History in Chron Order for Randolph County, N.C.

Billie Harris - Sep 1, 2008


Historical Chronology of Randolph County
A rough chronology of the history of Randolph County was first developed in October 1976, by the editors of the Randolph Bicentennial history book, Charlesanna Fox, Carolyn Hager, and Bobbie Grigg. These mimeographed notes were for many years distributed by the Randolph Room of the Asheboro-Randolph Public Library. For the Leadership Randolph lecture of 1996 I revised the chronology, and brought it up to that date. I revised it again in 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2005. Obviously it’s in need of being caught up again, when I have the time!   Copying the file into wordpress has created some formatting issues, which I don’t readily know how to fix.   But the information is here, so tha’s what matters.
Year       Event

1670         John Lederer led an exploration party through Randolph County and to the west as far as the Catawba River area.

1694         John Needham and Gabriel Arthur, Traders for Abraham Wood, of Fort Henry, Virginia, came through Randolph County on a trip to the Catawba Indians. Fort Henry (now Petersburg) was a trading center for this area during the Colonial period.

1701         John Lawson, English explorer, toured the piedmont section of North Carolina, including the Uwharrie mountains, on February 3.

1740-1770 First white settlers (Germans, Scotch-Irish and English) came from Pennsylvania and also from the Eastern Seaboard of North Carolina. All this area was then part of Rowan and Orange counties. 1746: Duncan McCullom had King’s grant for land on Sandy Creek. 1753: Jeremiah Reynolds-deed to 260 acres of land on Polecat Creek; Zebulan Gant, wheelwright, bought of James Carter for five shillings 632 acres on the south fork of Deep River. 1755: Land at the Cedar Falls on both sides of Deep River granted to Herman Husbands; Lord Granville sold Henry Ballinger a tract of land on Polecat Creek; 480 acres on Deep River to Anthony Hoggett; 420 acres on Deep River to Phillip Hoggett. 1761: Andrew Hoover (Andrea Huber) purchased a tract in the forks of the Uwharrie River for use as a mill site (later known as Rush’s or Skeen’s Mill).

1744         Granville District created in lands granted by King Charles II to John Carteret, Earl of Granville. Southern boundary was on Randolph County southern line.

1746         Duncan McCullom given King’s grant for land on Sandy Creek.

1753         Early land grants: Jeremiah Reynolds-deed to 260 acres of land on Polecat Creek. Zebulan Gant, wheelwright, bought of James Carter for five shillings 632 acres on the south fork of Deep River.

1755         Land at the Cedar Falls on both sides of Deep River granted to Herman Husbands by Lord Granville. Lord Granville sells Henry Ballinger a tract of land on Polecat Creek. He sold to Anthony Hoggett 480 acres on Deep River; and 420 acres on Deep River to Phillip Hoggett.

Sandy Creek Baptist Church built by colony of 16 Baptists under leadership of Elder Shubal Stearns, of Boston. He and his wife are buried at Sandy Creek. The church had hundreds of members until they dispersed after the “War of the Regulation,” and is considered the “Grandmother Church” of the Southern Baptist Convention.

1767 Hillsborough District Court created to include areas which became Randolph County. Superior Court was held in Hi1lsborough, Orange County, until 1807.

1768 Numerous Randolph men were outlawed by Governor Tryon for being Regulators and participating in raids against the loyalists; names included Husbands, York, Cox, Craven, Kivett, Branson, Low, Fields, Pugh, Moffitt, and Julian.

1769 Henry Powell sold three acres of land to Providence Monthly Meeting of Friends. Holly Spring first mentioned as a Monthly Meeting in the minutes of Cane Creek Meeting.

l770 Parts of Rowan and Orange Counties combined to form Guilford, including areas later divided off as Rockingham and Randolph Counties (the Act was effective April 1, 1771).

1771 Battle of Alamance ended the “War of the Regulation.” Regulators and Governor Tryon’ s troops met in skirmishes which ended on June 14. Six Regulators were hanged in Hillsborough, including James Pugh and Benjamin Merrill.

Quakers from the Island of Nantucket begin arriving in North Carolina, settling first around New Garden Meeting (now Guilford College). Nantucket Quakers brought an active opposition to slavery to North Carolina, encouraging emancipation and forming societies for protection of runaway slaves. Under the leadership of the Coffin family, this grew into the “Underground Railroad.”

