North Carolina After The American Revolutionary War

During the years after the war, the pieces of many families remained shattered and separated. Although independence had been achieved, many continued to repair their homes, bury their loved ones and heal the wounds that were left behind. The lives of the settlers were forever changed by the onset of the war and it continued well after the last battle was fought on Carolina soil. To say this time was filled with excitement or happiness for all of the settlers would not be true. Hardships were many which resided with loss, separation and anxiety about the future. The settlers were strong-willed and held the capabilities to overcome the weight of sorrow. They watched their children grow and dreamed what they would become. They were loyal to their new country and worked hard to improve their surroundings. The Carolina wilderness was no longer the untamed forest. The state began to take on a new identity and with this new form emerged opportunities, wealth, knowledge and so much more.

Although business did thrive throughout the war, the years following were met with new opportunities and new entrepreneurs. The most popular business among the settlers was farming.. England discouraged cotton crops prior to the war in order to protect their woolen and linen manufacturers. After the war, cotton was beginning to be grown on large acreage plantations. These large farms were located primarily in the eastern part of the state. Tobacco was the most important crop prior to the war and was grown throughout the state. In 1730, Virginia banned the importation of North Carolina tobacco and in 1734, the first tobacco market opened in Bellair, Craven County. Pork was considered a wise investment for many settlers and proved to be quite profitable during the years after the war. Cattle was beginning to grow as well as poultry.

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18th Century Clock

Clock and Watchmakers were operating throughout the state after the war, only a few existed prior. Many of these were also jewelers, silver and goldsmiths. Charles Frederick Huguenine traveled to North Carolina and lived in Halifax. He was trained in Pennsylvania and operated a business in 1798. In Bethabara, Adam Keffler was listed as a clock manufacturer. Mecklenburg County recognized Jonas Cohen, native of London. Robert Eugan worked in Edenton and Peter Strong worked in Fayetteville. A total of 40 watchmakers existed in North Carolina during the 18th century.

The State Bank Bill was passed in 1805 and the first banks were Cape Fear and New Bern. Both of these originated in 1804. The State Bank of North Carolina was chartered and it began operating in 1811. The Federal Government did not issue paper notes until the Civil War. The individual banks produced the bank note currency that existed during the early years of the 19th century.

Gold mining became extremely popular in Cabarrus County after 1799. Underground mining was present all throughout the state by 1825. Everyone in the area would mine for gold in some form during this time, hoping to “strike it rich”.

The first paper mill was built near Hillsborough in 1771. The mill was built to help with the paper shortage during the war. Another paper mill was constructed and operated by Gottlieb Shober in 1790 in Salem. It thrived strongly until the year of 1879 when the mill shut down production. The first newspaper was the North Carolina Gazette, published in New Bern in 1751.

Many do not realize that two chain merchants existed in 18th century North Carolina. They were John Hamilton & Co. and Buchannan, Hastie & Co. These two companies were the dominant merchants on the eastern section of the state. They were both Scottish firms that would set up several stores and hire storekeepers to operate them. Both companies were very successful during the years after the war. To name all of the merchants of the state would require writing a book, so the following is a sample of the 18th century well-known merchants. Chowan County-John Porter, Bath-Giles Shute, Beaufort County-Edward Moseley, Craven County-John Carruthers, Salisbury-James Harrell (James operated his store from 1750-1780), Bethabara-Traugott Bagge (Traugott operated the store in Bethabara from 1768-1772, then in Salem from 1772-1800), Hillsborough-William Johnston, Pitt County-Matthew Scott, Mecklenburg County-Jeremiah McCafferty, Caswell County-John McCoy.

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The New Mill Located At David Caldwell Historic Park

Schools were not organized on a statewide basis following the Revolutionary War. However; several schools did exist within the state. A school was built in the year of 1745 in Edenton and another one built in New Bern in 1764. A school was opened in Hillsborough during the year of 1766. David Caldwell, a minister, organized a school in 1761 located in present day Guilford County. It was named Caldwell Log College and served as an academy. Dr. Charles Harris operated an apprenticeship school and trained approx. 90 students in Cabarrus County.

Years following the war shows approx. 3,500 physicians operating in North Carolina. Only 400 of these had undergone some sort of training and about 200 of these actually held medical degrees. Medical provisions were very sparse during the late 18th century and early 19th century. Moravians used peach blossoms to fight smallpox and sassafras leaves to purify the blood. White oak was used for dysentery. Many herbs and spices were used as medicine for the sick such as sage, rosemary, mint, mustard, nutmeg and many more. Common diseases during this time were Malaria, Typhus, Influenza, Smallpox, Whooping Cough, Tubercolis, Dysentery, Scurvy, Arthritis and Worms.

The Louisiana Purchase in 1803 allowed the western lands to be open to new settlements. This created new dreams for many of the North Carolina settlers and many migrated west through the Appalachian Mountains. For some families that endured great hardships from the war, the expansion allowed them to leave the war memories behind.

Cumberland_Gap

Cumberland Gap

Lands west of the Carolina mountains were settled mainly by different Indian tribes during the war. Beginning soon after the war, many settlers began to look for land investment in the west and soon settlements were allowed in Indiana Territory. This territory originated in 1800 and consisted of the northwestern sections from the Kentucky River to Fort Recovery. Present day states include Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and sections of Ohio and Minnesota. Records and documents can be difficult to locate for the Indiana Territory, but not impossible. In time, the territory was divided into individual territories and later each one claimed statehood.  The Great Wagon Road was still a vital link to and from North Carolina at this time and now many new roads were created that linked new communities and towns. The stage coach lines were more organized and developed by 1830. Town life was changing and growing daily for the settlers as rural life remained basically the same. As families were leaving North Carolina, just as many were arriving, so the state showed significant growth following the war.

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Map of  The Great Wagon Road

Thank You all so much for your support of Piedmont Trails. Wishing you all great treasures to uncover as you research your history and genealogy. Be sure to browse the website for more new information and research links. Save travels on your journey.

 

 

 

 

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Early Settlers Of Rockingham County, NC

18th Century Land Grants of Matrimony Creek

Rockingham County began it’s origins from Guilford County in 1785. The Cheraw Indians lived in the area for many years. Another name for them was often referred to as Saura Indians. They spoke in Sioux dialect and lived in villages between the Catawba River and Yadkin River. They migrated during the late 17th century to present day Stokes and Rockingham counties. Several brutal attacks occurred during the early 18th century which left the villages in dismay.  In 1710, the Senaca tribe from the northwest attacked several villages within the area. The Cheraw or Saura Indians soon migrated southeast to Pee Dee River. Rockingham received it’s name from British Prime Minister, Charles Watson-Wentworth, the Marquis de Rockingham. He was the Prime Minister during the 1765 Stamp Act.

Matrimony Creek begins in Virginia and flows south through Rockingham County until it reaches the Dan River near Highway 311. Ironically, the little creek in Virginia splits away from Bear Branch and continues to present day Highway 220 into North Carolina. There are two Matrimony Creek sections, and one creek. This is why location is so important to the genealogy researcher. In other words, Matrimony Creek joins Bear Branch and flows together for approx. 2 miles in Virginia. Matrimony Creek is rumored to obtain the name from a bachelor residing in the area. Of course, no proof of this is in existence, but it would be interesting to know the story.

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Sullivant

Owen Sullivant received a land warrant consisting of 400 acres along Matrimony Creek on March 20, 1753.

Cantwill

Isaac Cantwill is recorded as a preacher of a church located along Matrimony Creek. The record states that in 1756, the church has a total of 28 members. Matrimony Creek Primitive Baptist Church was officially organized on September 17, 1776. By 1790, Aaron, Charles and Jacob Cantwill (Cantril) can be located on the census for Rockingham County.

James

Among the first settlers of Matrimony Creek was a man named Abraham James. On August 27th of 1762, Abraham received 697 acres located on both sides of Matrimony Creek. Abraham moved his family to Wilkes County and can be located on the 1790 census.  Isaac James entered on April 19, 1779, 200 acres and was issued on October 22, 1782 Book 48, page 139 Grant 630. William James entered on August 1, 1780, 440 acres and was issued on November 8, 1784 Book 56, page 208 Grant 1000.

Hopper

William Hopper recorded 510 acres on May 10, 1762 Book 6, page 161 Grant 20. He originally entered 700 acres in 1761. The Hopper surname is very active in present day Rockingham County, but William moved his family to Wilkes County and can also be found on the 1790 census near Abraham James. Soon after, William moved again to Orange County. Several family members remained near Matrimony Creek. Darby Hopper entered 235 acres on February 26, 1795. The grant was issued on April 24, 1800 in Book 107, page 362, Grant 397. James Hopper entered 200 acres on February 27, 1797 and was recorded on December 20, 1804. Book 120, page 213, Grant 510. Other family notes consists of a Joshua Hopper married Eliza Green and moved to Jacksonville, Illinois where he died in 1851. Thomas Darby Hopper was born in 1731 in Virginia and died in 1820 in Rockingham County, NC. He married Mary Rebecca Morgan.

Gowen

Aaron Gowen entered 410 acres in 1764. It was issued on May 16, 1786 in Book A, page 33. Aaron sold his land to Turbefield Barnes on October 26, 1786 Book A, page 139. At this time, a James Gowen also sold land for a 100 pounds to Thomas Henderson. The 1790 census shows James Gowing listed in Rockingham County. For more family deed records, click the link here.

Callahan

Darby Callahan entered 53 acres along the creek. The grant was issued on November 17, 1790 in Book 76, page 197, Grant 77. The 1790 census lists Josias and William Callahan living in Stokes County. Ezekiel Callahan entered 2 tracts of land on April 7, 1779. 200 acres were issued on October 22, 1783 Book 54, page 38 Grant 725. 100 acres were issued on October 22, 1783 Book 54, page 119 Grant 912.

