Long before the community of Seeoff was named pioneer families settled in the area from the top of Dunn’s Rock moving east toward Rich Mountain. Most have descendants who still live in the Seeoff community.
Old Buncombe County deeds show that Samuel Walter Hogsed had property in the area prior to 1800. He was married to Rebecca Ashworth. Among their children was Samuel (b. 1833) who married Caroline Hefner. Samuel and Caroline’s children included Riley and Walter who married sisters Louise and Mary Kate Raxter, daughters of Samuel and Tabitha Raxter.
Other early families in the area included Dunn, Eubanks, Gravely, Hamet, Hamlin, Heath, Holden, Lance, Landreth, McCrary, McGaha, Raines, Saltz, Wilson and others.
Dunn’s Creek Baptist Church was organized in 1876 although the first building wasn’t constructed until the 1880s. Joshua and Sarah Ann Holden deeded over property on which a one-room log church and school was built. This building was destroyed by fire and replaced in 1882 by a wooden building also used as both a church and school. Around 1890 a new church was built on land deeded to the church by Walter and Laura Raxter in 1894. On March 23, 2011 that church was destroyed by fire. People in the community and beyond have come together to build the new Dunn’s Creek Baptist Church.
After the new (1890) church was built the school continued to use the old building. It was known as the Holden School. When it was condemned as a fire hazard and closed a new school was constructed nearby. Later the children from Seeoff went down the mountain to the new Connestee School in Dunn’s Rock (today the Dunn’s Rock Community Center).
In 1912 the Appalachian Club Estates held nearly 1000 acres of land in Seeoff. They intended to develop it as “an exclusive, co-operative summer club, whose membership is open only to ladies and gentlemen of good repute, their families and guests.” The Appalachian Club Estates built an office beside the courthouse. After they went bankrupt the building was sold at auction in November 1912 for $200 to the United Daughters of the Confederacy for the first library in Transylvania County.
In 1955 a group of Seeoff women led by Mrs. Eliza Ware and Mrs. Allie Harllee organized “The Homesteaders” to form a “Closer Unity of Seeoff Community.” Originally they met in the homes of Mrs. Ware and Mrs. Harllee, then in the old schoolhouse. In 1968 Eliza Ware’s children donated property to build a community center beside the Dunn’s Creek Baptist Church and cemetery. From the beginning the clubs goal was to help others. Over the years they were the driving force in bringing advancements to the community, including rural free delivery mail service, telephone services and improvements to Becky Mountain Road. In 1968 the Ware-Harllee Memorial Scholarship Fund was created for Seeoff students pursuing a college education.
The Seeoff Community Club continues to be active within the Seeoff community.
Photo 1: Dunn’s Creek Baptist Church, 1890-2011. In 1920 Andy Hamet, Joe Hamet, Andy McGaha
and Ed McGaha built the belfry and the entrance to the church.
Photo 2: Mrs. Eliza Ware at her Yanside home overlooking the valley,
with Cecil Wilson, Fred Landreth and Herman Hogsed.
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.