BEFORE THOMASVILLE, WHAT?
What was happening in the area that is now Thomasville Township from the time the County was formed (1822) until Thomasville was founded (1852) and Thomasville Township of Davidson County was set up (1868)? Was it a wooded area or a farming area? Did the inhabitants participate in county government? What about schools, churches and industries?
Old maps show that there were two main roads leading through the area -the Old Greensboro Road roughly paralleling the present northern and western boundary of the present township and the Old Raleigh Road near the southern and eastern boundary. From deeds and hearsay it is found that there were crossroads, some no more than "pig paths, " joining these two main roads, and one road, at least in the latter part of the period, from Lexington to the Thomasville area. The MacRae-Brazier North Carolina Map of 1833 shows only four post offices in Davidson County, of which Fair Grove was the only one in this township area.
When the map was made, Fair Grove had long been a thriving settlement. In 1796 George Hoover, a Revolutionary War veteran, and his wife, Margaret Hoover, bought from the estate of John Lewis Beard a plantation, which they called "Deer's Lick," and built a home near the present location of the Southgate Shopping Center. Margaret was the daughter of John Lewis Beard, a wealthy landholder of Salisbury, and sister of Michael Beard who in 1789 had bought some 80 acres of land and laid out lots for the present city of Lexington. The children of George and Margaret Hoover were: Christina, Elizabeth, George Jr., Charles, Felix and Valentine. Christina married, first, Philip Mock of Abbotts Creek area and after his death, Joseph Spurgeon, who as State Senator had introduced the bill to form Davidson County. Charles Hoover after marriage lived on his plantation near Abbotts Creek. (A more detailed account of his life will be given later in this article.) George Hoover, Jr., moved to Asheboro and became a general in the militia there. Felix Hoover, who married a daughter of Col. Frederick Goss, moved with his family to Tennessee a few years after their marriage. Valentine Hoover inherited part of his father's estate, including the home place, and was a leader in religious and community affairs. He had two sons who were killed in the Civil War, leaving no issue.
Elizabeth Hoover married David Mock who began buying tracts of land in 1810 and continued until he had several hundred acres. It is believed that he built and lived in the house that is now the residence of Mrs. Robert Rothrock. He became a Justice of Davidson County's Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, was elected the County's first clerk of the Court and was one of the officials who implemented the act erecting the county. In 1835 and 1836 they sold their property to Nathan Kendall and moved to Missouri.
The deed for the 293 acres of land stated "all that tract or, parcel of land and premises whereon I (that is, David Mock) now reside." It bears the same description as deeds before 1821 to David Mock. The house was remodeled in the mid nineteenth century when the roof was changed and a fancy porch added. The interior retains the original Federal mantels, doors, chair rails and wide boards in the walls and ceiling (visible in the upstairs rooms) popular in the first quarter of the 19th century.
Charles Mock, son of David and Elizabeth, was also for some- time Clerk of the Court. He acquired land from Joseph Spurgeon in 1831 and his mother's part in her father's estate in 1833, and built a large brick house thereon. His wife early in January 1849 opened in their home Sylva Grove Academy, the county's first boarding school for girls, and later built a dormitory in the rear of their residence. Mr. Mock was also a nurseryman. In 1852 the Mocks sold their land and school to Dr. Charles F. Deems of Greensboro College (who named it Glen Anna Female Seminary) and departed for California to join Isaac Kinney who was already operating a nursery there. This Charles Mock residence is now the impressive home of Mrs. G. E. Crowell and son John.
Soon after the George Hoovers came to Fair Grove, another Revolutionary War veteran, Moses Lambeth of Craven County, moved there. It is said that Moses Lambeth had admired the area while on the way home from service in the army and later applied for a State grant. Through other State grants and purchases, in a few years he amassed over a thousand acres of land and several slaves. His friend, Lewis Tyer, came with him and purchased land adjoining that of Moses. Later the son of Lewis Tyer married Elizabeth, the daughter of Moses and Tabitha Loftin Lambeth, and lived nearby until about 1835 when they moved to Tennessee and later Mississippi. Two years after the death of his wife, Moses, Levi Coggin and wife, Frances (another daughter of Moses and Tabitha), followed the Tyers West.
Just when the house since 1902 called "Cedar Lodge" was built is not known. The land originally belonged to Moses but it is thought that John W. Thomas who early in 1818 married Polly (Mary), daughter of Moses and Tabitha Lambeth, may have built it. The deed given in 1822 to John W. Thomas and Levi Coggin by Moses Lambeth stated that the tract consisting of 384 acres included the home place whereon Moses and Tabitha lived and reserved their lifetime right to it. At any rate, in the large house still standing, John W. and Polly Thomas lived for many years and there their twelve children were born and reared. Tradition has it that John W. Thomas came there from Caswell County to prospect for gold. It is known that from time to time he owned interest in several mines in the county~ one located on or near his plantation. For fifty years he was a dominant figure in the Thomasville Township area. As State Representative for one term and as State Senator for five terms, he made his voice heard on legislation relating to the County and State.
In 1843-44 he was the first chairman of the County Board of Superintendents of Common Schools. Later he was a leader in the financing and building of the North Carolina Railroad, and he was the founder of Thomasville in 1852. Shortly thereafter he built a large residence in the center of the town where he and his family lived as leaders in the business, social, educational and religious life of the community. One of his sons, Dr. Robert W., was a physician there for over fifty years. Another son, P. C. Thomas, was a Representative to the State General Assembly for one term and to the State Senate for two terms.
