Archive for the ‘Quakers’ Category

Is Randolph County’s Confederate Monument a monument to White Supremacy?

August 17, 2017

Silent Sam N&OMany Confederate monuments erected at or around the same period were used overtly to advance a racist agenda. “Silent Sam,” on the Chapel Hill campus, for example, was dedicated in 1913 by Civil War veteran Julian Carr of Durham, then the president of North Carolina’s United Confederate Veterans.  Carr stated that he and his fellow veterans , Carr applauded rebel soldiers for preserving “the very life of the Anglo-Saxon race in the South,” and ensuring that the “the purest strain of the Anglo Saxon” lived there.

Carr concluded with an overtly racist and threatening anecdote:

One hundred yards from where we stand, less than ninety days perhaps after my return from Appomattox, I horse-whipped a negro wench until her skirts hung in shreds, because upon the streets of this quiet village she had publicly insulted and maligned a Southern lady, and then rushed for protection to these University buildings where was stationed a garrison of 100 Federal soldiers. I performed the pleasing duty in the immediate presence of the entire garrison, and for thirty nights afterward slept with a double-barrel shotgun under my head.

My reading of the record does not find any evidence that this was the case when the UDC planned or dedicated the Asheboro monument.

Elvira Worth MoffittElvira Evelina Worth Walker Moffitt, Governor Worth’s daughter, was involved with community improvement projects at all stages of her life.  During the Civil War, she organized the women of Asheboro to sew tents out of material woven by the mills in Cedar Falls and Franklinville. During the Spanish-American war she helped establish the Soldiers’ Aid Society in Raleigh; during World War I she was a leader in the War Relief Society of Richmond, Va.

Besides being honorary president for life of the Johnston-Pettigrew Chapter of the UDC, she was honorary state regent for life of the DAR.  She was an early member of the NC Literary and Historical Association and served as editor of the North Carolina Booklet, its history magazine. She was one of the first to suggest that Asheboro and Randolph County needed a public library; she was a founder of the Randolph County Historical Society and of the Women’s Club of Raleigh.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShe was instrumental in having a bronze tablet to “Ladies of the Edenton Tea Party-1774” placed in the rotunda of the state capitol; and she was the chief fundraiser in building the Stanhope Pullen Gate, which stands at the entrance to the grounds of NC State University. When she moved to Richmond to live with her son, she joined the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities and personally launched the movement to organize the Matthew Fontaine Maury Association, presiding just a few months before her death at the unveiling of a monument to America’s first and foremost oceanographer.  Maury’s statue is perhaps the least Confederate of any on Richmond’s Monument Avenue, excepting that of Arthur Ashe.

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I think Mrs. Moffitt and the UDC members would have agreed with Chief Justice Clark (considered one of the most progressive political figures of his era) that the Asheboro Confederate Monument was first and foremost a Veteran’s Monument.  It depicts only a common infantry soldier, not any general or divisive political figure.  While Confederate history can and has often been co-opted to advance a racist agenda, and lately has also been hijacked to provide rallying points for domestic terrorism, the history of the Confederacy is unavoidably the history of the American South, just as much as is the history of slavery.  Monuments such as ours have been part of the civic landscape of the country for decades, and have now become intertwined with the history of two world wars, civil rights battles, and courtroom drama of all kinds. It may be unintentional that Asheboro’s Confederate monument faces South, while the norm was to site them facing resolutely North.  I prefer to see it as a subtle and intentional reference to Randolph County’s reluctant participation in the war, and to the constant desire of its men to come back home.

stalin_budapest_1956_3The NC General Assembly in July 2015, passed the “Historic Artifact Management and Patriotism Act,” (Senate Bill 22), which prevents the removal of monuments such as the Confederate Statue in Asheboro. But protestors in Durham recently ignored the law and pulled down a similar statue at the old Durham Courthouse.  If such a law did not “protect” our monument, what would be a valid argument against removing or destroying it?

LeipzigBattle of Nations 1945

For an apt comparison out of history, consider the actions of the Allied forces occupying Germany after World War II.  Directive 30, issued in May of 1946, directed the “de-nazification” of Germany by ordering the removal of all National Socialist emblems and insignia, and prohibited the “design, erection, installation or other display” of any monument, memorial, poster, statue, edifice or highway name marker “which tends to preserve and keep alive the German military tradition, to revive militarism or to commemorate the Nazi Party, or which is of such a nature as to glorify incidents of war…”

Denazified monumentHowever, Article IV of the Directive states:

“The following are not subject to destruction and liquidation:

  1. Monuments erected solely in memory of deceased members of regular military organizations, with the exception of paramilitary organizations, the SS and the Waffen SS.
  2. Individual tombstones existing at present or to be erected in the future, provided… the inscriptions… do not recall militarism or commemorate the Nazi Party.”

I would argue that the Asheboro Confederate monument was “erected solely in memory of deceased members of regularly military organizations”, albeit members who served in a losing cause in rebellion against the constituted government of the United States of America. If it was removed at the request of any individual or group which is offended or disagrees politically with the history of the monument, I think a precedent would be created that would make it difficult to refuse an identical request made by any anti-Vietnam War activists.

But don’t people have a point? Isn’t Confederate history racist history?

Heritage of Hate

Yes. 

Despite many modern attempts to re-write history, the war that began in April 1861 was fought by Southerners to defend and protect their “peculiar institution.” Attempts to recast and redefine the roots of the war began in Reconstruction and have continued ever since, particularly during the Jim Crow era in the South.  The only reason for states to leave the federal Union was to keep slaves in bondage. “State’s Rights” was an excuse put forward to maintain the system of Negro slavery.  That was wrong then, and we fought a war to end it. The United States won. The Confederacy lost. 

The more pertinent question in regard to this particular monument is whether Confederate history is Randolph County history.  My opinion as a Randolph County historian is that our local history was significantly different in many important ways from traditional Confederate history.  And our unique local history has never been recognized, commemorated or memorialized in ways that would give it the educational value it deserves.

I’ve been told by those who object to the Confederate statue that their biggest objection is to the inscription, “Our Confederate Heroes.”  I think this is a valid point.  There were many more heroes in the conflict than just Confederate heroes.  Randolph County history of the period is full of examples.

Salt WorksQuaker COs were sent to the Salt Works, run by John Milton Worth.

Our county had one of the lowest slave population percentages of any North Carolina county east of the mountains.  It had one of the highest percentages of “free people of color,” former slaves who had been emancipated before the war years.  This was due to the fact that Quakers historically made up the predominant religious group in the county, and the Friends had been in the forefront of manumission and abolition activities in North Carolina since the 18th century.  The Quakers from Randolph and Guilford counties were in the forefront of those smuggling slaves out of the South on the Underground Railroad.  It is perhaps no surprise that there are no Quaker monuments, as Friends did not even mark their own graves with more than an uninscribed rock until after the Civil War.

The Eagles NestWhen the war did finally come, Randolph County residents were reluctant to embrace it.  When the state legislature called for a referendum on secession, Randolph County’s state senator Jonathan Worth actively campaigned against it. The Greensboro Patriot editorialized, “The 28th of February, the day which perhaps will decide the fate of the Union, is close at hand.… Let every man then who loves his country be at his post… There is a battle to be fought.  A battle upon the result of which hang the destinies of this Nation.  The enemies of our Union have been marshaling their forces.  The hand is already uplifted to strike down the flag of our country!  Union men, to the rescue!  To the rescue!  ….” 

Kabbalistic_red_stringOn that election day, the voters of North Carolina narrowly rejected the secession Convention.  But in the Piedmont, the traditional Piedmont Quaker counties overwhelming voted for the Union.  Chatham County voted against by a margin of 15 to 1; Guilford by a margin of 25 to 1. In Randolph, editor E.J. Hale exulted in the Asheboro Herald of March 3, 1861: “Listen to the thunder of Randolph!” The final vote of 2,579 against to 45 in favor of secession was the largest in the state– 57 pro-Union  voters to every one pro-Confederate secessionist.   That lop-sided proportion struck newspapers in eastern North Carolina as fishy… the New Bern Progress [quoted in the April 11, 1861 Greensboro Patriot], headed its editorial “Something Wrong.”

But whatever it was continued to be wrong throughout the war. Several times each year during the war, government troops were sent from Raleigh to restore civil order and arrest deserters and “outliers,” or draft dodgers.  The county was under martial law for much of the war.  In the election of 1864, the anti-Confederate Peace Party or “Red String” candidates won every elected office in the county, from Confederate Congress to Governor to Sheriff.  Again, the state newspapers cried foul.  But that was the true voice of Randolph County, despite sending more than a thousand of its boys off to war.

red-string            Historian Bill Auman points out that Randolph County in 1861 had the third-lowest volunteer rate in the state.  The enlistment rate for North Carolina as a whole was 23.8%; in Randolph it was 14.2%.  As the war went on, conscription acts were passed by the CSA to force men into service; 40% of the state’s draftees in 1863 came from the recalcitrant Quaker Belt counties, with Randolph contributing 2.7% of its population to the draft that year.  North Carolina as a whole contributed about 103,400 enlisted men to the Confederate Army, about one-sixth of the total, and more than any other state.  But this does not mean those troops were all loyal Confederates; about 22.9% (23,694 men) of those troops deserted, a rate more than twice that of any other state.

engraving      The Confederacy did not publish statistics on desertion, but at least 320 of Randolph’s nearly 2,000 men deserted from their regiments, with 32 deserting twice, five deserting three times and one deserting five times!  Forty-four of these deserters were arrested, 42 were court-martialed, and at least 14 were actually executed. So many deserters and outliers hid in underground dugouts, with their camp fire smoke seeping up out of the dirt, that their rugged mountain hideout took on the name Purgatory Mountain- wreathed in the fires of Hell. Even when they returned to Confederate duty, there was no guarantee that these men would stay.  196 captured Randolph county Confederates took the Oath of Allegiance to the Union before the end of the war, with 67 joining the Union Army.

 

southernvolunteers C&I

Southern “Volunteers”. Currier and Ives illustration, Library of Congress.

A case in point is the service history of Frank Toomes, great-grandfather of Richard and Maurice Petty. William Franklin Toomes (Jr.) was born October 25, 1838 in the Sumner community of Guilford County, less than a mile north of the Randolph County line. Frank followed his father into the blacksmithing trade, and when the Civil War broke out, both of them were working as blacksmiths, probably at one of the factories in Franklinsville. Male employees of the Deep River cotton mills and ironworks qualified as exempt “indispensable” employees until late in the war, but at some point the regional Enrolling Officer decided the cotton mill could do without one of its blacksmiths. When the Enrolling Officer came for him, Frank Toomes hid, submerged in the mill race, breathing through a straw. But on December 2, 1863 Frank Toomes was captured and forcibly drafted into Company E of the 58th North Carolina Infantry.  Within days Toomes was sent to the Tennessee western front, and within days, he deserted. On or around February 1, 1864, 23-year-old Frank Toomes entered the Union lines, surrendered and was taken prisoner to Nashville. On February 12th, he took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States and was assigned to Company H of the 10th Tenn. Cavalry regiment. There Toomes apparently became a good soldier, as he was promoted to 1st Duty Sergeant of Company H on July 16, 1864, and then to Quartermaster Sergeant on June 30, 1865.

Bucked Gagged

There are also numerous stories about Quaker Conscientious Objectors, who even though drafted, refused to bear arms despite humiliation and torture in the army ranks.  Thomas and Jacob Hinshaw, Ezra, Nicholas and Simeon Barker, Simon Piggott and Nathaniel Cox, all Friends from Holly Spring Meeting, were forcibly enlisted in the 52nd NC Infantry when they refused to pay $500 each as an exemption fee.  They refused to hire substitutes and they refused to fight, even after being repeatedly “bucked down”- tortured by having their arms and legs bound so they could not move for hours.  In camp they were harshly disciplined for refusing to carry guns or participate in military training.  An officer wrote that “these men are of no manner of use to the army.” But they were kept in the ranks as virtual prisoners, hands tied and made to march at bayonet point.  Finally left on the battlefield at Gettysburg, where they were nursing the wounded, the Quakers were captured by Federal cavalry and imprisoned at Fort Delaware as prisoners of war. A concerted effort by Quakers of Wilmington, Delaware resulted in their pardon and release by Secretary Stanton and President Abraham Lincoln himself. 

111109_2313_HowellGilli11.jpg

Perhaps the most glaring omission in the Randolph County narrative of its Civil War history is the story of Howell Gilliam Trogdon (1840-1910), a native of the area south of Deep River between Cedar Falls and Franklinville.  The Trogdon family is a classic example of one with divided loyalties; half a dozen served in Confederate uniforms and died on the battlefield or served all the way to Appomattox. Many of those who stayed at home became ring-leaders of the secret anti-confederate Peace movement, the Red String.  Reuben F. Trogdon, who in 1866 won the vote for Sheriff and served as Randolph County’s first Republican elected official, was said to have been the leader of the Red String during the war.  His cousin Howell Gilliam Trogdon, on the other hand, moved to Missouri and became a Zouave in the Union Army.  In the seige of Vicksburg, under orders from Ulysses S. Grant, Trogdon led the nearly-suicidal charge against “Stockade Redan,” a Confederate fort.  Of the 250 men involved in the charge, only Trogdon and two others made it to the top of the parapet.  For his actions in 1863, he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor- the first North Carolinian and the only Randolph County soldier ever to win that honor.  Where is his monument?

Memorial_Hall_-_Harvard

When I was at Harvard from 1973 to 1977, we took exams in Memorial Hall, a huge Victorian dining hall built in 1869 to honor the 136 Harvard graduates who died while serving in the US Army during the Civil War. 

We southerners would morbidly joke that Memorial Hall was the country’s largest monument to Southern marksmanship, a pointed gibe at the fact that nowhere among the marble tablets inscribed with the names of those dead Harvard boys were to be found the names of the 71 southern graduates who also gave their lives.  

harvard-memorial-hall-transept

The Memorial Transept. The names of 136 Harvard Union dead are on those marble plaques.

This is still a bone of contention on campus.    http://www.vastpublicindifference.com/2011/05/confederates-in-harvards-memorial-hall.html

Southern monuments aren’t the only one-sided stories of that conflict.  But perhaps the lesson is that we need to learn from multiple perspectives, and tell many stories, to get the full picture of history.  Erasing one side is just as harmful to real education as is ignoring another.

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New Market Inn

March 30, 2013
New Market Inn, from the southeast, circa 1950.

New Market Inn, from the southeast, circa 1950.

During the winter months I try to get out and investigate the parts of Randolph County that are not so accessible when the animal and vegetable elements of creation awake in the spring and summer. Saturday March 30th, 2013, was a beautiful warm and sunny day, and as I was driving down 311 I steered through that odd left-hand crook in the road in Sophia that I’ve wondered about a thousand times. Whether going north just past New Market Elementary School or south just past Marlboro Church Road, cars must jog left as 311 for some unexplained reason swerves in its path beside the railroad. As a historian I’ve long been aware that this is the site of the New Market Inn- the one colonial or federal inn that retained its identity into my generation. For some reason I’d decided or been told ages ago that the inn itself was on the lot where a garage and auto salvage yard now covered all the acreage, but this last Saturday B.U. (Before Undergrowth) seemed like a good reason to double back and check out what my friend Colon Farlow recently asserted to me: that the inn wasn’t on the garage lot, but on the adjacent lot just to the west, a wooded lot now for sale. Not only did I stop and hike that lot, I got the first tick of spring for my efforts, so here’s the story.

New Market Inn, circa 1940.

New Market Inn, circa 1940.

In my book Randolph County: Images of America, the New Market Inn is illustrated on page 70 (and shown above) in a photo taken in 1935. This and one other image of the building in the historic photo database at the county public library document the house after its demotion in status into use as a barn, and before it collapsed or was demolished circa-1960. They show a house that architectural historians would term “Georgian,” the style that takes its name from the 18th century kings of England and is usually reserved to structures built before 1810. Georgian style houses show a strong formal symmetry, often with a five-bay center-hall plan. Georgian proportions emphasize verticality, with tall, narrow windows and steep roofs and boxed cornices which are cut flush to the gable ends. In Piedmont NC such houses were always of heavy timber construction, as brick was too expensive to use for residential bearing walls until the 1830s. Interiors would have had simple finishes, with exposed floor joists, raised panels on doors, mantels and wainscots, and enclosed “dogleg” or “boxed” stairs.
Conversion of the house into a barn has removed most of the decorative information I usually use to date a structure, and there are no photos of the interior known, but exterior photos of the New Market inn definitely exhibit the Georgian vertical emphasis and the symmetrical five-bay plan. The entrance door has been expanded into a barn door, but on the second floor what appears to be an original door opening suggests that the house had a center-hall plan. Most of the windows have been removed and boarded up; the two remaining may have been reused from other locations, as they appear to be short 6×6 sash. Visible through the open center door is another window on the far side of the house; it is located where a door should be, but the shadow appears to indicated a repurposed 9×9 sash. At the lower southeast corner an assymmetrical door and window could be later changes to the original plan; they may also mark the location of a separate entrance to the inn’s tap room.

