lakeI love driving home to Charlotte on the old two-lane Highways 64 and 49. It may be quicker to take I-85, but then again there’s the heavy traffic, pile-ups, and the void of anything beautiful. And, you must realize that the old way is changing fast. Lanes are being added every day and what were once small little towns are now extending their limits. So, let’s look back to the day and time when I was a college student in the late 70’s. What was it like back then to make the journey home for a weekend with family?

Leaving out from Raleigh on Friday afternoons after classes at NC State, I quickly passed through Apex which prided itself with a sign reading “Peak of Good Living.” Next, in wonderment of what will be, I crossed over the expansive construction site of what would soon become the B. Everett Jordan Lake. A broad field as far as eyes could see, the road passed through a narrow patch of pines. And then there was the steel bridge crossing the torrential Haw River a mile below what was then known as Chicken Bridge.

Pittsboro-OldE_smallPassing at 15mph around the Chatham County Courthouse in the center of Pittsboro, I often stopped at a café or the antique store where I looked for old hand tools. Today, Woodworking guru Roy Underhill operates a really cool “Woodwright School” in one of the old stores on Main Street. Beyond Pittsboro I crossed over the Rocky River upon entering Siler City. I’m not talking about the same river that crosses much further down the road in the town of Harrisburg. Along this river running through Chatham County settled some of the earliest Baptists in piedmont NC. And in the town of Siler City is located the best place to eat a good hamburger in America. Behind the counter at Johnson’s Drive-In, the cook is busy melting blocks of Velveeta upon which he twists in nearly cooked burgers for their final burn. Passing out of Siler City, the next little town is Ramseur followed by numerous large farms and small lakes. I loved shaking my hands ceremoniously towards the passing lakes as if I were jerking a fishing rod. I’d love to have been able to fish some of what I saw.

Half way home and entering the town of Asheboro, Wright’s Cabinet Shop stood on the left side of the road. This was a different kind of establishment than that found in Roy Underhill’s new version of old timey woodworking. Mr. Wright’s place was a working shop filled with a hybrid of every kind of early mechanized machinery you’d want to see. His shop consisted of two side-by-side cinder block buildings with plank flooring. In back was a wood fired lumber kiln that I know burned down at least two times. The shop was filled with the whirring andwrighthome flapping sound of overhead drive belts powered by a large 14 hp electric motor. There were swing saws and other woodworking equipment of the like I had never seen. Mr. Wright had flipped a 24” planer, transforming it into the widest jointer I’d ever seen. All I could think in seeing this was …Good God All Mighty! Mr. Wright was missing at least three fingers though his display and sales area were always filled with the finest woodworking.

About two hundred yards from Wright’s place was the Blue Mist Barbecue. I can still smell it from my memories but sadly quality trended downward over the years and it’s no longer there. However, I almost always stopped and bought a sandwich, fries and coke.

Passing through Asheboro, I often turned east on 220 if daylight allowed. Nearby were the potteries of Seagrove. There was the young Ben Owen, his historically quaint sales cabin, and his grandfather who was always in the background working him like a prized fighter. Ben’s place was filled with brightly colored and non-functional pieces glowing bright red from leaded glazes. Nearby were Vernon and Pam Owens and their Jug Town “campus.” I loved the tall candle sticks and butter churns. Everybody needs a butter churn!

But mostly on my trips home, and if I were able to get out of class early enough, I loved to stop by Seagrove Pottery where I’d sit a spell talking with Dot Auman prior to closing time. I loved the conversation and cherish my many talks with a real North Carolina treasure. On every stop at Seagrove Pottery I purchased a Rebecca pitcher, bowl, or some other kitchen piece glazed in their blue with streaks of brown and feldspar white. On one occasion I purchased a complete place setting for six. It wasn’t long after that we lost Dot and her husband Walter Auman as they were tragically killed in a traffic accident when a passing logging truck came unbuckled.

fourlanehomeWest of Asheboro, Hwy 49 splits off of Hwy 64 and heads southwest through the decaying mountain range called the Uwharries. Out in the middle of nowhere the road widens beautifully to four lanes through pastoral farmlands. The widened road is a stone’s throw from the town of Denton where is held the Annual Doyle Lawson Bluegrass Festival and Old Time Fly-In Threshers’ Reunion. On several occasions I timed my trips home to enjoy the summer festivities.

