Affiliated Networks



Latest Activity

Mark de Castrique posted an event

Malaprop's Bookstore at Malaprop's

November 9, 2015 from 7pm to 8pm
Presenting new Sam Blackman mystery A SPECTER OF JUSTICESee More
Rob Neufeld's discussion was featured

A Chronology of Asheville and WNC Events in History

                                   IMPORTANT DATES IN ASHEVILLE HISTORY                                                                 by Rob Neufeld 1000: The Cherokee, who’d introduced maize agriculture to the region, began cultivating beans. 1540: Hernando De Soto led troops to East Tennessee through either the Hickory Nut or Swannanoa Gap, finding gold and copper and inspiring a succession of Spanish miners. 1663: Charles II bestows territory between the 31st and 36th parallels in America…See More
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Root-diggers of Appalachia

People in the Lost Provinces were herb-gatherersby Rob NeufeldPHOTO CAPTION: Three herbal products offered by S.B. Penick’s, once the world’s largest herb distributor, its largest warehouse located in Asheville.             “Last week, during a research trip to the ‘Lost Provinces,’” Luke Manget said about the landscape…See More
Mark de Castrique posted a video

A Specter of Justice Preview

A Preview of the new Sam Blackman mystery to be released November 3, 2015
Rob Neufeld's discussion was featured

"Us versus Them" does not help fight against racism; worsens sectionalism

“Us versus them” is not good historyby Rob Neufeld             Writing about history and the complex lives that play out within it does not sell as well as team spirit, especially in this age of clicks and likes.            I recently confronted this truth when I wrote my article last week about the minds of our leaders in 1851. The word “slavery” was added to the headline to alert people to its relevance.  Seeing that term connected people to a cause they felt strongly about, particularly in…See More
Sep 27
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Player of Games and the Millennial Mind

Player of Games reveals today’s game-changing mentalityby Rob Neufeld             There is something big happening in Millennial Generation literature, and I thought I’d try to get a handle on it.            To give an idea of one aspect of current thinking: I was at a gathering recently, plenty of youngsters, and I…See More
Sep 27
Julia Nunnally Duncan posted an event

Julia Nunnally Duncan Book Signing at MACA Building

October 10, 2015 from 9am to 1pm
Julia Nunnally Duncan will sign her books at the McDowell Arts Council Association (MACA) Booth at the annual Mountain Glory Festival on Saturday, October 10 from 9-1.See More
Sep 22
City Lights Bookstore posted events
Sep 22
Ann Miller Woodford shared their photo on Facebook
Sep 21
Ann Miller Woodford posted a photo

Deacon Chrisenberry -Berry- Howell (1855-1938) on horseback. From the collection of Purel Miller (2)

My maternal great grandfather, Chrisenberry Howell, who was called "Berry" Howell in Swain County. From the Purel Miller collection. Submitted by Ann Miller Woodford
Sep 21
James D. Loy posted a blog post

The skull merchant, the dead ape, and the narcoleptic mortician

Hello "The Read on WNC" readers:     I'm posting this note to announce the publication of vol. 3 in my "Loy's Loonies" series.  This one is called The Mortician's Road Trip and it's a bit more of a mystery than my earlier books. Here's a teaser for the story.     Upstate New Yorker Baz Rathbone makes ends meet by selling human skulls. By contract, he should cremate them, but he doesn’t. His little business comes to the attention of the FBI when a woman spots her late husband’s skull being used…See More
Sep 20
City Lights Bookstore posted events
Sep 19
Rob Neufeld posted discussions
Sep 19
Ann Miller Woodford replied to Rob Neufeld's discussion Terra Incognita: An Annotated Bibliography of the Great Smoky Mountains
"That East Tennessee Christian Association of Friends comment, especially bothered me, but it clarifies the view some folks from outside the region have about us even to this day.   … average intelligence...below that of colored…"
Sep 8
Ann Miller Woodford updated their profile
Sep 8
Carol Anders posted an event

FREUD'S LAST SESSION by Mark St. Germain at All Souls Cathedral Parrish Hall / Biltmore Village

October 4, 2015 from 7pm to 9pm
It is a "sharp, lively discourse, and audience members searching for engaging debate will be pleased, St. Germain's script is astute, and the humor is plentiful."-NY Times. Sigmund Freud invites C. S. Lewis to his home in London  ...they clash about sex, love, the existence of God and the meaning of life - just weeks before Freud took his own life. This play reveals the minds, hearts and souls of two brilliant men.  Afterwards a time to "talk back" with The Very Rev. Todd Donatelli and Dr. Mary…See More
Sep 8

A rosette and a mountaintop recall a Civil War murder

by Rob Neufeld

See video.


Trip to the site


            The road to Noland Gap in Haywood County ascends 800 feet in a mile and a half, leading to a crest where Ultima Junaluska Development of Atlanta has recently constructed the subdivision, Avalon at Junaluska Highlands. 

            Here, the realtors’ website entices, you can experience “what ‘sitting on top of the world’ really means.”

            The landscape has changed.  Now, at the entrance to the new community, Signature Row Boulevard forks from Valhalla Cove to travel via the greenery of Tapestry Trail to Sleepy Hollow Drive, formerly connected only by a ridge along Utah Mountain.