1773 Samuel Walker devised his mill on Sandy Creek to his son, William Walker in 1773. Samuel Walker was granted leave to build a grist mill in 0range County in 1756 on Sandy Creek.

1776-l781 Years of the American Revolution; County was scene of skirmishes between Patriots and Tories. Population less than 7,000.

1779 Randolph County formed from Guilford County by act of the General Assembly meeting in Halifax, February 26. Document signed by Richard Caswell Governor, Named for Peyton Randolph of Virginia, (1721-1775) President of the Continental Congress.

1779 First County Court met at Abraham Reece’s house (between Brown’s Cross Roads and Randleman) March 8, 1779. Act providing for formation of county was read, William Bell was elected Sheriff; William Millikan, Register of Deeds; Absalom Tatom, Clerk, William Cole, Joseph Hinds, William Bell and Enoch Davis were appointed to hold court. Three Courts held at Reece’s home.

1779 First court house (a log house) was built on the land of Stephen Rigdon. The fourth court was held here in December, 1779 (now site of Channel 8 TV tower on US 311).

1781 Loyalist guerrilla leader David Fanning moved to the area from Ninety-Six, S.C. beginning raids against the Patriots which ended in 1783 when he fled to Nova Scotia. The “Fort of Deep River at Cox’s Mills” (near Buffalo Ford) was his headquarters. His most impressive exploit was the capture of the Governor and most of the General Assembly in a raid on Hillsborough; the site of his battle at the House in the Horseshoe is a state historic site.

1781 Cornwallis camped at the home of Martha and William Bell on Deep River, following the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, which occurred on March 15. William Bell’s mill was the headquarters of the British rear guard and baggage train during the battle.

1781 Persons accused of being disloyal to the Patriot cause and the new State of North Carolina were required to appear before the court and take the oath of allegiance. Those who refused were declared outlaws. Captain William Clark commanded the Randolph County Light Horse, the only mounted military unit to oppose David Fanning.

1781 General Cornwa1lis surrendered to General Washington at Yorktown, Virginia, on October 19.

1782 On March 10 Colonel Andrew Balfour was murdered at his home by David Fanning and a band of Tories. On this same raid the Tories murdered Captain John Bryan and burned the p1antations of Colonel Collier and Major Dougan, as well as several other Patriot’s homes.

1782 In May, Andrew Hunter escaped down Faith Rock in Franklinville on David Fanning’s horse, leaving behind the Loyalists and certain death, according to Fanning’s diary and historical legend.

1784 Two-story court house was erected at Cr6ss Roads; first court was held in this building in March, 1786.

1784-1800 Post-war industrial development. In 1784 a mill site in Franklinville area granted to Jacob Skeen, Thomas Cox established a mill on Deep River, and John Henly built a mill on the Uwharrie River. Solomon Fuller owned a mill on Caraway Creek at the Rough Shoals (1785); Elisha Mendenhall built Coltrane’s Mill on Deep River in 1787. Peter Dicks settled. in Randleman-New Sa1em area in 1800 and built a grist mill on Deep River. Location known as Dicks. Later called Union Factory (1848); then Randleman (1866). Christian Morris purchased the Franklinville area from Jacob Skeen in 1801and built a grist and carding mill.

1785         Back Creek Friends Meeting organized.

Randolph County trading areas were Cheraw, S.C. for shipping from Charleston, and Fayetteville for shipping up the Cape Fear from Wilmington. After construction of the North Carolina Railroad in the 1850s, trade shifted toward Greensboro and High Point

1786         Old Union Methodist Episcopal Church organized. One of the earliest earliest camp meetings in North Carolina was held at Old Union that year.

l787 Andrew Jackson authorized on December 11 to practice law in county courts in Randolph and several nearby counties. He was 20 years old at this time. He was officially admitted to practice in the county court in March, 1788.

1788 Town of Johnstonville established by the N.C. General Assembly. Jeduthan Harper, Jesse Henly, Samuel Millikan, William Bell and Zebedee Wood were appointed Commissioners of the town. Named for Governor Samuel Johnston. Located at the “Cross Roads,” the intersection of the Fayetteville-Salem Road, “Moore’s Road,” and the Indian Trading Path.

