The early Minutes of the Court
of Pleas and Quarter Sessions for Transylvania County contain a wealth of
information about the development of the county during the Civil War and
through the Reconstruction Era. The
Minutes identify the men who helped establish the county, the offices they
held, and their roles during a turbulent time.
|Robert Hamilton, first sheriff of Transylvania County.|
Robert Hamilton was the first
sheriff for Transylvania County, elected in May 1861. His deputy was George Neill. Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions minutes
state that George C. Neill was elected sheriff in August 1864. Hamilton was named his deputy on September
10, 1864. Neill was sheriff for two
years. Hamilton would serve as sheriff
again from May 1869 through August 1970.
Hamilton and Neill, who were
relatives through marriage (Hamilton’s wife was a first cousin to Neill), both
lived in the Lamb’s Creek area.
Although, Hamilton and Neill
represented the law in a Confederate state both were Union sympathizers. A diary kept by a Union officer who had
escaped from a Confederate prisoner camp tells of assistance provided by
Hamilton and Neill as he and his fellow escapees passed through the county on
their way to freedom. Other accounts
also tell of Hamilton’s role in aiding Union soldiers.
The Heritage of Transylvania
Couth, North Carolina, Volume III contains an entire section, “A People Divided: Transylvania County and the
Civil War” telling stories of those who supported and fought for both the
Confederate and Union cause.
On Sunday, June 12 at 2:00 at
the Allison-Deaver House Dr. Keith Parker will speaker on the Reconstruction Era
in Transylvania County and efforts to bridge the divide created by the
war. He will also share stories of
Hamilton’s role in aiding Union soldiers.
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 828-884-3151 X242.