Wilmot on the route

Following Wagon Trails - 1890s: Wilmot

Jackson County
Altitude: 1,880 feet

In the autumn of 1904 Horace Kephart took these pictures of the Davis Home on Dicks Creek (which Kephart spelled as Dick Creek), a community in the Barkers Creek township of Jackson County, N.C., three miles from Wilmot and also near Dillsboro, N.C. For most of the previous thirteen years Kephart had lived in St. Louis, Mo., one of the largest cities in the United States in the early 1900s. An avid camper who had frequently sought refuge from the city, he decided to move to western North Carolina in 1904. His fascination with the loom and spinning wheel at the Davis home were evident in his handwritten caption:

“Widow Davis’ cabin on Dick Creek near Dillsboro. Fair sample of all the cabins in these mts., but better chimney than common. No window. Spinning wheel & loom are still worked here, although within 2 m. of a RR. town”

The Turpins were another family that Kephart met on Dicks Creek. The couple in the photograph are David Wesley Turpin (1845 – 1909) and Mary Ann Messer Turpin (1843 – 1927), who were married in the summer of 1865.

Newspapers frequently offered readers columns written from neighborhood communities. This excerpt from a column by "Solola," a pen name used by the author, remarks on the importance of the railroad and also a desire for a bridge across the Tuckasegee River to improve transport facilities. A similar community article from the Tuckaseige Democrat (Sylva, N.C.) dated July 1, 1889, from Addie, N.C, located twelve miles east of Wilmot on the rail line, made reference to the Wilmot columns. The latter article made specific mention of the Wilmot writer's aspirations for a bridge, an indication of the links between communities being made in the newspaper.

. . . T M Frizzell, R R Agent here, has his depot in good condition. The R R Co. has fixed up his office so that there are now few better on the time line.

"G W Spake, merchant at this place, is talking of selling out and moving to Webster. Can't see his reason for so doing, as this is one of the best trading points on the line of R R anywhere near here.

"We expect to have a bridge across the river at this point soon; and then we will be solid. Solola

-Tuckaseige Democrat, February 16, 1889

To the West: Whittier


To the East: Dillsboro

Wilmot in the 1910s  |  Wilmot 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.
  • Horace Kephart: Revealing an Enigma -- http://www.wcu.edu/library/DigitalCollections/Kephart/
  • Jackson County Genealogical Society. Jackson County Heritage, North Carolina, 1992. Cullowhee, NC: JCGS, 1992 (Volume 1).
  • Kephart, Horace, manuscript collection, Hunter Library, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, N.C.
  • Kephart, Horace; with an introduction by George Ellison. Our Southern Highlanders. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1984.
  • Williams, Max R., ed. The History of Jackson County. Sesquicentennial ed. Sylva, NC: Jackson County Historical Association, 2001.