Anders Family
David Asbel Anders with
Jim and Tina Smith Anders

US GenWeb Project

Rufus and Florence Hall Owen Family in 1947
Rufus and Florence Hall Owen and children

US GenWeb Archives Project


Transylvania County, NC 

GenWeb Project

NC GenWeb


Annotated Bibliography

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This list is an ongoing project and far from complete. Annotations are based on a foundation in regional and local historiography and meant to be a guide in determining the usefulness and applications of specific works in personal and local research. Aside from the list of suggested regional history books, listing should not be considered endorsement of any specific work, only a suggestion that it would be helpful to some people researching Transylvania County history. As always, researchers should carefully evaluate all sources in relationship to a specific research topic.

 - Linda Hoxit Raxter

Bibliography Sections

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Suggested Regional History Books

Blethen, H. Tyler and Curtis W. Wood, Jr. From Ulster to Carolina: The Migration of the Scotch-Irish to Southwestern North Carolina. Raleigh: North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources Division of Archives and History, 1998.  

Brief account of this important migration route into the region. Note that the authors will be the first to point out this is only one of many migration patterns. Discusses important cultural changes associated with regional settlement.  

Bush, Francis Cope. Dorie: Woman of the Mountains. University of Tennessee Press, 1992.

            While this work focuses on the life of one woman primarily in the Great Smokey Mountains, any reader with a grandmother from the Southern Appalachian region will likely find something familiar in this account of life during the industrialization of the area.

Eller, Ronald D. Miners, Millhands, and Mountaineers: Industrialization of the Appalachian South, 1880-1930. University of Tennessee Press, 1982.  

            Classic work describing the changes associated with regional industrialization.  

Finger, John. The Eastern Band of Cherokees, 1819-1900. University of Tennessee Press, 1984.  

            Detailed account of how the eastern Cherokee were able to carve a small place to remain in their mountains.  

Finger, John R. Cherokee Americans: The Eastern Band of Cherokees in the Twentieth Century. Brompton Books Corp, 1993.  

            Investigation into the continued challenges of the Eastern Cherokee in adapting to 20th century regional changes.  

Hatley, Tom. The Dividing Paths: Cherokees and South Carolinians through the Revolutionary Era. Oxford University Press, 1995.  

Hatley looks at both the violent and friendly relations between these two people as both adjusted to changes in the backcountry.  

Hill, Sarah H. Weaving New Worlds: Southeastern Cherokee Women and Their Basketry. University of North Carolina Press, 1997.  

            This fresh approach seeks to understand the changes affecting Cherokee women through their own hands instead of the records of white men as done by other authors. The heavy anthropological details can be overwhelming for the casual reader, but well worth the effort.  

Inscoe, John C. Mountain Masters: Slavery and the Sectional Crisis in Western North Carolina . University of Tennessee Press, 1996.  

While a focus on members of the upper class may not be fashionable among social historians, this work provides important insight into the economic and political development of the region while integrating the participation of other economic groups into the narrative.   Book Review.

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

Account of the complex divided allegiances that refute the notion of universal Union sympathies in the Appalachian Mountains. Details of Transylvania County history are disappointingly limited but understandable in a work more focused on regional events and the severe limitations of published local histories available to the authors.  

Salstrom, Paul. Appalachia's Path to Dependency: Rethinking a Region's Economic History 1730-1940. Lexington: The Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1994.  

            Examination of population changes in relation to overall historic trends.  

Whisnant, David E., All That Is Native and Fine: The Politics of Culture in an American Region. Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 1983.  

Important work that questions the role of well intentioned outsiders in shaping Southern Appalachian culture.

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Local History  

Gavin, Alsa Franklin. Beginnings: A History of the Founding of Baptist Churches in Transylvania County, 1795-1865. Cullowhee, NC: Lynche's Office Supply Company, 1970.  

Reasonably well researched local history book. Includes all three races involved in these early churches. Describes the role of slavery in instigating the first Baptist Church split in the county. Bibliography.  

McCrary, Mary Jane. The Goodly Heritage. Kennesaw, GA: Continental Book Co., Inc., 1959.

