Colonel John’s Cabin
An old frame farmhouse stood hidden behind a row of trees and along an abandoned stretch of the old 1848 Turnpike Road to South Carolina, paralleled by the modern day NC Highway 107 through Cashiers. The house stems its foundation roots back to the ownership by the original Zachary family, the founders of Cashiers Valley, Colonel John Alexander Zachary (1779 – 1872) who arrived in 1833. With the help his older sons, they built their first home, a log cabin on his 640 acre Grant on the west side of Chimneytop and Rocky Mountains. The log cabin house, their first house, has since been lost to the ages and is long gone.
This second house built by the Zachary family was built in 1844 just across from the mill house and the creek and was made from lumber boards made at the Zachary saw mill. The two-story section in the rear was built first.
The house was quickly remodeled by this son, Mordecai Zachary (1822-1896), who in 1845, a year later, wanted to experiment with his soaring ambitions to become a carpenter. This addition has a front and back covered porch and was encompassed under a connecting roof, creating an L-shaped house. Years later, in 1850, this house was still occupied by Colonel John Zachary and his wife, Sarah Roberts Zachary (1785-1868), and their young adult family members, Anna, Jonathan, Mordecai, Woodford and Matilda, and a grandson named Robert Yancey Zachary. In later years, Mordecai married Elvira Evelina Keener (1832-1913) from Qualla Town. They raised their young family of twelve children in the house before moving to Qualla Town in 1873.
After several transfers, the farmhouse had been used by the Waddell family for three generations as a summer residence for a period of 85 years, from 1925 to 2010. Then the house was in danger of being torn down. The new owners of the house gave the house to the Cashiers Historical Society, if the Society agreed to have it moved across the road to their lands where the two-story Zachary – Tolbert boarding house, built by Mordecai Zachary in 1848, had already been preserved by the Cashiers Historical Society and opened for tours. The Cashiers Historical Society arranged to have the Colonel John Zachary frame house carefully moved in 2012, and placed near the site of the boarding house. This second Zachary family home is still standing today, making it the oldest house in Jackson County.
Now both Zachary houses are open to the public and can be viewed and trued during the summer months from May to October during 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Fridays and Saturdays.
For more information about Colonel John’s Cabin or other Historical Sites in the area, please pick up a copy of our Historical Sites Survey Phases 1-3.