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A. North Carolina Mountains family history North Carolina Dreams

Valle Crucis, NC

Part of the serendipity that carried us into the mountains of North Carolina can be found in the following description I discovered so long ago.

Nestled high in the mountains of North Carolina is a little known corner of the world called Valle Crucis (pronounced valley crew’ sis). First settled over 200 years ago, the Vale of the Cross is a place that historians and visitors alike have called “uncommon.”

At the time I first read those words I wasn’t aware of the personal ancestral tie I had to those early settlers. It was only a couple of years ago that I became aware that the Linville’s of Linville Creek out of Villas just down the road from Valle Crucis were the very same Linville’s I descended from. If I am correct in my map skills, one of the open green areas I can see from the top of Nettle’s Knob above Clarks Creek is the Linville Creek watershed to the north.

Visit what Charles Kuralt called “a destination,” the original Mast General Store.

Sit and play a game of checkers by the pot bellied stove or treat yourself to a bottle of the spicy ginger beer. Don’t forget to pick up a calendar for the wall back home…

Located in Watauga County near Boone, only hours from the hustle and bustle of the big city, day and weekend getaways are possible, but we are sure you’ll return eventually for a much longer stay.

And so the “Dream” began. And grows here on the web until the day it grows in the Mountains that gave it birth.

Source: Valle Crucis, North Carolina’s First Rural Historic District

First White Settlers of Watauga.– A letter from Lafayette Tucker, of Ashland, Ashe County, states that the descendants of the original Lewis who settled in that neighborhood claim that he came as early as 1730. Thomas Hodged, the first, came during the Revolutionary War and settled in what is now called Hodges Gap, two miles west of Boone, and Samuel Hix and James D. Holtsclaw, his son-in-law, settled at or near Valle Crucis at that time or before.

It is a matter of record that a family by the name of Linvil—probably an economic way of spelling Linville—were members of Three Forks Baptist Church and lived on what is now known as Dog Skin Creek, or branch, but which stream used to be called Linville Creek. The membership of that church shows that Abraham, Catharine and Margaret Linvil were members between 1790 and 1800, while the minutes show that on the second Saturday in June, 1799, when the Three Forks Church were holding a meeting at Cove Creek, just prior to giving that community a church o its own, Abraham Linvil was received by experience, and in July following, at the same place, Catharine and Margaret Linvil also were so received. Several of the older residents of Dog Skin, Brushy Fork and cove Creeks confirm the reality of the residence of the Linville family in that community. In September, 1799, Brother Vanderpool’s petition for a constitution at Cove Creek was granted, Catherine Linvil having been granted her letter of dismission the previous August.

Source: Watauga County, NC by J P Arthur

More to follow…

Categories
story of place

Story of Place – Mountain Dreams

I find that most of the places I have come to love in my search for my “North Carolina Mountain Dream” revolve around stories. Not just stories of the past, either. Many of the stories are being written by others who love these places. Each of the stories that have touched my life and heart are by special people who have a dream, a vision they wish to share, a myth they wish to live.

What originally brought me to Valle Crucis was just such a story. It was the story of the renewed life of an old time staple of this mountain village, The Mast General Store. I was intrigued by the history and the revival following the purchase of this once vital center village life by the Coopers. I no longer remember exactly how I serendipitously stumbled upon their website back then because I had no knowledge of the area what so ever.


My one and only trip into these eastern mountains had occurred a few years earlier during a business trip to Charlotte. I had only driven a couple of hours down the Blue Ridge Parkway on a day off during that stay. I had started my drive in Little Switzerland and headed south until the road was closed (this was early March) then turned around and drove north to Blowing Rock. So as I planned that first family trip for August of 2003 I surfed the internet for anything I could find out about North Carolina and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

There were three websites that I stumbled upon then and have been bookmarked ever since that first virtual exploration. They are (in the order I discovered them, I think):

  1. The Mast General Store
  2. Grandfather Mountain
  3. The Orchard at Altapass

Each of those places have a story to tell…A story of the past and the people who lived there…A story full of people who love the place and are willing to fight for it…A story that will carry on into the future as new people discover and love these places. It was the story of Valle Crucis that led me to book a cabin up on the side of a mountain that first year. It was all of these stories and more that keep me coming back. Sitting out on the porch each morning with that first cup of coffee is where my mountain dream was born.


And it was the “News from Valle Crucis” newsletter published by the Mast General Store I subscribed to back in 2002 that made me feel like I could learn to love this mountain village and the daily life they lead there.

In the coming weeks I will try to tell some of the stories I have learned about these places, and others, that have come to be encompassed by my “North Carolina Mountain Dreams”. I am going to start a new category for these posts, they will all be tagged as “story of place”. I hope to build something here that will be usable as a reference and inspiration for others so…”bear” with me as I map out the path I will follow.

For anyone looking for the meandering muses I posted here in the past…I am now serving them up over at Coffee Muses. Stop on by and sit a spell…

Categories
A. North Carolina Mountains North Carolina Dreams

Random Mountain Muse – Mt. Mitchell

From the top of the highest mountain in the eastern United States the view can be breathtaking.

Already venerable when the Rockies were yet unformed, Mount Mitchell reigns as the highest point east of the Mississippi at 6,684 feet.

In 1916, at a time when extensive logging threatened the region’s virgin, old- growth forests, Governor Locke Craig led an effort that resulted in the establishment of Mount Mitchell as North Carolina’s first state park. The 1,700-acre protected area that extends approximately 5 miles along the summit of the Black Mountains preserved a piece of a unique ecosystem, where alpine forests exist in the South.


Mount Mitchell’s peak is well known as a biological island, an isolated environment that the retreating glaciers of the Pleistocene left behind. At its higher elevations, the mountain receives 60 inches of annual snowfall and records average daily temperatures of 51 degrees. Certain subspecies of flora and fauna are found nowhere else, and some migrating birds, including wrens, Carolina chickadees (Parus carolinensis), and slate-colored juncos (Junco hyemalis), have only to travel up and down the mountain with the changing seasons.

Source: Sherpa Guides | North Carolina | Mountains | Mount Mitchell/Mount Mitchell State Park

As I mentioned earlier in the week, the observation deck on top of Mt Mitchell is being rebuilt this summer, so visits to the summit are probably not in the picture. But you can still hike some of the trails with detours around the construction site.