Lincoln County Court House
The Legislative Act establishing Lincoln County appointed commissioners to select a convenient and central location and to construct a court house and prison. In 1782 and 1784, new commissioners were appointed, as the previously-appointed commissioners had failed to act. In 1785, Lincolnton was established on land selected for the county seat, and it has been the county seat ever since. From 1779 to 1785, the Lincoln County Seat was located at the small town of Tryon C.H., which was about eight miles soutwest of present-day Lincolnton.
Lincoln County was born amid the throes of the American Revolution, and christened for a patriot soldier, then battling for independence. The already-established Tryon County was split into Lincoln and Rutherford counties in 1779 - the new Patriots glad to be rid of the odious name of the earlier Royal Governor, William Tryon.
Benjamin Lincoln was born January 24, 1733 at Hingham, about thirteen miles from Boston. In February of 1777, he was appointed Major General in the Continental Army and served with gallantry throughout the struggle. At the request of the delegation in the Continental Congress from South Carolina, he was assigned to command the army in the south; he arrived in Charlestown, SC in late December of 1779. On May 12, 1780, Major General Benjamin Lincoln was forced to surrender to the superior force of the British at Charlestown. He was paroled to Philadelphia until exchanged.
When exchanged he resumed his service under General George Washington, and was at the surrender of Lt. General, Charles, Lord Cornwallis at York Town, Virginia, where the generous General Washington designated him to receive the conquered arms of the British. He was appointed Secretary of War in 1781, with permission to retain his rank in the army. He died in the house of his birth on May 9, 1810.
When Tryon County was divided in 1779, Tryon Court House fell in the newly-established Lincoln County, the courts of Lincoln were held there until April of 1783, and the old Tryon County records are still in Lincolnton.
The pioneers came into what is now Lincoln County between the years 1745 and 1749, when it was Bladen County; they continued to come until the American Revolution. So the pioneer history of Lincoln County is covered by Bladen, Anson, Mecklenburg, and Tryon counties. The Tryon records cover ten years of the colonial history of Lincoln County, 1769 to 1779. When Tryon County was formed in 1768, the first settlers had not been here more than a score of years. The old Tryon County records contain many quaint things, mingled with matters of grave public concern, and a glance at them is of interest to the student of Lincoln County history.
The courts for part of the years 1783 and 1784 were held at the house of Capt. Nicholas Friday. His residence stood on the east side of the river, seven miles south of Lincolnton. The courts of July and October sessions of 1784 were held at the house of Henry Dellinger, and his spring house was designated as the "gaol." This spring house was a two-story affair, the lower stone, the upper logs; the upper story was used as the public jail. Some of the prisoners escaped, and the sheriff was ordered "to make use of a room in Henry Dellinger's house to be strengthened for the purposes of a common gaol." The sheriffs, for protection against the escape of prisoners from these very odd jails, always entered on the court record their "protest against the sufficiency of said gaol." The site of Henry Dellinger's home is Magnolia, six miles southeast of Lincolnton, where the late John B.Smith lived.
While the location of the county seat remained an open question, the map of the county changed. In 1753, the western portion of the Granville domain was set up into the county of Rowan. Rowan County in 1777, was divided by a line beginning on the Catawba River at the Tryon and Mecklenburg corner, thence up the meanders of the said river to the north end of an island, known as "the Three Cornered Island," etc. and the territory west and south of said line erected into a new county, by the name of Burke, and the county seat, Morgantown, located fifty miles from the southeast part of the county on the Catawba. It being represented to the General Assembly that "certain of the inhabitants of Burke labor under great hardships in attending on courts and other public meetings from their remote situation from the court house," in 1782, it enacted that all that part of Burke County from Sherrill's Ford to the Fish Dam Ford of the South Fork, "and from thence a southwest course to Earl Granville's old line," be taken from Burke County and added to Lincoln County. In 1784, a greater slice of Burke was added to Lincoln. The line separating the counties began at the Horse Ford on the Catawba River and ended at the same point in the Granville line. This is now a noted point, known as the "Three County Corner," the county of Lincoln, Burke, and Cleveland, and is the only established point on the old Granville line west of the Catawba River.
In the history of Lincolnton and Lincoln County the name of Joseph Dickson stands conspicuous. The site of his homestead is two miles northwest of Mount Holly, on the line of the Seaboard Air Line Railway. Brigadier General Griffith Rutherford, en route to attack the Loyalists at Ramseur's Mill encamped at Dickson's the night before the battle. He accompanied Brigadier General Rutherford the next day, passing over the vacant land, where five years later, the grant was made him as proprietor in trust for the citizens of Lincoln County. Dickson was one of the immortal heroes of Kings Mountain. With the rank of Major he was one of the officers that led the South Fork boys up the rugged northeast end of the mountain, facing with undaunted spirit the lead and the charge of the enemy's bayonet. In 1781, he opposed the British invasion of North Carolina, serving with the rank of Colonel. During this year he was elected county clerk, which office he held the next ten years. He was chairman of the committee that selected the site of Lincolnton, and the grant for the land on which the town was built was made to him. The grantor to all original purchasers of lots is, "Joseph Dickson, Esq., proprietor in trust for the commissioners appointed to lay off a town in the county of Lincoln by the name of Lincolnton." He was chosen Senator from Lincoln County in 1788, and continuously succeeded himself until 1795. In 1789, he was one of the forty great men of the state selected by the General Assembly to constitute the first trustees of the University of North Carolina. He then served as a general in the militia. From 1799 to 1801, he was a member of 6th U.S. Congress. December 27th, 1803 he sold his plantation of twelve hundred acres, and removed to Rutherford County, Tennessee, where he died, April 24, 1825, aged eighty years, and was buried with military and Masonic honors.
Lincolnton is situated 869 feet above sea-level in the hill country of the great piedmont belt. In the county are Reece, Clubbs, Daily, Rush, and Buffalo Mountains; they are small peaks not larger than Hog Hill in the northern part of the county. From Lincolnton mountains are visible in almost every direction. On the northeast is Anderson's Mountain; in the southwest looms up Kings Mountain, on whose historic heights was fought the memorable battle that broke the power of the British crown; in line with Kings Mountain to the south can be seen Spencer, Crowder, and Pasour Mountain; in the north and northwest are Baker's Mountain, Carpenters, and Ben's Knobs, and numerous peaks of the south mountains; while in the distance in solemn grandeur lies the upturned face of the Grandfather; and yet still farther away rise the far-distant peaks of the great Blue Ridge. The Carolina and North-Western Railroad comes in from Chester, South Carolina, and runs northwesterly into the heart of the mountains of North Carolina; while from the east comes in the Seaboard Air Line Railway, and extends westwardly to Rutherfordton.
Lincoln thus remained a large county until 1841, when the first slice was taken to form, with a portion of Rutherford, the county of Cleveland. In 1842, Catawba County was set up from Lincoln by an east and west line passing one and a half miles north of Lincolnton. In 1846, the southern part was set off into the county of Gaston, by a line to pass four and a half miles south of Lincolnton, and four miles of Catawba ceded back to Lincoln. The formation of these new counties reduced Lincoln to a narrow strip, ten miles in width with and average length of thirty miles, and it is with this strip that the remainder of this narrative will deal. Lincoln County is bounded on the north by Catawba County; on the east by the Catawba river, which separates it from Iredell and Mecklenburg; on the south by Gaston County; on the west by Cleveland County, and one-fourth mile of Burke County.
