Back to Homepage of Horace Kephart: Revealing an Enigma

Online Exhibit: Dicks Creek

Kephart's First Camp on Dick's Creek - "Camp Toco."

Dillsboro, North Carolina.

Camp Toco from a distance.

Side view of Camp Toco.

Tuckasegee River near Camp Toco.

Diary Index.

Weather Observations.

Baptist Association meeting in Cherokee.

Cherokee Women.

Horace Kephart arrived in western North Carolina in the summer of 1904. Already an avid outdoorsman, he avoided the comforts that might be afforded in one of the local hotels or boarding houses. Instead, he chose to obtain permission from a local family to camp on Dicks Creek, located near Dillsboro, North Carolina. According to one photograph caption, he lived on Dicks Creek from August 7 to October 28. He named his encampment "Camp Toco," a reference to a Cherokee Indian legend recorded in James Mooney's Myths of the Cherokee. At the end of October 1904 Kephart began his relocation to the Hazel Creek area of Swain County, North Carolina.

Arrival at Dillsboro

Far different from the untamed wilderness he craved, Kephart arrived at this thriving Jackson County, North Carolina railroad town in 1904.

Visiting Camp Toco

Despite the remote location, from this original base in Western North Carolina Kephart began his explorations of the region and the process of forming personal friendships.

Diary & Album

Kephart's personal diary from his days at Camp Toco is not available. However, his index to the diary and matching entries among his papers provide clues to his activities during this time.

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

Only two months after arriving in Dillsboro, Kephart visited the nearby Cherokee community. He made frequent observations about the Cherokees in his research journals, personal album, and publications.


As autumn came to the mountains, Kephart left his camp for the warmth of an abandoned cabin. Here Kephart says his farewell to Camp Toco.

Original spelling and syntax retained in all quotations within this exhibit.

Jarrett House in Dillsboro.

Pantry Tent.

Visitors at Camp Toco.

Map of Camp Toco.

An album in the tent.

A Cherokee Baptist Church.

Leaving Camp Toco.