Monday, October 21, 2013

On the ancestorial trail.

Some days, instead of researching in books, I like to just locate and see the areas where relatives of olde lived and traveled. Last year, we followed the Yadkin river northwest to its origins. Recently, we followed the Yadkin/PeeDee South, the way Joel Winfield, his brother John, and brothers-in-law Drury Robertson II and James Roberston, and step-brother Robinson Carloss did in the late 1790's. The route is long enough today to be amazed at long and rough the journey to and fro then must have been. 
I don't know how many times or who went back and forth this route, but I do know Job Davis and Sarah Winfield Howell made the trip from the Rocky River near its fork with the PeeDee, to close to present day Bennettsville, at least once. And that Joel Winfield, after serving a few years as Ordinary and performing marriages, traveled from there, all the way back up to his home county of  Mecklenberg, Virginia to marry Mary Marler Booth. 

We started our journey by crossing the PeeDee into Montgomery County and heading through Mount Gilead to the extinct community of Mangum. 
Historic Leflers Store in the PeeDee Community near Mount Gilead
The fields of Richmond County become flat. 
Many swampish areas and creeks snake through Richmond County near the Great PeeDee
A glimpse of a natural pond
A Church near Cordova
Many small cottages dot the landscape in the Wolf Pit Township
In the mid to late 1800's, many displaced farm families relocated to the Wolf Pit Township, some termporarily, to gain employment in the cotton industry.
Nature taking over an old farm building
A Rose by any other name. 
Many ancient cemeteries and little white churches in this area.
There remains the occasional farm house with a canopy of trees leading to them, straight out of Gone with the wind. 
The land following the PeeDee becomes very flat and scenic.
Crossing into South Carolina
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The above historic map of Marlboro County shows the area between the North Carolina border and Bennettsville. 
Church near Chavistown, which is a collection of houses and not actually a town.
Soon, we arrived at our destination, Level Green. There remains, right off of Highway 9, a sand road, named Level Green, and on 9, right outside of Bennettsville, is a Level Green Methodist Church and cemetery. Level Green was the name of the land and home of Joel Winfield, that he originally purchased in about 1797 and later passed on to his only daughter and child to reach adulthood, Mariah Booth Winfield and her first husband, Dr. James Moffett. Here, they would contract with John Goodwin to build their home, a contract that remains in the archives of Marlboro County.
Level Green Road
Fields on land once owned by the Winfields.
Fledgling Corn in October
One of the largest trees on the property. 
I tried to determine where the house may have stood, several spots looked like possibilities for the orginal homesite, given away only by groves of trees and stacks of rocks. There were several abandoned homesites on the land, but these were built long after the 1820's and were not of the description of Level Green. 
Several Grand Historic Homes remain in Bennettsville, however. 
Street scene near the Courthouse in Bennettsville
Marlboro County Courthouse
Back to Level Green near sunset
I was curious as to where the electric poles lead on this abandoned property.
I followed a path that seemed to go on forever through the sandy curves, promising nothing but gardens and crops around every turn.
Even in SC, it's beginning to look like fall.
At the end of the long drive, a dwelling, which may or may not be occupied. I did not dare get any closer. I did not expect anyone to live so remotely out a sand road connected to a sand road. 
Goodbye Level Green
Another abandoned dwelling on the land. Apparently, a community once thrived near the church. 
This is the swampy creek that crosses the old plantation of Level Green
Then back to Mother Anson we went. Morven is a small community not far from the NC/SC border.

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