The early settlers of Lincoln County were Scots-Irish and German origin. There were but a few of other nationalities. They came in swarms, by "hundreds of wagons from the northwards." About the year 1750, the Scots-Irish settlement covered both banks of the Catawba River, so the eastern portion of Lincoln was populated by this race, while the South Fork and its tributaries - the remainder of the county - were settled by Germans.
The Scots-Irish are stern and virile, noted for hatred of sham, hypocrisy, and oppression. The Germans are hardy and thrifty, characterized by love of home and country, tenacious of custom, and slow to change. Both were a liberty-loving, God-fearing people, among whom labor was dignified and honorable. A charm about these pioneers is that their heads were not turned by ancestral distinction. They were self-reliant and mastered the primeval forest, with its hardships and disadvantages. They became adept in handicraft and combated the foes of husbandry in and unsettled region. They were silent heroes who shaped destiny and imbued unborn generations with strength of character and force of will. The early Scots-Irish preachers taught the creed of Calvin and Knox, and the first place of worship on the east side was Presbyterian. The pioneer Germans were followers of the great central figure of the Reformation, Martin Luther, and the Swiss Reformer, Ulrick Zwingle, and the oldest place of worship on the west side is Lutheran and Reformed. Today the county is dotted with churches which according to numerical strength, rank in the following order; Methodist, Episcopal, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Prostestant, Presbyterian, Reformed, and Protestant Espicopal.
When churches were few, camp meetings were held by the Presbyterians, Baptists, Reformed Prostestants, and Methodists. They have all been discontinued except one, the celebrated Rock Springs Camp Meeting of the Methodists in east Lincoln County. There a great arbor is surrounded by three hundred tents, and the meeting is held annually since 1830. It is incorporated after the style of a town, and governed much the same way. It is held on forty-five acres of ground conveyed August 7, 1830 by Joseph M. Mundy to Freeman Shelton, Richard Proctor, and James Bivings, trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Lincoln circuit. The estate an owner has in a lot is conditional, and ceases upon failure to keep and maintain a tent on it. The meeting continues one week and embraces the second Sunday in August. It is attended by all denominations from the surrounding counties by ten thousand to fifteen thousand people. Deep religious interest is manifest and many date their conversion from these meetings. Viewed from a social standpoint this is also a great occasion. The old camp ground combines the best elements of social life in the country, city and summer resort. Rock Springs is the successor of an older camp ground called Robey's, which is situated near the Catawba Springs.
The memory of the old people runs back to the time when the printing press had not filled the churches with hymn books, where there were no church organs, nor organists to lead the choir. In those days the congregations sang, being led by a precentor called the clerk, a man of importance, and the minister lined out the hymn. Four young men from Lincolnton attended a camp meeting. When the minister lined a a couplet of a familiar hymn, the congregation followed the clerk, sang the couplet and paused for the nest. The four boys, filled with the spirit of John Barleycorn, paused not, but in well-trained musical voice, carrying the several parts finished the stanza; then the second and entire hymn to the dismay of the minister, clerk, and dumbfounding the congregation. A charge of disturbing the public worship was preferred in the courts, conviction followed and the offenders sentenced to sit one hour in the stocks.
Most of the people in North Brook, the western township in the county are Methodist, Protestants, and they have one church, Fairfield, near the Catawba River on the eastern side of the county.
The Scots-Irish Side
Early in the eighteenth century the Scots-Irish emigrated to Pennsylvania, and from thence some came direct, while others, and their descendants settled in Virginia before coming to this section. A few of these settlers may have been of other nationalities, but a careful writer has referred to this part of the country as "one of the areas of North Carolina, dominated by the sturdy Scots-Irish strain; where the thistle and the shamrock were planted toward the close of the eighteenth century; where they throve and flourished, and unaided produced results marvelous for the place and time. The Scots gumption and Irish ardor, finely blended, was the patrimony of this section."
On the early maps of the Great Catawba marked the tribal division between the Catawbas and the Cherokees. East if the River dwelt the Catawba, once a numerous and powerful people, this nation "writ its name in water," the Catawba embalms it and it will be perpetuated while its majestic waters flow "To where the Atlantic lifts her voice to pour a song of praise upon the sounding shore."
As the white settlements extended, the Cherokees receded toward the setting sun, and occupied the peaks of the Blue Ridge. Roving bands raided the settlements. One of the Beattys went into the range in search of his cattle. He was discovered and pursued by the Indians. When within a mile of home he concealed himself in the hollow of a large chestnut tree. The bark of his little dog disclosed his hiding place and cost him his scalp and his life. The old chestnut disappeared long since, but the place where it stood is yet well known.
Jacob Forney and two of his neighbors were attacked by a band of Cherokees. One of them, Richards, was wounded and scalped. Forney, though shot at many times by the Indians reached his log fort in safety. The neighbors buried poor Richards where he fell. "no useless coffin enclosed his breast, nor in sheet nor in shroud they wound him."
The site of his lone grave in the depth of the wildwood is yet pointed out, situated near the old log fort where Jacob Forney first settled.
Among the settlers occur the names, Allen Anderson Baldridge, Ballard, Barkley, Barnett, Beal, Beatty, Black, Bradshaw, Brevard, Bryant, Cherry, Childers, Cooper, Cox, Daily, Davis, Derr, Duncan, Edwards, GRaham, Hunter, Hutchinson, Jetton, Johnston, Kelly, Kincaid, King, Knox, Little, Long, Lowe, Luckey, Lynch, McAlister, McCaul, McCombs, McConnell, McCormick, McIntosh, McLean, McMinn, Nixon, Proctor, Regan, Reid, Robinson, Shelton, Stacy, Thompson, Wilkinson, Wingate, and Womack; while in the western part, are found Alexander, Baxter, Blackburn, Cobb, Goodson, Henderson, Hill, McBee, McCaslin, Potts, Ramsey, Williamson, Wilson, and others.
The first pale-face to set foot on the soil of Lincoln County was the bold pioneer, John Beatty. One of his land grants bears date July 17, 1749. He settled on the west bank of the Catawba River. The shoal at this point, over which the river tumbles with a gentle murmur, forms a splendid ford. It was at this ford John Beatty crossed, and it yet bears his name, Beattie's Ford. As the soil of Lincoln County at Beattie's Ford felt the primal tread of Anglo-Saxon, Beattie's Ford deservedly figures largely in the recital.
