Friday, September 13, 2013

Ledgers and Meltons and related families

In Stanly County, we are fortunate that we have had several store ledgers and even a physcians records from prior to the Civil War digitized and available online. Our local museum is not just a showcase for displays, but an archive of all things historic locally, with a fantastic staff that have worked diligently to preserve, transcribe, and make available, all this information for our research and perusing.

These items can tell us more about an individual or a family than you would think. Not just what they purchased, what medicines they took, or what the cost of things were back then, but other important things genealogically.

These records have names in them that are not listed anywhere else. Some of them of from the 'days of the dashes', where, if you were not a head of a household, your name is not listed.

I've found:
- the names of sons who came of age between censuses and either died or migrated.
-the names of wives who didn't make it to 1850, where they would be listed.
-entries where people of the same surname came in on the same day. This does not prove a relation, but certainly suggests it.
-Proof that certain individuals were still in the area on a certain date, which narrows the window of their time of migration.
-medicines they bought which may indicate an illness they had.
-certain signs of character.
-and some named relationships "son of", "widow of", "with father" and the like.

These books are a treasure.

Below are some examples:

This entry in Daniel Freeman's Ledger from Lawrenceville, Montgomery County, North Carolina, is the only record of a "Weaver" being in the vicinity in the years 1833 to 1837. Lawrenceville was one of the several county seats when Montgomery and Stanly County was one. It was on the east side of the PeeDee and not too incredibly far from the Swift Island area. The families that lived on the Stanly County side of the Swift Island ferry seemed to visit the store at the same time. Perhaps they did this purposely and shared a ferry ride.  Weaver becomes important in the Melton/Milton research later.

This entry shows Bennett Solomon still in the area in Dec. of 1833. This was probably Bennett Jr. who migrated to Tennesee. Bennett Solomon senior was a minister and married Ava McGregor, daughter of the Rev. William McGregor of the "Mouth of the Uwharrie" Baptist Church. Ava McGregor Solomon is listed as a widow in Warren County, Tennesee. Most of the Solomon family migrated to any of several counties in Tennesse, Warren and Grainger among them.

This entry list David Christians purchase of suspenders, Bennett Solomon's purchase of sugar and coffee and George Hearne's purchase of the same for his son. Below him is Elbert Hearne, whom I've not seen mentioned in any Stanly or Montgomery County census record. In 1850, there is one in Chatham County, aged 12, living in the household of John G. Hearne, most likely a son, as the list of children is by age.

This May 1834 entry for Bennett Solomon also includes a charge for goods he is picking up for James Thompson.

In this entry, Charlotte Melton is buying homespun, a type of cloth, along with the ever popular coffee and sugar. Married women usually did not make purchases, their husbands did that for them. Most of the women who showed up were single or widowed. There were exceptions. Charlotte Melton was not married.

Henry Solomon makes an appearance in the ledger. This Henry is one of those who migrates to Tennesee. He is shopping on the same day as Benjamin Marks. That is important. This entry follows the Bennett Solomon one on the previous page.
Here Polly Melton pays cash on her account and buys a hat. Polly was a very frequent visitor to the store, sometimes multiple times a month. She purchased staples, but also a great deal of finery and medicines.

 John Hogan Lilly is on the same page as William B Melton. John Hogan Lilly married Frances Melton, daughter of John Melton, Sr.  William Melton bought silk, which may indicate a wife. Or perhaps he was making the purchase for a mother or sister. He never shows up in a census as Head of Household. He had to have been counted pre-1850 as a member of someone else's household. He either died or migrated before 1850. I am looking to see if I can find a William that could be him in some of the known places other members of the Melton's and connected families migrated to. He is not to be confused with William Jones Melton, son of John Sr., who did migrate to Tennesee. William J Melton would have been a child at this point in time. William B. is clearlly a different person.

John Melton Jr. on the same day as James Boysworth and Joab C. Bird. John Jr. married Nancy Boysworth and James was his brother-in-law. Joab C Bird did migrate and I've spoken to his descendants. Notice that he purchased lead in conjunction with J. Boysworth. It is likely these neighbors/relatives made the trip together. 

On this page, John Melton Sr. is listed right over his daughter, Fanny (Frances Melton) Lilly.

