Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Everard Tract

Sometime between 1728 and 1730, Governor Richard Everard received a grant of land just north of the Forster and Moseley Tracts in the Hawfields. Neither Forster's nor Moseley's grant mention Everard, so perhaps he acquired his interest somewhat after them. We cannot be sure when exactly as no copy or description of the original grant was ever recorded. An execution deed in 1770 in the Orange Deed Books shows that the Everard Tract had been 10,000 acres, but it gives no indication of the shape.

So until recently it seemed that no detailed record remained of the grant of 10,000 choice acres in the Hawfields to Gov. Richard Everard. Then I found this in the Devereux Papers at the Archives:


Evidently this is a survey of the land of Sir Richard Everard, with Forster and Moseley shown as neighbors to the south, and with Lovick and Little rather hypothetically shown. This seems to be a survey of the Everard Tract only, as all of property lines for Moseley and Forster are shown schematically – that is the surveyor was making no real assertion about the Forster or Moseley Tracts. Also in one place is says “Mo now St” – Moseley now Strudwick – indicating that the survey was done after Strudwick received the property in 1754.

Considering the terms of the Moseley grant and the Pollock grant, it is clear that the southeastern corner of the Everard Tract was also the northwestern corner of the Pollock Tract. Therefore, using the metes and bounds of the Everard Plat, we can place this tract onto a modern map:


The ford marked on the plat is therefore clearly Trollinger's Ford, earlier known as the Piney Ford and no doubt known by native names before that.

Everard died in 1733 and the Everard Tract passed to his daughters Anne Everard Lathbury (et ux. George) and Susannah Everard Meade (spouse deceased?) In 1770, Lathbury's 10,000 acres were sold by court order to satisfy a judgment from Halifax Court on an unrelated matter. At the auction, three well-known Hillsborough men, Edmund Fanning, Abner Nash and Thomas Hart, bought the Everard Tract for 670 Pounds (24 S.R. 285; p. 45, 2nd Report of the Ontario Archives, Alexander Fraser, 1904). Only a few years later the Revolution broke out and both Fanning and Hart fled North Carolina.

I take it this refers to Fanning’s 1/3 interest in this parcel: “5000 acres, Hawfields, Orange County, purchased in July, No.19. 1770, of John Butler, valued by Mr. Johnston at 40 sh. Virg. per acre, £10,000 V. Curry.” (p. 45, 2nd Report of the Ontario Archives, Alexander Fraser, 1904). It would have been more accurate to say 3,333 acres, I believe.

Nash worked to disentangle his interest in the Lathbury-Everard Tract from his Loyalist co-adventurers. At least two letters from Nash are still to be found at the State Archives regarding his efforts to get a separate deed for his 1/3 of the property. Ultimately in 1779 Nash got the state legislature to order a division of the land (24 S.R. 285). Few immediately subsequent deeds from Nash can be found today, but it appears that at least part of it went to John Butler (ODB 3, pg 462).

Curiously the Virginia Gazette (6/4/1772) advertised “SEVERAL valuable Tracts of TOBACCO LAND, the Whole consisting of about ten Thousand Acres, well watered, situated on the Waters of Rock Creek and Saxapahaw River, to which is contiguous a very good Summer Range, and many other Advantages. Twelve Tracts, containing from about two Hundred and fifty to six Hundred Acres, are already surveyed, and several more will be when Purchasers offer . . . the Lands are situated in the Haw Fields, twelve Miles beyond Hillsborough, and bounded by Haw River . . . GEORGE LATHBURY, G. WALKER, Attorney for Susanna Meade.”

Additionally, I found a Power of Attorney recorded in the Orange Deed Books from Susanna Meade to G. Walker granting him authority to sell or otherwise manage her interest in 10,000 acres which she co-owned with George Lathbury - plainly the Everard Tract. Susanna Everard Meade was Anne Everard Lathbury’s sister, both daughters of Gov. Everard. Notably this was in 1772, after the property had already sold in 1770 to Fanning et al. Perhaps they did not know about the execution sale or were otherwise attempting to have the execution sale set aside.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Pollock Tract 1

Recently David Southern drew my attention to a barely legible, yet very interesting surveyor’s plat of land in Orange County owned by the Pollock family:

Pollock Plat

The State Archives, which has the original, dates the survey to 1754, although it bears many later notes about persons to whom parts of the land were sold. The notes show a lot of interesting detail including four different roads and at least thirteen houses. Thinking it would be interesting to locate this on the ground today, I set about to decipher the location shown on the Pollock Plat.

George Pollock appears to have patented two tracts in the Hawfields. The first Pollock Tract in the Hawfields was 5,000 acres (see Orange DB 3, pg 562; Orange DB 4, pg 219). I will blog about the second Pollock Tract another time. Unlike most of the Hawfields Grantees of 1728, the Pollocks did not immediately re-sell Pollock Tract 1. George Pollock still owned the tract when he died in July of 1738; George's will left many large tracts across eastern NC to relatives, including this 5,000 acres in the Hawfields to his nephews Cullen and Thomas Pollock (Land Grant Records Book 4, pg 82).

Apparently the patents for the Pollock Tracts in the Hawfields were never recorded, making the project of locating them on the ground more difficult. Although, I did know approximately where the Pollock Tract was because it was adjacent to the long eastern edge of Edward Moseley’s Tract in the Hawfields (N10W). But exactly where that line was (and therefore where the Pollock Tract was) remained difficult to determine. In fact there appears to have been some dispute about the location of that line, as Cullen Pollock and Moseley's successor Samuel Strudwick entered into an agreement about that boundary. The agreement was recorded twice – in 1780 and again in 1786 (ODB 2, pg 444; ODB 5, pg 772), but alas it only references a survey, which is not recorded.

The detailed creeks shown on the plat were also an important clue, but then one night I looked at the Orange County GIS system in the area of Efland and I saw this:

pollock tract

The left side of the image shows the vicinity of Efland. The right side shows the same area, but with Pollock Tract 1 outlined in red. Even today, the outlines of Pollock Tract 1 can plainly be seen on Orange County’s GIS system. And it measures out to 5,000 acres and it is 560 poles by 1428 poles – just as the Pollock Plat calls for.

Although the original grant is missing, the circumstances of the grant are still quite discernible. The Colonial Records of North Carolina (3 C. R. 248) show that on May 22, 1731, John Lovick testified at Governor George Burrington’s inquiry into the legitimacy of the various Hawfields grants: “when the line was for to run betwixt this Government and Virginia there being no money belonging to the lords Proprietors in their Receivers hand to defray the charge the Gov. & Council passed an order for the sale of Lands to Reimburse it & thereupon the line was run to general satisfaction & at a charge that has been thought no way immoderate, your Remonstrant being one of the commissioners. The credit of that Order of the Board advanced great sums of money towards the defraying of the charges and had lands afterwards assigned to him to reimburse the same and upon it sold out to Mr. George Pollock 17,000 acres . . .”

However as part of the same inquiry, others, such as Thomas Jones, testified that it happened a bit differently: “[Jones had] an Imaginary survey in the month of June Last [1730]. He produced the same to Mr. Lovick who filled up a Patent for the said Land in August or September Last [1730, but] Dated in the year 1728.” And there were others who seriously called into question the circumstances of these sales. Most land grants at that time were not more than 640 acres, so all of the Hawfields grants were dubious that way. And it is certainly a reasonable inference that many of these powerful men may have taken advantage of the 2-year period between the end of the Governor Richard Everard’s authority under the Lords Proprietor and the arrival of the King’s new Governor, George Burrington.

All of the surviving recorded Hawfields grants are found in a group in Land Grant Book 2, and each of those is followed immediately by a deed from the original grantee to Burrington. All but one of the original grants are dated 1728, but were not recorded until the end of 1730 at the exact same time that they were further conveyed to Gov. Burrington, who conveniently soon became the judge of the validity of these grants. The one Hawfield grant that is not dated 1728 was the Conner Tract; Conner's grant, as recorded in Land Grant Book 2, appears to have been patented just one week before it was resold to Burrington (possibly a transcription error or alternatively an all too frank admission of how crooked this all was). It seems reasonable to wonder whether any of these grants were truly properly issued. Perhaps the Hawfields grants were all a bunch of mischief cooked up in Burrington’s absence, but back-dated to appear as though they had been executed during the Proprietorship when Everard’s government had the authority to issue patents.

Unfortunately, few of the subsequent deeds from the Pollocks were recorded in Orange County Deed Books. However, the State Archives holds a remarkable collection of Pollock deeds and surveys in the Devereux Papers. Among these is a survey of the Pollock Tract from 1754 (Appendix 3). This plat was used by Cullen Pollock to keep track of the various parcels that he and his brother sold to settlers in the area.

The 1754 Pollock Plat records Cullen Pollock’s sales: Tract 1- Hans Hingle, Warson?, and Robert Hollowell, Tract 2 - Mulhollan, Tract 3 - James Kirkpatrick, [George?] Tate and Wilson, Tract 5 – [David?] Duglas, and David Steel, Tract 6 - William Craige and Ed Thomas, Tract 7 - John Long, Holden?, Paisley, [Archibald?] Hamilton, Tract 8 - Cate, Tract 9 - Joseph Sharp, Patent [Patton], Mihaffey, [Peter?] Mallett, and William Ellis, Tract 10 - Jonathan ???ein and Bradford. The plat also shows that Campbell and John McCracken lived just north and east of the Pollock Tract; William Raspberry is shown just south of the Pollock Tract, along Buckhorn Road; and Mulholland is shown just east of Tract 4.

