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Our History

How it all began

A History of the Formation and Incorporation of the Town of Brevard

Based on North Carolina General Assembly Records and Proceedings and the Minute Docket of the Court of Pleas and Quarters of Transylvania County.

… to select and determine upon a site for a permanent seat of justice in said county, who shall locate the same at such place as they may think best and most convenient to a majority of the citizens of said county, which site shall be called Brevard, and shall be located within five miles of W. P. Poor’s store, … . Senator Marcus Erwin appointed James L. Sinyard, Joshua Bryant, George Orr, F. W. Johnstone, Joseph Hamilton of Transylvania County and A. Henry of Henderson County as commissioners to accomplish that task in the act supplemental to the act passed and ratified by the North Carolina General Assembly on February 15, 1861 forming Transylvania County. Erwin authorized the commissioners to purchase, or receive by donation, a tract of land of not less than fifty acres for the new county seat, the title of the land to be made to the Chairman of the Court of Pleas and Quarters of the county.

 

Erwin also ordered that the commissioners meet and select the location for the town

… at some day between the tenth of May and the tenth of June next (1861) … and that they had full authority to make the selection.

Also, James Killian, W. P. Poor and Charles Patton were … appointed commissioners to lay off the lots of said town, and after designating such as shall be retained for public use, … the rest could be made available for public sale. These three men were later elected as Justices of the Court of Pleas and Quarters for Transylvania County, with Killian as chairman.

A note written on the plat for the Town of Brevard that was subsequently drawn indicates that Commissioners Sinyard, Bryant, Orr, Johnstone, Hamilton and Henry met on May 28, 1861 and made their selection for the location of the town. That same plat indicates that they chose to locate the town along the ridge east of W. P. Poor’s store (currently the Red House Inn), mostly on the south side of that ridge. The Commissioner from Henderson County, A. (Alec) Henry, was the surveyor for Henderson County. Presumedly, Erwin had appointed him to assist the newly formed county in getting started, until they could elect their own surveyor. T. G. Henson was elected surveyor during the first session of Transylvania’s Court of Pleas and Quarters on May 20, 1861.

Then, on June 8, 1861, a deed was written … between L. S. Gash, B. C. Lankford and Alexander England of the first part … and James W. Killian, Chairman of the Court of please (Pleas) and quarters for Transylvania County of the second part … in consideration of the sum of one dollar to them in hand paid by the said James W. Killian, Chairman … that the lands herein after described and hereby conveyed is to and shall be used as are for a Town site … Beginning on a stake on the East side of a hill East of W. P. Poor’s house … to the Beginning Containing fifty acres … . Thus, the location had been made and the land obtained for the Town of Brevard, the county seat of Transylvania County.

This deed was proven and ordered to be recorded by George Orr, Clerk of the County Court, on August 26, 1861.

Alec Henry apparently did the survey for the Town of Brevard, because he was awarded $600 for his services to locate the town during the August, 1861 term of the Court of Pleas and Quarters. The other commissioners were awarded one dollar or one dollar and a half per day for their services. During this same session of the Court, the commissioners appointed to lay off the town lots were awarded $15 each for their services. That work had apparently been completed by then also.

As instructed in their appointment, the commissioners for town lots left a square in the center of the plat of the town for public use. There were eight small lots laid off within this square and seventy larger lots, among a street system. The primary streets laid off were Main Street running east and west and Broad Street running south out town. The other east-west named streets were Poor (now Probart), Jordan and Morgan. The north-south streets were England, Caldwell, Gaston, Johnstone (now Johnson) and Rice.

A copy of the plat for the Town of Brevard traced from an original map by William Leonard in 1959 is attached. Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library.

Representative James W. Clayton of Transylvania County introduced a bill, “An Act to Incorporate the Town of Brevard,” before the House Of Representatives (note the change from House of Commons) on July 10, 1868 during the July – August, 1868 session of the North Carolina General Assembly. This bill (House Bill 18) passed the House that day and was sent to the Senate, where it was passed by a vote of 31 yeas – 0 nays on July 18, 1868. The Town of Brevard was officially incorporated by the ratification of that act on July 21, 1868.

Transcriptions of all the North Carolina General Assembly records and proceedings found in this investigation and the minutes of the first Court of Pleas and Quarters for Transylvania County are presented below. Copies of all the original documents, state and county, and proceedings of the General Assembly have been placed in the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room of the Transylvania County Library.

1860 – 1861 Session of the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina

An Act Supplemental to an Act Passed at the Current Session of the General Assembly Laying Off and Establishing the County of Transylvania

Deed for Land – Town of Brevard

State of North Carolina
Transylvania County

This indenture made this 8 th day of June A.D. one thousand eight hundred and sixty one between L. S. Gash B. C. Lankford and Alexander England of the first part . And James W. Killian Chairman of the Court of please (pleas) and quarters for Transylvania downtown brevard ncCounty of the second part all of whom are of the County and State aforesaid Witnesseths that the said parties of the first part for and in consideration of the sum of one dollar to them in hand paid by the said James W. Killian Chairman as aforesaid of the second part the receipt of which sum is hereby acknowledged by the said parties of the first part before the ?? delivering of ?? presents And for the further consideration that the lands herein after described and hereby conveyed is to and shall be used as are for a Town site by J. W. Killian Charles Patton and W. P. Poor Commissioners appointed by the late General Assembly of the State, at the regular Session of 1860 and 1861.

