The township of Leicester, originally known as Turkey Creek, had a Post Office beginning April 7,1829. The name of the township was changed to Leicester (pronounced Les-ter) in 1859. The town was named for Leicester Chapman. His father, Robert Chapman, was a captain under the Earl of Leicester and stationed in Wales. Leicester Chapman was named for the Earl of Leicester.
As he grew a well-heeled older stepbrother financed Leicester’s schooling in London, then sent him to Trinidad, as manager of a sugar plantation. It was there that Leicester met his future wife, 17-year-old Sarah Handfield Carpenter, out from Ireland to visit her brother, the owner of a neighboring plantation. Uncertain about the best place to educate their children, they came to America and landed in Baltimore. Here they met Thomas Lanier Clingman, U.S. Senator from Western North Carolina, later a General in the Southern Army during the Civil War. Clingman convinced them that Western North Carolina would be the place to settle.
Leicester purchased a tract of land nine miles from Asheville, NC in the area at that time known as Turkey Creek. He established a Stand or Mercantile business and named the area Leicester in honor of his titled godfather the Earl of Leicester. Native countrymen who didn’t much care for such a highfalutin name dubbed the place “Lick skillet” then begrudgingly settled for “Lee-ces-ter”. The township is pronounced “Les-ter”.
Post Office records reveal that Leicester Chapman was Postmaster at Turkey Creek from March 1, 1852 until October 30, 1856.
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