According to the Orange County Register of Deeds, Cullen Pollock sold parcels to: David Gibson (ODB 5, pg 99), David Douglas, adjacent to George Tate (ODB 3, pg 561), Henry Patillo in 1789 (ODB 4, pg 219), Andrew Pattent in 1772 (ODB 34, pg 11), and Thomas Bradford in 1786, adjacent to Andrew Patent and David Bradford (ODB 3, pg 170). George Pollock (a son of Cullen?) sold land to Thomas Ruffin in 1811 (ODB 16, pg 104). [Gracious thanks to Carole Troxler for assistance with this information.]

The following are very brief abstracts of further deeds in the Devereux papers: To Robert Holloway near the Great Road, corner of George Tate. To George Tate on the Great Road. To Edward Willson on Tate’s line, Holloways corner. To David Douglas at Tate’s corner, on Willson’s line. To David Bradford.

The Great Road evidently refers to where Old Hillsborough Road and Bowman Road are now, the old Trading Path.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Butler Petition

I found a petition in the Archives in a box of Court Records related to old real estate disputes in Orange County. I think the petition refers to the plight of those who came in the 1740's and occupied the lands that John Forster, William Little and John Lovick patented in 1728:

Alston Quarter 1763 small

While the squatters on the Moseley and Conner tracts ended up fighting Samuel Strudwick (successor to Moseley and Conner) over the title to the farms they built, the squatters who occupied the Forster, Little and Lovick Tracts never heard from the British citizens who held nominal title to this land. So when the local Commissioner of Confiscation came along and attempted to sell the nominal title to these lands, the squatters, who by that time had become propsperous and important residents of Orange County, got their most prominent figure, Gen. John Butler, to lead the charge in defending their farms from confiscation:

"To the worshipful Justices of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions for the County of Orange:

"The Petition of the subscribers, citizens of the State of North Carolina and Inhabitants of the County of Orange humbly sheweth

"That many and by far the greater part of your petitioner more than forty years ago seated themselves upon the lands which they now occupy in the County of Orange. From the first settlement of them unto this time, your petitioners or those under whom they hold by fair honest and bona fide purchase have had and held quiet and undisturbed possession. That out of the wilderness by the sweat of their brows they have cleared and cultivated many valuable plantations made extensive improvements, erected convenient buildings and flattered themselves that they should without molestation been permitted to enjoy the fruits of their labours. That in this confidence they have bound their views to the soil upon which they have planted themselves and devoid of every other resource of subsistence to be now forced from it would necessarily involve their utter ruin.

"They have been guilty of no conduct in the late war which could mark them for the resentment of Government and subject them to forfeiture. On the contrary they stept forth in an early stage of the war and during the most critical and trying periods have vigorously contended for the liberty and independence of America; they flattered themselves that in common with their fellow citizens they should enjoy the blessings of the late glorious revolution; that they should not be distinguished as sufferers by an event which they had so liberally contributes to bring about. Judge of their astonishment when they were informed that under an ideal and imaginary claim of certain persons now or heretofore resident in the Kingdom of Great Britain, some persons had been induced to conceive that the lands upon which your Petitioners are seated by some one of the confiscation laws of this State were subjected to forfeiture and that the commissioners of confiscation in pursuance of this opinion had advertised them for sale.

"It is by no means necessary at present nor would it come properly before your Worships that your Petitioners should condescend to a detail of their several titles, their well founded pretensions against the claims of all persons. It is sufficient at present to say that their original entry was rightful & peaceable; that it has been sanctioned by grants from government and that they have held a long and undisturbed possesion; That in the course of forty years neither those who are now suggested to be the original patenter by those who are opposed to your Petitioners, nor any others claiming by from or under them have by such, at law or otherwise, attempted to evict your Petitioners.

"Your Petitioners claim the common right of Citizens and if their property is to be drawn into question, they expect that they are not to be denied the constitutional privilege of a trial by Jury. Their possessions individually to the publick are but a small stake, but to themselves it is their all, and surely they are not to be stripped of them upon ideal suspicion or vague conjecture.

"Your Petitioners are well aware that if the Commissioner of Confiscation should proceed to sell that yet it must be left to a court of law to award possession and that this could not take place but upon a full investigation of the titles of your Petitioners. But your Worships will foresee the unavoidable consequences, tis? many suits will be brought as there are purchasers and however well established the title of your petitioners may be in the event the value of many of their plantations will be sunk in other ?am? upon the courts the laws delay and the unavoidable expense attending it.

"Their circumstances they took up to your worships and request you to interfere with the authority derived to you from the eighth section of the Act of Assembly passed at Newbern in the year 1779 and on the eighteenth day of October entitlted an “Act to carry into affect and act passed at Newbern in November in the year 1777 entitled an act for confiscating the property of all such persons as are inimical to the United States and of such persons as shall not within a certain time therein mentioned appear and submit to the State whether they shall be received as citizens thereof and of such persons who shall so appear and shall not be admitted as citizens and for other purposes therein mentioned.

"The clauses to which they refer and which they humbly conceive is apt to their case and was intended to give them relief in circumstances similar to there are as follows: Provided that if it shall appear to the county court that any person hath or pretends to have any right or title in law to any lands tenements or hereditaments monies debts or personal property of any of any of the said persons declared forfeited by this act, such court shall stay all further proceedings thereupon and shall send up a true and exact state[ment] of such claim to the superior court of the district which superior court shall proceed to inquire into the legal right and title of the person so claiming by a Jury in the same manner as suits at common law and such determination when had shall be final and the Clerk of Superior Court chall transmit a copy thereof to the county court wherein the dispute originated which shall proceed according to such determination.

"Your Petitioners humbly hope that you will extend the operation of this law to their relief and make such order as will prevent any further proceedings being had by the Commissioner respecting the premises before the calims of your petitioners shall be heard and decided upon as the law directs.

"And your Petitions as in duty bound will ever pray,

"Eli McDaniel, Richard? Hunter, David Sealy, Robert Sealey, Walter Burnside, James Trousdale, Jane Patin, Archibald Maben, Nathaniel Patterson, Moka? Crawford, Jos. Hodge, George Allen, James Turner, James Truit, William Hodge, William Und????, John Allen, Samuel Shaw, Ephraim Tur???, John McDaniel, John Butler, John Armstrong, John Hamish, William Galbreath, James Cokeley, Richard Scott, John Hodge, Stephen White, John Pattin, Alexander Kirkpatrick, Samuel Pattin, Griffith Thomas, Robert Pattin, John McCrackin, John Baldridge, Nicholas Cane?, Henry Basin, Andrew Mundary? James Dixon, John Galbreath, Anthony Standford, John Basin, Timothy Hughes, Joseph Baker, James McAdams, William Raney, and Daniel Hanley."

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Sketch of Thomas Cate, founder of Cane Creek Baptist Church

Here's an excerpt from the Cane Creek Baptist Church website:

"Thomas Cate was born about 1747 and was the son of Thomas and Rebecca Sykes Cate who had migrated to Orange County from Prince George County, Virginia where the family had been Quakers. He had brothers named Barnard, John, and Richard. He married Sarah Estridge about 1767. His wife's last name is in dispute with some thinking that she was a Shepard. I can find no trace of Shepards in our local records On the other hand, there is a faint record of an Estridge family locally (sometimes recorded as Estes). This is mentioned in grants located to the northeast of Cane Creek. I suspect that the Estridges were Tories who may have left the community during the Revolutionary War.

"Thomas Cate's will mentions eleven children: Moses born about 1768 who married Hannah Bradford; John B. born about 1770 who married Priscilla Lloyd and who died in Tennessee in 1840; Fanny, born about 1772 who married John Sykes; Martha, birth date unknown, who married William Moore; Winny [Minny?] birth date unknown, who married William Roach, Huldah, birth date unknown, who married Elisha Cates, possibly a cousin; Tabitha, date of birth unknown, who married William Smith; Elizabeth, possibly born in 1784, whose marital status is confused; Thomas, born in 1784, who married Elizabeth Roach, and later Martha Carroll and who died in 1863; Ephraim, born about 1778, who married Rebecca Lindsey and who died in Missouri in the 1850's. The name of the eleventh child is unknown.

"From other sources, we know that Thomas Cate was an assistant preacher with Haw River Baptist Church (near Bynum) before establishing our church. He had probably been baptized by the Haw River preacher, Elnathen Davis, who himself had been baptized by Shubal Stearns who established the first Baptist church in this part of the state in 1756. It is a mystery why Cane Creek, established by a Baptist preacher, did not declare itself a Baptist church until the 18th year of its existence, in 1806.

"In his will, Thomas left his sons 500 acres. The inventory also mentions three slaves, smith tools, wagons, horses, two stills, boars, hogs, sheep, etc, all to be equally divided among the eleven children. The inventory lists property sold, to whom sold, and the amount paid. The total is $899.66. Another sale that brought in $1263 was conducted in 1825, following the death of Sarah.

"The inventory suggests that Thomas Cate was a fairly prosperous farmer." - Edward Johnson

Saturday, November 7, 2009


By Ebenezer Emmons

To His Excellency, Thos. Bragg, Governor of North Carolina:

Sir : In obedience to your instructions which I had the honor to receive in a note bearing date December 26, I herewith respectfully present the following special report, " on the advantages of the Valley of Deep River, as a site for the establishment of a National Foundry:"

In the first place, permit me to observe that this subject came up for investigation in 1854, and that I then addressed a note to your predecessor, Gov. Reid, in which I attempted to set forth the advantages of Deep River for the object above specified.