A little further down the road, in the bottom lands as the road begins to rise up in challenge of the Yadkin River, is located Jacob’s Creek Stone Company. An early quarry of Carolina blue slate, it was always worth the 15 minutes needed to drive through the piles and piles of discarded pieces of slate. And also nearby on 49 Hwy was Fine’s Broom Company. In a long clapboard building set off from the highway, artisan broom maker Samuel Lee Fine created his cleaning masterpieces. His story reminded me of my dad and how early in the great depression he made a truck load of brooms and had them hauled to the streets of Charlotte to sell. Tihome finemes were rough and my dad learned a lot about entrepreneurship as he didn’t sell enough to even pay his transportation. But, years later at NC State I had the chance to work at the University Crafts Center with student Marlow Gates whose story turned out much different.



home roadJust across the street and up a ways from Fine’s Broom Company an ancient stone wall appears out of the passing forest. Holding up an ancient roadbed from the ravages of a creek, the wall’s purpose is disguised by thicket and overgrowth as it disappears into the adjoining woods. Just as old 49 Hwy has been replaced by Interstate 85/40, there was once an even older road winding its way parallel to Hwy 49. It’s amazing what you’ll learn if only you let your eyes see things for the time they existed.

Another mile further at the crossroad, an old ranger’s station had been sold by the US government. For years, every time I passed I’d see an old man in the front yard sitting in a straight back chair. I always honked and threw up my hand to which he reciprocated. One day he was gone.

lake home

And down the road further yet is the bridge crossing the Yadkin River at Tuckertown Reservoir. I’ve stopped there numerous times to wet a hook and have even landed a few bass and crappie. There’s nothing like crossing Tuckertown at sunset or on a foggy morning! And, at the nearby boat landing was always an older heavy set black lady, sitting in a folding chair beside her car which was covered with dolls. Clothed in periodpillowhome antebellum hoop dresses, Barbie-like baby dolls were transformed into the perfect bedroom accent suited for the most tasteful southern lady. And yet, there was something odd about what I saw. Here was this lady only a generation or two out of slavery perpetuating the cast system from which her family had been freed. And yet, she appeared happy to be making her own money freely by the commands of her own hand. I often wanted to stop by and talk to the lady, to photograph her along with her wayside sales display. I can still see the sign on cardboard “Piller Dolls $10.00.” I’d love to carve a sculptural piece in memory of this old vision.

Passing through the old German lands along the Dutch Buffalo Creek, the quality and style of historic architecture was certainly evident. There was the crossroads at Richfield near Pheiffer University. Also nearby was the historic site of Mathias Barringer’s gold mine. From an early 1800’s newspaper account, I once read where he melted down gold from the mine and cast it to make a man of gold. According to the article, he floated it down the Pee Dee River for all to see.

Nearing the town of Mt. Pleasant, the smell of fresh cut pine filled the air as I passed Piedmont Hardwood’s saw mill. And, in the town of Pleasant Hill was located numerous old Victorian Houses along with what was once the mid-1800’s Mount Pleasant Lutheran Female Seminary. It’s now the location of the Eastern Cabarrus County History Museum.

Not much further, the road raised a bit in elevation with huge boulders the size of houses dotting the landscape. This geology is all a remnant gift of violent explosions during a prehistoric time when the rock covered hill was but one of many volcanic islands dotting an inland sea.

1280px-Cannon_House_at_Stonewall_Jackson_Training_School_2Atop this hill crest crosses the old Concord Road and near the intersection stands Stonewall Jackson Training School. What remains truly is creepy but still beautiful. I can only imagine the old campus filled with youth. Just down the hill from the school is an abandoned rock quarry filled with water. I fished it numerous times but learned from experience that the waters best served the local population as a swimming hole. From the backside of Jackson Training School is a view west across the rock quarry some 25 miles to downtown Charlotte. It’s a beautiful view and I can imagine the young residents watching the sun waste away over an earlier Charlotte skyline. Imagine all the farmsteads they saw? Billowing cows and majestic fields of grain? They could see the steam trains as they passed nearby and also the farm houses with chimneys and trails of smoke leading your mind’s eye to the sky.

That was all a different day and I love dreaming a bit of our state’s past. But, I’m now here in Raleigh, writing about my trips to Charlotte and feel truly blessed for the memories I’ve been given.



Why do I like family history so much? Well, to start off it’s all about the satisfaction in knowing you’re finding something which changes our understanding of who we are. But, the initial exhilaration from such discoveries fades as the how and why of learning becomes lost in the repetitive retelling of the story. It’s at this point where fate inevitably comes to the rescue. Seemingly out of nowhere we stumble across a new find reigniting the hunt, the dig for more treasure, and the hope that there’s yet another morsel yet to be found.

