The majority of the books listed are available at the Henderson County Public Library. Some cannot be “checked out” and must be read at the library. Many are also available for reference at the Henderson County Genealogical and Historical Society. Some are not available for purchase.
All books contain some errors. More and more primary source documents are easily available today on the Web, at the National Archives, at the state archives and in courthouses. Many local authors used information passed down in stories or used information written by earlier writers who did not have access to the primary source documents available today.
Some of the books reference a book written by the late Sadie Smathers Patton, “The Story of Henderson County.” This book was written in 1947, before primary source documentation was available on several topics. Her early history of Henderson County, particularly related to dates of settlement of the county and early settlers, is not correct. Much of the genealogy in the book is incorrect. A significant amount of her information has been proven, with primary source documentation, as incorrect. Research in the past few decades, using primary sources, has found so many errors that her book is not suggested for use in this course.
Some of the following books reference her early history of the county. The authors, such as Lenoir Ray and James T. Fain, did not check her documentation. The chapters and references in their books to Patton’s history of the early settlement of the county should not be considered factual.
For books specific to the Civil War, refer to books written by Terrell T. Garren.
“From the Banks of the Oklawaha” volumes I, II, III by Frank FitzSimons
These are the best books published for heritage, culture, myths and legends. FitzSimons was an excellent storyteller and writer. It is important to keep in mind that these are stories, myths and legends. The books contain many historic photographs. They are excellent books for stories on Henderson County, but do not take all the stories as fact. There are historical and genealogical errors. The books are no longer being published. A few of the books can be found at the Henderson County Genealogical and Historical Society. These books can also be purchased at used book stores, other sellers of old books, on the Web, and from individuals.
“Postmarks” by Lenoir Ray
This is an excellent book on the history of the post offices in Henderson County, with historic photographs. Ray is an excellent writer. This book is better on historical facts. But there are still many genealogical errors, and some historical errors, as he did not document information given to him by individuals and earlier writers. Facts related to the post offices have excellent documentation. This book can be purchased at the Henderson County Genealogical and Historical Society.
“A Partial History of Henderson County” by James T. Fain
This is a history book filled with facts. There is no index and it can be difficult to use for research. Volunteers with the Henderson County Genealogical and Historical Society compiled an index and this is available for use at the History Center. Fain provides documentation for most of his information. As in all books, there are some errors. The book is no longer in print, but is an excellent book for researchers.
“Hendersonville & Flat Rock: An Intimate Tour” and “Hidden History of Henderson County” by Terry Ruscin
The first book is a wonderful book, particularly for those interested in the homes at Flat Rock. The photography is excellent. The second book is the newest release by Terry Ruscin and contains many historical photographs, information on the area around Kanuga Road and Crab Creek Road, and other historical information on the people of Henderson County. Click on the link for information on Terry Ruscin and other books that he has written.
“Kermit Edney Remembers Where Fitz Left Off” and “The Weather Book” by Kermit Edney
These books can be purchased at the Henderson County Genealogical and Historical Society. The first book is a good factual account of some 20th century history. The second book is for those interested in the weather and is an excellent resource.
“Secret of War,” “The Fifth Skull,” “Mountain Myth” and “Measured in Blood” by Terrell T. Garren
These books are specifically related to the Civil War in the county. They are “must reads” for persons interested in the Civil War. Click on the link for more information on Terrell Garren, his books and where the books may be purchased.
“Remembering Henderson County: A Legacy of Lore,” “Draw Up A Chair” and “Historic Henderson County: Tales from Along the Ridges,” by Louise Howe Bailey
Any of Louise Bailey’s books are wonderful stories related to the culture of the people of Henderson County. She is one of the county’s most famous storytellers. To get a sense of the mountain people of the county, their dialect and way of life, her short stories are a “must read.” Some of her books are available at the Henderson County Genealogical and Historical Society. In addition to the county library, the library at Blue Ridge Community College has a special collection devoted to Louise Howe Bailey.
“A Brief History of the Black Presence in Henderson County” by the Black History Research Committee of Henderson County
This book is the first attempt to record the black history of Henderson County and, for that reason alone, is a “must read” for those interested in black history, particularly in Hendersonville. There is little history in the book prior to the 20th century, particularly as related to slavery. There are segments of the black population in the county not mentioned in the book. The book is available for purchase at the Henderson County Genealogical and Historical Society.
The Images of America series includes the following books on Henderson County:
“Chimney Rock Park and Hickory Nut Gorge,” “Flat Rock,” and “Hendersonville”
These books are filled with excellent and historic photographs. There is information related to each of the photographs. They are available for purchase at several locations, including book stores, gift shops, tourist centers, etc.
The following are resources on the history of North Carolina:
“The North Carolina Gazetteer” by William S. Powell (geography and place names)
“North Carolina: The History of a Southern State” by Hugh Talmadge Lefler and Albert Ray Newsome
“North Carolina: Change and Tradition in a Southern State” by William A. Link
“North Carolina: A History” by William S. Powell
Ignore all and any references to the Cherokee or other American Indians in books written by FitzSimons, Patton, Ray and Fain. Consider the information as myths and legends.
To learn more about the Cherokee, the following books are recommended:
“Cherokee Heritage Trails Guidebook” by Barbara R. Duncan and Brett H. Riggs
This book was a project of the Blue Ridge Heritage Initiative, the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, the North Carolina Folklife Institute, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the Blue Ridge Parkway, National Park Service.
“Trail of Tears: The Rise & Fall of the Cherokee Nation” by John Ehle
This is an account of the removal of the Cherokee people to Oklahoma.
“Cherokee Americans: The Eastern Band of the Cherokees in the Twentieth Century” by John R. Finger
“Weaving New Worlds: Southeastern Cherokee Women & their Basketry” by Sarah H. Hill
This book examines three centuries of Southeastern Cherokee women’s history by focusing on changes in their basketry.
“Myths of the Cherokee and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokee” by James Mooney
This is a reprint of material first published in the 7th and 19th Annual Reports of the Bureau of American Ethnology.
“Snowbird Cherokees: People of Persistence” by Sharlotte Neely
This is a study of one Cherokee community in Western North Carolina.
“Footsteps of the Cherokee: A Guide to the Eastern Homelands of the Cherokee Nation,” “Cherokee Voices: Early Accounts of Cherokee Life in the East” and “Voices from the Trail of Tears” by Vicki Rozema
“The Cherokee” by Joyce C. Dugan and B. Lynne Harlan (Eastern Band of Cherokee Nation)
“The Origin of the Milky Way and Other Living Stories of the Cherokee” collected and edited by Barbara R. Duncan, illustrated by Shan Goshorn
These are traditional stories, retold by contemporary storytellers, and transcribed to capture the feel of oral literature.
For information on other books, including new releases, on Western North Carolina, visit http://thereadonwnc.ning.com/
The site is an online source for discussion and book-related media created by Rob Neufeld and the Asheville Citizen Times.