Where the Indians Walked

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During the late 1990’s, I began a project to map land records in southern Cabarrus County NC in hopes of building a better understanding of the surrounding community. Granted lands were located and conveyances documented several transactions out from their origin. Every new piece added to the growing puzzle opened new possibilities and raised new questions. Much of my blogging effort is based on discoveries made during this effort.

Looking at the above map of land grants, the following descriptions are important to understanding one such discovery:

7. Grant # 3119, Mecklenburg NC, ent. 1 Jun 1779, sur. 10 Mar 1780, iss: 22 Oct 1782. Issued to Charles McCammon, being 195 acres on the south side of Rocky River “opposite the mouth of Coldwater Creek.” The metes and bounds are: from a b. o. on Thomas Watson’s line near the Indian Path, running with the line) north 41 east 14 to hic. grub (said Watson’s corner), (with his other line) north 88 east 42 to two pines (Watson’s other corner), with another line of his) south 88 east 61 to a w. o. sapling (another corner of said Watson), (with another line of his) north 69 east 64 to b. o. (another corner of said Watson), north 10 west 64 to w. o. sapling (on bank of river), up said river to r. o. on bank, west 57 to b. o. sapling, north 24 west 48 to ash (on bank of river), up the river to w. o. and ash (on bank of river), south 16 west 100 to hic. grub, then to begin. CC: Charles Dorton, John Love
8. Grant # , Mecklenburg NC, ent. _____, sur. 18 Aug 1780, iss. ____. Issued to Thomas Watson, being 135 acres on the waters of Horse Branch. he metes and bounds are from two pines (his own and Charles McCammon’s corner, running then with McCammon’s line) south 88 west 42 to hic. grub (his other corner near the old Indian path), (with his other line) south 41 west 103 to b. o. (near said path near John Love) south 34 to b. o. sapling, south 54 east 100 to stake (near Charles McKindley), north 83 east 47 to large hic., south 60 east 86 (crossing two branches of the horse branch to a corner of the place he lives on) to a stake, (with his own line) north 108 to stake (his other corner, (with his other line) west 92 to stake (another corner of his), (with his own line) north 103 to begin. CC: John Love, Charles Dorton.
12. Grant # 3052, Mecklenburg NC, ent. 2 Aug 1779, sur. 3 Mar 1780, iss. 22 Oct 1782. Issued to William McAnulty, being 156 acres on the waters of Reedy Creek. The metes and bounds are: from two b. j. (on the Indian path, running thence with Charles McKindley’s entry) south 30 west 132 to b. o., (with said McKindley’s entry) south 22 west 33 to b. o. (David McKindley’s corner), (with this line) north 58 west 66 to b. j. (near said McKindley’s other corner), north 45 west 127 to w. o. sapling, north 16 east 101 to hic. (near Robert Davis & James Love’s entries), south 61 east 106 to stake, then to begin. CC: Charles McKindley.
26. Grant # 3174, Mecklenburg NC, ent. _______, sur. 10 Apr 1780, iss. _______. Issued to David McKindley, being 228 acres on the head waters of Anderson Creek. The metes and bounds are: frpm a b. o. north 58 west 60 ( with William McAnulty’s entry) to small w. o., south 65 west 55 to pine, south 47 west 108 to r. o. (on the Indian path, south 58 west 83 to hic. , south 46 east 84 (with Hugh Campbell & Joseph Bigger’s entry) to s. o., east 126 to long b. o. , north 62 east 109 to w. o., north 18 east 60 to small b. o. (by a pond), with Charles McKindley’s entry) to begin. CC: Samuel White, Charles McKindley.

In 1782, Charles McCammon received a North Carolina Secretary of State land grant (#7 above) for 195 acres on the south side of Rocky River opposite the mouth of Cold Water creek. Unlike any tract of land I had seen before, this grant effectively excluded a triangle of land along the river bank that would have normally been included (see the green triangle in the above plat map).

The excluded triangle of land had no meaning what so ever until, having sufficiently platted enough surrounding tracts, an awesome ah-hah moment revealed itself.

Notice the little black triangles in several of the above tracts (tracts 4, 7, 8 13, 26). The surveyor noted in his plats that these were points where the granted parcels of land joined or neared the “Indian Path.” Connecting the triangles, it’s easy to follow the path to its river crossing somewhere in the green triangle at the mouth of Cold Water creek.

Raising as many questions as answers, the discovery gave me a unique opportunity to stop and look closely at how the crossing and records fit into the greater scheme of things. Zeroing in on the green triangle located in tract #7 above, the first question raised was “what was so important that led the surveyor to exclude the land around the crossing?” Could there be a burial ground near the crossing? Was the land excluded in order to allow passing Indians a place to camp?

I made several trips to what is now a relatively new housing development along the river. There, I was met by a group of boys who led me on a hike along the river bank. A small drain and hill angled into the river from the bank. It’s said that Indians paths run the high ground and cross running water in shallow points. If that is true, then the site perfectly fits the Indian need. Though I did not find any hint of a burial ground, I suspect the area would make for great archeological project to be undertaken by a local college.

It’s also said that Indian paths were first and that the Dutch Wagon Road simply improved on the path already in place. Though using wheeled wagons, the incoming settlers required a more gentle approach down and crossing the steep river banks. Not shown in the map above, and moving away from the river on its northern bank, tracts on the north side of the river are identified as joining the “Dutch Road.” The wagon road actually left the Indian path and turned east as it neared the river on the north bank. This was because of steepness in the area and also because of a dam built just downstream by Peter Kizer. The best place for wagons to ford the river was in the shallow water below the dam.

Looking back to the green triangle of land, it remained vacant land for nearly 50 years when John H. Bost received a grant for acreage on both sides of Rocky river that included the little triangle. I’m sure this land had a history before the days of John Bost and even before the days of the first white settlers. I’d love to be able to walk the land more, to look for arrow heads and other signs of a culture that predates our own.

The general run of the Indian path is along and near present day Flowes Store road and further south along the Camden road. More on the above map and legal descriptions can be found on my site at:
http://www.angelfire.com/nc/benjthomasofansonnc/northwestmap.html
http://www.angelfire.com/nc/benjthomasofansonnc/northwestword.html

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