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The following year, Love sold part of the land to James and Diana Shuler.
The Shulers, in turn, sold off parts of their land to Colonel Thaddeus Bryson and merchant Alfred Cline.
Fontana Lake, an impoundment of the Little Tennessee, covers the lower 11 miles (18 km) of the Tuckasegee. The Great Smoky Mountains rise to the north, the Cowee Mountains rise to the south, and the Plott Balsams rise to the east.
The boundary of the Nantahala National Forest passes just south of the city, and the boundary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park passes just to the north.
The racial makeup of the town was 90.93% White, 1.98% African American, 4.96% Native American, 0.35% Asian, 0.64% from other races, and 1.13% from two or more races.
Native Americans have been living and hunting in the vicinity of what is now Bryson City for nearly 14,000 years.
The village of Kituhwa, which the Cherokee believed to be their oldest village, was located along the Tuckasegee immediately upstream from Bryson City.
Lucy Ann Raby Cline agreed to sell several lots of her land for the formation of a county seat for the new county.
The county seat, initially known as Charleston, was laid out in a T-shape formed by what is now Main Street and Everett Street (the latter street was named for the county's first sheriff, Epp Everett).
The Qualla Boundary, which comprises the bulk of the reservation of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, dominates the area to the east. Route 19, which connects Bryson City to Cherokee to the northeast and Murphy to the southwest.