Apparently John Sr. and his son Henry made the trip together on this day. Henry appeared as Head of his own household by 1840, so he was one of the older sons of John Sr.

John Melton Jr. makes a purchase on the same day as John F Bird. The Bird family was one in which the Melton's had a close alliance. The Forrests, Boysworths, Solomons and Birds seem to have had a connection to the Melton's prior to their arrival in Montgomery/Stanly County. They formed close alliances to the Kirks and Hearne's after their arrival.

Here Henry Melton is listed within the account of John Melton, Sr.

Joseph Melton purchases 'spectacles'. This was probably the elder Joseph Melton.
This page from November of 1834 has four Melton's on one page, Polly, Henry, Joseph and John Jr. Polly was also seen as Mary.

Here, Mary Melton (aka Polly) purchases some camphor and other medications.

Here Charlotte Melton is referred to as "Miss", indicating that she was a single woman. She purchased calico, tuck combs and a bowl.

Here Polly Melton is also referred to as "Miss". Mary, or Polly, purchased a great deal of medicines and finery, like lace, silk, ribbon and pearl buttons. She also seemed to suffer from a number of ailments.

Here, Nancy Solomon purchases a cape, among other things.

On this page, Nancy Solomon (top order), Elizabeth Boysworth and Charlotte Melton all appear on the same page. Charlotte was a little more conservative than Polly. She mostly purchased ordinary cloth like checks, homespun and calico.

Here Polly and William B Melton made a purchase on the same day. According to what is known,  Polly and William B were not siblings. Polly was the sister of William Jones Melton. She was the oldest child  and he the youngest of John Melton, Sr.

Here Polly buys "British Oil" and "Spanish Brown". I had to look these two items up. Betton's British Oil was a liniment and Spanish Brown was an Oil Cloth, or a paint in terra cotta shades used to weathproof tarps, etc. It was derived from mixing linseed oil and iron oxide. People purchased lots of chemicals used as dyes to dye their own material.
BA B-A British American Oil Canada Art (1951)
In January of 1834, Polly purchased a set of cups and saucers, needles, side combs and a pair of women's shoes. Side combs were a popular item, they must have been easily lost. Cups and saucers were not a common purchase. . They were expensive. She must have been entertaining. Benjamin Bird also came shopping that day. He made a purchase with Calvin, most likely referring to Calvin Bird. 
Polly made a purchase on the same day as William B Christian, Eli Shad and Randall Howell. 

Here William B Melton made a purchase following Henry Melton and John Jr. on the previous page. Same date. Turner Scarborough was also a customer. Many of the Scarboroughs migrated to Tennesee about the same time as the Solomons and Jephta Melton, who fought in the War of 1812, from Montgomery County, NC. 

William B Melton buying more silk. Who was it for, I wonder?

In this entry, William Howell, part of my earlier research on the Howell's, is identified as a Post Rider. 

A big order from William B Melton. Below, William Solomon is making a purchase with Catherine Marks. 
Here, William Solomon is making a purchase for "E. Marks". 

In this one, William Solomon is making a purchase for B. Marks. 

William Solomon is my great-grandfather's grandfather. In someone else's research, I have seen his wife as "Tabitha Collins". In the census records, she is just Tabitha Solomon. In other research, she is Tabitha Marks. I have a tendency to believe that "Marks" was the correct maiden name for her, due to William Solomon's involvement with the Marks family. He was probably their son-in-law. I have found no proof, connection, or involvement with any Collins family at all. 

While ledgers like these would offer a definitive proof of nothing, they can offer many hints and clues that bring us to our own conclusions. While it is interesting to see what our ancestors purchased, it also offers a glimpse into how they lived. Groups that require proof of ancestry, would probably not allow store journal entries as proof of lineage, but for personal benefit, you can accept that someone named as a relative in the journal, was in fact a relative, or that someone referred to as "Miss" was a single, never married woman. 

Dr. Francis Kron treated these families that lived along the Yadkin/PeeDee River. I am now researching his records for mention of them. His observations are lending credence to speculations and corroborations to conjecture. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Melton Marriages: Stanly and Rowan

I looked into the marriages of the Melton family in both Stanly and Rowan, as some of them relocated to Rowan County, after the death of John Sr.

