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.
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.
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.
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.
They had one daughter, Ruth, who remembered of 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 bed spreads and other materials on the handloom.”