Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dennis Heartt, Printer of Orange

Although there exist a small handful of documents today that were printed by Robert Ferguson in Hillsborough, NC in the 1780’s, the first well-established and lasting printing operation in Orange County was the press of Dennis Heartt.

Dennis Heartt was born in 1783 in North Bradford, CT. Apprenticed as a young man to Read and Morse printers in New Haven, Heartt first printed under his own name in Philadelphia in 1804. Heartt’s name first appears in partnership with Abel Dickinson and were published on behalf of authors such as Jacob Johnson, Benjamin Johnson and Matthew Carey. These were primarily textbooks. It appears that the partnership with Dickinson must have ended around 1806, although Dickinson continued to print books for the Johnsons and Carey thereafter.

No known imprints carry Heartt’s name from 1807 to 1809, but starting in 1810, Heartt published a literary periodical called The Philadelphia Repertory. The Repertory published only through 1812, however Heartt’s other Philadelphia publications continued through 1818. The North Carolina Dictionary of Biography says that Heartt relocated from Philadelphia to Hillsborough on doctor’s orders after a bout of small pox. So it must have been in 1819 that Heartt moved to Hearttsease, his stately home in Hillsborough, still standing at 115 East Queen Street.

Starting in 1820 books published in Hillsborough, NC bear Heartt’s name. About that same time, heart commenced publishing the newspaper that in its total press run constitutes his magnum opus: The Hillsborough Recorder. The Recorder was published by Dennis Heartt for 50 years, every week covering the news from London to Hillsborough, constituting one of the most valuable sources of Orange County history that we have today.

Heartt’s books were mostly on religious themes – primarily Baptist and Quaker. Although Heartt was a Presbyterian, his wife, Elizabeth Shinn, was a New Jersey born Quaker. Heartt’s most significant literary book was undoubtedly The Poetical Works of George Moses Horton (Hillsborough, 1845). Horton was a slave who learned to read and write while visiting students and professors at UNC, becoming a highly accomplished poet. His works were the first writings of a slave to ever be published in the South. Heartt also published an anti-slavery tract by Prince Saunders, but Heartt should not be viewed through roase-colored glasses. His editorial comments in the Recorder often portrayed African-Americans in an unfairly negative light.

Among Heartt’s apprentices was William W. Holden who later served as Governor of North Carolina during Reconstruction. Holden, a Republican, was much despised by white Democrats for his positions on racial questions. In Holden’s Address on the History of Journalism in North Carolina (Raleigh: N&O Book and Job Print., 1881), he tells us: “Mr. Heartt engraved the head of his paper, and with leaden cuts of various kinds illustrated his articles and advertisements. He made his own composing sticks of walnut wood, lined with brass. They were good sticks, and I remember to this day the sound made by the types as they were dropped by the left thumb into their places. The latest news from China was printed once in three months; and the Northern news, brought to Hillsboro by the tri-weekly stage coach, was condensed and printed once a week. How slowly, in comparison with the present, did the world move at that day.”

From about 1853, Heartt operated the business with his son, Edwin A. Heartt, but poor Edwin died at the age of 36 in 1855. Dennis carried on the business for another 14 years. Just before his death in 1870, Heartt sold the paper and it was moved to the burgeoning town of Durham. Heartt’s death put an end to a prolific career. His imprints, especially in the form of his beloved Recorder, remain the work of record of both his life and the history of Orange County, NC.

More Old Rocks

Speaking of curious rock outcroppings on old maps, I have taken note of two on W. L. Spoon's 1893 Map of Alamance County. The first one is "Indian Rock" which is shown in the fork between the North Prong and the South Prong of Stinking Quarter Creek. This site would be a little ways upstream of the Friendship-Patterson Road bridge over Stinking Quarter Creek. Here's a detail from Spoon:

Indian Rock

The other spot is Buzzard Rock which is shown on the Spoon Map a little downstream of the village of Alamance on Big Alamance Creek:

Buzzard Rock

I don't know what either of these places are or what the origin of either name is, but it would be interesting to locate these two rock outcroppings today.

