The Great Wagon Road In North Carolina

A Detailed Description For Years of 1745-1770


The last segment featured the trail reaching the Carolina wilderness. As the early settlers gazed upon the horizon, they carried within them the dreams of their hearts and the hope of the future. The pioneers have been traveling for weeks now, enduring the hardships of the road and it’s many hazards. The families along with the animals are becoming more and more tired of the daily travel. The rough terrain is harsh along with the elements of nature forcing her hand upon the pioneers. Many of these pioneers changed their destination routes and settled in areas near the road. 

The tall swaying pines were greeting the pioneers as they crossed the Virginia/Carolina state line onto present day Amostown Road located in Stokes County. Traveling 5 miles, they reached present day, Sandy Ridge after crossing Buffalo Creek and Blackies Branch. The trail has continued as an Indian hunting path but it is also following the old buffalo herd trails. The buffalo made several paths that lead to water such as Buffalo Creek. The actual ford of Blackies Branch is located on Dillard Road. The road now joins with NC 704 for 4 miles until it joins NC 772. The next major water crossing would be located at the Dan River. Many different fords have been located along the river, many believe that the most popular ford was located along Glidewell Road near present day Dodgetown Road. Upon reaching the Dodgetown area, a junction in the trail appears. This junction was named Limestone Road during 1770. The pioneers who traveled the road prior to 1770 took the trail extending onto Highway 89 south to Walnut Cove where portions lie across Highway 65 and 66 through Stokes County.

The Great Wagon Road branches into many different trails along the Carolina countryside. As you follow NC 772, 3 miles from Dodgetown area, the settlers would be arriving in present day Dillard. Continuing along NC 772 for 4 miles, the trail turns on Hickory Fork Road until Willard Road. I strongly recommend a 4 wheel drive in this area along Willard Road due to the very rural area and frequent flooding from the Dan River. Once the river is crossed here, the present day road transforms into a dirt path until it reaches Saura Farm Road.  Tuttle Road is located after traveling 2 miles. This road will join US 311 and Oldtown Road near Walnut Cove. Continuing onward for 4 miles, the trail reaches present day Brook Cove Road and then joins Highway 8 until it reaches the original Townfork Settlement. A bridge is now located near the original ford at Town Creek. 

A few surnames who settled this area prior to 1760 are Armstrong,  Beard, Bitting, Braley, Donnel, Gillespie, Grogan, Kerr, McClure, McAdoo, Nicks, Nix and Walker. Majority of these pioneers lived near Buffalo Creek in present day Stokes County, NC.

Documentation proves that settlers were traveling this area as early as 1718

Highway 8 leads the present travelers to Germanton which was established in 1790. The crossing of Buffalo Creek would be waiting on the early settlers which today can be crossed by a bridge. The original trail now travels 1 mile to the junction of Highway 65 in Rural Hall. From here you travel 2 1/2 miles along Germanton Road/Highway 8 until Stanleyville Drive. 5 miles to University Drive in Winston-Salem and 1/2 miles to West Haynes Mill Road. Another 1/2 mile crossing Grassy Creek until the trail reaches Bethania Station Road. At this point, the Moravians built a new road that reached their settlements. This segment will continue with the original trail. 

From Bethania Station Road the trail travels along Beck’s Church Road to Bethabara. In 1763, a new road was ordered in this area that leads to present day Salisbury and the Yadkin River. This route would have been closely followed by Morgan Bryan and his traveling party from Virginia. The actual route can be located near Speas Road and Midkiff Road. The area has drastically changed over the years due to agriculture and economic progress. After 2 miles the trail joins Reynolda Road in Winston-Salem. Traveling for 5 miles along Stratford Road and Reynolda Road, the trail then reached Silas Creek Parkway and Ebert Road. Traveling 4 miles to NC 150 and Old Salisbury Highway, this portion of the road was originally a pack horse Indian trail that traveled east to Cross Creek, otherwise known as Fayetteville, NC.

Documentations prove that George Washington traveled sections of the Great Wagon Road while on his Southern Tour during 1791.

From this point, the road travels 27 miles along NC 150 and US 29 to reach the Yadkin River. Today a bridge marks the crossing along the original route. The above data documents the original route of the road entering into North Carolina. Depending upon the timeline of the early pioneers depends on what actual route they traveled. North Carolina was a land of wilderness with little to very few settlers prior to 1745 in this region. Portions of the land were open meadows which were perfect grazing lands for buffalo. The last document verifying the sightings of buffalo in the region can be found in the Moravian diaries and date to the year of 1758. Huge trees also dominated the landscape as well as wildflowers and natural springs. The land that our ancestors gazed upon so many years ago has greatly changed all through the years. But due to research, it is possible to travel along the same route our ancestors did during the 18th century.

