Friday, April 30, 2010

Chandler Family Association

Chandler Family Association Newsletter Wins First Place

First ever entry in prestigious National Genealogical Society competition

Hixson, TN, April 30, 2010 - The Chandler Family Association Newsletter received the First Place, Family Newsletter award at the recent National Genealogical Society meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah. The coveted award was presented April 28 in front of a large crowd of enthusiastic genealogists. Accepting the award on behalf of the Association was Charles Chandler, a resident of West Jordan, Utah, and CFA member. Editor of the award-winning newsletter is Claudia Chandler Brocato of Brandon, Mississippi, who was appointed editor of the publication in 2006. Brocato also serves as webmaster for the CFA website, which scored 84% in a recent marketing effectiveness evaluation of 2.3 million websites.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

1804 Map

For a larger online version go to 1804 Map.

Map shows the boundaries of now-defunct Walton County in what is presently Transylvania County, N.C. Ownership of the county was disputed by Georgia and North Carolina in the early 1800s, resulting in the "Walton War" between the two state's militias. The map also shows Wofford's Settlement in what is now Georgia; at the time of settlement and surveying, it fell within Cherokee Indian lands. Map also shows surrounding areas of Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina, including now-obsolete Pendleton "County" (actually Pendleton District) in S.C. Reproduced from unknown original created circa 1804.

"EXPLANATION: The dotted lines, marked A.B. are parts of a bound[ary] now extinguis[h]ed; and the black lines that has [sic] a dotted [illegible] side of each, represents the existing ones. The line south 52 1/2° east, [several words illegible] from where it crosses the 35° of north latitude to the South Carolina Indian boundary; then south 45° west along the same to the Appalachian mountains; thence generally northerly along the extreme heights of the same to where they a[re] crossed by the said degree of north latitude; thence west along the same to where it is intersected by Meigs's line as aforesaid; are the lines that constitute the boundary of Walton County. The line Z2* is the one agreeable to the treaty of Tellico, 1798."--Inset box. Map has numbers "749" and "242" in lower right-hand corner.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Artists Sought for Historic Sites

The following appeared 18 April 2010 in the online edition of the Citizen-Times (Asheville, North Carolina).

Asheville — The Thomas Wolfe Memorial and the Zebulon Vance Birthplace State Historic Sites are recruiting Western North Carolina artists to exhibit and sell their work this summer as part of the Second Saturdays: History, Heritage, Arts & Fun events scheduled on June 12, July 10 and August 14, sponsored by the Department of Cultural Resources. There is no cost to participate, although artists and vendors are responsible for their own display materials, including tents and tables. Artists and vendors retain 100 percent of their sales. The deadline to register for the June event is April 30. The events will showcase artists and heritage crafters from across WNC, including painters, potters, weavers, bookbinders, jewelry makers, photographers and many others. Farmers selling value-added products such as honey, soy candles, cheeses or herbs are also welcome. Cultural Resources Secretary Linda A. Carlisle proposed the idea of mixing arts and heritage in a pilot project last fall at Duke Homestead State Historic Site in Durham. Attendance at the site's event almost doubled over the prior year, and 87 percent of the artist vendors said they would like to return.


Monday, April 19, 2010

The History of Cattle in Buncombe County

The following is from The Clover Gazette: Buncombe County's 4-H Newsletter (19 April 2010):

Brent Jennings, an Extension 4-H Youth Livestock Technician with NC State University in Raleigh, has been working with a group to put together a book on the history of cattle in North Carolina. This group is working extremely hard to compile as much information as possible about the industry into this book. He is asking that a livestock club in each County do some research about the Cattle Industry in their county. This includes old pictures, magazine articles, or news releases. They would love to get feedback on the key leaders in the community regarding the cattle industry. Good resources will likely be older cattlemen, extension agents (perhaps an interview with Mr. Steve Duckett or Mr. Jeff Bradley?), agriculture teachers, and the local library. We hope that a club in Buncombe County will help with this project and represent our county in the book! This is an excellent learning project! Please don’t hesitate to contact Brent Jennings at 919/515-4467 if you have any questions.

Buncombe County 4-H is the youth development program of the Buncombe County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension, serving all Buncombe County youth, ages 5-19. For more information, contact Mary Clayton-McGlauflin, Extension 4-H Agent, at 828.255.5522 or


Western North Carolina in the Civil War

The Heart of Confederate Appalachia: Western North Carolina in the Civil War, John C. Inscoe and Gordon B. McKinney (2003).

In the mountains of western North Carolina, the Civil War was fought on different terms than those found throughout most of the South. Though relatively minor strategically, incursions by both Confederate and Union troops disrupted life and threatened the social stability of many communities. Even more disruptive were the internal divisions among western Carolinians themselves. Differing ideologies turned into opposing loyalties, and the resulting strife proved as traumatic as anything imposed by outside armies. As the mountains became hiding places for deserters, draft dodgers, fugitive slaves, and escaped prisoners of war, the conflict became a more localized and internalized guerrilla war, less rational and more brutal, mean-spirited, and personal--and ultimately more demoralizing and destructive.

From the valleys of the French Broad and Catawba Rivers to the peaks of the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains, the people of western North Carolina responded to the war in dramatically different ways. Men and women, masters and slaves, planters and yeomen, soldiers and civilians, Confederates and Unionists, bushwhackers and home guardsmen, Democrats and Whigs--all their stories are told here.

About the Author

John C. Inscoe is professor of history at the University of Georgia. Gordon B. McKinney is professor of history and director of the Appalachian Center at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky.

Source: The University of North Carolina Press


Zebulon Baird Vance (1830-1894)

Zeb Vance: North Carolina's Civil War Governor and Gilded Age Political Leader, Gordon B. McKinney (2004).

In this comprehensive biography of the man who led North Carolina through the Civil War and, as a U.S. senator from 1878 to 1894, served as the state's leading spokesman, Gordon McKinney presents Zebulon Baird Vance (1830-94) as a far more complex figure than has been previously recognized.

