipped bars with sledge-hammers as far as practi- 
cable, which was rarely over two feet in depth. Into these 
gunpowder costing fifty cents per pound was poured, and a 
hollow reed or elder tubes filled with powder were thrust, and 
the earth tamped around these. A line of leaves or straw was 
laid on the ground a dozen feet or more from the tube, and 
slowly burnt its way to the powder. It was a slow and inef- 
fective method, and too expensive to be much used. Another 
and cheaper way was to build log heaps on top of the ledge 
of rock and allow them to burn till the rock was well heated, 
when buckets and barrels of water were quickly poured on the 
rock after removing the fire, which split the rock and permitted 
its being quarried. 

Stage-Coach Customs. In old times there were no reserved 
seats on stage coaches — first come, first served, being the 
rule. This resulted, oftentimes, in grumbling and disputes, 
but as a rule all submitted with good grace, the selfish and 
pushing getting the choice places then as now. Three pas- 
sengers on each seat were insisted on in all nine passenger 
coaches, and woe to that poor wight who had to take the 
middle of the front seat and ride backwards. Seasickness 
usually overcame him, but there was no redress, unless some- 
one volunteered to change seats. In dry and pleasant weather, 
many preferred a seat with the driver or on the roof behind 
him. Many pleasant acquaintances were made on stage coach 
journeys, and sometimes friendships and marriages resulted. 
Stages were never robbed in these mountains, however, as 
Murrell and his band usually transacted their affairs further 



232 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

west. Heated stones wrapped in rugs and blankets were 
sometimes taken by ladies during cold weather to keep their 
feet warm. 

Old Taverns. Whenever there was a change of horses, 
which usually happened at or near a tavern or inn, the pas- 
sengers would get out and visit the "grocery," either to get 
warm inside or outside, frequently on both sides. Then, 
they would walk ahead and be taken up when the coach over- 
took them. When meals were to be taken there was a rush 
for the "washing place," usually provided with several buck- 
ets of cold spring water and tin basins, with roller towels. 
Then the rush for the dining room and the well-cooked food 
served there. Most of these meals were prepared on open 
hearths before glowing beds of coals, in wide fire-places whose 
stone hearths frequently extended half across the kitchen floor. 
But riding at night grew very monotonous, and when possible 
the ladies remained at these taverns over night, resuming 
their journeys in the morning. 

First Roads. Boone's trail across the mountains in 1769 
was the first of which there is any record, and that seems to 
be in dispute (see Chapter "Daniel Boone."). The next one 
was that followed by James Robertson and the sixteen fam- 
ilies who left Wake county after Alamance and found their 
way to the Watauga settlement in Tennessee. They prob- 
ably followed the Catawba to its head, crossing at the 
McKinney gap, and followed Bright's trace over the Yellow 
and thence down to the Doe and so on to the Watauga at 
Elizabethton. 4 McGee says: "When the Watauga set- 
tlement became Washington county, in 1778, a wagon road 
was opened across the mountains into the settled parts of 
North Carolina . . . and in 1779 . . . Washing- 
ton county was divided into . . . Sullivan, etc." 5 
The Act of Cession, 1789, calls for the top of the Yellow moun- 
tain where "Bright's road crosses the same, thence along the 
ridge of said mountain between the waters of Doe river and 
the waters of Rock creek to the place where the road crosses 
the Iron mountain"; and John Strother, in his diary of the 
survey of 1799 between North Carolina and Tennessee, men- 
tions that the surveying party crossed "the road leading from 
Morganton to Jonesborough on Thursday, June 6, 1799." 
This road was north of the Toe or Nollechucky river and between 



ROADS, STAGE COACHES AND TAVERNS 233 

it and the Bright road over the Yellow; but, as there are now 
two roads crossing between those points, it is important to 
ascertain which is the one opened in 1778, as that, undoubtedly, 
was the first wagon road crossing the mountains. Chancellor 
John Allison speaks of Andrew Jackson crossing this road 
from Morganton to Jonesborough, Tenn., in the spring of 
1788, as early "as the melting snow and ice made such a trip 
over the Appalachians possible." 6 It was "more than one 
hundred miles, two-thirds of which, at that time, was without 
a single human habitation along its course." Practically all 
histories claim that Sevier and his men passed over the Bright 
Trace over the Yellow; but Col. W. L. Bryan of Boone, N. C, 
says that Sevier and his men passed through what is now 
known as the Carver gap, southwest of the Roan, and down 
Big Rock creek. 7 And it does seem more probable that his 
men would have followed the wagon road, which Historian 
McGee says had been opened in 1778, from Sycamore Shoals, 
than a trail which must have taken them considerably further 
north than a road nearer the Nollechucky river would have 
been. But all these dates referring to that road were prior 
to the passing of the first wagon from North Carolina into 
Tennessee, mentioned in Wheeler 's History of North Carolina 
as occurring in 1795. 8 Indeed, John Strother mentions 
another "road" at a low gap between the waters of Cove creek 
(in what is now Watauga county) and Roan creek (in what is 
now Johnson county, Tenn.) ; but the road over which the first 
wagon passed into Tennessee in 1795 was probably the one 
Bishop Asbury traveled from 1800 to October, 1803, over 
Paint mountain to Warm Springs; and was not the road on 
the left side of the river leading down to the mouth of Wolf 
creek. This road is a mile and a half southwest of Paint 
Rock. Probably no road at that time followed the river 
bank there. It is certain, however, that in 1812 Hoodenpile 
had charge of a road from Warm Springs to Newport, Tenn., 
and was under contract to keep it in repair from the "top of 
Hopewell Hill (now Stackhouse) to the Tennessee line." 9 
William Gillett had built it from Old Newport, Tenn., to the 
North Carolina line. 10 It was on the right bank all the way. 
The Love road leaves the river six miles below the Hot Springs 
at the Hale Neilson house and joins main road 12 miles from 
Greenville, Tenn. 



234 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Path Crossing the Unaker Mountain. 11 John Strother 
tells us that about the 13th of May, 1799, they came "to the 
path crossing from Hollow Poplar to the Greasy Cove and 
met our companj^. " But what kind of a path that was he 
does not say. It was probably the road through the Indian 
Grave Gap, near the buffalo trail. For they were close to 
the Nollechucky river then, and Bishop Asbury's Journal 
records the fact that on Thursday, November 6, 1800, he 
crossed Nollechucky at Querton's Ferry, and came to Major 
Gragg's, 18 miles, arriving at Warm Springs next day. ■ This 
road crossed the Small and the Great Paint mountains, for he 
mentions an accident that befell his horse after crossing both. 
This most probably was the road over which the first wagon 
passed in 1795 as recorded in Wheeler's history. In November 
1802, the good Bishop "grew afraid" of Paint nountain "and 
with the help of a pine sapling worked my way down the 
steepest and roughest parts," on his way to Warm Springs 
where, at William Nelson's, he found that thirty travelers 
had "dropped in," and where he expounded to them the 
scripture as found in the "third chapter of Romans as equally 
applicable to nominal Christians, Indians, Jews and Gen- 
tiles." 12 

What New Road Was This? In October, 1803, he con- 
tinued to Paint mountain "passing the gap newly made, which 
makes the road down Paint creek much better. " 

The Hoodenpyle Road. In December 1812, Bishop 
Asbury asks "Why should we climb over the desperate Spring 
and Paint mountains when there is such a fine new road? We 
came on Tuesday a straight course to Barrett's (Barnett's) 
dining in the woods on our way." This must have been the 
Hoodenpyle road from Warm Springs to Newport, Tenn., 
which he was under contract to keep in order from Hopewell 
Hill to the Tennessee line. This road follows Paint creek 
one mile and then crosses the mountains. 13 He moved to 
Huntsville Landing on the Tennessee river in the territory 
of Mississippi, where John Welch of Haywood, agreed to 
deliver to him on or before the first of May, 1813, 2,667 gallons 
of "good proof whiskey"; and on or before 14 of August, 
1814, 1,500 gallons of the same gloom-dispelling elixir, for 
value received. No wonder Philip Hoodenpile could play 
the fiddle with his left hand! 14 



ROADS, STAGE COACHES AND TAVERNS 235 

Swannanoa Gap Trail. This, doubtless, was the first 
road into Buncombe from the east, and led from Old Fort in 
McDowell county to the head of the Swannanoa river and 
Bee Tree creek where the first settlers stopped about 1782. 
How long after this it was before a wagon road was built 
through this gap does not appear; but it is recorded that the 
Bairds brought their first wagon through Saluda gap, some 
miles to the southwest, in 1793. Even that, however, at 
that date was probably only a very poor wagon road. But 
a wagon road was finally built through the gap Rutherford 
and his men had passed through in 1776 to subdue the Cher- 
okees. 

The Old Swannanoa Gap Road. 15 "The old road through 
this gap did not cross, as it has often been stated to have 
done, at the place where the Long or Swannanoa Tunnel is. 
In later years the stage road did cross at that place. But 
the old road crossed a half a mile further south. To travel 
it one would not, as in the case of the later road, leave Old 
Fort and pass up Mill Creek three miles to where Henry 
station, so long the head of the railroad, stood. He would 
leave Old Fort and go across the creek directly west for about 
a mile before going into the mountains. Then he would 
turn to the right, ascend the mountain, cross it at about one- 
half mile south of Swannanoa tunnel, and thence pass down 
the mountain until the road joined the later road above 
Black Mountain station." 

Buncombe County Roads. In his very admirable work, 
"Asheville's Centenary" (1898), Dr. F. A. Sondley gives a 
fine account of the building of the first roads in Buncombe 
county. The first of these ran from the Swannanoa river to 
Davidson river, in what is now Transylvania county, crossing 
the French Broad below the mouth of Avery's creek, passing 
Mills river and going up Boydsteens (now improperly pro- 
nounced Boilston) creek; the second ran from "the wagon ford 
on Rims (now called Reems) creek to join the road from Tur- 
key cove, Catawba, to Robert Henton's on Cane river, after 
passing through Asheville. In July, 1793, the court ordered a 
road to be laid off from Buncombe court house to the Bull 
mountain road near Robert Love's. In 1795 a road was ordered 
to run from the court house to Jonathan McPeter's on Hom- 
iny creek; and at a later period two other roads ran out north 



236 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

from Asheville to Beaver Dam and Glenn creek. Then fol- 
lowed the Warm Springs road, crossing Reems creek at the 
old Wagoner ford and through the rear of the old Alexander 
farm, crossing Flat creek" and ran on to the farm of Bedent 
Smith near the Madison county line, where it turned west 
and ran to the mouth of Ivy, thence to Marshall "and about 
one-half mile below that town turned to the east and ran 
with the old Hopewell turnpike, built by Philip Hoodenpyle, 
later known as the Jewel Hill road, to Warm Springs." 

On July 8, 1795, Governor Blount of the territory south of 
the Ohio river, now called Tennessee, suggested to the council 
of that territory the opening of a road from Buncombe court 
house to Tennessee; and Sevier and Taylor were appointed 
to act with Wear, Cocke, Doherty and Taylor to consider the 
matter, which resulted in the opening of a road from North 
Carolina to Tennessee, via Warm Springs, following the right 
bank of the French Broad to Warm Springs. In 1793 the 
Bairds "had carried up their four-wheel wagon across the 
Saluda gap, a road through which had been opened by Col. 
Earle for South Carolina for $4,000, and is probably the old 
road from Columbia, which passed through Newberry and 
Greenville districts," and yet known in upper South Caro- 
lina as the old State or Buncombe road. "There was already 
a road or trail coming from the direction of South Carolina 
to Asheville," crossing the Swannanoa at the Gum Spring, 
and known as the "road from Augusta in Georgia to Knox- 
ville." (Record Book 62, p. 361.) 

The New Stock Road. This road passes through Weaver- 
ville, Jupiter, Jewel Hill and through Shelton Laurel in Madi- 
son into Tennessee, and was built when Dr. Wm. Askew, 
who was born in 1832, was a boy, in order to escape the delays 
of waiting for the French Broad river to subside in times of 
freshets, and in winter, of avoiding the ice which drifted into 
the road from the river and sometimes made it impassable. 
But Bishop Asbury records the fact that on Tuesday, October 
25, 1803, in coming from Mr. Nelson's at Warm Springs to 
K'llian's on Beaver Dam, "the road is greatly mended by 
changing the direction and throwing a bridge over Ivy." 
This is probably part of the road that runs up Ivy creek from 
French Broad and crosses Ivy about a mile up stream, and 
then comes on by Jupiter to Asheville. If so, the New Stock 



ROADS, STAGE COACHES AND TAVERNS 237 

must have started from that bridge across Ivy and run by Jewel 
Hill to the Tennessee line. 

The Buncombe Turnpike. 16 "In 1824 Asheville received 
her greatest impetus. In that year the legislature of North 
Carolina incorporated the now famous but abandoned Bun- 
combe Turnpike road, directing James Patton, Samuel 
Chunn and George Swain to receive subscriptions "for the 
purpose of laying out and making a turnpike road from the 
Saluda Gap, in the county of Buncombe, by way of Smith's, 
Maryville, Asheville and the Warm Springs, to the Tennessee 
line." (2 Rev. Stat, of N. C, 418). This great thorough- 
fare was completed in 1828, and brought a stream of travel 
through Western North Carolina. All the attacks upon the 
legality of the act establishing it were overruled by the 
Supreme court of the State, and Western North Carolina 
entered through it upon a career of marvelous prosperity, 
which continued for many years. 

Asheville and Greenville Plank Road. 16 "In 1851 
the legislature of the State of North Carolina incorporated 
the Asheville & Greenville Plank Road Company, with 
authority to that company to occupy and use this turnpike 
road upon certain prescribed terms. A plank road was ocn- 
structed over the southern portion of it, or the greater part 
of it south of Asheville, and contributed yet more to Ashe- 
villes's prosperity. By the conclusion of the late war, how- 
ever, this plank road had gone down, and in 1866 the charter 
of the plank road company was repealed, while the old Bun- 
combe turnpike was suffered to fall into neglect." 

Asheville Gets A Start. 16 From the time of the build- 
ing of the Buncombe Turnpike road, Asheville began to be a 
health resort and summering place for the South Carolinians, 
who have ever since patronized it as such. 

The Watchese Road. In 1813 a company was organized 
to lay out a free public road from the Tennessee river to the 
head of navigation on the Tugaloo branch of the Savannah 
river. It was completed in 1813, and became the great high- 
way from the coast to the Tennessee settlements. 17 

First Roads over the "Smokies." John Strother men- 
tions but two roads as crossing the mountains between Vir- 
ginia and the Pigeon river, that at "a low gap between the 
waters of Cove creek — in what is now Watauga county — 



238 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

and Roans creek — in what is now Johnson county, Tenn. — 
and that of "the road leading from Morganton to Jones- 
borough," Tenn., between the Yellow and the Roan. 18 

First Roads over the Unakas. Of the survey in 1821, 
from the end of the 1799 survey on Big Pigeon to the Georgia 
line is 116 miles; and yet, as late as 1821 there were but two 
roads crossing from North Carolina into Tennessee. They 
were "the Cataloochee track" where the 1799 survey ended 
and "the wagon road" at the 101st mile post on the Hiwassee 
river. 19 

Little Tennessee River Road. Just when the wagon 
road from Tallassee ford up the Little Tennessee river was 
first constructed cannot be definitely ascertained. Some 
sort of a road, probably an Indian trail, may have existed for 
years before the coming of the whites into that section; but 
it is not probable, as a road near the river bank is simply 
impossible, while on the left side of the Little Tennessee is 
what is now known as the Belding Trail. But this name has 
only recently been bestowed on an ancient Indian trail which 
followed the Cheoah river to what is now Johnson post office 
and then cut across the ridges to Bear creek, passing Dave 
Orr's house, to Slick Rock creek, and thence down to Tallassee 
ford and the Hardin farm. 

Gen. Winfield Scott's Military Road. It is probable, 
however, that Gen. Winfield Scott had a military road con- 
structed from Calhoun, his headquarters in Tennessee, up 
to the junction of the Little Tennessee with the Tuckaseegee 
at what is now Buslmell; for we know that it was down this 
road that most of the Cherokees were driven during the 
Removal of 1838. But it was impossible for this road to 
follow the river bank beyond the Paine branch, where it left 
the river and by following that branch, crossed the ridge and 
returned to the river again, reaching it at what is now called 
Fairfax. For it was at the mouth of the Paine branch that 
Old Charley, the Cherokee, and his family made their break 
for liberty, and succeeded in escaping' in 1838. Beyond 
Rocky Point, however, it is impossible even for modern en- 
gineers, except at a prohibitive cost, to build a road near the 
river bank, and the consequence has been that the road runs 
over a series of ridges, which spread off from the end of the 
Great Smoky range like so many figures, down to the Little 



ROADS, STAGE COACHES AND TAVERNS 239 

Tennessee. Gen. Wool's soldiers built the road from Val- 
leytown to Robbinsville in 1836-7. 20 

Crusoe Jack and Judge Fax. There is a tradition that, 
when the treaty of Tellieo in 1789 was made, Crusoe Jack, 
a mulatto, got a grant to the magnificent Harden farm and 
that John Harden traded him out of it. Harden worked 
about fifty slaves on this farm, among whom was Fax, a mu- 
latto, who bought his freedom from John Harden, whose de- 
scendants still own this farm, and settled at Fairfax, where 
Daniel Lester afterwards lived for many years, and where 
Jeremiah Jenkins afterwards lived and died. Fax was called 
Judge Fax and kept a public house where he supplied wagoners 
and other travelers with such accommodations as he could. 

Old Wilkesborough Roads. The prinicipal road from 
Wilkesboro passed through Deep gap and went by Boone. 
The Phillips gap road was made just before the Civil War and 
after Arthur D. Cole settled on Gap creek and began his 
extensive business there it was much used. All freight came 
from Wilkesboro. The turnpike from Patterson over Blowing 
R,ock gap passed down the Watauga river and Shull's Mills 
to Valle Crucis, Ward's store, Beech, and Watauga Falls to 
Cardens' bluff in Tennessee, after which it left the Watauga 
river and crossed the ridge to Hampton and Doe river, going 
on to Jonesboro. It was surveyed about 1848 by Col. William 
Lenoir and built soon afterwards. David J. Farthing and 
Anderson Cable remember seeing the grading while it was 
being built, and Alfred Moretz of Deep Gap was present 
when sections of the road were bid off by residents, the bid- 
ding being near the mouth of Beech creek. 

The Western Turnpike. In 1848-9 the legislature passed 
an act to provide for a turnpike road from Salisbury to the 
line of the State of Georgia. The lands of the Cherokees were 
later pledged for the building of this "Western Turnpike," 
as it was officially called, and in 1852-3 another act was passed 
"to bring into market the lands" so pledged, and this act was 
later (Ch. 22, Laws 1854-5) supplemented by an act which 
gave the road the proceeds of the sales of the Cherokee lands 
in Cherokee, Macon, Jackson and Haywood counties. At the 
latter session another act was passed making Asheville the 
eastern terminus and the Tennessee line, near Ducktown, the 
Avestern terminus of this road, and providing that it should 



240 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

also extend to the Georgia line; but that the latter road should 
be only a branch of the main road. It also provided that in 
case the bridge across the French Broad river — presumably 
Smith's bridge at Asheville — could not be obtained on satis- 
factory terms, the route of the turnpike might be changed 
and a new bridge constructed. As this was not done, it is 
probable that satisfactory terms were made for the use of 
Smith's bridge, as it had been sold to Buncombe county 
about 1853. When this road reached the Tuckaseegee river 
"the influence of Franklin and Macon county was the prin- 
cipal force which took it across the Cowee and Nantahala 
mountains 21 . The survey was made by an engineer by the 
name of Fox in 1849. It was completed over the Valley river 
mountains and Murphy in 1856. The late Nimrod S. Jarrett 
was chief of construction. Chapter 51, Laws of 1854-5 defined 
the duties of and powers of turnpike and plankroad compa- 
nies, and acts incorporating the latter throughout the State 
passed at that session extend from page 178 to page 216, 
showing their popularity. 

Smith's Bridge. Long before a bridge had been built 
across the French Broad at Asheville Edmund Sams, who had 
come from the Watauga settlement and settled on the west 
side of the French Broad at what was later known as the 
Gaston place about a mile above the mouth of the Swanna- 
noa operated a ferry there. He had been an Indian fighter, 
and later a soldier of the Revolution. He was also for years 
a trustee of the Newton Academy, and died on the farm of 
his father-in-law, Thomas Foster, near Biltmore. John Jar- 
rett afterwards lived at the western terminus of the present 
bridge, keeping the ferry and charging toll. Subsequently he 
sold it to James M. Smith, who built a toll bridge there, which 
he maintained till about 1853, when he died, after having sold 
the bridge to Buncombe county. After this it became a free 
bridge. In 1881 it was removed to make way for the pres- 
ent iron structure, but its old foundations are yet plainly to be 
seen. 22 That old bridge was a single track affair without 
handrails for a long time before the Civil War, and nothing 
but log stringers on each side of the roadway. Col. J. C. 
Smathers of Turnpike remembers when, if a team began to 
back, there was nothing to prevent a vehicle going over into 
the river. Chapter 313, Laws, 1883, made it unlawful to 



ROADS, STAGE COACHES AND TAVERNS 241 

drive or ride faster than a walk over the new double-track 
bridge at Asheville." 

Carrier's Bridge. This was built about 1893, crossing 
the French Broad at the mouth of the Swannanoa river. It 
was afterwards sold to the county. Pearson's Bridge, near 
Riverside Park, was built by Hon. Richmond Pearson about 
this time, but afterwards taken over by the county. The 
Concrete bridge below the passenger depot was finished and 
opened in 1911. 

Gorman's Bridge. This is about five miles below Ashe- 
ville and was erected long before the war, but was washed 
away. It was replaced by the present iron structure, about 
1900. 

The Anderson Road. About the year 1858 a road was 
made from the head of Cade's Cove in Blount county, Tenn., 
around the Boat mountain to what is now and was probably 
then the Spence Cabin at Thunderhead mountain. It was 
finished to this point, in the expectation that a road from the 
mouth of Chambers creek, below Bushnel, would be built over 
into the Hazel creek settlement, and thence up the Foster 
ridge and through the Haw gap to meet it. But North Caro- 
lina failed to do its part, and the old Anderson road in a ruin- 
ous condition, but still passable for footmen and horsemen, re- 
mains a mute witness to somebody's bad faith in the past. 

Great Road Activity. Between 1848 and 1862, while the 
late Col. W. H. Thomas was in the legislature, the statute 
books are full of charters • for turnpike and plankroad com- 
panies all through the mountains. Many of these roads were 
not to be new roads but improvements on old roads which 
were bad; and some of the roads authorized were never built 
at all. The Jones gap road to Caesar's head, the road from 
Bakersville to Burnsville, the road from Patterson to Valle 
Crucis and on to Jonesboro, the road up Cove creek by trade 
and Zionville to what is now Mountain City, the road over 
Cataloochee to Newport, the road up Ocona Lufty, the road 
through Soco gap, the road up Tuckaseegee river and the 
Nantahala, through Red Marble gap, etc., were all chartered 
during that time. And Col. Thomas was especially interested 
in the road from Old Valleytown over the Snowbird moun- 
tain, via Robbinsville (Junaluska's old home) down the Che- 
owah river to Rocky Point, where he had built a bridge across 

W. N. C— 16 



242 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

the Little Tennessee and was confidently awaiting the ap- 
proach of the Blue Riclge railroad, which has not arrived yet. 

Old Stage Coach Days. "From Greenville to Greenville" 
was the watchword when bids were made for the mail lines in 
those days. Each Greenville was sixty miles from Asheville. 
The stops between Greenville, S. C. and Asheville were, first, 
at C. Montgomery's, ten miles north of Greenville, then at 
Garmany's, twenty miles; then at Col. John Davis's, near the 
State line, where Col. David Vance was taken to die after his 
duel with Carson in 1827; then at Hendersonville; then at 
Shufordsville, or Arden, 12 miles, then at Asheville. Col. 
Ripley sold out to John T. Poole, of Greenville, S. C, about 
1855, and he ran hacks till 1865 when Terrell W. Taylor bought 
him out and continued to run hacks till the Spartanburg & 
Asheville Railroad reached Tryon, about 1876. 

Old Stage Coach Contractors. J. C. Hankins of Green- 
ville, Tenn., used to have the line from that point to Warm 
Springs, his stages starting out from Greenville nearly oppo- 
site the former residence of the late Andrew Johnson, once 
President of the United States, and whose son, Andrew John- 
son, Jr., married Elizabeth, the second daughter of Col. J. H. 
Rumbough of Hot Springs. He stopped running this line, 
however, when the railroad reached Wolf Creek in 1868. The 
late Wm. P. Blair of Asheville, who used to run the old Eagle 
hotel, also ran the stage line from Asheville to Greenville, 
Tenn., (this was at the beginning of the Civil War) until his 
stock and coaches were captured -by Col. G. W. Kirk. In 
July, 1866, Col. Rumbough ran the stage line from Greenville, 
Tenn., to Greenville, S. C. The "stands," as the stopping 
places were called, were breakfast at Warm Springs, dinner 
at Marshall, supper at Asheville. Owing to the condition of 
the roads Col. Rumbough cut down the toll gate at Marshall 
in July, 1866, and the matter was compromised by allowing 
him to apply the tolls to keeping the road in condition, in- 
stead of letting the turnpike company do it. 

Keen Competitors. Col. Rumbough ran the line about 
a year and a half, when Hon. A. H. Jones, congressman, got 
the contract, but failed to carry it out, and Col. Rumbough 
took it again. 

The Morganton Line. The stage line from Morganton 
to the "head of the railroad," as the various stopping place 



ROADS, STAGE COACHES AND TAVERNS 243 

along the line as the road progressed toward Asheville were 
called, was running many years before the Civil War. After 
that, the late E. T. Clemmons of Salem came to Asheville 
and operated the line from Old Fort to Asheville. 

Through Hickory-Nut Gap. In 1834 Bedford Sherrill 
secured a four years' contract to haul the mails from Salis- 
bury via Lincolnton, Schenck's Cotton mills, and Ruther- 
fordton to Asheville. He moved shortly afterwards to Hick- 
ory Nut gap, for years thereafter famous as one of the old 
taverns of the mountains. Ben Seney of Tennessee succeeded 
him as mail carrier on this route, but he did not complete his 
contract, giving it up before the expiration of the four years. 
Old fashioned Albany stage coaches were used. 

Hacks to Murphy. As the railroads approached Ashe- 
ville the hacks and stages were taken off. The late Pinckney 
Rollins ran a weekly hack line, which carried the mail, from 
Asheville to Murphy from about 1870, and shortly afterward 
changed it to a daily line. But he failed at it, and lost much 
money. The stopping places in 1871 were Turnpike for 
dinner, Waynesville for supper, where a stop was made till 
next day. Then to Webster for dinner and Josh Frank's, 
two miles east of Franklin, for supper and night. The third 
day took the mail through Franklin to Aquone for dinner 
at Stepp's, at the bridge 23 ; and to Mrs. Walker's, at Old Val- 
ley Town, for supper. The next day the trip was made to 
Murphy for dinner, and back that night to Old Valley Town. 
As the railroad progressed toward Waynesville the hacks ran 
from the various termini to that town. 

From Salem to Jonesborough. As far back as 1840 stages 
or hacks ran from Salem via Wilkesboro, Jefferson, Creston, 
through Ambrose gap, Taylorsville, Tenn., to Jonesboro, 
Tennessee; but they were withdrawn at least ten years before 
the Civil War, after which Samuel Northington ran a line of 
hacks from Jefferson to Taylorsville, now Mountain City, 
Tennessee. Stages were run from Lenoir via Blowing Rock, 
Shulls Mills and Zionville from 1852 to 1861. 

Moonlight and the Old Stage Horn. In 1828, when 
"Billy" Vance kept the Warm Springs hotel, old fashioned 
stage coaches ran between Asheville and Greenville, Tenn., 
and Greenville, S. C. 24 According to the recollection of Dr. 
T. A. Allen of Hendersonville, N. C, "the old stage line back 



244 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

in 1840 was operated by the Stocktons of Maryland from 
Augusta, Ga., "via Greenville, S. C, Asheville, N. C, the 
Warm Springs and across Paint Mountain to Greenville, 
Tennessee. "The line from Greenville, S. C, to Greenville, 
Tenn., was sold to the late Valentine Ripley, who bought it 
and settled in Hendersonville about 1845." They ran Con- 
cord coaches — 'sometimes called Albany coaches — which were 
swung on leather braces and carried nine passengers inside, 
with a boot behind for trunks, and space on top and beside 
the driver for several additional passengers. The driver was 
an autocrat, and carried a long tin horn, which he blew as 
stopping places were approached, to warn the inn-keepers of 
the number of passengers to be entertained. Nothing was 
lovelier on a moonlit, frosty night than these sweet notes 
echoing over hill and dale: 

"O, hark, O, hear, how thin and clear, 
And thinner, clearer, farther going! 
O, sweet and far from cliff and scar 

The horns of Elfland faintly blowing!" 

When the railroad was completed to Greenville, S. C, in 
1855, Col. Ripley ran stages from Greenville, Tenn., to Green- 
ville, S. C, daily, though in 1853 he had been limited to the 
run from Greenville, S. C, to Asheville, N. C." 25 

Jefferson and Wilkesborough Turnpike. In 1901 
the Wilkesborough and Jefferson Turnpike company was 
incorporated. (Private Laws, ch. 286) and the road was 
completed in five years. The State simply furnished the 
convicts and the stockholders the provisions and the expenses 
of the guard. 

Other Counties Get Good Roads. In 1911 Hon. J. H. 
Dillard secured the passage by the legislature of a road law 
under which Murphy township is authorized to issue $150,- 
000.00 of six per cent bonds for the improvement of the roads, 
and the four main streets of the town and roads leading into 
the country. Haywood had already done much for the 
improvement of its roads, while Watauga has undoubtedly 
the best roads west of the Blue Ridge, the roads to Blowing 
Rock, Shull's Mills, Boone, Valle Crucis and Banners Elk 
and Elk Cross roads being unsurpassed anywhere. 

Carver's Gap Road. Chapter 63 of the Private laws 



ROADS, STAGE COACHES AND TAVERNS 245 

of 1881 amended chapter 72 of Private laws of 1866-67 by- 
allowing John L. Wilder, John E. Toppan and others to build 
a turnpike from Wilder's forge on Big Rock creek across 
Roan mountain to Carver's gap on the Tennessee State line; 
and to make a turnpike from Carver's gap down the valley 
of Little Rock creek to the ford of said creek at John G. Burli- 
son's dwelling house. 

Convicts to Make County Roads. On the 6th of Feb- 
raury, 1893, the Buncombe county commissioners approved a 
bill which had been introduced in the legislature by Gen. R. 
B. Vance to use convicts for working county roads, which has 
proven beneficent, except that negroes and whites are crowded 
together in too small quarters. Convicts prefer work in the 
open air to confinement in jails and penitentiaries. 

End or Toll Gates. On the 5th of September, 1881, 
the old Buncombe Turnpike company surrendered and the 
commissioners accepted its charter. The turnpike down the 
French Broad river having been turned over to the Western 
North Carolina railroad company for stock in that enterprise 
in 1869, all that was left to be surrendered was the road from 
the Henderson county line to Asheville, passing through Lime- 
stone township. Gradually each county took over the great 
Western Turnpike from Asheville to Murphy, thus abolishing 
toll gates along the road, the legislature having authorized 
this change. There are still toll gates on some roads, but 
they have been specially authorized by legislative enactment, 
and are comparatively few, Yonahlossee and Elk Park roads 
being of the number. 

Rip Vanwinkle Buncombe. From 1880 to 1896 Asheville 
had gone ahead by leaps and bounds, having in that time 
paved its streets, built electric railroads, hotels and private 
residences that are still the pride of all; but the county had 
stood still. Its old court house, jail and alms house were a 
reflection on the progress of the times. But in 1896, "Cousin 
Caney" Brown was elected chairman of the board of county 
commissioners, and graded a good road from Smith's bridge 
in the direction of his farm, using the county convicts for the 
work. 26 He had a farm at the end of the road, it is true, 
and was criticised for building the road; but it was such a 
well graded thoroughfare and such an object lesson that the 
people not only forgave him for providing a better road to 



246 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

his home, but all commissioners who have followed him have 
been afraid not to contribute something to what he began. 

Mark L. Reed. Profiting by the example set by "Cousin 
Caney, " M. L. Reed spent a lot of good money building other 
roads which were macadamized, placing good steel bridges 
over creeks and rivers where they had long been needed, and 
in replacing the disgraceful old court house by a modern 
structure, and providing a jail that is ample for the demands 
of humanity and the times. A decent home was provided 
for orphan children of the county. The old alms house was 
given up and better quarters provided for the old and infirm 
of the county. "Cousin Caney" had set the pace, and soon 
other good roads and good roads sentiment followed. 

Buncombe Good Roads Association. The Good Roads 
Association of Asheville and Buncombe county was organized 
March 6, 1899, Dr. C. P. Ambler was the president and B. 
M. Jones secretary and treasurer. These officers have been 
continued in their positions ever since. Their object is the 
construction and improvement of roads. They have suc- 
ceeded in accomplishing much good— not the least of which 
are mile posts and sign boards. They raised $5,000.00 to 
improve the road from Asheville to Biltmore soon after its 
organization and $550 for the survey of the "crest of the 
Blue Ridge highway;" and constructed a horse-back trail to 
Mitchell's Peak. They are advocating the construction of 
other highways. 

Yonahlossee Turnpike. About 1890 the Linville Improve- 
ment company was formed, having among its stockholders 
Mr. S. T. Kelsey, formerly of Highlands, N. C, and before 
his building of that town, of Kansas. Through his instru- 
mentality, largely, assisted by the Messers. Ravenel and Don- 
ald Macrae, the latter of Wilmington, there was constructed the 
most picturesque and durable highway in the mountains or the 
State. It begins at Linville City, two miles from Monte- 
zuma, Avery county, and runs around the eastern base of 
Grandfather mountain to Blowing Rock, a distance of twenty 
miles. It cost about $18,000 complete. It gave an impetus 
to other road-builders. A road was soon thereafter built 
from Blowing Rock to Boone, and from Valle Crucis to Ban- 
ners Elk. There are no finer roads in the State, and none 



ROADS, STAGE COACHES AND TAVERNS 247 

built on more difficult ground. In 1912 they were the delight 
of numerous automobile owners. 

NOTES. 

Asheville's Centenary. 

2 The first brakes were made of hickory saplings whose branches were twined around 
the front axle and bent around the hind wheels; afterwards came "locking chains" attached 
to the body of wagons and then passed between the spokes of the wheels to retard the 
vehicle's going down steep grades. Young trees draggad on the road also served at times. 

3 Asheville's Centenary. 

4 Roosevelt (Vol. I, 225) records the fact that on his return from hh first visit to Watauga, 
in the fall of 1770, James Robertson lost his way, and for 14 days lived on nuts and berries, 
and abandoned his horse among impassible precipices. If he followed up the left bank of 
the Watauga and did not see that the Doe came into the former stream at what is now 
Elizabethton , it is easy to see how he followed up the left bank of the latter and got lost 
amid the precipices of what is now Pardee's Point. 

^Roosevelt, Vol. Ill, pp. 97-98. 

6 " Dropped Stitches in Tennessee History," p. 4. 

'Letter from Col. W. L. Bryan of Boone to J. P. A., December 3, 1912. 

Asheville's Centenary. Wheeler's History of North Carolina, p. 476. 

9 Deed Book E., p. 121-2, Buncombe. 

"Statement of Francis Marion Wells to J. P. A., July 15, 1912. Old Newport is three 
miles above the present town, the railroad does not pass the former at all. 

"This must have been a local name for this part of the range, for the real Unaka moun- 
tains are southwest of Little Tennessee river. 

12 This is spelled Neilson. 

i3Deed Book E, Buncombe, p. 122. 

"Ibid., p. 123. 

15 Asheville's Centenary. 

16 From Asheville's Centenary. 

17 See chapter on Cherokee Indians. 

18 Deed Book E, Reg. Deeds, Buncombe county, pp. 122-123. 

I9 Davenport's Diary quoted in chapter on boundaries. 

2 "Sketch of Graham County by Rev. Joseph A. Wiggins, February 3, 1912. 

21 Capt. James W. Terrell in The Commonwealth, Asheville, June 1, 1893. 

22 Condensed from Asheville's Centenary, 183 8. 

23 But from 1872 dinner was taken at Capt. A. R. Munday's. 

"Col. J. H. Rumbough to J. P. A., November 13, 1912. 

"Dr. T. A. Allen to J. P. A., November 12, 1912. 

26 This was T. Caney Brown. 



CHAPTER XI 
MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 

Then and Now. Probably there was no more difference 
in the manners and customs of the early days than we should 
now see in a community of modern people situated as were 
our ancesters one hundred and fifty years ago. There was a 
spirit of co-operation then that made conditions much easier 
to bear than they might otherwise have been. Those who 
remember the Civil War times in the South will recall that it 
is possible to get on without many things ordinarily consid- 
ered indispensible ; and that when it is the "fashion" to do 
without, simplicity becomes quite attractive. Calico gowns 
and ribbonless costumes used to look well on pretty women 
and girls during the war, and hopinjon was far better than 
no hopinjon. We imagine that we are far removed from a 
state of nature, but when the occasion arises we readily adapt 
ourselves, to primitive manners and customs. 

The Rush for the Mountains. Long before the treatj r 
of 1785 white men had passed beyond the Blue Ridge to hunt 
and trap. Ashe was sparsely settled long before Buncombe; 
but as soon as the land between the Blue Ridge and the 
Pigeon river was open for settlement legally, white men began 
to settle there, too. 

Where They Came From. Most of these early settlers 
came from east of the Blue Ridge, though many came from 
the Watauga Settlements in what is now Tennessee. Wolf 
Hill, now Staunton, contributed its quota, most of them going 
into what are now Ashe, Alleghany and Watauga counties. 
The charm of hunting lured many, but most who sought the 
mountains doubtless came from the mountainous regions of 
Scotland. After the French and Indian War several families 
that had gone into the Piedmont region of South Carolina, 
came through the Saluda gap and settled in what was then 
Buncombe, though now called Henderson and Transylvania. 
The Whiskey Rebellion in Pennsylvania late in the Eighteenth 
century is also credited with having sent many good citizens 
into the mountains of western North Carolina. 
(248) 



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 249 

The Pioneer Spirit Persists. Roosevelt was the first 
historian that gave to the pioneers of western North Carolina 
and Tennessee their rightful place in reclaiming from savage 
Indians the boundless resources of the Great West. Sam 
Houston, Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone went from our 
sacred soil, and added Texas and Kentucky to the galaxy of 
our starry flag; while Joseph Lane of Oregon first saw the 
light of day through the chinks of a dirt-floor cabin that once 
stood in the very shadow of what is still called Lane's Pinnacle 
of the rugged Craggies — a mute, yet eloquent, monument to 
that spirit of liberty, enterprize and adventure that still fills 
our army and navy with recruits for the Sandwich and Phil- 
ippine Islands of the Pacific. Yet, what visitor to that match- 
less canon beyond Hickory Nut pass, knows that in passing- 
through Mine Hole gap six miles east of Asheville, he was 
within a stone's throw of the spot where Lane's father in the 
dawn of the last century spent laborious days while mining for 
the precious ore that was to furnish horse-shoes, plough-shares 
and pruning-hooks for those who first tilled the savannahs of 
the Swannanoa and the French Broad? Did the pearls of 
Henry Grady's eloquence, erstwhile, drop scintilant, and thrill 
the nation from the Kennebeck to the Willamette, because his 
lightest gem was "shot through with sunshine"? Then know, 
O ye fools and blind, ye who never cast one longing, lingering- 
look behind, that his grandfather was once sheriff of that Bun- 
combe county whose people are classed by such self-styled 
"national journals" as Collier's Weekly, with the scorners of 
all law and order, because, forsooth, of the sporadic Allen epi- 
sode in Virginia. Who discovered that wonderland — the 
matchless valley of the far-famed Yosemite? James M. Roan 
of Macon county, North Carolina, in March of Fifty-one. 1 
He, with the Argonauts of the world, won his way to the 
Pacific coast, and left to others to dig from the dim records 
of the past some frail memorial of his heroic deeds. The 
spirit that drove him forth has never died, and today, the 
mountains and hills of Idaho, Montana, Washington and Col- 
orado, are dotted with the homes and ranches of those whose 
feet first trod "where rolls the Oregon." And Onalaska's ice- 
ribbed hills are peopled with our kin, as will be every frontier 
region till Time shall be no more. Our ancestors were the 
Crusaders of American civilization, and "as long as the fame 



250 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

of their matchless struggle shall linger in tradition and in song 
should their memories be cherished by the descendants" of the 
peerless "Roundheads of the South." Still, the incredulous 
may ask "Can honor's voice provoke the silent dust, or flat- 
tery soothe the dull, cold ear of death"? No; but if we will 
but heed while yet we may the silent voices of our worthy 
dead, and learn the lesson of the days now gone, we, taking 
hope, with Tennyson may cry : 

"Forward to the starry track, 
Glimmering up the heights beyond me, 
On, and always on!" 

The First Indian Massacres. Samuel Davidson was 
killed by Indians in 1781 or 1782 at the head of the Swan- 
nanoa river, near what is now Gudger's ford; and Aaron 
Burleson was killed on Cane creek in what is now Mitchell 
county about the same time, probably, though the date has 
been lost. He was an ancestor of Postmaster-General Burleson 
of President Wilson's Cabinet in 1914. Davidson had belonged 
to a small colony of whites which had settled around what is 
now known as Old Fort at the head of the Catawba river in 
what is now McDowell county. Among those settlers were 
the Alexanders, Davidsons, Smiths, Edmundsons, and Gudgers, 
from whom have come a long line of descendants now residing 
in Western North Carolina. Burleson probably belonged to 
the settlers around Morganton, and had ventured beyond the 
Blue Ridge to hunt deer. Davidson's purpose, however, had 
been permanent settlement, as he had built a cabin where his 
family was living when he was killed. 2 

Ashe County. Except in a few localities, there are few 
evidences of Indian occupation by Indians of the territory 
west of the Blue Ridge and North of the Catawba. At the 
Old Field on New River, near the mouth of Gap creek, in 
Ashe county, was probably once a large Indian town, arrow- 
heads, spear points, pieces of pottery, etc., still being found 
there; but this section of the mountains had not been popu- 
lated by the red men for thirteen years before the treaty of 
1785, the Indians having leased those lands in 1772, and in 
1775, conveyed them outright. 3 

Buffaloes. Thwaite's "Daniel Boone" gives much infor- 
mation as to the buffaloes that once were in this section. "At 
first buffaloes were so plenty that a party of three or four men 



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 251 

with dogs, could kill from ten to twenty in a day; but soon the 
sluggish animals receded before the advance of white men, hid- 
ing themselves behind the mountain wall" (pp. 17, 18). "They 
exhibited no fear until the wind blew from the hunters toward 
them, and then they would dash wildly away in large droves 
and disappear" (p. 90). Buffalo trails led down the French 
Broad; and just north of the Toe and near the Indian Grave 
gap the trail is still distinctly visible where it crossed the 
mountain. The valley of the French Broad was a well recog- 
nized hunting ground and probably it had contained many 
buffaloes; but as the Cherokees occupied most of the territory 
west of the Pigeon, it is more than likely that the bison family 
was not so numerous there; although in Graham county there 
are two large creeks which have been called Buffalo time out 
of mind. Buffalo used to herd at the head of the Yadkin 
river, and their trails crossed the mountains into Tennessee 
at several places. But this part of the mountains had been 
free of Indians for many years before 1750, when the whites 
began to settle there. Col. Byrd, in his "Writings" (p. 225), 
says that when near Sugar-tree creek when running the Divid- 
ing Line that his party met a lone buffalo two years old — a 
bull and already as large as an ox, which they killed. He 
adds that "the Men were so delighted with the new dyet, 
that the Gridiron and Frying Pan had no more rest all night 
than a Poor Husband Subject to Curtain Lectures." Roose- 
velt 4 mentions that "When Mansker first went to the Bluffs 
(now Nashville) in 1769, the buffaloes were more numerous 
than he had ever seen them before; the ground literally shook 
under the gallop of the mighty herds, they crowded in dense 
throngs round the licks, and the forest resounded with their 
grunting bellows." 

One Virtue in Leather Breeches. Col. Byrd in his 
"Writings" (p. 212) has these observations upon the curing 
of skins by means of "smoak," as he invariably spells it : 
"For Expedition's Sake they often stretch their Skins over 
Smoak in order to dry them, which makes them smell so dis- 
agreeably that a Rat must have a good Stomach to gnaw 
them in that condition; nay, 'tis said, while that perfume con- 
tinues in a Pair of Leather Breeches, the Person who wears 
them will be in no danger of that Villainous insect the French 
call the Morpion" — whatever that may be. 



252 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Some Insect Pests of Pioneer Days. This same versa- 
tile and spicy writer makes these sage remarks concerning cer- 
tain wood insects that have since that time cost these United 
States millions of dollars: "The Tykes (ticks) are either Deer- 
tykes, or those that annoy Cattle. The first kind are long, 
and take a very Strong Gripe, being most in remote woods, 
above the Inhabitants. The other are round and more gen- 
erally insinuate themselves into the Flesh, being in all places 
where Cattle are frequent. Both these Sorts are apt to be 
troublesome during the Warm Season, but have such an aver- 
sion to Penny Royal, that they will attack no Part that is 
rubbed with the juice of that fragrant Vegetable. And a 
strong decoction of this is likewise fatal to the most efficient 
Seedtikes, which bury themselves in your Legs, where they are 
so small you can hardly discern them without a Microscope. 
[Surely the man is talking about "chiggers. "] 

Horseflies and Musquetas. He says (p. 213) that Dit- 
tany "stuck in the Head-Stall of your Bridle" will keep horse 
flies at a "respectful Distance. Bear's Oyl is said to be used 
by Indians (p. 214) against every species of Vermin." He 
also remarks that the "Richer sort in Egypt" used to build 
towers in which they had their bed-chambers, in order to be 
out of the reach of musquetas, because their wings are "so 
weak and their bodies so light that if they mount never so 
little, the Wind blows them quite away from their Course, 
and they become an easy prey to Martins, East India Bats," 
etc. (p. 214). 

Fire-Hunting. This Gentleman of Old Virginia (p. 223) de- 
scribes an unsportsman-like practice of the early settlers of set- 
ting the woods afire in a circumference of five miles and driving 
in the game of all kinds to the hunters stationed near the center 
to slaughter the terrified animals. The deer are said "to 
weep and groan like a Human Creature" as they draw near 
their doom. He says this is called Fire-Hunting, and that 
"it is much practiced by Indians and the frontier Inhabit- 
ants." This, however, is not what was later known as fire- 
hunting, which consisted in blinding the deer with the light 
from torches at night only, and shooting at their eyes when 
seen in the darkness. 

Primogeniture Reversed. So hateful and unjust to our 
ancestors seemed the English rule which gave the eldest son 



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 253 

the real estate, that a custom sprang up of giving the young- 
est son the family homestead, which persists till this good 
hour. Each girl got a cow, a mare and sufficient "house- 
plunder" with which to set up house-keeping, but they rarely 
got any land, the husband being expected to provide that. 
This latter practice still exists, though girls now sometimes 
get land also. 

Game and Hunters. According to Thwaite's "Daniel 
Boone" (p. 18), "Three or four men, with dogs, could kill 
from ten to twenty buffaloes in a day," while "an ordinary 
hunter could slaughter four or five deer in a day. In the 
autumn from sunrise to sunset he could kill enough bears to 
provide over a ton of bear meat for winter use; wild turkeys 
were easy prey; beavers, otters and muskrats abounded; while 
wolves, panthers and wildcats overran the country." 
"Throughout the summer and autumn deerskins were in their 
best condition. Other animals were occasionally killed to 
afford variety of food, but fur -bearers as a rule only furnish 
fine pelts in the winter season. Even in the days of abun- 
dant game the hunter was required to exercise much skill, 
patience and endurance. It was no holiday task to follow 
this calling. Deer, especially, were hard to obtain. The hab- 
its of this excessively cautious animal were carefully studied; 
the hunter must know how to imitate its various calls, to take 
advantage of wind and weather, and to practice all the arts 
of strategy" (p. 74). 

Commercial Side of Hunting. "Deerskins were, all 
things considered," continues Thwaite (p. 74), "the most 
remunerative of all. When roughly dressed and dried they 
were worth about a dollar each; as they were numerous and 
a horse could carry for a long distance about a hundred such 
skins, the trade was considered profitable in those primitive 
times, when dollars were hard to obtain. Pelts of beavers, 
found in good condition only in the winter, were worth about 
two dollars and a half each, and of otters from three to five 
dollars. Thus a horse-load of beaver furs, when obtainable, 
was worth about five times that of a load of deerskins; and 
if a few otters could be thrown in, the value was still greater. 
The skins of buffaloes, bears, and elks were too bulky to carry 
for long distances, and were not readily marketable. A few 
elk hides were needed, however, to cut into harness and straps, 
and bear and buffalo robes were useful for bedding." 



254 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

How Game and Pelts Were Preserved. Thwaite con- 
tinues (p. 75), "When an animal was killed the hunter skinned 
it on the spot, and packed on his back the hide and the best 
portion of the meat. At night the meat was smoked or pre- 
pared for 'jerking,' and the skins were scraped and cured. 
When collected at the camps, the bales of skins, protected 
from the weather by strips of bark, Avere placed upon high 
scaffolds, secure from bears and wolves. Our Yadkin hunt- 
ers were in the habit, each day, of dividing themselves into 
pairs for company and mutual aid in times of danger, usually 
leaving one pair behind as camp-keepers. " Tow, rammed into 
the barrel of a "dirty" rifle took the oder of burnt powder, 
and was hung in trees near the fresh meat. This oder kept off 
wolves, wild cats, etc. 

