The Surrette-Lankford House, built in the early 1830s, is considered the third oldest standing house in Transylvania County. Located in the community of Enon, it was built by David Surrette. The Surrette family came to the Davidson River area from the Sandy Mush section of Buncombe County before 1835.
According to family research, the Surrette/Surrat/Sarratt family originated from France and by 1715 had settled in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The grandson of the first immigrant traveled south along the Great Wagon Road to Old Orange County, North Carolina. From there, the family members moved to the Spartanburg district of South Carolina. Around 1806, David’s father, John, moved from Spartanburg to Sandy Mush. Later they moved to what would become the county of Transylvania.
In 1838 David married Rebecca Allison, daughter of Frances Allison and cousin of Benjamin Allison. He and Rebecca raised a large family on the farm. Their son Perry and his wife, Jerusha Lyday, moved into the family home after their marriage in 1879 and raised eight children themselves. David died in 1902 and Rebecca two years later, Perry in 1935 and Jerusha in 1940. All are buried in Enon Baptist Church Cemetery.
A rare example of a pre-war timber-frame farmhouse with hand-hewn beams, the house was acquired by a cousin from Surrette, Randal Lankford. He began the process of designating a local historic landmark with the Joint Historic Preservation Commission. She achieved this designation in 2007.
The Joint Historic Preservation Commission, a nine-member board appointed by county commissioners, is responsible for preserving local historic properties in the county, town of Rosman and town of Brevard. To learn more about local historic landmark designations, contact Transylvania County Community Planning and Development at 884-3205.
To learn more about the history of County Transylvania, visit the Transylvanian Heritage Museum at 189 W. Main St.. The museum is open Thursday through Saturday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The museum’s new exhibit, Mountain Legacies: Exploring Appalachian Culture, will run through mid-October. The exhibit and accompanying programs are supported by North Carolina Humanities, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.