Sunday, November 22, 2015

Old Needmore in Fall

Before I get to today's blog entry, I wanted to share an update on a previous entry. Shortly after posting last month's blog, I was able to get in touch with Larry Stallcup, who is a genealogist extraordinaire for the Stallcup family.  Larry informed me that the picture of Almarine Stallcup that I had located was actually only one half of a picture, and that the individual in the other half was in fact Pansy.  Furthermore, the picture had been taken on Pansy's wedding day.  I was thrilled that Larry generously shared it with me and allowed me to post it on the blog.  You may see the updated picture here.
And now onto this week's posting.
As Thanksgiving is right around the corner and thoughts of autumn seem to disappear the day afterward in favor of Christmas, I wanted to give fall one last salvo.  In October, my middle daughter and I took one of my favorite walks in the county - along the Little Tennessee River in the Needmore area.  In addition to its extraordinary physical beauty, this walk is extremely rich in human history that I have not yet explored in as great a depth as I would like to (but plan to).  This is essentially a photo essay but I will fit tidbits into captions as I am able.  I am indebted to Ed Ammons and David Dehart for sharing their historical knowledge of this beautiful place with me, so that I may pass it along to you.

The Little Tennessee River, viewed from the swinging bridge.

The swinging bridge, taken from the east side of the river.  Swain County resident Bill Burnett
grew up in a home that once stood adjacent to the bridge.

The road (beyond the gate) heading to the Burch McHan (1823-1895)/ (Doyle Hampton (1904 - 1977) place.

Sunlight shines through the fiery leaves of a sourwood tree.

One of several beautiful old fields along the road. 
The Doyle Hampton place sits slightly up the hill in the middle of this picture.

A hand-dovetailed log from a fallen outbuilding.

A bumblebee on one of the ubiquitous gentian plants blooming along the road. 

The chimney at the Doyle Hampton place, which remained standing until not many years ago.

The remains of an old barn at the Doyle Hampton place.

A grand old walnut marks a home site.

The tombstone of little Sarah Davis (01 June 1873 - 05 January 1874) in the original
Brush Creek Baptist Church cemetery.

Thistles in one of the old (still tended) fields along the road.

A rusted plow point harkens back to days when farmers plowed these fields with horses and mules and not tractors.

A maple leaf floats in the river.

A yucca marks an old home place near the confluence of Brush Creek and the river.

The Little Tennessee River, looking upstream. Ed Ammons shared with me a childhood recollection of crossing the river in an old flat-bottomed boat with a kerosene lantern on the way to a prayer meeting at Lon Dehart's.  His dog, Pooch, swam alongside.

For those who are interested, directions are as follows.  Turn left onto Needmore Road just before the junction of US19 (toward the Nantahala Gorge) and NC28 (toward Almond Boat Dock), and drive several miles.  After cresting the hill at the Maple Springs church, the road begins to head downhill toward the river and the parallels it for a way.  It then leaves the river for a brief distance then returns to parallel it.  Just before the road once again begins to head away from the river, you will see an old swinging bridge going across the river on the left.  Park in the small lot here, cross the bridge, and turn right to begin your walk.

I wish each of you a blessed Thanksgiving!


  1. This, in my opinion, is the best of all your efforts. Great content and super pictures!
    I suppose I am prejudiced since it is my real home you have featured here. But,being prejudiced doesn't necessitate being wrong.
    I can't understand why more people from Swain County and surrounding area don't seem interested in preserving Needmore. Many want to preserve the land as a playground for outsiders but few want to preserve the history of the little community that once thrived there. O, they say they do but make no effort to show it. They can't even take the time to read a few words, look at a few picture and type a little comment.
    My little website at is dedicated to Needmore but has only a handful of readers and fewer commenters. I don't really want either. I want participants and I feel that is also your goal. Even my own family say "I'll look at it when I have time." My reply is "You can read everything I ever wrote in 20 minutes and that allows for a 10 minute break in the middle." I have spent hours and days making silver coin rings for my sisters and their daughters yet they can't give five minutes once or twice a month. It breaks my heart. I want to yell "Wake Up People!" It seems the vast majority of people are so centered on themselves that they can't see where they have been or where they are going.
    I plan to put a link to this site in my own when I figure out how. If that's OK.
    If I haven't told you lately, I really appreciate and enjoy what you do and hope it will continue long after I am gone.

