The Story of Maggie Valley
Maggie Mae Setzer Pylant, for whom Maggie Valley is named, was born on December 21, 1890 in a small log cabin that still stands in altered form at the foot of Setzer Mountain. In the early 1900’s Maggie’s father John Sidney Setzer, better known as “Uncle Jack”, grew tired of riding his horse several miles down the mountain to the old Plott Post Office to get the mail for the residents of the valley and decided to do something about it. He wrote U.S. Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock in Washington, D.C. asking permission to operate a Post Office in his home. He was told he had to prove the need for one, and so for a period of several months ”Uncle Jack” kept records of the mail that passed through his hands, the amount of stamps, postal cards (which at that time cost 1 cent each), etc. He then applied again and obtained permission to set up a postal office in his home. Thereupon Setzer submitted four names, one for the creek running by his home (Jonathan) and one for each of his three daughters, Cora, Mettie and Maggie. Maggie was Washington’s choice and thus the Maggie Post Office opened on May 10, 1904. Maggie helped run the Post Office in the Setzer home while her father delivered the mail until 1907. In 1907 she married Ira M. Pylant and left her beautiful valley. This young family moved to Tennessee, then California and finally Texas, where Maggie died in 1979 at the age of 88. While Mrs. Pylant lived an ordinary life, away from the public eye, she became a celebrity of sorts with the expanding farms of the mountain resort area that bears her name, which has been publicized on radio and TV, in books, magazines and newspapers. She was perhaps the only woman in the United States for whom Uncle Sam has named a post office.