Sketch of the stone foundations

Sketch of the stone foundations

The second, slightly later photo is a valuable view of the eastern side, showing the steep roof pitch of 10 or 12 inches of rise to every foot of run. The attic floor has two narrow windows crowded into each side gable, leaving space for a large end chimney which, if it existed, has been removed. A shed-roofed one-story addition is visible to the north side; the large barn-like additions on the west which were visible in the previous photo are here hidden behind a large cedar tree. The later photo documents a catastrophic structural failure progressing in the west-central portion of the house, where the inward slump indicates that the floor joists have rotted or been removed.

Corn Crib

Corn Crib

On my exploratory hike, the only standing structure I found was this corn crib/ tractor shed combination, probably dating to the 1930s or 40s and of little interest. Much more unusual was the blooming carpet of purple “Grape” or “Roman” hyacinth, which covered at least an acre southwest of a stone foundation. The briars, brush and vines, even in their temporarily leafless state, did not allow close inspection, measurement or adequate photography of the foundation. By my analog paced measure, the fieldstone foundation is 10-12 inches above grade and measures approximately 30 feet wide by 45 feet long. A water-filled depression indicates a cellar under the western end of the structure, at least 15 by 30 feet. A flat 4 by 5-foot rectangular stone a foot thick lies near the center of the façade, and another one approximately 2 by 4 feet lies at the southeast corner. Both may have been step stones to the doors shown on the photos. Chimney bases are not discernible to the east or west, but a large pile of brick and stone inside the foundation could be the remains of a chimney positioned either at the west end or at the center of the house.

Foundation stones

Foundation stones

Like much 20th-century journalism, newspaper accounts of the house sell romance and nostalgia over actual history. “YE OLD TAVERN, LANDMARK OF PIONEER DAYS, STILL STANDING IN NEW MARKET,” spins an article dated April 24, 1938 from The Randolph Tribune:

A few miles above Randleman on the High Point Road in New Market Township stands one of the earliest landmarks of pioneer days in Randolph County. It is a symbol of the sturdy and cultured type of pioneers who set up well-built homes in a country hitherto uninhabited except by Indians. There is something about this old landmark that seems to shout, “Mine is an interesting story.”

Today the old tavern, known formerly as one of the best on the Plank Road, is a barn, sheltering the owner’s stock and housing the hay and fodder. The chimneys have crumbled to dust, the front door has been replaced by a big swinging barn door, and the steps are gone. An investigator will find that there were eight rooms downstairs besides the dining room and kitchen. On the second floor were a large hall and six bedrooms. At the top of the narrow stairway the third floor consisted of two big loft rooms. The remaining windows are very narrow, the ceilings are low, and the wood has been painted several different colors. There are several original handmade doors. The fireplace used eight-foot logs.   At one corner of the house is a huge, long rock which some say was an “upping block,” others a doorstep.

Hearthstone, Doorstep or Upping Block?

Hearthstone, Doorstep or Upping Block?

This is the only description of the interior, but the writer evidently included the additions and expansions of the house in his room count, as the original block could not have had ten rooms downstairs and six bedrooms on the second floor. It is also interesting that the writer notes only one fireplace.    The article goes on to state: “Just who built this huge house is uncertain, but the earliest known occupants were Sidney Porter and his wife, Ruth Worth Porter, who later removed to Greensboro.” Addison Blair’s 1890 history doesn’t discuss the house in particular, but of New Market itself he writes

This is an old settled place, and was the home of Capt. John Bryant, a Whig, who was shot in his old house by Colonel Fanning. The place afterwards came into the possession of Shubal Gardner, who had a store there and was regarded as a big man. He owned a number of lots in Johnsonville and at one time drove a heard of beeves to Philadelphia. Joseph Newlin bought the property in 1840 and called it New Market and for many years carried on an extensive store and tin shop.

(J.A. Blair, Reminiscences of Randolph County, Asheboro, 1890; p. 49)

In the 1960s, local historian Addison Wall (who lived only a half mile from the site) wrote The Randolph Story for the Randleman Rotary Club, and noted on page 106 that “The inn closed down some time after the Civil War and was converted into a barn.  The lower floor was used as a granary and storage by Mr. Snider who bought the farm seventy-five years ago.  The New Market elections were held for a number of years in the building…. The building was torn down about 1950.”

To fully examine all these personalities involved with the property will take additional posts!

Benjamin Swaim and the “Man of Business”

January 17, 2012

[A comment on this blog last month asked for information on Benjamin Swaim.  I have written about him twice; the biogrpahy of him in Volume “S” of the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography is by me, and actually contains a portion of the following paper.  This study of his life and one of his books was originally written in 1981 as an assignment for my Masters Degree courses at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Library and Information Science.  For Mr. Powell at DNCB I abstracted the basic biographical information about Swaim.  The bibliographical information is here presented to the public for the first time.  One thing I realize is not clear from this paper is that Benjamin Swaim’s legal books are the first known Randolph County imprints– that is, they are the first books printed in the county.]

 
SWAIM, BENJAMIN (13 May 1798 – 23 Dec. 1844), lawyer, printer, author and newspaperman, was almost certainly the son of William (10 March 1770 — 1 June 1850), and Elizabeth Sherwood Swaim (8 Nov. 1773 — 14 Aug. 1835).  They and several other branches of the numerous Swaim clan were residents of the Timber Ridge Community, east of Level Cross in Randolph County. [i]

Life and Career.
Benjamin’s early life and education are obscure, although he perhaps attended schools taught by his uncle Moses Swaim.  Benjamin first appears in the records of the North Carolina Manumission Society, when, on August 27, 1819, he attended the society’s convention and began a sixteen-year association with the abolitionist group.[ii]   In the fall of 1822, he was hired to teach day classes of Mt. Ephraim schoolhouse in Guilford County.  Swaim, a law student at the time, was considered to be a teacher of great ability.  The number of students attracted to this school was so large that an assistant teacher was needed, and his second cousin William Swaim was hired for the position.  Benjamin and William organized a debating club at the school known as the “Polemic Society,” which became a forum for local men of all ages to join in oratorical contests.   In 1823, Guilford County Sheriff and state legislator Col. William Dickey asked Benjamin to take over Dickey’s private school.  Swaim instead successfully recommended cousin William for the job.

By  Line

Benjamin Swaim then relocated to the Randolph County town of New Salem, where he opened a law practice.  New Salem was (and is) located about a mile southwest of the Swaim family farms at Timber Ridge.  It was a crossroads community located at the point where the road between Asheboro and Greensboro intersected the ancient Indian Trading Path.  Land was conveyed to trustees of a Quaker meeting house there in 1815, but an informal group had probably met there as early as 1792.  New Salem was the commercial hub of Randolph County during the first quarter of the Nineteenth Century, hosting more stores and businesses than Asheborough.[iii]  The state legislature chartered town government in New Salem in 1816, appointing commissioners Benjamin Marmon, Jesse Hinshaw, Peter Dicks, William Dennis and Moses Swaim.

Moses Swaim, a brother of Benjamin’s father William and the only non-Quaker on the board, was the first president of the North Carolina Manumission and Colonization Society.[iv]    Benjamin, also a charter member of the organization, was in 1827 elected its President as well as delegated to attend the National Convention of the Abolition Society.  His opinions on the subject of slavery are revealed in his 1829 “Report of the President”, as printed in the Greensborough Patriot.  In it, he declares that “…the hour of Negro Emancipation is fast approaching.  It must and will assuredly come.  And all that we can do is prepare for its approach by a timely and gradual improvement of their debased condition….  Aided by Divine assistance, we may fearlessly encounter all the opposition of our enemies and confidently stand forth, the advocates of truth and justice, with such unyielding firmness and determined purpose as no earthly Interest, power or prejudice can successfully resist.” Swaim was reelected President of the Manumission Society until its discontinuance in 1835.

Perhaps as early as May, 1831, Swaim began planning a serial law publication, The Man of Business or Every Man’s Lawbook , a pioneer reference work of business law and legal forms.[v]   Swaim called The Man of Business “new in character and design’, and publicly appealed for the approval of other lawyers, since “the prudent and seasonable prevention of ruinous litigation is no less a professional duty than the skillful management of it.”  Benjamin’s partner in this venture was his cousin William, had founded The Patriot, Guilford County’s first newspaper in 1829.[vi]  William Swaim printed the first volume in 1833-31.  However, the successful reception of The Man of Business , and the trouble involved in traveling repeatedly from his home to the printing office in Greensboro, led Swain to open his own shop in October, 1834.  The New Salem operation was staffed by R.J. West, printer, and John Sherwood (a cousin)[vii].  Volume II of The Man of Business was produced there in 1834-35.
In February, 1836, Swaim began editing and publishing a newspaper from his office in New Salem.  Titled Southern Citizen, it had been proposed in November, 1834 by William Swaim. [viii]  William’s prospectus, published in the Patriot, lamented the low esteem in which Southern newspapers were held, and sought to supersede his Patriot with a new “splendid, superfine” publication, “the largest and most usefull family newspaper… devoted to the interest, amusement, and edification of the American people Swaim was roundly abused in the state’s periodical press for his pretentious statements, but within a year he had attracted enough subscribers to begin preparations for publication.  His death age 33 in December, 1835 threw these preparations into disarray.  The Patriot continued to be published for the benefit of William’s estate, while Benjamin took up the challenge of publishing the Southern Citizen.


The first issue of the Southern Citizen appeared in February, 1836.  The editorial content was of an uncompromising Whig political persuasion, promoting agriculture, internal improvements, universal education, and literature. (Its motto: “What do we live for but to improve ourselves and be useful to one another?”) An unusual feature was the “Legal Department,” subtitled “Ignorance of the Law Excuseth No Man.” Here Swaim, obviously inspired by the success of The Man of Business, answered the questions of subscribers on various points of law.

In December, 1836 Swaim moved his newspaper, printing business and law office to Asheboro, the Randolph County seat.  The Southern Citizen was issued from there weekly without interruption until April of 1842, when publication was suspended.  Either debt and financial instability or the recent death of Swaim’s wife following the birth of a daughter may have contributed to the shut-down.  Publication was resumed on 14 October 1843, and continued until 17 October, 1844, when Swain sold the newspaper and printing office to John Milton Sherwood.[ix]  Whether the newspaper continued after that date is unknown.

On 7 Feb. 1829 Swain married Rachel Dicks (Aug. 1808 – 3 March 18141), daughter of Peter and Rachel Seals Dicks. They were the parents of five children: Anna Dicks (b. 17 Apr. 1830), Thomas Clarkson (10 May l832- 1 March 18kb), Matilda Rosalie (8 March 1835 — 26 Feb. 1837), Charlotte (b. 9 Dec. 1837), arid Rachel Dicks (b. 21 Feb. 1841). Benjamin Swaim’s sudden death while on a trip to Raleigh revealed the fact that he was “indebted beyond the account of his personal assets.”[x](x)  Although his executors discovered more than 300 debtors owing money to Swaim’s estate, very little money could be collected and his property was sold in a futile attempt to pay his creditors.

Publications.

Swain’s legal career after 1836 consisted mainly of writing and publishing form-books and digests of North Carolina state law.  A proposed third volume of The Man of Business grew into Swain’s 540-page opus The North Carolina Justice, printed in Raleigh in 1839 [The North Carolina Justice:  containing a summary statement of the statues and common law of this state, together with the decisions of the supreme court, and all the most approved forms and precedents relating to the office and duty of a justice of the peace and other public officers].  In 1841 Swain published, “at the Southern Citizen office” in Asheboro his The North Carolina Executor . . . a safe guide to executors administrators in their practical management of estates. . .   And in 1842, Swaim likewise published  The North Carolina Road Law… with all the necessary forms and practical observations pertaining to the… responsibilities of overseers and road hands.

Swaim therefore made a career of writing and publishing form-books and digests of North Carolina state law related to various public offices and private professions.  All of his works seem to have been relatively popular;  The Man of Business was still in print in 1841 and offered for sale (along with Swaim’s Justice and Executor) in the catalog of law books of the Raleigh bookseller Turner and Hughes.  A second edition of the popular North Carolina Justice was updated by Swaim and published posthumously in 1846.  Another purported revision of The North Carolina Justice was edited by an Edward Cantwell and published by Henry D. Turner of Raleigh in 1856; although titled “Swaim’s Justice—Revised,” it was subtitled The North Carolina Magistrate, a practical guide to the laws of the state…under the Revised Code, 1854-55, and its preface states that the work is not a revision of Swaim, but a “new and original publication.”  That a “new and original publication” would wish to trade on Swaim’s name in its title twelve years after his death suggests that his reputation as a North Carolina legal authority was high.

Precedents.

The author of “Legal Practice and Ethics in North Carolina, 1820-1860” muses that “when one remembers that he was a lawyer, one is amazed that Swaim was eager to help the common man and to assist him in being his own attorney.”   Yet to some extent Swaim was following in the footsteps of legal predecessors in the state.  North Carolina’s first printer, James Davis, published in 1774 his  Office and Authority of a Justice of Peace.  And Also, the the duty of Sheriffs, Coroners, Constables, Churchwardens, Overseers of Roads and other Officers, Together with precedents for Warrants, Judgements, Executions and other legal process….  New editions by different authors appeared in 1791 and 1800 which were also subsequently revised and reprinted[xi]; Swaim’s North Carolina Justice therefore had a long pedigree.   Likewise, his Executor was preceded by Francois-Xavier Martin’s Treatise on the Powers and Duties of Executors and  Administrators according to the Law of North-Carolina, published in Raleigh by J. Gales in 1820.  However,  Swaim’s Road Law does not seem to have had North Carolina antecedents, and The Man of Business appears to have been a completely original conception.  An 1819 self-help book which could represent a parallel idea was J.H. Conway’s The North Carolina Calculator; or New Practical Arithmetic…  of utility to merchants, traders and others, in their general occupations; this was a prototype small-business accounting treatise.

Swain asserted, however, that The Man of Business was “new in character and design,” and worried that those in the legal fraternity might protest the popularizing of the law.  Though the work was “calculated to render every man his own counsellor in matters of ordinary business,” Swaim declared himself motivated by the desire “to improve the modes of doing business, and thereby to render the ends of justice more easy and accessible to all classes of the community…”  While today every state (except Louisiana) operates under the Uniform Commercial Code (a model state law package governing all commercial transactions), the nineteenth century operated under the burden of a bewildering array of local laws regulating business. Although business law is taught as a separate curriculum in modern business schools and economic departments, Swaim may have been an originator of the concept of uniform laws as a vital part of business administration and financial efficiency.  His most direct influence lay in the inspiration of imitators such as Franklin Crosby, who in 1860 in Philadelphia published Everybody’s Lawyer and Counsellor in Business:  containing plain and simple instructions to all classes for transacting their business according to law…. [xii]

Vol II Title Page

Characteristics of the Printed Page.
The Man of Business was considered by Swaim to be a periodical “published simultaneously at Greensborough and New Salem, N.C.  It will consist of four hundred and thirty-two duodecimo pages (in twelve monthly numbers) neatly printed, pressed, -folded, stitched and trimmed.”  Each monthly number consisted of 18 leaves or 36 pages made up of 9 signatures of 4 leaves each.  Four pages of type were printed at once on one side of an 8 x 13-inch sheet of rough-laid paper from the Emmanuel Shober paper mill in Salem.[xiii]

The joint publishing arrangement may have arisen from the difficulty of a single press publishing a weekly newspaper as well as a monthly magazine.[xiv]  Although the printing work for volume one was stated to have occurred at William Swaim’s Greensborough Patriot office, four versions of volume one exist.  This physical evidence indicates volume one was set in type by hand and printed four separate times, and perhaps only once in Greensboro.  Two versions of volume one exhibit a simple masthead on page one, and two begin with title pages.

The masthead design resembles a tiny newspaper masthead, with title, editor, and imprint information.  “THE MAN OF BUSINESS./ (motto)/ Benjamin Swain, Editor./ NEW SALEM, N.C. JULY, 1833/ VOL. I NO, 1/ PROSPECTUS…” Version one also includes the “TERMS” at the foot of the page, ending with “…stitched and trimmed.”  Version two does not include TERMS, ending instead with “…ordinary business.”  Version one of the ‘title page’ design ends “VOL. 1/ OCTOBER, 1834-5/ WILLIAM SWAIM, PRINTER,/ GREENSBOROUGH, N.C./ 1834.” Version two of the title page ends “VOL. 1/ OCTOBER, 1833,/ Reprinted,/ New Salem, N.C./ 1836.”

