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North Carolina and Virginia Genealogy
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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 is a large file that 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 3 numbered columns and 5 lettered rows. Clicking on the map will open one of those grid images. While this is still a large file, it should be zoomed enough so that even the smaller text readable.
When viewing these files online in a web browser, they will initially open to fill the screen. For most browsers, you can click on the image once and it will zoom to full size. To have more control over how you view the image, you can right-click on it and select "Save Image As..." to save it to your computer.
The following map is an overview of the river system showing how it is divided into the grid.
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.
Original NC Land Grants (last update 6/13/19)
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, there is only one grid location filled in -- D3, see the map above for which part of the county this includes. I'll add more soon.
Click on the grid location to open a large jpg image file in a separate window. Either explore that image in your browser, or right-click on it to save to your computer. (I recommend saving to your computer to make zooming and panning easier.) Eventually I might make this map a collection of pdf files where individual layers can be turned on/off.
A few other comments to explain what's on the map...
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!
NEW!! Easy Zoom option. Testing with Map D3: