View of West Jefferson ca. 1916    WJ Business District     First National Bank, West Jefferson Early Real Photo Postcard

County History Outline    Notes on the Civil War in Ashe   From the Ashe County Government Website     Ham Cemetery

In one West Virginia county it's said that one town's citizens marched over to the other small town which had the courthouse records in a log building next to a hog lot, and stole all the county records and carried them back to their town, which they then promptly declared the new county seat! Well, we're not quite so dramatic in Ashe County, but they do say that the town of West Jefferson stole the railroad from it's ending point in Jefferson, due to land speculators, businesses and lumbering.

And it does seem to make sense with the courthouse being over in Jefferson, a bit of a sleepy little place for the next hundred years, and the town of West Jefferson growing its main Street and businesses until it has become today's art and food center. It was always the Saturday uptown business place to visit, other than official courthouse business.

West Jefferson thirty to fifty years ago had the livestock market, the tobacco market, banks, department stores of an earlier kind, and the restaurants. On Saturday nights all the young people would cruise the Main Street, much like the movie American Graffiti. It was a bit raucous, but fun. The movie theatre was a hot place, the popcorn still served in square cardboard boxes for a quarter, and matinees the kids sometimes threw it at one another wildly.

In July, the annual Wagon Train camped at Greenfield and passed through town.

For a fictional view of the historical area, from frontier Horse Creek down to a murder mystery of WWI, I recommend a good read - local author Phillip Lewis's "A Poor Man's Rain"

courthouse For real local history, please visit and support:

The New Museum of Ashe County History and the Ashe County Historical Society in the restored 1804 Courthouse!

Ashe County History on New River Notes


Ashe County was considered part of the short lived State of Franklin   from NPR    Seperation Resolution    Wikipedia

Ashe County, North Carolina Records Inventory

Ashe County, North Carolina Land Grants

The Teays (New) River - USGS

History of Lansing, NC




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