Vol II No. 6 Title Page

The imprint of version one of the title page is obviously incorrect. Volume one, number one is dated July, 1833, not October, 1834. The printer has taken the title page for volume two, printed in 1834, and replace the “II” of that “VOL. II’ with “I’, making no other corrections, This suggests that volume one originally appeared with no title or imprint information other than its masthead.  Moreover, since the title page of the 1836 reprint corrects 1834-5 to 1833, but has not corrected “October” to ‘July”, we may surmise that the type for the reprint was set from a copy of the 1834 title page, with some mistakes corrected and others overlooked. Which one of the two “masthead” versions may be original requires further study.

In volume one, number twelve, Swaim complains of the trouble and expense of traveling back and forth to the printing office, and says “I hope to find some relief in the location of the whole concern in one place… In future it will be printed and published in the town of New Salem, Randolph County, N.C., provided its patronage should be sufficiently increased to justify the purchase of a press, etc.” However, at least volume two, number one must still have been printed in Greenshorough, for in number two Swaim states “Since the appearance of the first number of this volume, I have engaged in the services of a young printer,[xv] who has recently set up, and is commencing business in this place… it is therefore hoped, and confidently expected, that the publication will, in future, go on with more promptness and regularity, as the whole concern is now at home.”

Numbers three through twelve of this volume all bear the imprint “R.J. WEST PRINTER,/ New-Salem, N.C.” No versions of the volume two title page exist. Version one bears the imprint “VOL. II/ NEW SALEM,/ OCTOBER/ 1834’5.” The page is printed in six different point sizes of type, including two versions of an unusual ball-serif italic, one slanting to the left, the other slanting right.[xvi]  Title page version two has already been mentioned, bearing the imprint “VOL. II/ OCTOBER, 1834-5/ WILLIAM SWAIM, PRINTER./ Greensborough, N.C./ 1834.”
Volume one is indexed by a simple contents list following the numbered page sequence. This is complicated by the fact that pages 37 through 48 are misnumbered 1 through 12 (noted in an Erratta on page 72), and by the fact that “Pages from 352 to 417 are erroneously numbered by mistake. The index, however, is made out as the pages are, and not as they should be…” This indexing system cannot have been very satisfactory. Volume two provides a classified alphabetical index to both volumes; it indicates both the true page number and the erroneous page number (bracketted). The mistakes were probably perpetuated due to the exigencies of legal citation, which demands that page numbering be uniform from copy to copy— even uniformly incorrect.
Swaim ends volume two hinting at a third volume which was, however, never published and probably grew into his North Carolina Justice, which appeared two years later.  He indicates throughout volume two that complete files of both volumes could be bought “in good law binding.”  Therefore, in addition to “young printer” R.J. West, Swaim also evidently secured the services of a bookbinder.  A copy of The Man of Business in the Peacock collection at Duke has the damaged label “(torn)/ BOOK BINDER/New-Salem, N.C.”  A copy of Volume 2 now in the possession of the author includes a paper label inside the front cover, imprinted “JOHN SHERWOOD/ BOOK BINDER,/ New-Salem, N.C.”  This is evidently his cousin John Milton Sherwood who was subsequently the purchaser of the Southern Citizen printing office.[xvii]

In view of the numerous pleas throughout the work asking subscribers to pay their bills, and from the fact that none of Swain’s subsequent works appeared serially, it may be assumed that his experience with subscription sales was an unhappy one.  The problems of sale and distribution of such published materials in the early nineteenth century must have discouraged many local printers from even attempting a project of the magnitude undertaken by Benjamin Swaim— nearly 900 pages of material related to the study of business law. [xviii]

Copies Examined.
UNC-CH, North Carolina Collection (call number: C347.05-M26)

Vol. I
(c.i) New Salem reprint, 1836.
Stephen B. Weeks Collection.
Number 1, p.1 ends “…ordinary business.”
(c.2) Greensborough, 1834.
Stephen B. Weeks Collection.
(c.3) No title page (t.-p.); rebound.
Gift of the N.C. Baptist Historical Commission.
(c,4) No t.-p.; ‘S’ dropped from masthead: “PROSPECTU .”

Vol. II
(c.l) Greensborough, 1834.
John Sprunt Hill Collection.
(c.2) New Salem, Oct. 1834’5.
Stephen B. Weeks Collection.
(c.3) Greensborough, 1834.
Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies.

UNC—CH, Law Library (Rare Book Room) (call number: S971m-1834)

Vol.  I
(c.1) New Salem reprint, 1836 (#241180),
Bound in calf; black label; stamped “1” on Spine.

Vol. II
(c.1) No t.-p. (#180548),
Bound in calf; red label; stamped “2” on spine.
Duke University Library, Peacock Collection (call number: 347.6—3971-P)

Vol, I
(c.1) Greensborough, 1834 (#23290)
Rebound in red library bindings
(c.2) New Salem reprint, 1836 (#23291),

Number 1, p.1, ends “…In short it will be calcu-“

Signed on t.-p.: “Wm. M.B. Arendell”

(c.3) No t.-p. (#23292)
Number 1, p. 1 ends “. . .and trimmed.”
“B.F. Swaim/ A.D. 1852” in ink on front cover.

Vol. II
(c.1) Greensborough, 1834 (#23293)
On flyleaf: “B.F. Swaim’s/ Law Book/ May the 2nd. 1852” In ink on cover: “B.F. Swaim/ 1852”
(c.2) Greensborough, 1834 (#23294)
Inside front cover: “(torn)/ BOOK BINDER/ New-Salem, N.C,”

“DICK” stamped (in ink?) on spine.

Bibliography.
1. Arnett, Ethel Stephens, William Swaim, Fighting Editor: The Story of O. Henry’s Grandfather. Greensboro Piedmont Press, 1963.

2. Blackwelder, Fannie M. F. “The Bar Examination and Beginning Years of Legal Practice in North Carolina, 1820-1860.”  North Carolina Historical Review XXIX (April, 1952), pp. 159-170.

3. ——-, “Legal Education in North Carolina, 1820-1860.” N.C.H.R., XXVIII (July, 1951), pp. 271-297.

4. ——-, “Legal Practice and Ethics in North Carolina, 1820-1860.” N.C.H.R. (July, 1953), pp. 329-353

5. Davis, Jewell Faye, Bibliography of North Carolina Imprints, 1801-1820.  Washington, D.C. Catholic Univ., M.S.L.S. thesis, 1955.

6. Fox, Charlesanna M., ed., Randolph County 1779-1979. Winston-Salem: Hunter Publishing Co., 1980.

7. Gibson, Virginia E. Salmon Hall, N.C. Printer, 1800-1840, UNC School of Library Science: MSLS paper, 1967.

8. Gress Edmund F.  Fashions in American Typography, 1780-1930. New York Harper and Bros., 1931.

9.  Hall, Francis H. Public Printing in North Carolina, 1816-1861.  UNC School of Library Science: MSLS thesis, 1957.

10.  Jones, H.G.  Union List of North Carolina Newspapers. Raleigh, N.C., Dept. of Archives and History, 1966.

11.  McFarland, Daniel M, “North Carolina Newspapers, Editors and Journalistic Politics, 1815-1835.” N.C.H.R., July, 1953.

12.  McMurtrie, Douglas C.  Eighteenth Century North Carolina Imprints, 1749-1800. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1938.

13.  Paschal, George Washington.  A History of Printing in North Carolina. Raleigh: Edwards and Broughton Co., 1946.

14.  Raleigh Register, 16 Feb. 1836, 16 March 1841, 24 Dec. 1844.

15.  Sherrill, P.M., “The Quakers and the North Carolina Manumission Society,” Trinity College Historical Society Papers, Series X, 1914.

16.  Robert N. Tompkins, ed., “Marriage and Death Notices from Extant Asheboro, N,C., Newspapers, 1836—1857”, N.C. Genealogical Society Journal (Nov. 1978);

FOOTNOTES


[i]  Swaim Bible Records, published in Randolph County Genealogical Society Journal, Vol. X, #2, p.28 (1986); Sidney Swain Robins, A Letter on Robins Family History (nd.); Swaim family genealogical records (possession of Mrs. Francine Holt Swain, Liberty, N.C.)

[ii]  H.N. Wagstaff, ed., “Minutes of the N.C. Manumission Society, 1816-1831”, The James Sprunt Historical Studies, Vol. 22 (1934)

[iii]  Peter Dicks was a storekeeper in the Town, as well as the operator of a mill on Deep River some 2 miles southwest. William Dennis was a potter of slip-decorated redware whose home and kiln were sited half a mile east of town. Dr. John Milton Worth, born in the nearby Centre Friends Meeting community just north across the county line, opened his first practice in New Salem.  William Clark, a future organizer of the Union Factory, operated a “flourishing” tannery and store in the town.  (J.A. Blair, p. 50)  The Adams family, who employed Naomi Wise as a servant girl, lived just South of town.

[iv] At that first meeting, says Levi Coffin in his autobiographical Reminiscences, Moses Swaim, “a lawyer of Randolph County, delivered a lengthy and able address, which was afterward printed and widely circulated.  It was a strong abolition speech, and would not have been allowed a few years later.”  (p.74)  Moses Swaim was elected Clerk of Superior Court in Randolph County in 1837 and served for several years.

[v]  The phrase “Man of Business” had come into English writing as early as 1660, but it had only begun to assume its modern form, “business-man,” in 1829.

[vi]  William Swaim also happens to have been the grandfather of novelist O. Henry, and so has merited the monograph William Swaim– Fighting Editor by Ethel Stephens Arnett (1963). William’s cousin Lyndon Swaim later took over editorship of his newspaper. “The Life of William Swaim” was a multi-part biographical series written by Lyndon Swaim and published in the Patriot from May 18 to June 22, 1866. In transmogrified form, the Patriot survives today, becoming the Greensboro Daily News, now known as  The News and Record.

[vii]  John Sherwood (27 Sept. 1806 – 5 July 1895) was the son of Benjamin Sherwood (1783-1865) and Sally Swaim (b. 29 Sept. 1787).  Sally Swaim was the daughter of distant cousin Michael Swaim; Benjamin Sherwood was evidently a brother of Benjamin Swaim’s mother Elizabeth Sherwood Swaim.  On 26 Sept. 1835 John Sherwood was the grantee of a deed of trust (Randolph County Book 20, Page 111) encumbering property described as “one quarter acre lot in New Salem adj. B. Swaim (formerly Jesse Watkins”.  In 1837 John Sherwood was a candidate for Randolph County Clerk of Superior Court, printing circulars on June 10th , decrying prejudice against candidates who were not Randolph natives and on July 29th,  printing a diatribe against “racing candidates” and describing himself as a “man in limited circumstances, with an extensive family.”  Moses Swaim was the victor in this contest (see Deed Book 21, Page 151).

[viii]  In October 1834, Williams Swaim proposed merging the Patriot into the Southern Citizen beginning July 4, 1835.  He planned to enlarge the weekly paper with three times the editorial material, “printed in new type, on a new press.”  The prospectus of the new paper was printed Nov. 19, 1834; in it he said 2.000 subscribers would be required to begin publication.  Lyndon Swaim, “The Life of William Swaim,” in The Patriot (Greensboro, NC) published from May 18 to June 22, 1866.

[ix]  From The Southern Citizen, Vol. V, #52 (17 October 1844)—“We have recently sold out to Mr. John Milton Sherwood, a young gentleman who was partly raised in this office, and , for the past year, has been the foreman in the establishment.  He will issue the first number week after next./  This number of our paper concludes the Fifth volume of the Southern Citizen, and closes, for the present, at least and very probably forever, the Editorial Career of its present Editor and Proprietor.”

[x] From the Patriot, Greensboro, 12-28-1844:  “Died/ In Raleigh, on Monday the 22nd inst., about 12 o’clock, BENJAMIN SWAIM, of Randolph county, counselor at law, and author of several legal works.

“A friend who watched his dying bed informs us that the deceased ‘had been indisposed about two weeks ago, but had got much better, so as to consider himself well.  On Friday night he was taken with a violent cholera morbius, which proved fatal on Monday.  His suffering was intense.  He had the best medical aid, and attentive nursing, but all failed.  He retained his senses in a most remarkable degree, and submitted to his fate without a murmur- observed, after he was conscious of the near approach of death, that he had no disposition to complain of any act of Providence.  He had but few friends present, but these few gave every possible attention that could be bestowed.’

“Always under the depressing influence of pecuniary want, and afflicted from his birth with a radical defect in his sight, he labored under more of the difficulties of life than fall to the lot of most men.  But nature had endowed him with a remarkably clear intellect and a patient disposition, which enabled him to press forward in the attainment of knowledge to an extent highly creditable to himself and useful to the community.  His mind, patient to investigate, delighted to follow the old law writers through the mazes of their learning into the latent recesses of truths and right reason.  The law was his favorite study, and in it he had made uncommon proficiency for one of his age and proscribed opportunities. He enjoyed the reputation of a clear and correct legal theorist and a safe counselor.  And the practical legal works which he compiled and published will long be used and appreciated by the business public.  He was a man of inoffensive manners and most amiable disposition.  Peace be to his ashes!

“We have deemed this meager public tribute due to one who was, during a portion of our youth ‘our guide, companion, and familiar friend.’—EDS. PAT.”

[xi]  i.e., Francois-Xavier Martin, The Office and Authority of a Justice of the Peace of Sheriffs, Coroners, &c., According to the Laws of North-Carolina (1791) ; or The Office and Duty of A Justice of the Peace and A Guide to Sheriffs, Coroners, Clerks and Constables and Other Civil Officers  According to the Laws of North-Carolina (John Haywood, ed., printed in Raleigh by William Boylan in 1806; and Henry Potter, ed., published by J. Gales and Son of Raleigh in 1828 (2nd ed.).

[xii]  Interestingly, Brantley York (1805-1891), Randolph County native, teacher and founder of Trinity College, is credited with authoring The Man of Business and Railroad Calculator:  Containing such part of arithmetic as have a special application in business transactions (Raleigh: J. Nichols & Co., 1873).  The work contains legal forms edited by Richard Watt York, “A.M. and Counsellor at Law,” but it does not appear to relate to Swaim’s Man of Business in anything but title and subject matter.

[xiii]  On Feb. 7, 1838, in the midst of a financial crisis, Benjamin Swaim mortgaged his house and lot in New Salem, his household property in Asheboro, and “also the printing press, cases, gallies, and all other Materials belonging to the printing office of the Southern Citizen of Asheboro, including the Dog Press, also the Library of books belonging to the said Swaim, consisting of about 200 volumes.”  Swaim owed 4 local businessmen $770, as well as $33.87 to printer R.W. West, and $260 to Salem paper mill owner Emanuel Shober.  “Dog Press” was evidently a generic name for a traditional wooden screw-type printing press.

[xiv]  According to Ethel Stephens Arnett, William Swaim used a Ramage press to print The Patriot (Greensboro, North Carolina, The County Seat of Guilford (1955), p. 240).  Adam Ramage of Philadephia  built wooden printing presses from about 1800 until he died in 1850.  They were available in three sizes: a full-size common press, an intermediate free-standing press which he called his “screw press,” and the smallest, the “foolscap,” named for the size of sheet paper it could print.

[xv] Identified on all subsequent monthly title pages as “R.J. WEST, Printer/ New-Salem, N.C.”

[xvi]  A modern “trutype” version of this typeface is available on computers as Elephant Italic, an adaptation of early 19th century “fat face” types made by designer Matthew Carter.

[xvii]  Swaim’s reference of October 17, 1844 to the purchase of the Southern Citizen by John Milton Sherwood is the only known use of that middle name, but the buyer appears to be the same as the “John Sherwood, Book-Binder” of the Man of Business.  While Sherwood’s latter career with the Southern Citizen is not clear, he also is apparently the same man responsible for another first in N.C. journalism.  A John Sherwood, editor of The Farmer’s Advocate and Miscellaneous Reporter, published in Jamestown from Aug. 1838 to June 1842, is cited by James Oliver Cathey as publishing North Carolina’s first agricultural journal.  [see “Agricultural Developments in North Carolina, 1783-1860,” published in James Sprunt Studies in History and Political Science, Vol. 38; Chapel Hill, UNC Press, pp. 84, 102-103] .  Says Cathey, “John Sherwood… was one of the leading advocates of greater efficiency in farm operations. ‘What you undertake, do well,’ he urged.  Farmers were encouraged, in the interest of efficiency, to keep business-like records of their activities, to include notations of stock on hand, implements, methods used, weather conditions, time of planting, time and methods of culture, and of all experiments conducted…. Sherwood, in his Farmer’s Advocate, was the most forceful and persistent in advocating this feature of the reform program.”  Sherwood’s program to make farmer’s more business-like seems very much akin to Swaim’s program to codify and demystify business law.

And as regards book binding, Swaim’s estate papers indicate that Daniel Clewell of Salem in 1842 bound 29 copies of the N.C. Executor and 4 sets of the Man of Business.