In July 1828 John W. Thomas was one of nine trustees of Fair Grove Methodist Church to whom John Myres (sic) deeded a tract of four acres. The other trustees were John Welborn, James Needham, Alson Gray, Isham Nance, William Carroll, John Loftin, Amos Lambeth and David Mock. The name of Fair Grove was presumably given be- cause the tract was beautifully wooded with oaks and virgin pine and sufficiently elevated to give the church a commanding position in the community. The name of the preacher who organized the church is not known but there were two trustees who were also preachers-John Welborn (1779-1830) and Alson Gray (1799-1881) - who might have started the movement. The deed states that the house of worship to be erected on this land shall be "for the use of the members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States of America. ..." In the division of the Methodists into Methodist Episcopals and Methodist Protestants in 1830, both Welborn and Gray went the Methodist Protestant way. John Welborn lived nearby in Randolph County and is buried in the Prospect Church cemetery. Alson Gray had a circuit of churches nearby in Randolph County, among which were Gray's Chapel, which he founded and which was named for him, and Fairfield Church, near which he lived and where he is buried. He participated in the founding of Yadkin College, at one time served as its Dean, and endorsed the note for Jamestown Female College, from which he suffered financial loss. An item in the Sept. 26, 1829, issue of the Greensborough Patriot stated that the Rev. William N. Abbington, an itinerant preacher of the Methodist Episcopal Church, formerly of Henry County, Virginia, died at the residence of David Mock. It may be that this man who was buried in the Fair Grove cemetery was one of the early preachers. At any rate, this is the oldest known Methodist Church still in existence in the county and the center around which all the religious life of the community revolved for many years. Its growth was steady during the period from 1828 to 1868.
It is thought that John Loftin, another trustee mentioned above, was a son-in-law of Moses Lambeth. John Loftin had married Sally Lambeth in 1822 with James Tyer as witness. She may have been the Sally, daughter of Moses and Tabitha Lambeth, listed in Rowan County Court Minutes, 1804, but this has not been confirmed. However, records show that John Loftin was very closely associated with the Lambeth family in many activities.
A family long prominent in the community was that of Dr. Shadrach Lambeth who in 1835 or 1836 bought a plantation about a mile east of Fair Grove Church and built a large brick house, with walls 18 inches thick, which is still standing and now the home of the Mrs. Roxanna Shoaf family. Shadrach was a nephew of Moses Lambeth; his wife Jane, a sister of John W. Thomas. Their sister, Mary Thomas, who first married Thomas Loftin and after his death Silas Lambeth, had already moved to this community. (Her son, David Loftin, was prominent in county affairs from the 1850's on; and served as Sheriff of Davidson County a total of fourteen years; the longest tenure of any man to date.) Their sister Margaret Thomas had married Amos Lambeth (also mentioned as trustee of Fair Grove) and lived the remainder of her life near Fair Grove.
Dr. Shadrach Lambeth was an old-time herb doctor and achieved local prominence as a "nerve curator." He pledged the building one mile of the North Carolina Railroad, a pledge he did not live to carry out but that (and it is said more mileage) was built by his son, David Thomas Lambeth, and perhaps other sons. Dr. Shadrack and Jane Thomas Lambeth were the parents of ten children. Of the only three remained in this area long after marriage: Sarah Frances, who married George Lines, Joseph Harrison, who inherited the home place but moved to Thomasville after he returned from participation in} Civil War. He enlisted in the army April 23, 1861, at Thomasville as 3rd Lieutenant Co. B., 14th Reg. N. C. Infantry, and became a Major in December, 1862. Wounded in 1864 at Winchester and taken: prisoner of war, he was paroled May 2, 1865. One of his sons, Dr. William Alexander Lambeth, was a distinguished professor at the University of Virginia for more than 35 years, teaching physical education, hygiene and materia medica, and was author of books and articles on a wide range of subjects.
The third child of Dr. Shadrach Lambeth who remained nearby was David Thomas Lambeth who married Caroline Eliza Simmons. The family had moved to the Thomasville Township area so that their daughter might attend Glen Anna Female Seminary. The David T. J. Lambeths had their first home about one mile east of Fair Grove Church. Here their eleven children were born and reared. In l886 the family moved to Thomasville where David T. operated a general store. The sons, Franklin S., John W., and Robert L., and son-in-law John R. Myers, were pioneer furniture manufacturers. A grandson, Dr. William Arnold Lambeth (son of Franklin S.) was for forty four years a prominent Methodist minister, then presiding elder, and later district superintendent; another grandson, John Walter Lambeth, Jr. was Eight District Representative to the United States Congress, Davidson County's only native son to hold this office; other grandsons and granddaughters served in important positions in the business, civic, educational and religious life of the town.
Nathan Kendall, heretofore mentioned, was a large landholder and also owned a saw and gristmill west of his home place. He leased the mining rights on 46 acres of land to the Fair Grove Gold and Copper Mining Company. Whether or not this operation was successful is not known. Kendall's son-in-law, Professor I. L. Wright, husband of Cynthia, taught a school for boys in the upstairs rooms of the Kendall-Wright home in the 1870's and 1880’s .It was considered a good preparatory school for Old Trinity College, then located some seven miles away. Some of the students became such pioneer industrialists as Stuart Cramer, grandson of John W. Thomas, who founded Cramerton; John W. Lambeth, son of David Thomas Lambeth, mayor of Thomasville for seven years, postmaster, leader in public school and good roads movements in the county; Charles M. Hoover, son of Captain P. A. Hoover and great grandson of George Hoover, mayor of Thomasville, postmaster, and sometime chairman of Davidson County Board of Commissioners.
In 1845 Absolom Bowers, Sol Secrest and Shadrach Lambeth were the school committee for District Number Four which had 108 children of school age. While the name and location of the school were not given in the county records of the day, this building was probably located on or near the church grounds. The deed of 1828 to the church trustees mentions a schoolhouse. It is known that for a number of years there was a public school on the church land, which in addition to the Mock and Deems school for girls and the Wright school for boys furnished a good educational opportunity for the children of Fair Grove.
Although Joshua Lee lived in Conrad Hill Township near Light across the boundary line of present Thomasville Township, he was prominent in the community affairs around Fair Grove. His name is mentioned as trustee on mortgages of his neighbors there, as administrator of estates, as security for persons in positions of trust and as tax lister. Most important, he was a Justice of the county's first Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions. He is buried in the Fair Grove Church cemetery.
