Community

My Early Memory of Weaverville

By Morris Adler Roberts (Part 3), original article in Dry Ridge Museum Archives, abridged by Jan Lawrence

When I first remember, there wasn’t a house near the street and east of the Dr. Reagan house, but later Dr. Latta Reagan (son of Dr. J. A. Reagan) built a house there. In recent years it was the house of their son John Reagan. When Dr. Latta Reagan and his wife, Minnie McElroy, were first married, they lived at Beech Glen near Mars Hill, Madison County, where he practiced medicine before coming back to Weaverville.

Presently there is a little road called Reagan Lane but when I first remembered, the Dr. Reagan house was reached by a road from the north side of Church Street. Dr. Reagan had a small drugstore on the top of the hill near Main Street and probably a few feet north of where Mrs. Dock Roberts lives now (1892).

Ephraim Byerly ran a little store a few yards south of the medical building for Drs. Sprinkle and Bradley, and Ephraim and his family lived in a little house on that side of the street before moving to Church Street. Later he ran a planing mill further out Alexander Road. He was also a carpenter and was married to Ella Pickens, a sister to Rome Reagan’s wife.

Just behind and west of Ephraim’s store was a little house owned by John “Blind John” Baird Weaver (son of Rev. Montraville and Jane Weaver) and living with him was his daughter Anna Laura, her husband David Miles and their small son. John was called “Blind John” from his early years (maybe birth) but had some vision (Note: more about the Montraville Weavers in future articles).

After my father vacated the store that stood on the corner of the west side of Main Street and north corner of Church Street in 1886, it was operated by several different people. The first in my memory was a man by the name of Rogers. Later it was operated by George Robinson who moved to Weaverville from Madison County with his wife and family. While living here, his wife Ann Edwards and most of their children died of tuberculosis. George Robinson buried his family in the Weaverville Cemetery, put a wrought iron fence around their graves, and went to Idaho where a daughter and her husband Bud Penland (son of Erwin Penland) lived. George was a brother to Dr. Zebulon Robinson (Inn on Main Street) and Will and Kelsey Robinson who also lived here later.

About midway out Church Street on the north side was the jug factory run by Lerwick Yoder from Catawba County. He boarded at the McClure house with Miss Eliza McClure and her brothers. Their nephew Wheaton McClure was a partner in the jug factory and George Donkel, as a young man, came from Blackburn in Catawba County to work for them.

Further out Church Street, on the north side, was the Methodist Church built in 1891. Later the district parsonage was built near the church. Soon families by the name of Greenlee built houses on that side of the street. On the south side Preacher Frank Austin built a house. He was a circuit preacher for the Weaverville Methodist Church in the 1880s, but the first preacher to fill the pulpit that I remember was Mr. Wagg. I heard that Dr. James A. Reagan conducted a number of funerals but preached very few sermons in his later years.

The Methodist Church was not the first denomination to build a church in the vicinity of what is now Church Street. Before I was born, a small Baptist Church building was near the intersection of Alexander Road and Church Street. (It was organized by Rev. William Cookson McCarthy who was President of Weaverville College from 1878 to 1880 and was the only Baptist president. He also helped organize Pleasant Hill Baptist Church.) That little Baptist Church at the end of Church Street existed when I can first remember and continued for a little while after that. Later a public school was taught in that building for three or four years.

Editor’s note: Lawrence has told us that there is a map being developed to help locate these places long since passed.

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