The old pioneer, John Beatty, located his home above the ford, in the shade of the hillside, overlooking the beautiful Catawba River. Nearby gurgled a limpid spring, its waters trickling off in a sparkling brooklet to the river. John Beatty had two sons, Thomas and Abel, and one daughter, Mary, the wife of Matthew Armstrong. It is always interesting to hear the the last words of the departed. John Beatty's will bears the date January 5, 1774. In this he gives to Margaret Beatty certain items of personality and his homestead to William Beatty. These were his grandchildren, the children of Thomas Beatty. Marked traits of his character are apparent in this document. A short quotation will exhibit his love for rectitude and obedience, and desire to keep his homestead in his line of blood: "And if ye above named Margaret or William Beatty or either of them does misbehave or be disobedient when come to ye years of maturity, either going against their parents will in the contract of marriage or nay way remarkable otherwise, that legatee is liable to ye loss of his part of this legacy, and to be given to ye other, the offending person entirely cut off at their parents discretion, or those that it may please to have the guardian and care over the above-mentioned persons William and Margaret Beatty. And further I do not allow the said lands that is left to ye above named William Beatty to be ever sold or disposed of by any means or person whatsoever, but to firmly remain and continue in the line and lawful heirs of the above named William Beatty's body and to continue in that name as long as there is a male heir to ye nighest female heir."
Thomas Beatty died in 1787, leaving three sons, John, Thomas, and William. The inventory of his estate exhibits in minute detail the entire possessions of a well-to-do man of the pioneer period. A few items ranging between his broad acres and a fine-toothed comb will indicate the extent and variety of his possessions: "944 acres of land, ten negroes, seventeen horses, sixty-six cattle, eighteen hogs, thirteen sheep, thirty-four geese, five ducks, lot poultry, five pewter dishes, sixteen pewter plates, twenty-four pewter spoons, one pewter basin, one pewter tankard, one crook and two pot hooks, one dutch oven, and griddle and frying pan, one dough trough, one chest, two spinning wheels, and one big wheel, three pair cards, cotton, wool, and tow, one check reel, one weaving loom, twenty-three spools, for spooling cotton, five reeds for weaving, nine sickles, one foot adze, one thorn hack, one hackel, two iron wedges, two bleeding lances, one hair sifter, two riddles, three gimlets, thirteen bushels flax seed, six bushels buckwheat, one slide, tow bells and collars, 750 clapboard nails, four pair half worn horse shoes, one redding comb, one fine-toothed comb, three coats, and one great coat, two jackets, one pair buckskin breeches, one pair trousers, three hats, and two linen shirts," constitute about one fourth of the items enumerated.
In the pioneer stage every man was his own carpenter, and the women knew how to card, spin, weave, and sew. The men wore linen shirts and buckskin breeches; the women, arrayed in their own handiwork, were beautiful in the eyes of the forester. The patrimony of the son was broad acres; the dowry of the daughter was a horse and saddle, cow and calf, a spinning wheel and check reel. The young men were gallant, and the maids charming. The young men learned the art of horsemanship not only in the chase, but by the constant habit of traveling on horseback, and every woman was an expert horse-rider. The horse sometimes served as a tandem, the man riding in front, the woman behind; and if trustworthy tradition is given credence the young men sometimes augmented the pleasure of this system of equestrianism by making their steeds caper, thereby frightening their innocent companions into a firm embrace to retain their positions.
Most of the early Scots-Irish were Presbyterians, and the religions center was Beatty's house. this place of worship was established by the pioneer, John Beatty, one mile west of Beattie's Ford. The meeting house stood on a level plat of ground in a beautiful grove of oak and hickory near a spring. Beattie's Meeting House was built of logs. In 1808, it was decided to erect a more commodious edifice, and a plat of several acres was conveyed for the purpose by James Little to "James Connor, Alexander Brevard, John Reid and Joseph Graham, trustees." The kirk is named in the deed, Unity. In 1883, another church was erected and additions to the former church lands made by conveyances from Robert H. Burton, W.S. Simonton, and Mary King to John D. Graham, D.M. Forney, and John Knox, trustees." This is the conventional structure of that period with its gallery and large pulpit.
From the first settlement this was a place of worship. The headstones date back to 1776. Dr Humphrey Hunter, a native of Ireland, and a soldier in the Revolution, was pastor from 1796 to 1804. Next came Rev. Henry N. Pharr. He was succeeded by Patrick Sparrow. Mr. Sparrow's father was a potter in Vesuvius furnace. When lads, the future Governor William Alexander Graham was hard put to it to keep pace with Patrick, and the members of the Governors family ascribed some of his success to this auspicious rivalry in the old-field schools. Governor Graham, thus having the lad's aptitude brought to his attention, interested others with him in giving Patrick an education. When he became pastor of Unity an old negro servant of Governor Graham's expressed her surprise at his rise in fortune, by exclaiming that the boy who ate ash cakes with her children had become her master's preacher. Mr Sparrow was the first professor of languages at Davidson College, and afterwards President of Hampden-Sidney. The present pastor is Rev. C.H. Little, descended from a pioneer family.
About the year 1790, Maj. John Davidson, with his sons-in-law, Maj. Joseph Graham and Capt. Alexander Brevard, crossed from the Mecklenburg side into Lincoln, and with Gen. Peter Forney engaged in the manufacture of iron. These were all former Revolutionary soldiers. The beginning of the nineteenth century witnessed civilization progress with leaps and bounds. Then followed years of plenty. The virgin soil brought forth bountifully. Herds of cattle and droves of swine ranged at large unrestrained by any stock laws. Deer, turkey, wild geese and duck abounded. The Catawba River was filled with shad, trout, and red horse. A trackless wilderness had been transformed into a moving, populous community. Instead of wigwam, was the homestead dwelling. Instead of the indian war-hoop was heard the furnace blast breathing forth actual and potential energy, and the stroke of the great trip hammer at the mighty forge as it beat the heart throbs of commercial activity. they were years of peace and growth, of marriage and home-building, of quiet domestic happiness.
The different grants to the Beattys approximate three thousand acres. William and John Beatty sold to John Fullenwider, an early iron master; and Thomas Beatty to Alfred M. Burton. Mr Fullenwider divided his purchase between his sons-in-law, Alfred M. and Robert H. Burton; they settled on their splendid estates and became potent influences in the community. Alfred Burton settled above the ford, the old John Beatty house constituting one wing of the residence he erected. Robert H. built a spacious mansion below the ford. They were learned lawyers and elegant gentlemen. Their dust reposes in Unity graveyard, beside that of their kinsman, Hutchins G. Burton, once Governor of the State. Robert H. Burton filled the office of Superior Court judge. After Judge Burton's death his homestead was purchased by Col. John H. Wheeler, the genial historian. Colonel Wheeler filled the office of State Treasurer and many position of trust, but is best known for his great work, "Wheeler's History of North Carolina." This he complied at Beattie's Ford, devoting to it about ten years time. The preface bears date. Ellango, Beattie's Ford, N.C., 1st July, 1851."
Three brothers - Charles, James and Henry Connor - from Antrim, Ireland, settled near Beattie's Ford. James was a captain in the Revolution. Henry, the youngest, a Patriot soldier, located near Cowan's ford. Colonel Wheeler sold out at Beattie's Ford to Maj. Henry W. Connor, the son of Charles. Major Connor derived his title for service under General Graham in the campaign against Creek Indians. He was a man of great popularity and represented his district in Congress twenty-three years. His homestead was identical to Judge Burton's.
