Category Archives: The History of Cashiers NC

The Mountain Porch at the Fairfield Inn

The Fairfield Inn’s history reflects an unshakeable commitment to fine resort living.

The Fairfield Inn’s history reflects an unshakeable commitment to fine resort living.

In 1994, when “The Cashiers Area, Yesterday, Today, and Forever” was published, the section entitled “Sapphire Valley Resort” borrowed most of its prose from a column written in the Asheville Citizen Times by John Parris.
That entire column was printed on the back of the Circa 1915 menu of The Mountain Porch at the Fairfield Inn and some of the interesting items that were left out of “The Cashiers Area” follow:
“Three-story Fairfield Inn had 57 high-ceiling guest rooms, a breezy veranda with dozens of rocking chairs, a kitchen that served excellent food – including mountain trout – and a relaxed atmosphere, all contained in an architectural achievement reminiscent of a Swiss Alpine lodge. Fairfield Inn was a tribute to persistence and skill. Persistence because that’s what it took for the Toxaway Company to haul building materials and equipment by wagon over a dozen miles of roads that were muddy and bumpy at best, and skill because the inn stands today as an outstanding example of the work of artisans of that day.”
Fairfield Inn opened its doors to guests in 1896 when Grover Cleveland was President of the United States, Queen Victoria sat on the throne of England, James “Gentleman Jim” Corbett was the heavyweight boxing champion, Mark Twain was America’s most popular writer, the song of the year was “There’ll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight,” and the Klondike Gold Rush was on.
Rates were $5 a day and included three meals. The inn’s dining room was called “The Mountain Porch at the Fairfield Inn.” The menu said “In the tradition of fine resort inns, we have created a menu that brings you back to the turn of the century. We take pride in using only fresh ingredients. All of our vegetables, breads, soups, salad dressings, desserts and sauces are prepared from original recipes compiled by our Fairfield culinary team.”
A sample of the entrees offered were: Pan Fried Chicken, Sugar Cured Virginia Ham, Fresh Mountain Trout (boned, breaded and sautéed in butter), N. Y Strip Steak and each evening a Chef’s Special was available. The most expensive item on the menu cost $12.95.

Contributed by Jane Gibson Nardy, Historian, Cashiers Historical Society

Archival newspapers provide an unfiltered view of the odd and decidedly ordinary  comings and goings of Southern Jackson County.

It Was a Simpler Time

April 17, 1892, The Tuckaseigee Democrat, Vol. IV, No. 25, page
3, Column 2:
“Democratic Convention. A committee on credentials consisting of C. C. Cowan, S. H. Bryson, and T. R. Zachary was appointed and submitted its report, showing the following delegates to be entitled to seats. Cashiers: E. F. Pell, John Alley and T. R. Zachary.’ [Delegates from Dillsboro, Caney Fork, Canada, Cullowhee, River, Quallatown and Savannah were also chosen.]”
June 8, 1892, The Tuckaseigee Democrat, Vol. IV, No. 31, page 3, column
1. Advertising:
“T. R. Zachary, the successful seedman of Cashiers Valley, uses paris green for the destruction of the potato bug as well as the cabbage worm. His formula is: Take one ounce paris green, four ounces flour, mix together, put in long tin box, fix a cloth over the end and dust cabbage or potatoes while the dew in on. Paris green may be bought at the drug store at 25 or 30 cents a pound.”
Friday, January 17, 1913, Jackson County Journal, Vol. I, No. 7, page 7, column 2:
“T. A. Dillard of Cashiers took his daughter, Miss Auralee to Cullowhee Monday of this week, where she will enter the Cullowhee Normal and Industrial School.
“R. B. Bumgarner, of Fall Cliff spent a few days in Cashiers this week.
“J. H. Alley of Cullowhee is expected to begin operating a saw mill down under the Devil’s Courthouse about 2 miles from Cashiers.
“T. R. Zachary of Cashiers was married on last Sunday to Miss Mary Rogers of Macon County. The bride was the daughter of Newton Rogers, a very distinguished citizen of Macon County and is loved by a host of friends, while the groom is known by numbers of citizens of Jackson and Macon County to be a man of excellent character. He has been elected twice or three times for County Surveyor of the County, on the Democratic ticket. The ceremony took place at the residence of Frank Fugate of Fairfield with Esquire Fugate officiating. Shortly after the ceremony was performed the bride and groom left for their home in Cashiers where they were met with many congratulations and a fine wedding supper which was enjoyed by several of their friends.
The writer wishes the couple a long and happy life. Respectfully Yours, D.A. Bumgarner.”

