During the 1970’s Mr. A. B. Markham of Durham created a map locating grants and related deeded lands found in early Wake County NC. Formed in 1771, Wake County grew from Orange to the north and west, Johnston to the east and Cumberland County to the south. Serving as one of several migratory starting points for this story, Mr. Markham's map identified a grouping of families living in the vicinity of Utley Creek near the present day town of Holly Springs. Situated in the southwest corner of Wake County, these families can be found even earlier in records of Cumberland County. Most of the pertinent records in Wake County were destroyed by fire in 1832. Joseph Thomas, Shadrack and Sampson Holland, Leonard Green, Christopher Osborne, William and Daniel Barker, Ethelred Jones, Henry Kent, and Henry Smith all owned land on or near Utley Creek. During the late 1770’s, some of these families began the move to Mecklenburg County NC.
Dated 2 Feb 1779, Leonard Green purchased land (blue in color on illustration below) from William Mitchell (Mecklenburg 10-475) situated on the south side of Rocky River. Earlier owners going back to 1771 are first Gov. Abner Nash followed subsequently by Burdig Howell, Peter Kizer, and Joseph Garrott. The transaction by Leonard Green was witnessed by William Barker and Elizabeth Balch. Located in present Cabarrus County, this land nests against the west bank of Rocky River below the tight bend near present day Hwy. 24-27. I must say that the wording “south of Rocky River” in the legal description fooled me for a long time. My earlier thoughts located this land miles away in now Union County NC. I was wrong. Within a year of purchasing this land, Leonard and wife Ann Green sold it to Samuel Bonds. The transaction was witnessed by William Haynes and Jacob Self.
In the same year of 1779, Christopher Osborne began acquiring grants for land a bit to the north along the mouth of Anderson Creek. Warrants for his and surrounding lands bring to light long overlooked clues that I believe to be immensely critical to both county and genealogical histories. First, Osborne’s grant # 3185 identifies 155 acres on Anderson’s Creek “ below John Carrother’s land and joining his own line on the other side and joining James Ashmore’s land”(more about James Ashmore later). And secondly, the warrant for John Carrothers land locates an east bound as “marked by a b.o. adjoining Robinet’s S. W. corner.” This is intriguing in that there is a Samuel H. Robinette who is believed born 1764 (son of John) in Mecklenburg NC before removing to Scott County VA. Samuel married Anna Osborne, daughter of Enoch and Jane Hash Osborne of Rowan County NC. Is there a kindred relation between Enoch of Rowan and Christopher of earlier in Wake County NC? Note that in proof that we have the right person, Christopher Osborne “of Mecklenburg” sold land in Wake County on 8 Apr 1785.
Back in Wake County, there are numerous land dealings between Christopher Osborn and William and Daniel Barker.And in 1779, both William and Daniel Barker acquired land in Mecklenburg. Located on Muddy Creek in the vicinity of John Powell lands, these were small tracts of 30-75 acres each. There is no record of the land being sold. I believe the pieces were combined and later sold as larger holdings. From deeds in both Mecklenburg and Wake County, it is apparent that members of the Barker family returned to Wake County.
And yet again in the same year, dated 12 Sep 1779, Adam Garmon and wife sold to Henry Kent 72 acres (Deed 11-31, Mecklenburg NC) located on “the waters of Rockie River nigh the Baptist Meeting House.” The transaction was witnessed by Rees Shelby and Leonard Green. This important and historical tract was originally purchased on 7 Apr 1779 (7-84, Mecklenburg NC) by Adam Garmon from David Oliphant though the attorney Thomas Polk. In this conveyance, the writing is somewhat garbled. However, the description reads “on the waters of Rockie River nigh the Capless Meeting House.” Was this supposed to be Baptist? Wm. Polk and Phillip Miller witnessed that transaction. Before further discussing this land, note that Henry Kent sold his land on Utley Creek (F-1, Wake NC) to Davie Strait. Witnesses were Sampson Wood and Sampson Holland.
