Occupations of The First Settlers on The Carolina Frontier

1742-1762 Time Period


Majority of the first settlers to North Carolina were farmers. This list shows the occupations of persons living in North Carolina between the years of 1747 and 1762.

Adams, Johannes-potter

Ardnt, Peter-tavern keeper

Baker, Henry-wagonmaker

Baker, Samuel-miller

Barth, Johann Ludwig-butcher, tavern keeper

Bashford, Thomas-innkeeper

Beard, John Lewis-butcher, tavern keeper

Berry, James-candlemaker

Boise, Bostain-tailor

Boone, Jonathan-spinner

Boone, Squire(senior)-weaver

Bowers, James-tavern keeper

Braly, John-schoolmaster

Brandon, James-miller

Brandon, John-tailor

Brunner, George-gunsmith

Bunting, John-tailor


Carson, James-tanner

Carter, James-millwright, surveyor

Cathey, Andrew-shoemaker

Cathey, George-miller

Craig, Archibald-innkeeper, ferry operator

Cranston, Andrew-doctor

Cusick, Edward-innkeeper

Deane, Luke-Indian trader, innkeeper, ferry operator

Dickey, John-gunsmith, merchant and store keeper


Douglas, Alexander-stonemason

Dunn, John-attorney

Feree, Isaac-ferry operator

Forster, Hugh-saddler

Franck,Jacob-innkeeper, distiller

Frohock, John-miller

Gillespie, Elizabeth-innkeeper

Gillespie, Matthew-cordwainer

(c) National Trust, Calke Abbey; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Graham, James-stiller

Grob, Henrich-millwright

Hall, David-blacksmith

Harrison, William-attorney, innkeeper

Hendry, Henry-schoolmaster

Hickey, John-merchant

Horah, Henry-weaver, innkeeper

Hughes, Edward-tavern keeper

Huggen, James-tavern keeper

Johnston, John(juinor)-hatter

Jones, David-weaver

King, Richard-clothier

Lock, Francis-carpenter

Long, John-tavern keeper, planter-merchant

Luckie, Robert-wheelwright

Lynn, James-architect

Lynn, John-doctor

McConnell, William-merchant

McDowell, David-joiner

McGuire, John-Indian trader

McHenry, Henry-tailor

McKnight, WIlliam-malster

McManus, James-merchant

Magoune, George-innkeeper

Michael, Conrad-tanner

Miller, James-tailor


Mitchell, John-merchant

Montgomery, Hugh-merchant, tavern keeper

Montgomery, William-tavern keeper

Morrison, William-miller

Oglethorpe, John Newman-surgeon

Oliphant, John-miller

Parker, John-doctor

Patton, John-blacksmith

Reed, Samuel-cordwainer

Rintelmann, Christopher-weaver

Rounsavill, Benjamin-ferry operator

Ryle, John-innkeeper

Shinn, Samuel-mason

Sleven, William-weaver

Steel, Robert-schoolmaster

Strayhorn, Gilbert-tailor

Thompson, John-cooper

Thomson, John-Presbyterian minister

Verrell, John-attorney, tavern keeper

Walton, Richard-tanner

Whitesides, John-miller

Williams, William-hatter

Woods, Robert-carpenter

This list derives from the book entitled, “Carolina Cradle” written by the late Robert B. Ramsey. Dr. Ramsey was a history professor at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. Definitions of a portion of the occupations are as follows:

weaver-person who weaves fabric

hatter-person who makes and sells hats

mason-a person who works with stone

millwright-person who designs or repairs machinery


The settlers mentioned in this article were living in the Piedmont area of present day North Carolina. The Yadkin River would have been near the center of the area. Wishing you all great success on your research and Thank You So Much for your support.





Carolina Frontier Settlements

The Importance of March 25, 1752 in North Carolina

North Carolina was considered a frontier in 1752; an unsettled region with vast amounts of land opportunities. As discussed in the previous blog, the Great Wagon Road allowed access to this area and growth occurred quickly. March 25, 1752 was an important date due to the last new year’s day in England and her colonies under the Julian system of chronology. This day was also important to 49 settlers living near the Yadkin River and north of Lord Granville’s boundary. These 49 settlers were issued land grants, the largest amount from Lord Granville’s agents on a single date.

land grants

This segment will concentrate on 15 of these 49 settlers. They are Samuel Blythe, Robert Allison, Thomas Allison, Fergus Graham, James Hill, Henry Huey, Andrew Kerr, William Morrison, Robert Reed, Henry White, Moses White, Benjamin Winsley, Alexander McCulloch and John McCulloch.

