“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Asheville in Buncombe County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)

Smith-McDowell House

Our Businessman-Soldier

Smith-McDowell House Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, April 27, 2014
1. Smith-McDowell House Marker
Inscription.  After John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia, in 1859, new militia companies were formed in the South. Businessman William W. McDowell, whose wife acquired this house from her father’s and brother’s estates, raised a company called the Buncombe Riflemen. After the war began in 1861, the unit entered Confederate service as Co. E, 1st North Carolina Infantry, under Col. Daniel H. Hill. McDowell led his company during the first land engagement of the conflict in present-day Virginia, the Battle of Big Bethel, on June 10, 1861. The 1st North Carolina played a key role in repulsing the 5th New York Infantry’s attack on the Confederate left flank and was largely credited with the victory.

Soon afterward, McDowell fell ill and on July 2 was furloughed home. In the summer 1862, he raised a company (the Buncombe Farmers) that was incorporated into the 60th North Carolina Infantry under McDowell’s brother, Col. Joseph A. McDowell. William McDowell served in the regiment first as a captain and then as major until after the Battle of Stone’s River in January 1863. Back home by 1864, McDowell became a Confederate treasury officer for the
Smith-McDowell House image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, April 27, 2014
2. Smith-McDowell House
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sale of government bonds. After the war, he continued in business until ill health forced his retirement in 1870.

One of McDowell’s slaves, George Avery, a 19-year-old blacksmith, enlisted with McDowell’s encouragement in the 40th United States Colored Troops in April 1865. The unit guarded railroads in East Tennessee and mustered out in February 1866. Avery returned to Buncombe County and became superintendent of the South Asheville Colored Cemetery, which was first used as McDowell slave cemetery.

James McConnell Smith, an early entrepreneur and one of the wealthiest and most influential men in antebellum Asheville, constructed this Federal and Greek Revival-style dwelling about 1840. His daughter, Sarah Lucinda Smith, married William Wallace McDowell and acquired the house. It remained in the McDowell family until 1883.

(lower left) Receipt bearing McDowell’ signature, June 23, 1864
(upper center) Capt. Wm. W. McDowell, Buncombe Riflemen, ca. 1859
(lower center) George Avery, Feb. 18, 1917, age 71
(upper right) 1st North Carolina Infantry battle flag
Erected by North Carolina Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans
Smith-McDowell House Museum-sign at the entrance image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, April 27, 2014
3. Smith-McDowell House Museum-sign at the entrance
Industry & CommerceWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the North Carolina Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical month for this entry is January 1863.
Location. 35° 34.327′ N, 82° 33.302′ W. Marker is in Asheville, North Carolina, in Buncombe County. Marker can be reached from Victoria Road, 0.1 miles south of Oakland Road, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 283 Victoria Road, Asheville NC 28801, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. St. Genevieve ~ Of ~ The ~ Pines (approx. 0.3 miles away); Asheville Normal School (approx. half a mile away); Newton Academy (approx. half a mile away); Flood of 1916 (approx. 0.6 miles away); Biltmore House (approx. 0.7 miles away); George Vanderbilt's Biltmore (approx. 0.7 miles away); The County of Buncombe (approx. 0.8 miles away); Rutherford Trace (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Asheville.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
Also see . . .  Smith-McDowell House Museum. (Submitted on July 21, 2014.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on July 20, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 714 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 20, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Feb. 9, 2023