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Maps of the Waters of Roaring River, Wilkes Co, NC



Jason Duncan
222 Sundance Cir
Statesville, NC 28625
704-929-2643
jason@webjmd.com





Disclaimer

I've been working on these maps since 2015, and I'm not sure if I'll ever finish! That's OK. Locating the landmarks, creeks, and tracts of land mentioned in old records has been like putting together a massive jigsaw puzzle. The added challenge is that I don't know what the final picture is supposed to look like, and the pieces often don't fit together very well.

It must have been extremely difficult for early surveyors to do their work, especially in the more mountainous parts of the county. On so many of the creeks running down from the Blue Ridge Parkway, the mountains are crowding in from all sides and it's easy to imagine a surveyor recording the wrong distance or direction while standing on the side of what seems like a 45 degree incline. The metes and bounds of many deeds don't form a perfectly closed area, and in order to draw these tracts, I've made judgments on what the intent was. I'm sure I was right on some, and not so right on others.

Many of my ancestors lived on the waters of Roaring River, and I've become familiar with much of this area. However, I'm sure I've misplaced some of these tracts. I'm continuing to look for old maps or other clues about who lived where, and I'll update my map as I find new information. Many genealogists are experts on where their own ancestors lived, so if you have ideas or additional information that will help improve these maps, I'd appreciate hearing from you (jason@webjmd.com).


Overview Of Roaring River Maps

Wilkes County, NC, is 757 square miles. The waters of the Roaring River system occupy 17% of the county as well as a small part of Alleghany Co. In addition to the rivers, creeks, and branches that flow into Roaring River, the following series of maps show landmarks, deeds, and original NC land grants that were issued in this part of the county.

Every map image opens in a separate window. Some images will have text that is too small to read. That's unavoidable when trying to show a 200 acre tract of land beside a 2 acre tract. To help with that, I've divided the Roaring River system into a grid of numbered columns and lettered rows.

The following map is an overview of the river system showing how it is divided into the grid. For more details, see one of the maps further down the page.




Land Bought By The Stone Mountain Granite and Timber Company

(6/22/19: I'll update the grid lettering and change it to the zoomable version soon.)
For a few years around 1902, the Stone Mountain Granite and Timber Company bought a large quantity of land in the northern part of the county. I don't know much about the circumstances of this buyout, but many landowners sold and moved to other parts of the county, further into the mountains, or westward to other states. This set of maps show the land that was accumulated by the SMG&T Co. In addition to what is shown here, there were 5 more deeds adding up to 777 acres. I haven't yet located where those are located on the map.

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Original NC Land Grants (last update 6/22/19)

There are about 1,400 NC land grants which are located on the waters of Roaring River. These tracts were sold by the state beginning in 1778 and continuing into the early 1900s. Occasionally those who purchased the grants would soon sell it to someone else, but in many cases descendants still live on their family's original land over 200 years later.

As of June 2019, I'm still working to locate as many of these grants as I can. I appreciate any assistance from others who have additional information that will help with this project. This is a preliminary version of the map that I will update periodically. Initially, I'll fill in the grid when I feel like a section is mostly correct. If I still have a lot of work to do in an area, it's probably best to wait.

Click on the grid location to open that section of the map in a separate window. Navigate around each section of the map using the mouse to pan (left click) and zoom (scroll wheel).

A few other comments to explain what's on the map...

  1. This will never be completely right. Many of the grants don't have enough location information to know where the property was located. I've found that the corners of some grants were in dispute even soon after the purchase was made, so there will certainly be errors in locating them today. My goal is to make this as complete and correct as possible.

  2. Some of the grants have incorrect or incomplete metes and bounds. When drawing the property lines, the last line should reach the beginning point. Sometimes that doesn't happen. Maybe a segment was overlooked when the scribe wrote the document. Perhaps more likely is that surveying must have been very challenging in the hills! I've walked a lot of the trails at Stone Mountain and other northern parts of the county, and I can easily imagine how a surveyor could make an error. One chestnut on top of the ridge probably looked a lot like the one on the next ridge.

  3. The waters of Roaring River include grants issued in Wilkes, Ashe, and Alleghany Counties. All grants are in Wilkes unless noted.

  4. Some grants were apparently abandoned, forgotten, or canceled. There are instances where a later grant was clearly made for the same land. This is sometimes why there are two grants occupying the same space.

  5. Grant #xxxx and File #xxxx are assigned to each grant. The grant number was assigned when the original purchase was made. The file number was assigned years later when the state began compiling and organizing these records.

  6. I used some abbreviations in the metes and bounds of each grant:
    1. "beg" represents the beginning point of the survey.
    2. "CC" stands for Chain Carriers. The names listed were usually neighbors of the person buying the land. While the title suggests these were the people doing the surveying, it was probably more symbolic. The neighbors were likely signing off that they approved of the boundaries of the adjacent land.
    3. "N", "S", "E", and "W" represent directions.

  7. Line colors:
    1. The dark black line represents the present county boundary.
    2. The blue lines represent rivers, creeks, streams, and branches.
    3. The red lines represent today's roads from the state's GIS files. Even some extinct roads which are now only vague trails are shown.
    4. The orange dashed lines represent the ridge lines separating the waters of different creek systems.

  8. Grants are shown in yellow, blue, red, and green. The different colors are only to distinguish one tract from those around it.

  9. I didn't keep the original spelling. When a person's name or creek name or tree type was misspelled, I wrote it as it would be spelled today. My goal is to make this map as easy to use as possible, and spelling words incorrectly would make it much more difficult to follow than it already is. You can look up the original documents by file number at the State Archives, on Ancestry.com, or at www.nclandgrants.com.

  10. In the future (as of June 2019) I'll add a complete list of all the grants on the map. I also want to add more versions of the map to include later land transactions. I've drawn over 1,000 of these later deeds in an attempt to determine where the original property lines were, and that information helps to tell a more complete story of where our ancestors lived.

Let me know if you have comments, suggestions, or additional information. I'm doing this for fun, and I'll continue to publish updates as I make more progress. Thanks!

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Jason Duncan
222 Sundance Cir
Statesville, NC 28625
704-929-2643
jason@webjmd.com

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