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

Milan Nicholson Memoirs
Transcribed by Linda O. Anders


This typed manuscript located at the Transylvania County Joint Historic Preservation Commission Archives is identified as “From the papers of Lewis P. Hamlin, 14 Jul 1978.” This article is undated, but based on the age of Ed Hamlin in the article it was written about 1951. Underlined characters were unclear and difficult to read. Comments in brackets [] are added by editor. Milan Nicholson died in 1958.


Milan Nicholson was born February 29, 1864, while Abraham Lincoln was President. His father was John Nicholson and his mother was Mary Glazener, daughter of Isaac Glazener and sister of Giles Glazener and Jim Glazener. My mother was born in the old Flem Glazener house near Rosman and my grandfather owned land around there including what is now the Town of Rosman.   I was born in a log cabin in the field just above Keystone Camp. Later on my father built a house where Denny Nicholson now lives and we moved there. This house was burned some years ago.  

            My sisters and brothers were: Jane, who married Ed Ballard; Lou, who married Perry King and moved to what was then Indian Territory, now the State of Oklahoma; Dovie, who married Edward Hamlin and moved to Missouri (Ed Hamlin is still living and is around 96 years old); Meredith, my oldest brother; and Denny, who lives in Brevard.  

            I can remember when Bob Hume had a store in front of the Franklin Hotel, Flem Whitmire had a store on Main Street and I think sold it to Tom Hampton, a fellow named Billy James came from South Carolina and opened a little store where George Nicholson’s cleaning business now is, and Tom Gash, Bob’s daddy, opened up a store after I can remember. B. C. Lankford had a little store on the corner near where the Methodist Church now is.  

            Catheys Creek was the first Baptist Church built in this county. Bethel Church, located just this side of Dave Wards’, was the first church I ever attended. We rode there in a ox wagon. It was a one room log house. Mr. Mace of Bowman’s Bluff was the pastor and we had preaching once a month.  

            Jimmy Hamlin was the first postmaster in the county and the post office was at Lake Sega. The mail came once a week. People from all over the county went there for their mail. There were no newspapers, just letters.  

            Tom B. Lankford says that he remembers when the cornerstone of the present court house was laid – doesn’t know the exact date, but thinks it was about 1879. A great many things were put into the cornerstone. Among them a Bible, some whiskey and some money. His father came to this county about 1845 and operated a store down opposite Oak Grove Church.[1] It was called the Valley Store and was owned by Alfred Tollison, a Spartanburg man. Later he went back to Polk County and got him a wife, whose name was Isabella Amanda Morris. Sometime after that the people got together and formed a Methodist Association and had their camp ground down there. They got the land from Samuel Wilson and kept it until 1868, when they deeded it back to Gaston Siniard. At the time Transylvania County was cut off, B. C. Lankford’s house, where the first court was held, was located at the Valley Store. The present Deer Park Home is the original house.  

            W. P. Poor’s store was located on the corner of what is now Main and Gaston Streets, below where the Methodist Church stands,[2] and was the only store in what is now the Town of Brevard. The next store built in Brevard was the Bob Hume Store on the corner of North Alley and Main Street.  

            The people tanned their leather in vats, first putting it in lime for a certain period of time. After it was taken out of that it was run through rollers and the hair taken off. Then the hides were put into vats and covered with liquor from tanbark. The bark was run through rollers something like a cane mill and ground up.  

            Andy Hamilton had a tanyard between Duckworth Motor Co. and the Smathers Manufacturing Co.  

            There were people in the community who made shoes (Fuller Morton was one). Patterns were cut from the hides and they were tanned and the parts that were sewed together were sewed with Whang leather and rawhide. Some was made from groundhog skin and some from deer hide. They would put the shoes on a wooden last and put the soles on with pegs. The pegs were made from wood. The insole was sewed on to the upper with whangs and the wooden pegs were made out of seasoned maple, which would swell and hold until the shoes were worn out.  

            Most of the trading in this section was done in South Carolina – Columbia and Augusta, Georgia, and later Greenville.  

            Joshua and Perry Orr were carpenters and built the first houses in Brevard. They had to hew the framing. They made boards out of poplar planks with a whipsaw. A few people had an up and down sawmill with a saw that went up and down, run by water.  

            Some of the first houses built in Brevard which are still standing are:  

            One built by Joshua Orr for B. C. Lankford near the Franklin Hotel, now owned by Mrs. Towers.

             Built before the War:  

            The George Neill house, now owned by Yancey McCrary.
            The Lambert Neill house, now owned by Mrs. John [unclear].
            The James Glazener house, where Flem Glazener now lives.
            The old Morris house.
            The Jerry Lanning house (above Fay Clayton’s)
            The Ursula Shuford house.  
            The houses were originally built out of logs and [unclear] weatherboarded.
- Transcribed by Linda O. Anders, 10 JAN 2003

[1] Oak Grove Methodist Church. The congregation moved to the larger Saint Timothy’s Methodist Church but retained ownership of the original building and cemetery. The old church building is now rented to an Independent Baptist Church. This should not be confused with Oak Grove Baptist Church in the Quebec Community between Rosman and Lake Toxaway (2003).

[2] This was the original location of Brevard Methodist Church. It is currently a county owned parking lot (2003).