[xviii] Swaim’s estate papers in the NC State Archives contain records of an auction sale of his assets held in August 1845; for sale were 185 copies of the N.C. Road Law, which sold for 5 cents each; 8 copies of the Man of Business which sold for $1.35; 53 copies of the N.C. Executor, and 1 N.C. Justice.  5 bound volumes of the Southern Citizen were sold to Joseph P. Julian.  At least one of these bound volumes survived into the 21st century, which the local owner, refusing to sell to the local historical society, auctioned it off to a paper dealer on eBay who cut the pages apart and sold them as “SLAVE ADS!!!”  Among the law books in Swaim’s sale were Haywood’s Justice; Haywood’s Manual; a Revised Statutes (of N.C.); Iredell’s Digest; N.C. Reports; Battle’s Reports; Martin’s Sheriff; N.C. Sheriffs, and “Right’s M of B.”  This last title is intriguing; if “M.O.B.” is short for “Man of Business” then this might indicate some other work related in title or subject to Swaim’s periodical.  But so far nothing under that title or author (either Right or Wright) has been found in union catalogs.

Hoover’s Mill (aka Rush’s Mill, Arnold’s Mill, Skeen’s Mill)

October 31, 2011

Every historic site has both a public and a private history.   In the case of this mill site on Covered Bridge Road in Tabernacle Township, I have a thirty-year personal association that gives me an intimate knowledge of it.  In the summer of 1975 I participated in the archeological excavation of the Mt. Shepherd Pottery which is located about a mile southeast of this site.  At that time the Skeen’s Mill Covered Bridge still stood on Covered Bridge Road, and I convinced some friends to join me in an expedition up the Uwharrie to see if we could discover if there was actually a mill anywhere around the Skeen’s Mill Bridge.  Over the course of an afternoon we not only found a site of surprising natural beauty, but well-preserved evidence of an elaborate mill seat.  And a “For Sale” sign.

Not knowing anything more than that, I convinced my parents to return with me the next weekend, and eventually prevailed upon them to purchase the tract which included the entire junction of the Uwharrie and Little Uwharrie Rivers.  After graduating from college and returning home, I actually lived in a trailer perched high above the site of the dam for two years while researching and writing my architectural history of Randolph County.   The property is still owned by my family.  But for two hundred and thirteen years previously, it had been owned by a parade of other people, and it has taken me years to piece together not just the history of this one tract of land, but the story of the surrounding neighborhood, part of what has been called the “Uwharrie Dutch” community, where this mill and the Mt. Shepherd Pottery were commercial landmarks.

Map of the "Uwharrie Dutch" region from MESDA Journal

The historic layout of the property took some time to puzzle out.  State Road 1406 runs from Hoover Hill Road on the East to Tabernacle Church Road on the West; and the one-hundred-foot-long Skeen’s Mill Covered Bridge (Tabernacle Township Site 18 in my architectural history) spanned the Uwharrie River about twenty feet north of its modern replacement.  It was built before March 1900, when C.T. Hughes was paid $11 for “repairing the bridge at N.R. Skeen’s.”  The bridge was one of only three remaining in North Carolina when it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in the 1960s, but it was unappreciated and neglected by its nonresident owner and was destroyed by high water about the year 1984.

The mill was located to the South of both the covered bridge and modern bridge, about 150 feet from the road.  The foundations trace the footprint of a building thirty by fifty feet in plan, with its western side built into the side of a hill where the miller’s house  stood about fifty feet above and 200 feet southwest.  What was initially very confusing is that the mill race ran in the opposite direction that it should have if the dam was located anywhere near the covered bridge.  The tail race obviously flowed back into the Uwharrie River downstream from the bridge, but the head race was dug into the side of the hill, ending at least twenty feet above the mill perfectly situated for an overshot water wheel.  But the race ran south, curling around the hill at the foot of the miller’s house until it bent into a horseshoe shape and began running in a canal paralleling the Little Uwharrie River, where we finally found the evidence of head gates and a dam.

Only iron bolts drilled into the river bed indicate the location of the dam, which ran diagonally across the Little Uwharrie at a 50-degree angle to the flow.  Water was funneled into the head gates, and then ran in a horseshoe-shaped canal approximately 1,340 feet around the hill to the site of the mill, a very impressive engineering achievement for some unknown millwright.   Parts of two sets of mills stones were then in evidence, made of the individually-quarried blocks set in plaster that were characteristic of “French Buhr” stones.   The road which crossed the Uwharrie at the covered bridge stopped at the mill and then continued South, parallel to the river, in deeply-cut double tracks, one wide enough for a horse and wagon, the other just wide enough for a horse.  The tracks converged to cross the Little Uwharrie at a ford just northwest of the confluence, and then continued south west.

Research into previous ownership was the first order of research, beginning with the most recent and going backwards.  The recent history of the entire neighborhood was clear:  the surrounding lots had first been sold  in 1963 as part of the “Thayer Plantation” subdivision (See Plat Book 10, Page 116, Randolph County Registry).   Lee C. Thayer was the operator of a sawmill located on the railroad in Trinity, and owned hundreds of acres in Trinity and Tabernacle townships.  He lived in the Queen Anne style Victorian house at the northwest corner of Covered Bridge and Thayer Roads which was the center of a tract totaling more than 350 acres.  When the business hit bad times, the land was sold , roads were pushed out into the woods and hundreds of small lots were sold at auction.

The Thayers acquired the mill tract in 1943 (DB 386/PG 340); for the previous  thirty years it had been owned by the family of Julian Pearce, who bought it at auction in 1910 (DB134/PG276).  The auction had settled the estate of J.R. Skeen, son of Noah R. Skeen for whom the covered bridge was named.   The Skeen Mill tract consisted of 52 acres on both rivers, and included a tract “bought by N.R. Skeen from John Hill known as Boy Hill in the forks of the two prongs of Uwharrie River just below the Skeen Mill…”

Reaching back into the 19th century the information grew sketchier, but Skeen acquired the mill about 1890 from Penuel Arnold, who bought “Rush’s Mills” from the Estate of Nineveh Rush in 1881 (DB58,P352).  An article from The Courier of 1934 described Rush’s Mills: “the Little Uwharrie came down on the top of a hill just west of Big Uwharrie.  And 120 rods before it emptied into the bigger river it was forty feet higher on a level than the big river.  So Rush, with the help of his slaves, built a small dam on the hill, plowed and shoveled a canal or race around the hill and landed the water on a 20-foot wheel which operated a long saw placed so as to give it speed up and down.”  The grist mill was forty feet further down the race, where “two sets of stones were put in, one for wheat and one for corn.  When it rained enough they could run the saw and the grist mill at the same time.  When rains let up they could not run either one.”  (R.C. Welborn, “First Saw Mill in Tabernacle Dates Back to 1820”)

Rush bought the mill and 300 acres in February 1826 from the Estate of Jacob Hoover (DB16, P319).  Jacob Hoover (b. 1754) had acquired 35 acres, including “the mill seat where Jacob Hoover now lives… in the fork of the Uwharrie”  in October 1794 from the estate of his father Andrew Hoover (DB7, P263).  Andrew Hoover was the anglicized name of Andres Huber, who had purchased 275 acres on both forks of the Uwharrie from Henry Eustace McCulloh in February 1763, when the area was still part of Rowan County (see Rowan DB5, P343).

Andreas Huber was born January 23, 1723 in Ellerstadt, now part of the German Palatine.  As the ninth child of a vintner, Huber saw little opportunity at home, and at age 15 he arrived at Philadelphia.  He lived with a brother in Lancaster County until age 22, when he married Margaret Pfautz and moved to Carroll County, Maryland.  By 1763 he and his large family had settled on the Uwharrie.   After the Revolution he turned the mill at the forks over to son Jacob and moved further down the Uwharrie to the Jackson Creek area, where he died and is buried in the Hoover cemetery. (See Genealogy of the Herbert Hoover Family by Hulda Hoover McLean, published by the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, 1967).

Nothing much was heard of Andrew thereafter until 1928, when his 3rd great- grandson Herbert Clark Hoover was elected President of the United States.  Though Herbert Hoover had been born and bred in Iowa, his distant cousins and proud Republican brethren of Randolph County didn’t miss the opportunity to turn the President’s ancestor into a modern folk hero.  A 1928 story by T.M. Pridgen published in the Charlotte News (“Myths of Prowess of early Hoovers along Uwharrie”) declared that Andrew Hoover was a Quaker and neighbor of Daniel Boone, and Hoover’s mill was “an important granary of the Revolution.”  “The story goes that Andrew Hoover was not afraid of man, beast or devil; that he climbed to the top of Eagle Nest Rock when others were afraid to; that he swam the raging Uwharrie to save the lives of his horses; and he set out to face the headless horseman on the Uwharrie trails, and braved the other ghostly figures that moved like lost souls down the valley.”

It is doubtful whether any of those florid claims are real.   Far from being supporters of the Revolution, the Hoovers were part of the German Pacifist community that clustered around this area of the Uwharrie during the 18th century.  I have written about this before in my article on the Mt. Shepherd pottery [http://www.archive.org/stream/journalofearlyso0601muse#page/20/mode/2up/search/21 ]  Historian John Scott Davenport has extensively researched the area, and asserts that though President Hoover was a Quaker, “the Uwharrie Dutch were predominately Dunker and Mennonite.  The Uwharrie Dunkers [German Baptists] were the largest settlement of that sect in North Carolina, 1778-1782.  Their minister was Jacob Stutzman, who bought Ramsey’s Place from Henry Eustace McCulloh in 1764, and led the congregation until he moved to Clark County, Indiana Territory, in 1801…. Dunkers did not have meeting houses until the mid-19th century; hence Mast’s Old Meeting House [across the Uwharrie just east of Hoover’s Mill; see DB10, P5) was a Mennonite church.  Mennonites, called “Dutch Friends” by the Quakers, fellow-shipped with Quakers, appeared occasionally as witnesses to Quaker weddings.  The Dunkers would have nothing to do with Quakers.  Land problems, brought about by their rigid pacifism during the Revolution, and the influx of Quakers into the Uwharrie following the Revolution, were largely responsible for the removal of the Dunkers from Randolph County.”  (Letter dated November 12, 1976, in the Hoover files of the Randolph Room)

Jacob Hoover (1754-1821) married Elizabeth Stutzman, a daughter of the Dunker minister, and it is likely that his mother Margaret Pfautz was also a member of the congregation.  But Andrew’s family must not have been as strict as others, as their numerous deeds were all properly sworn to and recorded.  It is said that disastrous floods in 1795 and 1798 caused all of Andrew’s children but Jacob and Jonas to move west to Indiana.  Jacob ran and rebuilt the mill, which was alternately washed away by a flood and destroyed by fire, until he was crippled in an accident during a flood.   It seems likely that the unusual configuration of the present mill race stems from a desire to protect it from flood waters; a breach of the dam on the Little Uwharrie would never wash away the mill on the other side of the hill.

Finally, we can take one additional step further back into history:  the 1733 map of North Carolina by Surveyor General Edward Moseley (A New and Correct Map of the Province of North Carolina) depicts both Deep River and the Uwharrie, but the only landmark noted in the whole area of the county is in the forks of the Uwharrie: “Totero Fort.”  This is a reference to the Tutelo Indian tribe, which appears to be far south of where they had been visited in September 1661, when Thomas Batts and Abraham Wood led an expedition from Fort Henry (Petersburg, VA) to Totero Town (approximately where present-day Salem Va. is located).   In 1701 John Lawson visited the Keyauwee tribe living nearby on Caraway Creek at Ridge’s Mountain, but said nothing about any Tutelos.   It may be that attacks by the fierce Iroquois tribe forced the Tutelos to move South, but in 1714 the Occaneechi, Saponi, Eno, Totero and others relocated to Fort Christanna in Lawrenceville, Va.   More research is needed to confirm or deny this single tantalizing reference, but the location- the hill above the bottomland in the forks of the rivers- would be a natural defensive position for a palisaded village.

With a variety of documented stories spanning nearly 300 years, the Hoover Mill site is certainly a landmark of Randolph County history.

The True Lost Cause: The Battle for Peace in February, 1861

April 11, 2011

Fort Sumter from the Battery in Charleston.

April 11, 1861 was America’s last day of peace.

On April 8th, President Lincoln’s envoy to the Governor of South Carolina announced the President’s intention to resupply the besieged garrison at Fort Sumner with food and water, threatening to prolong indefinitely the stalemate that had begun the previous December 26th.  The implication of Lincoln’s action was that, if war was to come, then the Southern firebrands who had advocated for a state’s right to leave the Union would have to turn push into shove.

The cascade of fear and anger that had begun with Lincoln’s election in November had almost run out of steam by April, 1861.  South Carolina, ever fast to take offense, led the way on December 20th, followed by Mississippi (Jan. 9), Florida (Jan. 10), Alabama (Jan. 11), Georgia (Jan. 19), Louisiana (Jan. 26), and Texas (Feb. 1).   But there the flood tide had run out, and in the months since it seemed that overwrought tempers and heated words had cooled and even begun to recede.

The rock on which the initial secession wave broke was the Upper South, the border states possessing a majority of the southern populace, natural resources and industry.    Even there the vocal minority of men of property and power had advocated for secession.   But Unionists held back the flood, pointing out that the United States had been created by state constitutional conventions, authorized by a vote of the people, which then ratified (or not, in the case of North Carolina), the U.S. Constitution.  They argued that secession, more simply known as “Disunion,’ could only be achieved by following a similar process.  They hoped this delaying tactic would provide time to think, consider the consequences, and allow the possibility of compromise and new understanding.

On February 9, 1861, Tennessee voted on whether to send delegates to a State Convention to decide on secession.  88,803 votes were cast for pro-Union candidates and 22,749 votes were cast for Secession candidates, but the actual proposal for a secession convention was defeated by a vote of 69,675 to 57,798.

On  February  13th a convention assembled in Richmond to determine whether Virginia should secede from the Union.  More than two thirds of the delegates refused to vote for secession.

On Feb. 18th, the day that Jefferson Davis was inaugurated president of the Confederate States, the citizens of Arkansas approved holding a convention to consider the question, but when an ordinance of secession was put to a vote on March 16th, it was rejected by a vote of 39 to 35.

Anyone reading the returns of the election of 1860 could have discerned the pro-Union sentiments of the voters of North Carolina.  When the final vote totals were published in the Greensboro Patriot on February 14, 1861, John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky, the Southern Democratic candidate, had received the most votes (48,533); second was John Bell of Tennessee, the Constitutional Union nominee (44,039); and far behind was the Democrat Stephen A. Douglas (just 2,690 votes).   When their totals are combined, more than 97% of North Carolina voters arguably approved the pro-Union positions of Bell and Breckinridge.  (Abraham Lincoln probably didn’t get a single vote in Randolph County during the election of 1860; the new Republican Party had not garnered enough votes in the previous election to even be allowed on the North Carolina ballot.)

On January 29th the North Carolina General Assembly scheduled a referendum on whether to call a secession convention.  “Whereas, the present perilous condition of the country demands… that the sovereign people of this State should assemble in Convention to effect an honorable adjustment of existing difficulties whereby the Federal Union is endangered, or otherwise preserve the honor and promote the interests of North Carolina; and Whereas, this General Assembly, on matters of such grave import, involving the relation of North Carolina to her sisters in the Confederacy, is reluctant to adopt any settled policy without the sense of the people in whom, under our governance, all sovereignty resides, being first ascertained.” [The act was  published in the Feb. 14th edition of the Greensboro Patriot.   The Yoda-like sentence structure of its preamble is a potent combination of florid Victorian language and turgid legalese.]

The act required the Governor “to issue a proclamation commanding the Sheriffs of the respective counties… to open polls… on the 28th day of February, A.D. 1861, when and where all persons qualified to vote… may vote for or against a State Convention:  those who wish a convention, voting with a printed or written ticket, ‘Convention,’ and those who do not wish a convention, voting in the same way, ‘No Convention.’”

At the same time, potential delegates were to be elected in case the Convention was approved.  Further complicating the process, even if the Convention met and approved an Ordinance of Secession, the bill still would require ratification by yet another vote of the people before it could take effect.

Campaigning against the Convention- against “Disunion”- began immediately in The Patriot, the old-line Whig newspaper serving Randolph and Guilford counties.  On Thursday, February 6th, the editor wrote “TO THE POLLS!  The bill calling a Convention, having provided that it shall be left to the people to say, through the ballot-box, whether or not they desire said Convention, we hope and trust that every man who loves his country, who desires the perpetuity of this Union, will resolve, if possible, to be at the polls and record his vote against a Convention.  Let no one be deceived:  The real question is Union or Disunion…. Let no one say, that it is useless to vote… It may be, and we think it probably that a majority will be cast for a ‘Convention,’ yet it is of the utmost importance, that as large a vote as possible should be cast against a Convention, for every vote so cast will be a vote for the Union…”

On January 31st, Jonathan Worth, leader of the Randolph Whigs and newly-elected to represent the county in the state House of Commons, issued “a circular to his constituents” which took a strong stand against the Convention.  “Every artifice will be employed to make you believe that the Convention is to be called to save the Union.  Believe it not…. If war begins, it will probably be brought on during the sitting of the Convention.  It is now the policy of the disunionists to postpone hostilities till President Buchanan goes out and President Lincoln comes in.  They will probably court a fight as soon as Lincoln takes the reins…. Believe not those who may tell you this Convention is called to save the Union.  It is called to destroy it.  If you desire to preserve the Union, vote ‘No Convention.’” [Worth’s Circular was excerpted in the Patriot of Feb. 6, 1861, and printed in full in the Feb. 14th issue.]