The Plott Dogs. The motive which prompted the settle- 
ment of most of these mountain counties was the desire of 
the pioneers to hunt game. To that end dogs were necessary, 
the long bodied, long legged, deep mouthed hound being used 
for deer, and a sort of mongrel, composed of cur, bull and 
terrier, was bred for bear. The Plott dog, called after the 
famous bear hunter, Enos Plott, of the Balsam mountains of 
Haywood county, was said to be the finest bear dogs in the 
State. A few of them still exist and command large prices. 
Although most of the settlers were Scotch, collies and shepherd 
dogs did not make their appearance in these mountains till 
long after the Civil War. They are quite common now. 

When Land Was Cheap. Land was plentiful in those 
primitive times and as fast as a piece of "new ground" was 
worn out, another "patch" was cleared and cultivated until 
it, in its turn, was given over to weeds and pasturage. In 
all old American pioneer communities it was necessary to 
burn the logs and trunks of the felled trees in order to get rid 
of them, and the heavens were often murky with the smoke of 
burning log-heaps. The most valuable woods were often used 
for fence rails or thrown upon the burning pile to be consumed 
with the rest. Fences built of walnut and poplar rails were 
not uncommon. "New ground" is being made now by scien- 
tific fertilization. 

Crude Cultivation. The ploughing was not very deep 
and the cultivation of the crops was far from being scientific. 
Yet the return from the land was generally ample, the seasons 



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 255 

usually proving propitious. There was one year, however, 
that of 1863, when there was frost in every month. There 
was still another year in which there could not have been 
very much rain, as there is a record of a large branch near 
the Sulphur Springs in Buncombe county having dried up 
completely. This was in August of the year 1830. (Robert 
Henry's Diary.) 

Unerring Marksmen. The flint-lock, long-barreled Ken- 
tucky rifle was in use in these mountains until the commence- 
ment of the Civil War. Game was abundant. Indeed, if the 
modern repeating arms had been in use in those days, the 
game upon which many depended, not only for food but for 
clothing as well, would have disappeared long before it did. 
The fact that the hunter could get but one shot from his gun 
resulted in making every Nimrod a sure marksman, as he 
realized that if he missed the first shot the game would be 
out of sight and hearing long before he could "wipe out" his 
trusty rifle, charge it with powder and with his slim hickory 
ramrod ram down the leaden bullet encased in buckskin, and 
"prime" his flint-lock pan with powder. 

Useful Peltries. The hams of the red deer were cured 
and saved for market or winter use, while the skins of both 
deer and bears were "dressed" with the hair left on them and 
made into garments or used as rugs or mats for the children 
to play upon before the wide fireplace, for bed coverings, or 
cut into plough lines and bridles, or made into moccasins. 
Out of the horns and hoofs of cows they made spoons and 
buttons, while from hollow poplar logs they constructed bee- 
hives, cradles for their children, barrels for their grain, ash 
hoppers, gums for their bees and what not. 

Cotton. Small patches of cotton were planted and culti- 
vated in sandy and sheltered spots near the dwellings, which 
generally reached maturity, was gathered and "hand-picked," 
carded and made into batting for quilts and cloaks, or heavy 
skirts for the women and girls. 

Jacks of All Trades. The men were necessarily "handy" 
men at almost every trade known at that day. They made 
shoes, bullets and powder, built houses, constructed tables, 
chairs, cupboards, harness, saddles, bridles, buckets, barrels, 
and plough stocks. They made their own axe and hoe-han- 
dles, fashioned their own horseshoes and nails upon the anvil, 



256 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

burnt wood charcoal, made wagon tires, bolts, nuts and every- 
thing that was needed about the farm. Some could even make 
rifles, including the locks, and Mr. John C. Smathers, now 
(1912) 86 years old, is still a good rock and brick mason, car- 
penter, shoemaker, tinner, painter, blacksmith, plumber, har- 
ness and saddle maker, candle maker, farmer, hunter, store- 
keeper, bee raiser, glazier, butcher, fruit grower, hotel-keeper, 
merchant, physician, poulterer, lawyer, rail-splitter, politician, 
cook, school master, gardener, Bible scholar and stable man. 
He lives at Turnpike, halfway between Asheville and Waynes- 
ville, and brought the huge trees now growing in front of his 
hotel on his shoulders when they were saplings and planted 
them where they now stand, nearly seventy years ago. He 
can still run a foot race and "throw" most men in a wrestle 
"catch as catch can." He is the finest example of the old 
time pioneer now alive. 

Industrious Women. But it was the women who were the 
true heroines of this section. The hardships and constant toil 
to which they were generally subjected were blighting and ex- 
acting in the extreme. If their lord and master could find 
time to hunt and fish, go to the Big Musters, spend Saturdays 
loafing or drinking in the settlement or about the country 
"stores," as the shops were and still are called, their wives 
could scarcely, if ever, find a moment they could call their 
own. Long before the palid dawn came sifting in through 
chink and window they were up and about. As there were 
no matches in those days, the housewife "unkivered" the 
coals which had been smothered in ashes the night before to 
be kept "alive" till morning, and with "kindling" in one hand 
and a live coal held on the tines of a steel fork or between iron 
tongs in the other, she blew and blew and blew till the splinters 
caught fire. Then the fire was started and the water brought 
from the spring, poured into the "kittle," and while it was 
heating the chickens were fed, the cows milked, the chil- 
dren dressed, the bread made, the bacon fried and then coffee 
was made and breakfast was ready. That over and the dishes 
washed and put away, the spinning wheel, the loom or the 
reel were the next to have attention, meanwhile keeping a 
sharp look out for the children, hawks, keeping the chickens 
out of the garden, sweeping the floor, making the beds, churn- 
ing, sewing, darning, washing, ironing, taking up the ashes, 



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 257 

and making lye, watching for the bees to swarm, keeping the 
cat out of the milk pans, dosing the sick children, tying up 
the hurt fingers and toes, kissing the sore places well again, 
making soap, robbing the bee hives, stringing beans, for win- 
ter use, working the garden, planting and tending a few hardy 
flowers in the front yard, such as princess feather, pansies, 
sweet- Williams, dahlias, morning glories; getting dinner, darn- 
ing patching, mending, milking again, reading the Bible, 
prayers, and so on from morning till night, and then all over 
again the next day. It could never have been said of them 
that they had "but fed on roses and lain in the lilies of life." 

Fashion on a Back Seat. There was little thought of 
"finery," no chance to display the latest fashions, few drives 
or rides for pleasure, and only occasionally a dance, a quilt- 
ing party or a camp meeting. No wonder the sons and daugh- 
ters of such mothers are the best citizens of the "Old North 
State"! 

Pewter Platters and Pottery. The early settlers 
"burned their own pottery and delftware, " 5 but most of 
their dishes and spoons were of pewter, though horn spoons 
were also in evidence. "They made felt hats, straw hats and 
every other article of domestic consumption." Most young 
people never saw a bolster, and pewter plates are tied up with 
blue ribbons these days and hung on parlor walls as curiosi- 
ties. 

Frontier Kitchens and Utensils. 6 "Dishes and other 
utensils were few — some pewter plates, forks and spoons; 
wooden bowls and trenchers, with gourds and hard-shelled 
squashes for drinking mugs. For knife, Boone doubtless used 
his belt weapon, and scorned the crock plates now slowly 
creeping into the valley, as calculated to dull its edge. " . . . 
Grinding corn into meal, or cracking it into hominy, were, as 
usual with primitive peoples, tasks involving the most machin- 
ery. Rude mortars and pestles, some of the latter ingeni- 
ously worked by springy "sweeps," were commonly seen; 7 a 
device something like a nutmeg grater was often used when 
the corn was soft; 8 two circular millstones, worked by hand, 
were effective, and there were some operated by water power. 

Medicine and Superstition. "Medicine was at a crude 
stage, many of the so-called cures being as old as Egypt, while 
others were borrowed from the Indians. The borderers firmly 

W. N. C— 17 



258 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

believed in the existence of witches; bad dreams, eclipses of 
the sun, the howling of dogs, the croaking of ravens, were 
sure to bring disasters in their train." 9 Teas made of bur- 
dock, sassafras, catnip, and other herbs are still in use. Lye 
poultices were considered sovereign remedies for wounds and 
cuts. Hair bullets shot from guns against barn doors were 
sure to drive away witches. Tangled places in a horse's mane 
or tail were called "witches' stirrups," in which the witches 
were thought to have placed their feet when riding the animals 
over the hills. 10 Mullein was cultivated for medicine for horses 
and cows. 

Nailless Houses. Nails were scarce in those days and 
saw mills few and far between, rendering it necessary for them 
to use wooden pins to hold their ceiling and shelving in place 
and to rive out their shingles or "boards" for their roof cov- 
ering and puncheons for their door and window "shutters" 
and their flooring. Thin boards or shingles were held in posi- 
tion upon the roof rafters by long split logs tied upon them 
with hickory withes, or held in place by laying heavy stones 
upon them. There is still standing in the Smoky mountains a 
comfortable cabin of one large room, floored and ceiled' on the 
inside, and rain and wind proof, in the construction of which 
not a single nail was used. This cabin was built in 1859 and 
is on the Mill Creek Fork of Noland Creek in Swain county. 

First Houses. A single room was as much as could be 
built at first, then followed a shed, a spring house, a stable 
and crib. Then would come the "double" log house. In 
some of these houses there might be as many as six rooms, 
including two garret or loft rooms above the two main rooms 
of the house, and two shed rooms or lean-tos. After saw mills 
became more general, frame houses were erected, often of 
from eight to twelve rooms, with the kitchens detached from 
the main dwelling. But the log cabin in which Abraham 
Lincoln was born, and now enshrined in a marble palace at 
Hogdensville, Ky., is a fair sample of the average home of 
pioneer days. 

"Chinked and Dobbed." The walls of these log houses 
were "chinked and daubed." That is, the spaces between 
the logs were filled with blocks or scraps of wood and the 
interstices left were filled with plain, undisguised mud — lime 
being too expensive to be used for that purpose. 



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 259 

The Great "War Governor's" Home. The house in 
which Hon. Zebulon Baird Vance, the great War Governor 
and statesman of the Old North State lived for many years 
is on Reems Creek in Buncombe county. It consisted of a 
single large room below and a garret or loft above, reached by 
rude stairs, almost a ladder, running up in one corner near the 
chimney. There was also a shed room attached to the rear 
of this house. Some of us are quite " swagger" nowadays, 
but we are all proud of our log-cabin ancestry. 

Unglazed Windows. Windows, as a rule, were scarce. 
The difficulty and expense of glazing them were so great as 
to preclude the use of many. Most of those which found 
place in the walls of the house were made by removing about 
18 inches from one of the wide logs running the length of the 
house and usually opposite the huge fire place. It rarely con- 
tained any sash or glass and was closed by a sliding shutter 
running in grooves inside the wall. It was rare that upstairs 
or loft rooms contained any windows at all. 

Primitive Portiers. Privacy was obtained by hanging 
sheets or counterpanes from the overhead sleepers or "jists," 
as the joists were almost universally called. Behind these 
screens the women and girls dressed when "men folks" were 
present, though their ablutions were usually performed at the 
"spout" or spring, or in the room after the male element had 
gone to their work. Sometimes a board partition divided the 
large down-stairs room into two, but as this made a very dark 
and ill-ventilated bedroom far removed from the light of the 
front and back doors and cut off from the heat of the fire 
place, this division was not popular or general. 

The Living Room. Usually, in more primitive days, the 
beds, mostly of feathers, were ranged round the room, leav- 
ing a large open space in the middle. The dining table stood 
there or against a' wall near the fireplace. The hearth was 
wide and projected into the room two feet or more. A crane 
swung from the back of the chimney on which pots were hung 
from "pot hooks," — familiar to beginners in writing lessons — 
and the ovens were placed on live coals while their lids, or 
as they were generally called "leds, " were covered with other 
live coals and left on the broad hearth. In the kitchen of the 
old Mitchell Alexander hotel or "Cattle stand," eleven miles 
below Asheville on the French Broad, there is still standing 



260 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

and in daily use a deep old fireplace ten feet wide, the hearth 
of which projects into the room eight or nine feet. The water 
bucket with a curved handled gourd stood on a shelf just 
inside the door. Usually there was no wash pan, the branch 
or spout near by being deemed sufficient for all purposes. A 
comb in a box under a small and imperfect looking-glass was 
usually hung on the wall over the water bucket. Around the 
walls behind the beds on pegs were hung the skirts of the 
girls and women; and, if the men of the house owned any 
extra coats or trousers, they hung there, too. On the tops of 
boxes or trunks, usually called "chists," were folded and piled 
in neat order the extra quilts, sheets and counterpanes. Some 
of these counterpanes or "coverlids" were marvels of skill 
and beauty in color and design and all were woven in the 
loom which stood at one end of the porch or shed in front of 
the house. There was also a wooden cupboard nailed against 
the wall which contained racks for the plates and dishes. 
Beneath this was a place for the pots and pans, after the cook- 
ing was over. 

Where Colonial Art Survives. 11 Mrs. Eliza Calvert 
Hall has discovered recently that "in the remote mountains 
of the South, where civilization has apparnetly stood still ever 
since the colonial pioneers built their homes there," they still 
make coverlets that are rich "in texture and coloring;" and 
are "real works of art." Of course we are also told that this 
art was first brought to America through New England; but she 
fails to state that it was also brought to Philadelphia, Charles- 
ton and every other American port through which English, 
Scotch or Irish women were admitted to America. That it 
has perished everywhere else, and still survives among us, 
might indicate that civilization instead of having stood still, 
in the mountains has at least held its own there, while it has 
receded in New England. That, however, is immaterial. Cer- 
tain it is that Mrs. Finley Mast of Valle Crucis is now at 
work on an order from President Wilson, and expects soon to 
see specimens of her handiwork in the White House of the 
nation. 

Slanders by the "unco' Guid." Because in the spring of 
1912 the Allen family of the mountains of Virginia "shot up" 
the court at Hillville, the entire "contemporary mountaineer" 
is condemned as resenting "the law's intrusion," partly, per- 



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 261 



haps, because he himself enjoys few of the benefits of civilized 
society. 12 We regret the ignorance of this self-styled "national 
weekly" and others who defame us, and in view of the exploits 
of the "gunmen" of Broadway a few months later 13 recall 
with complacency the louse that gave occasion for that im- 
mortal prayer : "Oh, wad some power the giftie gie us to 
see ourselves as others see us." Little of good about the 
mountain whites is ever published North of Mason and Dixon's 
line. The Watauga Democrat of July 10, 1913, records the fact 
that a few days before a journalist of New Canaan, Conn., 
and a photographer and illustrator of New York, had visited 
Boone, and that they had distinctly stated that their sole 
object in visiting these mountains was to look up "the des- 
titution, ignorance and vice among the mountain whites." 
They were surprised to learn that the Applachian Training 
School was located in Boone, and wanted no facts as to the 
good it was accomplishing. Their names were stated in the 
Democrat. In "The Child That Toileth Not," Thomas R. 
Dawley, Jr., (1912) has presented many photographs of the 
most destitute and degenerate of the mountain population, 
ignoring the splendid specimens of health and prosperity he 
met every day. About 1905 a "lady" from New York had 
two photographs taken of the same children at Blowing Rock. 
In the^first they were dressed in rags and outlandish clothing; 
in the second, they wore most tasteful and becoming garb. 
She labeled the first "Before I Began," and the second, "After 
Three Weeks of Uplift Work." She had offered a prize to 
the child who should appear for the first picture in the worst 
clothing, and another prize for the child who should dress 
most becomingly for the second. The work of Miss Prudden 
and of Miss Florence Stephenson is appreciated by us; but 
our slanderers only make our blood boil. For, in the Outlook 
for April 26, 1913, appeared "The Case of Lura Sylva, "show- 
ing the filth, destitution, depravity and degrading surround- 
ings of a twelve-year-old girl "which" we are told is "not an 
unusual" story of similar conditions "in a prosperous farming 
community of the Hudson river valley." Nothing worse has 
ever been written of any of the "mountain whites" than is 
there recorded of this girl. Let your charity begin at your 
own home. Charles Dudley Warner made a horseback trip 
from Abingdon, Va., to Asheville in August, 1884. He saw 



262 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

absolutely nothing on that trip which he could commend. 
("On horseback," 1889) except two pianos he found in the 
home of the Worths at Creston. He was, however, lavish 
with his fault finding. 

Every Home a Factory. Manufacture means hand-made. 
Therefore, since few homes manufacture anything today, we 
have made no progress in manufactures, but have receded 
from the time when every home was a factory. We have 
instead simply adopted machinery and built factories. 

Some Lost Arts. Those who never lived in a mountain- 
ous country are often surprised at the sight of what we call 
sleds, slides or sledges, made of the bodies of small trees with 
crooked ends, turning upward like those of sleigh runners, 
though much more slumsy and heavy. As these runners wore 
down they were "shod" by tacking split saplings under them. 
Sleds can be hauled on steep hill-sides where wheeled vehicles 
would turn over or get beyond control going down hill. Our 
"Union" carpenters of this day could not build a house with 
the materials and tools of their pioneer ancestors, nearly all 
of whom were carpenters. Modern carpenters would not 
know what "cracking" a log was, for instance; and yet, the 
pioneer artizans of old had to make their boards by that 
method. It consisted in driving the blade of an ax or hatchet 
into the small end of a log by means of a maul, and inserting 
wooden wedges, called "gluts." On either side of this first 
central "crack" another crack was made, and gluts placed 
therein. There were usually two gluts placed in each crack 
and each was tapped in turn, thus splitting the log uniformly. 
These two riven pieces were next placed in "snatch-blocks," 
which were two parallel logs into which notches had been cut 
deep enough to hold the ends of these pieces, which were held 
in position with "keys" or wedges. The upper side of this 
riven piece was then "scored" with a broad ax and then 
"dressed" with the same tool, the under edges being beveled. 
The length of these pieces, now become puncheons, was usu- 
ally half the length of the floor to be covered, the two ends 
resting on the sleeper running across the middle of the room. 
The beveled edges were placed as near together as possible, 
after which a saw was run between them, thus reducing the 
uneven edges so that they came snugly together, and were air 
tight when pinned into place with wooden pegs driven through 



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 263 

augur-holes into the sills and sleepers. Hewed logs were first 
"scalped," that is the bark was removed with an ax, after 
which the trunk was "lined" with a woolen cord dipped in 
moist charcoal, powdered, which had been made from locust 
bark. This corresponded to what is now called a chalk-line. 
Then four of these lines were made down the length of the 
log, each pair being as far apart as the hewed log was to be 
thick — usually four to six inches — one pair being above and 
the other pair below; after which the log was "blocked" with 
an ax, by cutting deep notches on each side about four feet 
apart. These sections were then split from the sides of the 
log, thus reducing its thickness to nearly that desired. Then 
these sides were "scored" and then dressed till they were 
smooth. The block on which the "Liberty Bell" of Phila- 
delphia rests still shows this "scoring," or hacks made by the 
broad-ax. Houses were framed on the ground by cutting the 
ends of the logs into notches called "saddles" which, when 
placed in position, fitted like joiner work — each log having 
been numbered while still on the ground. When the logs 
were being placed in position they were lifted into place on 
the higher courses by means of what were called "bull's-eyes." 
These were made of hickory saplings whose branches had been 
plaited into rings and then slipped over the logs, their stems 
serving as handles for pulling, etc. 

Roofing Log Houses. Modern carpenters would be puz- 
zled to roof a house without nails or shingles or scantling; but 
their forbears accomplished this seemingly impossible task 
with neatness and dispatch. After the main frame or "pen" of 
the house was up, two parallel poles were laid along and above 
the top logs, and "gable" logs were placed under these, the 
gable logs being shorter than the end logs of the house. This 
was continued till the gable end was reached, when the "ridge 
pole" was placed in position, being held there with pegs or 
pins. The frame of the roof was now ready, and "boards," 
or rough shingles were riven from the "blocks" or sections of 
chestnut, poplar or white oak, though the latter would "cup" 
or twist into a curved shape if "laid" in the "light" of the 
moon. The lower ends of the lowest row of "boards" rested 
against the flat side of a split log, called the "butting pole," 
because the boards butted upon it. Upon the lower row of 
boards, which were doubled in order to cover the cracks in 



264 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

the under tier, a single row of boards was then laid, the first 
row being held in place by a split log laid on them and made 
fast by pegs driven through their ends and into the ends of 
the poles under the boards. These were also supported by 
"knees." The various pieces of roofing were called eve- 
bearers, rib-poles, weight poles, etc., etc. 

Tanning Hides and Making Shoes. According to Col. 
W. L. Bryan, every farmer had his tan-trough, which was 
an excavation dug out of a poplar or chestnut log of large 
size, while some had two troughs in one log, separated by 
leaving a division of the log in place. Into these troughs 
ashes or lime was placed, diluted with water. Skins should 
always be salted and folded together a few days till all the 
blood has been drawn out; but salt was high and scarce, 
and this process was often omitted. When "green" hides 
were to be tanned at once, they were first "fleshed," by 
being placed on the "fleshing block" and scraped with a 
fleshing knife — one having a rounded edge. This block was 
a log with the upper surface rounded, the lower end rest- 
ing on the ground and the upper end, supported on pegs, 
reaching to a man's waist. Fleshing consisted in scraping 
as much of the fat and blood out of the hide as possible. 
When hides were to be dried before being tanned, they 
were hung lengthwise on poles, with the flesh side upper- 
most, and left under shelter till dry and hard. Hair was 
removed from green and dry hides alike by soaking them in 
the tan-trough in a solution of lime or wood ashes till the 
hair would "slip" — that is, come off easily. They were then 
soaked till all the lime or ashes had been removed, after which 
they were placed again on the fleshing bench and "broken" or 
made pliable, with a breaking-knife. They then went into 
the tan-trough, after having been split lengthwise into two 
parts, each of which was called a "side." The bottom of 
the tan-trough was lined with a layer of bark, after which a 
fold of a "side" was placed on the bark and another layer of 
bark placed above the upper fold of the side; then the side 
was folded back again and another layer of bark placed on 
it, and so on till the tan-trough had been filled. Then water 
was turned or poured in, and the mass allowed to remain two 
months, after which time the bark and water were renewed 
in the same manner as before. This in turn remained another 



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 265 

two months, when the bark and water were again renewed. 
Two months longer completed the process, making six months 
in all. This was called "the cold-ooze" process, and while it 
required a much longer time it made better leather than the 
present hot-ooze process, which cooks and injures the leather. 
The hide of every animal bearing fur is thicker along the 
back-bone than elsewhere, and after the tanning process this 
was cut off for sole leather, while the rest was blacked for 
"uppers," etc. The under side of the thin or "uppers" 
leather was then "curried" with a knife, thus making it as 
smooth as the upper side. Sole leather, however, was not 
curried ordinarily. "Buffing" was the removal of the "grain" 
or upper surface of the hide after it had been tanned, thus 
making both sides alike. Smaller skins were tanned in the 
same way, and those of dogs, coons, ground hogs, etc., were 
used for "whang" leather — that is, they were cut into strings 
for sewing other leather with. Horse collars, harness and 
moccasins thus joined will outlast those sewed with thread. 
The more valuable hides of smaller animals were removed 
from the carcass without being split open, and were then 
called "cased" hides. This was done by splitting open the 
hind legs to the body and then pulling the skins from the 
carcass, fore legs and head, after which they were "stretched" 
by inserting a board or sticks inside, now the fur-side, and 
hanging them up "in the dry" till dried. Other less valu- 
able skins were stretched by means of sticks being stuck into 
the four "corners" of the hide, tacked to the walls of the 
houses under the eaves and allowed to dry. The women 
made moccasins for the children by doubling the tanned deer 
skin along the back, laying a child's stocking along it so that 
the sole of the stocking was parallel with the fold in the skin, 
and then marking around the outline of the stocking, after 
which the skin, still doubled, was cut out around the out- 
line, sewed together with "whang" leather", placed on a last 
till it was "shaped," after which it was ready for wear. The 
new moon in June was the best time for taking the bark from 
trees. White and chestnut oak bark was preferred, the outer 
or rough part of the bark having been first removed with a 
drawing knife, which process was called "scurfing" or "scruf- 
fing. " The bark was then piled, inside up, under shelter, and 
allowed to dry. Among the personal effects of Abraham 



266 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Lincoln's grandfather were "a drawing-knife, a currying- 
knife, and a currier's knife and barking iron." 14 Lime was 
scarce in most localities in this section, and ashes were used 
instead. Every deer's head was said to have enough brains 
to "dress" its hide. 15 The brains were rubbed into the hair 
of the hide, after which the hide was folded together till the 
hair would "slip," when the hide was placed in the tan- 
trough and tanned, the brains thus taking the place of lime 
or ashes. After vats came in bark mills came also. 

Elizabethan English? Writers who think they know, 
have said that our people have been sequestered in these 
mountains so long that they speak the language of Shake- 
speare and of Chaucer. It is certain that we sometimes say 
"hit" for it and "taken" for took; that we also say "plague" 
for tease, and when we are willing, we say we are "consent- 
able." If we are asked if we "care for a piece of pie," we 
say "yes," if we wish to be helped to some; and if we are 
invited to accompany anyone and wish to do so, we almost 
invariably say "I wouldn't care to go along," meaning we do 
not object. We also say "haint" for "am not" "are not" and 
"have not," and we invite you to "light" if you are riding or 
driving. We "pack" our loads in "pokes," and "reckon we 
can't" if invited "to go a piece" with a passerby, when both 
he and we know perfectly well that we can if we will. Chaucer 
and Shakespeare may have used these expressions : we do not 
know. We are absolutely certain, though, that "molases" is as 
plural as measles; and ask to be helped to "them" just as con- 
fident that we shall be understood as people of greater cul- 
ture hope their children will soon recover from or altogether 
escape "them," meaning only one thing, the measles. Though 
we generally say we "haven't saw," it is the rarest thing in 
the world when we do things "we hadn't ought to," and we 
never express surprise or interest by exclaiming, "Well, I 
want to know." On the other hand we have Webster for 
our authority that "hit" is the Saxon for it; and we know 
ourselves that "taken" is more regular that "took"; Webster 
also gives us the primary meaning of "plague": anything 
troublesome or vexatious; but in this sense applied to the 
vexations we suffer from men, and not to the unavoidable 
evils inflicted on us by divine providence; while "tease" 
means to comb or card, as wool; to scratch, as cloth in dress- 



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 267 

ing, for the purpose of raising a nap; and to vex with impor- 
tunity or impertinence." Surely one may be in a mood or 
condition of consent, and when so, why is not he "consent- 
able"? Webster also says that "care" means "to be inclined 
or disposed; to have regard to; with "for" before a noun, and 
"to" before a verb;" while "alight" is "to get down or descend, 
as from horseback or from a carriage," the very sense in which 
we invariably use it, our only fault consisting in keeping the 
"a" silent. Webster does not authorize the use of "pack" 
as a verb transitive, in the sense of bearing a burden, but he 
gives "burden or load" as the meaning of the noun "pack"; 
while a "poke" is "a pocket; a small bag; as, a pig in a poke." 
A "piece" is a fragment or "part of anything, though not 
separated, or separated only in idea," in which sense going 
"a piece" (of the way, understood) is quite intelligible to 
some of us who do not know our letters. Being, in our own 
estimation, at least, "as well as common," in this respect as 
in many others," we still manage to understand and to be 
understood"; and claim that when we "want in," we gener- 
ally manage to "get" in, whether we say "get" or not. Still, 
in these respects, we may "mend," not improve; and who 
shall say that our "mend" is not a simpler, sweeter and more 
significant word than "improve"? But we do mispronounce 
many words, among which is "gardeen" for guardian, "col- 
ume" for column, and "pint" for point. The late Sam Lovin 
of Graham was told that it was improper to say Rocky 
"Pint," as its true name is "Point." When next he went to 
Asheville he asked for a "point" of whiskey. We even take 
our mispronounciation to proper names, and call Metcalf 
"Madcap"; Pennell "Pinion"; Pilkington "Pilkey"; Cutbirth 
"Cutbaird"; Mast "Moss"; Presnell "Pressly"; Moretz 
"Morris"; and Morphew "Murphey." "Mashed, mum- 
micked and hawged up, " means worlds to most of us. Finally, 
most of us are of the opinion of the late Andrew Jackson, 
who thought that one who could spell a word in only one 
way was a "mighty po' excuse for a full grown man." 

Horse Trading. 16 "It is an interesting sight to watch 
the proceedings of a shooting-match. If it is to be in the 
afternoon, the long open space beside the creek, and within 
the circle of chestnut trees, where the shooting is to be done, 
is empty; but, just as the shadow of the sun is shortest, they 



268 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

begin to assemble. Some of them come on foot; others in 
wagons, or, as is most generally the case, on horseback gal- 
loping along through the woods. The long-haired denizen of 
the hidden mountain cove drops in, with his dog at his heels. 
The young blacksmith, in his sooty shirt-sleeves, walks over 
from his way-side forge. The urchins who, with their fish- 
rods, haunt the banks of the brook, are gathered in as great 
force as their " daddies" and elder brothers. 

"A unique character, who frequently mingles with the 
crowd, is the mat'ral-born hoss-swopper.' He has a keen eye 
to see at a glance the defects and perfections of horse or mule 
(in his own opinion), and always carries the air of a man who 
feels a sort of superiority over his fellow men. At a prancing 
gait, he rides the result of his last sharp bargain, into the 
group, and keeps his saddle, with the neck of his horse well 
arched, by means of the curb-bit, until another mountaineer, 
with like trading propensities, strides up to him, and claps 
his hand on the horse's mane. 

"An examination on the part of both swappers always 
results in a trade, boot being frequently given. A chance to 
make a change in horseflesh is never let slip by a natural- 
born trader. The life of his business consists in quick and 
frequent bargains; and at the end of a busy month he is either 
mounted on a good saddle horse, or is reduced to an old rack, 
blind and lame. The result will be due to the shrewdness or 
dullness of the men he dealt with, or the unexpected sickness 
on his hands of what was considered a sound animal." 

Frolics. 17 The banjo and the fiddle have been as con- 
stant companions of the pioneers of the mountains of North 
Carolina as the Bible and the Hymn Book. The country 
"frolics" or "hoe-downs", were necessarily less recherche 
than the dances, hops and germans of the present day, for, 
as a rule, the dancing had to take place on the uneven punch- 
eon floors and in a very restricted space, often procured by 
the removal of the furniture of the kitchen or bed room, for 
usually a dwelling rarely had more than these two apart- 
ments, in the earlier days. 

Poor Illumination. Owing to the fact that kerosene was 
unknown in the pioneer days, there was but poor illumination 
for those little mountain homes, generally consisting of but 
one large room and a shed or lean-to in the rear. Tin candle 



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 269 

molds and heavy wicks were used with the tallow of beeves 
and deer for making of candles, which gave but a poor light. 
Bear's oil in a saucer, with a spun cotton thread wick also 
served to light the houses. As there were only a few books, 
the early settlers did not feel the want of good lights as much 
as we would at this time. So, when the days grew short and 
the nights long, our forbears usually retired to their beds soon 
after dark, which meant almost fourteen hours in bed if they 
waited for daylight. But, usually, they did not wait for it, 
arising long before the sun came above the horizon, building- 
huge fires and beginning the day by the light of the blazing 
logs. 

This is one reason so many of those people saw the "falling 
of the stars" on the early morning of the thirteenth of Novem- 
ber, 1833. Twenty years ago there were still living scores of 
people who witnessed this extraordinary and fearful sight. 

Danger from Wild Animals. Panthers, wild cats, wolves 
and bear were the most troublesome depredators and they 
were the means of much serious damage to the stock of the 
settlers, most of which was driven to the mountain ranges, 
where luxuriant grasses abounded from May till October. 
Colts, calves and pigs were frequently attacked and destroyed 
by these "varmints," as the settlers called them. But while 
there was little or no danger to human beings from these ani- 
mals, the black bear being a notorious coward, unless hemmed 
up, the "women folk" were "pestered" by the beautiful and, 
on occasion, malodorous pole-cat or skunk, the thieving o'pos- 
sum, the mink, weasel, etc., which robbed the chicken roosts 
after dark. Moles and chipmunks, also destroyed their "gar- 
den truck" in early summer, while hawks and eagles played 
havoc with their fowls, and crows pulled up the young corn 
and small grain which had not been sown deep enough. 

The Original "Houn Dawg." Hounds were the princi- 
pal breed of dogs employed by the pioneer. Crossed with the 
more savage species, the hound also made a good bear dog, 
and the Plott bear dogs were famous in the pursuit of Bruin. 
Some settlers kept a pack of ten or fifteen hounds for deer 
dogs. 

The Dark Side of the Cloud. But from Thwaite's 
"Daniel Boone" we gather much that robs the apparent 
charm of pioneer life of something of its attractiveness. 



270 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

"Among the outlying settlers, much of the family food came 
from the woods, and often months would pass without bread 
being seen inside the cabin walls" (p. 58). "For head cov- 
ering, the favorite was a soft cap of coon-skin, with the bushy 
tail dangling behind; but Boone himself despised this gear, 
and always wore a hat. The women wore huge sunbonnets 
and loose gowns of homemade cloth; they generally went 
barefoot in summer, but wore moccasins in winter" (p. 29). 
These moccasins were "soft and pliant, but cold in winter, 
even when stuffed with deer's hair and leaves, and so spongy 
as to be no protection against wet feet, which made every 
hunter an early victim to rheumatism." That many prison- 
ers were massacred is also an evidence of the harshness of 
these times. 

Touchstone and Terpsichore. There were shooting 
matches at which a young steer was divided and shot for, 
foot races, wrestling bouts, camp-meetings, log-rollings, house- 
raisings and the "Big Musters" where cider and ginger cakes 
were sold, which drew the people together and promoted social 
intercourse, as well as the usual religious gatherings at the 
"church houses." Singing classes and Sunday Schools, now 
so common, were not at first known in these mountains, and, 
indeed, even Sunday Schools are of comparatively recent origin. 
When a young couple were married they were usually sere- 
naded with cow horns, tin pans and other unearthly noises. 
This is still the custom in many parts of the mountains. Agri- 
cultural fairs were unknown in the olden days. Horse-racing 
over ordinary roads, horse-swapping and good natured con- 
tests of strength among the men were also in vogue generally. 

Before the Days of "Bridge." Among the women and 
girls there were spinning, carding, reeling and knitting matches, 
and sometimes a weaving match. 1 8 Quilting parties were 
very common, and, indeed, the quilting frame can still be 
observed in many a mountain house, suspended from the 
ceiling above, even in the modern parlor or company room. 
All sorts of superstitions attended a quilting — the first stitch 
given being usually emblematic of the marriage of the one 
making it and the last of the death of the person so unfor- 
tunate as to have that distinction. Of course the coverlid or 
top of the quilt, usually a patchwork of bright scraps of cloth 
carefully hoarded and gathered from all quarters, had been 



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 271 

prepared in advance of the gathering of the quilting party, 
and the quilting consisted in spreading it above the wool or 
cotton rolls spread uniformly on a white cloth and stitching 
the upper and lower cloths together. Hence the great con- 
venience of the quilting frame which held the quilt and was 
lowered to a point about waist high. 

The "Causus Belli." At school it was customary for the 
larger boys to bar the teacher out when a holiday was ardently 
desired. This was accomplished by placing themselves inside 
the school room and barring the door by placing the rude and 
backless benches against it and refusing to remove them. As 
there was but one door and no windows the teacher was help- 
less, and, after threatening and bullying for a time, usually left 
the boys in possession of the school house till the following 
day, when no one was punished. For anyone, be he friend or 
foe, but especially a stranger to holler "school butter" near a 
school was to invite every urchin to rush from the room; and 
the offender had either to treat the scholars or be soundly 
thrashed and pelted. In Monroe county, Tennessee, near 
Madisonville, in the year of grace 1893, this scribe was dared 
and double-dared to holler those talismanic words as he passed 
a county school, but ignominiously declined. 

"Ant'ny Over." A game almost universal with the chil- 
dren of that day was called "Ant'ny Over. " Sides were chosen, 
one side going to one side of the house and the other to the 
other. A ball was tossed over the roof by one side, the prob- 
lem being whether it would reach the comb of the roof and 
fall on the other side. If it did so and was caught by one on 
that side, that side ran around the house and tried to hit 
somebody on the other side with the ball; if they succeeded 
the one hit had to join the other side, and the side catching 
the ball had to throw it over the house and so on until one 
side lost all children. The rule was for the side tossing the 
ball to cry "Ant'ny!" as they were ready to throw the ball 
and when the other side hollered "Over!" the ball was thrown. 

Mountain Lager Beer. Methiglen, a mildly intoxicating 
drink, made by pouring water upon honey-comb and allowing 
it to ferment, was a drink quite common in the days of log 
rollings, house raisings and big musters. It was a sweet and 
pleasant beverage and about as intoxicating as beer or wine. 

Lawful Moonshine. "Ardent spirits were then in almost 



272 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

universal use and nearly every prosperous man had his whis- 
key or brandy still. Even ministers of the gospel are said in 
some instances to have made and sold liquor. A barroom was 
a place shunned by none. The court records show license to 
retail issued to men who stood high as exemplary members of 
churches. On November 2, 1800, Bishop Asbury chronicles 
that "Francis Alexander Ramsey pursued us to the ferry, 
franked us over and took us to his excellent mansion, a stone 
house; it may not be amiss to mention that our host has built 
his house, and taken in his harvest without the aid of whiskey. " 
Moonshining. Before railroads were constructed in these 
mountains there was no market for the surplus corn, rye and 
fruit; and it was considered right to convert these products 
into whiskey and brandy, for which there was always a market. 
When, therefore, soon after the Civil War, the United States 
government attempted to enforce its internal revenue laws, 
much resistance was manifested by many good citizens. Grad- 
ually, however, illicit distilling has been relegated to a few 
irresponsible and ignorant men; for the penalty inflicted for 
allowing one's land to be used as the location for a still, or to 
grind corn or malt for illicit stillers, or to aid them in any way, 
is great enough to deter all men of property from violating 
the law in this regard. Moonshining is so called because it 
is supposed that it is only while the moon is shining that 
illicit stilling takes place, though that is erroneous, as much of 
it is done during the day. But, as these stills are located, 
usually, in the most out-of-the-way places possible, the smoke 
arising during the day from the stills attracts attention and 
final detection. Stills are usually located on small, cold 
streams, and on wild land little adapted to cultivation. Some- 
times, however, stills are situated in the cellar or kitchen or 
other innocent looking place for the purpose of diverting sus- 
picion. Neighbors, chance visitors, the color the slops give to 
the streams into which they drain, and other evidence finally 
lead to the arrest of the operators and the destruction of the 
stilling plant and mash. The simplest process is to soak corn 
till it sprouts, after which it is dried and ground, making malt. 
Then corn is ground into meal, and it and the malt are placed 
in tubs with water till they sour and ferment, making mash. 
This mash is then placed in the still and boiled, the steam 
passing through a worm or spiral metal tube which rests in a 



MANNERS AND CUSTOiMS 273 

cooling tub, into which a stream of running water pours con- 
stantly. This condenses the steam, which falls into the 
"singling keg"; and when a sufficient quantity has been pro- 
duced, the mash is removed from the still, and it is washed 
out, after which the "singlings" are poured into the still and 
evaporated, passing through the worm a second time, thus 
becoming " doublings, " or high proof whiskey. It is then 
tested or proofed — usually by shaking it in a bottle — when its 
strength is determined by the bubbles or "beads" which rise 
to the top. It is then adulterated with water till it is "right," 
or mild enough to be drunk without blistering the throat. 
Apples and peaches are first mashed or ground, fermented and 
evaporated, thus becoming brandy. Still slops are used to 
feed cattle and hogs, when practicable, but moonshiners 
usually have to empty their slops upon the ground, from which 
it is sure to drain into some stream and thus lead to dis- 
covery. Still slop-fed hogs do not produce as firm lard as 
corn-fed animals, just as mash-fed hogs do not produce as 
good lard as corn-fed hogs, though the flesh of mast-fed hogs 
is considered more delicate and better flavored than that of 
any other kind. 

Blockading is usually applied to the illegal selling of moon- 
shine whiskey or brandy. 

The Strength of Union. The following account of the 
cooperation common among the early settlers is taken from 
" A Brief History of Macon County" by Dr. C. D. Smith, 
published in 1905, at Franklin: 

"It was the custom in those early days not to rely for help upon hired 
labor. In harvesting small grain crops the sickle was mostly used. When 
a crop was ripe, the neighbors were notified and gathered in to reap and 
shock up the crops. The manner was for a dozen or more men to cut 
through the field, then hang their sickles over their shoulders and bind 
back. The boys gathered the sheaves together and the old men shocked 
them up. The corn crops were usually gathered in and thrown in great 
heaps alongside the cribs. The neighbors were invited and whole days 
and into the nights were often spent in husking out a single crop. I have 
seen as many as eighty or ninety men at a time around my father's corn 
heap. If a house or barn was to be raised the neighbors were on hand and 
the building was soon under roof. Likewise, if a man had a heavy clear- 
ing, it was no trouble to have an ample force to handle and put in heaps 
the heaviest logs. It was no unusual thing for a man to need one or two 
thousand rails for fencing. All he had to do was to proclaim that he 
would have a 'rail mauling' on a given day, and bright and early the 

W. N. C— 18 



274 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

neighbors were on the ground and the rails were made before sun-down. 
This custom of mutual aid, cultivated a feeling of mutual dependence and 
brotherhood, and resulted in the most friendly and neighborly intercourse. 
Indeed, each man seemed to be on the lookout for his neighbor's comfort 
and welfare as well as his own. It made a community of broad, liberal- 
minded people, who despite the tongue of gossip and an occasional fist- 
icuff in hot blood, lived in peace and good will one toward another. There 
was then less selfishness and cold formality than now. ... I am 
free to admit that there has been improvement along some lines, such, 
for instance, as that of education, the building of church-houses, style of 
dress, etc., but I am sure that there has been none in the sterner traits of 
character, generosity, manliness, patriotism, integrity, and public spirit." 

Giants in Those Days. It also appears from the same 
very admirable sketch of Macon county, that when a new 
road was desired a jury was appointed to lay it off and divide 
it into sections as nearly equal as possible, the work on each 
section being assigned by lot to the respective captains of 
militia companies, and that the work was done without com- 
pensation. Dr. Smith cites an instance when he saw "men taking 
rock from the river with the water breast deep to aid in build- 
ing wharves. They remained until the work was finished." 

Fist and Skull. 

"There was another custom in those bygone days which to the pres- 
ent generation seems extremely primitive and rude, but which, when an- 
alyzed, shows a strong sense of honor and manliness of character. To 
settle minor disputes and differences, whether for imaginary or real per- 
sonal wrongs, there were occasional fisticuffs. Then, it sometimes oc- 
curred in affairs of this kind, that whole neighborhoods and communities 
took an interest. I have known county arrayed against county, and 
state against state, for the belt in championship, for manhood and skill 
in a hand-to-hand tussel between local bullies. When these contests took 
place the custom was for the parties to go into the ring. The crowd of 
spectators demanded fairness and honor. If anyone was disposed to 
show foul play he was withheld or in the attempt promptly chastised by 
some bystander. Then, again, if either party in the fight resorted to 
any weapons whatever, other than his physical appendages, he was at 
once branded and denounced as a coward, and was avoided by his former 
associates. While this custom was brutal in its practice, there was a bold 
outcropping of character in it, for such affairs were conducted upon the 
most punctilious points of honor. . . . This custom illustrates the 
times and I have introduced it more for the sake of contrast than a desire 
to parade it before the public. " 

Horn and Bone. Buttons were made from bones and cow's 
horns, while the antlers of the red deer were almost indispen- 



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 275 

sable as racks for the long barreled flint-lock rifle, hats, cloth- 
ing or other articles usually suspended from pegs and hooks. 
Dinner and powder horns were from cow's horns, from which 
the "picker" and "charger" hung. Ink bottles were made 
from the small ends of cow's horns, powder was carried in 
these water-proof vessels, while hounds were called in from 
the chase or "hands" were summoned from the fields by- 
toots upon these far-sounding if not musical instruments. 
During the Civil War, William Silvers of Mitchell county 
made combs from cow's horns, filing out each separate tooth 
after boiling and "spreading" the horns into flat surfaces. 
He sold these for good prices, and once made a trip to Ashe- 
ville with a wagon for a full load of horns as the neighbor- 
hood did not supply the demand. 

Gunpowder Bounty. 1 9 "In 1796 Governor Ashe issued 
a proclamation announcing that in pursuance of an Act to 
provide for the public safety by granting encouragement to 
certain manufactures, Jacob Byler, of the county of Bun- 
combe, had exhibited to him a sample of gunpowder manu- 
factured by him in the year 1799 and also a certificate prov- 
ing that he had made six hundred and sixty-three pounds of 
good, merchantable, rifle gunpowder; and therefore, he was 
entitled to the bounty under the Act (2 Wheeler's History 
of North Carolina, 52). This Jacob Byler, or rather Boyler, 
was afterward a member of Buncombe County court, and in 
the inventory of his property returned by his administrator 
after his death in October, 1804, is mentioned "Powder mill 
irons. " 

Elizabethton's Battle Monument. On a massive monu- 
ment erected in 1910 at Elizabethton, Tenn., to the soldiers 
of all the wars in which Tennessee has participated is a marble 
slab to the memory of Mary Patton who made the powder 
with which the battle of Kings Mountain was fought. This 
was made on Powder Mill branch, Carter county, Tennessee. 
On what is still known as Powder Mill creek in old Mitchell, 
so long ago that the date cannot now be fixed with certainty, 
Dorry and Loddy Oaks made powder near where the creek 
empties into Toe River. Zeb Buchanan now owns the land. 

Wanderlust. Alexander Thomas, A. J. McBride, and 
Marion Wilson, all of Cove creek, Watauga county, went to 
California in 1849, crossing the plains in ox carts, and mined 



276 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

for gold. Captain Young Farthing helped to carry the Chero- 
kees to the West in 1838, as did also William Miller, Col. 
James Horton and others of Watauga. They were paid in 
land warrants to be located in Kansas, but the warrants were 
usually sold for what they would bring, which was little. 
Jacob Townsend of near Shull's Mills was a pensioner of the 
War of 1812. Colonel J. B. Todd, Peter Hoffman and Jason 
Martin of Watauga were in the Mexican war. A number of 
others volunteered from these mountains, but were never 
called out. 

Forge Bounty Land Grants. One of the first needs of 
these pioneers was iron, and in 1788 (Ch. 293, Laws of N. C. 
as revised by Potter J. L. Taylor and Bart Yancey, Esqs., 
1821) the legislature passed an act by which 3,000 acres of 
vacant lands "not fit for cultivation most convenient to the 
different seats is hereby granted for every set of iron works, 
as a bounty from this State to any person or persons who will 
build and carry on the same." One or more tracts for each 
set of works was to be entered and a copy of the entry trans- 
mitted to the next court that should be held in the county, 
when a jury of twelve persons of good character should view 
the land and certify that it was not fit for cultivation. Iron 
works were then to be erected within three years, and when 
it should be made to appear to the court that 5,000 weight 
of iron had been made the grant was to be issued. "Three 
forges where it was made grew up in Buncombe county, one 
on Hominy creek, upon the old Solomon Luther place, which 
belonged to Charles Lane; another on Reems creek at the 
Coleman mill place, which belonged to the same man, but 
was sold by him in 1803, to Andrew Baird; the third was on 
Mills river, now in Henderson county on what has ever since 
been called the Forge mountain, on which are also the Boils- 
ton gold mines. The iron ore for this purpose was procured 
at different places in Buncombe county." 20 The State 
granted to Thomas Calloway, November 21, 1807, 3,000 acres 
of land in Ashe county (Deed Book D, p. 88) and to William 
Daniel, David Worth, Moses L. Michael and R. Murchison 
2,000 acres in Ashe county, in 1854. (Deed Book U, p. 62.) 
Grants were also issued to the late Messer Fain in Cherokee, 
and some of the pigs are still in existence there. 

Dates of Working Old Iron Mines. From " The Iron 



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 277 

Manufacturer's Guide" (1859, by J. P. Lesley) we find that 
Harbard's Bloomery Forge near the mouth of Helton creek 
was built in 1807 and washed away in 1817; that the Cran- 
berry Bloomery Forge on Cranberry was built in 1820, and 
rebuilt in 1856; that North Fork Bloomery Forge eight miles 
northwest of Jefferson on New river, was built in 1825; aban- 
doned in 1829; washed away in 1840; Ballou's Bloomery 
Forge, at Falls of North Fork of New river, 12 miles north- 
east of Jefferson, was built in 1817; washed away in 1832 by 
an ice freshet; Helton Bloomery Forge, on Helton creek, 12 
miles north-northwest of Jefferson, was built in 1829; washed 
away in 1858; another forge was built one and one-fourth 
miles further down in 1802, but did not stand long; Laurel 
Bloomery Forge, on Laurel creek, 15 miles west of Jefferson, 
built in 1847; abandoned in 1853; Toe river Bloomery Forge, 
five miles south of Cranberry Forge, built in 1843; Johnson's 
Bloomery Forge, six miles south of Cranberry Forge, built in 
1841; Lovingood Bloomery Forge, on Hanging Dog, Cherokee 
county, two miles above Fain's Forge, built from 1845 to 
1853; Lower Hanging Dog Bloomery Forge, five miles north- 
west of Murphy, built in 1840; Killian Bloomery Forge one- 
half miles below Lower Hanging Dog Forge, built in 1843, 
abandoned 1849; Fain Bloomery Forge, on Owl creek, two 
miles below Lovingood Forge, built in 1854; Persimmon creek 
Bloomery Forge, on Persimmon creek 12 miles southwest of 
Murphy, built in 1848; Shoal creek Bloomery Forge, on Shoal 
creek, five miles west of Persimmon creek Forge, built about 
1854; Palsey Forge, built by John Ballou at mouth of Helton 
in 1859 and rebuilt by W. J. Pasley in 1871 (it is now aban- 
doned); New River Forge on South Fork of New river, one- 
half mile above its junction with North Fork; built 1871, 
washed away in 1878. Uriah Ballou of Crumpler, N. C, has 
gold medals for the best magnetic iron ore from the Louis- 
iana Purchase Exposition and from the World's Fair at Paris 
immediately afterwards, which was taken from these mines. 
The lands are now the property of the Virginia Iron & Coke 
Company. 

