Jerry Turbyfill (center) and Avery Museum board members view a chest created by Turbyfill which is on display at the Burke County History Museum during their recent visit.

Members of the Avery County Historical Society and Museum took a trip to Morganton last month as part of a program to learn more of Avery County history as it relates to the history of neighboring counties.

The first stop was a visit to the Burke County History Museum. Although normally closed on Monday, the group was treated to a private tour of the Museum by former Avery resident and current Burke Museum board member, Sandra West. The 18,000-square-foot facility is packed with artifacts and displays on subjects from Joara and Fort San Juan to the Civil War to the story of Frankie Silvers. A large exhibit on the history of the furniture industry in North Carolina spotlighted a special piece which, as it happened, had been made by Avery Museum board member Jerry Turbyfill.

The next stop for the group was Swan Ponds, the ancestral home of the Avery family, descendants of Col. Waightstill Avery. The colonel was an important figure in Revolutionary America and was the person for whom Avery County was named.

After a tour of their home, Jim and Mary Lou Avery Furr guided the visitors to the cemetery where Col. Avery, his wife and other family were buried in the early 1800s.

The last stop on the trip was Quaker Meadows and the Col. Joseph McDowell House, where parties heading to Kings Mountain to take on the British met under the “Council Oak” to lay plans for the coming battle. The decisive victory set the stage for the oncoming American victory.

The Avery County Historical Society wishes to thank our Burke County neighbors for not only their interesting and informative presentations, but also for their hospitality. Several more trips to neighboring areas are being planned. Watch for details.

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