Diary of a Geological Tour by Dr. Elisha Mitchell in 1827 and 1828
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Diary of a Geological Tour
by Dr. Elisha Mitchell in 1827 and 1828
Introduction and Notes by Dr. Kemp P. Battle, LL.D.
Published as James Sprunt Historical Monograph No. 6, by the University of North Carolina, 1905.
Statesville, N.C., Nov. 20, 1903
Hon. Kemp P. Battle.
Dear Sir:—At the request of my aunt, Miss Margaret Mitchell, I write a note to accompany a package of old letters, send by this mail.
In looking over some hundred of old family letters, these records of Grandfather Mitchell's tours in Western N.C. seemed, perhaps, to have some value for the Historical Society. They are written with care and method, and are as he says, of the nature of a diary, in the vacations of 1827 and 1828, and, some latter, giving daily account of travels over various counties, what mines he looked into, what minerals and geological features he saw, the kinds of lands he passed over, and the people he met. If they prove to be of any use, please accept; if not, destroy them. If they reach you, please acknowledge to Miss Mitchell at this place.
She heard of the death of her old playmate, and long time friend S. F. Phillips. Another break in the band of Mitchells and Phillipses. Four left, Mrs. Ashe,1 Miss Margaret, Mrs. Spencer, and Mrs. Laura Phillips. Mrs. Ashe is in the feeblest health, 81 years old. Miss M. Enjoys good health, but is slowly losing her sight, from cataract.
Mrs. W. H. Coit
The foregoing letter by a granddaughter of Dr. Mitchell explains the character of the letters now published as No. 6 in the James Sprunt Monograph Series. It is deemed proper to prefix a short memoir of their author.
Elisha Mitchell was born in Washington, Connecticut, August 19, 1793. His father, Abner by name, was a farmer. His mother was Phoebe Eliot, a descendant of the "Apostle to the Indians," John Eliot. His grandfather, Rev. Jared Eliot, was a eminent in science, and received a medal from the Royal Society of London for a discovery in the manufacture of iron. He graduated at Yale College in 1813, among the highest in scholarship. Among his classmates were Senator George E. Badger, Dr. Denison Olmstead, Judge James Longstreet, and Thomas P. Devereux, Esq. After teaching in schools for a year or two he became a Tutor in Yale College and in 1817 on the recommendation of Rev. Mr. Dwight the Chaplain to the U.S. Senate and of Judge Wm. Gaston, then member of Congress, he was elected Professor of Mathematics in the University of North Carolina. In 1825 at his own request he was transferred to the chair of Chemistry, Geology and Mineralogy, which he held for thirty-two years. He was twice Chairman of the Faculty, virtual President of the University—during President Caldwell's visit to Europe in 1824, and after his death on January 25, 1835, until the coming of President Swain, January 1st, 1836. Before leaving Connecticut he obtained license to preach in the Congregational Church but in 1821 was ordained a minister of the Presbyterian Church by the Presbytery of Orange, North Carolina.
The General Assembly in 1822 appropriated $250 a year for a Geological and Agricultural Survey of the State and in 1826 continued the appropriation for one year longer. Prof. Olmstead, and on his resignation in 1825, Dr. Mitchell, was selected to do the work. A report was made and printed, Parts I and II by Olmstead, Part III by Mitchell. In 1829 the latter made another short report. He published also a thin textbook called, "Elements of Geology with an outline of the Geology of North Carolina." A paper on the "Character and Origin of the Low Country of North Carolina," is in the Journal of Science for 1828. He wrote much for newspapers and for Scientific Journals. Among the other pamphlet publication are two sermons with notes, called "The Other Leaf of the Book of Nature and the Word of God," giving cogent arguments against the Abolitionists on the Slavery question. The pamphlet is 74 pages long and dated 1848.
Dr. Mitchell read so extensively in many directions as to acquire the reputation of being possessed of universal knowledge. He had a large brain and might have been among the great men of the world, if he had confined himself to his specialty.
His great self-reliance caused his death. He claimed to have visited the highest peak of the Black Mountains. General Thomas L. Clingman contended that he himself was the first discoverer and endeavored to have it called Mount Clingman. After a long controversy in the newspapers, Dr. Mitchell determined to ascertain the height by the spirit level, as he had formerly done by the barometer. On the 27th of June, 1857, leaving the engineering part, he endeavored to ascend the mountain alone and go down on the Yancey side, in order to visit one or more of his former guides. Being detained by a thunderstorm it was late in the afternoon when he began to descend a fork of Caney river. By the side of a forty-foot precipice he slipped and fell into a deep pool below. His body was not found until the eighth of July. He was buried in Asheville, but the next year his family allowed his body to be buried on Mount Mitchell.
For years Dr. Mitchell was one of the most conspicuous men in the state. As a teacher he was most interesting, abounding in illustrations, often humorous, which illuminated the subject. As a preacher he was able and logical but lacking in grace of delivery. As a disciplinarian he was active in detection and prevention, but mild in punishment. As a neighbor he was boundless in charity, ready with purse and wise counsels to aid all who needed help.
His children were four daughters and a son. The son, Charles, a physician, died in Mississippi without issue. His daughter Eliza, married to Richard I. Grant, a citizen of Texas, likewise left no children. His daughter Mary married Captain Richard J. Ashe, of the Bethel regiment, a citizen of Chapel Hill and late of California, left children and grandchildren, as did his daughter Ellen, who married Dr. John J. Summerell, of Salisbury. Margaret did not marry.
The letters, while containing allusions of a personal and family nature, were evidently intended to be material for a report or an article for a scientific journal.
It is probable that the distress following the Panic of 1825 caused the General Assembly to discontinue the Geological Survey.
In annotating I have not deemed it necessary to notice men about who nothing is known except what is mentioned in the text. If any facts of importance are not brought out it is because I was unable by correspondence to discover them. Owing to the high rates of postage, Dr. Mitchell's penmanship is extremely fine, sometimes almost illegible, and it is possible that I may have been unable to decipher correctly some words.
I acknowledge my indebtedness tot he courtesy and intelligent inquiries of Hon. John S. Henderson, of Salisbury, Hon. C. J. Cowles of Wilkesboro, Dr. Wm. T. Whitsett, of Whitsett, Hon. Alfred M. Scales of Greensboro, Miss Adelaide L. Fries of Salem, Prof. Alexander Graham, of Charlotte, Messrs. Finley and Hendren, of Wilkesboro, Alfred Nixon, Esq., of Lincolnton, Thomas C. Bowie, Esq. Of Jefferson, R. A. Nunn, Esq., of Newbern, H. A. Daniels, Esq., of Goldsboro, Dr. Richard H. Lewis, of Kinston, and Mr. J. R. Lewellyn, of Dobson.
Kemp P. Battle.
Newbern, Dec. 28th, 1827
My Dear Maria:
I received today from the post-master your very welcome letter—"and having this evening no other means at hand for killing the time have concluded to prepare a few lines in reply." The words included in the commas are such as according to the general language of mankind in relation to the state of feeling subsisting between man and wife I ought to address you. After writing them down however I cannot let them stand without connecting with them an assurance that however it may be with others there is at least one husband who some eight years after marriage is fool enough to love his wife tenderly and well. I sympathize with Mr. Phillips and trust that you will pass the vacation without encountering those evils which Millee Strowd was threatened with. In Raleigh I met with little or nothing to interest me. The Geological Survey dies a natural death at the end of this year. There is no one who take any interest in the business, nor, in the present state of the Treasury, did I find there was any the least prospect of succeeding in any application to the legislature and I therefore gave it up at once. I sent your 25 dollars by Dr. Caldwell—at least it was to be paid into his hands by Mr. Devereaux2 for you. This you will pay into the hands of Mr. Cheek or at least sixteen dollars of it, if he gives up the paper I gave to Mr. Somebody, Mr. Lloyd for corn, but not else.
We left Raleigh on Friday about noon and rode to Smithfield having Mr. Devereaux in company some of the way. We put up together at Rice's and passed a pleasant evening. The next day proving rainy, Mr. Andrews3 took the stage for Newbern and left me to trudge along in the mud by myself. I rode down to Bass's4 ferry and paddled about the river for a while in an old crazy canoe to see the limestone about the mouth of falling creek and then passed on to Waynesboro and put up at Isaac Hills—found there a young Lawyer from Orange who knew me and went with me to see Mrs. Andrews—the ci-divant Miss Gunn who was married in the meeting house in Washington the summer you were there—she lives just on the bank of the Neuse. On Sunday collected a little congregation and held forth to them at the tavern. Drs. Williams and Tippoo Henderson5 and Morris called upon me. And of them I liked Dr. Williams the least. Took my tea and spent the evening at Dr. Andrews.6 Monday morning crossed the Neuse and got my breakfast at Mr. Griswolds7 where I spent some time examining the limestone on the bank. Griswold is a Yankee boy who came from Rocky Hill to Carolina as he married a girl of some property—failed—and now lives in rather humble style in Wayne. He does not appear to be efficient and I doubt his wife regrets her having married a Yankee; rode down to the river and put up at Stephen Herrings in Lenoir—a hearty droll old cock who told me how extravagant the storm had been about Wilmington and how fortunate the Messrs. Whitfield8 had been about marrying, each of them having buried 3 or 4 wives. Tuesday rode through a desolate country—the western part of Jones—entered Onslow where the appearances improved—crossed the rich lands of that county and put up at old Kit Dudley's9 on the east side of New River at the head of Navigation 5 or 6 miles from the court house N. East. A violent Jackson man, Deist, very rich, offensive and talkative. Mrs. Hill his daughter was there and agreeable. The old Fellow entertained me hospitably but I had some difficulty in maintaining my independence without quarreling with him. I fear indeed I hardly did my duty to him so far as religion is concerned but I was restrained by the circumstance of his being apparently petulant thro the effect of a recent illness.
Wednesday, had a stroll over the plantation before breakfast, and after breakfast then my horse was to be got ready, found that the fellow apprehending I had not done my business faithfully had fone an exploring expedition so that I did not start till it was late. Rode down to Col. Dulany's,10 or rather to his son in law's on New River for the Col. A very worthy man, abides with his daughter—got my dinner—rode out to see New River and then passed down to Swansboro at the mouth of White Oak on the sound—a village of 4 tolerable houses and some smaller ones. I expected to stay with Mr. Ferrand11 who is the principal man of the place but, observing that he had company, rode down to Thompsons—a tolerable house in appearance, where, whilst the yankee landlord and his Carolina wife and sister set before me an indifferent supper and breakfast, he congratulated me in sounding terms on the escape I had made in not going to Onslow Court House where I should have had another fare.
Thursday. I intended to cross White Oak and proceed to Beaufort but, considering that I should have nothing to pass over during the day but uninteresting sands, and that he country from Beaufort up would possess as little interesting, I turned my horse for Newbern. Country flat and barren till I came near Trent River. Saw slate rock in the bed of White Oak when I crossed it and also in two or three places near the Trent and arrived here after dark. Friday, proposed to go back into Jones County to examine the shells on Durant Hatch's12 plantation but finally gave up the plan and concluded to stay in Newbern till Monday next. Have been today strolling about town—have looked up some books for the girls, dined with Mrs. Shepard13 — called upon Mrs. Brown14 this evening. She is not in the least altered that I can see, has now a most beautiful little board on hand. On Monday D. V. We started for Washington—I suppose at least that Mr. Andrews will be in company—pass up the Tar—and so get home—about which same place I have a few things to say. It seems that a great deal of pork has been lost the whole country through. Mr. Barbee, and much more Mr. Robson, therefore must no bring his hogs till the weather is cool.15 Cut them immediately and spread them. They are not to be salted till quite cold, but when this is the case there should be as little delay as possible. If the Journal of Science comes and the extra sheets—retain all said sheets. I will distribute them myself instead of placing them at the disposal of the Board.
I am pleased with the accounts of N. London and Washington in regard to brother Elnathan though I have no great expectation that there will be any very favorable result. I hope he may stay in N. London a while and make a trial. I hardly think you will hear from me again till I come home—perhaps you may. Messrs. Andrews and Treadwell16 having been here some 4 or 5 days before me, have forestalled most of the civilities of the good people of the place. I called upon Mr. Stanly today. The stage waits. Adieu.
The above is a lie. The stage did not wait but was off a mile when Mr. Andrews and I came down with our letters. My carry-all is ordered and we start for Washington.
Hines's 11 Miles West of Salem, 7 Miles East of the Shallow Ford or Huntsville, Wednesday Evening, July 1828.
My Dear and Good Wife:
I did intend to write a few lines for you last night at Greensboro, but after rummaging the trunk sometime, could fine no quills for the very obvious reason that they were directly before my eyes. I have two methods of keeping a journal to choose from. One, that of noting down in my memorandum book whatever may occur worthy of observation; the other of introducing the same matter in my letter to you. My Epistles filed with Mineralogical and Geological details are in danger of becoming in this way so dull that you will care nothing about them. But what else shall I write about? Tis altogether out of the question—a man who has not yet been separated from his wife quite two days to fall to sighing and wooing as though he was now experiencing the first access of his maiden passion.
My present trip, if matter hold as they are, is likely to prove in one respect more agreeable than those which have preceded. The aspect of the country is delightful. People talk of fine prospects, and I believe I have an eye to distinguish and a soul to feel them. But, after all, there is no prospect like that of a country covered with luxuriant vegetation, that is going to pour of its abundance into the granaries of its cultivator. The mind is carried forward to the peace, security, and happiness that are to result to the poor as well as to the rich, when heaven pours out its bounties with so unsparing a hand. What a contrast between the appearance of the fields now and what they were two years ago. The wheat is gathered in and is therefore wanting to the unvarying landscape which Levi17 and I enjoyed together, but the oats still cover the fields, and it is difficult to persuade ones-self when we see the Indian corn of so deep a green; its growth so vigorous; shooting up toward the clear sky, and bathed in the balmy air and the sunbeams—It is difficult to persuade oneself, that it is not positively happy. And I can hardly help congratulating the trees of the forest, as I ride along on the beautifulness of the year under the idea that they prefer it sch as it is to a dry and dusty summer. But the daylight is fading, and I do not know whether Mrs. Hines will let me have a candle, and must therefore, improve the moments to make a few memoranda. The latter part of my ride to Breeses18 was dark, but on the whole it was not disagreeable. Started early on Tuesday morning and rode 24 miles to Joseph Gibson's to breakfast. The slate continued until I reached Judge Murphy's,19 where it was gradually replaced by some half baked granite. Found Breecia a little before I got to the stone tavern, but scarce—Afterwards, 18 miles from Chapel Hill, one James Johnston has been digging a well which goes through a slate rock that is full of small crystals of pyrites. The slaty structure is much more found in many of the rocks of this region. The bank of the river at Murphy's mill is covered with grains of sand that have been brought down from the rocks miles above. From Judge Murphy's to where I entered the Hillsboro and Greensboro road near Ephraim Cooks there is little bit the imperfect granite. It produces rather a cold black, sticky soil. The road from Cook's to Greensboro I traveled last year. For a miles and a half from Cook's the rocks are slaty; in one place in the right of the road there appeared to be granite imbedded in the slate. Along by Gibson's there was imperfect slate again. Stopped at Gibson's. He married Rev'd Mr. Paisly's sister. Went to see the mine. They have made an anthill of the whole enclosure on which the gold is found. The veins run every which way, but more especially to the N. East and S. West. There is abundance of Iron Pyrites— some carbonate of copper. The vein has a stratum (strasser, the workmen call it) of Magnesium slate on each side of it. The mine is worth visiting again. Ten miles from Greensboro, struck the granite again and rode on it all the way to that famous Metropolis. Put up at Mooring's, Miss Christie20 not arrived, Professor Barr then sick. After supper went up to see Mr. Paisly, found the family—well one tolerable pretty daughter; Dr. Mebane21 there. Observed in an inquiring way that he presumed Miss Hogg would be a good instructress. A case for a casuist. A thunderstorm. After it was over, returned to Moorings with the intention of writing to you, but was disappointed by not finding the quills. Went to bed and dreamed that I had a quarrel with you. I forget what about.
