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Full text of ""Gentleman" John Perkins"

Gc M. L. 

929.2 
P4192S 
1968061 \ 



REYNOLDS HISTORICAL 
GENEALOGY COLLECTION 



ALLEN COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY 



3 1833 01415 5052 



::gentleman:' 

TQHN PERKINS 



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W. 


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Price 


$1 


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^Published by; 

THE LENOIR NEWS-TOPIC 

LENOIR, N. C 



isesosi 



INTRODUCTORY 

These compilations do not assume the gfuise and dignity of history or 
biography, but are submitted as material that may be used by the exact 
historian after verification. 

Born in 1733 and dying in 1804, John Perkins has been succeeded, during 
the 115 years following his death, by six generations of descendants, the 
progeny of five sons and two daughters, whose families in each generation 
have been prolific beyond the average. The principal "habitat" of the 
members of this family who have remained in North Carolina is comprised 
within the boundaries of the counties of Burke, Caldwell, Buncombe, Ire- 
dell, Catawba, Wilkes and McDowell, although they are to be found in 
nearly every county in the State. From time to time many of them have 
moved to other States, and they have been traced to every State in the 
Union except the New England States, and some of them may be there. It 
is probable that they could be found in considerable numbers as citizens of 
foreign countries, although Brazil is the only foreign country to which any 
of them has been traced as citizens. Thus scattered there are hundreds, 

"T* perhaps thousands, of them living in the United States and in other coun- 
tries, and yet the date and place of birth of John Perkins was known to few 
-^ if any of these descendants before 1907, when it was first published. In 

'^ one branch of the family the story was handed down, inaccurate as tradi- 

fi^ tional statements are apt to be, that he was born in England, the son of a 

wealthy family, on intimate terms with the Earl of Granville, and that he 

uj was sent, as a youth, to North Carolina under the tutelage of a guardian 
who helped him to establish himself upon a valuable grant of lands made 

' to him by the Earl of Granville. This tradition was disproved by the fol- 
lowing publication made in the Lenoir Topic of June 7, 1911: 



V^N. 



•^^ 



"I note with pleasure that Rev. J. H. Shuford is to write a series of 
local historical articles for the Topic, and I was especially interested in 
the first installment in the last number of the paper on John Perkins. 

"The late Judge McCorkle of Newton wrote a series of articles con- 
cerning John Perkins and his family, which was published in the New- 
ton Enterprise in 1883 and republished, with Judge McCorkle's permis- 
^ sion, in the Topic on April 30 and May 7 and 14, 1890. Like Mr. 
Shuford, Judge McCorkle did not know from what section John Perkins 
came to North Carolina. I can inform you. Mrs. C. B. Harrison of 
Lenoir owns an old English prayer book which was the property of her 
great-great-grandfather. Parson Miller — Rev. Robert Johnstone Miller 
of blessed memory — and on one of the blank pages of this book is writ- 
ten in Mr. Miller's own hand the following: 

" *John Perkins of Lincoln county. State of North Carolina, son of 
Elisha Perkins, of the State of Virsrinia, was born in Virginia, on the 
fifteenth day of September, 1733, A. D., and departed this mortal life 
on Friday morning at five minutes past 7 o'clock, the thirteenth day of 
April, 1804, aged 70 years and 7 months, wanting 2 days.' 



Ib0«.3,:i± 



"I think it probable that Elisha Perkins was a citizen of Frederick 
county, Virginia, which in those days covered a large part of the Valley 
of Virginia. Winchester is the capital of the present smaller county of 
Frederick, as it was of the older and larger Frederick. Stannard's 
'Virginia Colonial Register' reports that in the Virginia Assembly of 
1752-5, sessions of August 22, 1754, May 1, 1755, and October 27, 
1755, Frederick county was represented by George William Fairfax and 

Perkins. The journals of the Virginia Assembly of that date. 

are concisely written, making little reference to members except those 
belonging to committees. In the proceedings of Wednesday, May 21, 
1755, is this record: 'Ordered, That Mr. Perkins have leave to be ab- 
sent from the service of this House for the remainder of this session.' 
In the Dinwiddle papers Governor Dinwiddle makes a number of ref- 
erences to having advanced to Mr. Perkins 500 pounds for the purchase 
of flour for the army, engaged about 1750 in holding the French and 
Indians at bay, hut refers to him simply as 'Mr. Perkins.' 

"These facts are derived from an article written for the Baltimore 
Sun of Dec. 8, 1907, which states further: 'John Perkins was bom in 
Frederick county, Virginia, in 1733, the son of Elisha Perkins, and 
removed to North Carolina in 1751 or 1752. This would make Elisha 
■ Perkins, father of John Perkins, of an age between the minimum of 40 
and the maximum of 50 years in 1752, eligible in age to represent 
Frederick county in the Assembly of 1752-5.' 

"No record has yet been discovered that shows what was the given 

name of Perkins, who served in the Colonial Assembly of 1752-5 

as one of the representatives of Frederick county. The Baltimore 
Sun's writer makes a plausible, though not conclusive, argument in 
favor of Elisha Perkins as the man. 

"One incident not generally known in the life of Parson Miller (who 
married John Perkins' daughter, Mary, and resided at Mary's Grove, 
two and a half miles west of Lenoir) is that he took part in political as 
well as in religious matters. He was one of the delegates from Burke 
county to the Constitutional Convention that met at Hillsboro in 1788. 
(See N. C. State Record.) W. W. SCOTT." 

Following is the communication published in the Baltimore Sun of 
Dec. 8, 1907: 

"Stannard's excellent publication, the 'Virginia Colonial Register.* 
reports that in the Virginia Assembly of 1752-55, sessions of August 
22, 1754, iMay 1, 1755, and October 27, 1755, Frederick county was 

represented by George William Fairfax and Perkins. In the 

Dinwiddie papers Governor Dinwiddie makes a number of references 
to having advanced to Mr. Perkins £500 for the purchase of flour for 
the army, but always refers to him simply as 'Mr .Perkins.' I would 
like to know the given name of Representative Perkins. 

"In the Assembly of 1775-6, session of June 1, 1775, and in the con- 
ventions of March 20, 1775, and of December 1, 1775, Pittsylvania 
county was represented by Peter Perkins and Benjamin Lankford. Was 
this Peter Perkins a son or connection of Perkins of the Assem- 
bly of 1752-55? 

"The history of John Perkins, of North Carolina, may assist in the 
discovery of the given name of Representative Perkins, of Frederick. 
John Perkins was born in Frederick county, Virginia, in 1733, the son 
of Elisha Perkins, and removed to North Carolina in 1751 or 1752. 
This would make Elisha Perkins, father of John, of an age between the 
minimum of 40 years and the maximum of 55 years in 1752, eligible in 
Age to represent Frederick in the Assembly of 1752-55. 



^ "Stannard says that in the eigrhteenth century the Burgesses in Vir- 
ginia were paid their salaries by the counties through the instrumen- 
tality of the levy courts at their meetings, following the sessions of the 
Assembly, for attendance upon which pay was asked. There are, per- 
haps, records at Winchester that would throw light upon the given 
name of Perkins." 

The writer of this paper from childhood up to comparatively recent years 
had the most meagre information regarding the history of John Perkins, his 
^eat-great-grandfather, which may be summed up in his understanding 
that his ancestor was a fine old gentleman, a good citizen of some promi- 
nence in Lincoln county, very hospitable, a man of wealth in horses, cattle 
and many acres of fertile land, with plenty of servants around him. He 
really knew little more than this about John Perkins except that there were 
m^any other men, women and children with whom he came in contact who 
also claimed descent from John Perkins and who knew little more about 
their ancestor than he did. So he placed his great-great-grandfather in a 
category with Adam and Noah and was content to trace his lineage in a 
general way from these three worthies. Of course this dense ignorance, did 
not apply to the older generations of John Perkins descendants, but only 
to most of the present and perhaps the immediately preceding generations. 

