AHGP Transcription Project

A History of Macon County

The People of Macon
Macon was organized into a county in 1828 "and was singularly fortunate in the character of the people who first settled it. It was first represented in the legislature in 1831 by James W. Guinn in the senate and Thomas Tatham and James Whitaker in the house, and was thereafter represented in the senate four times by Gen. Ben. S. Britton, with James Whitaker, Asaph Enloe, James W. Guinn and Jacob Siler and Thomas Tatham in the house." Luke Barnard, Wimer Siler, and his sons William, Jesse R., Jacob and John; John Dobson, John Howard, Henry Addington, Gen. Thomas Love, Wm. H. Bryson, James K. Gray, Mark Coleman, Samuel Smith, Nimrod S. Jarrett, George Dickey, Silas McDowell, George Patton, and William Angel were typical men of the early population. "Wm. and Jacob Siler having married sisters of D. L. Swain, and Jesse R. Siler having married a daughter of John Patton of Buncombe, sister of the late lamented Mont. Patton, it is not difficult to account for the great moral worth of the county that now exists and has from its first settlement. Samuel Smith was the father of Bacchus J. Smith and Rev. C. D. Smith, and volunteered as a messenger to bear a letter from Gen. McDowell, at the Old Fort, to the principal chief of the Cherokees, at the Coosawattee towns about the close of the Revolutionary War. The undertaking was full of peril, the whole country west of the Blue Ridge being then in the Cherokee Nation, then in arms, and before any white men lived in this country. The Coosawattee towns were on a river of that name in Georgia at least 250 miles away; but the mission was accomplished by this valiant man who aided largely in bringing these people into peaceable terms with the whites. He moved to Texas, after having raised a family of distinguished sons in North Carolina, dying in Texas when over ninety years of age."

This was called the Sacred Town by the Cherokees and was not named for Benjamin Franklin, as so many think, but for Jesse Franklin, once governor of this State. The County was named for John Haywood, treasurer of the State in 1787. According to Rev. C. D. Smith in his Brief History of Macon County, p. 2, Macon was never a part of Buncombe county, because its western boundary line never extended west of the Meigs and Freeman line of 1802, and the territory embraced in Macon and a portion of Jackson and Swain was acquired from the Cherokees by treaty in 1817-18. In the spring of 1820 the State commissioners, Jesse Franklin and James Meabin, in accordance with an act of the legislature, came to the Tennessee valley and organized for the survey of lands "a corps of surveyors of whom Captain Robert Love, a son of Gen. Thomas Love, who settled the place at the bridge where Capt. T. M. Angel recently lived, was chief. Robert Love had been an honored and brave captain in the war of 1812, was much respected on account of his patriotic devotion to American liberty, and was consequently a man of large influence." Watauga plains, where the late Mr. Watson lived, was first settled upon for the county site and 400 acres, the land appropriated for that purpose, was located and surveyed there; but Captain Love favored the present site, and by a vote of all six companies of surveyors then in the field, on the ridge where Mrs. H. T. Sloan resided in 1905, the 400 acres appropriated was located.

First Settlers in Franklin
Joshua Roberts, Esq., built the first house on the Jack Johnston lot, "a small round log cabin;" but Irad S. Hightower built the first "house proper," one built of hewn logs on the lot where stands the Allman hotel. Capt. N. S. Jarrett bought the first house proper, then Gideon F. Morris got it, and then John R. Allman. Lindsey Fortune built a cabin on the lot where the Jarrett hotel stood in 1894, and Samuel Robinson built on the lot occupied in 1905 by Mrs. Robinson. Silas McDowell first built where the residence of D. C. Cunningham stood, and Dillard Love built the first house on the Trotter lot. N. S. Jarrett built on the lot owned by S. L. Rogers, and John F. Dobson first improved the comer lot owned in 1894 by C. C. Smith. James K. Gray built the second hewn-log house on the lot owned by Mrs. A. W. Bell, and Jesse R. Siler, one of the first settlers, built at the foot of the town hill where Judge G. A. Jones resided. He also built the second house on the Gov. Robinson lot and the brick store and dwelling owned in 1894 by the late Capt. A. P. Munday. James W. Guinn or Mr. Whitaker built the house afterwards owned by Mr. Jack Johnston. John R. Allman opened the first hotel in Franklin, followed soon afterward by a house at the "foot of the hill" built by Jesse R. Siler.

