The History of Golden Valley
Before the words “First Broad” were heard, Native Americans hunted the First Broad River basin. Their passing left evidence, shards of pottery, arrowheads, and spear points, turned up on the plow end of a horse. Footprints in the sands of time, artifacts that tell a story of life before brass-buttoned, white-wigged gentlemen with quill pens and paper arrived to document their heritage, and title the land.
In colonial times land was divided and sectioned into districts. Morgan District, where Golden Valley would later be located, was made up of fourteen companies. Each company had a “captain” – a mayor of sorts, who was in charge of taxes, acted as a peace officer, justice of the peace, and headed up the local militia.
William Whitesides was in charge of Whiteside’s Company. His village in Rutherford County was, for the most part, peopled with Scotch-Irish and English settlers who came in wagons and on foot from Pennsylvania and Virginia. When the settlers resolved to rebel against their government, Whitesides signed the “Association” agreement. His company would stand with the Continental Congress. William’s son James and their neighbor Richard Singleton fought at the Battle of Kings Mountain and surely there were others.
Eight days after the Battle of Kings Mountain, Sunday, October 15, 1780, victorious soldiers encamped near the foot of Cherry Mountain court-martialed and hung nine of thirty-six condemned Tory prisoners. A State Historical Marker on Whitesides Road, now in Whitesides Community, marks the location of the “Biggerstaff Hanging Tree” where the first court martial in Rutherford county if not the first court martial in the United States was held. At the end of the war the Tories were pardoned and rejoined their families.
In the early years of North Carolina’s statehood many British land grants signed by King Charles were not honored, but most families kept their property. The Fortune – Melton Farm, listed on the National Registry of Historic Sites, is one case in point. Things settled down under the new American government and life seems to have run a pretty smooth course until gold was found in Burke County.
Gold! In 1828 a gold laden stream was discovered at Brindletown and within weeks every creek within a hundred miles was prospected. Hordes of miners descended on the valley. To serve them, the post office established a branch office, Golden, on what is now the Cane Creek Mountain Road; hence the name, Golden Valley.
By the time of the Civil War (1861 – 1965) the miners had pretty well drifted away and entire river bottom was farmed. Several land holders owned slaves and raised cotton, but there were no large plantations to tend and relatively few slaves, consequently, the Emancipation Proclamation did not disrupt farming here as much as it did further south. Even so, with the fall of the Confederacy Rutherford county fell under the leadership of the “carpetbaggers”.