Vance campaigned to keep North Carolina in the Union, but after Southern troops fired on Fort Sumter, he joined the army and rose to the rank of colonel. He was viewed as a champion of individual rights and enjoyed great popularity among voters. But McKinney demonstrates that Vance was not as progressive as earlier biographers suggest. Vance was a tireless advocate for white North Carolinians in the Reconstruction Period, and his policies and positions often favored the rich and powerful.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mountain Region: 1896

North Carolina and Its Resources: Illustrated, North Carolina State Board of Agriculture, Raleigh (1896):


This is so sharply and distinctly defined, and embraces so large a portion of the territory of North Carolina, as to merit a somewhat extended reference to its magnitude, its elevation and its characteristics. Broadly considered it may be treated as a high plateau, bounded on the east by the irregular chain known as the Blue Ridge, extending across the State in a general direction from northeast to southwest, until, reaching the southeastern border of Henderson county, it turns to the west and forms for a long distance part of the southern boundary of the State, passing at length by a southwest projection into the State of Georgia, and again reuniting with the chain of the Smoky Mountains, to which it had made near approach on its entry into North Carolina in the counties of Ashe and Watauga.

The average elevation of the Blue Ridge is nearly 4,000 feet, though on the southern and northern extremities it drops to 3,000 feet, its lower gaps being a little above 2,000 feet over the main level of the Piedmont country. Seen from the east, the chain presents the aspect of a steep and rugged escarpment springing suddenly from the Piedmont plateau to an altitude of from 2,000 to 3,000 feet above it. From the west the appearance is that of a low and ill-defined ridge, in some places, as in parts of Henderson and Macon Counties, presenting almost a smooth, unbroken horizontal line; again uplifting itself in bold prominence, attaining the height of nearly 6,000 feet, as in the Grandfather, and the Pinnacle, the conspicuous summits so attractively visible near Round Knob, on the Western North Carolina Railroad.

The western boundary of this division is that long chain known under the various names of the Iron, the Smoky, and the Unaka Mountains, and forming the dividing line between North Carolina and Tennessee, and enclosing with marked definiteness the plateau of Western North Carolina. The area of this division approximates 6,000 square miles. The plateau is the culminating region of the Appalachian system, and contains not only its largest masses, but also its highest summits. It is divided by a number of cross ridges, and consequently into a number of smaller plateaus or basins, each bounded on all sides by high mountains and having its own independent system of rivers or drainage. It is this connection or interlacing of the outside bounding chains by the agency of the numerous cross chains that gives Western North Carolina its marked mountain character, its alternation of high mountain ranges with corresponding valleys and their attendant rivers, and the numerous lateral spurs, penetrated also by their valleys and their mountain torrents, and all arranged with an order and a symmetry as rare as it is beautiful, and also presenting facilities for communication from the opposite sides of these chains of inestimable value in the construction of works of internal improvement not often possessed by mountain countries.

The chief of these in exceptional elevation is known as the Black Mountains, consisting of a single short ridge extending in a northly direction from the point where it leaves the Blue Ridge. Its total length is only about fifteen miles, but within this short distance there are a dozen peaks that rise to an elevation of more than 6,000 feet above the sea, and one of these--Mitchell's Peak--the highest mountain on the eastern half of the continent, has an altitude of 6,711 feet. Between the French Broad and the Pigeon rivers stretches the long ridges of the Pisgah and the New Found mountains, interrupted by the valley of Hominy creek, the opening of which offers convenient passway to the next parallel ridge, the Balsam mountains, which extends in unbroken continuity from the South Carolina line on the south to the Smoky Mountains on the Tennessee border on the north. This range has a mean elevation of about 5,500 feet, with fifteen summits exceeding 6,000 feet; and across the range are only two pass-ways or gaps suitable to the passage of wheeled vehicles, one of which, traversed by the Western North Carolina railroad, is 3,357 feet above sea-level; the other, Soco Gap, being 4,341 feet high. Then comes the Cowee mountains, extending nearly across the State, and separated from the Great Smokies by the narrow valley of the Tuckasegee river. The mean height of this ridge is about 4,800 feet, the highest summit, at the southern end, being Yellow mountain, 5,133 feet. Then succeeds the massive and very bold double chain of the Nantahala and Valley River mountains, with a mean height of 5,000 feet, the two branches of which lie in close parallelism from the Georgia State line on the south as far as the Red Marble Gap on the north, where they separate, one branch directed westward and known as the Long Ridge, and uniting itself with the Smoky mountains in Cherokee county; the other extending to the northeast, under the name of the Cheowah mountains, and ending without definite connection in undefinable ridges or isolated peaks.

On the east side of the Blue Ridge and extending into the Piedmont region are a series of short and irregular ridges or spurs. Among these are the Saluda, Green River, Tryon and Hungry mountain masses, which are more or less separated from the Blue Ridge by the deep valleys or gorges carved by the river torrents which have cut through them and thus unite with the waters flowing toward the Atlantic; the waters on the west of the Blue Ridge, on the contrary, all directing their courses toward the Mississippi or its tributaries. Two other and more prominent ridges extend into this Piedmont plateau for considerable distances. The South mountains, commencing as foot hills of the Blue Ridge in western McDowell, extend in a general easterly direction, south of the Catawba river to western Catawba county, a distance of some fifty miles. They reach their maximum development near the junction of Burke, McDowell and Rutherford counties, where several knobs have an elevation of near 3,000 feet. The other of these two ridges, the Brushy mountains, cut off from the Blue Ridge at the west by several tributaries of the Catawba assumes definite proportions in eastern Caldwell county and extends northeast more or less parallel to the Yadkin valley and Blue Ridge on the north, as far as the Sauratown mountains in Stokes county, a distance of some eighty miles. In Yadkin and Surry counties these mountains nearly disappear, but they reappear in Pilot, Eaton and Moor's Knobs to the northeast.

The Linville mountains, though a distinct spur from the Blue Ridge, are so coincident with it in perspective and in general characteristics as to need no mention as a distinct ridge.

The above embrace the whole mountain system of North Carolina, and in the western section unmistakably present the culmination of the great Appalachian system, as illustrated by the highest summits lifted up in all the territory of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, and also as the source from which many large rivers radiate to flow towards the opposite directions of the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Mississippi river and its tributaries.

Along the Blue Ridge, along the Smoky mountain range, and along the cross chains are found the following summits which exceed 6,000 feet in elevation:

IN THE SMOKY MOUNTAINS--Mount Buckley, 6,599; Clingman's Dome, 6,660; Mount Love, 6,443; Mount Collins, 6,188; Mount Alexander, 6,447; Mount Henry, 6,373; Mount Guyot, 6,636; Tricorne Knob, 6,188; Raven's Knob, 6,230; Thermometer Knob, 6,157; Luftee Knob, 6,232; Cataloochee, 6,159; Roan (High Knob,) 6,313; Roan (High Bluff,) 6,287; Grassy Ridge, (Bald), 6,220; Cold Spring, 6,015.

