Dysartsville History

Dysartsville Community Club 2014

Dysartsville Community Club 2014

I recently came across a treasure packed away in a box gathering dust in the Dysartsville Community Clubhouse. Although one scrapbook had several dates from 1955-1962, there was no date on this report, nor an author’s name. I intended to publish it as typed (in the font of an old Smith Corona). Remember those?

But then I found in a 1974 scrapbook a second history, also not signed. Many of the same words from the earlier report are  used, but there are additional quotes, so it seems that the first record was later rewritten. I will combine both histories to squeeze all the good out of the gift:

“The Vein Mountain area of McDowell County had its own “Goldrush” in 1829. Gold was discovered in Brindle Creek, in the southwestern corner of Burke County, [near the present boundary of Burke and McDowell, later called Vein Mountain] continued into Rutherford County and throughout the entire South Mtn region. A traveler in the South Mt. region reported “The great hordes of mining population have changed the face of the earth. Jamestown used to be a straggling place in a small valley, but has been turned topsy-turvey by the gold diggers, who utterly have ruined the beautiful valley for agricultural purposes.” It was also reported “that one stream in McDowell County had 3,000 miners at work in 1848, but was practically deserted by 1850.

Shelter in the mining camps was crude and consisted of wooden shanties of the flimsiest sort; some with only one room, others with one room and a lean-to, while others were little more than sheds. The procurement of food was difficult; wagon trains operated to sources of supply and provided the commonest staples at exhorbitant prices which were paid for with grains of gold. From 1835 to the turn of the century mining activities gradually declined as the stream deposits were combed, and the promise of rich strikes became disappointing. During this time many of the miners joined the Gold Rush to California. The last organized mining operation in McDowell County was on Huntsville Mt. under the direction of Col. J.C. Horton, and it was on this mountain that a five pound nugget was found.

Another interesting event took place on the Polly Bright farm. Little William Christy and his father Grayson Christy found a very pretty rock at the spring. They sold it for $60, and today the Christy diamond is in a museum.

Dysartsville, was known as Crossroads before a post office was established around the year 1860. The post office had its first location at the home of Mrs. Betsy Dysart, and for whom Dysartsville was named. The home of Mrs. Betsy Dysart was located where Mr. and Mrs. Elija Blankenship now live.

Several houses were built soon after the establishment of the post office. Mr. Dysart built a store, and the post office was moved to the store. Mr. Albert Higgins built a brick house about this same time, and it is still standing. [until the 60’s] Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Shepherd (then) occupied this home. Gamewell Burgess bought the property and tore it down. Hue used many of the handmade bricks for a new house and sold the rest. His daughter and family lived there until he was retired and could come here from Canton. After a few years, he sold to Eubert Jaynes, who lives there now (1974) and raises beef cattle, but still works in a mill.

The Dysartsville Baptist Church was organized May 2, 1857, with eleven charter members. A Presbyterian Church known as Drucilla Presbyterian Church was established soon afterwards close to where the First Baptist Church is located now. [Corner of Club House Drive and Hiway 226] At the time the Baptist Church was where their cemetery is. [On the hill across the street.] A small school was between the two churches. It contained two rooms, one room was made of logs, and the other planks. The Trinity Methodist Church was started around 1858, one mile from Dysartsville on the Bridgewater Road. It was later moved to the present location. [On Trinity Church Rd]. Several years later, Drucilla Presbyterian Church was moved about two miles from where it was on the Marion Road [226]. Soon after that was moved another church was started called the Hebron Presbyterian Church two miles south of Dysartsville on the Rutherfordton Road.

In March of 1965, the new Community Clubhouse was finished and dedicated, and all in the community were elated over it. We started out with a big fireplace, and an oil-burning heater, but this past year we put in all electric heat, and now the floors are warmer, and we do not have to turn it off in order to hear during a meeting. There are many meetings in the building all during the year. [1974]

Dysartsville is one of the oldest communities in the county, but it is one of the youngest. Due to the fact that this part of the county didn’t get electricity as soon as some of the other communities, some of the people moved out, and also there were no railroads.

In 1892 the school house was moved from its first location to the present one. The second building was a two story building with one room on each floor. Mr. J.R. Denton taught the first school in the new location with around 60 or 70 pupils. He received $20 a month, and he taught most any subject the pupils wanted. Their ages ranged from 5 to 21. In 1900, two teachers were added. The school burned in 1925, and the present one was completed in 1927. At the present there are 4 teachers, and 130 pupils.

