The "East Indian Boundary" was moved west in 1792, opening the Highlands to white settlers. Pioneer families and land speculators flocked to find cheap land and began building their cabins, stock stands, and the many farm buildings needed to support a settlement economy.
Buncombe County had a unique geographical advantage in its topography and strategic location among the emerging economies of the southern highlands connecting Kentucky, Tennessee, and South Carolina. The ancient French Broad River, thought to be the world's second oldest, ran through the center of Buncombe, its many tributaries flowing down to the river from the surrounding farmlands. There, new farmsteads were cleared to produce grains for the stock stands of the Drover's Road, a booming source of trade and cash. Within a decade, the land went from wilderness to grain belt, from watershed to market shed.