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Hermits are Ancestors you will Never Find

The hermits who resided in the North Carolina mountains never saw the census taker, or went to the court house. They did not own land, nor have known relatives. The legend of David Greer is documented from the Letters from the Alleghany Mountains by Charles Lanman (1849) and describes David Greer, the long-time herbit on Bald Mountain. Greer lived the life of a literary recluse in 1849. There is the story that he shot to the ground a man caught hunting deer on his land. Greer was brought to trial and acquitted on the ground of insanity. However, this decision enraged Greer and when released, he started walking towards his cabin muttering loud curses and rebukes at the law. There are hermits today who occupy a stretch of land in the Blue Ridge Mountains about an hour from Asheville.

David Greer and Bald Mountain

Bald Mountain From Letters from the Alleghany Mountains by Charles Lanman (1849). "I now write from a log cabin on the Catawba River, and in one of its most beautiful valleys. My ride from Asheville to Burnsville, a distance of over forty miles, was unattended by a single interesting incident, and afforded only one mountain prospect that caused me to rein in my horse. But the prospect alluded to embraced the entire outline of Bald Mountain, which, being one of the loftiest in this section of the country, and particularly barren, presented a magnificient appearance. On the extreme summit of this mountain is a very large and intensely cold spring of water, and in its immediate vicinity a small cave and ruins of a log cabin, which are associated with a singular being named David Greer, who once made this upper world his home. He first appeared in this country about fifty years ago; his native land, the story of his birth, and his early history, were alike unknown. Soon after his arrival among the mountains, he fell desperately in love with the daughter of a farmer, but his suit was rejected by the maiden, and strenuously opposed by all her friends. Soon after this disappointment the lover suddenly disappeared, and was subsequently found residing on Bold Mountain in the cave already mentioned. Here he lived the life of a literary recluse, and is said to have written a 140 page singular work upon religion, and another which purported to be a treatise on human government. In the latter production he proclaimed himself the sole proprietor of Bald Mountain, and made it known to the world that all who should ever become his neighbors must submit to the laws he had himself enacted. The prominent actions of his life were few and far between but particularly infamous. The first that brought him into notice was as follows: A few years after it was ascertained that he had taken possession of the mountain, the authorities of the county sent a messenger to Greer, and demanded a poll-tax of seventy-five cents. The hermit said he would attend to it the next court-day, and his word was accepted. On the day in question Greer punctually made his appearance, but, instead of paying over the money, he pelted the windows of the court-house with stones, and drove the judges, lawyers, and clients all out of the village, and then, with rifle in hand, returned to his mountain dwelling. For months after this event he amused himself by mutilating all the cattle which he happened to discover on what he called his domain, and it is said was in his habit of trying the power of his rifle by shooting down upon the plantations of his neights." Note: Bald Mountain is in Craig County, Virginia.

More Stories of David Greer, Mountain Hermit

The crowning event of (the life of) David Greer, consisted of his shooting to the ground in cold blood a man by the name of Higgins. The only excuse which he offered was that the deceased hunted deer on his land. Greer was brought to trial and acquitted on the ground of insanity. However, this decision enraged Greer and when released, he started walking towards his cabin muttering loud and deep curses against the injustice of the law. In the process of time, a number of attempts were made to take his life and he was frequently awakened at midnight by the passing of a ball through the door of his cabin. After twenty years or so, Greer abandoned his solitary life and settled on the Tennessee side of Bald Mountain where he worked in an iron forge. But after a dispute with a Mr. Tompkins, a fellow-workmen, swore that he would shoot him within five hours, and started for his rifle. Friends of Tompkins advised him to take the law into his own hands, and as Greer walked along the road with rifle in hand, Tompkins shot him through the heart. Public opinion was on the side of Tompkins and he was never brought to trial.

How to Search Genealogy in Ashe County

During the year of 1749 Peter Jefferson led a surveying party to establish a distinguishing line between North Carolina and Virginia. Take note, genealogists, because some families may have considered themselves residents of Virginia. Also, because the Ashe County boundaries changed somewhat, Rowan, Wilkes and Franklin Counties should also be researched. Several years later, Bishop Augustus Spangenberg of the Moravian Church of America searched for 100,000 acres of land upon which to settle his congregation. Spangenberg was mostly devoted to the supervision and organization of missions in Germany, England, Denmark, the Netherlands and Georgia. He went into Pennsylvania where he supervised the Moravian churches and helped to raise money to defend the colonies during the Seven Years War.
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The Moon-Eyed People of the Alleghenies

The Cherokees say that before they conquered the country and settled in the valleys, that the inhabitants were "moon eyed" and were unable to see during certain phases of the moon. It was during a period of blindness that the Creeks swept through the mountain passes, up the valleys, and annihilated the race. The Cherokees in turn conquered the Creeks with a great slaughter. No boundaries can be assigned to the land of any Indian tribe, however the tribe was distinguished by two great geographical divisions, the Ottari, signifying "among the mountains," and the Erati, signifying " lowland". There were sixty towns and 6,000 fighting men could at any time be called by the grand chief to the war path. Source: The Heart of the Alleghenies of Western North Carolina by Wilbur G. Zeigler and Ben S. Grosscup (1883).

