Hope you all are well and enjoying what life has to offer. I keep hearing about “these uncertain” times we live in. That got me thinking. I wanted to share with you a book I came across written in 1955. Remember that: 1955. It’s called Our Heritage and it’s the history of Cherokee County from 1540 to 1955. It is fascinating.
The author is Margaret Walker Freel. She tells the history in great detail of this county from native people to military records from the War Between the States and who served right down to their rank! Court records, wills, deeds, and land grants. I couldn’t put it down! You can buy this book at the county museum for less than $20.
I’ll just touch on somethings that I found interesting. Under Geology she tells us that the county is rich in minerals like talc, brown iron ore and marble. And yes the town of Marble is because of the beautiful marble that was mined from there. Both white and blue which is what our county court house if made from!
Also a large employer in the area was the tannery in Andrews, begun in 1899. It continued to produce for almost 75 years. Mr. Covers’ home is still there and on the historical register.
History is sometimes painful to recall but it reminds us of where we came from and how far we have come. 1830 was when the first white settlers arrived; the Cherokee occupied this area previously. Many miners and traders, and even the Spanish came through the area. 1838 was the Trail of Tears which began in our area. It’s not something this area is proud of but it’s part of the history like it or not.
This was also a Confederate strong hold back in the day. The author devotes 8.5 pages to list those who served in the Civil War for the South. Eight pages are dedicated to those from Cherokee county who served in WWII. Service to country is ingrained in the local folks who settled here.
Many people who live in the county today are descendants of the Highlanders, Scotch- Irish and the like. These people came in search of freedom and settled in the area because it was very much like their homeland. Can you imagine coming into this area by foot or by covered wagon? These people were tough! The author talks about the mountain people being isolated by the mountains and that this is why the language is referred to as Elizabethan English. It has influences of Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Milton! She writes “Much has been written of the mountain speech…It is actually the language of a few centuries ago, and to be respected.” Many still speak the dialect today.
For you sports enthusiasts, baseballs own Ty Cobb played for the Murphy team prior to playing professional ball in 1907. That’s pretty cool!
And remember I told you about the origins of Hanging Dog? Well according the author it pertains to a dog caught in a bear snare. Wish it wasn’t so…
The Town of Murphy is in conversation about bringing the train back to Murphy, so let me tell you that length of track took 36 years to complete! Men died, money was stolen, and companies were bought out or went belly up. This was no simple task to open western North Carolina!
Many names you see on our roads were of the first or important residents of the area. Let me list just a few and when they may have arrived. Abernathy’s came from Scotland in 1720. Bayless family can trace their lineage from France coming to America in 1572. Dockery family is from England and arrived in the US in the early 1800”s. Fain : 1753. And we come to Abram Harshaw who came from France in 1778. He was a large land owner and he donated the land for the Harshaw Chaple. He was also the largest slave holder in the area. The last one I want to mention is Stalcup. The Stalcup family originates in Sweden with Jan Anderson who came to America in 1642. The story is that he wore a glassy cap that looked like polished steel and his nickname became Steel Cap. That became Stalcup. I see these names on streets every day and to understand a bit more of the history is astounding. These were hardened, tough people! Many families talk of 13 children!
So when we talk of todays “uncertain times” remember the tough folks who ventured far from their native home in search of a better life. They fought and defended this country against all comers, both foreign and domestic. They believed in the fight, wrong or right, it’s their heritage and they served when needed. These are good people whose descendants still live in the area and have for generations. Come and meet them. You will learn to love them as I have.
Keep in mind if you are searching those national websites like Zillow, you may miss out on that home or piece of land as property is selling fast! Mortgage rates are down and inventory is moving! It’s a great time to sell and a super time to buy! So check out my website for up to date MLS listings: