The following was written by my father in his later years. My sister Betty helped him to arrange the words and did the typing.
Mind of man why do you fail And often mark a soon doomed trail And in the change are made to wail The loss of precious time. The road was made to fill the need But foresight often we will not heed To get there first we need more speed So, alas, the road must go. But the mark is there for time to hide With the graves of men along its side To remind us of the struggling tide We know they did not fail. Today we too must blaze a trail For men to follow, to bless or wail Be doubly careful do not fail For the trail you mark will show.
Playing a prominent role in the lives of our ancestors and our county was a wilderness road, now discarded, leading from Asheville, N.C. to Green Co. Tenn. The road was marked and laid off in the year 1800, and went through the areas now known as Gabriels Creek, Bull Creek, Big Laurel, Spill Corn and Shelton Laurel, This area was a vast wilderness of mountains and valleys before the laying off of this road, where only the more brave pioneer white man had ventured to live.
Before the year 1795 a vast area was granted to John Gray Blunt, a prosperous merchant businessman and land speculator of Washington, N.C. The original tract covered an area of 326,000 acres. A description of this land was written to Mr. Blunt by his surveyor, Mr. Robert Love, a resident of W.N.C. in the year 1795. His observations of the land were formed from traveling the line; he did not fully explore the interior. "ÉThe Land consists of Vallies and Mountains and not more than 1/5 of which can be call'd poor land and is all the best watered country I ever saw. "ÉPerhaps the mountain call'd the Walnut Mountain which is included in your survey is the richest in the world. The great Bawld Mountain is also rich to the top and even on the Top Timothy and Clover grows amongst the weeds to great perfectionÉ."
Unto this wilderness came some pioneer settlers, such as the Sheltons (came from VA before 1800); the Lisenbees (Rubin Lisenbee, Sr. came here around 1795, his son, Rubin, Jr. born on the Buncombe side of Ivy in 1809) and the Metcalfs (came here from Va. Around 1795). "É. In the 1790's John Weaver lived on Reems Creek near Weaverville on "land on both sides of the path leading to Green River and Nolachucky."
The John Gray Blunt Papers, Volume II, page 616
Info from 1790 census supplied by Kenneth C. Wilds, San Bernardino, Calif.
These were the years of the great American explorers, such as Daniel Boone and David Crockett, who had ventured into the vast unknown west, and many in the more populated east covered their belongings into the necessities for a new life and followed behind them. This increased migration caused the need for a road from the settlement of Asheville through the mountains and into Tennessee. In the Archives of the Buncombe Co. Court House is a record, dated in the year 1800, that reads as follows: "Order by the Court that Sheriff summons the following persons to serve as a jury to view. Mark and lay off a road the nearest and most convenient way from the road leading from Asheville to the head of the Catawba to Shelton Gap."
There is no doubt that this road played a great part in the lives of the pioneers and first settlers of this area. Early family names that used this road before the Civil War, such as Roberts, Love, Palmer, Weaver, Patton, West, Smith Franklin, Ramsey, Louis, Jones Arrowood, Allman, Clark, Shelton, Lisenbee, Metcalf, Norton, Cody, Ray, Gosnell, King, Chandler, Moore, Wood, Rice, Arlington, Hensley, Griffen and others are still prominent in the area.
This road starts off the Asheville Catawba road near Weaverville and goes to the Eller Ford of Ivy, then up White Oak branch, then out the ridge by the Old Bull Creek Church, then turns left at Old Bull Creek School, crosses over to Bone Camp Branch, then up the hollow by the Joe Edwards home, then across the hill and down into the Flasher Branch or Logen hollow, then around the hill high above Andy Rices' home. In a little cove above this road a family by the name of Cody was known to live before the Civil War. Around on the hill from the Cody home up this road and below the road is an abandoned graveyard with about 35 unknown graves. From here this road goes around the hill high above the home of the late Luther Howell and down the Metcalf hollow, crosses the hill and comes out at the Harrison Bruice home on East Fork of Bull Creek, up the East Fork and about one mile to what is known as the Jess Rice Hill, crosses as the road now goes to the west fork of Bull Creek and up the Lisenbee Creek (names for Rubin Lisenbee, Jr., 1809-1903) and through the Potato Mt. Gap and across at the head of the Cutshall Branch on to Shelton Laurel somewhere above Hickeys Fork, thence up Shelton Laurel to Big Creek or Gath Creek, then up Big Creek to the Tennessee line and through the Butt Mt. Gap to Green Co. Tennessee.
