All in the Family

Nancy Carrier's Niece at RBC

A couple of months ago, a very exciting visitor came to camp. Like many others, this visitor had spent her childhood at Rockbrook as a camper, then as a counselor—unlike many others, however, her memories of Rockbrook also extend to holidays spent in the Carrier House, playing fetch with Nancy Carrier’s Great Danes, and playing games of croquet on “Aunt Nan’s lawn.”

Nancy Lesesne is the daughter of Nancy Carrier’s brother, and therefore knew the Rockbrook founder, and her husband, intimately. It was wonderful hearing stories of the Carriers away from camp—how “Aunt Nan’s” Great Danes liked to jump through the open downstairs windows to get outside (understandably scaring to death anyone standing near those windows); how the children were forbidden to disturb “Uncle Henry” when he withdrew to his study with his newspaper to manage his stocks; how Aunt Nan would frequently take the children to see her great-grandfather PT Barnum’s circus, when it came to town.

Mrs. Lesesne was particularly amused to find out that nowadays the Carrier House is widely believed by the campers to be haunted. She said that she could not recall anything particularly supernatural happening in the house when she would stay there, but allowed that it always did look a bit spooky.

Mrs. Lesesne had not been at Rockbrook since her days as a counselor, yet still she remembered her way around perfectly. Though today there are new buildings, new landscaping, and even a new family running the camp, she said it still felt the same— really good. More importantly, she commented that being at camp made her feel the same—that after all these years, coming to Rockbrook could still make her feel like an excited little girl coming home for the summer.

Carrier Niece in front of the Carrier House

Nancy Carrier’s Impact on Brevard

Nancy Carrier, Founder of Rockbrook Camp, featured in The Transylvania Times
From The Transylvania Times

While going through our archives recently we came across this fascinating article about Nancy Carrier, published in The Transylvania Times in 1989.  It was printed in honor of what would have been her 100th birthday. It is a wonderful addition to our archives, and is a testament to the legacy of Nancy Carrier. Besides being the founder of Rockbrook Camp, she also was one of the founders of Brevard Music Camp, now Brevard Music Center.  She also was a chairman of the first hospital auxiliary in Brevard and helped found Lyday Memorial Hospital, the first public Hospital in Transylvania County.

We also loved learning more about the early days of Rockbrook.  Did you know that through Mrs. Carrier,  the local Red Cross met at Rockbrook and made bandages for the war effort.   Or that sewing circles were held at Rockbrook to make useful items for soldiers during World War II?

Nancy Carrier passed away in 1977 and is buried right down the street from Rockbrook in St.Paul’s-in-the-Valley Cemetery.    We hope to locate more information on Mrs. Carrier and will share it with you as we uncover more about our remarkable founder.

Don’t miss this short video about Nancy and the founding of Rockbrook.