Pioneer Thors and Forges. Iron was manufactured at 
these old time forges about as follows : When the ore was in 
lumps or mixed with rock and dirt it was crushed by " stamp- 
ers, " consisting of hardwood beams 6x6 inches, which were raised 



278 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

and dropped' by a cogged horizontal revolving shaft. When the 
ore was fine enough it was washed in troughs to separate it from 
as much foreign matter as possible. It was then ready for the 
furnace, which consisted of a rock base 6x6 feet and two 
and one-half feet high. On three sides of this base walls of 
rock were erected two and one-half feet high, leaving one side 
open. A nest was left in the bottom of this base or hearth, 
through the middle of which a two inch blast pipe ran, and 
projecting above it. Air was furnished to this pipe by a 
stream of water passing through wooden tubes 12x12 inches. 
A small fire of chips was started in this nest above the mouth of 
the blast pipe. Over this fire three or four bushels of char- 
coal was placed and blown into a white heat. Upon this 
charcoal a layer of ore was spread, and as it was heated, an 
other layer of charcoal was placed above, and on it still another 
layer of ore. This was gradually melted, the molten ore set- 
tling into the nest and the silica remaining on top. Into the 
mass of melted iron an iron bar would be thrust. This bar 
was used simply to form a handle for the turning of the ore 
that adhered to it after it had been withdrawn and placed on 
the anvil to be hammered. The melted ore thus drawn out 
was called a "loop." 

The hammer and the anvil were about the same weight, 750 
pounds each, with an eye through, 6x12 inches. They were in- 
terchangeable. The anvil was placed on white-oak beams, about 
the size of a railroad cross-tie, which spanned a pit dug in 
the ground in order to give spring to the blow made by the 
hammer. Through the eye of the hammer a beam of strong 
wood was fastened, the other end working on a pivot or hinge. 
Near this hinged end was a revolving shaft shod with four large 
iron cogs, each about six inches long and five inches square, 
and each having a rounded corner. These cogs lifted the ham- 
mer handle rapidly, while above the handle a wooden "bray" 
overcame the upward thrust, and gravity drove the hammer 
downward upon the heated mass awaiting it on the anvil. 
The blows thus dealt were rapid and heavy and could be 
heard under favorable conditions ten or more miles. 

Silent Finger Signals. It was the duty of the "tender," 
the chief assistant of the hammerman, to withdraw the loop 
from the furnace and place it on the anvil, when the hammer- 
man took the end of the handle and signaled with his fingers 



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 279 

laid on the handle to the tender to begin hammering, which 
was done by the latter allowing the water to strike the wheel 
which worked the hammer shaft. Two fingers indicated more 
rapid hammering, three still more rapid hammering, and the 
withdrawal of all fingers meant that the hammering should 
cease. When the foreign matter had been hammered out of 
the loop, it was divided into two or more loops of 25 to 30 
pounds each; a short iron bar, to serve as handles, was welded 
to each piece, and they were again placed in the furnace and 
re-heated and then hammered into bars from 9 to 12 feet in 
length, or divided into smaller pieces for wagon-tires, hoe- 
bars, axe-bars, plough-shares, plough-molds, harrow-teeth bars, 
horse-shoe irons, and gun "skelps." There was an extra 
charge for "handage" in the case of wagon-tires, because they 
were hammered out thinner. In finishing up each bar or 
smaller piece of iron the tender would pour cold water on its 
surface to give it a hard and smooth finish. 

Giant "Hammermen." The hammerman soon became a 
veritable giant in his arms, and it is related of one of the older 
Duggers that he could insert an arm into the eye of the hammer 
and another into that of the anvil and strike the two together. 
For miles below the water powers which drove these forges 
the streams were muddy with the washings from the ore. 
For years iron thus made was the principal commodity of 
trade. The ends of the iron bars were bent like the runners 
of a sled, and as many of these bars were bound together by 
iron bands as could be dragged over the rough trails by a 
single ox. In this crude fashion many tons of iron found a 
market on farms remote from wagon roads. 

Expensive Hauling. It took from three weeks to a 
month to go from Asheville to Charleston or Augusta by 
wagon before the Civil War. The roads were bad, and those 
in charge of the wagons camped on the roadside, cooking their 
own meals. No wonder freight rates were high, and that peo- 
ple did without much that seems indispensible now. It is 
said that Waugh, Murchison & Poe, early merchants of Jef- 
ferson, hauled their goods from Wilmington, N. C. The late 
Albert T. Summey says that : "goods were hauled from Au- 
gusta and Charleston and cost from $1.75 to $2.00 per hun- 
dred. Salt cost in Augusta $1.25 for a sack of 200 lbs. Add 
$4.00 for hauling, and it is easy to understand why people 



280 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

thought it cheap when they could buy it for $5.00." As 
late as the spring of 1850 it took Deacon William Skiles of 
Valle Cruces three weeks to ride horseback from Plymouth, 
N. C. to Watauga. 2 l 

Rifle Guns. 22 The word "rifle" is too generic a term for 
the average mountaineer; but he knows what a "rifle-gun" 
is. Some of the older men have seen them made — lock, stock 
and barrel. The process was simple : a bar of iron the length 
of the barrel desired was hammered to the thickness of about 
three-sixteenths of an inch and then rolled around a small 
iron rod of a diameter a little less than the caliber desired. 
After this, the rolled iron was welded together gradually — 
only three or four inches being welded at a time because it 
was not practicable to do more at a single "heating" without 
also welding the rod which was inside. This rod was with- 
drawn from the barrel while it was being heated in the fur- 
nace and allowed to cool, and when the glowing barrel was 
withdrawn from the fire the rod was inserted and the weld- 
ing would begin and be kept up till the bar inside began to get 
too hot, after which it was withdrawn and cooled while the 
barrel was being heated again, and then the same process was 
repeated till the work was done. The caliber of the barrel 
was now smaller than desired, but it was enlarged by drilling 
the hole with a steel bit operated by water-power. The spiral 
grooves inside the barrel were made by small pieces of steel, 
two inches long, with saw-teeth on the edges, which served 
the purpose of filing the necessary spiral channels. The cali- 
ber was determined by the number of bullets which could be 
molded from a pound of lead, and usually ran from 80 to 140. 
The caliber of rifles is now measured by the decimels of an 
inch, regardless of the number of bullets to the pound of lead. 
No hand-made rifle was ever known to burst. The locks, 
hammers, triggers, guards, ramrods, etc., were all made on 
the common anvil. 2 3 

Primitive Tools and Methods. Dutch scythes for cut- 
ting grass have been in the mountains time out of mind, but 
English scythes for the same purpose did not come into use 
in some of the counties till about 1856-7. Cradles for cutting 
small grain were employed about 1846; before which time 
reaping hooks had been used entirely. Before thrashing ma- 
chines arrived small grain was separated from the stems by 



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 281 

means of flails, as in the old Bible days of the threshing floors — 
only in western North Carolina a smooth place was made in 
the hillside, if there was no level ground elsewhere, cloth was 
spread down over it, and the grain beaten out by flails. After 
this had been done, what was known as a "riddle" was used 
to free the grain of straw and chaff, sheets or coverlids of beds 
being used to fan the chaff away as the grain fell. Then 
came the sieve to separate the grain from all heavy foreign 
matter, after which it was ground in grist mills, and bolted 
by sifting it through thin, loosely woven cloth wound over a 
cylindrical wooden frame revolved by hand, a labor often im- 
posed by the indolent miller on the boy who had brought the 
grist to mill. The miller never made any deduction from his 
toll because of this labor, however. 

Ground Hog Threshers. When the threshing machine 
came, about 1850, it was a seven days wonder. It was what 
was known as the "ground-hog" thresher, and required eight 
horses to pull it from place to place. It was operated by 
horse power also, which power was communicated to the ma- 
chine by means of a tarred cotton rope in place of a band or 
sprocket chain, both of which came later. The grain and 
straw came from the machine together and were caught in a 
big sheet surrounded by curtains. The straw was raked from 
the top of the grain by wooden forks made from saplings or 
the limbs of trees. Steel pitchforks did not come into gen- 
eral use in these mountains till about 1850. A ground hog 
thresher could thresh out about 100 bushels a day with the 
help of about 16 hands, while the modern machine can easily 
thresh out over 400 bushels with the assistance of 10 hands; 
but as the extra hands of the olden time charged nothing for 
their labor, and felt honored by being allowed to take part in 
such glorious work, no complaint was ever heard on that score. 
Mowing machines did not come into general use in this sec- 
tion till 1869 or 1870. Even the North refused them till 
England took them up. 2 4 

The Handy Blacksmith. Tools of all kinds were made by 
the ordinary blacksmiths of the country at ordinary forges. 
They made axes, hatchets, drawing-knives, chisels, augurs, 
horse-shoes, horse-shoe nails, bolts, nuts and even pocket 
knives ! 

Fish and Fish Traps. Fish abounded in all mountain 



282 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

streams, and "a good site for a fish trap" was the greatest 
recommendation which a piece of land could have. These 
places were always the first entered and granted. In them 
fish by the barrelful would sometimes be caught in a single 
night where the trap was well situated and strongly built. 
Fishing at night in canoes by torchlight with a gig was a fa- 
vorite sport as well as profitable practice and it was much in- 
dulged in. " 2 5 Above vertical falls trout could not pass. Elk 
river, above the Great Falls, had no trout till 1857 (D. L. 
Low in Watauga Democrat, June 26, 1913), when men placed 
them there. 

Grist Mills. "The first consideration, however, with 
these primitive inhabitants, was the matter of grist mills. 
Hence at the first session of the [Buncombe] county court we 
find it 'Ordered that William Davidson have liberty to build 
a grist mill on Swannanoa, near his saw mill, Provided he 
builds said mill on his own land.' This was in April, 1792. 
In January, 1793, it was 'Ordered that John Burton have 
liberty to build a Grist mill on his own land, on a branch of 
French Broad River, near Nathan Smith's, below the mouth 
of Swannanoa,' Apparently Davidson's mill was not built, 
"but John Burton's was on Glenn's creek a short distance 
above its mouth. " 

When the Clock Stopped. There were a few old seven- 
day clocks brought by the first settlers, but as a rule watches 
and clocks were few. Men and women learned to guess the 
time with some accuracy by looking at the sun on clear days, 
and guessing at it on cloudy. Following is a description of the 
usual time-piece : "The clock consisted of a knife mark, ex- 
tending north from one of the door-facings across the punch- 
eon next to it. When the mark divided the sunshine that 
fell in at the door from the shadow of the facing, it was noon. 
All other hours were guessed at : on cloudy days the clock 
stopped. " 2 6 

Culture and Manufacture of Flax. The flax seed were 
sown thick, and when the plant was mature it was pulled up 
by the roots and spread on the ground to dry. Then it was 
bound in bundles and placed in a dry place till the envelope 
surrounding the fiber was decomposed. Sometimes it was 
scattered over the snow to bleach the lint. It was then re- 
bound in small bundles and when the farmer was ready it 



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 283 

was opened and placed on the "brake," which consisted of 
four or five wooden slats parallel to each other through which 
wooden knives passed, driving the flax stems between. After 
the flax was thus broken a handful of it was placed on the 
end of an upright board which had been driven into the ground, 
and struck smartly by a wooden swingling knife in order to 
knock off the small pieces of straw from the fiber. Then the 
fiber was drawn through the hackle, which consisted of a 
board from whose surface projected five or six inches a row 
of iron spikes, which served to separate the tow from the flax. 
The flax was then spun on the low wheels, now sometimes 
seen in drawing rooms, gilded and beribboned, but never used. 
Then it was wound on spools from which it was reeled into 
hanks. In the elder day the women had to count the revo- 
lutions of the reels, but before the Civil War a device was 
invented by which, after 100 revolutions, the reel would 
crack, and the housewife thus knew a hank had been reeled 
off. The flax thread was then ready to be spooled and placed 
on the warping bars from which it was wound on the beam of 
the loom. From this beam it was put through gears and 
slays of split reeds, thus making the warp. After this, other 
flax thread was reeled off on quills from the hanks and placed 
in shuttles which were shot through the warp as the tread 
opened it, and the thread thus placed between the warp was 
driven back against the first thread by means of the battern, 
thus making loose cloth. Wool was shorn, washed, dried, 
picked, carded, spun, reeled on to brooches with shuck cores 
from the spinning wheel, when it was ready to be woven or 
knitted. 

Churches and Schools. The early settlers were Scotch- 
Irish, as a whole, and their descendants are a hardy, hospit- 
able and enterprising pouplation, They were about equally 
divided in the War between the States and are still almost 
equally divided in politics. Until the coming of the railroads 
there had been necessarily much of primitiveness in their 
houses, clothing and manners; but religion has always been a 
strong and controlling factor in their lives. Churches have 
always existed here; but school-houses had been few and 
small and very little attention had been given to education. 
But, since the railroads have penetrated into this region, all 
this has changed, and dwelling houses have improved, cloth- 



284 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

ing and manners have changed, and it is the exception nowa- 
days to find a boy or girl of twelve years of age who cannot 
read and write. 

Militia Muster Days. On the second Saturday of Oc- 
tober each year there was a general muster at each county 
seat, when the various companies drilled in battalion or regi- 
mental formation; and each separate company met on its 
local muster grounds quarterly, and on the fourth of July 
the commanding officers met at the court house to drill. The 
Big Musters called most of the people together, and there was 
much fun and many rough games to beguile the time. Cider 
and ginger cakes were sold, and many men got drunk. There 
was also some fighting, but seldom with stones or weapons. 

Salable Products. Apples, hog meat, deer hams, chest- 
nuts, chinquapins, butter, honey, wax, lard, eggs were the 
commodities they usually took to market, returning heavily 
laden with salt, yarn, pins, needles, tools, crockery ware, am- 
munition and a few cooking utensils. They relied principally 
upon herbs for such medicines as they used; they wove their 
own cloth upon hand looms, spinning the wool into thread 
and hetcheling or hatcheling out the flax. As sewing machines 
had not yet been invented, the women and girls cut out and 
sewed together all the garments used by themselves, their 
children and " the men folks" generally. 

No Money. According to Col. A. T. Davidson in The 
Lyceum for January, 1891, the older people "had no money 
to buy with. . . . All the necessaries of life were pro- 
cured from the markets in Georgia and South Carolina. It 
was a three weeks' trip with a wagon to Augusta, Georgia. 
For this market the neighborhood would bunch their prod- 
ucts, bring their forces together and make trips to Augusta 
loaded with bacon, peltries and such other marketable arti- 
cles as would bear transportation in this simple way. The 
return for these products was sugar, coffee, salt and molasses; 
and happy was the family on the return of the wagons to be 
able to have a jugful of New Orleans black molasses. And 
how happy the children were to meet their fathers and broth- 
ers again, and have them recite the many stories of the trip. 
We then bought salt by the measure, a bushel weighing about 
seventy pounds. The average price on the return of the 
wagon was about three dollars per bushel. It was interesting 



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 285 

to see the people meet to get from the wagons their portion 
of the return load; and happy was the small family that got 
a half hushel of salt, 50 cents worth of coffee and a gallon of 
molasses. There was a general rejoicing, all going home sat- 
isfied and happy, content with their small cargoes, confident 
that they had enough to do them for the next year. It is 
remarkable how simply and carefully they lived, and with 
what earnestness and hope they went to their daily toil, ex- 
pecting nothing more than this small contribution to their 
luxury for a year to come. 

Stock Raising. 27 "The borders in the valley of Virginia 
and on the western highlands of the Carolinas were largely 
engaged in raising horses, cattle, sheep and hogs, which grazed 
at will upon the broad slopes of the eastern foothills of the 
Alleghanies, most of them being in as wild a state as the great 
roving herds now to be seen upon the semi-arid plains of the 
far West." The same occupation was followed by those who 
passed west of the foothills of the Alleghanies, and is kept 
up till this day. Those who had bought up the wild lands at 
low figures encouraged cattle herders to pasture or "range" 
their stock there. In the first place it gained their good will, 
and in the second it enabled landowners to become aware of 
the presence of any squatters who might seek to hold by ad- 
verse possession. Two other reasons were that landowners 
could not have prevented the ranging of cattle except by fenc- 
ing in their lands, an impossible task at that time, and the 
suppression of fires in their incipiency. Certain it is, that all 
sorts of stock were turned into the mountains in May, where 
they remained till October, with weekly visits from their own- 
ers for purposes of salting and keeping them gentle. After 
awhile a market was found on the coast for the cows, sheep, 
horses and hogs, and they were driven there in the late sum- 
mer and during the fall. "There annually passed through 
Buncombe county an average of 150,000 hogs, driven on foot 
about eight miles daily, which required 24 bushels daily for 
each 1,000 and were fed on corn raised in Buncombe." 28 

Stock "Stands." There were many "stock stands" along 
the French Broad river in ante-railroad days, for the turnpike 
from Asheville to the Paint Rock was a much traveled thor- 
oughfare. Its stockholders made money, so great was the 
travel. 2 9 James Garrett had a stand about one mile below 



286 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

the Hot Springs. Then there was another opposite the Hot 
Springs, known as the White House, and kept by the late 
John E. Patton. At the mouth of Laurel creek was still 
another stand kept by David Farnsworth. Just above the 
railroad station now called Putnam's is where Woolsey had 
a stand, while Zach. Candler had another at Sandy Bottoms. 
Then came Hezekiah A. Barnard's stand at what is still called 
Barnards, though it used to be called "Barnetts, " and oppo- 
site the mouth of Pine creek Samuel Chunn gave bed and 
board to the weary drovers and feed to "his dumb driven" 
cattle, sheep, hogs, horses, mules or turkeys. At the lower 
end of what is now Marshall, Joseph Rice lived and at the 
upper end of that narrow village David Vance kept a tav- 
ern- — a long one — probably 150 feet in length, huddled be- 
tween the stage road and the mountains. Samuel Smith 
accommodated all travelers and their belongings at the mouth 
of Ivy, and Mitchell Alexander was the Boniface at Alex- 
ander's. 

Hezekiah Barnard used to boast that, while David Vance at 
Lapland, now Marshall, had fed 90,000 hogs in one month, 
he himself had fed 110,000 in the same period of time. 
Aquilla Young, of Kentucky, also made his boast — he had 
driven 2,785 hogs from Kentucky to North Carolina in a 
single drove. 3 ° 

Old Road Houses. "The stock stands, as the hotels be- 
tween Asheville and Warm Springs were called, were generally 
'well kept.' They began four miles below Asheville, at five 
miles there was another, at seven and a half miles still an- 
other, at ten another, and another at thirteen and a half. 
After this, at 16, 18, 21, 22, 28, 33, 36, 37, 40 and 47 mile- 
posts there were still other hotels. "Many of them have 
entirely gone, and actually the ground upon which some of 
them stood has disappeared. The road, with a few points 
excepted, is but a wreck of its former self. It was once a 
great connecting link between Kentucky, Tennessee, South 
Carolina and Georgia, and the travel over it was immense. 
All the horses, mules, cattle, sheep and hogs were driven over 
this route from the first mentioned States to the latter, and 
the quantities of each and all used then was very much 
greater than now. In October, November and December 
there was an almost continuous string of hogs from Paint 



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 287 

Rock to Asheville. I have known ten to twelve droves, con- 
taining from 300 to one or two thousand stop over night and 
feed at one of these stands or hotels. Each drove was 'lot- 
ted' to itself, and 'corned' by the wagon-load, the wagon 
being driven through each lot with ten or a dozen men scat- 
tering the corn right, left and rear, the load emptied and the 
ground literally covered. The drivers of these hogs were 
furnished large rooms, with immense log-heap fire-places and 
a blanket or two each, that they furnished themselves. They 
would form a semi-circle upon the bare floor, their feet to the 
fire, and thus pass the night; that they slept, I need not tell 
you. After driving 20 to 50 hogs from daylight to dark they 
could eat without coaxing and sleep without rocking. The 
travel over this thoroughfare was the life of the country." 31 

Old Time Country Stores. "Corn, sixty years ago, was 
'the staple production'; the culture of tobacco was not 
thought of. These hotel men, many of them, kept little 
stores, bartered or sold everything on a credit; and in the fall 
they would advertise that on certain days they would receive 
corn in payment of 'store accounts,' and then the farmers 
would bestir themselves. They would commence delivering 
frequently by daylight and continue it until midnight. I 
have seen these corn wagons strung out for a mile and as 
thick as they could be wedged. They were more anxious to 
pay accounts then than some of us are now; but it was pay 
or no credit next year. Each merchant had his 'trade,' 
and there was no getting in debt to one and then skip to an- 
other. The price allowed for corn was almost invariably 
fifty cents per bushel, the hotel men furnishing it to drovers 
at about 75 cents. They charged the drovers from twenty 
to twenty-five cents 'per diet,' meaning per meal for their 
drivers, asking the whole in lame hogs at so much per pound, 
or a due-bill from the manager to be paid as he returned home 
after having made sale of his stock, cash being only rarely if 
ever paid. These lame hogs taken on bills were kept until 
a suitable time for killing — a cold spell being necessary to 
save the meat — when they were slaughtered and converted 
into bacon and lard. " 3 1 

Hog-Killin' Time. "This hog killin' was a big time, and 
'away 'fo' day' as the negroes, who were the principal partic- 
ipants, would say, twenty to thirty hands would build im- 



288 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

mense log-heap fires; with, first, a layer of wood and then a 
layer of stones, which continued till satisfactory dimensions 
were reached, when the fire was applied and kept burning 
until the stones reached a red-heat. In the meantime, a 
platform would have been made out of puncheons, slabs or 
heavy plank, at one end of which and very near the fire a 
large hogshead (or scalding tub), filled with water, was placed. 
Then the hot stones were transferred to the water till a proper 
temperature for scalding was reached, and a certain number 
of hogs having been shot and 'stuck' (bled by sticking long 
knives in the throat), two stout men would plunge each hog 
into the hot water and twist and turn it about until the hair 
would 'slip,' when it would be drawn out and turned over 
to other hands, who, with knives, would remove all the hair 
from the hog, and then hang it by its hind legs, head down, 
on a long horizontal pole, where it would we washed and 
scraped down, opened, the entrails removed, and after cool- 
ing, be cut to pieces, thus making hams, shoulders and mid- 
dlings. Then it would be salted down, the fat having been 
taken from all parts. This fat was stewed into lard, from 
which the boy's dainty 'cracklings' was removed. How well 
I remember the enjoyment I had on these occasions, in broil- 
ing upon the hot stones the 'melts,' making a delicacy that 
I think would be relished even now; and in blowing up and 
bursting the 'bladders,' frequently saving up a lot of them 
for Christmas 'guns.' " 32 

Our Depots Sixty Years Ago. "Forty years ago Char- 
leston and Augusta were our depots; think of it — thirty to 
sixty days in going and returning from market! Our people 
then thought little or nothing of hitching up four or six mules, 
once or twice a year, and starting to market . . . with 
forty to fifty hundred pounds of bacon and lard, flour and 
corn meal, dried fruit, apples and chestnuts . . . and 
bring back a barrel or two of molasses and sugar, a keg or 
so of rice, a few sacks of salt and coffee, a little iron, a hun- 
dred or two pounds of nails and a box or so of dry-goods." 33 

Roads Sixty Years Ago. "But the roads then were 
charming. I can remember when the road from Asheville to 
Warm Springs, every foot of it, was better than any half-mile 
of Asheville streets. Old Colonel Cunningham's 'mule and 
cart' and two or three hands traversed it from beginning to 



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 289 

end of year, removing every loose stone and smoothing up 
every place. All travel was then by private conveyance or 
stage, there being several four-horse coaches out from Ashe- 
ville daily. " 3 4 

Agriculture and Wit Sixty Years Ago. Of the farming 
along the French Broad between Asheville and Warm Springs 
sixty years ago, we read that "the lands were in a high state 
of cultivation, exceedingly high a great deal of it, as one would 
infer in passing along the foot of many steep hills and looking 
up to the top, seemingly almost perpendicular; and yet I have 
ploughed over some of the worst of them many a day, and 
was often indignant at the surprise expressed and sarcastic 
remarks made by the passer-by. One would ask if we did 
our planting with 'shot-guns'! Another, when were we go- 
ing to move, as he saw that we had our land rolled up ready 
for a start! The Kentucky horse-drovers would say the water 
of the French Broad was so worn out by splashing and dash- 
ing over and against the rocks that it was actually not fit 
for a horse to drink!" 

Herbs and Roots. Ginseng was for years the principal 
herb that commanded cash in this section, but at first it 
brought, when green, only seven cents a pound. It is now 
worth six dollars or more. 3 5 But gradually a market was 
developed for many other native herbs, such as angelico, 
blood root, balm of gilead buds, yellow and white sarsaparilla, 
shamonium (Jamestown or gympsum weed), corn silk (from 
maize), corn-smut or ergot, liverwort, lobelia, wahoo bark, 
Solomon's seal, polk root and berries, pepper and spear-mint, 
poppy and rose leaves, and raspberry leaves. Dried black- 
berries since the Civil War also find a ready market. Arthur 
Cole on Gap creek in Ashe county once did an immense busi- 
ness in herbs, and the large warehouses still standing there 
were used to store the herbs which he baled and shipped 
north. Ferns, galax leaves and other evergreens are gathered 
by women in the fall and winter and find ready sale. 

A Low Money Wage. Laborers and lawyers were poorly 
paid in the old days, and the doctors of medicine fared little 
better. A fee of one hundred dollars in a capital case was 
considered the "top notch" by many leaders of the bar, while 
the late David Ballard of Ox creek, Buncombe county, who 
died about 1905 at the age of eighty-odd years, used to say 

W. N. C— 19 



290 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

that, when he was a young man, he "had worked many a 
day for 25 cents a day and found himself." But 25 cents in 
those days would buy more than a dollar would now, and, as 
most of the trading was by barter, money was not missed as 
much as might be imagined. Stores were few and most of 
the things we now consider indispensable were unknown to 
many of the poorer people. Besides, everything that was 
indispensable was made at home, and things that were not 
indispensable were cheerfully dispensed with. 

Dyes. Madder dyed red; walnut bark and roots dyed 
brown; bedewood bark dyed purple; dye-flowers and snuff 
weed dyed yellow; copperas dyed yellow, and burnt copperas 
dyed nearly red. All black dyes rot wool. Dyes fade unless 
"set" in the thread — that is, made fast before the thread is 
placed in the loom. Laurel leaves, copperas, alum, and salt 
set dyes. The ooze from boiled walnut roots and bark was 
used to dye the wool before it was spun. It was dipped and 
dried, and dipped and dried again and again till the proper 
color had been attained. The dye pot stood on the hearth 
nearly all the time, as it had to be kept warm. Some dye 
plants were grown in the gardens, but they usually grew wild. 

NOTES. 

'The Century Magazine for September, 1890. 

2 Asheville's Centenary. 

aFifth Eth., Rep. 147. 

'Roosevelt, Vol. Ill, p. 225. 

5 Asheville's Centenary. 

Thwaites, p. 30. 

'Hominy creek in Buncombe got its name from a hominy mill with a pestle worked by 
water. 

8 These graters are still used in many places. 

Thwaites, p. 32. 

10 Thwaites, p. 32. The late Col. Allen T. Davidson used to tell of a famous hunter 
named " Neddy" McFalls who traveled from Cataloochee to Waynesville to have a witch 
doctor — a woman— remove a "spell" he thought someone had put on his Gillespie rifle. 

lll 'Book of Hand-woven Coverlets," by Eliza Calvert Hall. 

"Collier's Editorial, April 6, 1912. John Fox, Jr.'s novels. 

13 The murder of the gambler, Rosenthal, in August, 1912, on Broadway, New 
York, N. Y. 

"Tarbell, Vol. I, rj. 5 

iKByrd, 212. 

16 Zeigler & Grosscup, p. 96. 

"Ibid., 94-96. 

18 There is a spinning-wheel on Grassy Branch in Buncombe county on which Polly 
Henry spun more thread than Judge Burton's daughter in 1824. 

"Asheville's Centenary. 

"Ibid. 

"From "A Life of Deacon William West Skiles." 

22 Asheville's Centenary. 

2 description furnished by Col. David J. Farthing of Butler, Tenn. This applies only 
to the guns whose barrels were not bored out. The late Col. Allen T. Davidson used to 
tell of a famous gun-maker, who lived near Cherry Fields at the head of the French Broad 
river, whose "rifle guns" were much sought. The iron bars from which they were made 
were called "gunskelps." His name was Gillespie. 

"Mace's "School History of U. S.," 1904, p. 287. 

25 Asheville's Centenary. 

26 "Balsam Groves," p. 17. 

"Thwaites, p. 35. 

28 A. T. Summey in Asheville's Centenary. 

29 John A. Nichols' statement to J. P. A., July, 1912. 



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 291 



'"Upon the organization of the Western Division of the W. N. C. R. R. Co., the stock 
and property of the Buncombe Turnpike Co. were exchanged for an equal amount of stock 
in the Western Division. Shipp's Land Com. Report, pp. 284-285. 

"Col. J. M. Hay in Lyceum, p. 16, December, 1890. 

'2Ibid., p. 17. 

""Ibid., P- 16. . E . .„ 

34 The referer.ce was to a time shortly before any paving had been done in Asheville. 

s sin the "Autobiography of Rev. C. D. Smith," p. 2, we find that ginseng was " manu- 
factured," and Col. A. T. Davidson in the Lyceum for January, 1891, p. 5, speaks of the 
"factory." Dr. Smith also says this herb was gathered "in Madison, Yancey, a portion 
of Buncombe, Mitchell, Watauga, Ashe, and Alleghany counties." Col. Davidson speaks 
of Dr. Hailen and Dr. Smith, of Lucius & Heylin of Philadelphia, as the merchants to whom 
it was shipped. 



CHAPTER XII 

EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS 

Junaluska. In the fall of 1910 the General Joseph Win- 
ston Chapter, D. A. R., unveiled at Robbinsville, Graham 
county, a metal tablet, suitably inscribed, to Junaluska and 
Nicie his wife. The tablet was attached to a large boulder 
which had been placed on the graves of these two Cherokees. 
Mrs. George B. Walker of Robbinsville read a paper in which 
was given the chief facts of the career of this noted Indian 
chieftain; among which was the recovery by him of an Indian 
maiden who had been sold into slavery and taken to Charles- 
ton, S. C, by proving by microscopic tests that her hair had 
none of the characteristics of the negro's. He also, on sep- 
arate occasions, saved the lives of Rev. Washington Lovin- 
good and Gabriel North, whom he found perishing from cold in 
the mountains. He went with the Cherokees to the west in 
1838, but returned, and was allowed to remain, the legislature 
of North Carolina of 1847 having, by special act, made him a 
citizen and granted him 337 acres of land near what is now 
Robbinsville. The Battle of the Horse Shoe was fought 
August 27, 1814, according to Alfred M. Williams' Life of 
Sam Houston (p. 13), and on March 27th, according to others. 
It was called the Battle of To-ho-pe-ka, and was fought in a 
bend of the Tallapoosa river, Alabama, by Gen. Andrew Jack- 
son in the Creek War. It was fortified across the neck of the 
peninsula by a fort of logs against which Jackson's small 
cannon were ineffective. But in the rear there were no forti- 
fications except the river itself, so that Gen. Coffey, Jackson's 
coadjutor, could not cross. But Junaluska swam the river 
and stole the canoes of the Creeks, strung them together and 
paddled them to the opposite shore, where he filled them with 
a large number of Cherokees, recrossed the river, led by him- 
self, and attacked in the rear while Jackson attacked in front, 
Sam Houston and his Tennesseans scaling the walls and grap- 
pling the Creeks hand to hand. The Creeks asked and received 
no quarter, Houston himself being desperately wounded. 
This ended the last hope of the Creeks as a nation. I-su-nu- 
la-hun-ski, which has been improved into Junaluska, is Cher- 

(292) 



EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS 293 

okee for "I tried but failed," and was given this chief because 
at the outset of the Creek War he had boasted that he would 
exterminate the Creeks, but, at first, had failed to keep his 
promise. The following is the inscription on the tablet: 
"Here lie the bodies of the Cherokee chief Junaluska, and 
Nicie, his wife. Together with his warriors, he saved the life 
of General Jackson, at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, and for 
his bravery and faithfulness North Carolina made him a citi- 
zen and gave him land in Graham county. He died Novem- 
ber 20, 1858, aged more than one hundred years. This monu- 
ment was erected to his Memory by the General Joseph Win- 
ston Chapter, D. A. R., 1910." Before his death Junaluska 
conveyed his land to R. M. Henry. But Sheriff Hayes admin- 
istered on the estate of the deceased Indian and got an order 
from the court for the sale of the land to make assets. Under 
the sale Gen. Smythe of Ohio became the purchaser, and took 
possession. The case was carried to the United States court, 
where Henry won. But Judge Dick held that it was a case 
in equity, and set aside the verdict of the jury, heard the 
evidence himself and decided it in favor of Smythe. Henry 
did not appeal. See record in office of clerk of United States 
court, Asheville. It was decided in the seventies. 

Peyton Colvard. This pioneer was of French extraction, 
the name originally having been spelt Calvert, according to 
the Rev. Mr. Verdigans of the Methodist Church, South. 
Peyton Colvard came to Ashe county after the Revolutionary 
War. The Colvards of Cherokee and Graham are descend- 
ants, as is also Dr. J. W. Colvard of Jefferson, Ashe county. 

Part of Negro Mountain Falls. About the year 1830 
Peyton Colvard lived in a log building which stood on the site 
of the present Jefferson Cash store of Dr. Testerman, and on 
the morning of February 19, 1827, the day his daughter Rachel, 
now the wife of Russell Wilbar of Texas, was born, a huge mass 
of rock fell from the top of Negro mountain and ploughed a 
deep furrow, still visible, down its side for a quarter of a mile. 
The main mass of this rock, almost intact, is still visible, with 
a small tree growing on it, while large trees have since grown 
in the ravine left by the fall of this immense boulder. 

The Falling of the Stars. Several people still living 
remember this wonderful and fearful event. Col. John C. 
Smathers, who then lived on Pigeon river above Canton, remem- 



294 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

bers it distinctly. He remembers hearing women wailing and 
men praying. Francis Marion Wells, still living on Grass 
creek in Madison county, remembers it also. He is now over 
ninety-two years of age. Mrs. Eliza Burleson, still living on 
the head of Cane creek in Mitchell county, remembers the 
occurrence. She also is over ninety-two years of age. 

Frankie Silver's Crime and Confession. According 
to Mrs. Lucinda Norman, the only living sister of Charles 
Silver, now (1912) 88 years of age and residing at Ledger, 
Mitchell county, N. C, Frances Stewart Silver murdered her 
husband, Charles Silver, at what is now Black Mountain 
Station on the Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio Railroad — the 
mouth of the South Toe river — on the night of December 22, 
1831. 2 She was tried before Judge Donnell, June Term, 1832, 
and convicted at Morganton, where she was executed July 
12, 1833. On appeal her conviction was affirmed by Judge 
Ruffin (14 N. C, 332). She escaped from jail but was recap- 
tured. She cut her husband's head off with an ax, and then 
dismembered the body, after which she tried to burn portions 
of it in the open fireplace of her home. She left a poem lament- 
ing her fate, in which she refers to "the jealous thought that 
first gave strife to make me take my husband's life." She 
also pleads that her "faults shall not her child disgrace." She 
also relates in the poem that 

"With flames I tried him to consume 
But time would not admit it done." 

She must have been educated better than the average woman 
of that day. Finding that she could not get rid of the body 
by burning it, she concealed portions of it under the floor, in 
rock cliffs and elsewhere, claiming that he had gone off for 
whiskey with which to celebrate Christmas, and had probably 
fallen into the river, which had soon thereafter frozen over. 
A negro with a "magic glass" was brought from Tennessee, 
and as the glass persisted in turning downward, the floor was 
removed and portions of the body found. The weather 
growing warmer other parts of the remains revealed them- 
selves, a little dog helping to find some. 

Two Baird Families. Indicative of the almost utter 
desolation of these early scattered mountain communities is 
the story of the two Baird families. On the 20th of April, 



EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS 295 

1795, John Burton sold to Zebulon and Bedent Baird all his 
lots in Asheville "except what lots is [already] sold and maid 
over." 3 In 1819 Bedent Baird represented Ashe county in the 
House of Commons. He was not the Bedent who had bought 
the lots from John Burton. 4 Certain it is that another Bedent 
Baird lived at Valle Crucis in what is now Ashe county, and 
his descendants constitute a large and influential family in 
that county at this time, just as the Bairds of Buncombe do 
in that county. But these two families seem never to have 
heard of the existence of the other till the 28th of January, 
1858, when Bedent E. Baird wrote to Adolphus E. Baird 
at Lapland, now Marshall, in answer to Baird's note of 
enquiry, which he had penciled on the margin of a news- 
paper. In that note he had claimed Bedent as a relative 
and stated that he resided at Lapland; but he failed to 
sign his name or state the county in which Lapland was 
situated. A. E. Baird received the letter promptly, but 
seems never to have answered it. In it Bedent gave a 
full family history; and the letter was published in full 
in the Asheville Gazette News on February 20, 1912. This 
letter was read and preserved by the numerous Bairds in 
Buncombe but no one seems to be able to trace the exact 
relationship between the Buncombe and the Watauga Bairds. 
That they are the same family no one who knows them can 
doubt, as they look, and, in many things, act alike, besides 
having the same given names in many cases. 5 

The Cold Saturday. This date is fixed in Watauga by the 
fact that John Hartley was born on that day, which is set 
down in his family Bible as February 8, 1835. On June 5, 
1858, a freeze killed corn knee-high, and all fruits, vegetables 
and white oak trees between Boone and Jefferson, according 
to the recollections of Col. W. L. Bryan of Boone. There 
was a slight frost at Blowing Rock on the night of July 26, 1876. 
There was snow on the Haywood mountains June 10, 1913. 

"The Big Snow." Just when occurred what old people call 
the "big" snow cannot be determined to the satisfaction 
of everyone. Mrs. Eliza Burleson, of Hawk, Mitchell county, 
and the mother of Charles Wesley Burleson of Plum Tree, 
was born on the 5th of April, 1820, on Three Mile creek, her 
father having been Bedford Wiseman. She married Thomas 
Burleson, now deceased, in 1840, and after the Big Snow, and 



296 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 



still remembers the hunters who came to her father's house 
from Morganton with guns and clogs and well nigh exter- 
minated the deer, which could not run on the frozen surface 
of the deep snow, their sharp hoofs plunging through the crust, 
thus rendering locomotion impossible. Strange to say, near 
this very place is now the largest private collection of deer in 
the mountains — Bailey's deer-park being well stocked, while 
a small number of deer still wander wild in the neighborhood 
and are hunted every fall. George W. Vanderbilt's and the 
Murchison deer parks also contain a number of these animals, 
as well as several other smaller collections. 

"Snew, Blew and Friz." T. L. Lowe, Esq., of Banner 
Elk, thinks that two hundred years ago elk, moose or caribou 
roamed these mountains, and that there was little or no under- 
brush or laurel or ivy then. He speaks of a big snow which 
fell during the Fifties which recalled Dean Swift's great snow 
in England, when he said "first it blew, then it snew and then 
it friz." A large number of deer were killed at this time for 
the same reason, the frozen crust. In Watauga they still tell 
of a big snow which entirely obliterated all evidence of fences 
and shrubbery; but the year seems to have been prior to 1850. 

Other Weather Extravagancies. From Robert Henry's 
diary we learn that in "the summer of 1815 no rain fell from 
the 8th of July till the 8th of September. Trees died." Also 
that, "on the 28th day of August, 1830, Caney branch (which 
runs by Sulphur spring five miles west of Asheville) ceased to 
run. Tom Moore's creek and Ragsdale's creek had ceased 
to run some days before; the corn died from the drouth. This 
has been the driest summer in sixty years to my knowledge. 
Our spring ceased to run for some weeks previous to the above 
date." Again: "The summer of 1836 was the wettest 
summer in seventy years in my remembrance." This is the 
climax: "Thursday, Friday, and Saturday next before 
Christmas, 1794, were the coldest days in seventy years," 
though as he had been born in 1765 he could not then have 
been quite thirty years of age himself. 

A Modern "Big Snow." On the 2d and 3d of December, 
1886, a snow three feet in depth fell in Buncombe and adjoin- 
ing counties. On December 6th the newly elected officers of 
Buncombe county were required by law to present their offi- 
cial bonds to the county commissioners for approval; but, 



EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS 297 

owing to the snow, it was impossible to travel very far. As a 
consequence R. H. Cole, who had been elected register of deeds, 
and J. V. Hunter, who had been elected treasurer, could not 
provide bonds acceptable to the commissioners, and J. H. 
Patterson who had been defeated was appointed register of 
deeds, and J. H. Courtney, who had also been defeated, was 
appointed treasurer. 

Two Recent Cold Snaps. On the night of February 
7, 1895, there was a dangerous fire on Pack Square, Ashe- 
ville, threatening for awhile the entire southeastern section of 
the city. The thermometer was seven degrees below zero. 
On the morning of February 13, 1899, the thermometer was 
133^2 below zero at Asheville. 

Mount Mitchell. 6 In 1835 Prof. Elisha Mitchell made 
the first barometrical measurements of our mountains, and 
his report was the first authoritative announcement of the 
superior altitude of the highest southern summit to that of 
Mount Washington in New Hampshire. In 1844 he and 
Gen. T. L. Clingman took observations in the Balsam, Smoky 
and Black mountains, and Gen. Clingman subsequently pub- 
lished a statement to the effect that he had found a higher 
peak in the Blacks than the one measured by Dr. Mitchell. 
"It was admitted that Gen. Clingman had measured the high- 
est point, the only question being whether that peak was the 
same as that previously measured by Dr. Mitchell." 

Discoverers Dispute. To settle the matter Dr. Mitchell 
ran a series of levels from the terminus of the railroad near 
Morganton to the half-way house built by Mr. William Patton 
of Charleston, S. C, in 1856. From this place Dr. Mitchell 
started alone to Big Tom Wilson's in Yancey by the route he 
had followed in 1844. He intended to meet his son Charles 
at an appointed place on the Blacks the following Monday, 
he having left the half-way house Saturday, June 27, 1857. 
His son waited and searched for him till Friday following, 
when news of the professor's disappearance reached Ashe- 
ville, and many men set out to search for him. On the fol- 
lowing Tuesday Big Tom Wilson, who had been the professor's 
guide in 1844, discovered his trail and found the body in a 
pool of water at the foot of a waterfall, since called Mitchell's 
creek and Mitchell's fall. The body was taken across the 
top of the Blacks to Asheville and there interred in the Pres- 



298 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

byterian church yard; but a year later it was taken back to 
the Peak and buried there. 1 3 

The Merits of the Controversy. Dr. Arnold Guyot 
of Princeton College, in an article published in the Asheville 
News, July 18, 1860: "The statements Dr. Mitchell made, at 
different times, of the results of his measurements failed to 
agree with each other, and, owing to unfavorable circum- 
stances and the want of proper instruments, the precise loca- 
tion of the points measured, especially of the highest, had 
remained quite indefinite, even in the mind of Dr. Mitchell 
himself, as I learned it from his own mouth in 1856. ... I 
may, perhaps, be permitted to express it as my candid opinion 
(without wishing in the least to revive a controversy happily 
terminated) that if the honored name of Dr. Mitchell is taken 
from Mount Mitchell and transferred to the highest peak, it 
should not be on the ground that he first made known its 
true elevation, which he never did, nor himself ever claimed 
to have done; for the true height was not known before my 
measurement of 1854, and the coincidence made out quite 
recently may be shown, from abundant proofs furnished by 
himself, to be a mere accident. Nor should it be on the ground 
of his having first visited it; for, though, after his death, evi- 
dence which made it probable that he did [came out,] he never 
could convince himself of it. Nor, at last, should it be because 
that peak was, as it is alleged, thus named long before; for I 
must declare that neither in 1854, nor later, during the whole 
time I was on both sides of the mountain, did I hear of another 
Mount Mitchell than the one south of the highest, so long 
visited under that name; and that Dr. Mitchell himself, before 
ascending the northern peak, in 1856, as I gathered it from a 
conversation with him, believed it to be the highest. Dr. 
Mitchell has higher and better claims, which are universally and 
cheerfully acknowledged by all, to be forever remembered 
in connection with the Black Mountain. . . . From these 
facts it is evident that the honorable senator [T. L. Clingman] 
could not possibly know when he first ascended it 
that anyone had visited or measured it before him, nor have 
any intention to do any injustice to Dr. Mitchell. . 
As to the highest group in the Great Smoky Mountains, how- 
ever, I must remark that, in the whole valley of the Tucka- 
seegee and Oconaluftee, I heard of but one name applied to the 



EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS 299 

highest point, and it is that of Mount Clingman. The great- 
est authority around the peak, Robert Collins, Esq., knows 
of no other. . . . Gen. Clingman was the leader of a party 
which made, in 1858, the first measurement, and the party 
was composed, besides himself, of Mr. S. P. Buckley and Dr. 
S. L. Love. He caused Mr. Collins to cut a path six miles to 
the top, which enabled me to carry there the first horse . 
ever seen on these heights. . . . The central or highest peak 
is therefore designated as Clingman's Dome, the south peak, 
the next in height, as Mount Buckley, the north peak as 
Mount Love." 

The Monument. The monument to Professor Elisha 
Mitchell, on the crest of the highest peak east of the Rocky 
mountains, was completed August 18, 1888. It is bolted to the 
bed-rock itself, is of white bronze — an almost pure zinc — 
treated under the sandblast to impart a granular appear- 
ance, cause it to resemble granite, and prevent discoloration; 
and was made by the Monumental Bronze Company, of 
Bridgeport, Conn. It was erected by Mrs. E. N. Grant, a 
daughter, and other members of Prof. Mitchell's family. Its 
dimensions are about two and one-half feet at the base and 
about twelve feet high. It is a hollow square and without any 
ornamentation. Vandals have shot bullet holes in it and an 
ax blade has been driven into one of its sides. Professor W. 
B. Phillips, now the professor of Geology at the University 
of Texas, had charge of its erection. It contains the follow- 
ing inscriptions: 

Upon the western side, in raised letters is the single word: 

" MITCHELL" 

On the side toward the grave is the following: 

"Erected in 1888. 
"Here lies in hope of a blessed resurrection the body of Rev. Elisha 
Mitchell, D.D., who, after being for 39 years a professor in the Univer- 
sity of North Carolina, lost his life in the scientific exploration of this 
mountain in the 64th year of his age, June 27th, 1857. " 7 

A Memorable Riot. During the Seymour and Blair cam- 
paign of 1868 a riot occurred on the public square at Asheville 
in which one negro was killed and two others seriously wounded. 
Trouble had been expected, and when a negro knocked a young 
Mississippian down, twenty or more pistols were discharged 



300 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

into the crowd of negroes, while from several store doors and 
second-story windows shotguns and rifles were discharged 
into the fleeing blacks. That night a drum was beaten in the 
woods where now is Aston park and a crowd of negroes assem- 
bled there, and reports spread that they would burn the town. 
Messengers were sent to surrounding towns, and by daylight 
three hundred armed white men from adjoining counties 
arrived. For two weeks the streets were patrolled at night. 
Oscar Eastman, in charge of the Freedman's Bureau, had an 
office in the Thomas building on the southwest corner of the 
square; but after the riot Eastman could not be found for 
several days, as it was thought he had incited the negroes to 
arm themselves with stout hickory sticks and shout for Grant 
and Colfax, the immediate casus belli. Giles McDowell, a 
large, bushy-headed negro and a Democrat, came up South 
Main street and shouted "Hurrah for Seymour and Blair," 
whereupon the other negroes made a rush for him, during 
which the young Mississippian was knocked down. Giles 
fled; but another darky by the name of Jim Greenlee fell on his 
face at the first shot, groaning and hollering. After the shoot- 
ing was over it developed that Jim was unhurt, but had wisely 
pretended to be hurt in order to keep anyone from firing at 
him. In 1874, Eastman, who had made himself very obnox- 
ious, was indicted in Buncombe Superior court twenty-five times 
for retailing whiskey and once for gambling. At the Spring 
Term of 1869 George H. Bell, William Blair, Erwin Hardy, 
Gaston McDowell, Ben. Young, Natt Atkinson, J. M. Alex- 
ander, J. W. Shartle, E. H. Merrimon, Henry Patton, Simon 
Henry, Robert Patton, John Lang and Armistead Dudley, 
pleaded guilty to the charge of riot, and were taxed with the 
costs. 

