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Easton (N.H.).

Summer resorts and points of interest of Virginia, western North Carolina, and north Georgia online

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This is called the " W," as the diagram of the road resembles that letter. The
" Cold Spring," half way up the mountain, under the shade of lofty trees and bursting
out from among the rocks, is the dinner and resting-place where thousands of people
have spent a delightful hour in their ascent of the mountain. Near by this refreshing
spot is an orchard of locust trees, which have clean trunks without a limb for sixty
feet, and are crowned on their tops with the richest foliage. It is what is called the
black or greasy locust, because of its dark color and a juice that exudes from it. The
posts of this tree will last a century in the ground, as old land-stakes and fences and
posts testify. These trees are numerous here and shipbuilders, in centuries to come,
will be getting locust nails from this glorious old mountain.

From every little ravine and from every ledge of rocks there bursts out a little
stream or bubbles up a tiny spring, and along the whole way the Wah-yah creek is
falling in cascades, pouring in cataracts and rushing in torrents by your side, and
where it bursts out of the mountain gorge and tumbles over the rocks and dashes
into spray, it forms the " Bridal Veil," a name so suggestive and true that the reader
can picture the sight.

Near the gap from the pike can be seen, on the bold face of the mountain
immediately under this pinnacle, the mouth of a large tunnel, and if the sun be shin-
ing in opposition to it, myriads of pieces of mica will be reflecting the rays and daz-



90 SUMMER RESORTS.

zling your eyes and shining in brilliant splendor upon you. This is a mica mine, and
it is so high and, seemingly, so inaccessible that one can hardly believe that even the
avarice and cupidity of man would goad him to such a hazardous venture as this.
Even the wild beasts never tread this dangerous, narrow and precipitous route. If
one false step were made, as the miner creeps along this narrow path and among
the shelving rocks, he would fall thousands of feet before he was dashed to atoms in
the dark chasm below. But what will not man do to gain the " almighty dollar ? "
The riddle has never been answered. At the foot of the Nantehaleh, on the pike, is
Aquone, the Indian word for rest, peace, quietude. Alexander Munday, a kind-
hearted, hospitable man, keeps a country tavern here, and it is indeed a place of rest.
The soft breezes that spring from the mountain caves are wafted down the river, and
make seolian music through the lofty spruces and dark hemlocks which shade the
green sward around the house, and the inclination to rest and sleep is so sweet that
it is seldom resisted. No one appreciates the sweetness of rest and peace until he
has fallen asleep at midday in some calm, sequestered spot under the shadow of the
old Nantehaleh and reveled in the phantasies of dreamland which floats around him-
It is one region over which the trail of the serpent has not yet passed.

We would fain rest here and enjoy its delightful repose, but there are other
things to see and other places to explore.

We must return to Swain county, situated on both sides of the Tuckaseege and
lying under the dark shadows of the Unaka mountains.

The magnificent timbers of this county are bringing purchasers here from all
parts of the country, and copper, silver and nickel have been found in its mines. Its
valleys are fertile and the mountains rich and well adapted to stock raising and sheep
husbandry. The Tennessee and Tuckaseege both flow through it and water power
is unlimited. There are many mountain fastnesses here where the foot of man never
penetrates.

DE HARTS SPRINGS
are situated in this county on the Tennessee river. These singular medicinal waters
have been visited as a " Fo;is Vitce " by the inhabitants of this mountain re,gion for
years. They have had the privilege of building cabins there and using the waters,
and they come from great distances, not for pleasure, but at great inconvenience, to
be healed of their maladies.

The springs have been purchased by a northern capitalist, and I learn, will be
improved and opened to the public as soon as the railroad reaches that point.

Between the mouth of the Nantehaleh and the confluence of the Little Tennessee
and Tuckaseege rivers, there is a tunnel of five hundred feet, and the bed of the road
along the Little Tennessee is one of wild, rugged grandeur, almost awful, with its
towering peaks, huge rocks and steep walls that shut out the world from view.

