Edneyville is known as the heart of Henderson County’s apple country and was one of the earliest communities settled in today’s Henderson County.
Edneyville was named for the Edney brothers, the Rev. Samuel Edney and Asa Edney, who married daughters of William Mills.
The community consists of rich agricultural land on the mountain hillsides and in the small valleys.
Edneyville is bordered to the south by the community of Dana and to the north by the communities of Bat Cave and Gerton. Fruitland borders the community to the west and Polk County and Rutherford County border the community to the east.
Tall mountains peaks separate the community from Polk and Rutherford counties, and from Bat Cave and Gerton.
The communities of Fruitland, Edneyville, Gerton and Hooper’s Creek meet at Bearwallow Mountain, the sixth highest peak in the county.
Sugarloaf Mountain is the highest peak in Edneyville, ranked No. 9 in the county at 3,965 feet. This mountain is at the border of Henderson, Polk and Rutherford counties.
Grant Mountain (No. 37) divides the communities of Edneyville and Bat Cave.
Poplar Mountain (No. 42) is located near where the communities of Edneyville and Dana meet, and is on the border of Henderson and Polk counties.
Some of the eastern section of Edneyville is east of the Continental Divide. The “ridge” (Blue Ridge) extends through Edneyville. Little Creek and all its tributaries are east of the Continental Divide. These waters eventually flow into the Broad River and the Atlantic Ocean. The headwaters of what local folk call the Little Hungry River begins near the “World’s Edge” near Sugarloaf Mountain in the eastern section of Edneyville, and flows through the community of Dana.
Clear Creek and its tributaries, such as Mill Creek and Lewis Creek, in the western section of the community, are west of the Continental Divide. These streams eventually flow into the French Broad to the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi River.
Early Deeds and Settlers
The sections of Edneyville east of the Continental Divide were open to settlement about the time the Revolutionary War started. The actual treaty between the British and the Cherokee was in 1769. All of Rutherford County, which included all of today’s Polk County, was settled many years prior to the Revolutionary War.
Pioneer frontiersmen settled in the sections of the Edneyville community that border today’s Polk and Rutherford counties most likely several years before 1783.
Documenting these early settlers would be extremely difficult. Any deeds would be located in Old Tryon County and Rutherford County.
Most likely they are the same people who later recorded deeds in the section. Some may have found their land later purchased by land speculators. Early deeds in Rutherford County show some land claims by speculators and others challenged by persons who obviously lived on the land. Also, from reading of the old deeds it is apparent that some people lived on the land for many years before actually filing deeds.
It is also apparent that land speculators, such as William Mills, James Miller, the McDowells and Johnsons, bought large amounts of land and later, beginning in the late 1780s through the early 1800s, sold this land to early settlers.
On Aug. 12, 1783, Joseph Henry enters land on the “north branch of Hungry Creek, north of Bald Ridge and 1.5 miles south of Point Lookout.“ This land was most likely in Edneyville. Henry, who bought and sold land throughout today’s Henderson County, will later sell this land.
On Aug. 22, 1785, William Mills and James Miller enter land at the “end of a little mountain between ‘Ready’ Patch and Clear Creeks, includes a spring.” This land today is along U.S. 64 East in the Edneyville community. Reedy Patch Creek is the stream that flows along U.S. 64 East between Edneyville and Bat Cave.
Beginning in 1789 and through the 1790s, William Mills recorded hundreds of acres of land along Clear Creek, Kyle’s Creek, Hooper’s Creek, Bearwallow Mountain, and the Reedy fork (Reedy Patch Creek) of the Little Broad (Rocky Broad).
On March 2, 1786, Felix Walker and Thomas Hall enter land on Little Hungry Creek, on the waters of Green River at the mouth of a small branch and runs up the creek. This land was transferred to William Hix (Hicks). The area of the Green River was in today’s Polk County, but the land included an area of Little Hungry Creek in today’s Henderson County. (See below)
On Nov. 2, 1787,Thomas Justice enters land on the south side of Green River and a mountain on Green River near the waters of Hungry Creek. This is the first of several land claims entered by Thomas Justice. Based on later deeds and census reports, Justice was most likely in Edneyville, but land possibly extended into today’s Dana community. Descendants of Thomas Justice lived in both communities.
