On the 16th of February 1861, the North Carolina Legislature ratified a bill to establish a new county by the name of Mitchell. The act goes on to specify that “a permanent seat of justice” be determined, which “said town shall be called and known by the name of Calhoun.” That town ended up in or near Childsville in what is now Avery County. According to histories by Jason Deyton and Preston Arthur, the people in the new county found that location to be inconvenient and wanted the county seat moved.

In December 1862, the Legislature responded and provided for a new location to be called Davis “within four miles of the geographical center of the county.” Both the names Calhoun and Davis appear to have been an effort of the legislators to pay tribute to two of the strongest proponents of the “Southern Cause.” At that time, one choice for the new location appears to have been Normanville/Normansville, now known as Ledger, but the town of Bakersville was selected and was renamed Davis.

Judge Bowman with Masonic apron 1898 (courtesy of
Mary Lee Barron)

On July 17, 1868, Jacob Weaver Bowman’s bill was accepted and passed for the town of Davis to be renamed Bakersville. Eight years earlier, the 29 year-old Bowman representing Yancey County was instrumental in establishing the new county of Mitchell.

Weekly Standard (Raleigh) Wed July 16, 1868 p.4