Skilled physicians of sweet memory are William B. McLean and Robert A. McLean, a continental surgeon, resident in the forks of the Catawba River.
Jacob Forney first settled on the creek near the present town of Denver, the scene of his Indian troubles. This farm passed to his son, Capt. Abraham Forney, a soldier of the Revolution, and yet belongs to his descendants. Gen. Peter Forney, son of the pioneer, was a patriot soldier, member of the House, Senate, and Congress. As presidential elector, he voted for Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and Jackson. He erected a forge at his home and Madison furnace on Leeper's Creek, that was afterwards owned by J.W. Derr. He obtained possession of valuable ore beds, and commenced building his iron works in 1787, and recorded that he produced hammered iron in his forge 26th August, 1788.
Maj. Daniel M. Forney, eldest son of Gen. Peter Forney, received his title in the war of 1812, also served as Senator from Lincoln County, and member of Congress. He erected a palatial residence, modeled after a house at the national capital. The site chosen is an eminence between two creeks, where Jacob forney lived when the British quartered on him. This picturesque old mansion, with its long white columns, surrounded by a grove of original oaks, yet retains the charms of its ancient architecture. Major Forney sold to Alexander F. Gaston, a son of Judge Gaston. It next passed to James Anderson, and is now owned by Mrs. W. E. Hall. Henry Y. Webb, Bartlett Shipp, William Johnston, C.L. Hunter and Christain Reinhardt married daughters of Gen. Peter Forney. Henry Y. Webb was a lawyer and represented Lincoln County in the House of Commons. Bartlett Shipp, was a lawyer, a member of the Legislature, and of the constitutional convention of 1835. His son, William M. Shipp, was a member of the House of Commons, Senator, Superior Court Judge, and Attorney-General of the State. W.P. Bynum married Eliza, daughter of Bartlett Shipp, and settled on the Henry Y. homestead. He was an eminent lawyer, colonel in the confederate Army, Solicitor of his district, and Justice of the Supreme Court. His son, William S. Bynum, was a Confederate soldier, lawyer and Episcopal clergyman.
William Johnston, a physician, married Nancy Forney, and located at Mt. Welcome, General Forney's homestead. His five sons were gallant confederate soldiers. William H., Robert D., and James F. entered into service in the Beatty's Ford Rifles, which was mustered into service as Company K, 23rd Regiment; William H. and James F. won captains commissions; while Robert D., by promotion became a distinguished Brigadier General; Joseph F., late governor of Alabama and now United States Senator from that state, was Captain of Company A., 12th Regiment; Bartlett S. Johnston served in the Confederate States Navy. Dr. William Johnston was a son of Col. James Johnston, a soldier of the Revolution, one of the heroes of Kings Mountain, the first Senator from Lincoln, and elder at Unity. When Gaston County was set up from Lincoln, Colonel Johnston's homestead on the Catawba fell in Gaston County. Dr. C.L. Hunter was a scientist and historian. He was the son of Rev. Humphrey Hunter, a soldier in the Revolution. Mary, daughter of Gen. Peter Forney, married Christian Reinhardt, a planter, and they migrated west.
Joseph Graham attained the rank of Major in the Revolution and his title as General in 1814, when commissioned Brigadier General and sent in command of North Carolina troops to aid General Andrew Jackson in the Creek War. To his narratives of the battles of Ramseur's Mill, Kings Mountain, and Cowan's Ford is largely due to the preservation of the Revolutionary history of this section. John D. Graham, his eldest son, retiring from Vesuvius Furnace, erected a brick residence on the Catawba River below Beattie's Ford, now a home of his son, Clay Graham. James was a lawyer and politician, representing his district in Congress sixteen years. William A., the general's youngest son, read law and located at Hillsborough for the practice of his profession. He was twice Governor, United States Secretary of the Navy, and Confederate States Senator, and candidate for Vice-President on the Scot ticket. Pure and spotless in private life, a learned lawyer, a ripe scholar, a statesman of ability and clear judgment, he is esteemed by many as the greatest man produced by the state of North Carolina. William A. Graham, son of the Governor, Major and Assistant Adjutant-General, historian and author, the present Commissioner of Agriculture, resides at Forest Home, the ancestral homestead.
Robert Hall Morrison, D.D., the first President of Davidson College, an eminent divine, was the honored pastor of Unity for forty years. He married Mary, daughter of General Graham. Cottage Home, his homestead, is intimately associated with the Confederacy, for it was there that J.P. Irwin, Lieut-Gen. D.H. Hill, Lieut.-Gen Stonewall Jackson, Brig.-General Rufus Barringer, Maj. A.C. Avery, and Col. John E. Brown respectively married Harriet, Isabella, Anna, Eugenia, Susan, and Laura, daughters of Dr. Morrison. His sons were Maj. William W. Morrison, Joseph G. Morrison, A.D.C. on General Jackson's staff, Robert H. Morrison, A.D.C. to General Barringer and General Hill. His youngest son, Alfred J. Morrison, was a lawyer, politician, and Presbyterian minister.
Alexander Brevard early received a captain's commission in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. He built Mount Tirzah and Rehoboth furnaces. Captain Brevard's homestead passed to his son, Robert A. Brevard, then to his grandson, Alexander F. Brevard, and upon his death to Brevard McDowell, a great grandson. Captain Brevard and General Graham were honored elders at Unity, but were buried in a private cemetery of their selection where Macpelah Church was afterwards built. Vesuvius Furnace passed into the hands of J. M. Smith, a man who by his own initiative and endeavor rose to position and influence and left a name distinguished for good sense, kindness of heart, and business tact. He built Stonewall Furnace on Anderson Creek.
On the post road between Beattie's Ford and Vesuvius Furnace are the Catawba Springs, a famous resort in antebellum days. This was formerly Reed's Springs, owned by Capt. John Reed, a soldier of the American Revolution and Senator from Lincoln County. Valuable factors of this community are the Asburys and Mundys, descendants of Rev. Daniel Asbury and Rev. Jeremiah Munday, pioneer Methodist ministers. Rev. Daniel Asbury, when a youth was taken by a band of Shawnee Indians, carried to the far northwest and held in captivity for five years. In 1791, he established in Lincoln County the first Methodist church west of the Catawba River. Rev. Jeremiah Mundy was a native of Virginia and located in Lincoln county in 1799. He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War three years and a minister for thirty-five years.
As one thinks of the old country squire who settled disputes between his neighbors, of the kind-hearted physician, and the "lords of the manor," it seems "there were giants in those days." But life was not all serious; it had its great sunshiny side. They were apt at repartee, fond of the innocent joke, and in social intercourse, peals of laughter went the merry round; for has not the wisest of men said, "there is a time to laugh". And, alas, in those halcyon days, they loved not the flagon to excess, but indulged a morning horn to ward off the morning vapors, and this invitation to sample the liquid contents of the sideboard was a mark of hospitality. The sweet women, the embodiment of all that is true, charming and good, raised high the standard of social purity. The blushing bride became the uncrowned queen of the home, around which the husband entwined the noblest affections of his heart. In this genial clime the pioneers found a fertile land, undulating with hills and vales, chequered with creeks and rills, and bountifully supplied with springs. One mile west of Beattie's Ford, and flowing for some distance parallel with the river, is a large branch. On this they found a maritime city, with streets of water through meadows green, the habitation of the beaver. This animal had felled trees, builded a great dam, ponding the waters over many acres, so it was called Beaver Dam Branch. The Burton Mill was situate on the site of the old beaver dam. The water from the pond was conducted through a race to the great overshot wheel, the motive power of the mill. On the ridge between the Ford and Beaver Dam Branch three highways came together. At their convergence was situate the village of Beattie's Ford with its mercantile establishments. One of these roads was the great stage line via Lincolnton and Salisbury, connecting far distant points. The post-office of Beattie's Ford supplied a wide extent of country. The approach of the stage was announced by winding blasts from the long tin horn of the driver.