History of St. Phillips Episcopal Church and the earlier St. Paul's in the Valley. About half traditional church history and half lists of names.

----- Transylvania Beginnings: A History. Easley, SC: Southern Historical Press, 1984.  

Completed by the Transylvania County Historic Properties Commission, this book represents well over 30 years of research. Chapters address various subjects of local history primarily from the perspective of the elite class.  Also a section of family genealogies of varying quality. While the information is far from a comprehensive county history and contains many methodological problems it is useful as a starting point for local research until a more complete history becomes available.

Phillips, Laura A.W. and Deborah Thompson. Transylvania: The Architectural History of a Mountain County. Raleigh: The Transylvania County Joint Historic Preservation Commission in association with Marblehead Publishing, 1998.  

Primarily brief history and photographs of historic structure in the county. Brief summary of county history included. Survey inventory list, index, and glossary included. This is based on a survey of over 500 structures in only one year. Background research for each structure is understandably limited by time and budget for the project and these articles should be used as a starting point for future research as was the intent of the original survey. Designed as a "coffee table" publication, it carries a hefty price tag making it difficult  for many county residents to obtain a copy of this county government publication.  Additional photographs and notes for each structure are available at the Transylvania County Joint Historic Preservation Commission Archives.

Raxter, Linda Hoxit, compiler.  Up at the Folly: Gateway into Transylvania County History.  Brevard, NC: The Transylvania County Historical Society, 2002.

The result of a three month project to demonstrate the usefulness of genealogy as a method for historic research.  Focus is on the Glady Fork area of East Fork.  A brief but surprising history of the community with several discoveries.  The bulk of the book is a sample of genealogy material associated with the historic research that demonstrates just how much more work is to be done and seriously reflects the time limitations in completing the project.  Editing and publishing did not receive the same quality the organization board members have given to other publications, and it is overpriced.  (Note that I do not profit in any way from sales nor do I have anything to do with distribution of the book.  So please don't e-mail me to order.  Thanks, LHR.)

Tinsley, Jim Bob. The Land of Waterfalls: Transylvania County, North Carolina. Kingsport, TN: Kingsport Press, 1988.  

Collection of brief articles combining local history and tradition connected to local waterfalls. Written for a popular audience, these stories tend to be overly romanticized and often include more folklore than history. The book also contains two articles on area Long Hunters and the Gillespie Rifle with far more in-depth research than the waterfall articles. Wonderful photographs and delightful to read.

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Published Primary Sources

Clayton, Augustin Smith. A Compilation of the Laws of the State of Georgia, Passed by the Legislature since the Political Year 1800, to the Year 1812, Inclusive. Augusta: Adams and Duyckinck, 1813.  

Includes legislation related to the original Walton County, Georgia.  

Gash, Leander Sams. "Prelude to Reconstruction: The Correspondence of State Senator Leander Sams Gash, 1866-1867." Olsen, Otto H., and Ellen Z. McGrew, eds. North Carolina Historical Review 60 (Jan 1983): 37-88.  

Transcription of letters with an introduction and extensive notes. Introduction is overly dependant on questionable local history sources, but useful as a guide for further research. The notes carefully explain terms in the letters and their place in the history of events presented in the letters.

Guyot, Arnold. "Arnold Guyot's Notes on the Geography of the Mountain District of Western North Carolina." Myron H. Avery and Kenneth S. Boardman, eds. " North Carolina Historical Review 15 (July 1938): 251-318.  

Extensive details of area geography. Guyot includes careful examination of the military issues presented by the regional geography. Introduction and extensive notes.  

Jordan, F.M. Life and Labors. Raleigh, NC: Edwards and Broughton, 1899.  (Copy is available at Western Carolina University's Hunter Library Special Collections)

Rev. Jordan traveled throughout Western North Carolina and adjoining areas. This journal records many people and churches from his travels. Rev. Jordan retired to Transylvania County, north Carolina.  

Newsome, A.R., ed. "John Brown's Journal of Travel in Western North Carolina." North Carolina Historical Review XI (1934): 284-313.  