Contributed by Jane Gibson Nardy, Historian, Cashiers Historical Society

The Birth of a County

There was nothing easy about the formation of Jackson County. Fortunately, state records chronicle the twists and turns.

There was nothing easy about the formation of Jackson County. Fortunately, state records chronicle the twists and turns.

The Asheville Citizen-Times newspaper printed in its May 22, 1932, edition an article entitled, “Jackson County, 80 Years Old, Has Been Part of 14 Counties.”
Following are excerpts from that article:
“Long before Jackson became a county, when the fastness of the mountains had not been penetrated, and the echo of the Cherokees still resounded throughout the stillness of this remote section, settlers began to move into what was later to become one of the most progressive counties of the 100 of the Old North State. Jackson County was formed in 1852 out of territory taken from Haywood and Macon Counties. As originally formed it was bounded on the north by Haywood, on the east by Henderson, on the south by South Carolina, and on the northwest by Tennessee. In 1850, the legislature of North Carolina authorized the creation of Jackson County. It required two years from that date to do the preliminary work necessary to set the government going. It was five years from the later date before the county had a seat and a house in which to transact business.
“The first court was organized by Judge John W. Ellis, afterwards, governor of the state, at the residence of Daniel Bryson, Sr. on Scott’s Creek, Monday, March 3, 1853. J. Newton Bryson was appointed clerk of the court, and Allen Fisher, clerk and master in equity. The second Superior Court was opened Monday, September 19, 1853 at Allen Fisher’s store house. The first grand and petit juries were composed of such familiar pioneer names as Keener, Conley, Queen, Bryson, Brown, Hooper, Dills, Alley, Allison, Wilson, Wood, Zachary, Hall, Norton, Shelton, Hedden, Monteith, Sutton, Sherrill, Henson, Allen, Buchanan, Watson, Wike, Enloe, Owen, Ensley, Ashe, Dillard, Davis, Parker, Painter, Coward, Rogers, Hyatt, Henderson, Moss, Middleton, Potts, Parks, Shular, and Gunter. The first two cases on the docket in the Superior Court were the State versus Adam Mathis and John B. Allison and Woodford Zachary versus Elisha Holden. The nature of these cases is unknown. “
The second half of this interesting article will be contained in next month’s Laurel Magazine.

Contributed by Jane Gibson Nardy, Historian, Cashiers Historical Society

All’s Well…

 An Indian Stone Basin, possibly over 200 years old, is discovered at the old Historic Fairfield Inn site.

An Indian Stone Basin, possibly over 200 years old, is discovered at the old Historic Fairfield Inn site.

The Sapphire Valley Historical Society’s efforts to excavate and refurbish the Wishing Well at the old Historic Fairfield Inn site have revealed a real treasure – an Indian Stone Basin, possibly over 200 years old.
“Although we know the builders of the old Fairfield Inn created this seating area around this bowl, it never made sense why they would create the bowl in the first place,” says Rick Stargel, president of the Sapphire Valley Historical Society. “They built the Inn, the lake and later a few golf holes around the Inn, but why this?”
In addition to the well walls and seating being in really good shape, the floor of the well contains a perfectly carved bowl directly in the granite.
Our research tell us that other Native American stone basins have been found around the country, one most notably in Fredericksburg, Virginia. (See www.rrhthistory.umwblogs.org/indian-punch-bowl/)
Research also reveals many other stone basins in the US that resemble the Sapphire Valley Basin. Prior to 1830, Native Americans, possibly the Creek Indians, occupied this part of Western North Carolina. The Sapphire Valley Stone Basin is believed to have been created prior to 1800 (based on the amount of erosion out of the basin and the amount of forest growth around it) and used for ceremonial activities.
The Sapphire Valley Stone Basin is carved in the bedrock next to a year-round spring head and supplies the basin with pure mountain water even to this day. Surprisingly, the exit channel for the water points true north, not magnetic north, and just cannot be a coincidence.
The Sapphire Valley Stone Basin was in place in 1896 when the Fairfield Inn was built. Recognizing the value of this artifact, instead of covering it up when they graded the land for the roads and the Inn, the owners built the stone wall and seating area, protecting it so their guests would have another ‘amenity’ to enjoy.
Pictured is the full seating area as seen just after the initial cleanup in late March 2014.
The Sapphire Valley Historical Society’s goal for this project is to simply restore this basin to its original beauty and, along with the help of Camp Merrie Woode, create a photographic venue for visitors to Fairfield Lake and those that use the old Inn site for weddings, concerts and parties.