Exhaustless iron beds were discovered in other sections in connection with limitless coal veins, and the fires of the charcoal furnace were quenched, and the furnace blast and forge hammer were heard no more. Some of the leading spirits opposed the entrance of railroads, and their tracks were laid over other routes. Trade centers sprang up on their lines, and the stores at Beattie's Ford were closed. The long interregnum of peace came to an end. The noise of war was again heard in the land, and this section suffered in blood and treasure and shattered homes.
The Dutch Side
The German settlers came from Pennsylvania. Their ancestors and some of them came directly from Germany. Their settlement covers the whole of the county, except the eastern portion bordering on the Catawba River, and in this portion among the Scots-Irish were the German families of Cloninger, Earnhardt, Forney, Hager, Lockman, Keever, Killian, Nantz, Sifford and others. The names of the German pioneers deserve special mention, and many follow. Aderholdt, Anthony, Arndt, Bangel, Benick, Beisaner, Beam, Bolinger, Boyles, Boltz, Coulter, Dellinger, Detter, DeVepaugh, Dietz, Eddlemon, Finger, Freytag, Gantzler, Gross, Haas, Hafner, Helderman, Hallman, hartzoge, Houser, Heedick, Heil, Heltebrand, Henkel, Hoke, Huber, Hull, Jared, Jonas, Jundt, Keener, Kizer, Kistler, Klein, Kneip, Krauss, Kuhn, Lantz, Leeper, Lehnhardt, Leonard, Lingerfelt, Link, Lohr, Loretz, Lorentz, Lutz, Michal, Miller, Mosteller, Plonk, Propst, Quickel, Ramsauer, Rein, Reinhardt, Rieb, Rinck, Rudisill, Sain, Scheidel, Schenck, Schufordt, Scronce, Seigel, Schrum, Seitz, Shoup, Shull, Sigmon, Spiegel, Strutt, Summerrow, Troutman, Tutherow, Warlick, Weber, Weckesser, Wehunt, Weiand, Weiss, Wetzstein, Wisenhunt, Workman, Yoder, Zimmerman.
Many of the American names have been anglicized, and the spelling changed. To be a Zimmerman when one could be a Carpenter was too unprogressive. Likewise Weber became Weaver, Kruss, Crouse; Huber, Hoover; Freytag, Friday; Gantzler, Cansler; Heil, Hoyle; Jundt, Yount; Kuhn, Coon; Klein, Cline; Rieb, Reep; Weiss, Wise; Wetzstein, Whetstone; and so with many others.
They selected the finest lands and settled along the streams. Their first dwellings were log cabins, then followed the red-painted mansion. A few of the old red-painted houses, built near the spring, yet stand, monuments of a bygone age. They have always built large barns. Sweet memories of the pioneers and many valuable papers linger among their descendants. To give some illustration of pioneer times and conditions a few notes of one family will be made.
Derrick Ramseur came with the pioneers about 1750. He erected a mill on Clark's Creek, near its junction with the South Fork River, that was a noted industry and place in colonial days. The subjects of the King often divided their estates to prevent the oldest son becoming sole heir under the English law of primogeniture. In April of 1772, impelled by natural love and affection, he conveyed his property to his surviving sons, Jacob and David; first however, requiring them to enter into a bond in the sum of one thousand pounds proclamation money for his support, conditioned that they pay unto him every year during his natural life, "fifteen pounds proclamation money, twenty-five bushels clean sound wheat, twenty-five bushels Indian corn, fifty-two pounds of good butter, four hundredweight of good wholesome beef, one-sixth of the net profits of the fruit trees, thirty pounds sugar, three pounds Bohea tea, two pounds coffee, twelve gallons of whiskey, four bushels of malt, one bushel of salt." They also engaged to erect " a commodious and convenient residence for him, the said Derrick Ramseur, in order to live retired with a sufficient store and store room, and furnish the same with the necessary furniture sufficient for his accommodation which building is to be erected on such part of the premises as, the said Derrick Ramseur, pitches upon." Also to find for him "one good feather bed and decent and necessary furniture, and find and provide for him sufficient firewood, ready hauled to his dwelling, to be cut a foot length as often as occasion or necessary shall require; and also to supply him with a gentle riding horse, saddle, and bridle to carry him wheresoever he may require to go, together with a sufficient and necessary stock of wearing apparel both woolen and linen, warm and decent, and becoming one of his circumstances to wear, together with the proper food and washing during his natural life." Then by bill of sale he conveys to his sons Jacob and David "his whole stock of black or neat cattle running on the said lands whereon I now live, or to be found in the woods or range , whether in my own proper mark, or the mark of those from whom I might have heretofore have purchased; also all and singular my horses, mares, colts, yearlings, etc. which of right doth or ought to belong to me, whether at this time in my actual possession, or running their range at large, also all my stock of hogs and sheep, be the same more or less in number, wherever to be found, together with my wagons, gears, plows, harness, still and vessels, plantation and carpenter tools of every kind whatsoever.
To Jacob he conveys the plantation situate in the forks of the South Fork River and Clark's Creek and adjoining tracts, in all 960 acres, including the mill. This tract adjoins the western limits of Lincolnton. The residence for Derrick stood beside that of Jacob on the slope of the hill a few hundred feet to the west of the mill that was destined to become historic during the Revolution. The South Fork River, in a great bend, forms its junction with Clark's Creek. In this bend are three hundred acres of fertile bottom. Jacob Ramseur died in 1787, and was buried in a private burying ground, on the highest part of the ridge west of his house.
To David Ramseur he conveyed six hundred acres lying three miles farther up the river. This tract is likewise situate in a great bend of the river including a broad sweep of level bottom. On this farm today is the one story cabin built of immense hewn logs, erected by David Ramseur, a relic of pioneer days and architecture. The great stone chimney is built entirely inside the house with fireplace seven feet across, over which is a mantel nine feet long hewn out of a log. In the chimney are cross bars from which the pot-hooks were suspended to hold cooking utensils in position over the fire. This cabin occupies a knoll, commanding a fine view with picturesque surroundings. It slopes toward the south forty yards to the river, near by is the rock-walled spring, with stone steps leading down to its cool waters, shaded by giant white oaks. Next stands the old red-painted mansion characteristic of the early Dutch, built by his son, John Ramseur, every part of which is put together with hand forged nails. A little way out in the bottom is the brick mansion of Jacob Ramseur, son of John. These, with the modern residence of Thomas J. Ramseur, in view of each other, standing in a radius of half a mile, represent four generations of the Ramseur family. On a gentle knoll in the great bottom is the family burying ground, where rests Jacob Ramseur, who died in 1785, and many of his descendants.