The last issue of The Patriot before the referendum (Feb. 21st) was full of articles and editorials seeking to get out the vote of faithful Whigs.  “The 28th of February, the day which perhaps will decide the fate of the Union, is close at hand.… Let every man then who loves his country be at his post… There is a battle to be fought.  A battle upon the result of which hang the destinies of this Nation.  The enemies of our Union have been marshaling their forces.  The hand is already uplifted to strike down the flag of our country!  Union men, to the rescue!  To the rescue!  …Believe not those who tell you, that the question is, whether North Carolina shall go with the North, or the South.  The issue, and the only issue, is Union, or disunion… If we are but true to ourselves, the stars and stripes will yet continue to wave over the freest and happiest people upon whom the sun ever shown.”

The editorial quotes multiple stanzas of a poem,

“Stand like an anvil, when the stroke

Of stalwart men falls fierce and fast,

Storms but more deeply root the oak

Whose brawny arms embrace the blast.

Stand like an anvil, when the sound

Of ponderous hammers pains the ear;

Thine, but the still and stern rebound

Of the great heart, that cannot fear.”

“The Convention will be the first step toward revolution…” another editorial blasted.  “The vote…will be the most important ever polled in North Carolina.  We hope and trust the people will follow the example set them by Tennessee… [and say] in a voice that cannot be misunderstood, that this Union ‘must and shall be preserved.’”

When the great day of battle arrived, the voters of North Carolina joined in electoral combat at the polling places, and the forces of Union achieved a narrow victory, rejecting the Convention by a vote of 47,705 (No Convention) to 47,611 (Convention).   The traditional Piedmont Quaker counties overwhelming voted for the Union and against the Convention.  Chatham County cast 283 votes for the Convention, but 1,795 against it.  In Guilford County, the margin of victory was 25 to 1.  And in Randolph, editor E.J. Hale exulted in the Asheboro Herald of March 3, 1861,  “Listen to the thunder of Randolph!

“Convention…………………..45

“No Convention……………..2,436!

“The honest democracy of this county have showed that they love their country better than their party; and the Whigs, who detest the accursed doctrine of secession, have made their action conform to their principles, by voting against convention—the instrument, solely relied upon by secessionists to make their heresy effectual, and impotent to do anything else.”  [The Asheboro Herald is a newspaper which has not survived, except as copied in the Greensboro Patriot of March 14th]

Alongside the results of the referendum printed in the March 14th Greensboro Patriot was the inaugural address of President Lincoln, delivered on March 4th , and agreeing with the pro-Union sentiments of North Carolina voters in his assertion that “the central idea of secession is the essence of anarchy.”

The final canvass of the Randolph County vote was 2,570 to 45, a ratio of 57 pro-Union voters to every one pro-Confederate secessionist.   That lop-sided proportion struck newspapers in eastern North Carolina as fishy… the New Bern Progress [quoted in the April 11, 1861 Greensboro Patriot], headed its editorial “Something Wrong.”

“There must be something wrong in the vote cast in Randolph county for and against Convention.  In 1856 Randolph cast for Bragg and Gilmer 1842 votes, in 1860 for Ellis and Pool she gave 2015 votes; in November for President she gives 1589; and in February 1861, six months later, on the question of Convention, they run up to 2514, showing a clear gain since August last of 497 votes.  Now when you consider that the vote in August last was by far the largest ever polled in the state and that every county strained its full strength, we come deliberately to the conclusion that there is something wrong about the Convention vote in Randolph… We hope the matter will be sifted and that we will have new light on the subject.”

The editor of the Fayetteville Observer, in a lengthy defense of the Randolph vote, replied [again, quoted in the Patriot of April 11th], “We have heard what perhaps the Progress has not– the county of Randolph was more thoroughly canvassed, and the people more thoroughly aroused, at the late elections, than ever before.  They are attached to the Union, and they felt that the Union was in danger.”

The terrible irony of this rousing defense of the pro-Union vote in Randolph County is that it was published on the last day of peace.  Early that next morning the hungry defenders of Fort Sumter saw their supply ship approach, and be turned away by the start of a two-day bombardment by the Army of South Carolina.

On April 15, Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation, calling for as many as 75,000 troops to crush the rebellion.  That call to bear arms against fellow Southerners was too much for the upper South states.  On April 17th, Virginia’s Secession Convention (still in session since January) saw former Governor Wise seize the podium and announce that he had ordered the state militia to capture federal installations in the jurisdiction, and pulling out a pistol, dared the Convention to stop him.  Within minutes the delegates had voted 88 to 55 to recommend disunion to the state’s voters.

Arkansas voted to leave the union on May 6th.   The last state to join the Confederacy, on June 8th, was Tennessee, and even then eastern half of the state overwhelmingly voted against it.

On May 1, 1861, the North Carolina General Assembly bypassed the voters to call directly for a Convention.  The Convention delegates passed an Ordinance of Secession on May 20th, but the eager Confederate Congress, already meeting in Richmond, had “provisionally” admitted the state to the Confederacy three days earlier.

This past February I told a group of local high school students that February 28th was the anniversary of one of the most important votes ever taken in Randolph County:  to secede and join the Confederacy, or to stay with the Union.  How did they thing their ancestors of 1861 voted? How would they have voted?

Without hesitation, they all voted to join the Confederacy, “of course.”

It is a huge loss when the modern residents of Randolph County have no idea of the true struggles of their forebears during the “Civil War” period.  It is a terrible mis-use of history that teaches children some muddy “big picture” and completely loses the details.

We still fight a war of words over what to call the conflict that began April 12, 1861.  The “winning” side prefers to call it “The Civil War;” unreconstructed Southerners insist it was “The War Between the States.”  The poet Walt Whitman simply called it “The Secession War,” and that best describes what happened in North Carolina.  One of the bravest battles of the war which would last 4 years and kill more than 600,000 Americans  was the very nonviolent, yet very verbal battle for the Union which was fought in Randolph County in the spring of 1861.  As we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the breakdown of peaceful conflict resolution, no finer memory of the Quaker heritage of our county can be found than in its struggle to preserve, not destroy, the United States of America.

Reuben Wood’s Library V

March 15, 2010



Political Economy – 21

Anecdotes of Junias        1.0.0
[Anecdotes of Junius: to which is prefixed the King’s reply.  Southampton: 1775; 54pp. 8vo; Dublin, 1788.]
Ans. to Pains Age of R         0.6.0
[Probaby Joseph Priestley, An Answer to Mr. Paine’s Age of Reason, Being a Continuation of Letters to the Philosophers and Politicians of France on the Subject of Religion; and of the Letters to a Philosophical Unbeliever.  London:  1794.]
Beaties Elements        2.19.7
[James Beattie, Elements of Moral Science, 2 vol., 1790-1793.  Beattie (1735-1803) was another figure in the Scottish Enlightenment.]
Burgh Political Desquisitions        3.0.0
[James Burgh, Political Disquisitions: or, An Enquiry into Public Errors, Defects, and Abuses.  Illustrated by, and established upon FACTS and REMARKS extracted from a Variety of AUTHORS, ancient and modern, CALCULATED To draw the timely ATTENTION of GOVERNMENT and PEOPLE to a due Consideration of the Necessity, and the Means, of REFORMING those ERRORS, DEFECTS, and ABUSES; of RESTORING the CONSTITUTION, and SAVING the STATE. London, 1774.]
Burlemark                1.5.0
[Burlamaqui, J[ean] J[acques].  The principles of natural law…. Translated into English by Mr. Nugent. The third edition, revised and corrected. London: J. Nourse, 1780. 8vo, 312 pp.; Vol. 2 published 1784.  An examination of the philosophy of natural law by a Swiss jurist, first published in 1747 and first translated into English in 1748. The Encyclopædia Britannica says of Burlamaqui that “his fundamental principle may be described as rational utilitarianism” (IV, 836); his works are considered a primary source of the theory voiced by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.]
Desertatian                    0.7.6
[could be many things- I picked this one, based on other titles in the collection and Wood’s interests: Thomas Paine (1737-1809), Dissertation on first principles of government. To which is added, the genuine speech, translated, and delivered at the tribune of the French Convention, July 7, 1795. By Thomas Paine, author of Common sense, Rights of man, &c. Philadelphia: re-printed by E. Conrad, no. 100, Fourth, the second door above Race-Street, and sold by the booksellers, 1795; 42pp. 8vo.]
Essas on Trade           0.4.0
[perhaps Richard Cantillon, Essay on the Nature of Trade in General, written in French c. 1730 and first published in English 1755.]
Fable of the Bees                0.9.0
[Bernard Mandeville, The Fable of the Bees: or Private Vices, Publick Benefits. London: J. Roberts, 1714.  A very early text on economics and productivity.]
Godwins Political Justice    1.5.0
[William Godwin, Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and its Influence on Modern Morals and Manners.  London: 1793.  The book was another response to Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France (as was Paine’s Age of Reason).  It is “a critique of political institutions. Its vision of human perfectibility is anarchist in so far as it sees government and related social practices such as property monopoly, marriage and monarchy as restraining the progress of mankind.”]
Junias                0.15.0
[See below.  CH Phil Soc has a copy of “Heron’s Junius”; see Robert Heron, Junius, Philadelphia: Published by Samuel F. Bradford, 1804.  (Heron (1764 – 1807) was a Scottish writer and French translater at the University of Edinburgh.]
Juniases Letters        0.10.0
[
The letters of Junius: Stat nominis umbra, with Notes and Illustrations; Historical, Political. Biographical and Critical, By Robert Heron, Esq.  London: 1804.  Vol 1: 316 pp.  The Letters of Junius were a series of letters contributed to the Public Advertiser and first published in book form in 1772.  The letters were written to warn the British public that their historic rights and liberties were being infringed upon by the government.  The real identity of the nom de plume “Junius” has never been established.]
Kaimes Criticism            2.12.6
[Henry Home, Lord Kames, Elements of Criticism, 2 vol., 1762.  One of the leading figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, he proposed a “science of criticism” to standardize criticism of art, rhetoric and literature.]
Monroes politics                    0.13.0
[Possibly one of the few books authored by James Monroe and published before his presidency: A view of the conduct of the executive in the foreign affairs of the United States, as connected with the mission to the French Republic, during the years 1794, 5, and 6…. Philadelphia, 1797.  8vo; 400 pp.; or the first British edition: London: James Ridgway, 1798. 8vo (21.5 cm, 8.5″); 126pp. Sabin 50020; Howes M-727.]
Nicholson’s Philosophy        1.18.0

[William Nicholson, An Introduction to Natural Philosophy, 1781.  Nicholson (1753-1815) was an early English scientist, chemist and inventor.  He translated numerous French scientific texts into English.]
Pains Age of Reason        0.5.6
[Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason; Being an Investigation of True and Fabulous Theology.  Paris: 1794.  A critique of institutionalized religion that challeged the legitimacy of the Bible and led to a revival of deism. Published in three parts in 1794, 1795 and 1807, it was one of the first American bestsellers.]
Smiths Wealth of Nations    2.10.0
[Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, 1st ed. London 1776.]
Telemachus            1.0.0
[Possibly Francois Fenelon’s The Adventures of Telemachus, Son of Ulysses (1699), a scathing attack on the French monarchy.]
Utopia & Government    0.2.6
[Possibly Sir Thomas More, A Fruitful and Pleasant Work of the Best State of a Public Weal, and of the New Isle Called Utopia (1st English ed., 1551).
Wrights of Women            0.7.6
[Probably Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.  1st American Ed. Philadelphia, 1792; 2nd Boston: Peter Edes for Thomas & Andrews, 1792. 8vo (21.6 cm, 8.5″). 340 pp. Evans 25054.]
Federalist                    2.17.6
[,Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804), The Federalist: a collection of essays, written in favour of the new Constitution, as agreed upon by the Federal Convention, September 17, 1787.  Written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. Each essay signed: Publius. New York:1788, 2 vol. 12mo.  First complete edition in book form.]
Murch’t? Book Keeping    0.5.6
[John London, merchant, A complete system of book-keeping, after the Italian method: in two parts. Part I. relating to theory, contains Rules for that Purpose never printed before in any Language; so few and short as to be learnt almost in an Instant, and retained without burthening the Memory; and so plain and perfect as that three Hours, or less, are sufficient to teach this whole Branch of it by them. – As also an Explanation of the Manner of keeping Accounts in two Sorts of Specie, namely, Domestic and Foreign for one and the same Article: without which neither Merchants who send Consignments abroad, or receive any Goods from thence for their own Accounts; nor Proprietors of Estates in Ireland, or else-where abroad, who reside here, can keep regular Accounts, and vice versa. – To which is added the Manner of keeping Bank, India, and other Stock after the Italian Method. – As likewise some Candid Animadversions on the erroneous and Imperfect Method of Book-Keeping taught and practised among us, contained in an Essay on Book-Keeping, &c. by Wm. Webster. Part II. relating to practice, contains a Plan of Commerce adapted to the Rules aforesaid, giving proper Examples of every Manner in which a Merchant can engage in Trade, and of the various Cases which may occur to him therein. -As also Directions how to apply the Italian Method of Book-Keeping, on the one Hand, to the Use of Warehousemen, Shopkeepers, &c. and of Proprietors of Estates, Stewards, &c. on the other. – Together with the Form of an Epitome, or Monthly Abstract of a Merchant’s Books of Account; very proper to carry always about him, not only for disburthening his Memory, and enabling him to carry on his Business with a less Capital, but to shew him the State of his Affairs, if his Books should be destroyed by Fire, or any other Accident. By John London, late of Tiverton, Merchant.  London, 1758; 2 vol. 4o.

Religion -10

A View of the Times            0.5.6
[Philalethes (Charles Leslie), A View of the Times: Their Principles and Practices in the first volume of the Rehearsals. London: W. Bowen, 1750.  The politics of the succession of the house of Hanover and its impact on the Church in England.]
1 Large Bible 1.0.0
Blairs Sermons            0.15.0
[Hugh Blair, Sermons, in 5 volumes published 1777-1801.  Blair (1718-1800) was a Presbyterian preacher and Professor of Rhetoric at the University of Edinburgh, one of the primary figures of the “Scottish Enlightenment.”]
Butlurs Analogy            0.12.0
[Joseph Butler (1692-1752), The Analogy of religion; natural and revealed, to the constitution and course of nature; to which are added, two brief dissertations on personal identity and on the nature of virtue. London: 1736.  300pp.]
Christ —–                0.3.6
[could be many things…
Davieses Sermons        2.0.0
[Samuel Davies (1723-1761), Sermons on the most useful and important subjects, adapted to the family and closet. By the Rev. Samuel Davies, … In three volumes. … To which are prefixed, a sermon on the death of Mr Davies, by Samuel Finley, D.D. and another discourse on the same occasion, together with an elegiac poem … by Thomas Gibbons, D.D.  London: 1766.  3vol. 8vo. Philadelphia ed. 1794.]
Evidence of Chris. Religion    0.3.3
[Susanna Newcome, An Enquiry into the Evidence of the Christian Religion; London, 1732;  or, Soame Jenyns, A View of the Internal Evidence of the Christian Religion; London, 1776.]

The Fashionable World    0.6.3
[Hannah More (1745-1833), An estimate of the religion of the fashionable world. By one of the laity.  London: T. Cadell, 1791; 270pp 8vo. CH Phil Soc has a copy; Porcellian Society 1831]
The history of the church    0.1.0
[Probably Joseph Priestly, A general history of the Christian church, from the fall of the Western Empire to the present time…. Northumberland [PA]: Pr. for the author by Andrew Kennedy, 1802–03. 8vo (21.6 cm, 8.5″). 4 vols. I:475pp. II: 539 pp. III:488 pp. IV: 480 pp.   Vol 1&2 were first published in 1790.  Shaw & Shoemaker 2933 & 4913.  The volumes are usually marked on the spine “History of the Church”.]

Phisical theology [Enquiry?]           0.7.7
[Henry Constantine Jennings (1731-1819) A physical enquiry into the powers and properties of spirit, and, how far by analogical inferences resulting from experimental and natural phænomena, the human intellect may be enabled to attain to any rational conception of omnipotence. [Chelmsford] printed by Clachar, Gray, & Co., 1787; 90 pp. 8vo.]