It’s in this spirit that I come to you today about the Green family who settled in Anson and Stanly Counties, North Carolina. We know of Richard Green who came from Wake. He lived on Running Creek and is mentioned in the minutes of Meadow Creek Baptist Church. And, there’s a William Green who we believe relates to Richard. There are also a few unknowns such as James and Joseph whose lives I’ve not figure out. And, being the topic of this story, there’s Jacob and Gideon Green whose histories reach back no further back than their 1778 appearance in the annals of Anson County. We know that Gideon owned land on Richardson Creek which he later sold to my ancestor Benjamin Thomas. And from that point we know Gideon was briefly in the area of Reason’s Branch of Rocky River where he owed a mill prior to his death.

Looking to add to the story, I realized that Gideon had a son Leonard and that the name Leonard was used several times in later generations. This honoring of family by name didn’t just happen and understanding the why of it all just may lead us further back.
Seated at the base of this brick wall and waiting for the next morsel to be tossed at me like a bone to a dog, it was after a ten year hiatus when suddenly I realized the importance of another Leonard Green. Dated 22 May 1745 in Edgecombe County, a person named Leonard Green was appointed guardian of Shadrack Pope, an orphan of Jacob Pope deceased. And then on 12 Nov 1756, Leonard Green, now of Johnston County, sold his land in Edgecombe County. This Leonard of Peachtree Creek in Edgecombe County had moved to a portion of southern Johnston County where Wake County would soon be formed. But, there was also the mention of Leonard Green in land records of Northern Wake County in the area known as New Light. Are they the same person?

From the 1771 minutes of Cumberland County Pleas and Quarter Sessions, Leonard Green and Shadrack Pope appear in the following road order:

Whereas a road is laid off from Nuce River to Braswell’s Ferry on the Cape Fear River and the road is opened and cleared to the Johnston line, ordered that there be a road from the said Johnston County line; Wm. Cone appointed overseer. Constable of the uper district to summon all the following to appear before a justice of peace on or before the second Tuesday in July to qualify and make a jury to lay off said road: Wm. Cone, Samuel Green, Leonard Green, Robert Pettigro, Charles Broom, Wm. Corbett, Denis Collins, Absolem Tyler, Abden Tyler, Moses Tyer, James Holland, and Shadrack Pope.

Surely on lands leading to present day Avent Ferry in southern Wake County, the above record links Leonard Green from early Edgecombe to Wake County. And really fascinating to me, less than a two years after the road order was made, the area in question became part of the newly formed Wake County. It’s there and at that time where lived a Joseph Thomas whose descendant’s DNA matches mine. And like Leonard Green, Joseph too had come from the northeast and also was ordered to work the very same roads in now Wake County.

Living in the area of Silas and William Green in southern Wake County, other records of that time identifies a person named “Leonard Green Junior.” Is it possible that Leonard Green who was guardian of Shadrack Pope in early Edgecombe County lived at least for a while in northern Wake County? Many people place Silas and others as being sons or relation to John, Thomas, or Peter Green who lived in northern Wake. I really don’t know as it gets too confusing for me! But, is it possible that Silas or at least some in the area are related to Leonard Green Senior? Not know the father of Gideon Green in Anson, is it possible that he is related to Leonard?

After making the above finds, things again went silent for years. And then while working land grants in Mecklenburg, in the portion that became Cabarrus, I discovered a Leonard Green there, too. Situated near an early Baptist Church known as Haynes Meeting House, Leonard Green purchased 68 acres, being the location where Hwy 24/27 crosses Rocky River today:



In Yellow  is Leonard Green’s land and in the Green shaded area is Haynes Chapel. The creek leading from Haynes Church to the River was known as Meeting House Branch.



Deed 6-53, Mecklenburg NC, 5 Feb 1771, prv’d 5 Feb 1771. Abner Nash and Justina his wife to Burdig Howell. Being 68 acres, the metes and bounds are: from a w. o. (on the south bank of Rocky River, running thence down the river) 144 to hic., north 66 west 114 to w. o., north 26 east 38 to pine, north 37 west 88 to hic. (on the river), then down the river to begin. Wit: Clement Nash.

Deed 6-128, Mecklenburg NC, 16 Dec 1771, prv’d Apr 1772. Burdig Howell to Peter Kizer, being 68 acres. Jurat: John Polk.

Deed 6-135, Mecklenburg NC, 1 Apr 1772, prv’d Apr 1772. Peter Kizer to Joseph Garrot, being 68 acres. Jurat: ___ Polk.