From 1955 to 1965, the number of pupils decreased to about 60, and the school was closed, and all were taken in school buses to Glenwood School, about 10 miles away. The building stood vacant for several years, and recently has been sold to the Smith family who want to turn it into a music school. [1974]

The three farms which Mr. Jack Morris put together for a large farm and which is located mostly within the Loop road was sold to Rudolf Albert in 1955. Later he sold it to a corporation in 1966, and they bought it with the intention of putting in an 80 acre lake, a golf course and country club. So far nothing has happened. [1974]

Crawleys lived above their store

Crawleys lived above their store

[1974 report] We have two small stores in Dysartsville. The one owned by the Fortune brothers, the other operated by J.D. Fender. Both have gas stations along with the store.

Edna Crawley put in a Beauty Shop across from the little Crawley Store, and it is doing fine.” End of discovered histories.

For years known as Miss Betty's Diner, the place to start the day with your neighbors

For years known as Miss Betty’s Diner, the place to start the day with your neighbors

My Note: Today this home is next door to our mall (The Dollar General Store) and across the street the old shop is going strong as a Diner under new owners, offering a good basic breakfast and lunch to the community, but often referred to by the previous name of Miss Betty’s. It takes awhile for locals to adjust to change. Me, too. Edit on August 7, 2017. Miss Betty is back!!!

If anyone has something to further enlighten me, please comment below. Or email me so I can share your story.




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13 Responses to Dysartsville History

  1. Link Hudson says:

    The first post office is still standing the last I checked, the home owned by Billy Ray Edwards, Jr., now, one of Eliga and Belle Blankenship’s grandchildren. The report mispelled Eliga Blankenship’s name if I am not mistaken. It was pronounced Elijah.

    • georgia ruth says:

      Link, happy to have your comments. Next month, I will be making a “drive by tour” with a friend with deep roots in this area. She plans to straighten me out as to the locations of these past landmarks. And I hope to get more input from other locals. I’m planning to concentrate on Dysartsville, now that I have my collection of stories out last month, and a novel close to publication. The stories are historical fiction in McDowell County.

  2. Billy Edwards says:

    Actually, I believe the Post Office and General Store were across the street from me. It is on Camp Grimes Boy Scout camp property directly across from my house. The concrete pad is still there near and to the left of the camps large sign on Hwy.226. There is also a stone wall which appears to have been a stone wall for a structure and is now a retainer wall for the highway. However, I do live in the Dysart home on the hill. And Link is correct on the spelling of our Grandfathers name “Elijah”.

  3. Kenyon Fairey says:

    Several of my ancestors lived (and some died) in the Dysartsville area. I am descended from some of the Taylors in the Baptist Cemetery on 226 across from the Church. My Greatgrandmother, Zula Ada Taylor, and many of her family are buried there. I am also descended from James Thomas Hendley, who owned about 500 acres on Vein Mountain Road. I have researched the property transactions from 1911 when my great grandfather, Horace Hamilton Hendley bought th3 1/5 shares that were held by 2 of his brothers. Those 3 1/5 shares were, I beleive, combined with the 2 1/5 shares owned then by another brother, Alvis. Daisy Hendley Gold, daughter of Alvis Hendley, then put the land back together.

    One of the deed transfers says the Thomas Hendley Homeplace on Muddy Creek. Another refers to a piece on Dysarts Creek being about 3 miles from the Dysartsville Post Office. The third piece mentions Hoopers Creek & Dysarts Creek. The old property deeds were numbered: Deed D45 322, Deed D45 545, and Deed D47 572, respectively. I believe the last 3 digits were the page numbers that I found the deeds on.

    I found the property — the main old log cabin still standing — in the late 1970’s. When I returned in the 1990’s the cabin had fallen down, but the logs were still there. The area was not very developed in the 70’s, but moreso in the 90’s. The photos I took in the 70’s show Vein Mountain Road as being dirt.

    I have tried to find this property on maps of the area, but I did not know just where the post office used to be. I appreciate knowing it was on the Boy Scout Camp property. But if anyone knows where this property is, or how I might secure a map that would show where it lies today, I would love to know. I do not know if it came on down from Daisy or if she or her family sold it all. Maps I can find show it as rather broken up all over in that area now, so it might be hard to locate. I would at least like to know where, on a current map, the old log cabin might have been. There was a newer home (newer in the 70’s) on the other side of the road from it and a large field behind it going down to a stream — just as my grandfather had described it from his boyhood.