Wednesday—Rode to Salem, 28 miles to breakfast and dinner. Route through a pleasant country, interesting in a geological point of view. Rock granite growing more crystallic point of view. Rock granite growing more crystallic as we approached Salem, and becoming decidedly so within 12 or 14 miles. Sometimes (rarely) schistose, presenting something that is neither mica, talc slate nor gneiss. A good many hornblende rocks having gneiss structure or rather having the little crystals of hornblende, etc., approaching to having the little crystals of hornblende, etc., approaching to parallelism and distributed through the whole rock. Got my dinner. Strolled about Salem till three, then got my horse and rode to this place. Country rather sterile about 5½ miles then much better. Rolling but fertile. At 6 miles ? and well defined gneiss; a little above very coarse granite. Rocks very few. Tis useless to traverse such a district in search of minerals. Many hornblends rocks like those described as occurring between Greensboro and Salem. Within two miles of this place mica is abundant in scales as large as a Connecticut nine pence.22 Farewell.
Sales', 15 miles east of Wilkesboro, Thursday evening.
I left Hines' early this morning and have just arrived here have just arrived here having met with little interesting or remarkable on the road. About 3½ miles before I reach the Shallow Ford23 and of course near the Stokes and Surry line I struck a bed of soapstone about a mile and a half across. It was preceded by a kind of Granite chlorite rock, giving a green color to the soil. Of this soapstone I know nothing as yet; it will require examination hereafter. The passage of the shallow ford with the Pilot in full view at the distance of 15 or 20 miles, is most beautiful. After leaving the soap-stone there are some rocks discovering themselves in the sides of the hills near the river. They are gneiss and mica slate. After this there is nothing from which to discover the nature of the subjacent rock till we come to Hamptonville, 18 miles from the river where the rocks, gneissoid hornblende rock, are more abundantly granite and but little mica and approaching to gneiss are seen and continues to this place 11 miles farther with an interval where the mica becomes very predominant. The country traversed today is fertile but much less beautiful than that through which I passed yesterday. Something raw and countrified about it. Still I am coming in among the mountains, and the Blue Ridge is in full view from this place—a part of Ashe. The road has been in general remarkably level. Sales' is under a high steep hill cultivated to its summit. Huntsville,24 I passed only one corner of, so I can't speak of it. Hamptonville has 7 or eight dwelling houses. Stopped for dinner with John Wright, who was formerly sheriff of the county, and gave me some interesting information respecting it. He is married and has no children. A very pretty mulatto boy stood by the table as I was eating my breakfast or dinner. A sign in Hamptonville bore Cowles and Porter. I said at once that I could tell from what town in Connecticut those men came from. I was within one of it. Cowles25 was from Southington; Porter from Farmington. Cowles' grandfather and Mrs. Andrews's great-grandfather by his account were brothers. As a merchant here he is I believe successful. Married in Connecticut; carried his wife on a year ago to see her friends, and she died there—are you not scared? Has another wife visiting in Iredell. Went down after dinner a miles to see the plantation of a certain Mr. Nixon, who had ridden with me from the Shallow Ford, to see if he had any chance for gold, and found he had none. I learned the secret of being a punctual correspondent when on a journey; it is to sit down at once as soon as one arrives at night, and write on ones trunk as I am doing now. Good night.
Foot of the Blue Ridge at Mrs. Colberts, Friday evening.
I rode into Wilkesboro this morning. Tracing first, granite, gneiss and then mica slate. Put up at Massey's Hotel. For some time could find nobody to get any information from. At length bethought myself of Rev'd Abner Gay, who as I had seen in the papers has charge of the Academy here.
Went out and found him inter umbros circumire, as Virgil says, that is, on the top of a hill half a mile from town, where a log academy has been built for him in the midst of the forest. I of course complimented him on having a situation so classical—exactly such that Apollo and the Muses are represented as loving to haunt; After leaving him, I went down to the sheriff's to get some information out of him, and as he had some iron Pyrites, I played Olmstead26 with him; got out my blow pipe and magnet and showed him how his supposed gold was unmagnetic before roasting to drive off the sulphur and magnetic after. Mr. Massey came in and I got acquainted with him. Mr. Gay called and took me up to Col. Finley's27 to dinner. The Col. And his wife are the only two Presbyterians from Ashe. There is to be a ball at Massey's this evening. I had an invitation to attend, but having, as I believed, sufficiently apprised the people of my existence, came on to this place, 17 miles form Jefferson, the celebrated seat of Justice for Ashe. I crossed the Yadkin by fording, traveled over mica slate chiefly, crossed some impure plumbago at six miles, at nine miles descended into the valley of Reddie's river, and traveled by the side of it until quite near this. These four miles were very pleasant—the steep mountains were on either hand—the river clear as crystal tumbled over its rocky bed, and there were fine fields of corn upon its banks. The farms are small and here, according to some men calling themselves philosophers, in retirement shut out from intercourse with the world by the sides of these streams and hemmed in by these mountains—man may, if he will, be happy. But they are less happy than we.
It is not in seclusion that the human mind receives its fullest development and that its enjoyment is most intense. Instead of caring to feel the fine passions that agitate the breast of the inhabitants of the city, they are placed on low and groveling and brutal subjects. I about after all whether there are many persons happier than ourselves. There are doubtless times when our pride is mortified by an inability to exhibit as much style as we might desire, but it is not every person, it is not every married pair that has the confidence we have in each others mutual affection—as well founded a prospect of having all the necessities and some of the luxuries and elegancies of life supplied to us. This Mrs. Colbert does not appear to be very old, and yet she has six sons and five daughters.
Jefferson, Saturday Evening.
Arrived at this place about noon in safety. Fox has not yet run away with me. Indeed, there seems more danger that the crow will run away with him. The poor old fellow is badly worsted. His back is very sore, and I shall leave him here on Monday and hire a horse to ride about the country with. At Mrs. Colvards the fare was rather hard; no tea or coffee, but excellent potatoes. I intended to start as soon as it should be light this morning, but the sun had already gilded the mountain tops. Poor Fox, if he is in the habit of swearing, and I hope he is not,, must have cursed the negro that brought him out this morning, and the white man who drove him. I first clambered up the mountain and a long a dreary clamber it was of five miles. Near the summit there is a very extensive prospect embracing a wide circuit of the comparatively low, level country through which I had been traveling, but there was nevertheless, notwithstanding the extensiveness of the prospect, something wanting. There was no water; there were no thriving towns and villages to be seen, inhabited by an industrious, frugal and virtuous grown population, and a body of youth preparing to supply with ability the plans which their fathers are shortly to leave. The rocks in the ascent of the ridge were chiefly mica slate, and granite of a grain, very white and frequently with abundance of mica. Seven miles from the top of the ridge after a moderate descent—the path apparently over mica slate almost exclusively—only two or three houses; I came to New River. It is a beautiful stream, broad but not deep, clear and running its course among the mountains, which often over hang its banks and overshadow its waters. Passed an old Dunker28 who was tending his mill race. He evidently is not quite orthodox for man; for he shaves around his mouth where the beard could interfere with what he probably considers as amongst the more important duties of life—those of kissing his wife and eating his dinner. I am put up at a certain Mr.L's—I beg his pardon. Mr. La's,—no looking upon the inn I find his name is Faw. Jefferstontown has 6 or 8 houses dwelling houses—rather shabby. Mr. Mitchell29 is gone out to electioneer at a muster, seven miles according to one informant; 12 to another. I thought at first of getting upon a horse and riding out, but finally gave it out under the idea that the people would be dispersing, if not dispersed, before I could arrive. Instead of doing that I ascended the highest of the mountains in the neighborhood along with Mr. Faw, and a rugged ascent it was. Saw a good many plants that were new to me, dug a root of ginseng for you, a small one with my own hands. The air being clear, the prospect delightful. The Pilot could be distinguished clearly, probably at the distance of near a hundred miles. It appeared to be almost exactly east. The Grandfather, or the mountain which we supposed to be the one bearing that name, bore S. 40 west. We had a clear view of the country lying down the New River in Virginia, and also of the part of Surry, Wilkes, etc., lying near the Blue Ridge, for the point on which we were standing was high enough to overlook the Blue Ridge. Nearly the whole county of Ashe lay at our feet, the Merry-anders30 of the river could be traced as on a map. Some of the plantation in view also presented a noble appearance, but oh, what an ocean of mountains. That spoken of is called the Negro Mountain, the rocks of it are almost hornblende slate, or gneissoid hornblende rock. I have yet seen one of the rock which I supposed from the representation of McClure to underlie the whole county. I start on now today to ascertain if possible when the strata changes, and this leads me to speak of the future. I have been as good a correspondent as possible. This letter will leave here tomorrow morning before it is light and will reach you, as I hope, on Thursday next. I assure you that all is well hitherto, and encourages the hope that it will continue so hereafter. But on Monday I shall probably start on horseback and not be near my writing apparatus for a week, and then perhaps not under circumstances that will permit me to use them. With what you now receive therefore you must rest contented for some time perhaps till my return, though I will write if I can. I propose as I have already mentioned to start on Monday and travel the northern and lower part of the county and be back to the upper part to be present at a muster next Saturday. The ruggedness of the country renders it necessary I should go on horse-back. In about a fortnight I hope to pass over into Wilkes again and cruise about there and to be home again in five weeks from today. With regard to things at home, push the girls along in their learning—which I acknowledge you are ready to do. But becoming convinced, as I do, as I travel the country, of the importance of education, I can not help feeling a degree of impatience to have that of my daughters effected as rapidly as possible. Endeavor to make Sumner do his duty in the field.
Tell Mr. Hentz31 I have collected two bugs for him, both, as I believe are common at Chapel Hill, and that I hope to collect at the same rate all the time during the whole time of my absence, so that he shall have to be extremely obliged to me. Tell Messrs. Hooper and Phillips that having been two such [torn] as to come to Jeffersonton and not ascend the high mountains in the neighborhood, and enjoy the fine prospects, the best thing they can do in order to prevent themselves from becoming infamous in all after ages, is to mount their horses and make the same trip again; taking in the mountains. If you write after the receipt of this direct to Wilkesboro, Wilkes Co. I have some thoughts of writing an acrostic on a certain young lady, being allured thereto chiefly by the beauty of her name, Miss Peggy Baggy,32 of Salem. I hope will excuse me if I do. If an opportunity offers write to Williams and Fawe to send up whatever shall come to hand, or at least write and advise me of its arrival.
From your Affectionate Husband.
Mrs. Sybil33 M. Mitchell
Jefferson, July 9th, 1828, Wedns. Morning.
My Dear and Good Wife:
In my letter of Saturday evening last, I gave you an account of my movements up to that time. After sealing this letter I saw Mr. Mitchell. Sunday, I ought, perhaps, to have collected the people of this little village (there are but eight families of them), and preached them a sermon, but I did not. I read, talked, walked and a man came to see me about minerals, whom I found it a difficulty to get clear of.
Monday Morning. Started on horseback with Mr. Mitchell to find where the western transition of Triassic succeeds to the primitive rocks of this place. Passed along the great western road, down Beaver Creek between the ends of Plum Top and Phoenix Mountain to the North fork of N. River, over gneissoid, Hornblende rock and Hornblende slate, altogether for about seven miles. Visited the forge34 8 miles from town, Rocks here show characteristic gneiss. Forge get its ore from two places, one about 4 or 5 miles above King's Bank, and the other a similar distance below. The former one poor, as I was told, but makes good iron, and is necessary to flux the latter. The latter highly magnetic and appears to consist of sulphuret. Forge makes 200 lbs per day, which sells at 5 cents at the forge, but Sidney Maxwell35 told me he got it from the workmen at 3 and 4, and that he had the iron of Carter County delivered at 4: got dinner at Johnstons36 and at Maxwells struck the first rocks respecting which there could be any question that they were approaching to transition. Shining Argilite. That was at 12 miles, but 2 miles further on at ___________ there was well characterized, assumed a more earthy appearance and had a little clay slate mixed with them. Called upon Col. Gideon Lewis who told us some interesting appearance at the Bull Ruffin37 . Arrived at the top of the Stone mountain where a post indicated the Tennessee line, and had a pleasant view of the mountains of Carter county of Tennessee. Over the Tennessee side found rocks which are an imperfect granite and might be referred to the primitive with as much propriety as to the transition. In returning saw plenty of the Magnetic ancient slate. Fell in with William Gray who lives at the last house on New River 1¼ miles from the top of Stone Mountain, who told us the lead mine which lies under so much soil in this part of the country is within a mile of his house. Agreed to stop and see it, and stayed all night, climbed a high ridge and traveled, I should judge, two miles to the mine. Tis a small vein of Specular Oxide of Iron in a half baked granite rock. Found the same granitic rock elsewhere on the top of the ridge, and Gray told me they were going to cut a pair of millstones from it. Slept all night somewhat thicker than three in a bed.
Tuesday Morning. A tremendous rain which cleared off when the sun was about two hours high, and we started. Visited the ore38 Bank (King's) which is on the side of Plum Top Mountain. The bed is in Hornblende Slate, the ore poor and in small quantity.
Breakfasted at Maxwell's and arrived here about the middle of the afternoon. All the houses between here and Tennessee are log huts. The North Fork winds amongst the high steep mountains and along its banks on the little arable land there is, the inhabitants are settled. They depend a good deal upon their cattle which look well. They are fertile quite to their tops and though they are covered with timbers—large chestnuts, oaks, etc., afford a good deal of pasturage. They will afford much more when the timbers come to be cut down. Started today on an excursion towards the Virginia line.
Jefferson, Friday Evening
It is waxing late, but the dread of your wrath being more potent than the desire to sleep, I proceed to give you the rest of these idle and unprofitable days. Major Finley,39 of Wilkes, came on Tuesday evening, and as he is going on a visit into a region which I wished to visit and offered me his company, I waited till the morning was far advanced before starting. Rode up through the gap between the Phoenix and little Phoenix Mountains. Crossed the North Fork. Gneiss, at about a distance of about nine miles from town, where a change in the country seemed to commence say 5 miles from the Virginia line. Stopped at Timothy Perkins40 on Helton's Creek, where there was an army of maidens. I proposed pushing on up Helton but was advised to stay and get information at a Methodist meeting which was to be held close by at 12.
It being the middle of the harvest, but few people attended, and if they had staid away it had, as it seems to me, been as well. After service a classmeeting. I staid and heard a reasonable amount of female screaming and vociferation, returned to Perkins' determined some ores41 for Isaac McNab, dined rode up Helton 2 miles to William Perkins'42 then back and round to Stephen Perkins on little Helton within half a miles of the Virginia line. Found in the field two men from Wake cutting down wheat. Steven Perkins' grandfather came from Connecticut. He is a shrewd, intelligent young man and appears fully sensible of the disadvantage his children would labor under for want of a good education. His wife, a wonderfully busy little woman told men that one boy and girl of them were twins, and that since their birth there had been three instances of the like amongst their cousins in the neighborhood. The country swarms with children. Was well bitten by fleas at night. There are no ticks here, but abundance of these their brethren.
Thursday morning. John Weaver43 came in before I was up to have me determine some ore for him, and agreed to go with me to the Whitetop, an exceedingly high mountain, 3 miles north of the, say Northwestern most corner of N.Ca. of course in Virginia. Went out to see Perkins' ore bank which is extensive and then while breakfast was getting ready heard an amusing account of an old man who determined the locality of ores by the mineral rod, and by his own account is very busy in digging for gold and silver taken from the White by the Indians, and laid up in "subteranium chambers." Said he greased his books with dead men's tallow, and is prevented from getting the treasure out not by the little spirit with head not bigger than his two thumbs who come to blow the candle out, but by the great old two horned devil himself. After breakfast wound over the hills to William Perkins, then up Helton 2½ miles along a new horse path and by an old plantation to John Weavers. He has a wonderfully romantic place by the side of the creek under the over-hanging rocks. He is a bachelor of 27. His sister keeps house for him. Another house appeared at the distance of two miles up the creek, and we were apprised of our approach by the rolling of drums which the boys kept to frighten away the cattle that are driven in here in great numbers from Washington county, and eat up the range. Being very wild the drum scares them so that they go heels over head down the sides of the mountain; and a 4 year old ox will clear a 2 year old ox at a single jump. Two or three miles more another house, and then a mile brought us to the top. Here a few trees (of Spruce I believe) but most of the top is fine pasture covered with white clover and cattle, and commanding an extensive prospect of the mountains of Carolina and of the rich country west upon Holston in Washington county, and looking from the height at which we stood like a garden separated into its different compartments. This mountain is eviates into its different compartments. This mountain is evidently in the transition formation. I found grey rocks and grey rock slate around its base. The summit rocks are rather flinty, and I did not understand them well. But for the bleakness and cloudiness of the situation one does not see why there might not be a plantation on the very summit of the mountain. The soil is black, moist and fertile. A copious spring bursts out within a stones throw of the summit. Here the strawberries are just ripe, and I gathered and ate a number. Saw a number of plants which were new to me, but had neither the time nor the means for examining them. The Grandfather mountain, as I supposed it to be, with a craggy and irregular summit was seen at the south, and other ridges of Burke and Buncombe farther west and apparently as high as the Grandfather. Arrived at Weaver's again about the middle of the afternoon, exceedingly fatigued having walked according to Weaver, 10 but as I suppose 12 miles in my great heavy boots. Mounted my horse and rode to the north of Helton, 10 miles and fording that stream, as I was told, for I did not undertake to count, 32 times in the distance, and then down the North Fork to Col. Meredith Ballou's.44 This ride was very pleasant. A craggy cliff occupied now one side, now the other side of the river, generally overhanging the stream. The other side presented a narrow strip of low ground, fertile, sometimes in a state of nature, sometimes cultivated—the cultivated land extending some distance up the hill side and sometimes and old field, but covered with clover, how different from the old fields of Lower Carolina. The soil of Ashe at least on this side of New River is certainly fertile as is proved by the size of the trees that spring up from it. A ride in the deep valleys of such a country with the blue tops of mountains appearing everywhere, then around a stream as clear as crystal dashing over its rocky bed close by you and reminding you of its existence, at least by its murmur, and a cloudless sky overhead, in a summer evening cannot be unpleasant except that those whom one loves may not be present to partake of the enjoyment. And it at least affords one an opportunity to fall into a reverie and think about them. The object of this day's labor was to ascertain the coming in of the transition rocks which I had supposed before I left home to occupy the whole of Ashe County, and which I soon find to occupy only a diminutive part of it. Near the Blue Ridge, as I traveled, the rocks appear to be chiefly mica slate, about here they are Horneblende slate and gneissoid Hornblende rocks. This is succeeded on the N. West by Gneiss proper and the gneiss gives place to an intermediate rock preparatory to the transition. The commencement of the change may be stated to occur at 9 miles north and 12 miles West from here as the road runs, but I found Gray wracke only at the foot of the White Top Mountain, and within 2½ miles of Stone Mountain in the ridge containing the bed ore (in ditches). I did not find it at all on the road leading to Perkins'.
Col. Meredith Ballou, at whose house I put up on Thursday, is of French extraction, a native of Amherst County, in Virginia. He owns a forge—is a busy, active little man, still, though 61 years of age, and the father of eleven sons and two daughters by a wife 13 years younger than himself, and looks as if she might still bear a number of children more. Between the ages of his oldest and youngest daughter there is a difference of 30 years. Fell into a dispute with him about an ore of iron (the micaceous oxide) which he asserted to contain lead. He tells me the first forge erected in this country was built on Helton creek a little above where he lives about 20 years ago by one Tarbert. Shortly after another was built higher on the same creek; 14 years ago; that on Little River and 4 or 6 years ago that visited on Monday on the western road. Friday morning, rode down the river 3 or 4 miles to see his forge and the ore bank on Weaver's land, which has been taken by Zachariah Baker,45 the last years representative from Ashe, for a silver mine from which he was to derive inexhaustible wealth. It proved to be a thin crust of Brown Hematite disseminated through a rock and in such small quantities that it can never be worth working. After dinner Ballou rode out with us two or three miles to see his order banks which are numerous and rich. Indeed, I judge the range of gneiss heretofore spoken of to be full of ore. Ballou inquired whether I was a professor of religion—said he was not himself, but of the two sects into which the country was divided is most inclined to the Baptist. He spoke of the Methodist camp meeting held annually near Timothy Perkins' where I attended meeting, said that at the last meeting two men, one of those a member of the Methodist church, were witnesses of the pranks of a distinguished preacher. He went into a hut in the dusk of the evening where there was a young woman, a sister in the Methodist communion. He threw one arm around her neck and put the other upon her bosom. She removed it and he replaced it. She removed it again and he replaced it again; then finding that he was observed he struck up a sort of Psalm, "I wished to try her faith. Hallelujah, praise the Lord." With this precious piece of scandal, I close my letter, observing only that I arrived here just at dark and have been eating, shaving and writing ever since.
Saturday Morning. Started after an early breakfast for the settlement of the Three-Forks 23 miles S. West of this where there is to be a muster-today, along with Phillips46 — not the celebrated Irish Orator but a constable of the county of Ashe. Passed some good plantations within the first six miles, then entered upon a district of mica slate and Magnesium rocks—Ridgy without being mountainous or picturesque—barren and uninhabited—this continued until I was within 4 miles of the Three-Forks settlement where the gnessoid Hornblende rock and good soil reappeared. Put up at Robert Sherer's,47 a Baptist and a worthy and intelligent man, a native of the N. Western part of Orange. Saw and became acquainted with a number of people—Dr. Reaser of Tennessee who brought me a number of specimens of ore—Mr. Calloway- -Elijah Calloway,48 Esq.; I beg his pardon, formerly a member of the legislature from this county and having a son not yet 21 a candidate. He is regarded here as a gentleman, and is a member of the Baptist church. He told me he and Dr. Caldwell were great friends, and that he was a great preacher—asked if he died not preach in the city of Lunnon [London[ and thought that he was a preacher there. Said he had always been a great friend of the University. Having obtained the leave of the candidates I explained in a stump speech to the people assembled the object of my visit to Ashe. Walked out towards night 3 miles to a spot on the west side of the S. Fork of New River on the lands of John Cook to see some asbestoid rocks. On my return found a Shearer's Mr. Smith49 who was at Chapel Hill last winter, who proposed to me to start today for Watauga and ascend the Grandfather tomorrow but as I excused myself to him on account of tomorrow's being Sunday, he stayed until I was ready—also a Mr. Farthing,50 son of Reverend Wm. Farthing of the Baptist Church in Wake County, who died last winter at his home at the foot of Stone Mountain—also Mr. Shearer's pretty daughter and her husband, a good natured sort of fellow, not half good enough for her. This Glen Fork settlement is about 23 miles from Jefferson and is a considerable body of good land. A good road runs across the mountain here passing through the Deep Gap, and thence down with two or three miles of the Watagua River to the Tennessee line. A Baptist meeting house is only about 2 or 300 yards off at which by an appointment given out at the muster ground I am to preach tomorrow.
Sunday Morning. After breakfast as we were sitting in the Piazza, an old gander named Ellwood (I don't know how to spell his name), called in with a keg in a bag in which he had brought whiskey to sell at the muster yesterday. Found abundance of fault with Mr. Mitchell51 the candidate, and also with Baker52 the other candidate. When about to go he was asked to stay for preaching—"No, he had said yesterday he was not going to hear him preach—no man never could attend to everything." I told him he seemed to be descended from Ishmael—his hand was against every man. I hoped that every man's hand is not against him. Smith tells me this same fellow raised a report on the muster ground yesterday—that I received 9,000 dollars for passing through and looking at the rocks. Preached at 12 to a considerably attentive congregation. After dinner rode down 10 miles to Watauga. Smith purchased a bottle of brandy and but it in my saddlebags. Stopped at a distance of a miles at Hardin's53 (he is a candidate for a seat in the Senate) to avoid a shower of rain and again at Council's store to collect our company, which finally amounted to 7—the two candidates, Mitchell and Calloway, Smith, and Myself, Farthing, a person name not known, and Noah Mast,54 to whose father's on Watauga we are going. The prospect in some places where the chestnuts now in bloom grow upon rich grounds on the declivities of the mountains, and are covered with a most luxuriant foliage, is enchanting. Council's store was open, some were hunting, a waggon hauling plank; Mitchell and Calloway electioneered by the way, and, as I was riding on Sunday with what propriety could I reprehend these things. And yet it seemed necessary, on Mr. Smith's account, that I should ride. Passed from the deep gap road about 3 miles to Mr. Mast's and observed a discontinuance in the gneissoid horneblende rocks at this point and a commencement of others which appeared to be in [torn] of the transition. The low grounds on the Watauga above the Stone Mountains are wide, tho they cease at the mountains or a little above, and on these low grounds Mr. Mast (a German) has a good plantation and a son settled both above and below him. Young Mast send out for Henry Holtsclaw who agreed to accompany us to Grandfather tomorrow and then to go on with Mr. Smith to the old fields of Tow. We heard of a family in which was a young lady, apparently about 20, tolerably good looking, and who is the Grace or Goddess that Collin's speaks of in his ode to the Passions "with a bosom bare." There were two little children, the youngest of whom, Smith tells me, is the result of a "fox paw" [fauxpas] of Mademoiselles. She refused to tell who was its father, but his identity is well understood. I am told that when she found herself pregnant she asked him to marry her, telling him at the same time that if he did not take her then, but left her to bear the scandal alone, she never would have him—that he is willing to marry her now, but cannot get her. Both the mother and the child seem to be treated with tenderness and affection by the family, and what is most strange her brother is said to be on the most intimate terms with his sister's seducer. The young woman appears to feel her situation. It appears at first sight very unreasonable that a transgression of this kind should be attended with such fatal consequences to the one party, and instead of being regarded as a disgrace, be sometimes almost gloried in by the other. And yet I think it is partly by the appointment of the Creator himself, and therefore, for good reasons, as well as by the custom and fashion of society, that it is so. Reference is evidently has in everything relating to these matters to the welfare of the children and to a provision for their sustenance and support. This demands affection on the part of both parents. But in order that this should be strong and unswerving, it is needful that there be no uncertainty about the parentage of the child—that neither husband nor wife way be in danger of bestowing their affection upon the offspring of others. But on the part of the wife there can be no doubt. She can never be in danger of nursing her husband's illegitimate children for her own. The only security a husband has is found in the purity of his wife's character before her marriage—an assurance that he possesses her affection now and an experience of her veracity. Hence I am inclined to believe by the appointment of God, a man has a greater horror of sharing the person of the woman he loves with another man than a woman has of sharing with a woman, though the principle or feeling originally thus influenced is doubtless strengthened by the institutions of society. And hence incontinence before marriage by diminishing the security the husband should have of the fidelity of his wife after marriage sinks her value so much in the society of which she is a member, and is in fact a greater crime in a woman than in a man. If it be said that it is still unreasonable that she should suffer so much more, the truth of the assertion may be denied for whilst men have many hardships to undergo in the field and other places to which she is not called—her education points very much to one of the greatest objects of her existence, the continuance of the species. Man is tempted in the affairs of life in a thousand different ways. Nearly all her temptations have reference to one thing—unswerving virtue in regard to this one thing, and therefore with her one principal point of morality and religion, and if she falls here she is taught to expect that her fall will be great; it is reasonable that it should be great. I do no mean all the while to excuse the hard-hearted and unfeeling indifference with which a man will for a brief transport of passion sacrifice the happiness of a fellow being for months and years, and then look with a cold and indifferent eye upon the ruin of which he is the author. I wish it to be strongly emphasized upon my daughters that where a woman is concerned, no man is to be trusted—every man is half a demon.
Monday Morning. Foggy, cloudy and rainy; purchased small bear skin from Mr. Mast. At nine proceed a small distance up the creek where one of the young Masts keeps a bachelor's hall, when a bad rain coming on we stopped and agreed for a tickler of balsam, for which I afterwards paid a dollar. Started soon after, though it still rained and our guide was rather unwilling to proceed, and indeed, we were thoroughly wet when we got two or three miles up to Robert Barnhill's, originally from Mecklenburg. In the neighborhood is a hunter who has two women living with him; to one of them he owes and to the other he graciously discharged the duties of a husband; one has 3 children, and the other one and another at hand. 'Tis a region for these irregularities. The Leather Stocking of these regions, and whom we would have had as a pilot, but that he is in the woods, has a wife living on Sandy River in Kentucky, and the children of that wife, and another woman living with him here on the Watauga. Another hunter, has a wife living in N.Ca., and supports or keeps only the daughter of man who lives in Tennessee. In a rude hunter's state of society the women become schquaws, very pretty ones, but schquaws notwithstanding. We had still 8 or 9 miles to go to the top of Grandfather. We passed on over one ridge after another winding through the woods over logs and rocks, and through laurels, walking when we could not ride, passing some mountains and knobs with very indecent names, seeing only one small deer which we did not kill, crossing the head of Linville river, which flows into the Catawba, and arrived at the foot of Grandfather, where we were obliged to leave our horses about one o'clock. The Linville and Watauga head up under the mountain, and from the place, where we took our dinner we could get water from either, within two or three hundred yards. Of course we were on the summit of the Blue Ridge. The ascent of the mountain is rough, thickety and disagreeable. Steep, perpendicular cliffs in places but in general not very difficult. About half way up we met with a Fir-Balsam tree. It is sometimes a foot and a half in thickness and pretty tall. The balsam resides in small blisters or cavities in the substance of the oak which are cut out at the precious fluid passed into a vial. They say that the exudation obtained in the same way as common turpentine has not the same properties—but I have my doubts. It is the panacea or universal remedy of the mountains—cures wounds, rheumatism, flux,55 et cetera. It grows quite to the top but it is stunted and smaller there, and along with one other tree occupies exclusively the highest points. The summit of the mountain is moist and wet, producing carexes which I wished to but could not study. Holtsclaw had been often upon it but only in search of bears of which it is the favorite winter retreat. They retire to dens in the cliffs in December and come out in February, passing the time in sleep. This is time for the hunters to find their retreats and taken them out. They lose nothing of their fatness, and their flesh is thought to acquire additional delicacy; they have their flesh is thought to acquire additional delicacy; they have nothing in their bowels during their sleep—I write this at Jefferson, July 11, Friday. I leave today for the lower end of the county were I hope to go out to the Elkspur Gap on Saturday into Wilkes.
I thank you for your letter. I may write again from Wilkes.
Yours, E. Mitchell
Wilkesboro, July 20th, 1828, Sund. Eve.
My Dear and Good Wife:
In my last which leave this tomorrow morning I informed you of all things whether good or ill that have befallen me down to Monday Evening the 14, when I am received in this place a second time and put up at Mr. Massey's where Messrs. Hooper and Phillips56 staid—to their great satisfaction last year. Wilkesboro lies near the Yadkin. The river makes something of a bend and approaches the town. From the water's edge a steep hill rises suddenly and it is on the south side of this hill (sloping gradually) that the town is built. It contains 19 dwelling houses; a new courthouse and goal. Massey's is a pleasant place to stay at when he is at home. He is of a Quaker family but was led astray by the bright black eyes of a Moabitish or Presbyterian damsel. He married out of the society and of course ceased to be connected with it. His wife is really pretty, but what astonishes me is that has found it out. Found out that the man Mr. McKenzie57 who sent me the specimens from Wilkes a year or two ago— Originally a tailor secondly an officer in the army—lieutenant—and thirdly doctor and mineralogist. He lives a little out of town and support his large family with some difficulty.
