Women's History Trail Franklin NC


Sally Kesler • 2019 Macon Matriarch


On March 19, 2019, Sally Kesler was recognized by the WHT for her lifelong dedication to the preservation of the cultural and natural heritage of Macon County.

She was recognized for being an unforgettable leader and resource of craft education, a champion of the area’s beautiful hiking trails and the greenway, and an esteemed artist and naturalist.

Sally first came to the Cartoogechaye Community at the behest of Rufus Morgan, an Episcopal priest with a long history at St. John's Church. She had met Lucy Morgan, his sister, while attending Penland School of Crafts and was influenced by their visions of community life and craftwork. Leaving for two years when she apprenticed in Boston with a well known silk screen artist, she returned to the community in 1950 to become a leader and resource of craft education. She became a 4-H leader, Nantahala Hiking Club organizer, leader of Nonah Weavers, and a member of the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild all the while producing the beautiful screen prints for which she is widely known. In later years she became a much respected botanist and helped to spearhead progress on our Greenway and the preservation of other historic and beautiful parts of Macon County, as well as keeping the craft traditions of the mountains alive through Nonah, where she taught several generations of new weavers. A native of West Virginia she has loved Macon County for its similarities to her childhood home and has devoted her life to the preservation of our shared cultural and natural heritage. She is a much loved figure in our community.

Sally Kesler is shown in the photo demonstrating weaving during the Franklin Area Folk Festival.


Women's History Trail Macon NC Matriarch Sally Kesler