In today’s world of cell phones, text messaging and email, instant communication is the expectation. It was not too long ago though that letters, delivered through the U.S. Postal Service, were the leading means of both personal and business communication. People exchanged hand-written letters frequently and eagerly anticipated the arrival of news from family and friends.

Since Transylvania County was established in 1861 there have been at least 57 different names, from Ashworth (1919-1922) to Zachary’s (1880-1890), for local post offices.

The earliest post office in what is today Transylvania County was Claytonville. It operated from 1806-1861 when this area was part of Buncombe and then Henderson County. Lambert Clayton was the first postmaster from 1806 until about 1813. It was located in the area around the Davidson River and the Allison-Deaver House.

In the early days post offices were generally located in the store and/or home of whoever was the postmaster, so if there was a change of postmaster the post office itself probably moved – although usually not very far – and sometimes even changed its name.

Other early post offices included Cathey’s Creek established in 1826, Davidson’s River in 1840, Cherryfield in 1852, Dunn’s Rock in 1855, Calhoun in 1856 and Cedar Mountain in 1856.

While many of the post offices were named for the postmaster, such as Deavers, Galloway and Loftis, others have more creative stories behind their names.

The Reba Post Office, located North of the Sherwood Forest area, operated from 1898-1907. When residents were trying to select a name, Sheriff Bunyan McGaha in jest suggested Reba, the name of his then 4-year old daughter and that’s what was selected.

Overlooking the valley of Dunn’s Rock is the community of See Off. Before the post office was opened in 1903, names were submitted for it. Laura Raxter suggested See Off for the obvious reason that you could “see-off” into the valley and mountains beyond. Although the post office only operated for four years, the community is still known as See Off.

Today there are eight post offices in Transylvania County.

Cedar Mountain is the oldest continuously operated post office in the county. Cedar Mountain, the mountain, is actually four miles south of the current Cedar Mountain community. The first Cedar Mountain post office was located there along with a hotel built by Micajah Thomas in 1852. The hotel served as a stage coach stop and post office and provided lodging for travelers, hunters and fishermen.

Brevard, established in 1868, has had several different locations for its post office through the years.

Balsam Grove’s first post office opened in 1875, followed by Penrose in 1889 and Lake Toxaway in 1903.

Rosman’s first post office was known as Toxaway and opened Dec. 7, 1900. To avoid confusion with Lake Toxaway, the name was changed to Eastatoe on Jan. 12, 1903. Six weeks later, on Feb. 28 that name was rescinded and it again became Toxaway. Then from April 7-May 8 it was French Broad and from May 8-13 Eastatoe. On May 13, 1903 the name once again became Toxaway. Finally on July 18, 1904 the name of Rosman was selected.

The Sapphire post office, which has been in existence since 1892, was actually in Jackson County until 1914 when it relocated.

Photographs and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit the N.C. Room during regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history and see additional photographs. For more information, comments or suggestions contact Marcy at [email protected] transylvaniacounty.org or (828) 884-3151 ext. 242.

Photo Caption:

Jess Johnson delivered mail from Horseshoe to Brevard. The horse’s decorative cape was made by Johnson’s mother and was to keep flies off.

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