The Courageous Settlers of the Blue Ridge Mountains

Blue Ridge Parkway Those who settled in the Blue Ridge Mountains were a cross-lot of poor people from the Lowlands of the Palatinate along the Rhineland in Germany, persecuted protestants from Switzerland, Austria and Europe, and the Highlanders who suffered English tyranny because of their preference for a Stuart king upon the throne of Scotland. The Germans and Swiss landed in Philadelphia and from there carved a trail along the Wagon Road southward into the Carolinas, cutting westward through the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky. The Highlanders escaping imprisonment dropped anchor in North Carolina, settled for a time along the Great Dismal Swamp before finally settling the western mountains of North Carolina. They were poor and sold all that they had to make passage, some indenturing themselves. All, started with nothing save struggle and hardship, yet gave everything. They fought the war for independence and helped to build a free country! Those people. Our Ancestors.



Ashe County
Ashe County

Map of Asheville County

Ashe County Genealogy Resources: Wills and Estates 1801 to 1903


Ashe County Ashe County was created 18 November 1799 from Wilkes County. The area that became Ashe County was part of Anson County, Rowan County, Surry County, and Wilkes County. Both Alleghany and Watauga Counties were formed out of Ashe County. The county seat is Jefferson, North Carolina. The Ashe County Courthouse in Jefferson was destroyed by fire in 1865, however, the surviving records are contained here. The Will Books reflect inconsistent years, suggesting that there are gaps due to the loss of records in the fire.

Indexes to Probate Records

  • Book A, 1801 to 1857
  • Book B, 1828 to 1838
  • Book C, 1837 to 1941
  • Book D, 1853 to 1871
  • Book E, 1873 to 1903

Images of Wills and Estates, Volume A, 1801 to 1857

Testators: Adams, John | Alexander, J. W. | Baker, John | Bass, Edward Beal, James | Blackburn, Elizabeth | Blevins, Wells | Brown, James | Brown, William | Burket, Christian | Chambers, Henry | Clampett, George | Clawson, Asa | Cook, Adam | Cook, Michael | Cauncill, Jordan | Debord, Benjamin | Edward, Jane | Eggers, Landrine | Estef, Shadrach | Evans, Barnabas | Farthings, William | Fredway, Robert | Galloway, Elijah | Gambell, Martin | Goodman, Peter | Green, John | Isaacs, James | Jackson, James | Johnson, Jesse | Kenly, Jesse | Landrick, William | Lyall, James | Maxwell, James | Mikel, Daniel | Milanes, William | Mullins, William | Osborn, Mary | Phillips, Mary | Phipps, Samuel | Plummer, Joseph | Powers, M. | Pugh, Julius | Reeces, John | Reeves, Jesse | Ross, Reuben | Sheavers, Robert | Shull, Mary | Shull, Simon | Songs, Samuel | Sturgitt, Francis | Taylor, William | Wagg, John |Walbrooks, Larkin |Whitaker, Peter |Whittington, John |Williams, John |Williams, Lewis | Willis, Leonard |Wyatt, Zebodee

Images of Wills and Estates, Volume B, 1828 to 1838

Testators: Atkins, John |Brown, John |Brown, Joseph |Brown, Polly | Brown, Thomas | Bryan, Morgan | Callaway, Thomas | Davis, Stanley | Edwards, David | Greer, Aquilla | Hardin, Henry | Hardin, William |Hill, William |Landrith, Nathaniel Latham, Alexander | Mast, David |Moseley, Samuel |Parks, Ambrose | Perry, Robert | Phipps, George | Phillips, Nathan | Ray, James | Stamper, Jonathan | Watters, William | Woodruff, John

Images of Wills and Estates, Volume C, 1837 to 1941

Testators: Austin, G. B. | Barker, Ambrose | Bean, Jacob | Blevins, Roby | Burgess, Wiley | Calhoun, W. R. | Callaway, J. | Campbell, Mary | Colsand, J. W. | Dalinger, M. | Davis, J. M. | Dolinger, T. L. | Duwall, James | Ellen, W. |Francis, Henry |Gentry, Levi | Grayson, William |Gurley, Thomas |Hall, J. C. |Hardin, R. W. | Hausk, W. H. |Hinley, Lee |Hodgeon, Henry |Houck, Lowery | Jones, B. W. |Jones, Wade |McGuire, H. |McNeil, L. |McMillan, John |Miller, Elizabeth | Miller, H. M. | Miller, J. B. | Monty, John | Osborne, Harris | Parsons, J. | Perkins, G. H. | Phillips, C. W.| Phillips, Nathan | Plummer, J. B. | Pope, J. W. | Prince, R. | Ray, John | Roberts, W. | Roland, J. | Sheets, S. W. Wellborne, William | Weaver, J. R. | Werth, W. H. | Wieseberger, R. | Williams, H. | Williams, Susannah Williamson, Walter

