J.E. Burleson operated this mica house atop Burleson Hill, the location of the current Spruce Pine Town Cemetery. Burleson began opening mica mines in 1894 and ground mica beginning in the 1900s. He was the largest individual mica operator in the region. His large white house stood on the spot of the current Spruce Pine United Methodist Church, thus giving the hilltop the name “Burleson Hill”.


This 1912 photo features employees of the J.E. Burleson Mica House. They are (bottom row L-R): Newton WIllis, Mack Burleson, Lat Young, Calhoun Smith, Isom Wilson; (second row L-R): Dock Biggerstaff, Pete Biddix, Rasmus Greene, Joe Murphy, Milton Ellis, W.D. Carpenter, Lynn Young; (third row L-R): Charles Dale, Fred Carpenter, Charlie Biddix, and unknown.


One of the first cars in Spruce Pine belonged to Mr. J.E. Burleson, a Carter Friction Drive. In this 1915 photo, it is featured with Mr. J.E. Burleson, Joe Mayberry, Mrs. Walter Laughridge (Viola Burleson), and Mrs. J.A. Mayberry (Estelle Burleson). The car ran on the only road from the train depot to the mica plant across from Mr. Burleson’s home, approximately 1 mile in length. The group is shown with the car holding huge books of mica.