The Germans encountered many hardships incident to the settlement of a new country, but one of their most trying ordeals was the change of their language from their native German to English. They called themselves Dutch and their language Dutch, and so are called to this day both by themselves and others. The pioneer Germans were Lutherans and Reformed, and they usually occupied the same house of worship, where on alternate Sabbaths they worshiped, and this is still the case in a number of churches. Four miles northwest of Lincolnton the pioneers established a place of worship and a schoolhouse called Daniel's, on a tract of fifty acres, but did not take a grant. In 1767, a grant was issued to Matthew Floyd for the tract of fifty acres including a "schoolhouse." In 1768, it was purchased by Nicholas Warlick, Frederick Wise, Urban Ashehanner, Peter Statler, Peter Summey, and Deter Hafmer, who conveyed it to the "two united congregations of Lutheran and Calvinists." The services were in German and the record written in German script until 1827. On this tract each has a brick church and by them stands the brick schoolhouse. Eleven miles east of Lincolnton, on the great highway is the site of the "Old Dutch Meeting House." The deed is from Adam Cloninger to the "German Congregation of Killian's Settlement." The first church lot in Lincolnton was conveyed June 10, 1788, to Christian Reinhardt and Andrew Heddick, trustees for the "societies of Dutch Presbyterians and Dutch Lutherans" of the town and vicinity, "for the intent and purpose of building thereon a meeting house for public worship, schoolhouses, both Dutch and English, and a place for the burial of the dead." This was called the old White Church and occupied the site of the present Lutheran church. The reference in title deeds to "Calvinists," and "Dutch Presbyterians" is to the German Reformed or as now known, the Reformed Church.
The pioneers brought with them Luther's German translation of the Bible. No dust was allowed to gather on this precious volume. These have been handed down from generation to generation, and in almost every family today can be found the Dutch bible of the pioneers printed in a language now considered foreign, yet justly esteemed precious heirlooms.
Rev. Johann Gottfried Arndt came from Germany as a school teacher in 1773, and was ordained into the Lutheran ministry in 1775. He died in 1807 and was buried beneath the old White Church in Lincolnton, the inscription on his tombstone is in German, above it and eagle and thirteen stars, and the motto of the new republic, "E pluribus unum." The Reformed preacher of this time was Rev. Andrew Loretz, a native of Switzerland. He died in 1812 and was buried at Daniel's. On the gable of his mansion, outlined in colored brick, are the initials of his name and the date, A.L.1793. Only the German was used during their pastorates. Living in the same county, and preaching in the same churches, these godly men were devoted friends, and engaged that whichever died first should be buried by the survivor. The Lutheran pastor at Daniel's is Rev. Luther L. Lohr, and in Lincolnton Rev. Robert A. Yoder, D.D., Descendants of the Dutch settlers. While Rev. William Ramseur Minter, pastor of the Presbyterian church in Lincolnton, is a grandson of Jacob Ramseur, and great-grandson of David Ramseur, both elders in that church; David Ramseur was a son of Jacob Ramseur, owner of the historic Ramseur's Mill.
The North Carolina Synod held an historic meeting in the"old White Church," in May 1820. Then occurred the first rupture in the Lutheran church in the New World. The president maintained his position in a long discourse in the German, the secretary followed in a longer one in English. This church and others withdrew and July 17th, organized the Tennessee Synod. At its first meeting German was made the business language and all its transactions were to be published in German. In 1825, the minutes were published in both German and English. In 1826, David Henkle was appointed interpreter for the members who did not understand the German, and it was ordered that "the business of Synod shall be transacted in the German language during the first three days, and afterwards the English shall be used."
But perhaps the greatest hindrance was in the state. The English was the dominant language. The laws were written and expounded in English, and all public affairs conducted in that language, and this prevented many from active participation in public affairs. The change was gradual, but was perhaps most marked between the years of 1820 and 1830. The entire German population outgrew the use of the German tongue. In their pulpits no longer is it heard, nor have they German schools. Now the Pennsylvania Dutch is seldom heard, and even in accent and idiom remain on but few tongues; yet it is sometimes observed in the use of the letters v and w, b, and p, t and d. This is seen in some of the family names; Bangle and Pangle are the same name; likewise Boovey and Poovey, Tarr and Darr; Davie Darr was called Tavy Tarr. A venerable elder of fragrant memory, when the preacher ascended the pulpit to begin service, was accustomed to step to the door and proclaim to those outside, "De Beobles will now come in, te breaching is reaty."
The Pennsylvania Dutchman had his humorous side, for "A little nonsense now and then is relished by the best of men."
They had their sports and amusements, their holidays and gala days, their Easter fun and Kriss Kringle frolics. Many of their sports and amusements partook more of skill and labor than dissipation and debauchery, such as cornshuckings, choppings, log-rollings, house-raising, spinning-matches, quiltings, and the like, tending to manly vigor and modest womanhood, and brightening the links of friendship and brotherly love. By hunting deer and turkey, the squirrel and other game they became expert riflemen. In the fall of the year shooting matches were common, the usual prize a quarter of beef or turkey. A witness at court, when asked to fix the date of a certain transaction, replied "at shooting-match time.' They were great fanciers of fine stock and the old Dutch farmer never felt more lordly than when hauling great loads with his sleek team of horses. The race track also had its devotees. Two prominent Germans were once called to the bar of the church for some cause resulting from a noted race run on the Warlick path. The one who lost expressed proper contrition. The other was incorrigible. Proud of his horse, the stakes and exulting in the plaudits of the community, he promptly responded "I not sorry. I von. Mr II verry sorry, he loss."
On the Dutch side are many signs and folklore of interest. The Dutch farmer is a close observer and is often governed by signs. The moon is a powerful potentate. Its phases are closely watched, and there is a time to plant every seed, cut timber and do many things. A champion turnip grower used an incantation of virtue in casting the seed, resulting in a fourfold quantity. Each time he threw the seed with his hand he repeated a line of the following: "Some for the pug, Some for the fly, Some for the Debil, And in comes I."
Michael Schenck, in 1813, erected the first cotton factory, run by water power, south of the Potomac. It was a small affair located on a branch, one mile east of Lincolnton, but proving profitable, attracted Col. John Hoke and Dr. James Bivins, and they became partners of Michael Schenck. The firm in 1819 erected the Lincoln Cotton Mills, with three thousand spindles, on the South Fork River, the beginning of the cotton mill industry in this section. This mill was burned in 1863.