IN THE BALSAM MOUNTAINS--Enos Plotts' Balsam, 6,090; Jones' Balsam, 6,224; Rockstand Knob, 6,002; Brother Plott, 6,246; Amos Plott's Balsam, 6,278; Rocky Face, 6,031; Double Spring Mountain, 6,380; Richland Balsam, 6,370; Chimney Peak, 6,234; Spruce Ridge Top, 6,076; Reinhardt Mountain, 6,106; Devil's Court House, 6,049; Sam's Knob, 6,001.

IN THE BLACK MOUNTAINS--Blackstock's Knob, 6,378; Potato Top, 6,393; Black Dome, 6,502; Mount Gibbs, 6,591; Mount Hallback, (or Sugar loaf,) 6,403; Mount Mitchell, 6,711; Balsam Cone, 6,671; Black Brother, 6,619; Cattail Peak, 6,611; Hairy Bear, 6,681; Deer Mountain, 6,233; Long Ridge, (middle point,) 6,259; Bowlen's Pyramid, 6,348.

IN THE CRAGGY RANGE--Big Craggy, 6,068.

In all forty-three peaks of 6,000 feet and upwards. And there are eighty-two mountains which exceed in height 5,000 feet, and closely approximate 6,000, and the number which exceed 4,000 and approximate 5,000 are innumerable.

The general contour of all these mountains is gentle, the summits generally presenting smooth rounded outlines, occasionally rising into sharp pointed peaks, and, except on the southern border, presenting but few precipitous slopes. There, some of the most stupendous cliffs or precipices east of the Rocky Mountains present themselves, such as Cæsar's Head and Whiteside Mountain, the latter presenting a sheer perpendicular front of naked rock eighteen hundred feet in height.

Otherwise the mountains are covered with deep rich soil, clothed with massive forests to their tops. To this general condition there is the remarkable exception presented by the locally named balds, natural meadows found on the rounded tops of many of the highest mountains. Their elevation is generally near, or above, 6,000 feet. The heavy forest growth of the valleys and lower slopes of the mountains is gradually dwarfed towards the bald summits, so that these are surrounded by a fringe of stunted, scrubby oaks, beeches, &c., the balds themselves being covered with a rich herbage of grass, pasturage to which large herds of domestic animals are annually driven to remain until the return of cold weather.

The great elevation of these mountain heights is indicated by the botanical features of the vegetation, which shows a predominance of firs, hemlocks, white pines, and other trees of high latitudes.

In respect to those timber trees found here, in common with the other sections, the Mountain region has the advantage of possessing an unbroken forest. In comparison with the extent of forest lands, the clearings here are mere patches.

There is little hazard in saying that there is nowhere in any of the States an equal area of land covered with timber trees of such various kinds, and of such value. The walnut, tulip trees, (poplars), and oaks attain a size that would hardly be credited by one who had not seen them. The preservation of this magnificent forest is due to the fact that it has hitherto been inaccessible to transportation. Within the past few years much of it has been brought into connection with the markets of the world. One railroad line passes entirely through this section, and another branching off at Asheville and leading to the extreme southwest of the State, is now completed. Into the northwestern part of the State also a railroad has been completed and others projected.

The cultivated productions of this section are the same as those of the Piedmont Plateau region, cotton and rice excepted. Its garden vegetables are the same, but the cabbage and the Irish potato grow here to a degree of perfection that cannot be excelled anywhere. Among the fruits, its apples are noted for size and flavor. Peaches and grapes grow well generally; but, for their highest perfection, nature has made provisions by a suspension to some extent of her ordinary laws. Throughout the mountains, in certain localities and at certain elevations, there are horizontal belts where frost is seldom known. Such localities are found not only in this section, but in the South mountains and in the Brushy range.

The climate of this Mountain region differs less from that of the Piedmont Plateau region than would be inferred from its higher altitude. The difference is more perceptible in summer than in winter. In the former season, its cool and bracing air, together with its varied scenery, its mineral waters--sulphur, chalybeate and thermal--made this section one of the favorite resorts of the people of the South and Southwest when it could only be reached by private conveyances. Since it has been penetrated by railroads, the influx of health and pleasure-seekers has increased an hundred fold, and in future will add very largely to its resources.

The soils of the basins of the great rivers of this section, and its mountain valleys, are noted for their fertility. The capacity for the production of cereals and hay grasses is equal to that of any lands. As might be inferred from the heavy forest growth with which the entire surface is covered, the mountain sides are susceptible of profitable cultivation up to their summits.

Among the valleys most noted for their beauty and extent are the upper French Broad and Mills river valleys, of Henderson and Transylvania; the Swannanoa, in Buncombe; the Pigeon river, Richland and Jonathan's creek flat lands, in Haywood; those of the Valley river and Hiwasse, in Cherokee; and portions of the upper Linville, in Mitchell.

The entire transmontane country is well adapted to stock-raising. The cultivated grasses flourish everywhere with even ordinary care. But it is in the north-western counties--particularly in the counties of Ashe, Alleghany, Watauga, Mitchell, Yancey--that all the conditions are found necessary for its perfect success. The soil throughout these counties is a deep rich loam, up to the summits of the mountains. The whole country is covered with a dense vegetation, amongst which will be found some of the largest timber in the United States, and as yet the forests are comparatively unbroken, because they have been inaccessible to market. The clearing of the timber is a work of some difficulty, but when that is done the labor of the farmer is rewarded with the richest crops. After two or three crops are taken off, the land, if suffered to lie at rest, springs up spontaneously in timothy, herds grass, and other rich pasture grasses; and once established, the grass perpetuates itself upon the land. Nor is an entire clearing necessary to establish the land in grass. If the undergrowth is removed, the trees thinned out, and the surface stirred and sown in orchard grass (Cocks foot,) it flourishes luxuriantly even while the forest trees are left standing.

Its capacity as a grazing country has long been known. But formerly the cattle were left to the resources of nature, which indeed, in such a country were abundant and rich. "Horses and horned cattle," says General Clingman in one of his publications, "are usually driven out into the mountains about the first of April and brought back in November. Within six weeks after they have thus been put into the range, they become fat and sleek. There are, however, on the top and along the sides of the higher mountains ever-green and winter grasses on which horses and horned cattle live well through the entire winter. Such animals are often foaled and reared there until fit for market, without ever seeing a cultivated plantation." Of late, attention has been turned to the breeding of fine stock, and some herds of cattle and flocks of sheep are found there which will compare not unfavorably with those of any country. This country is already penetrated by one railroad, and others are in course of construction. When fairly laid open to railroad communication it will offer--besides its rich mining interests and timbers--one of the finest fields for cattle and sheep breeding and for dairy products that the Union presents.