Images of Wills and Estates, Volume D, 1853 to 1871

Testators: Anderson, Richard | Baker, William | Baldwin, Jacob | Bower, Absalom | Brooks, Thomas | Burket, Christian | Debords, Benjamin | Dickson, Daniel | Dickson, Moses | Doughten, Clarke | Faws, John | Fender, John | Halaway, Daniel | Hardin, Henry | Hill, David | Jenning, William | Johnson, Samuel | Johnson, William Jones, Daniel | Jones, John | Kounce, George | Krawse, John | Landricks, Stephen | Lewis, A. J. | May, John | May, Nancy | Maxwell, Sidney | McMillan, John | Miller, Jonathan | Mullis, James | Oliver, Mary | Perkins, Allen | Perkins, Luther | Perkins, William | Phipps, Samuel | Poe, Jain | Poe, Jaine | Richardson, Elisha | Saunders, Richard | Smith, B. | Smith, Hugh | Smith, James | Turner, Andrew | Wills, David

Images of Wills and Estates, Volume E, 1873 to 1903

Testators: Allen, John | Ashley, Martha | Ashley, William | Austin, Anderson | Baives, George | Baldwin, William M. | Ballou, N. B. | Ballou, Sarah | Ballou, Susan | Bare, Henry | Barl, Elias Blackburn, Hamilton B. | Blackshear, Hamilton B. | Blevins, Daniel | Blevins, Jackson | Blevins, Jacob | Blevins, John | Blevins, Wells | Bower, George | Boyden, Nathaniel | Brooks, Polly | Brooks, Sentleger | Brown, William | Burgess, Hugh L. | Burgess, Sanders | Burkett, Catherine | Calaway, Thomas | Caloway, Thomas S. | Carson, John | Castle, Nancy | Childers, Hiram | Church, John | Church, Wiley | Conson, John M. | Cook, Charles W. | Cox, Cora | Cox, William | Davis, America | Davis, American | Davis, Daniel | Davis, John | DeBoard, Benjamin | Dewey, Sarah | Dickson, David | Duvall, Thomas | Ellen, Jacob | Elliott, Wilburn | Foster, N. A. | Francis, Mahala | Gambill, James | Garvey, James | Gentry, John | Grimes, Wesley | Goodman, Isaac | Goodman, Jacob | Goodman, Joab | Goodman, William H. | Govert, Frederick | Graham, Jiles | Graybeal, Calvin | Graybeal, Doriel | Graybeal, Eli | Graybeal, Jacob | Graybeal, John | Graybeal, Joseph | Green, John F. | Griffith, John | Griffith, S. | Hagarman, John | Hall, M. Etta | Hamilton, George H. | Hardin, Mark | Hardin, Mary Ann | Hardin, R. T. | Harkins, Johnston | Harvell, Daniel | Hash, James | Hawthorn, Andrew | Howell, George Sr. | Hurley, Harvey C. | Hudler, Joseph | Hurley, James F. | Jacks, Richard | Johnson, Aaron | Johnson, Campbell | Johnson, J. C. | Jones, John | Ketchum, G. W. |King, Joseph | Kitchinson, A. | Koons, Jacob | Lang, Andrew M. | Latham, Silas | Lewallers, Catherine | Lewis, Nancy C. | Little, Isaac | Long, Isaiah | Martin, John W. | Martin, William M. | Mash, James | Mash, William | McClure, Elizar | McGuire, Robert | McMillan, Andrew | McMillan, Iridell Miller, Daniel | Miller, Eli | Miller, James | Miller, Nancy | Miller, William | Moore, W. G. | Neal, John | Neal, Joseph | Neal, Quincy | Oliver, James | Osborne, Alfred | Osborne, Clemons | Osborne, Enoch | Osborne, J. A. | Osborne, Stephen | Parsons, Catharine | Patrick, Jerrymire | Penington, Stephen | Perkins, W. E. | Phillips, Nancy | Phillips, William | Phipp, Greenbury | Phipps, William C. | Pierce, R. K. | Plummer, Nancy | Plummer, Samuel | Poe, John | Poe, Martha | Pope, Elijah | Pope, Elijah (1881) | Price, William | Ray, Jesse | Reedy, Rebecca | Reeves, George W. | Reeves, Rebecca | Reves, John | Reynolds, Terrissa | Richardson, John | Roan, Jonathan | Roark, Joshua | Roland, David | Rominger, Isabella | Rotan, Larkin | Scott, James | Senters, N. M. | Shepherd, J. W. | Shepard, Levi | Shepherd, Melvin | Smith, James | Smith, Tobias | Stamper, John | Stephens, Gardner | Stuart, Newel | Stump, Christopher C. | Tatum, Joseph | Taylor, Charles | Taylor, Hellen | Taylor, Mary | Taylor, William | Tegue, Moses | Testerman, Peter | Thomas, W. T. | Thompson, Alexander | Thompson, Wesley | Turner, Standiford | Turner, William | Vany, John H. | Wagoner, Henry | Warren, Peter M. | Wayman, Thomas | Waters, William | Waugh, James P. | Waugh, James P. (1891) | Weaver, B. M. | Weaver, Gideon | Welch, James | Weymer, Henry | Williams, Nancy | Worth, David | Wyatt, John | Wyatt, William | Yates, E. C. | Yates, Squire Allen

William Hooper House
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