June 1, 1790,Thomas Hall Sr. and Andrew Miller enter land on the north sides of Green River, “includes some branches of Hungry Creek, near a marked white oak.” Transferred to David Jackson by order. It is known that David Jackson lived in the Bright’s Creek area of today’s Polk County, but some of the land extended into today’s Henderson County, as did land of his brother, Gabriel Jackson. David Jackson Sr. and his brother, Gabriel Jackson Sr., entered today’s Henderson and Polk counties together soon after the Revolutionary War.
On Aug. 10, 1790, Richard Lewis enters land “claimed by Robert Young” on Clear Creek “on fork of said creek, includes Chickasaw Nob on the spring branch and includes ‘foandes’ (foundation) of an old cabin.”
In 1793, Reuben Johnson, et al, enters land on Sugarloaf Mountain from John McDowell Sr.
March 2, 1794, William Hix (Hicks) enters land on “Little Hungry Creek of the Green River borders his own lower line.” (See above) Hix also enters land at the “head of Beaver Pond Branch of Hungry Creek of Green River.” This is the first of several hundreds of acres for which Hix (Hicks) enters claims. One entry states “near Hick’s old mill place.”
Jan. 13, 1795, William Hicks enters land on the “waters of Hungry Creek of Green River, borders ‘my own land where I live.’“ Thomas Hicks also enters a land entry. Based on genealogical records, William Hicks was the brother-in-law of John Jones Sr. and Thomas Jones, both of whom married sisters of William Hicks. Thomas Hicks was the father of William Hicks and father-in-law of John Jones Sr. and Thomas Jones. William Hicks will later sell his land to his brothers-in-law and move to Tennessee. Thomas Hicks’ land will be given or sold to his sons-in-law. Thomas Jones will later sell his land to his brother, John Jones Sr. This land was located in today’s Edneyville, but some of this land may have been in today’s Dana community.
From the 1780s through the 1830s, and some possibly earlier, the following families settled in the Edneyville community: Barnwell, Case, Collins, Coston, Dalton, Edney, Enloe, Freeman, Gilbert, Gilliam, Hill, Jackson, Jones, Justice, Justus, King, Laughter, Lewis, Liverette, Lyda, Marshall, Maxwell, Merrell, Mills, Morrison, Moss, Nix, Owenby, Owens, Rhodes, Stepp, Summers, Whitesides, Williams, Whitaker, and more. Land deeds, census records and cemeteries were used in compiling the surnames.
Some of these early families may have originally settled in the Dana, Bat Cave, Gerton, and Hooper’s Creek communities, and in sections of today’s Polk, Rutherford and Buncombe counties. In the first 20 to 30 years of our county’s history, they and/or their descendants moved into Edneyville. Others were original settlers in Edneyville.
Some of these early settlers, including William Mills, brought slaves with them.
Prior to the Civil War, free blacks from Rutherford County settled in Edneyville. George Owens and Butler Owens bought land in Edneyville beginning in the 1840s. Many of their descendants continue to live in the community.
The Mills Gap Road was one of the earliest “roads” into Henderson County.
The road entered the county near the border with Rutherford and Polk counties near Sugarloaf Mountain, crossed the “ridge,” continued into Edneyville and followed what is today South Mills Gap Road toward the Hooper’s Creek community and into Buncombe County.
By the early 1800s, Mills Gap Road was also a toll road with a drovers’ stop at the Asa Edney home that was located on today’s South Mills Gap Road.
In coming through Mills Gap between what is today Henderson County and Rutherford County in 1806, Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury wrote, “One of the descents is like the roof of a house, for nearly a mile… I rode, I walked, I sweat, I tumbled, and my old knees failed. Here are gullies, and rocks, and precipices.”