1789 Richland Lutheran Church organized.

1790 Archdale established. Known as Bush Hill until 1887 when name was changed to Archdale in honor of John Archdale, Quaker Governor of the Colony of North Carolina in 1694.

1793 County Seat moved to Asheboro so as to be located in the center of the county. Two acres of land conveyed by Jesse Henly on Abraham’s Creek for public buildings. June 12, 1793, first court was held there in a small wooden building.

1793 Uwharrie Friends Meeting purchases lot; probably already established; meeting discontinued by 1860.

1796 Town of Asheboro received legislative charter dated December 25, 1796; named for Samuel Ashe, Governor of North Carolina.

1797 Marlborough Friends Meeting established. Name shortened to Marlboro in 1838.

1797 ca.         Renegade Moravian potter Jacob Meyer opens pottery near Mt. Shepherd, scene of excavations in 1973-1975. That area is the home of numerous German settlers at this time.

1802 Jonathan Worth was born in Guilford County on November 18. In 1824 he moved to Asheboro and began the practice of law.

1807 First Superior Court session was held in Randolph County in April.

1808 Naomi Wise drowned in Deep River at Randleman by Jonathan Lewis. The ballad which was soon written about this event has become one of North Carolina’s best-known traditional songs.

1809 First recorded reference to “new town of Liberty” in Randolph County deed registering transaction between John Brown & Jacob Warren.

1816         Town of New Salem was organized.

1819 Early libraries were incorporated in New Salem, Caraway and Ebenezer along with 32 in the state.

1820 Elisha Coffin purchased Morris mills on Deep River, now site of Franklinville. Son of a Nantucket sailor, Coffin, his father, uncles and cousins were heavily involved with anti-slavery activities, including the Underground Railroad. In 1821, Elisha Coffin assisted his father Bethuel and cousin Levi Coffin in smuggling the escaped slave Jack Barnes to Indiana.

John Long elected to U.S. House of Representatives from North Carolina. Lived at Long’s Mill near Guilford and Alamance County lines. Served until 1828. Grandson John Wesley Long was a doctor who founded Wesley Long Hospital in Greensboro.

1822 First Bible School in North Carolina held at Springfield near Archdale; sponsored by Allen U. Tomlinson of Archdale who conducted school for 40 years.

1821 Bethel Friends Meeting established.

1824 Melanchton Lutheran Church established by members of the Richland Lutheran Church.

1825 State Literary Board was established. Fund was set up to provide state aid to public schools.

1827 Asheboro City Cemetery was used for the first time (Marsh family plot).

1833         First newspaper published in the county: “Southern Citizen”, edited by Benjamin Swaim, printed in New Salem; later moved to Asheboro..

1834 Asheboro Methodist Episcopal Church, South, established. Land for the building was donated .by Benjamin Elliott.

Bethany Methodist Church near Liberty established.

1835 Many Carolinians left for the West. One-third of the population of Indiana in l850 had come from North Carolina, and many of these were from Randolph County. Randolph County, Indiana, was named for this county.

1836 Industrialization begins, with five cotton textile factories built on Deep River by 1850. The first cotton factory the county established at Cedar Falls grist mill by Benjamin Elliott, Philip Horney, Alfred H. Marsh and Henry B. Elliott. Second factory in the county built at Franklinville in 1838 by Elisha Coffin, Henry B. Elliott, Henry Kivett and John Miller. This was the first brick mill, and the first to include weaving. Island Ford Factory built in Franklinville in 1845, is the third. It is located at the site where Crawford’s Road toward Cheraw crossed the river. Union Factory built in Randleman by Jesse Walker, William Clark, Joseph Newlin, James Dicks and William Hinshaw in 1848. Columbia Factory is begun in 1848 at Allen’s Fall (Ramseur) by Isaac H. Foust, Washington Brower, Henry Kivett and David Kime. Due to a smallpox epidemic it is not finished until 1850. It was later purchased by W. H. Watkins and A. W. E. Capel. These five factories in Randolph County are one of the three largest manufacturing communities in the state by the Civil War; Alamance County also has five factories; Fayetteville has eight.