Not until 1890 did this mist of ignorance begin to lift from the present 
writer, who in that year, chanced to run across Judge McCorkle's account 
(published in the Newton Enterprise in 1883) of the marriage of Col. 
Ephraim Perkins and Betsy Abernethy, and republished in the Lenoir Topic. 
It was delightful reading and was the inspiration for research for the col- 
lection of records, publications, family histories and traditions, kept up from 
that day to this, that has resulted in the following compilations, which are 
submitted for what they ax-e worth. Judge McCorkle's contribution, aside 
from the interesting and charming story that it carries, is of historical value 
and will add to the interest of these pages. It has therefore been incor- 
porated in the account which follows, certain inaccuracies which it contains 
being pointed out. 



THE MARRIAGE OF EPHRAIM PERKINS AND ELIZABETH 
ABERNETHY 

Col. M. L. McCorkle in Newton Enterprise, 1883. 



[Col. M, L. McCorkle, of Newton, has kindly permitted us to reprint 
the following sketches, first published in the Newton Enterprise in 1883. 
They are quite interesting and will occupy space in two or three issues 
of the paper. The first record we have of John Perkins was of his 
meeting with Bishop Spangenberg and being employed by him as a 
guide in his exploring expedition. That was in 1752 and John Perkins 
was just 19 years old. The Bishop had been advised to employ him by 
Andrew Lambert, "a well-known Scotchman." Adam Sherrill's son 
married Elizabeth Lowrance, a sister of John Perkins' wife, Catherine 
Lowrance.] 

John Perkins immigrated to this country along with that great pio- 
neer, Adam Sherrill, when he was a mere lad. Whether he was an or- 
phan, or whether he was one of those daring, venturesome, go-ahead 
iboys, that durst not like to brook control from parents or guardians, 
and left father and mother and kinsmen to seek his fortune in the wilds 
of North Carolina — we are only left to conjecture. When he arrived at 
full age he showed himself every inch a man. He acquired great 
wealth. He owned all that valuable country from the Island Ford. 
along the Catawba river to the mouth of Lysle's creek, several thousand 
acres, besides several thousand acres in Burke county, along the beau- 
tiful valley of John's river, from whom it took its name. He had great 
pride of ancestry. He believed in blood, both in men, horses and other 
live stock. He married Catherine Lowrance and settled on the west- 
em banks of the great Catawba not far from Little's Ferry. When 
Bishop Spangenberg made his tour of inspection in western North Caro- 
olina for the purpose of locatnig lands for the Moravian settlements in 
1752 he was living there then. The Bishop mentions his name and says: 
"I especially recommend John Perkins as a diligent and trustworthy 
man and a friend of the brethren." His house was so located that he 
tould stand on his eastern porch, and from it look upon his broad acres 
of river bottom, and see his many servants at work or view his race 
horses make their four miles in the quickest time. He never allowed 
his blooded colts fed high or on grain till they arrived at four years of 
age. To feed them on corn injured their eyes, made them beefy and 
sluggish; but he never permitted them to become so thin in flesh as to 
make them crooked and\)ut of shape. He raised some of the finest 
horses this country ever produced, both for speed, durability and 
long life. 