A Backwoods Abelard and Eloise. The tomb of the 
Priest Abelard and his sweetheart Eloise, in Paris, is visited 
by greater numbers than that of Napoleon. But the grave of 
poor, ignorant and deluded Delilah Baird near Valle Crucis 
is neglected and unknown. Yet she as truly as Eloise gave 
her life for love; for although she knew that John Holsclaw 
was a married man, she thought he was taking her to Kentucky 
when as a child of fifteen she followed him to the Big Bottoms 
of Elk in the spring of 1826, where she lived a life of faithful- 
ness and devotion to her lover and their son and daughter, and 



EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS 301 

died constant and true to her role as his widow in God's sight, 
if not in that of man's. Having sold her land the poor re- 
pressed, stinted creature indulged in gay dressing in her later 
years, which caused some of her relatives to fear that she was 
not competent to manage her money matters; but a com- 
mission of which Smith Coffey was a member, found that she 
was. (Deed Books R., p. 574, and A., p. 498.) In 1881-82 
she wrote to a childhood friend, not a former sweetheart, 
Ben Dyer, at Grapevine, Texas, to come and protect her 
interests and she would give him a home. He came, but 
was not satisfied, and on May 26, 1882, sued her for his trav- 
eling expenses and the worth of his time; but recovered only 
$47.50, the price of a ticket to Texas. (Judgment Roll and 
Docket A., p. 172, Watauga county; See Chapter 13, "Loch- 
invar Redux.") 

Nimrod S. Jarrett. In the early fall of 1873 Bayliss Hen- 
derson, a desperado from Tennessee, wandering about, heard 
that Col. N. S. Jarrett would leave his home at the Apple 
Tree place on the Nantahala river, six miles above Nantahala 
station on the Western North Carolina Railroad, and the same 
distance below Aquone, where his daughter, Mrs. Alexander 
P. Munday, and her husband lived. Henderson had been 
told that Jarrett would carry a large sum of money with him 
as he had to go to Franklin to settle as guardian for wards who 
had become of age. On a bright Sunday morning he was to 
start alone, as Henderson had been told, and on that morning 
he did start and alone. Half a mile below the home where 
Micajah Lunsford used to live he overtook Henderson, who 
was strolling idly along the road. Henderson walked a short 
distance by Jarrett's horse, but falling back a pace drew his 
pistol and shot the Colonel in the back of the head at the 
base of the brain. He took his watch and chain and the little 
money he had in his pocket, and hearing some one coming he 
waded across the Nantahala river and watched. The person 
he had heard was Mrs. Jarrett, the dead man's wife, a cripple, 
who had ridden rapidly in order to overtake her husband and 
ride with him to Aquone where she was to have stayed till he 
returned from Franklin. She went on and told Micajah 
Lunsford and a crowd soon gathered about the body. The 
footprints of a man near the body were measured, but before 
the body was removed Henderson came upon the scene. It 



302 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

was noticed that the heels of his shoes were missing, but that 
in other respects his shoes made a print exactly like those 
which had been there before his arrival. He was arrested 
and taken to Franklin. The trial was removed to Jackson 
county, where he was convicted and hanged, the Supreme court 
refusing a new trial. (68 N. C.) While Henderson was in 
Macon jail he sent a man named Holland to a certain tree 
near the scene of the murder, where he found the watch, chain 
and money. Later on Henderson escaped and went back to 
the place where he had lived before the murder, but was found 
hiding in a brush-heap soon afterwards and returned to prison. 
Col. Jarrett was 73 years old. 

A Forgotten Crime. In the spring of 1855 the home of 
Col. Nimrod S. Jarrett at Aquone, Macon county, was burned 
in the day time, and one of his children, a little girl, perished 
in the flames, though her mother had gone into the burning 
dwelling in the effort to find and rescue her, and had been 
dragged out by force. About 1898 a man named Bill Dills 
died on the head of Wusser creek, and confessed that he had 
set fire to the house in order to prevent suspicion falling on 
him for having stolen several small sums of money, his idea 
being that their loss when discovered, would be attributed to 
the fire. 

Quaking Bald. "The most famous of the restless moun- 
tains of North Carolina is 'Shaking Bald.'" The first shock, 
which occurred February 10, 1874, was followed in quick 
succession by others and caused general alarm in the vicinity. 
This mountain for a time received national attention. Within 
six months more than one hundred shocks were felt. 

The general facts of these terrestrial disturbances have 
never been disputed, but concerning their cause, there has 
been widely diversified speculation. Is there an upheaval or 
subsidence of the mountains gradually going on? Are they 
the effect of explosions caused by the chemical action of min- 
erals under the influence of electric currents? Are they the 
effect of gases forced through fissures in the rocks from the 
center of the earth, seeking an outlet at the surface? These are 
questions on which scientists differ. Be the cause what it may, 
there is no occasion to fear the eruption of an active volcano. 

"The famous Bakl mountain forms the north wall of the 
valley. Its sterile face is distinctly visible from the porch 



EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS 303 

of the Logan hotel. Caves similar to Bat cave are high on its 
front. In 1874 Bald mountain pushed itself into prominence 
by shaking its eastern end with an earthquake-like rumble, 
that rattled plates on pantry shelves in the cabins of the val- 
leys, shook windows to pieces in their sashes, and even star- 
tled the quiet inhabitants of Rutherfordton, seventeen miles 
away. Since then rumblings have occasionally been heard, 
and some people say they have seen smoke rising in the atmos- 
phere. There is an idea, wide-spread, that the mountain is 
an extinct volcano. As evidence of a crater, they point to a 
fissure about half a mile long, six feet wide in some places, and 
of unmeasured depth. This fissure, bordered with trees, 
extends across the eastern end of the peak. But the crater 
idea is effectually choked up by the fact that the crack is of 
recent appearance. The crack widens even- year and, as it 
widens, stones are dislodged from the mountain steeps. Their 
thundering falls from the heights may explain the rumbling, 
and their clouds of dust account for what appears to be smoke. 
The widening of the crack is possibly due to the gradual up- 
heaval of the mountain." 8 

Trial of Thomas W. Strange. On the 27th day of April, 
1876, Thomas W. Strange was acquitted in Asheville for the 
murder on the 19th of August, 1875, of James A. Murray of 
Haywood county before Judge Samuel Watts and the follow- 
ing jurors: W. P. Bassett, J. L. "Weaver, John H. Murphy, 
Owen Smith, W. W. McDowell, B. F. Young, John Chesbrough, 
G. W. Whitson, S. M. Banks, W. A. Weddin, and P. F. Pat- 
ton. W. L. Tate of Waynesville was the solicitor. There 
was much feeling in Haywood and Buncombe counties because 
of this acquittal. During his confinement in jail Preston L. 
Bridgers, his friend, voluntarily stayed with Thomas Strange. 
The court was held in the chapel of the Asheville Female 
College, now the high school. Judge Watts was from the 
eastern part of the State and was nick-named "Greasy Sam." 

"Big Tom' - Wilson. Thomas D. Wilson, commonly known 
as "Big Tom," on account of his great size, was born Decem- 
ber 1, 1825, on Toe river, near the mouth of Crabtree creek, 
in the Deyton Bend. The *'D" in his name was solely for 
euphony. He married Niagara Ray, daughter of Amos L. 
Ray, and settled at the Green Ponds, afterwards known as the 
Murchison boundary. The place was so called because of 



304 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

several pools or ponds in Cane river, on the rock bottom of 
which a green moss grows. He died at a great age a few 
years ago. He was a great woodsman, hunter and trapper — 
a typical frontiersman, picturesque in appearance and original 
in speech and manner. He is said to have killed over one 
hundred bears during his life. His knowledge of woodcraft 
enabled him to discover Prof. Mitchell's trail, resulting in the 
recovery of his body, when the scientist lost his life on Black 
mountain in the summer of 1857. x 3 

Lewis Redmond, Outlaw. He was part Indian, and was 
born and reared in Transylvania county, having "hawk-like 
eyes and raven-black hair." When fifteen years of age he 
was taken into the family of "Uncle Wash Galloway," a 
pioneer farmer of the county, and after he was grown and had 
left his home at Galloway's, he began " moonshining. " War- 
rants were issued for his arrest, but the deputy United States 
marshals were afraid to arrest him. Marshal R. M. Doug- 
lass, however, deputized Alfred F. Duckworth a member of 
a large and influential family of Transylvania county. Red- 
mond had sworn he would not be arrested, but young Duck- 
worth went after him notwithstanding. Another deputy by 
the name of Lankford accompanied him. They came up 
with Redmond in the neighborhood of the East Fork, March 
1, 1876. Redmond and his brother-in-law Ladd were driving 
a wagon. Duckworth told Redmond to stop, as he had a 
warrant for his arrest. Redmond stopped the wagon, and 
asked to hear the warrant read. Duckworth dismounted 
from his horse and began reading the warrant, but holding 
his pistol in one of his hands while he did so. Redmond said, 
"All right, put up your pistol, Alf, I will go along with you." 
While Duckworth was putting his pistol in his pocket, Ladd 
passed a pistol to Duckworth, and before "a man standing 
near by could speak," Redmond put the pistol to Duckworth's 
throat and fired. Then he and Ladd jumped from the wagon 
and ran. Duckworth followed them a dozen or more steps, 
firing his pistol as he ran; but fell in the road from the shock 
of his wound. He died soon after being taken to his home, 
and Redmond escaped. Redmond was caught later in South 
Carolina for some offence committed there, but escaped. 9 
Later on he was captured in Swain county at or near Maple 
Springs, five miles above Almond. He was living in a house 



EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS 305 

which commanded a view of the only approach to it, a canoe 
landing and trail leading from it. A posse crossed in the night 
and were in hiding near-by when daylight came. Redmond 
left the house and went in the upper part of the clearing with 
a gun to shoot a squirrel. One of the posse ordered him to 
surrender. Redmond whirled to shoot at him, when another 
of the posse fired on him from another quarter, filling his 
back with buckshot, disabling but not killing him. He was 
taken to Bryson City, and while recuperating from his wounds 
received a visit from his wife. She managed to give him a 
pistol secretly which Redmond concealed under his pillow. 
A girl living in the house found it out, and told Judge Jeter 
C. Pritchard, who was one of the men guarding him at that 
time. He told his companions, and it was agreed that he 
should disarm him. This was done, warning having first 
been given Redmond that if he moved he would be killed. 
" Redmond served a term in the United States prison at Albany 
N. Y., and after being released moved to South Carolina, where, 
I am informed, he killed another man, an officer, and was 
again sent to prison." 9 During the term of Gov. Wade Hamp- 
ton a long petition, extensively signed by many ladies of 
South Carolina, was presented to the governor for his pardon. 
He called himself a "Major," and claimed to be dying of 
tuberculosis. The pardon was granted in 1878, and Red- 
mond has given no trouble since. He was never tried for 
killing Duckworth. 1 ° 

Escape of Ray and Anderson. In the summer of 1885 
several prisoners escaped from the county jail on Valley street 
in Asheville. They were J. P. Sluder, charged with the mur- 
der of L. C. Sluder; C. M. York, also charged with another 
murder; and E. W. Ray and W. A. Anderson of Mitchell 
county, who had been convicted in Caldwell county — Ander- 
son of murder and Ray of manslaughter, for the killing of 
three men in a struggle for the possession of a mica mine in 
Mitchell county. The last two men were members of prom- 
inent families. On the night of July 3, 1885, these men with 
an ax broke a hole in the brick wall of the jail, and escaped. 
They had forced the sheriff, the late J. R. Rich, and J. D. 
Henderson, the jailor, into the cage in which the prisoners 
were confined, when they were tied and gagged. The military 
company was called out to recapture the prisoners, but with- 
w. n. a— 20 



306 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 



out result. Proceedings were instituted against Rich and 
Henderson for suffering these escapes, but both were acquitted 
in January, 1886. 

Phenomena Noted and Explained. In his "Speeches 
and Writings" (Raleigh, 1877), Gen. Thomas L. Clingman 
has described and explained many phenomena, among which 
was the meteor of 1860 (p. 53), which was originally published 
in Appleton's Journal, January 7, 1871; the falling of several 
destructive water-spouts in Macon and Jackson counties 
(p. 68) on the 15th of June, 1876; and what he terms "low 
volcanic action" in the mountains of Haywood, at the head 
of Fines creek, which he visited in 1848 and 1851, and which 
had caused "cracks in the solid granite . . . chasms, 
none of them above four feet in width, generally extending 
north and south" where large trees had been thrown down, 
hillocks on which saplings grew obliquely to the horizon, 
showing they had attained some size before the hillocks were 
elevated. He again visited this place in 1867, when he saw 
evidences of further disturbances, a large "oak tree of great 
age and four or five feet in diameter having been split open 
from root to top and thrown down so that the two halves lay 
several feet apart" (p. 78 et seq.). This was first published 
in the National Intelligencer of November 15, 1848. 

A Crime Necessitating Legislation. It was on the Cher- 
okee county boundary line that on the 11th day of July, 1892, 
William Hall shot and killed Andrew Bryson. He stood on 
the North Carolina side of the boundary line between the two 
States and, shooting across that line, killed Bryson while he 
was in Tennessee. William Hall and John Dickey were tried 
with Hall as accessories before the fact, and all were convicted 
of murder at the spring term of the Superior court of Cherokee 
county in 1893. But the Supreme court granted a new trial 
at the February term of 1894 l x on the ground that Hall could 
not be guilty of homicide in Tennessee. This decision was 
immediately followed by efforts on the part of the State of 
Tennessee to extradite the defendants under the act of Con- 
gress, but the Supreme court of North Carolina held on habeas 
corpus proceedings : 2 that no one can be alleged to have fled 
from the justice of a State in whose domain he has never been 
corporeally present since the commission of the crime. The 
prisoners were discharged and have never been tried again in 



EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS 307 

North Carolina. These decisions were followed by remedial 
legislation embodied in the Acts of 1895, Chapter 169, making 
similar homicides crimes in North Carolina as well as in Ten- 
nessee. 

The Emma Burglary. Following are the facts of a sensa- 
tional burglary which occurred in Buncombe county Febru- 
ary 8, 1901, as taken from the case of the State v. Foster, 129 
N. C. Reports, p. 704: 

"Indictment against Ben Foster, R. S. Gates, Harry Mills and Frank 
Johnston, heard by Judge Frederick Moore and a jury, at June (Special) 
Term, 1901, of the Superior Court of Buncombe County. From a ver- 
dict of guilty and judgment thereon, the defendants appealed. 

"The facts are substantially as follows : 

"D. J. McClelland was the owner of a store at a place called 'Emma', 
a few miles from the city of Asheville, in the county of Buncombe. 
Samuel H. Alexander is his clerk, and had been for more than three 
years boarding in the family of McClelland and sleeping in the store. 
There was a room in said store building fitted up and furnished with a 
bed and other furniture as a sleeping apartment, in which said Alexander 
kept his trunk and other belongings, and slept there, and had done so 
regularly for three years or more. On the night of the 8th of February, 
1901, he closed and fastened all the windows and outer doors of said 
store building, and between eight and nine o'clock he went into his bed- 
room, but, thinking some customer might come, and not being ready to 
retire, he left a lamp burning in the store-room. There was a partition 
wall between his sleeping-room and the store-room, in which there was 
a doorway and a shutter, but the shutter was rarely ever closed and was 
not closed that night. Soon after he went into his sleeping room, he 
heard a noise at one of the outer doors of the store building, and, think- 
ing it was some one wanting to trade, he went to the door and asked 
who was there. Some one answered 'We want to come in; we want some 
coffee and flour.' He then took down the bar used in securing the door, 
unlocked the same, and when he had opened the door about twelve 
inches, still having the knob in his hand, two men forced the door open, 
rushed in the house, covered him with pistols, told him to hold up his 
hands, that they had come for business. With the pistols still drawn 
upon him, they marched him into his bed-room, where they searched 
him and the things he had in his room, taking his pistol and other things. 
They then carried him into the store-room and made an effort to break 
into the postoffice department, there being a postoffice kept there. But 
not succeeding readily in getting into this, they abandoned it for the 
present, saying they supposed there was nothing in it, except postage 
stamps, and they would attend to them later. They then turned their 
attention to an iron safe and compelled him to assist in opening it, one 
of them still holding his pistol on him. After the safe was open and 
one of them going through it, taking what money and other valuables 
he found, a cat made a noise in the back part of the store, and the man 



308 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

with the pistol bearing on him turned his attention to that; and, as he 
did so, Alexander seized his own pistol they had taken from his room 
and which the man who was robbing the safe had laid on the end of the 
counter, and shot the man robbing the safe, and also shot the other man, 
but, in the meantime, the man whose attention had been attracted by 
the cat shot Alexander. They were all badly shot, but none of them 
died." 

This testimony was that of Alexander alone, neither prisoner 
going on the stand. Henry Mills and R. S. Gates, indicted 
as being present, aiding and abetting, were tried with Ben 
Foster and Frank Johnston, charged as principals. All were 
convicted of burglary in the first degree. The judgment was 
sustained and Ben Foster and Frank Johnston were hanged 
at Asheville, the governor having commuted the sentence of 
the two others to life imprisonment in the penitentiary. 

Nancy Hanks Tradition. For a hundred years a tradi- 
tion has persisted in these mountains to the effect that between 
1803 and 1808 Abraham Enloe came from Rutherford county 
and settled, first on Soco creek, and afterwards on Ocona 
Lufty, about seven miles from Whittier, in what is now 
Swain county; that he brought with his family a girl whose 
name was Nancy Hanks; that this girl lived in Enloe's family 
till after his daughter Nancy ran away with and married a 
man named Thompson, from Hardin county, Ky. An inti- 
macy had grown up between Nancy Hanks and Abraham 
Enloe, and a son was born to her, which caused Enloe's wife, 
whose maiden name had been Edgerton, to suspect that her 
husband was the father of Nancy's child. Soon after the 
birth of this child, the tradition relates, Mrs. Nancy Thomp- 
son came to visit her parents and on her return to Kentucky 
or Tennessee took Nancy Hanks and her son with her, much 
to Mrs. Enloe's relief. Abraham Enloe is said to have been 
a large, tall, dark man, a horse and slave trader, 14 a justice 
of the peace and the leading man in his community. Thus 
far the tradition as given above is supported by such repu- 
table citizens as the following, most of whom are now dead: 
Col. Allen T. Davidson, whose sister Celia married into the 
Enloe family, Captain James W. Terrell, the late Epp Ever- 
ett of Bryson City, Phillip Dills of Dillsborough, Abraham 
Battle of Haywood, Wm. H. Conley of Haywood, Judge Gil- 
more of Fort Worth, Texas, H. J. Beck of Ocona Lufty, D. K. 



EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS 309 



Collins of Bryson City, Col. W. H. Thomas and the late John 
D. Mingus, son-in-law of Abraham Enloe. 

Abraham Lincoln Tells of His Parentage. That the 
child so born to Nancy Hanks on Ocona Lufty was Abraham 
Lincoln is supported by the alleged statements that in the 
fall of 1861 a young man named Davis, of Rutherford, had, 
during the fifties, settled near Springfield, 111., where he 
became intimate with Abraham Lincoln and "in a private and 
confidential talk which he had with Mr. Lincoln, the latter 
told him that he was of Southern extraction; that his right 
name was, or ought to have been, Enloe, but that he had 
always gone by the name of his step-father." 14 After the 
Civil War a man representing himself as a son of Mrs. Nancy 
Thompson, a daughter of Abraham Enloe of Ocona Lufty, 
called on the late Col. Allen T. Davidson, a lawyer, in his 
office in Asheville, and told him that President Lincoln had 
appointed him Indian agent or to some other office in the 
Indian service "because he (Lincoln) was under some great 
obligation to Thompson's mother, and desired to aid her, 
and at her request he made her son Indian agent." 15 Col. 
Davidson as a lawyer had settled the Abraham Enloe estate, 
had heard of this tradition all his life and had no doubt as to 
its truth. There is another version to the effect that the 
child Abraham was not born till after his mother had reached 
Kentucky and also that Felix Walker, then congressman from 
the mountain district, aided Nancy Hanks in getting to Ten- 
nessee, where Thompson lived. 

"Truth is Stranger than Fiction." The above facts 
or statements have been taken from a small book of the name 
given, by James H. Cathey, once a member of the North 
Carolina legislature, and a resident of Jackson county. It 
was published in 1899. The various statements upon which 
the tradition was based are set forth in detail, accompanied 
by short biographies of each person named. No one can 
read these accounts without being impressed with their air 
of truthfulness. 

Evidence Sustaining the Enloe Parentage. The late 
Captain James W. Terrell refers to an article in Bledsoe's Re- 
view "in which the writer gives an account of a difficulty 
between Mr. Lincoln's reputed father and a man named 
Enloe" (p. 47) and states, as one of the reasons for sending 



310 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Nancy Hanks to Kentucky, the fact that at that time some 
of the Enloe kindred were living there (p. 49). On page 
54, a Judge Gilmore, living then within three miles of Fort 
Worth, Texas, told Joseph A. Collins of Clyde, Haywood 
county, North Carolina, that he knew Nancy Hanks before 
she was married, and that she then had a child she called 
Abraham; that she afterwards married a man by the name 
of Lincoln, a whiskey distiller, and very poor, and that they 
lived in a small house. 1 6 Col. T. G. C. Davis of St. 
Louis, Mo., a native of Kentucky, a cousin of President 
Jefferson Davis, a lawyer who once practiced law with Mr. 
Lincoln in Illinois, is quoted as saying that he knew the mother 
of Lincoln; that he was raised in the same neighborhood; and 
that it was generally understood, without question, in that 
neighborhood, that Lincoln, the man that married the Pres- 
ident's mother, was not the father of the President, but that 
his father's name was Enloe" (p. 78). The foregoing are the 
most important facts alleged; but there is one statement, on 
page 55, to the effect that a man named Wells visited the 
Enloe home while Nancy Hanks was there and witnessed a 
disagreement or coolness between Enloe and his wife on her 
account. This man said he had gone there while selling tin- 
ware and buying furs, feathers and ginseng for William John- 
ston of Waynesville. This could not have been true, as Wil- 
liam Johnston did not emigrate from Ireland to Charleston 
till 1818. Soon after the appearance of this book the writer 
visited Wesley Enloe at his home on Ocona Lufty for the pur- 
pose of learning what he could of his connection with Abraham 
Lincoln; but, like the correspondent of the Charlotte Observer 
of September 17, 1893 (quoted on pages 63 et seq.), I did not 
observe any likeness between him and the pictures of Mr. 
Lincoln which I had seen, as Mr. Enloe was blue-eyed and 
florid. He also stated to me that he had never heard his 
father's name mentioned in his family in connection with 
Abraham Lincoln's, just as he stated to that correspondent, 
on page 70. 

Clark W. Thompson. Col. Davidson was a man of such 
unquestioned integrity that any statement from him is worthy 
of belief; and in the interest of truth a letter was written to 
the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington, on March 
8, 1913, asking "whether a man named Thompson was ever 



EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS 3 1 1 

appointed by President Lincoln to some position in the Indian 
Service," and on the 25th of the same month, Hon. F. H. 
Abbott, acting commissioner, wrote as follows : ". . . You 
are advised that the records show that Clark W. Thompson, 
of Minnesota, was nominated by President Lincoln to be Su- 
perintendent of Indian Affairs for the northern superintendency 
on March 26, 1861, and his appointment was confirmed by 
the Senate on the following day. There is nothing in the rec- 
ord to show reasons influencing this appointment. . . . " 
Of course this does not prove that Clark W. Thompson was a 
son of Mrs. Nancy Enloe Thompson, and is merely given for 
what it may be worth. In "The Child That Toileth Not," 
Major Dawley, its author, says (p. 271) : "Where Mingus creek 
joins Ocona Lufty, in a broad bottom, is an old, partially 
demolished log-house, used as a barn, in which tradition says 
that Nancy Hanks, the mother of Lincoln, served as a house 
girl," etc. 

The Nancy Hanks History. As opposed to this tradi- 
tional evidence we have the voluminous history of Nickolay 
and Hay, Mr. Lincoln's secretaries, called "Abraham Lin- 
coln," in which the fact that the immortal President's mother 
was married to Thomas Lincoln June 12, 1806, by Rev. Jesse 
Head, at Beechland, near Elizabethton, Washington county, 
Ky., and a copy of his marriage bond for fifty pounds, as was 
then required by the laws of Kentucky, is set forth in full, with 
Richard Barry as surety. In addition to this, there was 
published by Doubleday & McClure Co., New York, in 1899, 
by Carolina Hanks Hitchcock, "Nancy Hanks, the Story of 
Abraham Lincoln's Mother," giving in detail the facts of her 
birth in Virginia, her removal to Kentucky with her family, 
and her marriage to Thomas Lincoln on the date above given, 
and many other facts which, it would seem, place this date 
beyond all doubt. Col. Henry Watterson, in an address, 
presenting the Speed statue of Lincoln to the State of Ken- 
tucky and the Nation, November 8, 1911, said: "Let me 
speak with some particularity and the authority of fact, 
tardily but conclusively ascertained, touching the . 
maternity of Abraham Lincoln. Few passages of history 
have been so greatly misrepresented and misconceived. 
Some confusion was made by his own mistake as to the 
marriage of his father and mother, which had not been 



312 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

celebrated in Hardin county, but in Washington county, 
Kentucky, the absence of any marriage papers in the old court 
house at Elizabethton, the county seat of Hardin county, 
leading to the notion that there had never been any marriage 
at all. It is easy to conceive that such a discrepancy might 
give occasion for any amount and all sorts of partisan falsifi- 
cation, the distorted stories winning popular belief among the 
credulous and inflamed. Lincoln himself died without surely 
knowing that he was born in honest wedlock and came from 
an ancestry upon both sides of which he had no reason to be 
ashamed. For a long time a cloud hung over the name of 
Nancy Hanks, the mother of Abraham Lincoln. Persistent 
and intelligent research has brought about a vindication in 
every way complete. It has been clearly established that 
as the ward of a decent family she lived a happy and indus- 
trious girl until she was twenty-three years of age, when 
Thomas Lincoln, who had learned his carpenter's trade of 
one of her uncles, married her, June 12, 1806. The entire 
record is in existence and intact. The marriage bond to the 
amount of 50 pounds . . . was duly recorded seven 
days before the wedding, which was solemnized as became 
well-to-do folk in those days. The uncle and aunt gave an 
'infare', to which the neighboring countryside was invited. 
Dr. Christopher Columbus Graham, one of the best known 
and most highly respected of Kentuckians, before his death 
in 1885, wrote at my request his remembrances of that festi- 
val and testified to this before a notary public in the ninety- 
sixth year of his age." (The affidavit is set forth in full.) 17 
Why the Tradition Persists. After reading the foregoing 
article, a feeling of indignation naturally arises that anyone 
should longer doubt or discuss the legitimacy of the Great 
Emancipator, and it was that feeling which led to an exami- 
nation of the "authority of fact tardily but conclusively ascer- 
tained touching the maternity of Abraham Lincoln." Nat- 
urally, too, the story was ascribed to "partisan falsification." 
Nicolay and Hay's account seemed to fix the date of the mar- 
riage as in June, 1806, since the marriage bond is dated on 
June 10th; and Miss Tarbell has settled the exact date as of 
June 12th of that year. So far, so good. But Miss Tarbell 
states (Vol. I, 7) that Mrs. Caroline Hanks Hitchcock had 
compiled the genealogy of the Hanks family, which, "though 



EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS 313 

not yet printed, has fortunately cleared up the mystery of 
her birth." This little book, now out of print, 18 was obtained 
after great trouble, and what was found? That instead of 
clearing up the mystery of Nancy Hanks' birth, Mrs. Hitch- 
cock has only made confusion worse confounded. In fact, 
she shows that Thomas Lincoln married an altogether differ- 
ent Nancy Hanks from the one the President remembered, 
the one Dennis Hanks knew, and the one Herndon has so 
particularly described in his carefully prepared work on the 
origin of Abraham Lincoln. She also discredits every sub- 
sequent statement by trying to show that Thomas Lincoln 
was not "the shiftless character" he has been represented as 
being (p. 54). After that, one naturally looks with suspi- 
cion upon every statement of fact in the little volume. 

The Lineage of Lincoln 's Real Mother. Almost imme- 
diately after the death of Mr. Lincoln his former law partner, 
Wm. H. Herndon, Esq., set out to interview every member 
of the Lincoln and Hanks families then living. He kept up 
this investigation for years. What did Abraham Lincoln 
himself have to say as to who his mother was? Herndon says 
(p. 3) that in 1850, while they were in a buggy together, going 
to Menard county court, Lincoln told him that his mother 
"was the daughter of Lucy Hanks and a well-bred but obscure 
Virginia farmer." Who that farmer was is not stated; but 
Lucy Hanks, after the birth of Nancy, married a man named 
Henry Sparrow, and Nicolay and Hay say that Nancy Hanks 
was sometimes called Nancy Sparrow (Vol. I, p. 7). Hern- 
don also says with exactness (p. 10) that "Nancy Hanks, the 
mother of the President, at a very early age, was taken from 
her mother Lucy — afterwards married to Henry Sparrow — 
and sent to live with her aunt and uncle, Thomas and Betsy 
Sparrow. Under this same roof the irrepressible and cheer- 
ful waif, Dennis Hanks, . '. . also found shelter. " Now 
who was Dennis Hanks? He was the illegitimate son of 
Nancy Hanks and Friend. Which Nancy Hanks was this? 
The sister of Lucy Hanks (p. 10). Miss Tarbell calls him 
Dennis Friend (pp. 14 and 25) and says misfortune had 
made him an inmate of Thomas Lincoln's Indiana home. 

The Lineage of Mrs. Hitchcock's Nancy Hanks. Her 
father was Joseph Hanks and her mother Nancy Shipley, and 
was born February 5, 1784, (p. 25) and came with her parents 



314 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

from Virginia to Kentucky about 1789, and settled near Eliza- 
bethton in what is now Nelson county (p. 40). Her father died 
January 9, 1793, and his will was probated May 14, 1793, by 
which her brother Joseph got all her parents' land and she 
herself got a pied heifer, although there were eight children — 
Joseph Hanks, Sr.'s widow and his son William being executors 
(pp. 43-45). Miss Tarbell adopts the same lineage for her 
Nancy (p. 8), and they both place this Nancy in the home of 
Lucy Shipley, wife of Richard Berry, when Nancy was nine 
years old. 

Physical Characteristics of Lincoln's Real Mother. 
Herndon says (p. 10) that "at the time of her marriage to 
Thomas Lincoln, Nancy was in her 23d year. She was 
above the ordinary height in stature, weighed about 130 
pounds, was slenderly built, and had much the appearance 
of one inclined to consumption. Her skin was dark; hair dark 
brown; eyes gray and small; forehead prominent; face sharp 
and angular, with a marked expression of melancholy which 
fixed itself in the memory of everyone who ever saw or knew 
her. ..." 

Physical Features of Mrs. Hitchcock's Nancy. " Bright, 
scintillating, noted for her keen wit and repartee, she had 
withal a loving heart," is Mrs. Hitchcock's (p. 51) notion 
of Nancy Hanks' manner. "Traditions of Nancy Hanks' 
appearance at this time [of her marriage] all agree in calling 
her a beautiful girl. She is said to have been of medium 
height, weighing about 130 pounds (p. 59), light hair, beauti- 
ful eyes, a sweet, sensitive mouth, and a kindly and gentle 
manner." In another place (p. 73) she says that when Nancy 
Hanks went to her cousins', Frank and Ned Berry, the legend 
is that "her cheerful disposition and active habits were a 
dower to those pioneers." Frank and Ned were sons of 
Richard Berry. 

Herndon 's Thomas Lincoln. "Thomas was roving and 
shiftless. . . . He was proverbially slow of movement, 
mentally and physically; was careless, inert and dull. He 
had a liking for jokes and stories. ... At the time of his 
marriage to Nancy Hanks he could neither read nor write 
(p. 8). . . . He was a carpenter by trade, and essayed 
farming, too; but in this, as in almost every other undertaking, 
he was singularly unsuccessful. He was placed in possession 



EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS 315 

of several tracts of land at different times in his life, but was 
never able to pay for a single one of them" (p. 9). He 
hunted for game only when driven to do so by hunger (p. 29). 

Mrs. Hitchcock's Thomas Lincoln. "Thomas Lincoln 
had been forced to shift for himself in a young and undevel- 
oped country (p. 56). He had no bad habits, was temper- 
ate and a church-goer" (p. 54). She quotes an affidavit of 
Dr. C. C. Graham to the effect that he was present at the 
marriage of Thomas Lincoln, but he says nothing more of 
him, except that he had one feather bed, and when the doctor 
was there, Thomas and his wife slept on the floor. This same 
Dr. Graham is quoted as saying that it is untrue that Thomas 
kept his family in a doorless and windowless house. But 
Miss Tarbell (p. 19) and Herndon (p. 18) say that Thomas 
Lincoln kept his family in a "half-face camp" for a year, 
and that after the cabin was built it had but one room and a 
loft, with no window, door or floor; not even the traditional 
deer-skin hung before the exit; there was no oiled paper over 
the opening for light; there was no puncheon floor on the 
ground . . . and there were few families, even in 
that day who were forced to practice more make-shifts to get 
a living"; and that sometimes the only food on the table was 
potatoes (p. 20). And yet Mrs. Hitchcock says he was not 
shiftless! 

Abraham Lincoln and His Parents. Mr. Herndon says 
(p. 1) that if Mr. Lincoln ever mentioned the subject of his 
parents at all it was with great reluctance and with sig- 
nificant reserve. "There was something about his origin he 
never cared to dwell upon." To a Mr. Scripps of the Chi- 
cago Tribune, in 1860, Mr. Lincoln communicated some facts 
concerning his ancestry which he did not wish to have pub- 
lished then and which Scripps never revealed to anyone" 
(p. 2). In the record of his family which Mr. Lincoln gave 
to Jesse W. Fell, he does not even give his mother's maiden 
name; but says that she came "of a family of the name of 
Hanks." (Footnote on page 3). He gives but three lines to 
his mother and nearly a page to the Lincolns. And "Mr. 
Lincoln himself said to me in 1851 . . . that whatever 
might be said of his parents and however unpromising the 
early surroundings of his mother may have been, she was 
highly intellectual by nature, had a strong memory, acute 



316 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

judgment, and was cool and heroic" (p. 11). His school 
days he never alluded to; and Herndon says he slept in the 
loft of the Indiana cabin, which he reached by climbing on 
pegs driven in the wall, while Miss Tarbell says that "he 
slept on a heap of dry leaves in a corner of the loft" (p. 19), 
while his parents reclined on a bedstead made of poles rest- 
ing between the logs and on a crotched stick, with skins for 
the chief covering." Although in the highest office in the 
land for four years before his death, Mr. Lincoln left his 
mother's grave unmarked, and when his father was dying he 
allowed sickness in his own family to deter him from paying 
him a last visit, writing instead a letter advising him to put 
his trust in God. 

Herndon's Estimate of the Hankses. "As a family 
the Hankses were peculiar to the civilization of early Ken- 
tucky. Illiterate and superstitious, they corresponded to 
that nomadic class still to be met with throughout the South, 
and known as 'poor whites.' They are happily and vividly 
depicted in the description of a camp-meeting held at Eliza- 
bethton, Ky., in 1806, which was furnished me in August, 1865, 
by an eye-witness (J. B. Helm). 'The Hanks girls', narrates 
the latter, 'were great at Camp-meetings,'" and the scene 
is then described of a young man and young woman with 
their clothing arranged for what was to follow, who approached 
and embraced each other in front of the congregation: "When 
the altar was reached the two closed, with their arms around 
each other, the man singing and shouting at the top of his 
voice, 'I have my Jesus in my arms, sweet as honey, strong 
as baconham.' She was a Hanks, and the couple were to 
be married the next week; but whether she was Nancy Hanks 
or not my informant does not state; though, as she did marry 
that year, gives color to the belief that she was. But the 
performance described must have required a little more emo- 
tion and enthusiasm than the tardy and inert carpenter was 
in the habit of manifesting" (p. 12). 

Confirmation of the Enloe Tradition. One might 
suppose that the Enloe story has no other basis than that re- 
corded in Mr. Cathey's book. But this is far from being the 
fact, though most of the biographers of Lincoln make no 
reference to the Enloes whatever. But Mr. Herndon, on 
page 27, remarks of Thomas Lincoln's second wife, Sarah 



EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS 317 

Bush, that her social status is fixed by the comparison of a 
neighbor who contrasted the "life among the Hankses, the 
Lincolns, and the Enloes with that among the Bushes, Sarah 
having married Daniel Johnston, the jailer, as her first matri- 
monial venture. Dr. C. C. Graham, in his hundredth year, made 
a statement as to the Lincoln family, which is published in full 
by McClure's in magazine form and called "The Early Life 
of Abraham Lincoln," by Ida M. Tarbell. This is dated in 
1896. Herndon and all the biographers agree that, although 
so old, Dr. Graham was a competent witness as to Lincoln's 
early life. Indeed, all of pages 227 to 232 of this little maga- 
zine book are devoted to testimonials establishing his credi- 
bility. But, although Tarbell's Life of Lincoln is an enlarge- 
ment of this magazine story, and contains four large volumes, 
very little of Dr. Graham's long statement, covering over 
five closely printed pages, is preserved. And among the things 
that have been suppressed is this: "Some said she (Nancy 
Hanks, Thomas Lincoln's first wife) died of heart trouble, 
from slanders about her and old Abe Enloe, called Inlow 
while her Abe, named for the pioneer Abraham Linkhorn, 
was still living." Neither Mrs. Hitchcock nor Miss Tarbell 
seems to have attached the slightest importance to this state- 
ment. But that is not all. Hernclon records the fact (p. 
29) that when he interviewed Mrs. Sarah Bush Lincoln, 
Thomas Lincoln's second wife, in September, 1865, "She de- 
clined to say much in answer to my questions about Nancy 
Hanks, her predecessor in the Lincoln household, but spoke 
feelingly of the latter 's daughter and son." 

Thus, it will be observed, that most of the testimony on 
which the stories concerning Nancy Hanks are based do not 
rest on the fabrications of his political enemies, but on the 
statements and significant silence of himself, his friends, rela- 
tives and biographers. 

The Calhoun Tradition. If anywhere in the world 
Lincoln had enemies, it was in South Carolina. If anywhere 
in the world a motive could exist to ruin his political fortunes, 
it was among the politicians of the Palmetto State. It is 
true that for years there has been an intangible rumor about 
John C. Calhoun and Nancy Hanks; but the world must 
perforce bear witness that such rumors have met with little 
or no encouragement from the people of that State. Yet, dur- 



318 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

ing all the years that have flown since early in the last century, 
many men and women knew of a story which connected the 
name of the Great Nullifier with that of Nancy Hanks, the 
mother of Abraham Lincoln. It has lain untold all these 
years; but in 1911, Mr. D. J. Knotts of Swansea, S. C, brought 
it to the light of day. The reason for this delay was due to the 
respect that the custodians of the secret entertained for the 
wishes of the Calhoun family. For, even now, some of those 
to whom the facts had been communicated by Judge Orr 
and Gen. Burt, will not permit their names to be used in con- 
nection with the story. But the main facts seem to be well 
established by other testimony, and although these articles 
have been before the public since 1910, no one has as yet 
attempted their refutation. Abbeville "District," as it was 
called, in South Carolina, was the home of John C. Calhoun 
and of Gen. Armistead Burt, who married Calhoun's niece. 
They were fast friends and political supporters of State 
Rights. Judge James L. Orr was born in Craytonville, S. C, 
May 12, 1822, and was in Congress from 1849 to 1859, 
having been speaker of the 35th Congress. He thus began 
his congressional career the year after Mr. Lincoln had com- 
pleted his single term; but John C. Calhoun was serving then 
as senator, dying March 31, 1850. Judge Orr was probably 
born in the very tavern which had previously been kept by 
Ann Hanks at Craytonville, as Orr's father certainly kept the 
same hostelry during his life. 

The Story is Told at Last. During 1911 the Columbia 
State published four articles on the "Parentage of Lincoln," 
by D. J. Knotts, of Swansea, S. C. Briefly stated, his story 
is to the effect that in 1807, John C. Calhoun began the prac- 
tice of law in Abbeville county, where he lived till his removal 
to Fort Hill in 1824. Anderson county was not established 
till 1828; but in 1789 Luke Hanks died and left a will, which 
was probated in Abbeville county in October of that year, by 
which his widow, Ann Hanks, a relative of Benjamin Harris of 
Buncombe county, N. C, and John Haynie were made execu- 
tors. No deed can be found to land of Luke or Ann Hanks, 
but there is a grant to 210 acres to her brother in 1797. How- 
ever, the appraisers of the property under Luke Hanks' will 
valued these 210 acres at one dollar per acre, and the personal 
property at $500. Just how long after Luke's death it was 



EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS 319 

that his widow, Ann Hanks, took charge of a tavern at the 
cross roads, called Craytonville and Claytonville, was not 
stated; but it is alleged that she kept this tavern in 1807, 
and for several years thereafter. This cross-roads place is 
between Anderson, Abbeville and Pendleton — all flourishing 
towns at this time. At this tavern John C. Calhoun stopped 
in going to and from the courts, and became involved in a 
love affair with Ann Hanks' youngest child, Nancy. At this 
tavern also stopped Abraham Enloe on his way South from 
Ocona Lufty with negroes and stock for sale. With him 
came as a hireling Thomas Lincoln, the putative father of the 
President. Nancy Hanks began to be troublesome and Mr. 
Calhoun is said to have induced Thomas Lincoln to take her 
with him on his return with Abraham Enloe — paying him 
$500 to do so. Lincoln is said to have conducted Nancy to 
the home of Abraham Enloe, where she became a member of 
the family. This is a confirmation of the Enloe tradition, 
except that Nancy is said to have gone there from Ruther- 
ford county. 

The Petition for Partition. Ann Hanks, who seems 
to have had a life estate in the 210 acres of land, must have 
died about 1838 or 1839, for we find that Luke Hanks' heirs 
tried to divide the property without the aid of a lawyer, mak- 
ing two efforts to that end, but failing in both. In 1842, 
however, an Anderson attorney straightened things out by 
bringing in Nancy Hanks as the twelfth child of Luke and 
Ann Hanks, and the property was divided into twelve equal 
shares, it having been alleged that Nancy Hanks had left the 
State and that her whereabouts were unknown. Col. John 
Martin became the purchaser of this land, which is in a neigh- 
borhood called Ebenezer, and is within three or four miles 
of the tavern at Craytonville. 

Lincoln is Told of a Remarkable Resemblance. In 
1849, while John C. Calhoun and Gen. Burt were attending 
Congress, young James L. Orr, not yet a member, but wishing 
to see the workings of that body over which he was one day 
to preside, made a visit to Washington, D. C, and as he had 
grown up with the Hanks family near Craytonville, he was 
at once impressed with the remarkable resemblance between 
those Anderson county Hankses and a raw-boned member 
from the State of Illinois, by name Abraham Lincoln. He 



320 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

told Lincoln of the fact, and the latter replied that his mother's 
name was Nancy Hanks. Thereupon, it is stated, Orr wanted 
to go into particulars, but Lincoln at once became reticent and 
would not discuss the matter further. This aroused Orr's 
suspicions, and on his return to Anderson he mentioned it to 
the Hankses of Ebenezer, who having but recently heard 
the almost forgotten story of John C. Calhoun's connection 
with Nancy and her disappearance from the State early in 
the century (in the partition case) related it to Judge Orr in 
all its details. Gen. Burt also became possessed of the story, 
but guarded his secret jealously, his wife being Calhoun's 
niece. But, when Lincoln was assassinated Judge Orr, who 
was a brother in-law of Mrs. Fannie Marshall, a second cousin 
of John C. Calhoun, told her and her husband what he had 
learned from the Anderson Hankses: and in 1866 Gen. Armi- 
stead Burt, under the seal of an inviolable secrecy, told what 
he knew to a group of lawyers all of whom were his friends. 
So inviolably have they kept this secret that even to this day 
several of them refuse to allow their names to be mentioned 
in connection with it. But the Hankses also told their family 
physician, Dr. W. C. Brown, the story of their kinswoman and 
John C. Calhoun, and he mentioned it to others. John Hanks, 
also, is said to have told Dr. Harris that Nancy Hanks had 
gone to an uncle in Kentucky when her condition became 
known at the Enloe farm; for it seems that a Richard Berry 
has been located as buying land in Anderson county in 1803, 
and as disappearing entirely from the records of Anderson 
county thereafter. 

Mr. Knotts introduced much other evidence, and has accu- 
mulated much additional testimony since, which he will 
soon publish in full, giving book and page of all records and 
full extracts from all documents. 

Minor Matters. Mr. Knotts also states that Dr. W. C. 
Brown was a brother of "Joe" Brown, the "War Governor" 
of Georgia; that Mr. Herndon's first life of Lincoln contained 
several statements which Lincoln had made as to his illegiti- 
macy; but that friends of Lincoln "had tried to recall 
the volumes and failed to get a few of them in for destruction"; 
but that Mr. Knotts had secured a copy, from which he made 
(pp. 5 and 6) the following statement: "Mr. Herndon, says Mr. 
Weik, his co-laborer in the work, spent a large amount of time 



EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS 321 

and trouble hunting down this tradition in Kentucky, and finally 
found a family in Bourbon county named Inlow, who stated 
to him that an older relative, Abraham Inlow, a man of 
wealth and influence, induced Thomas Lincoln to assume the 
paternity of Abraham Lincoln, whose mother was a nice 
looking woman of good family named Nancy Hanks, and that 
after marriage he removed to Hardin or Washington county, 
where this infant was born. " Mr. Knotts also makes the point 
that there could have been no contemporaneous record of 
Lincoln's birth, and that he made the date himself in the 
family Bible, years after he became a man; that in that record 
he nowhere records the fact or the date of his father's marriage 
to Nancy Hanks, although he is careful to record his father's 
second marriage to Sarah Bush Johnston, and his own mar- 
riage to Mary Todd; also that he speaks of his sister Sarah, 
when she married Aaron Grigsby, as the daughter of Thomas 
Lincoln alone; and when she died, he again speaks of her as 
the daughter of Thomas Lincoln and wife of Aaron Grigsby, 
but never mentions her as the daughter of Nancy Lincoln. 
No one has ever accounted for the mutilation of the family 
record made by Abraham Lincoln himself in the family Bible. 
In every instance in which discredit might fall on Nancy 
Hanks, the dates have been carefully obliterated in some 
vital point. Surely Lincoln's political enemies did not do 
this thing, the doing of which has cast more suspicion on his 
legitimacy than all things else combined. 

The Rutherford County Hankses. When this last 
tradition was called to the writer's attention, it was 
apparent that the only way to discredit it was to follow 
the clue which stated that the Nancy Hanks of Abraham En- 
loe's household had gone there from Rutherford county. 
Accordingly, diligent enquiries were instituted in the counties 
of R,utherford, Lincoln and Gaston with the result that no 
trace could be found of Nancy Hanks in either of them, or 
elsewhere in the State. All persons who seemed to know 
anything of the Hanks family referred to Mr. L. M. Hoffman 
of Dallas, N. C., who wrote, June 2, 1913, to the effect that 
for several years he had been working on a genealogical history 
of all the families who first settled that section from whom 
he is descended. Among these were a Hanks family; and 
while he obtained 600 manuscript pages concerning all the 

W. N. C— 21 



322 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

other families from which he has descended "the want of time 
and the difficulty of getting reliable information . 
has caused me (him) to nearly close my (his) search. . . . ' 
Further correspondence resulted in discovering little more 
than that there once existed a Bible of the Hanks family in 
the possession of the Jenkins family; but Mr. Hoffman, who 
examined and made extracts from it, found nothing of record 
regarding Nancy Hanks. He then gave several discoveries 
that he made, and adds: "This only illustrates how I failed 
to get anything like a connected story of the Hanks family. 
There are several of the Hanks family here still, but they 
know almost nothing of their ancestors. . . . ' When it 
is remembered that there are several Hanks men in Anderson 
county, S. C, who are said to resemble Abraham Lincoln in 
a most striking way, it is evident that the probabilities are 
largely that Nancy Hanks went to Abraham Enloe's from 
South Carolina rather than from Rutherford county, N. C. 
The Tennessee Tradition. On the farm of G. W. Wag- 
ner, formerly owned by Isaac Lincoln — a few miles from 
Elizabethton and opposite the little station called Hunter — 
is a tombstone on which is carved: "Sacred to the memory 
of Isaac Lincoln, who departed this life June 10, 1816, 
aged about 64 years." 1 9 In McClure's Early Life of Lincoln, 
Isaac Lincoln is mentioned as one of the brothers of Abraham 
Lincoln, the grandfather of the President (p. 223). Tradition 
says that to this farm came Thomas Lincoln after the 
death of his father in 1788 had, according to Miss Tarbell 
(p. 6), turned him " adrift to become a wandering 
laboring boy before he had learned to read." Tradition 
also says that a Nancy Hanks at one time lived in that neigh- 
borhood; but that Thomas was so shiftless that his Uncle 
Isaac drove him away, when Nancy disappeared also. The 
lady referred to on page 73 of J. H. Cathey's book by Col. 
Davidson was his sister, Miss Elvira Davidson, who was a vis- 
itor in the home of Felix Walker, one of whose sons she after- 
wards married; and it was while there, according to her state- 
ment to her niece, that she had seen Abraham Enloe call Felix 
Walker to the gate and talk earnestly with him, and that 
when Walker came back he told Mrs. Walker Abraham Enloe 
had arranged with him (Walker) to have Nancy Hanks taken 
to Tennessee, instead of Kentucky, when Mrs. Walker re- 



EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS 323 

marked that Mrs. Enloe would "be happy again." Mrs. 
Enloe and Mrs. Walker were great friends. Elvira David- 
son was a young girl at this time. She first married Joseph 
Walker and years afterwards was left a widow. Her second 
husband was Thomas Gaston, whose descendants are in Bun- 
combe today. 