To lay out a new Town in the County aforesaid And by their Successors in office have ?? released and quit claimed and by those presents do ?? release and quit claim unto James W. Killian Chairman as aforesaid and to his Successors in office forever. All that piece or parcel of land lying and being in the County and State aforesaid. Beginning on a stake on the East side of a hill East of W. P. Poor’s house and runs South Twenty six degrees west fourteen poles and seven feet to a stake … to the Beginning Containing fifty – acres be the same more or less together with all … .

L. S. Gash
B. C. Lankford
Alex England
Court of Please (Pleas) and quarters Session August term 1861 – The due execution of the above deed was duly proven by George Orr the subscribing witness thereto in open Court recorded and ordered registered Certified 26 th of August 1861.
George Orr CCC
Source: Transylvania County Deed Book 1; Pages 40 – 42

 

Transylvania County Court of Pleas and Quarters
August Term – 1861

Commissioners for location of the Town of Brevard allowed for their services:
Alec Henry $600, Joseph Hamilton one dollar and a half per day, J. L. Sinard, Joshua Bryant, F. W. Johnstone and George Orr one dollar per day, George Orr and T. G. Henson $2.00 per day for their services as surveyors and chain bearers 0.50 per day for their services.

Source: Transylvania County Minute Docket 1861 – 1874; Court of Pleas and Quarters; Page 45;
Transylvania County Administration.

Transylvania County Court of Pleas and Quarters
August Term – 1862

Commissioners of Town lots allowed $1.50 per day
J. W. Killian for 10 days $15.00, W. P. Poor for 10 days $15.00, C. Patton for 10 days $15.00
Surveyor T. G. Henson. W. P. Poor allowed $3.00 for hauling timber for stakes for Town lots.

Source: Transylvania County Minute Docket 1861 – 1874; Court of Pleas and Quarters; Page 98; Transylvania County Administration.

July – August, 1868 Session of the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina

An Act to Incorporate the Town of Brevard in the County of Transylvania
Sec. 1 Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina,
That the Town Of Brevard in the County of Transylvania, be and the same is hereby Incorporated by the name and style of the Town of Brevard, and shall be subject to all the provisions contained in the One Hundred and eleventh Chapter of the Revised Code.

Sec. 2 Be it further enacted,
That the Corporate limits of said town shall be one half mile in every direction from the Court house,
The Court house to be the centre of the chartered limits of said corporation.

Sec. 3 Be it further enacted, That this act shall be in force from and after its Ratification.

Source: North Carolina General Assembly Records; Session of July-August, 1868; File Box 1; North Carolina State Archives.

Proceedings – House Bill 18 to Incorporate the Town of Brevard
FRIDAY, July 10th, 1868
Mr. (James W.) Clayton, of Transylvania introduced a bill to incorporate the town of Brevard, which was passed and ordered to be engrossed and sent to the Senate.
TUESDAY, July 21st, 1868
A message was received from the Senate transmitting for the signature of the Speaker, the act to incorporate the town of Brevard in the County of Transylvania.
Source: Journal of the North Carolina House of Representatives; Session of July-August, 1868; Pages 43, 85; North Carolina State Library.

Proceedings – Senate Bill to Incorporate the Town of Brevard

SATURDAY, July 11th, 1868
A message was received from the House of Representatives transmitting (H. 18,) entitled “a bill to incorporate the Town of Brevard in the County of Transylvania.” Read the first time.

MONDAY, July 13th, 1868
(H. 18.) An engrossed bill entitled “ A bill to incorporate the town of Brevard, in the county of Transylvania,” was taken up and passed second reading.

SATURDAY, July 18th, 1868
On motion, the Senate resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole, Mr. Brogden in the chair, for the consideration of the following bills;
A bill entitled “ A bill to incorporate the town of Brevard, in the county of Transylvania.”

A bill entitled “ A bill to incorporate the town of Brevard , in the county of Transylvania.” The Committee recommended its passage.

A bill entitled “ A bill to incorporate the town of Brevard in the county of Transylvania,” was taken up and passed its third and last reading, by the following vote:
Yeas…..31; Nays…..0
And transmitted to the House of Representatives.

Source; Journal of the North Carolina Senate; Session of July-August, 1868; Pages 56, 59, 81, 82; North Carolina State Library.

An Act to Incorporate the Town of Brevard, in the County of Transylvania

Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, That the town of Brevard in the County of Transylvania be, and the same is hereby incorporated by the name and style of the “Town of Brevard,” and shall be subject to all the provisions contained in the one hundred and eleventh chapter of the Revised Code.

Sec. 2. Be it further enacted, That the corporate limits of said town shall be one half mile in every direction from the Court House. The Court House to be the center of the chartered limits of said corporation.

Sec. 3. Be it further enacted, That this act shall be in force from and after its ratification.
Ratified the 21st day of July, A. D., 1868

Source: Private Laws of the State of North Carolina; Session of 1868; Chapter 5; Page 5; North Carolina State Archives.

Gene Baker
50 Ridgewood Place
Brevard, NC 28712-9543
828-884-4198