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Interview with Gail Godwin about Grief Cottage

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Ellington in Asheville--a survey

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Joan Henehan replied to Joan Henehan's discussion on Reading Living Poem
"Fantastic, that will be very helpful."
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

First Drumbeat

First Drumbeat(Part of Living Poem) The time has come.Call it a drum,Or a crumb,What’s left of life. I used to tell a jokeWhen my life was wide,And I was a stud,And not a dud—I knowI’m not a dud.  I’m a dude,A dad.  But everyone mustRebut the dud chargeAt summing up time. Oh yeah, the joke,A trademark one for meIn that it’s not funny. I used to say I’ll never retireFrom writingBecause if I’m ever…See More
Rob Neufeld replied to Joan Henehan's discussion on Reading Living Poem
"Thanks for the prompt, Joan!  I have attached the whole work in progress as a doc at the bottom of the table of contents page:"
Joan Henehan replied to Joan Henehan's discussion on Reading Living Poem
"Is there a way from this website to print everything or might you send me such a document to"
Julia Nunnally Duncan posted an event

Julia Nunnally Duncan at Marion Branch McDowell County Public Library

October 24, 2018 from 4pm to 5pm
Julia Nunnally Duncan will be launching her new poetry collection A Neighborhood Changes (Finishing Line Press, 2018) at a book presentation and signing to be held at the McDowell County Public Library in Marion on October 24.See More
Rob Neufeld replied to Joan Henehan's discussion on Reading Living Poem
"This could be interesting--thanks!  I'm at 828-505-1973 (my home business office).  And"
Sep 20
Joan Henehan replied to Joan Henehan's discussion on Reading Living Poem
"I'll ask the kids, Barb and Ethan, if they have any contacts who might have an interest in this as a unique topic for any performers they know. It might also be something that my friend Ruby Lerner could brainstorm about to her theatre…"
Sep 19
Rob Neufeld replied to Joan Henehan's discussion on Reading Living Poem
"Thanks much, Joan!  I'm trying to get some attention for these poems.  Triple Whammy is def in rap style.  And the beat goes on.  Hugs from me and Bev."
Sep 19
Joan Henehan posted a discussion

on Reading Living Poem

You might be the first ALS-subject-matter rapper. Add some beats and spread it. the time is now...See More
Sep 15
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

More from the World of ALS

More from the World of ALS (Part of Living Poem)    Negotiating steps is like someone who seeksTo emulate a goat on mountain peaks. Crossing a threshold, limping inIs like the valley-walking of an Olympian. A cane and its grip make a fellow stopTo consider the physics of leans and drops. To know how a forefinger grabs and digsImagine your digits are chestnut twigs When a new drug trial notably…See More
Sep 6
Nancy Werking Poling posted a discussion


RANDALL KENAN SELECTS NANCY WERKING POLING WINNER OF THE 2018 ALEX ALBRIGHT CREATIVE NONFICTION PRIZE(31 August 2018)Nancy Werking Poling of Black Mountain is the winner of the 2018 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize competition for "Leander’s Lies." Poling will receive $1000 from the North Carolina Literary Review, thanks to a generous NCLR reader’s donation that allowed this year’s honorarium to increase (from the previous award of $250). Her winning essay will be published in the North…See More
Sep 4
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Sep 4
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Upcoming Rides

Upcoming Rides(Part of Living Poem) I must take a break from writing aboutThe third Lord Granville’s loss of landIn colonial North Carolina to noteI’m losing functionality in my hands. I’m confining my writing to a four-line,Alternate rhyme form, like a horse-fenceFraming a pantomimeOf equine force.  Hence, It’s time to imagine the power of mind,For instance, when a nod or thoughtInstructs a machine to…See More
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Ann Miller Woodford updated their profile
Aug 17
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

The Cherokee and the Colonists

The Epic of the Cherokee and the Colonists            Hernando De Soto stopped in Asheville in 1541            When the Spanish conquistador came through here on his way from the Gulf Coast to Lake Michigan, he encountered big towns, well-used roads, and abandoned homes.   A smallpox epidemic—one of a series of plagues…See More
Aug 17
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Aug 3

Zachariah Candler and Waightstill Avery were first land-buyers

by Rob Neufeld


            “In mid-2010, while compiling the descendant chart for the Zachariah Candler family,” Charles Haller writes in “Pushing the Indians Out,” his book about first developers, “I became interested in Zachariah’s obsession with accumulating land grants issued by the State of North Carolina.”

            Zachariah was one of the resident landowners who jumped on the big post-Revolutionary War land sale. 

            Many of the early developers were non-resident speculators, who bought immense tracts, which overlapped with those of smaller claimants, who had to file pre-emption claims to hold onto what they had.

            John Burton—buyer of 400 acres that included what became downtown Asheville—had been one of those pre-emption claimants.

            The speculators, by the way, didn’t fare too well in certain cases.  They often borrowed money for their purchases and then ran into problems—for instance, delays caused by lack of roads and wars that prevented immigration of settlers.