To have a better understanding of the sounds our ancestors heard while on the Great Wagon Road, click here. Also, if you would like to have a better understanding on how the wagons crossed rivers and creeks, click here. Depending upon the timeline of your ancestor, greatly varies  which route was taken. Prior to 1765, only two routes were used from Big Lick(Roanoke), Virginia to Carolina. After 1770, several new routes were established and used up to the American Revolutionary War. By 1790, road improvements were made along the many routes leading into North Carolina and additional routes were made traveling south and west from the region. 

The Great Wagon Road Is A Historic Trail

The early settlers used the road to travel back and forth from North Carolina to Pennsylvania. The road allowed the sale of cattle and crops for many of the pioneers. Supplies were transported into North Carolina via the road to stock shelves in merchant stores located in Moravian settlements, Salisbury and other early towns established prior to 1770. The next segment on the road will give a detailed route entering into South Carolina and Georgia.  Also, a new page will be arriving to Piedmont Trails in  January 2019. This page will give research techniques and information about all 18th and early 19th century migration trails throughout the entire United States.

Piedmont Trails appreciates your support so much. I hope everyone is able to discover many treasures along the trail of your ancestors. Determining the actual route of your ancestors can be a difficult project, but it is not impossible by any means. Using the right research techniques and creating a timeline from your notes will greatly help you determine the right route. All of our ancestors left an amazing trail to follow. Enjoy your journey !!

The Origins of Kernersville

The Story Of A Small Town In Forsyth County, NC

What defines a small town? Could it be the actual size of the population? Could it be the boundaries that restrict its growth? Or could it mean something more, a feeling of belonging? A feeling that means home. Kernersville is one of those special places that welcomes you in with a smile. Nestled in Forsyth County near present day Winston-Salem, Kernersville speaks volumes of history as soon as you enter through the city limits. The downtown streets are narrow with little shops all in a row. Shade provided by the trees lining the sidewalks cast shadows on your feet as you stroll along. The crossroads located in the center of town were distinguished many years ago with the name of Dobson’s Crossroads. At one time, a tavern with an inn stood at the road welcoming weary travelers. Before this, David Morrow owned the land who purchased it from Caleb Story. Caleb Story held a land grant dated 1756 for 400 acres of what is now known as part of Kernersville. Before Caleb Story, the land belonged to the Indians. Cherokee, Catawba and the Sioux were among these tribes. Broken pottery has been located within the city limits of Kernersville along with numerous amounts of arrowheads. Several of these I have found personally and wondered what stories they could tell if only allowed to speak.

kernersville map

Map of Kernersville 1834

During the late 18th century, Dobson’s Crossroads was a major stop along the route north, so many travelers would rest at the tavern and the inn. It was built circa 1772 by William Dobson. He raised his family and operated the daily functions of the business. The main road that crossed in front of the tavern was the colonial stage road. If you have ancestor’s who migrated the Great Wagon Road and settled in or around the area of Kernersville, it’s very probable that they may have stopped or even stayed at the inn. After the Revolutionary War, George Washington was making his way on his southern tour. He was visiting the country after he was elected as our first president. He arrived at the crossroads June 2nd, 1791 and breakfast was prepared for him. Washington had just left Salem on May 31st. This will give you an idea on the length of travel time it took between Salem and what is now known as Kernersville. Present day travel would take you approx. 15 minutes. It should be noted that George Washington made several stops along the way and did not travel at night.

