The story of our local history begins with the first people to roam these lands – the Waxhaw Indians. European settlers, primarily Scots-Irish, discovered a home place for themselves in a new world they called the ‘Garden of the Waxhaws.’ Waxhaw still celebrates the culture of these early descendants who settled here, carving out homesteads and farms in a vast and rugged backcountry which became an Early American Trader’s Path running from Petersburg, Virginia, to Augusta, Georgia.
In 1889 – Nearly two centuries after John Lederer, a German traveler, and scholar discovered the Indian village of the Waxhaws. The Town of Waxhaw was chartered, making it the oldest town in Union County.
Early explorers such as Lederer called Waxhaw ‘Wisacky’ – a region which became a fountain of lore and legend, the most famous being the controversy over Andrew Jackson’s birthplace. Both North and South Carolina claim him as a native son. James Polk was also born just north of the settlement in Pineville.
Waxhaw continues to be a popular place for Americans to settle and live. Many descendants of the early settlers have remained in Union County and the region including the Belks, Jacksons, Lathans, Richardsons, Blythes, Laneys, Starnes, Wolfes, Winchesters, Ezzells, Secrests, Howeys, Howies, Dosters, Bryants, Stegalls, Plylers, Byrums, Howards, McLaughlins, and many more.
As this area grows, the cultural offerings and historical stories of the Museum of the Waxhaws will expand to include history currently in the making, with our Native American and Scots-Irish origins evolving into a more eclectic and diverse melting pot of North Carolinians. Our mission is to provide an authentic and accurate depiction of local history and to continue building the story as history is made for generations to come!