County Seal History

Buncombe County Seal -- 1927

In 1927, the Buncombe County Commissioners issued a challenge to citizens and school students to create a suitable design for an official County seal. A prize of $25 would be awarded to the winning design.

Ms. Lillian Michael Ledbetter's sixth grade class at Woodfin Elementary School holds historical significance as they created the winning design and motto that still stands today.

Roy Fox, student in the class, did a pencil drawing of the class design and won the contest. There were two contests, one for adults and one school children. Ms. Ledbetter's class design won over all the children and adults entries. Notes from the contest say the design was chosen because it was "simple, appropriate, easily reproduced and best represented the county."

Roy Fox was awarded the $25 prize. Interesting to note that newspaper reports from 1927 say "The boy (Roy Fox) was in the sixth grade of school but he had never talked over a phone in his life until he was called in regard to his winning the seal contest. "Sure I knew they had telephones, he said, but I had just never used one. We don’t have one at home and I never had a chance to use one anywhere else. I wasn’t afraid but it seem kind of funny to be talking to somebody that was five or six miles away. I think I prefer seeing the people I’m talking too."

Based on historical records and comments from her students, the inspiration for the seal design came from Ms. Ledbetter. She drew a sample of a seal on the board as she taught the class history of the county. Roy Fox said that the students were inspired by a song  Ms. Ledbetter taught the class - "High Up In the Hills" by Sam Lewis - and by the poem out of their fifth grade reader entitled "A Country’s Call" that included the words "Men to Match Our Mountains" which became the County motto and part of the seal.

In 1989 the Buncombe County Commissioners voted to change the Motto to "People to March Our Mountains" which is the only change made in the seal since its adoption on May 20, 1929 as the official county seal.