Harris

Jesse and Thomas Harris entered 175 acres along Matrimony Creek on October 13, 1798 and was issued August 20, 1802. Book 115, page 312, Grant 443. Nathaniel Harris entered on September 17, 1793, 60 acres and was issued December 20, 1796 Book 91, page 445 Grant 247. Nathaniel Harris also entered 350 acres on March 1, 1797 and was issued December 18, 1799 Book 106, page 191 Grant 381. Charles Harris entered on November 21, 1778, 200 acres and was issued on October 11, 1783 Book 54, page 122 Grant 918.

Jameson

Thomas Jameson entered 140 acres along Matrimony Creek on August 24, 1796. The patent was never recorded.

Johnston

Joseph Johnston entered on August 28, 1780, 589 acres and was issued on November 8, 1784 Book 56, page 219 Grant 1038.

Cook

Reubin Cook entered on May 23, 1780, 600 acres and was issued on November 8, 1784 Book 56, page 194 Grant 964.

Odle

William Odle entered 25 acres on February 8, 1791 and was recorded on July 16, 1795 Book 86, page 465 Grant 215. The 1790 census for Rockingham County shows the surname Odle as John, Joseph, Lewis, Uriah and William.

Carter

Nathan Carter entered 100 acres on February 11, 1797 and was issued December 18, 1799 Book 106, page 186 Grant 373. The 1790 census for Rockingham County shows a Thomas Carter listed.

rockingham cabin

Cobler

Christopher Cobler entered 300 acres on November 28, 1778 and was issued on March 1, 1780 Book 33, page 299 Grant 253. Frederick Cobler entered August 16, 1784, 50 acres and was issued on May 16, 1787 Book 65, page 141 Grant 1449.

Powell

John Powell entered 100 acres on March 30, 1779 and was issued on March 1, 1780 Book 33, page 337 Grant 291.

Roberts

Richard Roberts entered on September 6, 1778, 200 acres and was issued on March 1, 1780 Book 33, page 441 Grant 395.

Davison

Richard Davison entered on January 2, 1780, 440 acres and was issued on October 22, 1782 Book 48, page 61 Grant 466.

Roach

John Roach entered on May 17, 1779, 100 acres and was issued on October 22, 1782 Book 48, page 122 Grant 594.

Leak

John Leak owned many acres of land along Matrimony Creek in 1773. He organized Leaksville in 1795 and built his home near the Dan River. By 1800, John Leak no longer owned his vast amount of land in the area.

Price

Reece Price settled near Matrimony Creek. He built his home in the area and married twice. To learn the detailed history of the Price family, click the link here.

Grogan

Henry Grogan was issued 200 acres on March 1, 1780 Book 33, page 235 Grant 239.

Matrimony Creek was used as a guideline from Virginia into North Carolina. A trail separated from the The Great Wagon Road and wandered narrowly near Beaver Creek where once was a fort during the mid 18th century. The fort was to offer security from Indians who were still living in the wilderness at the time. During the Revolutionary War, the creek was used once again along with the old trail to direct the troops of  Col. Abraham Penn on March 11, 1781.

1795 rockingham

Rockingham County’s history is filled with details that pertain to our ancestors lives. The way they lived, laughed, celebrated, cried and mourned. Matrimony Creek winds through the county, the lands of our relatives, just as it did many years ago until it joins the Dan River. Thank You for visiting our posting about the waters of Matrimony Creek and it’s early settlers. Wishing you all well with your journey.

 

The Moravian Settlements

A Guide To History And Genealogy In North Carolina

If you have an ancestor who was living in the Piedmont area of North Carolina during the 18th century, you can rest assure, your ancestor associated with the Moravians or was a member of the Moravian church. This religious group traveled from Pennsylvania in 1753 and purchased 100,000 acres of land in North Carolina. Their first settlement was established in Bethabara in the year of 1754. By 1759, Bethania had been established near the Great Wagon Road which allowed travelers to stop at the small village and trade goods, spend the night and make new acquaintances. During these years, the French and Indian War was creating turmoil in the area. Many families sought refuge within the barriers of Bethabara and Bethania during this time. Other communities were Salem in 1766,  Friedberg, organized in 1773, Friedland in 1780 and Hope in 1780.

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The Moravians were industrious, hard working and eager to share their religious beliefs with anyone who was willing to listen. All of the settlements were equipped with several businesses that traded various goods needed by the settlers. There were potters, blacksmiths, tailors, wheelwrights, bakers, taverns and doctors. The Moravians used The Great Wagon Road during the 18th century to travel back and forth to Pennsylvania and transport several items back to the Carolina settlements. They would also travel south to Fayetteville and Charleston, South Carolina. Gottlieb Kramer(Cromer), son of Adam Kramer worked for his father, a tailor by trade, and he would also transport goods back and forth via wagon. The settlers depended on the Moravians just as the Moravians depended on the early settlers. Together, they populated and grew the surrounding areas into large towns and communities.