THE NANTEHALEH,

which we ascend from the Little Tennessee, is a poetic stream. Its name is derived
from the deep hidden track which it follows among the narrow defiles of the Nant-



HOWTOREACHTHEM. 91

ehaleh and Valley river mountains. The sun seldom shines on its waters except at
" hia;-h noon," and the Indians say that Nantehaleh means " meridian " river, from that
circumstance ; while others say that its narrow passage through the swelling prom-
ontories of the Nantehaleh and Valley river mountains caused it to have the name,
indicating the hidden valley between a maiden's breasts. The reader may choose
either of these poetic ideas, according to his fancy.

There are more brook trout in this stream than any other on the line of the rail-
road, and there are more sportsmen who visit it than any other.

Nine miles from the mouth of the Nantehaleh the railroad track leaves that
stream, and for three miles is excavated through ridges, and spans deep ravines until
it reaches the

RED MARBLE GAP,

of the Valley River Mountain, 2,686 feet high, where it passes over into Cherokee,
the extreme western county of the State.

The marble in this gap is flesh colored, and capable of receiving the highest
polish. The quantity is unlimited. Great boulders and ledges of it protrude from
the surface of the ground and through the gap. A cube-shaped block, about two
feet square, was taken out and exhibited at the recent Boston Exposition.

This marble is now attracting much attention, and will, doubtless, be quarried in
great quantities for ornamental purposes.

From Marble Gap the track of the road is down the smaller streams to the river
below, some ten miles.

The Indian name for Valley river was " Conohite," meaning " long," the accent
given on the last syllable, as it is almost invariably in all Indian words.

The Indians call Captain James Cooper, one of the cleverest fellows on the
Valley river, " Jim Conohite," on account of his height and slimness.

As we descend the " Conohite " river we have the Tusquittah mountain on our
left, 5,314 feet high at its maximum. Its name indicates " sharp," and was suggested
by the narrowness of the ridge of these mountains. The tourist who sees it will
appreciate the name. From this mountain there are many notable views, which
induce persons to climb up its rugged steeps. On the left of the valley is the
" Cheowah " mountain, attaining an altitude of 4,996 feet. The meaning of this name
in the Indian language is " many otters," on account of the great numbers of these
animals which inhabited it. The Indians would express this idea by pronouncing the
word " cheowah " (otter) and then looking about and stretching out their hands as if
calling your attention to a number of these animals in your presence. This is the
motion they add to make a singular noun plural.

The most of the Cherokee tribe live on the north slope of the Cheowah and near
Quallah (a corruption of Polly) town in Swain county. If the tourist has a fancy to
know more about their history, characteristics, manners and customs, he can get all
the information he wants from Captain James W. Terrell, of Webster, in Jackson
county, who is a very intelligent and companionable gentleman, and who has long



92 SUMMER RESORTS,

traded with these people and been their constant friend. The grave of Janaluski, a
heroic brave, who was with " Old Hickory " at the battle of the Horseshoe, on the
Tallapoosa river in 1814, is situated very near Robbinsville, in Graham county,
thirteen miles north of the railroad.

A lovely, clear, rapid mountain stream, coursing down the Valley river moun-
tain along the turnpike, bears the name of " Janaluski " creek, and flows " mingling
with his fame forever." It is a just tribute of the white man to the noble brave
who was ever his faithful and devoted friend.

The State acknowledged his services by a special grant of land to Janaluski in
his lifetime.

The Cherokees have many of the peculiarities of their ancestors. V'ery few of
them will learn the English language ; they are afraid if they do they will lose the
use of their own ; consequently, not twenty-tive, perhaps, of the whole eleven hundred
can act as a "lincester " (a corruption of " linguist ") or interpreter for the whites.

They refuse to marry according to the customs and laws of the whites. They
contract marriages among themselves, " not for better or worse, so long as they both
do live," but as long as they can agree and love one another. When this cohesive
power ceases, they separate and enter into new alliances.

A majority of them are nominally Christians in faith, and a few are practical
and pious Christians ; there are many, though, who are as unbelieving as their savage
progenitors.

They are peaceable and quiet, and they are seldom mixed with white blood.
Most of them are stupid and stolid and incredulous. They have been so often
cheated and robbed that they are suspicious of every one. There is little to hunt in
this section, and they subsist on small farms owned in common by the tribe. They
dress like the whites, except that most of them wear moccasins. They are industri-
ous laborers, and have done a great deal of work for the railroad company. They
are desirable laborers because they seldom talk. Joe Jefferson would study their
character with interest on account of their likeness to the ghosts of the Catskills.
It is suggestive of his observation " vat gude vives they would make." The anti-
quarian and the ethnologist can have a wide field for exploration in this unknown
section when facilities for travel are completed.