Apart from its forests, nature has been prodigal to this section in shrubs and flowering plants. It has always been a favorite resort of the botanists. It is a field that has been assiduously cultivated by many of the most distinguished professors of that science. It was from these mountains that Bartram, the Michauxs--father and son--Fraser, Delile, Lyon, Nuttall, Von Schweinitz, Mitchell, Gray and Curtis, drew much of the material of their valuable contributions to botanical science. It was here that some of the most beautiful flowers that adorn the gardens of Europe and of this country were first discovered. It still yields rare flowers to the explorer, which though not conspicuous for their beauty, are deemed rare treasures by botanists.

This section has also been one of the chief sources of supply of medicinal herbs. Immense quantities are gathered and shipped to the northern cities and to Europe. In travelling through the mountains bales of these herbs may be seen collected about the country stores as bales of cotton are seen in the middle and eastern regions. Ginseng in great quantities is shipped to China. The trade in medicinal herbs has grown into a large business.

Corundum abounds in Macon, Clay and many other counties. Mica is abundant in Mitchell and Yancey, and those counties yield a large part of the world's supply. The largest and finest sheets of it seen at the World's Fair at Vienna were from the Ray Mine in Yancey.

This section is rich in iron ores of the best grade. That of Cranberry possesses such excellence for making iron for special purposes--steam boilers for example, and steel of the finest quality, such as is adapted to making surgical instruments and the like--that a railroad forty miles long and costing more than a million dollars has been constructed through one of the most rugged parts of the mountain territory to reach it. Copper also is prominent among the metals of this region. The most noted mine is that of Ore Knob, in Ashe.

The effect of these mining enterprises upon the prosperity of this section has been marked. Labor has found employment, a home market has been furnished to the farmer, and there has been some appreciation of property of every kind.

The past few years have been remarkable for the success with which the difficulties presented by the want of transportation in this State have been grappled with and overcome. These achievements at once great and beneficent, will make this period a memorable one in the history of the State. Railroads are now entering the northwestern part of the State in several directions. The completion and connection of these, and the opening up of this region, so rich in elements of undeveloped wealth, is now regarded as the first and most imperative duty of the statesmen of North Carolina.


Brother Against Brother: 24 April 2010

The Old Buncombe County Genealogical Society will present "Brother Against Brother - The Family of William and Isabella Redmon Peek in the Civil War" by Dan Slagle on April 24, 2010 at 2 PM in the society library at 128 Bingham Road, Suite 700. While dealing with one individual family's divided loyalties, the program emphasizes the strife and trauma experienced by numerous mountain families during this war. Mr. Slagle is very knowledgeable on the Civil War in the mountain counties, particularly Madison and Buncombe Counties, and the very different way that the mountain people experienced the war as opposed to those who lived in other areas. He is very active in genealogical circles, serving terms as president and vice president of the Madison County Genealogical Society. The public is invited and welcome to attend. Refreshments will be served. There is no charge for the meeting/program. For more information call 828-253-1894 or e-mail


Western North Carolina in the Civil War

North Carolina Civil War Image Portfolio: Prints and Photographs, North Carolina Collection (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)


A History of Appalachia, Richard B. Drake (2001).

Race, War, and Remembrance in the Appalachian South, John C. Inscoe (2008).

Remembering North Carolina's Confederates, Michael C. Hardy (2006).

The Civil War in North Carolina, John G. Barrett (1963).

The Civil War in North Carolina: The Mountains, Volume 2, Christopher M. Watford (2003).

The Heart of Confederate Appalachia: Western North Carolina in the Civil War, John C. Inscoe and Gordon B. McKinney (2000).

Western North Carolina: A History from 1730-1913, John Preston Arthur (1914).

Western North Carolina: Its Mountains and Its People to 1880, Ora Blackmun (1977).


Saturday, April 17, 2010

S&W Cafeteria (Asheville)

According to an article in the Citizen-Times (16 April 2010), the commercial portion of the S&W Cafeteria building (Haywood and Patton) is back on the market. The S&W Cafeteria was a community gathering place for decades, operating 1929-74. The building, designed by Douglas Ellington, had sat empty for several years before current owner Steve Moberg bought it in 2007.

The S&W Cafeteria was built at 52-58 Patton Ave. from 1927-1928. S&W Cafeteria was Dale's Cafeteria in the 1940's then went back to S&W Cafeteria in 1945. The S&W Cafeteria was a very popular place to eat until it changed locations in 1974. The plaque on the sidewalk facing the cafeteria reads: "Considered by many as architect Douglas Ellington's most outstanding design, the S&W Building was constructed for a pioneering cafeteria chain in 1929. Ellington wrote that the art deco facade and interior had the deliberate 'note of gaiety' appropriate for this popular gathering place." The S&W Cafeteria was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

"Architect Douglas D. Ellington's (1886-1960) most refined example of the Art Deco style, the S&W Cafeteria (1929), is a colorful, carefully detailed composition of glazed terra cotta panels, slate, glass, and wrought iron topped by a crenelated parapet of green and blue tiles. The brightly colored facade and richly decorated interior dining rooms provided a thoroughly modern venue for the new restaurant type in Asheville."

See: North Carolina Architects & Builders.

The following is from Cabins & Castles: The History & Architecture of Buncombe County, North Carolina, Douglas Swaim (1981) at 93:

More than sixty-five buildings in downtown Asheville date from the twenties decade. . . . In the second "great rebuilding" (the first was in the 1890s) was cast an ebullient image of Asheville's future, an image sponsored by a mushrooming population, a frenzied marketplace, and a remarkably cosmopolitan air. Fancifully, if traditionally, ornamented skyscrapers designed by the talented corps of architects drawn here by the boom rewrote the skyline announcing new commercial standards as well as the bloated values of downtown real estate. . . .

One will recall that a new courthouse (the county's seventh) had been constructed on College Street in 1903 leaving architect J. A. Tennent's Victorian Romanesque city hall the focus of an enlarged, and renamed "Pack" Square. In 1926 construction began on the city hall component of the new government center, which once again leap-frogged its way east from the original center of town. Architect Douglas Ellington designed the new City Building in a colorfeast of Art Deco and stylized local motifs. The daring composition won him national recognition but lost him the commission from the conservative county for a new court house.


