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 At just over 30 square miles Dunn’s Rock is the smallest
township in land area.  However, the
population density is higher than all other townships in the county, except
Brevard.   It is surrounded by Eastatoe, Cathey’s Creek,
Brevard and Little River townships, with a small portion of the southern boundary
bordering South Carolina. 

Chestnut Hill was built by Charlestonian, Rev. Stuart Hanckel in 1856. 

He was influential in building St. Paul’s-in-the-Valley, the first Episcopal

Church in Transylvania County, and served as its minister from 1860-1872. 

Both the home and church were located in Dunn’s Rock Township.

The first settlers, who came into the area in the late
1700s, filed land claims with Buncombe County in the State of North
Carolina.   Within a few years a portion of the land was
involved in a land dispute when Georgia claimed a twelve-mile-wide strip of
land known as the Orphan Strip and established Walton County.  After additional surveys definitively located
the 35th parallel the area was officially determined to be in North
Carolina.  Today, the former Orphan Strip
lies mostly in the Dunn’s Rock and Eastatoe townships of Transylvania County.

the 1850s wealthy plantation owners from the Charleston area came to the
mountains to escape the heat, humidity, insects and illness of the
lowlands.  They purchased large tracts of
land in the fertile valley around the French Broad River.  Following the Civil War many of the
Charlestonians, who had lost much of their wealth, did not return to the mountains or moved into the growing
town of Brevard. 

by 1870 the U.S. census listed 422 residents living in the Dunn’s Rock
Township, giving it a population density of just under fourteen individuals per
square mile.  Cathey’s Creek was the only
township in the county that had a higher number of people per square mile at
that time.

This sketch of Gay Valley is from a 1960s camp brochure.

Another important aspect of the
Dunn’s Rock area is summer camps.  Rockbrook Camp for
Girls, which began in 1921, was one of the earliest camps in Transylvania
County.   Two years later, Rev. Samuel
Morris and his wife opened Connestee Cove for Girls on Island Ford Road.  Miss Mary Gwynn had been operating a
co-educational camp on the west side of Brevard when she purchased Connestee
Cove for Girls in 1942 and renamed it Camp Gay Valley.  After Gwynn’s niece and her husband took over
the camp they changed the name to Gwynn Valley Camp.

Both camps, along with High Rocks Camp for Boys which was
established in 1958, are still in operation. 
Former camps in the township have included Camp Brevard for Girls, Camp
Perry Ann, Camp Catechee, Deep Woods Camp, and Piedmont Camp, a summer retreat
for employees of Piedmont Mills in South Carolina.

Today Dunn’s Rock Township includes the communities of Glen
Cannon, Connestee Falls (a portion is in Eastatoe Township), Sherwood Forest
and other developments.  Dunn’s Rock Township
has a higher median age of residents (60.4 years) than other townships in the
county, which range from 42.3 (Gloucester) to 48.3 (Eastatoe).  

Land area and population statistics for this series of
township articles are from
using 2010 census data and for historical census figures.

Photographs and information for this column are provided
by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library. 
Visit the NC 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]
or 828-884-1820.

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(828) 884-3151

212 S Gaston St, Brevard, NC 28712