Friday, April 21, 2006

A History of Asheville, Part I of X.

I'm stealing this series wholesale from the evidently defunct I've emailed the contact with no reply. If the author reads this work, please contact us to let us know how to credit you properly. This series is well researched, well written, and concise.


PART I, Pre-1800:
"Asheville Pioneers who settled Western North Carolina were mostly of Irish/Scottish descent.

Before European colonization, the Asheville region served as open game land. Entering, settlers saw a wildlife heaven. Trained in the wilderness, they applied their shooting skills to the winning of American independence at the Battle of Kings Mountain in 1780. Those who followed wiped out what they had thought were inexhaustible resources - including the buffalo in 1799 and the panther in 1832.

Carrying all of his belongings in 1784, young pioneer William Davidson, his wife and children moved their belongings through the Blue Ridge Mountains to settle in what is now known as Buncombe County, becoming the first settler family in the area. Davidson and his family established an area that would one day become the mountain resort city of Asheville. The Davidson’s lived on Christian Creek in the Swannanoa Valley area known as "Eden Land." A permanent settlement was founded in this valley in 1785. Proliferation of these homesteads led to a legislative act initiated by Colonel David Vance and Davidson, establishing Buncombe County on Dec. 5, 1791. What is now Pack Square boasted then a small log courthouse. Founding of the county led John Burton in 1793 to establish a large settlement from state land grants he named Morristown. He marked off and sold 42 half-acre lots for approximately $2.50 each. This area was incorporated in 1797 and renamed Asheville in honor of Gov. Samuel Ashe.

The coastal areas were overpopulated and had no spare land. Due to the mountainous terrain and inaccessibility to the backcountry, trade among these communities was impractical. Due to this isolation, the impact of churches and other established cultural institutions were minimal. Many families in Western North Carolina could not afford slaves. Most families grew only enough food to feed their own households. There were a few wealthy families which owned slaves. The Coastal political movements denied the mountain regions political representation. In response to lack of political representation, two protest movements evolved, one in North Carolina and one in South Carolina. These movements were called the Regulation. Local government was extremely corrupt in the backcountry. The Regulation movements aimed to correct this, often taking the law into their own hands by acting as vigilantes against criminals, hence the term mountain justice. The legislature turned deaf ears towards the backcountry. Raleigh is still accused of this."

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