Deed 7-385, Mecklenburg NC, 10 Jan 1774, prv’d (record lost). Joseph (J) and wife Suzana (x) Gault (surname may be wrong as writing is not clear) to William Mitchell being 68 acres. Wit: Peter (x) Curzine, Moses (x) Burleson.

Deed 10-475, Mecklenburg NC, 2 Feb 1779, prv’d _____, William Mitchell to Leonard Green. Wit: William Barker, Elizabeth Balch.

Deed 11-323, Mecklenburg NC, 1 Feb 1780, prv’d Apr 1780. Leonard (L) and wife Ann (x) Green to Samuel Bonds, being 68 acres. Wit: William Haynes, Jacob Self.

Deed 13-779, Mecklenburg NC, 29 Jan 1789, prv’d Apr 1790. Samuel Bonds to Michael Garmon. Wit: Willi Potts, John McGuirt, Arch, White

Notice the name Burdig Howell in the above chain of conveyances. He’s likely related to Joseph and other Howells who had also relocated from Peachtree Creek in Edgecombe County. There’s also Samuel Bonds to whom Leonard and wife Ann sold their land. Samuel Bonds was a prominent Baptist minister who may have later formed an early church on Richardson Creek in Anson County before removing to preach in the area of Dutch Neck Creek SC. There’s also William Haynes who witnessed the sale of Leonard Green’s land. The likely namesake of Haynes Chapel, William Haynes moved to the area of Lake Lure in North Carolina where he founded Bill’s Creek Baptist Church. And, also living nearby to Haynes Chapel and therefore near Leonard Green’s land were other people like William Barker, John Bugg, John Powell, and Hezekiah Bryant who all had removed from southern Wake County. There was also George Straight who purchased land in the area before returning back to Wake County. And, as matter of fact, the aforementioned Hezekiah Bryant served out of Wake County in the American Revolution in the stead of Asa Thomas who lived near Joseph Thomas and who later moved to Anson County before his death in Rowan. This Asa Thomas lived and worked in southern Wake County where he too is named on Road orders along with Joseph Thomas in the same location where Leonard Green had once worked.

So, there you go and what do you think? Birds of a feather? There really weren’t that many people in the state back then and their paths seemed to cross again and again as they spread south over the state. That fact really plays heck on autosomal DNA testing making Y testing the best choice.

Tick-tock, tick-tock …once again my understanding of Leonard Green came to a pause in this mangled mess of family history. There was nothing new happening. So for me, it was time to retake my usual place at the base of the courthouse wall …and to wait …and to wait.

Recently, discussion on Facebook turned to Philadelphia Baptist Church and of the lands surrounding it in present day Stanly County. The church is not greatly old but has good history and a caring congregation. On lands first settled by William Brooks and folks like the Morgan and Drye families, the area has been well researched. However, in connection with other mapping projects, conversations with folks in Stanly County led me to begin copying land grants and early deeds from the area. I had the chance to meet with Mr Robert Little who toured me through the neighborhood. It’s a great help to actually see and walk those places I mostly know through documentation alone.

During this side trip into history, Leonard Green chose to make himself known once more. There are no deeds or grants for Leonard in early Montgomery County, North Carolina. There are also no court records or previously known records of any kind naming Leonard as living really early in Montgomery County.  We were truly at our wit’s end.

Dated 5 June 1782, Going Morgan had surveyed 50 acres on Island Creek. Listed in the land grant documentation, chain bearers for the survey are Lennard [Leonard] Green and James McDaniel. I have found no information on James McDaniel, however, at least one online history shows that a William Thomas Daniel of Montgomery County married a person by name of Sarah Self. She is identified in the brief report as being the daughter of Francis or Job Self. Daniel or McDaniel? Note that chain bearers are usually family or neighbors who helped with and witnessed land grant surveys.


So, less than three years after Leonard Green and wife Ann sold their land on the west side of Rocky River in now Cabarrus, here is a person with same name helping with a survey in Montgomery, now Stanly County. I had assumed Leonard Green had died or moved on. But, either he had not moved or this was a son or possibly other family with same name. And, note that the survey is not that far away from Leonard Green’s 1772 deed and is in a location where settled others along the family migration stream? And, note in the above chain of conveyances, living near Leonard Green along the river in now Cabarrus was Jacob Self who came from the area of early Orange/Chatham County NC.