Dobson Crossroad

Dobson Tavern and Crossroads

William Dobson sold the land which now consisted of over a thousand acres to Gottlieb Schober in 1813. Gottlieb traveled to Carolina with the Moravians and was the first postmaster of Salem. He left the Moravian church and moved his family to the inn. Gottlieb’s son, Nathaniel inherited the property and continued to operate the tavern which also by now had a store. Joseph Kerner purchased the property from Nathaniel on November 14, 1817 and moved his family from the Friedland settlement. Friedland, a Moravian settlement was located approx. 7 miles from the inn. To learn more about Friedland, click here. The origins of Kernerville’s name arrives with Joseph Kerner. Joseph and his family continued to operate the business renaming it Kerner’s Crossroads. He purchased additional lands increasing his vast amount to a total of 1,144 acres before his death in 1830. The division of the land occurred among the children of Joseph Kerner and the lands remained within the immediate family until 1841 when Salome, daughter of Joseph, and her husband, Appollos Harmon, sold a portion of their property. Bits and pieces were donated or sold over the years until the inn was sold as well. Phillip Kerner, son of Joseph, operated the inn until he sold the property to Robert Henly of Randolph County. Eventually, the crossroads began to take on the appearance of a community. By the end of the Civil War, several churches had been built along with other businesses and by 1871, Kernersville was incorporated. What happened to the inn? Well, Henly operated the inn until 1882 when he sold the property to Dr. Sapp. The inn was renamed Sapp Hotel and Dr Sapp operated a drug store on the premises as well. Years later, it became known as Auto Inn until eventually the inn was torn down and replaced with another business. The days of the tavern and the inn are lingering in the past with the stories and the people of long ago.

 A Sampling of Surnames of Kernersville

Adkins, Blackburn, Blackwell, Brooks, Coltrane, Cooke, Davis, Dicks, Donnell, Dunlap, Flynt, Frentress, Friende, Fulp, Fulton, Galloway, Greenfield,  Harmon, Huff, Ingram, Johnson, Joyce, Joyner, Kerner, Lain, Leak, Lindsay, Linville, Lowery,Matthews, Morris, Morton, Motsinger, Pepper, Phillips, Pinnix, Plunkett, Prince, Record, Ring, Roberts, Sapp, Shore, Sigmon,Snow, Stafford, Sullivan, Swaim, Swisher, Teague, Vance, Walker, Weatherly, Whicker, Whitaker

What makes a small town special? The answer to this is fairly easy and I think everyone would agree with me, it’s the people. The seeds of a town are held by the roots of it’s people, nourished to grow beyond it’s original boundaries to new beginnings and blue skies. It’s the daily routines of neighbors, the casual events at the local store, the children attending school, the baseball games, the dances filled with hopeful romances, the picnics and parades. It’s the rhythm of the people creating a heartbeat that unites a small town. That’s the “special”. As always, Thank You all so much for your support of Piedmont Trails and I wish you all great success with your journey to the past.

Pictured at the beginning of the blog is Korner’s Folly. You can learn more about this amazing house by clicking here. Built by the grandson of Joseph Kerner, the house has special features unlike any other in the state. Jules Korner was a very unique person who traveled the world and decided to help design and build this magnificent home. It’s located in the heart of Kernersville. Thanks Again Everyone and we’ll see you along the trail.


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.

cemetery picture

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).


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.

great wagon road6

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.

rock house


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.








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.


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.


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.

wagon wheel1

18th Century Pioneers of Stokes County, NC

Segment 4

Stokes County, NC is filled with a vast amount of intriguing history. Present day highways often cross the same paths of our early ancestors. A prime example of this is NC Highway 66. The road was known as The Old Hollow Road and crossed through the heart of the county from Peter’s Creek to the upper Dan River.  The 1781 map pictured below, clearly demonstrates the settlements at that time. It also shows the location of the Dan River and various creeks located in Stokes County. Routes were created to reach Bethania, Salem and Germanton for trade purposes. The map shows details of Virginia and South Carolina as well.

1790 nc map

1781 Map of North Carolina/Virginia/South Carolina

Segment 4 of this series begins with the migration of the Fulton family. Robert Fulton arrived between 1781 and 1783 to North Carolina from Maryland. He was traveling with his mother, Elizabeth Clark, his step-father, Samuel Clark and his siblings. Robert’s father, Francis Fulton died and his mother remarried. He lived in Stokes County and worked as a blacksmith for several years. Robert married Elizabeth McAnally(1774-1794) and her grave site can be located in the old McAnally Family Cemetery along the banks of the Dan River. Robert married again and continued to live in the area.

Reuben George(1749-1832) was born in Virginia and arrived in Stokes County during the year of 1783. He lived near Rock Creek and is known to have had at least 6 children, Richard, James, Jesse, Samuel, Isaac and Presley. Presley George(1778-1866) married Mary Cook and lived on Beaver Dam Creek.