Fanning's Rock

In playing around with UNC's new digital maps collection I stumbled across the 1873 Bean Map of Randolph County - frequently cited on this blog! I noticed "Fanning's Rock" marked on Richland Creek. Initially I thought this was a reference to an old tale that someone had been chased off a rock by Tory Col. David Fanning int he Revolutionary War, but when I googled that subject I realized I was thinking of Faith Rock which is on the Deep River in Cedar Falls (10 miles or so to the north. So I wonder what story there might be behind Fanning Rock?

Here's the detail from the Bean map:

Bean 1873 Fanning's Rock

It seems likely that it would be easy to find the rock that this map is referring to, as it must be the most prominent rock outcropping in the vicinity of the Riverside Road bridge over Richland Creek.

I noticed that this same spot on the 1884 Johnson Map of Ranolph County is also shown as Fanning's Rock, but interestingly just a mile or so to the east of it, there is another spot labeled "Fanning's Rock and Cave." This second spot is on Brush Creek a little downstream of the NC 22 bridge. Here's the detail from the Johnson map:

Fanning's Rock 1884 Johnson

Googling "Fanning's Rock" didn't turn up any references to either of these spots. Anyone out there know what the story is?

Cox’s Mill and The Headquarters of Col. David Fanning

Many works of both Revolutionary War history and local history mention the headquarters of the Loyalist raider Col. David Fanning. This site is uniformly referred to as “Fanning’s headquarters at Cox’s Mill on Deep River.” But I haven’t found any informed sources that tell us just where Cox’s Mill was.

For example, J. A. Blair in his book Reminiscences of Randolph County (1890) acknowledges that he is unsure of where Cox’s mill was: “Thomas Cox had a mill somewhere on Deep River in 1784.” And the NC Highway Historical Marker in Ramseur is also somewhat equivocal, stating that Cox’s Mill was “4 ½ miles southeast, near site of present ‘Bean’s Mill.’”

Places which are not Cox’s Mill on Deep River

Part of the problem in sorting out the location of Cox’s Mill is that the Cox family was heavily involved in water-powered industries in Randolph County. Two places that can quickly be dismissed as possible sites of Cox’s Mill are Cox Lake on the Deep River and Cedar Falls.

It seems obvious that Cox Lake was developed by members of this same Cox family, but after an in-depth search, I am pretty sure that the site of the Cox Lake Dam was not developed for water power prior to 1924. Saville (1924) makes reference to the Cox Lake Dam as being under construction at the time of his report. Prior to the construction of Cox Lake, there was another mill dam just a few miles upstream, the Central Falls Dam. Topographically, the Central Falls site and the Cox Lake site could not have been used for waterpower at the same time. In short, I don’t think the Cox Lake site was ever developed as a mill before 1924.

Blair (1890) mentions that Cedar Falls Manufacturing Co. was owned by several people including Orlando R. Cox. Again this is doubtless a member of the same Cox family, but the Cedar Falls mill site was originally owned by Regulator Harmon Husbands and passed into the hands of Benjamin Elliott in 1801. Eventually the site was redeveloped into a textile mill by Elliott and his partners, but the Cox family did not become involved at this location until much later.

Also, neither of the sites work as theories for the site Cox’s of Mill because Revolutionary histories all agree that Cox’s Mill was near the Buffalo Ford, significantly downstream of both Cox Lake and Cedar Falls, nearer to Coleridge, NC. Also, Cox Lake and Cedar Falls are both north of the historical marker in Ramseur, rather than southeast of it.

Places which are Cox’s Mill but not on Deep River

Speaking again of the historical marker, let’s turn our attention to the statement that Cox’s Mill was “near present site of Bean’s Mill.” Bean’s Mill is on Mill Creek near Mill Creek Road, a short distance above the confluence of the creek with the Deep River. I think many modern writers assume that Bean’s Mill stands directly on the Cox’s Mill site, but I doubt that.

First, as early as Nov. 1763 (Minutes of Ct of Pleas and Quarter Sessions), Cox’s Mill is referred to as being “on Deep River,” rather than near Deep River. And Revoultionary War histories also frequently and typically use the preposition “on,” rather than “near.”

