Bishop Francis Asbury Arrives at the Home of Jacob Shook (“Vater Shuck”) in 1810
The Shook home earned an important place in Methodist history when Jacob Shook provided overnight accommodations to Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury on November 30, 1810. Bishop Asbury recorded his daily experiences in his journal while traveling by horseback on the American scene from 1771 to 1816. Only one visit to Haywood County is documented in the journal. The journal entry for November 30, 1810, describes Bishop Asbury’s experience as he traveled through Cataloochee: “Our troubles began at the foaming, roaring stream which hid the rocks. At Cataloochee, I walked over a log. But O’ the mountains– height after height and five miles over! After crossing other streams and losing ourselves in the woods, we came in about nine o’clock at night at Vater Shuck’s. What an awful day!”
It was here that one of the earliest Methodist congregations in the United States was believed to have been organized around the beginning of the nineteenth century. People came from a radius of eight miles to hear pioneer preachers give sermons in the chapel on the third floor of the Shook home which became the center of the great Methodist movement in Haywood County. Jacob Shook hosted many pioneer preachers in his home and on his land. He owned a large body of fertile bottom land, and gave the site on which Shook’s Camp Meeting Ground was built.
Seedling at the Shook-Smathers House Commemorates the Rutherford Trace
The 300-year-old Osborne Boundary Oak on Hwy 110 in Bethel is of special interest to the Haywood County Historical and Genealogical Society (HCHGS) because it is a living witness to history. During the American Revolution in 1776, General Griffith Rutherford and his men marched past the tree on a westward path that is now referred to as the Rutherford Trace.
In December of 2016, HCHGS obtained a seedling from the historic tree and planted it in the area behind the Shook-Smathers House. Jacob Shook, who built the house, was a veteran of the American Revolution and was with Rutherford’s men when they marched past the tree. Docents at the Shook-Smathers House share the story of how the little tree’s legacy is intertwined with Jacob Shook’s military service.