Dated 18 Jun 1785, Isaac Garmon purchased from Thomas Harris, Late Sheriff, a tract (13-892 Mecklenburg NC) that surrounded the above land on the north, west, and south sides. The now larger combined holdings adjoined the wagon road to the northwest and David Powell to the south. This transaction was witnessed by Charles Harris and William Cupples. In 1803, John Reed, the prosperous gold miner who lived on the east side of Rocky River purchased the tract (Deed 5-14, Cabarrus NC) from Isaac Garmon. The transaction was witnessed by James and Jonah Love. We know Isaac removed to Buncombe County in western NC. John Reed Sen’r sold the land (Deed 10-30, Cabarrus NC) to son Henry Reed in 1811. Note that Henry was married to the daughter of James Love. William Creaton witnessed this transaction. Henry died young. In 1826, the land (Deed 10-367, Cabarrus) was sold by Daniel Sossamon to Tobias Klutts and was witnessed by Henry Reed and Wm. Gilliam. The southern fifth or so of the tract is now cut off and the owner of that portion is identified to be Elizabeth Leopard. The land now adjoins “the Charleston Road.” Daniel is the son of Henry and Elizabeth Sossamon. Marked with an ancient stone engraved in German, Henry is buried at Lower Stone Reformed Church. Following the death of Henry Sossamon, his widow married second John Lippard. Though she wrote her will in March of 1824, it is not probated until January of 1830. The location of Elizabeth’s burial is not known. Here in present day Midland, we are possibly seeing the son Daniel living next to his mother Elizabeth. Or could this be a sister-in-law or some other unknown kindred relation?
Published records and histories for both Cabarrus and Mecklenburg Counties say nothing as to the existence of an early Baptist Church. Believed constituted in the 1790’s, Cold Water Creek Baptist is hailed to be the first of this denomination located in Cabarrus County. But by locating and platting old adjoining tracts, and by comparing the same to modern records and GIS data; Adam Garmon’s original tract (Pink in color) is locatable as illustrated below:
Locating the Church
Looking at the image above, a branch meanders southeastward to a fork before entering Rocky River. A small piece of land adjoining the river south and including the mouth of this branch (dark green in color) was deeded ____ to Gottlieb Wolfe. The legal description identifies the stream as being named “Meeting House Branch.” Gotlieb is believed to have lived earlier in Stokes/Surry County NC. Knowing how the branch was named by the landowner to the south, what name is given by the landowner to the north? In 1789, Henry Smith purchased a large tract of land (Deed 17-398, Mecklenburg NC) situated on the north side of “Meeting House Branch.” This is likely the same Henry Smith who served as Captain in the Revolutionary War before relocating to now Cabarrus County where he filed for a pension If so, this "Heinrich Schmidt married Maria Barbara Loesch, the daughter of one of the earlier settlers of Wachovia. Providing an interesting twist to a story we all know, Henry and Barbara's nephew Jacob Loesch appears in a Moravian diary:
Page 2785, Records of the Moravians in North Carolina Salem, April 16, 1804. Probably the news has not yet reached Germany that for several months gold has been mined in Cabarrus County, North Carolina, about seventy miles southwest of here (the first in the United States). I have myself seen a piece of ore which was sent to Br. Jacob Loesch, in Bethania, to be smelted, and it was very rich. The report of this discovery is confirmed by so many that the only doubt is how much there may be of it. The reason that I mention it is that in our neighborhood one and another has begun to dig for gold, great hopes having been inspired by the divining rod of an old Methodist preacher, Daub by name, for instance inside of our lot No. 88. Daub supposes that the vein runs into my land, or rather into the unsold portion of the Wachovia land, and while I see no reliable ground on which he should base his assumption I will be careful if the question of a sale comes up, lest I might later regret my haste.
