Almond on the route

Following Wagon Trails - 1890s: Almond

Swain County, N.C.
Altitude: 1,590 feet

Two community-related Swain County Herald newspaper columns entitled “Judson Jottings” from April 1889 illustrated life in Judson, located in Swain County, N.C. As in many other community news items of the time, the column expresses pride of place, makes comments on individuals, and gives news on developments in the neighborhood. The community of Judson, which is now under the waters of Fontana Lake, was 4 miles north of Almond. The communities of Nantahala, Hewitt, and Wesser are southeast of Almond.

Judson Jottings

“Fine spring rains. – Peaches plenty.—Garden vegetables look well.—General business lively. – Spring with her green carpeting, songs and flowers has come again. – The wood thrush has returned with his sweet notes. “The bird-of-the-gloaming,” the finest winged songster of the mountains, now sings his vernal prelude. More anon, Anonymous.”

- Swain County Herald (Bryson City), April 18, 1889

Judson Jottings

“Feeding time is over – stock is doing well on the ranges.—The humming bird is here. – Farmers and poultrymen should remember that this is the year for the return of hog and chicken cholera. – This and contiguous sections of the county show more or less surface indications of iron ores and other minerals. – Wheat is looking well. – Clover and other grasses seem to realize that spring has come again. – C.C. Bryson has greatly improved the appearance and convenience of his yards by means of a board fence and good gates. – Clement’s juvenile night class in music deserves eulogy. – The Sabbath school at Mt. Zion is flourishing. – A letter just received from Rabun Gap Ga. reports the death of Rev. Thos. Carter of that place. – We welcome Uncle Samuel Conley and family of your “city” to our neighborhood as we feel they will be beneficial to the community. – An endless variety of medicinal plants, roots and barks is found in Swain county. – This might be styled the “land of health, wealth and happiness. More anon, Anonymous.”

- Swain County Herald (Bryson City), April 25, 1889

The letterhead for this store in Almond, N.C., dated February 24, 1896, highlights that it deals in “Notions, Dry Goods, Shoes, Merchandise and Produce.” In his letter, J.L. Jones writes to Sheriff J.E. McLain,

“Enclose find check for fifteen & 80/100 dollars for my taxes if there is any behind please advise me by next pay day & I will forward same to you. I am very greatfull [sic] to you for your forbearance.”

Almond to Franklin

“The people of Nantahala township want a well-graded public road from Almond to Franklin, crossing the Tennessee river by means of a bridge at or near J.W. DeHart’s mill. The people of Franklin are anxious to join us in making this road. They are willing to do their part – meet us at the county line. They want a better outlet to the railroad, and Almond is the most accessible point. Macon county has built a good iron bridge across the Tennessee river at Iotla Ford on the line of this proposed road. She has built three iron bridges in her county which stand as a monument to her progress.”

“. . . . If good hotel accommodations could be had, tourists would come from all parts of the United States to summer and view with admiration the clear blue waters of the Nantahala, the rugged mountains and the picturesque scenery which would be futile for my pen to attempt to describe. Every one who comes and goes would leave some money, a thing much needed just now.”

“Nantahala township will build the road if Swain county will build the bridge. What say you?”

Yours for progress, John Burnett.

- Bryson City Times (Bryson City, N.C.), May 15, 1896

In late summer as the corn approached maturity, farmers would hoe their corn crop a final time, or “lay by,” and then wait for it to ripen.

A Letter from Almond N.C.

“Dear Editor: -- After being silent for several days, we come to the front again. Politics is the song of the day this is about all we can here [sic] now. We have come to the conclusion that there is more candidates than voters and we are sure and certain of our good men that are out in the field will get the pleasure of staying home, at least two more years, as we can’t elect them all, as there is too many of them.”

“Most of our farmers are done laying by corn, those that are not done, the rain will lay it by for them and some will be glad of it, as the weather is getting most too hot to work know [sic] anyway, the rain and storms have destroyed several fine crops of oats in this section in the last few days. . . .”

- Bryson City Times (Bryson City, N.C.), July 31, 1896

To the West: Hewitt


To the East: Whiting

Almond in the 1910s  |  Almond in the 1930s

Return to the Southern Railway Map for the 1890s

Sources & Readings

  • George, Michael. Southern Railway’s Murphy Branch. Collegedale, Tenn.: The College Press, 1996.
  • Huddleston, Dale, ed. Swain County, N.C., Centennial, 1871 – 1971: Official Souvenir Centennial History. Waynesville, N.C.: The Mountaineer, [1971].
  • Montgomery, Michael B. and Joseph S. Hall. Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2004.
  • Powell, William S. The North Carolina Gazetteer. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1968.
  • Swain County Genealogical and Historical Society. The Heritage of Swain County, North Carolina, 1988. Bryson City, N.C.: Swain County Historical and Genealogical Society, 1988.