History Of Avery County
History is but a fable agreed upon by those who record it.
- Frank Vance -
Avery County has the distinction of being the 100th and last county to be formed in the state of North Carolina and was named for Colonel Waighstill Avery of Morganton, North Carolina. Probably the best history of the county comes from "The History of Western North Carolina" by John Preston Arthur.
AVERY COUNTY. This was created in 1911, out of portions of Watauga and Mitchell counties, principally.(41) At an election held August 1, 1911, Old Fields of Toe was selected as the county seat. It so happened that this land had been granted to Col. Waightstill Avery November 9, 1783. It was in his honor that this, the 100th county, was named, while the county seat was called Newland, in honor of Hon. W. C. Newland, of Lenoir, then the lieutenant governor of the State. The jail and court house were completed sufficiently to allow court to be held in April, 1913, Judge Daniels presiding. There are two legends concerning the reason this tract was called the Old Fields of Toe. L. D. Lowe, Esq., in the Watauga Democrat of June 19, 1913, states that one legend relates that Estatoe, the daughter of one of two rival chieftains, fell in love with the son of the other; but her father refused his consent, which caused a bloody war between the two factions. But Estatoe caused a pipe of peace to be made with two stems of titi so that two could smoke it at once. The two rival chiefs assembled their respective followers on the bank of the river, and smoked till peace was concluded and Estatoe married her lover. The other legend is that found in The Balsam Groves of the Grandfather mountain (p. 221), and in it Estatoe is made to drown herself because she could not wed her Indian lover because of her father's implacable opposition.
AVERY COUNTY'S LONG PEDIGREE. "It was a part of Clarendon in 1729; of New Hanover in 1729; of Bladen in 1734; of Anson in 1749; of Rowan in 1753; of Surry in 1770; of Burke in 1777; of Wilkes in 1777; of Ashe in 1799; of Yancey in 1833; of Caldwell in 1841; of Watauga in 1849; of Mitchell in 1861; so that that portion taken from Caldwell and attached to Avery in 1911 represents the eighth subdivision; and that from Watauga the tenth; which is a record probably unsurpassed."(42) The principal reason for the formation of this new county was the inaccessibility of Bakersville to most of the inhabitants of Mitchell, it being in the northeastern part of that county and only two and a half miles from the Yancey line.(43) Lineville City, two miles from Montezuma and Pinola, is "the cleanest town in the North Carolina mountains east of Asheville, and the only place of the kind where guests have a large, ideal zone for golf."(44) The same author speaks of the Yonahlossee road, running from Linville City to Blowing Rock, as the Appian Way which ran from Rome via Naples, to Brundesium, and claims that the latter was not more interesting than the former.(45) The world will one day admit that the fine scenery of North Carolina has its culmination in Avery county.
Avery County History Links