    1. Of course you can put a link, Ed!

      I love Needmore.....even loved it before I lived there! It is such a beautiful place and so rich in history. I will be doing more on it as I learn more. I am glad you love the pictures - I think that in many ways, photos can capture far more than words.

      I cannot express how much I appreciate your comments on here or via email every time I post. It is one of the key motivators for me to keep going, actually.

      You know, I subscribed to your blog quite a long time ago but I've not gotten any posts in my inbox - I'm going to adjust my spam filter to see if it's weeding those out so I can read and comment in real time. Thank you for reminding me of that.

  2. Thank you sharing this! My mother's roots were all over Needmore and it's such a special place to me that I've always wanted something from there to keep near me. So, a few years ago I picked up a piece of Needmore stone (found near the swinging bridge) and placed it in the wall around the waterfall my husband was building in our yard here in Haywood County.

    In June of this year, my cousin Clayton Davis and his wife Lovelle took my husband and me on a special journey around the Needmore area. Clayton grew up there and he knew all the family places that I had only heard about. The biggest thrill of all was when he showed me the old homesite of my great great great grandparents Johnny and Jane Roberts DeHart which was located on the banks of the Little Tennessee. Since Clayton's family had lived on the place about seventy five years ago, he was able to point out the shallow ford where Johnny started to cross the river early one cold January morning in 1834. Little Sarah, his twenty one month old daughter, ran out of the house after him, and before anyone could stop her, she had fallen into the cold water and drowned. It was a life-changing time for Johnny and became a devout follower of God. My heart has always been heavy when I've thought of that time, and it gave me a certain peace to see the place where she left this earth. Clayton and I had already located her little grave at the Maple Springs Cemetery earlier that morning, and we both had shed a few tears. Yes, I chose a small stone from the branch that ran into the river there at Johnny's homeplace, but I didn't add it to the wall around our waterfall. It rests on my dresser in a little metal heart-shaped box beside a picture of little Sarah's sister-in-law Martha Shepherd DeHart (my great great grandmother) and Sarah's nephew David Allen DeHart, son of Martha and her husband Martin, and the grandfather of my cousin Clayton. It never fails to amaze me how one life can reach out across nearly two centuries and touch the lives and emotions of a host of others.

    1. This is an absolutely wonderful story and great information! I have always wondered where John settled. I would love to meet you and your husband and Clayton and take the 'Needmore Tour'. I try very diligently to obtain information on the occupants of old home sites, as well as stories and pictures of the people to preserve them for posterity.

      As you are a Dehart descendant, you would likely enjoy reading about the Deharts' slave family that I wrote over a year ago. It is in 2 parts, and part 1 may be found at this link:

      Thank you so very much for reading, and I'll hope to hear from you in the near future!

  3. Hello, do you have any information on the DeHart Family ? Bryson City North Carolina
    Paula DeHart-Williams

  4. I don't know if you're still responding to this post, but I have a question regarding a small store that used to be located near the swinging bridge on Needmore back in the 20's. It was on the same side as the bridge. My mother was a Breedlove, born in 1924 on Panther Branch. She told me stories about the store and its' owner. I don't remember the last name, but I would really like to know more information on that family if anyone knows.

    1. My Parents bought a cabin on EH Bailey in the early 80's ( around the corner from the Breedloves and the Meat processing ) And I have always been curious about the Needmore settlement. I plan on doing allot of hiking while there in July.