Big Tom Wilson Personified the nineteenth image of the Appalachian Mountain Man. A hunter, a tracker, and guide who roamed the Black Mountains in Yancey County, he become legendary for his bear hunting skills. As more tourists discovered the region, he supplemented his income by leading them up the horse trail to the summit of Mount Mitchell. Two events in 1887 spread his fame far and wide. First, he found the body of Elisha Mitchell whose furious controversy with Thomas Clingman as to which peak was the true summit of Mount Mitchell, had drawn nation attention and who fell to his death from a forty foot waterfall on the mountain’s side. And second, Harper’s Magazine published praising Wilson’s woodcraft skills.


Below is the Digital Heritage Moment as broadcast on the radio:


Related Posts

  • Elisha MitchellElisha Mitchell Yale educated Elisha Mitchell moved from Connecticut to Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 1818 to become Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy. . .
  • Mount MitchellMount Mitchell Of the ten highest mountains in the eastern United States, six are in the Black Mountain Range of western North Carolina. The most famous of these is Mount Mitchell, which at 6684 feet is […]
  • Plott HoundsPlott Hounds
  • Pisgah National ForestPisgah National Forest Pisgah National Forest, founded in 1916, covers much of North Carolina’s northwestern mountains. Pisgah was the first national forest created from purchased land rather than from the […]
  • Long HuntersLong Hunters The long hunters were the legendary woodsmen of the 17th and 18th century who were among the first white people to see the vast American wilderness. The term refers to the men who […]