The Moravians had strict rules in order to join their churches and become a member. Majority of the early settlers did not wish to join, but they needed the Moravians to purchase their crops or trade for needed supplies. The settlers also needed the Moravian doctors to attend to the sick which at times included not only the family members but the livestock as well. The Moravian settlements were the center of 18th century living in North Carolina.

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The records of the Moravians portray life during this time vividly and with great detail. The Moravian Archives Southern Province located in Winston-Salem, NC houses thousands upon thousands of records, diaries and journals dating back to 1753. These records contain data on all citizens living in the area and has proven to be a vital asset within my own personal genealogy research. The primary language among the settlements at the beginning was German, but as the years went by, English was spoken everywhere but during church services by the end of the 18th century. So, some of the records may be in old German dialect, but are searchable through the catalog database. The National Moravian Archives are located in Bethlehem, PA and hold all records pertaining to the Moravian church located in the northern region. The online website guides you through the process of researching their vast amount of records. The Moravian Historical Society is affiliated with the Northern Province Archives and together work hard on preserving the history of the Moravian beliefs and customs.

99 Garden Shed

“Felix Motsinger with a wagon full of turnips to trade. Allotted sugar.” Entry dated January 15th, 1773. The above is a translation from the tavern ledger book of Salem. Another entry: “Mary Hensen arrived from South Carolina wishing to join the brethern. She is an orphan and has nowhere else to turn.” Entry dated spring of 1783. I later located a reference to the same Mary Hensen that she was allowed to become a member of the church. Mary married and moved away from Bethania and lived her remaining days in the Meadows area of Stokes County. These are actual documents that I have collected through the years from the archives. Felix Motsinger was not a member of the church, but he was active within the Moravian settlements. According to the catalog, Felix was documented over 20 times in various journals and documents. This is a prime example of how the Moravians documented their daily activities. Without this vital information, many details of our ancestor’s lives would be forever lost.

The original Wachovia tract pictured earlier, portrays the exact location of the land purchase. In present day, the north line lies within the heart of Rural Hall, the south borders present day Forsyth County line with the east ending at Walkertown and the west ending at Muddy Creek in Clemmons. If you can trace your ancestor to the surrounding area, chances are the Moravian Archives has information pertaining to them.

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During the year of 1756, Indian uprisings occurred all throughout the area and many families living near Bethabara took refuge in the settlement. These families were living west of the Muddy Creek and north into present day Stokes and Surry counties. A typhus epidemic occurred during the summer of 1759 and killed many settlers all throughout the area. Moravian ministers were summoned often to conduct funerals and assist in burying the dead. There were also families located south and to the east in present day Guilford county. The majority traveled the Warrior’s Path from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Maine, New Jersey and Virginia. Nearly every settler stopped at Bethabara between the years of 1755 to 1759. When Bethania came into existence, Bethabara became a small rural farming community. Bethania was located right on the path of the Great Wagon Road, present day Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem and allowed settlers to stock up on supplies, spend the night and gather local news before heading to their destinations.

Friedberg is located in the northern section of Davidson County. The majority of these members arrived from Broadbay, Maine and were German descent. Friedland is located in Winston-Salem, just south of present day I-40 and High Point Road. Hope is located just east of the Yadkin River near present day Clemmons.

According to the Moravian diaries, no settlers were documented along the Yadkin River prior to 1752. That is not to say that no settlers can be found living in the Yadkin area during the time before 1752. The Moravians noted no settlers when traveling through the area in search for your desired property. Indian parties hunted these grounds and some of their artifacts can still be found today. Settlers who were not members of the Moravian church and settled west of the Wachovia tract are as follows. William Johnson-1757-600 acres, Evan Ellis-1758-651 acres, George McKnight-1762-611 acres, these names were among the largest tracts at that time. Other surnames were Long, Phillips, Matzinger, Teague, Rothrock, Kerner, Tesh, Weavil, Bodenhamer, Green, Collett, Iams, Dean, Crews, Dorsett, Braun, Valentine, Waggoner, Smith and Reid. These settlers arrived prior to 1770.

brothers house

The Moravian history of North Carolina affected our ancestor’s daily lives, whether it was trading crops for supplies, seeking medical assistance with the sick or requesting a sermon in someone’s house. The Moravians influenced the culture and the population of the area. Their presence enticed others to follow and settle in North Carolina. By early 19th century, many of the original Moravian customs were abolished such as allowing the church to determine who marries and what job you would have in the community. But, many of the original customs still exist today. For instance, all married women are buried along side of each other as well as married men are buried near other married men. Small boys with small boys and single men buried with other single men. Many Easter Sunrise Services were newsworthy due to the turnout by so many people during the late 19th and 20th centuries. Old Salem, of Winston-Salem offers tours in the 18th century village and the smell of fresh baked bread fills the streets from Winkler Bakery.