History and Biography – 28

The American Revolution        0.18.0

[(SNOWDEN, RICHARD) The American Revolution; Written in the Style of Ancient History.  Philadelphia Jones, Hoff; Jacob Johnson 1793; 1794 First edition First editions. 2 volumes. 12mo. xii, 226; (xii), 216pp. Sabin 85589.]
Antient Europe        2.0.0
[
William Russell (1741-1793). The history of ancient Europe, from the earliest times to the subversion of the Western Empire, with a survey of the most important revolutions in Asia and Africa, in a series of letters from a gentleman to his son, intended as an accompaniment to Dr. Russell’s History of modern Europe.   Porcellian Society 1831 has Russell’s Ancient Europe, 2 vols. 8vo.]
Baran Trink        0.11.0
[The Life of Baron Frederic Trenk, Containing His Adventures; His Cruel and Excessive Sufferings the Ten Years Imprisonment, at the Fortress of Magdeburg, by Command of the Late King of Prussia; Also Anecdotes, Historical, Political and Personal. Translated from the German by Thomas Holcroft.  Dublin, 1790.  First Biography Franz van der Trenck, 1711-1749, Austrian soldier and father of military music.]
Belknaps History of N.H.    2.10.6
[Jeremy Belknap, History of New Hampshire, 3 vol., 1784-1792.  Belknap (1744-1798) was called American’s best native historian by Alexis de Tocqueville.]
Carvins Travels            0.10.0
[Jonathan Carver (1710-1780), Three years travels, through the interior parts of North-America, for more than five thousand miles … together with a concise history of the genius, manners, and customs of the Indians … and an appendix, describing the uncultivated parts of America that are the most proper for forming settlements. By Captain Jonathan Carver, of the provincial troops in America.  Philadelphia: Printed by Joseph Crukshank, 1789; 300 pp. 12vo.]
Charles the 12th           0.5.0
[Probably Voltaire’s History of Charles XII, biography of the Swedish King, skilled military leader and politician (1682-1719).  The first English translation, by Tobias Smollett, was published in London in 1762.  An American edition was printed in Frederick, MD, in 1808.]
Galery of Portraits        0.7.6
[possibly Mirabeau, Gabriel-Honoré de Riquetti, comte de (1749-1791) Gallery of Portraits of the National Assembly, supposed to be written by Count de Mirabeau. Translated from the French. In Two Volumes.  Dublin: 1790.  2 v. 12 mo.]
Goldsmiths Rome            0.8.6
[Oliver Goldsmith, The History of Rome from the Earliest Times, (2 vol.), 1769.]
Goldsmiths England    0.6.6
[Oliver Goldsmith, An History of England in a Series of Letters from a Nobleman to his Son.  4 Vol. London: 1792.
Guthries Grammar            3.11.0
[William Guthrie, A New Geographical, Historical and Commercial Grammar (1770); “one of the most popular books of any kind published in Britain in the late 18th century.  It went through at least thirty editions….[and] “was known to everyone from the schoolboy to the philosopher.” Laird Okie, Augustan Historical Writing, p. 186.  An octavo size, 1,000 page combination travel book and almanac-like history and geography book.]
History of the Admirals   2.5.0
[possibly John Campbell (1708-1775), Lives of the British admirals: containing a new and accurate naval history, from the earliest periods. By Dr. J. Campbell. With a continuation down to the year 1779, … Written under the inspection of Doctor Berkenhout. The whole illustrated with correct maps; and frontispieces … In four volumes. London: 1779; 4 vol. 8vo. First ed. 1742.]
History of Caesar            0.8.0
[possibly, The Gallic and civil wars of Cæsar, translated into English, by the Rev. John Pullein Hawkey.  Dublin, 1788.]
History of Man            1.15.0
[Henry Home, Lord Kames,
Sketches of the History of Man. Edinburgh: W. Creech: London: W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1774. 4to (27.5 cm, 10.9″). 2 vols. I: 519pp. II: 507pp.]
?History of Rome                3.15.0
Humpries Works                0.10.0
[David Humphreys (1752-1818),  The miscellaneous works of Colonel Humphreys, late minister plenipotentiary to the court of Madrid.  New-York : Printed by Hodge, Allen, and Campbell, 1790. 748pp., 8vo; 2nd ed. 1804; Porc-
Humphreys’ Works, 8vo.]
Jefferson Notes                    1.6.0

[Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia; first ed. Paris 1784; first English ed. London 1787.]Volneys Travels in Amer.            1.7.0V
[C.F. Volney, “Description of the Climate and Soil of the United States of America,” 1803 (he visited 1795-1798).
Knoxes Essas            1.10.0
[possibly Alexander Knox (1757-1831), Essays on the political circumstances of Ireland, written during the administration of Earl Camden; with an appendix, Containing Thoughts ON The Will Of The People. And a postscript, Now First Published. By a gentleman of the north of Ireland. Dublin: 1798.  236 pp. 8vo.  Porc. 1831 has
Knox’s Essays, 3 vols. 12mo.]
The Life of Caesar                0.2.6
[either Samuel Clarke (1599-1682), The life & death of Julius Cæsar, the first founder of the Roman empire. As also the life and death of Augustus Cæsar in whose raign our Blessed Lord, and Saviour Jesus Christ was borne. London, 1665 (100pp. 4vo.); or Charles Coote (1761-1835), Life of Caius Julius Cæsar: drawn from the most authentic sources of information. London:  printed for the author; and sold by T. N. Longman, 1796.  284pp. 12mo.]
The Life of Oliver Cromwell  0.7.0
[Isaac Kimber, Edmund Gibson, Sir Thomas Pengelly and Edmund Waller,
The Life of Oliver Cromwell: Lord-Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland.  London, 1743. 407pp.]
Millers Retrospect            1.15.6
[A Brief Retrospect of the Eighteenth Century. Part First; In Two Volumes: Containing A Sketch of the Revolutions and Improvements in Science, Arts, and Literature, during that Period. By Samuel Miller, A. M. One of the Ministers of the United Presbyterian Churches in the City of New-York, Member of the American Philosophical Society, and Corresponding Member of the Historical Society of Massachuesetts. Vol. I. Published According to Act of Congress. New-York: Printed by T. and J. Swords, no. 160 Pearl-Street, 1803.]
Modern Europe        5.5.0
[
William Russell (1741-1793). The History of Modern Europe, with an account of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; and a View of the Progress of Society from the Rise of the Modern Kingdoms to the Peace of Paris in 1763, in a Series of Letters by William Russell, L.L.D.  London: 5 vols., 1779-1786. 2nd American Edition: Philadelphia, 1802.  Procellian Society 1831 has Russell’s Modern Europe, 6 vols. 8vo.]
Powells history of 20 Months    0.10.0
[Probably Francis Plowden,
A short history of the British Empire during the last twenty months: viz, from May 1792 to the close of 1793. Two 1794 editions: G. G. and J. Robinson (London), or Dublin: Printed by P. Byrne, Grafton-Street, both approximately 390pp.]
Robertson’s Antient India       1.0.0
[William Robertson, An Historical Disquisition Concerning the Knowledge which the Ancients had of India (1791).  Robertson (1721-1793) was a Scottish historian and professor at the University of Edinburgh.]
Robertson History of Scotland    1.10.0
[William Robertson, The History of Scotland during the Reigns of Queen Mary and of King James VI… with A Review of the Scottish History Previous to that Period, 2 vol., 1794.  Robertson’s best known work.]
Robertson’s Charles 5th    3.15.0
[William Robertson, The History of the Reign of Charles V, 4 Vol., 1792.]
Robertsons History of America        0.18.0
[William Robertson, The History of America (4 vol., books 1-8, 1792; Books 9-10, 1796).]
The United Irishman         0.3.0
[This title appears to be the same as an anonymous work of fiction found in the University of Michigan library: The United Irishman: a tale; founded on facts …
Printed for the author, 1798.  Although listed as only 17 pages long, a later edition printed in Dublin by J. Cumming and Co. in 1819 appears to have been issued in two 12mo. volumes, copies of which are found at Villanova and the New York Public Library.  OCLC 37303059.   It could alternatively be a pamphlet found at Cornell authored by “Publicola,” A letter from a father to his son, a United Irishman: in the barony of Ards, in the county of Down. Printed in the year, 1797 (24 pages).

The Irish Rebellion of 1798 was led by a republican revolutionary group, the United Irishmen, which was inspired by the American and French revolutions to revolt against British rule over Ireland.  Since 1691 a minority of Protestant settlers loyal to the British crown had ruled the majority population of native Catholics.  The Society of United Irishmen was a joint group of protestants and Catholics who advocated for political reform and home rule.  An uprising and bloody guerilla war in the summer of 1798 was suppressed by British troops.  The French revolutionary government provided military support until their supply ships were defeated by the Royal Navy, leading to the collapse of the rebellion.  Sectarian massacres and atrocities were followed by increased political repression and the Act of Union of 1800, which removed the last vestige of Irish autonomy.  The struggle for Irish nationalism was supported by Thomas Jefferson and his “Democratic-Republican” followers, with whom Reuben Wood appears to have sympathized.]

Volneys Ruin                            1.3.0
[C.F. Volney, The Ruins, or Meditations on the Revolutions of Empires, first publ. in France in 1791; repub. in US in 1802]

Philosophy and Ethics -18

Anarcharsies in Greece    1.7.0

[Abbe Jean-Jacques Barthelemy, Travels of Anacharsis the Younger in Greece.  1st ed. 1788 in French; 1799 ed. in English in 8 vol.  An imaginary travel journal of Anacharsis, a Scythian philosopher who traveled through Greece in the early 6th century BC.  The book fueled a passion for all things Greek in the early 19th century.]
Bennetts Letters            0.10.0
[John Bennett, curate of St. Mary’s Manchester, Letters to a Young Lady, on a variety of useful and interesting subjects, calculated to improve the heart, to form the manners, and enlighten the understanding.  Warrington, 1789.  2 vol. 12mo.  1st American edition Newburyport [Mass.] Printed and sold by John Mycall, 1792.]
Burke on the Sublime        0.16.0
[Edmund Burke, A Philosophical inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, 1757.]
Chesterfields Letters    2.0.0
[Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl Chesterfield, Letters to His Son on the Fine Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman. 1746.
Condorsett                      0.5.0
[Condorcet, Progress of the Mind, Fr. Paris, 1795- UVa]
Essa on Truth                0.17.0
[James Beattie, An Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth, 1770?)
Edwards on free will        0.11.0
[Jonathan Edwards, An Inquiry into the Modern Prevailing Notions of the Freedom of the Will which is Supposed to be Essential to Moral Agency, Virtue and Vice, Reward and Punishment, Praise and Blame. 1st ed., 1754]
Harrises Hermes            0.12.6
[Hermes: or, a Philosophical Inquiry concerning Language and Universal Grammar. By James Harris, London, J. Nourse and P. Vaillant, 1751.]
Helvisias on Man            1.10.6
[CH Phil Soc has a copy of Helvetius on Man]
Holmes Sketches         2.0.0
[possibly Henry Home, Lord Kames (1696-1782), Six sketches on the history of man. Containing, the progress of men as individuals. … With an appendix, concerning, the propagation of animals, and the care of their offspring. By Henry Home, Lord Kaims, author of the Elements of criticism.  Philadelphia, 1776.  266pp. 8vo.]
Lavatur                        0.16.0
[Johann Kaspar Lavater (1741-1801), Swiss poet and physiogonomist.  Christian mystic. no editions in English?  Maybe this was another “Dutch book”]
Laille? Locke? on Human Understanding    0.10.0
[John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.  London: 1690; First American edition: “An abridgment of Mr. Locke’s essay concerning Human Understanding.” Boston: Pr. by Manning & Loring for J. White, Thomas & Andrews, D. West, et al., 1794. 12mo (17.3 cm, 6.8″). 250 pp.  An inquiry into how we acquire ethical knowledge.]
Priestley’s Letters            1.10.0
[Joseph Priestley, Letters to a Philosophical Unbeliever, 1780; multi-volume set of books on metaphysics]
Paleys Philosophy                1.10.0
[William Paley, Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy, 1785; very influential and popular (15 ed. before author’s death in 1805) work; the author was a strong supporter of the colonies during the Revolution and advocated abolition of the slave trade.]
Senakes? Morals                    0.7.0
[
Seneca, Lucius Annaeus (ca. 4 B.C.-65), Seneca’s morals by way of abstract: Of benefits, Part I; Of a happy life; Of anger and clemency, Part. II; the third, and last part. Digested into XXVIII. epistles.  London: printed by Tho. Newcomb for Henry Broome, at the Gun in St. Pauls Church-yard, 1678 (3 vol); 1st American ed. Printed at Boston : by I. Thomas and E.T. Andrews, at Faust’s Statue, no. 45, Newbury-Street, 1792; 395pp. 12vo.]
Watts Logic            0.4.0
[Isaac Watts, Logic, or the use of Reason in the Inquiry After Truth with a Variety of Rules to Guard Against Error in the Affairs of Religion and Human Life, as well as in the Sciences; 1st ed. 1724.]
Zimmerman on pride            0.15.0
[ZIMMERMANN, Dr J[ohann]. G[eorg]. ESSAY ON NATIONAL PRIDE. To Which Are Added Memoirs of the Author’s Life and Writings. Translated From the Original German of the late Celebrated…By Samuel Hull Wilcocke. London: Printed for C. Dilly, 1797. 8vo, xl, 260, (23 as index)pp. Full mottled calf, red morocco spine label, gilt lettered, ex library, front joint starting, foxing to first and last few leaves, some loss at spine head and tail, otherwise a good copy. $150. ¶ First Edition, second (most desirable) English translation. Johann Georg Zimmermann was trained as a medical doctor; in 1768 he was appointed “His Britannic Majesty’s Physician” at Göttingen. He was later physician to Frederich II of Prussia, and after the death of “The Great” wrote two books concerning him. He was best known, however, as a popularizer of current philosophical and ethical ideas. Originally published in German in 1758 under the title Von dem Nationalstolze, the present volume, written during the Seven Years War, concerns patriotism and well argues a distinction between true and false national pride. A prior unauthorized English translation, issued in 1771, was rejected by Zimmermann; highly inaccurate, Zimmermann considered the translator “not only an ignorant fellow but a cheat” (Preface). Given current events, a most appropriate theme for study. Scarce. Lowndes p.3025.]
Zimmerman on Solitude        0.6.0
[ZIMMERMANN, [Johann Georg von]. SOLITUDE Considered with Respect to its Influence upon the Mind and the Heart, Written Originally in German by M. Zimmermann… Translated from the French by J.B. Mercier. The Second Edition. London: C. Dilly, 1791. 8vo, (4), vii, (1), 380pp. Half calf, red morocco label, marbled boards rubbed, joints weak, edges scuffed, overall very good. $125. ¶ An English translation of Zimmermann’s popular Über die Einsamkeit (1784). A successful physician, appointed in 1768 “His Britannic Majesty’s Physician,” Zimmermann (1728-95) was known as a popularizer of current philosophical ideas. In this work he discusses the edifying aspects of solitude. NUC lists UC Berkeley only.]

Foreign Language -6
Dutch books                0.11.6
A Dutch Book               0.2.6
a French Book              0.2.6
a French grammar         0.1.7
A french Grammar         0.8.0
A Large French book     0.6.6

Miscellaneous -5

1 lott of books                 37.2.6
1 book                             0.5.0
A book                             0.5.0
A Lott of papers                0.4.6
A Lott of News Papers        0.8.1

Unknown– 23

?A Small View                    0.3.0
?Astrolhology                     0.6.2
?Balance Garden [Balancie Garder?]  1.0.0?
Beauties History        1.0.0
[xBeatties? ?UVA, 1828- Le Beau’s History of the decline of the Roman Empire, Fr. Moestricht, 1780.
Canderie?  Conderse?  Condense?                0.6.1
[CH Phil Soc has Condorcet on the Mind]  Candide?
Canuclad                1.0.0
[french?]
Cerise? Cevis’l? Travels                0.7.6
[Antoine-Marie Cerisier was a French journalist living in Amsterdam who worked with John Adams in the 1780s, but not sure if this is him…]
?Curvins (Curwin’s?) Speeches    0.17.6
?Davises Researches    0.17.6
?Grolisque ?                     0.7.1
[Grotius?
?History of India            3.15.0
?Loyal Captiene &etc                   0.9.1
?Lysie’s Poems        0.3.6
[prob. not the Greek speech writer Lysias… he wrote orations]
Milses Philosophy                                      1.5.0
?Morgans Essas & Robertsons Illuminations    2.12.0
Nickerson Religions        0.7.6
[?nothing before 1800 Nic- / Relgions
?Bye Laws Poetry? Pailny?           0.2.6
?Sarrows overtis? Overtur?           0.10.0
?Spies of Parris?                0.1.0
Sullivants Lectures            1.2.6
?Thistons Memorials                0.7.6 (Whiston? Twiston?
?The Theory of Commerce    1.1.0

SOURCES USED FOR RESEARCHING TITLES:

British Library- English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC) printed items before 1801.
http://estc.bl.uk/

The Law Library of Congress Rare Book Collection
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/awhhtml/awlaw3/rare_book.html

The printed Catalogue of the Dialectic Society Library (1821, at UNC-CH), gives the short titles of 1673 books.
http://docsouth.unc.edu/unc/uncbk1026/uncbk1026.html.