Robert and Thomas Allison settled along the waters of Fourth Creek after migrating from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Their houses were two miles apart and were more than likely related, but have no definite proof of this. Read more about Fourth Creek Settlement here.

William Morrison was one of 4 brothers who migrated from Ireland with their father, James Morrison in 1730. William and Hugh Morrison settled in Nantmeal Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania before 1737. William later became a tax collector in 1746 in Colerain, Lancaster County. William Morrison’s brothers, Andrew and James were also living in Lancaster County during the years of 1742-1747 and followed William to North Carolina. William’s 1st tract of land adjoined John McConnell’s property near Davidson’s Creek Settlement. According to Rowan County, NC Deeds, 111, 372; William purchased land along Third Creek where he operated a mill and built his house. William died in 1771 at the age of 67. His brother, Andrew died in 1770 at the age of 52.

James Miller from New Castle County, Delaware settled along Fifth Creek in Rowan County, NC. He owned 560 acres and died prior to October 21, 1761 when his farm was sold at auction.

Samuel and Margaret Blythe had 4 sons and daughters who were baptized at the first Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between the years of 1718 and 1725. Samuel Blythe was living in Lancaster County in 1733. This Samuel Blythe died in 1775 in Cumberland County, PA and his namesake migrated to North Carolina and settled on Sill’s Creek near the property of Felix Kennedy in Rowan County, NC.

Fergis Graham migrated from Chester County and he appears on the tax list of 1737-1738.

James Hill owned 640 acres on the branch of Second Creek. He later sold the property to Henry Schiles in 1754.

James and Henry Huey  lived in Chester County during the years of 1739 and 1740. Robert Huey was living in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in 1737. Henry Huey later arrived in North Carolina and purchased 612 acres on the north bank of Fourth Creek, Rowan County, NC.

Andrew and John Kerr purchased lands four miles from one another along Third Creek, Rowan County, NC. They both migrated from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

The Reed family settled in Nottingham township between 1738 and 1743. Robert Reed left Pennsylvania shortly after 1743 and arrived in North Carolina. He obtained a land grant on Marlin’s Creek. He later sold his property and was living in Orange County, NC in 1761.

Henry White, with his wife, Johanna, were living in Rapho Township, Lancaster County, PA when he sold his land on May 22, 1749. He soon left for North Carolina where he obtained his land grant in 1752.

rowan-co-1780-map (1)

James McCulloch with his two sons, John and Alexander, obtained lands between George Davidson and the Catawba River. James McCulloch originated from Fallowfield township, Chester County, PA and settled there in 1739. He left for North Carolina approx. 1747. His will was probated in 1758 and mentioned 4 sons and a grandchild.

Moses White settled along the Davidson’s Creek as well as Benjamin Winsley.

These first settlers traveled mainly from Pennsylvania to reach the lands of North Carolina before the Great Wagon Road was no more than a 4ft. path in many areas. They traveled the route before many inhabitants settled along the trail. In other words, the route they took to arrive in North Carolina was a frontier of wilderness. Once they obtained their land grants, they married, had children and prospered. Ten years later, the Great Wagon Road was referred to as a “road” and no longer a trail or path. The first pioneers paved the way for others to follow their footsteps into the Carolina frontier.

kerr mill

Kerr Mill, Rowan County, NC


Remembering The Great Wagon Road

Part 3

As we all think about the Great Wagon Road, our minds automatically picture our ancestors traveling the road with their personal possessions to new lands. They were adventurous and heroic to move their families to unfamiliar territories. Each person had their own individual story that they experienced along the road. Many of these stories are now lost to the winds of time and will never be known. However; many committed themselves to writing down their important events while on the journey.  When we locate a diary from this era, it is treated as a spectacular treasure. The present day researcher quickly turns the pages to learn and experience the Great Wagon Road for themselves. The lives that have been affected by this old road is unlimited. I believe it is still changing lives as we all research our ancestors and preserve our history. Welcome to the final segment of our Great Wagon Road adventure. This portion will concentrate on the individuals who made a great impact on the road in many different ways.



