Here’s a 1947 aerial photo taken high above the Lower Mill and Island Ford. The Island Ford road leads from the steel bridge southeast out of the bottom of the photo; Mulberry Street (now Academy) T’s into Main Street just above the end of the dam. At one time the two roads were connected by a ford which crossed the river diagonally through the site of the dam.
In 1782 Andrew Hunter was bringing a wagon of salt back from Cheraw when he was captured by David Fanning and his men. The road he was following was a trail south from the Great Indian Trading Path to the Pee Dee River, known locally as Crafford’s Path, or Crawford’s Road.
Crawford’s Path left the Trading Path near Climax and Julian, roughly following NC22, the ridge road, crossed Deep River at Island Ford, and went south across US 64. It could have followed SR 1004 (known variously as Pleasant Ridge Road, Holly Spring Road and Erect Road) all the way down to Jugtown Pottery, but to get to Cheraw it would have needed to turn southwest toward Seagrove somewhere, but I don’t know where.
This route is confirmed by what few ancient deed references I have been able to come across, and by the 1771 Collett map.
The first mention I’ve found is in a grant of land on Bush Creek waters from Lord Granville to Robert Willson, 30 Jan. 1750. “The Crafford Road that goes to the Pee Dee River” ran through the property, which Willson sold to William Ellis, and Ellis sold to Semor York in 1782 (see Deed Book 2, Page 45).
Next comes the will of William Cox, probated in 1767: “I give to my five sons… two tenths of the land and mines and tools, Equally Divided, lying on Crawford’s Road on the Round Mountain.”
A 1789 from Hodgins to Mincher Littler (Deed Book 4, Page 11), references land “on Richland Creek on the Crafford Road.”
County court road dockets (13 Sept. 1793, published in the Randolph Geneaological Journal, (Vol.IV, #1, p. 44) mention “Crawford’s Ford on Deep River” (and the “road to Duncan’s Ford”), along with adjoining property owners Allred, York, Kivett, and Samuel Trogdon.
An 1807 deed from Cox to Lane (Deed Book 11, Page 231), conveyed property “on Cox’s Mill Creek by Deep River waters and both sides of Crawford’s Old Road.”
The source of the name “Crafford” or “Crawford” is yet unknown, but the 1820 Randolph County tax list records that a Sarah Crafford owned 130 acres on Sandy Creek in Captain Cole’s district, valued at $200.