Drovers Road Preserve Community

Traveling through history along Nancy Ashworth Lane

The first settlers to the area, Nancy and John Ashworth, bought their land from the state for a shilling an acre, in “the XXI [21st] year of independence” (1797). The log smokehouse stockade that they built, still standing on nearby Hickory Nut Gap Farm, is believed to be the oldest building in Buncombe County. Spirited and capable, Nancy was renowned as a healer. The abundant natural apothecary found throughout the mountains provided the herbal remedies she prepared for her neighbors.

Nancy’s success at curing a variety of ills raised the suspicions of local church leaders, skeptical of anything they could not understand. The deacons of Cane Creek Baptist Church saw in her healing powers the hand of Satan rather than the wisdom of a farm woman and threatened her with charges that would bring her before a church court. Nancy responded by letting it be known that her “powers” could be used to curse instead of heal, and there was no doubt about where she would aim them. Reconsidering their situation, the deacons reduced the charge against her to the lesser crime of wearing “ruffled petticoats.” There is no record of her being convicted.


In addition to maintaining the natural beauty of the surrounding land, Drovers Road Preserve incorporates the history and echoes the cultural heritage of the region in its preservation and development plans. Its name and character reflect the past as they connect it to the present.

Nancy Ashworth
Nancy Ashworth - Fairview's First Doctor

Sherrills Inn
Sherrill's Inn - Host to Many Famous People

Fairview, NC
Fairview, North Carolina

Early History of Hwy 74A
Early History of Highway 74A, Scenic Byway

Fairview, NC Settlement and War
Part 1 |  Part 2 |  Part 3 |  Part 4 |  Part 5 |  Part 6