AHGP Transcription Project

Alleghany County

"Alleghany" is, in the language of the Delaware Indians, "a fine stream." Up to 1858-59 Alleghany was a part of Ashe. Wm. Raleigh and Elijah Thompson of Surry, James B. Gordon of Wilkes, and Stephen Thomas and John F. Green of Ashe were appointed commissioners by the act creating the county to locate the county seat, and had power to purchase or receive as a gift 100 acres for the use of such county, upon which the county site, to be called Sparta, should be located. In April, 1859 Wm. C. DeJournett, a Frenchman, of Wilkes, made a survey and plat locating the center of the county; James H. Parks and David Evans donated 50 acres where Sparta now stands, near the geographical center located by DeJournett, but the deed was destroyed by a fire which burned Col. Alleghany Gentry's house, and another deed was executed in 1866. In 1859 the county court appointed commissioners to lay off and make sales of town lots, but at the next term revoked their appointment and directed them not to proceed. A mandamus was asked and the Superior and Supreme courts both ordered that it be granted; but nothing further seems to have been done till the April term, 1866, when the county court appointed F. J. McMillan, Robert Gambill, Sr., James H. Parks, Morgan Edwards and S. S. Stamper commissioners to lay off and sell lots from the tract donated for a county seat, etc.; and at the October term following these commissioners were directed to advertise for bids for building a court house, etc. But, at the January term, 1867, all bids were rejected and the plans altered so that the court house and jail should be in one and the same building. This was the first term held in Sparta, and the court was composed of Morgan Bryan and Wm. L. Mitchell. The first term of the Superior court was held at Sparta in the spring of 1868, with Anderson Mitchell as presiding judge, J. C. Jones, sheriff, and W. L. Mitchell as foreman of the grand jury. Stephen Landreth was officer in charge of the grand jury.

Before the Revolution
It seems that there were no settlers in Alleghany prior to the Revolutionary War; but it had been visited by hunters both from Virginia and the central part of this State, among whom were three brothers named Maynard from what is now Surry, who crossed the Blue Ridge and built cabins along Glade creek. This was about 1786, and they had lived there about six years when Francis Bryan, from Orange County, in 1793, located within five miles of them. About the same time Joel Simmons, Wm. Woodruff and _____ Crouce settled along the top of the Blue Ridge, thus making seven families in the county. But this was too much for the Maynard brothers, and claiming that the country was too thickly settled, they moved to North Carolina. But who was the first white man to visit this section is un-known; though Wm. Taylor, the Coxes, Gambills and Reeves probably lived in the borders of what is now Alleghany during the Revolutionary War. Two men named Edwards settled here also at an early date, viz: David and William Edwards. John McMillan came from Scotland in 1790 and was the first clerk of Ashe court. Joseph Doughton from Franklin County, Virginia, was an early settler, and represented Ashe in the House of Commons in 1877. Joseph Doughton was the youngest son of Joseph. This family has always been prominent in the county. H. F. Jones built the present court house for $3,475, and it was received September 4, 1880, J. T. Hawthorn and Alex. Hampton, building committee.

Principal Office-Holders.
The following are the names of those who have held the principal offices in the county.

1879, Jesse Bledsoe 1880, F. J. McMillan 1893, W. C. Fields 1899, W. C. Fields 1906, Stephen A. Taylor 1909, R. L. Doughton 1911, John M. Wagoner

1869, Dr. J. L. Smith 1871, Robert Gambill 1873, Abram Bryan 1875, W. C. Fields 1877, E. L. Vaughan 1879 and 1881, E. L. Vaughan 1883, Isaac W. Landreth 1885, Berry Edwards 1887, R. A. Doughton 1891, R. A. Doughton 1893, C. J. Taylor 1895, P. C. Higgins 1897, H. F. Jones, 1899 J. M. Gambill 1901, J. C. Fields 1903, R. A. Doughton 1905, R. K. Finney 1907, 1909, 1911, 1913, R. A. Doughton.

Clerk of County Court:
1859 to 1862, Alleghany Gentry 1862 to 1866, Horton Reeves 1866 to 1868, C. G. Fowlkes.

Clerk Superior Court:
1864 to 1868, Wm. A. J. Fowlkes 1868 to October, 1873, B. H. Edwards. Edwards resigned and J. J. Gambill appointed. October 1873 to March 1882, J. J. Gambill Gambill resigned and R. S. Carson appointed. March 1882 to 1890, R. S. Carson 1890 to 1898, W. E. Cox 1898 to 1910, J. N. Edwards 1910 to 1914, S. F. Thompson.

1859 to 1864, Jesse Bledsoe 1864 to 1870, J. C. Jones 1870 to 1882, J. R. Wyatt 1882 to 1884, Berry Edwards 1884 to 1885, George Bledsoe (died while in office) 1885 to 1888, W. F. Thompson 1888 to 1894, W. S. Gambill 1894 to 1898, L. J. Jones 1898 to 1904, D. R. Edwards 1904 to 1908, S. A. Choate 1908 to 1910, John R. Edwards 1910 to 1914, S. C. Richardson.

Register of Deeds:
1865 to 1868, Thompson Edwards 1868 to 1880, F. M. Mitchell 1880 to 1882, F. G. McMillan 1882 to 1886, F. M. Mitchell 1886 to 1892, J. C. Roup 1892 to 1898, J. N. Edwards 1898 to 1904, S. F. Thompson 1904 to 1908, John F. Cox 1908 to 1914, G. D. Brown.