Among those closely connected with the Fair Grove community but living for some years a few miles west on Hamby's Creek were Roswell A. King-Tennent and his family. Mr. King-Tennent, as his headstone in the church cemetery states, was born in Sharon, Connecticut, and his wife, Theresa, was born in Belfast, Ireland. They met at a party in London and had quite a romantic courtship. After their marriage in Ireland, they lived there and in London for some years. His name at birth was Roswell A. King; his father- in-law required him to add his surname Tennent in order to share in his estate. When Mr. King, the father of Roswell A., wrote him in London about the discovery of gold in North Carolina, Roswell A. and his family returned to Connecticut and in 1829 came to Davidson County. There he leased many acres of land on which he prospected and located several mines. In some of them he and John W. Thomas were partners to their mutual profit. His residence on Hamby's Creek (only recently torn down to make way for a super-highway) was a one and a half story house typical of the period but small, considering his affluence. It had, however, some interesting architectural features such as delicate, country Federal mantels, small upstairs rooms with barrel-vaulted ceilings and bookcases built into the house. It is said that his wife was unhappy living far out in the country. After several years of residence there, they sold or traded houses with Isaac and George Kinney. Later they bought a lot just across present Center Street from the Courthouse in Lexington, built a store and residence, where they lived the remainder of their lives.
Across Hamby's Creek from his residence King-Tennent had operated a gold mill. During this time, too, William and Addison Sullivan operated a saw and gristmill adjoining the end of the "tail race of the gold mill." When George Kinney bought King- Tennent's real estate, he also purchased from William Sullivan's heirs his part of the saw and grist mill. The 1850 Census of Manufacturing shows that John L. Sullivan and Kinney had saw mills in this section. As stated heretofore, Isaac Kinney had gone to California to operate a nursery in partnership with Charles Mock. Although this operation was apparently successful, as noted from his letters and diary, he decided to return home and join his son George in the saw and grist mill business, a nursery, farming and politics. For several years the Kinney family lived in the house that was once the King-Tennent residence. It was a busy place, with customers as well as politicians coming from all parts of the county. Isaac Kinney was a Justice of the Davidson County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions in 1823 and thereafter, a representative of the N. C. General Assembly for one term, and a representative to the State Constitutional Convention in 1868 (at the age of 79). His son George was also a Justice of the Court and a representative to the General Assembly for one term as well as a holder of numerous local offices.
Other families prominent in populating the section of Thomasville Township south and west of Fair Grove usually lived out their lives as hardworking, prosperous farmers. On their farms were woods for building, heating and cooking and fields brought to an improved state of cultivation. At one time this section was known as the Bowers Community because it was first settled about 1755 by Jacob Bowers and his family. In 1813 John Myers and his wife Elizabeth deeded three acres of land to the trustees (Philip Kanoy, Jacob Myers, Sr., and John Bowers) of a church then known as Bowers Meeting House. The deed states that Elizabeth Myers inherited the land from her father, Jacob Bowers, then deceased, and that the land must be used for a place of worship by both the "Presbyterians, Reformeds and Lutherians, German Churches." John Bowers, trustee mentioned, was a brother of Elizabeth. As was the custom in those days, the church building was also used as a schoolhouse. After 1843 when the county began participation in the public school program, a building bearing the name of Bowers School was located " a few miles northwest of the church.
The church now housed in a handsome edifice is the present Emanuel Reformed United Church of Christ, the Lutherans having sold their share in the property some sixty years ago and joined with other groups in building Grace Lutheran Church in Thomasville. The oldest record of members is a list of 1845 given in a booklet en- titled A Century and a Quarter in a Rural Church, a historical sketch of Emanuel Evangelical and Reformed Church written in 1940. The names were: George Black, John Black, Elizabeth Black, Samuel Black, Molly Black, Elizabeth Bowers, Eve Curry, David Curry, Esther Curry, Rachael Conrad, Polly Fouts, Elizabeth Fouts, Christiana Fouts, Magdalena B. Fouts, Absolom L. Grimes, Catherine Grimes, Catharine Hayworth, Charlotte Lore, Sally Lore, Daniel Lore, Solomon Lore, Mary Lore, Lewis Livengood, Phebe Livengood, David Myers, Catharine Myers, Michael Myers, Susanna Myers, Andrew Myers, Sarah Myers, Polly Ann Myers, William Sullivan, Margaret Sullivan, Diana Trotter. "There is a roll of 1849. The Church had lost some. There were only 28 names, 6 less than in 1845. But there were 6 additional names of Colored Members enrolled. Four of these are by the name of Grimes and two named Myers. It was the time of slavery. These members of the church who owned slaves offered them the means of grace of their own church, admitted them to their membership and communion, and taught them the Christian Faith. Through all these years Emanuel has kept her doors open to the colored race. The oldest member on the roll is Harriot Johnson, commonly known as Aunt Harriot Grimes. She came to the home of Elder A. L. Grimes about the beginning of the Civil War, united with the Church during the ministry of the Rev. P. Allison Long, and has through all these years lived with the members of the Grimes family. ..." (Quoted from booklet mentioned above, 1940) .In Nora Chaffin's book, ~ Beginnings of Duke University, it is found that Absolom Grimes had a saw mill on Hamby's Creek not far from Fair Grove where lumber was sawed for the building of Union Institute at Trinity in 1839. It is presumed that this was the same Absolom Grimes mentioned above and that he sold this mill later to Nathan Kendall.