Since the date of the note alluded to, I have been still more confirmed in the views then expressed, inasmuch as Deep River, as a manufacturing region, has become still more important in consequence of additional discoveries. But I should remark in this place, that the opinions I have -heretofore expressed, and now entertain, are based upon certain premises, viz : that an eligible site for a National Foundry should combine in its location peculiar advantages, such, for example, as are connected with an ample supply of fuel of different kinds, abundance of the ores of metals, a full supply of timber, water power, materials for construction, a good climate, a spot accessible at all seasons of the year to government officials, and inaccessibility to an enemy without. To the foregoing I may add, that a good agricultural region which can furnish corn, wheat, and cattle, is certainly very desirable, and would confer great advantages over one which is comparatively unproductive.

It is not, however, supposed that Government will engage in the business of reducing the ores of the metals; but, I have no doubt, that the value of the site for the purposes contemplated will be greatly increased, if it is on a spot where private individuals or companies are engaged in this business, and where all the different qualities of the metals, - especially iron, are produced. They are then obtained At the least possible expense, and where, too, Government might well exercise a certain supervision, in order to secure those qualities which are the best for the use to which they are intended.

Similar remarks may be made respecting fuel; it is plain enough, that the fuel should be obtainable upon the spot. The necessity of transporting an article so much demanded, would be a great drawback upon any site where such a necessity as transportation existed; so also, in regard to timber and materials for construction; if these were to be obtained from a distance, the expenses entailed upon the institution contemplated, would form, as in the preceding case, a great drawback upon the eligibility of a site thus located.

It is in consequence of a combination and concentration of advantages, that gives to Deep River an importance over all other places known to the author of this report; such advantages, for example, as are derived from an abundance of fuel, of ores, of timber, and suitableness of climate and location, which have been intimated as the necessary requisites of a location for the purposes designed by Congress.

I shall now proceed to state the facts respecting the natural productions peculiar to the valley of Deep river, and which, I hope, will be found to sustain, in every particular, the premises which 1 have laid down in the foregoing preamble.

1. Fuel in the Condition of Coal.

Under this head the bearing of my statements will go to prove, both a great supply of this kind of fuel, and of a quality superior, in many respects, to any now in market, and which is especially adapted to manufacturing purposes.

The Deep river coalfield possesses all the essential characteristics of the better developed ones in this country, though its extent or area is comparatively small. Its outcrop of coal, or line upon which it has been proved to exist, is about thirty miles. This outcrop runs along the course of Deep river, and is rarely, if ever, more than a mile from it. On this line, there are eleven different places where either shafts, slopes, or pits have been sunk, and which have severally cut the main or six-foot seam.

These coal shafts or slopes begin at Farmersville, the lowest point upon the river where coal has been fully disclosed. From Farmersville, proceeding up the river, we find in succession McIver's Egypt, Taylor's, Gulf, Tyser's, and Tyson's, Carbonton, Mrs. Bingham's, Murchison's and Fooshee's. There is no doubt of the existence of coal beyond the extremities named; but these being as it were on the river bank, and all of them disclosing the existence of a continuous seam of coal, it is evident this segment of Deep river is the most important, and the one upon which capitalists must rely for their supply of this kind of fuel. Viewing this coal, then, only in the extent along which it has actually been developed, there seems to be no sufficient reason why doubts should be entertained of a supply for a long time to come. All doubts respecting a supply of coal will however vanish, when it is considered that from even one of the shafts enumerated, an ample supply may now be obtained; I allude to the Egypt shaft, as these works have been more fully carried out than at any other point upon the river. Here, there is a shaft 460 feet deep, and sunk 1,000 feet within the outcrop. It gives access to the main or six-foot seam as it is called, though it exceeds that amount.

Here, the arrangements are so complete that a ton of coal can be raised to the surface every two minutes during twenty-four hours. I need not go into a further statement of the quantity which Egypt alone can now furnish; and when the other pits are brought into an equal degree of forwardness, it is plain that Deep river will not only furnish all the coal required for manufacturers there, but an immense supply for distant consumption.

The quality of this coal is a matter of considerable consequence. Tested in the smith's shop, the uniform opinion is, that it is cheaper for all work at forty cents per bushel than charcoal at five cents. Smiths at Fayetteville have been in the habit of buying it at that price for several years. It contains a large proportion of volatile matter, at the same time it forms, during combustion, a firm, hollow coke, which makes it so much sought for by smiths, and within which it furnishes an intense heat, which especially fits it for the performance of very heavy work. In the next place it is a gas coal. This property having been fully tested in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, it might be inquired whether the residuum left is valuable as a fuel. On this point, too, it is fortunate that there is so much testimony of the value of its coke, for it is a singular fact that the coke of many gas coals is of little value. The late Prof. Johnson, whose investigations in the department of coals are so well known, gave a very favorable account of it, entertaining no doubt of its high heating as well reducing properties when employed for smelting the ores. In the region of Deep river the coke of the refuse coal will undoubtedly take the place of anthracite in the furnace and forge.
The composition of this coal, as determined by Johnson and Jackson, is as follows.

Fixed carbon . 63.6
Volatile matter 84.8
Ashes. 1,6
Specific gravity 1.8
Ash reddish brown.

This coal is also remarkably free from smutiness or dirt, as well as sulphur and other impurities which injure miner?' coals when employed for heating and reducing the metallic ores. Having, then, had this coal under examination for four years past, and having need it in a grate, and having observed its action in a forge, and having also the testimony of competent observers and experimenters as to its value for gas, as well as the value of its coke, there remains, as I conceive, not the shadow of a doubt as to its value when employed for melting iron, reducing its ores, or of its value for all manufacturing purposes where charcoal is not absolutely required.

2. Metallic Ores, Particularly Iron,

Five kinds of iron ore belong, geologically to the Valley of Deep river, and are known to be centralized upon that portion of it where the coal formation is perfectly developed. Two of the kinds form inexhaustible beds in the coal measures, and one is so immediately connected with the seams as to require removal when the coal is mined.

The hydrated argillaceous oxide exists in a bed from five to six feet thick, seventy feet above the first coal seam. Its position and connection is so favorable for mining that many tons may be thrown down every hour by a single miner. This ore is the kind which usually accompanies the coal measures of all countries. It possesses properties in common with the ores of this class, especially that of Pennsylvania and the carboniferous system of Wales. Its properties and value are too well known to require comment at this time.

The black band is the most important and valuable of all the ores of this formation. It first appears between the two proximate seams of coal, having a width of 15 inches. Below it is the twenty-two inch seam which is succeeded by about fifteen inches of black band, which rests on another seam of coal seven or eight inches thick. About thirty feet lower are two beds of black band, whose thickness is sit feet, separated by a seam of coal one foot thick, which is too ranch charged with the same ore as to admit of its use as a fuel. Both of these zones of black band are removed along with the coal, and being underlaid either by fire-clay or bituminous shale, is thrown down with little labor and expense. I speak of this for the purpose of showing that the cost of obtaining this ore is trifling, when the arrangements are once made. The black band owes its value to the carbon which is combined with it. When properly roasted the ore is left in an open porous state, and in the condition of a protoxide, a fact which is evident from its strong magnetic powers It is, therefore, a homogeneous ore, retaining still more carbon to aid in its reduction.

The composition of the black band ore is as follows:

Carbon and volatile matter 40.62
Per oxide of iron 47.50
Silex 9.00
Sulphur trace.

From the foregoing it is evident that iron can be cheaply made from the black band, and as the best Scotch pig is made from it, a kind so much sought for in this country, it maybe regarded as equally worthy of belief that the use of this ore will supply an article which has for a long time been imported, and thereby save as from the necessity of large expenditures for this kind of metal.

The black band is known to be co-extensive with the coal formation. It is therefore, inexhaustible, and its quantity is so great and so widely distributed, that its use can never become a monopoly by any company. An estimate of the cost of making pig iron from this ore, by an experienced and highly accomplished iron founder, was made at my request, and it appeared that pig, equal probably to the best Scotch pig, could be manufactured at a cost not exceeding nine dollars per ton.

I deem it will be sufficient to answer the purposes of this report to allude only to the specular, magnetic, and hematitic ores of Deep river. The nearest locality of the specular is about six miles northwest from the Gulf upon the plank-road leading to Graham. The magnetic is about six miles farther in the same direction, and the hematitic occupies an elevated point known as the Ore Knob, situated nine miles from the Gulf, and about the same distance from Carbonton. The latter was used in the time of the Revolution, and the castings then made are remarkable for their toughness and strength. These three kinds of ore possess the usual properties and characteristics, and being unmixed with foreign matter possessing injurious properties, it is conceived that they also are fitted for all the purposes to which these ores are usually put.

From the foregoing statements it will appear that in the neighborhood of Egypt, the Gulf, or Carbonton, there never can be any lack or want of raw materials for the manufacture of iron; and these several localities being concentrated in a limited region, it must strike every one at all conversant with this matter, that here is a rare combination of advantages for the manufacture of iron in all the forms and conditions which the present state of society requires.

3. Timber for Construction.

Deep river in its lower reaches skirts and passes through a belt of the long-leaved pine. This belt of pine is mostly on its southern bank. On the east, north, and northwest the oaks and hickories form the principal kinds of timber, intermixed, however, more or less, with the short-leaf pine. A great forest of white oak skirts the tributaries of the Haw river. This belt extends from the mouth of the New Hope to the vicinity of Chapel Hill. Its mouth is about three miles above the junction of the Haw, and Deep rivers. The Haw becoming navigable to the mouth, or near the mouth of New Hope, opens a way to this forest of many thousand acres occupied by this valuable tree. But as this, together with hickory, ash, and elm, grow extensively throughout the valley and upon the adjacent slopes skirting it, and, moreover, as the mild climate favors the rapid growth of all forest trees, it is a fair conclusion that there will be for years to come timber for all the purposes demanded for the construction of implements of war and of defence. It is to be recollected, in this connection, that the forests have never been thinned by manufacturing companies, as is the case in New England and New York, neither has the long-leaved pine been used for the extraction of turpentine.

