Macon County, North Carolina

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Macon County

Founded 1828 Named for Nathaniel Macon Seat Franklin Largest town Franklin,_North_Carolina

1000 AD to today -The Nikwasi Indian Mound was in an Indian town called Nikwasi. It can be seen in Franklin. This translates to "center of gravity". This Nikwasi Indian Mound is a reminder to all of the Cherokee living in in Macon County.[1][2][3]
1700's-1750's The Cherokee lived in this area of what is currently Macon County. [1] [3]
Niklawasi Indian Mound
1760 The Cherokees sided with the British during the French-Indian War broke out, the Cherokees sided with the British. This led to two years of war with (2) two battles in the Macon County area. The Cherokee defeated Col James Montgomery and his forces in 1760. 1761 Col. James Grant defeated the Cherokee here at the village of Etchoe, which was near Franklin, North Carolina. [2]
May, 1776 As William Bartram (1739-1823) crossed the region in his search for flora and fauna, he met the Cherokee chief, Atakullakulla in Macon County. The Chief described forty (40) Cherokee towns in the region. Bartram's published "Travels" book includes some of the Chief's descriptions. General Griffith Rutherford led a North Carolina militia in the destruction of the Indian town, Nikwasi. Later Franklin, North Carolina was built here. [1][2]
1819 The capital of the Middle Cherokees, "Cowee" in the region of Category: Franklin, North Carolina was described by William Bertram described this area as “one of the most charming natural mountainous landscapes perhaps anywhere to be seen.”[1] In 1820 Samuel bought land where an old Cherokee village, Tesenta Town (Tessentee) which was a mustering ground.. "Smith's Bridge" became the name of the militia district.. Smith's Bridge is one of eleven townships of Macon County. [3]
1828 Macon County was formed from the western part of Haywood county, North Carolina in 1828. This county is a southern mountain county. The county was named for the Senator and Speaker of the House, Nathaniel Macon. The communities in the area are: Franklin, Highlands, Norton, Rainbow Springs, Nantahala, Ellijay, Cowee, and Scaly Mountain. The county government was formed 1829. [4][1][2] [3]
Macon county, NC map Municipalities, Township
1839 When North Carolina formed Cherokee County, land from the western part of Macon County was used. In 1851 Jackson county was formed from Macon County and Haywood County were used.[1] [3]
1855 Franklin, North Carolina was incorporated prior to the Ciivl War by the s tate of North Carolina. By this year (1855) Franklin, North Carolina had a boys academy and a girls' academy. By 1860 the "Franklin Observer" was published weekly.[1][2] [3]
1862-65 - No battles during the Civil War occurred here. Macon county raised (7 seven) companies from its adult male population of approximately 3,000. See the Confederate Memorial on Main Street honors their service.[2] [3]
Nantahala National Forest and Dry Falls
Macon County’s greatest natural asset is the Natahala National forest, Macon. [3] The Nantahala National Forest, occupies about half or the area in Macon County. . This forest is the largest of North Carolina’s four national forests. There is also Nantahala River and Nantahala Lake where people can fish, raft, enjoy nature and hiking on the Appalachian trail.[1]Nantahala Forest
1878 The old Edwards Inn was built in Highlands, North Carolina when the town first began. Edwards Inn began as a boarding house. The Inn has been enlarged, with a golf club, and is still today a spa and place for North Carolineans to stay and enjoy the resources.[5]
Old Edwards Inn
Mining of some minerals but mostly precious gems such as Fishermen, whitewater rafters, and other outdoor enthusiasts visit the forest regularly to take advantage of the Nantahala River and the Nantahala Lake. Hikers frequent the hiking attraction of the Appalachian Trail. Substantial amounts of mineral and other precious stones have been discovered and mined in Macon County. Precious gems such as amethyst, rubies, garnets, sapphires, and moonstones continue to be found in Macon. Annual gem shows attract various mineralogists and gem enthusiasts to the region.[1][2] [3]
Resident and naturalist, Silas Mcwell was born in South Carolina, but moved to Macon County. His theory of the "thermal belt" on land between the mountans and flatland that yielded good crop production.[1] [3]
1903 Georgia state has also voted for improvement in the nearby counties bordering that of Macon County, North Carolina. Freight traffic prospects also caused advancements of the Tallulah Falls Railway from Tallulah Falls, Georgia into Franklin. [3]
Cabin Ben
1932 Cabin Ben, located on the National Register Historic Places, was designed and built logs in 1932 in Highlands, North Carolina. The cabin is two joined parts. The smallest part is the living room with the kitchen, and bedrooms in the longer part. [6]This resembles cabins still existing in Colorado today.
1933 Thomas Harbison built a herbarium for George Vanderbilt, promoted a national park in the Smoky Mountains and established the herbarium for the University of North Carolina.[1]
Macon County, North Carolina, is in the lower southwestern part of North Carolina. Its southern boundary is the boundary line between Georgia and North Carolina along the (35th degree of north latitude). The mountainous regions are sparsely settled. The valleys are settled due to easier access. The Blue Ridge mountains are here in Macon County, enter from the east, run diagonally westward near the southern part of the county. The mountains are 4,000 to 5,060 feet above sea level. Macon county's eastern half rises to altitudes of 2,600 feet to 3,000 feet above sea level.[7] [3][8]
Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Mountains begin in the western part of the county with the Nantahala range. These project northward from the Blue Ridge Mountains, averaging about 5,000 feet. The Pisgah and Nantahala National forests cover these where wildlife abound and there are many rare plants.. A distant view of the mountains appear blueish in tent.. the trees release isoprene giving the blue haze.[9][7][2] [3]
The Nantahala River flows through a valley which extends northward. This is bounded on the west by the Valley River Range. East of the Nantahalah range, is the valley of the Tennessee, running northward with a Tennessee River tributary of the great Tennessee near Rabun Gap. Franklin, North Carolina is located here in the midst of a fertile farming area with mountain peaks nearby. Macon county has more open lands for farming and farms, than the other western counties as the soil is productive..[7] [3]
The eastern half or the Blue Ridge portion of the county, consists of an elevated, undulating, mountain plateau, altitudes (2,600, to 4,000, feet above sea level). The Blue Ridge mountains cross ranges break the valley such as Tessenta, Sugar Fork and Ellijay valley. Through this valley flows one of the most picturesque streams in Western North Carolina, formerly called the Sweetwater or Sugar Fork of the Tennessee river, latterly by the Cherokee name Cullasaja.[7] [3]
diagram of Fall line of mountains to Farm land
Highlands North Carolina is (21 miles) east of Franklin, North Carolina in the Northeast corner of the county. It (6 miles) from the eastern border of Macon County and (7 miles) north of the state line. Franklin has an altitude of ( 3,817, feet), the highest altitude east of the Rocky Mountains. Franklin sits on an undulating plateau surrounded by hills of the blue Ridge that tower 700 feet over the town. When the town began, it has an open order with wide streets and wide apace for the buildings. The streets are clean, well graded, free from mud, since the soil here is light sandy loam. There is no swampiness in or malaria in Highlands [7] [3]
Macon County's rough mountains, ravines and cliffs have flowering plants, bushes such as evergreen kalmia, leucothoe and rhododendron during their blooming season. The forest land have abundant wild flowers in the spring, dogwoods, sourwoods, silver bells, and cucumber from spring to fall. Wild grasses which are native to the area along with perineal and evergreens. General Clingman described horses and horned cattle which are driven into the mountains in early April, then are brought back in November.. The grasses of the mountains fatten the cattle. Some foal and are raised there until fit for market. [3][7]The same is done for the cattle in Colorado.

