Historic Farmhouse in the Blue Ridge Mountains

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Waddell Family House | Alleghany County, N.C. | c. 1889

This land at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains was settled by the Waddell Family in the late 1700s from Virginia. Just after the American Revolution at a time when a young nation was struggling to find itself, this area had been largely isolated from Europeans before this time so their arrival made them one of the earliest families to settle in the area.

Burgess Waddell was born on his family’s land in 1802 when this was part of Ashe County, North Carolina. The area where he lived was sparsely populated in these early days of the county and a town wasn’t incorporated here until 1855.

Burgess was a farmer and hunter and according to family legend, he made quite a valuable discovery here after a hunt.

After catching a deer on this land, he was breaking the animal down when he discovered a stone in its stomach that held special powers. About the size of a biscuit and light brown in color, the stone had a small hole in it that, when applied to a bite from a poisonous snake, bee, or mad dog, the stone would draw out the poison. Known as a ‘mad stone’ it was passed down through the family for generations.

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Burgess would raise a family here with his wife Catherine and over the coming generations, the Waddell Family would prosper, becoming integral members of the community and leaving behind some colorful stories of their contributions.

One of which legend is of Burgess Cox “B.C.” Wadell (grandson of Burgess) who was born here in 1869. As a young man, B.C. decided he wanted to become a doctor and he worked to pay his way through school at Baltimore Medical College in Maryland where he graduated with honors. After his study, he returned to this small community in North Carolina, where he doctored the community on horseback in the days before cars and reliable roads.

There were countless stories of his dedication to doctoring his community and would make house calls for $3.00, although he was never known to turn someone down for lack of money. In his days of doctoring on horseback, he would ride to households in rain, sleet, or snow, even walking in conditions that his horse couldn’t go.

Dr. Burgess Cox Waddell & Mrs. Malissa Waddell on their wedding day
Dr. Burgess Cox Waddell & Mrs. Malissa Waddell

Around 1889, he built a home here on his family’s original acreage and eventually built a small doctor’s office next to the home as well. He and his wife Malissa would make their lives here until they moved to a nearby community where B.C. would doctor a growing population at a mill town. selling this land and home to his brother.

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His younger brother Jones Waddell was born here in 1879 and after B.C. moved, Jones and his wife Ida moved into the old homeplace, adding additional bedrooms and upgrades.

Jones and Ida would live out their lives here as cattle farmers here who were remembered for their hard work on this land and their simple, Christian life.

Jones Waddell & his wife Ida Cox Waddell
Martha Jones Waddell at her home posing in front of her loom

They had one daughter, Ruth, who remembered her time in this house:

“On my first Christmas, I woke up and found a Christmas tree in my room, candy and other goodies, and a beautiful red coat and a green sweater. I also had a little pet horse I would ride into town occasionally for a music lesson. The horse was very gentle but once she didn’t want to cross a creek and made me get off. My parents would visit friends who live near the river and I always enjoyed the boat ride. My grandmother, Martha Jones Waddell, made the bedspreads and other materials on the handloom.”

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    1. I’m not sure what the asking price is. I have updated the post to include the realtors contact information so I would recommend you reach out directly to them.

  1. I knew Ida and Jones Waddell. We were neighbors and are cousins. I lived in the old B.C. Waddell homeplace when I was growing up. I remember the rhubarb pie Ida made once. I got her autograph when I was little.

      1. Hi Kelly, I’m sure this property is off of the market! However wish make an inquiry! My name is Adrian Sanders, from Lexington, NC. My email is sandersadrian43@gmail.com! Thank you for your attention! Looks as though a very interesting property!

          1. I love this stories. Especially this one I am a deceentant of the Waddell family and the Cox family.

    1. Hi Sandra! What nice memories. I am a Waddell. My family farmed in/around Sanford, NC. My father (Jerry Smith Waddell) thinks that we are related to the same Waddells that owned this house. I enjoyed reading about it. Very interesting.

      I have my grandmother’s family history scrapbook somewhere. We have moved and I can’t place my finger on it currently but will save this article so I can compare notes at a later date.

      Thank you!
      Susan Waddell Sikes

  2. Love the history, but will take exception to the statement that they were the first family in the area. Native Americans had lived there for a very long time. They may well have been the first European family to move in.

    1. Yes, you’re correct about that. It is very important to me to include the history of all the people who lived here, which you will notice because I mentioned in the previous sentence that European settlers were new to the area.

      I need to dig further to learn more about the natives who lived here before, but according to one piece I just found, the name for the county, the word “Alleghany” is said to be derived from the Indian name meaning “fine stream,” a suitable name for these scenic hills drained by the New River, the second oldest river in the world.

      Tools and artifacts have been found in the New River Valley dating back to the Paleo-Indian culture. Native American tribes that have occupied the area include the Cherokee and Shawnee.

      Thanks for pointing this out so that I can add more context to the story once I learn more!

      1. Congratulations of your information adventure. Well done. (The New River, which travels through Virginia and West Virginia to the town of Gauley Bridge, WV, where it joins with the Gauley River to form the Kanawha River. In 2020, the New River Gorge became the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, headquartered in Lansing, WV.)

  3. I really enjoyed reading all about the old home places. I love looking for old homes and i think about those who lived there. I know of so old home places. And I’ve have even climbed up inside and looked around. It made me think of all the ones who lived. I found a old marble once, it was a yellow jacket. I have even found old glass buttons. Thank you for the lovely storeys, i really enjoy reading them. It brought back the good old day.

  4. The history of these buildings and homes is just wonderful. Such a great way to not get lost by time. Thank you for the work you do.

  5. Thank you for your dedication to finding the history to these forgotten homes. Your information and beautiful photos give me a much needed break from today’s life.
    Safe travels!

    1. I don’t have access to the listing so I have updated the post to include the realtors contact info.

  6. Would like to know more. My family is Waddell’s from Virginia. This is quite interesting. Can you reference the actual listing for the home? Thanks

    1. I don’t have the listing so I included a picture of the sign for the realtor so you can contact them directly.

  7. Thanks for sharing peices of history, I would love to see pictures from my family county, Lincolnton Ga

  8. Love this house and the history behind it!
    It would be awesome just to walk the property and tour the house!

  9. What happened to the family and who owns in now? Just wondering how it became abandoned. Love your page. thank you

    1. Really? Someone else emailed me last month to say that they house had been taken off the market because the owner decided it couldn’t be fixed up. Thanks for your comment.

  10. What about the enslaved African Americans that probably lived on the property? Why no mention of them, if the Waddells were slave-owners? And why no mention if they weren’t?

    1. The house was built in the 1890s and the people covered in this article were born after the end of slavery, so I don’t know how I might’ve incorporated that into this particular story?

  11. I have been in that house and have lots of pictures of it! It was definitely not a house that could be fixed. A fire had taken half the house. Beautiful property and could feel the love that someone had once put into it.

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  13. I would change “catching a deer” to “harvested a deer” when hunting you don’t catch you kill/harvest.

    1. According to the family story, he set up spikes in a trap that the deer would impale themselves on, hence why I said he ‘caught’ them.

  14. My mom is a waddell And her dad wad from up tht way. Would love to see if this part of his family. My grandpas name was harley rex waddell

  15. My grandmother had neighbors who were Waddells. I remember a Hugh Waddell. There were also Spencers and Russells. I believe the Waddells came from NC but not sure.
    Jan Brown

    1. Hugh Waddell is in my family. My Dad was Royce Waddell, his father was Frank Waddell. I am Janie Waddell. Love the history. Hugh Waddell may have been in Wilmington nc a fort is still there. Open to tourist maybe Fort Dobbs.

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