Serving as moderator at an 1835 meeting of the Pee Dee Baptist Association, the Rev. John Culpepper Senior published a history in which he told of church expansion into western North Carolina. The mother church was Sandy Creek Baptist Church located near present day Liberty in northeast Randolph County. He tells of numerous churches relating how each grew with roots back to Sandy Creek. Culpepper writes:
“It appears from Benedict, Vol. 2 page 42, that the Sandy Creek Church, the oldest in our Association was constituted in 1[8, supposed to be 7]56, and the Church at Little River, in 1760; this is the Church known in our Minutes as the Church at the Forks of Little River, as there are several Churches on that river. The Church at Rocky River was constituted in 1776.”The site of old Rocky River Baptist Church is located on the south side of Rocky River near the present day Union / Anson County line. Though greatly celebrated in history, there are actually few hard facts on the church found in pre-1780 Anson County records. In comparison, the church in present day Cabarrus is rich in record. What do we know about the congregation and what role did the church play within the community?
There are ommissions and other sources that raise questions concerning John Culpepper's written history. First, there was a church known as Middle Creek Baptist located in eastern Wake County. Constituted in 1756, this church grew from the Charleston Association. Possibly attended by our early families in southern Wake county, is there a link between Middle Creek and the mother church known as Sandy Creek in Randolph? Note that a Sampson Holland witnessed deeds for several of those who moved from Wake to Mecklenburg NC. He also sold to Silas Green land adjoining that owned by Christopher Osborn. In earlier Cumberland County records, Silas and Leonard Green can be found serving together as ordered by the court. And in 1783 Sampson Holland purchased land adjoining Anthony Holland. Anthony later moved to Montgomery County (now Stanly, where he lived on Running Creek, not far to the east of Rocky River. His name can be found in surviving minutes of Meadow Creek Baptist Church. Though minutes only survive back to ca. 1800, this church is believed to have been founded ca. 1765. If so, is Meadow Creek also an offshoot of Sandy Creek Chruch? And since its founding date would be earlier than that for Rocky River Baptist in Anson, why is Meadow Creek not considered to be the first church in the region? Knowing the families were Baptists in Wake County, the question must be asked if they were rooted in Sandy Creek or or Middle Creek.? I am not questioning the integrety of John Culpepper. I raise these questions not as an issue of right or wrong, but out of my own lack of understanding.
Joseph Howell Senior married Margaret Starling. Joseph died about 1750 in Edgecombe County NC. Though less than 18 years of age, son Joseph Jr., along with his mother Margaret were named co-executors of the estate. It wasn’t long before Joseph Jr. and his mother removed to Anson and then on to Mecklenburg County. Joseph owned land on the east side of Rocky River perfectly opposite of Burdig Howell’s holdings. Burdig later moved down to Twelve Mile Creek where he lived on the lands of Mr. William Haggins. Family records fail to account for Burdig, but most all agree he must somehow relate. Joseph Jr. later bought land in several locations on the west side of Rocky River. He owned land near present day Bethel United Methodist and also north of Osborne land on the north of Anderson Creek. From family record, he married Margaret Eleanor Garmon who died after 1795. The preceding line appears in a history written 1933 by descendant Clark Howell, who was at that time the editor of the Atlanta Constitution. Clark further stated that Margaret, the widow of Joseph Howell Senior, was buried in “Hain’s Church Yard.” Could it be that Joseph Jr. married the daughter of Adam Garmon? You would think Adam played an important role in the founding of the Baptist Church located on or very near to his land. And it now appears that Margaret was buried at Hain’s Church located within a stone’s throw from the present day cross-roads of Hwy 24-27 and 601. So if Margaret Howell was buried at Haynes Church Yard, we should hopefully be able to locate a cemetery.
From cemetery indexes and published records for Cabarrus County, I have never seen a graveyard or church listed in the area where research indicates one should exist. So I drove up to the home of a local land owner and in short order was graciously shown the way to what I was looking for. A somewhat recent owner, he knew what others believed to be a Green family cemetery. He led me back a hundred yards to a beautiful knoll end of a ridge that provided a panoramic view of the fields and river basin. To the north of the knoll, a spring head for Meeting House Branch rises in a swag before passing off easterly towards the river. Nobody had ever heard the stream referred to as Meeting House Branch. All I could think about was what a wonderful location for a church! Walking into a grove of trees, there it was, a small but ancient cemetery with maybe 10 to 15 stones. The image at the top of the page is a view standing inside the cemetery looking out towards the river. Though well taken care of, time and life had taken its toll. A few stones revealed readable words such as “the” or maybe “here.” The following is a digital image of the only surviving stone whose words cry out to be deciphered. And yet, after nearly a year I cannot bring the name into focus. Could this be Michael Garmon, a Freeman, or a Russell? It must have been someone who lived in the area. I do know from the stone that the person died in 1822 at age 78 years. The image is as follows:
One question remains, just what was Clark Howell’s source for locating the burial of Margaret Howell? I doubt very seriously he could have pulled the name from records in Cabarrus County. Does an old Bible record exist that provided him information we have not seen?