Another mention of Leonard Green On the same day as Going Morgan’s survey (5 June 1782), a person named Job Pendergrass also had his Island Creek grant surveyed. This may be the same person who, from Orange/Chatham County, had served in the American Revolutionary War before removing to present day Old Fort in western North Carolina. And like with Going Morgan, the chain bearers in Job Pendergrass’ grant were James McDaniel and Leonard Green. In that survey as with a few of his neighbors are mentioned previous improvements made by a person named Job Self. Is Job related to Sarah who may have married William Thomas Daniel? Is he related to Jacob Self who earlier lived near Leonard Green on the western side of Rocky River? We know that Job Self was from earlier in Chatham/Orange County located next to and not far from the lands of Leonard Green in Wake.



In closing, I want you to know that the two mentions of Leonard Green in early land grants of Montgomery County is such a simple find. There is so much out there on land grants and very few family historians fully utilize the “Chain Bearer” in making their case. From this post, we know of this other mentioning in a time and place where both the lives of Leonard Green on the west side of Rocky River could have crossed paths with Gideon Green to the south. This new listing for Leonard Green locates him somewhat between the two in a location that ties well to the greater story of migration. This new Leonard could be the same person as the older one who came out of early Edgecombe. He could also be a son. Because their ages don’t work, this new Leonard can’t however, be the son Gideon who later lived just upstream on Rocky River. Why did Gideon name a son Leonard?

is this the last thing we’ll find on Leonard Green?  Will the marble roll and drop again?



Memories of who we once were fade with time just as all things created by man will eventually return to the natural elements from which they were made. Trying to replay the past is a futile ambition though doing so provides a sense of context for who we are.

On a discovery trip through upper Anson County and while driving north along Hwy 742 just south of Richardson Creek, I passed by the decaying home place pictured at the top of this page. Against the greening fields and still brown trees, the chimney glowed brightly showing-off  its earthy colors in the light of the late winter sun. I have no idea who may have lived there, but I’m sure time will have its due. It always does. I’m sure at some point all memory of this place will cease to be.

calvinDriving a bit further, I passed over Richardson Creek where I saw a stately old farm house standing near the intersection of Thomas Road. With miles to go and my day not yet done, I regretfully overlooked the need to photograph the old home. So, a big thank you goes out to Mr Yellow Google Man for capturing the image to the right.

I remember stopping at this house many years ago and of being directed to speak to Mr. Roy Thomas who knew more about its past. It turns out the house was built by Calvin Thomas following his return from service in CSA Co. K, 26 Reg. NC. The son of Headley and Winney Baucom Thomas, Calvin was wounded and captured at Gettysburg. Confined at Fort Delaware, Point Lookout Maryland, he was released at City Point, Virginia before returning to duty. Calvin was later released at Lee’s surrender on 9 Apr 1865 at Appomattox Courthouse VA.

21Before moving on a little needs to be said about the unit in which Calvin served. At Gettysburg but a few short feet from the base of a wall infamously known as the Angle stands a simple monument placed by the State of North Carolina. Marking the falling point of the furthest advance by any Confederate regiment engaged at Gettysburg, the pink granite stone locates the position where Calvin’ 26th Regiment fell in battle. It’s a story for historians and continues to be held up as a very important achievement though research shows the claim may have been made in error. I’ve had the chance to visit Gettysburg and in doing so put together a bit on the claim.

I remember Mr. Roy Thomas telling me of his ancestor Calvin Thomas. As a small barefoot child, Roy was there in 1910 at the funeral of Calvin Thomas. Roy remembered that day and of the wagon that carried Calvin away. He remembered the wails of sadness and of walking behind the wagon as it carried the body up the winding road to the Edwards burial ground.

DSC_6707Heading north on Hwy 742 from Calvin Thomas’ home place, I turned almost immediately right onto Thomas Road and soon-after to the left onto an unmarked gravel road known as Carpenter Road Extension. On the day of my trip I passed by a house deep in the woods doing all it could to hide from my sight. And, down the hill and around the slope of a hill was the final destination of my day’s drive.

So, on Carpenter Road Extension less than a mile as the crow flies from Calvin Thomas’ old house stands the remains of a graveyard believed to be that of Calvin’s father whose name is Headley Thomas. What a name! I know there’s a Headley Colburn and Headley Polk in early Anson County, but have always wondered where the name came from? Again going to Google for part of the answer, I learned “this interesting surname, with variant spellings Hedley and Headly, is of English locational origin from “Headley” in Hampshire and Surrey. The former was recorded “Hallege” in the Domesday Book of 1086, and the latter appeared as “Hallega” in the same source. The place name itself comes from the Old English pre-seventh Century “haep-leah”, meaning “clearing overgrown with heather”.

