Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Burnsville in Yancey County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Burnsville

“The county is gone up”

 
 
Burnsville Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, August 20, 2014
1. Burnsville Marker
Inscription. Burnsville exemplified western North Carolinians’ divided loyalties. Yancey County was evenly split on the secession issue. In January 1861, secession advocates in the town square burned an effigy of Cong. Zebulon B. Vance, who advised caution in response to Lincoln’s election. The future governor’s defenders vowed to tar and feather those responsible. Once the state seceded, many men enlisted in local Confederate companies, such as the Black Mountain Boys, while a few others joined the Federal units. The mountains soon became a haven for deserters from both sides.

In September 1863, Gov. Vance appointed John W. McElroy commander of the western “home guard” brigade to keep the peace and enforce Confederate conscription. McElroy already had told Vance that “many will go to the mountains before they will go to war.” McElroy moved his headquarters from this house to Madison County in September 1863. On April 9, 1864, in McElroy’s absence, about 50 Yancey County women “assembled… and marched in a body to a store-house… and (carried off) about sixty bushels of Government wheat.” The next day, McElroy reported, a band of 75 local renegades under Montraville Ray “came into Burnsville… surprised the guard, broke open the magazine, and took all the arms and ammunition. …The county is gone up.”
Burnsville Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, August 20, 2014
2. Burnsville Marker
Col. John B. Palmer soon marched 250 Confederate infantrymen here and attacked Ray’s force, capturing 15 and destroying the Ray family property. McElroy soon reestablished his headquarters here. In one of the last local acts of violence of the war, in April 1865, near here, Unionists shot and killed the Rev. Sam Byrd, whose son was a captain in McElroy’s home guard.

(sidebar)
John W. McElroy constructed this house about 1845, after he bought two lots here. He lived here until late in the 1850s but used the dwelling during the war. According to local tradition, after the April 1864 engagement in Burnsville, the house served as a hospital.

(captions)
(lower left) Gen. John W. McElroy; Montraville Ray.
(upper right) The Yancey County Courthouse, photographed ca. 1890, stood in the town square. It was constructed ca. 1850 and demolished in 1909. Photos courtesy Yancey History Association
 
Erected by North Carolina Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the North Carolina Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 35° 55.045′ N, 82° 18.087′ W. Marker is in Burnsville, North Carolina, in Yancey County. Marker is on West Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Burnsville NC 28714, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
McElroy House-side view image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, August 20, 2014
3. McElroy House-side view
At least 8 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Otway Burns Monument (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Honoring Yancey County’s Confederate Dead (about 800 feet away); Yancey County War Memorial (about 800 feet away); Asa Gray (approx. 10½ miles away); Andre Michaux (approx. 10½ miles away); Honoring Mitchell County's Confederate Dead (approx. 10½ miles away); North Carolina Civilian Conservation Corps Alumni (approx. 10.6 miles away); Elisha Mitchell (approx. 10.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Burnsville.
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
McElroy House-front view image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, August 20, 2014
4. McElroy House-front view
Rush Wray Museum is adjacent to the Burnsville Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, August 20, 2014
5. Rush Wray Museum is adjacent to the Burnsville Marker
Antique Car in the Museum image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, August 20, 2014
6. Antique Car in the Museum
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 25, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 332 times since then and 65 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on September 25, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
Paid Advertisement