In 2012, The North Carolina Society of Historians awarded the six books of Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, by Evelyn Coltman, the prestigious Barringer Award of Excellence.

Interested in a DVD?

In 2012, the North Carolina Society of Historians awarded the Paul Green Multi-Media Award to Walking in the Footsteps of Those Who Came Before Us, the DVD produced by Doug Chambers Productions which was directed by BRCO's Historic Preservation Committee.

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Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, Book I

Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, Book I, accompanying Bethel Rural Community Organization's first Cold Mountain Heritage Tour in 2005, reflects a brief history of the nine sites on the tour.

Francis Grist Mill, built in 1887, is the only extant historic grist mill in Haywood County. Restoration efforts by owner Tanna Timbes and Francis Mill Preservation Society have resulted in a working mill as of July 2008. The mill's unique history through five generations of owners is an interesting read.

Truss Bridge #79, North Carolina's oldest truss bridge still in use and Haywood County's only remaining ornamental bridge, was built in 1891 and moved to its present site in 1925 by members of the community.

The Pingree Priestly and Charity Haseltine Osborne Plott House was built in 1867 by the Plott family who originated in Germany. The Plotts were prominent early citizens of Haywood County and built four large houses in Bethel Community.

Inman Chapel, built by the Reverend James Anderson Inman, brother of Pinkney Inman of Cold Mountain fame, was dedicated in 1902. The first Universalist Church west of Durham, this church was also home to the state's first licensed Universalist kindergarten and Haywood County's first public health clinic.

Bethel Presbyterian Church was founded in 1834, but early Presbyterians shared a log structure with Baptists and Methodists until the church's construction in 1885. The beautiful tongue and groove chestnut interior was a favorite design of the Reverend Jesse Stalcup, prominent builder in Bethel Community.

Bethel Cemetery, founded in 1854 by Elijah Deaver, has been enlarged three times. The burial ground is the last resting place of many citizens, including the hero of Cold Mountain, Pinkney Inman. The cemetery has a panoramic view of surrounding mountains.

The Captain James Allen and Nancy Louisa Cathey Blaylock House, started as an 1835 log cabin that was enlarged into a combination Italian Villa/Queen Anne structure, was essentially completed by 1890. The history of the five generations of Blaylocks to inhabit the house includes stories of lost and found and lost again treasure, a possible murder, and ghosts.

The Joseph Turner and Martha Anna Iva Killian Cathey House was begun in 1860 by the couple. Joseph Turner joined the 25th North Carolina Infantry Regiment and died during the Civil War. His wife was left to complete the entire back section of the house for herself and her three children. The five generations of the Cathey family are comfortable with the residence's two ghosts.

Forks-of-the- River was a religious camp meeting site during the 1800s and is perhaps the location after which Bethel Community was named. Bethel means "house of God." Today, Riverhouse Acres campground is located along the beautiful Pigeon River where the East and West Forks of the Pigeon River converge.

Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, Book II

In 2006, Bethel Rural Community Organization's Cold Mountain Heritage Tour was accompanied with Book II of Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain. The three historic houses featured on the tour are noted for their stories and interesting history as well as for their unique architecture.

The Joseph Turner and Martha Anna Iva Killian Cathey House's first generation was featured in Book I of Legends. Aurelia Bush Cathey, married to third generation Turner Cathey, composed a fascinating account of members of the second and third generation of the Cathey family.

The Captain James Allen and Nancy Louisa Cathey Blaylock House is noted for its out-of-the-ordinary tales of ghosts and intrigue. Author Evelyn Coltman relays data about all five generations of Blaylocks who occupied the house, with special focus on the fourth generation whose lives were particularly appealing.

Few houses are constructed in the shape of a symbol or icon, but the Julius Marion and Leila Vance Welch House is noted for its distinctive cross-shaped (cruciform) design. As interesting as its architectural features are the Welch family members whose amazing social life and contributions to Bethel Community are noteworthy.