Contributed by Lisa Stargel

J.A. Zachary, 1833 Settler

The following is a Jackson County Journal newspaper article dated September 8, 1911, which reported on the events at the third Zachary Reunion.   It was written by T. R. Zachary of Cashiers.

The following is a Jackson County Journal newspaper article dated September 8, 1911, which reported on the events at the third Zachary Reunion. It was written by T. R. Zachary of Cashiers.

“The descendants of Colonel John A. Zachary, who settled in Cashiers Valley about the year 1833, met at the old graveyard Saturday, August 28, for the purpose of erecting a monument to the memory of Alfred Zachary and wife who was one of the original fourteen children, sons and daughters, of Col. John A. Zachary.
“There was a good large crowd present from many parts of the country, some traveling hundreds of miles for the purpose of being at the reunion. It’s needless to say that we all thoroughly enjoyed coming together for the third meet of the reunion.
We met for the first time in 1909 and placed a monument to the memory of our grandfather and mother, who had been lying in unmarked graves for about forty-five years. We met again in August, 1910 and placed a monument marking the resting place of our Uncle Thos. J. Zachary [Thomas Jefferson], who died in 1864.
“The last Saturday in 1912, we will meet for the fourth time and mark the resting place of Uncle Logan Allison and Aunt Betsy, and propose to meet annually the last Saturday in August until we mark the grave of each of that historic family who are sleeping in an unmarked grave. That duty being accomplished, we will then turn our attention to other relatives whose people are not able to erect monuments to their memory. We are trying to get the names of all the descendants but have not succeeded yet and would like for the head of each family to send in a list of the names and birth dates of their household to Mrs. R. H. Zachary, Brevard, N. C. and let us see how many thousand kinsmen there are in this prolific Zachary family.”

Contributed by Jane Gibson Nardy, Historian, Cashiers Historical Society

A Club Was Born

Fairfield Inn

Fairfield Inn

Oldest building in Sapphire Valley

Oldest building in Sapphire Valley

 

This is the first in a series of articles about the history of Sapphire Valley
In the early 1950s as the Highlands area grew in popularity, it became apparent that if you did not own property on the environs of the clubs there, that play on their golf courses would not continue to be available. Gene Howerdd Sr. was retiring from Georgia Pacific and decided to look for property to build a golf course community nearby.
In 1954, the Howerdd family acquired 12,000 plus or minus acres of land in Sapphire. The property included approximately 8,500 acres of land, an inn (originally known as Fairfield Inn) and a 200-acre lake (known as Lake Fairfield) on the North side of Highway 64, together with approximately 3,500 acres of land, some of which had been farmland, on the south side of Highway 64. This area was perfect for a mountain course as the terrain varied by no more than 12 feet across the valley floor!
The farm land area included an old farmhouse which is still there today. Formerly operated as The Library Restaurant and Club, the original building is the oldest structure in Sapphire Valley.
The property was owned by members of the Tatum family who were part of the original ownership group of Lake Toxaway. This land was deeded to them when the Lake Toxaway Dam broke and the 250,000-acre tract was divided up among the partners.
It was then renamed The Tatum Sky Club. The Tatum family owned a Club in Miami called the Tatum Surf Club and had visions of a fly-in resort in Western North Carolina. How Mr. Howerdd found out the property could be purchased is another chapter!
The Howerdd Family acquired the property and planning, development and operations began immediately and The Sapphire Valley Inn and Country Club, known today as Sapphire Valley Resort, was born.