Second, Martin (1993) states that there were two Cox’s Mills – one owned by Harmon Cox, a Quaker and Regulator, and the other owned by Harmon’s father William Cox. On the Asheboro Chamber of Commerce website, an essay attributed to Emily Cox Johnson states:

“One of the gristmills was located west of Deep River onMill Creek and run by Thomas Cox . . . A second was locatedless than a mile away on the east side of Deep River on Millstone Creekand run by Harmon Cox, a brother of Thomas Cox. The reason twogristmills were being run by a single family so close together was thefact that Deep River is prone to serious flooding any time during theyear. These ravaging floods often render Buffalo Ford, which connectsthe two mills, impassable for several weeks at a time.”

Certainly Ms. Johnson’s account is consistent with 19th century maps of the area:

Cox Mill

The 1873 Bean Map of Randolph County

But Ms. Johnson is non-committal about whether the site of Fanning’s Headquarters was Harmon Cox’s Mill on Millstone Creek or Thomas Cox’s Mill on Mill Creek.

While I believe Ms. Johnson’s account and find it eminently logical, I doubt it in one major regard: I think that one or both of these mills may have been built shortly after the Revolutionary War to address the issue of flooding on the Deep River – not merely the problem of the flooding of Buffalo Ford, but also the destruction of the original Cox’s Mill – the one that Fanning used as his headquarters – the one that was “on Deep River” – William Cox’s Mill.

Cox’s Mill on Deep River

For the 1880 Census, George Swain prepared a disquisition on the waterpower sites of the southeastern United States. In his description of the Deep River, Swain mention “Unimproved site 2 or 3 miles above Enterprise mills [Coleridge, NC], known as the Cox falls, supposed to have a fall of 12 or 14 feet.” In an 1899 report, Swain further described “Cox’s Shoal” as being 3 miles above Coleridge and having a 7 foot fall spread across 300 yards.

Cox Shoal Aerial

I concede that this is just speculation and that it runs contrary to the prevailing school of thought, but I believe that Cox’s Shoal, as described by Swain is the actual site of Fanning’s headquarters and William Cox’s Mill on Deep River. I also believe that a closer search of Randolph County land records and an in-person inspection of this vicinity might reveal that indeed there was a mill at Cox’s Shoal. After all, Fanning never says Cox’s Mills and he never says on Mill Creek or Millstone Creek. He says what all the Revolutionary and Colonial sources say “Cox’s Mill on Deep River.”

Monday, December 29, 2008

North Carolina Maps

UNC has added a great new feature to its website. UNC and the State Archives are in the process of posting hundreds of antique maps of North Carolina.


I highly recommend this website. I have been spending plenty of time there, especially checking out the local maps. For example the 1873 map of Randolph County that was hand draw by Bean. It has some wonderful detail, shwoing old mills, churches, schools etc. Likewise the site has the 1870 Ramsey map of Chatham County.

However, curiously there are a couple of notable piedmont county maps that are not on the site. Let's hope they are forthcoming soon:

the 1890 Tate Map of Orange County, [Correction: They do have this, but a 1940 reprint.]
the 1895 Johnson Map of Guilford County,
the 1908 Miller Map of Guilford County,
and the 1912 Miller Map of Randolph County.

Some of these are readily available for purchase online through:
the Rockingham Hist. Soc. http://www.rockinghamcountyhistory.com/id24.htm
the Guilford Gean. Soc. http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ncgcgs/pubs.html
and the Chatham Hist. Assoc. http://chathamhistory.org/publications.html

But even so, it would also be nice to make them accessible online. Notably, the Tate Map of Orange County does not appear to be available anywhere (so far as I know). Let me know if you are aware of a place to buy a copy.