The Road's claim to fame is that it was traveled by David Crockett. The story goes that a Companion of Crockett's met his death when they were Indian fighting with Andrew Jackson, and Crockett went to offer his condolences to the widow, Mrs. George Patton. Mrs. Patton had 2 children and 31 year old Crockett was a widower with 3 children. After meeting Mrs. Patton, Crockett proposed marriage, which she accepted. Mrs. Patton's relatives lived on Beaverdam Creek (Swannanoa) in Buncombe Co., and Crockett's family lived in Green County Tennessee. They visited with her relatives often. This road was the only existing road between this section of Tennessee and Asheville at that time.
Although Crockett's traveling the road adds the spice of fame, the true picture of it is presented by the 35 or more graves in a forgotten graveyard by its side. Uncle Bill Metcalf said the old road that went by the discarded cemetery on the Metcalf farm was out of use from Metcalf Branch to Bone Camp Branch before 1875. Those buried there could be some of the earlier settlers of the area, or some of the graves of travelers on the journey west. We are left to speculate about the graves, and about the road, for both have been turned back to nature by the continuing change that is life. The road has not been used for more than 100 years except for parts used as a bridle trail before the days of the automobile and today few people know of its existence. This account has been written as a tribute to our pioneer ancestors who lived along this road and with the hope that knowledge of this road, and those who traveled it, will not be lost to future generations.
Charlie Furman Metcalf
67 Bradley Street
A book titled Shelton's in England and America written by Mildred Campbell Whitaker published by the Mound City Press of St. Louis, Missouri, traces the history of the Shelton's of America back to the 7th century in England. This book shows the Shelton's linked with the families of English nobility since the early dark ages. They are mentioned in the Doomsday Book; they are mentioned in the Crusades: there were many Shelton Knights who took part in the making of early English history; they are mentioned as Lord Mayor of Dublin; they took part in the famous Magna Carta; they were ship owners under company grants from the King of England; they held large estates in Virginia and Bermuda in colonial days. In American history Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry both married Shelton's. Robert E. Lee was a direct descent of the Shelton Family.
JOHN SHELTON - Born approx. 1600. Came over from England and settled in VA. Died 1663 (date of death taken from his tombstone.)
JAMES SHELTON - Born 1726, Christ Church Parish, Middlesex, VA. Wife - JANICE. Known grandson of John Shelton, Father's name unknown. He probably married more than once as he had 13 sons. He was born 6 years before George Washington (1732, Westmoreland Co.) not too far distant from his birthplace. We know that one of his sons, RODERICK, fought under George Washington during the Revolutionary War. His sons moved from Virginia to Tennessee and Missouri and settled in those areas.
Two sons, James and Thomas, and a daughter, Sarah, settled in Central, North Carolina.
RODERICK SHELTON - Born approx. 1755, wife SARAH BRIGS. Roderick was a Revolutionary War Veteran, fought under George Washington and fought in the battle of Kings Mountain in 1776. Came to Western North Carolina from Virginia in the year 1800. He was the first to buy land in what is now known as Shelton Laurel. His sons were MARTIN, David, James, John, Armstrong, Louis and William. Roderick also had a son known as Duck by and Indian girl. Many stories have been told about Duck and his lost silver mine. It was said he minted silver so pure and correct that the government did not contest it. William B. Shelton (Bud) has half of these old molds supposed to have been used by Duck to mint his silver.
MARTIN SHELTON - Born appprox. 1780, wife NANCY WILLARD, oldest son of Roderick Shelton. He lived in the Alleghany section of Shelton Laurel. In his early manhood he was said to have lived in a large hollow popular tree with his young bride until he hued logs and built a log cabin on the waters of Little Laurel Creek where a large spring still bears his name, the Martin Shelton Spring. In his later years he bought 719 acres on Little Laurel. This was during the Civil War. The land sold for one dollar an acre and he paid for it with corn sold at 4 dollars per bushel. His children were Solomon, James and John (went west to Oregon) Roderick, (father of Oliver and Cub Shelton of Marshal) Martin, Jr. (married Polly Franklin, sons Solomon, Shadrack, Andy, Tom and Frank (Frank's children were Disie, Tom, Richard, Will, Robert, Annie and Emma) Rodie (married Dave Franklin - sons Alfred, George, Henry and Marion and NANCY SHELTON who married RUBIN LISENBEE, JR.