Contributed by Rick Stargel | Photos courtesy Sapphire Valley Historical Society

Franklin and Katy Baumgarner

Franklin and Katy Baumgarner

Franklin and Katy Baumgarner

Everybody in Cashiers loved Franklin and Katy Baumgarner and they are remembered with a smile. James Franklin Kay Baumgarner, whose twin was Frances Lombard, was born in Whiteside Cove on June 12, 1915, the son of Rev. Frank Baumgarner and Molina Ellen Galloway. Franklin grew up on a farm and first saw his future wife, Katy Ann Bradley, born October 31, 1912, when, as a boy, he helped plow land for her mother in Cashiers. Katy was the daughter of Frank Bradley and Tiny Hoxit. In 1937, Franklin and Katy got married and settled in Cashiers. They had five children, Shirley, Doyle, Gayle, Joanne and Roy, all still living in the Cashiers area. It was a happy household with constant laughter and Franklin became known for his practical jokes and sunny disposition.
Katy’s father, Frank Bradley, was for many years the overseer at High Hampton and when she was young, Katy also worked at High Hampton making salads in the kitchen and at a later time she worked in the housekeeping department. Before going to work she would cook a big breakfast at home and always made extra gravy and biscuits to leave on the stove for anyone who might drop by to help themselves. She never turned a soul away from her door and taught her children to not be judgmental. After work, she and Franklin would sit on the front porch of their home near today’s charter school and anyone walking by would stop and talk awhile.
Baumgarner Builders was Franklin’s business and he did such a good job that one customer ran an ad in the newspaper praising the excellent house he and his sons built for her. In the late 1950s, Brad Pell’s crew, including Franklin and his sons were building a house that Mark Zachary passed by every day walking home from grammar school. Mark, fascinated by the building process, started hanging around and soon Franklin had put Mark to work at five cents a day, carrying nails and boards. That’s the kind of man Franklin was. He could be generous to a fault. Helping other people, talking, hunting and laughing, delighted Franklin.
After 47 years of marriage, Katy died at the age of 72 and seven years later, in 1992, Franklin was killed in a car wreck in front of the Cornucopia. They are buried at the Upper Zachary Cemetery.

Cashiers NC History

Diligent research solves a nearly 100-year-old mystery – Fay Zachary, who embraced life with  an unquenchable zeal, was felled by the bite of a mosquito.

Diligent research solves a nearly 100-year-old mystery – Fay Zachary, who embraced life with an unquenchable zeal, was felled by the bite of a mosquito.

This is a follow-up to my December 2013 Laurel Magazine’s article, the “Dynasty of Dentists.”
One of the youngest sisters of Dr. Daisy Zachary McGuire was Fay Zachary, born in 1894 in Hamburg (Norton), Jackson County. Dying in 1917 at age 22 years, 6 months and 18 days, Fay’s life was short so her family’s memories of her are not numerous but quite affectionate. At the time of her death, she had been employed as a teacher in either Georgia or South Carolina and had likely earned a teacher’s degree at the school in Cullowhee which is now Western Carolina University. Like the rest of her sisters, she was well educated, independent with a zest for life.
Although she had neither married nor ever became a mother, the descendants of her sister’s carried on her story through the generations. Not surprisingly slightly different versions of Fay’s story, as time went by, developed in the various family lines. This became apparent as I was locating and interviewing some of Fay’s present day nieces and nephews. Some thought she had died of Typhoid Fever and some thought she had died from a ruptured appendix. She had fallen ill while teaching away from her Norton home. While being cared for back at home, she perspired so much that her hair had to be cut short. She had beautiful, long, thick, fire-engine red hair and after the hair was cut, family members tied it with a blue bow and placed it in a box. Granddaughters of Fay’s sisters, Pearl and Tela, remember seeing Fay’s hair in a box in their respective grandmother’s attics but the present day location of that box is not known. That mystery is not solved here but the cause of her death is
another story.
Recently, still curious as to what had killed Fay, I suddenly realized that since the State of North Carolina began requiring death certificates in 1913 and since Fay died in 1917, there should be a death certificate on file for Fay at the Registrar of Deeds Office in Sylva. One of the blanks to be filled out on a death certificate is, “The Cause of Death was as follows:” And when I received Fay’s death certificate, I read the words “Effects of MALARIA.” Malaria is caused by being bitten by a malaria-carrying mosquito but Fay died near the end of March when there’s unlikely any mosquitoes of any kind around. The profuse sweating certainly fits a symptom of malaria and “effects of Malaria” could have indicated her death occurred after a lengthy period of suffering from that disease.

