Among early landowners at the Great Fall on Second Broad River were Richard Henderson, a founder of the short-lived state of Transylvania, and Abner Nash, governor of North Carolina in 1780-81. Later owners used the water power of the High Shoal for a smithy, mill, and ironworks. The ironworks was founded in the 1790's by Mark Bird, a friend of Benjamin Franklin, and Peter Fisher. Achilles Durham owned the ironworks as it declined in the 1840's. The village had a smithy, a store and office, a corn mill, homes for the iron master and slaves, and a few other residences.