The Chatham County Historical Association also sells a beautiful 1874 map by Lucy Worth Jackson entitled: Map of the Coal Fields of Chatham and a Portion of the Mineral Regions of N.C.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Government Reports on the Deep River Valley

I recently looked at as many governmental reports on the Deep River as I could lay my hands on - with a special interest in the maps that were published with them. So I thought I would give a quick run down of them:

Thompson, William Beverhout, Report upon the Cape Fear and Deep Rivers, House of Commons Doc. 17, 1848.
This nicely detailed report lays out a plan for building locks, dam and canals from Moore County down to Fayetteville. It was the basis for forming the ill-fated Cape Fear & Deep River Navigation Company. The copy I have seen has no map.

Johnson, W R, Report on the Coal Land of the Deep River Mining and Transportation Co., 1851.
This is a fairly short report (not actually a governmental one) which has five folding plates, including one interesting but not tremendously detailed map of the Deep River.

Jackson, Charles T, Report of the coal lands of Egypt, Belmont, Evans, Palmer and Wilcox plantations on Deep River, North Carolina, 1853.
The foldout map in this report is a beautiful, uncolored map of the Deep. It includes all the bridges, but does not show the mills.

Emmons, Ebenezer, Geological Report on the Midland Counties of North Carolina, Putnam, 1856.
This is by far the most comprehensive of these reports. It has many foldout plates and a beautiful colored map of the Deep, including mills, bridges etc. This is by far the most desirable of the reports reviewed here.

Laidley, T. S. S., Report on Deep River Timber and Minerals, USGPO, 1856.
This is a short report that describes the countryside around the Deep River and a little about the mines in the area. No map.

Wilkes, Charles, Report on the Examination of the Deep River District, North Carolina, USGPO, 1859.
Contains a marvelous 'Map of the Deep River District, North Carolina by Capt. Wilkes 1858" and also a less interesting map called "Map of a Part of North Carolina sgowing the routes connecting with the Deep River District, constructing and proposed." The 'Map of the Deep River District' is similar to the Emmons map.

In the Coal and Iron Counties of North Carolina, Hale, 1883.
This book contains most of the reports of Emmons, Kerr, Laidley and Wilkes. The folding map is a very general map of the entire state of North Carolina.

Chance, H M, A Report on an Exploration of the Coal Fields of North Carolina, Hale, 1885.
This report contains three folding maps; two are very general and the third is a poor replica of the Emmons map.

Campbell, Marius R. and Kent W. Kimball, The Deep River Coal Field of North Carolina, 1923.
This report has an interesting old photo of the Carbonton hydroelectric dam (now gone) and a nicely detailed pocket map.

Saville, Thorndike, Water Power Investigation of the Deep River, Edwards & Broughton, 1924.
This report has three very detailed and interesting maps of the Deep River. Saville recommended three major new dams on the Deep River, of which mercifully only one was built: High Point Lake Dam.

Coal Deposits in the Deep River Field, Chatham, Lee, and Moore Counties, N.C., United States Government Printing Office, 1952.
This item contains 3 pocket maps that are of little interest from a historical perspective, but which are undoubtedly useful to geologists.

Reinemund, John A., Geology of the Deep River Coal Field, North Carolina, USGPO, 1955.
I didn't actually look at this one, but it is supposed to contain 10 pocket plates/maps.

The other rivers of North Carolina have not attracted the same level of governmental attention that the Deep has. This is clearly because of the mineral resources available along the Deep. Ironically, for all the attention the coal, iron and copper mines attracted, very little large-scale mining ever occurred here. The many coal mines in the area all came to naught in the end. But for a time, especially in the 1850's, the Deep River was the center of a lot of attention, as it was considered as a possible location for a national military foundry. From a Union point of view, it is probably for the best that a large military complex was not built on the Deep River immediately prior to the outbreak of the Civil War.

Oh no! Not another blog!

I enjoy looking through the extensive holdings of the University of North Carolina's Carolina Collection, and I frequently come across information that seems interesting to me, but doesn't always fit squarely into any particular project I am working on.

One of my other hobbies is exploring the rural areas of the North Carolina Piedmont, and especially noting the remains of prior landscapes. Abandoned bridge sites, former mills, forgotten fords and the like.

So I decided to create this blog as a place to keep my notes on the things I see and read. hope someone finds them useful and enjoyable.