History Swannanoa

The Search For Samual Davidson

The following research paper about the history of Swannanoa was written by Swannanoa resident Elly Withers (daughter of Dave and Sally Withers) for her senior project at Owen High School in 2011.  As part of her project, Elly also painted a mural at Owen High (see photo).


I painted this mural for my senior project last semester at Owen high school. I spent over 70 hours researching and painting this mural and recieved an A+. It was a lot of work, but worth it! If you would like to visit the mural it is in the common’s area at Owen High. I titled it Samuel Davidson “the founding father of the Swannanoa Valley”. It is of Swannanoa past to present.

I have lived in Swannanoa my entire life and I knew that I wanted to paint something at the highschool that had to do with Swannanoa pride, but I wasn’t sure what aspect of Swannanoa I wanted to paint until I heard about Samuel Davidson’s gravesite behind Wright’s Carpet and got interested. Over the summer I made it my goal to hike to Samuel Davidson’s grave site on top of Jones Mountain. I never found his gravesite. I hiked there around five times through the backs of people’s yards scourging for the grave, but my efforts were in vain. So I kind of grew obsessed with the idea of Samuel Davidson, and his gravesite which I could never find, and I decided that I wanted to paint a mural of him.