Same place, generations ago

            In 1860, sitting on top of this world meant the families there could live and farm in peace, and, according to family lore, turn corn into liquor, which historically involved evading taxes imposed much more heavily on whiskey than on wine.

            That year saw the completion of the Cataloochee Turnpike, built by Jonathan Valley farmers to move livestock from East Tennessee and the Cataloochee area to eastern markets.

            The turnpike, Hattie Caldwell Davis notes in her book, “Cataloochee Valley,” was completed “just in time to be used by Teague’s Scouts” during the Civil War.

            “Captain Albert Teague of the Home Guards and his Scouts had been active in raids on the Union sympathizers, especially in the Big Bend section…where it was mostly prounion in sentiment in at least ten or twelve families.  Several of these were known as outliers.”

            The myth of Unionist sentiment in Western North Carolina stems from changes in loyalty late in the war, due to conscription and the course of the war; attempts to get federal benefits during Reconstruction; and one erroneous, much-quoted source (“Knocking at the Door” by Alexander Hamilton Jones).

            However, if there was one region where Unionism was strong, it was along the Tennessee-North Carolina border, a battleground for loyalty and east-west supply routes.

Cold Mountain fear

            When, in 1862, the Confederacy enacted conscription, draft-dodgers hid in caves, supplied by their women.  Teague’s men followed the women to the lairs and, in one famous incident, found and shot three men, “George and Henry Grooms and a simple-minded man named Mitchell Caldwell,” an article in the Fall 2007 issue of “Great Smoky Mountains Colloquy” stated.

            Before being executed, Henry played “Bonaparte’s Retreat” on his fiddle.  (Clark Medford said, in his 1961 “The Early History of Haywood County,” that it was Anderson Grooms, not Henry, who was present.  Some accounts say the fiddler was the dim-witted one.) 

            The story made it into Charles Frazier’s novel, “Cold Mountain,” with the location moved, and the names Grooms and Caldwell changed to Stobrod and Prangle.

Remembeing the shot sheriff

            Now, we are back at the entrance to Avalon, Jan. 24, 2013.  Lynn Noland, a Haywood County attorney, has brought family members and local lawmen together to transfer a framed rosette to Bobby Suttles, the Sheriff of Haywood County.

            Noland had received the rosette from Chuck Jenkins of Rockport, Washington, who revealed it had belonged to his great-grandfather, John Phillip Noland, Sheriff of Haywood County, who’d been murdered on September 22, 1862 when he’d followed JoAnn Robinson up what is now Breckenridge Road from the old county jail, where she’d been visiting her husband, Bud, arrested for draft evasion.

            John Franklin, a Robinson neighbor, was the sheriff’s target.

            “Sheriff Noland was attired in a black hat, long black frock coat, black trousers, a white shirt, and a black “string” or “bow tie,’” Lynn writes in his family history.

            “On his left lapel he wore a crimson fabric ‘rosette’ as his badge of office.  The original official sheriff’s badge had been donated for its metal in furtherance of the Confederate war effort.”

            As JoAnn Robinson neared the crest of the ridge, she gave a pre-arranged signal to her kin, hiding in the laurels, Lynn relates, having heard the story from both Jenkins and Lourena Troutman, granddaughter of Phillip Noland, in 1982.

           “The words from the old hymn, ‘How Firm a Foundation,’ floated through the clear mountain air…A heavy lead ball struck Philip Noland in the throat, knocking him from his horse.  He died there in the high ridge gap that now bears his name.”

Guilty go free, and othe legacies

            The county arrested James H. Franklin as one of the outliers who caused Noland’s death, and sentenced him to death in a week devoted entirely to capital offenses in mid-October, 1862.  There is no record of the sentence being carried out.

            Several Robinsons, including Bud and JoAnn, fled west.  Some family members changed their name to Roberson to distinguish themselves from the assassins.  In 1868, the Union Army dropped charges against the Unionist killers.

            Noland family members continue to live in the Rogers Cove and Jonathan Creek areas. 

            Lindon Nichols, Philip’s great-grandson, worked for many years installing septic tanks and water lines for developers, sometimes having to park a bulldozer in front of his backhoe to avoid slipping downhill as he dug into the stony soil, which offered little dirt for fill.

            A four-time-great-grandson of Philip Noland tells about his love for fishing and how now he is sometimes picked up by police for trespassing on streams he’d used to fish unbothered.

            Lynn Noland relates how, in staging the ceremony on Noland Gap, he is fulfilling Jenkins' wish  to  honor the “memory of all Haywood County law enforcement officers who have given their lives in the line of duty.” 



See a video of the pilgrimage and ceremony.


Family members and lawmen gather at the spot where Sheriff Philip Noland had been shot and killed in 1862.  Lynn Noland is holding the framed rosette; Lindon Nichols holds a portrait of Philip; and Sheriff Suttles is to Nichols’ left.


Sheriff Philip Noland, photo courtesy Lynn Noland.

Views: 314

Reply to This

© 2015   Created by Rob Neufeld.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service