The children of the first Jacob Bowers in this community were: George, John, Jacob Jr., Mary, David, Sarah, Elizabeth who married John Myers, Caty who married John Clodfelter, and Barbara who married John Sullivan. This generation and succeeding ones married into the Conrad, Fritts, Kepley, Younts, Secrest, Grimes, Sink, Hepler, Lee, Lohr, Hedrick, Darr and other families so that nearly all the oldest residents in that section were related. Many of these have achieved prominence at home; some have gone to other sections and other states. Two great grandsons of the first Jacob, Andrew and Jacob Bowers, went to Texas when they were young men. Andrew amassed several thousands of acres of real estate, owned some banks and oil wells and wielded much political influence during his long life. Jacob, too, was an outstanding citizen. Their descendants there are leaders in the business and professional life of their communities.
Another descendant of the first Jacob Bowers, the late Dr. Robert L. Fritts (or Fritz) became a professor and later president of Lenoir-Rhyne College at Hickory, N. C. The late Dr. Marvin A. Bowers was a prominent physician in Winston-Salem for many years. Charles Everett Kepley is a financier in Roanoke, Virginia, who established a foundation at Lenoir-Rhyne College in memory of his mother, a descendant of the first Jacob Bowers. The late Dr. Liston Pope, longtime Dean of the School of Religion at Yale University, author of books and editor of magazines, was also a direct descendant, although Dr. Pope never lived in the Bowers Community.
Also coming from this community were three sons of Hamilton and Tryphenia Myers Bowers: The Rev. David E. Bowers, a member of Calvary Church who became a Reformed preacher and faithfully served until his death nineteen years later, the Rev. Joshua L. Bowers who served first as a Reformed preacher and later as a Presbyterian; Dr. Hill Bowers who was a physician in Rowan County. John W. Bowers, Esq., lived all his life in this community. He was a leader in church activities for fifty years, he married more than 320 couples, buried the dead, conducted revivals, and taught in the public schools for many years. At one time he" was vice president of the Classis of the Reformed Church. The first minister Emanuel contributed to the church was the Rev. Harvey Black, who served many years as pastor of churches in Pennsylvania, is now retired and living in Thomasville.
After the death of her husband, Peter Lopp, Mary Frank Lopp, his widow, chose to have a house built for her north of Hamby's Creek. This was west of the Bowers Community and about a mile north of her former home, but on land owned by her husband. Jacob Lopp, father of Peter, Jacob and John Lopp, had settled at that place in Conrad Hill Township in the 1750's. Jacob Lopp, son of Peter and Mary, was one of the five Commissioners appointed to ascertain the exact center of the new county. He also served on juries and in other public positions. He lived on the ancestral home place and raised a large family. Much of his land is now owned by his descendants.
Near the bridge where the present U. S. Highway 29-70 crosses Abbotts Creek there once stood a flour and gristmill owned by Alexander Caldcleugh for many years. On the walls were tacked notices of various kinds of interest to the public. Here in 1823 could be found such a notice about voting for the location of the county seat. Here Alexander Caldcleugh would come from his home in Lexington, exchange news with his customers, help them with their wills and other legal documents and look after the milling business. After his death his heirs sold the mill and large real estate holdings to Jacob Barrier (or Berrier) and his wife, Chrissie Grimes Berrier. Chrissie was a daughter of Henry Grimes and sister of George Grimes who had mills on Reedy Creek and on the Yadkin River. It is a fact known by the family that Jacob Berrier in the late 1840's built the house that is still standing on the east bank of Abbotts Creek and regarded by some authorities as a remarkably true specimen of the architecture of the day. The daughter of the Jacob Berriers, Eliza, married Lemuel Lindsay Conrad. They continued to live in this house after death of the Berriers and to operate the mill. The house is now occupied by the Family Planning Center and Multiphasic Clinic. The mill was torn down years ago to make way for changes in the highway. Since the early settlement of the county the Berriers, Conrads and their descendants have been known for their leadership in church and community affairs as well as their expertise in farming and in operating a mill.
Northeast of the mill where the Old Greensboro Road leaves Highway 29-70 was the plantation of Charles Long and wife, Mary Ann Ledford Long. Their large holdings of some twelve hundred acres consisted of virgin forests as well as cultivated fields. For more than a hundred years through the ownership of Charles Long and his descendants these forests remained untouched by axe or saw. In them could be found pawpaws, shag-bark hickory nuts, walnuts, persimmons as well as rare wildflowers and wild animals. After the death of Andrew Long and his sisters, Catherine and Susan, this land was divided up and sold by their kinsmen living in another state.
North along the Old Greensboro Road in the first part of the 19th century stood the home of Michael Sink and nearby his blacksmith shop. He willed this to two sons George and Andrew but how long it was operated cannot be ascertained. Michael had a large plantation which he divided by deed a short time before his death among his three sons, George, Michael Jr., and Andrew; some of his personal property he bequeathed by will to his daughters-in-law and granddaughters. A log building now a part of a large barn is said to have been a part of the residence of Andrew Sink. The residence and land once belonging to Eli Sink (grandson of Andrew) eventually was purchased by Herman Long Davis who sold some of the land to Davidson County Community College when it was about to be located. Also, a son of Mr. Davis, John Herman Davis, bought the property once owned by Matthias Sink (a son of Andrew) and later sold some of his acreage to the College where handsome buildings have been erected. Roscoe Sink (a great grand-son of Andrew) still owns the property inherited from his father.
Four of Andrew Sink's sons, Samuel, John, Solomon and Matthias, fought in the Civil War, with only Matthias living to return home. Samuel was engaged to Catherine Long (mentioned above). When he left for the war, he gave her a watch and asked her to wait for him. But he was killed in battle at Richmond and was buried in a Confederate Cemetery there. Catherine, loyal to his memory, never married.
Proceeding northeast along the Old Greensboro Road, a traveler can espy an old school house, almost concealed by trees. This was once Fairview School, thought to have been built soon after the first county participation in the common school law. Here the residents along the Old Road, and on connecting roads, sent their children for a three or four month term and sometimes a subscription school after that. In the later years water was brought to the school in a wooden bucket from the Adam Hedrick well across the road. Here, also, were held camp meetings with baptisms in nearby Rich Fork Creek. This school district (or the part in Thomasville Township) was consolidated with Pilot School in 1922.