Bridal Veil Falls
Mountain peaks located in the eastern half of the county are:
Whitesides, (Blue Ridge chain, 5,060 feet)
Shortoff, 5,039 in the Cowee chain
Yellow mountain, the highest peak in the eastern half of the county is 5,133.
Satulah, the peak is 0.75 mile from Highlands, altitude 700, feet and to 4,506, feet above sea level  ::Dog Mountain, 4,450
Scaley, 4,835
Fish Hawk bald, the highest of this range, 4,749.
In the Western part of the county are more mountains
Pickins’ Nose, 4,926
Albert Mountain, 5,254
Cartoogajay 5,064
Wayah Bald, 5,494
Toketah, 5,372
Rocky Bald, 5,323
Blue Ridge at Rabun Gap ( western extreme of the county), elevation of 2,168, feet.
Churches Many religious denominations are located in Macon including Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal and Presbyterian. [3]
A bond issue was voted in Macon county for $60,000 for railway extensions throughout the Tennessee valley to Franklin, the county seat. [7]
Access to Highlands, North Carolina, is by the Southern Railway, and the Transylvania Railway which extends to Toxaway, (30 miles away). [7][1]
Toxaway, the health and pleasure resort, established by northern capitalists has been described. It is a beautiful picturesque area, in the Blue Ridge mountains. There are here several finely appointed hotels, which with the accompanying high class boarding houses, afford to the tourist the comforts of the best city hostelries. A turnpike road extends to Toxaway. Well graded turnpike winds through the Blue Ridge Mountains, (30 miles) to Highlands, North Carolina. [7]
Railways Railways extended to Highlands, North Carolina. They begin in Walhalla, Oconee County South Carolina. For years stages completed the thirty miles from the railway. If arriving from the northern or middle states, visitors should travel to Washington, D.C. then take the Southern Railway, into Seneca City and Walhalla, South Carolina and lastly via the stage to Highlands.. One can travel from Knoxville, Tennessee, through Asheville, North Carolina to Hendersonville and Toxaway via Transylvania Railway in the mountains, then a scenic road going through the Blue Ridge mountains to Highlands. [10][7] [3]

