Take a drive past the congested area of Fletcher along Hooper’s Creek Road. Keep driving past the tightly packed new subdivisions. Soon one will enter one of the most picturesque sections of Henderson County. Pale blue mountains surround you on all sides within this pastoral countryside of barns, green pastures and country homes as the road winds its way higher toward the intersection with North Bearwallow Road.
This is the Hooper’s Creek community of Henderson County.
Buncombe County borders Hooper’s Creek on the north. Fletcher and Naples border Hooper’s Creek to the west. To the east are Gerton and Fruitland. Fruitland also borders Hooper’s Creek on the south, along with the Clear Creek community.
The names of the roads give one a sense of the history of this community. Terry’s Gap Road winds through the gap between the mountains from Hooper’s Creek into Fruitland. Clark Gap near Cunningham Mountain (2,710 feet) also leads one into the Fruitland area. There is Stroupe Gap near Burney Mountain (2,990 feet) that takes one into Buncombe County. Young Gap is between Burney Mountain and Barnhill Mountain (3,050 feet) and also enters Buncombe County.
Three of the county’s highest peaks rise within Hooper’s Creek. Turkey Knob (ranked number 13) at 3,740 feet and Bank Mountain (ranked number 14) at 3,701 feet separate the community from Fruitland. Face Rock (ranked number 24) at 3,419 feet separates Hooper’s Creek from Buncombe County.
Other mountains within Hooper’s Creek include Garren Mountain at 3,020′ feet and Byers Mountain (2,610 feet) that separates the community from Naples and is west of Couch Mountain.
The main mountain stream within the community is Hooper’s Creek that rises at Bearwallow Mountain and flows downward into Cane Creek.
Name of Hooper’s Creek
The community is named for the main stream within the community. This mountain stream was named Hooper’s Creek as early as 1783 when deeds in old Rutherford County refer to the stream by name.
From 1778 until 1783, Rutherford County included all of today’s Polk County and sections of Henderson County east of the Eastern Continental Divide. At the end of the Revolutionary War, the majority of Henderson County was within Rutherford County until 1791.
In August 1783 John Miller files for land along “Hooper’s Creek” in what is today’s Henderson County.
No deed could be located where a family with the surname of Hooper owned land in the community. Any old deeds prior to the late 1770s would be located in the Old Tryon County records.
It is known that a family with the surname of Hooper lived in Rutherford County at this time in history. Today’s Hooper’s Creek community is entirely west of the Continental Divide, but the divide runs near Bearwallow Mountain and passes through the area that separates the Gerton community from Hooper’s Creek. It is entirely likely that early settlers at the time of the Revolutionary War were living near and even within today’s community of Hooper’s Creek.
In the Old Tryon County records is found within “Deed Book 1, p.86-87: 23 Oct 1769, John Standford of Tryon Co., to Essex Capshaw of same, son of Francis Capshaw decd, and Elizabeth his now relict, for natural love to his half brother sd. Essex Capshaw … half of tract on N side Main Broad River, granted to Thomas Hooper, 27 Apr 1767 … John Stanford (SEAL), Sarah Stanford (D) (SEAL), Wit: Peter Quin, William Logan. Rec. Oct term 1769. (Holcomb, Deed Abstracts of Tryon, Lincoln, & Rutherford Counties, N. C., 1769-1786, p.12)”
The Broad River flows through Henderson County in the Bat Cave and Gerton communities, close to Hooper’s Creek. What local residents call the Rocky Broad is the headwaters of the Main Broad River.
Then within “Deed Book A-D, p.143, 30 Aug 1779, Land Grant to James Logan, 100 acres, on North Pacolate River, including Hooper’s camp. RC Caswell. (Microfilm of Rutherford County, NC Deed Books, NC State Archives)”
The North Pacolet River is within today’s Polk County and the Mountain Page community of Henderson County. This was Rutherford County in 1779.