The following is a list of the first Justices of the Peace of the county:

A. B. McMillan John Gambill Berry Edwards John A. Jones Solomon Jones W. P. Maxwell Solomon Long Nathan Weaver Wm. Warden C. G. Fowlkes F. J. McMillan John Parsons Caleb Osborn Wm. L. Mitchell C. H. Doughton James Boyer Wm. Anders Thomas Edwards Thomas Douglass I. C. Heggins Hiram Heggins Morgan Bryan A. M. Bryan A. J. Woodruff Alfred Brooks Wm. T. Choate Daniel Whitehead Goldman Heggins Absalom Smith Martin Carico Ruben Sparks Spencer Isom Chesley Cheek Of this number. Dr. C. G. Fowlkes and Nathan Weaver are the only ones now living, 1912.

First Marriage Certificate
This is a copy of the first marriage record in the county:
**This is to certify that I married Calvin Caudill and Sarah Jones the 16th day of March, 1862. Daniel Caudill."

Two Noted Lawsuits
What is probably the most important lawsuit that ever existed in the county was W. D. Maxwell v, Noah Long, for the recovery of the "Peach Bottom Copper Mines" and for about 1000 acres of land. This cause was carried to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals and then to the United States Supreme Court. Polk, Fields, Doughton, Watson & Buxton represented Maxwell. Vaughan, Linney, and Judge Schenk represented Long. Maxwell finally gained the suit, Chief Justice Fuller writing the opinion.

Another historical lawsuit in this county, was one of ejectment, Wm. Edwards v, Morgan Edwards, This litigation was begun about the year 1864, and lasted nearly thirteen years. The action was moved to Ashe County at one time, and probably to Watauga at another. It was finally disposed of at Spring term 1877 of Alleghany Superior Court. After a desperate battle, which lasted for nearly a week, the jury gave a verdict in favor of Morgan Edwards.36

Mitchell's County Seat
By ch. 8, Pub. Laws of 1860-61 Mitchell County was created out of portions of Yancey, Watauga, Caldwell, Burke and McDowell; and by chapter 9 of the same laws it was provided that the county court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions should be "held in the house of Eben Childs on the tenth Monday after the fourth Monday in March, when they shall elect a clerk, a sheriff, a coroner, a register of deeds and entry-taker, a surveyor, a county solicitor, constables and all other officers. Thomas Farthing of Watauga, John W. McElroy of Yancey, Joseph Conley of McDowell, A. C. Avery of Burke, David Prophet of Yancey, John Harden of Watauga and James Bailey, Sr., of Yancey, were appointed commissioners to select a permanent seat of justice and secure fifty acres of land, to meet between the first of May and June, 1861. Tilmon Blalock, J. A. Person, Eben Childs and Jordan Harden were appointed commissioners to lay off town lots; "and said town shall be called by the name of Calhoun."

A Hitch Somewhere
But, at the first extra session of 1861 (Ratified September 4, 1861), Moses Young, John B. Palmer of Mitchell, John S. Brown of McDowell, Wm. C. Erwin of Burke, and N. W. Woodfin of Buncombe were appointed commissioners to "select and determine a permanent seat of justice," to meet between October 1, 1861, and July 1, 1862.

Still Another Hitch
By chapter 34, Private Laws, second extra session, 1861, the boundary lines of Mitchell were so changed as to detach from Mitchell and re-annex to Yancey all the country between the mouth of Big Rock creek and the Tennessee line, so that the county line of Mitchell should stop on Toe River at the mouth of Big Rock creek and run thence with the ridge that divides Rock Creek and Brummetts creek to the State line at the point where the Yancey and McDowell turnpike road crosses the same.

The Land is Donated
On the 17th of October, 1861, Lysander D. Childs and Eben Childs conveyed to Tilmon Blalock, chairman of the County Court, fifty acres of land (Deed Book C, p. 30) the which fifty acres were to be used "for the location thereon of a permanent seat of justice in said county; two acres for a public grave-yard, one acre for the site of a public school building, and one-half acre to be devoted to each of the following denominations for the erection thereon of church buildings; to wit: Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists and Baptists"; the location of lots in the graveyard and for the school and church buildings to be made by the commissioners charged by law with the duty of laying off the town lots in said seat of justice.

This town was not far from Spruce Pine and Ingalls, "on a lane leading from the Burnsville and Boone road." It was what was afterwards called Childsville. But, although by chapter 61 of the second session of the laws of 1861, a term of the Superior court was directed to be held "for Mitchell County in the town of Calhoun on the sixth Monday after the fourth Monday each year," the county seat never assumed town-like proportions. The people never liked it; and at the first session of the legislature after the Civil War it was changed to the present site of what is now called Bakersville. But, it seems, it was first called Davis; for by chapter 2, Private Laws of 1868, the name of the "town site of Mitchell County" was changed from Davis to Bakersville.

On the 27th of July, 1866, for $1,000 Robert N. Penland conveyed to the chairman of the board of county commissioners 29 acres on the waters of Cane creek "and the right of way to and the use of the springs above the old Baker spring ... to be carried in pumps to any portion of said 29 acres.38 This was a part of the land on which Bakersville is situated. In 1868 there was a sale of these lots, and at the December, 1868, session of the commissioners the purchasers gave their notes, due in one and two years for balances due on the lots. The first court house in Bakersville was built by Irby & Dellinger, of South Carolina, in 1867, and on the first of November, 1869, M. P. and W. Dellinger gave notice of a mechanic's lien in the building for work done under a contract for the sum of $1,409.85 subject to a set-off of about $200. The first court held in Bakersville was in a grove near the former Bowman house, when it stood on the top of the ridge above its present site. Judge A. S. Merrimon presided. The next court was held in a log house built by Isaac A. Pearson. The present court house was built by the Fall City Construction Company, of Louisville, North Carolina.

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

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