He was blessed with five sons — Elisha, Ephraim, Eli, John, Joseph 
and Alexander. The two former inherited all their father's land in 
Catawba county, the three latter all the lands on John river. All the 
sons were large, handsome, well-proportioned men. Ephraim Perkins 
was about six feet high, complexion somewhat light, with blue eyes, 
finely chiseled nose, a massive forehead, and an intellectual face. He 
saw Elizabeth Abernethy. He fell in love at first sight. He did not 
resolve and resolve again what to do. He determined to oft'er her his 
liand and heart. Her father, David Abernethy, lived in what is now 
Lincoln county, about six miles southwest of Beatty's Ford, on a plan- 
tation now owned by Miss Sallie Lucky. The maiden name of her 
mother was Martha Turner. Her parents were from Virginia, but orig- 
inally from Aberdeen, Scotland. She had six brothers, Robert, David, 
John, Turner, Sloses and Miles, and two sisters, Nancy, who married 
Gen. Forney, and Martha, who married Robert Abernethy. Betsy was 
said to be the handsomest woman of her day. She was tall and hand- 
some, and her form and moving was graceful and elegant. Her eyes 
were dark and sparkling, and her hair as black as the raven's wing; her 
cheeks were as the sunny side of the luscious peach; her lips somewhat 
pouting, challenging kisses. It was said that the Abernethys received 
their dark complexion from their Pocahontas blood. Whether this was 
said in envy or as a compliment we cannot tell. The Scotch-Irish blood 
cannot be enriched by that of any people on earth, es'pecially not by the 
Indian race. The Scotch-Irish have shown themselves capable of meet- 
ing every emergency, in peace or war, in church or state, in the pulpit 
or forum, in every place of trust, honor or usefulness in this broad land. 
With the Scotch-Irish to plan and originate and go ahead and the Ger- 
man element to improve the lessons tought, this country is destined to 
be ,if not now, the foremost nation on earth. 

The day was fixed for Ephraim Perkins and Betsy Abernethy to be 
married. A large number of friends were invited. It was about the 
year 1800. Then the country was prosperous and everything plentiful. 
The bridegroom and bride lived about twenty-five miles from each 
other. Everybody rode horseback in those days. No Jersey wagon or 
English gig had been introduced. A lady could then mount her well- 
caparisoned steed of dapple grey, chestnut sorrel or blood-red bay, with 
reins well drawn up, and move off with more grandeur and beauty than 
to be seated in a delicate phsston or gilded carriage. It was understood 
that a party from the bride would go out to meet the bridegroom on 
his way to. the wedding, near Denver in Lincoln county, and there 
would be a trial of speed between the two parties. The prize was to 
be, who should have the honor of leading the bride in the first set in 
the dance. Everybody danced in those days. They did not think there 
was any harm in a social dance. When the bridal party approached 
near the place of meeting they sent out a company of videttes. They 
had not gone far till they saw in the distance the bridegroom's party 
coming. The videttes advanced within a few paces of the other party. 



3 ...... 

saluted them, threw down the gauntlet and turned and flew back to 
their comrades. They were immediately pursued. The race was well 
maintained on both sides for some distance, but the blooded stock of 
the Perkinses outwinded the horses of the videttes and passed them, 
and the 'bridegroom's party obtained the prize. 

The party soon arrived at the point proposed. A large number of 
invited guests were waiting to give them a hearty greeting. The negro 
servants ran far down the lane, ready to seize the reins of the spirited 
horses and lead them around to the well-stored racks of hay and troughs 
of corn and oats. It was an hour or two before Phebus should drive 
his golden chariot behind the western hills. The large grassy lawn in 
front of the house was covered with fair women and brave men, assem- 
bled on this festive occasion. The older men were talking politics — of 
the election of the elder John Adams to the presidency of the United 
States. The younger were engaged in athletic sports, as jumping 
■with a long pole or leaping three jumps. The boys were in the rear of 
the house, near a straw stack, testing their early manhood in wrestling, 
either in back or waistband hold. Gen. Peter Forney was there. He 
had been a member of Congress from that district from 1794 to 1796. 
He was the husband of Nancy, oldest sister of the bride. He had just 
come from Washington city and was telling hi? neighbors and fellow 
citizens of George Washington's farewell address — that the whole 
house on its being read was bathed in tears. His son Daniel was 
there, a mere strapling. He had a peculiar mark — a white lock of hair 
on a black head, just above his forehead — born so. He afterwards 
became one of North Carolina's most distinguished sons. He repre- 
sented her in Congress from 1815 to 1818. Robert Abernethy, the 
only brother of David Abernethy, was there. He had been the dele- 
gate from Tryon county to the Halifax congress, at which the North 
Carolina Bill of Rights was passed — the masterpiece of political states- 
manship. John D. Abernethy, who had married Susan Mariah Forney, 
was there. He settled on a place on Mountain creek, called the John 
Abernethy forge place. He and Bartlett Shipp, that study patriot, 
'big-brained, common-sense lawyer and strong advocate, were great 
friends, and had many a keen encounter of wits. On one occasion 
Mr. Shipp told Abernethy that he had an overseer (his name was John 
Fisher) that he desired to swap off. Abernethy having one of his own 
name, told him that he would swap. Neither knew the name of the 
other's overseer. Mr. Shipp said his was so lazy he would not work 
himself nor make any one else work, and he would swap for anybody 
in the world, except an Abernethy. This soft impeachment might be 
applied to some of the Abernethy men, but not the women, for they 
are all industrious and make good housewives. Turner Abernethy, 
who had married Dicey Abernethy, his cousin, was there. He was the 
most active man of his day. He could leap forty feet at three jumps 
— with a pole jump fifteen feet high. He is the father of Dixon, 
Sterling, Felix, Dr. T. M. Abernethy and Patsy, wife of Hiram Low- 