4. Quarries of Free Stone, Granite, and other Stone for Construction.

The common rock of this coal formation is a red, brown, or cream colored free stone, which, however, is interstratified with tender, brown or reddish shades. Free stone, of various textures and colors, are the common products of the formation. One hundred years' exposure of this stone to the atmosphere proves it a durable material for building. The layers vary in thickness; they are soft and easily dressed when first removed from the quarry, but soon harden, when they become stable, and remain unchangeable. Grindstones, coarse and fine, are also of sufficient value to require a passing notice. Roofing slate may be obtained upon Rocky river, and granite of a superior quality at Buckhorn, on the Cape Fear.

5. Water Power.

It is a question which remains to be settled by others, whether, upon a coal mine, which must always furnish a large amount of fine coal, water should be employed for moving machinery, or steam. Whether this question is settled in favor of water or steam, it is certain that the water power of Deep, Haw, Rocky, and Cape Fear rivers are very important sources of power for moving machinery of some kind in this section of the State. On Deep river there are three falls; the lowest at Lockville, where the available fall is about sixteen feet, which may be taken into a race from which the water may be used twice. Another fall of about ten feet, and which is partly employed, exists at the Gulf, and another still at Carbonton. Three miles above the junction of the Haw and Deep rivers there is a valuable water power upon the former, which, as it is connected with the latter by navigable waters, may be considered as belonging to it. It is bordered by banks which may be safely occupied by mills of any description. The falls of Buckhorn, upon Cape Fear, six miles below Lockville, furnish by far the greatest power for moving machinery. If, therefore, water is required for any purpose connected with the business of a National Foundry, it may be obtained to an extent which a community of manufacturers may require.

6. Accessibility.

The navigation of Cape Fear and Deep rivers is already secured. An outlet to the Atlantic is thereby obtained. The distance to Wilmington from the coalfield is one hundred and fifty miles. Steamboats ascend now to Lockville, and will soon be able to reach Farmersville, Egypt, and the Gulf. In addition to the foregoing, I may state that a railway is now being constructed from Fayetteville to the coalfields, which will pass through them and intersect the Central Railroad at High Point. This road, when completed, will form an important chain of communication, which will put Deep river in immediate connection with the timbered sections of the State, and with the mineral region of the upper part of Deep river; and if continued to Salem, as contemplated by a railroad charter already granted, will also be connected with limestone, coal, and iron, upon the Dan river.

So, also, a link of thirty miles of road is yet to be constructed by which Deep river will be in connection with Raleigh, Weldon, Portsmouth, and Norfolk, or Petersburg and Richmond. Or, if another route to the Atlantic is preferred, it may be obtained by the Atlantic and Goldsboro' Railroad. . By these routes the seaboard is accessible in about twenty-four or thirty hours: 1st, by way of Wilmington; 2d, by Goldsboro' and Beaufort; and 3d, by Weldon and Portsmouth. Deep river may be reached in from twenty-four to thirty hours' travel from Washington.

It is scarcely necessary to say, that Deep river is inaccessible to an enemy from without.

7. Climate and soil.

Chatham County, through which Deep river flows, has a good climate, and its soil is adapted to the growth of wheat, corn and cattle.

In Conclusion I may very properly say that Deep river possesses those advantages which a National Foundry requires in an eminent degree:

1. In its abundant supply of bituminous and semi-bituminous coals of the best qualities.
2. In its vast resources for the manufacture of iron.
3. In its materials for construction in wood and stone.
4. Ample water power.
5. In its soil and natural productions.
6. In its climate and good water for domestic purposes; there is neither the extreme heat of summer, which debilitates, nor excess of eold in winter, which closes the navigation of its rivers, or interferes with the movements of machinery.

With the foregoing summary of leading facts, I submit this report to your Excellency's favorable consideration.

I am, sir, your Excellency's obedient servant,


Geologist to North, Carolina.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Landscape, Memory, and East54

I recently saw Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy give an interesting speech on the problem that everyone seems to think that Chapel Hill was just perfect right about the time they got there. Kevin is not the first person to have observed this, and he won’t be the last, but I thought it might be interesting to share this item I stumbled across while researching an unrelated topic. R. L. Gray wrote an essay on Chapel Hill in the News & Observer (reprinted in NC Journal of Law, Vol 1, pp 516-518, 1904):

"Let the man have been tarred with the University stick and he will tell you along with his after-dinner cigar that he has a notion of some day building a house at Chapel Hill – and there remaining to the end of the chapter in the one place where he believes he can obtain a large and perfect peace. There men cling to the town and its surroundings with a memory that is both tenacious and jealous of details.

"A friend was describing to one of these - a graduate before the [Civil] war – the site of the present Alumni Building. Suddenly the old graduate’s eyes flashed fire: “What!” he exclaimed. “You don’t tell me they’ve cut down the old college linden! I’d rather they’d have gone without that building forever than that they should have touched that tree!”

"And so it goes. Living in the hearts of its scattered children, each tree shrub and rose bush, almost each stone of its serried ranks of rough built walls, bears its own faint story; and it is the indefinable suggestion that seems in time to float out from the inanimate things that have brushed on human hopes that strangely strikes the newcomer at the moment he places foot upon the campus and brings to the returned a tingling of the blood and a half forgotten smell of the air that at once exhilarate and recall to half sad dreams of bygone days."

Gray’s argument is essentially that the landscape of Chapel Hill is a part of the experience of being young and full of life in Chapel Hill. Revisiting the landscape of your young adulthood brings back fond memories of days gone by. Or in other words, there’s nothing like walking down Franklin Street to make you feel young again, or at least bring back wonderful and powerful memories. And any change at UNC (or in Chapel Hill) detracts from that feeling. Gray is saying that the things that are new interfere with the evocation of that brief feeling of youthfulness, and you consequently dislike them.

Gray’s theory is meant to explain the experience of returning alumni, who for example are sometimes crestfallen to find that the Rathskeller is no more, or similarly are shocked to see Greenbridge rising on Chapel Hill’s western border. I am not sure that the experience is exactly the same for those who live in and near Chapel Hill and return to UNC and downtown on a regular basis, but it is at least part of that story.

Gray makes no remark on Carrboro in part because the village scarcely existed in 1904, but Carrboro is not immune to this same issue. Probably the greatest challenge facing our town is how to expand our commercial tax base without compromising the sense of place that is Carrboro. And I suppose such things are challenges for any community, but I think Gray is suggesting that this phenomenon is especially strong in Chapel Hill because so many people discover the town as 18-year-olds, entering the prime of life and for the first time living with new found freedom. This is true for Carrboro as well, although somewhat less so because Carrboro is less a part of the undergraduate experience for most students.

It is also interesting to note that Gray mentions that a part of this phenomenon is that the critic of change “has a notion of some day building a house at Chapel Hill.” Gray does not remark upon the irony of the critic at once lamenting any change to the Chapel Hill landscape and expressing his desire to change that same landscape by building his own house there. No doubt the critic feels that although change in Chapel Hill is bad, just one more house won’t hurt, as long as it is his.

From today’s vantage point, it also seems ironic that the critic would lament the construction of Alumni Hall:

Alumni Hall

Alumni Hall is in fact one of the buildings that gives secondary definition to McCorkle Place and has many beautiful architectural details. That anti-Alumni Hall sentiment seems particularly ironic in light of Davie Hall, which UNC went on to build only 200 yards away:

Davie Hall

The desire to return to a Chapel Hill that was known from earlier days goes still further back in UNC's history. William D. Moseley, a member of the UNC class of 1818, wrote a letter to his former professor Elisha Mitchell in 1853: “I know of no earthly pleasure which would afford me more heartfelt satisfaction than a short stay at that village [Chapel Hill]; where I could again refresh my memory with a review of the places and things that still remain as mementos of days that are past; when the future was looked to with hopes, never to be realized.”

At some level, none of this is lost on either the administration of the University or the government of the Town, for both have sometimes made wise choices about the preservation of the historical landscape. Among Moseley’s other comments in his 1853 letter: “I would like too to visit the Old Poplar, in the right of the path leading from the Chapel to Dr Caldwell's. Is it still living?” Not only was it still living in 1853, but it is still living today:

Davie Poplar

Moseley’s letter implies that the Davie Poplar was a noted landmark even when the University was young. And clearly it was called “the Old Poplar” even by members of the class of 1818. It was already at least 100 years old when Moseley graduated. The Davie Poplar is now at least 300 years old and some think it may be approaching 400.

But nothing in this world lasts forever, and UNC began preparing for the inevitable about 90 years ago by grafting a cutting of the Davie Poplar to create Davie Poplar, Jr., which grows in the shadows of the original. And more recently a seedling of the Davie Poplar was cultivated and planted nearby with the appellation Davie Poplar, III. It's right in front of Alumni Hall as it happens. While obviously no one is hoping for the day when the Davie Poplar falls, it is reassuring to know that UNC has long since begun to prepare for that day.

Likewise, no one hopes for the day when our community will face dramatic changes brought about by greenhouse gasses as well as the ever-increasing cost (and ever-decreasing supply) of petroleum. But we cannot bury our heads in the sand and hope that such challenges will never come. They will come and we all know it. At the local level, Carrboro, UNC and Chapel Hill can make only the most incremental changes to the composition of the atmosphere or the supply of available petroleum. But we can and we must prepare for the future that we know is coming.

