A History of Robbinsville, North Carolina

Graham County Court House - Robbinsville, North Carolina

Some time between 1840-1843, Thomas Cooper and Colonel William H. Thomas established a trading post on Rhea Hill on the present Robbinsville school site. This store later remodeled and expanded by George Walker was operated by Thomas Cooper and is believed to be the first store in this section. A little later Wiley King moved to this area and replaced Thomas in the enterprise, and the store became the King-Cooper Store.

The first post office was established in 1843, and was housed in the King-Cooper Store with Wiley King as the first postmaster The post office was originally listed as Cheoah Valley, changed to Fort Montgomery in 1849, and still later in 1874 the name was changed to Robbinsville.

Robbinsville, the sleepy county seat of Graham County, had a population of 620 in 2010. There are traffic jams twice each year - for Homecoming and the Christmas parade. The biggest celebration of the year is the annual 4th of July Heritage Festival. Another big draw is the Graham County Rescue Squad's annual Ramp Fest scheduled for the last week of April.

Robbinsville is where the singer/songwriter Ronnie Milsap was born in 1943.

Robbinsville's first court house was built in 1874, but met disaster soon after. A sensational murder trial was held and attracted so many spectators that the court house floor collapsed. Court was adjourned and reconvened in the J. W. King Store. The county seat of Graham County, Robbinsville, is nearer to the capitals of six other states than it is to Raleigh. Robbinsville is at an altitude of 2,150 feet, and includes the site of one of W. H. Thomas' Indian trading posts on Rhea Hill.

Even in the 1930s, Graham County's wooden court house (last in the state) was ringed by stores with old-fashioned fronts. In its scenic setting, and with rustic environment, the town faintly resembled a movie set for a western thriller. The impression was further heightened by the occasional appearance of an ox-drawn wagon or groups of Snowbird Indians in town to shop, their papooses strapped to the backs of their mothers. Bearded and booted lumberman and farmers were Saturday visitors.

Fort Montgomery was granted a U.S. Post Office on February 28, 1849 in Cherokee County, and its first Postmaster was J.P. Colvard. In 1872, Fort Montgomery was now in Graham County. The name was changed to Robbinsville on June 9, 1874, and its first Postmaster was Perley A. Aiken. It has been in continuous operation ever since inception.

© 2007 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved