If you can add  to or modify the information below, please let us know!

ca 8,000 - 500 BC  

Early Archaic Period     larger Indian populations began to live impermanent or   semi-permanent sites,  and ,
toward the  end of the period, began to cultivate some plants for    food, although still relying heavily on hunting and
gathering of wild food

ca.  6000 - 3000 BC

Middle Archaic Period.  Subsistence hunting and gathering.  American Indian groups traveled through, and
may have encamped, along Rocky Broad River.  Stone implements of period excavated in Chimney Rock.

5000 BC until Uriah Stones navigated up an off-shoot of the Cumberland River in 1766, what is  now Rutherford
County was habituated by Native Americans.

Note: axe head dating to 5000-4000 BC, middle Archaic Period was found on the property of Bob Wald
[email protected]

ca. 3000 - 1000 BC

Late Archaic period. Beginnings of trade and technology. Probable movement of American Indian groups
through gorge on seasonal round. More permanent base camps. ca.  1000 BC – 1500 AD Woodland Period.  
Pisgah phase of prehistoric Cherokee culture.  (Warren Wilson and Garden Creek sites).  Plant domestication and
cultivation.  Mound building.  (Mound with artifacts excavated twelve miles southeast of Chimney Rock.)

ca.  1500 – 1850 AD

Cherokee use Hickory Nut Gap for travel between mountains and flatlands.  

The Hickory Nut Hickory Nut Gorge was
a sacred area, or neutral ground of Cherokee and neighboring Catawba

When the Catawba Indians ( Catawba means "river people,"the name used by themselves was Iyeye (
people) or
real people ) met a Cherokee Indian in the Gorge, they could not kill each other as the Gorge was SACRED
ground! (
Note: the concept of the HNG being  a" sacred", " mystical, " magical", " spiritual" area is found in
numerous stories of both the Cherokees and Catawba Indians. The  following story of " "little people" inhabiting the
Gorge and the sacred stories of the dried leaf of tobacco  being a part of that sacredness in the Gorge is a
fascinating study)

Myths develop - Little People. The early settlers found gold, tso-lungh (a magical, legendary tobacco),
legends of talking animals ,the mysterious" Little People ”who lived among the craggy peaks of the gorge and
awesome mountain from which came ominous and sometimes terrifying sounds SEE"

An excellent book to read for yourself, your children, and grandchildren about the Ghosts of our area is  Mountain
ghost Stories and Curious Tales of Western North Carolina,
Randy Russell and Janet Barnett, John Blair, Publisher,
Winston-Salem NC 1998. I have added it under
Local Books and Authors of this site.


Hernando De Soto may have traveled through gorge.  Made contact with Cherokees.  Explores route from
Florida to Blue Ridge.  (Travel through gorge dispelled by U. S. De Soto Commission – 1939)


Capt.Juan Pardo may have traveled gorge. (Dispelled by U. S. De Soto Commission.)

ca.1600-Prior to European contact in the sixteenth century, the native Cherokee in North Carolina subsisted by
hunting and gathering and farming.  Their main crops were maize and beans


English explorers James Needham and Gabriel Arthur traverse Hickory Nut Gap.

ca 1730-The earliest settlers in what is now Rutherford County probably came here around 1730. They were
primarily German and Scotch-Irish. Throughout the mountains the majority were the Scotch-Irish like those that
settled in the Cane Creek area and later formed Brittain Church. They brought their own ordained ministers with
them. These Presbyterian Ministers were college trained and served also as educators. These settlers were
becoming educated, and could read their own bibles

ca.  1760

First group of settlers arrive in Hickory Nut Gorge, predominantly Scotch-Irish. They had traveled
down the Great Wagon Road from Pennsylvania

1763, King George set-aside the land west of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina to the Cherokee and
prohibited the entry of white settlers. However, tensions between Britain and the colonies rendered the Proclamation
useless, and settlers began to move westward, encroaching on Cherokee lands

ca 1770

Lost Gold on Round Top Mountain

While traveling on or near Round Top Mountain with a wagon load of gold, several Englishmen were attacked .The
men prepared to ship their gold to Charleston, but Native Americans killed all but one of the Englishmen. The sole
survivor, blinded in the attack, made his way back to England, where he attempted to draw a crude map to the mine.
But to date, no one had found the lost gold mine. The gold is still believed by many to be hidden under some rocks
or in the many caves that dot this mountain directly across from Chimney Rock.