ranee (the mother of M. E. Lowrance), and Nancy, who married John 
Perkins, and who is said to have been a paragon of beauty. There, 
too, was William Abernethy, the father of Albert, Pat, Drury, Joseph, 
David and Betsy. The latter married Albert Oglesby. Miles, the 
youngest brother of the bride, was then unmarried. 

The minister, contrary to custom, was chosen by the bridegroom. 
His name was Robert Johnson Miller, who was an Episcopal clergy- 
man. He had been ordained to preach by the Lutheran Synod, ex 
necessitate rei. He was the brother-in-law of the bridegroom, and at 
that time was pastor of upper and lower Smyrna churches in the 
eastern portion of Catawba county. The candles were lighted and 
the guests assembled in the large and spacious hall. The bridegroom 
and bride made their appearance with the attendants. The rites of 
matrimony v/ere celebrated according to the Episcopal service. It 
was repeated in such a solemn and impressive manner as if it was 
intended that they should dwell together as husband and wife so long 
as they should live, and not in the light and trifling manner as is some- 
times done in this age of divorces, when the marriage vow only lasts 
till the husband can find one more congenial to his vitiated tastes. 
After the wedding was over came the dinner — some called it supper — 
where was every luxury that taste could select or appetite suggest — 
enough for all, enough and to spare. After all had feasted the hall 
was cleared and a few sets — not the German, the racquet nor the 
square — but the old Virginia reel was danced, and all was over. 
First the bride disappeared, then the bridegroom — no one knew where. 

II. 

Happy is the bride the sun shines on. The sun rose beautifully 
clear. Not a cloud was to be seen above the horizon. Night's candles 
had gone out and darkness seemed to have fled the earth. 

The birds were warbling their sweetest notes. The skipping lambs, 
the bleating sheep, the lowing herd, the chiming bells, the dense for- 
est ail gave interest to the scene. All nature seemed to rejoice and 
send up anthems of praise to the giver of every good. 

The guests arose and, with the family, assembled in the large hall 
lor the purpose of offering up their morning sacrifice, for our ances- 
tors were a religious people. The Rev. Robert Johnston Miller con- 
ducted the services. All arose from bended knees and at the first 
call repaired to the well-filled table of smoking viands of venison and 
beefsteak and salad of wild turkey, snow-white biscuits or lightbread 
and buckwheat cakes well prepared, milk deep set with cream, and 
coifee of delicious aroma. 

When all were served and breakfast over an invitation was again 
repeated to each and to all to accompany the happy pair to the recep- 
tion. It was called "infare" then. 



Then there was hurrying to and fro, to gather up the scattered ar- 
ticles of dress and place them in their reticules, for no Saratogas were 
used in those days. Then were brought in front of the gate the well- 
trained and prancing horses. When the good-by was given they all 
mounted their prancing steeds and started on their happy voyage. 
Blossomed trees and waving corn and grassy plains were passed in 
review, with here and there a deer scampering over the plain. 