Friday, April 16, 2010

David Lowry Swain (1801-1868)

David Lowry Swain (4 Jan. 1801-29 Aug. 1868), lawyer, governor, and educator, was born in the Beaverdam area near Asheville in Buncombe County. His father was George Swain, a Massachusetts native who settled in the Georgia frontier, married, and served in the legislature and the constitutional convention of 1795 before moving to the North Carolina mountains for his health. His mother, Caroline Swain, was the daughter of Jesse Lane, member of a well-known North Carolina family, who moved first to Georgia and then farther west. Her first husband, by whom she had four children, was David Lowry, who was killed during an Indian raid in Georgia. She and George Swain had seven children, of whom David Lowry Swain was the youngest.

Source: Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, William S. Powell, Editor (1994) (Volume 5, P-S).

See: Biography of David Lowry Swain.

Death date also seen as 27 August 1868. Source: Undaunted Heart: The True Story of a Southern Belle & a Yankee General, Suzy Barile (2009).

The following is from the will of James McConnell Smith (Asheville, North Carolina, 9 February 1850):

I nominate, constitute and appoint my long and well tried friend the Honorable David L. Swain of Chapel Hill and my sons-in-law, Valentine Ripley and Wm. W. McDowell, and my son, John P. Smith, executors of my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the 9th day of February, A. D.1850.

It is probable that the Smith family and the Swain family were neighbors and/or knew each other through attendance at the Newton Academy in Asheville. Also, a sister of David Lowry Swain, Althea Swain, married William Siler. A brother of William Siler, Jesse Richardson Siler, married Harriet Dorothy Patton, sister-in-law of James McConnell Smith. Thus, through marriage, the families were related.

Serious researchers should consult three sources which contain an enormity of details to include genealogical information. They are; (1) Volume XXIV, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register; (2) Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill - 1000 items including 6 volumes; and (3) Private Collections 84.1 - 84.9, Papers, David Lowry Swain, NC State Archives, Raleigh, NC. His father was George Swain born 17 June 1763 in Roxboro, MA. His grandfather was Samuel Swainwho married Freelove George. His ancestry beyond his grandfather is yet to be determined. He was one of eight children in order of birth, Caroline (1789-1792), Cynthia (1791-1829), George, Jr. (1792-1877, Caroline (1795-1828), Matilda (1797-1858), Althea (1798-1846), David Lowry (1801-1868) and Mary "Polly" (1803-1829).

He married Eleanor Hope White on 12 Jan 1826. Of their children only three grew to adult years, a gifted and supposedly unmarried daughter who died March 1867, a daughter Mrs. Gen. Atkins of Freeport, IL and a son Richard Caswell Swain of Shannon, IL. Several inquiries prompted this posting and hopefully it will clarify the past confusion and uncertainty about this notable North Carolinian. His contribution to the preservation of North Carolina history has been recognized by many historians and is a matter of historical record.

Source: Message #153 Swain Family Genealogy Forum (, 17 November 1998.

The first lawyer of Buncombe County who was a native thereof was the late Governor D. L. Swain. Born, as has been already stated, at the head of Beaverdam, on January 4, 1801, he was educated under George Newton and Mr. Porter at Newton Academy, where he had for classmates B. F. Perry, afterward governor of South Carolina; Waddy Thompson, of South Carolina, distinguished 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, 1823, he was licensed to practise law and was elected to the North Carolina House of Commons in 1824, 1825 and 1826, and in 1827 was made solicitor of the Edenton Circuit, but resigned this latter office after going around one circuit. In 1828 and 1829 he was again in the House of Commonsfrom Buncombe County; in 1830 he became a judge of the Superior Court of North Carolina; and resigned that office in 1832 on being elected governor of that State.After the expiration of three successive tenns as governor, he became 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 any other man North Carolina is indebted for the preservation of parts 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.

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 remark Mr. Swain acquired the nickname of "Old Warping Bars," a not inapt appellation, which stuck to him llntil he became president of the University when the students bestowed upon him the name of "Old Bunk." He continued to be "Old Bunk" all the rest of his life. While he was practising at the bar the lawyers rode the circuits. Beginning at the first term of the court in which they practised, they followed the courts through all the cou~ties 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 Hillman and Thomas Dewes.

Source: Asheville and Buncombe County, F. A. Sondley (1922) at 125-126.


Buncombe Turnpike Field Trip: 8 May 2010

Join us [Smith-McDowell House Museum] for a field trip tracing the approximate route of the historic Buncombe Turnpike from Asheville to the South Carolina border. This tour will trace the turnpike's path through South Buncombe, Fletcher, Hendersonville, Flat Rock, Zirconia, and Tuxedo to the South Carolina line. It will then continue over part of the South Carolina state road that led to the historic 1820 Poinsett Bridge in Greenville County. Special speakers will include Brenda Coates, an art historian retired from Western Carolina University; Dr. George Jones, a founding member of the Henderson County Genealogical and Historical Society; and Jennie Jones Giles, Director of the Henderson County Heritage Museum.

The tour assembles at Smith McDowell House Museum on the AB Tech campus 8 May 2010 at 8:30 and departs at 9:00. The cost of the tour, which includes lunch is $50 for non-members and $35 for members. Non-members may join WNCHA at an event-only special individual rate of $25 or family rate of $40 and then buy four tickets for $35 each. Membership confers free museum admission and discounts on gift shop items and other events, making this a great deal!

For reservations or more information, call the Museum at 828-253-9231

For the early history see: Early Settlement of Buncombe County and the Drovers' Road


Smith-McDowell: The House, The People, and The Land

New Exhibit at Smith-McDowell House

Blue Ridge National Heritage Area grants have supported organizations large and small throughout the region, to date having provided $1.2 million in funding for 70 grantees and leveraging another $2.2 million in non-federal matches. One such grant the Smith-McDowell House Museum in Asheville recently unveiled its new exhibit, funded in part by a BRNHA grant. Titled "Smith-McDowell: The House, the People, & the Land," the exhibit tells the story of the three families associated with the house in the 1800s – the Smiths, the McDowells, and the Garretts – and how their lives show the many ways the land shaped them and they shaped the land.

Built by one of antebellum North Carolina's most influential citizens, the Smith-McDowell House was once the home of mayors, a Civil War major, and friends of the Vanderbilts. Rescued from destruction, Asheville's oldest surviving dwelling is now a National Register property and a window into how life was lived here in the 19th century. Visit the Smith-McDowell House Museum on the campus of A-B Tech in Asheville.