Revolutionary War patriot Absalom Hooper made a pension claim and in answer to questions about his date and place of birth mentioned a location that turns out to be near the border of today’s Rutherford County and Polk County, at the mouth of the Green River where it enters the Broad River.
Other evidence of an early Hooper family in the old Rutherford County is an indictment in September 1784 on claims by Elizabeth Hooper against William Gilbert of Rutherford County, claiming that in July 1778 Gilbert had stolen livestock from Ennis Hooper. (Philbeck, Miles, “Morgan District Court Criminal Action Papers, 1783-1784″, in Bulletin of the Genealogical Society of Old Tryon County: 15:2, p. 65; and Newton, H. H., “Rutherford County North Carolina Abstracts Of Minutes, Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, in Bulletin of the Genealogical Society of Old Tryon County: 14:1, p. 7.)
In addition to the land deed in 1783 stated above, other early deeds referring to Hooper’s Creek include:
. June 13, 1790 – William Mills and James Miller record land on the “branches of Clear Creek includes William Mills and James Pott’s old camp places and includes the path of Hoopers Creek Mountain to Loyd’s old place and runs down.” Over the years, Mills buys more land on Hooper’s Creek and Bearwallow Mountain.
. Jan. 1, 1791 – Andrew Miller records land on the branches of Clear Creek “near Andrew Lydais (Lyda’s) and Wallace’s old place and includes the path from Wallace’s old place to Hoopers Creek.”
. Nov. 12, 1791 – David and Andrew Miller record land on a “branch of Hoopers Creek up towards the gap of the mountain that goes to Lydas, borders Hughes and Wallace, and includes a cabin.”
The Miller family and William Mills were land speculators, buying large amounts of land from the state and later selling the land to early settlers.
The majority of Henderson County became part of the old Buncombe County in 1791 when Buncombe County was formed from the old Burke and Rutherford counties.
In 1798 in Buncombe County, Samuel Murray records land along Mud Creek, Cane Creek and Hooper’s Creek. Most of the Murray land was the area closer to today’s Fletcher.
In 1799 Valentine Keagle (Cagle) buys land along Hooper’s Creek.
In 1807, Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury wrote the following: “Monday, 29. Raining. We had dry weather during the meeting. There were eleven sermons and many exhortations. At noon it cleared up, and gave us an opportunity of riding home: my mind enjoyed peace, but my body felt the effect of riding. On Tuesday I went to a school house to preach: I rode through Swanino (cq) River, and Cane and Hooper’s Creeks.”
Based on early land deeds from Buncombe County, the following families began settling in the Hooper’s Creek area by the early 1800s: Shuford, before 1800, selling to Young in 1801; Lance and Russell abt. 1801; Whitaker and Twitty abt. 1802; Rhodes by 1804;Barnwell, Clark, Sanlin and Townsend abt. 1805; Lanning abt. 1806; Livingston abt. 1808;Tow (Towe), abt. 1811;Garren abt. 1812; Plumblee by 1819; Souther abt. 1829; Pinner abt. 1833; Youngblood and Cunningham abt. 1839; Hutchison after the 1830s; and the Baldwin and Stroup families abt. 1840s.
The Byers family was within today’s Naples community as early as 1805, and by the 1830s and 1840s began moving into sections of today’s Fletcher and Hooper’s Creek. The Maxwell family was primarily located in the Fruitland community, but began moving into Hooper’s Creek by the 1830s.
Two early churches in the Hooper’s Creek community were the old Patty’s Chapel, a Methodist church founded in 1856, and Hooper’s Creek Baptist Church founded in 1857.
For more information on these churches, visit the “Historical Cemeteries” section of this web site under “Hooper’s Creek.”
Oak Forest Baptist Church is a more recent church.
Stores and Quarry
The old Hooper’s Creek Grocery is a historical landmark within the community. This community store near the intersection with Burney Mountain Road is now the location of a café.