The South Carolina Record. This record is in the 
office of the Ordinary, corresponding to that of probate judge 
in most States, its number is 964, and is entitled: " Valentine 
Davis and wife, applicant, v. Luke Hanie and others." The 
summons in relief was filed before William McGee, Ordinary 
of Anderson District, S. C, December 26, 1842; it relates to 
the real estate of Ann Hanks, and is recorded in real estate 
book, volume 1, p. 59. The summons is to the "legal heirs 
and representatives of Ann Hanks, who died intestate," and 
requires the parties named therein — among whom is Nancy 
Hanks — to appear on the 3d day of April, 1843, and "show 
cause why the real estate of Ann Hanks, deceased, situated 
in said district on waters of Rocky river, bounding Brig. R. 
Haney, John Martin and others, should not be divided or sold, 
allotting the same as it proceeds among you." Valentine 
Davis was appointed and consented to act as the guardian 
ad litem of the minor heirs named in the summons; a large 
number of heirs accepted legal service of the summons; while 
the Ordinary notes that he "cited" several others to appear 
in court, etc. A rule was also issued December 26, 1842, 
to twenty-seven of the defendants "who reside without the 
State," among whom is the name of Nancy Hanks, all of 
whom are required to "appear and object to the sale or division 
of the real estate of Hanks on or before the third day of April 
next, or their consent to the same will be entered of record." 
There is also in this record an assignment to Mary Hanks by 
her son James R. Hanks, of Crittenden county, Kentucky, of 
his interest "in the real estate of my grandmother Ann Hanks, 
which came to me by right of my father, George Hanks, which 
was sold by the Court of Ordinary in Anderson District, 
South Carolina, in June, 1843, which claim or claims I re- 
nounce to my said mother Mary during her natural life, from 
me, my executors or assigns, so long as the said Mary Hanks 
shall live, but at the said Mary's death to revert back me to 
and my heirs," etc. 



324 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

This assignment of interest is dated April 1, 1844, and 
was probated before James Cruce, justice of the peace of 
Crittenden county, Ky., by William Stinson and Reuben 
Bennett, subscribing witnesses, on the first of April, 1844. 

The record fails to show any receipt from Nancy Hanks for 
her share in the proceeds of this real estate, which would 
seem to indicate that she was dead and that her heirs received 
no actual notice of this proceeding. The foregoing excerpts 
have been furnished by Thomas Allen, Esq., of the Anderson, 
S. C, bar. 

Reality of Isaac Lincoln's Residence. Of the resi- 
dence of Isaac Lincoln and Mary (nee Ward) his wife, in 
what is now Carter county, Tenn., there can be no doubt, 
the deed books of that county showing many conveyances 
to and from Isaac Lincoln, one of which (B, p. 14) is indexed 
as from Isaac "Linkhorn" to John Carter, which bears the 
early date of March 4, 1777, and conveys 303 acres on the 
north side of Doe river known by the name of the "Flag- 
Pond," for one hundred pounds. The deed, however, is 
signed "Isaac Lincoln," not "Linkhorn"; but it was not regis- 
tered till July 22, 1806. Lincoln and Carter are both 
described as of "Watauga" simply. Other conveyances 
show that he owned several lots in what is now Eliza- 
bethton, the county seat of Carter county (B, 18). There 
is also a conveyance from Johnson Hampton, with whom 
Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks are said (according to a 
letter from D. J. Knotts to J. D. Jenkins, 1913) to have 
gone from Abraham Enloe's to Thomas Lincoln's brother's 
home on Lynn mountain, five miles above Elizabethton, on 
Watauga river. But this conveyance is dated March 13, 
1834, and is to Mordeca (sic) Lincoln and John Berry of 
the "county of Green and Carter," Tenn. (Book D, p. 373). 
The site of the cabin in which Isaac and Mary lived is still 
pointed out at the base of Lynn mountain. 

Isaac and Mary Lincoln Slaveowners. The will of 
Isaac Lincoln, dated April 22, 1816, is filed in the office of 
the clerk of the circuit court of Carter county, Tenn., and, 
though yellow with age, is in a good state of preservation. 
By it he leaves all his property to his wife Mary; and when 
her will (filed in the same office) is examined, it is found to 
bequeath at least 28 negroes, naming each one separately, 



EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS 325 

and providing for the support of two of them during life. 
William Stover, who got the bulk of her estate, was the son 
of her sister and Daniel Stover; and Phoebe Crow, wife of 
Campbell Crow, to whom she left the "negro girl Margaret 
and her four children, to wit: Lucy, Mima, Martin and 
Mahala, was Phoebe Williams, a niece of Mary Lincoln. 
Campbell Crow was left "the lower plantation, it being the 
one on which he now lives, adjoining the land of Alfred M. 
Carter on the west and south and of John Carriger on the 
east." To Christian Carriger, Sr., she bequeathed seven 
negroes; to Mary Lincoln Carriger, wife of Christian Carriger 
Sr., she left two negro girls. Christian Carriger, Sr., had 
married a sister of Mary Lincoln. Daniel Stover — J. D. 
Jenkins' great-grandfather— married another sister of Mary 
Lincoln. Daniel Stover's son William had a son Daniel, 
who married Mary, a daughter of Andrew Johnson, the suc- 
cessor of Abraham Lincoln in the Presidency, and he (John- 
son) died in her house, a few miles above Elizabethton, July 
31, 1875. P. T. Brummit lives there now. It was not a part 
of the Lincoln farm. The house is still visible from the rail- 
road, the log portion thereof having been torn away; but the 
room in which Andrew Johnson died, in the second story 
of the framed addition to the original house, still stands. 
W. Butler Stover, great-grandnephew of Mary Lincoln, of 
Jonesboro (R. F. D.), Tenn., still has Mary Lincoln's Bible; 
but he wrote (March 6, 1914) that "it gives no dates of 
births or deaths or marriages of any of the Lincolns." 
William Stover was Butler Stover's grandfather and inherited 
the farm on which Mary and Isaac Lincoln are buried, as 
their tombstones attest, Mary's stating that she died August 
27, 1834, "aged about 76 years." It is said that Isaac and 
Mary Lincoln had but one child, a boy, who was drowned 
before reaching manhood. Mrs. H. M. Folsom of Elizabeth- 
ton is related to Mordecai Lincoln, while Mrs. W. M. Vought 
of the same place was a Carriger. Dr. Natt Hyder, who 
died twenty-odd years ago, and whose widow still lives 
at Gap Creek, in the Sixth District, told James D. Jenkins 
that old people had told him— "Old Man" Lewis particu- 
larly — that Abraham Lincoln was born on the side of Lynn 
mountain, and was taken in his mother's arms to Kentucky, 
going by way of Stony Fork creek and Bristol. An anony- 



326 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

mous writer — supposed to be B. Clay Middleton— in an 
article which was published in the Carter County News, 
February 13, 1914, says: "Tradition says that it was here, in 
the beautiful Watauga Valley, so rich in history, that the 
young Thomas Lincoln first met and wooed the gentle Nancy 
Hanks, whose name was destined to become immortal through 
the achievements of her illustrious son. Tradition further 
says that for a while before Thomas Lincoln and Nancy 
Hanks left for Kentucky they lived for a time together as 
common law husband and wife in a little cabin on Lynn 
mountain, which overlooks the Watauga valley. I have been 
informed that old people in that vicinity still recall the site 
of what was known as the Tom Lincoln cabin, and traces of 
the spot where the cabin stood still remain in the way of 
stone foundations, etc." He also cites as "a little singular 
that the life of Andrew Johnson in a way should be inter- 
woven with the name of Lincoln, whom he succeeded as 
President of the United States. When he married Miss Eliza 
McCardle, at Greenville, Tenn., it was 'Squire Mordecai 
Lincoln who performed the ceremony. His daughter Mary 
married Col. Dan Stover, the great nephew of Isaac Lincoln.' : 

NOTES. 

Statements made to J. P. A. in 1912. 

=Letter from S. J. Silver to J. P. A., dated November IS, 1912. 

3 Zebulon settled near French Broad River in Buncombe county, 2^2 miles below Ashe- 
ville, where the National Casket Factory is now, and died there years ago. 

<Bedent settled on Beaver Dam, two miles north of Asheville, at what is now the Way 
place, where he died in 1839. Letter of Dr. J. S. T. Baird to J. P. A., December 16, 1912. 
Dr. Baird died in April, 1913. 

^Andrew, a brother of Zebulon and Bedent Baird, settled in Burke; but the Valle Crucis 
Baird did not claim descent from him John Burton was really the founder of Asheville, 
as on July 7, 1794, he obtained a grant for 200 acres covering what is now the center of that 
city. Condensed from Asheville's Centenary. He afterwards moved to Ashe County and 
in April, 1799, he entered 200 acres near the Virginia line. Deed Book A., p. 339. 

^Condensed and quoted from T. L. Clingman's" Speeches and Writings, " pp. 138, etseq. 

'University Magazine of 18SS-89. 

s Zeigler & Grosscup, p. 245. 

9 Letter of C. C. Duckworth to J. P. A., May 1, 1912. 

i "Letter from C. C. Duckworth to J. P. A., May 1, 1912; letter from D. K. Collins, June 
7, 1912; statement of Hon. J. C. Pritchard, June, 1912. In "The Child That Toileth Not" 
(p. 448) Pickens county, S. C., is given as the one in which Redmond held forth twenty years 
ago, etc. 

"State v. Hal!, 114 N. C, p. 909. 

"State v. Hall, 115 N. C, p. 811. 

"For Hon. Z. B. Vance's account of the- finding of Prof. Mitchell's body, see ' ' Balsam 
Groves of the Grandfather Mountain, " by S. M. Dugger (p. 261). In this appears a list of 
those who assisted in the search. From this account it seems that what is now known as 
Mitchell's Peak was put down in Cook's Map as Mt. Clingman. and that Prof. Mitchell 
insisted that he had measured it in 1844, while Gen. Clingman claimed to have been the 
first to measure it. 

>*"Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction," pp. 130-137-139. 

"Ibid., p. 86. 

"Ibid., p. 74. . . 

"According to Herndon, Thomas set up house-keeping in Indiana with the tools and 
liquor he had recovered from his capsized river boat, p. 17. 

17 From Louisville Courier Journal, of Thursday, Xovmber 9, 1911. 

18 "The Story of Abraham Lincoln's Mother," by Carolina Hanks Hitchcock, 1S89. 

1 'Tradition as related by James D. Jenkins, Esq., recorder of Elizabethton, Tenn., 
who also stated that Isaac Lincoln's wife was Sarah Stover, of Pennsylvania. Also that 
President Andrew Johnson had died on the Isaac Lincoln farm. 



CHAPTER XII 

HUMOROUS AND ROMANTIC 

A Faithful Picture of the Past. "Somewhere about 
1830," writes Judge A. C. Avery, "my father had a summer 
house constructed of hewn logs, containing four rooms and a 
hall, with outhouses, at the place now called Plumtree. It 
remained till about 1909, when it was destroyed by fire. This 
was a mile below the 'Quarter,' where the overseer kept 
house and my father's sons, who successively managed the 
stock, stayed. There were a number of negro cabins around 
the Craborchard proper, which was located about half a 
mile from where Waightstill W. Avery now lives. My father had 
large meadows there, on which he raised a quantity of hay and 
wintered hundreds of heads of cattle that ranged on the moun- 
tains in summer. These mountains were the Roan and the 
Yellow, on whose bald summits grass grew luxuriantly. 

Haymaking in the Summertime. " During August of every 
year, after laying by his crop in Burke county, my father took 
a number of negroes and several wagons and teams over to 
the Craborchard, and moved his family for a stay of two 
months or more to his summer house at Plumtree. He hired 
white men from all over Yancey county to help his negroes 
in saving the hay. 

Open House and Grand Frolic. "He kept open house at 
the summer place and large parties of ladies and gentlemen 
went out there from time to time and had a grand frolic. 
Many of the young people rode out on horseback, and some 
of the ladies in carriages. Parties were continually riding out 
to the Roan, the Yellow and to Linville Falls. The woods 
were full of deer, and all the streams were full of speckled 
trout that could be caught with redworm bait. So, the ladies 
and gentlemen fished in Toe river and its tributaries while 
others of the gentlemen hunted deer, often killing them near 
enough to the summer house for the shot to be heard." 

Where the Boys Were "Hanged." "The late James 
Gudger, who was brought in his early infancy to his father's 
residence on Swannanoa, just settled, and who, in 1830, and 

(327) 



328 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

1836, represented Buncombe county in the North Carolina 
Senate, told his grandson, Capt. J. M. Gudger, that when he 
was a very small boy it was the custom to send a number of 
boys with bags of grain to mill to be ground, and leave it 
there until a month later, when the boys would return with 
other grain and carry back the meal ground from the first. 
He further said that usually a man accompanied the party 
to put on the sacks when they should fall from the horses, 
but that on one occasion as he, then a very small boy, was 
returning from the mill, with his companions of about the 
same age, the man for some reason was not along, and one 
of the sacks fell off on the Battery Park hill over which they 
had to pass; that while endeavoring in vain to replace the 
sacks a party of Indians came upon them, and from pure mis- 
chief threatened and actually began to hang them; that the 
boys l were badly frightened, but finally the Indians left them 
unharmed, and they went on their way, and that the hill was 
afterwards known through the country as 'the hill where the 
boys were hung. ' 1 

Handlen Mountain. "He still further said that the mil- 
ler in charge of the mill, whose name was Handlen, undertook 
to cultivate a crop on the mountain on the western side of 
the French Broad, but as he did not return to the settlement 
for a long while his friends became frightened, and in a party 
went to the clearing, where they found him killed and scalped, 
and his crop destroyed, and that from this incident that moun- 
tain took its name of the Handlen mountain. 1 

"Talking for Buncombe." "Famous as Buncombe de- 
servedly is, she has acquired some notoriety that no place 
less merits. Her name has become synonymous with empty 
talk, a lucus a non lucendo. In the sixteenth Congress of the 
United States the district of North Carolina which embraced 
Buncombe county was represented in the lower house by 
Felix Walker. The Missouri question was under discussion 
and the house, tired of speeches, wanted to come to a vote. 
At this time Mr. Walker secured the floor and was proceed- 
ing with his address, at best not very forceful or entertain- 
ing, when some impatient member whispered to him to sit 
down and let the vote be taken. This he refused to do, 
saying that he must 'make a speech for Buncombe,' that is, 
for his constituents; or, as others say, certain members rose 



HUMOROUS AND ROMANTIC 329 

and left the hall while he was speaking and, when he saw 
them going, he turned to those who remained and told them 
that they might go, too, if they wished, as he was 'only 
speaking for Buncombe.' The phrase was at once caught 
up and the vocabulary of the English language was enriched 
by the addition of a new term." 2 

Isolation of Mountain Neighborhoods. So sequestered 
were many of these mountain coves which lay off the main 
lines of travel, that persons living within only short distances 
of each other were as though "oceans rolled between"; as 
the following incident abundantly proves : 

Mont. Ray's Flight, Return and Trial. 3 Soon after 
the Civil War Mont. Ray killed Jack Brown of Ivy, between 
Ivy and Burnsville, and went to Buck's tanyard, just west of 
Carver's gap under the Roan mountain, where he supported 
himself making and mending shoes till many of the most 
important witnesses against him had gotten beyond the juris- 
diction of the court — by death or removal — when he returned 
and stood his trial in Burnsville and was acquitted. He had 
never been forty miles away, had remained there twelve years ; 
yet no one ever suspected that he was a fugitive from justice. 

A Forgotten Battle-Field. The Star, a newspaper pub- 
lished in Sparta, Alleghany county, in its issue of February 
29, 1912, contained the following : "A few years ago, along 
New river, near the northern border of this county, was found 
what is believed to be indications of a battle of which no one 
now living has any knowledge, nor is there any tradition 
among our people concerning it. On the land of Squire John 
Gambill, near the bank of New river, after a severe rain- 
storm and wash-out, some white objects were noticed lying 
on the ground. On examination these were found to be human 
skulls and other parts of human skeletons. Further exami- 
nation revealed other marks of battle, such as leaden balls 
buried in old trees lying on the ground, etc. Squire Gambill's 
ancestors have resided in this section for one and a half cen- 
turies; yet, they have never heard of the occurrence, nor had 
they any tradition of it. Who fought this battle? Why was 
it fought? Was there a fort here? Was it fought between 
the whites and Indians?" (See ante, p. 108.) 

Andrew Jackson Loses a Horse Race. 4 In the late 
summer or early, fall of 1788, Andrew Jackson and Robert 



330 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Love had a horse race in the Greasy Cove, just above what it 
now Ervin, Tenn. It seems that Jackson's jockey could not 
ride and "Old Hickory" was forced to ride his horse him- 
self, while Love's jockey was on hand and rode Love's horse, 
winning the race. When the result was known "just for a 
moment there was a deep, ominous hush; then a pande- 
monium of noise and tumult that might have been heard 
in the two neighboring counties. Jackson was the chief 
actor in this riot of passion and frenzy. His brow was cor- 
rugated with wrath. His tall, sinewy form shook like an 
aspen leaf. His face was the livid color of the storm cloud — 
when it is hurling its bolts of thunder. His Irish blood was 
up to the boiling point, and his eyes flashed with the fire of 
war. He was an overflowing Vesuvius of rage, pouring the 
hot lava of denunciation on the Love family in general and 
his victorious rival in particular. Col. Love stood before this 
storm unblanched and unappalled — for he, too, had plenty of 
'sand,' and as lightly esteemed the value of life — and an- 
swered burning invective with burning invective hissing with 
the same degree of heat and exasperation. Jackson denounced 
the Loves as a 'band of land pirates' because they held the 
ownership of nearly all the choice lands in that section. Love 
retorted by calling Jackson 'a damned, long, gangling, sor- 
rel-topped soap stick.' The exasperating offensiveness of 
this retort may be better understood when it is explained 
that in those days women 'conjured' their soap by stirring 
it with a long sassafras stick. The dangerous character of 
both men was well known, and it was ended by the interfer- 
ence of mutual friends, who led the enraged rivals from the 
grounds in different directions." 4 

Two Old-Time Gentlemen. Major O. F. Neal was a law- 
yer and farmer who lived in Jefferson, and who died in 1894. 
He and his brother Ben were punctilious on all matters of 
politeness. On one occasion, after a long walk, they reached 
a spring. Ben insisted that, as the Major was a lawyer and 
lived in town, he should drink first; but the Major claimed 
that as Ben was the elder he must drink first. As neither 
would yield to the other, they politely and good-naturedly 
refused to drink at all, and returned home more thirsty than 
ever. 



HUMOROUS AND ROMANTIC 331 

The First Department Store. Two miles from Old 
Field, Ashe county, was kept from about 1870 to about 1890 
the first department store known. It was kept by that en- 
terprising merchant Arthur D. Cole, and the large, but now 
empty, buildings still standing there show the extent of his 
business. He kept as many as twelve clerks employed, and 
boasted that there were but two things he did not carry con- 
stantly in stock, one being the grace of God and the other 
blue wool. A friend thought he had him "stumped" one 
day when he called for goose yokes ; but Cole quietly took him 
up stairs and showed him a gross which he had had on hand 
for years. He and his father did more to develop the root 
and herb business in North Carolina than anyone else. He 
failed in business, after nearly twenty years of success. 

A Mysterious Disappearance. Zachariah Sawyer, grand- 
father of George Washington Sawyer, now register of deeds of 
Ashe county, came to Ashe from east of the Blue Ridge 
eighty-odd years ago. He learned that he was entitled to a 
share in a large estate in England and went there to collect 
his interest. After he had been in that country a short time 
he wrote home that he had succeeded in collecting his share 
and would soon start home. He was never afterwards heard of. 

Welburn Waters, Hermit Hunter of White Top. In 
a well written book, Mr. J. A. Testerman of Jefferson has 
drawn a striking portrait of this old-time hunter and back- 
woodsman. The last edition is dated 1911. From it one 
gathers that Waters was born on Reddy's river in Wilkes 
county, November 20, 1812, the son of John P. Waters, a French 
Huguenot, and a half-breed Catawba woman. His conversion 
and his distraction at a conference held at Abingdon, Va., in 
1859 because he was afraid some harm would come to a new 
hat he had carried to church are amusingly told, while his 
encounters with wild beasts and his solitary life on White 
Top are graphically portrayed. 

Lochinvar Redux. "About the year 1816, John Hols- 
claw, a young and adventurous hunter, and a regular Loch- 
invar, as the sequel will show, built a bark 'shanty' on the 
waters of Elk at the 'Big Bottoms,' where he lived for many 
years. The romance of his life was that he went over to Valle 
Crucis, a settlement only eight miles distant, and there by 
sheer force of will, or love, I will not say which, carried away, 



332 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

captive, a young daughter of Col. Bedent Baird, and took her 
over the mountains by a route so circuitous that, from what 
her conductor told her, she verily believed she was in Ken- 
tucky. She was kept in ignorance of where she actually did 
live for many years, and only by accident found out better. 
One day she heard a bell whose tinkle seemed strangely famil- 
iar. She went to the steer on which it was hung and found 
that it belonged to her father. This clue led to the discovery 
that, instead of being in Kentucky she was not eight miles as 
the crow flies from her old home at Valle Crucis. Of course, 
she thanked her husband for the deception, as all women do, 
and they lived happy ever afterwards. 

"For many years after John Holsclaw settled on the 'Big- 
Bottoms of Elk' with his youthful bride, they lived solitary 
and alone; and in after years she was wont to tell how she 
had frightened away the wolves which prowled around when 
her husband was away, by thrusting firebrands at them, when 
they would scamper off a distance and make night hideous 
with their howls. And how, in after years, when they built 
a rude log house with only one small window to admit the 
light, and had moved into it, Mr. Holsclaw killed a deer and 
dressed it, and had gone away, a panther, smelling the fresh 
venison, came to the house and tried to get in, screaming 
with all the ferocity of a beast brought almost to the point 
of starvation. There was no one in the house but the woman 
and one child, but she bravely held her own till her husband 
returned, when the fierce beast was frightened away. She 
lived to a great age, and only a few years ago died, 5 and lies 
buried on a beautiful hillock hard by the place of her nativ- 
ity, on the land now owned by one of her nephews, Mr. W. 
B. Baird, one time sheriff of Watauga." 

Who was Seller and Who was Sold? Col. Carson Vance 
lived on Rose's creek, between Alta Pass and Spruce Pine 
before and during and after the Civil War. He was a bright, 
but eccentric man. He was admitted to the bar and prac- 
ticed law to some extent. But he and a free negro named 
John Jackson made up a plot at the commencement of the 
Civil War whereby they were to go together to New Orleans, 
Vance as master and Jackson as slave. At New Orleans 
Jackson was to be sold for all the cash he would bring, after 
which Vance was to disappear. Then Jackson was to prove 



HUMOROUS AND ROMANTIC 32. 

that he was a "free person of color," regain his freedom and 
rejoin Vance on the outskirts of New Orleans. It is said that 
this scheme worked successfully and that Vance and Jackson 
divided the proceeds of the sale. 

Love Finds a Way. On the 21st of June, 1856, W. M. 
Blalock, commonly called Keith Blalock, and Malinda Pritch- 
ard were married in Caldwell county, close to the Grand- 
father mountain. In 1862 the conscript law of the Confed- 
eracy went into operation, and Keith, though a Union man, 
was clearly subject to conscription. There was no escape 
from it except by volunteering. But to do that would be 
to part with his wife. So they resolved to enlist together 
and seek their first opportunity of deserting and getting over 
into the Federal lines. They went to Kinston, N. C, and 
joined the 26th N. C. regiment, then commanded by Col. 
Zebulon B. Vance, soon afterwards to become governor. This 
was on the 12th of April, 1862. She wore a regular private's 
uniform and tented and messed with her husband. She en- 
listed and was known as Sam Blalock. She stood guard, 
drilled and handled her musket like a man, and no one ever 
suspected her sex. But they were too far from the Federal 
lines, with little prospect of getting nearer. So Keith went 
into a swamp and rubbed himself all over with poison oak. 
They sent him to the hospital in Kinston, where the surgeons 
disagreed as to his ailment, and he was returned to his own 
regiment, where his surgeon recommended his discharge. It 
was granted and he left the camp. Then his wife presented 
herself to Col. Vance and said that as long as they had sent 
her man home she wanted to go, too. An explanation fol- 
lowed with confirmation "strong as proof of holy writ." She 
was discharged. Keith joined the Union army and drew 
a pension. Mrs. Blalock died March 9, 1901. He was called 
"Keith" because when a boy he was a great fighter, and could 
"whip his weight in wild-cats," as the saying went. At that 
time there was a fighter, full grown and of great renown, who 
lived at Burnsville, by the name of Alfred Keith. The 
boys Blalock played with, "double-teamed" on him some- 
times, but always got thrashed. They then called him "Old 
Keith." He died in September, 1913, at Montezuma. 

The Wild Cat. In February, 1848, when she was sixteen 
years old, Mary Garland, afterwards the wife of Judge Jacob 



3334 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

W. Bowman, killed a wild cat which had followed some ducks 
into her yard. She hemmed it in a fence corner and beat it 
to death with a "battling stick" — a stout, paddle-like stick 
used to beat clothes when they are being washed. This was 
on Big Rock creek, Mitchell county. Her cousins, Jane and 
Nancy Stanley, while tending the boiling of maple sugar sap 
in a camp on the waters of Big Rock creek in the spring of 
1842, when sixteen and thirteen years old respectively, killed 
a black bear which had been attracted by the smell of sugar, 
by driving it into a small tree and killing it with an ax. 

A Moonshiner's Heaven. Forty years ago Lost Cove was 
almost inaccessible, except by trails; but last year (1912) a wagon 
road over three miles long was constructed to it over the 
ridges from Poplar Station on the C. C. & 0. Railroad. Such a 
secluded place was a great temptation to moonshiners, and 
when to its inaccessibility was added the fact that it was in 
dispute between Tennessee and North Carolina, its fascina- 
tions became irresistible. Accordingly John D. Tipton was 
accused of having begun business by the light of the moon, 
as was evidenced by sundry indictments in the United States 
court at Asheville. His example was soon followed by others; 
but, whenever it appeared to Judge R. P. Dick that the al- 
ledged stills were in the disputed territory, he directed the 
discharge of the defendants. However, a mighty change has 
taken place in Lost Cove within the past few years, and not 
only is there no moonshining there now, even when fair Luna 
is at the full, but the good people will not suffer the "critter" 
to be brought in from Tennessee. And better still, in 1910 
they built a school house and a church, and voted a special 
school tax, the first school having been taught in 1911. 

Peggy's Hole. Three-quarters of a mile above Elk Cross 
Roads, now Todd, is a high bluff, covered with laurel, pines 
and ivy. It is at a bend of New river. About 1815 Mrs. 
Peggy Clauson was going to church on a bright Sunday morn- 
ing. Dogs had run a bear off the bluff into a deep hole at 
the base of a cliff, and Mrs. Clauson saw him swimming 
around in the water. She waded in and, seizing the brute by 
both ears, forced his head under the water and held it there 
until Bruin had drowned. It has been called Peggy's Hole 
ever since. 



HUMOROUS AND ROMANTIC 335 

The Hermit of Bald Mountain. 6 "In Yancey county, 
visible from the Roan, and forty-five miles from Asheville, is 
a peak known as Grier's Bald, named in memory of David 
Grier, a hermit, who lived upon it for thirty-two years. From 
posthumous papers of Silas McDowell, we learn the following 
facts of the hermit's singular history. A native of South Caro- 
lina, he came into the mountains in 1798, and made his home 
with Colonel David Vance, whose daughter he fell in love 
with. His suit was not encouraged; the young lady was mar- 
ried to another, and Grier, with mind evidently crazed, 
plunged into the wilderness. This was in 1802. On reach- 
ing the bald summit of the peak which bears his name, he 
determined to erect a permanent lodge in one of the coves. 
He built a log house and cleared a tract of nine acres, sub- 
sisting in the meantime by hunting and on a portion of the 
$250 paid him by Colonel Vance for his late services. He 
was ^twenty miles from a habitation. For years he lived un- 
disturbed; then settlers began to encroach on his wild domains. 
In a quarrel about some of his real or imaginary landed rights, 
he killed a man named Holland Higgins. At the trial he was 
cleared on the ground of insanity, and returned home to meet 
death at the hands of one of Holland's friends. Grier was a 
man of strong mind and fair education. After killing Higgins, 
he published a pamphlet in justification of his act, and sold 
it on the streets. He left papers of interest, containing his 
life's record and views of life in general, showing that he was 
a deist, and a believer in the right of every man to take the 
executive power of the law into his own hands." 

Old Cataloochee Stories. Owing to the fact that the 
late Col. Allen T. Davidson spent much of his young man- 
hood hunting and fishing in Cataloochee valley, much of its 
early history has been preserved. From him it was learned 
that years ago Zach White shot a deputy sheriff named Ray- 
burn when Col. Davidson was a boy, and hid near a big rock 
in a little flat one half mile above the late Lafayette Palmer's 
home, where for years Neddy McFalls and Dick Clark fed 
him. He also stayed on Shanty branch near where Har- 
rison Caldwell now lives. This branch got its name from a 
shanty or shed that Old Smart, a slave of Mitchell David- 
son, built there while he tended cattle for his master years 
before any white people ever lived in that vallej'. The cattle 



336 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

ranged on the Bunk mountain and on Mount Sterling, and 
one day when Neddy McFalls was looking for them to salt 
them he could not find a trace of them anywhere. His nick- 
name for Col. Davidson was Twitty. Now the Round Bunk 
mountain stands between the lefthand fork of the Little 
Cataloochee and Deep Gap, while the Long branch runs from 
the balsam on Mount Sterling and between the headwaters 
of Little Cataloochee and Indian creek. It was on the Long 
Branch that Col. Davidson and Neddy McFalls were standing 
when the latter put his hands to his mouth and cried out : "Low, 
Dudley, low!", Dudley being the name of the bull with the 
herd of cattle; and almost immediately they heard Dudley 
from the top of Mount Sterling give a long, loud low, and they 
knew that their cattle were found. Richard Clark is the one 
who gave the name to the Bunk mountain. 7 Neddy McFalls 
was a great believer in witchcraft. He carried a rifle that 
had been made by a man of the name of Gallaspie on the 
head of the French Broad river, while Col. Davidson's gun 
was known as the Aaron Price gun. Neddy missed a fair shot 
at a buck one day and nothing could persuade him from leav- 
ing Cataloochee and traveling miles to a female witch doctor 
who was to take the "spell" off his gun. Jim Price was found 
dead of milk sick west of the "Purchase," formerly the home 
of John L. Ferguson on top of Cataloochee mountain, on 
another branch, also known as the Long branch. A little dog, 
stayed with the body and attracted the searchers to it by 
getting on a foot-log and howling. 

It was said that the Indians had killed Neddy McFalPs 
father and that he had a grudge against all Indians in conse- 
quence. So one day Neddy and Sam McGaha were together 
and saw an Indian seated on a log. Neddy told McGaha 
that the triggers on his rifle were "set," that is locked, and 
asked him to take a good aim at the Indian just for fun. Not 
knowing that the triggers were really "sprung," and that 
the slightest touch on the "hair-trigger" would fire the rifle, 
McGaha did as he was asked, with the result that the Indian 
fell dead. It is said that Neddy had to run for his life to es- 
cape the wrath of McGaha. 

Private Wm. Nicodemus. An Indian named Christie lived 
on the site of the present town of Murphy, and a ford crossing 
Valley river between the two bridges of the present day was 



HUMOROUS AND ROMANTIC 337 



for years called the Christie ford. The first house built by a 
white man in Cherokee county was a large two-story log house 
with several rooms, erected by A. R. S. Hunter, originally of 
Virginia, but who moved into North Carolina from Georgia. 
Its furniture was of mahogany and was brought by Indians 
on their shoulders from Walhalla, South Carolina, there being 
no wagon roads at that time. Mr. Hunter, in about 1838, 
built a better house. General Wool and General Winfield 
Scott were entertained by the Hunters during the time of the 
removal of the Cherokees. Several of the United States 
soldiers engaged in that heart-rending process died and were 
buried near this old residence ; but these remains were removed 
in 1905 or 1906 to the National cemetery at Marietta, Georgia. 
On one of the old headstones a single name is yet decipherable 
— that of Wm. Nicodemus. 

Cupid and the General's Surgeon. Fort Butler was on 
a hill not far from the Hunter home. Mr. Hunter had one 
child, a daughter, who married Dr. Charles M. Hitchcock, a 
surgeon on Gen. Wool's staff during the "Removal" and the 
Mexican War. They afterwards moved to California, where 
they acquired many valuable lands and settled at San Fran- 
cisco. They had one child, a daughter, Lily, who is now a 
Mrs. Coit, and spends much of her time in Paris, France. 
She still owns all the lands in Cherokee county which were 
acquired by her grandfather, Mr. Hunter. They embrace 
all the land between the Notla and the Hiwassee, the "Mead- 
ows, " on the head of Tallulah creek in Graham county, and land 
in Murphy, where she owns a house near the west end of the 
bridge over the Hiwassee river. 

A Frightened Entry-Taker. The Entry-Taker's office 
was opened in Murphy on the last of March, 1842, when much 
excitement prevailed, as it was strictly a case of "first come, 
first served." It is said that so eager and demonstrative was 
the crowd that Drewry Weeks became alarmed and hid him- 
self in one of the upstairs rooms of the old jail, and that, when 
he was finally discovered, the rush that was made upon him 
was really terrifying. They broke out the window lights 
with their fists and handed or threw their bundles of entries 
and surveys through these openings. One land-hungry citi- 
zen, Stephen Whitaker by name, used to tell how he climbed 
upon the shoulders of the dense crowd of men who were packed 

W. N. C— 22 



338 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

in front of the window of the jail and scrambled and crawled 
on hands and knees over the heads of those who were so 
crowded together that they could not use their fists upon him, 
or dislodge him by allowing him to drop by his own weight, 
till he reached the window and so got a place near the head 
of the list. It is said, however, that the execrations and 
maledictions — commonly called curses — which were hurled 
at him were enough to damn him eternally, if mere words 
could accomplish that result. 

A Strange Dream. Dr. J. E. West was drowned March 
19, 1881, while attempting to ford the Tuckaseegee river at 
the Bear Ford, and remained in the water about two weeks, 
when Rachel Grant, a poor woman whose son Dr. West had 
been treating, dreamed that he came to her and on seeing 
him she expressed surprise and told him she thought that he 
was drowned. He told her that he was and wanted to tell 
her where to direct the men, when they came to search, where 
to find his body. He said to tell them to get into the canoe 
and pole toward two maples on the opposite side and when 
they got near the current that came around a rock to put 
their pole down and they would find him. When she awoke 
in the moring she dressed and walked up to the landing to see 
if it looked like she had seen it while dreaming. She was so 
impressed that she sat and waited till the searching party 
came, to whom she told her story. Of course, some were 
amused while a few had faith enough to follow her directions, 
and when they did so found the body in the precise place she 
had pointed out to them. Mrs. Grant is still living in this 
county, as well as some of those who found the body. It had 
floated about one-half mile. 8 

The Del,osia "Mind." 9 A man named Edward Delosia, 
of Blount county, Tenn., claimed to have discovered a gold 
mine in the Smoky mountains years before the Civil War; 
and it is said that he left a "way bill" or chart telling where 
it might be found. This chart located it at some point from 
which the Little Tennessee river could be seen in three places 
coming toward the observer and in three places going from 
the observer. No such place has ever been discovered, though 
there are points on the Gregory and Parsons Balds from which 
the river can be seen in several places. It was said that De- 
losia claimed he had cut off solid "chunks" of gold with his 



HUMOROUS AND ROMANTIC 339 

hatchet. Many have hunted for it, and many more will con- 
tinue to seek it, but in vain. Many others had and still have 
what may very properly be termed the "Delosia Mind," or 
the belief that sooner or later they would or will discover 
minerals of untold value in these mountains. 

A Thrilling Boat Ride. A large whale boat had been 
built at Robbinsville and hauled to a place on Snowbird creek 
just below Ab. Moody's, where it was put into the creek, and it 
was floated down that creek to Cheoah river and thence to John- 
son's post-office, where Pat Jenkins then lived. It was hauled 
from there by wagon to Rocky Point, where, in April, 1893, Cal- 
vin Lord, Mike Crise and Sam McFalls, lumbermen working for 
the Belding Lumber Company, got into it and started down 
the Little Tennessee on a "tide" or freshet. No one ever ex- 
pected to see them alive again. But they survived. By catch- 
ing the overhanging branches when swept toward the northern 
bank at the mouth of the Cheoah river the crew managed to 
effect a landing, where they spent the night. They started again 
the next morning at daylight and got to Rabbit branch, where 
the men who had been sent to hunt them found them. • They 
spent three days there till the tide subsided, then they went 
on to the Harden farm, which they reached just one week 
after leaving Rocky Point. No one has ever attempted this 
feat since, even when the water was not high. The boat was 
afterwards taken on to Lenoir City, Tenn. 

A Faithful Dog. Many incidents occurred in which our 
pioneer mothers showed grit equal to that of their intrepid 
husbands. But there is one of the intelligence and faithful- 
ness of a dog that deserves to be recorded. 

William Sawyer, one of the pioneers of that section, was liv- 
ing on Hazel creek, near where the famous Adams- Westfeldt 
copper lead was afterwards found. He left home one day in 
1858, when there was what the natives call a " little blue snow" 
covering the landscape, taking with him his trusty rifle and 
his trustier dog. Together they went into the Bone Valley, 
on Bone creek, one of the head prongs of Hazel creek, and so 
called because a number of cattle had perished there from 
cold several years before, their bleaching bones remaining 
as a reminder of the blizzard that had locked everything in its 
icy fingers late in a preceding spring. 

William Sawyer killed a large bear and proceeded to disem- 
bowel and skin him, after which he started home loaded down 



340 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

with bear meat. But he did not get far before he fell dead in the 
trail. The dog remained with him till after midnight, when, 
being satisfied that his master was dead, he left the cold body 
in the woods and proceeded back home. Arriving there just 
before day, the faithful animal whined and scratched on the 
door till he was admitted. Once inside the cabin, he kept 
up his whining and, catching the skirts of Mrs. Sawyer's dress 
in his mouth, tried to draw her to the door and outside the 
house. Quickly divining the dog's purpose and concluding 
that he was trying to lead her to her husband, she summoned 
her neighbors and followed. She soon discovered the body 
of her husband, cold and stiff. 

Aquilla Rose. This picturesque blockader lives at the 
head of Eagle creek in Swain county. Soon after the Civil 
War he got into a row with a man named Rhodes a mile be- 
low Bryson City, and was shot through the body. As Rose 
fell, however, he managed to cut his antagonist with a knife, 
wounding him mortally. After this he went to Texas and 
stayed there some time, returning a few years later and set- 
tling with his faithful wife at his present home. It is near 
the Tennessee line, and if anyone were searching for an inac- 
cessible place at that time he could not have improved on 
Quil's choice. He was never arrested for killing Rhodes, self- 
defence being too evident. In 1912 he made a mistake about 
feeding some swill to his hogs and was "haled " — literally hauled 
— before Judge Boyd at Asheville on a charge of operating 
an illicit distillery near his peaceful home. It was his violation 
of the eleventh commandment, to "never get ketched"; but 
Quil was getting old and probably needed a dram earfy in the 
morning, anyhow. Judge Boyd was merciful, and it is safe 
to predict that Quil will keep that eleventh commandment 
hereafter. 

The Golden City. Wm. H. Herbert owned a large bound- 
ary of land in Clay which had been entered for Dr. David 
Christie of Cincinnati, Ohio, before the Civil War, say about 
1857 or 1858, the warrants having been issued to M. L. Brit- 
tain and J. R. Dyche, who assigned them to Dr. Christie. 
He gave bonds to the State in 1859 ; but the Civil War 
came on and Dr. Christie returned to the North, and failed 
to pay for them. On February 27, 1865, the North Carolina 
legislature passed an act authorizing any person to pay for these 



HUMOROUS AND ROMANTIC 341 



lands and take grants from the State for them. Wm. H. Her- 
bert paid what was due on Christie's bonds and took grants 
for the lands. 

He then sold three hundred acres (Grant No. 2989) to Peter 
Eckels, of Cincinnati, about 1870, and about 1874 Peter 
Eckels divided this tract into lots (on paper only) calling it 
The Golden City. But it was "Wild Land" on Tusquittee 
mountain at the head of Johnson creek, and was not very val- 
uable. He sold several lots, however, to people in Cincinnati 
and years afterwards vain attempts were made to locate this 
Golden City. 

A Large Heart. For several years after the Civil War 
and up to the time of his death the residence of the late John 
H. Johnson was the scene of much hospitality. The lawyers 
hurried through court duties at Murphy, Robbinsville and 
Hayesville in order to get to spend as much time as possible 
beneath his roof. It was at a certain hospitable house in 
Clay county that rose leaves were scattered between the mat- 
tresses and the sheets, and the table groaned with the good 
things provided by the owner, and which were deliriously served 
by his wife and five charming daughters. One love-sick "limb of 
the law" is said to have addressed four of them in quick succes- 
sion one bright Sabbath day in the early seventies only 
to be rejected by each in turn. It seems that these sisters 
had told each other of the proposals received, and that the 
ardent lover had sworn that he loved each one to distraction. 
So, when he made this declaration to the fourth and youngest, 
she asked him if he had not made the same protestation of 
love and devotion to her three elder sisters. He promptly 
admitted that he had. When she asked him how it was pos- 
sible for him to love four girls at once, he solemnly assured 
her that he had a heart as big as a horse collar. 

Bruin Meets His Fate. It is a well authenticated fact 
that Mrs. Norton, then living in Cashier's Valley, was awak- 
ened one night while her husband was away from home, by 
hearing a great commotion and the squealing of hogs at the 
hog-pen near by. Her children were small and there was no 
"man pusson" about the place. The night was cold and 
she had no time to clothe herself, but, rushing from the cabin 
in her night dress and with bare feet, she snatched an axe 
from the wood-pile and hastening to the hog-pen, saw a large, 



342 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

black bear in the act of killing one of her pet "fattening hogs." 
She did not hesitate an instant, but went on and, aiming a 
well-directed blow at Bruin's cranium, split it from ears to chin 
and so had bear meat for breakfast instead of furnishing pork 
for the daring marauder. 

Neddy Davidson and "Granny" Weiss. 10 Old Neddy- 
Davidson, of Davidson river, was a mulatto who lived to be 
very old — some claiming that he was 116 years of age 
when he died. He was given his freedom by his master, Ben 
Davidson, and afterwards moved to Canada. But he re- 
turned to his old home on Davidson river before his death and 
about a year before that event Judge Shuford went to his house 
and spent half the day with him, listening to his stories of 
old times. He told of frequent fights at the Big Musters then 
common in this section, and of many other characters. 
Among the latter was a man named Johnson who used to live 
on Davidson river and "settled" what is now known as the 
Old Deaver (locally pronounced Devver) place. Some- 
thing like one hundred years ago a cattle buyer named Carson 
stopped all night with Johnson and discovered the following 
morning that all his money, two or three hundred dollars, 
was missing. Having no reason to suspect Johnson or his fam- 
ily of the theft, he left for his home. Shortly after his depart- 
ure Johnson was very seriously affected with gravel and sent 
for an old woman reputed to be a witch, known as "Granny" 
Weiss or Weice. She lived on the French Broad river, near 
the mouth of Davidson's river. On her way to attend the 
sick man she met his (Johnson's) wife carrying a lot of money. 
She explained to Granny Weiss that both she and her husband 
were convinced that his urinary affliction had been visited 
upon him because he had taken Carson's money and that 
it would not be relieved till the money had been thrown into 
the French Broad river. 

A Practical "Witch." 11 Well, the story went, that if 
Granny was a witch, she was a wise and good one. For she 
immediately put her veto on throwing that money in the 
French Broad river. She admitted that its theft from Carson 
by Johnson was the real cause of the latter's sickness; but, 
insisted that instead of throwing the money into the French 
Broad the proper course would be to send for Carson, its true 
owner, and return it to him. This was done. Carson did 



HUMOROUS AND ROMANTIC 343 

not prosecute Johnson, but the true story got out and Johnson 
had to sell his place and move away. 

A Pathetic Story. Mr. John Lyon of Great Britain was 
an assiduous collector of our plants, and was probably in these 
mountains prior to 1802. "He, however, spent several 
years there at a subsequent period, and died at Asheville in 
September, 1814, aged forty-nine years." In Riverside 
cemetery, Asheville, is a small tombstone bearing the follow- 
ing inscription: "In Memory of John Lyon, who departed 
this life Sept. 14, 1814, aged 49 years." From a letter writ- 
ten by the late Silas McDowell of Macon county, N. C, to 
Dr. M. A. Curtis, author of "Woody Plants of North Caro- 
lina," and dated October, 1877, we learn that Lyon had been 
"a low, thick-set, small man of fine countenance," and had 
come from Black Mountain in the early autumn of 1814, sick; 
that he took a room in the Eagle hotel. Also that for two sum- 
mers prior to that time he had been seen in Asheville by Mr. 
McDowell. Lyon and James Johnston, a blacksmith from 
Kentucky, and a man of great size, had become friends. So, 
when Lyon took to his bed, Johnston had a bed placed in the 
same room for his own use, and attended the botanist at 
night. The boy, Silas McDowell, had also become attached 
to Mr. Lyon, and on the day of his death had gone to his 
room earlier than usual. "This day throughout had been 
one of those clear autumnal days," continues this letter, 
"when the blue heavens look so transcendantly pure! but 
now the clay was drawing fast to a close, the sun was about 
sinking behind the distant blue mountains, its rays gleaming 
through a light haze of fleecy cloud that lay motionless upon 
the western horizon, and which the sun's rays were changing 
to that bright golden tint that we can look on and feel, but 
can't describe. The dying man caught a glimpse of the 
beautiful scene and observed: 'Friend Johnston, we are hav- 
ing a beautiful sunset— the last I shall ever behold— will 
you be so kind as to take me to the window and let me look 
out?' Johnston carried him to the window, took a seat and 
held the dying man in a position so that his eyes might take 
in the beautiful scene before him. With seraphic look he gazed 
intently, uttering the while a low prayer — or rather the 
soul's outburst of rapturous adoration and praise. After 
the sun sank out of sight, and the beautiful scene faded out, 



344 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 



he exclaimed: 'Beautiful world, farewell! Friend Johnston, 
lay me down upon my bed — I feel as if I can sleep — I may 
not awake — kiss me Johnston — now farewell.' He fell 
asleep in a short time and soon all was still. All of John 
Lyon that was mortal was dead." 

The kind-hearted blacksmith left Asheville soon afterward, 
but soon met and married a lady of property in Alabama, 
and had two sons. x 2 

Soon after the death of John Lyon friends in Edinburgh, 
Scotland, sent the tombstone that now marks his grave. His 
grave had been in the graveyard of the First Presbyterian 
church, but was removed to Riverside in 1878, the late Col. 
Allen T. Davidson and Mr. W. S. Cornell, the keeper of the 
cemetery, bearing the expense. 

The Judge, the Whistlers, and the Geese. Judge J. 
M. Cloud of Salem rode the mountain circuit in 1871 and in 
1872. He was a fearless and honest man whose knowledge 
of law consisted mainly in his knowledge of human nature, and in 
his own good sense. He was very eccentric and, apparently, 
the fiercest and sternest of jurists; but he was really a tender 
hearted gentleman. He was a bachelor and affected to hate 
whistling and the noise of geese and chickens; but he himself 
could shake a log house with his snoring. He was very fond 
of boiled sweet corn. On one occasion one of the lawyers 
who arrived at a certain noted hostelry at Valley Town in 
advance of the Judge told the landlady that his Honor had sent 
word by him to be sure to save him for supper twelve 
ears of corn and three bundles of fodder, the usual "feed" 
for a horse ! Judge Cloud never forgave this joke. When 
he got to Asheville, several of the most mischievious 
young men serenaded him with sweet music at first 
and then with cat-mewing, tin pans and cow bells. One 
of their number, Mr. Samuel G. Weldon, made the others 
believe that the Judge had issued a bench warrant for their 
arrest for contempt of court, and two of them left town pre- 
cipitately. 

When the Judge got to Bakersville he was annoyed by a 
gang of geese which prowled the streets around the court 
house and hissed — hissed — hissed. Judge Cloud called the 
sheriff and ordered him to kill the geese. The sheriff told 
Stokes Penland, now living at Pinola, to shut the geese up 
in a barn till the judge left town. Stokes, a mere boy then, 



HUMOROUS AND ROMANTIC 345 

did so. When court "broke," as final adjournment is called, 
the sheriff presented his bill for $12. "What is this for?" 
fiercely demanded the judge. "For the twelve geese you 
ordered me to kill," answered the sheriff. "Show me their 
dead bodies," returned the Judge "or I'll not pay one cent." 
The sheriff called up Stokes, thinking he would carry out the 
joke and pretend that he had actually killed the geese. But 
he had failed to tell the boy what was expected of him. So 
he asked him: "What did you do with those twelve geese 
the judge told me to have killed?" "I shut them up in the 
barn, and they are there yet," was the surprising but truthful 
answer. At another court, however, that at Marshall, the 
geese had really been killed and the judge was forced to pay 
for them, willy nilly. 