Photo courtesy of the Smith-McDowell House Museum. Board member John Wright and exhibit designer Matt Provencha on the opening day of the exhibit.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Samuel Winslow and Martha McRee Davidson

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Samuel Winslow Davidson (1782-1858) and Martha McRee Davidson (1781-1848).

The following is from The Heritage of Old Buncombe County, Doris Cline Ward, Editor (1981) at 190 (Article #306, "Col. Samuel Winslow Davidson" by Dorothy Hyde and William E. Bryson):

Samuel Winslow Davidson was born April 2, 1781 [gravestone shows 1782] in Burke County (now McDowell), the son of Major William D. and Margaret (McConnell) Davidson. He married Martha McRee, who had been born Sept. 11, 1781 in Mecklenburg County, the daughter of the Rev. Dr. James and Rachel (Cruser) McRee of Rowan County. Her mother Rachel had come from Staten Island, N.Y. Dr. McRee, Martha's father, was a graduate of Princeton College, New Jersey and was pastor of Steel Creek Presbyterian Church, and then Centre Church in Iredell County, coming to the Swannanoa settlement in 1830 when he retired, to live with his two daughters, Mrs. Gudger and Mrs. Davidson. He preached at many area Presbyterian Churches during this period until his death in 1840.

Samuel Davidson held the rank of Colonel and fought in the War of 1812. He owned property in the Swannanoa settlement inherited from his father, that covered a large amount of territory extending as far as the present location of Warren Wilson College. His living came from the bartering of lumber and other general plantation produce drawn from the land.

After the death of his wife Martha, Samuel married Elizabeth (Vance) Davidson, widow of his brother William Mitchell Davidson. Samuel's death occurred on October 14, 1858, and he and his first wife Martha, are buried in the Swannanoa Presbyterian Church Cemetery. There children were:

Margaret Eliza, b. 1805, married John Erwin Patton; Joseph Cruser Davidson; Adeline, married Alfred B. Fortune; Harriet, married Robert Penland; William Franklin Davidson, b. Sept 23, 1812 -- d. 1902, married on 6-17-1839, Minerva Foster; Mary E., b. 1813, married Olney Burgin; Albert Cruser Davidson (1815-1850) married Sophronia Burgin; and Samuel Winslow Davidson, Jr., b. 1819. Taken from the writings of Foster Sondley.

Life dates also seen as 1772-1856. Source: N.C. Genealogy-McDowell (Pack Memorial Library, Asheville, North Carolina), but this is not consistent with most records and not with the gravestone at the Swannanoa Presbyterian Church.

Will of Samuel W. Davidson of Buncombe County, North Carolina (Will Book A, Page 199)

Request to be buried beside his first wife. Place not legible.
Wife: "present wife" Elizabeth
Children: son Samuel; son William F.
"amongst my heirs except John Bargin who has treated me badly & now owes me $600 which he refuse to pay"
Slaves: girl Rebeca; old negros: Lydia; Leah; Rosannah; Nan "should chose their own masters to live with"
Executors: son Wm. F. Davidson and Alburtis Bargin?
Witnesses: L. C. Clayton; Bedford Sherrill
Signed: Samuel W. Davidson (seal)
Dated: 9 May 1858
Probated: no date given

The following is from Marriage and Death Notices and Extant Asheville, N.C. Newspapers 1840-1870, An Index, Robert M. Topkins, Compiler and Editor (1977) at 74:

Death Notice: Davidson, Col. Samuel W., Oct. 15, 1858, in an altercation with D. V. Shope on Swannanoa, about 10 miles east of Asheville (Asheville News, Oct. 21, 1848).

Martha McRee Davidson (1781-1848)

Samuel and Martha McRee Davidson Gravestone


Asheville City Directory 1883-1884

The Asheville City Directory and Gazetteer of Buncombe County for 1883-'84, J. P. Davison, Compiler (1883).

In compiling this sketch, it is proper that the names of a few of those hardy pioneers who began the work of redeeming our county from a wilderness, and who laid the foundation of its present substantial prosperity, should not be omitted. More names would be given had it not been impossible to obtain the requisite data, although considerable trouble was taken with that purpose.

Daniel Smith, who settled af the mouth of Swannanoa in 1785, was one of the first white men to press the soil of the present limits of Buncombe county. He maintained a warfare, generally single-handed, against the Cherokee Indians for many years, and not less than one hundred are said to have " bitten the dust" from the effects of his unerring rifle. The red-men firmly believed that Smith bore a charmed life, and that it was impossible to kill him. Many a "brave" has been heard to tell of the number of times he had taken fair and careful aim, at short range, with no effect, at the devoted form of the undaunted hunter. That superstition which is characteristic of all savage peoples, invested this wonderful man with a thousand traits which he did not possess, and stories innumerable were related 'round the fire of the Council Lodge, of the marvellous deeds of prowess and cunning which he had performed. Traps were laid for him; parties were made up, sworn to take him alive or dead ; but, though sometimes captured, he always made good his escape, and lived to see the county of his adoption cleared of his natural enemy. His son, the late Colonel James M. Smith (born 1787, died 1856), was the first child born of white parents west of the Blue Ridge, in the present limits of North Carolina. Another son, Moses, is still living, at an advanced age, near Asheville, and is celebrated for his remarkable skill as an angler.

Source: The Asheville City Directory and Gazetteer of Buncombe County for 1883-'84, J. P. Davison, Compiler (1883) at 112.

John Patton, father of Montraville Patton, was born in Ireland; he came to the United States about the close of the Revolution, and settled within the present limits of this county in 1790. He made his first clearing on the Swannanoa, near where "Patton's mill" now stands. It is related that the river on one occasion rose so rapidly that his wife, who was preparing dinner, was obliged to flee from the cabin, leaving the partly-cooked victuals to the mercy of the flood. The Swannanoa sometimes goes on "a boom" even to this day; but there is no instance recorded in its later history of its having been in such a hurry about it. Colonel Patton purchased a tract of 300 acres near the mouth of the river, in 1795, from "Buncombe Bill Davidson," (the first senator from the county,) and removed to his new home the same year. A portion of this property is still in the possession of his descendants. The first court held in the county met in a building on his place, still standing, and now used as a stable. "To what base uses," &c. Colonel Patton was the first county surveyor of Buncombe, to which office he was elected at its organization; he and his son, Fidelio, who succeeded him, filled the position for fifty years.

The Asheville City Directory and Gazetteer of Buncombe County for 1883-'84, J. P. Davison, Compiler (1883) at 112-113.

