Dairy farms, chicken farms, vegetable farms and apple orchards once covered the fields from one end of Tracy Grove to the other. Today, one can still see some of the apple orchards and crops growing in the fields in the bottom lands near the streams and creeks.
Tracy Grove is within the inter-mountain plateau of rich farm land, entirely west of the Eastern Continental Divide.
The areas to the west and south of the community were bogs until the late 1800s when equipment was used to drain many of them. As one travels along Tracy Grove Road from the Dana Road toward Howard Gap Road after a heavy rain, note the flooded fields and bog land.
For more information on the bogs, see http://hendersonheritage.com/east-flat-rock/ and http://hendersonheritage.com/barker-heights/
Dunn’s Creek is considered by some residents to separate the community from the Upward community on the east. The community is bordered to the north and east by Dana. To the south is East Flat Rock and to the west are Barker Heights and areas within today’s city limits of Hendersonville.
A school was built in the community. Some folks say the original name of the school was Cold Water. Within a short time, a man by the name of Christopher Tracy donated books for the school library. In appreciation, residents named the school Tracy Grove, as the school building was within a grove of trees.
Early history and families
There was not a community with the name of Tracy Grove until the early 1900s. The community was considered a part of the Dana and Upward communities from the early history of the county.
Those same early Appalachian mountain settlers who entered today’s Henderson County in the 1780s through the early 1800s began moving farther afield from the Edneyville area into today’s communities of Dana and Upward.
Many of these families settled in what today is called Tracy Grove. Early 1800s families from the Dana and Upward areas included folks with the surnames of Blackwell, McCraw, McGraw, Jones, Case, Tabor, Jackson, Justus, Hoots, Cagle and Williams. With the building of the Guice Bridge over the Green River by 1820, more families began moving into the area from the communities of Mountain Page and Macedonia, and from Polk County. These families included folks with the surnames of Staton, Pace, Henderson, Guice, Holbert, Thompson, Hyder and McMurray.
Jacob Cagle had a pottery kiln in the Upward community at the “crossroads.” One of his sons, Wexler Isaac Cagle moved to what is today the Tracy Grove community and set up a pottery kiln in this community.
A low-country plantation owner, John Parker V, husband of Emily Rutledge, bought substantial acreages of land within today’s Tracy Grove community in the late 1830s. His land spread from the Tracy Grove community into Upward, but most of the land was within Tracy Grove. This was the Parker family’s “summer residence.” Parker died in 1849. His son Francis Simons Parker was one of the largest rice planters in the U.S. in 1860. Parker’s grandson, Arthur Middleton Parker. married Emma Izard Middleton and the couple’s grave sites are at St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal Church in Flat Rock.
The Parker family is also connected to the Barker family from whom Theodore Barker descends (see http://hendersonheritage.com/barker-heights/). Barker is the person credited with draining much of the bog land in today’s communities of Flat Rock, East Flat Rock and the traditional community of Barker Heights. Some of these bogs were within Tracy Grove.
Sometime after the Civil War, families began moving into the area of Tracy Grove from communities such as Green River, Clear Creek, Big Willow, Crab Creek and other areas of the county. These were the families of Anders, McCall, Huggins, Blythe, Corn, Capps, Clark and others.
Early Twentieth Century
Descendants of Joseph Ellison Adger Smyth, who owned Connemara in Flat Rock and who began the Balfour Mills, began buying land in the Tracy Grove community in the early 1900s. See http://hendersonheritage.com/balfour/ and http://hendersonheritage.com/flat-rock-2/
Smyth’s son James Adger Smyth (1873-1928) and daughter Sarah Smyth Hudgens (1880-1973), wife of John Allison Hudgens, purchased substantial acreages of land in today’s Tracy Grove community.
The Hudgens family lived at Windy Hill on McMurray Road. Windy Hill was remodeled and enlarged in the early 20th century by architect Erle G. Stillwell.
A daughter of James Adger Smyth was Mary Hutchinson Smyth who married Laurence H. McKay. The McKay family owns Far Away Farms in the Tracy Grove community. Far Away Farms began as a dairy farm and poultry farm, and later apple trees were planted. The nucleus of the Parker estate is today’s Far Away Farms.
Author and storyteller Frank FitzSimons moved to Henderson County to live year-round about 1921. At first he leased a dairy farm on Crab Creek Road. Within a couple of years he bought the Elias Gibbs property in the Dana community and named his farm Golden Glow. For more information on FitzSimons and his son, see https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1665&dat=19800204&id=BDEaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=oCQEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6117,3551787&hl=en and https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1665&dat=19820806&id=N1FPAAAAIBAJ&sjid=RCQEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6589,4774824&hl=en and https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1665&dat=19800128&id=n4JPAAAAIBAJ&sjid=oCQEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5069,2560285&hl=en
School and Churches
The Tracy Grove School was located on property now owned by the Bethel Wesleyan Church, near the intersection of Tracy Grove Road and McMurray Road.
When the school closed about 1930, students began attending Dana School and East Flat Rock School. Which school the students attended was determined by the area of the Tracy Grove community in which they lived.
Today, students attend Sugarloaf Elementary, Dana Elementary or Upward Elementary, depending on where they live within the Tracy Grove community. Older students attend Flat Rock Middle School and East Henderson High School.
Blue Ridge Community College is located partially within the communities of Tracy Grove, Barker Heights and East Flat Rock.
The Tracy Grove community did not have one of the early post offices. Residents used the Blue Ridge and later Dana post offices, and for a short time the Upward Post Office. Today’s mail service is delivered from routes out of the Flat Rock and East Flat Rock post offices.
The first church established in the community was Tracy Grove Union Church. Today, this church is Tracy Grove Baptist Church. For more information, visit the Tracy Grove link within the “Historic Cemeteries” section of this web site.
Bethel Wesleyan Church was organized in 1922. For more information, visit the Tracy Grove link within the “Historic Cemeteries” section of this web site.
Tracy Grove Community Club was organized in 1957. The community center is located on S. Allen Road.
The community is served by the Blue Ridge Fire and Rescue Department.