Dynasty of Dentists

McGuire Dental Office Museum.Dr. David McGuire on the left.

McGuire Dental Office Museum.Dr. David McGuire on the left.

There is a place in Sylva where you can go to have your teeth cleaned and enjoy a history museum visit at the same time. The location of this private family museum is the McGuire Dental Office on King St., Sylva, NC with brothers, Dr. David S. McGuire and Dr. F. Patrick McGuire fulfilling today’s dental needs for folks in Sylva and surrounding mountain communities. They are the fourth generation of the same family to serve in this honored profession – well over 100 years.
In October, a group of 28 history buffs from the Cashiers Historical Society attended a day long program on the earliest area dentist, Dr. James Madison Zachary, who studied the art of dentistry in South Carolina shortly after the Civil War. He married Alice Josephine Rogers in 1877 with whom he had eight daughters, two of whom became dentists. The first stop was at the McGuire Dental Office where a fascinating talk was presented by Dr. David McGuire whose grandmother was Dr. Daisy Zachary McGuire, one of the aforementioned eight daughters of the pioneer dentist, Dr. J. M. Zachary of Hamburg/Norton.
Dr. Daisy Zachary McGuire was the second dentist in this lineage and is the best known of this four-generation dental family, largely due to the many newspaper articles written about her. She was still working on teeth well into her 90s, along with her husband who also became a dentist. Two of her children became dentists and it was Daisy’s daughter, Dr. Patsy McGuire [McGuire was also her married name] who is counted as the third dentist is the lineage. The fourth generation of practicing dentists are Dr. Patsy’s two sons, mentioned above.
In the many rooms of the office/museum, there are untold numbers of framed photographs, dental college diplomas, awards, scary-looking early dental tools and even Dr. Daisy’s “ancient” dental chair. Also, scattered around, are several huge potted plants, such as a Christmas cactus, that speak to the love of flowers each of the generations of this dental dynasty shared.

Contributed by Jane Gibson Nardy, Historian, Cashiers Historical Society

Matilda’s Little Boys

Tombstone of the two little boys of Matilda Zachary Hinkle.

Tombstone of the two little boys of Matilda Zachary Hinkle.

There is an unusual shaped tombstone in the 5th row of graves at the Lower Zachary Cemetery in Cashiers. Inscribed on the same marker are: Mordecai Hinkle, 12 May 1857 – 29 August 1863, and Elias W. [Woodford] Hinkle, 9 January 1859 – 30 August 1863. Through many years, usually at the annual Zachary family reunion in August as we walked through the cemetery, reading inscriptions, I had wondered about who Mordecai and Elias Hinkle were and what was the story about these probable brothers who died so young just one day apart. During the past year some of Matilda Zachary Hinkle’s descendants got in touch with the Zachary Reunion Association and shared some of Matilda’s stories. She was born in 1828 in Surry County, NC, the youngest of the 14 children of Col. John A. Zachary, She was married to William Henry Hinkle of South Carolina in January, 1856, probably at the home of her parents in Cashiers Valley. The two little boys who shared a tombstone were the sons of Matilda. She and her husband remained in Cashiers for a few years but after the early deaths of their first two children, the Hinkle couple moved to a nearby area of South Carolina where they successfully raised to adulthood one son and two daughters.
Two separate tragic events happened to two of Matilda’s descendants many years after Matilda’s death in 1912. Both events were written about in Western North Carolina newspapers. The first event was actually told in one of my Laurel Magazine articles, printed in December 2010, at which time I didn’t realize the murdered teenager was my relative. Eighteen-year-old Edna Hinkle, a student at Rosman High School and a descendant of Matilda, was shot and killed in 1931 by an older man who was fixated on his unreturned love for Edna. He killed her, returned to his home and shot and killed himself.
The second story happened in 1969, in Pisgah Forest, when Ethel Wilbanks, age 87 and her son Robert Lee Wilbanks died in a house fire. Someone managed to rescue the family Bible from complete fire destruction and a family member managed to sew the Bible pages, which contained the family vital statistics, onto clear plastic sheets. This allowed the partially singed pages to be xeroxed and Matilda’s history was saved.