The printed Catalogue of the the Philanthropic Society (at UNC-CH), Printed by J. Gales, Raleigh, 1822.
http://docsouth.unc.edu/unc/uncbk1027/cover.html .

UVA library catalogue, 1828
http://xtf.lib.virginia.edu/xtf/view?docId=2005_Q4_1/uvaBook/tei/b004123185.xml;brand=default;

Porcellian Club Library, 1831
http://www.archive.org/stream/catalogue00clubgoog/catalogue00clubgoog_djvu.txt

The Underground Railroad in Piedmont North Carolina

February 22, 2010


Before the American Civil War, opposition to the institution of human slavery took many forms. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, Quakers and other thoughtful people opposed treating human beings as property on religious, philosophical, moral and ethical grounds. Some formed groups or “manumission societies” to urge individuals to free slaves; other raised funds and organized groups of “freedmen” to return to Africa through “colonization societies”; others promoted the outright legal and governmental prohibition of slavery as “abolitionists.” Randolph and Guilford counties, the heart of North Carolina’s “Quaker Belt,” had examples of all of these organizations. But by 1835, that kind of individual action had gradually come to be prohibited by new state laws put forward by slaveowners to protect their increasingly-valuable investment in slave property. It became illegal to free slaves, or for freed slaves to move freely around North Carolina, and this promoted clandestine resistance to slave laws by brave local residents who cooperated to smuggle runaway slaves to free states in the North. When Fugitive Slave laws were passed by Congress seeking to force the return of escaped slaves from free states, the slave-smuggler’s network was extended all the way to Canada. This cooperative network supporting the escape of southern slaves to freedom became known as the “underground railroad,” despite the fact that the system began operating years before the time actual steam-powered trains were invented.

The “Underground Railroad” was, first and foremost, secret.  That was what it took to protect the people who helped the slaves escape, as what they did was against the law, punishable by prison and fines, and in fact, the punishments increased almost yearly from the early 19th century to the civil war.  The secrecy of it all makes it very difficult to document. There are very few direct sources of information on underground railroad activities in NC, and only one makes a tangential connection to Randolph County: that is the actual route taken by Elisha Coffin (1779-1872, who built my house in Franklinville), with his sister and his father in March 1822, and described in detail in the autobiography of his first cousin Levi Coffin (1798-1877).


From Levi Coffin’s book it is clear that escaped slaves knew to head generally for the Quaker heart of North Carolina.  Escaped slave advertisements collected by UNCG Loren Schweniger clearly show that eastern NC slave owners assumed that escapees were headed west.  Fugitives coming through Randolph County might have gone toward the Friends meeting houses, or toward individual Quakers, but sooner or later they ended up around New Garden, where the Quaker families descended from Nantucket emigrants of 1771 pretty much headed up the underground railroad in North Carolina.  The Nantucket Quakers (including Levi, Bethuel and Elisha Coffin) were the majority of the active participants in the North Carolina Manumission and Colonization Society which was organized in 1816 and pursued fitful activities until 1832. Some of the largest slaveholders in the area, such as General Alexander Gray, were supporters of the organization until the state’s constitution of 1835 made such activities illegal.

The Coffin family, like most other local Quaker families, was seeing most of its younger generation emigrate West. Some of this was due to the availability of cheap vacant land in the “Northwest Territories” (Indiana, Illinois, Ohio); some of it was the desire to get their children away from the dominant slave-holding ethic. No matter what local Quakers taught their children about the equality of human nature and the evil of slaveholding, the law of the land and the culture of their neighbors promoted and protected the ownership and exploitation of Negroes. It was a conflict that could only be resolved by leaving North Carolina. By 1818, so many residents of Randolph County, NC, had relocated to the Indiana that a Randolph County was created in memory of the “old country”. One of Bethuel Coffin’s daughters had already moved her family to Indiana, and Bethuel himself would soon follow.


It is a glaring omission that Levi Coffin’s autobiography (Reminiscences of Levi Coffin, the Reputed President of the Underground Railroad: Being a Brief History of the Labors of a Lifetime in Behalf of the Slave, with the Stories of Numerous Fugitives, Who Gained Their Freedom through His Instrumentality, and Many Other Incidents. Cincinnati: Robert Clark & Co., 1880.) has not been more used as a source for antebellum NC history. The entire book has been made available online by the UNC-Chapel Hill Library at http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/coffin/menu.html . The first chapter of Coffin’s book recounts a number of incidents of slave mistreatment which nurtured his abolitionist views, and at least three appear to have involved legal action, which could be confirmed from historical records.


Chapter 2, the story of Jack Barnes, is a fascinating account of one of Levi Coffin’s first efforts to smuggle an escaped slave to freedom, and the fact that he enlisted his uncle and first cousins as co-conspirators illustrates the close-knit family nature of the underground railroad activities. Jack Barnes had fled “the eastern part” of North Carolina after the heirs of his owner refused to follow his will’s instructions to grant him freedom “for faithfulness and meritorious conduct”. He reached the vicinity of New Garden Friends meeting in the fall of 1821, boarding and working for members of the Coffin family. In March 1822 he “received the news that the case in court had been decided against him. The property that had been willed to him was turned over to the relatives of his master, and he was consigned again to slavery. The judge decided that Barnes was not in his right mind at the time he made the will… [Jack] was not to be found, and [the heirs] advertised in the papers, offering one hundred dollars reward to any one who would secure him till they could get hold of him, or give information that would lead to his discovery. This advertisement appeared in the paper published at Greensboro.” [p.33]


Putting Jack into hiding, Vestal and Levi Coffin devised a plan to smuggle Barnes to Indiana in a travelling party of Coffin relatives.


“Bethuel Coffin, my uncle, who lived a few miles distant, was then preparing to go to Indiana, on a visit to his children and relatives who had settled there. He would be accompanied by his son Elisha, then living in Randolph County, and by his daughter Mary. They intended to make the journey in a two-horse wagon, taking with them provisions and cooking utensils, and camp out on the way…. The road they proposed to take was called the Kanawha road. It was the nearest route, but led through a mountainous wilderness, most of the way. Crossing Dan River, it led by way of Patrick Court-House, Virginia, to Maberry’s Gap, in the Blue Ridge mountains, thence across Clinch mountain, by way of Pack’s ferry on New River, thence across White Oak mountain to the falls of the Kanawha, and down that river to the Ohio, crossing at Gallipolis.

“This was thought to be a safe route for Jack to travel, as it was very thinly inhabited, and it was decided that my cousin Vestal and I should go see our uncle, and learn if he was willing to incur the risk and take Jack with him to Indiana. He said he was willing, and all the arrangements were made…” [pp.34-35]


This trip was less than two years since 43-year-old Elisha Coffin had purchased the mill and several hundred acres of land on Deep River that later became Franklinville. He either had just been or was about to be elected a Justice of the Peace of the Randolph County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions (the equivalent of a modern County Commissioner), so it was truly a legal and political risk for him to make this trip. But my purpose here is to focus on the route from North Carolina to Indiana rather than on Elisha Coffin or the rather thrilling adventure of Levi Coffin, who was forced to follow the Coffins on horseback to thwart the efforts of a slave-catcher who appeared on their trail. [But all my readers should check out that story in the original—chapter 2,
http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/coffin/menu.html .]


It is an interesting aspect of modern scholarship of the Underground Railroad, as promoted by the National Park Service and dozens of local historical societies in northern states, that all the maps of “routes” out of the slave-holding states completely ignore the route from central NC to Indiana and Ohio called by Levi Coffin as the “Kanawah” road. In fact, most “maps” of the underground railroad only clearly define the route after it reaches a free state and starts toward Canada.

There is an internet-published record (“The Kanawah Trace Waybill”) which documents an almost identical route from New Garden to Ohio (its first stop appears to go west toward Winston-Salem (Clemmons) instead of north to the Dan River); see http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~maggieoh/Migrate/merle.htm .


The only Piedmont NC museum interpretation of the underground railroad of which I am aware is at Mendenhall Plantation, in Jamestown, Guilford County. See http://www.mendenhallplantation.org/. A false-bottomed wagon from the Centre Friends Meeting community some 15 miles southeast is the museum’s primary artifact of the underground railroad, and it too confirms the importance of the Kanawah route. The wagon was preserved by Centre historian Joshua Edgar Murrow (1892-1980), grandson of Andrew Murrow (1820-1908), who with his foster brother Isaac Stanley (1832-1927), used the wagon to transport runaway slaves to Ohio on the Kanawah Road [see http://www.mendenhallplantation.org/Wagon.htm ].

Given the numerous primary sources and confirmation of this route from the heart of Piedmont NC to Ohio and Indiana, and the confirmation of its regular use in underground railroad activities, why is it not listed on the National Park Service websites and maps? Neither is it common knowledge here in North Carolina, and I think both omissions stem from a common source—the fact that the antebellum history of Guilford and Randolph Counties, and its Quaker inhabitants, does not follow the popular “Gone with the Wind” narrative of the antebellum South. Our region was another story, not the romatic lost world of the plantation gentry, but a Shadow South, of abolition and manumission activities, of industry and internal improvements, and steady moral and political opposition to the status quo. Our history is much more nuanced and interesting than the standard black and white (or blue and gray) textbook version, and our culture is lessened by the fact that we forget and ignore the work and sacrifices of the men and women who fought against heavy odds to change the fundamental basis of the society they lived in.

Coffin’s Mills

May 21, 2009

Coffin’s Mills, 1912, from the George Russell album of Franklinsville Mfg. Co. Author’s Collection.

Flour milling is Franklinville’s oldest activity. Since at least 1801 the falls of the river there powered a grist and saw mill which had in turn nurtured a small community of shops and houses. In 1821 those mills were acquired by Elisha Coffin; from him the settlement took its name, “Coffin’s Mills,” and became the site of one of North Carolina’s oldest textile factories.

That’s Franklinville history in a nutshell, but the answers to the basic “who, what, when and where” questions of the town’s founding are all more complicated.

The first person known to have held title to the site of Franklinville was Jacob Skeen, who in 1784 received it as a grant from the State of North Carolina [See Randolph County Deed Book 2, p.136 (State to Jacob Skeen, 2 Nov. 1784) and Book 4, p.108 (Skeen to daughter Jane, 23 Sept. 1790)]. In 1795 Skeen’s daughter and heir, Jane Safford, and her husband Revel Safford, sold the 400-acre tract to George Mendenhall, who in turn sold it to Benjamin Trotter, both of whom could recognize good mill real estate [Book 17, p.226 (Jane & Revel Safford to George Mendenhall, 9 Sept. 1795) and Book 8, p.401 (Mendenhall to Benjamin Trotter, 28 July 1797)]. Both men were millers, but it is unclear whether they made any use of the site, and their intentions may have been purely speculative. Mendenhall owned the substantial mill on Deep River now known as Coletrane’s Mill, and he seems to have acquired sites for other mills as investments. In 1801, Trotter sold the property to Christian Morris; that deed refers to “Benj’n Troter of Randolph County and State of No. Carolina (Miller).” [Deed Book 8, p.441 (Trotter to Christian Moretz, 15 Oct. 1801)].

Either Mendenhall or Trotter could have been the first to utilize the property as the site of a grist mill. Local tradition, however, states that the first mill at the site was built by the 1801 buyer, Christian Morris (or Moretz), a member of the German community in northeastern Randolph. [J.A. Blair, Reminiscences of Randolph County, 35 (Greensboro: Reece & Elam, 1890)].

Whether or not Morris built the first mill, by 1802 he was being taxed for the operation of a large cotton gin (verbal shorthand for ‘engine’). Invented by Eli Whitney in 1793, the unpatented invention spread quickly around the South, and Randolph County had five gins subject to taxation the year Morris erected his machine. [“Return of the Cotton Machine for the Year 1802,” in Randolph County Miscellaneous Tax Records, C.R. 081.701.5, North Carolina State Archives]. Morris’s was one of the larger machines, featuring 30 saws designed to pull the cotton fibers from the seeds. Since Morris also operated a wool-carding machine and saw mill at the mill, it appears that the site rapidly acquired the characteristics of a rural trading community. At the tiny frame mill a farmer could have his corn and grain ground into flour, have his timber sawed into lumber, gin the seeds from his cotton, and have the wool from his sheep carded for his wife to spin into yarn.

Morris died about the year 1812, and his extensive property holdings were divided among his children by the county court. Morris’ oldest son, John, received the mill tract, but since he had moved to Lincoln County, North Carolina, someone else must have run the mill until it was sold to James Ward in 1818. [Deed Book 14, p.124 (John Morris to James Ward, 2 April 1818)].


Elisha Coffin, taken about 1855.

Elisha Coffin (23 November 1779 – 22 May 1870) was a son of Nantucket Quakers who moved to the New Garden community (now Guilford College) in the 1770s. In 1816 he purchased a mill site on the Uwharrie River (Deed Book 13, Page 127), but soon sold that and purchased the Deep River mill from Ward [Deed Book 14, p. 531 (Ward to Elisha Coffin, 25 Dec. 1821)]. Owner and operator of several other mills in Guilford and Randolph Counties mills, Coffin was also a farmer, merchant and politically active Justice of the Peace. He organized a group of investors under the name of “The Randolph Manufacturing Company,” with the aim of building Deep River’s second cotton factory. [Southern Citizen (Asheboro), 3 March 1838], and ambitiously named the small community to honor Jesse Franklin, then the governor of North Carolina. It continued to be known locally, however, as “Coffin’s Mills on Deep River” until the name “Franklinsville” was officially recorded in the town’s 1847 legislative act of incorporation. [Chapter 200, Private Laws of 1846-47, ratified 18 Jan. 1847]. Coffin sold his property in 1850 after pro-slavery interests took control of the factory (Deed Book 28, Page 479), and purchased 345 acres on Richland Creek (Deed Book 28, Page 480) from Thomas Lucas—probably the mill site now known as “Kemp’s Mill.” He eventually moved back to Guilford County, ending his career as proprietor of the “College Mill” at New Garden.

Much if not all of the building pictured must dated from the time of Coffin’s ownership, as the oversized twelve-over-twelve window sash are appropriate to the 1830s. It is probable that the original windows were closed only by sliding wooden shutters, as in the Walker/Nixon mill and Dennis Cox mill. The dormer window lighting the attic floor is even later, probably added around 1880. The steeply-pitched roof of the building provided space for grain storage, and the north-facing lucam in the gable allowed wagons to be unloaded between the cotton factory and grist mill, and the grain sacks hoisted into the attic. An earlier photograph suggests that the lucam might have been remodeled, and could have been enclosed originally as at the Walker/Nixon mill.

The 2 ½-story frame building shown above is the smallest, and probably the oldest, Randolph County grist mill in any surviving photograph. The photographer is looking northeast, at the western and southern walls of the building. The grist mill shown here was about 30 x 30 feet in plan, and was situated about 75 feet west of the river and 25 feet from the south wall of the cotton factory boiler house and smokestack. At that location the building was sitting approximately 15 feet above the level of the river, and judging from the water level of the race the water wheel under the shed must have been a “pitch-back” style breast wheel. The flowing water would have hit the buckets of the wheel somewhere between 10 and 11 o’clock, causing the wheel to rotate counterclockwise. The shed roof to the right (or southern end) of the building covered the water wheel, and to its right, out of frame, was a sash sawmill. The head race is dry while the crew rebuilds it, but the mill operates even without the water power. The smaller shed roof to the left, at the northwest corner, is attached by piping to the vertical steam boiler visible at left, and exhaust steam spraying out of the pipe just above the jib boom crane indicates that the engine must be running.


1885 Sanborn map (the 1888 map is identical). The boiler and engine house of the cotton mill is just to the north.

According to the 1885 Sanborn Insurance Company map of Randolph County, the mill was heated by an open grate fireplace and lit by candles. It featured three “run” of mill stones on the first floor, with a “smutter” machine and “bolting chest” on the second floor. From this we can reconstruct the entire operation of the mill. A farmer delivered his harvest to the base of the north wall, where the windlass in the lucam hoisted the grain into the attic, called by millers “the sack floor.” From there the grain dropped by gravity to the “bin floor,” where the grain was cleaned and stored in large wooden bins. The smutter and bolter
mentioned by the insurance agent were on bin floor, and were the minimum machinery required to produce high quality flour. A smutter is an enclosed fan which cleans the raw grain by blowing mold, rust, fungus and dirt particles off the kernels. A bolter is an inclined, revolving wooden cage covered with silk; flour conveyed into the bolter was sifted by the silk, with the smallest particles falling through the silk at the high end to make the finest quality flour, the next grade through the silk in the center called the “middlings,” and the coarse bran collected from the bottom as breakfast cereal and animal feed.