Tuesday morning. Rode up to see Gen. Stokes and Col. Wellborn. Their father-in-law Hugh Montgomery58 owned one of the finest plantations on the river. They married sisters, and this plantations was divided among them. Stokes59 is considerably the oldest. They have not formerly agreed very well but are said to be on good terms now. Wellborn60 is nearest town—only two miles off. Called on him. He offered me breakfast—whiskey and then feeding of my horse, but I declined them all. Showed me some minerals and I went on to Gen. Stokes' two miles farther. What Wellborn's real character is I cannot make out. He has been a member of the Baptist church and will now allow no swearing about him. He left the church under the idea that he was unfit to remain in it. He seems to have a religious paroxysm. He is a candidate, a furious Jacksonite and a prompt bold man. At Gen. Stokes' I was treated with great kindness. I used to wonder why he was so much put forward in the state but it now appears. He is a very pleasant man of good sense. His wife appears much younger than himself. He was born 20 or 30 miles above Petersburg in Virginia and was a sailor in his youth. In his family he has been exceedingly unfortunate—perhaps this is not the proper word. He has been a great card player and is at present a great swearer himself so that we may conjecture what their education has been. In addition to this I suspect some defect in the moral and physical constitution of the young men themselves. One, Hugh M. Was educated at Chapel Hill and is now a lawyer in Morgantown. He is said to possess respectable talents but is intemperate. I was told of his reformation as I passed through Morganton last year. As we were conversing freely about his children I told him I had understood that Hugh 61 had reformed. He said he had hoped so—had sent him on his circuit with Judge Donnell with high expectations but on his return he staid at Morganton instead of coming home and he knew but feared to ask for what. Another son62 is a midshipman, a third63 is at West Point and I gathered from his father not succeeding very well, a fourth64 is at home. I told him I intended to give my children the best education in my power and then if they did not succeed, not to permit it to trouble me—he said I could not help it—and I suppose he was right. He gave me some information respecting the running the line first by Strother and Co.65 to painted rock and then by himself, Dr. Caldwell, and others along the great Smoky mountains. After dinner rode out to see Michals Forge and Ore Bank; the Forge (not yet completed) is the only one in the county. The ore bank is 2 or 3 miles off; the ores appear to be tolerably good though not of the first quality and has been manufactured into iron pretty extensively at Beard's Forge in Burke. There seems to be a series of beds of iron, one lying on this side of the Brushey Mountains, on one of the spurs of which Michals ore Bank is extending like everything else in this country from N. E. To S. West—; returned to town—and took tea at Major Finley's where I saw Col. Patterson66 and his wife—granddaughter of Gen. Lenoir.
Wednesday Morning. The repairs of my wagon not being yet completed I did not start till about eleven. In the meantime walked out to see the Wilkesboro mineral spring. 'Tis only some water that oozes through some earth and leaves that has been brought down the road, and that is contains perhaps a little iron has little to recommend it besides its dirty nauseous taste. Started at eleven with Dr. McKenzie and passed up the river, found the rocks mostly Gneiss the whole day and indeed throughout this whole excursion; found iron on the road 6 miles from town in white flint rock. Near Millers when we crossed the river McKenzie told me there was a bank of Porcelain clay; I did not visit it. Passed Stonecyplus an old bachelor who they say knows where there is lead in the mountain near but will give no account of it. Left my wagon at Dyck Jones, and went on a couple of miles further to John Lipps and then up the creek a mile and a half further to see some black lead. Found a little in the granite rocks but none of any value. Was told by Lipps of the garnet on the lands of _______ Church,a his father-in-law, who lives just under the Blue Ridge. Returned to Jones's and got an excellent cup of coffee. Anderson Mitchell and another Lipps came in with specimens chiefly from flat Knob amongst which I found rich characterized Sappare or Kyanite.
Thursday Morning Crossed over through a barren country to the river which we had left and then up the river to Gen. Jones67 where we arrived about noon or a little after. It is not difficult to account for the deterioration of the "Range" of which people are continually complaining in this part of the country. Two causes operate in the production of this effect. 1. Since the country has been cleared and plantations laid out it will not answer to burn the woods as formerly for fear of destroying the fences and the consequence is that the small undergrowth is not destroyed as it used to be—the woods become thicker and not like an orchard as they are in the indian country—and thus herbage of all kinds being shaded does not grow and flourish. 2. Of the different kinds of herbage those suited to the sustenance of cattle as the pea-vine and natural grasses are fast devoured and both become less vigorous in their growth and are prevented from going to seed whilst the contrary effect is produced upon the bitter unpalatable weeds. Thus our woods become thick also and shady and the little herbage they produce is not fitted to the sustenance of cattle. Passed Gen. Lenoir's (Old Fort Defiance)68 and stopped at the house of his son-in-law Gen. Jones69 to dinner. The Gen. out electioneering. a man of wealth—has two sons one70 at Hillsboro with Mr. Bingham and the younger with Mr. Gay. His daughters all married, two of them at table—one recently wedded to Lawyer Henry of Greenville, district S. Co. originally a Yankee? And a well enough man, the other—the youngest stole a march upon her parents and married her cousin Larkin Jones described to me by McKenzie as the smartest young man that has been raised in Wilkes. After his marriage was raised into favour and went on last winter to attend the medical lectures at Philadelphia and the agitation produced by the sudden and unexpected return of her husband at night caused a miscarriage from which she is still feeble. After a thunderstorm, occurring whilst we were at dinner was over, obtained a horse and rode accompanied by a son of Catlett, the General's brother, to Gidding's old place to see some ore said to be there—the distance 10 miles. For two or three miles the country was tolerably open but the hills afterwards closed in upon us and we wound our way beneath them beside the river bank and were finally obliged to cross on or two pretty considerable ridges in order to reach our place of destination. a ride of this kind to one accustomed to the monotonous sameness of the Low Country is pleasant and agreeable and would have been highly so to me but for a shower that fell. Giddings71 old place, now occupied by three men by the name of Harrison—a father and his three sons, is a fine same of what is called in the mountains as a Cove. The Yadkin is here a brawling mountain stream and the mountain instead of coming up close to it recedes so as to leave a handsome plantation of level land along its banks. Here is a fine peach and apple orchard and as pleasant a spot but for its situation as is to be found in the country. But the only access to it is by a trail or foot-path leading over a mountain ridge. Tis a very valley of Wyoming—the place for a person to retire to, who has been illtreated by the world and is disgusted with it—the place for him to retire to and not be happy. I recommend it as a retreat to Lawyer Henry—telling him how finely he could shoot bears for his wife to eat and get fine skins to warm her—the orchard would also furnish fine whiskey for her as well as the field the best of wheat and he could present the whole to her as the product of his own labor and a testimonial of his love. But he did not seem to approve the plan. We did not leave the place before sun-down and had then to wind our way over the hills and down the river ten miles but it was a fine moon-light night. We reached home after the family had all retired to rest but found a good supper ready for us.
Friday Morning. Started after breakfast and rode down to Catlett Jones's72 [torn] took in Dr. McKenzie—rode down to Tommy Tripletts,73, 74 Gen. Jones, Gen. Lenoir, Major Witherspoon, Col Catlett Jones, Capt. Dula and others (it is not a war-like neighborhood these military titles notwithstanding). They want only an evangelical clergyman of good abilities and learning and a respectable academy to make this valley a very desirable place of residence—but these important requisites I fear they will not soon have. Tommy Triplett is an unbeliever who cannot read and an honest kind man as Mr. Kenzie tells me. From him I had another edition of the story about lead found at the north of Stoney Fork within a mile of him, 12 miles from Wilkesboro. An old hunter parted from his company was scouring about and fell upon a place where the indians had cut lead from the bottom of the branch and a bag of their bulletts was hanging from the tree, but he was never able (as he neglected to mark the spot) to find it again. Such in substance is the account that I have received in so many different places and from so many different persons that I am ready to knock down the man who shall tell the tale again. To compensate me however in part he told me of some passages between himself and a mineral-rod man, a race of vermin who infest this country and share the confidence of the people so that it is a constant question when they learn that I am concerned with the metals—whether I will undertake to find where those substances lie hid in the bowels of the earth. Triplett proposed to one of these gentry to find his lead mine at the mouth of Stoney Creek and promised a reward of one hundred dollars if he would do so. He readily engaged to undertake the task but said it might lie deep. No! Said Triplett, it is within two feet of the surface. But the large body of ore may lie dep and in that case my rods will be drawn to it notwithstanding this search for ore rising to the surface. Triplett appearing incredulous he said he would find any money about he house. He was told that 5 silver dollars should be hid in the field and he should deposit 5 more in the hands of a third person and if he could by his art find the five he should have the whole ten—if not he was to forfeit his own five. The smallness of the sum was an objection at first but he appeared equally backward when it was proposed to substitute 20 instead of five. The fellow in Ashe urged the strange objection to the mineral rod, viz, that if the metals had any power of attracting the twigs all the branches would be stripped from the trees. Here at Tripletts there was an old Capt. Duncan from Milledgeville in Georgia who appeared to be a man of truth and told some stories of the Revolution and the wars of which he had borne a part and of the antecedent events, of Col. Morgan and Col. Cresap. According to him Mr. Jefferson's story of Logan,75 the Indian chief, is extremely incorrect. The indians had been plundering the white settlements and Duncan and others went down to drive them off, falling upon their encampment. Duncan for the first time "burnt powder" at the human, fired the first gun and killed a large indian. Others were killed and a foolish Dutchman leveled his gun at a squaw and though told not to shoot it was a white man's squaw he blazed away and killed her. This was the sister of Logan and her death was what roused him.
On my return to Wilkesboro walked down to examine the white spots in the bank below town, found them to be spots in the granite in which the Feldspar greatly predominated. Col Waugh76 offered me his horse to ride out to the Brushey mountains tomorrow and Dr. Satterwhite engaged to accompany me.
Saturday Morning. Started after breakfast for the Brushey Mountains. Dr. Satterwhite and Dr. McKenzie and Mr. Moreau77 —called here Marou. Passed the vineyard which Moreau had planted on the mountain on land granted I believe by the state for this purpose. He is a native of Alsace, a tailor, and, as Gen. Stokes informs me, not much acquainted with the cultivation of the vine. The yard certainly presents but a sorry appearance which he attributed to the delay incident to the distance of Wilkesboro from the place where the shoots were cut in Pennsylvania. The vineyard is shortly (next year) to be removed to the top of the mountain and Moreau is to devote all his time to it. I believe he will be tired of it although he is spoken of as a very industrious and worthy man. The Brushey mountains are higher than I supposed—furnish some grand table lands, 3 or 4 miles across and some fine prospects. The black lead78 is on their southern side near the Iredell line-was recently discovered breaking from the ground by the side of a foot-path by a girl Miss ______. Her father has dug up a quantity but made only a small hole in so doing—so that it has been very little explored. It occurs in nodules in the soil and it is likely there is a good deal of it. It is on the land of Mr. Davis. Returned by a different route—passed the grave of a negro who was whipped to death two or three years ago by his master and another man who took him from jail and left him dead in the road and [torn]. Passed the seat of Col. Waugh's saw Mill 5 or 6 miles from town. It is a wonderful seat formed by beds of gneiss rock crossing the Moravian creek. Supped at Dr. Satterwhites79 . He is a native of Granville—an alumnus of the University— Formerly a merchant, now a physician—not as I suspect a very scientific one—a farmer—married to a sister of Mr. Cowan, of Salisbury, has three children—one pretty daughter—more of a reader than any other one in Wilkes county. Unitarian in faith, though a good deal shaken of late—has left off swearing since Mr. Gay came to Wilkesboro. Found James Norwood80 sick on my return.
Sunday Morning. Preached to a small congregation in the courthouse twice. Made out the worst when I had Gen. Stokes and the largest and most respectable number of persons to hear me, this was not pleasant but must be submitted to.
Monday Morning. After packing my minerals—Started for Surry. Dr. McKenzie in company for a few miles. Stopped at the house of John Bryant, Esq. 8 miles from town and took dinner. Visited his gold mine. Whilst dinner was getting ready an man rode up and requested assistance for a woman who had fallen and broken her arm. We went down and found her collar bone broken—got her into the nearest house. McKenzie adjusted it, made her as comfortable as we could. It is in such situations that riches are truly valuable by enabling us to command every assistance and comfortable situation. Started from Bryants, called at his son-in-laws Col Jones Wrenton to see a rock resembling (undecipherable) of the Sandhills but uninteresting in any other point of view. How did it get (word undecipherable) easily formed and in many situations? I must examine its situation about Fayetteville. Rounded pebbles are abundant about here but do not extend as he informed me more than half a mile from the river from which they are evidently derived. Passed on and crossed the river at a ford where a Lawyer named Hill81 was drowned during the last year and put up at Major Meredith Thurmonds82 . He has a beautiful situation—fine lane—and a fine river road by him and the Pilot and Blue Ridge in view. Thurmond is not a very intellectual man but he treated me well. Showed me some blankets manufactured by his wife nearly equal to the rose blankets—made as Mrs. Thurmond informed me by spinning the yarn very coarse—twisting it but little and carding it up. Also some paintings of his daughter's, some of them frightful enough, but displaying on the whole a good talent in a girl of 14 who had had no instructor. In the morning I encouraged the parents to cultivate the genius of their daughter and to give her a good education—Described the proficiency of my own daughter which I ascribed not to any superiority of talent but to the diligent care of her excellent mother. As I am leaving Wilkes I may say that it appears to be deficient in mineral riches. a series of beds of iron83 ore not of the best quality appears to lie along the base of the Brushey Mountains and that is really all. The predominant rock is gneiss but there is a good deal of granite and mica slate. The good land lies along the river and is held by men whose wealth has given them opportunity of acquiring intelligence and they have given to the county a respectability abroad not possessed by any of its neighbours.
Tuesday Morning. I had intended to pass from Col. Thurmonds to Mr. Franklin's in Surry but learn that gentleman is gone from home to attend the meeting of the council of state convened on the 30th, to appoint a successor to the late attorney general J. F. Taylor. I determined to direct my course immediately to Rockfort84 the Metropolis of Surry. Thurmond accompanied me some distance to see me over the ford and passing through Jonesville a town of 7 houses 1 arrived at Rockford about 3 in the afternoon without any particular incident. The country was only moderately fertile. I had some apprehensions respecting the depth of the Yadkin as the river was swollen with antecedent rains but passed it in safety and put up with Matthew Hughes, Esq. One of the 5 inhabitants (masters of families) of the place, where I had an excellent cup of coffee poured out to me by his beautiful and pleasant daughter. Rode out with Matthew to see some iron ore and some of Mr. Olmsteads Lazulite85 (decomposed Chalcedony). The ore is the magnetic oxide in gneiss, has been smelted is of a good quality— three miles from town but the vein appears to be feeble. Examined the rocks near the ford and found them to be Mica Slate. Mrs. Hughes is of the Martin family and connected with Mrs. Ham Jones who has been staying here86 for some weeks and left these parts to go down to Mrs. Williams near the shallow ford only this morning. She is here to keep her children who are sickly from the pestilential air of Salisbury and talks of going to Chapel Hill.
Wednesday Morning. Started very early and went down to Major William's87 3 miles with the double, triple, purpose of getting my horse shod—some breakfast, and seeing his limestone quarry. He is the brother of Lewis the Congressman and the father of the fellow who gave us so much trouble at the last session. He is a widower and has been so many years. His oldest daughter is married to a Mr. Dodge88 a Northern man a lawyer living at Huntsville and gone on with her husband and sister to see his friends. Another daughter is at Salem and there is only one child a tolerably pretty little daughter at home. He treated me very well took me to see his quarries and kiln. Shod my horse (had him shod) gave me a breakfast and would have nothing in return. Also sent down a boy with me to Haynes' and Hutchin's ore banks. The former is in Mica Slate and a good deal worked out. The latter, Ben Hutchins's is a recent discovery in gneiss and is used at Shepherds forge. Hutchins is a Quaker and his ore bank seems to be well wrought. Some of the ore is contaminated with soapstone and I found very good absteus in the mica. There appeared to be a good deal of iron ore about this place, 6 or 7 miles from Rockford on the Huntsville road and some manganese. Got from Hutchins some seed89 of a vegetable I had never seen before called by him raising corn of which it is the quality to make bread rise rapidly as he said. I have not much faith in it, but took some of the seed as a curiosity. Rode down to Joseph Thompson's—an old gander90 of a fellow.
[The letter ends here and is not signed.]
Elkspur Gap,91 Wilkes Co., July 20th, 1828.
