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Morristown

MORRISTOWN
“Asheville and Buncombe County” by F. A. Sondley, LL.D and “Genesis of Buncombe County” by Hon. Theodore F. Davidson were printed in one volume in 1922 by The Citizen Company in Asheville and is now out of print.
“…Immediately upon obtaining his grant John Burton began to sell off his town lots as they had been laid out. His first sale was of Lot No. 4 to Thomas Burton for “twenty shillings” on July 28, 1794. This sale was made in the same month in which the grant was issued, and was for the land now occupied [1922] by the southern portion of the Swannanoa-Berkley hotel building. Town lots do not appear to have been in much demand at this time, for it was not until the 15th day of October following than another sale was made. Then John Burton sold to Ann Gash for five pounds lot No. 2, describing it as the lot the “Joins John Patons, Nomber First on the west side of the street” and the “lot whereon Ann Gash’s house now stands.” This lot was very near what was then the most improved part of the town. The first court house, if we may credit tradition, was a log structure one story high and containing a single room, and was covered with boards held to their places by the weight of large pieces of timber laid horizontally across them. It is said to have stood one hundred feet south of Sycamore Street and on the eastern side of South Main Street, as this lot seems to have been left vacant for the purpose; but more probably it stood on the Public Square in the centre of Main Street. Apparently the lot opposite the vacant lot just mentioned was intended for “the Stocks and prison to be convenient to the court house.” This court house appears to have been used as such for many years.The next lot sold was No. 7. This was bought on October 21, 1794, by Thomas Foster for “twenty shillings” and is the land on which stands [1922] the old brick building on the western side of South Main Street long known as the old Rankin & Pulliam store. Five dollars was not a high price for a half-acre lot near the centre of the town and fronting 82 ½ feet on the main street, although we are so often assured that real estate has always been ridiculously high in Asheville.

John Burton continued to sell town lots until he had disposed of or contracted to dispose of thirty-one or thirty-two of them. Then, seemingly, he grew tired of the business of building a town, and on April 20, 1795, sold to Zebulon and BedentBaird for two hundred pounds all his tracts of land “including the Town all except what lots is sold and maid over.” Many of the deeds were made by him for lots which he had theretofore contracted to sell were not, however, executed until after this conveyance to the Bairds.

A list of those sales made by John Burton, interesting as showing the order in which the town grew and who were its first inhabitants, is here given:

Thomas Burton, lot 4, for 20 shillings, July 28, 1794, record book 2, page 53.
Ann Gash, half of lot 2, for 5 pounds, October 15, 1794, record book 2, page 82.
Thomas Foster, lot 7, for 20 shillings, October 21, 1794, record book 2, page 56.
Thomas Forster, lot 11, for 4 pounds, October 21, 1794, record book 2, page 107.
Sarah Hamilton, lot 5, for “10 silver dollars,” October 22, 1794, record book 2, page 59.
William Wilson, lots 34 and 35 for 10 pounds, October 23, 1794, record book 2, page 58.
Thomas Forster, lot 3, for 25 pounds, October 24, 1794, record book, 2 page 56.
Zebulon & Bedent Baird, lot –, for 4 pounds, October 24, 1794, record book 2, page 56.
John Hawkins, lot 20, for 4 pounds, January 19, 1795, record book 2, page 55.
Harris Hutchison, lot 9, for 4 pounds, January 22, 1795, record book 2, page 51.
John Street, lot 6, for 5 pounds, January 22, 1795, record book 2, page 230.
James Hughey, lot 18, for 4 pounds, April 22, 1795, record book 2, page 236.
John Craig, lot 20, for 4 pounds, April 22, 1795, record book 3, page 11.
Joseph Hughey, lot 5, two for 4 pounds, April 22, 1795, record book 4, page 176.
Joseph Hughey, lots 29 and 30, for 4 pounds, April 22, 1795, record book 3, page 17.
William Forster, lot 12, for 4 pounds, April 23, 1795, record book 3, page 45.
Ephraim D. Harris, lot 17, for 4 pounds, April 23, 1795, record book 2, page 174.
Samuel Lusk, lot 13, for 2 pounds, April 23, 1795, record book 2, page 231.
Edward McFarling, half of lot 27, for 2 pounds, April 23, 1795, record book 2, page 237.
William Wilson, lot south of town for 10 pounds, April 23, 1795, record book 3, page 27.
Robert Branks, lot 39, for 4 pounds, April 23, 1795, record book 3, page 67.
William Lax, 8 ½ acres, for 40 pounds, April 23, 1795, record book 3, page 92.
James Brittain, lot 14, for 100 pounds, April 23, 1795, record book 3, page 144.
Col. William Davidson, lot 21, for — pounds, April 24, 1795, record book 2, page 69.
Johhn [sic] Patton, lots 16, 2, and 10, for 20 pounds, October 15, 1795, record book 2, page 84.
James Davidson, lot 26, for 6 pounds, April 21, 1796, record book 2, page 381.
Benjamin Hall, lot 23, for 4 pounds, April 24, 1796, record book 3, page 142.
James Chambers, lot 19, for $100, July 20, 1797, record book 2, page 480.
Hugh Tate, half lote 13, for $50, July 18, 1798, record book 4, page 160.
Patton & Erwin, lot 4, for $40, March 15, 1805, record book 10, page 239.
The lots are described as being, sometimes in Morriston, sometimes in Morristown, sometimes in Morris Town and once in the Town of Morris, except the last two, which were stated to be in the town of Asheville.

lots

Each lot contains one-half acre of ground except the two lots not numbered and Nos. 27 and 28. The half acre lots are five poles in front and sixteen poles back. The streets are thirty-three feet wide; the alley is sixteen and one-half feet wide. The street leading from the Court House southwardly is south twenty degrees east and that from the Court House westwardly is south seventy.

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