Still farther north on the Old Greensboro Road and on the north side of it, stands an impressive two-story building, with more depth than the typical farm house of the day, with front porch supported by four large columns and with three chimneys of brick laid in an unusual design. In 1816 William Dobson came with his family from Guilford County and bought 252 acres on Hamby's Creek. His son William, Jr., became a physician. In May 1829 he bought 380 acres on both sides of Abbotts Creek, adjoining the lands of Daniel Myers, Joseph Waggoner, Hugh Yokley and Thomas Livengood. It is assumed that he started building the aforementioned house immediately. However, he died three months later and his property was inherited by his mother Martha, his brothers John S. and Joseph B. and his sisters, Pricilla and her husband Dan Clodfelter, and Martha and her husband, Col. John Smith. Dr. Dobson was pro-eminent in the government of the county and in the early days of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Lexington as well as popular in his practice of medicine. He was buried in the Fair Grove cemetery. His father's will, probated in 1833, left his property to the same beneficiaries plus two granddaughters. The Clodfelters were the only descendants of William Dobson, Sr., who remained in this section.
In 1833 Sheriff William Kennedy bought the home and part of the real estate and lived there for some years. As he was a popular sheriff for twelve years, no doubt his home was a center of political and social life in the county. In 1844 the old house changed owners again, this time to Eli Harris of Montgomery County about whom very little is known. It is thought that the place was rented by William E. Roberson (or Robeson as sometimes written) who ran a stagecoach inn there. Certainly the house was large enough for this purpose -four rooms on the first floor and five on the second, and a kitchen in the rear of the house. A large, long building to the south and rear of the house was long thought to have stabled the horses for the stage coaches and travelers. At the death of Eli Harris, Mr. Roberson bought the property but be- fore many years ran into financial difficulty, probably caused by the advent of the railroad.
Finally, in 1868 George and Jerome Kinney bought the place, moved the Kinney family from the house on Hamby's Creek and lived there until the death of George. Jerome and his family moved to Thomasville around 1890. He and seven of his close relatives held positions with the Southern Railway and some of them lost their lives in this service. The old house passed to the ownership of Mrs. H. P. Clinard, the daughter of George Kinney, and to her descendants. At one time a post office was kept there.
Adjoining this farm in the early days was another on which was located a house somewhat similar to the Dobson house. It was a large two-story frame house said by some to have been built by one of the Dobsons. Later it was bought by Solomon Darr and remained his residence and later that of his descendants until torn down a few years ago.
A short distance from the Old Greensboro Road on Old Highway 109 stands the Lewis Livengood home. He was the grandson of Hardtmann and Anna Margretha Hornberger Leibengut who came from Pennsylvania in the 1780's and bought 400 acres of land between Rich Fork and Abbotts Creeks. After his marriage to Phebe Long, Lewis did not continue to live near his grandfather's home but moved to the south of Thomasville area. He and Phebe were active in the Emanuel Church around 1845, he having been an elder. Some years later they moved to the above-mentioned house, transferred their membership and activity to Bethany Church and are there buried. The sturdy old house, typical of its period, is now the home of Paul Livengood, a grandson of Lewis and Phebe.
In the extreme northwestern corner of the Thomasville Township area, about a mile off the Old Greensboro Road and near the banks of Abbotts Creek, Charles Hoover (son of aforementioned George Hoover) had a large plantation, grist and saw mill, black- smith shop, and store. The mill was a popular meeting place for farmers, a place where they could exchange news and discuss politics. As he often made trips to Fayetteville to take wagon loads of wheat and bring back supplies for his store, Charles Hoover passed through the length of the county and met many of its citizens. It was natural, therefore, for him early to become a leader in public affairs. In 1823 he had joined with his neighbors in opposing the location of the county seat in Lexington. In 183l he served in the General Assembly as a Senator and in 1846 as a Representative. During these years he was also very much interested in the education of the children of his community and served the school at Bethany in various responsible positions. In 1847-48 he was a member of the County Board of Superintendents of Common Schools.
Charles was the only son of George Hoover who had grandsons. His son, Capt. P. A. Hoover, married Margaret Holmes and they continued to live at the Hoover plantation. They had three sons - Early, Charles M. and G. Marshall -and five daughters. Nearly all of these moved to Thomasville as soon as they married. Early was a railroad engineer. Charles M. and Marshall had a chair factory there and later in Lexington. All-both sons and daughters-took an active part in the life of the town.
North of the Old Greensboro Road lived Robert Green and his growing family, having come from southeast Guilford in the late 1790's, and bought land from William Ledford. Some of their many descendants have remained in the same area to this time. The new Ledford High School is built on Green land a little west of N. C. Highway 109. Mary Green, daughter of Robert Green, married Joseph L. Murphy, both of whom are buried at Bethany Church. Among their descendants are ministers, teachers and others of cultural interests. Benjamin Green, oldest son of Robert and Abagil, married Sally Kennedy, sister of William Kennedy, an early sheriff of Davidson County. John, fifth child of Robert and Abagil, married Betsy Kennedy, Sally's sister. John and Betsy Green's grandson, Joseph Green, was a large landholder west of present N. C. Highway 109 in the township. His sons, J. A. and J. C. Green came to Thomasville in their youth and lived out long years of community service. J. A. Green was a spoke manufacturer and J. C. Green gave full mortuary service which continues today as a leading funeral home. These and many other Green descendants have added much to Thomasville progress.
In 1838 Benjamin Green bought land just east of Abbotts Creek and extending from the confluence of Rich Fork with Abbotts a little south up Rich Fork meanderings to the south edge of land owned by Caldcleugh. This adjoined the widow Lopp land and in the course of time his son Jesse Green married her granddaughter Susan Lopp.