Three Likely Preachers and Why the Church is Named Haynes
The name William Haynes is written frequently within the early annals of Mecklenburg County. He served as witness, and as good neighbor in support of friends. He owned a small tract along Rocky River and 326 acres on the lower fork of Muddy Creek. William also witnessed several deeds for those arriving from Wake County. In 1780, Peter Kiser wrote his last will and testament mentioning brother-in-law George Garmon and friend William Haynes And then in the early 1780’s, William Haynes’s land was divided as he sold portions to William Mitchell, Jacob Shelf, and his daughter Susannah Daniels. It is very likely that William Haynes served as founding elder for the church that carries his name. But after the early 1780’s, there is no further mention of anyone in the community by the name Haynes. It is believed William removed to Rutherford County NC where in 1785, he was the founding elder for Bill’s Creek Baptist Church. From that church history, William Haynes served as elder for the first two years. In 1788, William Haynes’s last will and testament was probated in Rutherford County NC. I am not sure how many years Haynes Baptist Church existed beyond this point. However, the name Meeting House Branch was used in Cabarrus County deeds up through the 1870’s. And there are some other hints to church life that are worthy of discussion.
First, and as earlier stated, the dominant figure in area Baptist life was the dynamo, the Reverend John Culpepper. Though I can never nail the man down, tradition states he lived in Anson County where he served as elder at Rocky River Baptist Church. It is known that later in life, he appears in record of Cabarrus where he was a leading force in the founding of Cold Water Creek Baptist Church. But on 15 Jul 1799, John Culpepper served as attorney in selling 22 acres (3-172 Cabarrus) belonging to John Kiser of Knoxville (TN). John and family had removed to Knoxville TN before later settling in Georgia. John Kiser was married to Eleanor, the daughter of Joseph Jr. and Margaret Howell. And Margaret herself may very well be the daughter of Adam Garmon who first purchased land “nigh the Baptist Meeting House.” Beyond the age of 100 years, it is said Joseph Howell made his way with family to Georgia where he lived out his life with daughter and son-in-law John Kiser. So with so much history tied up in this extended family, I believe there could be no better person authorized to sell the homelands of John Kiser than the preacher John Culpepper. And I have no doubt that he preached at times at Haynes Meeting House.
My ancestor is James Love, son of James Love who founded Love Methodist Church in the 1700’s Stokes County NC. And James Love, a son, founded Mount Moriah Methodist once located in the big bend of Rocky River near Reed goldmine. Most of his children were instrumental in the founding of area Methodist churches. However, at the end of the day, when James Love Jr. died in 1821, his obituary eulogized him as a minister belonging to “that denomination of Christians called Anti-pedo-Baptists.” It has been very difficult for descendants to determine what all this means. He could have been affiliated with nearby Meadow Creek Baptist Church. But records back to 1800 do not mention James Love. Mostly owning land on the east side of Rocky River, late in life, James Love acquired land on the west side near the present day intersection of Mt. Pleasant Road and Hwy. 601. This was likely land that once belonged to James Ashmore. Haynes Meeting House was located less than two miles down the Dutch Wagon Road. And knowing that James Love had served as witness when the Adam Garmon’s land fell into hands of friend John Reed, it makes perfect sense that James Love may have been affiliated with Haynes Baptist Church.