Tryon County was formed from Mecklenburg County in 1768. Old Tryon County was divided into Lincoln and
Rutherford Counties in April 1779. Rutherford County was named for Brigadier General Griffith Rutherford of Rowan
County , North Carolina;
Brigadier General Rutherford was a famous Revolutionary War soldier.  From: http://www.rutherfordcountync.
gov/history.php. See also : http://

During the Revolutionary War the citizens of Rutherford County, were troubled by both Indian and Tory attacks. The
Tories under Major Patrick Ferguson camped at Gilbertown and scouted the area for food and supplies. To escape
Ferguson the people took refuse in the following forts: McGaughy; McFadden; Potts; Hampton; Mumfords; and Earle.

General Griffith Rutherford led 2,400 Militia to fight the Cherokee in western North Carolina.  In what is now
Murphy, Rutherford established his headquarters and organized soldiers from South Carolina and Virginia to crush
the Cherokee." The patriot militia expedition of September 1776, led by Gen. Griffith Rutherford and known
afterward as the Rutherford Trace, sought to eliminate Cherokees as a British ally and punish them for attacking
white settlements. In one month, Rutherford’s men left dozens of Western North Carolina Cherokee villages in ruins
with hundreds of acres of crops destroyed and livestock killed or seized. " (Michael Beadle, See
smokymountainnews.com/issues/08_06/08_23_06/fr_rutherford_trace.html ).

For additional information on  GENERAL GRIFFITH RUTHERFORD see the article By Gary Rutherford Harding


John McFadding deeds 100 acres on “both sides of main Broad River” to Isham Revise for “forty pounds currency,
white horse, two Negroes”. Revise later moves to Kentucky, then Missouri.  Issues first deed of emancipation of
slaves- Saline County, Missouri- 1827


Rutherford County formed from Tryon County. It was named in honor of Griffith Rutherford, one of the most
prominent of the Revolutionary patriots. He led the expedition that crushed the Cherokees in 1776, and rendered
important services both in the Legislature and on the battlefield. It is in the southwestern section of the State and is
bounded by the state of South Carolina and Polk, Henderson, McDowell, Burke and Cleveland counties


The Overmountain soldiers marched through Rutherford County on October 3-5, 1780 on their way to meet
Major Ferguson at the Battle of Kings Mountain. This battle took place October 7, 1780 and was the turning point of
the war. The trail of march has since become known as the "Overmountain Victory Trail." It became the second
national historical trail in America when President Jimmy Carter signed it into law on October 7, 1980. This is a
national historical honor for Rutherford County, as part of the trail passes through the county.


"Life, following the revolutionary War, in Rutherford County was not in the best of conditions. Life offered little. Most
activity took place on the farm: planting of grain, raising cattle and sheep, and growing food for the table. The loom
furnished clothes for the family. Skins from animals were tanned; furs from wild animals were secured to provide
additional clothing. The pioneer homes were built from the surrounding forest. Furniture and furnishings for the
home were also made from the woods of the forest. The plantations and farms were small. Land could be bought for
a nominal fee paid to the state for a grant. Each land owner tilled his soil, sometimes assisted by a slave or two. The
farmer drove cattle and took surplus agricultural products over the best road leading from Morganton to Charleston,
South Carolina. At Charleston at the market they could then buy staple products to take back home. Schooling was
received in the home. The Bible was sometimes the only textbook available"
from Rutherford County History http://www.rutherfordhistory.com/county.html


First church in area and only the second in the county established – Bill’s Creek Missionary Baptist Church

To see the records of Burials in Bill's Creek Church, please click on W.D. Floyd ([email protected])'s excellent work!

ca.  1785

Harris Tavern established by Dr. John Washington Harris.  Becomes stagecoach stop in 1830’s. Harris Inn, later
known as the Logan House, the Red Coach Inn and Pine Gables." The Harris Inn, now known as Pine Gables, is a
large three-story frame building encompassing two log structures. "The two story log structures of the saddlebag
variety (two log houses built on either side of a large chimney) have been raised to three stories and weather
boarded. The log section to the west is approximately 30' X 21'. The log section to the East is approximately 22' X
21'. The massive hand shewn logs used for the walls are cornered with half dovetail cuts. The foundation is irregular
coursed uncut rock. In ca. 1834 the two-story log structure was encased with boards. Ca. 1877 the house was
enlarged with large frame building additions."
See: http://www.lake-lure.com/big%20house.html


