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Ron Cooper replied to Rob Neufeld's discussion Something Rich and Strange by Ron Rash
"Terrific review and interview, Rob. Glad to see that Ron had full control over this collection. All of his work deserves to be read and re-read."
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Kathryn Stripling Byer updated their profile
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Lawrence Thackston posted a blog post

The Devil Returns!

Very excited to announce to my friends here at The Read on WNC that my publisher, Holladay House Publishing, will be re-releasing The Devil's Courthouse this summer. We are having a release celebration at Bearmeat's Indian Den in Cherokee, NC on Saturday, June 6, from 11 to 4. If you are in the area, please come out and help us celebrate! And we will be visiting bookstores across the WNC throughout the coming months!See More
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Sally Johnson posted an event

Book Launch: John E. Batchelor to Sign and Celebrate Newest Cookbook CHEFS OF THE COAST at Scuppernong Books

June 2, 2015 from 7pm to 9pm
Help John F. Blair, Publisher, and food critic/restaurant reviewer John E. Batchelor celebrate the launch of his newest book, CHEFS OF THE COAST. There will be light refreshments and an opportunity to have your book signed by the author. The event, which starts at 7:00 PM, will be at Scuppernong Books.  For more information about CHEFS OF THE COAST please visit…See More
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eston e. roberts posted a blog post

Metamorphosos: A Proposed Path to Independent Living

Eston Roberts announces publication of Metamorphosos: A Proposed Path to Independent Living--a re-definition and application of metaphor.See More
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Tuesday
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Steve Inskeep on Andrew Jackson and Cherokees--May 31 and June 1, 2015

Steve Inskeep, NPR Journalist, To Talk about Jacksonland at Cherokee Museumfrom press releaseSteve Inskeep will be speaking at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian about his new book, JACKSONLAND: President Andrew Jackson, Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab.  The event begins at 2 pm Sunday May 31 at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian at 589 Tsali Boulevard in Cherokee, North Carolina. The event is open to the public free of charge.   The author will talk, discuss, and sign books,…See More
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Contemplative Photography Companion for the Journey Home at City Lights Bookstore

June 6, 2015 from 3pm to 4:30pm
Asheville author Tina FireWolf will visit City Lights Bookstore on Saturday, June 6th at 3 p.m. to present her book, Beneath the Chatter.  Tina FireWolf will ignite your fire! Join her to hear how a 3 ft. tall corn plant was the sign to go on an adventure to write her book! She will share her personal story and tales from her book that illuminate  life lessons and help ignite us into Everyday Enlightenment. You will leave with a light heart and wider eyes to the world around you. Beneath the…See More
May 23
Jenny Bowen replied to Rob Neufeld's discussion Battle of Asheville, Apr. 6, 1865
"The 4-5 prisoners taken at the tanyard were colored union soldiers under Gen. Davis Tillson.  They were drum-court-martialed for assaulting an old man and woman and raping a young white woman who was the niece of the couple down near Flat…"
May 21
City Lights Bookstore posted events
May 20

How the New Year’s bells rang and tolled

by Rob Neufeld

 

            On Jan. 1, 1890, the new Swannanoa Country Club—an outgrowth of the Swannanoa Hunt Club—hosted a fancy ball in the old Battery Park Hotel, which had occupied, since 1887, a hill that had sloped down to present-day Wall Street.

             The hunt club had once started their fox hunts on the hill, before barbed wire had become a boundary feature.

            Edwin Wiley Grove razed the hotel and graded the hill in 1923 to remake that end of the city into a retail district, starring the Grove Arcade.

            In later years, youths roved the passages linking the Arcade to Patton Ave. playing the street game, fox-and-hounds.

            Another of Asheville’s major landscape-changers, George Willis Pack, used the New Year, in 1901, to announce his donation of land to the county for a new courthouse—a Romanesque behemoth, now gone.  It came with a mandatory public park.

            The city was ecstatic.  “We salute George W, Pack!” the Asheville Citizen proclaimed.  Public Square was renamed Pack Square; and the library, Pack Memorial.

            Funds finally flowed for the Housing Authority of the City of Asheville at the start of 1949, after a long delay caused by military spending priorities. The Authority’s first project, Lee Walker Heights, tucked behind Southside Ave., was intended for veterans.

            Eighteen years later, the vision proved to be troubled, as families fought ghetto conditions—drugs, crime, landlord neglect, and exploitation.  Residents banded together with those from Hillcrest to stage one of the most notable Civil Rights actions in Asheville history, the rent strike of 1967.

            President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, declaring all slaves in rebellious states free.  Most African Americans who intended to leave would wait until the Federal Army occupied their regions at the end of the Civil War.

            On Jan. 1, 1837, John Ridge and other Cherokees left their homeland before the Federal troops arrived.   The members of the Treaty Party—those who had agreed, at New Echota on Dec. 29, 1835 to resettle out west—did not wait for the round-up and forced march that has become known as the “Trail of Tears.”

            New Year’s Day evicted patients and staff from Biltmore Hospital (formerly the Clarence Barker Memorial Hospital) in 1921 when fire consumed the main building.

The wings survived, and became nurses’ quarters.  A new hospital was constructed in 1929, and merged with Mission Hospital in 1947, before closing in 1951.  (Mission merged with St. Joseph’s on Jan. 1, 1996, by the way.)

            There may have been a child or two who gave their parents New Year’s greetings in the original Biltmore Hospital’s obstetrics ward, 1919-1920, but their names and lives go untold on this page.

            We do know that to Caroline Lane and Jesse Swain was born in Beaverdam (now part of Asheville) on Jan. 4, 1801 a boy named David Lowry Swain.  He was Caroline’s youngest child by a second marriage (her first husband had died in an Indian raid), and her 11th in all.

            David, named after his mother’s first husband, would become a state legislator at age 23; and Governor at 31.  For 32 years, he would serve as President of the University at Chapel Hill, resigning when Reconstruction politicians took over.  He wrote an eight-volume history of the “British Invasion of North Carolina in 1776.”

            Not long after the “British invasion,” and American victory, Daniel Smith, father of Swain’s friend, James McConnell Smith, went with William Davidson from Old Fort to the Swannanoa Valley to avenge the murder of William’s brother, Samuel, by Indians.  Samuel had crossed the Blue Ridge with his family before the land had been ceded to the U.S. by treaty.  Daniel, a noted “Indian killer,” carried a rifle he named “Long Tom,” which the Smith-McDowell House Museum owns.

            James McConnell Smith was born in a log cabin on the Swannanoa on “January 7, 1794,” F.A. Sondley writes in his “History of Buncombe County” (1930), “the first white child born in North Carolina west of the Blue Ridge.”

            The oft-quoted “first white child” fact has been disputed.  The birthdate, at any rate, is wrong.  June 14, 1787 is the date that the Smith-McDowell House and genealogists give for James’ advent.  Smith’s wife, Mary “Polly” Patton, was the one born on January 7—in the year 1794.  The Patton and Smith families were related by marriage, business, and government service.

 

PHOTO CAPTION

The old Battery Park Hotel built in 1887 by Col. Frank Coxe kicked off the year 1890 with a Hunt Club party.

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