Early post offices, stores
The Edneyville post office was established in 1828 in the home of the Rev. Samuel Edney. This was one of the earliest post offices in the county. Edney was the postmaster until 1842, when a son, James Madison Edney was appointed postmaster.
Another son, Rufus Edney (Samuel Rufus Edney) served as postmaster from 1846 to 1852. William Coston was postmaster from 1851 to 1856. Rufus Edney then served again from 1856 until after the Civil War. A son of Rufus Edney, Winson M. Edney, served as postmaster from 1872 until 1915.
In 1906 rural routes began out of the Edneyville post office. Later the rural routes were transferred to the Hendersonville post office.
In 1883, a post office was established near Liberty Baptist Church at the foot of Bearwallow Mountain. Carey Maxwell was the postmaster. The Maxwell Post Office was only open for five months and closed the same year.
The Lyda Post Office near today’s St. Paul Road and Slick Rock Road was open from 1886 to 1888. John S. Lyda was the postmaster.
The Dewitt Post Office was established in the community near a store on today’s Pace Road. This store and post office was located close to where King’s Grove Baptist Church is located today. Juno King Edney was the postmistress. The post office remained open until 1914 when the area began receiving rural mail delivery from Hendersonville.
The Roosevelt Post Office opened in 1900 on St. Paul Road, north of St. Paul Episcopal Church. Thomas A.W. Lyda was the postmaster. This post office closed in 1907 after rural route delivery began from Edneyille.
In 1902 two post offices opened in the eastern section of Edneyville – Ottanola and Horace.
Ottanola Post Office did not close until 1924. The post office was at the site of a store owned and operated by William F. Merrell. The store and post office were located above Mountain Home Baptist Church approaching “World’s Edge” at Sugarloaf Mountain. Postmasters included William F. Merrell, William K. Ledbetter, Sallie Merrell Ledbetter, and Sam Williamson.
The Horace Post Office did not remain open as long. It closed in 1913. This post office was located near Point Lookout and Sugarloaf Mountain, near the home place of James M. Jackson. James Jackson was the only postmaster.
In 1904 the Fairbanks Post Office opened near the intersection of Slick Rock Road and U.S. 64 East. The post office closed in 1907. Columbus “Lum” M. Dalton was the only postmaster.
Rufus Edney, son of Samuel Edney, opened an early store in Edneyville prior to the Civil War. This store remained open into the 20th century.
Two Episcopalian missionaries, a Mrs. Sharp and Dr. Ruth Gottlieb moved into Edneyville in the 1880s. Mrs. Sharp was a pharmacist. She and Dr. Gottlieb opened a drug store in Edneyville about the 1890s.
During the 20th century several stores opened in Edneyville.
The earliest inn in Edneyville was the drovers’ stop established near the home place of Asa Edney on today’s South Mills Gap Road.
In 1900 the Lyda family opened the Chicasaw Inn near the intersection of today’s St. Paul Road and Slick Rock Road. This early hotel later burned.
The Bee Hive Inn was built in 1907 by Andrew Monroe Lyda. This was a three-story inn with 35 rooms. Some of the original cottages are still standing today on Bee Hive Road.
In 1909 the Salola Inn was built near the top of Sugarloaf Mountain by Jonathan Williams. It was located above the Ottanola Post Office. In 1912, Williams sold the inn to three investors from Jacksonville, Fla. They bought an additional 132 acres and planned to build a “Jacksonville Club.”
Another hotel was built near Ottanola by Sam Williamson. It was named the Beulah House.
The Flack Hotel, a four-story, 50-room hotel, was built in 1915 on St. Paul Road in Edneyville. Many community events were held at the hotel. It was also known as the “home of square dancing.” Several well-known country musicians stayed at the hotel. It closed in 1958. The hotel burned in 1971.
The first school in Edneyville was held in the home of the Rev. Samuel Edney. This was one of the earliest schools in the county. He began holding the school in his home about 1810. At some point he built a one-room school near his home. This school was later located closer to Edneyville United Methodist Church.
There were other one-room schools in the community that were open prior to the Civil War.
A school was opened near Liberty Baptist Church in 1847.
A school in the Reedy Patch section of Edneyville opened some time in the 1840s.
There was also a school that opened near Mount Moriah Baptist Church in the 1840s or 1850s.
After the Civil War, a one-room school opened near the Dewitt Post Office near today’s Edneyville Elementary School.
The Good Shepherd School was opened by Mrs. Sharp and Dr. Ruth Gottlieb as a missionary school of the Episcopal Church. The school was located on the north side of Point Lookout near the headwaters of Little Creek, beneath Sugarloaf Mountain.
There was also a school named Point Lookout near Point Lookout and Sugarloaf Mountain.
St. Paul Episcopal Church opened a missionary school in the late 1800s.
There was also a black school that opened in the late 1800s near St. Paul Episcopal Church and Blue Ridge Baptist Church.
The Edneyville School, a consolidated school, was built in the 1920s. It served grades one through high school.
Black students continued to attend a one-room school located off today’s Mark Freeman Road. In the late 1940s, a family bought the school and built a house, with the school serving as a room in the house. This house still stands.
In 1951 a separate high school building was built at the site of the Edneyville School. The elementary and middle-school students attended school in separate buildings at the same location.
A new Edneyville Elementary School was built in the late 20th century on Pace Road.
In 1993 North Henderson High School opened for high school students and Apple Valley Middle School opened. Both schools are located off Fruitland Road in the Fruitland community.
Edneyville High School closed. High school and middle school students from the Edneyville community now attend North Henderson High School and Apple Valley Middle School.
The buildings that housed the school in Edneyville became the location of the N.C. Justice Academy’s western campus, training law enforcement personnel from throughout the state.
The Rev. Samuel Edney, the first Methodist circuit-riding preacher in Western North Carolina, began holding services and carrying the gospel to mountain settlers in the early 1790s. Edney was a good friend of Bishop Francis Asbury, who brought the Methodist religion to the United States. Edney and his brother, Asa Edney, settled in Henderson County in 1792.
Methodist services held in and near the home of the Rev. Samuel Edney later lead to the establishment of Edneyville United Methodist Church. This church is one of three of the first Methodist churches in the county. The church traces its history back to Edney and the services held at his home. The church is located about one mile from his home place.
John Justus was also a Methodist circuit-riding minister who settled in the Edneyville section of Henderson County near the present-day Edneyville United Methodist Church.
The first Baptist church established in Edneyville was Mount Moriah Baptist Church. The church on Gilliam Mountain Road was established in 1839.
Liberty Baptist Church at the edge of Fruitland and Edneyville, at the foot of Bearwallow Mountain, was established in 1848.
Barnwell Baptist Church on Grant Mountain Road was established in 1864.
Mountain Home Baptist Church was established in the 1890s.
There are separate articles written on the above churches under the “Historical Cemeteries” icon on this web site.
In 1885, an Episcopal mission church was formed in Edneyville – St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on St. Paul Road. The granite church was built in 1910.
The black community was also holding church services. There was an early black Episcopalian church, a mission church of St. Paul Episcopal, and an early black Methodist church. Blue Ridge Baptist Church was organized in Edneyville sometime in the late 1800s or early 1900s and the other churches closed.
The Edneyville Volunteer Fire Department organized in the 1960s.
A summer camp, Camp Judea, is located in Edneyville. For more information on this camp, click on the following link: http://hendersonheritage.com/camp-blue-star/
During the 1990s, Henderson County established a park and a branch of the public library in Edneyville.
For more information and articles on Edneyville and people who lived in the community, see articles under the “Historic Cemeteries” icon. There were several early county political leaders, sheriffs and marshals from Edneyville. Information on these are found under the “History and Heritage” icon.
Also click on the following links for more information on Edneyville and the people who call the community home.