Contributed by Jane Gibson Nardy, Historian, Cashiers Historical Society

Cashiers History, Killer Tuberculosis

Essie Zachary Pell is in the back row, extreme left.

Essie Zachary Pell is in the back row, extreme left.

Essie Belle Zachary Pell was 23s years old when she died at a Tuberculosis Sanitarium in Asheville. Two letters she wrote from her deathbed to her mother, Julia Beazley Zachary, in Cashiers, give us an insight into that wasting disease. Following are excerpts from those sad letters.

“Asheville, N. C.   Jan 16, 1907

Dear Mama:

I’ll try to write a few lines and send by Hampton.* I am feeling pretty bad this morning. I got up sick and then vomited part of my breakfast, then went to sleep and just now woke up. We are pleasantly situated now at No. 44 Clayton St.  I think I will be satisfied here. Everything is nice, clean and comfortable and they are good cooks.  Hampton can tell you what the Doctors think of me for he has talked to them more than I. Dr. Briggs says I have Tuberculosis of the throat while Dr. Purefoy says my left lung is affected. Dr. Briggs has ordered me not to speak aloud under any circumstances. But I can whisper a little or write or make signs. I have just eaten dinner. They brought me a big plate full of nice tomato soup, a little dish of Irish potatoes, one of corn, a big baked sweet potato, a dish of slaw, some crackers, loaf and cornbread and a large glass of sweet milk. I ate the soup, part of the sweet potato and the milk. I’m crazy to see Dana Bird.** Has she been back to see you since I left? Fred*** could go down there any day and bring her to you for awhile.   Lovingly, Essie

Sunday morning     (undated)

Dear Mama:

I’m waiting for breakfast. I have managed to get my clothes on and am out on my porch. I have on my wrapper and it feels mighty good and fits good too. Bird****had to take up the darts a good deal. I do not know if I am getting any better or not. I am so weak that I can hardly walk across the floor. My cough is no better. I’ve tried ever since I’ve been here to get something to check my bowels and at last, yesterday, he gave me some pills that would help my indigestion and be good for the bowels too. The pills are the size and the color of a Texas Runner Bean. He makes me so mad I could bust.  My feet have gotten cold so I’ll go inside and warm them. Lovingly, Essie”  [Essie died March 17, 1907.]

*Hampton Pell was the husband of Essie Belle Zachary Pell.

**Dana Bird Pell was the baby of Essie and Hampton Pell.

***Fred Zachary was Essie’s youngest brother.

****Bird Zachary was Essie’s older sister.

 

Under the Lake

 Lake Glenville filled to the top in 2013.

Lake Glenville filled to the top in 2013.

While working on preparing Ruth Ashe’s c1980s Cashiers Area history articles for publication, I decided I needed to share her story of what emerged at the bottom of Lake Glenville during a near drought in 1983. Following are excerpts from that story.

“The usually wet summers began to change until in 1980, our spring, which furnished our water supply, went dry and by the fall of 1983 Lake Glenville was the lowest we had seen it. Thinking that the lake would never be that low again, I was curious to see if there were any remnants of the old town of Glenville visible for the first time since the dam gates closed and water rose a hundred and fifty feet over the valley floor.

“Emory McCoy, owner of the Real McCoy’s General Merchandise Store on Hwy. 107, was kind enough to take me on a tour of the lake bed. Mr. McCoy had purchased Fowler’s store in 1937 and operated it until the dam was built. At that time, he moved the store to its present location.