To start the grinding operation, a wooden chute was opened to funnel grain from the bin floor to the “stone floor,” where it fell into the “hopper,” held in place by the four-legged “horse” atop the “stone case,” a circular wooden frame enclosing the working pair of millstones. From the hopper grain vibrates into the “shoe,” a tapering wooden trough through which the grain is fed into the stones. The turning upper stone, or “runner,” does the grinding work against the fixed “bed” stone. The ground meal or flour worked its way to the center or “eye” of the bed stone, where it was channeled through a spout into a bin or bag on the “meal floor,” at ground level, or conveyed back to the sack floor for bolting or further storage.

Grist mills with just one or two stones were considered “custom” mills, because they ground to the personal specifications of the farmers who patronized the mill. What the farmer brought in (wheat, rye, barley, oats or corn) was what he got back, in a different form (flour, meal, bran), less a portion retained by the miller as his fee (the toll”– no money changed hands). The bolter was another step in refining the finished product, and allowed the miller to collect an additional toll. A “merchant” mill had three or more “run” or pairs of stones and operated year-round, packaging the flour in 100-lb. bags and 196-lb. barrels for sale to the general public. Although a single pair of stones could be used to grind any kind of grain, one stone was usually reserved for grinding wheat and one for corn, and the stones were furrowed in a way that worked best to grind each type of grain (no one bothered with 5-lb. Bags then!). Many mills used an expensive “buhr” stone imported from France for grinding the best quality white flour, while corn could be ground on American granite or sandstone. In a merchant mill, the third stone was sometimes used to clean grain or de-hull oats, barley, or buckwheat; but by 1885 it is likely that the third stone was being used to regrind the middlings, producing higher quality flour. That procedure was called “new process” milling, and it was developed to compete with the new “roller mill” technology developed in the late 1870s which used grooved porcelain or toothed steel rollers to pull the grains apart rather than grind them. Roller milling was the biggest technological change in the milling process in 2,000 years. The invention of roller mills not only outmoded grist mills, but caused a complete shift in the types of wheat that were produced by American farmers.

In 1912 the Franklinsville Manufacturing Company replaced this antique grist mill with a greatly-expanded modern roller grinding operation. That three-story “Roller Mill” opened in 1913, operated until 1990, and burned in 1992. When their picture above was taken in 1912, the gang of men were building wooden forms for the concrete walls of the new roller mill head race, or “forebay.” At least eight of the fifteen men in the photo appear to be African-Americans; they are not the ones white shirts, vests and ties. At this time the only jobs in or around the factory for black workers were the ones requiring heavy lifting, usually in the mill “yard,” loading and unloading wagons or managing the 500-pound bales of cotton in the opening room. Here the construction crew digging and forming up the new race appear to be entirely or predominately black.

Dicks’ Mill

April 15, 2009

[Circa-1960 photo of Dicks Mill from North Randolph Historical Society, http://www.stpaulmuseum.org/exhibit_randleman.htm]

The original name of Randleman was Dicks Mill, after the merchant flour mill shown here, built by Peter Dicks about 1830. The mill was built on Deep River above the modern U.S. 220 Business highway bridge, but about 1900 was moved downstream to stand near the Naomi mill. At one time it included not only wheat and corn stones but an oil mill. It was demolished about 1965. Architecturally the building is too big to be an 18th-century mill, and the many large windows (nine over six sash, unusually large) are early-19th century at best. It is the size of what was called a “merchant mill,” a mill that not only ground corn into meal and wheat into flour, but graded the flour through bolting and sifting machinery to produce a more refined white flour.

Peter Dicks (b.1771 – d.1843), the subject of the last few posts here, was a farmer and a merchant who operated a general store in the then-thriving village of New Salem. He served in many public capacities, including being one of the commissioners of New Salem (incorporated 1816), who sold lots and laid off streets; he was a Justice of the Peace (what we now call a county commissioner); he also served as Clerk of the Court of Equity. He was one of the founders of New Garden Boarding School, now Guilford College; throughout his life remained a trustee of the school and was an active member of the Society of Friends in both Centre and New Salem Monthly Meetings. Peter Dicks and wife Nancy Ann Hodgson tombstones in New Salem Methodist Ch/Cem.

Even though it is historically clear that Peter Dicks’ mill on Deep River was the focal point around which the village of Union Factory and the City of Randleman subsequently coalesced, there is confusion over when that actually happened.

Some sources say 1800 (“Peter Dicks built a grist and oil mill, on Deep River in 1800.” (library http://www.randolphlibrary.org/historicalphotos.htm ; also Randleman city website http://www.randleman.org/History.aspx). Other sources say 1830 (Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randleman,_North_Carolina , no citation). Pioneer local historian J.A. Blair in his “Reminisences of Randolph County” (1890) finesses over the question by saying “Away back in the shadowy past Peter Dicks had a grist and an oil mill at this place.”

I’ll say they’re all wrong, it was even earlier than that. Grandfather Peter Dicks (ca. 1720-1796), brought the family down from York County, PA to Guilford County in 1755, settled in the Polecat Creek area near Centre Meeting. At some point soon thereafter he built a mill on Deep River which became the family business. In the Rowan County Court Minutes, (McCubbins, ed., Book 1: 1753-1772, p. 1), we read:

“On petition of hickory Creek and Russell’s Runn and Poulcatt [Polecat]for a Road to Mill and Market, from Pennington’s Mill through Hickory Creek Settlement the best and nearest way to Peter Dick’s Mill and from thence to the Trading Path, the convenient way to Market on Cap Fair [Cape Fear], and that Peter Dicks, James Green, James Wilson, William Arafield [Armfield], Robert Lamb, George Hodgins, Robert Hodgins, Mathew Osborn, Daniel Osborn, John Osborn, Robert Fields, and William Fields be a jury to lay off the same and make return thereof to our next county court, and that James Green be appointed Overseer for the Lower Part and Abraham Cook for the upper part. Granted.”

Pennington’s Mill and Hickory Creek were in southern Guilford County, with the creek heading on or about the present Sedgefield golf course and running into Deep River below Freeman’s Mill (now under the Randleman Reservoir). “Russell’s Run” or Creek runs into Deep River between Freeman’s Mill and Coletrane’s Mill. Polecat Creek rises in southern Guilford and runs into Deep River below Randleman. So this road ran roughly from Sedgefield to Groometown Road near Jamestown to the Trading Path Ford near modern Randleman. [For more information on this petition and Pennington’s Mill, see http://penningtonresearch.org/resources/articles/Pages%2014-15-PP0602.pdf ). It appears that Peter Dicks either applied for permission to build a mill, or bought an existing mill site, just as soon as he came to North Carolina in the early-to mid-1750s. And if that mill on Deep River wasn’t located at the modern Randleman, I don’t know where else it could have been.

When Union Factory was built just upstream in 1848, it made use of the Dicks Mill dam. James Dicks (1804-1883), owner and operator of the grist mill at that time, became a stockholder of the cotton factory along with a group of fellow Quakers. When the Naomi Manufacturing Company was built in 1879-1880, a new dam was built downstream at the site of the Naomi Falls, and the new dam backed water into the tail race of the grist mill, making it inoperable. Dicks Mill was thereupon disassembled, moved to a site below the Naomi Factory, and reconstructed just beside the new bridge over the ford below the mill. The mill is clearly visible in several photographs of that side of Naomi factory, including one where it is in the background as the steel bridge is being replaced in 1959. The mill remained in business on that spot until it was demolished in the mid-1960s.

The final years of Dicks Mill were chronicled in this article by Ruby K. Marsh, published on Monday, March 28, 1960, in The Greensboro Record. This is one of the last descriptions of an operating grist mill in Randolph County.


Century-Old Mill Still Grinding Corn

Randleman, March 24—

The Old Naomi Roller Mill—grinding corn and wheat for over a century– is still running, using the same machinery re-installed in 1880 when the mill was moved down river for lack of water to operate.

Naomi Manufacturing Company (now J.P. Stevens Co.) built a new plant that year—just below the old grist mill, using up the available water supply to generate power for the cotton mill. The grist mill was torn down and relocated below the Naomi Falls plant where it still stands today- just as it has stood for 80 years.

Hand-hewn beams and rafters from the original mill were used to build this sturdy, three-story plant which is completely furnished with machinery for grinding flour and corn meal as well as other feeds.

The “old corn rock” is still in use with the original boards which were shaped by hand to surround the round rock which grinds corn. The boards were neatly mitred at the four corners, put together with large wedges of wood and look as though they would last another century if needed.

The woods are polished from the passage of corn over the surface over the years. The floor too is polished as slick as though freshly waxed. Here wide pine boards of about two-inch thickness were used, the floor being as solid today as it was when placed there despite vibrations from the heavy machinery.

Just when the mill converted to electricity is not definitely known by present owner W.C. Routh, but he thinks about 40 years ago. The old mill race has been filled in, and boards cover the opening where water flowed underneath.

Six different processes were required before flour could be finished. In the old roller mills section—now idle—elevators carried wheat from one floor to the other, dropping the ground flour down through bins where pure Japanese silk screens bolted the flour—sending any coarse materials back into the elevator to be carried back to the roller where it was reground, then redropped into the screen for sifting. Waste materials went out a separate chute. Some of these old silk screens are still hanging on the wall, though they are now yellowed with age.

Up on the third floor the pan to mill self-rising ingredients is still sitting on top of the scales, just waiting to be used once more. The mixing bins where the flour and self-rising soda baking powder and salt- were added now have dirt-dobbers nests inside. The old wooden barrel which once held three or four bushels of corn is sitting idly by.

Corn was brought up from the wagon outside by a windlass which a man could pull with one hand. About 200 lbs. of corn could be carried up with one hand on the large four-foot wheel with a rope 1 ½ inches thick, being located out under the eave of the roof.

In front of the mill old dutch doors with a long slide wooden latch locks the door at night. The upper half is kept open during the day so people can see the place is open for business.

In the office the old box-type desk was nailed to the wall—right where it was located 80 years ago. The stool, made of two-inch pine, is polished from the millers sitting to tally up the price of a sack of corn meal or flour.

On the wall is a sign telling everyone to beware of the loaded rifle, kept to shoot rats which become troublesome sometimes. Little boys became meddlesome so Mr. Routh put up this sign.

Corn cobs are used to keep the office warn. They are burned in a tiny laundry heater.

On one of the large bins, names of the millers since 1900 are inscribed for posterity. Among them are five names of the seven Routh boys.

Routh and a brother operated a mill down in the borders of Chatham County just outside of Randolph at Bennett before Routh was born at Grays Chapel not far from his present home above the mill.

The mill site has long been a trading center. Indians traded with white settlers long before the Revolutionary War. It is also the site famed for the murder of Naomi Wise by her lover—for whom the mill is named.

Since he is partially retired Routh does not mind the slow pace which his mill now has—selling a little egg mash and other feeds and custom grinding corns for his friends, many of whom delight in going to visit him while he grinds corn on the ‘old corn rock.’

Peter Dicks House

April 14, 2009

Formerly in the village of New Salem, now destroyed.

Rom Ward moved to the village of New Salem in 1918, bought an old house and remodeled it into a stylish bungalow; bought a little old house and turned it into a workshop, and bought yet another old house and turned it into his barn. Both of these photos of the Rom Ward barn were taken by me during the 1978 architectural inventory of Randolph County. This was one of the earliest houses I found, probably dating to the 1780s or 1790s, and I still regret that it wasn’t subsequently preserved. The county is a poorer place for having lost almost its entire 18th-century built environment.

The structure once stood approximately behind the workshop building and further back in the field behind the Ward house; Mr. Ward had moved it closer to New Salem Road (SR 2115).

Only 20 by 25 in plan, it originally had two floors and a finished attic. When I made its acquaintance it was in a neglected state, but it had a number of special details which indicated that it had once been a house of rather high quality.

The exposed ceiling joists of the ground floor (being the floor joists of the second floor) were fully chamfered, and stopped with lamb’s tongues. The exposed ceiling joists of the second floor (the floor joists of the attic) were simply beaded. No mantels survived on the ground floor, but a three-panel board-and-batten door with iron strap hinges survived under the rear shed. The first floor had remnants of vertical wood paneling, a simple wooden molding ran around the ceiling and joists, and there were several areas where a wide-board floor remained, fastened down with wooden pegs, not nails.

The second floor window openings were about 18 inches wide, and were crowned with a simple wooden cornice. This would not be so remarkable today, but circa-1800, it would have been unusual to find cornices over the ground floor windows, let alone the upper stories.

The gable trim was flush with the siding, which on the eastern end apparently used very early “riven” clapboards, split instead of sawn. The framing of the house indicated a fireplace on the western end. The only remaining piece of exterior trim was a section of dentil molding under the box cornice- dentils produced by angled cuts in a wood strip almost identical to what furniture connoisseurs call “chip carving.”

An early issue of the defunct North Randolph Historical Society Quarterly, (vol. 2, #3, published in June 1968), printed the descriptions of early buildings from long-time New Salem residents. On page 40, it says

“The old Dicks home stood… to the right of the closed well that used to serve [Rom Ward’s] house. Mrs. Hayes [a neighbor] can remember an addition in the back that was four bedrooms and the kitchen joined the end near the well. It had a large fireplace and then stairs going up to the second floor and then a closed staircase from the second to the third floor, which was finished. The yard was very different from any around. It was completely covered with large white rocks, laid side by side, with no filling in between, no flowers or shrubbery. Where the rocks came from, no one ever knew. Mrs. Hayes has two in her front yard.”

New Salem was founded around the year 1815, when streets were laid off and lots were sold by Town Commissioners Benjamin Marmon, Jesse Hinshaw, Moses Swaim, William Dennis and Peter Dicks. Until Franklinsville was founded and became the county’s manufacturing metropolis, New Salem was for about a quarter century the largest municipality in the county. Two acres at the east end of the village was sold to the Society of Friends, who established a meeting house. After the Civil War the dwindling Quaker congregation merged with Providence monthly meeting a few miles away, and their meeting house was sold to the current Methodist congregation.

Across the street from the Dicks house was (and still stands) the home of Dr. C.W. Woolen, whose father in law was the Abolition preacher Daniel Worth. Further back behind the Woolen house is a water source known as Adams’ Spring, notorious since 1808 as the place where Naomi Wise met her lover Stephen Lewis just before her death.

The Dicks family were long-time Quakers, and can be traced with some difficulty through Hinshaw’s “Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy” (I say ‘difficulty’ because each generation had at least one “Peter Dicks,” and sometimes more than one). To confuse matters even further, the Dick family in north central Guilford County (remember Judge R.P. Dick, signer of the Dicks Mill petition a few days ago?) was not related to the Dicks family of south central Guilford and Randolph.

According to the records of Centre Friends meeting, once right on the border between Guilford and Randolph, and now firmly in Guilford), our Peter Dicks was born May 13, 1771 (or “13th day 5th month 1771” according to the Quaker terminology used in Hinshaw (Volume I, p. 652). He was the son of James Dicks (b. 1748, York Co, PA, died 16 Nov 1830, and buried at New Salem Meth. Ch.) and wife Rachel Beals. Father James was himself the son of another Peter Dicks (b. ca. 1720 in Chester Co., PA; died 2 Jan. 1796 in Guilford County) and his wife Elizabeth. That Peter Dicks and his family moved their membership in Warrington Monthly Meeting of Friends in York Co., PA, to New Garden Monthly Meeting in Guilford County on August 30, 1755. Grandpa Peter was evidently the immigrant to North Carolina I remember hearing Edgar “Josh” Murrow of Centre speak of as if they were old school buddies. That Peter Dicks, said Josh, moved to the wilds of Polecat Creek, kept at that time burned to a grassy savannah by the Indians; he built a lean-to under an enormous Chestnut tree, and fed himself by shooting the abundant wild turkeys. (Josh learned all this by reading the diary of Peter Dicks, subsequently destroyed in a house fire). The family business may have been milling, as the immigrant Peter Dicks is listed in court records as owning a mill as early as 1753.

Our Peter may have been a potter, as when neighbor William Dennis sold out and moved west in 1832 his pottery tools were purchased by Peter Dicks. Our Peter, however, earned his living in sales, and may have made pottery and built his grist and oil mill on Deep River to supply the needs of his store in New Salem.

On October 26, 1797, our Peter Dicks married another Friend, Nancy Ann Hodson at Centre meeting. Peter and Nancy Ann are buried in the cemetery at New Salem Methodist Church, which at the time of his death in November, 1843, was New Salem Friends Meeting (Nancy outlived him to August 4, 1850). Their tombstones are now so eroded by weather and abrasive lawn maintenance that they are virtually unreadable.

Their children did quite well. Son James continued to live in Randleman, run the family mill, and was a founder and stockholder in the Union Factory. Daughter Sallie Dicks married John Milton Worth, a physician and brother of Governor Jonathan Worth. Dr. Worth and wife Sallie built a substantial house where the Asheboro Public Library now stands. Daughter Annie Dicks married Jesse Walker, a merchant and investor in several other cotton mills.