William Gordon was born in 1779 and married Elizabeth Herring in 1802. William is the son of Thomas and Sarah Flynn Gordon. William and his wife lived in between the area of Pilot Mountain and Pinnacle. Children of William and Elizabeth are Thomas H(1804) married Anna Grigg, Hardin P(1806) married Lucy West, Squire D(1809) married Eliza Davis.

Randolph Hall lived and married in Stokes County. He first appears in the area of 1778. His son, David is born in 1780 and he married Katherine Fulkner. They lived near Peters Creek and had at least 2 sons, James(1805) and Greene(1811).


Dan River, NC

The Heath family settled in what is known today as Town Fork Creek or Walnut Cove. January of 1789 shows a land grant to Thomas Heath, 150 acres near Ash Camp Creek. His will gives details to his family and possessions dated August 29, 1779. His wife is not mentioned by name, but the will states that the home plantation is to belong to her until death comes upon her. Son, Thomas Jr. is to inherit the plantation after his mother’s death. Son, John Heath inherited a cooper and various farm tools. 5 shillings was to be equally given to the remaining children, of these none were named. Witnesses for the will were Joseph Winston and Leonard Ziglar.

Matthew Hill was born circa 1740 and married Nancy between 1763 and 1764. A will located at the Danbury courthouse dated 1803, assigns all of the real and personal property of Matthew to his son, Matthew, a grandson, John and his wife, Nancy. A son named, Samuel, was left 1 dollar. Most of Matthew’s children were born in Virginia. Children are Manning married Mary Fulkner, Matthew, Frederick(1785) married Elizabeth Tilley, John, James(1792) was a Baptist minister, Samuel(1766) married Sarah Cox. The date of arrival to Stokes County is not known, but the family appears on the 1790 census. Matthew Senior owned 200 acres near the Dan River and he became a member of the Primitive Baptist Church of Christ in 1802. A story that has survived through the generations claims John Hill, son of Matthew, was captured by the Indians and held for 2 years before he escaped and returned to his family. Matthew Hill Jr. moved with his wife and children to Tennessee after 1810. Samuel Hill continued to live in the area and worked as a hatter and a farmer. Samuel Hill lived in the Snow Creek area and the original rock chimney of his home can still be viewed. The majority of the family is buried at the “Old Hill Cemetery”.

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Stokes County looking west towards Pilot Mtn.

The year of 1760 brought many settlers to Carolina, among them were the Dearings, Vernons, Wards, Vawters, Walls, Lindsays and Jacksons. Samuel Jackson arrived from Chester County, Pennsylvania and settled along Tom’s Creek, Stokes County. Samuel had at least one son, Joseph Jackson(1761-1818) married Sarah Jessup, daughter of Joseph and Priscilla Jessup.

Thomas Johnson was born circa 1764 and was living in present day Stokes County during the year of 1789. The Life of Thomas Johnson(1764-1846)

James King, son of James, married Martha Sanders, daughter of Nahum and Susanna Sanders, on February 12, 1791. James King Sr. died soon after 1800. James and Martha had the following children: Sanders(1793), James J, Nancy, Martha, William and Barnabas(1811) The family lived near Lick Creek.

Thomas Benjamin King was known as a tradesman, fur trader and cattleman. During the early 18th century, the Saura and Catawba Indian tribes lived in present day Stokes County and the surrounding area. There is a Indian burial ground located at the Little Yadkin and the Big Yadkin connection. Indian rocks with markings upon them can be viewed along the Yadkin River. The few settlers who lived here at that time traded with the Indians, traveled their trails through the countryside and up on Pilot Mountain, or Mt. Ararat. The Indians used Pilot Mountain as a lookout point and years later Thomas Benjamin King used the same route to help drive cattle from the south to the western mountains. While traveling through the area, he met his future wife. Thomas married Elizabeth and they operated a tavern at the foot of Pilot Mountain circa 1830. Here, Thomas lived the remainder of his life, raising at least 3 children.


Hanging Rock, Stokes County, NC

This concludes segment 4 of this series, but no worries, more segments will arrive later this spring. I encourage you all to research further into Stokes County’s past. This is an amazing journey we all are taking. Tracing our ancestors leads to experiences that otherwise, we would have never known. The mountainous terrain of Stokes County hampered many pioneers from settling the area. They would venture further on the Great Wagon Road in hopes of finding more open level lands. The numerous rocks, hills and vast forests did appeal to a smaller group of pioneers. The beauty within the landscape filled with it’s creeks and rivers must have spoken loudly to the pioneers of long ago. As their wagons passed through Pilot Mountain, their eyes allowed their minds to view opportunity and hope within the beauty of Stokes County. Weary from traveling and longing to stop the rolling wheels of the wagon, Stokes County welcomed them.