There was only one Melton marriage to be found in Montgomery County for the 19th century, and that was of James M. Melton, who was of the Moore County Meltons. There were various groups of related Meltons in Anson, descended from Jesse, and another large group in Rutherford County, as well as Moore. The Meltons seemed to have drifted into the border counties of NC from Virginia, and then from there into the other counties and westward and south. The Montgomery/Moore/Rutherford and Anson Meltons are possibly connected a few generations back, but I have not yet looked into that. Just the ones who ended up in Montgomerty/Stanly county. Some of the Rutherford ones, in particular, seem to be connected in the least, to Joseph Sr.

Melton (and some connected family) marriages: Stanly County, North Carolina

Jackson H. Bird and Sarah Smith                        Jan. 8, 1854 (son of Henry Bird)
William Bird and Charlotte Austin                       Jan 28, 1864
Almond Boysworth and Frances Smith               Apr. 7, 1864
George Melton and Elizabeth Crawford             Mar. 9, 1863
Green Melton and M. C. Melchor                     Oct 29, 1863
Carolina Melton and James Mabry                    Sept 7, 1856
Elizer (corruption of Eliza) Melton and Franklin Cauble  Aug 11, 1851
Margaret Melton and R. G. H. Huneycutt         Sept 20, 1860
Susan Melton and Joseph Mabry                     Apr. 11, 1859

The above were in the old marriage book, where the parents names were not given. The below are the postwar era marriages, which usually gave the ages of the bride and groom as well as the names of their parents.

Elisha H. Milton and Frances Marbary  Mar 13, 1862 by J. O Ross, JP
         daughter of Isaac and Tobitha Marbary (Marbary is seen spelled Mabry, Marbry, Mayberry and several other ways, but seems to have started as one family, just as Milton and Melton were interchangeable and seen spelled both way on the same individuals, not indicating a rift in families but a translastion of some record recorders handwriting. As such, Tobitha is also spelled Tabitha. Alfred Hinson bondsman. (note: Nancy Melton, aunt of Elisha, married James Hinson).

Isiah Mabry  to Adline Hinson      Jul. 29, 1855

George W. Melton (21) to Rosie E. Lampley (20) Dec 26 1898
            son of W. J. and Eliza J. Melton, daughter of BF and Mary E. Lampley
Marshall Melton (18) to Cora B. Stoker (18) Jul 21 1899
            son of John and Kate Melton and daughter of E.L. and Mary Stoker
Atlas D. Melton (35) and Mary F. Melton (22) Jan  25, 1881
           son of Joseph and Clementine Melton and daughter of Henry and Martha Melton
           note: This was the second marriage for Atlas, after his return to Stanly County after the war. It is also            a first cousin marriage as Henry and Joseph were brothers. 
D H Melton to S. A. Hearne             November 2, 1870
son of J. R. (James R.) and Mary Ann Melton and daughter of Joshua and Elizabeth Hearne.

J. D. Milton (21) and Beady Huneycutt (20)   Novemeber 30, 1888
son of Joseph and Mary Melton  and daughter of RGH and  (d) Huneycutt
     Note: This is also a cousin marriage. John D. Melton was the son of Joseph and his second wife Mary Ann "Polly" Solomon Melton. Beady Huneycutt was the daughter of Margaret Melton in the list above. J. D. was a half-brother to Atlas is the list above. 
Joseph D. Melton and Polly Ann Solomon   Sept 3, 1868
son of John and Margaret Melton and daughter of Elizabeth Solomon. No father listed.
Note: These are the parents of J. D. Milton above who would marry 20 years later. Joseph D. was the son of John Melton Sr. and Margaret "Peggy" Wilkenson Melton

J Franklin Milton (49) and Dockey Simpson (35) Oct 12, 1899
son of parents deceased and not named and John B Simpson, mother deceased, not named.

