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Some facts about Yancey County, North Carolina

Yancey County, located in the Mountain region of North Carolina and partially bordering the state of Tennessee, was formed in 1833 from Burke and Buncombe Counties and named for Bartlett Yancey, U.S. congressman from 1813 to 1817. Its county seat, Burnsville, was also established in 1833 and named for Otway Burns, a privateer in the War of 1812 and later a member of the General Assembly, who, though a native of Onslow County, supported equal political representation for the western part of the state. Other Yancey County communities include Bald Creek, Busick, Celo, Day Brook, Green Mountain, Hamrick, Micaville, Murchison, Pensacola, Ramseytown, Sioux, and Swiss.

Like other mountain counties, Yancey County was inhabited before European settlement by Cherokee Indians; in 1989 remains of a prehistoric Indian village and burial ground were uncovered in Burnsville on the campus of Cane River Middle School. English, Scotch-Irish, and Irish immigrants were the first Europeans to settle in the county’s valleys, creating small farms and agricultural communities that persisted through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Since the early twentieth century, the county’s primary crop has been burley tobacco, air-cured in barns that are one of the region’s architectural hallmarks. Development of the Black Mountain Railroad (later the Yancey Railroad) fostered the mining industry in the county after 1911; Micaville, near the county’s eastern border, was an important twentieth-century center for the mica industry. The completion of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs along the county’s southern border, and the improvement of other highways, brought increased tourism in the twentieth century as well, and today the county is a popular destination for hiking, camping, and other outdoor recreation.