My Dear and Good Wife:
Amongst the unpleasant circumstances with which my present occupation is attended is the inability under which I am laid of spending the Sabbath in a manner which my conscience approves. As I am laid up here for a day with no good books at hand and as your situation is desolate—and lonely, (but still how different from that of a widowed mother), I believe I may regard it as a duty as well as feel it a pleasure to resume my narrative at the point where it was broken off upon the summit of the Grandfather and fill a sheet and a half (you cannot in conscience complain as I have nearly exhausted all the paper which you gave me) with ulterior particulars. It is one of the pleasures of the relation in which we stand to each other that those trifles which to a third person would be intolerably wearisome have with us a deep as well as unfailing interest. You must excuse repetition if I should happen to fall into any.
The vegetation of the summit of the Grandfather is peculiar. Carexes (inhabitants of a moist soil) constitute the principal grasses, the trees are the Balsam Fir—and one or two others which I did not know. Does not Michaux92 assign to this mountain a peculiar species of Pine not found elsewhere upon the Mountain? I could see nothing of any such and Henry Holtsclaw denied that there was any. Saw a new (to me) species of sambucus with red berries which were already ripe and at the point where we enjoyed the first prospect a small shrub grew and interwove its branches so thick that we reposed upon the summit of its libs as upon a carpet. The climate of the summit must be considerably colder than that of Chapel Hill as the Blackberry, which I found fully ripe in many places as I came along before I reached the foot of the Mountain and were decaying through excessive ripeness, was still green throughout Ashe at this time and near the summit of the Grandfather was either flowering or passing into the state of berry. Capt. Smith, who had worn his thin coat up, complained bitterly of the coldness of the wind and I felt it myself though less than he did. To enjoy the prospect in all its glory we climbed each a several Balsam tree and the tree being stunted in its growth had a large trunk (comparatively) thickly beset with limbs so that we could easily place our heads higher than its top. The prospect was all but infinite. The day was fine—a few flying clouds and a thin haze or smoke only. The Pilot and several towns were distinctly visible, also endless ridges of Tennessee, the Black Mountain of Buncombe, the Yellow and Roan Mountains. The Table rock which appeared as a considerable eminence at Morganton was dwindled down to a Mole Hill. It was a question with us whether the Black and Roan Mountains were not higher than the Grandfather and we were all inclined to give them the palm and I very well recollect that when I was in Morganton last year a mountain lying towards the westward (the Black Mountain) appeared higher than it and the same impression was made by the Yellow and Roan mountains when I was upon the White Top. There can be no doubt that the country around the base of the Grandfather is higher than any other tract along these elevations but I suspect the Black and Roan to be higher peaks. The Grandfather appears to me to be Grau Wacke and to belong to the transition of Tennessee. Along the creek by which we ascended I found clay slate which appeared to be in transition—also about the very head springs of Linnville and along the flank of the Grandfather. If I am correct I suspect that instead of there being a small strip of transition along the base of the Blue Ridge as represented by Maclure93 that formation here occupies the whole breadth of the Mountains. If I were to spend another summer in these parts I would locate myself on the Old Fields of Toe River and investigate the district lying between and around these high mountains. When we had finished our examination we began to descend in a great hurry it being the object of the hunters to reach the cabin of Mr. Leatherstocking Aldridge and feast upon Venison, Bear Meat and Honey. In the attempt to do this we failed and camped on the top of Haw Ridge three miles from Barnhills. a shelving rock projected over our heads and kept off the dew; my blanket, after it had served as a manager for my horse to eat his provender from, constituted a bed for Henry Holtsclaw and Robert Barnhill. My Buffalo skin served Capt. John Smith whilst my bearskin served Mr. Noah Mast and myself. Thus furnished I lying in the middle and with a blazing fire at our feet we passed a pleasanter night than I had expected. I looked at my watch a good many times to see if it was not nearly morning.
Tuesday morning—Cloudy—it rained considerably before night. We rose as soon as it was light. Holtsclaw and Smith parted from us to go to the Old Fields of Toe River. The rest of us passed down the side of the Mountain. Breakfasted and had a pretty good cup of coffee at Barnhills. Left Masts about 10, the old man consenting to receive 50 cents for the trouble I had given him, for the Tenn. Line. Thinking I owed Noah Mast some expression of gratitude for his attentions to me over and above what he had received, I called at his brothers a couple of miles from his father's and left my pocket [?], to which he seemed to take a fancy, with a few lines in it. This was on Cove Creek. a mile or two further struck some gneiss rock which continued with an exception of a small tract of granite to within 2 miles of the Tennessee line on the top of the stone mountain. Called at Mr. Farthings94 three miles from the top of the stone Mountain and got my dinner. Madam was sick as she supposed with St. Anthony's fire and had been for a month. She appeared to be a worthy woman. He husband was from Wake; being sent on a missionary tour in Ashe he fell in love with the mountains and removed hither about a year ago or a little more and soon died. She was well acquainted with brother Patterson95 . After my return from the Mountains young Farthing rode with me a couple of miles on my road to George Wilsons96, b on the Fork Ridge between Cove Creek and Beaver dam. I also left with him some specimens of rock to be brought down when he comes to Wake in the Fall. George Wilson lives on an eminence so steep that my horse had difficulty in climbing up when I led him. Staid at Wilson's—a log house with fringes between the beams—Tapestried with 17 petticoats of domestic manufacture. Wilson was gone a hunting and soon came in, it being dark—wet and tired, having hunted two days with some of his neighbors on the stone mountain distant three miles and killed-Nothing. His wife said he never was as tired as when he came from hunting. Ashe was first occupied by hunters who came in search of game. When they reported the fertility of the soil to their neighbors—they came in but engaged also in much hunting—and the habits generated in those days still continue even after the game is gone. The people lack industry. Some parts of the country—for instance on the three forks and about the Court are as fine as the good parts of N. England and if the Inhabitants would be industrious and cultivate them in a similar manner they might have painted frame houses instead of the present unsightly log hovels. It is a favorite theory of mine that Ashe has greater facilities for maintaining its soil in a state of productiveness (by means of clover) than any other part of N.Ca. That all the forests will hereafter be cut down and converted into extensive pastures on which will be fed vast herds of cattle and flocks of sheep—that it will hereafter be abundantly more populous than at present and even sought to as an agreeable place of residence. George Wilson is a red haired sort of a fellow with a wife looking much better than he does. His wife is better looking and the only objection I had to her was the fleas in the beds and that after wiping her soiled fingers upon her apron she proceeded directly to wet the meal for the corn bread with along with some milk constituted my supper. a man who was in, complaining of the difficulty of getting corn, I observed to him that now the rye crops had come in, his family could turn upon that instead of corn. He replied that he did not like rye, it was fit only for horses; as tastes differ. I could not help noticing the difference in point of intelligence between Wilson's children and mine attributing it to the better education mine had received from an attentive mother. By the way I forgot to mention that when the balsam tree on the top of the grandfather I picked one of the cones or burrs for my wife, one for Mary one for Ellen—one for Margaret and a little tiny97 one besides.
Wednesday morning—My feet being still sore with the peeling they had got in the ascent of the Grandfather I only hobbled up the ridge over some very rich soil with corn growing upon it to see the ore which I found to be Iron ore in small quantity apparently but of good quality and took some specimens along with me. Rode to Mr. Shearer's98 to dinner beating the rocks as I went, called upon David Dagget99 —who told me he knew where there was cotton stone (Asbestus or Amaranthus) two miles from his house in the rich mountain and was glad to find he was neither at home nor likely to be in two days. Called at Council's store100 (he keeps a post-office) and took a letter for a person in Wake and obtained leave to write to him if I should have occasion for information respecting Ashe County. Rode from Shearer's down to David Sands, Esqr.,101 a bachelor with three or four sisters and his mother with him. He showed me some ore from Tennessee which he supposed to be Antimony but which proved to be micaceous oxide of Iron. Walked with him to see a white substance in the creek on his land. It was the Porcelain clay102 . Sands rode down down with me to Esquire Miller's103 . We passed through a meadow-beautiful like those of Yankee lands. Miller treated me kindly, would take nothing, is a busy little man of some sense; has been a member of the legislature. He showed us some Iron ore obtained from his land. It is the magnetic oxide enveloped in a stone (Magnesium rock) which would always prevent its being worked to advantage even if it were a rich ore and in great quantity. Walked up to where a son in law (Joel Bingham) has been begetting him a whole house full of grandchildren. In return he has allowed him to use the land where he lives but has not made him a title to it. Joel has found or obtained ores from which lead has been run out and 'twas said he got it, but Joel was not communicative on the subject, from the rocks about the house but they contained no ore. Joel said nothing so we returned after it was dark. Slept in a chamber with lads—two occupied a second bed in second corner of the chamber and two grown up girls in a third.
Thursday morning—Made rather a late start. Sands rode down with me to Bull Ruffin. We had Hornblende Rock to the north of Elk, then up Elk by Farmers three miles to the Bull Ruffin. We ascended first the ridge opposite the Bull Ruffin to an ancient excavation; I pronounced it at once the work of aborigines searching for mica, large plates and masses of which lay scattered over the surface similar to what I had seen two or three miles from Rutherfordton and as many from Franklin on the Tennessee. The Bull Ruffin itself is a curious collection of Magnesium rocks containing octahedral crystals of iron ere disseminate but not abundant enough in any place seen by me to be wrought to advantage and the gangue too is an insuparable objection. Found a piece of chalcedony. Parted with Sands; returned to Farmer's quite chap-fallen, having gone up with the expectation of finding this a rich and valuable bed of ore. Farmer appeared to be an industrious and worthy man—removed from Iredell and bettered his condition. Rode down to Jefferson. They were making hay condition. Rode down to Jefferson. They were making hay by the way side. The pleasant smell of hay—the sight of the rows of cocks in the beautiful green meadows such as I had been accustomed to in my childhood—the delicious coolness of the air-the shadows of the mountains and the luxuriant foliage and blocks of the chestnuts extending up their sides made the ride delightful—and to crown all on my arrival I found a letter from my dear wife informing me of the welfare of herself and children. I spent the evening in finishing a letter to her I had begun some time before.
Friday morning:—Was engaged till half past 10 in preparing to leave Ashe County. Dislodged the crackers from the tin trunk into an old stocking and supplied their place with 7 lb. Maple Sugar, boxed my minerals and engaged to have them sent to Wilkesboro the next day; paid Jonathan Faw, Esqr. a heavy bill and after a tremendous quarell with Fox, who had become active with the fortnights repose I have given him to recover from his bruises, started for the lower end of the county and the Elkspur gap. Packed up specimens of what I supposed to be specular oxide of Iron at intervals. At about 6 or 7 miles left the hornblende rock pretty much and passed into mica slate—the country became poorer. Broke one of the (Thills? Vide Walker) of my wagon in passing the south fork of N. River and was obliged to draw up at Joshua Coxes104 11 miles from town where I met with a very kind reception and ate the first fresh venison I have seen in the county. Coxe is a man of more sense than I believe than he is generally taken for, a pious Baptist and a genuine enemy to General Jackson, whom he terms without scruple a murderer. Coxe undertook to tinker my waggon and having told me of good specimens of rock crystals at James Mulkeys105 I went down thither accompanied by Coxes son—the distance a mile and the river to cross. This is below the mouth of Cranberry. Found magnificent specimens of mineral that never possesses any beauty—the Staurotide.— Mulkey's crystalis ploughed up in the side of a hill. There is probably a vein under the spot. The largest fragment on hand weighs 4 lb. And was employed by his wife as a weight. I was obliged to give him the price of 4 lb lead, 50 cents for it. Returned and went out to Caneda Richardsons to see if I could find any of the garnets of which I had seen a fine specimen in the hands of Mr. Mitchell at Jefferson. Found Madam and one man and two daughters, one with a child in her arms. The old woman is Coxes sister. She brushed about, found me some garnets along with onions and several (torn) in an old Bee-gum went out——
[The remainder of this letter is lost].
Lincolnton, July 22, 1827
It is perhaps hardly in accordance with the plans we have formed for the regulation of our future expedition, that I should write you two letters from this place, but as my last, from want of time was rather brief, I perhaps owe to our love for each other to send you what you now receive. It is Sabbath evening and I have a couple of hours to devote to you. I would it were in my power to speak instead of writing to you. You recollect that I left Chapel Hill on Wednesday the 4th. I passed on without accident to Hillsboro where I called on Mr. Witherspoon106 to see hat good word he had to send to his brethren in the west. He said he had none. I called also on Barringer107 and Graham, former students in the University, and obtained from them letters to gentlemen in the West. Passed on to Mr. Mebanes,108 and after dinner had a long stroll with Alexander northward of the road to see the rocks. After returning from that went out by myself and strolled to Father Curries109 . The Father was gone to hold a preached at the Canby's110 tavern, and had not returned. Took my tea with the wife and daughter, and met the Father himself as I started back to Mr. Mebane's. Mr. Mebane told me that the granite north of the slate comes within 4 or 5 miles of him, is abundant at the Cross Roads church and Mr. Canby's. Thursday, started for Greensboro with the horse, Mike, in exchange for Dick, and Alexander Mebane111 along. The ride possessed no great interest. We passed over slaty rocks till we were some distance, passed Dick's in Guilford and 9 miles from Greensboro or thereabouts entered upon the granite country which continued to Greensboro. Seven miles west of the river (Haw) we appeared also to pass over a narrow tongue of granite having talc substituted for mica. Got our dinner at a Mr. Gibson's,112 where I saw some tombstones made of Randolph soapstone. When we came to Greensboro, Mr. Mebane drove to Mr. Paisley's113 and I went to Moorings114 and got my supper, and then walked up to Mr. Paisleys and staid all night. Mr. Paisley showed me some specimens of porous, half decomposed granite which it was supposed might answer for mill stone, but they are neither hard nor tough enough. Friday, started early for Jamestown district ten miles, passed over granite and hornblende rock of the same age with the granite and having the crystals of hornblende along—giving to the rock a black color will we came to Deep River hard by Jamestown—the ascent of the hills seemed an imperfect slate rock. Saw here window sills at Mendenhalls115 taken from a soapstone ridge a few miles below. Three miles before I came to Jamestown found good specimens of Epidote, imperfectly crystalized. From Jamestown to within __ miles of Lexington passed over a tolerably fertile, but geologically speaking uninteresting country. After passing the creek __ miles east of Lexington the country seemed to change, the soil became red and there is a narrow strip of slate, as I am well satisfied thrown in, but of its extent I know nothing. Put up at Rounsavilles116 in Lexington. He was from Samson; his wife is a pleasant, free spoken, sensible woman, who if she had been a man could have been an orator. Called on Mr. Allen the preacher. He has refused to take charge of the school, and so starves with his wife on 200 dollars. I think he is wrong. He could be more useful with the school. People who know nothing of the matter will say he sits still all the week and preaches on Sunday. Called on Dr. Holt117 who showed me some gold from David Coxe's mine in the lower end of the county, told me the soil in the northern part was grey granite and gave me an account of the Jersey farms of which I could make but little. Saw at Rounsaville some specimens of agate which his wife believed were from Baird's store or its neighborhood in Anson. Saturday, passed on to Salisbury over a country that puzzeled me and which I was prevented from examining fully by the rains; the soil is red; there is much black sand from hornblende where the water has washed. Towards the bridge the country became decidedly granitic. I believe this red soil to be produced be decomposition of hornblende rock. Not far from the river saw a pile of rounded peebles which I now believe to be derived from the alluvial many miles below. The country between the bridge and Salisbury, and around the latter place I do not fully understand. It may be genuine granite. Got my dinner, and saw and conversed with various persons—Alfred McKay118 the candidate. He was very cheerful and friendly, but has now killed himself with laudanum. Saw Bosworth the superintendent of the gold washing establishment in Montgomery. The affair has blown out as I always knew it would. Bosworth has been running up a tavern bill at Slatughter119 because he had no money to pay for some time. Slaughter dunned him and offered to take gold, but he said he had none. Sunday, preached after having staid over night with Mr. Rankin,120 two sermons in the courthouse to a tolerable congregation. Dined with Mr. Cowen,121 and took tea with Dr. Long122 who is a worthy man. Monday, obtained specimens of the granite they use in building in Salisbury, obtained from Dunn's Mountain 3 miles east, and also from a place 4 miles north. Started to find where the dividing line betwixt the slate and granite crossed the Yadkin, which I did not find after all. Went down the river 8½ miles, and then turned across the country, and put up with an old Dutch Blacksmith, named Stirewalt told us respecting his son that he had been engaged in his studies all his life time; was now 25 years of age and had lately started for an institution in Virginia, where he was to pursue his education. Tuesday, started early for Concord in Cabarrus, passed over a country, exhibiting few rocks, and the geological character of which I was not quite sure of till we came within 3 or 4 miles of Concord, where it was evidently granitic. Got a tolerable breakfast, and only a tolerable one, with a gracious old Dutchman named Klutts123 who let us know before we had been half an hour in his house that he had once been a member of the Legislature, said that gold had been found in Concord in the branches about it which I do not believe. Harris124 of the next session fell in with us here. Passed over granite and hornblende rock seven miles of Poplar Tent Church; did not fine Parson Robinson125 at home, but got our dinner, and as were about starting he arrived. After leaving his house fell into a tract of country I did not understand, which continued with some variation till we were some miles west of Rocky river. I know now that it belongs to a peculiar formation, containing gold, lying about Charlotte. Turned aside to see a recently opened gold mine on Mrs. Alexander's126 land. Traveled west until we came to the Statesville road, down which we turned towards Charlotte, and were very hospitably entertained by Dr. Alexander,127 living ten miles from Charlotte, from whom I received much valuable information. Wednesday, started after a very early breakfast and beat the rocks into Charlotte. They were tolerably uniform. Got our breakfast in Charlotte, found Smith128 of the next Junior here who introduced me to Maj. McCombe129 . Visited the Myers130 gold mine hard by Charlotte, then started down the Providence road for the southern boundary of Mecklenburg, stopped at Fosters131 . He is an elder in the church at Providence, asked me whether I was engaged in my Theological survey, but is nevertheless a sensible man. Between his house and the Providence Church passed out of the gold country, say 9 miles from Charlotte,132 at about 17 for there being no rock but white flint upon the ground, I could not tell exactly when passed the boundaries of the Slate, and took up at McCorkles, on the bank of Twelve Mile creek. Thursday, went out early to see some when near McKorkles, and where he had been digging for gold, then started and passed over to Rocky River road, and was then 9 miles from the South Carolina line, traveled up the road all day on slate, saw a wonderfully fat gal, where we stopped for dinner, put up for the night at Weddington's, a little below Rocky River in Cabarrus. Friday, started early, crossed Rocky River, and found Read's about a mile from it, got breakfast, saw the stream in which they get the gold. The metal is evidently derived from a conglomerate rock like that at Chisholm's and Parker's. It forms generally the bed of the creek, and is abundant about the house, crossed the Dutch Buffaloe, still over slate and got our dinner at Gen. Barringers,133 where there is a wonderfully pretty widow, Mrs. Boyd, and an unmarried daughter. Started for Concord and crossed the edges of the slate 9 miles from Concord, then had granite through the city. Met Gen. Barringer on the road, put up at Klutts'. Saturday, started early on the great road for Charlotte, passed over granite, 8 miles from Charlotte. About 7 miles from the same entered the gold region, passed Hopewell Meeting House, a handsome brick building, and found Mr. Morrison134 beginning a settlement in the woods. If I had known how little he was prepared to receive company, I should not perhaps have called on him. His little daughter was sick with a swelling. After dinner Mr. Mebane took the horse and wagon and went over to see Charles Alexander,135 and Mr. Morrison and myself went out to see Capp's136 gold mine, shecking fellows about it, drinking and fighting. The vein of quartz containing gold was nearly north and south with a dip to the west about 75 degrees. 7 miles from Charlotte, west of the Beatty's Ferry road. Sunday preached twice for Mr. Morrison, once with, and once without notes. They practice the half way covenants. There was a question about the Baptism of a child. It was objected that the father was intemperate, but it appearing that the parents were professors of religion, all difficulties were cleared away.