An Asheville Poo Bah. In a municipal campaign in 1874, 
while the late Albert T. Summey was mayor, he was opposed 
for re-election by the late Col. John A. Fagg, who declared 
in a speech that "Squire Summey held a separate office for 
each day in the week, being mayor on Monday, United States 
commissioner on Tuesday, justice of the peace on Wednesday, 
county commissioner on Thursday, chairman of the board 
of education on Friday, commissioner in bankruptcy on Sat- 
urday, and, in Prince Albert coat and silk hat, elder of the 
Presbyterian church on Sunday. 'Myself and my wife, my 
son George and his wife, us four and no more.' " 

Murder of Daniel Sternbergh. In 1874 G. W. Cun- 
ningham was arrested, tried and convicted for having killed 
and robbed Sternbergh of Kansas 6th June, 1874, near Stepp's 
on the North Fork of the Swannanoa. The case was tried 
in Madison, and the defendant executed after the Supreme 
Court had confirmed his conviction. (72 N. C, 469.) 

Will Harris, Desperado. At midnight, November 13, 
1906, policemen Page and C. R. Blackstock were summoned 
to a house on Eagle street, and when Blackstock opened the 
rear door he was shot fatally by a mulatto man supposed to 

have been Will Harris or Abernathy of Mecklenburg. 

Harris also shot Page in the arm as he went to headquarters 
to summon help. Harris started up Eagle street and on the 
way killed Jocko Corpening, a negro, and Ben Addington, also 
colored. As he turned into South Main Harris shot a hole 
in the clothes of a negro named George Jackson, and then 



346 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

started towards the square. Policeman J. W. Bailey started 
to meet Harris, and placed himself behind a large telegraph 
post on the northeast corner of the square and South Main; 
but Harris, with a Savage rifle with steel-jacketed balls, 
dropped on one knee and fired at the post, the ball passing 
through it and through Policeman Bailey as well, killing 
him. Harris turned back down South Main, firing at three 
white men as he went, and at Kelsey Bell in a second-story 
window. There was snow that day, but the next Harris was 
shot to death about eleven o'clock in the forenoon near 
Fletcher's by a posse in pursuit. 

The Last "Big Muster." At the last Big Muster in 
Boone, which occurred on the second Saturday of October, 
1861, the militia had a somewhat hilarious time; and after 
it was over Col. J. B. Todd, then clerk of the court, stood val- 
iantly at the court house door, and vainly waved his sword 
in a frantic effort to prevent the sheriff and others from riding 
their horses into the court room, and pawing the big bass drum 
which some one had placed behind the bar for safe-keeping. 

"Freezing Out of Jail." Joseph T. Wilson, nick-named 
"Lucky Joe," obtained a change of venue from Watauga 
to Ashe Superior court at the November term, 1883. 1 3 He 
had been indicted for stealing horses from Alloway and Henry 
Maines of the North Fork ; but before he was removed from the 
Boone jail, a blizzard came on, and one morning Lucky Joe 
was found in his cell frozen stiff. A doctor pronounced him 
dead or beyond recovery; but he was taken to the Brick Row, 
an annex of the old Coffey hotel, and thawed out. Still pro- 
testing that he was stiff and frozen he was allowed to remain 
in that building a day or two, under guard. But one evening 
at dark the guard locked the door and went out for more 
fuel. When he returned Lucky Joe was absent. He was 
tracked through the snow three miles to the Jones place on 
Rich mountain; but he could not be overtaken. The fol- 
lowing spring Alexander Perry, of Burke, captured him in 
one of the western States and returned him to Ashe, where 
he was convicted and sentenced to ten years in the penitentiary. 
There he became superintendent of the prison Sunday School, 
and had earned an early discharge; but when his baggage came 
to be examined it was discovered that he had stolen several 
articles from the penitentiary itself, and he was made to serve 



HUMOROUS AND ROMANTIC 347 

his full term. Upon his return to Watauga he studied law 
and tried to be "good " for several years; but at the June Term, 
1904, 1 4 he was convicted under one and pleaded guilty to three 
indictments and was sentenced to five years on the Iredell county 
roads, where he died soon afterwards. The stories of his 
career in Kentucky would fill a volume. He was born in 1846 
or 1847, and was a Civil War pensioner. 

A Long - Distance Quarrel. Long before the invention 
of telephones two farmers of Beaver Dams, Watauga county, 
established the fact that they at least had no need for wires 
and electricity, by indulging in the first wireless telegraphy 
on record. Elijah Dotson and Alfred Hilliard each owned 
a hill-side farm three miles apart. One morning Alf saw 
Elijah resting in his field, and jokingly told him to go to work; 
whereupon Elijah told Alf to go to a region devoid of snow 
and ice. This was the commencement of an oral duel that 
lasted half the day, and until the dinner horn summoned 
both to the midday meal. The success of this feat was due 
to strong lungs rather than to any peculiar carrying power of the 
atmosphere of Watauga, though it is the clearest and purest 
in the State. 

A Romance of Slavery Days. On October 16, 1849, 
Silas Baker, a slave belonging to Miss Elizabeth Baker, 
loved a negro woman named Mill or Millie, the prop- 
erty of William Mast of Valle Crucis. About this time Jacob 
Mast, William's uncle, returned from Texas, and the servants 
discovered that he would soon marry Elizabeth Baker, and 
return with her to Texas. That she would take Silas with 
her was most probable; and, unless Jacob Mast should buy 
Millie and take her also, these dusky lovers would be sepa- 
rated forever. It is likely that they satisfied themselves that 
Jacob would not buy Millie; but probably reasoned that, if 
William Mast and his wife were dead, there would be a sale 
of his slaves to settle the estate, at which they hoped that 
Jacob would buy Millie. So, it is supposed, for there was 
never any tangible proof against either, that these two ignor- 
ant and infatuated lovers poisoned William Mast and his wife 
by putting wild or poison parsnips into their coffee. But the 
scheme miscarried; for, though William and his wife died that 
day (October 16), Jacob Mast took Silas to Texas with 
him, while John Whittington bought Millie and sold her to 



348 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

people in Tennessee, which effectually parted them forever. 
Elbert Dinkins of Caldwell county was then teaching school 
in the neighborhood, and was boarding at William Mast's; and 
he told Dr. J. B. Phillips of Cove creek the above facts. 

Another Version. Will Shull, a respected colored man, 
who was born March 10, 1832, claims that Millie's motive 
was revenge for a severe chastisement which she had received 
at the hands of her master, William Mast, as punishment 
for having stolen a twenty-dollar gold-piece from his own 
young master and playmate, Andrew Mast, a son of David 
and Polly Mast, when she had been at this home washing 
clothes. Millie had given this money to Charles, another negro, 
who belonged to John Mast of Sugar Grove, to have changed for 
her; but Charles took the money to the store of Henry Taylor 
at that place, and as he and Andrew Mast were courting 
Emeline and Caroline, the two daughters of John Mast, 
Taylor asked Andrew if he could change the money for him. 
When Andrew saw it he recognized it as his own, as he had 
previously marked it. Charles, of course, laid the blame on 
Millie, who in turn tried to hold the colored boy Will Shull 
responsible. When Will heard of Millie's false charge, he 
loaded a small shotgun which had but recently been given 
him and started to shoot Millie, but was stopped by Mrs. 
Polly Mast, who told him Millie had confessed. Millie did 
not wish to poison Mrs. Mira Mast, who did not usually 
drink coffee; but on that fatal morning she had partaken 
with her husband, William Mast, of the potion Millie had 
prepared for him alone. William Mast was then at work 
on the bridge over the Watauga, a mile below Shull's Mills, 
when he was taken sick and got medicine from Philip Shull 
that morning. Will acquits Sile. 

Silas Baker and His Bugle. Rev. L. W. Farthing, 
however, who remembers Sile well, says that the public sen- 
timent of that day held Sile guilty as the prime mover and 
instigator of the plot. He says that Sile was a large, impu- 
dent black man, between thirty and forty years old, and 
blew a long tin horn on his way to and from his work — a 
bugle. This was probably a stage horn; for soon after the 
opening of the new turnpike down the Watauga river stage 
coaches ran on it from Abingdon via Mountain City (then 
Taylorsville), Trade, Sugar Grove, Shulls Mills, Blowing 



HUMOROUS AND ROMANTIC 349 

Rock, and Lenoir, to Lincolnton. They were drawn by four 
horses and driven by colored drivers, a Mr. Dunn of Abing- 
don having been the owner of the line. One of the stands 
or stopping places, where the horses were changed, was at 
John Mast's at Sugar Grove; another was at Joseph Shull's 
(where James M. Shull now resides) and one was at the 
Coffey gap of the Blue Ridge, where Jones Coffey now lives. 
These stages ran for several years prior to 1861, when they 
were withdrawn. 

Jim Speer's Fate. About ten or twelve years prior to 
the Civil War, four white men of Watauga county, went with 
James Speer of Beaver Dams to South Carolina. Their names 
are still remembered by a few of the older citizens. Speer 
was not considered "right bright," as the expression goes, 
meaning that while he was not utterly imbecile, he was yet 
stupid or dense intellectually. He agreed to be blacked 
and sold as a negro, with the understanding that he was to 
"wash up" after they had returned home, "escape" from 
bondage, and share in the proceeds of the sale. All these 
things were done except the division of the spoils. At the 
next Big Muster following Jim's return, a quarrel was over- 
heard between him and his confederates in the swindle, during 
which it is supposed Jim demanded his share and threatened 
"to let the cat out of the bag" if it was not forthcoming. He 
returned to his home on Beaver Dams and shortly afterwards 
disappeared forever. It was supposed that he had been done 
away with. About 1893 John K. Perry, Esq., found a human 
skeleton in the cliffs in the rear of his dwelling on Beaver 
Dams, and still has the skull in his possession. These are sup- 
posed to be the remains of Jim Speer. x 5 

Joshua Pennell. In 1859 or 1860, Joshua Pennell of 
Wilkes left a will setting all his slaves free, and providing for 
their removal to a Free State, and their support there until 
they could raise a crop. Pennell was a bachelor. Joshua 
Winkler was made executor, and old citizens of Boone remem- 
ber seeing him and the negroes pass through that town one 
bright Sabbath morning on their way to Kansas. Henry C. 
Pearson, Winkler's brother-in-law, accompanied them also. x 6 

"A Wandering Minstrel He." During the seventies, 
William Murphy of Greenville, S. C, wandered through 
these mountains making music every day. He, like Stephen 



350 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Foster, was regarded as a half-vagabond, but he was toler- 
ated for the pleasure his enchanted violin gave whenever he 
drew his magic bow across its strings. There can be little 
doubt that men of his genius feel the indifference and neglect 
of their contemporaries; and it may be that, from their Cal- 
varies of poverty, they, too, realize that we know not what we 
do. For to them the making of music is their sole mission 
here upon earth, and come poverty, obscurity or death, ay, 
come even disgrace and obliquy, they, like Martin Luther at 
Worms, "can do no otherwise, God helping them." Indeed, 
it is the highest form of worship, and David's Psalms still 
live while all the Ptolemies of the past have been forgotten. 
Foster's songs are linking earth to heaven more and more as 
time goes on, and will be sung for eons and for eons. There 
can be no higher destiny than that a man should pour out 
his full soul in strains of haunting melody; and though Stephen 
Foster be dead and "the lark become a sightless song," the 
legacy he has left behind him is more priceless and more 
bountiful than those of the builders of the pyramids or the 
conquests of Napoleon and Alexander. 

Murphy, too, is dead, but while he lived, like the grass- 
hopper "beating his tiny cymbals in the sun," he poured 
forth those matchless orisons that none who ever heard them 
can soon forget. For, while he was not a creator, he was the 
slave and seneschal of the masters who have left their melodies 
behind them for the ravishment of a money-mad and sordid 
world. And when he drew his magic bow across his violin's 
sentient strings, his genius thence evoked sweet strains in- 
formed with soul to all who had the heart to comprehend their 
message and their meaning. 

Was it a jig or waltz or stately minuet? one's feet moved 
rythmically to the "sweet melodic phrase." Was it dirge, 
lament or lovelorn lilt ? one saw again the hearse-plumes 
nod, sobbed out his heart with pallid Jeane, or caught the 
note of bonny bird blythe fluting by the Doon. Was it mar- 
tial air or battle-hymn ? then, once again, came forth the 
bagpipe's skirl, the pibroch's wail, "what time the plaided 
clans came down to battle with Montrose." Again, with 
change of air, there dawned once more that "reddest day in 
history, when Pickett's legions, undismayed, leapt forth to 
ruin's red embrace." 



HUMOROUS AND ROMANTIC 351 

But best, ah, far, far best of all, was that wonder-woven 
race his fine dramatic instinct had translated into song, in 
which the section-riven clays of 'Sixty-one were conjured 
back again from out their graves and ghostly crements, and 
masqueraded full of life and hate and jealousy. For then we 
saw, as if by magic, the mighty racer, Black Hawk, typifying 
the North, and his unconquerable rival, Gray Eagle, the steel- 
sinewed champion of the South, start once again on that 
matchless contest on the turf at Louisville. We heard again 
the wild, divided concourse cheer its favorite steed along the 
track, and saw the straining stallions, foam-flecked with 
sweat — now neck and neck, then one ahead, but soon overtaken, 
and both flying side by side again, their flame-shot nostrils 
dripping blood — till Gray Hawk, spent, but in the lead, 
dropped dead an inch without the goal, his great heart broken, 
as the South's was doomed to be a few years thence, when 

"Men saw a gray, gigantic ghost 

Receding through the battle-cloud ; 
And heard across the tempest loud 
The death-cry of a nation lost!" 

The Valley of Cousins. Valle Crucis is also called the 
Valley of Cousins because of the kinship between most of 
its inhabitants. Ex-Sheriff David F. Baird, a descendant of 
Bedent, says that all of Valle Crucis between the ford of the 
river on the road to Cove creek up to the ford at Shipley's 
home was sold by the original Hix who came to this section, 
for a shot-gun, a pair of leggins and a hound dog. A man 
named Hix was drowned in a "hole" of water in Watauga 
river below D. F. Baird's farm, and the place is called the 
"Hix Hole" yet. This original Samuel Hix was the first 
settler of this valley, but Bedent Baird was not long behind 
him. Bedent's son Franklin was the father of David F. Baird, 
who was born June 10, 1835, and was sheriff from 1882 till 
1886, and from 1890 till 1894. He went with his uncle Joel 
Moody to carry the body of Rev. Wm. Thurston from its 
place of temporary burial at Valle Crucis to Pittsboro, N. C, in 
1856. Another prominent family of this section, which has inter- 
married with the Baird family, is that of the Shulls. Fred- 
erick Shull and his wife came from Germany about the year 
1750. He was a weaver and paid for their voyage by weav- 
ing while his wife worked in the field. Her name was Charity. 



352 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 



Simon Shull was a son of this marriage, and the father of 
seven children by his wife, Mary Sheifler, a daughter of 
Phillip and Mary Ormatenfer Sheifler. She was born in 
Loudon county, Va., May 5, 1772. Simon Shull was born 
in Lincoln county, October 24, 1767. Simon ShulPs children 
were Mary, Sarah, Phillip, John, Joseph, Temperance and 
Elizabeth, born between March 19, 1793, and April 10, 1808. 
Joseph was the father of James M. Shull, and Phillip of 
Joseph C. Shull. Simon Shull was married on Upper creek, 
Burke county, by Rev. William Penland, March 25, 1790, 
and died February 12, 1813. 

Other Closely Related Families. Reuben Mast first 
lived where David F. Baird now lives, but the place had been 
settled before Mast went there. Reuben Mast sold it to John 
Gragg about 1849, and moved to Texas, where he died. 
Gragg lived there till 1867 and sold to David Wagner, and 
moved to Tennessee. David Wagner divided the place 
among his three sons, and David F. Baird bought the shares 
of John and Daniel Wagner on the east side of the river, 
about 1874. He had married a sister of these two Wagners 
in 1870. Joel Mast lived below the road at the place where 
T. Hardee Taylor lives. David Mast lived where Finley 
Mast now lives. John Mast lived at Sugar Grove, while 
Noah Mast lived on Watauga river where Wm. Winkler now 
lives. These were brothers. Henry Taylor came to Sugar 
Grove from Davidson county about 1849 and went into mer- 
chandising there. He married Emaline, daughter of John 
Mast, buying the Joel Mast farm at public auction. Taylor 
then moved to Valle Crucis, and bought the place where 
his son, T. Hardee Taylor, now lives from Joel Mast about 
1850 or 1851. He made his money by selling to those who 
earned wages by the building of the turnpike. He was born 
August 20, 1819. His wife was born January 5, 1826. They 
had six children. After her death, September 21, 1880, he 
married Rachel Gray, by whom he had four children. He 
died March 6, 1899, and his last wife died March 3 of the 
same year. He bought the Ives land from Robert Miller 
before the Civil War. Into the valley of Cove creek in 1791 
came Cutliff Harmon, from Randolph county, and bought 
522 acres from James Gwyn, to whom it had been granted 
May 18, 1791, his deed from Gwyn bearing date August 6, 



HUMOROUS AND ROMANTIC 353 

1791. Cutliff married Susan Fouts, and was about ninety 
years of age when he died in 1838, his wife having died sev- 
eral years before, and he having married Elizabeth Parker, 
a widow. He had ten children by his first marriage, none 
by his second. Among his children were Mary, who married 
Bedent Baird; Andrew, who married Sabra Hix; Eli, who 
married the widow Rhoda Dyer (born Dugger); Mathias, 
who married and moved to Indiana; Catherine, who mar- 
ried Benjamin Ward, and went west; Rebecca, who married 
Frank Adams and moved to Indiana; Rachel, who married 
Holden Davis; Sarah, who married John Mast; Nancy, who 
married Thomas Curtis, and Rev. D. C. Harmon, born April 
17, 1826, and died December 23, 1904. Among those who 
came about the time Cutliff did were the Eggers, Smith, 
Councill, Horton, Dugger, Mast and Hix families. The 
farm Cutliff bought is now owned by M. C, D. F. and D. C. 
Harmon. "Patch farming" was the rule, the settlers going 
to the Globe on Johns river for corn, as they raised only 
rye, buckwheat, Irish potatoes, cabbages, onions and pump- 
kins on the new and cold land of Watauga river. A common 
diet was milk and mush for breakfast and soup and cider 
for dinner and supper, according to Maiden C. Harmon in 
the Watauga Democrat of April, 1891. The intermarriage of 
these families has brought about a neighborhood of closely 
related citizens, and Cove Creek and Valle Crucis are spoken 
of as the Valley of Cousins, Sugar Grove being also a part 
of Valle Crucis. Just down Watauga river from Valle Crucis 
is another settlement called Watauga Falls. Among the first 
to settle there was Benjamin Ward, who had seven sons, 
Duke, Daniel, Benjamin, Nicodemus, McCaleb, Jesse and 
James. He also had three daughters, one of whom was 
named Celia. Benjamin Ward, Sr., was a most enterprising 
and worthy man, and his widow lived to be 105 years of 
age, while their son Ben lived to be 110. Duke married 
Sabra, widow of Andrew Harmon, and moved to Illinois. 
Ben. Jr., went to Cumberland gap, and his son Duke came 
back and married Lucy Tester; while Amos, son of Duke, 
Sr., came back from Illinois and married Sally, sister of Lucy 
Tester. They had two sons, L. D. and John, the latter hav- 
ing been killed before Richmond in 1863. 

W. N. C.— 23 



354 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Samuel Hix, Loyalist. According to Rev. L. W. Far- 
thing, who was born April 18, 1838, and has lived in Beaver 
Dam township and at Watauga Falls postoffice all his long 
life, Samuel was the name of the first Hix who came to what 
is now Watauga county. He got possession of all of what 
is now known as Valle Crucis, including the Sheriff Baird 
farm, either by grant from the Crown or from the State, and 
was there during the Revolutionary War. Being a Loyalist 
he kept himself concealed by retiring to a shanty near Valle 
Crucis, still pointed out as his " Improvement." He sold the 
Valle Crucis land for a rifle, dog and sheepskin to Benjamin 
Ward, the latter later selling it to Reuben Mast. Hix then 
got possession of the land at the mouth of Cove creek, but 
Ward got this also and sold it to a family named Summers. 
This family, consisting of man and wife and five children, 
were all drowned in their cabin at night during a freshet in 
the Watauga river, and their dog swam about the cabin and 
would allow no one to enter till it had been killed. This is 
still spoken of as the "Summers Fresh" — the highest anyone 
now remembers. The bodies of the family were recovered 
and are buried on the opposite side of the river from the 
mouth of Cove creek. Samuel Hix in 1816 obtained a grant 
to 126 acres, on part of which Rev. L. W. Farthing now lives, 
and his grave-stone still stands three miles below St. Judes 
postoffice, and a quarter of a mile below Antioch Baptist 
church. Benjamin Howard took the oath of allegiance to 
the American government in 1778 (Col. Rec, Vol. 22, page 
172), but Samuel Hix seems never to have become recon- 
ciled. Even after the war he hid out, coming home at dark 
for his supplies. His five boys were mischievous, and they 
manufactured a pistol out of a buck's horn, which they fired 
by applying a live coal to the touch-hole, when their father 
returned from the house carrying his rations, thus fright- 
ening him so much that he would drop them and return to 
his concealed camp in the mountains. The children of Sam- 
uel Hix were Golder, David, Samuel, Harmon and William; 
Sally, who married Barney Oaks; Sabra, who married Andrew 
Harmon, who was killed by a falling tree on L. W. Farthing's 
present farm, and Fanny who never married. Samuel Hix 
cared more about hunting than anything else, and it was 
said he knew where there was a lead mine in the mountains 



HUMOROUS AND ROMANTIC 355 

out of which he ran his own bullets. James Hix and James (?) 
Tester, were drowned in what is still known as the Hix 
"Hole" in Watauga river below Sheriff Baird's farm, and 
Sam Tester rode his bull into the water in order to recover 
the two bodies, about 1835. Samuel Hix had a negro slave 
named Jeff, and two apple trees planted soon after his 
removal to the L. W. Farthing place, one at Samuel's cabin 
and the other at Jeff's, lived till within recent years. 

NOTES. 
1 "Asheville's Centenary." 
2Ibid. 

3 Stokes Penland's statement, October, 1912, at Pinola. 
4 Chapter seven of "Dropped Stitches." 
6 Account by T. L. Lowe, Esq. 
sFrom "The Heart of the Alleghanies," p. 271. 
7 So called from its fancied resemblance to a bunk. 
^Letter of Col. D. K. Collins to J. P. A., June 7, 1912. 
frequently called "mind" tor mine. 
"Related by Judge G. A. Shuford. 
I'Ibid. 

"From same letter. 
"Minute Docket B, p. 202, Watauga. 
"Ibid., E, p. 352. 

"Statements of J. K. Perrv and W. L. Bryan, May, 1913. 
"Statement of W. L. Bryan, July, 1913. 



CHAPTER XIV 

DUELS 

The Law of Dueling. From the beginning of the nine- 
teenth century the practice of dueling had been common 
throughout America, the North, even, not being exempt, as 
witness the fatal encounter between Aaron Burr and Alex- 
ander Hamilton. North Carolina had, in 1802, (Rev. Stat., 
Ch. 34, sec. 3) made it a crime to send a challenge or fight a 
duel or to aid or abet in doing either; but, according to the 
strict letter of the law, it would be no crime to send a chal- 
lenge from without the State or to fight a duel on the soil of 
another State, and in all the duels fought in this section great 
care was taken to go across the State line into either South 
Carolina or Tennessee. No effort, apparently, was ever 
made to punish those who as principals, seconds or surgeons 
had participated in such encounters, it having been considered 
that the law of North Carolina had not been violated unless 
the duel had actually been fought on its soil. No duel was 
fought within the State; but in the Erwin-Baxter and the 
Hilliard-Hyman duels, the challenges had most probably been 
sent and accepted in Buncombe county. However, as such 
matters were of a secret and confidential nature, it is likely 
that no evidence of such challenges was ever presented to a 
grand jury of that county, as, if it had been, true bills would 
doubtless have been returned against those charged with 
having sent or accepted the challenges. For dueling was 
never approved by the common people of this section, and 
its practice was confined strictly to a small class of profes- 
sional men and politicians. The quarrels of farmers, mer- 
chants and others were settled in the good old fist and skull, 
or rough and tumble, style, in which knives and pistols were 
never used. Section two of Article XIV of the Constitution 
of North Carolina of 1868 gave dueling its death blow for- 
ever; for, while there is nothing more sacred than a politician's 
honor, prior to 1868 nothing had been found that could pre- 
vent him from fighting duels for its preservation; whereas, 
the moment he discovered that unless he found some other 
means of protecting it he would have to forego the honor of 

(356) 




A. C. Avery. 



DUELS 357 

holding office in North Carolina, he immediately and forth- 
with discovered a way! 

The Jackson-Avery Duel. At some time prior to the 
admission of Tennessee into the Union Andrew Jackson and 
Waightstill Avery, lawyers, fought a duel on "the hill on the 
south side of Jonesboro, Tenn. It seems to have been arranged 
that neither party desired to injure the other, and both fired 
into the air, pistols being the weapons used. John Adair was 
Avery's second, Jackson's being unknown. 

" There are two versions as to the cause of the duel, the first 
being that Jackson had ridiculed Avery's pet authority — 
Bacon's Abridgment— and Avery, in his retort, had grown, 
as he afterwards admitted, too sarcastic, intimating that 
Jackson had much to learn before he would be competent to 
criticise any law book whatever. Jackson sprang to his feet 
and cried: 'I may not know as much law as there is in Ba- 
con's Abridgment, but I know enough not to take illegal 
fees. ' Avery at once demanded whether he meant to charge 
him with taking illegal fees, and Jackson answered 'I do, 
sir, ' meaning to add that he had done so because of his ignor- 
ance of the latest law fixing a schedule of fees. But Avery 
had not waited for him to finish his sentence and hissed in 
Jackson's teeth 'It's as false as hell.' Then Jackson had 
challenged Avery and Avery had accepted the challenge. 
When they had arrived on the ground and exchanged shots, 
they shook hands; after which Jackson took from under his 
arm a package which he presented to Avery, saying that he 
knew that if he had hit Avery and had not killed him the 
greatest comfort he could have would be Bacon's Abridg- 
ment.' When the parcel was opened it contained, cut to 
the exact size of a law book, a piece of well cured bacon. 

"The other version is that Avery promised to produce Bacon's 
Abridgment in court the following morning and that Jackson 
had gone to Avery's room and removing the book had sub- 
stituted a piece of bacon in its stead in Avery's green bag. 
When Avery opened this bag in court the next day and the 
bacon fell out, he was so incensed that he challenged Jackson 
at once. The challenge had been accepted and shots ex- 
changed, whereupon each had expressed himself as satisfied 
and the matter ended." * 



358 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Col. F. A. Olds' Account. In Harper's Weekly for Decem- 
ber 31, 1904, is an account of this duel which had and still has 
the approval of Hon. Alfonzo C. Avery, oldest descendant then 
living of Hon. Waightstill Avery. It contains the challenge, 

which follows: 

August 12, 1788. 
Sir : 

When a man's feelings & character are injured he ought to seek a 
speedy redress; you reed a few lines from me yesterday & undoubtedly 
you understand me. My character you have Injured; and further you 
have insulted me in the presence of a court and a large audience. I 
therefore call upon you as a gentleman to give me satisfaction for the 
same. I further call upon you to give me an answer immediately with- 
out Equivocation and I hope you can do without dinner until the busi- 
ness is done; for it is consistent with the character of a gentleman when 
he Injures a man to make speedy reparation; therefore I hope you will 
not fail in meeting me this day from yr Hbl. St. 

Col. Avery. Yrs. Axdw. Jacksox. 

"P. S. — This Evening after court is adjourned." 

The Facts of the Case. These were told to Judge A. 
C. Avery by his father Col. Isaac T. Avery, who was the 
only son of Waightstill Avery. "When the latter practiced 
law in Mecklenburg, N. C, he and young Jackson were well 
acquainted. Avery was elected in 1777 the first attorney 
general of North Carolina. He afterwards married a lady 
who lived near Newberne, in Jones count}', and soon after 
this marriage resigned and settled in Jones, becoming colonel 
of that county's regiment of militia. His command was not 
in active service during the Revolution, except in some occa- 
sional troubles with the Tories, until it was called out when 
Lord Cornwallis invaded North Carolina. . . . He secured 
the passage of a bill creating the county of Washington, which 
embraced the whole State of Tennessee, and then became the 
leading member of the bar at Jonesboro, which was the county 
seat. At the close of the Revolutionary War Andrew Jackson 
went to Burke county and applied to Waightstill Avery to 
take him as a boarder at his country home and instruct him 
as a law student. Col. Avery told him he had just moved 
to the place, and had built nothing but cabins, and could not 
grant his request. Jackson went to Salisbury, studied law 
there [under Judge Spruce McCay], and settled at Jonesboro, 
until the new county of Davidson (with Nashville as the county 
seat) was established. . . . Just before the challenge to 



DUELS 359 

fight was sent by Jackson, Avery appeared in some lawsuit 
at Jonesboro as opposing counsel to Jackson, and ridiculed 
the position taken by Jackson, who had preceded him in 
argument. Jackson considered the argument insulting and 
sent him the challenge. Col. Avery was raised a Puritan. 
He graduated at Princeton with the highest honors in 1766, 
and remained there a year as a tutor, under the celebrated 
Jonathan Edwards and the famous Dr. Witherspoon, who 
signed the Declaration of Independence as a representative 
of New Jersey. Avery was a Presbyterian and opposed on 
principle to dueling, but he so far yielded to the imperious 
custom of the time as to accept the challenge and go to the 
field, with Colonel, afterwards Governor, Adair of Kentucky 
as his second. After the usual preliminaries he allowed 
Jackson to shoot at him, but did not return the fire. There- 
upon, having shown that he was not afraid to be shot at, 
Avery walked up to young Jackson and delivered a lecture 
to him, very much in the style a father would use in lecturing 
a son. Avery was very calm, and his talk to the brave young 
man who had fired at him was full of good sense, dispassion- 
ate and high in tone, and was heard with great attention by 
the seconds of both parties, who agreed that the trouble must 
go no further, but should end at this point, and so then and 
there a reconciliation was effected between these two brave 
spirits. Col. Avery took the challenge home and filed it, as 
he was accustomed to file all his letters and papers, endorsing 
it 'Challenge from Andrew Jackson.' " 

The Vance-Carson Duel. To the late Silas McDowell 
of Macon county we are indebted for many facts concerning 
the duel between Dr. Robert Brank Vance of Buncombe 
and Hon. Samuel P. Carson of Burke. Mr. McDowell was 
the friend of both these gentlemen; and, although he waited 
forty-nine years after the duel had been fought, and he him- 
self was in his eighty-first year before committing his recol- 
lection of that lamentable event to paper, it must be accepted 
as the most authentic, because the only, account now avail- 
able of that affair. Hon. A. C. Avery of Morganton, in an arti- 
cle published in the North Carolina Review (Raleigh) for 
March, 1913, has supplemented this statement with many 
important facts bearing on the principals and seconds con- 
cerned; and from these two statements the following facts 
have been carefully compiled: 



360 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Samuel P. Carson. He was the son of Col. John Carson 
and of his wife, who, before her marriage to him, had been 
the widow of the late Gen. Joseph McDowell of Pleasant 
Gardens, N. C. He, like his father, was a Democrat, and 
was young, handsome, eloquent, magnetic, blessed with a 
charming voice, delighting in all the pleasures and oppor- 
tunities of a healthful, vigorous physique. He was educated 
at the "Old Field Schools" of the neighborhood till he reached 
his nineteenth year, when he was taken into the family of his 
half brother, Joseph M. Carson, where he was taught gram- 
mar and directed in a course of reading with an eye to politi- 
cal advancement; and before he was 22 years of age he repre- 
sented the county of Burke in the legislature, defeating his 
kinsman James R. McDowell for that place. He was born 
about the year 1797, and was about four years younger than 
Dr. Vance. Even when a boy he was a great favorite not 
only with people of his own walk in life, but was worshipped 
by the negroes on his father's plantation. His mother was a 
Methodist and young Samuel was a great favorite at camp 
meetings where his deep-toned and harmonious voice led in 
their congregational singing. He was also popular with 
ladies. 

Gen. Alney Burgin. He was Carson's second, and was 
a social and political leader of Burke county, having several 
times been elected to the legislature. He preserved the chal- 
lenge which Mr. Carson sent by him to Dr. Vance. This 
challenge had been written by Carson at Pleasant Gardens 
and was dated September 12, 1827, taken to Jonesboro, Tenn., 
and sent from there in order to avoid a violation of the law 
of North Carolina regarding dueling; for he states in the chal- 
lenge: "I will do no act in violation of the laws of my State; 
but as you have boasted that you had flung the gauntlet 
before me, which in point of fact is not true; for, in the lan- 
guage of chivalry, to fling the gauntlet is to challenge — to 
throw down the iron glove; . . . but, if you are serious, 
make good your boast; throw the gauntlet upon neutral 
ground; then, if not accepted, boast your victory." He 
notified Dr. Vance that he would pass through Asheville to 
meet friends in East Tennessee, where he would spend a week 
at Jonesboro, and expected to receive an answer by way of 
Old Fort, near which place Gen. Burgin lived. His son, 



DUELS 361 

Joseph McD. Burgin, was the father of Mrs. Locke Craig, 
the wife of the present governor. 

Hon. Warren Davis. This gentleman was a South Car- 
olinian, a cousin of John C. Calhoun, a member of Congress, 
a man of decided ability, and "thoroughly conversant with 
the intricate rules of the Code Duello." He was called in by 
Mr. Carson as an additional second because Gen. Burgin 
was not well versed in the punctillio of the duello, and Davis 
"was expected in the arrangements for the encounter and 
any correspondence that might ensue, to protect Carson." 

Robert Brank Vance. He was born in Burke county 
about 1793, and was the son of David Vance, who, after serv- 
ing as an ensign under Washington, married the daughter of 
Peter Brank, who lived about a mile from Morganton, and 
fought as captain of a company in McDowell's regiment at 
Ramseur's Mill, Cowpens and Kings Mountain, while his 
uncle, Robert Brank, for whom Dr. Vance was named, had 
the reputation of being one of the most daring soldiers in his 
company. Young Vance was a fine scholar as a school boy; 
but, owing to an affliction which had settled in his left leg, 
that member had been shortened about six inches and so 
retarded his physical development that when fully grown 
he was only five feet and five inches in height. His face, how- 
ever, was handsome, and his "mind was of no common order." 
His family were Presbyterians and he attended the Newton 
academy near Asheville, afterwards graduating from an 
unnamed medical school and commencing the practice of med- 
icine in Asheville in 1818. But, having drawn a five-thousand- 
dollar prize in a lottery, and his father having willed him a 
large portion of his estate, Dr. Vance purchased a fine library 
and retired from practice three years after opening his office. 
He was encouraged by his friends, and especially by young 
Samuel P. Carson, then in the legislature from Burke, to 
oppose Felix Walker, whose popularity then "was in the 
descending node," for Congress, but declined to do so till 
1823, when he ran for Congress and was elected by a majority 
of one vote. It was said that when he appeared in Congress 
John Randolph of Roanoke, struck by his diminutive size and 
physical deformity, remarked, "Surely that little man has 
come to apply for a pension." But Vance soon convinced 
the strong men of the house "that Aesop's mind could be hid, 



362 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

but not long, under an Aesop's form, and at the close of the term 
he had the respect of every distinguished man in the house." 
The most important measure before the session was an appro- 
priation of $250,000 — "and many townships of land" for 
Gen. Lafayette; and for this measure Vance voted. 

Friends Become Political Rivals. In 1825 Samuel P. 
Carson and Dr. Vance were opposing candidates for Congress, 
and Carson was elected; but in 1827 Dr. Vance invited some 
of his friends to meet at Asheville, and announced that he 
would oppose Carson's re-election, and would insist on his de- 
feat because he had voted for an appropriation of $25,000 to 
the citizens of Alexandria, Virginia, which had been recently de- 
stroyed by fire. To this meeting Silas McDowell was invited, but 
his opposition to Vance's idea that Carson could be defeated 
because of this vote displeased all of Vance's friends, but 
not Vance himself. Vance and Carson accordingly were 
opposing candidates in 1827, and at the first meeting at Ashe- 
ville Carson spoke first; but, in reviewing his course in Congress, 
he omitted to refer to his vote for the appropriation for the cit- 
izens of Alexandria. When Dr. Vance spoke he called atten- 
tion to the fact that Carson had not referred to that vote, 
whereupon Carson answered that the city had been destroyed 
by fire and its citizens left homeless and destitute; and that 
Vance himself, if he had been in Carson's place, would have 
voted likewise, because "I think he has a heart." Vance 
retorted that if those who had applauded Carson's statement 
"could admire, as some seem to do, the heart promptings 
that send a man's benevolent hand into some other man's 
pocket than his own, all I have to say about it is — I can't." 
Upon this Carson answered that "until Vance should with- 
draw the charge that he had put his hand into another's 
pocket to save his own, " they could be friends no longer; 
and proceeded to charge Vance with inconsistency as he 
himself had voted when in congress for the larger donation 
to Lafayette. Thereupon Vance charged Carson with being 
a demagogue, and when Carson replied that but for Vance's 
diminutive size he would hold him to account for his "vile 
utterances," Vance retorted: "You are a coward and fear 
to do it." This closed the debate. 

The Casus Belli. According to Mr. McDowell, Car- 
son's failure to challenge Vance, after having been publicly 



DUELS 363 

called a coward, confirmed Vance in his belief that he would not 
fight; this idea of Carson's cowardice having been suggested 
in the first instance by Carson's refusal to accept a challenge 
from Hugh M. Stokes, a lawyer, and a son of Gen. Mumford 
Stokes of Wilkes, on the alleged ground that young Stokes 
had forfeited his right to recognition as a gentleman because 
of his intemperate indulgence in strong drink. A second 
meeting of Vance's friends was soon held at Asheville, but 
from it Silas McDowell was excluded. There it was deter- 
mined that Vance should attack the character of Carson's 
father "on a floating tradition that, after the defeat of our 
army at Camden, Carson, with many other hitherto patriotic 
citizens of North Carolina, had applied to Cornwallis, while 
near Charlotte, to protect their property. The tradition went 
so far as to include many of the patriotic men of Mecklenburg 
county. Up to this day that tradition is an historic doubt." 
But Judge Avery points out that Col. John Carson had been 
elected by the people of Burke to attend the convention held 
at Fayetteville for the Constitution of 1787 of the United 
States, as a sufficient refutation of the charge as applied to 
him. But, at the next joint debate, which was at Morganton, 
Vance used these words: "The Bible tells us that 'because 
the fathers have eaten sour grapes, their sons' teeth have 
been set on edge.' . . . My father never ate sour grapes 
and my competitor's father did. ... In the time of the 
Revolutionary War my father, Col. Vance, stood up to fight, 
while my competitor's father, Col. Carson, skulked, and took 
British protection." 

The Insult Is Resented. All of Samuel P. Carson's 
brothers were present when this statement was made "and 
made a move as though they would attack Vance, when 
prominent citizens interfered and the excitement calmed 
down." The election resulted in Vance's defeat, three to 
one, Vance getting only 2,419 votes. Afterwards, "Col. 
Carson wrote Vance an ill-natured and abusive letter, to which 
Vance sent the brief reply. ... 'I can have no alterca- 
tion with a man of your age; and, if I have aggrieved you, 
you certainly have some of your chivalrous sons that will 
protect you from insult.' A few days thereafter Gen. Alney 
Burgin came to Asheville ... to enquire which one 
of Colonel Carson's sons Vance alluded to in his lines to his 



364 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

father," and Vance replied "Sam knows well enough I meant 
him. " Then the challenge was delivered and accepted. 

The Duel. It was agreed that three weeks should elapse 
before the duel, which was to be fought at Saluda Gap, on 
the line between North and South Carolina, on the Greenville 
turnpike. Gen. Franklin Patton was Vance's second and Dr. 
George Phillips his surgeon, while Dr. Shuflin was Carson's 
surgeon. "A few special friends attended as spectators, 
and, though invited by both gentlemen," Mr. McDowell did 
not go. Davy Crockett, who, according to Dr. Sondley, in 
"Asheville's Centenary," had married a Miss Patton, of 
Swannanoa, is said to have been present as a friend 
of Carson's. The distance was ten paces and the firing 
was to be done between the words "Fire, One, Two, 
Three," with rising or falling pistols. Vance chose the rising 
and Carson the falling mode; and at the word "Fire," Car- 
son sent a ball entirely through Vance's body, entering one 
and a half inches above the point of the hip and lodging in 
the skin on the opposite side. It does not appear that 
Vance fired at all. Vance died the next day, thirty-two hours 
after having received his wound, at a hotel on the road, 
probably Davis's. 

Contrition. When he saw that Vance had been wounded 
Carson expressed a wish to speak to him, but was led away; 
and before his death Vance expressed regret that Carson had 
not been permitted to speak with him, and stated that he 
had "not the first unkind feeling for him." Vance also told 
Gen. Burgin that he had fallen where he had always wished 
to die — "on the field of honor." He was buried at the family 
grave-yard on Reems creek. 

Carson's Subsequent Career. Mr. Carson went on to 
Congress after the duel, was elected a delegate to the State 
convention of 1835, moved to Texas and became Secretary 
of State in David G. Burnett's cabinet, never returning to 
North Carolina. The result of this duel is said to have embit- 
tered his life. Mr. McDowell hints at an attachment for 
Miss Donaldson, the pretty niece of Andrew Jackson; but 
Carson died unmarried. 

Premonition. It is quite evident that Vance expected to 
be killed; for he made his will (dated November 3, 1827) 
in which he referred to the approaching duel, and after his death 
it was admitted to probate, though, when the court house 



DUELS 365 

was destroyed in the spring of 1865, the record book containing 
it was destroyed. Fortunately, however, a certified copy had 
been obtained prior to the fire, which copy is still in existence. 2 
Judge Avery also states that Dr. Vance stopped at his father's 
house on his way to the dueling ground "and though almost 
everyone knew what was about to occur, no allusion was 
made to it by the family in conversation with their guest. 
The impression was made on some of the family that Vance 
seemed sad. Though recklessly fearless, it was natural that 
he should seem depressed in view of the prospect that he or 
Carson, or both, would probably be killed." 

Vance's Motive. Although Mr. McDowell had been 
"excluded" from the second conference between Vance and 
his friends at Asheville, he and Dr. Vance lodged at the 
same house at Morganton, and he said : "When Vance returned 
to our room ... I remarked to him, ' Doctor, you have 
this day sounded the death knell over yours or Carson's 
grave — perhaps both.' To this Vance answered: 'There 
is no fight in Carson. I wish he would fight and kill me. Do 
you wish to know why? I will tell you: My life has no 
future prospect. All before me is deep, dark gloom, my way 
to Congress being closed forever, and to fall back upon my 
profession or former resources of enjoyment makes me shud- 
der to think of. Understand me, McDowell, I have no wish 
to kill or injure Carson; but I do wish for him to kill me, as, 
perhaps, it would save me from self-slaughter.'" Would such 
a statement have been made except to a trusted friend and 
under the sacred seal of friendship? 

Col. John Carson 's Implacability. Judge Avery tells us 
that, after the Morganton insult, Col. Carson agreed to 
forego his privilege of challenging Vance only upon the prom- 
ise of his six sons that if "Samuel Carson should first challenge 
Vance, and, if he should fall, then the oldest son, Joseph 
McDowell Carson, should challenge him, and if every one of 
the six should fall in separate encounters with Vance, then 
the old Colonel should be at liberty to wipe out the insult to 
the family by meeting Vance on the field of honor." He 
adds: "Vance was not only mistaken in expecting a back 
down, but in fact he was provoking a difficulty with six cool 
and courageous men, everyone of whom was a crack marks- 
man. " But that was not all. Judge Avery further states 
that Warren Davis, Carson's second, refused to "act as his 



366 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 



second unless he would promise to do his best or use his utmost 
skill to hit Vance. " Dr. Vance must have known who Davis 
was and why he had been brought from South Carolina, as 
well as of the marksmanship of the six Carsons; and that he 
had deliberately offered a deadly insult to the venerable head 
of an old and distinguished family because he believed that 
Samuel P. Carson would not fight is almost incredible. That 
Dr. Vance should wish to be killed by his boyhood's friend 
is even more unbelievable. But, whatever his motive, crit- 
icism of his conduct was silenced above his open grave; for 
he went to his death with a courage that was sublime; and for 
more than three quarters of a century censure has remained 
dumb, "with a finger on her lips and a meaning in her eyes." 
Judge Avery's Account. In his "Historic Homes of 
North Carolina" (in the N. C. Booklet, Vol. IV, No. 3) the 
late Hon. A. C. Avery recorded the fact that on the night 
after the debate between Vance and Carson at Morganton, 
Samuel P. Carson, his six brothers and his father agreed that 
if the father would not challenge Vance Samuel would do so, 
and if he fell each son in succession should challenge Vance 
till he should be killed. In the event that all the seven Car- 
son sons should fall, then, Col. Carson, the father would send 
a challenge. It is also stated that Carson went to Tennessee 
to send the challenge in order not to violate the law of this 
state; and that David Crockett was one of Carson's friends at 
the duel. Just before taking his position on the field Carson 
told Warren Davis that he (Carson) could hit Vance where- 
ever he chose, but preferred not to inflict a mortal wound. 
Thereupon, Davis said: "Vance will try to kill you, and if he 
receives only a flesh wound, he will demand another shot, 
which will mean another chance to kill you. I will not act 
for you unless you promise to do your best to kill him." Car- 
son promised, and Vance fell mortally wounded, Carson la- 
menting that the demands of an imperious custom had forced 
him to wreck his own peace of mind in order to save the honor 
of his family. In 1835 Carson was elected to the Constitu- 
tional Convention of that year. He emigrated to Texas in 1836, 
was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1836 in 
that State, and Sam Houston made him secretary of State. 
Carson was active in securing the annexation of Texas. The 
Biographical Congressional Directory, 1911, says that Carson 
"after his retirement from Congress moved to Arkansas; died 



DUELS 367 

in Hot Springs, Ark., in November, 1840" (p. 532). The 
same work (p. 1076) says that Vance "moved to Nashville, 
Nash county, where he held several local positions." All 
of which is wrong. It does not give the date of his birth or 
of his death 

The Clingman- Yancey Duel. 3 "Although kind, social 
and friendly in his private intercourse, Gen. Thomas L. Cling- 
man's character is not of that negative kind so concisely 
described by Dr. Johnson of one 'who never had generosity 
enough to acquire a friend, or spirit enough to provoke an 
enemy.' Whenever the rights of his State and his personal 
honor were infringed, he was prompt and ready to repel the 
assailant. He has followed the advice of Polonius to his son: 

' Beware of entrance 
Into a quarrel; but being in, 
So bear thyself that thy opposer 
Will beware of thee. ' 

"In 1845, Hon. William Yancey, of Alabama, well known 
in his day as 'a rabid fire eater,' attempted some liberty with 
General Clingman. A challenge ensued. Huger, of South 
Carolina, was Yancey's friend; and Charles Lee Jones, of 
Washington City, was the friend of Clingman. They fought 
at Bladenburg. 

"Mr. Jones, the second of General Clingman, in his graphic 
description of this duel, published in the Capital, states: 

" 'After the principles had been posted, Mr Huger, who had won the 
giving of the word, asked, "Are you ready? FIRE !" 

"'Mr Clingman, who had remained perfectly cool, fired, missing his 
adversary, but drawing his fire, in the ground, considerably out of line, 
the bullet scattering dust and gravel upon the person of Mr. Clingman. 
After this fire the difficulty was adjusted.' 

"Hon. Kenneth Rayner, the colleague of Mr. Clingman 
in Congress, who was on the ground, states that ' he had never 
seen more composure and firmness in danger than was mani- 
fested by Mr. Clingman on this occasion. ' On seeing his friend 
covered by the dust and gravel, and standing at his post 
unmoved he thought he was mortally wounded. He rushed 
to him and asked him if he was hurt. 'He has thrown some 
dirt on my new coat, ' he replied. . . . On other occasions, 
as with Hon. Edward Stanley and others, Gen. Clingman 
has evidenced a proper regard for his own honor by repelling 
the insults of others. " 



368 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Erwin-Baxter Duel. At some time between 1851 and 
1857 the late Major Marcus Erwin and the late Judge John 
Baxter fought a duel with pistols at Saluda Gap on the Green- 
ville, South Carolina, turnpike. Judge Baxter was shot in 
the knuckle of the right hand, the ball ranging up and along 
the right arm to the shoulder. It was not a serious wound, 
but disabled its recipient for a second shot. It was claimed 
by Baxter's friends that he was opposed to dueling, and had 
not fired to hit Erwin. Erwin's friends retorted that if his 
right arm had not been pointing toward Erwin when Erwin's 
bullet struck Baxter's knuckle, the ball would not have ranged 
up it to his shoulder. 4 The late Dr. Edward Jones of Hen- 
dersonville was Erwin's second and the late Dr. W. L. Hil- 
liard was Erwin's surgeon. Terrill W. Taylor was Baxter's 
second and Dr. W. D. Whitted his surgeon. 5 

Result of a Political Quarrel. It is agreed that the 
cause of this duel was politics pure and simple; but the special 
offence alleged has been forgotten. Judge A. C. Avery 
writes : 

"My recollection is — in fact, I know — that the duel was fought just 
south of our State line at Saluda gap. According to my best recollec- 
tion it occurred in 1852, soon after Gen. Clingman and others had fol- 
lowed Calhoun in opposing the compromise measure of 1851 and had 
been put beyond the pale of the Whig party, on that account. Marcus 
Erwin was editing a Democratic paper established shortly before that 
time in Asheville. My impression is that the name of the paper was 
the News. I know it was sent to me at the Bingham School. My im- 
pression is that Erwin had written some very strong articles or edito- 
rials advocating the doctrine of State's Rights. Mr. Baxter, who then 
lived in Hendersonville, wrote a communication to the Whig paper in 
which he criticised Mr. Erwin, calling him the 'Fire-eating Editor of the 
News' (if that was the name of the paper); and in answer to him Mr. 
Erwin wrote a very caustic criticism of Mr Baxter, in which he said, 
enclosing the article, in substance, that Mr. Baxter had called him a 
fire-eater; but that, while he did not devour that element, Mr. Baxter 
would find him ready and willing to face it. This editorial, as I recollect 
it, called forth a challenge from Baxter, which was accepted and Mr. 
Erwin selected Saluda as the place for the duel. Judge Avery thinks 
Dr. Jones was Erwin's second and Dr. Whitted of Hendersonville was 
Baxter's surgeon, but could not recall Baxter's second." 6 

"But Dr. J. S. T. Baird, who remembers seeing Judge Baxter at 
court while the Doctor was its clerk, between 1853 and 1857, with his 
hand bandaged from the effects of the wound, scouts the idea that Baxter 
sent the challenge. Elias Gibbs, who now (1912) lives near Henderson- 
ville, was sitting talking to Mr. Baxter when the challenge came. Col. 



