Wednesday, December 19, 2012

More than Meets the Eye

Somehow, I got the feeling when I began researching my 3rd great, grandfather, Frederick Fincher Starnes, that there was going to be more to him than meets the eye. Cabarrus County, North Carolina has the wonderful ability to allow research at the Register of Deeds online. Land records, deeds, deeds of trust, plats, mortgages all at the touch of a key. Hence, three and a half pages listing land transactions for Finch and his wives.

Many of them give the locations of where his land was located, which parts he allocated to his children, and parts he leased or rented to unrelated families.

The above is a link to one of these documents, where in 1901, Frederick Fincher Starnes purchases a lot of land on Allison Street, in Concord, North Carolina, which at that time intersected with Beatties Ford Road, which now runs through Huntersville in Mecklenburg County and the Cabarrus County section no longer exists. This lot is described as being in the "Wadsworth Addition" in Concord, which was a subdivision at the time, much like today's housing developments or suburbs.

There was a Colonel John C Wadsworth, who was a Hardware merchant in Concord during this era, co-owner of with N.  Felix York. An old Ad in the Concord High School Yearbook hales "York and Wadsworth 'The Old Reliable Hardware Company Since 1885" South Church Street, Concord North Carolina. Their homes were on the elegant North Union Street. Felix York lived at 103 North Union Street and a Mr. J. P. Allison lived at 113 North Union Street. Their homes are featured in the Concord Historic Walking tour. It is supposed that Allison Street was named for Mr. Allison, who founded the Concord Telephone Company. The Wadsworth Addition and Allison Streets must have connected to this neighborhood, and the subdivision named for Col. Wadsworth.

This one purchase was made from Mr. Adam McGenis Hathcock and his wife Mary Jane Linker Hathcock, originally of Stanly County. A. M. Hathcock was the son of Jackson Hathcock and Mary Ann Furr who was born in Furr Township, in Stanly County. They eventually moved to Albemarle, in Stanly County and lastly to Kannapolis, where Mr. Hathcock lived when he died.

As F. F. Starnes would be living in Charlotte in 1902, the next year, I can only suppose he was making real estate investments with his purchases of land in and around Cabarrus and Mecklenburg Counties.

F. F. Starnes soon conveys this property to his son Fate, or Frederick Lafayette Starnes, who in 1906 sells a portion of the property to Gibson Mills Manufacturing Company. In this document, the lot is described as being 'one town lot in Ward Number One Concord, NC situated on the North Side of McGill Street between Allison and Harris Streets.

A postcard of Gibson Manufacturing Company

Another deed records the Indenture on March 17, 1903, between F. F. Starnes and his second wife, Abigail D. Starnes of Cabarrus County and the Trustees of the Rocky River Presbyterian Church, namely,  J. A. Barnhardt, James P Morrison, S. A. Grier, W. Ed Harris and Edwin Ervin. Quoting the document, "and in consideration of the sum of five dollars to them paid, the receipt of  which is hereby acknowledged, do by these presents bargain, sell and conveyants said parties of the second part, as each trustee and their sucessors in office, in trust for the use and benefit of the members of said church and their descendents, as a cemetery and burial ground, a certain lot of land situated in  on one township, said county, known as Spears Graveyard and being on a parcel of a tract of land owned by said F. F. Starnes and metes and boundaries of said graveyard lot are as follows;". It then gives directions of feet along a stone wall, from one dogwood tree to another until it winds up at a right angle at the "wall to the road leading to Pioneer Mills to said Church."
Rocky River Presbyterian Cemetery. One of several cemeteries asscociated with this church. Many Revolutionary Era citizens are buried here. 
Pioneer Mill
The S. A. Grier mentioned in the list of trustees was likely Dr. Samuel Andrew Grier of Harrisburg, Cabarrus County, a Civil War doctor, who continued his medical education after the war and set up office in Harrisburg, near the Starnes's family properties. He was probably a treasured family friend as he would bear two namesakes, in the son of Margaret Leavy Starnes Lemmonds, Samuel Grier Lemmonds and in the son of her brother Fate Starnes, Silas Grier Starnes.
Period Grist Mill
F. F. Starnes operated a Grist Mill on Caldwell Creek near its conjunction with the Rocky River.

Land near Rocky River

This is the document involving the land on Caldwell Creek and Commercial National Bank of Charlotte.

It is going to take some time to pour through all of these land records of sales, purchases, mortgages, leases, gifts and acquisitions of my ancestors. He was certainly mobile and a wheeler dealer. But it's fun finding familiar names in these old documents and puts some color to life of an predecessor.

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