Wow! …”Clearing overgrown with heather” could not be a better expression for the landscape and memories that lied before me. On one side of the road stood an old house standing in faltering opposition to the forces of time and gravity. Now pocked with holes and the resting place of buzzards, the home peered out solemnly from an overgrown grove of trees. And of its story, I remember Ms. Annie Lee Traywick telling me years ago that she was not sure the house belonged to Headley Thomas. Rather, she surely knew it to be the home of a later resident whose name I now forget.

The house was complete with two ornate chimneys along with detailed trim molding. There was a front porch along with what’s referred to as an outdoor “summer room.” Actively plowed farm land encircled the house and across the gravel road in a field stood a huge and gnarly tree. Just a short distance away from the house, at the base of this tree, the presence of daffodils and periwinkle alert approaching visitors that this is the hallowed resting place of family past. Tradition and location indicates this is the resting place of the Headley Thomas family. And yet, many years of farming and the likely bedding down of wildlife have played its toll. Of the several stones remaining only four showed visible signs of writing. One was grossly worn but appeared it was professionally engraved. Another only showed the horizontal guide marks with possibly cursive script. And, the last one simply read:

Did Nov
12 1876

At some point I hope to map the lands of Headley Thomas and others as far east as Rocky Mount Church. But for now, we need to preserve and share what history we have. It would be great to know who lived in the house across the road from the Headley Thomas Cemetery. And, who lived in the house up the road? Was it a sharecropper’s house?

In closing, I’d like for you to consider the following two images. It’s my belief that in the  long term,  nature always win.  But, while we’re here on earth, what we do matters in all ways. Quality of life doesn’t just happen.  And, we all must realize that even while being reclaimed by nature, the promise of spring is ever-present.



Who cares if you’re half bull dog, one quarter poodle, and one quarter Chihuahua? Maybe if you’ve traced your family record to the very distant past, I’m sure such information would be vitally important. But for most of us, we can’t even get beyond the great pond. Our family history dies much earlier at the foot of a court house wall when records in our more recent past no longer add to the story line. So do we fall for the cute advertisements and learn whether our ancestors wore kilts or loin clothes? No!!! …the best tool is Y DNA testing. Available only to males in the family, it is a quick, easy, and nearly 100% accurate way of figuring out if you and suspected others of same last name share a common ancestor. It’s so very valuable in clearing up many of our beliefs and questions. So, if you’re at a dead end and have lost your way, I beg of you to give Y-testing a try! I’m in no way a DNA expert but do offer this case in which Y testing has broken down that wall we all know and dread.

Last year I posted on Christopher Osborne who, in the 1770’s, moved from Wake County settling in Mecklenburg in what’s now Cabarrus County, North Carolina. Christopher soon died in 1789 after penning his last will and testament. This last record attributed to Christopher Osborne includes a very important command aimed at a special person he’d never have the chance to meet:

“As I believe my well beloved wife is pregnant with child, my will is as followeth: Should it please the allwise God, the child should be male – and arrive at the age of 21 years, he shall have one hundred pounds, paid by my son, Christopher Osborne, or to have the value thereof in land as he, the above described child shall choose. But should be the child be female, and arrive at the age of eighteen years, then I bequeath unto her, the sum of 20 lbs. in money or value.”

Boy or girl, how did this story play out? We’ve always known there was a Moses Osborne who later lived next door in Montgomery County in what’s now Stanly County. What a perfectly appropriate name for Christopher’s unborn son! His age from the 1850 census matches the unborn child from the will which makes Moses the most obvious choice to be the son of Christopher. But beyond that, there’s been nothing else to make the case. However, in my last post, a study of land records leads us to a clear tie between Moses and Christopher H. Osborne …who was the known son of Christopher named in the will to settle estate matters with the unborn child.

As it turns out, and without any others of his family appearing in the area, Moses Osborne received grants and purchased numerous tracts of land south of present day Love’s Chapel in Stanly County. From a pair of deeds recorded in Cabarrus County, we learned that for a period of time prior to the formation of Stanly County, Moses’ lands in Stanly adjoined that of Christopher [H.] Osborne. And adding to the significance, John Furr also owned adjoining lands. Christopher’s wife at the time was Caty Furr who we know to be related to John.