Preparing for a world with fewer cars and less petroleum will partly involve technological breakthroughs in sustainable energy, but it must also involve dramatic improvements in energy efficiency. And one way for us to reduce our society’s demand for energy - a way that is entirely within the control of local government in North Carolina - is to change our built landscape – to create a more pedestrian, bicycle and transit friendly landscape. And that will involve a more compact form of development, focused on key transportation corridors.

One area that is appropriate for the new landscape that our community will need is the NC 54 corridor between Meadowmont and UNC, along the planned route of the Triangle’s light-rail system. Downtown Carrboro and downtown Chapel Hill are also areas where outstanding public transportation is already readily available and are appropriate places for more intense development. Yet, the importance of the landscape, the sense of place in these locations cannot be ignored.

How would Carrboro be Carrboro without these buildings:

east main street

On the other hand, some downtown Carrboro buildings seem considerably less essential:

300 E Main Street

To be clear these businesses are essential, but the buildings are not.

Likewise, the Best Western University Inn
was a pretty unremarkable building. The grassy areas out front were pleasant, but it was mostly a low utilitarian building with a sea of asphalt in front. The picture above was taken as a publicity photo and it still makes the building and lot look unremarkable (at best). East54's critics only ever acknowledge this reality when prompted to do so. Likewise there seems to be no public acknowledgement that the site of Greenbridge was not long ago a flophouse for crack dealers. Does any of this mean that East54, Greenbridge or 300 E. Main Street will be perfect? Of course not. But let’s be clear, what they are replacing was not so terrific as some would like to pretend.

Change is inevitable for Carrboro and Chapel Hill. The challenge is to keep the elements that are central to our landscape from the past, while creating a more energy-efficient and pedestrian friendly landscape for the future. Personally, I think that is something that Carrboro, UNC and Chapel Hill can do.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Great Fires of Swepsonville

Here's an interesting description of Swepsonville, NC in the 19th century. It came from The light of four candles by Cardenio Flournoy King (1908). Mr. King's mother was defrauded of her late husbands estate . . .

Sixty miles to the eastward was the little town of Swepsonville, in Alamance County—a Southern cotton-mill town. Mother was forced to go there, that the older children might work. She helped keep the family purse filled by taking boarders. We all worked as soon as we were able. I was a bobbin boy at ten.

There were four hundred hands in the mill, which was a three-story frame structure, and it ran night and day with two shifts. Its machinery was idle only from midnight Saturday night to midnight Sunday night. I was in the night shift. As I remember it, it did not seem to be especially unpleasant. I recall but one painful incident—being knocked across the room by a cruel overseer who found me asleep one night when I should have been at work.

We had religious services every Sunday in the saw-mill, Sunday school and occasional sermons from a Baptist preacher who came from the next town and preached for what he could raise in the collection box. We had singing lessons weekly. This was about the limit of our diversions.

They were good people in that town. Everybody was kind and generous. Everybody was hard-working. I think everybody was religious. The favorite tune sung or whistled was "In the Sweet Bye-and-Bye." I have sometimes wondered, since I grew up, if that was because they had very little to look forward to in this life.

Then came Swepsonville's calamity. The entire population, aroused by the loud clang of the bell on the hill, went up one night and stood in horror, watching the mill burn to the ground.

George W. Swepson, of Raleigh, the owner of the mill, was in town. I knew him quite well, for he boarded at our house when he was in Swepsonville, and I want to depart from the thread of my story just long enough to pay his memory a warm personal tribute. He was a good man, a strong man, a Southern gentleman. He appreciated the humanity of his employees and was interested in them personally. There was none of the soulless magnate about him. The people in his town admired him, respected him and loved him.

I worked my way through the crowd, at eleven or twelve o'clock that night, and stood beside George W. Swepson. Then and there I received my first lesson in bearing up under adversity, in turning defeat into victory. Standing there in the glare of the burning mill, which meant a terrible loss to him, Mr. Swepson made a drawing for the new mill which should be erected upon its ashes, and while the sparks were still shooting heavenward he gave orders to his general superintendent, Monroe Cooke, to order the materials from which the next structure, to be of brick, should be constructed.

This was on Thursday or Friday, and on Monday morning the brick yard was started. Left without a position by the destruction of the mill, I applied for work at the kilns and was given a place as brick bearer, at twenty-five cents a day.

For some weeks I bore brick from the molders to the sun-drying places. I earned a dollar and a half a week and turned it over to my mother. Then there came a day when she realized that the family was not earning enough to support itself. Some of us must go away from home, out into the world where wages were higher and opportunities greater. I was one of those to go and with four dollars in my pocket and my shoes in my carpet-bag I crossed the high bridge and struck out for the railroad and that fortune I never doubted I should some day have.

Proceedings of the Good Roads Institute 1911

Continuing our NC Piedmont travel description series, here is the relevant portion of the Proceedings of the Good Roads Institute 1911, by Joseph Hyde Pratt and Hattie M. Berry:

From Durham to Graham, Alamance County, two routes are available —one, via Hillsboro (see Fig. 2), the county seat of Orange County, and the other, via Chapel Hill (see Fig. 3), Orange County.
Central Hwy between Durham and Hillsboro
[Fig.2 is essentially Old NC 10/US 70; Fig. 3 is Old Chapel Hill-Durham Road, just south of US 15-501]

At the present time the best route is via Chapel Hill. From Durham to the Orange County line the road is macadam and from the line to Chapel Hill it is sand-clay. There are a great many beautiful vistas along this road, and, when within one mile of Chapel Hill and immediately after crossing an iron bridge [Bolin Creek], the road begins to climb a long hill [Strowd Hill on Franklin Street in CH] (on an easy grade, however), which is the first hill climbing of any extent that the traveler has encountered since leaving Morehead City. When the top of the hill is reached a splendid view greets the traveler, and he can see across the broad valley nearly as far as Raleigh.

Chapel Hill, the seat of the State University, is located on the summit of a long, high hill, and the highway passes through the main street of the town. Entering from the east, the broad street, with its beautiful homes and well-kept yards on each side, gives some idea of the beauty and dignity of this delightful old town. Sufficient time should be taken to ride through the campus of the oldest State University in the country. Just before reaching the center of the town, the Episcopal Church will be passed. This beautiful, ivy-covered building [Chapel of the Cross] attracts the attention of all who pass and reminds one of old English churches. It was designed by Upjohn, the architect who designed Old Trinity Church of New York.

As one leaves Chapel Hill and rides toward Saxapahaw, Alamance County, he realizes that he has entered the rolling and hilly country of the Piedmont Plateau region. [No mention of Carrboro!]The highway, however, will take the hills by easy grades and the scenery claims the attention of the traveler for the whole distance. [Just as true 98 years later!] At Saxapahaw the road twines down to Haw River, which is crossed on an iron bridge. This little mill town, situated about 9 miles from a railroad, is a city unto itself.

The road from Saxapahaw to Graham has just been completed and is partly sand-clay and partly macadam.

The other route from Durham to Graham, via Hillsboro, passes through West Durham, where the large Methodist College (Trinity) [Duke University, obviously] is located. The road to the Durham line will be macadam and across Orange County it will be gravel or sand-clay. [This is Old NC 10/US 70.] Within a few miles of Hillsboro the road passes through two of the noted farms of the State, the Duke farm and the Occoneechee farm. Hillsboro was formerly the capital of the State, and contains many very attractive old homes.

Cornwallis began the construction of paved roads at Hillsboro during the year 1780 of the Revolutionary War, when he had his army quartered for the winter at that place. At the time the roads were practically impassable and he had his soldiers fill the mudholes with rocks. While it did not make a smooth or good road, it did make them passable, so that he was able to haul his cannon and wagons. Some of Cornwallis's road improvement is still to be seen. Most of it, however, has been replaced recently by a good macadam. This old historic town is well worth a visit by the tourist, and most delightful accommodations can be had at the Corbinton Inn.

On leaving Hillsboro the road to Mebane is very hilly and rough, but a new location has been made and the new road should be finished within the next year.

At nearly every town that the highway passes through since leaving Raleigh are one or more cotton mills, and these mills continue to be conspicuous landmarks until the highway passes Mooresville and Statesville. At West Durham the Erwin Cotlon Mills represent the largest in the South and one of them covers a greater area than any other cotton mill in the country.

At Mebane is the plant of the White Furniture Company. This is the beginning of a series of furniture factories that will be observed in many of the towns from this point westward. From Mebane the highway passes through Haw River to Graham, where it intersects with the Chapel Hill road. On leaving Graham the traveler will find a splendid macadam road for a distance of 50 miles, passing through Burlington and Elon College, Alamance County, and Gibsonville, Greensboro, Jamestown, and High Point, Guilford County.

At Greensboro, the county seat of Guilford County, the Central Highway intersects the National Highway and the two highways coincide as far as Landis, Rowan County, 62 miles to the south. Good hotel accom- ' modations can be obtained in Greensboro, at the Guilford and McAdoo hotels. The State Normal College, the Greensboro Female College, and the A. and M. College for the colored race are located in this city. Guilford County received the $1,000 offered by the Atlanta Journal for the county south of Roanoke, Virginia, through which the National Highway passed that had the best roads. The county is keeping up its reputation and still has the best system of roads of any county in the State. The macadam road between Greensboro and High Point, 15 miles, has been treated with tarvia.

It was only a few years ago that High Point was a small village whose only distinction was the fact that it was the highest point on the Southern Railway between Danville and Charlotte. Now it is the second city in the country in the manufacture of furniture, the only city exceeding it being Grand Rapids, Michigan. Soon after leaving High Point the Highway enters Davidson County, and the roads during rainy weather have caused travelers a great many anxious moments. The route through this country has recently been resurveyed and the long hills have been eliminated. Revenue will also be available to convert the heavy clay road into a beautiful, smooth, sand-clay road.