There are situated in Lincolnton and within four miles along the South Fork, thirteen cotton mills controlled by descendants of the Dutch. The only cotton mill in the county at the close of the war was the Elm Grove, owned by John F. Phifer, now operated by Robert S. Reinhardt. The Confederate States government, about 1864, erected a laboratory for the manufacture of medicines on the site of the old Lincoln factory. In 1887, J.A. Abernethy and D.E. Rhyne erected the Laboratory Cotton Mills on the site of the Confederate laboratory. R.E. Costner, J.A. Abernethy, L.J. Dellinger, John M. Rhodes, and W.A. Rudisill are mill men. Daniel E. Rhyne is proprietor of these mills. Other successful mill men are J.A. Abernethy, Edgar Love, and J.M. Roberts. The late Capt. Joseph G. Morrison erected the Mariposa Mills, at the old Forney forge on Leeper's Creek. Paper mills were operated for many years on the South Fork. Among the noted manufacturers of paper were William and Rufus Tiddy.
One of the noted pioneers was Daniel Warlick. His entries approximate three thousand acres. In 1769, he made division of it among his five sons and four daughters. The oldest enterprise in the county today is the mill he established on a branch five miles west of Ramseur's. It was once destroyed by the Cherokees. This property has passed from father to son, and is today owned by Jacob R. Warlick, a great grandson. It is now a modern roller-mill, the motive power a water fall of sixty-two feet.
The old highway from Ramseur's Mill to Warlick's Mill crossed the South Fork at Reep's Ford, just below the present Ramseur bridge. Here lived Adam Reep and his brothers, Adolph and Michael, all Patriot soldiers. Just to the west, in a private burying ground, rests Nicholas Heamer, a patriot soldier and one of the last survivors of the battle of Ramseur's Mill.
The subject of dress properly occupies large space in woman's thought. In olden time there were no stores near with heavily laden shelves from which to select, but they knew how to color, then combine the colors in beautiful fabrics, and were expert in fine weaving. They perhaps were not bothered with gores and biases, frills and puffs, yet they had their trouble in cutting, fitting, and arranging the trimming as do those of the present with the latest magazine and fashion plate. It is certain that in the vigor and strength of perfect development they were fair to look upon, equally at home, in the parlor or in the kitchen alive to the wants of humanity and duty to God. Much of this inspiriting record is due the examples, counsels and prayers of pious mothers; and while the songs of the nursery mingle with lessons of peace and love, and tender hearts are impressed with religious truth the result will be men and women of high type.
As the century waned the German citizens were becoming prominent in public affairs. In 1797, John Ramseur represented Lincoln County in the House of Commons and twice afterwards. Then follows John Reinhardt in 1799, Peter Forney in 1800; Peter Hoyle in 1802 and fourteen times afterwards; Henry Hoke in 1803; David Shuford in 1806. Then follows Loretz, Killian, Cansler, and others.
Henry Cansler was long an influential citizen. He filled the offices of county surveyor, sheriff, clerk of court, and member of the General Assembly. His father and grandfather each wrote his name in the German, Philip Gantzler.
John F. Reinhardt, confederate soldier, planter, commoner and senator, is a great-grandson of Christian Reinhardt, "agent of the Dutch Presbyterians." He owns the Bartlett Shipp homestead. His father, Franklin M. Reinhardt, operated the Rehobeth furnace.
Andrew Hedick, a great-grandson of Andrew Hedick, "agent of the Dutch Lutherans." resides on the ancestral homestead. He lost his right arm in the fearful struggle at Chancellorsville. After the war he attended Pleasant Retreat, and prepared himself for school teaching. For many years he filled the office of county treasurer and is one of the county's most honored citizens. Andrew Hedick is likewise the survivor of the usually mortal wound of a musket ball passing entirely through his body, as are also Abel Seagle and David Keever.
David Schenck, grandson of Michael Schenck, was a great advocate and lawyer, a judge of the Superior Court and historian. He removed to Greensboro in 1882 and has a monument in the Guilford Battleground.
John F. Hoke, son of Col. John Hoke, won a captain's commission in the Mexican War, and commanded his company with gallantry in the battles of Cerro Gordo, Tolema, and National Bridge. He was Adjutant-General in North Carolina and colonel in the American Civil War. He was an able lawyer, and often the representative of Lincoln County in the General Assembly. His son, William Alexander Hoke, as citizen, lawyer, legislator, judge of the Superior Court, and now Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, occupies a large space in public esteem.
Michael Hoke, son of Col, John Hoke, was an eminent lawyer and an accomplished orator, whose brilliant career added luster to his county and commonwealth. The campaign of 1844 justly ranks among the famous in the history of the state. There were many causes contributing to its intensity. It was a presidential election. Henry Clay, the Whig nominee, a matchless orator and idol of his party, made a speech in Raleigh on the 12th day of June of that year. James K. Polk, of Tennessee, a native of Mecklenburg and graduate of our state university, was a nominee of the Democrats, and his party hoped to carry the state.
The Republic of Texas was seeking annexation to the United States, and this was a burning issue. Each political party was on its mettle, and marshalling its forces for a battle royal. Standard bearers must be selected with care and the very best. Each party named a son of Lincoln County as its candidate for governor. The Democrats nominated Michael Hoke, a gentleman of fine person, fine address, of long legislative experience and high position at the bar, whose ease of manner and brilliancy of oratory won for him troops of friends. The Whigs were equally fortunate in the selection of William A. Graham, a man of exalted character and ability; and like his competitor, the fairness of his conduct, his open, generous temper, and elevated mode of argument met the highest expectation of his most ardent admirers. Never in any campaign were two political antagonists more evenly matched. Both were in the prime of life. Hoke was only thirty-four and Graham was forty years of age. Both were strikingly handsome men, tall, well-formed, and graceful, of polished manner and placid temper, pure of character and free from guile. While possessing all of these amiable qualities when it came to the advocacy of the principals of their respective parties, or assaulting those of the other, they exhibited the courage of a Washington and the aggessiveness of a Jackson. The dignified and majestic presence of Graham was formidably rivaled by the matchless manner and ready humor of Hoke. Their joint canvass was a battle of giants. Graham was elected governor, Clay carried the state and Polk was elected President. Hoke scarce survived the campaign. He died September 9, 1844, at the youthful age of 34 years, 4 months and 7 days.
Among the record of baptisms at Daniel's is this. "George Kuhn, und desen frau ihr sohn George Gebohren den 31 ten December, 1809, Taufzeugen sind Johnannes Rudisill und desen frau," which being translated reads,"George Coon and his wife, their son George was born the 31st December, 1809, sponsors John Rudisill and his wife." The infant George grew into a man full of years and honor. An old Frenchman in Lincolnton, Lorenzo Ferrer, often bought farm products from Mr. Coon, and so admired his perfect integrity, and "full measure of potatoes," that one of his bequests was: "I will and bestow to honest George Koon one hundred dollars."