At the intersection of Terry’s Gap Road and Hooper’s Creek Road was the location of another community store in the late 1800s and early 1900s. This was the old Goodluck (Good Luck) store.
There were several granite quarries within Henderson County since the early 1800s. One of these was located within the Hooper’s Creek community. Today, this is the Hooper’s Creek Quarry located on Hooper’s Creek Road. The quarry was in operation “off and on” since the 1800s. The granite, known as Hooper’s Creek stone, is known for a light green mineral that will appear randomly in the stone.
Throughout most of the history of the Hooper’s Creek community the residents received mail from post offices located in what is today Fletcher.
After the arrival of the train, when post offices began appearing in small “neighborhoods” across Henderson County, some of these small post offices were located in what is today Hooper’s Creek.
The Mott Post Office opened on May 28, 1889 and closed three months later on Aug. 31, 1889. Joseph E. Garren (1841-1925) was the postmaster. Based on census records and land deeds, Garren lived near other family members of the Garren, Lanning, Rhodes and Souther families at the time this post office was established. Also nearby was the Joseph Youngblood family. This most likely places this post office somewhere in the vicinity of Souther Road, Jackson Road, Patty’s Chapel Road and Hutch Mountain Road. There were persons with the surname of Mott who lived in the community, but as of this date little information has been documented. Rachel Letitia Mott married David Lanning about 1841.
The Tin Post Office was open from 1892 to 1894. Joseph Youngblood was the only postmaster. This post office was located closer to Fletcher, near the site of the old Asheville-Hendersonville Airport. Evidence indicates that Youngblood was a tinsmith, thus the post office was named Tin.
At the intersection of Hooper’s Creek Road with Terry’s Gap Road, was the location of the Goodluck (Good Luck) Post Office that was open from 1900 to 1905. Jasper Newton Youngblood was the only postmaster.
Based on early school districts, there was an early school in this section of Henderson County prior to 1860. Good documentation as of this date has not been located.
It is known that A. T. Livingston taught at a schoolhouse on the Merrimon farm on today’s Jackson Road prior to the Civil War.
By the late 1800s and early 1900s schools have been documented.
There was a one-room school at the intersection with Terry’s Gap Road and Hooper’s Creek Road named Goodluck (Good Luck).
Several references were located referring to a Hooper’s Creek School after the Civil War and prior to 1900. The location has not yet been established.
It is documented that the Oak Forest School was built in 1898. It was a one-story wooden building with three rooms and a porch. This school was located near the present site of Oak Forest Baptist Church on Jackson Road.
The Patty’s Chapel School was built in 1904. This school had four rooms and was located on today’s Patty’s Chapel Road.
The Maxwell School was located in the area of Bearwallow Mountain near where the community borders Fruitland.
The Oak Forest School, Maxwell School and Patty’s Chapel School were consolidated into Fletcher Graded School in 1926. A graded school means the school served students from first grade through high school.
For more information visit, https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1665&dat=19871004&id=Zng0AAAAIBAJ&sjid=jSQEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5267,889474&hl=en
Today, students in the Hooper’s Creek community attend Fletcher Elementary School, Rugby Middle School and West Henderson High School.
The community of Hooper’s Creek was one of the areas in Henderson County that suffered much violence during the Civil War.
The mountains surrounding the community were ideal hide-outs for deserters from both the Union and Confederate armies.
There are at least two well documented incidents of rapes and murder in this section of the county during the Civil War.
Susannah Sophronia Clark Barnwell (1832-1863) was brutally murdered and raped on April 5, 1863, in the Hooper’s Creek community. She was the youngest child of James Clark and wife Jane (possibly Townsend) who lived in the Hooper’s Creek community. In 1851 Sophronia married Joshua David Barnwell. They lived on the property of her father. Her husband and her brother-in-law, William Garren (husband of sister, Elizabeth Clark), had purchased most of her father’s property in Hooper’s Creek.