John Milton (20) and Catherine Keth (20) Dec 31 1877
son of David and Mary Melton and daughter of Jack and Mosey Keth (I've seen this surname as Keith, also)

L. D. Melton (25) and A. E. Calloway (26) Feb 28, 1885
son of Henry and Martha Melton and daughter of G.W. and Bettie Calloway

P. W. Melton (22) and Elizar Smith (16)  Mar 26, 1874
son of Joseph and Clementine Melton and daughter of James and Elizabeth Smith

S. H. Milton (27) and Paulina Harris (17)  Dec. 16, 1877
son of H. H. and Martha Milton and daughter of Richard and Kate Harris. Kate deceased.

W. T. Milton (21) and Ida Wilhoit (18)
Son of Eben and Tabby Milton and daughter of William and Polly Harris

William Milton (20) and Eliza Jane Snuggs (25) Dec 22, 1875
son of David and Mary Milton and daughter of JRD and Sally Snuggs

William T. Milton (23) and Isabelle Myers  Apr 18, 1876
son of JR and Mary Ann Milton and daughter of John Myers, no mother mentioned, deceased.

John Solomon and Martha Tolbert Aug 1 1869
son of John Bruster and Nancy Solomon and daughter of Thomas and Nancy Tolbert

Annie Melton (19) and Algie Parker (22)   April 15, 1900
daughter of WJ and Eliza J Melton and son of John and Isabelle Parker

Frances Melton and Ervin Whitley Jan 28 1870
daughter of  Isaac and Tobitha Marbry and son of George and Keziah Whitley
    Note: Widow of Elisha H. Melton

Rowan County marriages  1868 - 1900
Meltons and other (Stanly County) associated marriages.

Ellen Melton to Gabriel Kerr   Oct 11 1878
Ann Melton to Richard Julian  Dec 28,  1871 widow of Harris 
Mary Melton to Emmanuel Archy Jan 24, 1849 daughter of Elbert
Charlotte S. Crump to James Varker May 13 1872  Charlotte was a great-granddaughter of Job and granddaughter of James M. Davis, one of the many descendants of Charlotte Freeman Winfield to carry her name. 
Elbert Milton to Ferabee Hargrave Apr 7 1887 This is Elbert Jr. and her name was Phoebe Hargrave

Elisha B Melton to Daisy L. Brown Aug 6 1896
James Milton to Lizzie Chunn Dec 31 1885
John Milton to Mollie Young   Feb 2 1896
Rosa L Milton to Joe M Vanhoy Jul 15, 1907
Beulah Melton to James W Trueblood Apr 5 1903
Gladys Melton to  Willie Hart Dec 4 1921
Julia Melton to  Tom McCulloh Sept 9, 1907
Lillian Adeline Melton to Thomas Houston Kesler  Aug 8 1908
Minnie O Melton to Arch J Kearns May 24 1903
Rachel Melton to John A Robertson Jan 20 1902

Laura Melton, daughter of John Melton Jr. and Nancy Boysworth Melton married James A. Gill. 
Alene Gill  to Gilbert Hairston Feb 15 1923
Curenna Gill to Walter Parlee  Mar 19 1918
Elizabeth Gene Gill to W L Palmer May 10 1910
John E Milton to  Beatrice Mills  Jan 15 1917
Bright Melton to Laura Lee Ross Dec 7 1918
Claudy Roscoe Melton to Lena Rivers Wagoner Dec 8 1918
Elbert Melton to Vandella Belle    Jan 2 1918  This is Elbert Melton III son of Elbert Jr. 
Elbert Melton to Mary Mitchell     Jan 12 1919  I had to do a double-take with these dates. His first bride did not last long. She died June 14 1918. 
Elijah Steven Melton to Mamie A Gain Dec 23  1902
Elijah S. Melton to Catherine M. Kent  Dec 26  1916
James Ray Melton to Myrtle Brooks  Sept 2 1912


The Oakboro Centenial

In the form of Facebook, I'm just sharing a link on this one. Anyone in Stanly, Anson, Union, Cabarras and surrounding counties come check out and help celebrate one of Stanly Counties 'younger' communities.

Stanly News and Press link: Oakboro Train Exhibit and Centenial


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Gold and Melton's

There were some families and some areas that the Stanly/Montgomery/Rowan County Melton's clung to. The families were Kirk, Boysworth, Forrest, Christian and Solomon. The areas were Swift Island,  Albemarle and Gold Hill, Rowan County. The thing these 3 areas had in common: Gold. "Albemarle" was more acurately "New London" in modern terms, a small town just few miles north of Albemarle, and the other area was near the old Swift Island ferry, not far from the modern 24/27 bridge.

