The Eastatoe Township covers approximately 50 square miles in south central Transylvania County. It
is bordered by Hogback Township to the west, Gloucester and Cathey’s Creek townships
to the north, Dunn’s Rock Township to the east and South Carolina to the south.
The Eastern Continental Divide runs along the boundary
between Transylvania County and Greenville County, SC before heading north and
west through Eastatoe and Hogback townships.
Above Lake Toxaway the divide turns west and south. This means a portion of the area drains south
and east into the Toxaway River and Savannah River Basin. The rest of the region flows into the
tributaries of the Middle and East Forks of the French Board River and then the
of the township lays within the disputed Orphan Strip area. As white settlers began moving to the area following the
American Revolution, North Carolina and Georgia engaged in the little known
Walton War over the exact location of the state boundary. Georgia claimed
the territory as Walton County, while North Carolina claimed it as part of
Buncombe County (today Transylvania County). During the early 1800s there
were some major confrontations that lead to at least one death and the militia
being called in for protection. By the
time Georgia finally admitted defeat there were already numerous families
settled in the area.
The first census after the establishment of Transylvania
County was taken in 1870. It lists 351
residents in 72 households in the Eastatoe Township. Within just ten years the population nearly
doubled to 674 residents in 132 households.
|Jackson Gillespie was a grandson of John and Jane Gillespie.
He was postmaster at East Fork from 1875-1879.
When Joseph Silversteen brought his tanning and lumber
businesses to Rosman, which lies partially within the Eastatoe Township,
there was another growth spurt. By 1940
the population was 1169 in 228 households.
Although most of the township remained relatively sparsely
populated a few small communities did have official post offices. The longest operating were East Fork from
1875-1908 and Galloway from 1887-1914.
Brona, Eunice, Rio, Rosy, Sassafras Gap and Tex were post offices that
existed for less than five years.
John and Jane Gillespie were among the earliest settlers
in the Eastatoe Township. John made long
rifles at his mill on the East Fork River.
He also trained his three sons in rifle making. Several of Gillespie’s grandsons were also
rifle makers. Gillespie family members served
as post masters at East Fork for 29 of its 33 years.
|After the old East Fork Baptist Church was destroyed by fire on
December 13, 1956 the congregation constructed a new
The oldest church in the township is the East Fork Baptist
Church established in the 1840s by members of the Gillespie, Glazener, Heath,
Hines, Kennemeur, Lance, Paxton and Whitmire families. Early East Fork Baptist Church records on
available on microfilm in the Local History Room at the Library.
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]