At 12 o'clock they arrived at John D. Abernethy's, the brother of 
the bride. He had married Susan Maria Forney, as was said before. 
They lived on Mountain creek, not far from the eastern end of Ander- 
son's mountain, in Catawba, not far from where Col. Francis Lock 
and his brave companions held a council of war the night before the 
battle of Ramsaur's mills. The wedding party stopped to take lunch. 
While there they heard the rising and swelling notes of music in the 
distance. All ears greeted the sound and all eyes were anxious to 
see the race. The sound came nearer and nearer. First they beheld 
the lord of the forest, a noble buck, with antlers raised high, bounding 
over the plain. Next came a well-trained pack of deer hounds pressing 
him hard. Abram Gabriel, who was fleet and quick of motion, ran 
for the rifle and jerked her down and found that she was not loaded. 
He filled the charger, poured down the powder, then next rammed 
down the bullet without patching, and took his stand. The game 
had passed by the admiring and anxious party. What disappointment! 
The noble stag had not gone far, till he turned and came back nearer 
than before. The sharp crack of the rifle was heard close by, and 
the stag at the report redoubled his speed as if he had a new lease of 
life, ran about 100 yards, fell stretched upon the plain. 

John D. Abernethy and his wife, Susan Maria, were blessed with 12 
living children. It is a blessing for one man to have so many children! 
There is no danger of his name not living forever and being forgotten. 
These children have all lived to be over three score and ten and all 
who have died were over four score except one who died at forty. 
They had six sons and six daughters. Of the daughters, Charity mar- 
ried William Young. Nancy married Thomas Rozzell. Polly married 
Abram Dailey. He died and she then married Absalom Duncan. 
Elizabeth Maria married Francis McCorkle and Susan married Alfred 
Hoke. The sons were Jacob, William, Miles W., David, Franklin and 
John B. Abernethy. The daughters were all fair to look upon and 
noble specimens of womanhood. The sons were rich with native inte'- 
lects. Miles W. Abernethy was one of the noblest and best men that 
ever lived. He represented "old Lincoln" county in the Legislature 
two sessions, 1831 and 1833. At the last session an act was passed 
making the offices of the clerks of the countioa and superior court-s 
elective by the people instead of being appointed by the magistrates 
of the county. He was a man of great popularity. And although 
his primary education was limited, he became a m.nn of great infor- 



mation. His manners were so gracious and so pleasing no one ever 
saw him that did not love him. And although of dark complexion, 
his noble, generous face, large dark brown eyes, his beaming coun- 
tenance made him one of the handsomest men of his day. He became 
a candidate for the office of county court clerk in 1832. The then 
incumbent, Vardry McBee, was also a candidate. He was a man of 
rare accomplishments. He was never known to undertake anything or 
to engage in any enterprise that did not prosper in his hands. He had 
held the office a number of years. It had help to make him rich. He 
had discharged his duties honestly and faithfully and with skill and 
ability. Nothing could be said against this wonderfully successful man. 
Some said he had had it long enough. For the first time the word "rota- 
tion" in office was heard. The two were condidates. The old county- 
was well canvassed by them, and also by John D. Hoke and John 
Coalter, who were candidates for the office of Superior Court clerk. 
There were no opposing politics at that day. All were Andrew Jackson 
men. Jackson had not removed the deposits then. The candidates ran 
more on their personal popularity than any question of State or na- 
tional policy. The country became stirred up from circumference to 
center. The excitement was so great that it was preached in the 
churches. At Lincolnton on the evening of the election the returns 
came in very early. Mr. McBee led the ticket till late at night. His 
friends were jubilant. Music and dancing were heard. The flowing 
bowl and the joyous laugh ran high. Late in the night the sound of the 
hollow hoofs of horses were heard coming from the north of the county. 
There was a rush that way. "Hoke's box!" was the cry. 