RUBIN LISENBEE, SR - Born approx. 1780. Lived at Ivy or Ellor Ford. A famous pre-civil war song titled Granny Lisenbee was composed about his wife FANNIE ROBERTS. The song told about her commanding and energetic nature. We have an account of only one son, although there were probably more. (Nancy Lisenbee, born Dec. 9, 1869, was a great granddaughter of Rubin Lisenbee, Sr. Her recollection of her ancestry and of the stories told her by her mother made the most of this account possible. Nancy Lisenbee's account of these people was that they came from Ireland and their religion could have been Methodist or Catholic. Other sources say that Lisenbee is a French name (W.C. Lisenbee, Baxter, Kentucky.)
RUBIN LISENBEE,JR. Born March 12, 1809, died July 6, 1903 on Walnut Creek in Madison Co. Wife, NANCY SHELTON. J Rubin Jr. was born on the Buncombe side of Ivy. His occupations were Millwright, Carpenter and Trader. He built the first flour mills at Weaverville, Palmers Ford, Petersburg and Walnut Creek. He was very good in his profession and made a very good living for his family. His strange religious belief set him apart from the other people in the area. He claimed a belief similar to the Hindu Religion. He believed everything was God, and at death its Spirit came back to life in another form. It was told of him that when mounting his horse he would say "Whoa, God, stand still and let God get on God". His wife, NANCY SHELTON was a daughter of MARTIN SHELTON. They had 9 children.
Buncombe County Archives (1850 census - family at that time) Rubin Lisenbee, Jr. age 41 - Martin age 17 (may have been a relative living with them) Robert, age 13, Vianna, age 11, Louisa, age 9, Allison, age 6, Harriet, age 5, Charles, age 3.
Our records of the children are Alfred - never married, died during the Civil War at Camp Nelson with smallpox Shelton L, (wife Sarah Roberts) killed during Civil War on Shelton Laurel; Caroline, died as a child; Robert (Bob) Born March 12, 1837, died Sept 22, 1926, wife Jane Metcalf (sister of John Metcalf, Sr), born Dec 25, 1839, died Marc 2, 1926. Robert was a Union soldier. His trade was Silversmith and Watchmaker (sons, Ervin, Robert Jr., Rubin and John, daughters, Allis, Nancy (see reference above) and Lovada, Allison L. - Confederate soldier, not by choice, never married, was missing in Civil War, Louisa (Liza) married John Capps, (sons, William and James, daughters, Kate (married Joe Massey), Cindy (married Tom Gentry), Harriet (married Gus Sumner, Henderson Co. N.C.) Charlie, married a Treet, (sons, Cheat, Rubin, Dug, George and Bill, daughter, Allis Ogle).
VIANNA LISENBEE - married JOHN METCALF, SR
Madison County Census 1880 lists the family of Robert Lisenbee. Robert Lisenbee, age 46, Jane, age 40 (nee Jane Metcalf) Robert, age 16, Alice age 15, Reuben, age 13, Nancy, age 11, Louisa LaVada, age 9, John, age 4. (note: The Census Taker listed Jane as having T.B., but this seems unlikely as she lived to be 80 years old. Old timers say she was "hippo" (pretending sickness).
The first known Metcalf's to appear in Western North Carolina and East Tennessee were three brothers, Joe, Jake and James. They were in quest of mineral deposits, which probably explain their knowledge of so vast and area at that early date. They were well acquainted with Buncombe, Madison and Yancy Counties in Western North Carolina and Unicoy County in Tennessee around 1790 and 1800. They, or their ancestors, first came to Virginia from England.. Their religion was Baptist. (This account of the first Metcalf's in W.N.C. given by Gilbert Metcalf, January 2, 1952. He was then 70 years old, date of death, Nov. 21, 1962. He was a descendent of JAMES Metcalf)
JOE and JAMES METCALF settled in Western North Carolina and raised large families. The only information available about their brother JAKE is found in the Yancy County Census, 1850, which states, "transient, Jacob Metcalf, age 60, laborer, born in South Carolina." At the time of this census he was at the home of Rev. Jacob Metcalf, age 48, son of James Metcalf.
