The Transylvania Times -

Picturing The Past: Historical Perspective Of Hogback Township


June 4, 2018

Courtesy photo

Henry Scadin was an early photographer in the Hogback region. Although the family is unidentified, this Scadin photo, labeled "A Mountain Home," is representative of the settlers throughout the area.

Hogback is one of eight townships in Transylvania County. It covers approximately 60 square miles in the southwestern potion of the county. The area is bordered by Jackson County to the west and Oconee County, S.C., to the south.

According to Mrs. H.D. Lee, who compiled a brief history of Hogback for Transylvania County's Centennial in 1961, the first permanent settlers came into the area from South Carolina in the 1840s. They called the area Hogback because Mount Toxaway reminded them of Hogback Mountain in Greenville County. The 1870 federal census lists just 46 households, with 113 male and 129 female residents in the entire township.

Settlements in the rug-ged mountainous area included the Bohaney section west of the Thompson River and the Auger Hole area located between the Horsepasture and Toxaway rivers.

The people who made their homes here were hardy and self-sufficient. They hunted, fished, raised hogs and farmed. They grew squash, corn and other vegetables. Fruit trees, mainly apple and peach, were grown. In the low areas along the Toxaway River sugar cane was raised. However, hauling fresh crops to market was nearly impossible, so sugar cane became molasses, apples and peaches were turned into brandy, and corn was made into moonshine. In addition to being easier to transport, these products had a higher cash value.

Early residents gathered galax, ginseng, and mountain laurel and collected honey from bee gums to sell. There were also some small mining operations in the area, chiefly for lead, corundum, mica, clay, feldspar and lime.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Hogback Township experienced an economic boom. The rail line was extended from Rosman, making the area much more accessible, the Toxaway River was damm-ed creating Lake Toxaway and the exclusive Toxaway Inn was constructed. This brought income producing jobs to the area through construction and then the tourism industry. In addition, Joseph Silversteen, Carl Moltz and others brought lumbering jobs to the area in the early and mid-1900s.

The population of Hogback Township steadily grew, reaching 206 households, with 939 residents, by the time of the 1940 U.S. Census. Most of the growth was in the upper portion of the township along U.S. 64 and around Lake Toxaway though. Even after the dam broke and the inn closed in 1916, that portion of the township experienced growth.

The Bohaney and Auger Hole regions continued to be sparsely populated. Beginn-ing in the 1940s, Duke Power and Crescent Resou-rces acquired much of the area.

This would lead to the creation of Lake Jocassee at the junction of the Toxaway and Whitewater rivers in 1973. Today, the southern portion of Hogback Town-ship includes Gorges State Park, the federally designated Wild and Scenic Horse-pasture River, the Toxaway Game Lands and national forest lands.

(Photographs and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Lib-rary. Visit the N.C. Room during regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history and see additional photographs. For more information, comments or suggestions, contact Marcy at marcy.thomp [email protected] org or (828) 884-1820.)


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