An AHGP Transcription Project

Watauga County North Carolina History

Source: Western North Carolina a History From 1730 to 1913, By John Preston Arthur, Published by Edward Buncombe Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, of Asheville, N. C., 1914

*The first court in Watauga was held in an old barn near the home of Joseph Hardin one mile east of Boone, Judge Mitchell presiding, and E. C. Bartlett being clerk. The first court house was built in Boone in 1850 by John Horton for $4,000, but was burned in 1873, with the records. The records were restored afterwards by legislative authority upon satisfactory evidence being furnished, and T. J. Coffey & Bro. in 1874 rebuilt the court house for $4,800, the building committee having been Henry Taylor, Dudley Farthing and Jacob Williams. The present fine court house was erected in 1904 by L. W. Cooper of Charlotte for $19,000. Alex. Green, J. W. Hodges and George Robbins were the county commissioners. The first jail was of brick and built by Mr. Dammons for $400, and the second jail was a wooden building of heavy logs. On the second floor the timbers were twelve inches square, crossed with iron, and when it was torn away by W. P. Critcher in 1909 the logs were made into lumber of the finest grade. A splendid new jail, with iron cages and rooms, was built in 1889 by Wm. Stephenson of Mayesville, Kentucky, for $5,000.

The following have been sheriffs of Watauga:
Michael Cook, John Horton, Cob McCanles, Sidney Deal, A. J. McBride, John Horton, A. J. McBride, D. F. Baird, J. L. Hayes, D. F. Baird, J. L. Hayes, D. F. Baird, W. M. Calloway, W. B. Baird, J. H. Hodges, D. C. Reagan.

The following have been clerks:
Mr. McClewee, J. B. Todd, Henry Blair, W. J. Critcher, J. B. Todd, M. B. Blackburn, J. H. Bingham, Thomas Bingham, W. D. Farthing.

W. L. Bryan in 1872 started the Bryan hotel and conducted a first class hotel for 27 years. In 1865 T. J. Coffey & Bro. came to Boone, and started the Coffey hotel, where they maintained an up-to-date stopping place for many years. It is now being conducted by Mr. Murry Critcher.

In 1858 Marcus Holesclaw, Thomas Greene and William Horton ran for the legislature upon the issue of moving the court house from Boone to Brushy Fork, and Holesclaw was elected by one vote. This meant that the court house must be moved; and Holesclaw introduced the bill for that purpose; but Joe Dobson represented this district in the senate, and although he was from Surry County, he managed to keep Holesclaw's bill at the foot of the calendar until the legislature adjourned. Of course, Holesclaw was never satisfied that his bill never reached a vote in the senate.

From ordinary circumstances L. L. Green came from the farm, studied law and became a leader in politics; was elected judge and performed his duties well. His portrait hangs in the court room, to the left of the judge's stand, while on the right is a portrait of his friend, Major Bingham, who was a fine lawyer and a great teacher of law. His name and fame went out over the whole State.

W. B. Councill was a student of the learned Col. G. N. Folk, who after being admitted to the bar was elevated to the position of judge of the Superior court of this judicial district. He declined a re-nomination.

Other First Settlers were Amos and Edward Greene near Blowing Rock; Ransom Hayes at Boone; Jackson, Steven and Abner Farthing at Beaver Dams, James McCanless, Elisha Coffey, Amos Greene, Isaac Greene, Lee Foster and Joel Moody, at and near Shull's Mills; Maiden Harmon, Calvin Harmon, Seaton Mast, Lorenzo Whittington, and George Moody, on Cove creek. Henry Taylor came to Valle Crucis long before the Civil War and married a Miss Mast.

Forgot How to Make an "S."
In the graveyard of the old German Reformed church, one mile from Blowing Rock, is an old gravestone which, tradition says, was brought by a Mr. Sullivan from the Jersey settlement in Davidson County for the purpose, as he stated, of "starting a graveyard." On it are carved or scratched the following letters and numbers: E E s 1794. This stone is said to mark the grave of the pioneer who brought it to Blowing Rock. But whether he died or was born in the year given, is not known. It is quite evident that he had forgotten in which way an "S" is turned.

* Source: Western North Carolina a History From 1730 to 1913, By John Preston Arthur, Published by Edward Buncombe Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, of Asheville, N. C., 1914


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