Truss Bridge #79
The bridge is North Carolina’s oldest metal truss bridge and the state’s only decorative truss bridge. This 1891 structure was moved to its present site in 1925 by members of Bethel Community. BRCO has been an important instrument in saving this bridge from destruction and in documenting its history. The bridge’s singular design and construction make it a significant structure locally, statewide, and nationally. To learn about the bridge, consult Books 1 and 6 of Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain. See also Walking in the Footsteps of Those Who Came Before Us DVD and Cold Mountain Heritage Driving Tour CD.
Julius Marion Welch was descended from the founder of Waynesville, Colonel Robert Love and his wife Mary Dillard Love. Welch was also a direct descendant of another founding family of Haywood County and Bethel, the Plott family. As a granddaughter of Colonel Joseph and Nancy Hyatt Cathey, his wife, Leila had an equally impressive lineage. Her grandfather Cathey was a state legislator, and her grandfather on the Vance side was North Carolina’s Civil War governor. The couple reared six boys and two girls in the cruciform (cross-shaped) house, built in 1908 by the Reverend Jesse Stalcup, though only five reached adulthood. Welch was a miller, farmer, logger, and Justice of the Peace. The house was a welcoming social hub in turn-of-the-century Bethel Community. For more information about The Welch House and family see Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, Book 2.
The Rutherford Trace march proceeded through Bethel and beyond in 1776. General Griffith Rutherford and his more than two thousand troops conducted a scorched earth progression against thirty-six Cherokee villages in order to eradicate Cherokee resistance to white settlement in the area. A state historic marker commemorates the historic trek on Highway #276 across Waynesville Mountain. See also Walking in the Footsteps of Those Who Came Before Us DVD.