Smith-McDowell House

Smith-McDowell House (HM1FGG)

Location: Asheville, NC 28801 Buncombe County
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Country: United States of America
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N 35° 34.327', W 82° 33.302'

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Our Businessman-Soldier

After John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia, in 1859, new militia companies were formed in the South. Businessman William W. McDowell, whose wife acquired this house from her father's and brother's estates, raised a company called the Buncombe Riflemen. After the war began in 1861, the unit entered Confederate service as Co. E, 1st North Carolina Infantry, under Col. Daniel H. Hill. McDowell led his company during the first land engagement of the conflict in present-day Virginia, the Battle of Big Bethel, on June 10, 1861. The 1st North Carolina played a key role in repulsing the 5th New York Infantry's attack on the Confederate left flank and was largely credited with the victory.

Soon afterward, McDowell fell ill and on July 2 was furloughed home. In the summer 1862, he raised a company (the Buncombe Farmers) that was incorporated into the 60th North Carolina Infantry under McDowell's brother, Col. Joseph A. McDowell. William McDowell served in the regiment first as a captain and then as major until after the Battle of Stone's River in January 1863. Back home by 1864, McDowell became a Confederate treasury officer for the sale of government bonds. After the war, he continued in business until ill health forced his retirement in 1870.

One of McDowell's slaves, George Avery, a 19-year-old blacksmith, enlisted with McDowell's encouragement in the 40th United States Colored Troops in April 1865. The unit guarded railroads in East Tennessee and mustered out in February 1866. Avery returned to Buncombe County and became superintendent of the South Asheville Colored Cemetery, which was first used as McDowell slave cemetery.


James McConnell Smith, an early entrepreneur and one of the wealthiest and most influential men in antebellum Asheville, constructed this Federal and Greek Revival-style dwelling about 1840. His daughter, Sarah Lucinda Smith, married William Wallace McDowell and acquired the house. It remained in the McDowell family until 1883.


(lower left) Receipt bearing McDowell' signature, June 23, 1864

(upper center) Capt. Wm. W. McDowell, Buncombe Riflemen, ca. 1859

(lower center) George Avery, Feb. 18, 1917, age 71

(upper right) 1st North Carolina Infantry battle flag
Series This marker is part of the North Carolina Civil War Trails series
Placed ByNorth Carolina Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 at 8:40pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 359089 N 3937604
Decimal Degrees35.57211667, -82.55503333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 35° 34.327', W 82° 33.302'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds35° 34' 19.62" N, 82° 33' 18.12" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)704, 828
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 283 Victoria Rd, Asheville NC 28801, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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