Not far south of the Greensboro road was Whitehart's School in whose one room children of the district area were taught. Whiteharts, Stones, Hiltons, Morrises, Regans, and Mendenhalls were families living roundabout.
On the old road boundary between Thomasville and Abbotts Creek townships near the eastern edge of the county stands a large frame house, now unoccupied, and property of Mrs. E. E. Cridlebaugh, its last resident. It was the home of the Cridlebaugh family from about 1890 when it was purchased from the Brummell family. Much earlier it was known as Brummell's Inn. High in its large square chimney, now enclosed by a later building addition, one reads "J. B. 1814." Since the original square house resembles an earlier style, 1814 may have been the year Jacob Brummell added the rooms on the upper west side and opened the inn for use by stagecoach travelers passing daily. A large fireplace on upper and lower sides of the chimney supplied winter heat. A later addition on the east side of the house was made one step down on the sloping hillside. A front porch reached by rock steps spans the entire front with a door into each of the three sections. From the central lobby narrow winding stairs lead to an upper lobby and a number of small bedrooms on the front. Some of their windows still have the original glass panes, hand blown showing scattered bubbles.
Mrs. Cridlebaugh retains today the walnut sideboard and long table used to serve inn guests, and also the large conch shell whose peals blown by a strong kitchen maid called slaves to their dinner. Jacob Brummell kept a number of horses in nearby Rich Fork meadows, ready for changes before the coaches continued to distant points. The Brummell family was long prominent in Davidson County. Jacob Brummell was one of the first thirty-six Justices, which group was responsible for county organizations and administration of justice. Charles Brummell served six terms in the State Legislature before 1850, and Hiram Brummell one term in 1858. Jacob's daughter Elizabeth in 1808 married David Harlan, son of Enoch Harlan of Pine Woods Community.
Near the inn was Brummell's Post Office. Today Mrs. Ila Burton Craven treasures letters mailed in 1841, before stamps were used, the charge according to the distance carried. One of these was addressed to Mr. William Asabel Hedgecock, Brummell's Inn, Davidson County from Raleigh, N. C. with 12 cents postage charge written in the upper corner.
South of Brummell's Inn lived families named Kennedy, Bodenheimer, Burton, Pope, and Payne. An early Kennedy had a sawmill and gristmill on a creek a little northwest of its crossing by U. S. 29-70 A at the foot of the long Kennedy Hill, also near the eastern county line. Stones from the mill dam remain though all parts of the mill are gone.
Continuing on U. S. 29-70 A toward Thomasville, a short distance to its right on the Hasty Road, was a small school building. This was erected early in the public schools period on land given by James Sparrow Kennedy near his home which was a little east of present Hasty School. There children of the district were instructed for short winter terms for many years until consolidation in the 1920's provided education from primary through high school at the Hasty School. Since it was no longer needed for school purposes, the Kennedy School land reverted to Kennedy heirs.
John Kendall lived on present Unity Street a short distance west of 29-70 A as it enters Thomasville proper. He was the son of Benjamin Kendall and relative of Nathan Kendall whose early transactions in land have been found in Rowan deeds. In 1859 John Kendall ran an advertisement in the Greensborough Patriot saying he had been operating "at the old stand" for twenty years. This referred to Kendall Carriage Works located near his home. Earlier he had given land for a school which stood just, where Griffith Street now enters Unity. It also served the community until Hasty School included this area. John Kendall probably ceased operating his Carriage Works soon after the Civil War. Hard times of the Reconstruction period and personal troubles threw him into bankruptcy. With his property gone, he went west as did many others at this time.
On a rounded hilltop on Unity Street about a mile west of John Kendall today stands Grace Lutheran Church. But from about 1810 Silas Hart Peace and his family lived at this place. He had come to America before 1800, had come to Guilford County where in 1802 he married Miriam Widdows, and lived in what is now South High Point for five years. Then for $500.00 he bought 200 acres from William Lusk adjoining Rich Fork Creek. (That meant in the terms of that time on land drained by Rich Fork or its tributaries.) Recorded deeds show his purchase of other large tracts south in the Rich Fork area. Later deeds show his sales to his various sons on Hanks Branch, and one to Joseph Peace as far south as Hamby's Creek. This was on present Lexington Avenue in Thomasville and is the only known Peace land now owned by his descendents.
Silas Peace was a joiner, that is, a skilled worker in wood, and a cabinet worker. He prospered in his professions and was recognized as a valuable citizen when chosen as a Justice in 1823. With the help of his sons, he operated a waterpowered sawmill and gristmill on Hunt's Fork, north of his home. Stones from the long disused dam were removed in recent years for building purposes.
Farther down this stream they built a carriage and wagon factory. They decorated their vehicles with realistic birds and flowers. Their wagons were known as "Red Bird" wagons. The plant finally burned and was not rebuilt. Among the eleven children of Silas and Miriam Peace was Silas, Jr., their ninth child who was born in 1814 and died in 1900. He also was a skilled cabinetmaker. Today a number of pieces of furniture he made may be seen in the homes of his descendents.
In 1830 Silas Peace sold 100 acres of land northeast of his home, including a section near Hunt's Fork, to John Wesley Burton. The buyer built a large frame house for his family on a rounded hill near the center of his holding. Some of this property remains in the family today. Mrs. Kathleen Russell now owns and lives in that house, somewhat remodeled and modernized for comfort and use. It centers Thomasville's residential development appropriately called Huntsford Hills.
Also about 1830 Emsley Burton bought from Benjamin Kendall 81 acres and from William Hogan and wife Elizabeth 300 acres, the latter purchase for $600.00.