1839 Union Institute (so-called because it represented the united effort of local Quakers and Methodists) was founded at Trinity by Professor Brantley York, born in Sandy Creek area. It became Normal College in 1851; Trinity College in 1859; moved to Durham in 1892. The first building was a one-story frame structure 25×50 feet, divided into two rooms of equal size by an 8-foot central hallway. Each classroom was heated by two fireplaces.

Asheboro Female Academy opened June 17, with Miss Eliza Rae, of Boston, as teacher. Jonathan Worth was chairman of the Schoo1Committee. Students attended the Academy and lived at home or boarded in homes.

1840 The U.S. Census finds 12,000 residents of the county, only 723 of whom were able to read and write. As many as seven private academies operated in the county, with occasional and sporadic terms taught by roving schoolmasters paid by “subscription,” pledges raised from and paid by the parents of the students. Free schools were established this year by state law in North Carolina, to be regularly open 3 or 4 months a year. The county was divided into 21 school districts; by 1859 there were 63 districts. Reading, writing, arithmetic, the Testament and spelling were the chief studies, minutes of school committee show.

1842 Braxton Craven, born near Coleridge, became head teacher at Union Institute. He remained as head of the school until his death in 1882.

The Reverend Thomas C. Moffitt organized Pleasant Ridge, Pleasant Grove, Christian Union, Park’s Cross Roads and Shiloh Christian Churches.

1847 Franklinsville was first chartered as town, named for former N.C. Governor Jesse Franklin. In 1918, a new charter was received and its name was shortened to Franklinville.

1848 Hoover Hill Gold Mine established on the farm of Joseph Hoover in Tabernacle Township. The deposit was worked from two main shafts, the deepest of which was 350 feet. Closed after the Civil War, the mine was reactivated from 1881 to 1895 by a London-based corporation supervised by Basil John Fisher. The county has had more than thirty operating gold mines at various times.

1850 Asheborough Presbyterian Church established, located on the corner of the Fayetteville Road and present-day Worth Street opposite the present Court House (the site is now the parking lot and drive-through for Wachovia Bank).

1851 129-mile-long plank road built from Winston-Salem to Fayetteville, the longest in the world. First steam saw mill in county built by John Milton Worth south of Asheboro to provide lumber. 20,000 wagons travelled the road in 1854. Toll houses were located about eleven miles apart: Why Not, Asheboro, New Market, and Archdale.

Ramseur Baptist Church organized.

1855 St. Paul’s Methodist Episcopal Church in Randleman established. Brick building of 1879 restored by North Randolph Historical Society and opened as a museum here in 1967.

1857 Poplar Ridge Friends Meeting established.

1859 Daniel Worth, Wesleyan (or, “Abolitionist”) Methodist missionary, was arrested for distributing “incendiary literature” (banned anti-slavery books). He was tried twice, in both Randolph and Guilford Counties, and almost lynched by a mob. Convicted in a trial in Asheboro, he as allowed to leave the state on bond and never returned.

1860     S.C. seceded from union Dec. 20, 1860. N.C. was loyal to union by a large majority, but voted to secede on May 20, 1861. 2,570 Randolph County residents voted against secession; only 45 voters favored it.

l861     3,000 men and boys left Randolph County to become part of the Confederate forces. Companies: I,L and M of the 22d N.C. Regiment; H of the 38th N.C. Regiment; F and G of the 46th N.C. Regiment; B of the 52d N.C. Regiment; F of the 70th N.C. Regiment; F of the 2d Battalion; H of the 3d N.C. Regiment; half of E of the 44th N.C. Regiment; and companies H of the 44th N,C. Regiment A and D of the 8th Battalion.

In an effort to keep Trinity College students in school, Braxton Craven organized the student body into the Trinity Guards, a company of home guard reserves. In December 1861 they were sent to guard the Confederate prison established at Salisbury, NC; after this assignment the troops were assigned to other units and few students remained at Trinity.

1861-65     Male Academy on South Fayetteville Street in Asheboro used as barracks. Grounds were used for drill and military training.

1862         Jonathan Worth elected Treasurer of North Carolina, serving until his election as Governor. First Peace Meeting in opposition to the war held at “Scott’s Old Field” in Tabernacle township, on March 12th. Fifty men line up behind a white flag held by John C. Hill to indicate their preference for the Union.