The following information is just a small bit of information that I was able to find about these areas and the Melton's family's involvement with it.

Gold Fields along the Southern Railway

This pamphlet, published in 1897, was a publicity attempt to draw people to the area and business to the Southern Railway. It was called:

 By M.V. Richards, Land and Industrial Agent, Southern Railway. The caption under the picture of the rock says:

("Nugget found at Sam Christian mine, Montgomery County, N.C., on Southern Railway. Weight 4 pounds. Picture about four-sevenths actual size.")
Sam Christian's mine was located near the Swift Island/PeeDee area of Montgomery County, close to present day Mount Gilead, the Melton's settled on the Stanly County side of Swift Island.
"Nugget found at Crawford Mine, Stanley County, N.C., on Southern Railway, August 22, 1985. Weight 10 pounds. Picture about three-fifths actual size."

In the 1820's, all of the gold being produced in the US was coming from North Carolina. Of course, it was soon followed by Tennesee, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia and Maryland. 

That nugget found in the creek in Cabarrus County, near the Stanly County line, started a fire that was dimmed in 1849, but smoldered throughout the 1800's. The pamphlet went on to boast the quality and quantity of gold found in Stanly, Rowan and Cabarrus counties. 
The best known and most extensively worked mining district in North Carolina is that at Gold Hill, at the junction of Rowan, Stanly and Cabarrus Counties. The country rock is chloritic and argillaceous schist, with the usual northeast by southwest strike, and dipping steeply to the northwest. For a distance of 1 1/2 miles along the strike and for a width of about 1,,200 yards the country rock is more or less impregnated with gold bearing pyrite, the pyrite being concentrated into more limited belts, in which are numerous lenticlar veins and small stringers of gold-bearing quartz.
Among the better defined of these veins are the Randolph, Barnhardt, Honeycut, Standard, Trautman and McMackin. The first of these has been worked to a depth of 750 feet.
The article continued:
It is stated that recent experiments at the Russell mine in Montgomery County, N.C., have shown that treatment by the cyanide process will cost from 90 cents to $1 per ton, on a scale of 100 tons per day, with an extraction of 85 to 90 per cent. 
gf019_mod.jpg (494339 bytes)
"Nugget found at Sam Christian Mine, Montgomery County, N.C., on Southern Railway. Weight 2 pounds. Picture one-half actual size.

This site: 

Gives the following information on the Sam Christian mine:

Sam Christian Mine - from Wadeville, west to within 3 miles of junctions of Routes 24 and 27, the Sam Christian Mine produced native gold (notable for large nuggets). Sam Christian Mine produced gold in placers, very large nuggets. This mine has gained something of a reputation for large and fine nuggets. The gold is found in old "channels", in gravel of a thickness of one to 3 feet and deeply covered with soil. The gold is rarely found in dust, but generally in nuggets of from 5 Dwts. to 1000 Dwts. The tract contains 1286 acres and has been worked in two places: Dry Hollow and the old Sam Christian Cut. Other channels are also known. The mine is 190 feet above the adjacent watercourses. The Yadkin River at Swift Island Ford are 3 miles away. The Sam Christian mine, located near Swift Island about 8 miles south of Morrowtock in the area of Shelter Mt., is mentioned in the following account of Mt. Gilead history: 1867-68 Christian mine operated by Sam Christian. 1872-Not in operation. 1890-Sam Christian mine in charge of a London company. 1896-Sam Christian mine owned by J.A. McAuley of Mt. Gilead. Gold was reportedly mined an a very small scale as early as 1785 near crossroads and Pekin in the lower section of Montgomery County, though no notes have been located to verify this fact. Located 4.5 miles west of Wadeville, the Sam Christian Mine was worked intermittently for several years and yielded many nuggets. This mine has been owned by many different men. It was operated for a time by hydraulic methods with water pumped from the nearby Yadkin River. The deposits of this mine consist of alluvium in former stream channels.
Gold sample from the Sam Christian mine

Who was Samuel Christian and what connections did he have with the Melton family?

