The Reverend Jesse Stalcup, Baptist minister and millwright, built the building in 1885 as the first Presbyterian Church in Haywood County. The church is Bethel Rural Community Organization’s home base. Floor to ceiling chestnut interior in the sanctuary provides a dramatic backdrop for learning about the history of Presbyterianism in Western North Carolina. Books 1 and 5 of "Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain" inform about the church’s unique past. See also "Walking in the Footsteps of Those Who Came Before Us" DVD and the Cold Mountain Heritage Driving Tour CD.
OSBORNE BOUNDRY OAK:
Oral history dates the tree to the Native American settlement era when a buffalo and Indian trail as well as a trading post flanked the tree’s border. The tree’s first defined date is 1792 when it was massive enough to be used as a boundary marker for the Adlia Osborne land grant. The tree is considered to be a "witness tree" by the Daughters of the American Revolution because the tree witnessed General Griffith Rutherford and his troops as they passed by the tree during the Rutherford Trace march against the Cherokee in 1776. The legendary black oak has witnessed hundreds of years of history in Bethel Community and has been saved from destruction in the 1970s when community citizens and organizations united to save the tree from widening of Highway #110 and again in 2010 when citizens and organizations assessed the tree’s health and doctored the aging tree with appropriate arborist treatments in 2013 and 2016 under the direction of BRCO. BRCO placed its first local historic marker at the tree. For more information about the Osborne Boundary Oak’s history see "Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain", Book 6. See also "Walking in the Footsteps of Those Who Came Before Us" DVD and the Cold Mountain Heritage Driving Tour CD.
Descending from some of North Carolina’s most prominent citizens, the Lenoir family in Haywood County claimed ancestral ties to locations named for them: Avery County and the city/county of Lenoir. Thomas and Selina Louisa Avery Lenoir settled the land in 1806 and began a farm in 1807 that continues until today. Thomas was elected to the legislature and eventually amassed approximately 4,000 acres on the East Fork of the Pigeon River. The Lenoir’s slave-holding grew to 35. The family returned to Lenoir, but youngest son, Thomas Isaac Lenoir, returned to continue the farm and established a herd of Red Devon cattle by the mid-1850s. He married Mary Elizabeth Garrett, and they had three daughters and a son (died in infancy). During the Civil War Thomas Isaac was Captain of “the Highlanders," the NC 25th Infantry Regiment, Company F. To learn more about the Lenoir family and Lenoir’s Creek Farm see "Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain", Book 3. See also "Walking in the Footsteps of Those Who Came Before Us" DVD and the Cold Mountain Heritage Driving Tour CD.
PIGEON GAP WATERING
Under the auspices of Bethel Rural Community Organization, Joey Rolland, Eagle Scout, restored a historic watering site atop Waynesville Mountain between Bethel and Waynesville that was once used as a rest stop for weary travelers and their animals, dating as far back as the early 1800s. Rolland cleared the site of over growth, uncovered the 1924 plaque placed by the Community Club of Waynesville, and erected a bridge. Bethel Rural Community Organization placed strategic directional signage and erected a local historic marker at the site in 2016.