A particularly outstanding citizen of Bethel Community whose talents have affected everyone through his one hundred plus inventions has not ever received the attention or notoriety that his contributions to society deserve. Author Evelyn Coltman interviews his former neighbors who recall Calvin Filmore Christopher's achievements, his quirkiness, and his brilliant mind. Christopher's great granddaughter, in another article, relays family data as well as details about his numerous inventions.

In addition to Christopher's biography, author Evelyn Coltman details the lives of two members of the Inman family: William Pingree Inman (Pinkney Inman of Cold Mountain fame) and his equally fascinating brother, James Anderson Inman. While actual details about Pinkney Inman' life are sketchy and difficult to trace, Coltman attempts to tie together the factual data as well as family oral history relating to this young man whose fictional account in the book and movie Cold Mountain caught the attention of the nation. Pinkney's less famous but more noteworthy brother, James Anderson, was also a Civil War veteran. His letters to home during the war serve to enlighten the reader as to the difficulty of a soldier's life away from home and family. James Anderson, after the Civil War, returned home to become a Universalist minister, starting North Carolina's first Universalist Church west of Durham.

To complete Book II of Legends, a captivating account of an 1840s religious camp meeting, relayed to Eulalia McCracken Brown, gives insight into life in the mid-1800s in Bethel Community.

Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, Book III

Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, Book III contains valuable historical information about important people, places, and events in the history of Bethel Community in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Much of the information contained in the book has not been published previously. This book accompanied the third Cold Mountain Heritage Tour.

Two sections titled "Settlers of Western North Carolina" and "Origins and Characteristics" gives a concise understanding of how the pioneers who first came to Southern Appalachia were similar to, yet different from, settlers of other regions of the country.

Like Books I and II of Legends, a member of the Inman family is featured. Reuben Stringfield Inman was noted in his community for several captivating lifestyle choices. The brief story of his life is captured by author Evelyn Coltman.

The Lenoir family has contributed significantly to the history of North Carolina. The Lenoirs also played an important role in the history of Bethel Community and Haywood County, North Carolina. Fortunately, Book III includes three articles that are the result of original research by descendants of the Lenoir family: Origins of the Lenoir Family, Thomas Lenoir, and Thomas Isaac Lenoir. A Thomas Isaac Lenoir letter that has not been previously published is also included. In addition, Dr. Mary Michal, Lenoir descendant, penned a captivating account of her life as she and her brother grew up on Lenoir Devon Acres Farm, the longest continuing farm in Haywood County that is noted for its docile Devon cattle that descended from the original 1849 herd.

One of the most impressive histories in Haywood County is that of the Cathey Family and its most noted representative, Colonel Joseph Cathey. A community leader, a farmer, a miller, an entrepreneur, and a legislator, Colonel Cathey was truly an enlightened man and a fine citizen.

Bethel Community was home to many schools in its formative years. Author Evelyn Coltman details a general history of the school system in North Carolina and Haywood County's early years while giving detailed information about schools in Bethel from the early 1800s to today's educational facilities in Bethel and Cruso Communities. The book concludes with chapters on two unique schools that existed in the Bethel/Cruso area. New College Community Experience of New College Branch of Columbia University's Teachers College was an experimental school that thrived in Cruso Community in the 1930s. The school was unlike any other educational institutional innovation in this country, but it was short-lived. Insights gained from a study of its educational message, however, provide valuable lessons about the mechanisms required to create outstanding teachers and citizens. Summit Academy, like New College Community Experience, was also a singular experimental school. Summit Academy, however, focused entirely on teaching a unique set of learning skills to children with learning disabilities. Success Oriented Achievement Realized (SOAR) and Project Pursuit are two programs that still exist that emanated from Summit Academy.

Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, Book IV

In Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, Book IV, In Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, Book IV, several guest writers contribute to the book that accompanied the fourth Cold Mountain Heritage Tour.

Cheryl Inman Haney details the life of her grandfather James Hosea Ballou Inman.

Dr. Joseph Shook Hall delineates the history of the restoration of Haywood County's oldest frame structure, the Shook-Smathers House Museum.