The above is quite compelling but still, it would be wonderful if it all could be confirmed. In response to my prior post on this family find, longtime friend and Osborne family historian Debra Spindle Osborne wrote:

I would love to talk with any descendants of Moses, particularly a direct line male–I have Y-DNA results for Christopher, Sr. and would LOVE to see such results for a Moses descendant.
Debra Osborne Spindle
Oklahoma City

This past fall I received a message from Debra that indeed she had found a descendant to be tested. And, when the results came in shortly after the New Year, I could hear her seismic screams of joy all the way from Oklahoma to here in North Carolina. As it turns out, DNA taken from descendants of Moses in present day Stanly County matches that of other known descendants of Christopher Osborne who wrote his will in 1789.

Though we have no record stating that Moses is the son of Christopher Osborne, we now can piece together a census record, a few deeds and the undeniable evidence of DNA needed to proclaim that Moses is in fact the son of Christopher Osborne. Yay!!!

So get out and tell your neighbors. And to all of the Osborne family from southern Stanly County …no, you do not come from Mars! Your Moses is surely the son of Christopher Osborne who moved to the area in the 1770’s from early Wake County.



LandscapeI’m not talking about some local parcel of land being here in North Carolina. For the first time to my knowledge, I can now get a free look at land anywhere I wish within the boundaries of the United States! You see, for many years as a backpacking enthusiast, scout master, and now as one who loves family history; I’ve always visited the Archdale Building here in Raleigh in preparation for my outdoor adventures. Topography maps purchased for around $10 give the best view of landscape including trails and elevation. And in terms of family history, they locate cemeteries as well as creeks and small paths. The maps are a must for those who need a close look at land and how it’s used.

Today, while at the Archdale Building to pick up a map for my newest challenge, I had a wonderful conversation with one of the lead folks in the North Carolina Office of the United States Geological Survey. I’ve known for a while that you can order hardcopies of topo maps online. They take a week to arrive. You can also buy the digital files for the maps too. But today I learned that there’s no need to pay for the digital files. They’ve actually been paid for once in their making so why pay again?

There’s sites online where you can continue to pay if you like, but also, I learned of the USGS site where you can get loads of maps for free! …. Yes FREE! Regardless of whether you’d like to look at land in New York City or the Wild and Wonderful West Virginia, the site is loaded with maps from across the Country. They have new maps as well as historic maps and you can fade the old maps so that you can compare what the land looks like now versus at some earlier date…say 1900!

So, enough of looking at my typing and here’s moving forward to the site: https://ngmdb.usgs.gov/ngmdb/ngmdb_home.html
Simply click on the “TopoView” button and start your own adventure. And, if you’d like, you can also start with the following online tour showing you how best to use this wonderful resource.




I’ve always wondered about my ggggrandfather Ananias Thomas. I’ve seen his name spelled with one ‘n” and two …Annaias versus Ananias. Also, I’ve seen his name spelled as “Nias” believing this was likely his nickname being the name his friends and family used. I’ve also wondered if he possibly went by the name Elisha Thomas? Doing so would have been a huge boost in tracing down his namesake as there was an Elisha Thomas who lived in Johnston County (beside Wake) and who was born earlier in Bertie or Northampton County. I’ve always wondered if there was a connection.

Also, I’ve wondered about our family’s service in the American Revolution as well as the War of 1812. Did we fight for the new country, were we Tories fighting for the British or did we just hang our heads low in order to avoid the carnage of war?

None of our family appears in unit rolls as serving in the Revolutionary War. However, Ananias’ father Benjamin did receive compensation for goods he provided the soldiers. I think the DAR accepts this as patriotic service though is it really? If we were overseas say natives of Afghanistan, would our providing goods to the American Troops necessarily mean that we supported their cause? Would you not do what you had to do just long enough to get by? I wonder?

I do believe that my Benjamin Thomas’s personal stock was provided as a patriotic gesture, but believing is all I have. There’s no proof.

But as for the War of 1812, a person named “Elisha Thomas” was issued a “pay voucher” in 1815. The document indicates he was a private serving under Capt. [Frederick] Staton. The document as seen at the top of the page was punched indicating it was received by Elisha Thomas.

We know that Frederick Staton owned numerous tracts along Richardson Creek in the area where lived my ancestor Ananias Thomas. And listed below are all those who received pay vouchers for their service under Frederick Staton. And, among those listed are William Morris and William Gurley who we know are Ananias’ neighbors.

So, …was Elisha the same person as my Ananias Thomas? It’s only a guess and there’s no proof other than me saying I think so.

Below is a list of those who served under Capt. Frederick Staton in upper Anson County. It’s known that they rendezvoused at Wadesboro but may not have made the journey to battle in New Orleans as the war was at end. Wouldn’t you like to see their pay vouchers? If so, go to the North Carolina Digital Collection where you can browse through those who served.