I would like to thank Stokes County GenWeb for sharing this blog on their website. Also, look for updates on the Piedmont Trails Genealogy website as new family pages are being added this month. I have included research links below to encourage you all to research further into Stokes County history. I want to Thank each of you for your support of Piedmont Trails and wish you all great success with your family research.

Research tools:

Stokes County GenWeb

Stokes County Historical Society

Stokes County DigitalNC

Stokes NCpedia

Piedmont Trails NC Genealogy Links



18th Century Pioneers of Stokes County, NC

Segment 3

We begin segment 3 with Anthony Dearing and his family. Anthony was born in present day Stokes County approx. 1750 and married Elizabeth Vernon, daughter of Richard Vernon. in 1772. They had at least five children; John(1773), James(1782), Richard, William and Anthony.  Son, James(1782-1854), married Rebecca Davis(1786-1958) in 1806. Rebecca’s parents are James Davis and Margaret Dunlap. This family later moved to Missouri.

Samuel Denny was born in Virginia and migrated to Surry County in 1767. He settled near Pilot Creek with his wife and had 17 children.  The known children are William, Azariah, John, Charles, Henry, Lazarus, Benjamin, James, Shared, Keziah and Nancy. Samuel, after his wife died, moved with several of his sons westward. Azariah and the remaining children settled in and around Surry and Stokes Counties.

Joseph Eason was living in Stokes County during 1776. His son, Mills was born soon afterwards in 1779. Mills married the daughter of James and Margaret Dunlap named Bethania in 1804. They had the following children: Joseph(1805) married Sarah Tuttle, Susan(1807) married Peter Tuttle, James(1809) married Sarah Boles, William(1811) and Jane(1813). Mills and his father, Joseph traveled frequently to Tennessee where they purchased several acres of land in Dickson County between the years of 1804 to 1824. A portion of this family later moved to Missouri as many families did during this time.

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Robert Flinchum and wife, Mary Pinegar, migrated to Stokes County from Virginia in 1792. Robert was born in Culpepper County, Virginia during the 1750’s. The following children were born in Stokes County: Robert, Samuel and Mary. The couple had several children who were born in Virginia prior to them arriving in NC.

Richard Flynt was living in present day Stokes County in 1785. Richard’s grandfather was a tailor who lived in Lancaster County, VA. Richard was born circa 1720 and married Ann Perry a few years prior to 1747. Ann claimed a portion of her father’s estate during the year of 1747. Ann’s father is John Perry. Richard and several of his sons are shown as land owners and paying taxes in 1786. Richard died sometime during the year of 1792. John Flynt, oldest son of Richard, was born 1748. He settled in the Meadows area of Stokes County and farmed 200 acres with his wife Catherine. The couple had 10 children:Perry(1778) married Martha Halbert, Meredith(1780) married Mary Evans, Richard(1786) married Mary Young and was a Captain with the Stokes Militia, Frances married John Davis, Katherine married Leonard Aldridge, Ann married Harman Redman, Susanna married Benjamin Young, Lucy married John Redman and 1 daughter married John Webb. A large portion of this family moved later to Tennessee.

Meadows is located approx. 4 miles southeast of Danbury along present day Highway 8. I have visited the area often through the years. It is an old settlement dating back to the 18th century and many small family cemeteries can be located in the area.

Andreas Volck(Fulk) was born in Hockland, NY in 1722 and he migrated to North Carolina during the year of 1767. He became a member of the Moravian settlement located in Bethania and died there in 1790. His daughter, Anna Catherine Volk, married John Jacob Spainhour. Many speculate that they are buried in an old family cemetery located near Pinnacle. Several of the tombstones display the names of Volk and Fulk upon them.


This is the end of segment 3 of this series. The families have been listed alphabetically and there will be several segments to come in the near future. I wanted to share with a research link, Cemetery Survey of Stokes County 1937  I also want to share a listing of family cemeteries located in Stokes County, you can access it here. Thank You all for your support of Piedmont Trails. I hope you all are enjoying this series as much as I am in presenting it to you.  Please feel free to comment and share your suggestions in the comment area. Wishing you all well with your research as we walk together along the trails of our ancestors.




18th Century Settlers of Stokes County, NC

Segment 2

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.


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.


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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