The Founding Families of Mars Hill

Founder Edward Carter, 1897

Edward Carter, 1897

"Plain men [and women] of the hills who loved God and His Truth founded this institution, concieved in prayer and built by their tears and toil, and sacrificial gifts. The work and the workers are His, and the spirit of the founders still lives."
President Dr. Robert L. Moore
Capital Campaign, December 1923

Unlike most institutions of higher education, Mars Hill University does not recognize a single individual or single family as its founders. Instead, Mars Hill recognizes the efforts and sacrifices made by 23 individuals and families who helped shape Mars Hill University into what it is today. These founding families were a diverse and dedicated groups of individuals who lived in Madison, Buncombe, and Yancey counties as well as part of East Tennessee. They included a county clerk of court, state legislator, a teacher, a magistrate, a postman, and a surveyor. Among the members of the founding families, 5 were ordained Baptist ministers, and 4 pledged support to the institution even though they did not have children themselves. Only 2 members of the founding families possessed a formal education beyond public school. Lewis Palmer was an alumnus of Doak’s Academy, now Tusculum College, while Reverend Dr. John F. Mitchell graduated from Wake Forest College in 1852 and received an honorary doctorate of divinity from Wake Forest College in 1872.


Founder Thomas S. Deaver

Thomas S. Deaver

The Mars Hill University's Founding Families are:

Rev. Jesse and Rhoda Peek Ammons
Stephen and Lavada Sprinkle Ammons
Jesse Woodson and Elizabeth Caroline Carter Anderson
Pinkey and Nancy Radford Anderson
Joseph (Joe) Anderson and Jane Ray
Daniel Garrett and Ophelia C. McGuinsey Carter
Edward S. and Rebecca Burleson Carter of Ivy, North Carolina
Edward and Clarissa Ray Carter of Mars Hill, North Carolina
Thomas Shepherd and Louarty Keith Deaver
Berry and Lucinda Radford Duck
Henry Nave and Alvira Carter Edwards
James A. and Sallie Young Jervis
Rev. William and Sarah Allen Keith
Rev. John F. Mitchell
Lewis and Polly Roberts Palmer
Rev. Robert and Leah Roberts Patterson
William Alfred and Minerva Elizabeth Deaver Patterson
John and Emily Sprinkle Radford
Garrett D. And Myra Carter Ray
Garrett Deweese and Elizabeth Burchfield Ray
Henry and Elizabeth Wilson Ray
Rev. Thomas W. and Hannah Luisa Carter Ray
Jacob Comer and Mary A. Davis Sams