|“Old Deaver House” purchased by the
Transylvania County Historical Society in 1987.
In 1987 the “Old Deaver House” was to be torn down to make
way for development when a group of people interested in saving the local
landmark formed the Transylvania County Historical Society and bought the house,
barn and nearly four acres.
Initially it was believed the house had been built by
William Deaver in the 1830s. However clues
found in deed research, the house’s architecture, an archaeological dig and a dendrochronology study showed that it is actually much older.
Benjamin Allison purchased 250 acres on both sides of Benjamin
Davidson’s River from James Patton and Andrew Erwin in 1813. The property had originally been purchased
from the State of North Carolina by Waightstill Avery in 1798, later sold to
Edward Johnston, then to Patton and Erwin in 1803. It was this property that William Deaver purchased
from Allison in 1830.
The deed between Allison and Deaver reads, ”including the
house where said Allison now lives and including all the lands contained in
said tract of two hundred fifty acres granted to Waighstill Avery on both sides
of Davidson’s River except such part as the said Benjamin Allison did convey to
Architects estimated that the south side of home had been
constructed in the early 1800s and the north side added between 1835 and 1845.
In 1990 Ruth Wetmore led an archaeological dig aimed at
learning more about the home and any outbuildings that would have been located
nearby. The primary area of focus was
beneath the north side addition. This
area would have been the yard for the original part of the house.
A variety of small items, lost or discarded over time, were
unearthed during the dig. These included
pieces of broken glass and dishes, old nails, shoes, combs, and buttons
(including one from a Civil War Confederate uniform).
The item that revealed the best information for dating the
addition to the house was a piece of an ironstone platter with the trademark of
James Edwards of Staffordshire, England.
The trademark dated the piece from 1842-1850. The location of that piece aided in
determining that the north side of the home was built after 1842.
A dendrochronology study was conducted in 1998. Core
samples from wooden timbers were compared to a catalogue of dated samples. By identifying near identical growth patterns
it was determined that the timbers had been cut in 1814. This evidence was used to date the house to
The Transylvania County Historical Society will be
celebrating the Allison-Deaver House’s 200 years throughout the summer. It is the oldest standing frame house in
Western North Carolina and is listed on the National Register of Historic
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