Solomon Hendricks’ Powder Mill

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at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, remains unpublished, but a copy is in the Randolph Room collection at the Asheboro Public Library.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?

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6 Responses to “Solomon Hendricks’ Powder Mill”

  1. Michael Says:

    I don’t know anything about the powder mill but I just wanted to say that I love your posts. I love the history around here, especially the textile history of Franklinville. Just wanted to say thank you for doing this.

    -Michael Caviness

  2. Becky Bowman Says:


    I have been reading your excellent “Notes on the History of Randolph County” series. They are very good. You have expanded my knowledge of Randolph County history.

    Concerning Solomon, Tobias, and Samuel Hendricks Solomon is my gggg Grandfather. B. 6 Sep 1784. d, 1 Dec 1875. He was the son of Tobias Hendricks b. c1763 in PA, d. 1847 in Randolph. Tobias was the son of Samuel Hendricks b. c1733 in PA, d. 1824 in Randolph. Solomon married Catherine Craven 1789-1858 in 1810. My line runs through Solomon and Catherine’s daughter, Mahala, who married Jeremiah Wright.

    I never knew that Solomon had a Powder Mill. Census records show him as just a farmer. That info never got passed down.

    Solomon and Catherine are buried at the old Salem Meeting House cemetry on Patterson’s Church Road. Jeremiah and Mahala Wright at Old Mt. Tabor Church off Iron Mountain Road.

    Thank you for sharing your research with us.

    Becky Bowman
    Siler City, NC

    • macwhatley Says:

      Thanks so much, Becky.
      For those who don’t know, Ms. Bowman has spent untold hours transcribing the local news items for Franklinville and Worthville from The Courier. Her books are invaluable resources for our community, and my only regret about them is that collections of local newspapers don’t go back beyond 1903. There are some times I’d give a lot to have the same level of information from the 1870s, 80s and 90s.
      Mac Whatley

  3. John B. Fox Says:

    It was quite interesting to see Becky Bowman’s referencing the Craven marriage of Solomon Hendricks. I am assisting a young man, Tim Craven with his family history. He is a descendant of Daniel Craven whose grave marker states that he was a son of Peter Craven. Daniel was married to Mary Hendricks ca 1785. It appears that the Samuel Craven mentioned as a neighbor of Solomon Hendricks was the son of Daniel and Mary Hendricks. This Samuel is also an ancestor of my young friend.

    Samuel Craven married Ruth Scott of Rowan County, NC and settled his family into Davidson County, NC where a son, Oren Alston Craven was born. This son is also an ancestor of my friend, Tim Craven.

    My wife is an Alston descendant through Col. William Alston and his wife Ann Yeargain. Col. Alston served as Clerk of Court for Chatham County just prior to the Revolution, although he was a resident of Halifax, NC at the time. He also served meritoriously in the Revolution. His brother, Col. Philip Alston, lived in the House on the Horseshoe, on Deep River; Peter Craven was nearby also bordering the Deep River.

    Col. William Alston’s children included a son, Oren Datus Davis Alston and my wife’s ancestress Mary Ann Alston. When Col. William Alston died rather young, his children were under the guardianship of their half-uncle, John Joseph, “Chatham Jack” Alston. Oren Davis Alston eventually married; lived near his half-uncle, but had no children.

    Samuel Craven had a brother, Thompson Craven, who married Mary Yeargain, cousin to Ann Yeargain Alston. They named a son, John Joseph Craven, which also smacks of some reference to the Alston family. I have found no documents which link the Cravens and the Alstons, so I am quite puzzled by the appearance of the given name of Alston in several lines of the Craven family.

    Best regards,

    John Fox
    Winston-Salem, NC

    I also have an interest in the Craven family in that my Boswell family of Prince William County(1650’s), VA had a strong affinity for using the Craven name as a given name.

    • Berta Brewer Says:

      Thank you for your Craven contribution. I need help on Peter Craven, son of William Craven who died from drowning in Deep River in 1816. What happened to this Peter, son of William Craven who married Elizabeth Gardner? Who did he marry and where did he live? Also would like to know more about Peter Craven, son of Henry and Susannah Jackson. And who is Peter Craven father of Timothy Brooks Craven. Very confusing…all these men named Peter Craven.

  4. John B. Fox Says:

    I recently have been examining the Hendricks family and find that they are also using the Alston name as a given name. On the Hendricks Genforum list, Susan Sheppard in message 2077. “Taken from “Old Southern Bible Records compiled by Memory Aldridge Lester. This was taken from record of Alexander Johnson Hendricks, son of Thomas Alston Hendricks and Ann Campbell. Born 4/19/1850, Franklin, NC, died 1/7/1935 in Mobile, AL. “Mr. George G/ Hendricks was an ex-sheriff of Randolph Co. NC and was a merchant in Asheboro, NC when I met him in 1907. He showed me records of his great, great grandparents children’s births which Tobias Hendricks had recorded in an old leather-bound account book.” George Hendricks was born in Randolph County, NC 2/25/1855. He was the son of Alston Hadly Hendricks who was born in Randolph on 6/30/1827, son of Reuben Hendricks, 7th child and 5th son of Tobias and Modolanah. This Alston Hadley Hendricks was somewhat contemporary to Oren Alston Craven, born in 1815.

    John Fox
    Winston-Salem, NC

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