It’s clear that in America, the first discovery of gold occurred in 1799 Cabarrus County North Carolina when young Conrad Reed came across the precious metal whilst playing in Little Meadow Creek. That’s the way the story goes and though there’s nothing to contradict it, surviving records do make you wonder.
As early as the 1740’s Granville grants and the like of Governor Arthur Dobb’s conveyances within the Great Tracts included clauses protecting any profits from mining operations:
“Except and always reserved out of this present grant unto the kings most Excellent majesty his heirs and successors one fourth part of all the gold & silver mines to be found in or upon the premises and also except and reserve thereat unto the said John Earl Granville his heirs and assigns, one moiety or half part of all other mines or minerals whatsoever, and all white pine trees now growing or hereafter to be found growing thereon.”
And, as late as 1793-4, Obadiah Fuqua received grants for 26 one thousand acres tracts in Randolph County, North Carolina. He did not hold on the land long as by the end of the year 1794, goldsmiths from out of state purchased the large tracts as follows:
Deed 6-9 Randolph NC, 3 Jan 1794, 19 Jan 1795, Obadiah Fuqua “farmer” of Randolph County NC to Nathaniel Morton and William Bedford both of Baltimore, town and county in the state of Maryland “Goldsmiths” of the other part being 26 tracts of land lying in Randolph County.”
Deed 6-16 Randolph NC, 29 Feb 1795, 17 May 1795, Obadiah Fuqua or Roan County NC” farmer” & John Adare of Baltimore to Nathaniel Morton and William Bedford both of Baltimore & State of Maryland “goldsmiths” of the other part, whereas Obadiah Fuqua did sell to John Adanill?? one undivided equal third part of 26 tracts. Obadiah Fuqua did also sell unto the said Nathaniel Morton and William Bedford one other undivided third of the 26 tracts. The said Obadiah Fuqua agreed to sell unto the said John Adanil & the said Nathaniel Morton and William Bedford the remaining 2/6th’s or one equal undivided third of the 26 tracts.
So, five years prior to discovery of gold in Cabarrus County, goldsmiths from Maryland were buying up land in Randolph County. Located in what’s today known as the “Gold Crescent.” were the buyers merely speculating in hopes the land would increase in value or had they somehow been tipped off of the possibility of gold? And, not being but a few years in advance of the discovery in Cabarrus, are there ties to the Reed mine and later developments in that area? Let’s take a look.
(YELLOW TRACT TO LEFT) Dated 5 Feb 1771, Abner Nash and Justina his wife sold to Samuel Crowell 48 acres lying in tract #2 on the north bank of the Rocky River with the southeast corner located at the mouth of Meadow Creek (Deed 6-51, Mecklenburg NC). In Deed 6-140, Mecklenburg NC, a year later, Samuel Crowell and wife sold the same tract to Thomas Dove. Thomas Dove soon after moved to the hills of Surry County NC before relocating south to near present day Bryson City. Thomas Dove eventually removed to Warren County Georgia where a well written biography can be found on “find-a-grave.”
Removing from his land at the mouth of Meadow Creek, Thomas Dove and wife sold their 48 acre tract to George Garmon (Deed 9-245, Mecklenburg NC, 3 Jan 1778). Witnesses were George Kiser and Archibald White. Of interest, George Kiser married Mary Dove and their son Thomas Dove Keizur was one of the wagon masters on the first crossing of the Oregon Trial.
On 10 Mary 1795, the same 48 acres was sold by Ebenezer Marsh to James Little (Deed 2-143, Cabarrus NC, 10 Mar 1795) Witnesses were John Stucker and William Carriger.
(BLUE TRACT ABOVE) Grant # 3290, Mecklenburg NC, was issued to George Garmon on 2 Nov 1784. The warrant was for “40 acres on Meadow Creek above the wagon road that goes to Kiser’s mills” and adjoined his own to the south and Meadow Creek to the southeast. This tract nests under the overhanging portion of James Little’s grant # 234. CC: John Corsire, Thomas Ingram. (Note that James Love married Mary Ingram and had a brother Thomas. Is it possible this Thomas Ingram is the brother-in-law of James Love?
James Little received two grants for land nested among the acquisitions of Thomas Dove and George Garmon. (RED SMALLER TRACT ABOVE) Grant #104, Cabarrus NC, issued 7 Dec 1797 to James Little, being 32 acres lying on both sides of Meadow Creek adjoining his old line and Isham Clay lands. CC: John Tucker, Jacob Nees. The second tract was (RED BACKWARD 7 SHAPED TRACT ABOVE) Grant #234, Cabarrus NC, being 70 acres. The land adjoined George Garmon to the west, John Reed to the north and Isham Clay to the east. The land crosses Flat Branch and Little Meadow Creek above its mouth. AT the time of its survey, the tract ran from a water oak (on bank of river at mouth of deep gut running thence four conditional lines between him and George Garmon) north 35 east 100 to p. o., north 45 east 50 to hic., north 55 east 38 to s. g., north 25 east 86 (up the Flat Branch) to to p.o. (James Love’s corner), south 58 east 16 to p. o. grub (John Reed’s corner), (with his line) south 20 east 42 to hic (Reed’s corner), south 45 east 64 to p. o., east (crossing Meadow Creek) 32 poles to pine, Reed’s other corner), (with Clay’s line) south 30 west 94 to pine, south 22 west 28 to stake (in Clay’s line), north 11 west 24 to pine (his own corner), north 47 east 80 to p. o. (his old corner), north 43 west 70 (crossing Meadow Creek) to pine, south 47 west 112 to p. o. (his old corner), (with his old line again) south 46 west 75 to b. o., south 41 west64 to w,. o. (on bank of river) (his old corner), then to begin. CC: ________________.