1863 Iron ore from Iron Mountain mine in Grant township refined at “[Leander] York’s Iron Works,” also known as Bush Creek Iron Works. Furnace was at mouth of Bush Creek in Franklinsville; run on contract to Confederate “Nitre and Mining Bureau” by local partnership.

Peace meeting held on Little River on August 15th passes resolutions urging a stop “to this wicked, unholy, bloody war.” Leaders J.D. Cox, W.M. Smith, Dr. E. Phillips and William Gollihorn favor peace on any terms.

1864 Peace candidates win all contested elections in Randolph, from sheriff to legislature and Confederate Congress. Randolph is one of only 3 NC counties to vote for Peace candidate for Governor, W.W. Holden.

1865 Jonathan Worth elected Governor of North Carolina. He served until 1868. He is the only governor elected from this county.

Confederate troops under Col. A.C. McAlister were ordered to Randolph County to disperse bands of deserters and draft evaders. McAlister and his 600 men puts the county under martial law, stationing themselves to protect important transportation and manufacturing areas from robbery and destruction. He reports that at least 200 deserters were organized into raiding parties, and makes more than 100 arrests. On March 22nd, McAlister’s men surprise a group of “outliers” at the spring near Page’s Toll House on the Plank Road (now Seagrove), shooting Alpheus Gollihorn, a deserter, and arresting Union Army Private William F. Waters of the Indiana Cavalry, who had been leading the group. Waters was taken to Asheboro, found guilty at a court martial, and executed by firing squad on April 1. On the same day McAlister and his troops are ordered to Salisbury to meet Stoneman’s Raiders.

Three brigades under General Joseph Johnston’s command make camp at Bethel Methodist Church near Red Cross on April 16. Johnston’s exhausted army expects to meet Sherman’s troops in battle at any time. With Johnston’s surrender to Sherman on April 26, the men march to Bush Hill (now Archdale) on May 1-2, where they are mustered out.

In post-war referendum, Randolph County votes 720-28 for a state ordinance abolishing slavery. Slaves gained their citizenship after the Civil War and came to the Court House to register and legalize their marriages. Freedman’s Bureau school is established at Middleton Academy in Franklinville.

1866 Mrs. Eugenia Moss McCain became first female Post Master in Asheboro; served for 42 years (until 1908). John Randleman and John H. Ferree bought Union Factory and changed name to Randleman.

1867 Friends from a Baltimore Friends Meeting established a model farm in northwest Randolph near Archdale. The farm became a school of agriculture when there was a great need for assistance following the Civil War.

1868 New state constitution ratified by the people of the state. North Carolina was readmitted to the Union. Sixteen townships established with corporate powers; administered by a Clerk and two Justices of the Peace elected for 2-year terms. The Board controlled taxes, finances, road maintenance, bridge construction and school operation. These administrative powers were taken away by the state constitution of 1876.

1869 O. R. Cox purchased Cedar Falls Manufacturing Company with nine other shareholders. Resigned as Sheriff to enter business.

First church for Negroes in Asheboro was Bulla’s Grove on South Fayetteville St. Name changed to St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in 1920 and moved to Burns Street. New building dedicated in 1971.

1876 Dr. John M. Worth elected State Treasurer. He served until 1885.

“Randolph Regu1ator,” published by Marmaduke S. Robins; later published as the “Asheboro Courier” and owned by W. C. Hammer,

Science Hill Friends Meeting set up by Friends from Back Creek M.M.

1879 Naomi Factory built by J. E. Walker, John H. Ferree, J.0. Pickard and Amos Gregson. Named for Naomi Wise.

1880 Enterprise Factory established at Coleridge by James A, Cole, E. A. Moffitt and Daniel Lambert,

1881 Worth Manufacturing Company built at Worthville, Dr. John M. Worth, President; T. C. Worth and Hal M. Worth. Worth Manufacturing Company (No. 2) was built at Central Fal1s. Other persons besides the Worth family also invested in this company,

1882 First woman bookkeeper in county: Mrs. Mamie Pomeroy Michols at Naomi Falls Manufacturing Co. Rev. Brantley York’s Grammar of the English Language, published in 1879, in use in adult schools throughout the county.