DUELS 369 

Baxter read the challenge, showed it to him, then tore it into minute 
scraps and threw them on the floor. He accepted, and with his second, 
Terrell Taylor, father of Mrs. Joseph Bryson, went on horse-back to the 
South Carolina line, fearing the law in his own state. His (Baxter's) 
wife's suspicions became aroused after he left, so, she with a number of 
slaves gathered the torn fragments together and read them, discovering 
her husband's whereabouts. Col. Baxter was tinged with Quakerism, 
was a very conscientious and honorable man. When it came to fighting 
the duel, a large crowd of citizens had learned of it, and were present. 
Col. Baxter did not wish to show the white feather by not standing up, 
but without any intention of injuring his opponent, shot at his feet." 7 

Major Erwin was, by many, considered the " brainiest" 
man in the State; while Mr. Baxter afterwards moved to 
Tennessee where he was made United States circuit judge, 
and served with distinction till his death. 

The Hyman-Hilliard Duel. In the Summer of 1855 
John D. Hyman, editor of the Spectator said in his paper that 
the mail service was not as efficiently conducted as when it had 
been under the management of the Whigs. Dr. W. L. Hil- 
liard, now deceased, was then the postmaster, and a partner 
of the late Dr. J. F. E. Hardy. 8 Besides this, both were 
Democrats. Dr. Hilliard sent Dr. Hardy to Col. Hyman with 
a polite request for a retraction and apology, which were 
refused. Thereupon a challenge to mortal combat followed, 
which was promptly accepted, rifles designated as the weapons, 
and Paint Rock on the Tennessee line agreed on as the place 
of meeting. 

Dr. Hilliard had married the year before Miss Margaret 
Love, a daughter of Col. J. R. Love, and was living over the 
drug store of Dr. Thomas C. Lester in a brick building, then 
on the site now occupied by the Falk Music Store. Between 
this and what is now Aston street, then a mere lane, lived 
Mr. James Patton. In the rear of Dr. Hilliard's apartments 
were his barn and stable, with a single exit, that on South 
Main street. The postomce was just above his house and 
on that street. Capt. James P. Sawyer, or Captain Frank 
M. Miller, was the clerk in charge. 

Now, Col. Hyman and his party had left the day before 
the duel was to be fought; but Drs. Hilliard and Hardy and 
Col. David Coleman, Dr. Hilliard's second, knew that the 
authorities had been informed of the contemplated duel and 
that they would be arrested if they should openly attempt to 

w. N. c— 24 



370 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 



leave town. So they waited till nightfall, when they had the 
plank from the rear wall of the stable removed and slipped 
their horses out into the lane that is now Aston street. They 
were afraid also that if they followed the most direct route 
to Paint Rock, that down the eastern bank of the French Broad, 
they might be arrested. Consequently, they crossed the 
French Broad at Smith's Bridge and went down the left-hand 
side of the river. But it is forty miles to Paint Rock, and 
ride as hard as they could through the dark night, dawn was 
breaking when they reached the bridge at Warm Springs. 
As the duel was fixed for sunrise the Hyman party began to 
fear that the doctor had been arrested, but Col. John A. Fagg, 
who lived at Paint Rock, said that he knew Hilliard and 
that they need have no apprehensions. 

According to the recollection of Francis Marion Wells, now 
91 (1912) years old, and living on Grass creek, Madison county, 
within less than one mile from where the duel was fought, the 
Hyman party arrived at Paint Rock the day before that on 
which the duel was to be fought. People living in the neigh- 
borhood began to suspect the truth, and the authorities of 
Cocke county, Tennessee, were notified. So that when the 
Hilliard party reached the scene early on the morning of the 
day set for the duel, from forty to fifty men had assembled 
to see what might occur. Among these were peace officers 
of North Carolina. The belligerants, realizing that a duel in 
the circumstances would most likely be interfered with by 
the authorities of North Carolina or Tennessee, announced 
publicly that the effort to have the encounter take place had 
been abandoned and all parties started on their return to 
Asheville. This seemed to have accomplished its purpose, 
for no one followed. But when Hot Springs was reached the 
parties merely crossed to the left or western bank of the French 
Broad, not for the purpose of ascending the river to Ashe- 
ville, but of descending it to the Tennessee line by a road lead- 
ing to the mouth of Wolf creek. As they passed Mr. Wells' 
house he noted particularly the men who were present: They 
were John D. Hyman and John Baxter, his second, and Dr. 
Charles Candler, his surgeon. With Dr. W. L. Hilliard was 
his second, Marcus Erwin, 9 and Dr. J. F. E. Hardy, his sur- 
geon. Col. John A. Fagg was along to show the way. The 
duel was fought with rifles at fifty paces just about 100 yards 



DUELS 371 

over the North Carolina line. Dr. Candler told Wells that 
he weighed the powder and lead that went into each rifle. The 
road on which the duel was fought is partly grown up now, 
coming into the new road in a slightly oblique direction from the 
gap of the little ridge. The spot is about one and a half miles 
west of the French Broad river. As the party returned Col. 
John Baxter shouted to Squire Wells as he passed: "No- 
body hurt," which proved to be true. Only one shot was 
exchanged, a second shot not having been demanded. There 
is a tradition that but for the fact that Col. Fagg cried "Halt!" 
as the commands to fire were being given, Hyman would prob- 
ably have killed Hilliard, as the latter fired first, his ball 
striking the ground near Hyman's feet. Also that Hyman's 
bullet clipped a button from Hilliard's coat. 

A One-Sided Duel Across the State Line. All uncon- 
sciously two men of Cherokee county imitated famous duel- 
ists of former years by standing in one State and killing a man 
in another: 

On the 11th day of July, 1892, William Hall and John 
Dockery were on the "State Ridge," which is the boundary 
line between North Carolina and Tennessee. They had a 
warrant for the arrest of Andrew Bryson whom they soon 
descried coming up the ridge in front of them. They hid 
behind a large oak tree until Bryson came within gunshot 
range, when Hall told him to surrender. Bryson was then 
just over the line and in Tennessee, whereas Hall and Dockery 
were in North Carolina. Instead of surrendering, Bryson 
started to draw his gun, when he was shot and killed. The 
case was tried and the defendants found guilty at the spring 
term, 1893, of the Superior court of Cherokee county. J ° A 
new trial was granted by the Supreme court at the February 
term of 1894, on the ground that at common law there could 
be no conviction unless the men who were killed were within 
the jurisdiction of the court at the time the shot was fired. 1 1 
The defendants were re-tried and acquitted. The legislature 
at its next session passed a statute making such an act 
murder. 1 2 

NOTES. 

'From "Dropped Stitches," Ch. VIII. 

nt was probated in January, L828, and the certified copy was made March 11, 1S4S. 
3 Hon. J. H. Wheeler's "Reminiscences." 
<Hon. A. C. Avery to J. P. A., Dec. 12, 1912. 

5Dr. T. A. Allen of Hendersonville writes, November 12, 1912, that Dr. W. I). Whitted 
was Baxter's surgeon and T. W. Taylor may have been his second. But Col. Wm. M. 



372 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 



Davies, a distinguished teacher of law at Asheville, was a boy in Hendersonville at the 
time, and insists that John D. Hyman was Baxter's second. It is difficult to state posi- 
tively who the second was. 

6 Letter from Judge Avery to J. P. A. 

'Mrs. Mattie S. Candler's "History of Henderson County," 1912. As Judge Avery 
heard of it while he was at Bingham's school and graduated there in 1857. it is clear that 
the duel was not prior to that date. 

s Dr. Hilliard was born in Georgia in 1823. He practiced medicine in Asheville nearly 
forty years, and stood in the front rank. He was a surgeon in the Confederate army 
from May, 1861, to August, 1863, when he took charge of a hospital in Asheville. After the 
war he resumed practice, and died in 1890. From Dr. G. S. Tennent's "Medicine in Bun- 
combe," 1906. 

»Dr. W. D. Hilliard, Dr. W. L. Hilliard's son, and Theo. F. Davidson, however, agree 
in saying that Col. David Coleman was Dr. W. L. Hilliard's second. 

">114 N. C. Reports, p. 909. 

H115 N. C. Reports, p. 811. 

"Chapter 169, Laws of 1895. 



CHAPTER XV 
BENCH AND BAR 1 

First Judiciary Act. 2 In 1777 (Ch. 115, p. 281) the 
State was divided into six districts, viz. : Wilmington, New 
Bern, Halifax, Hillsborough and Salisbury, in each of which 
places a Superior court for the trial of civil and criminal 
causes should be held, to consist of three judges who were 
to hold office during good behavior, the jurisdiction and terms 
being prescribed. It is sometimes thought that the Superior 
court was not established till 1806; but that is a mistake; the 
act of 1806 having simply prescribed two terms in each county 
after having changed the districts into so many circuits (Ch. 
693, Laws 1806, p. 1050) but with the same jurisdiction. 

County Courts of Pleas and Quarter Sessions. 3 These 
courts were provided for in the same chapter, and their juris- 
diction and terms prescribed. (P. 297, et seq.) 

Appeals. Provision was made in the act of 1777 (Ch. 115) 
for appeals from the County courts of Pleas and Quarter Ses- 
sions to the Superior courts, but none from the decisions of 
the Superior courts, till 1799. In that year was established 
(Ch. 520) 4 

A Conference Court, consisting of all the Superior court 
judges, who were to meet at Raleigh on the 10th day of June 
and December of each year, appoint a clerk and decide all 
"questions of law and equity which had arisen upon the cir- 
cuit before any of the judges of the Superior courts, which 
the judge sitting may be unwilling to determine, and shall 
be desirous of further consideration thereon, . . . [by] a 
conference with the other judges; or where any questions of 
law or equity have already arisen on the circuit, and have 
remained undecided by reason of a disagreement of the judges 
on the circuit." (See 2nd Murphy's Reports.) 

Name Changed to Supreme Court. In 1805 (Ch. 674, p. 
1039) "the name and style of the court of conference shall 
hereafter be that of the Supreme court of North Carolina," 
and it was made the duty of the sheriff of Wake county to 
attend its sessions. It was not, however, till 1818 (Ch. 962) 
that the Supreme court, composed of judges elected for the 

(373) 



374 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

purpose of hearing appeals, etc., alone, was provided for. The 
court was to consist of three judges to be elected by the legis- 
lature and to hold office during good behavior. Terms were 
to be held in Raleigh May and November 20th of each year. 3 

Tennessee Superior Court. 4 "The act of the general 
assembly of North Carolina, providing for or establishing a 
Superior court of Law and Equity for the counties of David- 
son, Sumner and Tennessee, was not passed till November, 
1778. . . . The first volume of the original record of 
the minutes of the Superior Court ... for the District 
of Washington — then the 'Western District'- — at Jonesboro, 
shows that David Campbell alone held that court from the 
February term, 1788 (which was the first term), until the 
February term, 1789, at which latter term the record shows 
that Judge McNairy appeared and sat with Judge Campbell." 

Judge Spruce McCay. This judge held the second term 
of the Superior court of Ashe county, in September, 1907. 
He had married a daughter of Gen. Griffith Rutherford, and 
lived at Salisbury. 5 It was he who had held the August, 
1782, term of the "Court of Oyer and Terminer & Gaol De- 
livery," in Jonesborough, in what was then Washington Dis- 
trict, now in Tennessee. "He had the court opened by proc- 
lamation, and with all the formality and solemnity charac- 
terizing the opening of the English courts. On the first day 
of the term, John Vann was found guilty, by a jury, of horse- 
stealing, the punishment for which, at that time, was death. 
On the same day the record contains an entry to the effect 
that 'the Jury who passed upon the Tryal of Vann beg Leave 
to Recommend him to the Court for Mercy'; but no mercy 
was shown him by 'the Honl. Spruce McCay, Esqr.' . 
During the week two more unfortunates — Isaac Chote and 
William White — were found guilty of horse-stealing; and, on 
the last day of the term (August 20), Judge McCay disposed 
of all three of these criminals in one order, as follows : 'Ord. 
that John Vann, Isaac Chote & Wm. White, now Under Sen- 
tence of Death, be executed on the tenth day of September 
next.' This is the whole of the entry." 6 The author, John 
Allison, now a chancellor of Tennessee, says : "It is not 
probable that a parallel proceeding can be found in judicial 
history." He adds that "tradition in that country gave 
Judge McCay the character of a heartless tyrant." But the 



BENCH AND BAR 375 



juries of that day and section of North Carolina seem to have 
been equal to the occasion; for at the same term of court the 
following incident is mentioned : "The juries could not be 
driven or intimidated into giving verdicts contrary to their 
convictions; and whenever they differed with the judge — and 
they always knew his views— in a case of weight or serious 
results, they would deliberately disperse, go to their homes, 
and not return any more during that term of court. In a 
case styled 'State v. Taylor,' the record shows that the jury 
was sworn and the defendant put on TryaL' Nothing more 
appears except the following significant entry : 'State v. 
Taylor. The jury having failed to come back into court, it 
is therefore a mistrial.'" 7 

" Lewis and Elias Pybourn. " At the May Term, 1783, at 
Jonesborough, an order was made allowing these men "who 
is at this time Lying out" to return home upon giving bond 
for good behavior, which, probably was done. But whether 
it was done or not, seven years later, at the August term of 
the same court, 1790, Elias Pybourn was convicted of horse- 
stealing, and was sentenced to "the public pillory one hour. 
That he have both his ears nailed to the pillory and severed 
from his head; that he receive at the public whipping post 
thirty-nine lashes well laid on; and be branded on the right 
cheek with the letter H, and on his left cheek with the letter 
.... 

Joseph Culton's Right Ear. At the November Term, 
1788, at Jonesborough, Joseph Culton proved by the oath of 
Alexander Mofnt that he had lost his left ear in a fight with 
a certain Charles Young, and prayed that the same be 
entered on record, and it was so ordered. 

Without Pass or Recommendation. When a stranger 
came into the Watauga settlement he was asked to account 
for his being there, and if his explanation proved to be un- 
satisfactory, he was required to give bond for his good beha- 
vior or to leave. Wm. Clatry was a " trancient person " and was 
required to give security for his behavior, and return to his 
family "within five months," he having confessed that he had 
left home and taken up with another woman. 

However, it is not to Judge Spruce McCay to whom we 
are indebted for the following. 

A Gruesome Record. At the March Term, 1809, of the 
Superior court of Ashe, Judge Francis Locke presiding, the 



376 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

case of the State v. Carter W hitting ton, indicted for perjury 
was tried, the following names appearing as those of the 
jurors : James Dixon, Charles Sherrer, Daniel Moxley, Jo- 
siah Connolly, Young Edwards, Alex. Latham, Wm. Powers, 
Andrew Sherrer, Chris Crider, Thomas Tirey (Tire?), Charles 
Francis, Jesse Reeves. The jury found the defendant Carter 
Whittington "guilty in manner and form as charged in the bill 
of indictment. " David and Elijah Estep, sureties, thereupon 
delivered up Carter Whittington, and he was ordered into the 
custody of the sheriff. " Reasons in arrest of judgement in 
the case of Carter Whittington were filed by Mr. McGimsey, 8 
his attorney — after solemn argument, the reasons are over- 
ruled by the court. " 

" JUDGMENT. 

" Fined £10, and the said Carter Whittington stand in the pillory for 
one hour, at the expiration of which time, both his ears to be cut off and 
entirely severed from his head, and that his ears so cut off be nailed to 
the pillory by the officers and there remain till the setting of the sun, 
and that the sheriff of this county carry this judgment immediately into 
execution, and that the said Carter Whittington be confined until the fine 
and fees are paid. . . . Solicitor's fees of £1-6-8 paid by deft." 

The Unwritten Law in 1811. 9 At the March term, 1811, 
of the Superior court of Ashe, Samuel Lowery, judge presid- 
ing, an order was made for the removal to Wilkes court, to be 
held on the third Monday of March, of the case of the State 
v. William Tolliver, indicted for the murder of a man named 
Reeves; and the sheriff of Ashe was required to "procure a 
sufficient guard of eight men from the proper officers of the 
militia to convey safely the said William Tolliver to the 
Superior court of Wilkes county," thus indicating either 
that there was danger of a lynching or a rescue. Tradition 
says that Tolliver was acquitted at Wilkesboro on the ground 
that Reeves had attempted liberties with Tolliver's wife. 
Robert Henry of Buncombe defended him. 

Hanging of David Mason. When Dr. W. A. Askew was 
about fifteen years old he stayed all night with the late James 
Gudger, the ancestor of most of the Gudgers of this section, 
in what is now Madison county. Y r oung Askew was then on 
his way from his home on Spring creek to see the "hanging" 
of a man named David Mason who had been convicted of 
the murder of his wife by cutting her throat in Haywood county. 
Askew rode to "town" (Asheville) with Dr. Montraville W. 



BENCH AND BAR 377 



Gudger, a son of "Old Jimmie. " The evidence upon which 
Morgan had been convicted indicated that he had slipped up on 
his wife while she was carding in her cabin home and killed her. 
Pierce Roberts was the sheriff of Buncombe then, and the 
execution took place in the woods below and behind Col. 
Lusk's residence on College Street, or where J. D. Henderson's 
residence now stands — there being two accounts as to its 
location. This must have been between 1847 and 1850. When 
asked on the gallows if he had anything to say Morgan called 
up Aaron Fullbright and another man whose name Dr. Askew 
has forgotten and pointing his finger at them said : "You 
have sworn my life away." 

Twenty-five years ago (1887), according to Dr. Askew, a 
woman in Sevier county, Tennessee, confessed on her death- 
bed that she had killed David Mason's wife. 

Col. Davidson's Recollections of the Bar. The late 
Col. Allen T. Davidson, in the Lyceum for May, 1891, says: 

"I entered the profession of the law January 1, 1845, with Gen. R. 
M. Henry and J. A. B. Fitzgerald as my classmates. We were the stu- 
dents of Michael Francis of Waynesville. . . . The gentlemen then 
in full practice were Joshua Roberts, Geo. W. Candler, Felix Axley, John 
Rolen, Michael Francis, N. W. Woodfin, John Baxter, George Baxter, 
Col. B. S. Gaither, Wm. Shipp, Gen. R. M. Henry and J. A. B. Fitz- 
gerald. These constituted the bar and rode the circuit, as we did then, 
until about 1855, when Judge A. S. Merrimon, Senator Z. B. Vance, 
Maj. Marcus Erwin, Gen. B. M. Edney, P. W. Roberts, and Col. David 
Coleman were added to the list. . . . Several distinguished law- 
yers left the profession just as I entered, Gen. John G. Bynum and Gen. 
T. L. Clingman, who, added to the list, made an array of talent and 
sound ability rarely met with. . . . The court usually began in 
Cherokee (where I then lived) in March and September, and we all 
joined and made the circuit from thence eastward to Asheville, where I 
usually stopped. We traveled together on horseback, stopped at the 
same hotels in the towns, and at the same wayside inns in the country; 
and it was not unusual to have ten or fifteen of us together at one of 
these country stopping places, where the wit and humor of the profes- 
sion broke loose in all its force, and good humor ruled the house. It is 
a fact that nearly all of those mentioned were gentlemen of fine humor, 
and but few given to strong drink, so that the jest and humor were of 
the best character, without bolstering or noise. Mr. N. W. Woodfin was 
remarkable for his humor, clear-cut and original. Mr. Candler excelled 
in his country stories . . . and when he took the floor he usually 
held it in silence till the climax, when there were uprorious bursts of 
applause. Mr. J. W. Woodfin was the sunshine of the circle, was always 
in a good humor, and told a story well. ... I recall many of the 
stopping places, the first going from Asheville being James Patton's be- 



378 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

yond the Pigeon. Here we would meet a good-humored fine old gentle- 
man as landlord, with his big country fire-places, and roaring hickory 
wood fires, a table groaning with all that was desirable to eat, good beds 
and plenty of cheer, supper, lodging and breakfast, horse well fed and 
groomed, bill fifty cents, and this was uniform for twenty years. So at 
Daniel Bryson's on Scott's creek, same fare and same bill. At Wm. 
Walker's at Valley town, one of the best houses in Western North Caro- 
lina, the bill for man and horse was fifty cents. A great staying place 
was N. S. Jarrett's on the Nantahala, at a place called Aquone. Here we 
met, here we chased the deer, here we beguiled the trout in that crystal 
stream with the fly, here we whiled away many a pleasant summer after- 
noon in these attractive sports. Good, dear old friends! I can see you 
all now 10 in fancy; but this vanishes and I remember that you are no 
more. ... I must be allowed to close with a general resume in- 
tended to embrace the years between 1845 and 1861 : the profession was 
able, studious, painstaking and thorough. I have been an honest and 
careful observer of many deliberative assemblies; have watched with 
much care and interest the application and power of the human mind 
so as to learn from careful observation how great men, so-called, look 
at subjects and reach conclusions . . . but after all I am bound to 
say that the trial of cases in the mountain circuit has impressed me 
more than the proceedings of any other body of men I have ever met 
for its sincerity, force and logic. Here we were, in a large and extensive 
district of country, the courts distantly situated, without books, at each 
town finding only the Revised Statutes and perhaps a digest; yet with 
these we tried our cases ably and well, and our contentions have been 
well sustained by adjudged cases. In court the common law pleading 
prevailed, beginning with the writ, thus bringing the defendant into 
court. Upon the appearance of the defendant the issues were joined 
and the case was ready for trial without circumlocution or clerical tal- 
ent. The fight was an old-field, drawn out set-to. As Judge Read says : 
"We drew the sword and threw away the scabbard; or, in less classical 
words, "The Devil take the hindmost." It is a fact, however, that 
with all the spirit with which the case was tried, often with the mani- 
festation of temper, no unkind or angry feeling ever went outside the 
court house, and we all closed the circuit to enter our homes as friends." 

Judge v. Judge. When the county seat was at Jewel Hill 
Dr. J. S. T. Baird was clerk. A church was used for this 
purpose and having a window the sash of which was made 
to open by sliding along horizontally instead of being 
raised, as is usual, the presiding judge, needing air, tried to 
raise this sash, and failing kicked a hole in the glass. For 
this the late Col. John A. Fagg, then Chairman of the County 
Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of Madison county, fined 
his Honor, the presiding Judge, ten dollars and his Honor 
paid it! 



BENCH AND BAR 379 

Certificate as to Why Right Ear Was Missing. From 
the minutes of the County court of Buncombe, October, 1793, 
it appears that it was "Ordered by court that Thomas Hopper, 
upon his own motion, have a certificate from the clerk, certi- 
fying that his right ear was bit off by Philip Williams in a 
fight between said Hopper and Williams. Certificate issued. " 
This was necessary in order that the loss of a part of his ear 
might not cause those ignorant of the facts to conclude that 
the missing part had been removed as a punishment for per- 
jury or forgery. 

Where the Sow-Skin Lay. As far back as 1840, prob- 
ably, James Gwynn of Wilkes county was solicitor of this cir- 
cuit, which embraced all the mountain counties except Ashe. 
James Gwynn of the East Fork of Pigeon river, Haywood 
county, is a near relative and bears his honored name. He 
married a Miss Lenoir of Fort Defiance, and was a man of 
very decided ability, though of little education. His spelling 
was execrable, but his power over a jury was great. Judge 
J. L. Bailey and Gen. Clingman knew and appreciated his 
ability, and through them two anecdotes survive. When 
Nathan asked David for an opinion of the man who took the 
ewe-lamb of another, and David had expressed himself thereon, 
then "Nathan said unto David, Thou art the man. " l 1 When 
attempting to quote this to a jury Mr. Gwynn got the names 
of the principal actors confounded with two other Biblical 
characters, and after detailing the circumstances of a hog- 
stealing case, pointed with his finger at the defendant and ex- 
claimed: "As Abraham said unto Isaac, Thou art the man." 
The other story was also of a hog stealing case; but had refer- 
ence specifically to a sow. The sow had been stolen and her 
flesh eaten. But the sow's skin had been discovered, and it 
was upon it and the place of its concealment near the defend- 
ant's home, that the solicitor relied for a conviction. "Where, 
gentlemen of the jury," he asked impressively, "was the sow 
skin?" He raised himself on his toes and shouted the answer: 
"Far up under the shadder of the Big Yaller, where the rocks 
are rough, and the waters run deep, and the laurels wave 
high (crescendo) the sow skin lay!" 

Sad Ending of a Prison Sentence. 1 1 About the year 
1856 or 1857 a talented and highly respected physician of 
Hendersonville by the name of Edward R. Jones took umbrage 



380 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

at something a tailor by the name of A. J. Fain had said or 
done, both being politicians to some extent. Jones probably 
considered Fain his social inferior. At any rate, instead of 
appealing to the code of honor, as was the custom of that day, 
Dr. Jones entered Fain's tailor shop and literally carved him 
to death. He was indicted and the case removed to Ruther- 
fordton, where the late Colonels N. W. and John W. Wood- 
fin defended, while the late John Baxter prosecuted. Jones 
was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to a term of 
imprisonment in the Rutherford jail. While serving that 
sentence he, in a fit of despondency, cut his throat and died. 

Asheville's First Attorneys. "At its first session in 
April, 1792, the county court elected Reuben Wood, Esq., 
'attorney for the state.' He is the first lawyer who 
appears as practicing in Buncombe county. Waightstill 
Avery, the first attorney general of North Carolina, attended 
at the next session of the court and made therein his first 
motion, which "was overruled by the court." At this term 
Wallace Alexander also became a member of the Buncombe 
bar. Joseph McDowell appeared at October term, 1793, pre- 
sented his license, took "the oath of an attorney, and was ad- 
mitted to the bar in said county." On the next day James 
Holland "came into court, made it appear (by) Mr. Avery 
and Mr. Wood, that he has a license to practice as an attor- 
ney — but had forgot them." He too was admitted as an 
attorney of the court. At January court, 1794, Joseph Spen- 
cer proved to the court that he had license to practice, and 
was likewise admitted as an attorney of the court, and at 
April term, 1795, upon the resignation of Reuben Wood, he 
was elected solicitor of the county. The next attorney admit- 
ted was Bennett Smith. Upon motion of Wallace Alexander 
in April, 1802, Robert Williamson was admitted to the prac- 
tice. 

Robert Henry. x 2 " Then, in July, 1802, on motion of 
Joseph Spencer, and the production of his county court 
license, Robert Henry, Esq., became an attorney of the court. 
This singular, versatile and able man has left his impress 
upon Buncombe county and Western North Carolina. Born 
in Tryon (afterward Lincoln) county, North Carolina, on 
February 10, 1765, in a rail pen, he was the son of Thomas 
Henry, an emigrant from the north of Ireland. 1 3 When Rob- 
ert was a schoolboy he fought on the American side of Kings 



BENCH AND BAR 381 

Mountain, and was badly wounded in the hand by a bayo- 
net thrust. Later he was in the heat of the fight at Cowan's 
Ford, and was very near Gen. William Davidson when the 
latter was killed. After the war he removed to Buncombe 
county and on the Swannanoa taught the first school ever held 
in that county. He then became a surveyor, and after a 
long and extensive experience, in which he surveyed many 
of the large grants in all the counties of western North Caro- 
lina and even in middle Tennessee, and participated in 1799, 
as such, in locating and marking the line between the State 
of North Carolina and the State of Tennessee, he turned his 
attention to the study of law. In January, 1806, he was 
made solicitor of Buncombe county. He it was who opened 
up and for years conducted as a public resort the Sulphur 
Springs near Asheville, later known as Deaver's Springs and 
still more recently as Carrier's Springs. On January 6, 1863, 
he died in Clay county, N. C, at the age of 98 years, and 
was 'undoubtedly the last of the heroes of Kings Mountain. 
' To him we are indebted for the preservation and, 
in part, authorship of the most graphic and detailed accounts 
of the fights at Kings Mountain and Cowan's ford which 
now exist. He was the first resident lawyer of Buncombe 
county." 

Colonel Davidson's Recollections of Robert Henry. 

"I must not omit ... to mention Robert Henry, who lived, 
owned and settled the Sulphur Springs. He was an old man when I 
first knew him, say fifty years ago [that was in 1891]; he had then re- 
tired from the profession of the law which he had practiced many years. 
This was before I knew him well. He was tedious and slow in conver- 
sation, but always interesting to the student. He had been a fine law- 
yer, and remarkable in criminal cases.' 4 He could recite his experi- 
ences of cases in most minute detail. He insisted that, underlying all, 
there was invariably a principle which settled every rule of evidence 
and point of law. I chanced to get some of his old criminal law books, 
such as Foster's Crown Law, Hale's Pleas of the Crown, etc., and I 
found them well annotated with accurate marginal notes, showing great 
industry and thought in their perusal. He had a grand history in our 
struggle for independence; was at Charlotte when the Declaration of 
Independence was made; 15 but, being a boy at this time, he did not 
understand the character of the resolutions; but said he heard the crowd 
shout and declared themselves freed from the British government. He 
afterwards fought at the battle of Kings Mountain and was severely 
wounded in the hand and thigh, by a bayonet in the charge of Fergu- 
son's men. " 16 



382 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Michael Francis. Col. Allen T. Davidson, in the same 
paper, has left this record concerning this man, once known 
as "the Great Westerner": 

"Michael Francis was a Scotchman, educated in Edinburgh, a thor- 
ough scholar, was one of those warm hearted, florid Scotchmen so char- 
acteristic of Bonnie Scotland. He weighed three hundred and thirty- 
pounds, was one of the most forcible and clear logicians at the bar, was 
remarkable for his study and observation of the human mind. He was 
always a complete master of the facts of his cases, and was able to de- 
duce from them the true intent of the mind of the witness, and had a 
happy and forcible way of illustrating the methods by which the ordi- 
nary intellect reaches conclusions. He had studied human nature so 
closely that he could divine the secret intents of the heart. As a conse- 
quence, he was a power invincible before a jury. Added to this, he was 
a thorough lawyer, able to cope with the best, and remarkable for his 
power of condensation and forcible expression. He was a pioneer in the 
settlement of many new points of law in this circuit, as many cases ar- 
gued by him before the Supreme court will attest. . . . He was a 
great platform speaker and a leader in the formation of political senti- 
ment. He was a member of the house and senate and discharged every 
public duty with honor and credit. . . . He was my good pre- 
ceptor whom I have closely studied and tried to follow." 

Israel Pickens and Others. l 7 The next lawyers admitted 
in that county were, in the order in which their names are given: 
Thomas Barren, Israel Pickens, Joseph Wilson, Joseph Car- 
son, Robert H. Burton, Henry Harrison, Saunders Donoho, 
John C. Elliott, Henry Y. Webb, Tench Cox, Jr., A. R. Ruf- 
fin, and John Paxton. These were admitted between Janu- 
ary, 1804, and October, 1812, from time to time. Probably 
the most distinguished of them were Israel Pickens, repre- 
sentative of the Buncombe District in the lower house of the 
Congress of the United States from 1811 to 1817, inclusive, 
and afterwards governor of Alabama and United States senator 
from that State; Joseph Wilson, afterwards famous as a solic- 
itor in convicting Abe Collins, Sr., and the other counter- 
feiters who carried on in Rutherford county in the first quar- 
ter of this century extensive operations in the manufacture 
and circulation of counterfeit money; and Robert H. Burton 
and John Paxton, who became judges of the Superior courts 
of North Carolina in 1818. 

David L. Swain. * 7 The first lawyer of Buncombe county 
who was a native thereof was the late Gov. D. L. Swain. 
Born, as has been already stated, at the head of Beaverdam, 



BENCH AND BAR 383 



on January 4, 1801, he was educated under the Rev. George 
Newton and the Rev. Mr. Porter at Newton Academy, where 
he had for classmates B. F. Perry, afterward governor of 
South Carolina, Waddy Thompson, of South Carolina, dis- 
tinguished as congressman and minister to Mexico, and M. 
Patton, R. B. Vance and James W. Patton of Buncombe 
county. In 1821 he was for a short while at the University 
of North Carolina. In December, 1822, he was of the Eden- 
ton Circuit, and in 1832 became, and for five years continued 
to be, a representative of Buncombe county in the House of 
Commons of the State, in 1829 was elected solicitor, admitted 
to practice law in 1824, became governor of the State. After 
the expiration of three successive terms as governor, he be- 
came president of the University of North Carolina in 1835, 
and continued in that place until August 27, 1868, the time 
of his death. He was largely instrumental in securing the 
passage of the act incorporating the Buncombe Turnpike 
Company, and to him more than to any other man North 
Carolina is indebted for the preservation of her history and 
the defence of her fame. His early practice as a lawyer was 
begun in Asheville. For further details than are given here 
in regard to the life of this truly great man, the reader is 
referred to Wheeler's History of North Carolina, and his 
Reminiscences, and to the more accurate lecture of the late 
Governor Z. B. Vance on the Life and Character of Hon. 
David L. Swain. 

"Old Warping Bars." 18 Governor Swain was tall and 
ungainly in figure and awkward in manner. When he was 
elected judge the candidate of the opposing party was Judge 
Seawell, a very popular man, whom up to that time, his 
opponents, after repeated efforts with different aspirants, had 
found it impossible to defeat. "Then," said a member of 
the legislature from Iredell county, "we took up Old Warping 
Bars from Buncombe and warped him out." From this re- 
mark Mr. Swain acquired the nickname of "Old Warping 
Bars," a not inapt appellation, which stuck to him until he 
became president of the University when the students be- 
stowed upon him the name of "Old Bunk." He continued 
to be Old Bunk all the rest of his life. While he was prac- 
ticing at the bar the lawyers rode the circuits. Beginning at 
the first term of the court in which they practiced, they fol- 



384 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

lowed the courts through all the counties of that circuit. 
Among Swain's fellow lawyers on the Western Circuit were 
James R. Dodge (afterwards clerk of the Supreme court of 
the State and a nephew of Washington Irving), Samuel Hill- 
man and Thomas Dews. 

Dodge, Hillman, Swain and Dews. x 9 On one occasion 
these were all present at a court in one of the western coun- 
ties and Dodge was making a speech to the jury. Swain had 
somewhere seen a punning epitaph on a man whose name was 
Dodge. This he wrote off on a piece of paper and passed it 
around among the lawyers, creating much merriment at 
Dodge's expense. After the latter took his seat some one 
handed it to him. It read : 

"Epitaph on James R. Dodge, Attorney at Law. 

"Here lies a Dodge, who dodged all good, 
And dodged a lot of evil; 
But, after dodging all he could 

He could not dodge the devil. " 

"Mr Dodge perceived immediately that it was Swain's 
writing, and supposed that Hillman and Dews had had some- 
thing to do with it. He at once wrote this impromptu reply: 

"Another Epitaph on Three Attorneys. 

" Here lies a Hillman and a Swain — 
Their lot let no man choose. 
They lived in sin and died in pain, 
And the devil got his Dews." 20 

Their Lives a Part of the State's History. "Of the 
late Thomas L. Clingman, who was for many years a member 
of the Asheville bar, the late Gov. Z. B. Vance, who was born 
in Buncombe county, and began life as a lawyer in Asheville, 
and to whose memory a granite monument upon her public 
square is now in process of erection, 2 x and the late A. S. 
Merrimon, chief justice of North Carolina, who studied law 
at Asheville and continued his practice here till about 1867, 
it is unnecessary to speak here. Their careers have recently 
closed and are known to all who care for Asheville or her 
affairs." 22 

Col. Nicholas W. Woodfin. " Soon after Gov. Swain be- 
gan the practice, Nicholas W. Woodfin became a lawyer, and 
served as the connecting link between the old times and the 



BENCH AND BAR 385 



modern bar for many years. He was born in Buncombe 
county on the upper French Broad river, and began life under 
the most unfavorable circumstances, and for awhile labored 
under the greatest disadvantages. He became, however, one 
of North Carolina's most famous and astute lawyers. But 
few men have ever met with such distinguished success at 
the bar as he. He was Buncombe's representative in the 
State senate in 1844, 1846, 1848, 1850, 1852. In the course of his 
career he acquired a large fortune, and owned great quanti- 
ties of land in Asheville and its neighborhood. With the 
practice of law he carried on an extensive business as a farmer, 
in which he was famous for the introduction of many useful 
improvements in agriculture. He it was who first introduced 
orchard grass in Buncombe county, and turned the attention 
of her farmers to the raising of cattle on a large scale and the 
cultivation of sorghum. " 2 3 

He was born in old Buncombe, now Henderson, county, 
January 29, 1810, and was married to Miss Eliza Grace 
McDowell at Quaker Meadows, near Morganton, the 16th of 
June, 1840, afterwards residing on North Main street, Ashe- 
ville, N. C, now a girls' school, till his death, May 23, 1875, 
she surviving him less than one year. He was always identi- 
fied with any movement for the uplift and progress of his 
State, and especially of Buncombe county. Much has been 
written of his success as a lawyer, his humanitarianism, his 
devotion to his family and his care of his aged parents. 

Colonel John W. Woodfin. He was born in what is now 
Henderson county in 1818, married Miss Maria McDowell 
at Quaker Meadows, and lived in Asheville. He was a bril- 
liant lawyer, a brave soldier, and formed one of the first com- 
panies in Buncombe county, saying he had enlisted for the 
war. He was killed by Kirk's men at Hot Springs in the 
fall of 1863. 

The First Trial. 24 The first case tried in Buncombe 
county was that of the State v. Richard Yardly, in July, 1792. 
He was indicted for petit larceny, was convicted, and appealed 
to Morgan [Burke] Superior court. The first civil suit was that of 
W. Avery v. William Fletcher, which was tried by order of the 
court on the premises on the third Monday in April, 1795, 
by a jury summoned for that purpose. The first pauper pro- 
vided for by the court was Susannah Baker with her child. 

W. N. C— 25 



386 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

The first processioning was in April, 1776, when William 
Whitson the processioner thereof returned into court "the 
processioning of a tract of two hundred acres of land, on the 
east side of French Broad river about one mile and a quarter 
from Morristown, the place whereon James Henderson now 
lives," dated April 20, 1796. This embraces the property- 
lying on Park avenue and in that vicinity. Its eastern boun- 
dary line is formed in part by the Lining Branch, the small 
branch immediately eastward of, and for some distance par- 
allel with, Depot street. The first will admitted to probate 
therein was that of Jonas Gooch in July, 1792. 25 The first 
dower assigned was to Demey Gash, widow of Joseph Gash, 
April, 1805." 

To Suppress Vice and Immorality. 2 6 Mr. Sondley men- 
tions also that at the October term, 1800, the Rev. George 
Newton, the first Presbyterian preacher in Buncombe, pre- 
sented to the court a petition from the Presbytery of Con- 
cord which "humbly sheweth" many gross immoralities as 
abounding among our citizens all of which were in violation 
of laws already enacted. Wherefore, they asked that those 
laws be "carried into vigorous execution." At the January 
term, 1801, the court resolved to exert itself to suppress "such 
enormous practices." 

Judicial Sanction of a Lottery. 2 7 In January, 1810, 
the court ordered that the managers of the Newton Academy 
lottery "come into court and enter into bond for the discharge 
of office and took the oath of office. " This lottery was prob- 
ably for educational purposes. 

"Twenty-Five Lashes on His Bare Back, Well Laid 
On." 27 Such was the order of the court in 1799, when the 
jury had found Edward Williams guilty of petty larceny. 
This was to be inflicted at the public whipping post; but an 
appeal was "prayed," and it may be that Edward Williams 
got off. 

Adjudged Fit "to be Set Free." 27 At this term the 
court adjudged that Jerry Smith, a slave belonging to Thomas 
Foster, was a fit person to be set free and emancipated, and 
the clerk was ordered to issue a license or certificate to the 
said Jerry Smith for his freedom "during his, the said Jerry's, 
natural life." 



BENCH AND BAR 387 

Buncombe's First Fairs. 2 7 At the July term, 1799, the 
court ordered two fairs to be established in Buncombe to 
commence the first Thursday and Friday in November fol- 
lowing and the first Thursday and Friday in June following, 
and continue on said days annually, "without said court should 
find it more convenient to make other alterations." 

First Case of Mother-in-Law. 2 7 At the July term, 1802, 
it was ordered that the deposition of Caty Troxell, to the effect 
that her daughter Judith had married John Morrice on the 
nineteenth and twentienth of May, 1796, and that for two 
years they had lived together "for the space of two years 
in all possible connuptial (sic) love and friendship," after 
which, "without cause assigned or any application for a 
divorce," he had "absconded and has never been heard of 
by his said wife or any other person." In the description 
which followed he is described as having been at that time 
"upwards of twenty large odd years of age . . . with 
his speech rather on the shrill key. " 

Power of County Courts. 2 7 "All the elections to county 
offices at this time from sheriff and clerk, register of deeds, cor- 
oner, entry taker, surveyor and treasurer, down to treasurer 
of public buildings and standard keeper, were made by the 
county court. 

Superior Courts. 27 "It will be remembered, too, that 
at the beginning the Superior courts were held at Morganton. 
In 1806, the legislature of the State, after reciting that 'the 
delays and expenses inseparable from the constitution of the 
courts of this State do often amount to a denial of justice, 
the ruin of suitors, and render a change in the same indispen- 
sibly necessary,' enacted 'that a Superior court shall be held 
at the court house in each county in the State twice in every 
year,' and divided the State into six circuits, of whicht he 
last comprised the counties of Surry, Wilkes, Ashe, Buncombe, 
Rutherford, Burke, Lincoln, Iredell, Cabarrus and Mecklen- 
burg, and directed the courts to be held in Buncombe the 
first Monday after the fourth Monday in March and Sep- 
tember. " 

Randall Delk's Conviction. 27 "Thus in 1807 was held 
Buncombe's first Superior court, in the spring of that year. 
The first trial for a capital offence in Buncombe county was 
that of Randall Delk. This trial occurred in 1807 or 1808. 



388 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Delk had fled after the commission of the offence to the In- 
dian nation, but he was followed, brought back, tried, con- 
demned and hung. This was the first execution in Buncombe 
county, and took place just south of Patton avenue opposite 
to the postoffice. It is said that soon after a negro was exe- 
cuted in the county, but the third capital execution in Bun- 
combe is the most celebrated in her annals. 

Judicial Murder. 27 "Subsequent to the execution of 
Delk and between the years 1832 and 1835, inclusive, Sneed 
and Henry, two Tennesseeans, were charged with highway 
robbery committed upon one Holcombe at the Maple Spring, 
about one-half mile east of the [former] city water works, on 
the road until recently traveled up Swannanoa. This was then 
a capital offence. They strenuously insisted that they had 
won from Holcombe in gambling the horse and other articles 
of which he claimed that they had robbed him. They were 
convicted, however, and hanged in the immediate vicintiy 
of the crossing of East and Seney streets. The field here was 
until recently known as the Gallows Field. The trial created 
intense public excitement, and it has always been the pop- 
ular opinion that it was a judicial murder. It is said that after 
their conviction they sent for Holcombe, who shrank from fac- 
ing them, and that the subsequent life of this man was one 
of continued misfortune and suffering." 

Col. A. T. Davidson's Recollection of This Execu- 
tion. 28 "The first time I ever was in Asheville was in 1835 
when I was sixteen years of age. It was on the 
occasion of the hanging of Sneed and Henry. The town was 
then small; to me, however, it seemed very large. I remember 
distinctly Wiley Jones, sheriff, and Col. Enoch Cunningham, 
captain of the guard. The religious services at the scaffold 
were conducted by Thomas Stradley and Joseph Haskew. 
What a surging, rushing, mad, excited crowd! This was 
my introduction to the county." 

Dr. J. S. T. Baird's Reminiscences. About the year 
1855 Know-Nothingism was rampant even in Buncombe, and 
Dr. J. S. T. Baird was temporarily won by its wiles; but he 
soon deserted. From 1853 to 1857 Dr. Baird was clerk of 
Buncombe county court, and was called to attend a term 
at Jewel Hill, Madison county. Neely Tweed was the clerk 
and Ransom P. Merrill sheriff; the latter was killed by the 



BENCH AND BAR 389 



former at Marshall in a political quarrel after the Civil War. 
Sheriff Merrill made a return on a fi. fa. as follows : "Trew 
Sarch made. No goods, chatties, lands or tenements to be 
found in my county. The defendant is dead and in hell, or 
in Texas, I don't know which." For this facetiousness Judge 
Caldwell summoned the sheriff to the bar and gave him a 
reprimand. Dr. Baird defeated Philetus W. Roberts, incum- 
bent, in 1853, J. M. Israel in 1855, and Silas Dougherty 
for clerk of court in 1857. 

The following recollections of incidents and members of the 
bar are taken from Dr. J. S. T. Baird's sparkling "Reminis- 
cences" [about 1840] published in the Asheville Saturday 
Register in 1905. 

Court House. 

"The court house was a brick building two stories high and about 
thirty-six by twenty-four feet in dimensions. The upper room was used 
for court purposes and was reached by a flight of stone steps about eight 
feet wide, and on the front outside of the building, commencing at the 
corners at the ground and rising gradually till they formed a wide land- 
ing in front of and on a level with the door of the court room. The 
judge's bench or pulpit, as some called it, was a sort of box open at the 
top and one side, with plank in front for the judge to lay his 'specks' 
on. He entered it from the open space in the rear and sat on an old 
stool-bottom chair, which raised his head parely above the 'spectacle 
board.' There was room enough in this little box for such slim men 
as Judge J. L. Bailey, David Caldwell, David Settle and others of their 
build, but when such men as Judge Romulus M. Saunders came along 
he filled it plumb 'up.' Most of the lower story was without floors or 
door shutters and furnished comfortable quarters for Mr. James M. 
Smith's hogs and occasionally a few straggling cattle that could not find 
shelter elsewhere. 

In Terror of the Whipping-Post. 

"It will be remembered that in those days the great terror set up 
before rogues was the whipping-post where the fellow convicted of lar- 
ceny got thirty-nine lashes well laid on his bare back with long keen 
switches in the hands of the sheriff. This writer never had the heart 
to witness but one of these performances. A fellow by the name of Tom 
G. had been convicted of stealing a dozen bundles of oats and ordered 
by the court to be whipped. The sheriff, Pierce Roberts, took this 
writer and some other boys, and went to Battery Park hill, which was 
then a dense chinquapin thicket, and there cut eight of the nicest and 
keenest switches to be found and, returning, took Mr. G. from the jail, 
placed his feet and hands in the stocks, and stripping him 'stark naked' 
from neck to hips, laid upon his bare back thirty-nine distinct stripes 
from some of which the blood oozed out and ran down his back. Five 



390 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

strokes were given with each switch save the last, and with it four. The 
sheriff was merciful and made his strokes as light as possible, yet he gave 
him a blooming back to carry out of the state with him, for he went in- 
stanter. 

"M" for Manslaughter. 

"In that day the penalty for manslaughter was branding in the palm 
of the right hand with a red hot iron shaped to the letter M. I saw one 
fellow taken through this barbarous process and this was enough for me. 
He was convicted and ordered to be branded. The sheriff went to the 
tinner's shop and procured a little hand stove filled with good live coals 
and brought it into the court room and, putting his branding iron into 
it, soon had it to a white heat. In the meantime the prisoner's hand 
and arm were securely strapped to the railing of the bar, and then all 
things were ready. During the branding the prisoner was required to 
repeat three times the words : 'God save the state,' and the duration of 
the branding was limited by the time in which he could repeat those 
words. In this case the prisoner's counsel, General B. M. Edney, who 
was a rapid talker, had gotten the consent of the judge, inasmuch as 
the prisoner was much agitated and slow spoken anyway, for him to 
repeat the words for his client. When the hot iron was applied, for some 
reason, the general got tangled and his mouth did not go off well, but the 
iron was doing its work and the fellow was writhing and groaning all 
the same. At this juncture the general sprang forward, and knocking 
the iron aside, said : 'Mr Sheriff, you have burnt him enough.' The 
judge then taking his hands from over his face, heaved a sigh of relief 
and ordered the prisoner turned loose. A story was told of a fellow 
who, a few years before this, was branded by the sheriff whose name was 
David Tate. The prisoner was a man of wonderful nerve. He felt very 
resentful toward the sheriff whom he considered responsible for all his 
suffering. When the iron was applied he repeated the required words 
three times in a firm voice. Saying : 'God save the State, God save the 
State, God save the State,' and then raising his voice to a high pitch he 

yelled out : ' d — n old Dave Tate'! This last is tradition. I 

will not vouch for the truth of it. Yet grotesque scenes often charac- 
terized the courts of that day. 

Old Lawyers. 