Near Franklin, in Macon county, and in the low lands of the Little Tennessee, is
a large tumulus or mound, in shape like a truncated cone, with a base diameter of
sixty or seventy feet, and a height of thirty feet, from which some very curious relics
of antiquity have been unearthed. And very near the railroad tracks, fifteen miles
west of Red Marble Gap, on the bank of the Valley river, is another of the mysterious
landmarks of a nation passed away " without a sign," leaving neither language nor
symbol, to make a history or generate a tradition.

All is conjecture and surmise with regard to this prehistoric race. Bones, beads,
and pottery are found buried in the rich loam out of which these tumuli are con-
structed, but the skeletons are most probably the remains of succeeding nations of



HOWTOREACHTHEM. 93

Indians, who drove out the first settlers and utilized these prominent monuments as
resting places for their ambitious and distinguished dead.

Many ancient relics, such as pipes, axes, bowls, earthen vessels and the like, be-
longmg to a stone age of these ancient people, are found in this section, and eagerly
purchased by tourists and collectors of the curious.

But we must discourse more of practical things, for this is what brings railroads
and capital here.

Mrs. Walker's, at the head of the Valley river, has long been noted as the famous
wayside inn of this region. It is seventeen miles east of Murphy, and at the head of
the magnificent valley of the river below. It is in a good neighborhood where the
traveler can always find friends, food and shelter. A beautiful creek is close by and
runs through the lovely farm of Dr. R. C. Washburn, a hospitable and generous
gentleman, who will be glad to give useful information about this country. As we
descend the river, the bottoms widen out to more than a mile in width ; they have
been cultivated by the Indians first, and then the white man, for a century or more,
and are still capable of yielding fifty to sixty bushels of Indian corn to the acre. And
the lowlands below extend the whole seventeen miles to Murphy. There is land here
that is unsurpassed in fertility by any other, and enough of it in these seventeen miles
to support twenty times the population that now resides upon it, and with the im-
provement of agriculture even this proportion could be doubled. The great curse of
this valley is that it is held in large bodies by men who are not inclined to sell and
never improve it ; but the tide of immigration will soon force these magnificent farms
into market, and thrifty and enterprising farmers will ere long make it a land of
Goshen, "flowing with milk and honey," and rich in butter and cheese, and made
alive with horses and sheep and cattle that can be fed in the meadows below and
in the mountain ranges above. In the neighborhood of MurpLy there is almost
every variety and color of

MARBLE.
T HAVE seen polished specimens in Prof. Smith's collection, ranging from coal-
black to pure white — variegated by seams, stripes and segments of every color
— and I have seen it with plaid stripes upon it running at right angles to each other.
Some of it looks like the most artistic mosaic work, and is wonderfully adapted for
columns, capitals, facings, mantels, and other ornamental works about costly build-
ings.

The white marble is so plentiful and convenient and so easily split out from the
quarries, that many of the chimneys in Murphy are built of it, because it is cheaper
than brick ; and the curbstones of the pavements are of the same material.

Gold abounds on Valley river, and the mines have been worked profitably for
many years. Copper ore has been discovered of the finest quality. And there are
iron ores of the best qualities found in great abundance — in fact almost every valuable
mineral can be found in Cherokee county, in more or less abundance.

The town of Murphy is most picturesquely situated in the fork of the Hiwassee
and Konahetah rivers, and on the gentle declining ridge of the mountain which separ-
ates their flow.



94 SUMMER RESORTS,

The North Georgia Railroad, running up from Marietta, is partially graded to
Murphy ; and the probabilities are that it will be ironed in the next twelve months.
With this road, and the Western North Carolina Railroad meeting at this point,
this beautiful and healthful site for a town will soon bring wealth and population to
its limits, and like Asheville, it will grow so rapidly that its native citizens will soon
be swallowed up in the tide of progress and improvement.

It is difificult to imagine what could be added to the natural advantages of
Murphy, to make it more inviting to those seeking a beautiful home, or health, rest
and peace.

