Yancey County, North Carolina
Yancey County was established in 1833 from Buncombe and Burke Counties. It was named for Bartlett YANCEY, speaker, orator, educator and friend of Henry CLAY. Bartlett YANCEY and Henry Clay served in the US Thirteenth and Fourteenth Congresses, (1813-1817). Henry Clay, a statesman from Kentucky, who is famous as a congressional leader and presidential candidate was to run unsuccessfully for the President of the United States several times. As the journals will show, in Congress, the speaker (Mr. Clay) often supplied his own place by the substitution of Mr. Yancey, see Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians by Wheeler, John H. (John Hill), 1806-1882.
The county seat, Burnsville, was named for Captain Otway BURNS, who was serving in the NC legislature and at the cost of his political career, cast the tie breaking vote to permit new western counties to be formed and the establishment of Yancey County. He became a good friend of Bartlett Yancey who was also in the NC Senate at the time. Bartlett Yancey and Otway Burns rode horse back over the mountains and viewed the beautiful area that was to become Yancey County. Bartlett pointed out to Captain Otway how the citizens were required to travel the great distances to the court house in Morganton. John "Yellow Jacket" Bailey also was very instrumental in the formation of Yancey County by his unrelenting campaigning for the new counties to be formed on trips to Raleigh. He found friends in Bartlett Yancey and Captain Otway Burns. He later gave the land for the town of Burnsville and ask that it be named Burnsville in honor of Captain Otway Burns.
Yancey County is surrounded by the Blue Ridge area of the Appalachian Highlands. The Black Mountain Range crosses the south end of the county, intersected by the Blue Ridge Range and the Unaka Range. Yancey County has the highest average of elevation of any county in North Carolina. One of its peaks is Mt. Mitchell with an elevation of 6,684 feet. The town of Burnsville is at 2,815 feet.
The population of Yancey County in 1990 was approximately 19,000 and includes the town of Burnsville. The county has average temperatures of 22 to 47 degrees in the winter and 80 degrees in the summer. Average annual rainfall is 84 inches with an average snowfall of 104 inches. Textile is the main industry of Yancey County, with seven textile industries located there. There is also two mining and processing plants, a bedspring manufacturer and an asphalt plant. Agriculture includes tobacco, Christmas trees, ornamental shrubs and beef cattle.
As you drive the back roads of Yancey County, you will find such quaint names as Bee Log, Hardscrabble, Pig Pen, Possum Trot and Rabbit Hop. Old mountain ways mingle with the new. We are firmly rooted in the past and growing toward the future. A great way of life and a wonderful place to live.