The campground in which we are staying (Fort Tatham RV Park) has a zip code of Sylva, North Carolina. The city of Sylva, and now the County Seat of Jackson County, NC, is about 5 miles from our campground (see Day 1348). The closest Town to us, about 4 miles, is Webster. In April 1853 for one hundred dollars an eighteen acre tract of land bought from Nathan Allen became the site of Webster, Jackson’s county seat. Five years later an act to incorporate the town of Webster was passed by North Carolina’s General Assembly. Webster was for sixty years the county seat.
Jackson County was named for the Democratic president and North Carolinian, Andrew Jackson, while the County’s government center of Webster was named for the New England Whig, Daniel Webster. Prosperity came to the region. Webster, with its agriculture, mining and small businesses, became an active little town – the nucleus of Jackson County.
During the construction of the Western North Carolina Railroad, county residents fully expected the railroad to run through Webster. However, the county’s state government representative — said to be fond of his drink — was taken aside at a crucial moment in the voting process and plied with liquor by an individual desiring a route through Sylva, 1 mile away.
Change came in 1913, when most of the businesses in the Town of Webster were destroyed by fire. That and the fact that the railroad went through Sylva, resulted in the County Seat of Jackson County being moved to Sylva, where the Court House was built.
Today, in Webster, there is no downtown area. Individual buildings do remain, such as the Webster Methodist Church built in 1887.
And Walter E. Moore’s house built in 1886, one of the oldest homes in Webster that escaped the destruction of the 1913 fire.
The Webster Rock School was constructed in 1937 from local river rock by the Works Progress Administration in colors of tan and brown. The WPA was a New Deal agency, employing millions of job-seekers (mostly unskilled men) to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads. Do you think we need that today?