Prominent Residents of Macon
James Cansler was born February 22, 1820, in Rutherford county, and died in Macon, July 24, 1907. He aided in the removal of the Cherokees in 1836-38, and was a captain in the Civil war.

Captain James G. Crawford was born May 6, 1832, and in 1855 was appointed deputy clerk, being elected sheriff in 1858. He was a captain in the Civil War in the 39th regiment, serving till the end. He was in the legislature, and in 1875 was elected register of deeds, which place he held till near the end of his life. He married Miss Virginia A. Butler.

One of the early settlers was Henry G. Woodfin, a physician and brother of Col. N. W. Woodfin of Buncombe. He was born December 27, 1811, and was married June 5, 1838 to Miss E. A. B. Howarth. He settled first on Cartoogechaye, but later moved to Franklin. He was a member of the county court, serving as chairman, and was in the legislature two terms. He died in 1881. He stood high as a physician and citizen.

Dr. James M. Lyle came to Macon before the Civil War and formed a co-partnership with Dr. Woodfin. He married Miss Laura Siler, and after her death, he married Miss Nannie Moore.

Dr. G. N. Rush, of Coweta station, was born in 1824, in Rockingham County, Virginia, and read medicine under Dr. A. W. Brabson, graduated in medicine at University of Nashville in 1854. He served in the legislature in 1876-7. In 1854 he married Miss Elizabeth Thomas. He died December 12, 1897.

Dr. A. C. Brabson was born in Tennessee in 1842, served through the Civil War, graduated from the College at Nashville in medicine, 1866-67, married Miss Cora Rush, March 30, 1881.

Mark May, son of Frederick and Nellie May, was born in Yadkin County December 7, 1812, and married Belinda Beaman at the age of 24. Early in life he was ordained a Baptist minister, coming to Macon County after serving as a minister 17 years in Yadkin and two years in Tennessee. He is the father of Hon. Jeff May of Flats, N. C.

Rev. Joshua Anmons was born in Burke, February 14, 1800, and moved to Macon in 1822, settled on Rabbit creek, was ordained a Baptist minister at Franklin in 1835, and died September 27, 1877, after a very useful life.

Logan Berry was born December 18, 1813, in Lincoln County, and died February 8, 1910. He married Matilda Postell of Buncombe, served as county commissioner, and was a useful and respected citizen.

Stephen Munday was born in Person County about the beginning of the nineteenth century but moved to Buncombe County before the Civil War, where he built a mill at Sulphur Springs. He then moved to Macon, and lived with his son, the late Alexander P. Munday at Aquone, till his death in the seventies. He was a useful and highly respected citizen. His son Alexander P. Munday married Miss Addie Jarrett a daughter of the late Nimrod S. Jarrett, and they resided first at the Meadows in what is now Graham County about 1859, where they remained till after the Civil War, moving thence to Aquone where they died early in this century.

Captain Nimrod S. Jarrett was born in Buncombe County in 1800, married a Miss McKee, and moved to Haywood County in 1830, engaging in the "sang" business, till he moved to Macon, where he resided at Aquone in 1835, afterwards at the Apple Tree place six miles down the river, and still later at Jarretts station on the Murphy railroad. He owned large tracts of mountain lands, and the talc mine now operated at Hewitts. He was murdered in September, 1873, by Bayless Henderson, a tramp from Tennessee. Henderson was executed for the crime, at Webster, in 1874.

Source: Western North Carolina A History From 1730 to 1913, By John Preston Arthur, Published by Edward Macon Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, of Maconville, N. C., 1914

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