People who have driven across Davidson County have not had an opportunity to appreciate the beauties of the county, as their thoughts have been too much centered on the road. Another six months will see the road in good condition, and then the traveler will realize that he is passing through a most delightful section of the State, where productive and prosperous farms are very numerous, and, with the beautiful views from the ridge and up the long rich valleys, will impress one that this county is one in which it would be good to live. Thomasville and the county seat, Lexington, are two rapidly growing towns of this section. Lexington Township has recently issued $100,000 in bonds for the construction of good roads.

Just before reaching the Yadkin River, which is the boundary line between Davidson and Rowan counties, the highway passes near the Daniel Boone Memorial Cabin, which marks the birthplace of that great American pioneer and noted character in American history. Yadkin River is crossed by a tollbridge, but plans are now under way to have a free bridge across this river. At the time of the Automobile Run from !N"ew York to Atlanta under the auspices of the New York Herald and the Atlanta Journal, this tollgate at the end of the bridge was the only tollgate that was raised without charging the tourists toll.

First-class sand-clay and macadam roads are again encountered as the highway reaches Rowan County. The steep hill immediately beyond the bridge will soon be a thing of the past. A new location has been surveyed for the highway, and the new road will be ready by spring. For the next 50 to 60 miles the highway is a joy to all who ride over it, smooth surface and easy grades. Spencer, where are located the large shops of the Southern Railway, is soon passed and Salisbury is in sight. This town, the county seat of Rowan County, is of historic interest in connection with scenes enacted during the Civil War. One of the Confederate prisons was located here. One of the Federal cemeteries is at Salisbury, and, during the past few years, several very handsome monuments have been erected by Northern States to the memory of their soldiers buried at this place.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fur Craig’s

In 1792, as the University Trustees were deciding where to establish UNC, local farmers offered up over 1,000 acres to entice UNC to Chapel Hill. Among the ten land donors, the smallest was John Craig, who donated just 5 acres. The Craig donation was that funny crook in the western boundary of the original University lands:

Craig Donation

Although John Craig donated only 5 acres, his family clearly owned some other land nearby. James Craig's farmhouse was known to the early students of the University as Fur Craig’s, as both Battle’s History and Hooper’s Tis Fifty Years Since tell us. It was called Fur Craig’s, as Battle says, “in distinction from the habitation of a man of the same name on the Durham road.” That is, it was not Near Craig’s; it was Fur Craig's. This picture from Steve Rankin is said to be Fur Craig's:

Fur Craig's

Battle hints at the location of Fur Craig’s: “James Craig lived in the house still [ie in 1910] occupied by one of his descendants in the extreme western part of the village . . . a favorite boarding house for those not adverse to long walks . . . a farm house a mile from the town.” Battle’s description would seem to place Fur Craig’s somewhere near Merritt Mill Road, nearly in what is now Carrboro.

The legal description of Alexander Piper's 1793 land donation to UNC (20 acres in what would later become downtown Carrboro) reads: “beginning at a post oak, James Craig's corner, thence West 80 poles . . .” clearly indicating that Craig’s land was just east of the Piper donation, which would place it just east of Carr Mill Mall.

UNC sold the Piper donation to James Craig's son, John M. Craig, in 1837 (Orange DB 28, pg 272). And John M. Craig sold a larger parcel in 1867 “lying on the western outskirts of Chapel Hill upon both sides of the road leading from Chapel Hill to Greensboro adjoining the lands of John Weaver, Thomas Weaver . . . beginning at the mud hole in Craigs Lane . . . to a locust on the road leading to Greensboro . . . to a rock in the road from Chapel Hill to Jones Ford on Haw River . . . containing 101 ½ acres more or less." So the property straddled Weaver Street (the road leading to Gboro) and was bounded on the south by Jones Ferry Road (the road from CH to Jones Ford). This must have constituted most of downtown Carrboro, including the Piper donation and then some.

But it is also clear that the John M. Craig tract was not “Fur Craig’s” as Battle mentions that the Craig’s still lived there in 1910, whereas John M Craig sold that tract in 1867. Also an 1879 further conveyance of the John M Craig tract to Henry H Patterson and Fendal S Hogan (ODB 46, pg 257) mentions specifically that James F. Craig owned land just to the east. Battle tells us: “James Francis Craig, his [James Craig’s] grandson, a student of the University in 1852, recently [1910] died on the old homestead.” Also, I believe James F. Craig was a member of the Chapel Hill Board of Commissioners (now Town Council) in the 1880’s, suggesting the Fur Craig’s may have been within town limits in the 1880's (ie east of Merritt Mill Road.)

So the upshot of that would seem to be that Fur Craig’s must have been somewhere east of Merritt Mill Road, more or less in the vicinity of what is now Greenbridge. However, the Map of Chapel Hill as it was 1875-1885 shows no dwelling in that area:


The Life of Edmund Fanning

Benson Lossing’s Pictorial Fieldbook of the Revolution includes a convenient sketch of the life of Edmund Fanning, which I thought would make a nice post on the blog. Foremost, note that Edmund Fanning is more or less no relation to the infamous Tory raider Col. David Fanning of Randolph County fame. Edmund was a notorious lawyer and loyalist who was hated by the Regulators. He was just the sort of person that John F D Stuart-Smyth was referring to when he wrote that before the Revolution some in Orange County became wealthy “by the practice of law, which in this province is peculiarly lucrative and extremely oppressive.”

Here’s Lossing’s sketch [with my comments in square brackets]:

Edmund Fanning was a native of Long Island, New York, son of Colonel Phineas Fanning. [He was Southold, Long Island per wikipedia; also the Canadian Dictionary of Biography says he was the son of James Fanning and Hannah Smith.] He was educated at Yale College, and graduated with honor in 1757. He soon afterward [1761] went to North Carolina, and began the profession of a lawyer at Hillsborough, then called Childsborough. In 1760, the degree of L.L.D. was conferred upon him by his alma mater. In 1763, he was appointed colonel of Orange county, and in 1765 was made clerk of the Superior Court at Hillsborough. He also represented Orange county in the Colonial Legislature. In common with other lawyers, he appears to have exacted exorbitant fees for legal services, and consequently incurred the dislike of the people, which was finally manifested by acts of violence. He accompanied Governor Tryon to New York, in 1771, as his secretary. Governor Martin asked the Legislature to indemnify Colonel Fanning for his losses; the representatives of the people rebuked the governor for presenting such a petition. In 1776, General Howe gave Fanning the commission of colonel, and he raised and commanded a corps called the King's American Regiment of Foot. He was afterward appointed to the lucrative office of surveyor general, which he retained until his flight, with other Loyalists, to Nova Scotia, in 1783. In 1786 he was made lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia, and in 1794 he was appointed governor of Prince Edward's Island. He held the latter office about nineteen years, a part of which time he was also a brigadier in the British army, having received his commission in 1808. He married in Nova Scotia, where some of his family yet reside. General Fanning died in London, in 1818, at the age of about eighty-one years. His widow and two daughters yet (1852) survive. One daughter, Lady Wood, a widow, resides near London with her mother; the other, wife of Captain Bentwick Cumberland, a nephew of Lord Bentwick, resides at Charlotte's Town, New Brunswick. I am indebted to John Fanning Watson, Esq., the Annalist of Philadelphia and New York, for the portrait here given.

General Fanning's early career, while in North Carolina, seems not to have given promise of that life of usefulness which he exhibited after leaving Republican America. It has been recorded, it is true, by partisan pens, yet it is said that he often expressed regrets for his indiscreet course at Hillsborough. His after life bore no reproaches, and the Gentlemen's Magazine (1818), when noting his death, remarked, "The world contained no better man in all the relations of life." [Although it should be noted that almost all 19th century obituaries have a hagiographic aspect to them.]

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sketch of the Life of the Rev. Dr. Alexander Wilson

Rev. Dr. Alexander Wilson's father was reportedly a wealthy man in Ireland who is said to have lost his fotune as a result of acting as a guarantor of the debts of others. It is said that the father was also named Alexander Wilson. But Rev. Alexander Wilson was called Alexander Wilson, Sr. and his son was Alexander, Jr., so it seems unlikely that the Reverend's father was also named Alexander.

In any case, the subject of this sketch was born in 1799 in County Down, Ireland, at Ballylesson. The younger Alexander Wilson grew up in Ireland, studying to become a physician. Around 1817 he graduated from Apothecaries Hall, Dublin. Wilson probably married shortly after graduation. In July 1818 he immigrated to America. Some sources say he lived for a time in New York and taught school there, but others say that North Carolina was his only state of residence in America.

Soon his wife, Mary, came to America as well and about 1820 they were in Raleigh, North Carolina. Wilson taught under Rev. William McPheeters at Raleigh Academy for a year, but then took up teaching in 1821 in Granville County at Williamsboro Academy. In 1826, Wilson was granted his United States citizenship by the Granville County Court. Wilson worked for many years in Granville County, living in Oak Hill. He was the Presbyterian minister to several congregations, including Grassy Creek Presbyterian (which moved and is now Oak Hill Presb.) and Nut Bush Presbyterian which was in the community of Williamsboro. Williamsboro is now called ___ and is in that part of old Granville County which is Vance County today. Rev. Wilson also attended the 1833 founding of Geneva Presbyterian Church in Granville County, as well as probably others.

