About Mitchell County

Kilmichael Tower and Little Switzerland

Kilmichael Tower and Little Switzerland

Judge Heriot Clarkson of Charlotte and his family were the developers of the resort community of Little Switzerland in 1910. The community between Grassy Mountain and Chestnut Ridge had been settled by several generations of hardy pioneers by the time Clarkson arrived...

North Carolina Rhododendron Festival: Roots and Twigs

North Carolina Rhododendron Festival: Roots and Twigs

The beautiful Rhododendron flower is celebrated worldwide. These celebrations include festivals in Port Logan, England; Edinburgh, Scotland; Muroji, Japan; Taranaki, a bit south of New Plymouth, New Zealand: Florence, OR; Me, CA; Plymouth, MA; and tad closer to home,...

Mitchell County and the May Fresh of 1901

Mitchell County and the May Fresh of 1901

David Crockett described the flood of the Nolichucky in 1791 as “the second epistle to Noah’s fresh.” Most likely, since the Toe River feeds the Nolichucky and Cane Creek feeds the Toe River, the folks in what’s now Mitchell County also had to deal with high water....

Sergeant Simon Harrell and General John Hunt Morgan

Sergeant Simon Harrell and General John Hunt Morgan

In the Tipton Hill Community Cemetery rests a Union soldier whose company helped kill “the best man in the Southern Confederacy,” General John Hunt Morgan. The phrase comes from one of Morgan’s Captains, Henry B. Clay, who was present at the killing and is quoted in...

Mrs. Nellie Stewart Buchanan and the Stewart Family

Mrs. Nellie Stewart Buchanan and the Stewart Family

The following story was written by the late Jack L. English in February 2009. It is used with permission from his family. My great grandmother was Nellie Stewart born May 11, 1877. She married Doss Buchanan. They had the first telephone in the county and the rising...

The Lewis Men of Pigeon Roost and their Mustaches

The Lewis Men of Pigeon Roost and their Mustaches

  This photograph, made in 1886, appeared in a Tri-County News article on 2/27/1969.  It shows several men from the Lewis family of Pigeon Roost.  Massey Lewis, who supplied the photo, said that the men all “let the hair grow on their lips” specifically in...

Mrs. Ruby Sisk Gouge

Mrs. Ruby Sisk Gouge

Ruby Juanita Sisk was born December 18, 1898 in Franklin, North Carolina to Ray Dean and Emma Lou Guy Sisk. Her father was a successful attorney, state senator, and highly respected community citizen.She was an honor graduate from Woman’s College, UNC, which is now...

Helen McBee: Teacher, Philanthropist, and Woman of Some Mark

Helen McBee: Teacher, Philanthropist, and Woman of Some Mark

Helen McBee was born 1/10/1909 in Los Angeles, CA to John Calhoun and Margaret Chambers Thomas McBee. Her father served in Company B of the 16th Infantry and had spent most of the Philippines-American War in the islands where Helen’s brothers Paul Thomas (1905) and...

“Doc” Hoppes – The Minstrel of Brushy Creek

“Doc” Hoppes – The Minstrel of Brushy Creek

Mitchell County was well represented at the Chicago World’s Fair of 1933. Miss Lucy Morgan of Penland unveiled the “Carolina Cabin” at the event that showcased the handicrafts, music, folklore, and people of the Southern Highlands. An unusual attraction was scheduled...

An Early History of the Bakersville United Methodist Church

An Early History of the Bakersville United Methodist Church

Critically important pieces of Mitchell County History are the stories of our churches. Some works of note such as Lloyd Bailey, A History of the Methodist Church in the Toe River Valley, from which the current story draws significantly and James Oliver Young, A...

April Fools

April Fools

According to Wikipedia, April Fools’ Day is “an annual custom on April 1, consisting of practical jokes and hoaxes.”  April Fools’ Day is not a public holiday in any nation, but it is commonly observed around the world. Some historians suggest the basis of the April...

Spruce Pine’s Gunter Building

Spruce Pine’s Gunter Building

The structure known as the Gunter Building, on the corner of Oak Avenue and Topaz Street, was erected about 1941; Spruce Pine was in the midst of a commercial boom based on the mining industry, which had greatly expanded in the first 2 decades of the 20th century and...

Got Milk? The Carnation Dairy Plant in Spruce Pine

Got Milk? The Carnation Dairy Plant in Spruce Pine

When the Carnation Dairy receiving station opened in Spruce Pine on September 4, 1941, the Asheville Citizen reported that a large crowd was in attendance to hear speeches by state and corporate officials.  An open house was held prior to the speechmaking, and “iced...

Oh, Christmas Tree!

Oh, Christmas Tree!

In 2005 the Fraser fir (Abies fraseri) was adopted as the official state Christmas tree of North Carolina. The idea came from eighth-graders in Mr. Chris Hollifield's North Carolina History Class at Spruce Pine’s Harris Middle School who petitioned legislators to...

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