Hopefully you’ve made it through the above and are curious as to where this is heading. Basically, James Little ended up with all that land within and south of the backward seven shape in the above. And then on 25 Jan 1805, James Little sold it all to William Bedford and Nathaniel Morton of the County and City of Baltimore in the State of Maryland:
Deed 6-14, Cabarrus NC being 77 acres. Wit: Hu. Campbell, Js. Beard.
Deed 6-15, Cabarrus NC being 32 acres. Wit: Hu. Campbell, Js. Beard.
Deed 6-16, Cabarrus NC being 48 acres. Wit: Hu. Campbell, Js. Beard.
Confirming the sale and intent, THE EVENIG FIRESIDE published in Philadelphia PA the following dated 14 Dec 1805:
RALEIGH (N. C.) By the Representatives in the present General Assembly for Cabarrus county, we learn that the Proprietors of the Gold Mine in that county, continue to collect that precious metal, though in smaller quantities than heretofore. We learn also, that the gentleman from Maryland, who purchased a quantity of land last year at a high price, with the expectation of finding gold in it, is about to establish works upon the land, and is likely to succeed. Small pieces of Gold we are informed, have been found several miles from this place where it was first discovered.
Acquiring Little’s grant # 234 and the two other tracts between it and the river, there are no further records for Bedford and Morton until
And then in Oct 1828, the court ordered the division of Morton and Bedford’s land. Wm. Watson, John H. Bost, Daniel Bogar, and Jonah Love were appointed as commissioners to divide the lands (11-176, Cabarrus NC). Daniel Boger was the father of my GGGrandfather Peter Pless’s wife Elizabeth Boger. Daniel Boger once owned a mill upstream from Hagler’s Ford that later fell into the hands of John H Bost. Also, Jonah Love is the ancestor of my mother’s parents as both were Love.
There must have been a split or parting of ways as Nathaniel Morton received 175 acres known as tract 1. At this time, what was the northern half of James Little’s lands now adjoined Jonah Love to the west running then up Flat Branch to James Love and John Reed’s corner. The line then runs south along now Jon Reed Junior’s line and then back west to the beginning. William Bedford received the southern half of land lying against the River and then adjoining Jonah Love’s land to the west, Morton lands to the north and John Reed Junior’s land to the east. It appears Morton and Bedford went bankrupt as their names appear together in a list of bankruptcies appearing in records from New York.
Nathaniel Morton’s (tract 1) was further conveyed as follows:
Deed 11-401, Cabarrus NC, 9 Aug 1831, prv’d Sep 1838. Sarah Williams, David Stewart, M. A. Stewart, Geo. C. Morton, and M. A. Morton of Maryland to Geo. Tucker.
Deed _____, Cabarrus NC, _______. George Tucker to John Reed Jr. Being tract #1.
William Bedford’s (Tract 2) was further conveyed as follows:
Grant 667, Cabarrus NC, ent. 14 Dec 1836, sur. 4 Apr 1837, iss. 22 Apr 1836. Issued to Nancy Linker, in a rare move, William Bedford’s tract # 2 was somehow escheated to the state and reissued as a Secretary of State Land grant. The survey was for lands adjoining Jonah Love to west, George Tucker to the north, and John Reed Junior lands to the east. CC: Isaac Linker, John C. Reed. Of interest, Nancy Linker was married to David Linker and her maiden name is Shore. Is she a child or otherwise kin to James Love’s daughter Elizabeth who married Henry Shore in Stokes County?
Deed 13-255, Cabarrus NC, 1 Dec 1838, prv’d Oct 1839. George Garmon and Nancy Linker to George Garmon Sen., being 115 acres on the mouth of Meadow Creek. Wit: Culpepper Howell, George Garmon.
Deed 14-286, Cabarrus NC, 29 Oct 1839, Prv’d Oct 1840. Henry W. Linker to George Garmon. Wit: Culpepper Howell, Isaac Linker. Being Tract #2.
Deed 14-318, Cabarrus NC, 18 Jan 1841, prv’d _____. Lewis B. Krimminger Esq., High Sheriff, to Robert Motley & Samuel Klutts. By virtue of an execution issuing from 1839 Cabarrus P & Q session against the property of Nancy Linker. Whereas Darling Love recovered a sum of $45.48 ½ and 125 acres were ordered to be sold. Wit: H. S. Love.