JAMES METCALF - had six children:
- Jake - married Betsy Buckner
- Tildie - married Jack Ingle
- Annie - married Ranson Merrel - (son Hardie)
- Cicislie - married Wash Burlison
- Eadie - married Vincon Crawford
- Sallie - married Martin Chandler
Jake Metcalf (first son of James) had 10 children: James (son, Elbert, grandson, Gilbert); Dan (sons, Christfer, Dan, Levi and Willie B); Levi: Nancy (married Kit Edwards); Sally (married John Chambers); Polly (married Jack Anderson); Lucie (married Eli Wilson of Yankee Co.); Leticia (married William Metcalf, son Gabriel); Tilde (married Label Gillis, son Elbert, Jr.,); Sindy (married Ervin Radford, kin to Bob Radford)
Yancy Co. Census, 1850, (This part of Yancy County later became Madison County in 185l) Jacob Metcalf, age 48, Baptist Clergyman, Elizabeth (Betsy) age 46, Daniel, age 21, Mary, age 16, Lutisia, age 12, Sarah, age 17, Lucinda, age 16, Jane, age 9, Margaret, age 4, John Bailey, age 15, (living in home), Levi, age 8.
JOE METCALF - One of the first Metcalf in Western North Carolina.
Born approx. 1780, married POLLY AIRWOOD, and probably a resident of Shelton Laurel most of his life. He and his wife had 4 sons
James Metcalf - One of the 13 killed in the Shelton Laurel Massacre (see Massacre of Shelton Laurel)
David Metcalf (Dave) - was ambushed and shot to death while plowing corn on Shelton Laurel at time of Civil War.
John Metcalf - moved to Paritsville, Green Co. Tenn. About 1883.
GABRIEL METCALF - Born approx. 181l, died 1840, wife FAMMIE JONES, daughter of REV. WILLIAM JONES, a Baptist Preacher of Indian Creek in Yancy Co., and his wife DOLLY HAMPTON.
Gabriel and Fammie had 7 children. He died of blood poisoning in Carter County, Tennessee near Elizabethton, about 1840. He was not over 30 years old at the time of his death. His children were:
Lindie Metcalf - married Rev. John Shelton (born 1828) of Gath Creek or Big Creek on Shelton Laurel. (John was a grandson of Roderick Shelton, a son of David Shelton and a nephew of Martin Shelton. He was a Captain in the Union Army). Lindie and John's sons were Gather, Levi, Grant, John and Jim; daughters, Linda (married Zeek Brigs), Harriet (married Guss Shelton, brother of Nick Shelton of Bull Creek), Lovada (married William Shelton, father of Rev. Melvin Shelton of the Church of God
Levi Metcalf - married Jane Normton. Levi was a confederate soldier in the Civil War. Sons, James, William, Zeb, Robert, Jess and John Henry; daughters, Melissa, Betty (married Nealie Tweed), Allis, Lara (married Robert Lisenbee), Corenlia, Etter (married Cornelius Fox) and Sue.
William Metcalf - born Dec. 25, 1833, married Lutissia Metcalf, daughter of Jake Metcalf. A confederate soldier, he was a prisoner of war. They had 13 children, Margaret, Lovada (married Bill Banks), Corenlia (married Elic Cole), Julie (married Joe Ray), Leona (married John Ray), Eller (married John Gillis), Jinny, Elbert, Gather (died young), Harrison (died young), W. Woodson, Dan (subject to epileptic fits, died young) and Milton.
Mary Metcalf - married William (Bill) Shelton, sons, Nate Shelton of Long Branch on Big Laurel, daughters, Margaret (married Cal Shelton) Famie (married Enic Buffer_(notes by Sylvan Shelton)
Betty Metcalf - married Norman Shelton, sons, Elbert and Nelson, daughters, Viola (married Bud Wallin of Bone Camp Branch, son, Bob Wallin).
Jane Metcalf - born Dec. 25, 1839, married Robert (Bob) Lisenbee, Sr.
JOHN METCALF, SR - Born Jan l, 184l, died 1927 - married VIANNA LISENBEE, BORN April 23, 1838. They had 11 children.