1884 Cape Fear and Yadkin Valley Railroad (30 miles in County through Liberty and Staley with branch line to Ramseur) built. Staley Post Office established.

1885 Liberty Academy opened for first school term, In 1894 name changed to Liberty Public School.

“Asheboro Courier” first published under this name. Hopewell Friends Meeting established.

Shiloh Academy built as a community project. Served area students and was also a boarding school.

1886 Captain Basil John Fisher of England purchased land in Asheboro, Moved here with Captain St. Clair Winn and Captain C. Slingsley Wainman. Interested in gold mining. Owned home on what is now Sunset Avenue, and which later became Memorial Hospital. Captains Winn and Wainman died here and are buried in Catholic enclosure of City Cemetery.

1886 Liberty Baptist Church established in March. South Plainfield Friends Meeting established.

1888 Disastrous fire in Liberty destroyed large portion of town. Another fire in 1895 caused great damage.

1888-1892 Roman Catholic Church services conducted in Asheboro by visiting priest. A small building on North Street was used for services.

1889 Liberty chartered as town on January 30. First mayor was Henry Lilly Brower. Ulah Post Office established. Closed in 1953.

The High Point. Randleman and Asheboro branch of the Southern Railroad completed to Asheboro. At that time there were two stores and twenty-two houses in Asheboro.

1890 Randleman was largest town in the county, with population of 1,754. J. A. Blair published “Reminiscenses of Randolph County” (first county history). Wesleyan Methodist Churches organized at Neighbors Grove and High Pines. First United Church of Christ in Randleman organized; known as St. John’s Church.

1890-1920 Covered bridges were built over most of the streams in the county but most of them were removed during the rural road building program of the 1950’s. Some 50 bridges were in use during the 1930’s. Skeen’s Mill and Pisgah Bridges are standing but not in use in 1976, two of only four left in the State.

1891 Sophia Post Office established. Asheboro Graded School established. Reverend J. B. Game was first principal. Nine grades were first provided with the tenth grade added in 1909-1910. Asheboro Methodist Protestant Church organized. Located on South Fayetteville Street in block between Academy and Wainman, West side.

1892 Trinity College moved to Durham.

1893 Why Not Academy established; in operation until 1915. Total county tax revenues: $21,622.90 (Personal Property: $8,871.09; Real Property: $9,759.88; for Schools: $13,867.26; for Old Age Pension: $1,605.67).

1894 County business and industries named in the Branson Business Directory included 50 gold mines, 12 textile mills, 1 hosiery mill, 1 broom works, 2 shoe manufacturers, 5 tanneries and harness factories, 2 lumber manufacturing companies, 1 carriage and buggy works, 2 chair factories, 3 brick and tile works, 9 potteries, 7 wood and milling companies, 1 stove factory, 2 shuttle block factories, 1 sash and blind factory, 1 cigar factory. 1894 Directory lists 8 lawyers (all in Asheboro), 4 hotels and 12 boarding houses, 7 roller mills, 85 grist mills, 30 saw mills, 45 ministers, 2 weekly and monthly newspapers, 34 physicians, 81 post offices, 8 academies and 136 public schools.

1895-1898 Aberdeen and Asheboro Railroad Company chartered by the Page family of Aberdeen. Norfolk Southern Railroad Co. purchased franchise in 1912.

1895 Ramseur incorporated on March 31; named for General Stephen A. Ramseur. Ramseur Broom Works opened for business by Mr. A.H. Thomas. First graduate nurse in Asheboro, Mrs. Etta Kearns Douthat. Central Hotel opened for business; closed in 1953 and was demolished following a fire. Brokaw Estate purchased in Trinity Township; used as. hunting lodge by William Gould Brokaw; sold in 1922 after Manor house burned.

1896 Liberty Methodist Episcopal Church established. In 1939 merged with Liberty Methodist Protestant Church which was established in 1891.

1897 Asheboro Telephone Company organized for providing telephone service. In 1931 this Company was bought by the Central Telephone Company. November- Bank of Randolph is established in Asheboro by J.M. Worth, W.J. Armfield and others, with $16,000 capital stock; merges with Wachovia,

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