Haywood’s ‘hidden history’: Monument to Waynesville lynching victim could prove controversial

Almost 120 years ago, local newspapers reported two separate instances of attempted rape in Haywood County. 

Similarities between the two cases are many. Both victims were young girls under the age of 11, both alleged perpetrators were grown men, both knew their victims, both were apprehended and both were immediately jailed. 

Jennie Churchill was anything but a prude

Mrs. Patrick Campbell, famed Victorian actress, was renowned for her sharp wit. On hearing about a sexual relationship between two contemporaries, she supposedly remarked, “My dear, I don’t care what they do, so long as they don’t do it in the street and frighten the horses.”

African-American history at Sunburst oft overlooked

In a county as old as Haywood, there exist all manner of half-remembered places and faces long gone from the physical world yet immortalized through penciled notes on the backs of dog-eared, sepia-toned photographs.

Sunburst, in southeastern Haywood County, is one of those places; the subject of intense historical research, it’s been documented better than most ghosts of Haywood past, but the story of Sunburst has always been short one chapter. 

Junaluska’s story as told through historians

Editor’s note: This column first appeared in a February 2002 edition of The Smoky Mountain News.

Every reader of this column has heard of the person known as Junaluska. But what do you really know about him?  What is his true significance? I decided to look into the matter. Here’s what I found. The sources I primarily depended upon for this account are cited below. 

Sunburst — a short history

It was a struggle from the start — getting in, getting people and supplies up and getting the lumber down — but the mostly-forgotten century-old logging camp now hidden beneath the placid waters of Lake Logan in southeastern Haywood County still casts a long shadow on the area and its inhabitants. 

Bethel Rural Community Organization works to preserve the past

After nearly 245 years, Haywood County’s Bethel community remains just a small part of a relatively small county, but the impact the Bethel Rural Community Organization’s had on the area in the last 17 years has been anything but. 

We are but a moment’s sunlight, fading in the grass

I was born in the wrong decade. 

Or so I often hear from others. Some are musicians or artists, dreamers or history buffs, movers and shakers. Heck, I’ve even felt that sentiment above on many occasions, especially when I was a kid. 

Walking in Her Steps: Macon County to unveil Women’s History Trail

The multifaceted roles women have played in society are often overlooking in the history books, but if you dig deep enough you’ll find their behind-the-scenes work was meaningful and ahead of its time — even here in Western North Carolina. 

Cherokee from the heart: Beloved Woman reflects on a wandering life rooted in Cherokee language

If anyone ever had an excuse to leave her hometown and never return, it would be Myrtle Driver Johnson. 

Born May 21, 1944, to a mother who didn’t want her, Johnson had a hard upbringing in the Big Cove community of the Qualla Boundary. While her younger siblings — one brother and four sisters — lived with her mother and their father, Johnson, who never knew which of two men her father was, was sent to live with her grandparents. 

‘Ironfoot,’ the hermit of Island Park

Editor’s note: This column first appeared in a September 2014 issue of The Smoky Mountain News.

I generally enjoy working in my office, which is situated off the town square in Bryson City. But I find that it’s sometimes worthwhile to get away, if only for a few minutes. Just shut down the computer, turn out the lights, lock the door, and take a walk. Get away, as they say, from it all.

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