Alfred Ragon - June 26, 1862 - married (1) Norton, (2) Sis Allison, (3) Sally McCall
Nancy Jane - Dec. 30, 1863 - May 19, 1948, married Steve Dill
William R (Bill) - June 25, 1865 - Mar. 3, 1958 - married Bergeta Ramsey
Harriett S - Jan. 21, 1868. - married John Howell
Rubin - May 7, 1870 - married Eliza Edmonds
Eliza - March 12, 1869 - died as a child
Levi - July 29, 1872 - married Ella Corn
Cornelia A - Apr 3, 1876 - married Spencer Rice
E. Frank - April 1878 - married Bergia Allman
Mary M - Apr 2l, 1880 - June 25, 1880
JOHN METCALF, JR - March 31, 1874 - Jan 6, 1948 - married EMILY CHRISTINE CORN
Bill Metcalf and wife were buried at Sharon Baptist Church near Green Bay, VA. E. Frank was buried at Cullen, VA. Nancy, Alfred, Rubin, Levi, John Sr and John Jr, Corenlia, along with husbands and wives and Mary, the infant 11th child, was buried at the Bruce and Metcalf Cemetery (Grant Metcalf Road, Marshall). Harritt and John Howell were buried at Grape Vine Church Cemetery.
JOHN METCALF, JR. Born March 31, 1874 - Died Jan. 6, 1948
Married EMILY CHRISTINE CORN - Born, April 7, 1876 - Died Jan 16, 1960
THEIR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN
Elizabeth Ann (Lizzie) - Born Mar. 1, 1893 - Died Feb. 1983, - married O.S. Edmonds. 3 children, Earl, Mary Christine, Oscar S. Jr.
James Carl - Dec 2, 1894 - died Mar. 9, 1969. - married Annie Lee Rumbough - 10 children - Clarence Edward, Christine Mae, Vera Lee, Myrtle Lucille, Margaret Irene, James Carl, Jr., William Wayne, Harold Richard, Martha June, Joe Leonard.
Veldie Mae - Jan 4, 1897 - died -----1995 - married Joe Ramsey. 2 children - Mary Joe and Johnny
Thomas Jefferson - Apr 1, 1899 - Apr. 20, 1965 - married Nellie Davis - 13 children - Tommie Arlene,, Paul Davis, June Estel, Virginia Elizabeth, Mary Blanch, John Robert, Clara Faye, William Howard, Harold Lynn, Thomas Jefferson Jr., Gordon Gene, James Winston, Wendell Allen.
John Stewart - June 22, 1903 - June 12, 1971 - married Maude Marie Martin - 5 children - Wilma Marie, Calvin Stewart, Ann Yvonne, Myra Jean, Sammy Jacob
CHARLIE FURMAN - Feb 6, l906 - Oct 25, 1986. married LESSIE MAE BOONE - Mar 4, 1911 -
May 16, 1997. 4 children James Farol, Joe Hal, Betty Ann, Jack Dar.
Chauncey - Nov. 17, 1909 - died ___ 2000 - married Ella Jane Callahan - 7 children John Robert, Chauncey Zane, Fred Carlton, Emily Ann, Richard Dale, Mary Janice, Joe Lynn
Jeter McKinley - Nov. 2, 1910, - Nov 2, 1966. married Zura Jane Edwards - 5 children, Marilla Jane, Cecilia Gay, David McKinley, Charles Gordon, Carroll Humphrey
Don - Feb. 17, 1914 - July 6, 1967. married Alfreda Ball - 3 children - Donald, Jimmy, Sandra
Paul Zade - Nov. 29, 19l6 - July 11, 1971. married Esta Lee Ammons - 4 children - Jeanette, Wanda Gail, Joyce Lucille, Margaret Louise.
Two Brothers, John Peter Cohen (American spelling Cohn or Corn) and Samuel Cohen came to America from Bavaria, Germany before the Revolutionary War. Samuel settled in Franklin County, VA. After the war John Peter Corn settled on a land grant in Henderson County, North Carolina a short distance from Hendersonville, and was the founder and first preacher of the 1st Baptist Church in that area, Ebenezer Baptist Church. He is buried in the cemetery under a "stone" that he carved himself all except the date of death. John Peter Corn married Elizabeth Parr. "Ties said she was a Dutch Girl whose passage was paid for with tobacco. My info says she was from Franklin County, Virginia. (Comments by L.E. Corn (Buster), Woodruff, S.C.
JOHN PETER CORN - March 15, 1751 - October 14, 1843. Married Elizabeth Parr. She died March 1854. John Peter Corn was a drum major in the Revolutionary War in 1776. They were residents of Patrick County, Virginia.
NOAH PARR CORN - son of John Peter Corn - born June 29, 1802. His wife, ELIZABETH CAPP was born Nov. 19, 1797 and died Oct 9, 1874. Elizabeth Capp Corn was the daughter of JOHN CAPP and SALLIE COOSHIE (Cherokee Indian). Their children were:
Rev. Adam Jefferson Corn -married Cynthia Corn, sons Elford and Patrick Henry.