Samuel W. Davidson, another Scotch-Irishman, the ancestor of a numerous body still living in this county, removed from near Morganton, to the place now owned by A. B. Fortune, on the Swannanoa, in 1786. His brother, James, whose lonely grave, near the line of the Western North Carolina railroad, is still pointed out to the traveller, was killed by the Indians soon afterwards.

Source: The Asheville City Directory and Gazetteer of Buncombe County for 1883-'84, J. P. Davison, Compiler (1883) at 113.

In noticing the buildings of Asheville, special mention must be made of the Buncombe-County court-house. It is situated in the exact centre of the city, on the Public Square, and is one of the finest edifices of the kind in the State; it was completed in 1877, at a cost of $33,000. The United States Circuit and District Courts are held within its walls, in addition to the regular courts of the county. A handsome opera-hall, with well-arranged stage, scenery, &c., having a comfortable seating capacity of 400, occupies the third floor.

Source: The Asheville City Directory and Gazetteer of Buncombe County for 1883-'84, J. P. Davison, Compiler (1883) at 128.


Thomas Forster Revolutionary War Pension Application

State of North Carolina
Buncombe County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions
October Term 1832

On this 17th day of October personally appeared in open court before the justices of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of Buncombe County State of North Carolina now sitting, Thomas Forster, a resident of said county and States his age 82 years who being duly sworn according to law doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed June 7, 1832. To Wit That he was born on the 22 day of January in the year 1751 in the State of Pennsylvania his parent removed to Frederick County in the State of Virginia when he was quite young. He lived in Frederick County until he was 24 or 25 years old. He moved thence to Augusta County in said state. He here enlisted in the year 1777 for the term of three years under Leftenent Bell in the Continental Army. He marched us to Winchester when he joined his Capt. John McGuire. His Capt. marched to Dumfries where they joined Col. Grayson 16th VA Reg. he commanded. He marched up the Potomac River and crossed at George Town.

He then marched to Baltimore remained there a few days and took shipping and landed in Philadelphia and sailed up to Trenton. He marched to headquarters in New Jersey and joined the main army commanded by General George Washington. He was here under the French decipline [sic] by Steuband. He marched to Trenton back and thence to Philadelphia and crossed the Schuykill River on a floating bridge. He went on the Battle of Brandywine and he was here in the battle. He then marched then back to Philadelphia or in five or six miles of Philadelphia and was then in battle of German Town. He stayed here and went to the Valley Forge winter quarters. He next went after (winter quarters) to the Battle of Monmouth and joined the Light Infantry commanded by General Scott. He next day joined the same company, Captain McGuire. He marched and crossed the North River and was made wagon master and was in that station until he received his discharge. He received his discharge in Philadelphia after serving his three years from General Muhlenburg at the Barax. Here it was enjoyned to march some British prisoners to Maryland which he did and returned home to Virginia where he lived until 40 years old and moved to South Carolina stayed eight or ten years, thence to Buncombe County, NC where he resides now and has for thirty years. (1832 age 84 years living in Buncombe Co.)

/s/ Thos Forster

Wit. by Jam W. Davidson, Nathan Horreson

Thomas Forster was a son of William Forster and Mary Unknown Forster, and a brother of Jane Forster (1746-1824) and William Forster 1748-1830). He was born 22 January 1751 and apparently married a Miss Rafferty. The following is from A History of Buncombe County, North Carolina, F. A. Sondley (1930) at 759:

Thomas Forster (often called Thomas Forster, Senior, married a Miss [Mary] Rafferty of northwestern South Carolina. He had gone to live there afte spending some years in the Buncombe County region. Later he returned and lived on Beaverdam Creek. He was one of the commission appointed to acquire land for a public square in Asheville, which was so acquired by them in 1807. He was born 22 January 1751 in Virginia [Pennsylvania]. He died 12 September 1839 in Buncombe County, North Carolina.

Note that one researcher claims (without supporting documentation) that Mary Rafferty lived 1785-1855 and that Thomas Forster had another wife, a Mary (Polly) Roberson, born 1751 in Pennsylvania. This marriage between Thomas Forster and Mary (Polly) Roberson purportedly took place 23 May 1814 in Pennsylvania. Source: Bley Family Tree on (Owner: yvonneb0807); Accessed 15 April 2010.

His burial location is not known. However, other Forster family members are buried in the Newton Academy Cemetery in Asheville, North Carolina. Whether he had children is not known.


A History of Buncombe County, North Carolina, F. A. Sondley (1930)

The Scott Wallace/Linda Daugherty Family Tree on (Owner: Scott Wallace); Accessed 15 April 2010.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Allanstand Cottage Industries (Asheville, North Carolina)

Allanstand Cottage Industries (Asheville, North Carolina) c.1910.

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Allanstand Cottage Industries took its name from its original location along a remote crossroads near the North Carolina-Tennessee state line, forty miles north of Asheville. “Allan’s Old Stand” was a resting point for drovers taking livestock to market on the hoof. Originally a Presbyterian mission, the unexpected gift of a hand-woven, pre-Civil War coverlet inspired the transformation of the mission into a cottage industry. Allanstand Cottage Industries commissioned a wide variety of traditional handwork, including woven coverlets and rugs, brooms, baskets, chairs, and dolls. While some handcrafted products were sold locally, many were sold as mail order products through the Presbyterian church. Fortunately, the market remained “ahead of the possible supply,” encouraging craft production. In 1908, Allanstand founder Frances Louisa Goodrich (1856-1944) opened a shop in downtown Asheville where she could take advantage of residential and tourist traffic. In 1917 the business was incorporated and continued its operation for another 14 years. In 1931 Goodrich deeded the property to the newly formed Southern Mountain Handicraft Guild (today’s Southern Highland Craft Guild). The Allanstand sales shop continues to operate out of the guild’s Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville.

Source: Craft Revival: Shaping Western North Carolina Past and Present.

See also: Allanstand Cottage Industries


Tingles' Cafe (Asheville, North Carolina)

Main-street cafés promoted both quick service, especially at breakfast and at lunch, as well as more leisurely dining, especially in the evening. Usually a wider menu was available than at lunchrooms, and rarely were candies and bakery goods sold. Food—breakfasts, noon lunches, or dinners, and both light and heavy evening meals—were the emphasis. Occupying an ordinary storefront was Tingles' Café in Asheville, North Carolina, pictured about 1935. Although little had changed inside the restaurant since its opening in 1918, the exterior facade displayed a new neon sign configured in the "modern" style. Banks and other sources of finance capital encouraged restaurants in standard retail spaces. Should a restaurant fail, as Tingles' surely had not, its space could be readily occupied by another business, even of a very different kind.

