About 1816, Michael McGuire and his bride sailed from Ireland for America. They ended up in Cherokee county by way of Pennsylvania and then Sweetwater TN. 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' 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. 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.
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.
In 1969, when Tommy was a high school senior and Linda a freshman, they met and became sweethearts. She attended his senior prom just before he left for college. Still a couple, Tommy returned in 1972 to attend Linda's senior prom. They both graduated from Western Carolina University. Tommy worked in the mines at Tennessee Copper as a raised drill foreman until the mines closed. Afterwards, he started a tree nursery on the farm. He finished out his public career as the plant manager of the Murphy Water Plant. Linda retired from teaching after 30 rewarding years. The beautiful grounds are managed by Tommy. Together, Tommy and Linda play an active role in every event hosted, making sure, along with their daughter, Natalie, that every detail is handled with perfection.
Linda, Tommy's wife, had a dream of opening a wedding chapel in the small southern town of Murphy, North Carolina. She asked her sisters to join her in achieving 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. After six years in the business, 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. In 2006 the main banquet facility, The Barn, was built by their son in law, Tomas Gebel, with skill and love.