George Corn -died in prisoner of war camp, Civil War, union soldier
Daniel Corn -died in prisoner of war camp, Civil War, union soldier
Ezekiel Corn - married -had 2 daughters
Jesse Corn - married -had a son, Noah.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin Corn (Doc) - married had two sons, one named Judson
ROBERT ARRETUS CORN - information to follow
Rev. Noah Parr Middleton Corn - born 1845, died 1919 (Scout in Civil War - union soldier)
ROBERT ARRETUS CORN - born Jan 8, 1835, died Nov 7, 1904. His wife, ELIZABETH HENDERSON, born March 11, 1838. Their 13 children were:
William Walker - Feb. 15, 1858 - married Ruth Wallen
John Lafayette - Dec. 16, 1859 -married Charlotte L. Flinn
Susan Alice - July 11, 1861 - married James M. West
Robert Zachariah - Oct 15, 1864 - married Harriet E. Buckner
Nancy Elizabeth - Oct 14, 1866 - married John W. Baley
Mary Naomi - Aug. 16, 1868 - married Henry M. Fagan
James Albert - Mar. 29, 1870 -married Sarah I. Edwards
Ella Lucinda - Dec. 7, 1871 - married Levy Metcalf
Richard Furman - Dec 27, 1874 - married Luna F. Baxter
EMILY CHRISTINE - April 7, 1876 - married JOHN METCALF, JR
Minnie Eugenia - June 14, 1878 - died June 8, 1888.
Charles Judson - Apr. 20, 1880 - married Nettie Mae Ball
Julia Mariah - Born Oct. 25, 1884
JOHN METCALF, SR.
(Comments by his grandson, Charlie Furman Metcalf)
Born Jan. 1, 1841 - married VIANNA LISENBEE, born April 23, 1838. They were married Aug. 8, 186l. John Sr was born in Carter Co. Tenn. Shortly after his father, Gabriel, had died of blood poisoning. His mother, Fammie, brought her family of seven back to Madison and Yancy County, probably to live with or near Gabriel's father, as it is evident that they were all quite young. They were very poor and as John Sr was the youngest, he never knew a home of his on until he had married at the age of 20 years. I have heard him talk of living with his people in Yancy County and also with his kin on what was known at that time as Terris Fork, know now as Hamburg Branch, a tributary branch of Ivy. Shortly after he was married he was destined along with his brother-in-law Robert (Bob) Lisenbee, married to his sister, Jane, to go through the Civil War as a union soldier. It is very probable that the Lisenbees were influential in his being a union soldier, as his two brothers, Bill and Levi, were confederate soldiers. His Uncle James and Dave Metcalf were killed by the confederates, which makes it appear that this great war was not so much Klan against Klan, but it was a choice of ideas. During this terrible conflict he was known to be very bitter with his brothers, but in the latter part of his long life of 86 years he had forgiven all and seemed to have understood that life was destined to be like that with man. As I knew him in his declining years he was an honest man and very religious. He was also mild and understanding in his dealings with his fellow man. He had 11 children. Two of the girls died in their infancy, Eliza the 6th and Mary the 11th child. Eliza's grave is on Bear Branch on Big Laurel, Mary's at Metcalf and Bruce Graveyard, the second to be buried there. The rest of the children lived at least to be middle age.
Vianna's people, the Lisenbee family, were well off for that day. Rubin Lisenbee Jr. gave Vianna a plot of land near Eller Ford of Ivy near about the close of the Civil War. I have heard Grandfather John tell how a den of copperhead snakes scared him and caused him to sell this property. He said that he found a den on this place and killed 49 copperheads and got sick and walked away without getting all of them. He then bought a plot of ground on Bear Branch of Big Laurel near the mouth of Little Creek. He moved there and planted a large apple orchard of buff apples. He told me that most of his children were born there, and there he spent the happiest part of his life. After the year 1875 he got up a trade with Joe Callahan and swapped for a plot known now as the Metcalf Branch on Bull Creek. It was first known as the Griffin Place. The Griffins probably settled there around 1840 or later. Joe Callahan bought it and later sold it to John and since 1875 it has been a Metcalf possession.
