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LEGEND OF THE LOST SILVER MINE
By Marshall McClung
Graham County, like most rural areas has it's share of legends and mountain mysteries. Perhaps one of the most famous of these is the legend of the DeLozier silver mine. Only one person, Edward "Neddy" DeLozier is said to have known the actual location of the mine, and that he died without ever revealing the location to anyone. Neddy was born in 1803 and was the son of Jessie Delozier and Alsey Fields Delozier. Neddy was the great grandfather of Homer Constance and a distant relative of the late Martin Delozier who operated Delozier Drug Center in Robbinsville for several years. In 1983, Martin Delozier presented a Delozier family history book to Homer which contained a reference on Neddy and listed Homer as a great grandson.
"Neddy's" mother was one quarter Cherokee. Some attribute his ability to move through the woods unseen and unheard to being part Cherokee. Others said it was an ability many possessed in those days simply to survive ma hard land. Whatever the reason, no one was ever able to follow him to the mine as he was always able to elude them. Several people reportedly tried to follow him. One story has it that one man did succeed in following Neddy to the mine, but was never seen again. Still another story has it that one person found the mine and that it had a human skeleton in it. There was speculation that it was the remains of the man who had followed Neddy to the mine.
Arkie Orr who lived in the Orr Mountains near the Slickrock Creek area told of a man who would spend the night at their cabin on occasion He was part Cherokee and very secretive about his journey. He would be carrying sacks of something that resembled rocks on his return trip. No one questioned him. As was the custom in those days he was accepted and welcomed. It is thought that this man was Neddy Delozier.
The story goes that Oliver Orr and his father Hart Orr once cut a tree that had a turtle and snake carved on it. This was supposed to have been a directional tree marking the way to the silver mine.
Old land records were said to show that Neddy owned substantial landholdings in Graham County supposedly bought with silver from the mine. He was said to have owned 50 acres on lower Yellow Creek, 640 acres on Sawyer's Creek, and 1,155 acres on Tuskegee Creek.
Neddy's parents died before he was two years old and the story has it that he was raised by the Cherokee. When the Cherokee signed a treaty in 1835 giving up all rights to their lands east of the Mississippi River. Neddy joined the U.S. Army and helped in the removal of the Cherokee to Oklahoma. He was a member of the Marcus Dickerson Unit of Macon County.
Neddy was said to have a silver dollar mold and would mint silver coins to pay property taxes and for necessities, but would only go to the mine as needed for silver, and would not keep much of it on hand for fear of being robbed.
Dennis Sawyer said that while Twenty Mile Creek was being logged around 1917 or 1918, that his grandfather Golman Sawyer and Jim Moore were looking at the timber and where to place logging roads in that area. They were accompanied by Guy Sawyer who was a young boy about 12 or 13 years old. While in the area, they found a horse that had fallen in a hole. When they rescued the horse, they found some old mining tools in the hole. Guy took one of the small hatchets or hand axes with him, but lost it in the woods. Deciding that this might be the lost silver mine, the Sawyers tried to return to the hole, but were never able to locate it again.
Homer Constance and his daughter Dorthea Beasley also looked for the mine for many years without locating it. One legend says that from the mine entrance the Little Tennessee River was visible in four places. Another story said seven places.
Neddy Delozier married Elizabeth Poindexter on May 24, 1834. She is said to be buried in Swain County. Neddy was apparently as elusive and secretive in death as he was in life since no one seems to know for sure where he is buried. Some say he is buried beside his wife in an unmarked grave. Others say he is buried on Tuskegee. Wherever he is buried, the secret of the Delozier silver mine is buried with him.
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This page is maintained by Tom Livingston, Robbinsville, North Carolina