Apple trees, peach trees and vineyards dominate the landscape in the land of fruit. Fruitland was named for the fruit grown in the community.
This is still an agricultural community, with fields of vegetables and orchards, and a vineyard.
In the 1900s the Pittillo Dairy Farm was a landmark. Families also raised lots of chickens.
Today, the “green” industry has replaced some of the traditional crops. The Pittillo family now operates “Turf Mountain Sod” instead of a dairy farm, and greenhouses and nurseries are also found.
Fruitland borders the communities of Hooper’s Creek and Clear Creek to the west. Edneyville borders the community to the east. The community touches the city limits of Hendersonville, and the communities of Dana and Edneyville on the south. To the north is the area where Fruitland meets the communities of Gerton, Hooper’s Creek and Edneyville.
Until after the Civil War, the community was traditionally considered a part of Edneyville and, in some sections, part of Clear Creek.
Primary roads are U.S. 64 East (Chimney Rock Highway), Fruitland Road, South Mills Gap Road, Old Clear Creek Road and Terry’s Gap Road.
A range of mountains separates Fruitland and Hooper’s Creek. Turkey Knob and Bank Mountain, ranked the 13th and 14th highest peaks in the county, are two of the mountains separating the communities. Other mountains located in Fruitland are Hightop (20), Bald Top (21), Rich (23), and Wethero (29).
The primary waterway flowing through the community is Clear Creek. Fruitland is entirely west of the Continental Divide. Several smaller streams enter Clear Creek, such as Kyle’s Creek.
Early deeds in 1790 show William Mills and James Miller buying large amounts of acreage in today’s Fruitland community. Both were land speculators. Miller sold much of the land he purchased to early settlers.
Mills also sold land over the years to early settlers in the Fruitland area, but did keep some of his land, deeding it to some of his children and grandchildren. The home place of William Mills is off South Mills Gap Road near the intersection with U.S. 64 East. Most people today consider this the Edneyville community. His land did extend into the Fruitland community.
In 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.”
Mills later enters hundreds of acres of land along Clear Creek and Kyle’s Creek.
On Jan. 1, 1791, Andrew Miller enters 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.”
On March 10, 1791, George Sanders enters land on Clear Creek “near the lands of John Miller that John Case lived on.” It is unclear if this would be located in today’s Fruitland or Edneyville community.
In 1796, James Moss enters land on Clear Creek. The Moss family were some of the earliest landowners in the community.
As early as 1820 the Pittillo family was living in the Fruitland area. Names on early deeds are Millington Pittillo and Littleton Pittillo. The family and descendants owned substantial acreage in Fruitland, some bought from William Mills and his descendants and bordering the Mills property.
The Freeman, Lanning, Pryor, Justus, Edney, Maxwell, Barnwell, Thompson and other families moved into the area from the Edneyville, Hooper’s Creek, Bat Cave, Dana and Gerton communities.
Early Post Offices and Stores
The community of Fruitland was served by the Edneyville post office throughout the early history of the county.
In 1883 is the first reference to a community called Fruitland. A post office was established named Fruitland. The first postmaster was David Merrell. Merrell also had a store in the community. He was followed by J.W. Freeman, then Freeman’s daughter, Sallie Freeman Sumner. Other postmasters included Zebulon V. Brevard, James Z. Stroup, a Dr. Ledbetter, Marcus M. Lance and Gaston L. Norman.
The post office remained open until 1906. At this time a rural route began in Edneyville that served much of Fruitland. Later, the community was served by a rural route out of Hendersonville.
Another post office opened in the community in 1899 – Uno. This post office was located where a travel trailer park is located today at the intersection of U.S. 64 East and Fruitland Road. Hattie Drake was the postmistress. She and her husband, Lee Drake, also had a store at the same location named Uno. The story is told that a young customer was leaving the store and called for her dog, “Uno.” The store and post office took the name.
Later, G.T. Thompson and wife, Belle Robinson Thompson, bought the store and operated the post office until 1902.
William P. Murray was the postmaster and owner of the store from 1902 to 1905. The post office closed in 1905 with rural routes out of Hendersonville and Edneyville.
The Uno Grocery, including an early service station, remained until the late 1970s or early 1980s.
In the early 1900s, there were two other stores in the community. One was owned and operated by Gaston Norman. The post office was operated out of this store.
Another store was opened in the early 1900s by Brownlow Jackson and the Freeman brothers.
A store remained in Fruitland near the intersection of South Mills Gap Road and Old Clear Creek Road/Fruitland Road until late in the 20th century.
If there were any early one-room schools in the community, the names are not yet known. Students most likely attended schools near Edneyville and Clear Creek.
In 1898, the Green Mountain Academy opened by the Carolina Baptist Association at the corner of Fruitland Road and South Mills Gap Road. This school later changed its name to the Fruitland Institute (Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute). Several political leaders in the community served on the first board, including Jonathan Williams and Jesse Sherrill Rhodes.
At first, it served as an elementary and high school for county students. If parents could not afford the cost, the students could work for their tuition.
The Rev. A.I. Justice was the first principal and F.A. Brown and May Justice were the first teachers.
The cost to attend primary school ranged from $1 for the first grade to $1.75 for the third grade. The “academic” school, teaching what today one would consider middle school and possibly high school, was $2 to $3 a year. Music lessons were $2.50 a year. For students attending from outlying areas who needed to board at the school, the cost to board was $4 to $8 a month. Children of Baptist ministers could attend for one-half price.
In the 1930s, as more public high schools opened, the Fruitland Institute closed.
The Baptist State Convention bought the facilities and land in 1945 and opened Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute to train Baptist ministers.
Students in the Fruitland community attended Edneyville schools. Today, they attend Edneyville Elementary School, Apple Valley Middle School and North Henderson High School.
After the Civil War, the Henderson County Board of Education opened a one-room school for black students near a black church. This school was also called Green Mountain. The exact location is not known, but was possibly located in an area bordering today’s Fruitland Road across the road from Sugar Street. There is also the possibility that it was located off Green Mountain Road.
Families who lived in Fruitland attended early churches in the surrounding area – Ebenezer Baptist, Liberty Baptist and Edneyville United Methodist.
In 1885, Fruitland Baptist Church was organized from Liberty Baptist Church. The early name of the church was Green Mountain Baptist Church. There are some records to indicate plans for the church began in 1875. The Rev. B.M. Taylor served as the first pastor. Years later, it was decided to move the location of the church and it was then re-named Fruitland Baptist Church. Land was exchanged with Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute, where the church stands today. Later, the Rev. N.A. Melton and the Baptist State Mission Board gave more land, totaling 2 1/4 acres.
Until the 1940s church services were held in the Fruitland Institute building. The members decided to build a new church and construction began. The church was completed in its present location in 1947.
A missionary church for the black families in the community was also organized, named Green Mountain Missionary Baptist Church. See information above concerning the early black school and other articles on this web site under the “Historic Cemeteries” icon: Maxwell Family Cemetery and the Green Mountain Church.
Fruitland United Methodist Church was organized in 1906 at Edneyville United Methodist Church. In 1909, a lot was purchased from A.B. Nix. The first trustees were John J. Fisher, Robert M. Rogers and A.B. Prestwood.
The Fruitland community is served by the Edneyville Volunteer Fire Department and in some sections by the Dana Volunteer Fire Department.
Click on the links below for additional stories on the Fruitland community.
Peaches and Apples – the Barnwells
The Edneys – Cherries and Apples