Cabin Ben, Highlands.

Adjacent counties

  • Swain County – north
  • Jackson County – east
  • Rabun County, Georgia – south
  • Clay County – southwest
  • Cherokee County – west
  • Graham County – northwest

Government Offices

  • Macon County is a member of the regional Southwestern Commission council of governments.


County Seat- Franklin and Largest town
Farm crops are grown in the Macon valley areas, such as 50-70 bushels of corn with fertilization.
Size of county 520 sq mi, with 516 sq. mi. of land and water is 4.1 sq. mi.


  • (2010) 33,922
Density 66/sq mi (25/km2)
Time zone Eastern: UTC−5/−4
Precipitation -Highlands and the plateau region- is 76,29 inches. This contributes to the grasses, vegetables and forage crops.
Mountain precipitation -spring 13,69, inches, summer 14,95, autumn 10,61, winter 14,07; for the year 53,32 inches
Soils vary with locality Most are a light loam
Northern slopes of the mountains and ridges have aheavier and darker loam
Valleys have red clay soils predominate.
Highlands vicinity has lighter loams, then the soil changes to being mixed with clay.
Grasses -timothy, low red and sapling clovers, orchard grass, turnips, beets, rape
Climate - Mild due to low degree of latitude, 35 and high elevation; cool in summer because of elevation and mild in winter by reason of its southern latitude
Warm air currents from the Gulf of Mexico give mild seasons.
Mountains have - pure cool, pure water, and immunity from tornados and most destructive storms.
Forest Size - 239.31 square miles (620 km2) (46.1%) - are federal lands
Forest federal lands USFS land, 71.56 square miles (185 km2) are the Highlands Ranger District
167.75 square miles (434 km2) lie in the Wayah Ranger District.
Rivers- Cullasaja River - The county's largest natural water supply
Trees - Many Timber trees such as oaks, (white, black, red, Spanish), water and chestnut abound, white and black pine, hemlock spruces in the mountain valleys, chestnut, white and yellow poplar,white ash, basswood, black cherry, locust, red and white hickory, gum, sourwood, soft maple, birch, cucumber, buckeye, dogwood, service, silver-bell and sassafrass
Natural Resources - Gemstones such as rubies, sapphires, amethyst, moonstone, and garnets- can by mined here.
Mountain regions- thermal, warm or no frost belts. Bodies of warm air, stop vegetation damage by late frosts in the spring and the early ones of the fall.

Protected areas


In 2000, there were 29,811 people in the county with a population density of 58 people/sq. mi. Racial makeup of the county was 97.18% White, 1.20% Black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.39% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.31% from other races, and 0.63% from two or more races. 1.52% of the population were Hispanic. The median income for a household in the county was $32,139, and the median income for a family was $37,381. The per capita income for the county was $18,642. About 8.80% of families and 12.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.00% of those under age 18 and 11.80% of those age 65 or over.[11]

This is actually a high school offering college level classes Macon Early College is a high school that offers college classes (possibly similar to Texas' Honors classes Richardson-7161 03:53, 28 November 2018 (UTC)). It is near the Franklin greenway and public library. located next to the greenway and public library. Southwestern Community College (of North Carolina) is a partner in the program. As of 2008, SCC was ranked 4th in the list of Americas best community colleges. Macon Early College is one of the three high schools in the Macon area, coming into existence after the Franklin High School but before the Union Academy. [12]

In all the country settlements, schools supported by County and State funds are held in the towns, with approximately an (8) month school year. Private schools are also held in the towns.[7]

Major highways

  • US 19
  • US 23
  • US 64
  • US 74
  • US 441
  • NC 28
  • NC 106

County Resources

  • Website
  • fishing and whitewater rafting on the Nantahala River
  • Nantahala Lake and hiking along the Appalachian Trail




  • (2010) 33,922
  • Density 66/sq mi (25/km2)

Macon County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 33,922. Its county seat is Franklin.



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