As a researcher of genealogy, I am so thankful for the precise record keeping of the 18th century Moravian church. They preserved our history with such vivid detail that it brings the past to the future. Don’t limit yourself on your search, visit the areas of your ancestors and contact local churches. You never know, you just might locate the missing link from your family tree. As always, Thank You all so much for your support and I wish you well on your research. Enjoy your journey!!

18th Century Settlers of Stokes County, NC

Segment 6

Welcome to the final segment of this series. Stokes county was formed from Surry County in 1789 and Germanton was the county seat. Later, Forsyth County formed and the county seat of Stokes became Crawford. The name later changed to Danbury. This series has remembered only a small amount of history that Stokes County offers. The county is filled with historical artifacts and family stories. It is up to all of us to find these treasures and preserve them for future generations.

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David Rominger(1716-1777) was married in 1741 and living in Broad Bay, Maine. He was assigned Lot number 13 which consisted of 100 acres. His wife died in 1752 and he married a widow with a large family of children. In 1769, David and his son, Phillip, migrated to North Carolina. In 1770, David’s second wife and children joined him in North Carolina where she died that same year. David settled in Bethabara and is buried in Salem Cemetery. David’s brother, Michael(1709-1803), of whom was the oldest of the siblings and was a carpenter by trade. Michael served 3 years as a soldier in the Royal Regiment and left to marry Anna Katharina Anton(1717-1794) on December 26, 1740 in Germany. The family sailed for America and lived in Broad Bay, Maine from 1753 to 1770. In 1770, Michael sold his farm and migrated to North Carolina by way of The Great Wagon Road. The family lived in Friedland and had the following children: Elisabetha-1741, Jacob-1743, Johannes-1745, George-1747, Ludwig, Martin-1752, Catharina-1755, Jacobina, Michael-1759, Christian-1762 and an infant daughter who died. A future blog about this family and their life experiences will be featured here at a later date.

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Phillip Rothrock(1713-1803) arrived from Germany on the ship, Pink Mary. The year was 1733. He lived near Yorktown, Pennsylvania with his wife, Catharine Kemtoz(1720-1777). They were married in 1720 at Rothenback, Germany. After the American Revolutionary War, Phillip and his family migrated to North Carolina. The family settled at Friedburg and are shown as farm lot number 120. Phillip had a total  of 9 sons named here. Jacob-1741, Johannes-1744, Phillip Jr.-1746, Peter-1746, George-1748, Valentine-1751, Benjamin-1753, Joseph-1755 and Frederick-1760. Phillip Jr married Elizabeth Weller(1749-1839) in October of 1769. Phillip purchased 1060 acres near Friedburg, NC. He was an active member with the Moravian Church serving as steward in 1791. Phillip Jr. along with two of his brothers, Valentine and Peter, all served in the Continental Army under George Washington. They all returned to Pennsylvania to enlist and serve during the war. All returned to North Carolina when the war ended. Children born to Phillip Jr. and Elizabeth are Jacob-1770, Frederick-1772, Eva-1774, George-1777, Johannes-1779, Joseph-1782, Phillip-1785, Martin-1787, Christian-1790 and Daniel-1794.

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Joseph Scales was born in 1765 and died June 20, 1832. He was the son of John Scales and Lydia McClaren. The family has a fascinating early history in Guilford County, NC. Joseph married Nancy Alley(1777-1820) and both are buried in the family cemetery located in Sandy Ridge. The couple had at least 6 children; Absalom(1798-1859), Sally(1801), Jane(1803-1878), Nathaniel(1806-1827), Joseph(1811-1839) and Andrew(1813-1839).

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Present Day Pfaffenhofen

Adam Spach was born January 20, 1720 at Pfaffenhofen in Lower Alsace, Germany. He died August 23, 1801 in Salem, North Carolina. He was married to Maria Elisabeth Hueter on December 17, 1752. Maria was born April 1, 1731 and died October 26, 1799 in North Carolina. In 1754, Adam and Maria traveled the Great Wagon Road to North Carolina and settled near Wachovia, the Moravian settlement. The couple traveled with the Nathaniel Seidel party and left in the month of May. Adam built the rock house, pictured below and raised the following children: Johann Adam(1753-1816), Maria(1756-1777), Rosina(1758-1849), Maria Elisabeth(1760-1846), John(1762-1844), Gottlieb(1764-1814), Anna(1766-1858), Jacob(1768-1856) and Joseph(1771-1820).

Spach House (2)

Adam Spach Rock House

John Tuttle was born in 1761 and died in 1840. His father is Thomas Tuttle and both  enlisted with the NC militia during the year of 1778. In 1782, both Thomas and son John migrated to present day Stokes County. John married Anna Barbara Fry on June 16, 1783. John and Anna Tuttle had the following children: Thomas-1784, Michael-1786, Elizabeth-1788, Mary-1790, Anna-1793, Henry-1795, John-1797, William-1799, Peter-1802, Elijah-1806 and Sarah-1809.