            Speculators Robert Morris, John Nicholson, and James Greenleaf of the North American Land Co. of Philadelphia exceeded their acreage limits by using false names.  They bribed officials, overpriced shares, ultimately defaulted, and ended up, Haller writes, in the “infamous Prune Street Jail, a Philadelphia debtor prison.”

            Nicholson died in prison.  Morris spent 41 months there, was released thanks to a new bankruptcy law, and died five years later at age 72.  The two of them owed $3 million to 61 creditors.  Greenleaf got out of prison after a year, having declared bankruptcy.

            Meanwhile Candler, living in the area of his holdings, Haller states, moved “progressively down the French Broad (from present-day Transylvania County) with each stage of new acquisitions.”


Waightstill Avery


            “Eventually,” Haller reveals, “I learned that Waightstill Avery, Burke County’s top frontier lawyer, exceeded Zachariah Candler in his pursuit of acquiring early land grants.

            Avery, North Carolina’s first Attorney General, bought up 151 blocks in Burke and Buncombe Counties starting in 1778, and moved to his estate, Swan Ponds, west of Morganton, in 1781.

             Many of those tracts came into his hands while he was confined to a chair.  In 1801, he’d been thrown from a horse, shattering both legs in a way that could not heal sufficiently.

            He was 60 at the time.  His son, Isaac Thomas Avery, a teenager, came home from studying law to take care of his father and run the plantation.

            Retired from politics and courtroom law, Waightstill “continued to wear the colonial style of dress until his death,” the UNC Libraries webpage for the Avery Family papers notes.  Perhaps he dressed for work and meetings, as he was busy buying land around the Linville and Toe Rivers, where he had hopes of finding gold.


Listen up


            Educated at Princeton, after growing up in Connecticut, Avery made education one of the top causes in his career.  The part of the N.C. Constitution that established schools and teacher salaries in Nov. 1776 is said to have been in Avery’s handwriting, Edward Phifer Jr. states in his history of Burke County.

            He had children around him, four of own, mostly grown; five of his younger brother, Rev. Isaac Avery, who died in 1799; and later in life, grandchildren.

            His library was the largest in Western North Carolina, Governor David Swain said, according to Samuel A’Court Ashe’s “Biographical History of North Carolina.”

            British General Charles Cornwallis burned Avery’s Charlotte law office down in 1780.  Avery had been colonel of the militia of Jones County (north of Wilmington); and in 1775, participated in the writing of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, a precursor to the U.S. one.

            Eleven Connecticut Averys had died at the Battle of Fort Griswold in Groton at the hands of Benedict Arnold, Waightstill learned from his brother, Solomon, the great-grandfather of John D. Rockefeller.

            For 30 years, Waightstill bought thousands of acres of land around Grandfather Mountain, hoping in part to discover gold.  He sent his slaves, of which he had 24, to dig mines, Haller recounts.

            One of the most colorful stories is about his duel with Andrew Jackson.


False as hell


            In 1788, Avery was a 47-year-old lawyer with the oldest and largest practice in this region.  In Jonesborough, Tenn., he was opposed in a case by 21-year-old Andrew Jackson, who had just gotten his license and moved to Jonesborough the year before.

            According to sources consulted by John Allison for his 1897 book, “Dropped Stitches in Tennessee History,” Jackson was losing.

            Avery cited “Bacon’s Abridgement,” the top authority on modern English law, a copy of which, bound in buckskin, Avery always carried with him.  Jackson ridiculed Avery’s pet source, and Avery responded with a sarcastic remark about Jackson’s ignorance.

            “Jumping to his feet,” Allison relates, “he (Jackson) exclaimed, ‘I may not know as much law as there is in Bacon’s Abridgement, but I know enough not to take illegal fees.’”

            Apparently a new schedule of fees had been issued by the state, and Avery had taken two pounds instead of one pound six shillings.

            “It’s false as hell!” Avery hissed about the charge.

            Jackson tore a page out of a law book, wrote a challenge to a duel on it, and handed it to Avery.  Avery accepted.  Later, they shot their pistols into the air, as agreed.

            There’s another version of this story, funnier, and more of a credit to Jackson.

            In this account, Jackson had the upper hand in court.  Avery, surprisingly, had forgotten his green bag with “Bacon’s Abridgement” in it, and asked for a recess until the next day.

            Jackson took an opportunity to sneak into Avery’s room and substitute a book-sized slab of bacon, wrapped in buckskin, for the book.  When in court, Avery went to produce the book out of his bag, out tumbled the piece of bacon.  Amid the laughter, it was Avery who challenged Jackson to the duel.

            The versions of the tale varied with the geography of the teller, Allison had discovered.



Pushing the Indians Out: Early Movers & Shakers in Western North Carolina & The Tennessee Territory by Charles Haller (Money Tree Imprints trade paper, July 2014, 288 pages, $24.95).  The book includes authoritative appendices on the early land grant claimants, their descendants, and their grants.  It is available through Amazon.


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