Monday, borrowed Mr. Morrison's horse and rode down to the slate, 14 miles; gold country all or nearly all the way; returned and dined at Mrs. Alexander's, went to see the curiously veined compact feldspar by the mill near Charlotte. Passed in and put up at Dinkin's,137 borrowed Mr. Smith's horse and rode down to the border of the gold region about 6 miles towards ______ Ferry. Took tea at Mrs. Smith's, called on Mr. Davidson's, and learned from him that there is red land of the gold region on the Waxhaw Creek, below Mr. McKorkles where I struck the slate. Tuesday, started after breakfast, passed Mr. Morrison's, found he had gone to Concord to court, left my minerals, having made arrangement for having them boxed up. Left the gold region apparently about a mile short of the Hopewell Meeting House, turned down over horneblende rock to Tooles138 ford, near which I found Robert Davidson, where I got the grandest dinner. Capt. Caldwell139 went with us over the ford. The river is wide, and carried as much water as the Haw at Jones' Ferry. Went down to Mr. Johnston's,140 looked over his minerals—no great affair after all—walked out with him and found that the water-worn pebbles around him are from the sandhills, as is proved by their being associated with the peculiar conglomerate rock of the sand hills. There is certainly some curious mica near him which expands in a candle, the phenomenon, which I believe to be electrical. Wednesday, started for Lincolnton, I forgot to mention pretty Mrs. Johnston141 . Passed up the river to the Beatty's ford road, and fell in with the peculiar primitive granite mice slate formation of Lincoln county, about a mile east of the Catawba Springs142 . Drank of the water of those celebrated springs, now kept by M. Jugnot or Juggernaut as they call him, went on to Gen. Graham's143 2½ miles. Gen. not at home. Saw the famous King's Creek limestone and ore which last looks like mica slate. a peculiar porphyritic schistose granite without much mica about Gen. Graham's. Rode to Lincolnton over granite and mica and chlorite slate. a storm of rain. At Lincolnton found the court sitting and saw Gen. Graham and others. Thursday. Mr. Mebane concluded to stay and visit the girls with Mr. Henderson144 . After breakfast I started for the Rutherford line which I reached after traveling along a ridge road most of the way so that I saw by few rocks. Those appearing were Gneiss, Hornblende rock and granite. Got my dinner at old Lewis's in Rutherford, went out to see Mr. Boggs's gold mine which furnishes nothing but mica, then rode down the county line to Jacob Fullenwider145 where I was hospitably entertained. After examining his forge on Friday morning started with him for his ore bank or rather for Fall's Lime kiln on Kings Creek where William Wilson146 has engaged to meet me. Country Granite. Did not find Wilson, examined the ore bank then started on foot for King's Mountain about 5 or 6 miles below, towards this I traveled for 4 miles and understanding it was within the limits of S. Ca. returned. I however discovered a gold region along the Creek. Wilson not being come on my return to the ore bank, I started for his house but he soon overtook me and told me gold had actually been found on this formation—He conducted me between King's and Crowder's Mountains along a very bad road to his house—we turned aside to see the sulphate of Barytes. He lives in a large brick house, four rooms to a floor. He is a plain man—said nothing of his return, but sent word to his wife by one of his sons that we should want some supper and nodded to her in a very kindly way when we descended into the underground room to our repast. Saturday morning. Mr. Wilson accompanies me some miles. We rode the line—sometimes in N. and sometimes S.Ca. 5 miles west of the Catawba according to Mr. Wilson's estimate, fell in with the gold country, and Wilson soon left me. Traveled up toward the Tuckasege Ford147 . Crossed the S. Fork at Armstrongs Ford. Got my dinner at Capt. Caldwell's. Took the Tuckasege Ford to Lincolnton. Called at Dr. Hunter's148 to see his son's collection of minerals—a poor one—he was a better botanist—passed on to Peter Smith's149 —a good natured old Dutchman, and put up for the night. 9 miles from Lincolnton. Left the gold country about 4 miles from the Tuckasege. Sunday started early rode to Mr. Williamson's150 and got breakfast, went on to Lincolnton and preached in the morning, rode in the evening as far as the cross.151 Went to hear Mr. Plumsten152 a dissenting Presbyterian Preacher in the evening. Monday morning went down to Major Henderson's153 before breakfast with the purpose of examining some clays Elective in this neighborhood. Examined them, had a long talk with him about the University, came back and packed my minerals and started after dinner for Gen. Graham's, but finally took a different route, passed over [illegible] Mica Slate, by the quartz rock quarries from which they get hearths for their furnaces will we came to the state Road to one Sink's. It not being quite night when I got there I stripped off my coat and started back to get a glance at the ore bank—distance 3 or 4 miles—descended into one. Was overtaken by a thunder storm on my return and got completely lost in the woods—but eventually made my way to Sinks very wet and tired after all the family were abed. Tuesday started along the state road for Maxwell Wilson's,154 a poor country till within 3 or 4 miles of his house when the soil became red and much better. Got our breakfast at Wilson's and rode with us 8 or ten miles in a northerly direction till we crossed Henry's River. Country lies well, soil good, Hornblende rock. Population mostly dutch. Got a good dinner at Abel Shufford's,155 saw some specimens of Black lead from Burke with which he has been painting his house. Started for Carpenter's156 in Rutherford. Crossed Jacob's River157 entered the state road again but soon turned off to the west. Wandered from our road and got completely lost in a tremendous thunderstorm. Craved to know of a man whom I met, the name of the state and county I was in and which way was North. He put us into out road and after traveling over an exceedingly sterile country, affording some indications of interesting minerals, arrived after dusk at Carpenter's tow miles within the N. E. corner of Rutherford County. Carpenter knew of no mines in his neighborhood. Started with the intention of breakfasting at Martin Shuford's158 from whom he having been a member of the Legislature, we hoped to get valuable information but not finding him at home we passed on to one Morings, on the main Lincolnton and Rutherford road. The journey to the latter place had little interest—the rock gneiss, and granite we saw a collection of Rutherfordtonians on Sandy River 14 miles from town who told us of Copperas rocks below—had rain, arrived a little before— had rain, arrived a little before sundown, put up at Twitty's—nephew to the celebrated159 counterfeiter and formed an acquaintance with Mr. Hall160 and Col. Burchette and Crayton. Thus we started for the Whiteside161 settlement with Col. Burchette. It was said that gold had been found there. Passed through a broken but tolerably fertile country of Hornblend, rock and ____ over a ridge of mountains into a basin containing the source of the first Broad River which contains the Whiteside settlement. Look it out on the map. Adam Beatty found gold particles by washing, 5 times in the creek, so that gold is certainly there. Passed on to Pelets and got a miserable dinner, appetite not good. Mr. Mebane was taken quite unwell that instead of passing down the Eastern side of the county was obliged to set out with him on my return to Rutherfordton. Clambered out of the valley by a different route. Passed through a corner of Burke and had a glorious view of the mountains, put up for the night at Mr. Pattens162 on Cane Creek 15 miles from town. Patten is a very grave looking fellow—has been a member and I believe an elder in Mr. Kerr's163 church; his wife is the most masculine woman I ever saw—fit to command a regiment of grenadiers. Friday after breakfast returned to town—Called at the post office for a letter from my wife—which I had desired Mr. Reinhardt to forward from Lincolnton to this place but of course did not get it. Mr. Mebane appearing much better, started in the evening in company with Dr. Ossomy Irving for the S. Eastern part of the county—Passed down the Yorkville road, visited a copperas rock164 on the land of Samuel Harvie on a small branch ______. It is a Mica slate rock with sulphate of Iron disseminated through it. Passed on with the intention of staying overnight at Mrs. Hamilton's165 but hearing when near the house that the family were gone to the camp meeting turned aside to Esqr. Moore's and put up at Esquire Moore's—a good deal unwell—as indeed I had been for 24 hours. Saturday, started after breakfast and rode down to Mrs. Irvine's. Got fresh horses and rode over to see the copperas rocks were William Beatty used to live—Dined at Mrs. Irvine's on our return. She gave us a good dinner—is tolerably good looking, buxom woman. Stated after dinner for the Camp Meeting. Crossed second Broad river at the high Shoal where there is a forge—where they get mill stones and where I obtained specimens of red ore of this country. Passed, on and after riding till it was lade in the rain, put up Mr. Twitty's tent on the Camping ground.166 Learned that Mr. Mebane has been more unwell after I left him. Sunday Morning were ordered out early by Mr. Moore who married Mr. Twitty's sister and was with hi, lest we should be excommunicated. It rained and here was preaching in the tents at the 4 corners of the camping grounds. Saw Mr. Carson167 the late and would-be member of Congress for this district, and others. Was introduced to the ruling elder by Mr. Twitty and by the elder to the other preachers. In the evening took in Mrs. Bowen, Alex Twitty's niece, and her two children and returned to Rutherford. Found Mr. Mebane had been quite sick on Saturday morning but was now better though he still complained of a head ache. Monday. Mr. Mebane having eaten large quantities of green corn on Sunday passed a restless night and was taken with vomiting in the morning; called on the doctor—concluded I must submit to have my plans broken up. Rode out 3 miles with Esquire Dickey168 and Dr. Torrey to see the isin-glass169 hill in the neighborhood and on my return called on Allen Twitty to learn the facts respecting a piece of gold said to have been found there. Tuesday I rode out to examine a place on Tollivan ______170 land, 15 miles return, God willing, tomorrow and start for Asheville on Thursday if Mr. Mebane's health will admit of it. If Mr. Mebane has not been taken sick I suppose I should have been home by Saturday after the beginning of the session. Being delayed now—a little longer—say to Mr. Andrews that if Osborn171 can come into the Sophomore class the feelings of the people in the Upper Country and the circumstances of the case are such as to render it very desirable he should do so. The _____ agains the hardness of our conditions and this case render it much louder.
- Miss Margaret Mitchell and Mrs. Mary Ashe have since died.
- Mr. John Devereaux, merchant of Newbern, father of Thomas P. Devereaux who was a Reporter of the Supreme Court, and a wealthy planter on the Roanoke.
- Ethan A. Andrews, Professor of Ancient Languages, in U. of N.C. 1822 to 1828. He afterward, taught in New England and was author of valuable classical school books.
- Name extinct. Andrew Bass in 1784 gave three acres in Waynesboro for a court house, &c. He doubtless gave the name to the ferry—Falling Creek is still so called.
- Tippoo Saib Henderson was a son of Major Pleasant Henderson, of Chapel Hill. He graduated at the University of North Carolina in 1814.
- Dr. Samuel Andrews kept a tavern at Waynesboro for many years. One son, Rev. S. G. Andrews, was a colonel in the C.S.A.; another, George P. Andrews, was a colonel in the U.S. Army; a third Rev. F. John Andrews, was a gifted Methodist preacher; and a fourth is a local Methodist preacher.
- James Griswold, long clerk and master in equity for Wayne county.
- Two Whitfields lived near Waynesboro, Samuel and William. Samuel was father of the first wife of Mr. E. B. Borden. William moved to Mexico and owned a large coffee plantation. The removal of the county seat from Waynesboro to Goldsboro was authorized by Act of the General Assembly. The exodus of people and houses was from 1837 to 1854. Mr. Richard Washington was the last inhabitant of Waynesboro. Flat boats and small steamers plied between it and Newbern.
- Christopher Dudley, seven times Senator from Onslow, father of Edward B. Dudley, Representatives in Congress 1835—, and Governor 1836-40—the first elected by the people.
- Col. Daniel B. Dulany, Representative in the General Assembly, 1820-1821, and 1822.
- Wm. P. Ferrand, Representative in the General Assembly, 1826.
- Durant Hatch was State Senator fifteen terms; also a Trustee of the University. Shell rock is still obtained from his plantation, which is now mostly owned by Mr. James a. Jones of Newbern.
- Mrs. Shepard, nee Blout, grand daughter of Sir Frederick Blout. She was widow of Wm. Shepard, a wealthy merchant, and grandmother, among others, of Gen. J. J. Pettigrew, Judge Henry R. Bryan, Judge Wm. S. Bryan, of the Supreme Court of Maryland, and Mrs. Mary S. Speight, a benefactor of the University.
- Mrs. Silvester Brown. Their son, Silvester Tilman, was father of Judge Brown of the Supreme Court. The "beautiful little boy" turned out to be a very fine looking old man. He was a student of U.N.C. in 1841-42. Mrs. Brown's maiden name was Hannah Holladay, of a Green County family. She had another son at the University 1831-35 who was a physician.