These early settlers of Stokes County were brave pioneers who traveled The Great Wagon Road from Pennsylvania and other northern areas to reach North Carolina.  These families would travel with others known as a “party”. Preparations would be made prior to the trip such as rations, supplies, etc. Many times, the travelers would not know one another before they headed down the trail. But, upon their arrival in North Carolina, it is now understood that these families were forever bonded together in life. A huge amount of these families would send members of the family back and forth along the road for various reasons. Many left matters unsettled prior to them leaving their homes and many would be sent for encouraging or visiting family members that were left behind.

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The pioneers who traveled here prior to the American Revolutionary War were vulnerable. Carolina was known as a wilderness, a wild frontier. This explains the reasoning behind Adam Spach and his rock house. The homes were made to be secure and guarded the family unit from the wild elements around them. The Cherokee did not welcome the new settlers and were still considered a threat during the mid 18th century. There are many stories and factual data containing information of Cherokee raids upon the early settlers.

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Martin Rock House in Stokes County

These 6 segments have only scratched the surface with Stokes County settlers and early history. The treasures of the past are so vivid all throughout the county and I hope this small series encourages all of you to research more into Stokes County and it’s early inhabitants. As Always, Thank You All So Much for your support of Piedmont Trails. Share your experiences of your journey and most of all, enjoy the trails.

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18th Century Pioneers of Stokes County, NC

Segment 5

We begin segment 5 with the year of 1756, when James Lankford was selected to serve as constable of the Stokes County area, then known as Rowan County. James purchased land along the banks of Fagg Creek in 1765. His will was signed on October 17, 1772 and is recorded in Stokes County. His personal items were left to his wife, Sarah and his land was to be divided between two of his children. A son, James Lankford, Jr and a daughter,  Susannah Lankford Dicke. Another son, William Lankford was granted lifetime rights to live on the land. The Lankford family was involved with the American Revolutionary War and the Battle of Kings Mountain. “Stokes County militia members were part of the group of patriots in pursuit of Patrick Ferguson in his fatal flight toward Kings Mountain, SC. John Martin and Thomas Lankford of Captain Joseph Cloud, Jr’s Company, part of Cleveland’s Regiment, were overtaken by a Tory ambush near the Broad River while they had been conducting a spy mission. Martin was wounded in the head, but Lankford was unharmed. Martin recovered from his wounds and John Deathridge succeeded in removing the bullet particles from his wound.” Quoted from Kings Mountain and It’s Heroes, published in 1881 by Lyman C. Draper. William Lankford married Nancy Dickerson and remained in Stokes County.

James Martin was born May 21, 1742 in New Jersey and died October 31, 1834 in Snow Creek, Stokes County. He was first married to Ruth Rogers in 1763 and later married Martha Loftin Jones in 1800. Children from the first union are, Sarah(1764-1840) married Pleasant Henderson, Mary(1766-1768), Jean(1768-1790), Hugh(1770-1861) married Elizabeth, Ann married Thomas Searcy, Mary(1774-1851) married Thomas Rogers, Thomas(1777-1778), Alexander, Samuel, Fanny married Robert Hunter, James married Sarah Alexander. Children from the 2nd marriage; Henry(1802-1846) married Polly Manuel, Edmund(1804-1861) married Harty Davis Williams, Elizabeth married Daniel Jordan, Martha married Alfred Scales and John married Mary Williams.

wagon wheel

The year of 1783, Job Martin appeared in the Stokes County area. A son of Job, Valentine Martin purchased land that sat on both sides of the Little Yadkin River. Valentine married Elizabeth Dalton and they had at least one daughter, Charlotte Martin. Valentine then married Nancy and both are named in the Eaton’s Church Book dated 1805 as active members. Valentine and Nancy had the following children: Rachel, Valentine, Henry, Samuel, Mary and Carter. Valentine migrated to TN circa 1810.

John Mucke traveled down the Great Wagon Road with the Moravians from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Click here to read more about the Great Wagon Road. He was born circa 1745 and by 1766, he was operating the still house in Bethania. To learn more about colonial distillery, click here. He married Magdalena Hirtel on July 1, 1774. Three children were born, John Lewis, Mary Elizabeth and Beningna. By 1779, the family was living in Bethabara where John was operating a new still house. The family moved to Germanton in 1792 and were no longer active with the Moravian faith. John purchased several land tracts in and around the Germanton area. After the death of his first wife, John married  Juliana Phillips. John died in 1807 while his wife Juliana was with child. Juliana married a Spaugh and the unborn child was given the Spaugh last name.

