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.