"The bar of Asheville in 1840 was not large in numbers but was ex- 
ceedingly strong in all the qualities that go to make up a grand and noble 
profession. General Thomas L. Clingman early turned aside from his 
profession and gave his life to politics, in which field he maintained 
through a long career and to the day of his death the purity of his es- 
cutcheon. Although not as magnetic in his personality as some men, 
yet a wiser statesman or braver soldier or truer, grander man and patriot 
North Carolina has never produced. The people especially of Western 
North Carolina owe to his memory a lasting monument. 

"Ezekiel McClure, was a man of good attainments in the law, but 
being enamored of rural life, gave up his profession at an early day and 
spent his life quietly in the country. 



BENCH AND BAR 391 

Not a "Skelper." 

"William Williams went from the mercantile counter to the bar but 
failed to reach 'the top.' I will not class him with the 'skelpers'; but 
then he was what Capt. Jim Gudger would term 'shifty.' The word 
'skelper' in fox hunter's parlance when applied to a dog means one that 
for want of bottom, cannot come down to 'dead packing' and follow the 
game though all its windings and doublings, but short cuts and skims 
the high ridges and jumps high to see and catch the game unawares. 

Gen. Bayles M. Edney, Wit. 

"General Bayles M. Edney was a man of fine physique, who always 
kept his whiskers trimmed 'a la mode'. He was of commanding appear- 
ance and possessed of sparkling wit and infinite and pleasing humor. 
He was a stormer before a jury." 

The Nominal Fine and the Real Cow. 2 9 One of his 
clients in Yancey county, having been convicted, was called 
up for sentence. Col. Edney urged in mitigation that he was 
a poor man and a good citizen, and the Court said he would 
impose a nominal fine of twenty dollars. Whereupon, Bayles 
retorted that it would take not a nominal but a real cow to 
pay that nominal fine. 

Joshua Roberts, Old-Time Gentleman. 3 ° " Mr. Roberts, 
about the time of which I [Dr. Baird] write (1840), established a 
most pleasant and delightful home on the French Broad, about 
where the Southern depot now stands, and there he spent 
his life and raised a large family. To bear testimony to the 
high character and noble, sterling qualities of such a man as 
Joshua Roberts is a privilege of which I am glad to avail 
myself. He was truly a model old-time gentleman; a law- 
yer by profession, though not engaging largely in practice at 
the bar. It was said of him, by those who were capable of 
judging, that he had no superior as far as knowledge of the 
law was concerned. He was especially held in high esteem 
by the boys and young men toward whom his manner was 
always kindly and gracious. He took great interest and pride 
in the institution of Free Masonry and was the first and, for 
many years, the Worshipful Master of Mt. Hermon Lodge. 
He loved to bring men into the order for he believed in and 
practiced its principles. 

Another Charming Family. 3 ° " His family consisted of four 
sons and four daughters. The sons were Philetus W., John 
M., William and Martin; the daughters were Miss Aurelia, 



392 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

who married a Methodist minister, Rev. Mr. Wells; Miss 
Sarah,' who married Mr. John H. Christie; Miss Harriett, 
who married Rev. William M. Kerr, well known to many 
citizens of Asheville and father of Mr. J. P. Kerr; Miss Jane, 
who married Dr. George W. Whitson, who is also well known 
to our people. 

Philetus W. Roberts. 30 "Philetus W. Roberts was an 
able young lawyer and was just entering upon a career which 
promised great usefulness and success when the Civil War 
came up, in which he sacrificed his life for his country. This 
writer succeeded him as clerk of the Superior court of Bun- 
combe in 1853 . . . and I have never known a more 
scrupulously honest and conscientious man in all my life." 

Otium "Cum" Dignitate. 30 General Robert M. Henry, 
who came to the bar some later, was a fine lawyer, but a great 
lover of "rest and ease. " He loved to hear and tell good jokes 
and laugh in his deep sepulchral tones. From 1868 to 1876 
he was solicitor of the Western circuit. 

Judge Riley H. Cannon. 3 ° Riley H. Cannon, who came 
in about this time, was a modest and even-timed man. He 
was not prominent until after the war when he was made a 
judge of the Superior courts of the State. 

Col. John W. Woodfin. 30 Maj. John W. Woodfin came 
to the bar, I think, about 1845. He was a man of splendid 
qualities all round. He was a magnetic man, a genial, sunny 
man. While not possessing the "heft" of his brother Nicho- 
las as a lawyer, he was nevertheless a fine lawyer and suc- 
ceeded well in his profession. In his forensic efforts he often 
found occasion to deal in bitter sarcasm and keen and wither- 
ing invective, which he could do to perfection for he was a 
master of both. He was a handsome, dashing and brave 
man, and gave his life for his country's cause. 

"How sleep the brave who sink to rest 
By all their country's wishes blest. 
There honor comes a pilgrim gray, 
To bless the turf that wraps their clay." 

Col. N. W. Woodfin's Charming Family. 3 ° Mr. Woodfin 
married Miss Eliza McDowell, daughter of Col. Charles 
McDowell of Burke County. She was a queenly woman 
and most gracious and lovable in her disposition. The 
family, consisting of three daughters, who are all now [1905] 



BENCH AND BAR 393 

living in Asheville, are as follows: Miss Anna, so well beloved 
by all the people of Asheville; Mrs. Lillie Jones, widow of Mr. 
Benson Jones, who died many years ago, and Mrs. Mira 
Holland. 

George W. Candler. 3 ° Almost the exact counterpart of 
Mr. N. W. Woodfin was George W. Candler. Here was a 
sturdy, stalwart, rugged man of the people, with brawn and 
brain to match, a powerful frame encasing a big, warm heart, 
and all presided over by a masterly intellect. When he began 
to planth imself for a legal battle on the "Serug" style, it 
was like a mighty giant placing his feet and clothing his neck 
and gathering his strength to upturn everything that came in 
his way, and he generally did so. He, too, was a close stu- 
dent of human nature and knew where to feel for a respon- 
sive chord. This and his exceeding plain manner made him a 
"power" before a jury. He generally won his cases. He 
was fond of rural life and loved much more to wade in the 
creeks and fish than to "bother with courts." We shall see 
few, if any, more like him. He was my valued friend and I 
cherish with affection his memory. 

Non-Resident Lawyers. 3 ° Those who attended the courts 
of Buncombe from other counties were: Col. John Gray 
Bynum, Col. Burgess S. Gaither, Col. Waightstill W. Avery, 
Col. John Baxter, George Baxter, Esq., Samuel Fleming, 
Michael Francis and William Bryson, with occasionally some 
others. These were all exceedingly strong lawyers and when 
they were all present with our local bar and with such judges 
to preside as Romulus M. Saunders or David R. Caldwell or 
John L. Bailey or David Settle, John M. Dick or Mathias 
Manly, it was "court right and commanded universal respect." 

Sticklers for Fashion as Well as Form. 3 ° The law- 
yers of that day almost universally dressed in regulation style 
and not as they do now. A coat of the finest French broad- 
cloth of swallow-tail or cutaway style with fine doe-skin cas- 
simer pants, silk or satin vest, "nine biler" silk hat, ruffled 
and fluted bosom shirt and French calf-skin boots and a hand- 
some necktie, made up the lawyer's suit. 

Young Men of Ability. 30 "From about 1849 to 1852, 
there came to the bar of Asheville half a dozen young men 
who, for brilliancy and real ability, have never been equaled 
at any bar in the State, coming as they did so nearly at the 



394 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

same time. There were Philetus W. Roberts, Marcus Erwin, 
Newton Coleman, David Coleman, Zebulon B. Vance, James 
L. Henry, and Augustus S. Merrimon. All these were men 
of the first order of ability and those of them who lived to 
maturer manhood all made their mark, not only in their pro- 
fession, but in the councils of the State and nation as well 
and some have left their names emblazoned high on the roll 
of fame, but of all of those of whom I have written, there is 
no one left to greet me today. They have all passed to the 
'other shore' and are resting with the great silent host. 
May we see them all again in that 'great bright morning.' 

Joseph W. Todd, Esq., was born in Jefferson September 3, 
1834, was admitted to the bar after the Civil War, in which he 
had served gallantly. He is said to have been the only lawyer 
who ever told a joke (successfully) to the State Supreme court. 
He was never a very ardent student, but his wit, humor and 
resourcefulness, at the bar and on the hustings, were marked. 
He died June 28, 1909. His contest with the Rev. Christian 
Moretz for the legislature in the seventies is still remembered for 
the vigor and energy displayed by both candidates. He gave 
the name of "red-legged grass-hoppers" to the internal revenue 
agents, who, soon after the Civil War, were the first to wear 
leather leggins in their peregrinations through the mountains 
in search of blockade stills. Those who remember the famous 
joint canvass of Gov. Vance and Judge Thomas Settle in the 
summer of 1876 for the office of governor will recall that Vance 
made much capital of the red-legged grass-hoppers, a name 
he applied to all in the service of the general government, 
until Settle showed that two of Vance's sons were in the ser- 
vice of the United States, one in the naval academy and the 
other at West Point. Mr. Todd's daughter still preserves a 
caricature of this canvass. He married Sallie Waugh of Shouns, 
Tenn. 

"Twenty-Dollar Lawyers." Under the act of 1868-69, 
(ch. 46) any male twenty-one years of age could, by proving 
a good character, and paying a license tax of twenty dollars — 
that was the main thing in the eyes of the carpet-bag legis- 
lators of that time — get a license to practice law in North 
Carolina without undergoing any examination as to academic 
or legal knowledge whatever. Under it several lawyers began 
practice of this "learned profession." This act, however, 
was repealed in 1872. 



BENCH AND BAR 395 

Marcus Erwin. He was the son of Leander Erwin and a 
grandson of Wm. Willoughby Erwin and a great grandson of 
Arthur Erwin. His father removed from Burke county to 
New Orleans, from which place Marcus was sent to Center 
College in Kentucky, where he was a college-mate of Gen. John 
C. Breckenridge. After graduation Marcus Erwin was study- 
ing law in New Orleans when the Mexican War began, in 
which he served six months. After this war he came to 
Asheville and became editor of the Neivs, a Democratic paper, 
after having changed from Whig politics on account of the 
acquisition of new territory. His connection with this paper 
led to a duel with the late John Baxter. Later he became a 
prominent laywer and Democratic leader, and was elected 
solicitor of the large district extending from Cleveland to 
Cherokee. He was a member of the legislature in 1850, 
1856 and 1860. "He was a powerful prosecutor, and maintained 
as high a reputation as B. S. Gaither and Joseph Wilson had 
established." 31 He was a Secessionist, and in the discussion 
between himself and Governor John M. Morehead in the State 
senate in 1860-61 made an especially powerful and memorable 
speech. He joined the Confederate Army and became a major 
in a battalion of which 0. Jennings Wise, a son of Henry A. 
Wise of Virginia, was lieutenant-colonel. This battalion was 
captured in the fall of 1861 at Roanoke Island. Major Erwin 
"rendered volunteer service subsequently in the southwest. 
He ran as a candidate for the Confederate Congress, but was 
defeated. In 1868 he cast in his lot with the Republican party, 
and afterwards became assistant district attorney of the 
United States, where he displayed great ability." He was a 
man of varied attainments and versatile talents, and spoke 
a number of modern languages. He was familiar with the 
best literature and was one of the most effective and eloquent 
of political speakers. Governor Vance is said to have dreaded 
meeting Major Erwin on the stump more than any other. 
Their debates may be likened to the storied duel between the 
battle-ax of Richard and the cimeter of Saladin. 

Calvin Monroe McCloud. He was born at Franklin, Macon 
county, N. C, February 9, 1840, where he obtained only a com- 
mon school education. He volunteered in the Confederate Army, 
where he served till the close of the War. In 1865-66 he studied 
law in Asheville under the late Judge J. L. Bailey. On the 5th 



396 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

of July, 1866, he married Miss Ella Pulliam, daughter of the 
late R. W. Pulliam. He formed a partnership with the late N. 
W. Woodfin for the practice of law. He died June 20, 1891. 
He was a public spirited citizen and did much to promote 
the welfare of Asheville and the community, having been 
among 'the first to agitate a street railway, gas, telegraph, 
and other enterprises. 

Judge Edward J. Aston. He was born in November, 1826, 
in Rogersville, Tenn. He married Miss Cordelia Gilliland 
in November, 1852, moving to Asheville in 1853, where he en- 
gaged in the drug, stationery and bookstore business. He 
was three times mayor of Asheville and a director of the first 
railroad. He was among the first to see Asheville's great 
future as a health and pleasure resort. He not only donated 
books but supplied the first room for the Asheville public 
library. In 1865 he added real estate to his business, and 
later on insurance, soon becoming head of the firm of Aston, 
Rawls & Co. He is credited with having originated the idea 
of making Asheville the sanatorium of the nation. He devoted 
much time and large means to the distribution of circulars 
and literature setting forth the advantages of this climate. 
In 1871 he interested the Gatchel brothers in establishing 
the first sanatorium at Forest Hill. Then he got Dr. Gleitz- 
man of Germany to open another in Asheville. It was largely 
through his influence that the Rev. L. M. Pease established 
his school for girls here. He also had much to do with get- 
ting the late G. W. Pack to build a home in Asheville. Judge 
Aston was so called because he had studied law, but had aban- 
doned the practice. He died in 1893. 

Post-Bellum Lawyers. Space can be given to only a 
few of the more prominent attorneys who came to the bar 
after the Civil War and have passed beyond the nisi prius 
courts. William Henry Malone wrote several valuable law 
books, his "Real Property Trials" being indispensable; Melvin 
E. Carter for years was one of the most prominent and able 
of the Asheville bar, enjoying an extensive practice, and 
being a sound lawyer; T. H. Cobb was one of the clearest 
and most forceful of attorneys; Kope Elias of Franklin en- 
joyed an extensive practice in Cherokee, Macon, Clay, Gra- 
ham and Jackson counties. For a sketch of Gen. James G. 
Martin, who came to the bar late in life, after the Civil War, 



BENCH AND BAR 397 

see chapter 27. He was one of the commissioners in the inves- 
tigation of the Swepson and Littlefield frauds. 

Judge John Baxter. He was the son of William Baxter 
and Catherine Lee, and was born at Rutherfordton, N. C, 
March 19, 1819. He was admitted to the bar in 1840. He 
married Orra Alexander, daughter of James M. Alexander of 
Buncombe, June 26, 1842. He was a member of the legis- 
lature from Rutherford county in 1842. He lived for several 
years in Hendersonville, but afterwards removed to Asheville. 
About 1852 he fought a duel with the late Marcus Erwin, 
Esq., and was wounded in the hand. He moved to Knox- 
ville, Tennessee, in May, 1857. He was a strong Union man 
during and before the Civil War. He was appointed United 
States Circuit Judge by President Hayes in December, 1877, 
for the sixth circuit — Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio and 
Michigan. Some of his decisions are said to stand high 
with the English courts. He died at Hot Springs, Arkansas, 
April 2, 1886, and was buried in Gray cemetery, Knoxville, 
Tennessee. 

Judge J. C. L. Gudger. He was born in Buncombe 
county, July 4, 1837. His father was Samuel Bell Gudger 
and his mother Elizabeth Siler Lowery, a daughter of James 
Lowery who held a captain's commission in the war of 1812. 
He was educated at Sand Hill academy and Reems Creek 
high school, now known as Weaverville college. He was ad- 
mitted to the bar in August, 1860. He enlisted in the 25th 
N. C. Infantry July 22, 1861, and served till the close of the 
war. He moved to Waynesville December, 1865. He was 
married to Miss Mary Goodwin Willis of Buncombe county 
August 28, 1861. He was elected judge of the Superior court 
in August 1878, and served eight years. He 'held a position in 
the United States Treasury for years. He died January 29, 
1913. 

Judge William L. Norwood. He was born in Franklin 
county, N. C, July 1, 1841. His father was James H. Nor- 
wood, a native of Hillsborough and a graduate of the State 
University. In 1846 James H. Norwood moved with his fam- 
ily to Haywood county and engaged in the practice of the 
law, and for several years conducted a classical school. In 
1852 he was murdered at Sargents Bluff on the Missouri 
river, while serving as agent of the Sioux Indians. W. L. 



398 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Norwood was graduated from Bingham's School in 1856, after 
which he attended the school of Leonidas F. Siler in Macon 
county. He taught school in Haywood county till 1861, when 
he enlisted in Arkansas and served throughout the war. He 
was admitted to the bar in 1866, and was elected judge of 
the Superior court in November, 1894, from which position 
he resigned in 1899. On March 4, 1872, Judge Norwood mar- 
ried Miss Anna Duckworth of Brevard. He died about 1909. 

Judge Eugene Douglas Carter. He was the eldest son 
of Thomas D. and Sarah A. E. Carter, and was born May 18, 
1856, in North Cove, McDowell county, was educated at 
Col. Lee's school in Chunn's cove, at Wafford College, at 
Weaverville College, and at the University of North Carolina. 
He married Miss Sallie M. Crisp in June, 1877, at Fayette- 
ville, and began the practice of law at that place, but soon 
removed to Asheville, where he was several times elected 
solicitor of the Criminal court of Buncombe county, making 
an excellent prosecutor. He was appointed by Gov. Russell 
in the summer of 1898 to fill the vacancy caused by the sup- 
posed resignation of Judge W. L. Norwood as judge of the 
Superior court. But Judge Norwood denied that he had 
legally resigned, and began quo warranto proceedings to re- 
cover the office, which abated by Judge Carter's death, Octo- 
ber 10, 1898. Judge Carter evinced throughout his life 
a high order of literary and oratorical talent. As an advo- 
cate he had no superior at this bar. 

Judge John Lancaster Bailey. He was born August 13, 
1795, in eastern North Carolina; was married June 21, 1821, 
to Miss Priscilla E. Brownrigg ; was admitted to the bar at some 
date prior to 1821 ; was representative from Pasquotank county 
in House of Commons in 1824 and a senator in 1828 and 1832 ; was 
a delegate to the State Convention of 1835; was elected judge 
of the Superior court January 11, 1837, and resigned there- 
from November 29, 1863, after a service of over twenty-six 
years; practiced law at Elizabeth City, and also taught law 
there, probably up to the time of his election as judge. It 
was about the time of his election as judge or a few years 
afterward that he removed to Hillsboro, and with Judge Nash 
taught school there. In 1859 he moved to Black Mountain, 
near what is now the intake of the Asheville water system 
and Mrs. J. K. Connally's summer home, where he taught a 



BENCH AND BAR 399 



law school from 1859 to 1861. He moved to Asheville in 
1865 and taught a law school there until about 1876. He 
also practiced law in Asheville in copartnership with the late 
Gen. J. G. Martin. He died June 20, 1877. Judge Bailey 
was loved and honored by all as an able and upright lawyer 
and a worthy and useful citizen. (For fuller sketch see "Bio- 
graphical History of North Carolina, Vol. IV, p. 52, and Vol. 

VI, p. 6.) 

Judge Fred Moore was born in Buncombe county on the 
10th day September, 1869. He was the son of Daniel K. 
Moore, and the grandson of Charles Moore and the great- 
grandson of William Moore, one of the pioneers who helped 
to drive back the Indians and establish peace in this section. 
He attended school at Sand Hill near his home, and was ad- 
mitted to the bar at the September term, 1892, of the Supreme 
court. He spent part of his youth in Macon and Clay coun- 
ties, and began the practice of the law at Webster, Jackson 
county as a partner of his cousin, Hon. Walter E. Moore. In 
1893 he removed to Asheville and formed a copartnership 
with another cousin, Hon. Charles A. Moore. In 1898 he 
was elected judge of the Superior court of this judicial dis- 
trict. He died in August, 1908. Judge Moore's mother was 
a Miss Dickey of Cherokee, and his wife a Miss Enloe of 
Webster. He tried many important cases, and his rulings 
and decisions were fair and sound. His life was as nearly 
blameless as it is possible for human lives to be. When first 
made a judge he was probably the youngest who ever served 
on the Superior court. 

Judge George A. Jones. He was born in Buncombe 
county February 15, 1849, a son of Andrew and Margaret 
Jones. He attended Sandhill Academy on Hominy creek while 
it was open during the Civil War, and early in the seventies 
removed to Franklin, Macon county, where he became an 
assistant in the high school and later principal. He was 
admitted to the bar in 1878, having married in December, 
1875, Miss Lily Lyle, daughter of Dr. J. M. Lyle and Mrs. 
Laura Siler Lyle, his wife. There were six children by the 
union, and after the death of his first wife, he married, Janu- 
ary 31, 1895, Miss Hattie B. Sloan, by whom he had four 
children. She was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. M. 
Sloan. In 1889 Judge Jones represented Macon county 



400 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

in the legislature. In 1891 he was elected solicitor of 
the twelfth judicial district, and was re-elected in 1895, 
serving two full terms. In 1901 he was appointed 
by Gov. Ay cock judge of Superior court of the newly 
created sixteenth judicial district and served about two years, 
when he resumed the practice of law at Franklin, where he 
died August 13, 1906. 

Judge Robert P. Dick. Judge Dick was for many years 
U. S. district judge for the district of western North Caro- 
lina, having been appointed soon after the close of the Civil 
War, and serving continuously till July, 1898, when President 
McKinley appointed Hamilton G. Ewart of Hendersonville to 
that position; but as the senate failed to act upon this ap- 
pointment the President sent his name to three successive 
sessions of the senate. But as that body persisted in its 
refusal either to reject or confirm this appointment, Judge 
Ewart's name was withdrawn and that of Hon. James E. 
Boyd sent in instead. This appointment was confirmed in 
1900, Judge Ewart having served since July 13, 1898. Judge 
Dick had a great deal to do with the trial and sentencing of 
those who had violated the internal revenue laws, and was 
always considerate and merciful in imposing punishment on 
the poor people who were found guilty in this court, "thirty 
days in jail and a hundred dollars fine" being the almost 
universal sentence. 

Judge Leonidas L. Greene. He was born in Watauga 
county, in November, 1845, and was elected Superior Court 
Judge in 1896, and served as such till his death, November 2, 
1898. 

Hon. Charles H. Simonton. Judge Simonton of Charleston, 
N. C, was Circuit judge of the United States for a number of 
years, succeeding the late Judge Hugh Bond of Baltimore of 
KuKluxfame. Upon his death in May, 1904, President Roosevelt 
appointed Hon. Jeter C. Pritchard judge of this circuit, and 
he was confirmed by the senate without reference to the ju- 
diciary committee. He qualified June 1st, 1904, having re- 
mained in Washington as judge of the District court there to 
try an important case by special request of President Roose- 
velt. 

Colonel Allen Turner Davidson. He was born on Jon- 
athan's creek, Haywood county, May 9, 1819. His father was 
William Mitchell Davidson and his mother Elizabeth Vance 




^A <^d&0>Crtsch<f-fif 



BENCH AND BAR 401 

of Burke county, a daughter of Captain David Vance of Rev- 
olutionary fame. William Davidson, first senator from 
Buncombe county and a soldier of the Revolutionary War, 
was the father of William Mitchell Davidson, and a cousin 
of Gen. William Davidson who was killed at Cowan's Ford. 
Col. Allen T. Davidson attended the country schools of his day, 
and at twenty years of age he was employed in his father's 
store at Waynesville, and in 1842 married Miss Elizabeth A. 
Howell. He began the study of law, and in 1843 became clerk 
and master in equity of Haywood county, being admitted to 
the bar in 1845. In 1846 he removed to Murphy, Cherokee 
county, then a remote backwoods place. He at once took 
a leading place at the bar of the western circuit, and during 
his sixteen years residence there served as solicitor of Chero- 
kee county, and became one of the leading lawyers of this 
section. In April, 1860, he became president of the Mer- 
chants and Miners Bank. The secession convention of 1861 chose 
him one of the delegates from Macon county to the provisional 
congress of the Southern Confederacy. He served out the pro- 
visional term and was elected in 1862 a member of the permanent 
congress, serving till the spring of 1864, being succeeded by 
the late Judge G. W. Logan of Rutherford county. In 1864-65 
he served as a member of the council of Governor Vance, 
and at the same time acted as agent of the commissary depart- 
ment of the State in supplying the families of Confederate 
soldiers in this section. In the fall of 1865 he settled in Frank- 
lin, Macon county, and in 1869 he came to Asheville to live, 
buying and occupying the Morrison house, which stood where 
the present county court house stands. He soon became 
leader of the Asheville bar, and continued in active practice 
till 1885, when he retired. He died at Asheville, January 
24, 1905. 

Following is an editorial which appeared in the Ashe- 
ville Gazette-News on that date: 

"The last survivor of the Confederate Congress is no more. After a 
long and eventful life he has now been introduced to the mystery of the 
Infinite. He has read the riddle of life in the darkness of death. 
He knows it all now. The veil has been lifted and the contracted vision 
of earth has been expanded into the measureless profundity of eternity. 
Born, lived and died — behold the great epitome of man. 

"The announcement of the passing of this historic figure from the 
familiar scenes of life will awaken sorrow in many hearts from the Blue 

W. N. c— 26 



402 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Ridge to the Unakas and the Great Smokies, for it was upon this ele- 
vated stage that his active life was spent. It was here that he began, 
a strong-limbed herder of cattle upon the verdant slopes and ghostly 
balds of the Cataloochee mountains, that career of activity that led him 
by successive stages to the bar, to the Confederate Congress, to the chan- 
cel-rail of the church, and to a warm place in the hearts of many of the 
best people of the State. 

"Twelve years ago (1893) he stood on the Bunk mountain in Hay- 
wood county with a boyhood companion (Lafayette Palmer) and pointed 
out the place of the lick-logs where he had been wont to repair at inter- 
vals to tend the cattle pastured there; and, looking fondly around at 
the once familiar scene, said, as great tears streamed down the age-fur- 
rowed face, 'Good-bye, world!' That was his last visit to that sacred 
spot, and he said then that he would never look upon that scene again. 
Probably there was no tie that he had to break as age grew upon him 
that caused him a sharper pang than the parting from his beloved moun- 
tains. Certainly no man will be more missed by the people who live in 
these mountains than this man who bade them farewell so many years 
ago. 

"Col. Davidson was a strong and rugged character. He had strong 
passions, strong muscles, strong intellect. He wore his heart upon his 
sleeve. He was open and above-board in his likes and dislikes. He was 
a true and faithful friend and a bold and unconcealed enemy. Meeting 
in mid-life the stormy discords of civil strife in a community rent asunder 
over the question of union or disunion, it was inevitable that he should 
have awakened animosities. 

"But no man had any reason to doubt where Allen Davidson stood 
on personal, public or other questions. He spoke his mind freely and 
fearlessly. He hated shams and pretenses with holy hatred. 

"From 1865 until 1885 he was admittedly the leader of the bar of 
what was then known as the Western Circuit, extending to Cherokee in 
the west and to Yancey and Mitchell in the north. There was no large 
case tried in this section between the years named in which he did not 
take a conspicuous and important part. Bold, aggressive and persist- 
ent, he stormed the defences of his opponents with all the dash and elan 
of a Prentiss or a Pinckney. 

"Like a true poet he was 'dowered with the hate of hate, the scorn of 
scorn, the love of love.' His sense of humor was acute and never fail- 
ing. No adversity could quench it. Some of his remarks will live as 
long as the traditions of the old bar survive. He knew the life and hab- 
its of the mountain people better, perhaps, than any other man at the 
bar, and his speeches always pointed a moral and adorned a tale. Juries 
and judges were swayed by his intense earnestness, for he always made 
his client's cause his own. 

"Even in his old age he 'was yet in love with life and raptured with 
the world.' He rejoiced in his youth as, with halting foot-step he went 
downward to the grave; but for him the evil days came not nor did the 
years draw nigh in which he said : ' I have no pleasure in them. ' Strong, 
vigorous and healthy in mind and body, he enjoyed to the utmost the 



BENCH AND BAR 403 



good things of life and made no hypocritical pretense of despising them. 
With splendid physical development he towered among his fellows like 
a giant, and to him fear was an alien and a stranger. 

" He was a kind-hearted and charitable man, loving to give of what- 
ever he had of worldly goods, sympathy or kindly deeds. He was a 
faithful and affectionate husband, father, friend. A commanding and 
picturesque figure has passed from our midst." 

His widow still survives him, and of his children the fol- 
lowing still emulate his name and example most worthily: 
Hon. Theo. F. Davidson, late attorney general of the State; 
Mrs. Theodore S. Morrison, Mrs. W. B. Williamson, Mrs. 
William S. Child, Robert Vance Davidson, for several terms 
attorney general of Texas, Wilber S. Davidson, president of 
the First National Bank of Beaumont, Texas 

Judge James L. Henry. He was born in Buncombe 
county, in 1838, and received only such education as the 
schools of the county afforded. He was a son of Robert 
Henry and Dorcas Bell Love, his wife. He was elected Supe- 
rior court judge of the eighth judicial district in 1868, and served 
till 1878, having previously acted as solicitor for that district. 3 2 
He was editor at the age of nineteen of the Asheville Spectator, 
served in the Civil War as adjutant of the 1st North Carolina 
Cavalry, and on Hampton's and Stewart's staffs, and as 
colonel of a cavalry battalion stationed at Asheville. He 
died in 1885. 

Col. David Coleman. He was born in Buncombe county 
February 5, 1824, and died at Asheville March 5, 1883. His 
father was William Coleman and his mother Miss Cynthia 
Swain, a sister of Governor D. L. Swain. He attended New- 
ton Academy and entered the State University, and just prior 
to graduation entered the Naval Academy at Annapolis, 
graduated, and served in the navy till he resigned in 1850, return- 
ing to Asheville and entering upon the practice of law. In 1854 
he was the Democratic candidate for State senator, defeating 
Col. N. W. Woodfin, and was reelected in 1856, defeating 
Zebulon Baird Vance, the only defeat by the people Vance 
ever sustained. In 1858 Coleman and Vance were rivals for 
Congress, but Vance won. Coleman was one of the few men of 
this section who were secessionists, and was appointed to the 
command of a ship, but the delays in its fitting out tried his 
spirit beyond endurance and he entered the army, and 
was assigned to a battalion which afterwards became the 



404 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

39th North Carolina regiment, of which he was colonel. He 
resumed the practice of the law after the War, and was emi- 
nent as a lawyer. He was solicitor for a time and represented 
Buncombe county with Gen. Clingman in the State convention 
of 1875. He was a highly cultivated gentleman, a brave 
soldier and a lawyer above all chicanery. He never married. 
Gov. Swain was the first boy to enter the State University 
from the west, David Coleman was the second, and James 
Alfred Patton, a son of James W. Patton, the third. 3 3 

Judge Riley H. Cannon. The following extract is taken 
from his obituary, written by the Hon. Robert D. Gilmer, late 
attorney general of North Carolina: "He was born in Bun- 
combe county March 26, 1822, went to school at Sandhill 
Academy, was graduated from Emory and Henry College, 
Virginia; married Ann Sorrels October 18, 1850, to whom 
four children were born, namely, George W., once postmas- 
ter at Asheville, Eva, Lula A., and Laura. He was admitted 
to the bar in 1851, was appointed judge of the Superior court 
in 1868, and wore the judicial ermine during a troubled period 
in our State history. It was said, even by his political oppo- 
nents, that he never allowed it to trail in the dust of party 
rancor or become soiled by the stains of partial rulings. He 
was a member of the Methodist Church for thirty years. He 
died in that faith February 15, 1886. He was an honest 
man." 

Jacob W. Bowman was born in what is now Mitchell county 
July 31, 1831, and died at Bakersville, June 9, 1905. He 
married Miss Mary Garland in 1850. He was admitted to 
the bar before the Civil War, and was appointed United States 
assessor of internal revenue by Gen. Grant April, 1869. Gov- 
ernor Russell appointed him Superior court judge in November, 
1898, to fill an unexpired term. He received the nomination 
of the Republicans for the full term, but was defeated by Judge 
Councill, Democrat. 

Judge George W. Logan. He was born in Rutherford 
county. He lived near the Pools at Hickory Nut Falls, where 
he kept a tavern. He was elected to the Confederate Con- 
gress and qualified in May, 1864. He was a Superior Court 
judge from 1868 till his death in 1874. 

Judge Joseph Shepard Adams. He was born at Straw- 
berry Plains, Tennessee, October 12, 1850, and died at W T ar- 



BENCH AND BAR 405 



renton, N. C, April 2, 1911. His father was Rev. Stephen 
B. Adams and his mother Miss Cordelia Shepard. His father 
established a school at Burnsville, Yancey county, before the 
Civil War, which was known as Burnsville Academy. Joseph 
Adams was a pupil at this academy, and afterwards attended 
the school of Col. Stephen Lee in Chunn's Cove. He was 
graduated with honor from Emory and Henry College, Vir- 
ginia, in 1872. He studied law at Asheville under the late 
Judge J. L. Bailey, and was soon afterwards admitted to 
practice, opening an office at Bakersville. He was elected 
solicitor of the Eighth district soon after beginning practice 
and served in that capacity eight years. In 1877 he married 
Miss Sallie Sneed Green of Greensboro, N. C. She died 
November 16, 1901, leaving six children surviving. In 1885 
he moved from Statesville to Asheville and began the prac- 
tice of law, which he continued till his election to fill out the 
unexpired term of the late Judge Fred Moore in 1908. He 
was elected for a full term in 1910. 

Alfonzo Calhoun Avery. He was the son of Isaac T. 
and the grandson of Waightstill Avery, and was born at Swan 
Ponds near Morganton, Burke county, September 11, 1835. 
He died at Morganton, June 13, 1913. He attended Bingham 
School in Orange county and graduated from the State Uni- 
versity as A. B. in 1857, first in his class. He was admitted 
to practice before the county courts in June, 1860, and before 
the Superior courts in 1866. He was an officer in the Sixth 
North Carolina regiment, and later became major and adju- 
tant general of Gen. D. H. Hill's division. Later he was on 
the staffs of Generals Breckenridge, Hood and Hindman. 
In 1864 he was made colonel of a battalion in western North 
Carolina, was captured near Salisbury by Stoneman's army, 
and confined at Camp Chase till August, 1865. In 1861 he 
married at Charlotte Miss Susan W. Morrison, a sister 
of Mrs. "Stonewall" Jackson, and after her death he 
married Miss Sarah Love Thomas in 1889. She was a 
daughter of the late Col. W. H. Thomas of Jackson 
county. In 1866 he was elected State senator from the Burke 
district, and aided in building the Western North Carolina 
Railroad to Asheville and in locating the State hospital for the 
insane at Morganton. He was presidential elector in 1876, 
and in 1878 he was elected judge of the Superior court. In 



406 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

1889 he was elected associate justice of the Supreme court, 
and resumed the practice of his profession in 1897, at Mor- 
ganton, and was active till his death. In 1889 the State Uni- 
versity conferred upon him the degree of doctor of laws, and 
for more than twenty-five years he was a ruling elder of the 
Morganton Presbyterian church. 

NOTES. 

'A sketch of the judges of this State to 1865 will be found in the fourth volume of 
Battle's Digest, by W. H. Battle, Esq., and in Vol. II, Rev. St. N. C, p. 527 et seq., is a 
' ' Sketch of the Judicial History of North Carolina, " with a list of the judges and attorney 
generals since the adoption of the constitution. It also contains a sketch of the judicial 
procedure under the proprietary government. 103 N. C. Rep. has history of Supreme 
court. 

^Potter's Revisal, p. 281 and p. 1050. 

'Ibid., p. 297. 

«Ibid., p. 887. 

3 Chief Justice Pearson is said to have pronounced Judges Leonard Henderson and 
John Hall the most profound jurists ever in North Carolina. 

4 Dropped Stitches. 

'Potter's Revisal, p. 1039. 

5 Battle's Digest. 

6 Dropped Stitches, pp. 51-52. 

'Ibid., pp. 52-53. 

8 Mr. McGimpsy was one of the ancestors of Judge Jeter C. Pritchard of Asheville. 

9 Ashe county record — not paged. 

1 "Soon after the formation of one of the newer counties Judge Boykin gave a defend- 
ant his choice between thirty days in jail and one week at the only hotel in town. The 
defendant chose the jail. This was since the war, however. 

"Recollection of Hon. J. H. Merrimon and Dr. T. A. Allen, Sr. 

12 Asheville's Centenary. 

1 'Thomas Henry also was a soldier of the Revolution, and although he died soon there- 
after, his name appears as a pensioner. Col. Rec, Vol. XVII, p. 217, where it appears that, 
he was paid through A. Lytle £60, 15s, 8d, according to the "Abstracts of the N. C. Line' ' 
settled by commissioners at Halifax from September 1, 1784, to February 1, 1785. He fought 
at Eutaw Springs. 

14 "I have myself heard my grandfather Michael Shenck, of Lincolnton, N. C, speak 
of Mr. Henry as 'a great land lawyer'." D. Schenck, Sr., March 28, 1891, in note to "Nar- 
rative of the Battle of Cowan's Ford," published by D. Schenck, Sr. 

16 He said he asked his father what the shouting was about, and he answered that 
"They are declaringfor Liberty." W. L. Henry's affidavit filed with Mecklenburg Decla- 
ration Committee in 1897. 

"Col. A. T. Davidson in Lyceum, p. 24, April, 1891. 

17 Asheville's Centenary. 

"Ibid. 

"Ibid. 

2 "According to Judge James H. Merrimon, Hillman and Dews lived at Rutherford- 
ton. He does not know the given name of Mr. Hillman, but states that Mr. Dew's was 
Thomas, and that in crossing the Green river he was drowned while yet a very young man , 
not much if any over twenty-five years of age. He says that the late Mr. N. W. Woodfin 
considered Dews the ablest man in the State of his age. 

"The reference is to 1898, the monument having been completed in that year 

22 The same is true of Governor Swain, Generals Sevier, Waightstill Avery, the two 
McDowells, Ruthertord, Shelby, Pickens, and others of Revolutionary fame, and little or 
no space can be spared in this volume in re-recording what has been already written and 
preserved of them. 

23 Asheville's Centenary. 

"Ibid. 

"Ibid. 

2 «Ibid. 

2 Tbid. 

2S The Lyceum, April, 1891, p. 23. 

"Related by Judge Geo. A. Shuford. 

3 "From Reminiscences of Dr. J. S. T. Baird, published in 1905. 

81 From Mrs. Mattie S. Candler's History of "Henderson County." 

32 J. H. Wheeler's "Reminiscences." 

"Miss Fanny L. Patton in the "Woman's Edition of the Asheville Citizen," November 
28, 1895. 



CHAPTER XVI 
NOTABLE CASES AND DECISIONS 

Not Especially Contentious. Considering our ancestry 
and former isolation, we are not more contentious or liti- 
gious than others of our kind; but it must be admitted that 
we sometimes indulge in a lot of unnecessary litigation. Some 
of us are accused even of taking delight therein. Mr. J. H. 
Martin tells of an old Covenanter who announced with glee 
that all his children were married off, all his own debts paid, 
and that he had nothing else to do now but "to spend the 
balance of his life a-lawin'." Owing to the legislation regard- 
ing land grants and the registration of deeds, etc., much liti- 
gation has arisen, notably the large case of Gilbert v. Hopkins, 
involving many thousands of acres of land in Graham and 
Cherokee counties. That case was tried before Judge Connor 
in the U. S. Court at Asheville in 1910, but the jury disagreed. 
It was tried again before Judge Boyd at the same place, and 
he decided it in favor of defendants, plaintiffs appealing. A 
new trial was granted. But as no final decision has been reached 
in it, no results can be stated here. In it are involved almost 
every point of real estate law possible to arise. Pains have been 
taken to refer in this work only to the most notable cases 
that have been heard and decided. Each was of interest at 
the time it was tried. 

Litigation and Legislation. James McConnell Smith was 
the first white child born west of the Blue Ridge, in Buncombe 
county, but he will be remembered longer than many because of 
his will. He died December 11, 1853, leaving a will by which he 
devised to his daughter, Elizabeth A., wife of J. H. Gudger, 
certain real estate in Asheville, "to her sole and separate use 
and benefit for and during her natural life, with remainder to 
such children as she may leave surviving her, and those repre- 
senting the interest of any that may die leaving children. " l 
A petition was filed in the Superior court asking for an order 
to sell this property, and such an order was made and sev- 
eral lots were sold with partial payments made of the pur- 
chase money, when a question was raised as to the power of 
the court to order the sale of the property so devised. In 

(407) 



408 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Miller, ex parte (90 N. C. Reports, p. 625), the Supreme court 
held that land so devised could "not be sold for partition dur- 
ing the continuance of the estate of the life tenant; for, until 
the death of the life tenant, those in remainder cannot be 
ascertained." The sales so made, were, therefore, void. 

But years passed and some of the property became quite 
valuable, while another part of it, being unimproved, was non- 
productive, and a charge upon the productive portion. But 
there seemed to be no remedy till the city of Asheville con- 
demned a portion of the productive part for the widening of 
College Street. The question then arose as to how the money 
paid by the city for the land so appropriated to public use 
should be applied. On this question the Supreme court de- 
cided in Miller v. Asheville (112 N. C. Reports, 759), that the 
money so paid by way of damages should be substituted for 
the realty, and upon the happening of the contingency — the 
death of the life tenant — be divided among the parties en- 
titled in the same manner as the realty would have been if 
left intact. 

Upon this hint, on the petition of the life tenant and the 
remaindermen, a special act was passed by the legislature 
(Private Laws of N. C, 1897, Ch. 152, p. 286) appointing C. 
H. Miller a commissioner of the General Assembly to sell the 
land, the proceeds to become a trust fund to be applied 
as the will directs. 

This was done; but the Supreme court (Miller v. Alexander, 
122 N. C, 718) held this was in effect an attempted judicial 
act and therefore unconstitutional. The legislature after- 
wards passed a general act, which is embodied in section 1590 
of the Revisal, for the sale of estates similarly situated, and 
under this authority some of the land was sold and the pro- 
ceeds were applied to the construction of a hotel on another 
part. The proceeds, however, proved insufficient to com- 
plete the hotel, and in an action brought to sell still more of 
this land for the purpose of completing the hotel, the Supreme 
court held in Smith v. Miller (151 N. C, p. 620), that, while 
the purchasers of the land already sold had received valid 
title to the same, still as the hotel, when completed, would not 
be a desirable investment, the decree for the sale of the other 
land, in order to provide funds for its completion, was void 
because it did not meet the statutory requirements that the 
interests involved be properly safeguarded. 



NOTABLE CASES AND DECISIONS 409 

A Long Legal Battle. In July, 1897, the First National 
Bank of Asheville failed, and indictments were found in 
in Greensboro against W. E. Breese, president, W. H. Pen- 
land, cashier, and J. E. Dickerson, a director, for violating 
the United States banking laws. 2 In 1909 Breese and Dicker- 
son were tried on a new indictment at Asheville before Judge 
Purnell, Judge of the United States District court of the 
Eastern District of North Carolina, assigned to hold the court 
for this trial. The defendants were convicted, but took an 
appeal and a new trial was granted. In 1902 Breese alone 
was tried at Asheville before Judge Jackson of Virginia, and 
there was a mistrial. In the same year the case was sent to 
Charlotte and there was another mistrial. He was tried there 
again and convicted, and sentenced to seven years in the pen- 
itentiary; but the court of appeals quashed the indictment 
because two members of the grand jury who found the true 
bill had not paid their poll taxes. This apparently ended 
these cases, as the offences by this time had been barred by 
the statute of limitations. But District Attorney Holton 
resurrected the indictment found first at Greensboro in 1907, and 
Breese and Dickerson were tried at Asheville upon that before 
Judge Newman of Atlanta, in the summer of 1909, and convicted. 
They were sentenced to two years and to a fine of $2,500 
each, but appealed. The court of appeals were unable to 
agree and, in November, 1911, certified the case to the Su- 
preme court of the United States. In the spring of 1912 a 
motion was made before that court to advance the case upon 
the docket. It was granted and the appeal decided adversely 
to the defendants in October, 1912. 

The Solicitorship. In the controversies over the Solicit- 
orship in this section, between Ewart and Jones, 3 McCall and 
Webb, 4 McCall and Zachery, 5 and McCall and Gardner, the 
impression has gone out that, in one or the other of these 
cases, the Supreme court reversed its holding in Hoke v. Hen- 
derson, 6 to the effect that an office to which a salary was 
attached was property, and that the legislature could not de- 
prive one elected to such an office of his rights by abolishing 
the position. This, however, is wrong, as that case was not 
overruled until August, 1903, in Mile v. Ellington (134 N. C. 
Reports, 131). 

Many Legal Points Settled. The Western Carolina 



410 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

Bank was chartered in 1887 (Ch. 48) and began business in 
January, 1889. It failed, however, October 12, 1897, and 
its officers executed a deed of assignment to Lewis Maddux, 
its president, and L. P. McCloud, its cashier; but the Bat- 
tery Park Bank and other creditors commenced an action 
against the bank for the purpose of setting this deed of assign- 
ment aside; in consequence of which Judge H. G. Ewart, 
judge of the Circuit Criminal court, undertook to appoint 
receivers of the property. A few days later Judge W. L. 
Norwood, holding Superior court in Clay county, appointed 
the same parties receivers, there being doubt as to Judge 
Ewart 's jurisdiction. 8 George H. Smathers alone, however, 
acted as receiver, the others having declined or resigned. 
There was a class of creditors which filed a general creditors' 
bill between the date of the appointment of receivers by 
Judge Ewart and the date of the appointment by Judge Nor- 
wood, who thus sought to secure priority over the assets not 
affected by the lien of creditors who had obtained judgments 
before justices of the peace, as many had done; but the Su- 
preme court refused priority to those thus seeking to secure 
it. 7 

There were many other questions settled in the ensuing 
litigation, for Receiver Smathers was removed and W. W. 
Jones, Esq., appointed in his place in May, 1902; and he 
immediately began to collect the assets of the bank, and to 
compel Madison county to pay certain of its bonds which he 
held among the assets of the defunct bank. The Supreme 
court decided that each stockholder was liable to the extent 
of double the amount of his stock. 9 It at first denied the 
mandamus asked for to compel the commissioners of Madi- 
son county to levy a tax to pay its bonds * ° but on a rehearing 
granted the mandamus. (137 N. C, 579.) 

The question as to whether a married woman could escape 
her liability as a stockholder was also settled adversely to 
such claim. x x In pursuit of the stockholders it became nec- 
essary for the receiver to get the legislature to pass an act 
authorizing him to sue outside the State. 1 2 

Linville Litigation. S. T. Kelsey and C. C. Hutchinson 
had started Highlands; but Mr. Hutchinson, who was to 
have provided the money, found himself unable to do so, 
and Mr. Henry Stewart, editor of the agricultural depart- 



NOTABLE CASES AND DECISIONS 411 

ment of a New York newspaper, bought, through Kelsey, 
all the land Hutchinson was to have paid for. Then Stewart 
broke with Kelsey and the latter turned his attention to the 
development of the Linville country. Mr. S. P. Ravenal, 
Sr., advanced $500 for preliminary investigations, which 
resulted in the formation, about 1890, of the Linville Im- 
provement Company with Messrs. Ravenal and Kelsey and 
the late Mr. Donald MacRae of Wilmington, N. C, as the 
principal stockholders. Neither Ravenal nor MacRae held 
a majority of the stock, thus giving Kelsey the balance of 
power. 

There were three distinct lines of policy advocated by each 
of these gentlemen. Mr. MacRae wanted to bond the prop- 
erty for the construction of a railroad from Cranberry; Mr. 
Kelsey wished to establish an industrial center at Linville 
City; and Mr. Ravenal opposed both, but wanted to estab- 
lish a health and pleasure resort at Linville City, sell lots and 
hold the 15,000 acres of timber land the company had acquired 
for future development. After a while Mr. Thomas F. Par- 
ker succeeded Mr. Ravenal and Mr. Hugh MacRae succeeded 
his father, Mr. Donald MacRae. These two could not agree 
and Mr. Kelsey, siding with the McRaes, a receiver was applied 
for and appointed between September 1, 1893, and September 
1, 1894. 

These disagreements among the stockholders of the Lin- 
ville Improvement Company in relation to the general policy 
to be pursued by the officers in control, and especially in 
respect to the method of liquidating the outstanding indebt- 
edness and encumbering the property of the company, were 
involved in an action brought against that company by T. B. 
Lenoir, executor of W. W. Lenoir, and decided by the Su- 
preme court. (See 117 N. C. Reports, p. 471.) Thomas 
F. Parker had been president from September 1, 1893, to 
September 1, 1894, and Harlan P. Kelsey secretary for the 
same time. A special master had rejected the claims of 
these two officers for pay for services during this time, and 
the court held that they should have been allowed to prove 
that they had a contract for employment with the company 
for the entire year and not only up to the time of the appoint- 
ment of a receiver. 

After a while Mr. MacRae offered to sell his interest or buy 
that of Mr. Ravenal at a certain price. Mr. Ravenal sold. 



412 HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA 

A railroad was finally built to Pinola and Montezuma, two 
miles from Linville City. But the golden opportunity had 
passed. For, while the company was constructing the Yonah- 
lossie turnpike from Linville City around the base of the 
Grandfather mountain to Blowing Rock, erecting a fine hotel 
and constructing a large dam for a lake at Linville City, the 
press was ringing with praises of the beauty of the scenery, 
the healthfulness of the surroundings and the general attract- 
iveness of the place. Visitors came in numbers from various 
parts of the country and wished to invest in lots and build 
cottages. But, as the property was in litigation, titles could 
not be made to the lots, and the boom subsided. Blowing 
Rock, however, which before had been a mere hamlet, sud- 
denly developed rapidly and substantially, and is today one 
of the finest and most attractive health and pleasure resorts 
in the mountains. 

Color of Title. In all countries one who enters upon land 
and holds possession under any paper writing of record that 
proclaims to the world that he is there by some real or pre- 
tended authority will secure title by adverse occupancy sooner 
than will he w