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Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The story of E.L. McKee’s contribution to Jackson County is inextricably linked to that of two other notables written about in recent weeks: his wife, Gertrude Dills McKee, North Carolina’s first woman state senator; and his frequent business associate, C.J. Harris.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Wednesday, March 06, 2019

General E.R. Hampton, a lawyer who died in 1908, is the man responsible for securing both a post office and a railway station for the town of Sylva. Though born in Buncombe County and a resident of Swain County in the last years of his life, it was in Jackson that Hampton left a permanent ma…

Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
  • Updated

Gertrude Dills McKee, North Carolina’s first woman state senator, was the daughter of Dillsboro founder William Allen Dills. She married E.L. McKee of Sylva, an early developer and associate of C.J. Harris.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

(Editor’s Note: This week’s installment, Part 2 on Dr. John Brinkley, is condensed from the Oct. 13, 1994, Sylva Herald. It details the late Bill Smith’s memories of Dr. Brinkley along with letters Brinkley himself wrote to Smith’s father. A longtime local educator who was principal at Sylva…

Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Several people have told me that they like it when I write about Christmas trees, referring to a string of columns over the past two decades that mentioned my experiences working for Tommy Beutell on his Wolf Creek Tree Farm.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Wednesday, November 07, 2018

The idea of incorporating the towering peaks and scenic valleys of the Great Smoky Mountains into a national park first took hold in the 1890s, but it took three-plus decades for that vision to become reality.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

As reported last time, I spent a couple of hours recently examining some public records I hadn’t seen before: Jackson County voter rolls from the early part of the 20th century.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Wednesday, September 05, 2018
Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Local students returned to the classroom last week. Public schools have been a big part of Jackson County’s history, just as education topics have been important subjects throughout this newspaper’s 92 years.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Wednesday, August 08, 2018

The newspaper that is the forerunner of this one began publication in 1926. The Ruralite, which was started by E.E. Brown, grandfather of Sylva Herald Sports Editor Carey Phillips, was sold in 1943 to Curtis Russ and Marion Bridges, and The Sylva Herald and Ruralite’s first issue came out on…

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Spending by tourists is a big part of the local economy, and the Tourism Development Authority spends thousands of dollars annually to entice travelers to not only visit Jackson County but to stay awhile once they do.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

So the other day I learned something new about the past. Turns out there was a Civil War battle fought in Jackson County. When the skirmish took place, the site of the battle was in Jackson, but that changed in 1871 after Swain County was created from Jackson and Macon.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Some 50 people came together at the Tuckasegee VFW Building on June 14 to share stories about the flood.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

It’s been 46 years since I took a class on local plants from Jim Horton, then head of the biology department at Western Carolina University. I loved learning the names of the flowers I saw blooming along the roadside, and I found out that I was good at remembering the two-part scientific names.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

A couple of weeks before Memorial Day, the local Genealogical Society received a one-of-a-kind donation – a book that endeavors to provide information on all those from Jackson County who served in the armed forces during World War II.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

While this column has its roots in last week’s topic, it’s not really a follow-up piece. I’ve already shared just about all the information I have about the Rural Health Conferences held here in the late 1950s.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

When I spoke with Sally Campbell this past November, she mentioned that she had once helped organize Sylva’s Rural Health Conferences. Two weeks ago, she loaned me a notebook that contains the records of those conferences that were held here in November 1955, November 1956 and September 1957.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

After mentioning Jonah Dills, an early developer who owned a large amount of property in the area around St. Mary’s Catholic Church, in two recent columns, I find I’m not ready to let go of his life and what it meant to Sylva just yet.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

One of my favorite things about writing a newspaper column is hearing from readers who have additional information to share. With my two most recent columns, I hit the jackpot.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Last week an old photo on Facebook prompted a lot of local comments. Taken around 1950, it’s a picture of the late Hampton Barnes pumping gas at the store he operated on N.C. 107 between Tuckasegee and Glenville. In addition to gas, he sold groceries and bait before closing his store around …

Wednesday, March 14, 2018
  • Updated

I’ve been writing columns for this newspaper for more than 20 years now, and many have dealt with some facet of local history. When something needed to be looked up, I’ve relied mostly on two books: “The History of Jackson County,” edited by Max Williams, and the two-volume “Jackson County H…

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A couple of weeks ago I asked readers to share any information they had on why Lost Knob came to be known by that name. L.C. McMahan of Sylva answered that question. Turns out I already knew the story behind Lost Knob. I’ve even hiked almost to it and written about it in a May 2015 column. W…

Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Last week we discussed Jackson County’s 185 named summits, a number I determined several years ago by counting up the mountains from an online list. I also wondered about the number of local waterways and looked without success for a similar roster of streams.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018
Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A number of recent posts in a Facebook group dedicated to local history are related to Main Street stores that have come and gone, prompting me to share information I’ve learned about The Paris, once located in the building that now houses Sylva Market and Signature Brew.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

During a recent conversation with retired Clerk of Court Frank Watson, he said he liked it when I wrote about my days working in local Christmas tree fields.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Local lore has it that one of our own, Ransom “Chunk” Cowan of Sylva’s Savannah community, was the tallest soldier in World War I. Based on a quick trip to the internet, it seems that may or may not be true.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Sally Campbell, who will complete her first century in Sylva on Saturday, has lived all her life in the same place – the house she grew up in stood only yards from her current home – and she’s never wanted to be anywhere else.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Wednesday, August 30, 2017

At first glance, the opening act for this year’s performance series at Western Carolina University might appear to be a nod to the area’s traditional music. It’s a bluegrass band, after all.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Wednesday, August 09, 2017

It started with a phone call, and it ended with some 50 notebooks full of local genealogical information that are now available to the public.