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Swain County History

Swain County Museum - Swain County NC

Curious about the history of Swain County, NC? Visit The Swain County Heritage Museum. Located in the 1908 historic courthouse in downtown Bryson City, North Carolina, the Swain County Heritage Museum tells the story of Swain County and its people.

Swain County has a rich heritage. Below are links to the past and present.

North Shore Heritage Memories

Swain County Heritage Museum

Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Tennessee Valley Authority

North Carolina National Forests

Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians

North Shore Cemetery Association

Swain County Genealogy Society Facebook

Swain County Genealogical and Historical Society

The purpose of the Swain County Genealogy Society is to aid in the preservation of Family Bible Records, Military Records, Cemetery Records, and other genealogical and historical records. We want to promote interest and research in the study of History and Genealogy. To cooperate with other Societies as much as is practical and to collect and preserve data relating to North Carolina and North Carolina families, particularly, but not limited to Swain, Macon, and Jackson Counties.

Swain County was formed in 1871 from Jackson (formed in 1851 from Haywood and Macon) and Macon Counties.  The area covered by Swain County was once Macon County, formed in 1828 from Indian Lands.  The county was named in honor of former governor and University of NC president David Lowry Swain.  The first court was held at Cold Spring Meeting House, and commissioners were assigned to lay out a town to be called Charleston and to select a site for the courthouse.  In 1889 this town was renamed Bryson City (the present-day county seat) in honor of Colonel Thad Dillard Bryson. In 1876, the Qualla Boundary Reservation of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee was established, part of it being in Swain County.  In 1934, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established, with part of it also in Swain County.  Then in 1941 construction of Fontana Dam was authorized by the Tennessee Valley Authority.  Today the national park, the reservation, and the TVA occupy about 280,000 acres of present-day Swain County.

Library/Office Hours:
Monday – Friday 8 AM – 12 PM
Telephone: (828) 488-2932
Mailing Address:
PO Box 267
Bryson City, NC 28713

The Swain County Genealogical Society meets on the first Thursday of each month.

Meeting Place:
Swain County Business Education Center
91 Brendle Street
Bryson City, NC 28713

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