18th Century Settlers of Stokes County, NC

Segment 2

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Welcome to segment 2 of this series. The journey continues as we follow the footsteps of 18th century pioneers in Stokes County. These steps have left behind the trail that leads to their traditions, their homes and their past lives. We only have to learn the signs to enable us to bring the past to present day. There are so many remarkable techniques to use in regards to genealogy. The whole history cannot be discovered without the entire exploration of the trail. Stokes County can be claimed as a treasure trove of incredible history and exquisite stories of the past. Let’s continue the discovery.

The Bowman family has been established in the area since the mid 1700’s. Arriving from Halifax, Virginia, they settled near the present day Belews Creek community.  George Bowman, born in 1794, married Mary Ann Lilley on January 5, 1816. George was living near the Germanton area and had 7 children. Charles(1817), Susannah(1819), John(1822), Joseph(1825), Martha(1828), Eliza(1830) and George(1832). The original family Bible was once in the hands of Charles Bowman and his heirs. It stated that an eighth child was born in 1840 by the name of William and that the couple also raised John Lilley who was born in 1832. George Bowman also had 2 brothers by the names of Philip and Henry.

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John Boyles was born circa 1767 and son of William Boyles. John traveled down the Great Wagon Road from central Virginia. In 1788, John married Elizabeth and had at least 8 children. William(1789), John(1792). Hugh(1798), Peggy(1800), Isham(1803), Elizabeth(1804), Rebecca(1805) and Drury(1807). By 1797, John owned over 500 acres of land and his father, William,  died this same year. The eldest child, William(1789) married Charity King on November 25, 1808 and had six children.

Peter Bray was known as a red-headed minister who arrived in the area sometime prior to the American Revolutionary War. Various stories link this Peter to a sizable fortune in which several family members were notified in 1903. The inheritance was located near Windsor near the Thames River, England. Peter Bray married Martha Scott and had several children. One of them, David Bray, born 1744 in Virginia, settled along Fisher River near Rockford, Surry County.  Peter is mentioned in several documents that have him traveling all through the Piedmont area of NC. Vivid details are given from the Moravians as a” preacher of the wilderness”. Peter Bray, arrived in Virginia from Maryland and corresponded with the local Quakers, thus explaining the meeting of his future wife, Martha Scott. Martha, daughter of Abraham Scott who immigrated from London during the early 1700’s. An entire segment could be created for this family. The history is simply amazing.

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Richard Browder was living in Dinwiddle County, VA with his wife, Mary Thompson during the 1740’s. Richard was born before 1719 and was the son of John and Elizabeth Browder. Richard had at least eleven children. All were born in Virginia. Jesse Browder, grandson of Richard traveled to Stokes County circa 1850. But, several documents have been located that state Browders were already settled in several sections of NC. It is now believed that Jesse was not the first of this family to move into the Stokes County area.

Joseph Calloway and wife were the parents of at least  seven sons. Thomas, Joseph, William, Frances, James, John and Richard. Joseph had daughters but records have not been located to document their given names with proof. Joseph was living in Virginia during the year of 1665. Through the years, the family became close to the family of Daniel Boone and they arrived in NC prior to 1773. Thomas Calloway’s son, Elijah married Mary Cuthbert, niece of Daniel Boone, in 1780. Richard Calloway traveled with Boone to Kentucky and settled in Boonesborough. Richard later returned to NC and gathered his family and returned to Kentucky. Several families traveled with Richard Calloway and these are named as Flanders, Kiser and Brown. One famous story of this family consists of Jemima Boone and Elizabeth Calloway dated summer of 1776 and the Indians who captured them.

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Matthew Corns arrived in Virginia and married Mary circa 1751. Known children are George, Samuel, Nancy, John and Jesse. George was living in Patrick County, VA and had several sons who served during the Civil War with Company H as the Stokes Boys. This family was of German descent and the sons of Matthew all fought during the American Revolutionary War.

Stokes County is filled with historical data. We will continue this journey with segment 3 arriving late spring. We always want to share our Thanks to you all for supporting Piedmont Trails. We are amazed with the kind words and encouragement that we have received. We greatly appreciate each and every one of you as we all work together and learn of our family heritage. Post your comments and questions and stay tuned for updates on our websites.

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Voices of The American Revolutionary War

Thunder & Liberty

The majority of us can recite the beginnings of our country. We can name men associated with the Son’s of Liberty, we can produce the names of our founding fathers and the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Many among us, can trace their ancestor to militia, or the Continental Army by application for pension or by a random discovered document. Numerous books have been written on the battles, the skirmishes and brutal tactics used during the war. Re-enactments are organized at many battle sights. So, we understand a great portion of why the war occurred and how, but do we really understand what it was like to live during the war?

revolutionary war battle of charlotte

The Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townsend Act of 1767 both contributed to the onset of the Revolutionary War. These acts taxed the colonists and separated them from Great Britain. A majority of these citizens immigrated from other countries several years earlier in hopes of freedom and new opportunities. These immigrants each took the oath of allegiance to Great Britain and acknowledged the laws and freedom of the new land. But, as the years continued and their own personal families grew, Great Britain continued to create separations among the colonists and imposed new taxes on imports which many families could not afford. The colonists felt the pressure of Great Britain much more in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and other northern colonies. This brings us to the fact why so many families migrated southward down the Great Wagon Road to an unsettled area such as North Carolina. The majority of these pioneers migrated on the trail between the years of 1753 through 1770, just prior to the Revolutionary War.

Grace Lower Stone Church Rockwell NC

Grace Lower Stone Church, Rockwell, NC

Governor Tryon of North Carolina (1765-1771) expected the taxes to be paid by the new settlers and if payment was not received, horses, tools and even cooking pots were taken to cover the amount due. To the new settlers who just arrived from northern colonies, this was disheartening. The taxes prevented them from improving their properties and they felt mistreated. The settlers would hear the news from Boston and other areas.  Soon, tensions arose in many North Carolina settlements. Before the Boston Tea Party occurred, The Battle of Alamance took place on May 22, 1771 in an open field in the piedmont region of North Carolina. After the battle, that lasted approx. 2 hours, the surrounding settlements heard the news of James Few. Few was hanged the next day, May 23, 1771 without conviction in a military court. 14 regulators (participants of the battle) were tried and 12 of these were convicted. Of these 12, 6 men were hanged. Governor Tryon felt that the settlers would look upon this action as the government forgiving the regulators for their participation in the skirmish. However; this was not the case. This area of North Carolina was gaining new settlers on a daily basis and the growth rate was much higher versus the eastern sections of the state. The Governor was trying to control the area with the taxes that were now law, but hostilities grew with the numbers of new settlers.

Methodist_camp_meeting_(1819_engraving)

Traveling ministers, such as George Whitefield were creating tent revivals all through the piedmont area of North Carolina. These revivals were very popular among the settlers and at times, hundreds would attend. The mission of these revivals were to bring religion to the new settlement and to also quieten any disgruntled feelings against the government. For the most part, the settlers were divided in half after the Battle of Alamance. Many did not seek confrontation and wanted to remain loyal to Great Britain. Through the following years, several skirmishes would occur and overtime, men would gather and organize their communities with armed watchmen and guards. The settlements would begin to look at neighbors who remained loyal to the king much differently as time went by. News from other areas also influenced the settlers and meetings were held in churches, homes, taverns, etc. to discuss the situation.

Declaration-of-Independence-broadside-1776-Jamestown-Yorktown-Foundation

Our history books tells us that on May 20, 1775, the Mecklenburg Declaration was allegedly produced. Also, the Declaration of Independence, shown above, was submitted to newspapers all through the land. This enabled the settlers of many communities to read the words and fully understand that the colonies have now separated from Great Britain. Word was swirling through North Carolina, that British ships were in route to North Carolina’s coast line and this encouraged numerous settlers to now take up arms and defend their homes. Due to the need of armed men in the North Carolina area, many volunteers were given land for a 2 year service. This land bounty was located in Tennessee and was granted after their military service was completed. Majority of the military records for North Carolina were destroyed by fire, but the National Archives has numerous records for North Carolina Revolutionary War Veterans.

The pioneers who endured the hardships of traveling down The Great Wagon Road were seeking means for a better life. They were aware of the changes that Great Britain was imposing upon them and with these changes came tensions that fueled the onset of war. In North Carolina, the settlers were determined individuals who were strong in character and moral values. They valued their families, their religion and their morals to strive for their personal best. The new laws of Great Britain brought turmoil that endangered their freedom and their livelihood. The Revolutionary War represented new independence to create a free country that was open to all religions, beliefs and equality. This is what ultimately led each patriot to bear arms and fight for liberty. Each family was affected by the war, many members were killed while others were left with memories and scars. Their stories were passed down through the generations in hopes that the acts made by our patriot fathers would never be forgotten.

alamance battle

Site of Battle of Alamance, NC

Several links are listed below. These are research tips to locate ancestors who were associated with the American Revolutionary War.

Rosters of the Continental Line North Carolina

North Carolina Digital Archives

North Carolina Oath of Allegiance 1778

Patriot Service Link

Colonial Records of North Carolina

Military Indexes for Revolutionary War All States

Edenton Women Who Refused to Purchase Britain’s Tea

Military Land Grants

North Carolina Patriots 

On a personal note, I’ve researched details of battles, skirmishes and dates associated with the American Revolutionary War. I have documents linking my ancestors to a battle, years of service, etc. But, through the years, I have found that I was fascinated by the information I was able to locate on the families, how the war impacted their daily lives and routines. These small details describe the way of life during 1771 through 1781. Wishing you all great success on your personal research. Thank You All So Much For Your Support of Piedmont Trails.