Rev. Wilson’s work in Granville County was done under the auspices of the New Hope Presbytery. Later, Rev. Wilson became involved in the Orange Presbytery. I don’t know whether this reflects any ideological difference between these Presbyteries. The Grassy Creek Presbyterian Church history notes: “[T]he first African Americans admitted into membership of the Church was between 1833-34. In 1835 service began to be held also in a meeting house between Oak Hill and the Virginia Line, near the residence of the late Graham E. Royster.” This change occurred shortly before Wilson left the New Hope Presbytery, but it is unclear whether these events are related.

In 1833 the Orange Presbytery appointed Rev. Wilson to a committee on Presbyterian education, along with UNC Pres. David Caldwell and a number of others. The committee concluded that a Presbyterian school was needed. The Presbytery concurred and the Caldwell Institute was founded in Greensboro in 1836 with Rev. Wilson as Principal. Mary Wilson initially remained in Granville County, but probably moved to Greensboro around 1837 or 1838.

Around 1845 there was apparently an epidemic in Greensboro and so it was decided to move the school. In the summer of 1845 the Presbytery decided to move the school to Hillsborough and Rev. Wilson moved with the school. About 1850, the Caldwell Institute moved again to the vicinity of Little River Presbyterian Church northeast of Hillsborough, but Wilson did not move with it.

Rev. Wilson’s sons were James, Robert and Alexander, Jr. Robert and Alexander helped teach at their father’s school. Maj. James W. Wilson became a railroad commissioner and Robert Wilson became a businessman in Richmond, Virginia. The Wilson’s also had two daughters, one of whom died young and the other of whom, Alice E. Wilson, married Edwin A. Heartt in late 1847 (Q-H/709), the son of Hillsboro Recorder editor Dennis Heartt.

Right about the same time that Alice Wilson and Edwin Heartt were married, Rev. Wilson, his son Alexander, Jr. and Edwin Heartt bought 50 acres just north of Swepsonville in the community then known as Burnt Shop (ODB 33, pp 101-104). This site was formerly part of 300 acres conveyed from Samuel Child to John W. Norwood (deed not recorded) and was east of the land of the widow of Stephen Glass. At the same time, John A. Bingham bought an additional 50 acres, also formerly part of the Child-Norwood tract.

In 1851, Rev. Wilson founded his own three-room school in Burnt Shop. It is has been claimed that Henderson Scott of the Hawfields was influential in getting Wilson to choose Burnt Shop as the location for the school. If so, then those conversations must have been on-going almost from the moment that Rev. Wilson moved to Hillsborough. In any case, Wilson renamed the community after the Scotch theologian Andrew Melville. The Alexander Wilson School or Melville School became the primary fixture of Melville and earned a reputation as an excellent school. Rev. Wilson also built a gristmill on Haw Creek under the supervision of millwright Berry Davidson. However the dam was ruptured in a great flood in 1875. The remains of the dam can still be seen about 1 mile downstream of the NC 54 bridge over Haw Creek:

Alexander Wilson Dam

Rev. Wilson’s students included several members of the Morehead family, Turner Tate, Tom Roulhac, John and James Wilson, William Mebane, T. B. Bailey, John W. and Geo. Bason, L. Banks Holt, Lawrence Holt, Samuel K. Scott, J. R. Newlin, and Mayor Van Wyck, of New York. After his death in 1867, the school soon closed, but the community is still known as Melville today; and the modern public school in Melville is still called the Alexander Wilson Elementary School.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lossing’s Pictorial Field Book of the Revolution

Continuing with my series of blog posts on travelers’ descriptions of their journeys between Hillsborough and Salisbury, North Carolina, I present Benson J. Lossing’s Pictorial Field Book of the Revolution. Lossing traveled all over the east coast visiting and researching important (and not so important) Revolutionary War sites and most of the book is about the history of the Revolutionary War. His account of Greene and Cornwallis’s Race to the Dan is a classic on the topic and is wonderfully detailed, but weaved into that narrative is Lossing’s own narrative about Lossing’s trip from Hillsborough to Salisbury in 1849. Lossing’s penchant for story-telling is delightful. In reproducing his story I have mostly edited out the Revolutionary tales. Those parts of his book are also well worth reading, but they distract from the 1849 narrative.

My comments are in [square brackets]. The more interesting footnotes from Lossing’s book are included here in (parentheses). Enjoy:

I employed the first morning of the new year (1849), in visiting places of interest at Hillsborough, in company with the Reverend Dr. Wilson. [This must have been Alexander Wilson, the schoolmaster of the Caldwell Institute in Hillsborough and later the founder of the Wilson School in Melville, near Swepsonville, NC.] The first object to which my attention was called was a small wooden building, represented in the engraving on the next page, situated opposite the hotel where I was lodged. Cornwallis used it for an office, during his tarryings in Hillsborough, after driving General Greene out of the state. After sketching this, we visited the office of the Clerk of Superior Court, and made the fac similes and extracts from its records, printed on pages 573-4. We next visited the headquarters of Cornwallis, a large frame building situated in the rear of Morris’s Hillsborough House, on King Street. Generals Gates and Greene also occupied it when they were in Hillsborough, and there a large number of the members of the Provincial Congress were generally lodged. The old court-house, where the Regulators performed their lawless acts, is no longer in existence. I was informed by Major Taylor, an octogenarian on whom we called, that it was a brick edifice, and stood almost upon the exact site of the present court-house, which is a spacious brick building, with steeple and clock. The successor of the first was a wooden structure, and being removed to make room for the present building, was converted into a place of meeting for a society of Baptists, who yet worship there. Upon the hill near the Episcopal church, and fronting King Street, is the spot where the Regulators were hung. The residence of Governor Tryon, while in Hillsborough, was on Church Street, a little west of Masonic Hall. These compose the chief objects of historic interest at Hillsborough. The town has other associations connected with the Southern campaigns, but we will not anticipate the revealments of history by considering them now.

At one o’clock I exchanged adieus with the kind Dr. Wilson, crossed the Eno, and , pursuing the route traversed by Tryon on his march to the Allamance, crossed the rapid and now turbid Haw, just below the falls, at sunset [apparently at Swepsonville]. I think I never traveled a worse road than the one stretching between the Eno and the Haw. It passes over a continued series of red clay hills, which are heavily wooded with oaks, gums, black locusts, and chestnuts. Small streams course among these elevations; and in summer this region must be exceedingly picturesque. Now every tree and shrub was leafless, except the holly and the laurel, and nothing green appeared among the wide reaching branches but the beautiful tufts of mistletoe which every where decked the great oaks with their delicate leaves and transparent berries. Two and a half miles beyond the Haw, and eighteen from Hillsborough, I passed the night at Foust’s house of entertainment, and after an early breakfast, rode to the place where Colonel Pyle, a Tory officer, with a considerable body of Loyalists, was deceived and defeated by Lieutenant-colonel Henry Lee and his dragoons, with Colonel Pickens, in the spring of 1781. Dr. Holt, who lives a short distance from that locality, kindly accompanied me to the spot and pointed out the place where the battle occurred; where Colonel Pyle lay concealed in a pond, and where many of the slain were buried. (About a quarter of a mile northwest from this pond, is the spot where the battle occurred. It was then heavily wooded; now it is a cleared field, on the plantation of Colonel Michael Holt. Mr. Holt planted an apple tree upon the spot where fourteen of the slain were buried in one grave. Near by, a persimmon-tree indicates the place of burial of several others. [This footnote is to a part of the text that I omitted, but the note is interesting and relates also to this part of the text, so I included it here.])The place of conflict is about half a mile north of the old Salisbury highway, upon a “plantation road,” two miles east of the Allamance, in Orange county. Let us listen to the voices of history and tradition.

[Here Lossing gives a long and detailed account of Pyle’s Massacre, which I am omitting.]

I left the place of Pyle’s defeat toward noon, and, following a sinuous and seldom traveled road through a forest of wild crab-apple trees and black jacks, crossed the Allamance at the cotton factory of Holt and Carrigan, two miles distant [the village of Alamance]. (This factory, in the midst of a cotton-growing country, and upon a never-failing stream, can not be otherwise than source of great profit to the owners. The machinery is chiefly employed in the manufacture of cotton yarn. Thirteen hundred and fifty spindles were in operation. Twelve loons were employed in the manufacture of coarse cotton goods suitable for the use of the Negroes. [Slaves wore clothes made from a cheap, coarse fabric called osnaburg. The Holt's made mostly osnaburg and a much finer plaid.]) Around this mill quite a village of neat log-houses occupied by the operatives, were collected, and every thing had the appearance of thrift. I went in, and was pleased to see the hands of intelligent white females employed in a useful occupation. Manual labor by white people is a rare sight at the South, where an abundance of slave labor appears to render such occupation unnecessary; and it can seldom be said of one of our fair sisters there, “She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.” This cotton mill, like the few others which I saw in the Carolinas, is a real blessing, present and prospective, for it gives employment and comfort to many poor girls who might otherwise be wretched; and it is a seed of industry planted in a generous soil, which may hereafter germinate and bear abundant fruit of its kind in the midst of cotton plantations, thereby augmenting immensely the true wealth of the nation. [Boy, was he right about that. In 1849, the only other cotton mills in the Haw watershed were at Big Falls (Hopedale) and Saxpahaw. By 1881, there were 12 and by 1900 there were dozens.]

At a distance of two miles and a half beyond the Allamance, on the Salisbury road [more or less NC 62], , I reached the Regulator battle-ground; and, in company with a young man residing in the vicinity, visited the points of particular interest, and a made the sketch printed on page 577. The rock and the ravine from whence James Pugh and his companions (see page 576) did such execution with their rifles, are now hardly visible. The place is a few rods north of the road. The ravine is almost filled by the washing down of earth from the slopes during eighty years; and the rock projects only a few ells above the surface. The whole of the natural scenery is changed, and nothing but tradition can identify the spot. [Almost makes me think that he did not find the right place.]