Just across the Hiwassee river, and a pleasant stroll from the village, the traveler
can find Prof. Charles Beall, a cultivated gentleman who collected much of the mate-
rial exhibited from North Carolina at the Boston Exposition. He is a fine botanist,
an intelligent mineralogist, and has a valuable and interesting cabinet of ores, min-
erals, gems, flowers, ferns, and other interesting curiosities gathered from this part
of the State.

The Hiwassee is stocked with a variety of splendid fishes.

The salmon, weighing as much as twenty pounds, and red horse, weighing ten
pounds, are caught at Murphy.

The reader has now traversed this sublime mountain region, and if his heart has
not swelled with bigger emotions, and his mind expanded with grander thoughts, and
his body become strengthened and invigorated, then, indeed, nothing that is great and
wonderful, that is high and mighty, that is pure and salubrious and healthful, can
impress him. A soul which is not inspired by a sight of the lofty mountains which
God has exerted his mighty power to create, is too dead for a living world, too dark
to be trusted by living man.

The Western North Carolina Railroad, when completed, will be a grand triumph
of engineering skill. Its successful completion, after all its adversities and obstruc-
tions, its varied experiences in the murky billows of politics, the opposition of
enemies, and the rivalry of competitors, the pecuniary difiRculties under which it has
labored, and the dangers with which it has been surrounded, is a cause of just pride,
not only to those who have been instrumental in aiding this stupendous undertaking,
whether in field, in finance, or in the hall of legislation, but also to the people of the
entire State, without regard to locality or party.



HOW TO REACH THEM.



95



Heights of Mountains in North Carolina, Above Sea-level,
near the western north carolina railroad.



Mitchell's Peak 6,709 I Hairy Bear. .

Balsam Cone 6,671 j Cat-tail Peak



FEET.

6,610
6,611



These are the highest on the Black Mountain (main chain), and
ARE in Yancey County.



feet.

Roan Mountain, Mitchell Co. . . 6,306

Big Craggy 6,090

Table Rock, Burke Co 3,918

Hawks' Bill, " 4,090

Amos Piatt's Balsam, Haywood

Co 6,278

Brother Piatt, Haywood Co 6,246

Jones' Balsam, " .... 6,223

Rocky Face, " 6,031

Rock Stand Knob, " 6,002

Richland Balsam, " .... 6,425

Chimney Peak 6,234

Great Pisgah 5,757

Cowee Ledge, Macon Co 4.402



feet.

Chimney Top, Macon Co 4.563

Scaly Mountain, " 4.835

Nona Mountain, " 5.542

Wayah Peak of Nantehaleh,

Macon Co 5.494

Nantehaleh Gap, Macon Co 4.158

Tusquittah Mountain, Cherokee

Co 5,314

Konahetah, Cherokee Co 4.493

Valley River Gap, Cherokee Co . . 3,564

Red Marble Gap, " . . 2,686

Chunky Gal, Clay Co 4,986

Cheowah Maximum, Graham Co. 4,996

Pinnade of Linnville 2,860



HEIGHTS OF Prominent Places, Above Sea-level,



FEET.

Salisbury 760

Statesville 940

Morganton 1.140

Marion 1,425

Point Tunnel (first tunnel) 1,622

Swannanoa Gap 2,657

Svvannanoa Tunnel 2,510

Mouth of Swannanoa 1.977

Asheville 2,250

Marshall 1,684

Warm Springs 1.325

Paint Rock 1,264

Alexander's Bridge 1,796

Waynesville 2,756

Balsam Gap Railroad Pass 3,411



FEET.

Mouth of Scott's Creek 1.977

Webster, C. H., Jackson Co 2,203

Franklin, C. H., Macon Co 2,141

Munday's Aquone on Nantehaleh 2,931

Qualla Town i,979

Lenoir, Caldwell Co 1,185

Rabun Gap 2,168

Tennesee River, near Franklin . . 2,020
Tennesee River, at mouth of

Alurka 1,596

Tennesee River, at State Line. . . 1,114

Murphy, C. H., Cherokee Co. . . . 1,614

Mouth of Valley River 1,514

Valley Town, Mrs. Walkers .... 1,911

Sherville, Cheowah River 2,072



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Online LibraryEaston (N.H.)Summer resorts and points of interest of Virginia, western North Carolina, and north Georgia → online text (page 10 of 11)