- Up to the Civil War, families in towns bought hogs freshly slaughtered cut them up and "cured" the hams, shoulders and sides for the year's consumption. Near the dwelling was the smoke-house in which they were exposed to thick smoke for many days. Much loss was sometimes had from rapid change of temperature from cold to heat. a warm winter is on record, in which hundred of thousands of pounds of pork were destroyed.
- Oliver Wolcott Treadwell, of Connecticut, graduate of U.N.C. 1826; tutor, 1826-9. "Mr. Andrews" is Prof. Ethan a. Andrews.
- Levi must have been his horse's name. He was too independent to have a driver and I know of no one that name likely to have been his companion.
- The name Breese has disappeared from the neighborhood. Information about Gibson is given in a note to another letter.
- Archibald Debow Murphey. His plantation was on Big Alamance, 2 miles south of Graham. On his insolvency it was sold and Chief Justice Thomas Ruffin became the purchaser. After the Civil War he sold it and after it has been called the Curtis place.
- Dr. Paisly's school was prior to Caldwell Institute, Edgeworth Seminary and the Greensboro Female College. There was a family of Hoggs, who lived at Chapel Hill prior to this. There were three children, Christie, Lydia, and Gavin. Gavin was a prominent lawyer, father of Dr. Thomas D. Hogg, of Raleigh. Lydia married a Lindsay of Greensboro. "Miss Christie" was a teacher. There were of very little kinship to James Hogg of Hillsboro—I know nothing of Professor Barr.
- Dr. John a. Mebane, brother of Dr. Paisly's wife.
- a little larger than a dime.
- Through the Yadkin, on the road from Winston to Huntsville and Wilkesboro.
- Huntsville and Hamptonville now have each about 100 inhabitants
- Josiah Cowles came to this State in 1816 and first established himself in business at Kernersville, then at Healy's, finally at Hamptonville. He married first a Connecticut, Rebeccah Sandford, then a North Carolina lady, Nancy, daughter of Andrew Carson, a comrade of Daniel Boone, and uncle of Kit Carson. Hon. Calvin Josiah Cowles, Preseident of the convention of 1868, is a sun of the first, and State Senator Andrew C., Miles M. And Colonel William H. H. Of the second. A son, Hon. Calvin J., Colonel Calvin D. Cowles of the 5th U.S. Infantry is getting up a tree of the old Connecticut family. He and his brother, Lt. Col. Andrew D. Were in the Spanish war. Porter's name was David.
- Professor Denison Olmstead, Professor of Natural Philosophy of Yale. He left the University of N.C. in 1825.
- Colonel, more properly Major John Finley, was son of Michael Finley of Adams Co., Penn., and nephew of Rev. Samuel Finley, D. D., President of Princeton College, the latter being the grandfather of Samuel Finley Breese Morse, inventor of the telegraph. His twin sister, Mary was the mother of General Samuel Finley Patterson, once State Treasurer, fahter of the late Col. Rufus L. And Samuel L. Patterson, Commissioner of Agriculture. Major Finley moved to Wilkesboro in 1805. In 1828 he was farmer and merchant, copartner with Colonel Waugh, having branch stores at Jefferson and Lenoir. He died in 1865, leaving children and grandchildren. HIs oldest son, Augustus W. Married Martha Lenoir Gordon, sister of Gen. Jas. B. Gordon and grandniece of General Wm. Lenoir. Their oldest son, J. E. Finley, is President of the Bank of North Wilkesboro, and the youngest, T. B. Finley, is a lawyer of the firm of Finley and Hendren. The land underlaying the town of North Wilkesboro once belonged to Chapman Gordon, grandfather of General John B. Gordon of Georgia.
- A religious sect, which has its origin in Germany; sometimes called Dunkers, fr. Tunken, to dip, on account of their mode of baptism.
- Anderson Mitchell, later tutor at U.N.C. Then a lawyer and Commons Legislture. He afterwards moved to Statesville and became a judge.
- A jocular way of writing "meanders."
- Nicholas Marcellus Hentz, Professor of French and German in U.N.C. 1826-31; immigrant from France, afterwards Principal of schools in Ohio, Alabama, and Florida; author of a valuable monograph on the Arachnidae. His wife, Mrs. Carolina Lee Hentz, of Massachusetts, wrote novels, popular in their day, the best being probably Aunt Patty's Scrap Bag.
- The oldest inhabitant does not recall the name Peggy Baggy. There were in 1828 four Bagge ladies in Salem, Mrs. Christine, wife of Charles F. Bagge (sometimes called "Daddy Baggy"), and three daughters, Antionette Louisa, Rebecca Matilda, and Lucinda Frederica. Neither of these is ordinarily changed into Peggy; Probably it was a childish nickname.
- Dr. Mitchell often gave jocular names to members of his family. Sybil was no part of his wife's name.
- Forge long ago abandonded.
- Maxwell was one of the wealthiest men in the county, left many descendants. He lived at mouth of Richkill [sic] Creek.
- Johnston was a farmer and miller.
- Bull Ruffin, said to be a distortion of Bellerophon, a spur of the Black mountain, now known as Elk.
- Not now worked.
- See note on Col. Finley in preceeding letter.
- Ancestor of a number of Perkinses on Helton Creek. All wealthy.
- No mines of value on McNab's land.
- The Perkins are not only on Helton Creek but in Grayson Co., Va.
- John Weaver was a Representative in the Legislature in 1823. This ore is not worked. [This foot note is in error, it was John's brother Joshua who was in the legislature. — Jeff Weaver].
- Meredith Ballou, a Frenchman, came to Ashe about A.D. 1800, and died in 1847, bought nearly all the available iron ore in the county. He was an influential man, surveyor of note, and was for a while County Surveyor. He left sons and daughters, all of whom had families. Among his sons was Napoleon Ballou to whom he deeded all his mineral interests a year before he died and Napoleon endeavored by will to entail his property, but the will was broken. There was also litigation over the purchase of his interests at a Sheriff's sale. Many prominent lawyers were employed on one side or the other of the various Ballou suits, including two concerning the will of Meredith Ballou. It is said that Napoleon once refused $50,000 cash for his interests. The old forge is not worked now and has not been for years. A grandson of the old Frenchman, Albert Lucien Ballou, was a law student of the University of N.C. in 1902.
- Zachariah Baker was a Representative in the Legislature 1836, 1827 and 1829. He was also Sheriff. His description of a bad season, "we have no weather but variatable weather, which is the d_____t weather of all weathers." is still remembered.
- Caleb Phillips—killed by Federal bushwhackers near the close of the Civil War.
- Robert Shearer was a prominent man of his day. Left many descendants.
- Elijah Calloway was a representative in the Legislature six terms, 1812-17 and Senator five times, 1818, 1819, 1821, 1823, 1824. His son James Calloway was Representative 1828, 1829, 1830, 1831. This family was of long continued influence. John Calloway was one fo the first Representatives and Senators. In the early days also was Joseph and in more modern days Benjamin and B. C. Calloway.
- John C. Smith of Cumberland County
- Rev. Wm. Farthing left many descendants, many of them preachers of local reputation.
- Anderson Mitchell, afterwards Judge. He was elected, was a Representaitve two years, then Senator.
- See Note above.
- John Harden was elected. He had served previously in the lower house, was an influential man, was afterwards owner and operator of the Cranberry Iron Works.
- The Masts and Henry Holtsclaw were good citizens, and left families—among them merchants, farmer and stock raisers, all successful and reliable. Noah Mast was afterwards State Senator.
- Old name for dysentery.
- Rev. Wm. Hooper, Professor of Ancient Languages and Rev. James Phillips, Professor of Mathematics in the U.N.C. Both were afterwards Doctors of Divinity.
- Dr. McKenzie owned Flint Knob lead and silver mine about 15 miles west of Wilkesboro. It is now owned by Col. Allen Brown and Mr. Samuel L. Patterson. Mr. McKenzie mortgaged other land to raise money wherewith to operate his mine, but had little success. Hunters used to get lead here for their rifles.
- Hugh Montgomery lived at Salisbury; was the friend and champion of the Moravians, who owned large bodies of land where Wilkesboro and Moravian Falls are now located, and elsewhere. It was charged that they were not loyal during the Revolution, especillay as their trustee, Frederick William von Marshall was out of the United States—There lands were entered and claimed by others, and Montgomery caused suits to be brought for them and after long litigation won them. He had a large slice of the lands for his compensation. The attorney he employed has the odd name of B. Boothe Boot. He had two daughters who shared between them his estate.
- General Montfort Stokes, born 1760 in Halifax, Virginia, county, served in the navy under Commodore Decatur, was captured and had much suffering as a prisoner; after the war settled in Salisbury, and was Clerk of the Superior Court; was then Principal Clerk of the Senate, and from 1815 to 1823 United States Senator and Representative in 1829 and 1830. He was elected Governor twice 1830 and 1831. President Jackson then appointed him Indian Agent in Arkansas where he resided until his death in 1842. His first wife was sister of Captain Henry Irwin, who fell at Germantown. They had a daughter who, after the death of her first husband, Hugh Chambers, married Wm. B. Lewis, of Nashville, Tenn., a warm friend and adviser of President Jackson, the head of the "Kitchen Cabinet." By his Montgomery wife, he had five sons and five daughters. His son Montfort S. Stokes was a Major in the Mexican War and Colonel in our Civil war and was mortally wounded on the Chickahominy. Mr. C. V. Hunt and children are the only descendants of Governor Stokes.
- Col. James Wellborn was often State Senator. He advocated ineffectually the construction by the state of a road from Beaufort to the mountains.
- Hugh Montgomery Stokes graduated at our University in 1816, in the class among others of Dr. Francis L. Hawks, and Senator Willie P. Mangum; was a Representative in the Legislature in 1819—died early. The Judge was John R. Donnell—first honor graduate at the U.N.C in 1807.
- David, according to Wheeler, was dismissed from the navy and entered the revenue marine service.
- Thomas J. Married on Wilkes County, and removed to Tennessee; did not graduate.
- Montford Sidney Stokes was for five years a midshipman in the U.S. navy, resigned and settled in Wilkes, was a major in the Mexican and a Colonel in the Civil war. He was mortally wounded at the battle of the Chickahominy.
- The commissioners appointed by the act of 1796 were Colonel Joseph McDowell, of Quaker Meadows, David Vance, grandfather of Z. B. Vane, and Mussendine Matthews, speaker of the House. Strother, who made a map of the State, was an assistant. According to the Act confirming their action they located the line to the Smoky—Under the Act of 1819 for continuing the location the Governor was authorized to appoint the commissioners and their names do not appear in the printed laws. John Steele, Montfort Stokes, and Robert Burton were appointed in 1813, and the next year General Thomas Love, General Montford Stokes, and Colonel John Patten, to mark the boundary between North and South Carolina. President Caldwell assisted the astronomer.
- General Samuel Finley Patterson, State Treasurer, 1835-37; President Raleigh and Gaston RailRoad. State Senator 1846-50. His wife was daughter of Colonel Edmond Jones.
- The Jones family came from Culpepper [sic] County, Virginia. There were five brothers, Catlett, Thomas, George, Hugh and Edmund. Thomas and George lived in South Carolina. Edmund, known as General Edmund Jones, was often State Senator and Representative. He was father of Edmund W. Jones, State Senator and Member of the Convention of 1861, and grandfather of Edmund Jones, who was in the Confederate army, a Representative in the Legislature and a Trustee of the University.
- General Wm. Lenoir, Lieutenant in Rutherford's Exepedition against the Cherokees; Captain at King's Mountain; 1st President of the Board of Trustees of U.N.C. President of the Senate, 1790-94. Member of the Constitutional Conventiosn of 1788 and 1789. Chairman of County Court of Wilkes. Major General of Militia. A Street in Raleigh, a county and town are named in his honor. The plantation is now owned by Thomas B. Lenoir, a grandson over 80 years. There was a fort in the forks of the Yadkin called Waddell in honor of General Hugh Waddell. Probably the name was changed to Fort Defiance but there may have been two. Erected against the Indians.
- Gen. Edmund Jones—see preceeding note—The General was running for the Senate. Was beaten in 1828 by James Wellborn, but was successful two years afterward.
- Col. Edward Walter Jones, at Bingham's and Rufus at Gay's. Lawyer henry was Jamed Edward Henry of Spartanburg, S. C. His wife was Elizabeth, Larkin Jones, who with his cousin "stole a march" on the General, was a distinguished physician of Charlotte, N.C.
- Probably a plantation called Goshen, eight miles above Wilkesboro now owned by Mr. Columbus Williams. It was owned by "Tommy Triplett."
- See note about the Jones family.
- A susbtantial and good citizen.
- In consequence of the war-like spirit engendered by the Revolutionary war and that of 1812 the militia was kept up in considerable efficiency. Military offices were evidence of high standing in the community. All these men of substance and of influence in the upper Yadkin country—called the Happy Valley. Col. Wm. Davenport, Hon. James C. Harper, Gen. S. F. Patterson, and Col. Edmond Jones, in 1852 established the Yadkin Valley High School under Captain E. W. Faucette, an excellent teacher. Davenport Female College was established in 1855-6, and named in honor of Colonel Davenport.
- Published in Notes on Virginia. Logan, or Tah-gah-jute, stated that "Colonel Cresap, in cold blood and unprovoked, murdered all the relatives of Logan, not even sparing women and children." His letter to the Peace Commission was very pathetic. Probably Captain Duncan gives the more correct account of the cause of the war. The war began in 1744 and was accompanied by fearful barbarities. Logan is said to have killed 30 with his own hand. He was killed after some years while attacking a relative in drunken frenzy. "Col. Morgan" was probably when Duncan knew him General David Morgan, the hero of Cowpens.
- Colonel Wm. Waugh, emigrated from Pennsylvania; merchant; partner with Major Finley, had branch stores in Ashe, Caldwell, Cherokee, and Jonesboro, Tennessee. Owned Moravian Falls, where he had a handsome brick residence, flour mills, the best in the country, saw mill &c., Never was married.
- A Frenchman. The vineyard was a failure. Some species of his grapes are still left in the community, said to be very fine.
- Now owned by Mr. John Love. Not worked.
- Horace B. Satterwhite, entered the University from Salisbury in 1805.
- James Hogg Norwood—Graduated at the U. Of N.C. in 1824; was then a Tutor, afterwards a lawyer.
- I am unable to learn of the drowning of any lawyer whatever. Perhaps I am mistake the name. But the name of a Hill appeared on the court docket prior to 1828 and disappeared about that time.
- Maj. Meredith Thurman or Thurmond an influential and wealthy man lived on Yadkin near where the village of Rhonda is situated. His place is now owned by Dr. James Hickerson. He with Dr. John and Benjamin Martin attempted to dredge the Yadkin so that boats could be run to Wilkesboro, and all lost heavily. Thurman then moved to Tennessee. According to one informant his oldest daughter, Julia, the pretty one referred to by Dr. Mitchell, probably, married James Dickerson, and lived in the "Hollows of the Dan" in Surrey County. He had another pretty daughter, Mildred who married Jesse Franklin of Surry. According to another information his daughter, Sally, married a Colonel Holt and moved to Mississippi.
- Iron ore beds on the Brushey not worked.
- Rockford has about 100 inhabitants. The Act authorizing removal of the county seat to Dobson was passed in 1848.
- Dr. Mitchell is ridiculing Dr. Olmstead here.
- Col. James Martin, of the Revolution, married for his second wife the mother of Hamilton C. Jones, the lawyer of Salisbury. Jones married the daughter of Major Pleasant Henderson, of Chapel Hill, whose wife was a daughter of Col. Martin. Matthew W. Hughes was a relative of the Dobsons and a man of wealth, who moved to Tennessee. He and Judge Martin owned about 40,000 acres in one tract in Surry county. Part of it was lost from uncertain description of the land in the deed: "40,000 acres between Dobson and the Blue Ridge."
- Nicholas Williams, father of the late Nicholas L. Williams and great grandfather of N. Glenn Williams. There were two of the name at the University in 1827 from Surry County, John F. And Joseph Williams. John F. Was the culprit. His offense was visiting Hillsboro without permission and staying a day or two. He agreed to obey the law and was pardoned.
