Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Brief History of Macon County, North Carolina

Canaro Drayton Smith (1813-1894) was the eighth son of a pioneer Macon County, North Carolina family. In 1891, Smith authored A Brief History of Macon County, North Carolina, which can be viewed online at: Macon County History.

Here is an excerpt concerning early houses and the first hotel around 1820. Some of the earlier settlers had Buncombe County roots:

There were several log cabins built about that time, but the order in which it was done and the claims to priority I have been unable to ascertain. Lindsey Fortune built a cabin on the lot where the Franklin House, or Jarrett Hotel, now stands. Samuel Robinson built on the lot now occupied by Mrs. Robinson. Silas McDowell first built on the lot where stands the residence of D.C. Cunningham. Dillard Love built the first house on Mr. Trotter's lot. N. S. Jarrett built on the lot owned and occupied by Sam L. Rogers. John F. Dobson first improved the corner lot now owned by C. C. Smith. James K. Gray built the second house made of hewn logs on the lot owned by Mrs. Dr. A. W. Bell. Jesse R. Siler, one of the first settlers, built the house at the foot of the town hill where Mr. Geo. A. Jones now resides. He also built the second house on the Gov. Robinson lot and the brick store and dwelling owned at present by Capt. A. P. Munday. James W. Guinn or Mr. Whittaker built the house owned and occupied by Mr. Jackson Johnston.

I am indebted for much of this information about the early settlement of Franklin to the late James K. Gray and Silas McDowell. There is one other fact worthy of notice. John R. Allman operated the first hotel in Franklin. Shortly after this, Jesse R. Siler opened his house at the "foot of the hill" and these two houses furnished the hotel accommodations here for many years. These are facts of history about Franklin so far as they go. Though meager and unsatisfactory, they may be interesting to future generations.

Note the reference to Nimrod Simpson Jarrett. See the earlier article on him posted to this website.

The People of Macon. Macon was organized into a county in 1828 "and was singularly fortunate in the character of the people who first settled it." . . . . Wm. and Jacob Siler having married sisters of D. L. Swain, and Jesse R. Siler having married a daughter of John Patton of Buncombe, 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.

Source: Arthur, John Preston. Western North Carolina: A History from 1730 to 1913 (1914) at 173.


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