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18th century still located at Mount Vernon

Charles McAnally, at age 23, migrated with the Moravians to Carolina and settled a few miles from Bethabara. Charles was working as a wheelwright and in 1754, took in an apprentice by the name of John Paunton who was 21 at the time. This was quite an achievement for a man of this age. During the French and Indian War, George Washington was asked by the Virginia government to organize a defense in western Virginia against the Indian raids that were occurring. Charles McAnally was a member of the Virginia Colonial Militia located in Augusta County in 1758. In 1763, Charles followed the famous trail once again from Virginia to North Carolina. The Indian Treaty was signed in this year stating the Proclamation Line. This prevented settlers from settling west of the Yadkin River. In 1776, the Moravians posted the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War began. Captain Charles McAnally was in Bethania at the time of the posting according to the Moravian diaries. It states that Captain Charles McAnally was a captain in the North Carolina Militia. His sons, John and Jesse and his son-in-law, Joseph Banner were all members of the militia. In 1788, Charles was an elected member of the Convention of North Carolina from Surry County. Other members were Joseph Winston, James Gains, Absolam Bostick and Matthew Brooks. This convention was called in order to designate a state capital. Stokes County was formed a year later in 1789 and the first commissioners were Gray Bynum, Charles McAnally, Anthony Billings, James Makely and John Halbrut. Charles McAnally was born in 1731 in Pennsylvania and died in 1810 in Stokes County. He is buried in a family cemetery near the Dan River. Charles married Ruth Mae Houston(1736-1806) and had the following children; John married Anna Stone, Sarah married Joseph Banner, Jesse married Elizabeth Morgan, Mary married Constantine Ladd, Lois married John Evans, Ruth married Torrence Burns and Hannah married Joshua Homer.

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It is very obvious that many of these first settlers were well educated. Many wills contain references to books as part of the inventory. I’m sure to many, if a man owned a Bible, he had within his possessions, a library. The tools of many of the wills, describe skilled tradesmen. The lantern above gives reflection to what the frontier in the Stokes County area was like during this time. The darkness overwhelmed the little cabins that dotted the landscape but in anticipation of the sunrise, a new day would begin and the work would continue. Wildlife was abundant all throughout Stokes County, this included bear, wolves and panthers. The cabins were constructed to keep out all of the wilderness during the blackness of night. You can imagine the night, thick with a canopy of tall trees and in the distance a small flicker of light shows itself from a cabin.

This concludes segment 5 of this series. The final chapter will be segment 6 as we continue along the Stokes County trail of the 18th century. Visit the NC Genealogy Links page for more information about all North Carolina counties and other research tools. Piedmont Trails is now on Pinterest, click here and see the latest pins and boards. As always, your support of Piedmont Trails is greatly appreciated. Wishing you all great success with your family research and Enjoy your journey.

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Carolina Patriots

Stories of The American Revolutionary War

There are many among us who exhibit great knowledge and detail concerning the battles fought during the American Revolutionary War. There are museums and statues that proclaim the sacrifice of so many. Symbols of freedom and democracy survive today because of a thought in one’s mind that populated throughout the region and became the reason for war and independence. The significant dates, the battle ground sites and the graves are all equally important as we reflect back to this era. The thousands upon thousands of stories passed down through the generations are just as important. These stories contain great loss, great victories and heroism. They were recited near the end of a day, while enjoying the crackling of the fire with children’s eyes beaming filled with anticipation on each word spoken. They were shared at family gatherings among the men while sipping corn whiskey, proclaiming  battle details and the death of so many. They were shared at church as mothers wiped away their tears, not knowing the ground upon which their loved one laid eternally. The American Revolutionary War was necessary for our ancestors to complete in order to provide a freedom that had not been known to anyone in their family before. It was a chance for a new beginning, it was worth fighting for, it was worth dying for. Our daily lives differ today compared to the year of 1780. The lives of today cannot ever know the real feelings our ancestors were experiencing, but we can trace their footsteps. Genealogy is so much more than dates, censuses and tombstones. Each name holds within itself a life that endured the hard times and enjoyed the happier times. We can only hope that the future generations will find us just as interesting as we find our 18th century pioneers. Let’s travel onward and discover the passion of liberty in the Carolina frontier.

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During the years before 1776, Governor William Tryon was representing Britain and maintaining the respect from the citizens to King George. The Stamp Act of 1765 along with the Townsend Act and the Sugar Tax all brought dismay to the lives of the Carolina pioneers. Tryon employed several men who upheld the taxes and collected them. If someone was unable to pay, items would be taken to offset the balance. It simply didn’t matter how important the items were to the survival of the family unit, the taxes must be paid. Oxen and horses were often taken from the settlers along with food, spices and clothing. Tryon also imposed additional taxes on the Carolina pioneers. These taxes would provide living quarters for the governor and his personnel. In some cases, men were beaten or imprisoned. In North Carolina, the loyalist outnumbered the patriots during the early years of the Revolution. The settlers who were new to the area felt threatened if they supported liberty. Many homes were burned, small skirmishes between neighbors happened often as people tried to persuade others to respect the King or to fight for liberty.  As we all know and understand, the majority rules and this was the case in frontier Carolina during this time period.