Jackie Stephens, Curator at the Shelton House, gives details about the Shelton family as well as the house's connection to the Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts.

The interesting history of the Smathers-Gautier House, Haywood County's best example of Queen Anne Architecture, is ably described by Malinda Messer.

A poignant letter written by one of the last inhabitants of the Blaylock House was discovered in an antique trunk and is printed for the first time in the book.

Other entries by author Evelyn M. Coltman include information about sites on the tour such as the White Sulphur Springs Park where the last shot of the Civil War east of the Mississippi was fired and where one of eastern America's grande hotels was located.

Articles on mills and milling include data about Haywood County's extant mills: Francis Mill which has undergone restoration and the Campbell Crockett Mill wheel which was used to construct a mill on the Haywood Community College campus.

Sections on logging and lumbering include interviews of families associated with Haywood County's largest mill town, Sunburst. The book concludes with an interesting history of Haywood County's family that has been associated with timbering for approximately one hundred years.

Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, Book V

The Reverend Riley Covin details the history of Presbyterianism in Western North Carolina, focusing particularly on Bethel Presbyterian Church - the Mother Church of Presbyterianism in Haywood County. Since the church has disbanded, Ted Carr discusses current usage of the 1885 structure by Bethel Rural Community Organization.

Informative facts concerning death customs, funerals, cemeteries, gravemarkers, decoration ceremonies, and epitaphs are outlined in a lengthy discussion by Evelyn Coltman. Prehistoric, international, national, state, and local particulars about this fascinating subject are brought to light in a dialogue that utilizes historical and modern references to denote social and cultural aspects of man's method of dealing with the last good-bye.

Inman Chapel, Haywood County's renowned Universalist Church with a rich history of outreach to the community, owes homage to the Reverend Hannah Jewett Powell, the first female Universalist minister and missionary to fill a full-time mission post in North Carolina. Cheryl Inman Haney pays tribute to this beloved servant who began many social programs in Haywood County.

Cataloging Bethel Cemetery: Monumental Task for Young Historian describes the project conducted by Haywood Early College student, Allison Cathey, who has compiled a comprehensive listing and grid map of the cemetery.

Green Hill Cemetery in Waynesville, North Carolina, was home to Green Hill Academy and the First Methodist Church. Malinda Messer discovers unique factual information about the cemetery and the buildings once housed on its premises.

As a preface to an article about one of the oldest structures in Haywood County, North Carolina – the Blanton Reece log cabin – Evelyn Coltman describes the history of various types of log homes and outbuildings typically constructed by Appalachian mountaineers. Vess and Dalitha Reece exemplified a typical mountain family who reared eight children in their 360 square foot cabin, and the Reece family occupied their log home for seventy-six years.

The J. Frank Mann farm, a Century Farm, was a prominent part of the history of North Hominy Community in Haywood County, North Carolina. Torpy Skinner invites the reader to experience the history of her family and what life was like on a several-hundred-acre rural setting - complete with barn, calf barn, milk house, country store, and tobacco barn - in the early part of the twentieth century.

Clyde Roark Hoey, Jr., was the son of a Governor of North Carolina as well as the nephew of another Governor. He and his wife Bernice built their Federalist style house on Pennsylvania Avenue, Canton, North Carolina, in 1929. The Fleetwood Smathers family occupied the home for almost fifty years. Both families were brought to the area because of employment at the Canton-based Champion Paper and Fiber plant. Evelyn Coltman describes life in the house based on interviews with neighbors and those who lived there.

Three generations of the Way family, prominent citizens of Waynesville, North Carolina, lived in the magnificent Victorian Romanesque style Way House. Shancy Garrison, owner of Persnickety's which was housed in the historic house, composed a brief article about the history of the family and the building. Evelyn Coltman gives further details about the three generations of the Wayfamily who occupied the house, the occupations of the owners, and architectural details about this structure that make it one of the most impressive buildings in Haywood County, North Carolina.