    • georgia ruth says:

      Kenyon, you are giving me the energy to follow up with the interviews of locals. I am so gratified to know that there are people like you reading along. I got sidetracked writing a novel that takes place in Tennessee. However, I will now turn my efforts to recording what I have learned. Thank you for your response. Georgia Ruth

      • Kenyon Fairey says:

        Today I found the whole series of Episodes on Dysartsville. I have printed them to pdf files so that I can sit down and read through them. In lightly skimming them, I saw no mention of the Taylor family that was so strong in the Dysartsville area. Many of them are buried there in the Baptist Cemetary at the end of Vein Mountain Road, my great grandmother and many of her family. Other members of the Taylor clan were referred to as “The Taylors of Golden Valley”.

        I also did not see any mention of the Hendley/Henley family that lived in the area and owned property (the 500 acres, more of less) on Vein Mountain Road. This would have been at least 1850’s through the early 1900’s — when Daisy Hendley Gold became owner of those lands, purchasing up the family shares. I know that people who lived there in the 1990’s did know about Daisy, but they told me “no, this is the Gold place”, obviously not knowing she was a Hendley nor how she had come by the land.

        I have a lovely photo of my grandfather’s family — which includes the only known photo of his mother, Zula Ada Taylor. Her husband was one of 5 sons of James Thomas Hendley. James Thomas’s sister, Martha A.E. Hendley married Francis Marion Poteet . . . and during the Civil War she and her husband exchanged many letters. The letters of that time, and of the death of James Thomas Hendley are recorded is a small volume entitled ” . . . May These Lines Reach Your Kind Hands”: The Impact of the Civil War on a Western North Carolina Family as Told Through Their Letters. It is, at times a difficult read . . . the war was not a kind time for the families in the Dysartsville area. But the small book is very worth the read for anyone who cares about the place or the time. I would love to discover more about the Taylors and Hendleys in the Dysartsville area at that time.

        The small book is written by one Charles Edward Rich, who is now 88 and has moved to MO to be with his family as he is aged. I was able to purchase one from him and asked if he was going to insure it be preserved in some way. It was published in 2009. Copies at this point are only available through Charles himself and he has only a few left.

        I do believe that books of this kind should be preserved in a manner that makes them part of the historical archive of a place and its people . . . . I certainly hope that you are able to someday publish a book of stories about the Dysartsville area . . . its people and their lives there. I would certainly want to have one.

        Another place to find some of the information contained in the book:

        — a letter from Sally Hall Hendley about the death of her husband, James Thomas Hendley, written to Martha A. E. Hendley Poteet. Her letter mentions some of James Thomas’ sons. By this time, 1899, Horace has been living on part of the Hendley Homeplace in Dysartsville, but was in TN, his brother Alvis, father to Daisy Hendley Gold, was living in Dysartsville on a portion of the property with his family.

  4. georgia ruth says:

    Kenyon, Great Stuff!! I will certainly investigate the Taylors and the Hendleys soon. Thank you for adding to the Dysart information post.

  5. Nancy Baker says:

    My grandparents lived in Dysartsville as long as I’ve known them..of course, they’ve been gone for many years now. My grandfather was William ‘Will’ Estes Smith who married Sara(h) Elizabeth (Lizzie) Dyer. Edna Crawley was their daughter and my aunt. My dad was Fred Ray Smith who married Glatha O Curd Smith. Her parents also lived near the Dysartsville Loop…Luther Alvin Curd who married Mary Caldona (Dona) Osborne Curd. She was from Ashe County NC and he was from Johnson County Tn, but lived their my whole live anyway. I actually lived their for several years. I have many relatives there and consider it (one of) my homes.
    Nancy Baker

    • georgia ruth says:

      Nancy, thanks for the many new names to help populate my favorite little town of Dysartsville. I don’t remember hearing the Curd name. I appreciate your comments.

  6. Just ezell says:

    I grew up in dysartsville and my grandfather, Benjamin Taylor Daves was postmaster of the Dysartsville post office around 1895 or so. My mother told me about this and there are pictures of the old PO. She grew up just below the Baptist Church and our house is there today. It was acquired by my grandfather around 1915. I believe he was kin to the Taylor family.
    Judy Allison Ezell. Daughter of Zonia Virginia Daves Allison

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