Records indicate he was born in the early 1800's and died in 1864. He was the son of Rev. John Christian, and with the establishment of his mine, became one of the richest men in Montgomery County. He served as the postmaster of Lawrenceville, which was the county seat of Montgomery/Stanly Counties for a time before the they split into two counties. 
Saml H Christian
Post Office Location:Lawrenceville, Montgomery, North Carolina
Appointment Date:12 Oct 1833
Volume #:16
Volume Year Range:1844-1856

U.S., Appointments of U. S. Postmasters, 1832-1971SCHOOLS, DIRECTORIES & CHURCH HISTORIES
NAME: S H Christian
RESIDENCE: 17 Mar 1860 - Swift Island, Montgomery, North Carolina
He owned a large amount of land and property and records indicate he was planning on opening cotton mills with technology ahead of it's time. Montgomery county documents place him as owning "machinery used in factories for spinning yarn" and indicated that the machinery would be driven by water power, channeled no doubt, from the Yadkin River, a resource he used in his highly destructive environmentally gold-mining operations. Christian owned a large number of slaves and at the end of the century, a large population of African-Americans with the surname "Christian" lived in the PeeDee/Swift Island section of Montgomery County. 

In addition : 

Personnel of the Convention of 1861, Issues 1-3

 By John Gilchrist McCormick

Gives the following account of Samuel H. Christian:
"S. H. Christian of Montgomery, was born at  Lawrenceville, Montgomery County, May 20, 1805. The Christians were of English ancestry and came to North Carolina from Virginia, settling on the fertile bottom-land of the Pee Dee River in the above county. When a very small boy, he had the misfortune to be injured in such a manner to make him a cripple for life. He recieved his education at the neighborhood schools and at an early age embarked in the merchantile business. He soon united  farming with it and was very successful in  both. He also added a large flouring mill to his other interests. He represented his county in the State Senate in 1854 and '56. He was strongly opposed to secession. He was appointed to the Confederate Congress in 1863, but died, March 2 in 1864, before taking his seat."
In the book "North Carolina Reports: Cases Argued and Determined  in the Supreme Court" Vol. 72, it states, "Upon the death of S. H. Christian, upon failure of his personal estate, his administrators instituted proceedings in the Superior Court of Montgomery County to sell the real estate for the payment of debts..... Fall Term 1867..decree was made authorizing the sale of all lands, mills, and other real estate. Among the tracts was the "mill tract" in Montgomery and the "Davis Tract" in Stanly. These tracts were described fully, but neither in the petition, nor in the decree of sale, is there anything said about the ferry.... Spring 1868...'the mill on the Montgomery side, and factory with outhouses and other appurtenances, was bid off by Nathaniel of the Stanly land....Feb 18, J. G. Christian...."All that tract or parcel  of land lying and being in the county of Stanly, and described as follows: lying on the west side of Pee Dee river; adjoining the land of William Davis and others, bounded as follows, viz: Beginning at a white oak on the bank of the river, just below the mill, and running thence due west, with Heathcock's and Heron's mill tract, (formerly S. H. Christian's), 29 chains to a stone heap in the field, .....(etc).....purchased for the benefit of the Swift Island Manufacturing Company...the deed to D. N. Patterson's was for the tract lying between the widow's dower, Robinson's line, and the river, containing about 200 acres containing the mill, factory and appurtenances, operatives houses, ferry and fishery. .....decree.....That the ferry at Swift Island was not mentioned in the original record....The plaintiffs asked the court to charge the  jury that by their purchase of the "William Davis" tract, on the Stanly side of the river, they required the right to one-half of the ferry as appendant and appurtenant to that tract,  they being owners to the thread of the stream. ............The ferry was established by the Plank Road Company under the authority of an act 16th Feb 1859, and was used in connection with the plank road, and as a part thereof. It is set out as a fact in the case:"The Plank Road having fallen into decay, and being discontinued as a turnpike, one Christian, the owner of the land on both sides of the river, claimed the franchise of the ferry, and kept it up until his death....according to the facts before us, the Plank Road is still in existence, and is the owner of this ferry, and above all, there is no evidence that Christian ever acquired title to the ferry, as an appurtenant to the land he owned on the Stanly County side, or the Montgomery side, or either or both....was not kept by him as a franchise 'en grosse'

This legal document paints a picture of what a wealth of activity and productivity was going on along the river at the Swift Island area at this time. I will never cross the bridge between Stanly and Montgomery feeling the same way again. In my mind will be a landscape populated with water-powered mills instead of river homes, a ferry instead of a bridge and a plank road instead of a tar and gravel one. 

