18th Century North Carolina New River Settlers

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New River Notes — Complete

January 21, 2014

After about two years of work we have completed a major upgrade to New River Notes. On January 21, 2014 we switched in the last of the updated files and final page revisions.

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18th Century North Carolina New River Settlers

The 1778 Wilkes County tax list indicate some of the settlers west of the crest of the Blue Ridge. An unusual relic of a by gone era are the evaluations of property of these settlers, given in pounds, shillings and pence. It is interesting also to note that there were more residents in 1782, apparently several families left the area during the revolutionary war years. Some of this may be explained by the fact several Tory Families left for more pro-British areas. The region west of the crest of the Blue Ridge, in 1778, was considered Captain Andrew Baker's Company. William Colvard served as the Justice of the Peace for the area, William Ray was a constable and Daniel Richardson, Andrew Baker, Jr., and William Clay were appraisers in the Southern part of Baker's District. In the Northern District of Baker's Company Micajah Pennington was justice of the peace, Benjamin Pennington served as constable, Beverly Watkins, James Ward and Abijah Pennington were appraisers. The 1778 tax list for that part of Wilkes which became Ashe:

18th Century North Carolina New River Settlers
Section Name Value of Property 1782 Tax List 1787 Census
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Adkins, William 119.00.00 No
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Boggs, James 112.00.00 No Yes
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Burton, John 431.08.08 No
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Collins, Ambrose 20.08.00 No Yes
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Collins, Charles 44.01.02 No
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Collins, David 41.15.00 No
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Collins, George 26.06.00 No
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Cox, John 60.00.00 No
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Fee, John 40.14.00 No
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Flannery, John 122.10.00 No
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Flannery, Silas 33.05.00 No
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Foster, Mark 132.16.00 No
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Gibson, David 7.00.00 No
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Gibson, Mary 89.10.00 No Yes
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Gilley, Francis 102.00.00 Yes
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Gilley, Peter 10.03.06 Yes
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Hammons, Ambrose 1621.17.08 Yes
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Hammons, John 45.05.00 Yes
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Hammons, John, Jr. 198.02.00 Yes
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Hammons, Robert 218.12.00 No
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Harrison, Jeremiah 105.04.08 No
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Henson, John 74.16.00 No Yes
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Hollandsworth, Vincent 19.00.00 No
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Howel, William 271.06.08 No
Northern Section (48 tax payers) King, Edward 170.07.00 Yes Yes
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Lewis, Gideon 384.14.00 Yes Yes
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Lewis, James 344.08.08 Yes Yes
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Little, Charles 147.01.06 Yes
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Marlar, William 77.16.06 No
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Osborn, Enoch 15.00.00 No
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Pane, George 33.00.00 No
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Pennington, Abel 614.07.00 No
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Pennington, Benajah 350.16.06 Yes
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Pennington, Benajah,Sr. 69.00.00 No
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Pennington, Micajah 394.17.08 Yes Yes
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Pennington, William 39.00.00 Yes Yes
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Reeves, George 200.00.00 Yes
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Roark, Charles 85.06.00 No
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Smith, Moses 236.15.00 Yes
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Smith, Richard 222.17.00 Yes
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Smith, Thomas 78.00.00 Yes
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Smith, William 120.04.00 Yes
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Sweeten, Dutton 117.02.04 Yes
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Ward, James 142.15.00 No
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Watkins, Beverly 572.18.04 No
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Weaver, Isaac 41.05.08 No Yes
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Williams, Bartholomew 42.02.00 No
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Yates, Joshua 29.00.00 No
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Total 8474.14.00  
Northern Section (48 tax payers) Average 176.11.01  
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Baker, Capt. Andrew 244.00.00 Yes
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Baker, James 152.03.00 Yes
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Baker, John 223.07.00 Yes
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Baker, Morris 257.14.00 Yes Yes
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Baker, Robert 139.00.00 No
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Brumley, Barnt. 143.05.04 No
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Bunch, Julius 35.00.00 No Yes
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Bunch, Micajah 42.00.00 No
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Calloway, Thomas 60.00.04 No Yes
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Camron, Israel 110.00.00 No
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Colvard, William 756.13.10 Yes
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Colyear, William 208.18.04 No
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Cook, James 95.00.00 No
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Finwinkle, James 228.00.00 No
Southern Section (35 tax payers) French, Michael 31.00.00 No
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Humphries, William 243.12.04 Yes
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Jones, Vincent 159.19.06 Yes Yes
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Little, Isaac 61.12.00 No Yes
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Little, Thomas 18.00.00 No
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Mahoon, Archibald 198.00.00 No
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Mahoon, James 48.00.00 No
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Mulkey, James 75.00.00 No
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Ray, William 99.00.00 No
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Richardson, Daniel 234.12.00 No
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Rowland, Charles 116.00.00 No Yes
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Russell, Philips 16.00.00 No
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Scott, William 296.00.00 Yes
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Smith, Hugh 342.02.00 No
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Smith, Jonathan 145.02.00 No
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Sparkes, Mathew 545.02.00 Yes
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Sparks, John 86.00.00 Yes Yes
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Sturdy, William 11.18.00 No
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Taylor, Benjamin 103.16.00 Yes
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Vicory, Thomas 10.00.00 No
Southern Section (35 tax payers) Williams, James 47.00.00 Yes
Southern Section (35 tax payers) TOTAL 5582.16.00  
Southern Section (35 tax payers) AVERAGE 159.10.01  

The first residents of the New River Valley on the North Carolina side have been a bit more difficult to determine than those on the Virginia side. The 1778 tax list of Wilkes County gives some good clues, however, some of the people on this list were land speculators who never lived what became Ashe County, e.g., Enoch Osborne. There were 83 persons listed on the 1778 tax list, however, only 40 of these persons were on the 1782 tax list (estimated population 250). It appears that the tax assessor missed many of the residents of the trans-Blue Ridge, as many later appear on the 1787 state census. There are others who should have appeared on 1778 list who do not, e.g., Joshua Weaver and Zachariah Wells. The notation to the side of the valuation indicates if the person was also found on the 1782 tax list of Wilkes and the 1787 census for the portion of Wilkes which became Ashe. Some of this information is duplicated in the following table. Part of the problem is the lack of records. The first record in which the New River denizens are distinguishable is the 1787 North Carolina State Census.

In Wilkes County, two militia districts, Vannoy's, and Nall's Districts were west of the crest of the Blue Ridge. These lists have been cross checked against the 1782 tax List of Wilkes County. These two districts had a total population of 760 white persons, and 14 slaves, in 121 families or 6.25 persons per family. While Arthur Fletcher in his Ashe County, A History, noted that not more than 50 families lived in what is now Ashe County at the close of the Revolution (1783), documentary evidence can only place 34 families in the territory that is now Ashe, Alleghany and Watauga Counties at the time, for an estimated population of 215 in 1782.

There were 75 families in the 10th Company of Wilkes County, North Carolina in 1790; 23 slaves were amongst these inhabitants as were 109 were white males over age 16, 132 were white males under age 16, 224 inhabitants were white females of all ages. This results in a population of 448 in the companies bounds or 6.5 persons per family. There were 85 families in the 16th Company of Wilkes County in the 1790, including 3 slaves, 105 white males over age 16; 181 white males under age 16; 269 white females of all ages, for a total population of 558. A total of 1006 people inhabited Wilkes County "beyond the crest of the Blue Ridge" in 1790.

By 1800 Ashe County had 435 families and a total population of 2785 persons including slaves. The per family population was only slightly increased to 6.4 persons. Density over the mountainous region was 2.9 persons per square mile. While the region had sustained a "population explosion" from 1787 to 1800, the area was still wild and on the frontier. See the appendix to this work for a complete listing of heads of families in the Upper New River Valley through the 1850 census.

Codes for the 1787 and 1797 tax list districts are:
(A) Ayers' District #3, 67 families, 67 polls, 19583 acres of taxable land.
(P) Pennington's District #4, 43 families, 41 polls, 5055 acres of land.
(WH) Whittington's District #12, 53 families, 63 polls, 11451 acres of land.
(H) Hardin's District #4, 43 families, 55 polls, 9277 acres of taxable land.
(T) Toliver's District #4, 50 families, 51 polls, 13990 acres of taxable land.
(N) Nall's District in the 1787 Tax List
(V) Vannoy's District in the 1787 Tax List
(WE) Weaver's District, #13, 51 families, 45 polls, 6997 acres of taxable land.
(R) Ray's District, # 13 32 families, 28 polls, 15309 acres of taxable land.