In the early 1900s, North Carolina was home to a thriving film industry, centered in the town of Wilmington. Many early silent films were shot in the state.

Clay County, located in the western part of North Carolina, has a rich history dating back to the early 19th century. It was officially established in 1861, named after the famous statesman Henry Clay, and has since played an important role in the region's development.

The area that is now Clay County was originally inhabited by the Cherokee Native American tribe. However, as white settlers began to move into the region in the early 1800s, conflicts arose, leading to the forced removal of the Cherokee people on the infamous Trail of Tears. This marked a dark chapter in the county's history as the land was cleared for settlement.

Once the settlers arrived, Clay County quickly became an agricultural community, with crops such as corn, wheat, and tobacco being the primary sources of income. In addition to farming, the county also had a significant mining industry, particularly in the production of kaolin clay. This led to the establishment of several clay processing plants, which shaped the economy and influenced the county's growth.

Over the years, Clay County has faced various challenges, including the effects of the Great Depression and the decline of the mining industry. However, the resilience of its people and the natural beauty of the area have always been key factors in its survival and prosperity. Today, Clay County is known for its outdoor recreation opportunities, including fishing, hiking, and scenic drives, making it an attractive destination for tourists and nature enthusiasts alike.

  • 1861: Clay County is established by North Carolina Legislature.
  • 1862: Clay County experiences significant disruption during the American Civil War.
  • 1865: The Civil War comes to an end, and Clay County begins to rebuild.
  • 1881: Clay County experiences growth with the arrival of the Western North Carolina Railroad.
  • 1892: Hayesville becomes the county seat of Clay County.
  • 1901: The first courthouse in Clay County is completed.
  • 1922: Fires destroy the courthouse, leading to its reconstruction in 1923.
  • 1936: Clay County begins receiving electricity from the Tennessee Valley Authority.
  • 1964: The Hiwassee Dam is completed, providing hydroelectric power and flood control to Clay County.
  • 1967: Clay County experiences significant flooding due to a tropical storm.
  • 1980: The Clay County Historical and Arts Council is established.
  • 1999: Clay County celebrates its 138th anniversary.