Another Bridge petition from the Randolph County records in the State Archives in Raleigh…
This one is for the first bridge across Deep River at what is now US 220 Business in the City of Randleman; before 1868 it was known as Union Factory; at the time of this Petition it was still known as “Dicks Mills.” The “Dicks” of Dicks Mills was Peter Dicks, a merchant of nearby New Salem, a largely Quaker community which grew up in the early 19th century on the old Indian Trading Path.
The petition is undated, so I’ve tried to narrow down its time frame. First and most obviously, it not only has to date to a time before the construction of the Union Factory in 1848-49, but before the death of Peter Dicks in February, 1843. The petition is interesting because it’s not predominantly a local request, like the Dunbar’s Ford petition which was signed by western Randolph and eastern Davidson resident. The 84 signers here include obvious local people like Peter Dicks and his son James, Orlando Wood, Joseph Deveny and other northern Randolph names such as Coletrane, Clark, Chamness, Dennis and Hockett. It also includes several from western Randolph such as Daniel Bulla, Aaron Hill and Phineas Nixon; together with eastern Randolph notables such as Philip Horney, H.B. Elliott, and at least seven southern Randolph Hinshaws. But what really catches my eye is the number of Asheboro merchants and court officials. A.H. Marsh, Joseph Brown, James B. Moss and James Page were all storekeepers; Benjamin Swaim was a lawyer and publisher of the Southern Citizen, the local newspaper; Hugh McCain was the Clerk of Superior Court; Jonathan Worth was a lawyer and Clerk and Master in Equity; and John M. Dick was a Superior Court Judge.
Since only registered voters could sign the petition, it can’t date any earlier than the 21st birthday of its youngest signer. I haven’t checked them all, but James Dicks (son of Peter, b. 1804) and Jonathan Worth (b. 1802) wouldn’t have been legal voters until after 1823 and 1825. The key signer, I believe, is John M. Dick (1791- 1861), a prominent resident of Greensboro who served as Guilford County as a state senator in 1819 and 1829-1831. The only reason I can see that a Guilford County citizen would sign this petition is the fact that he was elected to the Superior Court bench in 1832 [John Hill Wheeler, Historical Sketches of North Carolina; Philadelphia, 1851], and then, as now, Superior Court judges travel from county to county in a circuit. So I believe that the petition was signed during a court session in Asheboro by lawyers and officials whose travel time back and forth to Greensboro would be significantly improved by a bridge in this location.
[From C.R. 081.925.18, “Miscellaneous Road Records”]
State of North Carolina )
Randolph County )
To the worshipful the Justices of the Court of Pleas and quarter sessions, Greeting:
We of the citizens of the county aforesaid respectfully show to your worships that a large portion of your citizens of the County now do and long have labored under great inconvenience for want of a good and substantial Bridge over the Deep River at or near Dicks Mills in said County.
Your petitioners, knowing your worshipfull body to be well acquainted with the proposed site and surrounding country would deem it an useless waste of time to attempt to adduce all the many cogent reasonings that might be put forward in support of their petition; however we will just say that this is the rout[e] along which the U.S. mail passes 4 times each week on the rout[e] between Leaksville and Asheborough and is also the main or more direct road for the citizens in the northern part of the County to travel to and from the Court House of the County and also that travelled in passing to and from Fayetteville and other Eastern and Southern markets.
Hence the petition which your memorialists present with Confidence that you will hear and determine and grant such order to be made as in your wisdom may deem right and expedient, and such only would your petitioners even ask.
Wm. HINSHAW Saml. COFFIN A.H. MARSH
R. LAMB Elijah POWEL Joseph H. BROWN
Dr. George KIRKMAN Joseph DEVENY James PAGE
Marsh DORSETT Orlando WOOD Jos. LAMB
David E. FRITCHETT Stephen ALLRED John SCOTT
James DICKS Richard RICH H.B. ELLIOTT
Peter DICKS Nathan STANTON G. B. Winningham (?)
Wm. DENNIS Nathan ELLIOTT Thomas Thornburg (?)
Mahlon DENNIS Sam. RICH Joseph HENLEY
Jonathan LAMB Enoch ROBINS J. LAMB
Henry WATKINS Wiley WALL Hugh McCAIN
Charles S. DORSETT Saml. HILL
Seth HINSHAW R.S. MURDOCH
J. B. HINSHAW J. HUSSEY
Ezra KIMBALL Benj. SWAIM
William CLARK Jr. Benjamin HINSHAW
Nathan DENNIS James B. MOSS
Alexander CLARK John COFFIN
Joseph HODGIN Bryant RAGAN
Dougan CLARKE Tristram HINSHAW
W.B. LANE Joseph LEE
William COLTRAIN Joseph McCOLLUM
Nathan HENLEY Isaac LEE
Aaron HILL Hiram LAMB
Philip HORNEY J. HINSHAW
Solomon ELLIOTT Jesse HINSHAW Snr.
John McCOLLUM John Hockett
Joshua ROBINS Wm. CHAMNESS
John ROBINS Wenlock REYNOLDS
J.G. HINSHAW Daniel SWAIM
Francis REYNOLDS Albert LAMB
Job REYNOLDS Arthur McCOY
Nathan CHAMNESS Wm. DENNIS Jr.
Jesse MILLIS Jno. MOSS
William HINSHAW Jona. WORTH
Allen LAMB Peter W. RICH
Obadiah ELLIOTT Jr. P.N. NIXON
Marmaduke VICKORY William RICH
Aaron REYNOLDS Moses Ritch (?)
James Polk Senr.
Jno. M. Dick