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Life In 18th Century North Carolina

Prior to the Revolutionary War

Life in the 18th century was very much different from life as we all know it today. The pioneers who migrated from Pennsylvania down The Great Wagon Road were optimistic and filled with hope. They brought with them important items that pertained to their well-being, their faith and their sentimental values.  While they endured the hard trip, many would face great hardships and losses in the near future. This segment will focus on the settler’s lives and living on the Carolina frontier.

yadkin

The Yadkin River is pictured above with Pilot Mountain in the foreground. West of the Yadkin River was not very popular during the mid 18th century. So, for many of our ancestors, the Yadkin River was the line between settlements and wilderness. Once the land was chosen by the head of the family, namely, the father, the family began unloading their belongings. Trees would fall in order for a new home to shelter the family and the livestock. Farming would begin almost immediately. 90% of our ancestors were farmers and they farmed in all seasons if weather permitted. The man of the house was expected to provide food and shelter for his family. In order to accomplish this, farming was essential to the way of life for everyone.

The piedmont area of North Carolina was once the hunting and grazing lands of the Cherokee. The land was fertile and plentiful. The pioneers would select huge land tracts and begin improvements. The family unit was vital to the survival of the early settlers.  Everyone in the family had a job to do on a daily basis. It was up to the father of the house to oversee these chores and to make sure they were completed to his fashion.

lady

The wife, or the lady of the house would be responsible for the family garden and herbs. She would also be required to prepare the meals and tend to the smaller children. Clothing would be made by her, also milking the cows and washing the garments as well. The mother would also be required to educate her daughters with the knowledge they would need for their future families. Any possessions she had prior to marriage would belong to her husband until his death. Once the husband died, the wife would inherit 1/3 of his property and could legally own it until she remarried or died.

children

The children would all wear dresses until they reached the age of 5, give or take a year or two. These little ones were allowed to freely play at their leisure and either the mother or an older sister would tend to their needs daily.  As the children grew older, their responsibilities and their daily routines would change. The boys would go with their father to learn about farming, livestock, hunting and more while the girls would be with their mother to learn of sewing, cooking, gardening, etc.

A sample of a daily chore list:

Baby Elizabeth-age 1 plays with her corn husk doll

George-age 3 follows his older sister, Mary and tries to help

Adam-age 6 gathers wood and cleans the chicken house

Mary-age 10 finishes her sampler, milks the cow, gathers eggs, helps to feed livestock and helps tend to Baby Elizabeth

Christina-age 13 sews linens, pulls weeds in the garden, prepares beans for drying, attends fire at smokehouse.

John-age 15 tending wheat field, attends to livestock, checks on hogs in woods and hunts in the afternoon

Henry-age 17 is harvesting corn from the upper field

Michael-age 19 is with his father clearing new land for a larger corn crop next season

Elizabeth-age 41 is washing clothes, cleaning the home and preparing venison that John brought home the day before

Michael-age 43 is clearing land with his son and begins preparing for a trip to the mill in the morning with a portion of his corn crop-a full day trip

As you can see, one day in the 18th century required a huge amount of work, dedication and responsibility.  The weather played a vital role in the farmer’s life.  The fields could only yield what the weather would allow. Farmers based their success on the success of their crops. Wheat and corn were planted in huge tracts.

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Wheat allowed flour to be made and corn allowed cornmeal to be made. The family garden consisted of white beans, chard, pumpkins, scarlet runner beans, cucumbers, squash, peppers, carrots, peas, cabbage and lettuce. Herbs were also planted such as horehound, sage, nasturtium, hyssop and winter savory. Many settlers used limewater as a natural pesticide on their plants. Wooden traps were created to entice slugs and snails. They would also carry water to their gardens during dry and hot summers.

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Usually, the settler would clear three fields keeping two active and the third one fallowed or unused. This method would allow the field to rest in between planting. Some farmers, however, believed that planting turnips in a fallowed field would restore nutrients back into the land. The turnips allowed food for the livestock or they were traded or sold. The livestock would be butchered in early winter to endure the family through the harsh colder days of winter. These settlers, for the most part, were already adapting to the winters of Carolina much better versus the Pennsylvania’s winters.

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To the 18th century farmer, there were many obstacles that stood in his way of progress. Sickness could overwhelm the family such as a smallpox outbreak. From the Moravaian diaries, we find that such an epidemic occurred in the piedmont area of Carolina in the spring of 1759. The incubation period was usually 2 weeks and then the person would have a high fever with blisters appearing if they survived the fever. Smallpox was capable of destroying entire communities. Fire was also a huge threat. Lightening strikes were very common and a family could lose all of their possessions in a matter of minutes.

The farmer depended on his neighbors for help with harvesting, building and any large project that he himself, with his family, could not handle alone. Neighboring events would also provide entertainment with music, dancing and the partake of distilled spirits. Local news would be shared with neighbors and friends as well in order to keep up with the latest events.

Bible

One of the most important items belonging to the first settlers appears to be their family Bible. Many churches were organized during the mid 18th century, telling us that faith and religion were vital to the pioneers. On the Carolina Frontier, they all were able to freely worship and practice their religion beliefs. Through hard work and being faithful to their religion, the first settlers believed they would all prevail and succeed on the frontier.

Tracing our family heritage not only contains names and dates, it also provides a link to a life that once was filled with details, chores, happiness and heartfelt losses. Thank you so much for your support of Piedmont Trails and join us again on the next blog when we begin to hear shouts of liberty from Carolina patriots and the onset of the Revolutionary War.

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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

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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

Dickson,Michael-weaver

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

candle

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

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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.