- James R. Dodge, a nephew of Washington Irving, Solicitor of the Judicial Circuit. It was about him that Governor Swain, quoted the English mock epitaph on one Dodge, to which he made the impromptu reply. The incident is narrated in Wheeler's History. Colonel Dodge had a son, a General in the Federal army, James Irwin Dodge. Governor Glenn is his grandson.
- A correspondent in Surry says that the vegetable was hops. Dr. Mitchell was a skilled botanist, but it is no reflection on him that he could not identify the seed.
- Dr. Mitchell was fond of this term. It is not one of ridicule or reproach. He means that Thompson was of a solitary habit and odd, peculiar ways—like an old gander, who has lost his mate.
- Now called Deep Gap. It is a spur between Elk and Stoney Fork.
- There were two eminent botanists of this name, Andre Michaux, the father and Francois Andre the son. The first published "A Treatise on the Oaks of North America," 1801, and a "Flora Boreali—Americana," 1803. The son published "The Naturalization of American Forest Trees," 1805. A Journal of his travels 1805, and "North American Sylva," 1810-1813 completed by Nuttall and others. He died in France in 1855. Both father and son were natives of France.
- Wm. Maclure, born in Scotland, emigrated to this country in 1796; formed project of a Geological Survey of the United States, crossed the Alleghanies fifty times, mostly on foot; published first Geological map of the United States and was called "Father of American Geology;" attempted but failed in establishing an Agricultural College, donated in his lifetime or by will $20,000 and all his collections to the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. Died in Mexico.
- See note to preceding letter.
- Rev. John Patterson of Richmond County, who graduated from U.N.C. 1816, and was then for awhile tutor.
- Left a number of descendants living in the same settlement, among them "Lucky Joe Wilson."
- The "tiny one" was destined, as fate would have it, for another daughter, Eliza North.
- See note on preceding letter.
- Daggett used to attend Boon Court and teach a whistling school. Each pupil paid ten cents and he who whistled loudest "took the pile."
- Jordan Council, a very noted man; grandfather of Judge W. B. Council. His son Dr. W. B. Council, was State Senator.
- Neither Sands nor his sisters ever married.
- Has never been worked.
- David Miller was a member of the Legislature in 1800, 1811, and 1813.
- Was Register of deeds, afterwards Sheriff, a very influential man.
- Mulkey's crystal bed not worked. A Ford on New Run bearing his name.
- Rev. John Witherspoon, Pastor of Presbyterian church.
- Daniel M. Barringer of Concord, and Wm. A. Graham of Lincoln.
- James Mebane. Speaker of the House of Commons, a student of the University in 1795. Alexander graduated in 1831.
- Rev. Curried, Presbyterian preacher.
- Canby's Tavern, at a place now  called Boone's Station.
- Son of James Mebane, afterwards a Presbyterian preacher.
- Joseph Gibson. Gave his name to Gibson Station, lived one mile N. E. of Whitsett; dwelling house house still standing. He is buried near by in a rural cemetery and a stately stone gives the facts of his life. No living heirs.
- Rev. Wm. D. Paisley, organizer of the Presbyterian Church at Greensboro. Principal of a school for girls and one for boys.
- Christopher Mooring kept a hotel on what is now the corner of Davie and East Market streets. He was an elder in the Presbyterian church, died about 1836 and his widow continued the business for some time.
- Richard Mendenhall, a highly esteemed Quaker.
- Benjamin Dusenberry Rounsaville, Graduated at U. of N.C. 1808.
- Wm. Rainey Holt, M.D., farmer and stock-raiser—a pioneer in this business. President of the North Carolina Agricultural Society. Uncle of Governor Thomas M. Holt.
- At U.N.C. in 1811. Was candidate for the Legislature but failed. Was a son of Judge Spruce McKay.
- Slaughter's Tavern was on the S.E. side of Main (or Corbyn) Street, almost opposite the present  Central Hotel (formerly Boyden House), was an inn of great repute.
- Rev. Jesse Rankin, pastor of the Presbyterian Church, and principal of the Academy, left Salisbury about the close of the year; of great reputation as teacher and preacher.
- Thomas S. Cowen, wealthy, elder in the Presbyterian Church. Judge Armistead Burwell, Dr. John M. McAden and Mr. E. Nye Hutchison married granddaughters. There was a contest over his will, but it was sustained.
- Dr. Alexander Long, of great repute in his profession, very popular.
- George Klutts, Commoner in 1817, Senator 1833 and again 1834.
- Edwin Robert Harris, who graduated in 1828, nephew of Charles W. Harris, first professor of Mathemantics at U.N.C.
- Rev. John Robinson, D.D., Pastor of Poplar Tent Presbyterian Church and Principal of a classical school. A very eminent man.
- Widow of Dr. Moses Winston Alexander, sister of Governor Wm. A. Graham.
- Joseph McSmith Alexander—died in 1841.
- Franklin Lafayette Smith, of Charlotte, took first honor in the class of 1829 in U.N.C. Very promising but died young.
- Major McCombe married a Brandon. His daughter married Robert Davidson.
- Myers' Gold mine tract is the site of Biddle University, give by Col. W. R. Myers. Was not profitable as a mine.
- Foster lived in Providence, S. W. of Charlotte.
- This is as Dr. Mitchell wrote.
- General Paul Barringer, often Commoner and State Senator, father of Daniel M., member of Conress and Minister to Spain, Rufus, Brigadier General under Hampton, and Victor C., Judge of the International Court in Egypt. The pretty widow was his daughter, Margaret, afterwards Mrs. Grier. The other daughter married General W. C. Means.
- Robert Hall Morrison, D.D., Graduated at U.N.C. in 1818, in President Polk's class. Was 1st President of Davidson's College. Stonewall Jackson married his daughter.
- Charles Alexander—old bachelor; lived three miles east of Charlotte.
- Capp's Gold Mine, now owned by Mr. John Wilkes. Over $1,000,000 of gold said to have been taken out of it.
- Dinkin's Hotel was where the Central now stands, kept by Watson Hayes and then by Moses Alexander, (now Moses Winslow Alexander).
- Toole's ford, four miles below Cowan's, on the plantation of Robert Davidson. He was son of Major John Davidson, signer of the Mecklenburg Declaration. Name of Toole probably came from Matthew Toole, an Indian interpreter, mentioned in Colonial Records, V, pp. 141.
- Captain Samuel Caldwell, who fought at King's Mountain, Cowpens and Guilford Court House; father of Green W. Caldwell, Member of Congress 1841-43. Belmont and St. Mary's college are on his home place.
- Col. James Johnston. His son Robert lived at the same place; having married Mary Reid, daughter of Captain John Reid, a Revolutionary soldier. Among their children was Col. Wm. Johnston, of Charlotte, and other prominent men. Another son, Dr. William, married Nancy, daughter of Gen. Peter Forney. Gen. Robert D. Johnston, formerly of Charlotte was one of their sons.
- Pretty Mrs. Johnston was either Mrs. Mary (born Reid), wife of Robert Johnston, or Nancy (born Forney), wife of Dr. William Johnston.
- Not "Sparkling Catawba Springs." Catawba Springs are in East Lincoln. They were much frequented in ante bellum days, but the buildings have gone to decay and the water is little used.
- General Joseph Graham, who fought gallantly in the Revolution was a Brigadier General in the War of 1812, and Major General of Militia. He was for seven terms State Senator from Mecklenburg. He then was a successful manufacturer of iron in Lincoln Co. At Vesuvius Furnace. He died November 12, 1836, aged 77 years. He was father of the eminent William A. Graham and others.
- Lawson F. Henderson, who graduated at U.N.C. in 1827.
- Jacob Fullenwider was son of John F. who operated iron works at the High Shoals, has many descendants, among them Dr. J. F. Miller, Supt. Of the State Hospital at Goldsboro. Judge R. H. Burton married his sister, hence he was great uncle of Gen. R. F. Hoke. It was his furnace that gave point to the old preachers description of the infermal regions: "Take a sinner out of hell and put him into Jacob Fullenwider's, furner, heated seven times and he will freeze solid in five minutes."
- Wm. J. Wilson, Register of Deeds, a prominent and useful man, the site of his home is in Gaston Co.
- Tuckasege Ford is on the Great Catawba, about three miles below Mount Holly. The Tuckasege Manufacturing Co. has built a cotton mill there and the Ford is not much used. It gets its name from the Cherokee Indian trail which led to it. The neighborhood joke that it received its name from some saying, "it too a siege to get across" is after an invention. The road from the ford to Lincolnton was along the old trail and hence called the Tuckasege road. Armstrong's Ford is on the South Fork of the Catawba about seven miles above its junction with the Great Catawba.
- It is probable that he home of Rev. Humphrey Hunter, an active Revolutionary solider and divine is meant. I do not find that he was a D.D., but his celebrity many have given him the title. He died in August 1827. As he married in 1739 [sic], the son who made the collections, may have been Dr. Cyrus L. Hunter, an enlightened man, author of Sketches of Western North Carolina.
- Peter Smith lived on the Tuckasege road about eleven miles from Lincolnton. It was on his place that the Broad-leaved Umbrella trees variety of magnolia, rare in these parts, was found, mentioned by Dr. Curtis and other botanists. Mr. John B. Smith, grandson of Peter, has a grove of them on his place.
- Robert Williamson, whose place is now the Lithia Springs property owned by Gen. R. F. Hoke.
- The cross is where an old road from Tryon old court house to Beatties Ford crossed the Tuckasege road. Mr. John B. Smith lives there. This is the site of the "Magnolia Grove" above mentioned.
- The Associatate Reformed Presbyterians refused to sing in their services any hymns not translations of the Psalms in the Bible. They have a college for males and females at Due West, South Carolina.
- John Lawson Henderson.
- Maxwell Wilson lives in what is now Catawba County, on the pubic road between Lincolnton and Newton.
- Abel Shufford also lives in what is now Catawba County was a good citizen, probably a brother of Martin Shuford.[sic]
- The Rutherford Carpenters moved from near Lincolnton. A descendant, Rev. J. B. Carpenter, called Bate Carpenter, is a Methodist minister, and was a Representive in the Legislature in 1862.
- Jacob and Henry rivers are said to have been named after Jacob and Henry Whitener who lived on them.
- Senator 1825, 1826, '27. Succeeded by Martin P. Shuford.
- Russell Twitty.
- Col. Burchette was Clerk and Master in Equity. Weldon Hall, a lawyer. Isaac Craton, long Clerk of Superior Court, father Marshall Cratton, the first Colonel of the 50th N. C. Regiment.
- Now Golden Valley Township, in north end of Rutherford Co.
- Father-in-law of Col. M. C. Dickerson, long Clerk of the Superior Court and father of the present clerk, M. O. Dickerson.
- Kerr's Church was called Little Brittain. He was a Presbyterian minister.
- No copperas rocks worked now in Rutherford.
- There are many Hamilton's in the county.
- The Twitty's as a rule, were, and are, very good people. The camp meetings have been abandonded for many years, except Rock Springs kept up the last year or two because the site was given on condition that they should be continued.
- Samuel Price Carson, of Burke, Representative in Congress, 1825-28 had the misfortune to kill Dr. Robert B. Vance in a duel; member of the convention of 1835; removed to Texas in 1835 and was Secretary of State, died in 1840.
- Esquire Dickey, a good citizen, lived eight miles from Rutherfordton.
- The isinglass (mica) hill is now worked profitably.
- Illegible—looks like Creiss'
- James Walker Osborne, was admitted, graduated with honor in 1830; afterward State Representative and Senator; Member of the Convention of 1861 and Superior Court Judge.
The following notes/references were inserted by the transcriber. Note "a" is inserted after Note "66" and Note "b" is inserted with Note "96".
- Elisha Church per Linda Revis, April 29, 2000.
Will of Elijah Church, Sr. Wilkes County NC
I, Elijah Church, of the county of Wilkes and State being in this present month of March in the year of our Lord 1854 about 86 years of age, yet retaining my right mind and exercise of common reason and calling to mind the certainty of death and knowing also that my worldly effects might be disposed of in a manner contrary to my will and testament, revoking hereby all other wills by me heretofore made and established this forever my last will and testament in the manner and form following: First, I will and bequeath my soul to God who gave it, and my body to be buried in a decent manner becoming the age in which I live. Secondly, I will all my just debts if any should remain unpaid at the day of my death to be paid out of my property by the hands of my Executors. Thirdly, I reserve to the use and possession of Charity Church, my beloved wife, if she should live longer than I, all the lands, Negroes, and personal property that I may die possessed of during her life except so much as may be required to pay my just debts as before provided for. Fourthly, I will and bequeath to Jesse Church, Nathaniel Church, William Church, my sons, and Charity Vannoy, and Martha Lipps, my two daughters and their heirs all my lands which is not otherwise disposed of in this will, and all my Negroes and other property not otherwise disposed of in this, my last will and testament, to be equally divided among them by valuation without being put to public sale which valuation may be made by three freeholders of good judgment upon oath and or otherwise as my Executors and heirs may choose and so divide equally without regard to what I may heretofore have given any or all of them.
I will and bequeath to Allen church if alive and does remain alive to the day of my death or the day of the death of my wife if she should live longer than I the sum of one hundred dollars in cash, which sum I will to be raised out of my personal property by public sale at twelve noon, credit to be collected and paid over to him by my Executors as soon as collected. I further will if he, Allen Church, is not alive by the day of my death or the death of my wife if she should live longer than I. I so will and so direct that the above sum of one hundred dollars be not paid to his heirs as I understand they have all forsaken him in his affliction, but remain uncollected and disposed of as I shall further will and direct.
I likewise will and bequeath to Elijah Church, my son, the tract of land where he now lives as he is in a state on insanity and his family scarcely provides for him at all. I so will and direct my Executors if he, Elijah, still remains alive at the day of my death and still continues insane and his family does not make better provisions for his support both in food and clothing, I so direct my Executors to rent, lease, or sell, the aforesaid tract of land for his better support.
I likewise will and bequeath to the heirs of Joel Church, my son, dec'd, fifty dollars to be equally divided among his lawful heirs as the may become of age after my death, which sum of fifty dollars I do so will and direct should be raised out of my household and kitchen furniture, farming tools, blacksmith tools, or still and furniture, or so much of the above named articles as shall be required to raise the above sum being put to public sale a credit of twelve months and paid to the aforesaid heirs as before directed.
As regards Noah Church, my son, dec'd, I have given him property and money until he and myself concluded, he had received over and above an equal portion of all my estate. I am not disposed to make any provisions in this will for his heirs.
Likewise, Sarah Vannoy, my daughter, dec'd, I so will and regard her and her heirs. I gave her a liberal portion when she married and after at various times I imparted of my provisions, property, and money to her and aided her in raising her children and helped her pay off her land she died possessed of. I am fully satisfied she has received in her lifetime a full if not more equal share of all my estate. I withhold any allowances to her heirs.
I further will all my horses, cows, sheep, hogs, household and kitchen furniture, working tools, blacksmith tools and in a word all my substance which remains undisposed of at the day of my death, or the death of my wife if she should live longer than I, and remain after paying my just debts and the sums I have directed to be raised for Allen and Joel Church heirs. I will and bequeath to my five living heirs first named in this my last will and testament to be divided equally them as I have heretofore directed, and I do of my own free will and choice appoint William Church and Nathaniel Church my lawful Executors of this my last will and testament made by me this 15 day of March in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and fifty four, to which I have caused my seal to be affixed and set my hand.
His Elijah X Church Mark
Hiram Gorulingon (sp?)
J W Church
L A Yates
The last Will and Testamnet of Elijah Church, Sr. was found by C J Coats (lawyer) somewhere in his office, Spring term of court in 1879.
This will was never probated.
- This is an error repeated by later historians. Kemp Battle's informants apparently guessed that this infamous one-time resident of the Beaver Dam community was related to early settler George Wilson of the nearby Fork Ridge due to proximity. Joseph Thomas (Lucky Joe) Wilson was actually born in the 4th District of Johnson County, Tenn. in 1847, the son of William Wilson and Martha Maine, and served as a Corporal in Company I of the 13 Tenn. (US) Calvary during the Civil War. Joe Wilson, April 29, 2000