It had given Abernethy almost a unanimous vote. Old "Catfish" 
stood then together, as now. It elected Abernethy by several hundred. 
It was Abernethy's neighbors that did it! The one shout of triumph 
arose by his friends. Then all was hushed in silence. He filled the 
office for four years. In 1836 he left the State, as too many of North 
Carolina's most gifted sons have done, and settled in Jacksonville, Ala. 
He represented his county in the State Senate of Alabama with great 
credit and approbation for several terms and could have gone to Con- 
gress had he desired. He died only a few years ago, beloved and 
mourned by all who knew him. And the elemejits so mixed in him 
that Nature might stand up and say to the world, "This was a man." 

Lunch being over, the party visited the falls of Moravian Creek and 
the iron works, owned by John D. Abernethy, which were in full blast, 
situated on that stream at that point 

Mountain creek rises out of the highest point on Anderson's moun- 
tain on the northwest side and runs northeast along the base of that 
mountain till it breaks through that range at the point above described, 
and turns its course and runs southeast and continues in that direction 
until it empties into the great Catawba near the Lincoln line. Leop- 
ard's creek rises out of the same mountain on the same side not far 



from the source of Mountain creek, and runs in an opposite direction 
from that stream, till it turns and bursts through that mountain range 
near Derr's furnace, then continues south till it unites with Anderson's 
creek, and the two make Dutchmen, which empties into the South Fork 
near Lineberger's cotton mills. Anderson's creek rises out of the same 
mountain not far from the source of the two others, but at the west end, 
at the celebrated mountain spring, where many a weary traveler 
quenched his parched thirst, and runs nearly due south until it unites 
with Dutchman creek, as before said. Along these mountain streams 
many boys and girls have grown up to man and womanhood that have 
and are playing well their parts in the great drama of life, and will live 
long as the good and great are revered by a grateful country. Ander- 
son mountain is a continuation of the King's mountain range, which 
extends itself through Gaston, Lincoln and Catawba counties till it is 
broken up by the great Catawba at Buffalo shoals. This range runs 
parallel with the g^reat Appalachian chain northeast and southwest. The 
highest points on this belt are King's, Crowder's and Anderson's moun- 
tains — the other portion having been washed down in an early period 
of the world's history and shortly after the upheaval, and is compara- 
tively a level country, and has left partly exposed on the northern edge 
of this range some of the richest gold deposits and gold-bearing veins 
of any place east of the Mississippi river, and tradition says that during 
the early history of this country silver and lead were found in great 
abundance in a little higher latitude on this same belt. Inexhaustible 
lime beds are found from King's mountain to the Catawba river along 
this range, and at one point — at A. D. Shuford's — a fine quality of 
marble. On the south side of this range vast beds of iron ore, both 
gray and magnetic, are found, and along this same belt are found vast 
deposits of graphite. 

This range is only fifty miles in length, and, take it all in all, is prob- 
ably the richest mineral belt for its length in the world, and yet it lacks 
want of capital, energy and labor. 

Seventy-five years ago all along this mineral range the ring of the 
forge hammer and the crash of the rolling mills and roaring of the 
smelting furnaces of iron ore could be heard. Now all is hushed in 
silence. 

There were giants in those days. The Forneys, the Brevards, the 
Grahams, the Abernethys and others like them lived and owned and 
worked on this vast mineral belt. And shall their descendants and 
those who are their successors be content to raise a patch of corn and 
cotton and live at this poor dying rate till some one of more energy 
and perseverance (probably from the North) shall come and "push them 
from their stools" and reap a rich golden harvest of wealth by devel- 
oping these vast resources? No country can become rich and populous 
by producing the raw material alone. The most ordinary intellect is 
able to raise that. It is intellectual culture and skilled labor that man- 



8 

ufactures the costliest fabrics, and there the great profit lies. It is 
true that in this age capital is required to manufacture, but combina- 
tions can be formed and supply it where it does not exist otherwise. 
There are too many men engaged in buying" and selling, and too few in 
converting the raw material into manufactured goods. The country 
is dwarfed, intellect is starved and genius is driven av/ay, and then the 
country is dependent upon other people for the luxuries and even 
many of .the necessaries of life. 