Following the American Revolution, the State of North Carolina appropriated lands held by Tories, of whom this area had a large number. Such land was sold as State Grants at fifty shillings per hundred acres. William McCreery bought a Grant of 250 acres adjoining the lands of David Logan and Thomas Bones, which he sold to Hugh Tomlinson in 1783. Earlier William Tomlinson bought a State Grant of 400 acres from Richardson Owens for 210 pounds. This land was on Hanks Branch, later called Culbreth's Branch on the north side of Thomasville as it crosses the park area. A northern part of this 400 acres in the Hunt's Fork drainage area William Tomlinson sold to James Hilton, who then sold its 246 acres to Irah Tomlinson for 156 pounds. Josiah Tomlinson witnessed this deed. A State Grant to Samuel Tomlinson for 40 acres on Rich Fork of Abbotts Creek is described as beginning at a small black oak on John English's line on said Tomlinson's line, thence west on Seborn Tucker's line, along it south to a pine, Moffitt's corner, then along it to a stone, thence north to the beginning. This deed was entered 29th day of April, 1799. We note it refers to earlier Tomlinson land and also to John English and Robert Moffitt, adjoining ~residents. Other deeds of that time show lands held in the surrounding community by Benjamin Ward, Richard Hanks, Henry Ross, Joseph and Christian Wilson, Enoch Harlan, and Nathan Hunt. A little later Jeremiah Kimbrough, Isaac Jones, Salathiel Stone, Benjamin Ross, Joseph Ross, Thomas Tams, Jesse Taggart, Joseph Stone and Seborn Tucker acquired land nearby. In such a well-settled community, it is little wonder that families of the Friends faith in 1791 organized a meeting which gathered in larger homes on the Sabbath. Samuel Tom1inson saw need of a central place to worship, and on July 17, 1794 made a deed recorded in Book 14, page 843 of Rowan County Records. This grants to Enoch Harlan and Joseph Wilson, "Overseers of the Society of a people called Quakers of the County" a hilltop location of five acres next to Nathan Hunt for a meetinghouse and a graveyard. For this land he was paid ten shillings. This deed was proved in the February Court of 1797 and witnessed by Joseph Tomlinson, Charles Pedgren, and Nathan Hunt. To this property members moved logs from an old house given by Hannah Moffitt and constructed a one-room log meeting house. Here families gathered for meditation, prayer and testifying. In true Quaker practice they waited for the Spirit to move one or another to speak. When there was a minister, he read scripture and led in worship. Without a minister, one designated as clerk was in charge. Later a frame building was placed on the site of the present church and used for many years. In the rear a graveyard was set off to serve a large area, one of the few graveyards then in this section. Many of the early markers were of sandstone and have deteriorated so as to be no longer legible. Others preserve the names of families of that time.
Of the Overseer Joseph Wilson, only the fact that he purchased land on Hunt's Fork in 1795 has been discovered. But in Quaker Re- cords at Guilford College, Enoch Harlan is described as a farmer, miller, cooper, and wagon maker, a Friend, and a good scholar with especial interest in astronomy. It was a great loss when this versatile man died Oct. 18, 1794 of typhus fever. He was buried at Pine Woods.
Pine Woods Meeting was a member of Springfield Monthly Meeting and of Deep River Quarterly Meeting. Their records give some of its history. Its community was made up of hardworking farmers, blacksmiths, millwrights, coopers, joiners, and later manufacturers of carriages and wagons. As older members died and younger ones moved into growing Thomasville, few meetings were held. After years of disuse, the property was sold in 1920 to Methodists who today worship in a large brick edifice. Behind this church and in front of the rock walled graveyard, stands a large monument built of native quartz with an inscription reminding readers of its long record as a place of worship.
In reviewing the many families of Pine Woods Friends, one finds the Thomlinson family outstanding. Samuel Tomlinson and his wife Ann had five sons to whom Ann made over all her claims to lands held after the death of her husband in 1804. Some of the larger Tomlinson family went to Indiana as many Quakers did before the Civil War, but many remained to carryon their various trades. Many old-timers remember homes of different Tomlinson families on or near Pineywood Road. There were houses built by Samuel and Thomas Tomlinson. In the house built by his father English Tomlinson, lived Edward Tomlinson who married Virginia Lambeth. He contributed to the growth of Thomasville by building rent houses to meet the need of the town's increasing population. Only one house, that of the late Robert T. Tomlinson, originally built by his father, Shannon Tomlinson, remains today, a splendid example of beauty of plan and construction. Thomasville benefited as many Tomlinsons moved into town and were active in business and filled prominent places. Nettie Angelia, elder daughter of Shannon Tomlinson, married David Thomas Lambeth, Jr., and lived in a handsome house on East Main Street in Thomasville for the remainder of her life. Among the latest to move were T. H. Tomlinson, Clarence Tomlinson and W. E. Tomlinson who gave business service and government work.
Pine Woods Meeting most likely drew the attendance of the Peace family, as well as the Kendalls and Burtons who lived not far away. Zebulon Hunt, son of Nathan Hunt, a charter member, was prominent in Davidson County's formative years. He was one of four commissioners to set up its first boundaries, was a Superior Court juror, and most important, was another of the first Justices from this part of the new county.
On the narrow road leading from Silas Peace's mill lived Robert Moffitt, a Quaker who owned a tan yard and had several hundred acres of land. In 1835 Robert made a deed to his son David for 80 acres and one-half the tan yard, reserving the other half for himself during his lifetime. David had in 1828 married Elizabeth, the daughter of Moses and Tabitha Tomlinson who lived in the Pine Woods community. For many years the old Moffitt place was the outstanding residence in the community, known not only for its size but also for the beauty of its grounds and the dry-stone masonry. On a level with the road, the smooth, green lawn led to a white picket fence. Back of the fence was a long, narrow flower bed lined on each side with stones and extending the width of the lawn from the cedar lane (which led to the carriage house and tan yard) to a large plum tree and bed o~ iris, amaryllis and jonquils at the other end. Back of the flowerbed was another strip of green lawn, leading to the stone foundation of the house. At each end of the house was a group of cedars, lilacs, burning bush, mock orange and spirea. A flagstone walk led to the porch.