North Carolina voted for the Constitution (195 to 77)


In 1791 parts of Rutherford County and Burke County were combined to form Buncombe County. In 1841 parts of
Rutherford County and Lincoln County were combined to form Cleveland County. In 1842 additional parts of
Rutherford County and Burke County were combined to form McDowell County. Finally, in 1855 parts of Rutherford
County and Henderson County were combined to form Polk County.  

1785 The court house moved to the new town of Rutherfordton.


Speculation Land Company founded by Tenche S Coxe Active for 125 years in development of local mountain land.

1800- John  and  Nancy  Ann" Ashworth survey the land that was to become the Sherrill Inn. Ann an
accomplished herb doctor, cast spells, cursed people who crossed her and was charged with sorcery by Cane
Creek Baptist Chuch!


John Ashworth Purchases large tract of land at western end of Hickory Nut Gap.


First published reports of settlers seeing  ghost troops of cavalry and others around
and above Chimney Rock

"Celestial battle on July 31, 1806. Mrs. Patsy Reaves reported that she and her two children had seen “a very
numerous crowd of beings” atop Chimney Rock. Five years later, a husband and wife reported seeing two armies of
horsemen high above the cliffs. The heavenly combatants, armed with swords, rode winged horses and slashed at
each other in deadly combat. On at least three other occasions, residents reported similar sights. Many thought the
end of the world was at hand." by Robert Williams "Legends of Hickory Nut Gorge


The dirt road was improved and became Hickory Nut Gorge Turnpike. Also known as Drover's Road, it was used by
herders to get cattle, hogs, geese, turkeys, pigs and other animals to market to be sold purchases for goods or cash
needed in outlying mountain communities. See:
Drover's Road


The mining interest of the State is now only second to the farming interest.”  So wrote a reporter of the Western
Carolinian of Salisbury in 1825.  But according to historians Richard D. Knapp and Brent D. Glass in Gold Mining in
North Carolina (1999) the average Tar Heel did not fall victim to gold fever.  Nevertheless, there was enough
demand by 1830 for a Charlotte-based Miners’ and Farmers’ Journal to begin publication.

Buffalo Cemetery, Lake Lure. Located in Rumbling Bald Resort on Lake Lure. For a list of those buried
here, please click here. First body in  Buffalo Cemetery at Rumbling Bald Mountain Resort-   Mary Russel, 94
years June 20, 1828.


The General Assembly appropriated $12,000, through the Board of Internal Improvements, to complete a road through Hickory
Nut Gap to Asheville.  

"With the these improved roads, farmers from Western North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky had an accessible way of
getting their farm products to market, and could greatly increase their supplies and profit by transporting goods by wagons.

However, the best way to market their corn was by feeding it to hogs, cattle, and turkeys. In late fall, farmers gathered their
hogs, cattle, horses, mules, turkeys, or ducks for the trip to markets in Charleston, South Carolina and Augusta, Georgia. The
roads were alive with livestock for the next two months. Men called drovers led these herds of animals to market. The drovers
relied on helpers, usually young boys, to keep the animals moving by cracking whips tied with strips of red flannel. Depending
on the type of livestock, drovers could travel six to twenty miles each day. Hogs, the most numerous animal on the turnpike,
could only travel six to eight miles a day. Every eight or ten miles along the road, there would be a “stand” where animals could
be fed and penned outdoors and the men could find hospitality indoors. Although this route was used by all sorts of traffic, it
gradually received the named of the Drovers' Road." ( By By Alex S. Caton, Director of Education, 199 9Revised by Rebecca
Lamb, Executive Director, 2001, 2003, 200
4Smith-McDowell House Museum


To receive Hickory Nut Gorge News once a month, please do Subscribe for free below by reviewing and then Subscribing at
the end of the Newsletter.. All the news of the Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, and Hickory Nut Gorge:

Subscribe to the Hickory Nut Gorge

Copyright © 2006 Hickory Nut Gorge News,Inc , All Rights Reserved. Permission freely given to reprint by request to  :  Permission