“First, we saw the concrete clock and stone foundation of Lon Reynolds’ house and store. Standing upright, a good three feet high, it was the only remnant of a building still intact in the old town. A few feet away, the location of the original Hamburg Baptist Church was pointed out. The sparkling blue water still hid the site. As we walked south toward Hurricane Falls we passed pile after pile of huge stones. We believed these were the original homes. Some of the stones were the big, flat kind used for the fireplace hearth.

“Close to the edge of the water, we found the location of Mr. McCoy’s former store. A gas pipe protruding from the sand had once fed gas to the cars of the area. A pile of stones marked the spot where the Fowler Tourist Home and cabins had stood. Pieces of old pottery dishes were among the stones. In another place, huge nails covered the ground amid pieces of broken horseshoes, indicating where a blacksmith had plied his trade. A short distance away the foundation of Carl Jamison’s warehouse protruded a foot out of the water. One eerie sight was broken fence posts still standing, almost as if they were guarding a piece of land.

“Old Glenville resembled an archeological dig but man’s hand had not uncovered it. The silent, receding water pulled the curtain of time aside to show what once had been. Only a good imagination was needed to visualize the town that had been the original Glenville.”

Contributed by Jane Gibson Nardy, Historian, Cashiers Historical Society

 

 

Buried Jackson County NC Deed Books

2012 staff of Jackson County Register of Deeds Office, Register Joe Hamilton and Jennifer Blanton Jamison, Stephanie Grissom, Lois Danner and Shandra Sims.

During the Civil War, William R. Buchanan, register of deeds for Jackson County, heard rumors of Union soldiers burning courthouses in Western North Carolina. He was scared that the Jackson County Courthouse, then located in Webster, was in danger, so he secretly took the four county deed books up to the top of Kings Mountain, dug a hole, and buried the books.

After the end of the Civil War, Buchanan returned to Kings Mountain to retrieve the deed books and restore them to the courthouse but he found that fallen leaves of at least one autumn had thoroughly covered the ground. The burial spot had not been clearly marked so that possible Yankee search parties would have no clue to the location of the deed books. In reality, bushwhackers were only interested in stealing food and horses.

Buchanan went back to Webster and recruited a crew of men armed with rakes and before long the register of deeds recognized the burial area and the four deed books were dug up. Deed Book 1, on top, had sustained extensive water damage. Deed Book 4, on the bottom, was somewhat mildewed but otherwise in pretty good shape. Deed Books 2 and 3 were in good condition. The original Deed Book 1 was typed years ago and bound as Deed Book 1A while the once buried Deed Book 1, recorded in beautiful handwriting, is kept in a box at the office of the current register of deeds in Sylva. Most of Deed Book 1 is filled with land grants from North Carolina governors, with the grants carrying a stipulation of five cents per acre.

The information for this article came from a book entitled Knowing Jackson County by Johnson Davis McRorie, published by the Jackson County Historical Association, plus an old article, undated, from the Sylva Herald and Ruralite.

