Monday, February 16, 2009

The Tributaries of Bolin and Booker Creek

Booker Creek and Bolin Creek flow together to form Little Creek, which ambles a few miles through southwest Durham County before flowing into Jordan Lake.

Little Creek - David Southern tells me that the lower part of Bolin Creek and perhaps Little Creek as well were sometimes known in colonial days as Lick Creek or Barbee Creek.

Booker Creek - Booker Creek was known as Prestwood (or Presswood or Priestwood) Creek before the Revolution. This was apparently after an early European resident named Thomas Prestwood. In 1832, Daniel and David Booker sold their land along this creek, and I assume that they are the source of its modern name (Orange DB 25, pg 428).

Bolin Creek - Bolin Creek takes its name from Benjamin Bolin (or Bowling or Boling or Bollin or Bolins etc. etc. possibly even Borland). Mr. Bolin was granted land along the creek near what is now University Mall (I think including the mall) in 1755. The name pretty well stuck, although it was also sometimes called Ben's Creek (as in Ben Bolin's Creek) and also Wilkinson's Creek (not sure where that came from). In the latter 19th century Bolin Creek was sometimes called Closs Creek after a large landowner named Morgan Closs, but that name apparently did not stick and we all know it as Bolin Creek now.

I know the names of six of Bolin Creek's tributaries, although I think some of the others must have had commonly accepted names at one time. In particular, I have to believe that the branch that flows down through the Cobblestone Drive area of Carrboro must have a name, although I have never heard it. Here are the ones I know:

Battle Branch - This creek flows down through Battle Park and around the north side of the Greenwood neighborhood. It is named (as is the park) for UNC Pres. Kemp Plummer Battle who wandered through this rugged ara of the UNC campus marking trails and building benches, back when he was an undergraduate.

Foxhall Branch - This is the creek that flows near Hillsborough Street in Chapel Hill. I have never actually heard anyone call this creek by that name, but it appears on the 1918 topographic map of Chapel Hill at the Carolina Collection at UNC. So I will go with that until someone tells me a better name.

Tanyard Branch - This creek flows through the Northside neighborhood in Chapel Hill and into Bolin Creek in Umstead Park. The creek is shown on the USGS quadrangle map as Tanbark Branch, but all other maps seem to agree that it is Tanyard. The name would seem to imply that there was a tannery on it somewhere. Anyone know more about that?

Lloyd's Branch - This creek flows through the Lloyd Street neighborhood in Carrboro and into Tanyard Branch, just before Tanyard flows into Bolin Creek. Again, I have never heard anyone call it by this name, but old deeds and surveys from the 1920's call it Lloyd's Branch.

Jolly Branch - This is the creek that flows down from between Chapel Hill High School and Smith Middle School on Seawell School Road. I do not know how old this name is.

Jones Creek - This creek flows through Twin Creeks Park and Lake Hogan Farms in Carrboro. The name appears on the USGS map, but again I don't know how old it is.

Booker Creek also has a couple of named tributaries:

Cedar Fork - This creek flows into the east end of Eastwood Lake, draining through the Cedar Hills Circle area as well as Cedar Falls Park, both of which obviously draw their names from the creek. I don't know how old this name is, but it appears on the 1918 Soil Map of Orange County.

Crow Branch - This creek flows into Booker Creek just below Lake Ellen in Chapel Hill, draining from the Horace Williams tract (Carolina North). The name also is on the 1918 Soil Map and again don't know hwo much older than that it may be.

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