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Home North Carolina Henderson County City of Mills River Historical Markers Gun Shop And Forge

Gun Shop And Forge

NC-191 and South Mills River Road, Mills River, NC, USA

Latitude & Longitude: 35° 23' 28.014", -82° 34' 5.0448"
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"Iron works set up four mi. W. by Philip Sitton after 1804. Source for manufacture of rifles by Philip Gillespie. Both operated to 1860s."
     In 1788, the General Assembly of North Carolina passed an act granting 3,000 acres, vacant and not “fit for cultivation,” for “every set of iron works, as a bounty from this state, to any person or persons who will build and carry on the same.” Sixteen years later, the Buncombe County Court gave 3,000 acres to Phillip Sitton for establishing an ironworks on what became Forge Mountain in present-day Henderson County.

     Sitton’s works provided the iron for the variety of tools and implements that the local settlers needed. Across the road from the ironworks, Matthew Gillespie, originally from Pennsylvania, opened a gun shop making long rifles. Gillespie built his weapons with iron from Sitton’s works, and married Sitton’s daughter Elizabeth.

     Both the ironworks and gun shop remained in operation until the 1860s under the supervision of both Sitton and Gillespie’s sons. In 1865, a party of Confederate deserters burned the ironworks after shooting and wounding Phillip Sitton, Jr. Forge Mountain took its name from the Sitton works.

Sadie Smathers Patton, The Story of Henderson County (1947)
John Preston Arthur, Western North Carolina: A History (1914)
Forster A. Sondley, History of Buncombe County, North Carolina (1930)
Related Themes: C.S.A., Confederate States of America, Confederacy
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North Carolina Civil War Historical Markers.

Gun Shop And Forge Historical Marker Location Map, Mills River, North Carolina