Contributed by Jane Gibson Nardy, Historian, Cashiers Historical Society

Georgetown Goldmine

There were lots of mining enterprises in Jackson County during the 1800s. Included in the minerals mined were copper, kaolin, mica, corundum and gold. The only gold mine mentioned in The History of Jackson County was Georgetown Goldmine, a placer mine which was located a few miles east of Cashiers Valley in Fairfield on Long Branch of the Horsepasture River. The primary evidence of Georgetown Goldmine comes from the Cashiers Valley Store Account Ledger of Alexander Zachary. Lori Holder, a graduate student at Western Carolina University, transcribed the ledger and wrote a fascinating introduction that reads like a novel, set in Cashiers Valley in the 1840s and 1850s. Much of the following comes from Lori Holder’s writings.
Zachary would occasionally accept payment for his goods in work at the Georgetown mine. Eli Shelton paid two dollars and eighty five cents of his store debt with 7 ½ days work at the mine. James Ledford’s 1846 account noted on two separate credits that he had worked nine days mining for which he had received eighteen ounces of gold in payment toward his debt. The store ledger entries indicated that most of the production occurred in the summer, mainly in June and July. Of the sixty mine workers listed in the ledger, half were also listed as patrons of the Zachary store.
In the Jackson County, North Carolina Heritage Book, on pages 44 and 45, is found  an autobiography of Andy J. Wood where he tells that he worked five to ten years in gold mines throughout this county, sometimes making as much as fifty dollars a day. On one day he made forty-three dollars in just three hours.  According to Mining and Mineral Production in Jackson County, North Carolina, Two to three hundred thousand dollars worth of gold was extracted from the streambed at the Georgetown mine during the time it was worked. [mid 1830s until late 1890s] There’s a nice write-up on page 22 of The Cashiers Area, Yesterday, Today and Forever about Georgetown Goldmine. It quotes the late Cashiers resident Walter Fugate,”There was a feller in here the other day asking me if I could tell him where Georgetown was. And I said I could and I did. It’s all covered up by Fairfield Lake now. Gold was discovered there and a little mining village was built named Georgetown. If you take the trouble to go there to the foot of the cliffs on Bald Rock Mountain, you can still see them old races they used to wash the gravel through in their operation.”’

Ordinary Living in Cashiers North Carolina

The following excerpts were taken from two letters written by Cashiers Valley resident Alexander Zachary in 1881 and 1882 to his son, T. R. Zachary, in Kansas. They will give you an idea of what kind of daily life was led in this little hamlet 125 years ago. Pictured is a copy of the envelope that held the 1882 letter. At the bottom of the Cashiers Valley postmark is the name “E. J. Bennett”. That was Elizabeth J. Bennett, the Cashiers Valley postmaster, as listed in the appendix of The History of Jackson County on page 583. This is the first time I’ve seen the name of the postmaster on the postmark stamp.
“December 9, 1881. I am not so well as I would wish to be. Some six weeks ago, your mother and I gathered apples. I got very hot, sat down and cooled off too quick that gave me a very bad cold and sore throat. I have hardly got over it yet altho’ I am very harty. I would like for you to be here with me. I think it would be an advantage to us both. Your wife seems to want to get away from that country [Rush Co. Kansas] and I don’t suppose she is to blame from what you say yourself. If you was here and could put up with light work and good living you could live at the Courtney farm or perhaps in the house with us. I can support you and your family and never miss it. We have plenty of everything that we want. We have fifty or sixty chickens ready for the pot. We can’t eat them all without help. Alf [son Alfred Zachary] will soon have his steam saw mill running and about three hundred logs ready to saw J. M. [son, James Madison Zachary] is in the south at work at his trade [dentist].”
“July 18 1882. We’re doing the best we can. If we are not making much, we are seeing a good deal of 5 horses and 8 boarders and looking for more. I want about 12 and then I’ll stop taking them in. There may be a good many who want to come but we are not fixed up for any more and still have a place left for ourselves. They are paying me $4 per week. I tell them I will feed them and bed them and if they want to be waited on too, that will be extra.
“Mr. Cunningham has been here near 3 months with his family. Since he has been here he has bought a pair of horses and sent and got his carriage. They are very agreeable boarders all right. We have 2 ladys from Augusta, Ga. We have beef and mutton. I bought a load of corn, chickens and ducks, so you see we can not lack something to eat. We have always had plenty and hope we always will. I would tell you what we had for dinner but there was such a variety I don’t think I can. The poorest dish we had was dewberries all white with sugar. “
“I want someone with me to do my cutting wood and the likes. I have quit farming since your mother died. We do just as well as what I did then. I generally make a little corn and buy a little and that does me as well. I have been preparing already to save for this winter. I have sold Buck and Bill. You know them and how old they are. I sold them to Taylor Bryson on short time for $60. I like to have forgotten to tell you that I have a lot of grass steers to brake this fall. You had better come on and brake them. I have 8 good pastures containing from 6 to 50 acres each – more than any other man in the county. I have 1 ½ acres in corn and a garden. The corn looks well but the garden is nothing to brag about and the moles have been the worst I ever saw. I am trapping them.
Goodbye for the present. Write soon. Your affectionate father, Alex Zachary.” J