This account of Land Speculation activity in 1795 includes involvement of Lambert Clayton.

Schenck, Carl Alwin. The Birth of Forestry in America: Biltmore Forest School 1898-1913. Ovid Butler. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society, 1955; Forest History Society and the Appalachian Consortium, 1974.  

Schenck’s own account of the history of this important local history site and some very strong opinions on the people involved.  

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Secondary Sources  

Arthur, John Preston. Western North Carolina: A History. Raleigh: Edwards & Broughton Printing Company, 1914.  

Commissioned by the Edward Buncombe Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution of Asheville, NC. This is largely a patriarchal approach to regional history and certainly far from comprehensive. However, it serves as background for further research. Index.  

Barnes, Sen. Henson P. Work in Progress: The North Carolina Legislature. Raleigh: North Carolina Legislature, 1993.  

Summary of significant activities of each North Carolina legislative session.  

Brewster, Lawrence Fay. Summer Migrations and Resorts of South Carolina Low-Country Planters. Historical Papers of the Trinity College Historical Society XXVI. Durham, NC:    Duke University Press, 1947.  

Examination into the types of destinations chosen by Planters. Includes discussion of present day Transylvania County, North Carolina sites. Details of available transportation routes. Notes and index.  

Cheney, John L. Jr. North Carolina Government 1585-1979: A Narrative and Statistical History. Raleigh: North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State, 1981.  

Contains a summary of North Carolina Government as a Colony, part of the United States, and the Confederacy. Lists of representatives at the state and federal level. Constitutional History. North Carolina Election Returns.  

Clark, Walter, ed. Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions from North Carolina in the Great War 1861-'65. 5 vols. Goldsboro, NC: Nash Brothers Book and Job Printers, 1901; Broadfoot Publishing Company, 1991.

Articles written by members of the regiments. Certainly biased towards the Southern cause, but an important source of information. Maps, illustrations, index.

Corbitt, David Leroy. The Formation of North Carolina Counties. Raleigh: State Dept. of Archives and History, 1950.  

Brief summary of legal history in formation of each North Carolina County. Index, maps, appendix of surveys, chart showing the development of each county. Footnotes reference to applicable state laws.

Floyd, William B. "The Asheville Armory and Rifle." The American Society of Arms Collectors 44 (1981): 21-41. 

Includes information about Ephraim Clayton and the Davidson River Iron Works.  

Hamby, Robert P. Brief Baptist Biographies 1707-1982. II vols. Greenville, SC: A. Press, Inc., 1982.

Somewhat random collection of information about area Baptist Churches and leaders. Includes some document transcriptions and a great deal of genealogical information. Index.

Leary, Helen F.M., ed. North Carolina Research: Genealogy and Local History. Second Edition. Raleigh: North Carolina Genealogical Society, 1996.  

Description of various types of North Carolina records and their uses for researchers. Essential resource for anyone involved in North Carolina research.

McRae, Barbara. "Organization of Cherokee Lands, 1820." Teresita Press. Http:// Teresita Press, December 3, 2000.  

Lists descriptions and inhabitants of the area of Western North Carolina ceded by the Cherokee in 1819. Includes a portion of present day Transylvania County, North Carolina.  

Manarin, Louis H. and Weymouth T. Jordan Jr., eds. North Carolina Troops 1861-1865: A Roster. 14 vols. Raleigh: Office of Archives and History.

Listing of soldiers by regiment. Information about each individual based entirely on primary sources.

North Carolina Postal History Society. Post Offices and Postmasters of North Carolina Colonial to USPS. 4 vols. Charlotte, NC: North Carolina Postal History Society, 1996.  

Contains listings of North Carolina Post Offices, dates of operation, and postmasters. Postmarks and additional information included as available. Primarily based on the "Appointments of the Postmaster General" microfilm. Maps, Cross index, introduction.  

Smathers, George H. History of Land Titles in Western North Carolina. Asheville, NC: Miller Printing Co., 1938.  

Detailed legal analysis of early Indian and County boundaries and related grants prepared for Champion Fibre. Includes discussion of many early grants made in present day Transylvania County, North Carolina.

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