Samuel H. Christian and the history of this area is also mentioned in an article at this link:

Authority for organizing this Lodge was by Dispensation issued Aug. 8, 1850. It was issued in Raleigh to L. Blackmer, P. M. of Palestine Lodge No. 120 in Gold Hill; to organize a new lodge "at Zion in Montgomery County". It took two weeks for the mail to bring the document from Raleigh to Gold Hill.

The first meeting was held in Lawrenceville on August 16, 1850 with L. Blackmer as W. M.; assisted by Brethren J. M. Coffin and Arch Honeycutt of Palestine Lodge No. 120. Two petitions were received and both Preston Wooley and George Makepeace received the first two degrees that day. The organizers stayed overnight in Lawrenceville and the following day, the first two candidates received the M. M. Degree. In addition, that second meeting received two petitions from J. H. Montgomery, S. H. Christian, R. I. Mebane, all of which were elected.

The Morganton-Fayetteville Turnpike ran from Morganton eastward through Salisbury and southward through Gold Hill, Lawrenceville, Zion, Pee Dee, and Providence toward Fayetteville. Providence became Mt. Gilead (pictures A and B)in the early 1800’s and the name of the incorporated own in later years. In 1986, highways would be US 52 south of Salisbury and NC 73 east of Albemarle through Mt. Gilead. Zion Methodist Church was established in 1786 and was the center of a growing community in 1850, followed by decline during and after the Civil War. Zion and Blackmer both have gone through difficult times and periods of suspension, but Zion celebrated its 200th anniversary on the 22nd of June 1986.

Obviously, the organizers had traveled from Gold Hill, crossed the river at the Swift Island ferry, and met in the town of Lawrenceville. Lawrenceville was a formally laid-out town in rectangular shape with about 50-plus houses, and the County Court House at the center. The courthouse burned in 1836 and the town declined thereafter. ( 4 ) 
At the Court House in Troy, the Montgomery County Register of Deeds, Book 16, Pages 366/7 shows an entry dated November 25, 1850. It shows that Col. Edmond Deberry (1787-1859) sold a lot "on the east side of the Turnpike --- at Zion." Buyer was Trustees of Blackmer Lodge No. 127 jointly the trustees of "Sons of Temperance"; for the purpose of erecting and "occupying a meeting hall."

Before the series of dams along the Yadkin/Pee Dee river changed the landscape forever, there existed an actual island in the river. Being situated in the Uwharries and not far from the current Morrow Mountain State Park, the small mountains and hill rose gradually on either side of the river causing high banks and a rushing stream around either side of the island. This is where "Swift Island" got its name. Currently, a nearby gas station bears the name "Swift Island" and one day, a child of mine asked where the name came from, as the Island must have been so swift that it got away. 

This history on the S. H. Christian mine, the location of Swift Island and gold mining in the area was to lead to this one find of information from the Carolina Watchman, Salisbury, NC. 

Sept 17, 1858 issue
"Robert Melton, and a negro man belonging to Thomas Lilly, accidentally crushed to death while tunneling in a pit, recently, at Christian's Gold Mine in Montgomery County. "

Thomas Lilly hired out his help in the mines and lived to see another day. Robert Melton was a fatherless young man. 

Name:Thomas Lilly
Age in 1870:52
Birth Year:abt 1818
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1870:Mount Gilead, Montgomery,North Carolina
Post Office:Mount Gilead
Value of real estate:View Image
Household Members:
Thomas Lilly52
Lucilia Lilly44
John Lilly20
Daniel Lilly14
Amy Lilly8
Mary Lilly5

Other Melton's who lost their lives in the search for gold were Harris Melton and John Melton, Jr., after moving to Gold Hill in Rowan County. John made enough money for his widow, Nancy Boysworth Melton to purchase a hotel from Mr. Green L. Wren, of Virginia and Warren Counties, N. C.