Abraham Wood in 1646 began trading with the Indians located in Virginia and led an exploring party into the wilderness known later as the area of the Great Wagon Road.

Henry Hudson, a dutch explorer, was among the group led by Abraham Wood.

Thomas Batte, was sent to explore the territory in 1671. He reached the Mississippi River and turned back.

John Lederer, a German physician explored the area as well during the years of 1669-1670.

The meeting of the Five Nations was held in 1722 and attended by Governor Sir William Keith of Pennsylvania and Governor William Burnet of New York. This meeting was to bring peace with several different tribes of Indians and the new settlers who were pondering the settlement in the “wilderness” of Virginia and North Carolina.

From 1717 to 1767, a total of 68,872 German and Swiss immigrants arrived in Pennsylvania due mainly to William Penn who first arrived in 1708.

Secretary James Logan complained about the multitude of immigrants on March 25, 1727 in a letter addressed to William Penn’s son in England.


Resentment grew from the newcomers and their vast numbers. The customs and languages were different and viewed upon in a negative manner as a majority. Many began to look elsewhere for new settlements and freedom. The Germans and Swiss began to venture down the Great Warrior’s Path. The path was no more than a clearing consisting of 3 to 4 feet wide.

In November, 1743, two Moravians began a journey down the Great Warrior’s Path which brought them 5 months later to Georgia. They were Leonard Schell and Robert Cussey, Schell’s diary gave explicit details about the trip.

Joist Hite settled in Winchester, Virginia and owned an inn along the path that was widely known.

Stephen Schmidt settled along the Shenandoah River and owned a huge farm.

A diary excerpt from 1743 reads, “I used my hatchet to clear the path and fell a tree over Goose Creek in order to walk across it.”

Jacob Schuetz, an elder German, settled along Trent River, North Carolina after traveling down the road.

Stone marker lies in Winchester, Virginia stating that John Wilson and the bodies of his two children and his wife, Mary Marcus died and buried August 4, 1742.

Samuel Davies, minister, serving the southern portion of Virginia in 1759.

David McClure attended a wedding in 1775 in Virginia along the road and stated in his diary, “Dancing to the music of a fiddle, gambling and drinking.”

Joshua Fry, an Oxford graduate, moved to the frontier and worked as a surveyor of the road approx. 1757.

Peter Jefferson, traveled with Joshua Fry and had the task of map maker.

The 1st map was signed in 1744 and entitled, “Indian Road by the Treaty of Lancaster”

By, 1775 a new edition of the map was created and labeled, The Great Wagon Road from the Yadkin River through Virginia to Philadelphia, a distant 453 miles.

In 1744, a ferry was ordered on the Potomac, labeled Watkins’ Ferry.  A ledger book contains ferry rates, blacksmith rates, lodging and the retail sales of wine and other commodities.

William Ingles operated a ferry across New River in Virginia.

John Mitchell, William Nesbit, William Montgomery, Archibald Craige, Thomas Bashford, James Bowers, John Verrell, Luke Dean, James Berry and Henry Hoah were all early merchants located in North Carolina during the years of 1750 and 1760 after traveling down the road.


The road became even more active with the end of the French War in 1763. The rumbles of the wagons could be heard all day along the road during this time. A house or a merchant could be found every 30 miles. Business soared, but mostly from trading versus monies. The road was divided as well with a lower road and a upper road. The lower road extended into Maryland and ran along the eastern side of the original road. The upper, ran just west of the original road and eventually led you to the new Wilderness Road. A family living along these roads, were able to prosper. This allowed many settlements, towns and new county seats to emerge.

The road was no longer a 48 inch path through the forest. It was now a major 18th century highway and was traveled each and every day of the year, weather permitting. However, King George III ordered in 1764 that no one was to settle west of the Appalachians. This was ordered to maintain peace with the Indians of that area. But, soon word spread that the best lands were west of the mountains and soon settlers began to venture even further.

When a family left Pennsylvania in 1765 and traveled on the road, they would meet other families traveling. They would have seen huge farms, forts, taverns and small villages lined with houses, small shops and churches. If you lived along the road, you were ordered to help maintain it. Farmers were employed in the fall and this was a great source of income that endured for years.

