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Asheville, North Carolina History

Copied from an article in the Asheville Daily Citizen of 1898, the same being excerpts from an article by Foster Sondley in the same issue, headed “Asheville’s Centenary” to which reference is hereby made-F.D. Love,

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In speaking of the Court House, he says “On January 23rd, 1807 deeds were made to the Commissioners, Samuel Murry senr., Thomas Foster, Thomas Love, etc., appointed by the General Assembly of the State (North Carolina) to purchase or receive by donation land sufficient for a Public Square in the Town of Asheville in the County of Buncombe and State aforesaid”. This Thomas Love and Thomas Foster were members of the Love and Alexander families. Thomas Love was the brother of my great grandfather, Robert Love, and Thomas Foster was the Father-in-law of my grandfather, James Mitchell Alexander. At the convention of the First County Court of Buncombe County, said State, there were present James Alexander, etc., Esquires, and among the first orders of said Court was an order as follows: “The Court proceeded to the election of a Coroner and did elect Edmund Sams, Esqr:,”; this Sams was the Father-in-law of Thomas Foster, who married said Sams; daughter Orra.

In speaking of the “Early settlements in Buncombe County: said Sondley said “At the conclusion of the Revolutionary War in 1781 or 1782)***** several settlements had been effected on the banks of the Swannanoa from its head to its source by the Alexanders, etc.” Among those who located the County Court House, prison, stocks, etc. were John Dillard, a son of the General Thomas Dillard; among those who purchased lots in the City of Asheville was Thomas Foster, who bought lots, 7, 11, 3 & 12 according to the map first laid out of the town by John Burton. For recording deeds to land which was donated by citizens for Public Square, etc, there was noted on the docket of the County Court the following: (April 1807) “Ordered by the Court that the County Trustee pay Robert Love one pound for Registering five deeds made by individuals for the use of the Public Square in Asheville”. This was my Great Grandfather. In Speaking of the “Men of Prominence: he says: “Many of these men whose names are given in this list as purchasers of lots were men of prominence in the affairs of the county, or afterwards became such.

“Thomas Foster did not live in town, but on the southern side of the Swannanoa River, and on the old Rutherfordton road, about two and half miles south of Asheville, on the farm on which in later years was made the junction of the Western North Carolina Railroad with the Asheville and Spartenburg Railroad. He was born in Virginia, on October the 14th, 1774. In 1786 his Father, William Foster, came with his family to North Carolina, and settled at the foot of the hill on the northern side of the Swannanoa River, about midway between Hendersonville Road – and the road leading to the Swannanoa by way of Fernihurst at a place where a small branch comes through a hollow and crosses the valley into the Swannanoa River. Here Thomas Foster lived until he grew to manhood. Then he married Orra Sams, who’s Father; Edmund Sams, was one of the settlers from Waatauga, and lived on the Western side of the French Broad, about a mile above the mouth of the Swannanoa at the old Gaston place, near the place which has since been called the race track. After his marriage Thomas Foster settled upon a farm where he spent the remainder of this life on the banks of Sweeten’s Creek, afterwards call Foster’s Mill Creek, the first which enters Swannanoa from the southern side above the present iron bridge on the Hendersonville road. Here he built the first bridge across the Swannanoa. Its location was about two hundred yards above the present iron bridge. He was a member of the House of Commons in the General Assembly of North Carolina from Buncombe County in 1809, 1812, 1813 and 1813, and represented that County in the Senate of the State in 1817 and 1819. After a long and prosperous life he died on December 24th, (incorrectly on tombstone Dec. 14th) 1858, and is buried at Newton Academy graveyard. He was a farmer, and accumulated a considerable property. A large family of children survives him. Two of these are yet living, Thomas Foster of Warkley county, Tennessee, and Mrs. Rachel R. Garner of Winchester, Kentucky. Many of his descendants reside in Buncombe County. His wife died before him on August 27th, 1853, and he was buried by her side. Frequent mention of him will be found in “Wheeler’s History of North Carolina”, Bennett’s Chronology of North Carolina and Bishop Ashbury’s Journal”.

On Thursday November 4th 1802, Bishop Francis Asbury in his journal made note of the fact that he reached in his itinerancy, the house of Thomas Foster’s; also on Wednesday the 26th, where he held a meeting, preaching from 1 Cor. IV, 38, and said he had a glorious meeting, and this was in 1803, and October of that year.

From the entry of the County Court Records we find in the year 1805 (April) the following order, towit: “Ordered by the Court, Thomas Love, etc., be appointed commissioners for the purpose of procuring a public Square, from the lot, or land holders, in the town of Asheville, most suitable, convenient and interesting to the public, and least injurious to individuals, that the nature of the case will admit of,”

“From time to time roads were established in the early days. In July, 1793, the County Court of Buncombe County directed a road to be laid off from Buncombe Court House to the Bull Mountain road near Robert Love’s.”

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