While viewing the battle-ground, the wind, which had been a gentle and pleasant breeze from the south all the morning, veered to the northeast, and brought omens of a cold storm. I left the borders of the Allamance, and it associations, at one o’clock, and traversing a very hilly country for eighteen miles, arrived, a little after dark, at Greensborough, a thriving, compact village, situated about five miles southeast from the site of old Guilford Court House. It is the capitol of Guilford county, and successor of old Martinsburg, where the court-house was formerly situated. Very few of the villages in the interior of the state appeared to me more like a Northern town than Greensborough. The houses are generally good, and the stores gave evidence of active trade. Within an hour after my arrival, the town was thrown into commotion by the bursting out of flames from a large frame dwelling, a short distance from the court-house. There being no fire-engine in the places, the flames spread rapidly, and at one time menaced the safety of the whole town. A small keg of powder was used, without effect, to demolish a tailor’s shop, standing in the path of the conflagration toward a large tavern. The flames passed on, until confronted by one of those broad chimneys, on the outside of the house, so universally prevalent at the South, when it was subdued, after four buildings were destroyed. I never saw a population more thoroughly frightened; and when I returned to my lodgings, far away from the fire, every bed in the house was packed ready for flight. It was past midnight when the town became quiet, and a consequently late breakfast delayed my departure for the battle-field at Guilford Court House, until nine o’clock the next morning. [It would be interesting to compare this with contemporary press accounts of this fire.]

A cloudy sky, a biting north wind, and the dropping of a few snow-flakes when I left Greensborough, betokened an unpleasant day for my researches. It was ten o’clock when I reached Martinsville, once a pleasant hamlet, now a desolation. There are only a few dilapidated and deserted dwellings left; and nothing remains of the old Guilford Court House but the ruins of a chimney depicted on the plan of the battle, printed on page 608. Only one house was inhabited, and that by the tiller of the soil around it. Descending into a narrow broken valley, from Martinsville, and ascending the opposite slope to still higher ground on the road to Salem, I passed among the fields consecrated by the events of the battle at Guilford, in March, 1781 to the house of Mr. Hotchkiss, a Quaker, who, I was informed could point out every locality of interest in his neighborhood.

Mr. Hotchkiss was absent, and I was obliged to wait more than an hour for his return. The time passed pleasantly in conversation with his daughter, an intelligent young lady, who kindly ordered my horse to be fed, and regaled me with some fine apples, the first fruit of the kind I had seen since leaving the James River. While tarrying there, the snow began to fall thickly, and when, about noon, I rambled over the most interesting portion of the battle-ground, and sketched the scene printed on page 611, the whole country was covered with a white mantle. Here, by this hospitable fireside, let us consider the battle, and those wonderful antecedents events which distinguished General Green’s celebrated Retreat.

[Lossing describes the Race to the Dan and the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in great detail, a wonderful account that I am omitting here.]

I left the Guilford battle-ground and the hospitable cottage of Mr. Hotchkiss, at noon, the snow falling fast. At four miles distant, on the Salisbury road, I reached the venerable New Garden meeting-house, yet standing within the stately oak forest where Lee and Tarleton met. It is a frame building with a brick foundation. It was meeting-day, and the congregation were yet in session. Tying Charley [his horse] to a drooping branch, I entered softly. A larger number than is usually present at “week-day meetings” had congregated, for a young man of the sect from Randolph county, thirty miles distant, and a young woman of Guilford, had signified their intentions to declare themselves publicly on that day, man and wife. [I think it would be straight forward to identify who this couple was.] They had just risen before the elders and people when I glided into a seat near the door, and with a trembling voice the bridegroom had begun the expression of the marriage vow. His weather-bronzed features betokened the man of toil in the fields, and strongly contrasted with the blonde and delicate face, and slender form of her who, with the downcast eyes of modesty, heard his pledge of love and protection, and was summoning all her energy to make her kindred response. I had often observed the simple marriage ceremony of the Quakers, but never before did the beauty of that ritual appear so marked with the sublimity of pure simplicity.

At the close of the meeting, I learned from one of the elders that a Friend’s boarding-school was near, and, led by curiosity, I visited it. [What school is this?] The building is of brick, spacious, and well arranged. It was under the superintendence of Thomas Hunt, a son of Nathan Hunt, an eminent Quaker preacher. An incidental remark concerning my relationship with Quakers, made while conversing with the wife of the superintendent, caused her to inquire whether I had ever heard of here father-in-law. I replied in the affirmative, having heard him preach when I was a boy, and expressed the supposition that he had long ago gone to his rest. “Oh no,” she replied, “he is in the adjoining room,: and leading the way, I was introduced to the patriarch of ninety-one years. He remembered well when the New Garden meetinghouse was built, and resided in the neighborhood when the wounded and dying, from the field of Guilford, were brought there. Although physical infirmities were weighing heavily upon him, his mind appeared clear and elastic. When I was about departing, and pressed his hand with an adieu, he placed the other upon my head and said, “Farewell! God’s peace go with thee!” I felt as if I had received the blessing of a patriarch indeed; and for days afterward, when fording dangerous streams and traversing rough mountain roads, that uttered blessing was in my mind, and seemed like a guardian angel about my path. Gloomy unbelief may deride, and thoughtless levity may laugh in ridicule at such an intimation, but all the philosophy of schools could not give me such exquisite feelings of security in the hands of a kind Providence as that old man’s blessing imparted.

The storm yet continued, and the kind matron of the school gave me a cordial invitation to remain there until it should cease; but, anxious to complete my journey, I rode on to Jamestown, an old village situated upon the high southwestern bank of the Deep River, nine miles from New Garden meeting-house, and thirteen miles above Bell’s Mills, where Cornwallis had his encampment before the Guilford battle. The country through which I had passed from Guilford was very broken, and I did not reach Jamestown until sunset. It is chiefly inhabited by Quakers, the most of them originally from Nantucket and vicinity; and as they do not own slaves, nor employ slave labor, except when a servant is working to purchase his freedom, the land and the dwellings presented an aspect of thrift not visible in most of the agricultural districts in the upper country of the Carolinas.

I passed the night at Jamestown, and early in the morning departed for the Yadkin. Snow was yet falling gently, and it laid three inches deep upon the ground; a greater quantity than had fallen at one time, in that section, for five years. Fortunately my route from thence to Lexington, in Davidson county, a distance of twenty miles, was upon a fine ridge road a greater portion of the way, and the snow produced but little inconvenience. (These ridge roads, or rather ridges upon which they are constructed, are curious features in the upper country of the Carolinas. Although the whole country is hilly upon every side, these roads may be traveled a score of miles, sometimes, with hardly ten feet of variation from a continuous level. The ridges are of sand, and continue, unbroken by ravines, which cleave the hills in all directions for miles, upon almost a uniform level. The roads following their summits are exceedingly sinuous, but being level and hard, the greater distance is more easily accomplished than if they were constructed in straight lines over the hills. The country has the appearance of vast waves of the sea suddenly turned into sand.)

Toward noon, the clouds broke, and before I reached Lexington (a small village on the west side of Abbott’s Creek, a tributary of the Yadkin), at half past two in the afternoon, not a flake of snow remained. Charley and I had already lunched by the margin of a little stream, so I drove through the village without halting, hoping to reach Salisbury, sixteen miles distant, by twilight. I was disappointed; for the red clay roads prevailed, and I only reached the house of a small planted within a mile of the east bank of the Yadkin, just as the twilight gave place to the splendors of a full moon and myriads of stars in a cloudless sky. From the proprietor I learned that the Trading Ford, where Greene and Morgan crossed when pursued by Cornwallis, was only a mile distant. As I could not pass it on my way to Salisbury in the morning, I arose at four o’clock, gave Charley his breakfast and at earliest dawn stood upon the eastern shore of the Yadkin, and made the sketch printed upon page 601. The air was frosty, the pools were bridged with ice, and before the sketch was finished, my benumbed fingers were disposed to drop the pencil. I remained at the ford until the east was all aglow with the radiance of the rising sun, when I walked back, partook of some corn-bread, muddy coffee, and spare-ribs, and at eight o’clock crossed the Yadkin at the great bridge, on the Salisbury road. The river is there about three hundred yards wide, and was considerably swollen from the melting of the recent snows. Its volume of turbid waters came rolling down in a swift current, and gave me a full appreciation of the barrier which Providence had there placed between the Republicans and the royal armies, when engaged in the great race described in this chapter.

From the Yadkin the roads passed through a red clay region, which was made so miry by the melting snows that it was almost eleven o’clock when I arrived at Salisbury. This village, of over a thousand inhabitants, is situated a few miles from the Yadkin, and is the capital of Rowan county, a portion of the “Hornet’s Nest” of the Revolution. It is a place of considerable historic note. On account of its geographical position, it was often the place of rendezvous of the militia preparing for the battle-fields; of various regular corps, American and British, during the last tree years of the war; and especially as the brief resting-place of both armies during Greene’s memorable retreat. Here, too, it will be remembered, General Waddell had his head-quartes for a few days during the “Regulator war.” I made a diligent inquiry during my tarry in Salisbury, for remains of Revolutionary movements and localities, but could hear of none. The Americans when fleeing before Cornwallis, encamped for a night about half a mile from the village, on the road to the Yadkin; the British occupied a position on the northern border of the town, about an eighth of a mile from the court-house. I was informed that two buildings occupied by officers, had remained until two or three years ago when they were demolished. Finding nothing to invite a protracted stay at Salisbury, I resumed the reins, and rode on toward Concord. The roads were very bad, and the sun went down, while a rough way, eight miles in extent, lay between me and Concord.