The term “public house” came into existence and these houses were widely known all along the road. They provided the traveler a hot meal and bedding for the night.

By 1774, everyone knew about the road and had experiences to tell and share. Portions of the original road still exist today such as Highways 11, 81 and 66. So, even today, the Great Warrior’s Path proves to be a vital link in our daily lives.

great wagon road 5

On a personal note, I want to Thank each of you for this experience and allowing me to share my research with you. I cannot express the gratitude I have for all of you in helping to preserve our history. As we move forward, I look to the future with great anticipation and working together on our history and ancestry.  I could add so many more segments to this project and I most likely will in the future.  I cannot forget to pass along admiration for all of the settlers who traveled the Great Wagon Road. Without them, none of this history would have existed.


Wagon Road To North Carolina

The Great Wagon Road
Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of our 3 part segment pertaining to the Great Wagon Road. The 1st part contained information from Pennsylvania through Virginia and the route our ancestors took. This segment will discuss the entry into North Carolina. When our ancestors passed through the southern portion of Virginia, they were met with the Blue Ridge Mountains and the descent from the elevation. It is unclear exactly where the actual roadbed is located in this area, but the area was filled with rough terrain and wilderness.


 We know from the map above, that Indian trails and paths did exist prior to the arrival of the Great Wagon Road into North Carolina and from this map, we can gather more information on the terrain and different routes. Cherokee attacks were numerous during the years of 1759 and 1760. There were several early settlers who were killed along the Yadkin River in February of 1760.  Also, attacks were noted during the spring of 1776, mostly west of the Blue Ridge Mountains in present day, Watauga and Ashe counties. Many people have claimed to have found the original roadbed of the Great Wagon Road and many remnants and various items have been claimed to be found along the road. Grave sites were visible as well, according to oral histories, but the actual route has never been fully identified from Virginia following southward. We do know that upon descending the Blue Ridge Mountains, our ancestors were looking for “The Great Guide” or “The Pilot” which is present day Pilot Mountain pictured below. According to Moravian diaries, “The mountain looked like a giant took a bite right from the top.”

pilot mountain (2)

During the years of 1750 to 1766, this area would have been an untamed wilderness with very few to no other settlers in the area. The road during these years would have been treacherous and not maintained at all. It was not until after the Revolutionary War began, that settlers were assigned road maintenance near their homes. The Moravians were making multiple trips back and forth from 1753. This allowed the road to become more wider in areas and less rocks and overgrowth to be removed. The Moravians also had access to a team of 6 horses when using the road and could travel much more quickly versus a single family with 1 team of horses, or none at all. The travelers also had to be aware of animals, such as bear, panthers, wolves and poisonous snakes. Not many know that buffalo also roamed in this area, but they were forced to the higher terrain of the western mountains of North Carolina and were not in the area since the Saura Indians left in approx. 1710. This was years before the Great Wagon Road came into existence.

inside covered wagon

A newspaper article was written in 2013 by the Winston-Salem Journal detailing the route of the road through the Rural Hall area, present day, Forsyth County, NC. This area is approx. 30 miles south of Pilot Mountain. The link to the article can be found here. Depressions of the actual roadbed were located along Cordell Drive and Highway 66, just north of present day Rural Hall. According to the Moravian diaries, this has been proven to be true as the Moravians were making their way to the settlement of Bethabara which lies just south of Rural Hall. We know that the Moravians left the road and traveled a few miles south in order to locate a building which was already on the property they just purchased in 1753.  This was the site for Bethabara. Bethania was established on “The Pennsylvania Road” according to the journals of the Moravians. This means, that Highway 67 and Bethania-Tobaccoville Road both cross over the original Wagon Road.


We know that the road turns west after leaving Bethania and prepares to cross the Yadkin River. We also know the location of the crossing was made in the “Shallow Ford” which is located just southwest of present day Lewisville. The crossing was made here because the Yadkin River only averaged 18″ in this one spot unless the river was swollen due to recent rains or melting snows. For more information on this area and neighboring Davidson, Rowan and Yadkin counties, see the video link listed here.

north carolina map

This is the end of Part 2, Part 3 will contain settlers that traveled The Great Wagon Road along with the year of migration and the area of settlement. If you would like to read more about The Great Wagon Road in North Carolina, click the link here and here.