In the Words of a Revolutionary War Soldier
Hezekiah Bryant was a Revolutionary War soldier who applied on 11 Aug 1849 for a pension. Being about 90 years of age, Hezekiah states that from family tradition, he was born ca. 1759 or 1760 in South Carolina. His age is written in a Bible in the possession of a daughter. Some might think this must refer to land we now think of as South Carolina. However, during this period, Governor Glenn of SC granted land in North Carolina as far north as upper Buffalo Creek in now Cabarrus County. There are numerous petitions and mentioning in Council Records from citizens living along Anderson Creek in present day Cabarrus. They complained about everything from Indians to actions of the Governor of NC.
Hezekiah Bryant was a citizen of Wake County NC during the Revolutionary War. He lived about 18 miles from Raleigh with H. L Dreg Jones, a blacksmith, for whom he learning the blacksmith trade. He served during the war:
Following the war, Hezekiah Bryant lived in Mecklenburg County about 25 miles from Charlotte. He married Mary Powell about the year 1786 at the house of John Furr. Later Mary applied for a widow’s pension on 12 Apr 1850 stating “she was married on the 24th day of September, in the year seventeen hundred and eighty five or six, that she was married to the said Hezekiah Bryan at the house of her father John Powell…” She stated that the meeting house was located near the home of her father. After publication of bonds according to law at Haynes Meeting House, they were married by a Rev. Mr. Neussman, a Baptist Clergyman.
As a private in company commanded by Colonel Coulston (Goldston), his unit was raised soon after Gates was defeated at Camden. He went first as a substitute for Asa Thomas who had been drafted. He was received into service on Deep River on which river the Corps to which he belonged was raised. He served under commander Goldston for three months. During the period he frequently was engaged in scouting parties in pursuit if Tories which were in the neighborhood of American Soldiers. And when his duty had expired, he received discharge from his commanding officer for a tour of duty not less than six months. Hezikiah could not state the precise dates as he gave the papers to Asa Thomas.
He served second in place of Frank Jones as a twelve month man in a unit raised in Wake County. The unit was commanded by Capt. Dixon and Lieutenant Dickson, as commanded by a Col. Dickson under General Greene. He entered service as private at Granville Court House in Jun 1782. The unit marched through Hillsboro, Guilford and Rowan counties before going to the hills of Santee in South Carolina. He remained there about two months and then marched to Fort Thompson where he met up with the American Army while in pursuit of the British before the battle of Eutaw. Though under the command of Green, he was not immediately engaged as he served in the rear guards. Hezekiah marched back to the Hills of Santee. Recrossing the Santee, he passed the Edisto River to a place called Round-O and then to a place called Pow-Pow and soon after to Bacon Bridge on Ashley River above Charleston. They marched back to Camden and then to Charlotte, North Carolina. From there he marched through Salisbury and the Guilford Courthouse where his twelve months of service expired.
Hezekiah appears few times in records of Mecklenburg and Cabarrus Counties. He did own land on "headwaters of Anderson and Muddy Creek." Situated on the dividing ridge between the two major streams, this land must lie somwhere near the present day route of Hwy 24-27. Deeds for the lands of Hezekiah Bryant include language and potential clues we do not yet fully understand. The land is sold several times through sheriff deeds in which we loose the land history by 1800.
Hezekiah lived with Mary Powell throughout life having 8 children born in North Carolina. In 1810 they moved to Indiana Territory where Genr’l Harrison was the Governor. They remained in Indiana until about 1816 or 1817 until removing to Rutherford County TN. They stayed there several years before moving to Bedford County TN. Bedford was later divided forming Marshall County where Hezekiah lived at time of deposition. It appears that Hezekiah and family were not along in TN. There were marriages between the children of Hezekiah Bryant and Frederick Siler. Since Frederick served with a unit raised along the Deep River in Chatham County NC, I am sure he was keeenly aware of the prominent Siler family who lived nearby. Also, there were land dealings in TN between Hezekiah and Fanning Jones. David Fanning was likely one of the leading Tory who caused troubles along Deep River in Chatham County. And in next door Wake County, Hezekiah learned the blacksmith trade under Etheldred Jones. Is there a connection?