In 1882, William Albert (called W.A. or “Shug”) Ramsey married Rebecca West, who was raised in West’s Mill community on Cowee Creek in Macon County, North Carolina. The couple first lived in a log cabin that burned around Christmas time, then they built a wood home in Iotla Valley sometime in the 1880s. This homeplace has always been used for agricultural farming.
Shug and Rebecca had three children:
1887 Ollie (Olive)
1889 William Lawrence
1894 Albert Lyle Ramsey, Sr.
Lawrence lived in the family homeplace with his wife, Clara Hyatt.
In the late 1920s, Albert Sr. and his wife, Margaret Higdon, (married on May 12, 1918) traded houses with his brother Lawrence, who was living in the family homestead with his wife, Clara Hyatt.
Albert and Margaret’s first son, William Albert II died at birth, and the couple had two more sons: Albert Lyle Ramsey, Jr. and Clayton Higdon Ramsey.
Albert Sr. died in 1949 but Margaret (Margie) continued to live at the house and kept the farm going.
Albert Jr. returned to his hometown in 1951, after graduating from West Point. He married Margaret Nancy Setser on August 30, 1952.
For a while after they were married, Albert Jr. and Margaret lived in Graham County, North Carolina, about 50 miles from the farmhouse. In 1957, the elder Margaret moved closer to town, so Albert Jr. and his Margaret moved into the Ramsey homeplace. In that same year, Albert established the dairy farm, and grew burley tobacco and corn. Their kids were the 4th generation to live there: Becky, Diane, Joe and Ralph.
Albert Jr. worked for Lee’s Carpets, so all the floors were covered in quality carpets until we uncovered them.
In addition to Al’s full-time job, he continued farming, running a dairy (sold milk to Biltmore Dairy and Pet Dairy) and growing tobacco and commercial tomatoes. He co-founded the first Macon County Fruit and Vegetable Co-op. When he sold the dairy around 1975, he changed his livestock herd to beef cattle. He loved Belgium horses and kept them for a while in the mid-80s. Also, at one time, he had a sheep herd. Besides growing hay crops, the family had a big garden and grew corn and beans (1/2 runner that would run up the corn-silver queen). They grew other vegetables as well.
If you are one of the many who have worked at the farm, or have memories of the house in general, please comment! History only stays alive through stories and tales. Many thanks to Theresa and Joe Ramsey for contributing to this page.