Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Fort of Deep River at Coxe's Mill

I have to return one last time to the subject of David Fanning's headquarters at one of the two Cox's Mills near the Deep River in Randolph County, NC. You may recall that Harmon Cox has a mill on the east side of the Deep on a tributary called Millstone Creek, while William Cox had another nearby on Mill Creek on the west side of the Deep River.

In his memoirs, Fanning repeatedly refers to his headquarters as being at “Coxe’s Mill” and “on Deep River.” At one point he says that he had 140 men at the site and refers to it as “the Fort of Deep River, at Coxe’s Mill.” But Fanning never makes it clear which side of the river he was on and therefore it is unclear which Cox's Mill.

I wrote about this before and concluded that it seemed more likely that Fanning's HQ was at William Cox's Mill on the west side of the Deep. Earlier this year, this whole issue was much further examined by Warren Dixon of Randolph County, leading to the State changing the historical marker!'S%20MILL

Warren concluded that Fanning's HQ was more likely on the east side at the Harmon Cox Mill.

Thinking about all this the other day, I remembered that Fanning wrote in his memoirs: “the two rebel parties had joined, being about 400 in number and encamped at Brown’s Plantation, about 2 miles up the river and on the opposite side.” I have looked before for old Orange County deeds that might correspond to "Brown's Plantation" but come up empty handed. Warren Dixon tells me that he and Mac Whately likewise attempted to find evidence of Brown's Plantation, but also found no firm information.

Well, yesterday it occurred to me that Fanning was speaking of the time of the Revolution and that Brown's Plantation might have been a grant from Earl Granville, so I looked through the Granville grants. Lo and behold:

Granville Grant 383 1 August 1760 Daniel Brown, planter, ten shillings the south side of Deep River, begin at William Coxe's corner spanish oak . . .up the river to the beginning . . . surveyed 13 Oct 1759.

This could easily be Brown's Plantation. The fact that William Cox is his southern neighbor shows that this grant is in the right vicinity. If that is indeed Brown's Plantation, then that would place Fanning's HQ on the north/east side of the Deep River at Harmon Cox's Mill - consistent with Warren Dixon's conclusions.