Note: This article is part of a series on street namesakes in Brevard.
When the city of Brevard was founded in 1861, many of the earliest organizers had streets named for them in honor of their contributions to the town. One such street is Probart Street, named after William Probart Poor who went by his middle name Probart. Probart Street originates just behind the courthouse and follows a parallel path to West Main Street before veering off near Galloway in a sort of loop and finally terminating at its intersection to Cashiers Valley Road. The east-west running street was originally known as Poor Street but was later requested by residents to be changed to Probart Street in 1909.
William Probart Poor was born on January 19, 1806 to Caleb Poor and Polly Mira Avery Poor as the fifth of seven siblings in what was then considered Burke County. Records at this time are difficult to follow for a variety of reasons. Early census records were less than thorough, and the borders of North Carolina counties shifted as larger counties were divided and subdivided into smaller counties. Probart married his first wife, Elizabeth Elmira McCarson (1811-1850), during this time. They are first seen in superior court newspaper notices (likely regarding inheritance) in Buncombe County in 1840, and then in Henderson County in 1844. The couple did not have any children, and Elizabeth passed away in 1850 and rests in the Shaw Creek Methodist Campground Cemetery in Horse Shoe, NC, next to one of Probart’s brothers and his mother Polly.
Polly Mira Avery is an interesting person in her own right. Polly’s father was Colonel Waightstill Avery, eponym for the local D.A.R. chapter. Colonel Avery’s family lived on a plantation called “Swan Ponds” near Morganton, NC. Caleb Poor was hired by Colonel Avery as a professional tanner and records confirm that this is where Caleb met Polly. Caleb was born in Andover, Massachusetts to parents Colonel Thomas Poor and Phoebe Osgood. Caleb served as a fifer in the Revolutionary War at the young age of twelve and was known to be a skillful musician and singer. The couple eloped in July of 1796.
The couple had seven children, but it was not a peaceful marriage, it seems. Polly filed for divorce from Caleb in 1813 and her father Colonel Avery was legally charged with supporting the children until they reached adulthood. Three years later Polly and six of the children moved to Horse Shoe on property owned by Colonel Avery, which she later inherited after her father passed away in 1821. She remarried to Jacob Summey in 1823, and though he passed away in 1841, this last name is the one that appears on her grave marker, thus indicating that she never remarried.
Photographs and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library. This article was written by Local History Librarian Laura Sperry. Sources available upon request. For more information, comments, or suggestions, contact NC Room staff at [email protected] or 828-884-1820.