John Walden       George Mulder       Mathew Rummage                                Archibald Rushing       Elisha Griffin      Frank Mullis       James Perkins James Dunn       Robert Bagges       Robert Presston       Absalom Stegall
Thomas Ward       William Maness       William Oniel         Alsa Hyatt   Israel Watson        Needham Gurley      William Gurley                      Micajah Taylor       John Brown       William Morris       Jesse Barnett    John Hagles      David Anders       William V. Lewis       Elisha Thomas Jeremiah Welch       John Winchester




1907 Map of Union County, N.C. (Calvin M. Miller)


Union County in the state of North Carolina was formed in 1842 from parts of Mecklenburg and Anson Counties.  Below is the act of General Assembly directing the creation of the new county:


An Act to Lay Off and Establish a County by the Name of Union

    Be it enacted by tge General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That a new county, by the name of Union , be, and the same is hereby laid off and established of parts of the counties of Mecklenburg and Anson: Beginning at the corner of Anson and Mecklenburg, on the South Carolina Line, eleven miles; then east of a parallel of the county line, so that it shall be thirteen miles east of the Cabarrus corner, on Rocky River; thence up the various courses of Rocky River to the corner of Anson and Mecklenburg; thence with the meanders of the creek. To the South Carolina Line; then with the South Carolina to the beginning; which shall have all the powers, authorities and immunities of other counties in the State.


[Ratified the 19th day of December, A. D. 1842.]

This last week, while looking through Anson County Deed books, I came across the following report which was recorded 1843 in deed book 11 on page 114.  Rarely do you find such descriptions for the running of a county line, but here it is, a report on the running of the county line dividing present day Anson and Union Counties: And at the bottom,  is a copy of the same report appearing in the Feb 18, 1909 issue of the Wadesboro Messenger and Intelligencer. I guess in 1909 the people at the local newspaper thought this to be newsworthy.

Report of County Line between Union and Anson

State of North Carolina
Anson County

Pursuant to an order of the Worshipful County Court of said county appointing us the undersigned commissioners appointed by the act of Assembly to run and mark the dividing line between the county of Anson and Union agreeable to the said at and to report to the said court 1843. In pursuance of said order we the undersigned proceeded to run and mark said line on the 20th of April 1843 at which time we met with said commissioners at or near the state line said commissioners as aforesaid having run and measured the state line the distance directed by law with sworn and impartial chains we therefore report as follows # Beginning at a stake in the South Carolina line 35 yds west of the western bent of Millers Spring Branch where said bent approaches near the state line and near the No. edge of an old field ten post oaks 1 willow oaks & 3 small pines pointers and runs No. 3 degrees 5 1/3 minutes East 26 miles 19 chns. To a stake in the bank of Rocky River at a place called the old Wading Ford five chains and thirty links above the Cool Spring which said spring rises at the foot of a Great Bluff near where the said bluff joins the river two ashes birch mulberry and ironwood pointers and opposite Julius Hill’s plantation. The following are the distance to the noted places or objects on the said line beginning at the corner in the state line and runs No. 3-5-28 Est. one mile and 18 chas to the Wadesboro Road 3 miles & ten chains to Brown Creek just below the road to Wm Wimberly’s 5 miles 10 chains to Sanderford Road 6 miles 33 chns & 50 links to Cheraw Road 11 ½ miles to Lanes Creek crossing said creek at an old fish dam in the north part of the Great Bend below Hasty’s Mill 3 miles and 5 chains to the Charlotte Road about 32 yards west of a broad hollow 14 miles 15 chains to the Goldmine Road 18 Miles and 40 chains to the Jumping Road twenty two miles and five chains to the Burnsville Road passing through William Davis’ chimney and his spring 22 miles & 30 chains to Richardson Creek 23 miles 42 chains to the Burnsville Road 24 miles & 50 chains to William Hill’s house passing 80 yards east of said Hill’s spring total distance 26 Miles 19 Chains to the corner of the Rocky River & all of which we report to the Worshipful Court under our hands this 11 day of July 1843.
North Carolina Anson County October Term 1843 then the foregoing report was returned in open court and ordered to be recorded and registered.

{ Allen Carpenter SR.
{ George Durrin
                                               Wm. Wilson}
                                                S. P Stewart}       Commissioners
                                                    J. A. Dunn}        for
James Marsh}       Union

                                      M W Cuthbertson}

ND Boggan Clk.

anson line