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David Allen's Iron Works on Big Elkin

  1. 9/23/2019 Slide Show Presentation About the Iron Works (pdf). Shown during the meeting at the library. With minor updates to better explain the pictures. (added 9/25/19)

  2. Approximate location of the Iron Works. The Iron Works was likely along east side of the Big Elkin, just south of the Market St bridge near the current dam above the library. (updated 3/17/21)

  3. Time Line of Events at the Iron Works. This is an all-inclusive list of events involving the iron works on the Big Elkin. According to a 1922 history article in the Winston-Salem Journal, the iron works continued operations until a flood washed away the dam. The records in the time line suggest this must have occurred after 1808 and several years before 1830.

  4. Freshet Washes Away Dam This article from the 11/26/1922 issue of the Winston-Salem Journal, page 34, recounts the flood that caused the demise of the iron works on the Big Elkin. Perhaps a review of weather reports between 1808 and 1830 would help determine the year of this flood.

  5. Grants
    1. 1778 Surry Grant #416 to David Allen - Original. Original document of the 640 acre tract that would be known as the Iron Works Tract.

    2. 1778 Surry Grant #416 to David Allen - Drawn. Drawn to show the metes and bounds of the Iron Works Tract.

    3. 1778 Surry Grant #395 to Abiel Cobb. Original document of the 100 acre tract granted to Abiel Cobb on the south side of the Yadkin. It also shows the road crossing the Yadkin River at the island ford. The north corner is "below the fish trap in Martin's line". Talk of a "fish trap" came up in the discussion at the library. Would this be the same fish trap location as it was in 1778?

    4. 1778 Surry Grant #395 to Abiel Cobb - Drawn. Drawn to show the metes and bounds of the Abiel Cobb tract located south of the mouth of the Big Elkin. The thick black line represents the county line along the Yadkin River.

    5. 1786 Surry Grant #1277 to Silveness Pipes. Original document of the 150 acre tract granted to Silveness Pipes. This was upstream on the Big Elkin at the mouth of Cold Bottom Branch.

  6. Other
    1. Surry Will Book 2, p97. 1785 court appearance by Winnifred Allen naming Jonathan Hains as "now living at the iron works of this county formerly the property of David Allen".

    2. 1788 NC State Law. 1788 NC law statute granting tax-free land to those who erect and successfully run an iron works operation. In 1802, Surry County Court reported that there had been at least 5,000 lbs of iron made at the old Iron Works belonging to Hill and Haines on the Big Elkin. It was therefore ordered that warrants be issued on two entries they had made for additional land. This land was on the east side of Elkin and west of Mitchell River.

    3. David Allen in the Moravian Records. In 1768 and 1769, the Moravians in Salem were buying lumber from David Allen's saw mill. The boards had been floated down the Yadkin River. In 1776, the Moravians were buying iron from Allen's furnace. This is the earliest document that has been found that mentions the Allen Iron Works.

    4. Slag is the waste product generated by the smelting of iron ore. Beginning in late 2020, pieces of slag from the old iron works have been found in and along Big Elkin Creek behind the library. Not only are there written documents about the iron works, but this is physical evidence that the the operation was located here. This slag was created nearly 250 years ago inside of the forge, and it's now being discovered as part of the town's important history.
      1. Slag sample photo.
      2. Slag sample photo.
      3. Slag collection as of January 2021.
      4. Slag finds after a successful search day by Doug Mitchell and his grandson Gabe Mitchell.

Maps of Elkin

  • The 1891 Ludlow Map overlaid on today's map of downtown Elkin. (9/24/19) This pdf file also has layers for the original land grants. For me, it works best to download this file to my computer and open it with Adobe Acrobat Reader. This allows use of the layer on/off feature on the left-side toolbar. You can turn on/off roads, property lines, land grants, and other features.

  • Zoomed OUT view of original grants. This includes the downtown area, much of N. Bridge St, and the area south of CC Camp Rd.

  • Zoomed IN view of original grants. This shows the area south of Business Hwy 268 and west of N. Bridge St.

  • Zoomed IN view of later deed transactions. In particular, the 1857 deed from Richard Gwyn transferring 3/4 interest in the factory 12 acre property.

  • Below is an interactive Google Map showing the approximate location of the Iron Works along with three original land grants. The star marks the location. Click the square in the upper right of the map window to make the map larger.

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    Jason Duncan
    222 Sundance Cir
    Statesville, NC 28625

    Maintaining a website since April 1995