Currently, the private Gateway Club offers upscale dining and meeting rooms for members of the Church Street facility in Waynesville, North Carolina. This unique structure, however, was designed as a Masonic Lodge in the pre-Great Depression era, and is considered to be one of the best examples of Masonic design in North Carolina. Suzanne Tinsley, one of the owners of the club, details the historical changes to the building. Evelyn Coltman prefaces Tinsley's description with one article on Freemasonry and its history throughout the ages and another commentary on the history of Freemasonry in Waynesville and Haywood County, North Carolina.

To conclude the book, there is a history about country stores and their general history and as well as specific accounts of individual stores in Haywood County, North Carolina. Mast General Store provided a history of its operation since its founding in the late 1800s. Evelyn Coltman, based on interviews with former owners of the current Mast Store facility, chronicled a record of The Toggery, the clothing store that occupied the building before the Mast store. Coltman then delineated, in detail, the history of the J.B. Rigdon General Store in Bethel Community and wrote separate articles on the two owners – Rose and Joe Berry Rigdon.

Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, Book VI

Included in the 2010 Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, Book VI are the following articles about sites on the sixth Cold Mountain Heritage Tour:

Several sections deal with the Moore family of Bethel Community. Nancy Moore (1820 – 1890) used a Day Book Remembrance gift she received from a relative to document several years of historical events in the community including weather, farm activities, church events, deaths, marriages, and other interesting data.

Nancy Moore also collected a wide range of memorabilia which she arranged into a Scrapbook. Interspersed among clipped articles are some of her personal artistic endeavors and collected poems.

Three Moore brothers who served as Confederate soldiers in the 62nd North Carolina Regiment sent letters home to their sister Nancy and brother Green Murray. Sixty-eight letters are included in descendant Tom Moore's collection. Several are printed in Legends, Book VI. In addition, Civil War era letters collected from Colonel Joseph Cathey and Thomas Isaac Lenoir are presented for readers.

The Osborne Boundary Oak was large enough to be a boundary marker in 1792. But the tree graced the area in what would become Bethel Community long before. The massive oak was near an Indian Council meeting location prior to white man, and soldiers under the command of General Griffith Rutherford, marched near the tree's swaying branches in 1776 during the Rutherford Trace march against the Cherokee. Ernestine Upchurch, whose family has a special connection to this ancient tree, entertains the reader with detailed research about the tree's early days.

The Kinsland family built a large white Greek Revival-style farmhouse during the Civil War era, and the home has remained in the Kinsland family. The upper two stories of this impressive dwelling remain just as they were in the mid-1860, with tobacco drying poles still in-tact in the two upper attic areas. Julianne Kuykendall Goldthwaite, Kinsland descendant and free-lance writer, documents the interesting history of the house and the Kinsland family.

Inman Chapel and Cemetery, dedicated in 1902, was built by the Reverend James Anderson Inman (brother of Inman of Cold Mountain fame) as the first Universalist Church west of Durham. This socially conscious religious group has been noted in previous books in the Legends series for its altruistic social activism. Author Cheryl Inman Haney enlightens readers with more details about the church and the Inman family.

William Stewart Terrell donated the land on which Bethel Presbyterian Church, home of Bethel Rural Community Organization, is housed. In addition to being an active member of the church, this former Civil War Captain was an active community citizen who was a well-known businessman and store entrepreneur. Captain Terrell's history lends a special chapter to the chronicle of the history of Bethel Community and Bethel Presbyterian Church.

The Reece history involving the Blanton/Reece Log Cabin was detailed in Book V of Legends. Book VI traces the Blanton connection. The article attempts to research the accuracy of the touted date of cabin construction (1821) as well as attempting to determine the person who constructed the cabin. Blanton genealogical details as well as oral history of Blanton descendants lead the author to an inconclusive conclusion.

Truss Bridge #79 is Haywood County's only ornamental bridge and North Carolina's oldest working truss bridge. In addition to delineating details about Truss Bridge #79's importance to Bethel Community, the article gives an extensive history of bridges while focusing on Truss Bridges

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