Source: Fast Food: Roadside Restaurants in the Automobile Age, John A. Jakle, Keith A. Sculle (2002) at 31.

Tingle’s Café (2009): Sazerac owners Jack and Lesley Groetsch will be serving Southern comfort fare in time for New Year’s Eve at Tingle’s Café next door. The all-night diner will mimic the 1930s design of the original Tingle’s Café, which occupied the same building for 32 years. 27 Broadway St.


Asheville, North Carolina 1922

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For more Asheville mountain views go to: Asheville Mountain Views


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Davidson's Fort: Art of Spinning

Every Saturday there is a living history person at Davidson’s Fort to show you or tell you about events, crafts or skills during the 1700’s. Plan a visit this year, donations are welcomed and needed to continue the building of the fort.

Driving Directions

Last week [April 2010] we had Janet Pyatt owner of Pyatt Herbs demonstrate the art of spinning.

Come to Pioneer Day in Old Fort April 24th at the Mountain Gateway Museum on Water St. This annual event is a great place to learn about our pioneer history. Davidson’s Fort will have a booth there and will offer tours of the fort which is just around the corner.


Friday, April 9, 2010

French Broad River Map

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On a winding dirt road near the top of the watershed, you stand above a tree-thick basin, and the slight man in clean mended overalls turns his blue eyes toward you as he cocks his head: "Hear that racket down there? That's your French Broad. Raises right under the Devil's Courthouse. Listen!" He listens. You listen together and hear the distant roar of "your" river. The man is slight, but he's tough as a laurel burl. You go over miles of the basin with him and he remembers.

Source: The French Broad, Wilma Dykeman (1955) at 5.



Saturday, April 3, 2010

Miscellaneous Notes: Reed and Woodfin Families

The Reed family settled in Buncombe County, N.C., before 1789. Notable Reed family members include Joseph Reed (1827-1884), a captain in the Confederate States of America Army during the Civil War, who married Catherine Harrison Miller Reed. Joseph's son, Marcus Lafayette Reed (1851-1938), also known as Mark L. Reed and M. L. Reed, was a member of the North Carolina State Legislature, and was chair of the Board of County Commissioners for Buncombe County. His son, Mark L. Reed (1902-1944), was a prominent businessman and aviator in Asheville, N.C. His son, Mark L. Reed (1935- ), was a professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1963-2000, and a prominent William Wordsworth scholar.

The Reed family's history can be traced back to 16th century Britain. The first Reed to reside in the United States was George Reed (1612-1671) who emigrated to Virginia in 1637. William Reed (b. 1738) was the first Reed to settle in what is now Buncombe County, N.C., before 1789. His great-grandson, Joseph Reed (1827-1884), was a captain in the Confederate States of America Army during the Civil War, and was one of the largest landowners in North Carolina. On 1848, Joseph married Catherine Harrison Miller Reed, a descendant of the Harrison family of Virginia, which produced two United States Presidents: William Henry Harrison and Benjamin Harrison. Joseph and Catherine's children include Samuel Harrison Reed (1851-1905), Marcus Lafayette Reed (1853-1938), Thomas Jefferson Reed (1860-1903), and Harriet Katherine Reed Whitaker (1869-1967).

Marcus Lafayette Reed (1853-1938) was a representative for Buncombe County in the North Carolina State Legislature from 1901 to 1904, and was chair of the Board of County Commissioners for Buncombe County, N.C., from 1900 to 1908. He married Fannie Stevens Reed in 1872. After Fannie died in 1881, Marcus married Bethany Barbara Sales Reed in 1882. His children included Ella Osmonia Reed Latham Mathews (1873-1959), Hesta Lena Reed Kitchin (1879-1918), Jessie Reed Burnett (1885-1951), Joseph Lucius Reed (1893-?) and Mark L. Reed (1902-1944).

Mark L. Reed (1902-1944) was a prominent Asheville businessman, serving as president of Reed and Abee, Inc., a contracting firm, and as vice president of White Transportation Company. He was also manager of the Asheville-Hendersonville airport, and was himself an accomplished aviator, serving as wing commander of the Civil Air Patrol in North Carolina. He married Edith Alicia Murphy Reed in 1925, and had one son, Mark L. Reed (1935- ), before his death in 1944 from injuries suffered in a plane crash.

Mark L. Reed (1935- ) was educated at Yale University, where he received his B.A. in 1957, and received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1962. He was a professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1963 to 2000, and was a prominent William Wordsworth scholar. He married Martha Balch Sibley Reed in 1958.


The Southern Historical Collection
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Collection Number: 05179
Collection Title: Reed Family of Buncombe County, N.C., Papers, 1816-1996

“The Town of Woodfin is named in honor of Nicholas Woodfin, a major force in Western North Carolina’s early history. Born on January 29th, 1810 he was the fourth of twelve children of John and Mary Grady Woodfin who lived in the Mills River area of what is now Henderson County. Nicholas Woodfin, a lawyer by trade, became one of the major political figures in the history of the western part of the state. A long serving state Senator, humanitarian reformer, Confederate Army officer, businessman, and farmer Nicholas Woodfin made a lasting impression on the state of North Carolina and his memory is still honored today by the people of Woodfin.

The area that is now known as Woodfin was first settled by the Cherokee Nation prior to the arrival of Europeans. After the founding of Asheville in 1797 the general area of Woodfin was part of various land grants and was largely agricultural in nature. In the mid 19th century, however, the French Broad River presented an important power source for manufacturing and mills began to become established to take advantage of the natural power source. Over time, the mills expanded and created villages for the workers and managers which led to the gradual suburbanization of the area. As manufacturing waxed and waned during the 20th century so too did the fortunes of the Town of Woodfin. In 1971 the Town of Woodfin incorporated as a municipality and has remained true to the vision of its founding fathers and mothers, who sought to maintain a distinct community where tradition and family are still valued.

Although manufacturing remains an important part of Woodfin’s economy, during the 1990s the Town began a transition into a bedroom community of people who appreciate the small town experience, but still want all the amenities offered by a larger city. Today Woodfin is a town of approximately 4,000 citizens and is home to business ranging from multi-million dollar giants to mom and pop operations. Woodfin, NC is believed to be the only town bearing the name of Woodfin in the United States.”