Lorenzo Ferrer, having been introduced, shall have place in this history. he was a native of Lyons, France, but spent his long life from early manhood in Lincolnton. He died August 6, 1875, aged ninety-six years. He had his coffin made to order and gave directions concerning his grave. It is marked by a recumbent slab, supported on marble columns. The first paragraph of his will in these words:
"I, Lorenzo Ferrer, here write my last will and testament whilst I am in Possession of my faculties, as I have shortly to appear at the tribunal of St. Peter at the gate of eternity; when St. Peter is to pronounce according to my merits or demerits; for our Lord Jesus Christ entrusted the key to Heaven to St. Peter and enjoined him to admit the deserving to enter into Heaven and enjoy an eternal happiness, but to condemn the undeserving defrauders to the everlasting sulphurious flames in the Devil's abode. Therefore, I am endeavoring to comfort myself in such a manner in order to merit an eternal happiness in the presence of God, and his angels, and in company with St. Peter, St. Titus, and the other saints. For I an anxious to converse with those martyred saints and rejoice with them at the firmness, patience, and willingness they endured at their martyrdom for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am also in hope to see and embrace my kind an honest friends Michael Hoke, William Lander, and other good and honest friends with whom I hope to enjoy an eternal felicity,"etc.
Adam Spring approached the dark river with no such beatific vision. In the confident possession of a sound mind and good judgement he likewise wrote his own will, the first part of which follows: "North Carolina, Lincoln county, Know all men by these presents, that I Adam A. Springs, believing himself of sufficient judgement of mind do now set about making my will in hopes that my surviving fellow citizens will aid me in the disposal of my wish. If it should lack form, I call upon our Constitution. Then I ordain this my last will and testament as follows: As to my soul or finer part, whatever it may be, I surrender to its author without any impertinent and intrusive requests against the immutable laws of Deity. In the first place, I will to be buried alongside of James Henderson on the hill on the east of the shoals formerly called Henderson's Shoals,"etc.
Mr. Springs was one of the first students at the state university, a graduate of the class of 1798, a large real estate owner, including among his possession the Henderson Shoals on the South Fork River, afterwards known as the Spring Shoals, now McAdensville, where his dust reposes beside James Henderson. The paper-writing was propounded for probate, a caveat entered, the issue, devisavit vel non, submitted, the will established, and executed by his surviving fellow citizens according to the true intent and meaning therof.
A will of marked conciseness and brevity, and the shortest in the county is that of the late V.A. McBee. Mr McBee was a University graduate, lawyer, three times clerk of the Superior Court, and left a considerable estate in North and South Carolina. His entire will with date and signature contains but twenty-three words: "I will all of my estate, real and personal to my wife, Mary Elizabeth McBee, this 31st day of March, 1888. V. A. McBee."
Robert F. Hoke and Stephen D. Ramseur, twin soldiers of destiny, became distinguished Major Generals in the armies of the Confederacy. Their gallant deeds and noble services added luster to their home and country. The one survives, honored and loved; the soil of Virginia drank the precious blood of the other.
The laudable principles, liberty of conscience, health of state, and purity or morals, the Dutch hold in sacred esteem; the great virtues of the home and the common duties of the good citizens have ever charmed most of their ambitions. Of persistent energy, high purpose, and sturdy inclination, they have made and are making indestructible footprints of nobly performed deeds in the varied sands of life that will remain a memorial to them for all time.
The Civil War
The men of Lincoln County bore an honorable part in the American Revolution, and were in evidence in the second bout with the mother country; they helped to win Texan Independence and fought in the Mexican War; at the outbreak of the great American Civil War, they presented a solid front in defense of their Southland.
Stephen D. Ramseur, a graduate of West Point, and a lieutenant in the United States army, resigned his commission, tendered his service to the Confederacy and was appointed captain of the artillery; by promotion he passed the rank of Major General, and met the death of a hero at Cedar Creek, on the 19th of October, 1864.
Alvin DeLane was a soldier in the United States Navy, whose flag was endeared to him by many years of service. When the war clouds gathered a decision was to be made. He hesitated not; the battlecry of the South expressed his sentiment and his resolve: "In Dixie land I'll take my stand, And live and die for Dixie."
In the darkness of the night he scaled the walls of Fort Sumter with a ladder, which served him many hours as a float on the briny deep, was rescued, became the hero of Charleston, and for the next four years a gallant Confederate.
William S. Bynum, the soldier boy, September 25th, 1862, at the age of fourteen years, enlisted in Company K, 42d Regiment, and was a gallant Confederate until the surrender.
Lincoln County furnished the Confederacy eight full companies:
(1) The Southern Stars, Company K, Bethel Regiment, William
J. Hoke, Captain;
Many of the Bethel soldiers won commissions of honor. Capt William J. Hoke became Colonel of the 38th Regiment; Second Lieutenant Robert F. Hoke was promoted through the grades to the rank of Major General; Eric Erson was Lieutenant Colonel of the 52d Regiment; William R. Edwards, Sidney Haynes, John F. Speck, Benjamin F. Grigg, Peter M. Mull, Lauson A. Dellinger, and James D. Wells won Captains commissions; while David A. Coon, Ed. D. Sumner, W.A. Summerow and George M. Hoke were 1st Lieutenants, and Lemuel J. Hoyle, Charles Elmer, Josephus Houser and Oliver A. Ramseur, 2nd Lieutenants.
John F. Hoke was Brigadier General and Adjutant General of the State. Through him the volunteer regiments were organized. He was the first Colonel of the 23d Regiment, and at the surrender was Colonel of the 73d Regiment.
William Preston Bynum entered the service as 1st Lieutenant of the Beattie's Ford Rifles; this company was mustered in as Company K, 23d Regiment; he was promoted Lieutenant Colonel, and Colonel of the 2d Regiment.
Robert D. Johnson, 2nd Lieutenant of the Beatties' Ford Rifles, rose by promotion for gallantry to the rank of Brigadier General. He was wounded at Seven Pines, Gettysburg, and on the Catawba River.
Other commissioned officers: Colonel - Samuel D. Lowe. Lieutenant Colonels - Hiram W. Abernethy and Charles J. Hammarskold. Majors - Sidney M. Finger and William A. Graham. Captains - James T. Adams, Philip W. Carpenter A.H. Houston, G.W. Hunter, James F. Johnston, William H. Johnston, Joseph F. Johnston, James M. Kincaid, Milton Lowe, Joseph G. Morrison, George L. Phifer, Benjamin H. Sumner, Woodberry Wheeler, and C.C.Wrenshall. First Lieutenants - Peter S. Beal, John H. Boyd, John P. Cansler, William H. Hill, Wallace M. Reinhardt, Daniel Reinhardt, Thomas L. Seagle. Second Lieutenants- Thomas Abernethy, William Arndt, William H. Hill, Wallace M. Reinhardt, Daniel Asbury, George W. Beam, Caleb Bisaner, John Caldwell, Eli Crowell, Henry Eaton, Henry Fullenwider, John F. Goodson, Emmanuel Houser, Bruce Houston, Lee Johnston, Thomas Lindsey, William M. Munday, John Rendleman, Samuel Rendleman, David Rhodes, Alfred Robinson, Samuel Thompson, W.A. Thompson, Henry Wells, Rufus Warlick. Chaplains - Robert B. Anderson and Eugene W. Thompson
Summary - Two major-generals, one brigadier-general, four colonels, twenty-eight captains, sixteen first lieutenants, thirty-three second lieutenants, and 1,219 non-commissioned officers and privates, a grand total of 1,311 Confederate soldiers.
Excerpted from: The History of Lincoln County, by Alfred Nixon, with minor edits. Click Here to download a Word document of the entire original text.