1816 Powder mill in Orange County, NY
One of the great sources of Randolph County history is Bill (William T.) Auman’s work on the region during the Civil War.
Two published samples of his work are “Neighbor Against Neighbor: The Inner Civil War in the Randolph County Area of Confederate North Carolina.” (North Carolina Historical Review 61 (January 1984): 59-92), and “The Heroes of America in Civil War North Carolina,” (co-authored with David D. Scarboro in the North Carolina Historical Review 58 (October 1981): 326-64).
Unfortunately his magnum opus, “North Carolina’s Inner Civil War: Randolph County,” his 1978 Masters Thesis
at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, remains unpublished, but a copy is in the Randolph Room collection at the Asheboro Public Library.
The treasure trove of archival letters, diaries, government reports and military records that Bill found and mined 30 years ago will yield jewels of local history for generations to come.
For example, on page 87 he recounts the arrival in Asheboro of a 60-man cavalry unit under the command of Lt. William A. Pugh. Pugh and his men were detailed from Raleigh on Feb. 1, 1863, to assist Col. Henry Steed, the commander of Randolph County’s Home Guard, the 63rd Militia Unit. Pugh’s mission was to hunt down deserters, but Bill’s analysis shows that “much of their conduct was every bit as barbaric as any attributed to the deserters” (p.89).
Auman quotes a letter from N.W. Ayers to Governor Zeb Vance, dated March 10, 1863 (p.93, quoting the original in the Z.B. Vance Papers in the Division of Archives and History). Lt. Pugh’s men “burnt the Little Powder mill of Solomon Hendricks—They sent 2 or 3 men to act as deserters & try to get some powder, & as soon as Hendricks showed a willingness to sell to them in that capacity, they destroyed his works—”
This sole reference to what was once a vital need in rural Randolph- gun powder for firearms- led me to start some research which still isn’t complete.
Solomon Hendrix (sic), aged 74 years old, is listed as resident #423 in the Census of 1860. His initial purchase of property occurred in December, 1838, when he was granted 100 acres by the State of North Carolina, located on Mill Creek adjacent to Craven, Trogdon, Free and Lowe (Deed Book 23, Page 67). In 1865 Solomon Hendricks sold 80 acres on Mill Creek to Elizabeth Allred, noting that he had previously conveyed part of the tract to his son John Hendricks, and that it adjoined the 150-acre tract of Tobias Hendricks (Deed Book 33, Page 147).
It’s not yet clear what the relationship between Tobias and Solomon Hendricks was, nor the relationship to Samuel Hendricks, the first Hendricks to be found in the county deed records. Tobias Hendricks was granted 150 acres on Mill Creek (adjoining Joseph Hendricks, Craven, Aston, and “the Mine” in 1799, after entering the grant application in 1793 (Deed Book 9, Page 56). Samuel Hendricks began to acquire property on Mill Creek in 1796, continuing until 1815 (Deed Books 6, Page 216; 8, Page 34; 9, Page 87; 12, Page 217; 23, Page 165; 24, Page 199).
Analysis of the deed records shows that the Solomon Hendricks property lay somewhere near the head of Mill Creek, a tributary of Deep River which begins in the vicinity of what is now called Iron Mountain. A deed record of Samuel Craven, apparently a neighbor of Hendricks, indicates that the original name of Iron Mountain may have been “Trogdon’s Mountain” (Deed Book 30, Page 272). The Craven property adjoined Solomon and John Hendricks to the west; to the south lay the aforementioned Joseph Hendricks and “the Mine” property. The Mine is without doubt the iron mine which supplied the Bush Creek Iron Works during and before the Civil War (to be the source of another entry here soon).
Anyone out there know anything else about Solomon Hendricks’ Powder Mill?