Home My Genealogy Records Old Photos Videos Blog/Articles My Research Services Contact
Back to the Land Grants main page for reports and a full county map

Wilkes Land Grant Records Explained


By learning about where our ancestors lived, we start to understand what their lives were like and the reasons behind the choices they made. The reports I've put together aren't meant to be a replacement for the actual documents. The original records sometimes have conflicting or incorrect information that can be more fully understood when viewing the entire record in context. Further research can be done by looking for later deeds where the grants and adjoining tracts were later sold and resold.

Since this is meant to be used as a research tool, I have chosen to correct certain misspellings to make it easier to find specific names and places. Don't get hung up on how the person's name is spelled in these reports. The handwriting is often difficult to read, and sometimes the name is spelled multiple ways in the same document. Use this as a guide to investigate the actual record.

I can't imagine even starting this project if I hadn't found images of all of the land grants online at nclandgrants.com which is managed by David McCorkle. The information I provide for the description of each grant began with information from his website. As I dug deeper into determining the location of each one, I added more information from the grant that might be helpful. If you see a grant in my list that you're interested in, you can find the actual image of it on David's site.

I assigned a main watershed to every grant. The main watersheds are Catawba River, New River, Unknown, South Yadkin, Watauga River, and Yadkin River. For the South Yadkin and Yadkin, I also assigned a subsystem or creek. About 3/4 of the area covered by all the grants are located on the Yadkin River main watershed. Also, remember that the county boundaries changed several times after Wilkes County was formed in 1778.

I've used a variety of sources to best determine where each grant was located, but there are bound to be some errors. Even at the time the grants were issued, there were multiple court cases involving disputes of property boundaries due to errors with the metes and bounds or assigning the same property to different buyers. While I have assigned all the grants to a watershed, I haven't yet drawn all of them and placed them on the map. Below are running stats on my progress drawing the grants and placing them.

Some grants are on a ridge between two watersheds, and I arbitrarily assigned it to one of the two river systems. The "Unknown" watershed category includes grants where I was unable to find enough information to determine the river system. If you can provide information to move a grant out of the "Unknown" group, let me know (jason@webjmd.com). I'm continuing to make corrections, add more information to the grant descriptions, and add more grants to the map. Maybe I can finish this in the 2020s?!

Information About Each Grant

All of the information for each grant can be found in the Searchable Table. Below is an example from the grants table.

Click for larger view.

Filtering and Sorting
In the example above, I've filtered the list to show only the Caudill grants by typing Caudill in the white filter box under the Surname column heading. This results in 46 records with a total land area of 2,716 acres. Use any combination of these filters to search for the records you're looking for. Every column is also sortable using the black triangles beside the column headings. When you click a triangle, it will turn white to indicate that the column is being used to sort the records in ascending or descending order. Use the middle wheel on your mouse or the scroll bar at the far right to scroll down the list of records.

This is the location of the grant on my map. The map is divided into grid squares that are 15,000 ft x 15,000 ft, or about 8 square miles. The location of a grant is determined by the starting point for the metes and bounds in the survey. Click the grid (i.e. K6, C11, etc) to open that portion of the map in a seperate browser tab. Switch between the two tabs to view the data and the map. Remember to use the blue slider in the upper right corner of each map to adjust the transparency of the grants layer!

"Not Drawn" in the grid column means that I haven't yet drawn this grant. "Not Placed" means that I have drawn it, but I haven't determined where it was located yet.

Generally, this is the last name of the person receiving the grant. When the grant was made to more than one person, I used the last name that was provided first. If the grant was made to a corporation or business, I picked the primary word in the title. I intentionally standardized on the spelling of these last names to make them easier to find in an alphabetized list.

Full Name
This is the full name of the person or group receiving the grant. Many times, these names are spelled multiple ways within the records, so see the originals if you want to know exactly how their names were spelled. A note saying "assignee of..." means that the person that the grant was issued to was not the first person who entered the tract of land. Perhaps one person considered buying the land, but later changed his mind. He could transfer the opportunity to buy it to someone else.

Grant # and File #
The grant number is the number assigned at the time the grant was issued. Perhaps due to poor record keeping, sometimes the same grant number was used multiple times. The file number is the number assigned to the record by the NC State Archives. Every grant has a unique file number. I've also included grants that were apparently never officially issued. For those, the grant number and the issue date will be blank. Perhaps the person changed his mind and never bought the land. Or, maybe the issue papers were lost.

Entry Date and Issue Date
The entry date is when land was claimed or when someone made a request to purchased vacant land. This was the first step of the process. It was later surveyed to define the boundaries, and the final step was for it to be officially issued to the grantee. This final date is the issue date.

The amount of land that was officially issued to the grantee. The maximum amount an individual could claim in one grant was 640 acres.

A brief description of the grant from the text of the original paperwork. For most of these, this is the description recorded by the State Archives and written on the outside of the shuck file. For some, I added more information from the survey.

If I've located and plotted the grant on the map, I calculated the approximate GPS coordinates for the beginning point of the grant's survey. Click the link to open this location in Google Maps in a separate browser tab. River and Subsystem
I looked at every grant file to determine the main watershed where the land was located. As an example, File #2269 is located within the Yadkin main watershed, and on the Roaring River subsystem. Some locations were easy to determine because the grant said "on the waters of [creek name]". Sometimes that wasn't provided, and I used other clues to research the location. If I wasn't able to determine the location, it is listed as "Unknown".

Note1 and Note2
These two fields are for any notes that I made about the property. Often, these notes are deed references for when the property was later sold.

Top of page
Jason Duncan
222 Sundance Cir
Statesville, NC 28625

Maintaining a website since April 1995