The actual report of her death and following court documents state that her husband had witnesses stating he was with them in Asheville the night she was murdered. Joshua David Barnwell paid for a substitute to fight for him in the Civil War and returned home a year before his wife was murdered.
There is a summary of the special coroner published in the Henderson County Heritage Book Volume II, but this summary is not the actual court record and has some serious transcription and factual errors.
Joseph Holbert, the special coroner, states she was found in bed the next morning with a gash over her left eye. Her skull was broken, according to Dr. Fletcher, who came to the house with other men before the body was moved. The men believed she was killed with an ax. There were bruises on her head and breast and arm made with a mall.
At the inquest, witnesses said on the evening of April 5, 1863, she was sitting on her front porch with a hymnal in her lap singing hymns. That was the last time anyone saw her alive. The inquest report states her two oldest children went outside early the next morning. “The two faithful slaves” asked where their mother was. The children stated they could not waken her. The slaves went inside and found her dead.
One of her three children was an infant at the time of the murder. The infant, Jefferson Davis Barnwell, died within a few weeks of her death.
Her grave site is at Hooper’s Creek Baptist Church Cemetery.
A story of her murder is in the book “The Secret of War” by Terrell Garren, page 152-154.
The other violent incident is the main focus of Garren’s book “The Secret of War.” Delia Ann Russell Youngblood (1846-1928) was the daughter of Robert Russell and Susannah “Suzie” Livingston Russell. This incident occurred at the end of the war when Union troops had entered Henderson County. Delia Ann Russell will marry Joseph Youngblood (1838-1907) after the war in 1868. Her grave site is at Patty’s Chapel Cemetery.
Where Delia Russell was attacked was at what is known as the Russell/Merrimon House that was located on today’s Jackson Road not far from the intersection with Hutch Mountain Road. A small outbuilding is the only remaining structure on the property.
The Russell-Merrimon House, also called the Merrimon-Russell House, was built in 1845 by Branch Merrimon, father of Augustus Summerfield Merrimon who was a lawyer in Buncombe County prior to the Civil War and also served in the N.C. General Assembly. After the war he served as a judge, moved to Raleigh, served as a Democratic senator from N.C. to the U.S. Senate from 1873 to 1879, and later chief justice of the N.C. Supreme Court from 1889 to 1892. Merrimon Avenue in Asheville is named for Augustus S. Merrimon.
In 1856, Branch Merrimon sold the house to Robert Russell, father of Delia Russell Youngblood. The youngest son of Robert Russell and Susannah Livingston Russell, John N. Russell, inherited the house. Dr. Lloyd P. Russell, son of John N. Russell and Delia Cooper Russell, later lived in the house. Dr. Russell’s two sisters, Bonnie Russell and Susan Russell Anderson, lived in the family home when Frank FitzSimons Sr., who wrote the book “From the Banks of the Oklawaha, Volume II” visited the home. It was a two-story house in an “L” formation, with two stairways leading to the second floor, and three chimneys. There were 10 rooms each with high ceilings and each was 16 foot square. A photo of the house is featured on page 331 in the above referenced book. Bonnie Lee Russell died in 1977 and Susan “Sue” Russell Anderson died in 1986. At some time since their deaths the house was torn down.
One of the hideouts for deserters described in Garren’s book was about 100 yards from a new house at the end of Rabbit Ridge Road in the Hooper’s Creek community.
Times-News columnist Stephen Black wrote about the Civil War sites on a tour of the community. Read the column at http://www.blueridgenow.com/article/20130119/NEWS/130119749
Julius B. Whitaker was in the 41st Battalion of the North Carolina Militia. He was on duty for the Confederate Army when he was killed Jan. 9, 1865, at Terry’s Gap by a Confederate deserter, turned Union spy. The affidavits regarding his death have survived and the event is well documented.
The Hooper’s Creek Community Club was organized in 1968. The community center is located on Hooper’s Creek Road.
The Hooper’s Creek community is served by the Fletcher Fire and Rescue.