Wilkes Co, NC. I stumbled across a survey made for L. W. Holbrook in 1886 for 141 acres (Wilkes DB 5, p523). His land was at Joines on the north side of Longbottom Rd and east of the entrance to Stone Mountain. I believe he is Lewis W. Holbrook who was born in 1830, son of John Holbrook and Jane Bauguess.
The first image (above) is the entire 141 acre property located on a map with roads, rivers, and creeks. The beginning corner is at the Joines and Lyon mill dam on the river. The second image (below) is zoomed in on the western half. One thing that caught my attention is the way the property follows the river. The river today is shown in blue, but apparently in 1886, the river made a larger loop to the east with the property line before flowing south across Longbottom Rd. Maybe that’s because of the way it was dammed up for the mill.
The third image (below) is the eastern half of the property. The 49 acres shaded in green is an original grant to John Holbrook, son of Ralph Holbrook. Presumably, this John Holbrook was Lewis’ father. The Holbrooks were the original landowners for this tract. I’m not sure yet who the original landowners were for the western portion.
Wilkes Co, NC. In the 1800s, there was a schoolhouse located near what is now 3100 Bethany Ford Rd in Roaring River. It’s about 0.9 miles east of the river. The first mention I’ve found is the 1840 grant to Willis Holloway which has a beginning corner near the schoolhouse. Then in 1850, an 80 acre grant to Thomas Caudill also begins “near the old schoolhouse”.
The Willis Holloway grant was soon purchased by Thomas Caudill, and in 1858 he sold it to David and Elizabeth Edwards (DB B2, p230). It again mentions the “old schoolhouse”. The Thomas Caudill property spanned at least a mile E-W along Bethany Ford Rd, and at least a mile N-S between Stewart Creek and what was then called Sloan’s Creek to the south. He owned at over 500 acres by the 1870s.
Thomas Caudill was born about 1810 and died in 1898. His sister Polly Caudill married Eli Blackburn, and they lived on the north side of Stewart Creek. According to the Wilkes Heritage book (Vol 1), Thomas was buried in a family cemetery on his land. Does anyone know where that cemetery is?
Where was the Rock Creek Meeting House? In 1848, Joseph Porter Sr received a grant for 52 acres on “the new road”. The land included 50 acres for himself and another 2 acres for the meeting house in the southeast corner along the road. I think this was somewhere along what is now Rock Creek Rd, between the Hays intersection and Rock Creek Baptist Church.
The Legend of Tom Dooley in Wilkes Co, NC. Lots of people have heard the tale. Maybe you remember Andy Taylor singing the 1958 ballad with The Darlins. I know the story is part of the Statesville ghost tours at Halloween, and maybe they’re a part of the ghost tours in Wilkesboro, too. The story takes place in both cities.
Today I stumbled across the Wilkes Co court records where Tom Dula and Ann Melton were charged with the murder of Laura Foster in the Fall term of 1866. It’s one thing to hear the legend, but it’s interesting to read from the actual records. These four pages refer to Tom’s charges.
The following page refers to Ann Melton’s charges. Her entry is in the middle of the right page.
Here are some highlights: “that the said Thomas Dula with a certain knife of the value of five cents … in his right hand … held her the said Laura Foster in and upon the breast of her … feloniously, wilfully, and of his malice aforethought did strike, thrust, and stab … a mortal wound of the breadth of one inch and depth of six inches … Laura Foster then and there instantly died.”
“that Ann Melton late of the county of Wilkes not having the fear of God before her eyes but being moved and seduced by the instigation of the Devil before the felony and murder … did maliciously, feloniously, violently and of her malice aforethought stir up, move, abet, and counsel and procure the said Thomas Dula to do and commit the said felony and murder.”
Tom’s lawyer, who was the ex-governor Zebulon Vance, asked that the trial be moved out of town since he couldn’t get a fair trial in Wilkes. That’s why it ended up in Statesville, but unfortunately that wasn’t enough to save Tom from the noose on 5/1/1868. Ann was tried separately, and the jury found her “not guilty of murder as principal accessory”. The last line of the entry for Ann Melton simply says “It is adjudged by the court that the prisoner go.”
Wilkes County Court Minutes Docket A, October 12, 1839. Eng and Chang, the Siamese Twins, are naturalized to become U.S. citizens as residents of NC. In the fall of 1844 they went from being “the Siamese Twins” to “Eng and Chang Bunker”. I don’t know why they picked Bunker, but it became official in the Fall of 1844.