Tuesday, August 07, 2012

History of Asheville

Asheville and Buncombe County By Forster Alexander Sondley, Theodore Fulton Davidson:


Shortly after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War in 1784 or 1785 settlers from the headwaters of the Catawba and the adjacent country whose frontier establishment was the blockhouse at Old Fort began to cross the mountains into the Swannanoa valley. Among the first of these was Samuel Davidson who came in with his wife and infant child and one female negro slave and settled upon Christian Creek of the Swannanoa a short distance east of Gudger's Ford near the present railroad station called Azalea. He had been here but a short while when one morning he went out to find his horse. Soon his wife heard the report of guns and knowing too well what had happened she took her child and the servant and made her way along the mountains to the Old Fort. An expedition from there at once set out to avenge the death of Davidson.

They found him on the mountain near his cabin killed and scalped and buried his body on the spot where it was found and where grave may still be seen. It is further said that they met and conquered the Indians in a battle fought near the Swannanoa River in that neighborhood or about Biltmore. Probably it is to this pursuing party that the tradition handed down by John S Rice as received by him from John Rice, David Nelson, and William Rhodes three hunters and Revolutionary soldiers relates. It is that at a time prior to white settlement of the lower Swannanoa Valley some Cherokees were returning from depredations on the whites and being pursued by the latter were overtaken at about the Cheesborough Place a mile above Biltmore where a fight occurred between the two parties which continued at the canebrakes there at intervals for elevent days in which many Indians were killed principally near the ford of Swannanoa River in the neighborhood of the old John Patton House later known as the Haunted House where the old Buncombe Turnpike crossed that stream until the Indians retreated across the French Broad and the fight ended. They crossed the last named river at a shoal just below the mouth of Swannanoa.

During most of this fight the whites encamped at a noted spring just north of Swannanoa River about one hundred yards above the Biltmore Concrete Bridge where there is now a garage It was an old Indian camping place The early white hunters in this region went chiefly to the North Fork of Swannanoa Soon several white settlements were made on the Swannanoa the earliest of them being the Swannanoa Settlement made in 1784 1785 by the Alexanders Davidson and others about the mouth of Bee Tree Creek A little above that place is the old Edmuns or Jordan Field the first land cleared by a white man in Buncombe County Soon another company passed over the Bull Mountain and settled upper Reems Creek while yet another came in by way of what is now Yancey County and settled on the lower Reems Creek and Flat Creek.

At about the same time or not long afterward some of the Watauga people who had been with Sevier on some one of his expeditions against the Indians settled on the French Broad above and below the mouth of the Swannanoa and on Hominy Creek while still other settlements appear to have been effected from upper South Carolina yet higher up on the French Broad At the treaty of Long Island of Holston the North Carolina commissioners entered into certain agreements with the Overhill Cherokees but in their report recommended to the State a treaty with the Cherokees of the Middle Towns and Valley Towns by which might be secured the intervening territory now constituting the Asheville Plateau For such a treaty the State began to make arrangements and in anticipation of it provided in 1783 for the granting of land as far west as Pigeon River It was under this statute of 1783 that the settlements just mentioned were formed.

Grave of Samuel Davidson

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