The weather-boarded house was placed on a slope so that one side of the basement was ground level, the building thereby being three-storied in the rear. The roof was covered with extremely large handmade shingles. The front door was sheltered by a small square porch that was surmounted by an identical upper porch. This double gallery was the one touch of high style added to an impressive but plain Quaker home. The entrance hall was not placed in the usual manner as a division of the house with front and back outside doors. This hall ex- tended partly across the front of the house, thus providing space for a large square dining room in the center section with windows facing the back yard. Equal sized square rooms were placed at either end of the hall. The placement of these large rooms in a row eliminated the necessity of the usual "L" shape plan but did give the front of the structure a very long facade. The arrangement of rooms was similar on each floor and the front hall accommodated the necessary stair- way. The whole house, sidewalls and overhead, was ceiled with very wide boards, probably virgin pine. Dropped from the dining room was a dumb waiter descending into the basement kitchen.
Leading from the basement kitchen door was a path passing by the carriage house down a steep hill covered with a flourishing orchard to a spring and milk house built of stones. The floor around the spring consisted of flat stones so closely fitted together that they appeared to be one solid piece. Near the spring house but located on a branch of another spring was the pool used in soaking the hides and a house for storing the tanned hides. The spring branch was lined with large flat stones for probably one fourth of a mile; it ran under the public road through a culvert also made of stones. The old houseplace and stones now lie under Highway 29 and 70 but the old tanning hole can still be seen by careful searching.
David Moffitt was listed as a tanner in the Manufacturing Census of 1850 and later. He purchased hundreds of acres of land and was active in the building of the North Carolina Railroad. He was a devout Quaker, holding the office of Elder in the Pine Woods Quaker Church for many years. (When his death was reported in the minutes of the church he was listed as a "Minister. “) Believing strongly in education, he provided for the schooling of his own and his neighbors' children by building a school house on his land. This was also used as a meeting house. After the beginning of county participation in the public school act, the Moffitt’s Grove School was known in the county records as District 3 with David Moffitt, John Stone and I. H. Mendenhall as the first committee and with 128 children. Many years later it was named Calvary when the Reformed Church of that name was built beside it.
Between the Moffitt place and the Old Greensboro Road lived Philip Kanoy and his relatives. In 1827 he purchased 238 acres from Peter Clodfelter on Hunt's Fork Creek and built his residence near the creek's ford. Later he gave farms to his sons David and Jacob on which they built large homes along the road between his place and that of David Moffitt. (The deed to his "beloved son" Jacob is dated 1866.) Succeeding generations have built residences for themselves along this road, now appropriately called "Kanoy Road" and have prospered in their lines of work.
Adjoining the Kanoy and Moffitt land, but fronting on both sides of the Thomasville-Lexington Road, was the George Darr plantation which his father Andrew Darr, a large landholder, had bought for him from Samuel Conrad in 1842. George Darr and his wife, Barbara Hedrick Darr, had two sons and three daughters, all of whom married and lived nearby. Augusta married Bethlehem Black, who had an adjoining farm and blacksmith shop; Martha married Henry Jackson Conrad, son of Lemuel Lindsay Conrad and Eliza Berrier Conrad, mentioned heretofore; Lala married Junius Sink of the Pilgrim community; Erastus married Nettie Leonard, daughter of David and Faustine Leonard; and Jacob C. Darr married Elizabeth Kanoy, daughter of David and Eliza Kanoy. All were substantial farmers and leaders in their community. Mrs. Iva Kennedy Darr (Mrs. Robert L.) now lives in a large residence on the site of the George Darr homeplace.
Going northeast on the present Thomasville-Lexington Road, the traveler in the 1850's would pass the Moffitt School House given as mentioned above. David Moffitt also deeded farms on this road to his sons-in-law, S. C. Hamilton and the Rev. Jesse Cecil. In 1849 he deeded 37 acres to Emanuel Veach whose daughter Loretta married David A. Long, Sr. This land is now a part of the tract upon which is located the magnificent Community General Hospital.
Entering the present city of Thomasville the traveler passed the home of Joseph Peace whose grandfather Silas Peace had sold him a tract of land extending from the present Lexington Avenue towards Hamby's Creek. No records can be found of any residents before 1849 of the area that is now the center of Thomasville. From incidental descriptions and trees still remaining, it is thought to have been a heavily wooded land. Why some said it was called "Whitehart's Hog Crossing" is not known. Probably a road led across the area from Pine Woods toward Trinity or Bush Hill (Archdale). There was a powerful spring near Thomasville Furniture Industries present office. It is said that there was a camping ground (Indian) where Ragan Knitting Mill now is. It is known that present Fisher Ferry Street was the beginning of the old Fisher Ferry Road which led many miles south to the narrows of the Yadkin in Alleghany Town- ship and the ferry there owned by a Mr. Fisher before the county was formed.
Who owned all the land covered by the town now is not known before John W. Thomas came upon the scene. His deeds show that he bought in 1849 from William R. Holt 673 acres and in 1851 from Samuel Gaither 198 acres (part of Piney Woods tract owned by Col. W. Hogan). It is thereby indicated that John W. Thomas envisioned a town on the North Carolina Railroad whose chosen route was announced in 1851. In the 1850-1860 decade this man laid the foundations for that town, appropriately called Thomasville. He set up a steam-powered mill for grinding grain and sawing lumber. He built and operated a large store. Men flocked in for work in felling the forest, building houses for their families, and working on railroad construction. He bought Glen Anna Female Seminary which stood between his Fair Grove home and the new town and moved it in 1857 to the brick building Contractor Robert Gray had erected.
-M. Jewell Sink and Mary G. Matthews, assisted by James Hoover originally published in Historical gleanings of Davidson County, North Carolina. By Davidson County Bicentennial Committee in 1976.
Transcribed by Ruth Ann Copley
Davidson County Public Library System