About 1816, Michael McGuire and his bride sailed from Ireland for America and landed in Pennsylvania with all of their possessions. Soon finding Pennsylvania winters too cold and, after a brief stop in Sweetwater, TN, Michael and his family made their way to the Peachtree Community in Cherokee County, NC. There they purchased a 1,000 acre tract on Slow Creek for $1 an acre.
Michael’s son, J. Cyrus, eventually sold the farm on Slow Creek and purchased a tract of land on Peachtree Creek for $7,000. J. Cyrus’s son, John Madison, grew up on the farm and, literally, married the girl next door, Elizabeth Baker. After their marriage, John Madison moved into the Baker home where they farmed and managed a grist mill. This property is now the current McGuire’s Millrace Farm. Although the old grist mill is gone, the old homestead and corn crib still stand, (being operational during the Civil War era) creating a picturesque backdrop for photos. Along with these historical buildings, the old general store still stands on the property.
John Madison and his bride gave birth to John Jacob who begot John Reid who begot John Thomas. John Madison, his wife and their infant daughters are buried high on the ridge under the pines.
Today, John Thomas (Tommy) and his wife Linda own the farm, continuing the tradition of serving others not only in their community, but now around the world.
A Life on the Farm
Tommy cherishes stories shared by his father and grandfather, from their lives on the farm. Life on the farm was what you might typically expect. Kids catching minnows and tadpoles in the creek, driving tractors and pickup trucks through the fields, picking beans from rows that stretched for more than half a mile, spending time listening to old men spin their tall tales, learning about life from hard lessons learned, first kisses, days filled with sweat, laughter, and love and magical evenings filled with family and joy. These memories continue to linger like warm sorghum, giving all who come to the farm, a wanting to add their own special memories, the sense of coming home.
The Beginnings of a Dream - Weddings By the Foster Sisters
Linda, John Thomas’s (Tommy’s) wife had a dream of opening a wedding chapel in the small southern town of Murphy, North Carolina. When she wasn’t teaching, Linda enjoyed hosting parties at school, in her home, and helping her friends with weddings and other events. After receiving her husband’s approval, she asked her sisters to join her in forming her dream. In the spring of 1999, Margie Foster Stroud, Donna Foster Bryant, and Linda Foster McGuire formed Weddings by the Foster Sisters. They leased Harshaw Chapel from the Daughters of the American Revolution, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Soon after the business opened, a brother of the sisters, Lewis Foster, brought them a horse drawn carriage to enhance the experience of their memorable events. Their husbands, anxious to be a part of the adventure, joined the sisters to handle the horse and carriage, and to help with the events.
After six years of successful service, the sisters agreed that they had outgrown the chapel. Not wanting to give up her dream, Linda and Tommy purchased Weddings by the Foster Sisters from her two sisters, and started plans to build a banquet facility on their farm. The main banquet facility, “The Barn,” was built by their son‐in‐law, Tomás Gebel, with skill and love. You will find rustic elegance welcomes all who want to celebrate their special moments there, continuing the traditions Linda and her sisters started, now known as Weddings by the Foster Sisters at McGuire’s Millrace Farm.