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During the year of 1775, a small group of early settlers located in Surry County formed a safety committee which was designed to protect their families and their homes during the crisis of events happening throughout the area. A journal kept by William Lenoir states the members concerns of mistreatment by King George and his parliament. The committee calls for ammunition and guns in preparation of a battle near their homes. They felt threatened and they felt outnumbered. In public, Benjamin Cleveland proclaimed, “GOD Save The King” but in the committee, he helped to store and organize the ammunition that was stockpiled for future use. Committees similar to this one were becoming numerous all throughout North Carolina. Citizens were organizing themselves and preparing for battle as they learned from events happening in Boston and elsewhere.

The North Carolina Loyalist promised it’s neighbors that no harm would ever come to women and children in the area. But, this was not the end result. Many women received beatings and even death. Children were also victims of war. Hundreds of homes were burned simply because the word had been spread that they supported the liberty effort. Brutal tactics were used throughout North Carolina and in most cases, the British commanders ordered these acts upon their men. A patriot, John Sparks,  proclaimed on May 13th of 1776 near Wilmington, the British attacked a plantation and found the feathered beds lying on the ground. He also found no livestock on the property and bread slaughtered in pieces lying in the dirt. At the back of the house, he found women crying and one woman dead from a bayonet wound.

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With the men often away for months at a time, women were forced to manage all operations of the farm and the household. Children were expected to do more work and help out. The women longed for a letter or a word about their husbands and many received bad news. Some women left their homes and resided with other family members or lived with neighbors. This left the land and the home open to robbers and the British army.  William Gibson, a settler living in Rowan County, returned home after being away for 6 months. During his absence, he learned that his mother had been tied and beaten by the Tories. His house was burned and all of his property was destroyed. Mary Whitfield stated at the age of 87, that her husband and 4 brothers were often away from home fighting the Tory parties. The home was often visited by Tory members and they were robbed numerous times, all of their cattle were killed and one woman would stay awake all night while the others would sleep.  Mrs. David Caldwell would proudly show people her prized tablecloth for years after the war. She was able to hang onto this precious item despite the Tory’s visits to her home. Mrs. Elizabeth Forbis was riding a horse when she was approached by a Tory. With a hoe in her hand, she raised her arm high and instructed the Tory that she would split his head open if he tried to seize her horse. She was able to ride away and tell her story.

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These stories are only just a glimpse into what life was really like during the war years. People were often anxious to hear about loved ones and desperate for relief from the extended arms of King George. Liberty meant so much to the early settlers due to the sacrifices they all endured to be where they were for the moment. Traveling from their homeland to a new land was no small quest and to arrive only to be taxed to the point that prospering for the future could not be seen for themselves or their offspring was disheartening. Many of these settlers left their homelands for this very reason, they no longer wanted to be ruled by a tyrant that resided over 3,000 miles away. A tyrant who demanded respect but yet gave very little gratitude or acknowledgment to the colonies livelihood. When the settlers heard about the events that were happening elsewhere, they became concerned, but they also became fully aware that in order to achieve in this new land, it would have to be conquered and diminish the problems that prohibited it’s growth. This explains the enlistments of so many who pledged allegiance to a new democracy and proclaimed liberty from King George in 1776 and 1777.

Each and every family was affected by the war in some way or another. Even the Moravians, who tried so hard to stay out of the battle zone, felt it’s presence on several occasions. Lord Cornwallis stayed in Salem while he was marching through the area to confront Nathaniel Greene. The Quakers who were totally against war, also proclaimed liberty for all. Many children witnessed the war with their own eyes. The scars that were left behind is hard for us today to comprehend. The blasting of cannons in the distance, the screams of panic from the neighbors and the glimpse of redcoats in the woods as they marched onward. All of the settlers had their stories to tell and share. Future generations would recite them on special occasions, but as the years drifted by, the stories would be told less and less. The settlers prevailed and welcomed victory when it finally arrived. They mourned for the ones lost, but were now able to hope for the future. A new beginning had arrived and tomorrow was what they could make of it through liberty and justice for all.

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The above photo shows Henry Horton(circa 1940). He is the 3rd great grandchild of Nathan Horton(1757-1824). If you look closer, you will see that Henry is wearing a  uniform. He proclaimed the uniform belonged to his great great great grandfather, Nathan who fought during the American Revolutionary War. Experts later determined that the actual uniform dates to the War of 1812 and belonged to Henry’s great great grandfather, Phineas Horton. Nevertheless, Henry felt the importance of sharing his family’s history and wanted others to know that his family fought for liberty.

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I encourage all of you to locate the stories of your ancestors during the years of the American Revolutionary War. There are many treasures that dwell in the most unlikely places, so think outside of the box and explore all of your leads. You just never know what you might stumble across as you walk in the footsteps of long ago. Thank You all for your support of Piedmont Trails and wishing you great success with your research and your journey into North Carolina history.

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