On a recent visit to my dear Bonnie’s holiday home in Cashiers, North Carolina, I was chomping at the bit to visit The Zachery-Tolbert House.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE historical homes (and try to visit them as often as I can- just ask my kids and husband and nieces and sister. They’d gladly share differing opinions on this).
Even though we couldn’t enter (closed for the season- Damned locked doors!), we wandered around the grounds, peeked in windows, and talked to ghosts (I don’t talk to ghosts, but I was with a college educated, well-to-do, 21st century female who does- so it wasn’t a problem.)
The exterior is beautiful.
The interior (as seen through frosted windows) is VERY interesting.
And the grounds are stunning.
But now- for the history:
The Zachary family arrives in Cashiers and begins a life on land that was formally occupied by the Cherokee Nation.
The Cherokee’s have, of course, been driven out (actually ‘walked out’) by the historically consistent and empathetic white man, on a Trail of Tears, without shoes, having little food, offered no shelter, on a 1,000 mile trek to relocate them to Oklahoma because, no one wants shitty Oklahoma- yet.
Nineteen year old Mordecai Zachary (cool name) is gifted a tract of land by his father, to start construction on his own property.
Mordecai is a very skilled carpenter. He not only builds a house, a barn, and a kitchen building, but also handcrafts ALL of the furniture.
It takes him 10 years to finish- just in time to welcome his new bride, Elvira Kenner, to the home, and begin the babymaking that will result in 12 children (you’ve got to admire these women- it makes me sweat just thinking about it).
They live happily (well, maybe he does) and the kids all are taught a second language- Cherokee (by their Mom, who is fluent, and must have considered it wise to communicate with the people you are forcibly relocating so as to hang on to your scalp).
As the brood grows, and in the absent of any real sense of control, they are allowed to write on the walls. The house is full of graffiti!!! Baby’s first steps, drawings, birthdays celebrated, games on walls, doodles, cries for help (not really, the last one).
The Zachary family relocates, and the house, and contents, are sold to Armistead Burt.
A little back history on Mr. Burt: His primary residence, in Abbeville, South Carolina, is the place where, 1) Confederate President Jeff Davis held his last Council of War, 2) the Civil War unofficially ended, and, 3) the supremely arrogant Jeff Davis attempted to flee to Florida, on his way to Europe, only to be apprehended disguised in his wife’s dress.
Long story short: The house continues to change hands, but no one ever changes a thing- no paint, no heat, no plumbing, no electricity, no new furniture.
Every single stick is still there!
The graffiti is still there!
The ghosts are still there.
Just ask Bonnie. She heard them.
I, on the other hand…
|The Zachary-Tolbert House
1940 Hwy 107 S.
Cashiers, North Carolina
|A ‘Cold Storage’ basket
built into one of the many streams by the kitchen building.
|A snow covered, and long ago abandoned,
stone step, tucked far back in the woods.
|Another structure on the property.
Abandoned and empty.