Who Knew Brasstown Had It’s Own Time Zone?


Friday, September 27, 1934 -The Cherokee Scout, Murphy, North Carolina

(Mr. Robertson was in Murphy some time ago gathering material for the following article that appeared in Sunday’s Asheville Citizen-Time He made the acquaintance of a number of people in this section while, gathering the data for the story-The Editor).


Murphy, Sept. 22.-North Carolina tapers off for 150 miles west of Asheville. Murphy, seat of the western most county of Cherokee, is on central time. Nine miles from Murphy is the small community of Brasstown, which is on a time all its own perhaps unique in the civilized world.

Brasstown is the site of the John C. Campbell Folk school and its associated farm co-operatives. They have frequent meetings, members coming from Murphy on central time, and from adjoining Clay County on eastern time. To avoid confusion, Brasstown set its clocks permanently half way between. When its 3 o’clock at Murphy and 4 o’clock to the east, in Brasstown it’s half-past three.

The pleasant Brasstown valley is rich in soil and in pioneer ways and speech. DeSoto is said to have, visited in 1510 an Indian village there, dug up last winter by the CWA and the relics sent to Washington. In the last century the L. and N. and Southern railways pushed in from the South and East, tapping veins of talc and marble, bringing drummers to enjoy the lavish tables of Murphy’s small hotels. Among traveling men Murphy famous is famous for its good food. Today the highways are good, but the distance from large cities are till great.

Here the Tennessee Valley Authority hopes to lay the foundation of a rural civilization to inspire the rest of the world.


Thoughts about the article:

  • Just yesterday I had a conversation with a friend about how a lot of folks who live in the eastern part of NC don’t realize the state continues for two-hours travel time beyond Asheville. The conversation wasn’t unique. All my life I’ve heard folks say Raleigh (the state capital) thinks the state ends at Asheville or that folks visiting the area for the first time coming from that direction didn’t think they’d ever get here after leaving Asheville.
  • I have never heard nor read any reference to Clay and Cherokee counties having different time zones. Boy that would get confusing in today’s world especially since Brasstown is split between the two counties. If it were still true maybe everyone in Brasstown could do like the folk school did and say they were half way between the two 🙂
  • I’d say the foundation the TVA was anxious to lay were the dams and man-made lakes that would change the area forever in both a positive way for those who needed electricity and in a negative way for those who gave up their very own homeplace for the good of the others.


p.s. Go here to read the rest of the article.

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  • Reply
    April 28, 2018 at 8:55 pm

    Wow! I had no idea that Murphy used to be in the central time zone! This is a really cool article and post. Thanks for sharing! I’ll be dropping this bit of information/history knowingly on some folks. 🙂

  • Reply
    April 25, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    There were two families on Little East Fork that came there as displaced farmers b/c TVA. The older ones grieved about it forever. Now their children are even gone and next two/three generations are still living and farming there. We all use and depend on electricity so I don’t know where else it could be generated??
    I’m on Appalachian Power in KP, TN and my bill averages $60.00 to $65. mo. and I live alone.
    In FL in 2011 my last elec bill for Aug was $1480.
    I inherited a pearl ring that came out of a ‘TN River fresh clam’ and neither the river nor clams are there any longer.

  • Reply
    April 25, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    My daddy said “it’s all about money” and he worked for the TVA, long before I was even thought about. Both mom and dad use to live at Bushnell, and it’s under water, due to the folks at Fontana. I believe it’s in the Bible, where it says “the Love for Money is the Root of All Evil.”

    One time I was talking to Don Casada, and somehow we got to talking about the Fontana Lake. I said something about daddy and mama use to live at Bushnell, and he said “I could show you approximately, but you’d have to be in a boat on the Fontana, cause it’s 300 feet under water.” …Ken

  • Reply
    April 25, 2018 at 11:25 am

    So neat to read about,,, we live in Western Kentucky, and in our visiting the mountains, have visited various places at times, Including Asheville, and Fontana Dam, etc. looking forward to seeing more,…here in Kentucky , we know TVA too, and how difficult it was for families to give up their lands for the formation of the Land Between The Lakes area.

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    April 25, 2018 at 11:25 am

    Tha Hawaiian Islands are intersected by two time zones, Until the beginning of WWII, the Territory of Hawaii time was offset by thirty minutes. At the beginning of the war, the military changed the practice to prevent confusion in message traffic and planning. The nation of Singapore similarly located. I remember changing the by thirty minutes when the ships called there.

  • Reply
    Papaw Ammons
    April 25, 2018 at 10:11 am

    I seem to remember when Cherokee County was in the Central Time Zone. Now you’ve got me wondering if I’m delusional or it could have been in my lifetime that it changed.
    I’ve always said that all of North Carolina west of the Continental Divide should be in Tennessee anyway. Almost all the rivers and streams there run North or West into Tennessee and make their way eventually to the Gulf of Mexico while those to the east flow into the Atlantic Ocean.

  • Reply
    April 25, 2018 at 9:48 am

    Think that “half time” concept was practical at the time. Now we just say “Ill see you at 7 -ish” and leave everyone to wonder when and if we’ll show up.
    Texas has River Authorities and the Conservation Corps to make and maintain dams – some for electric production,, some for flood control. and some for water conservation – originally to insure that farmers downstream had water for their crops (canal irrigation). Small towns, villages, and communities taken over by the waters behind those dams are appealing to scuba divers until they discover how murky those waters are. – – can’t really see much down there – –

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    April 25, 2018 at 9:04 am

    Kinda know how that is. Grew up in ETC but next county west as CTZ. If one had reason to move back and forth, had to have both times in ones’ head. And of course that made the whole thing seem so artificial.

    Just this past week, for the first time ever, we traveled from Asheville to Johnson City,TN and I was very surprised to realize it is about 56 miles on I-26. I was expecting 100+. But I know what you mean. Many people equate Georgia with either Atlanta or Fort Benning. I guess that is common in every state.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 25, 2018 at 8:19 am

    Tip, I sure am glad the TVA did not get this little corner, they would have turned it into a great big power producing lake! I don’t remember if you’ve ever done a post on the Deer Hunter’s grandmother on his father’s side, she lived where Fontana Lake is now, till they were displaced by the TVA to make that lake. You know they call it progress, but sometimes I wonder!

    • Reply
      Papaw Ammons
      April 25, 2018 at 9:46 am

      It is called progress but it is spelled m-o-n-e-y. Mostly the “progress” doesn’t trickle down the the common folks.

  • Reply
    April 25, 2018 at 5:53 am

    Interesting article, the TVA not only brought electricity to the area but jobs, at one time especially in the Shoals area the TVA was huge and it still is but not as many folks work their anymore, they scaled back in different areas and moved most of it’s main operation to Chattanooga Tennessee. I agree there are pros and cons to having Dams and Nuclear plants along it’s water ways, and they have over the years bought up a mass amount of land all the way up the feeders creeks and certain distances along the banks of the Tennessee.

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