When John had reared his family he accumulated enough property to give 9 children a nice plot. He gave it all to them and bought a new plot known as the Ross Ray place near the Forks of Bull Creek just around the curve of the creek up West Fork. He moved there near 1897 and lived there until around 1918, and then he moved to Prince Edward Co. VA, where he lived until his death in the fall of 1927. He was laid to rest in the Bruce and Metcalf Cemetery on the head of Metcalf Branch.
Madison County Census of 1880 list the family as follows: John Metcalf, age 38, wife Vianna, age 42, Alfred age 17, Nancy age 16, William age 13, Harriet age 12, Reubin age 10, Levi age 8, John Jr age 7, Cornelia age 4, Frank age 2, Mary, age ½ years.
THE MASSACRE OF SHELTON LAUREL - JANUARY 19, 1863
Our ancestors living during the time of the Civil War took part in this terrible struggle. In some cases families were divided, such as in the Metcalf family, two brothers, Levi and William, were confederate soldiers while John Metcalf fought for the union army. These conflicts of kin against kin and neighbor against neighbor were the starting of grudges and feuds that continued for many years. For the most part our ancestors were union sympathizers living in a confederate State. The massacre of Shelton Laurel came about because of the shortage of salt. The storekeepers who were confederate supporters horded their small supply of salt and wound not sell to the union sympathizers. The confederate government refused to give them passes to take their wagons to the salt works. Finally the desire for salt became so great that a group of men on Shelton Laurel planned a raid upon the Marshall stores. According to Marshall Records, the raid was planned and executed very well, all the stores were broke into quickly and in unison, but after getting the salt, the raiders picked up other things that happen to be within easy reach before going back to their homes. This raid infuriated the confederates who had been subject to renegades who hid out in the mountains and had no loyalty to either side, raided and killed for their own gain. The confederate army immediately launched an expedition to capture those responsible for the raids. But hatred took the upper hand, and instead of searching for the raiders, they went back into the mountains to round up any man who sympathized with the union cause.
The following information of the massacre as remembered by John Shelton, son of James Shelton, and told him by his mother and grandfather, old David Shelton:
Killed near the mouth of Hickeys Fork Creek on the waters of Shelton Laurel by "Rebel" Lt. Col. Keith and his confederate troops in the War between the States, the following 13 men, 2 being boys, one 12 years old, the other 14 years old, were rounded up by Keith's army and taken to the home of Aunt Judie Shelton, which is known as Alleghany on Shelton Laurel, on Jan. 18, 1863. There were two other men captured but managed to escape, their names were Pete McCoy and Jonnie Norton. Pete McCoy escaped while being guarded that night and Johnnie Norton, a boy 12 years old, was left under a bed asleep when the prisoners were removed from the house on the morning of Jan. 19, 1863. Their names and ages:
James Shelton, 40: David Shelton (youngest son of James), 12: James Shelton, Jr. (son of James), 14; David Shelton (related to old David), 65; William Shelton, 40; Azariah Shelton, 22; Roderick Shelton, 24; James Metcalf (son of Joe), 28: Halen Moore, 26; Wade Moore, 31; Ellison King, 22; Joseph Wood, 24; Jasper Chandler, 30.
The following is an account of how they were buried, given by William Shelton:
They were shot to death near the mouth of Hickeys Ford and hurriedly buried but not completely covered up by their executers, from which it is told the women and children took them up and buried them over in what is now known as the Judie Shelton Graveyard. It is said that they used fire shovels and homemade hoes to dig their graves. They dug the first under the brow of the hill and placed the first victim in it, and covered him up with the earth that they were taking from the next grave, and so on, until they had covered them all in like manner, then placed a stone at the head and foot of each grave. The stones are still there close together in a comparatively straight row up the brow of the hill for thirteen counts.
If one of our day could have been at the scene of this massacre and could have went along with the women and children through the burial of their sons, husbands, brothers and fathers and observed their grief, tenderness, love and bitterness that they endured on this so near to Christmas time ordeal, he could form a better understanding of what shaped the ego of so many of the people that we knew in our childhood and are not past on.
This act of violence did not go unnoticed. The Confederate Governor of North Carolina, Zeblen B. Vance, ordered an investigation, which as carried out by State Attorney A.S. Merriman of Asheville. Parts of his report were as follows: "Probably 8 of the 13 were not in the band that looted the Marshall stores, one thing is certain, thirteen prisoners were shot without trial or any hearing whatever and in the most cruel manner". Acting on this report, Governor Vance demanded and got Lt. Col. Keith's resignation from the Confederate Army. Keith then turned renegade and was finally tracked down and shot.