From these reveries the party awoke and the cry was "To horse, to 
horse!" They all mounted their gaily steeds, and were soon on their 
journey to the hospitable home of Gentleman John Perkins, where a 
large number of anxious friends awaited their coming, and "whose eyes 
grew brighter when they came." 

III. 

The parents of Ephraim Perkins met the blushing bride at the gate 
and welcomed her and the guests to their hospitable home. The mother 
soon made her feel as one of the family. True politeness consists in 
making all around us feel pleasant and agreeable. Catharine, the no- 
ible wife of John Perkins, was an accomplished woman. She had been 
well bred. Her father was Isaac Lowrance, who lived at the Bunker 
Hill place in this county, and there he died and was buried. All the 
sons of John Perkins were there. Joseph, the oldest, was there. He 
had married Malissa Lavender and they were the parents of their ele- 
gant and accomplished daughter, Mira, who afterwards married George 
Conley, Esq., late of Caldwell county, and who are the ancestors of 
Mortimer Conley, Esq., and the grandmother of Judge Conley, of Iredell 
county. The Rev. Robert Johnston Miller and his mo.st excellent wife, 
Mary, were there. Their son, Elisha P. Miller, the father of Caldwell 
county, and who represented Burke in the North Carolina Legislature 
from 1838 to 1840 and afterwards Caldwell county from 1846 to 1848 
,in the commons, and was one of the most useful men in his day — a true 
type of his old ancestor, "Gentleman John Perkins," was there. He 
is the father of Nelson Miller and the grandfather of W. W. Scott, 
editor of The Lenoir Tapic. 

John Perkins, Jr., was there. For the first time he beheld Nancy 
Abemethy. She was not more than sweet sixteen, was well grown and 
had blue eyes, and was fair as the lily. The winds of heaven had never 
been permitted to beteem her face too roughly. Her form was fault- 
less, hex moving elegant, her conversational powers unsurpassed for 
one of her age. Young as she was, she sighed and felt no pain. John 
Perkins and she gave to each other unutterable looks. They shortly 
afterwards were husband and wife, and they are the ancestors of Susan, 
consort of the late Richard Bichaux, of Burke county. Alfred Per- 
kins, the father of Alexander and Robert Perkins, "Par nobile fratum," 
was also there. 



Alexander and Eli, two other sons of John Perkins, were also there. 
Eli never married. And althougrh John Perkins was an aristocrat, yet 
his neighbors were all there. The preparations were large, the feast 
was rich. Everything was done to make all enjoy themselves. Some 
amused themselves in one way, some in another. Some promenading, 
some boat riding on the great Catawba. The most attractive sport of 
all was the race between the blooded colts (four in number) of John 
Perkins. They were all thoroughbreds or imported. There was one 
whose name, was Peacock, because when he ran he curled his tail over 
his back. The colts were led out by their colored riders and grooms 
to the race ground, on the large bottom in front of the house. All eyes 
turned in that direction when the cry was given "The riders are up!" 
One of the colts became refractory, but was soon calmed down. The 
judges were seated high on a platform. The word was given and they 
all made nearly an even start. The goal before them was four miles. 
They seemed to be flying without wings. For the first mile they ran 
nearly in a breast. On and on they flew. Now bay Maria is ahead, 
then Peacock leads the race. Handkerchiefs began to wave. The ex- 
citement ran high. Now bets of tokens of love began to be made be- 
tween the younger spectators of both sexes. Neither cared which would 
win. The last mile was now being repeated. There was a chestnut 
sorrel that had been led by the others. His name was Cuckleburr. He 
was of the Flying Childers stock. The last quarter he began to main- 
tain his reputation. There was a shout for his success. As they passed 
the last pole he ran a little ahead. They had all done well. They were 
immedaitely blanketed and led away. The races were over, the enter- 
tainment ended and all felt grateful to "Gentleman John Perkins" for 
his kindness and hospitality. 

Bphraim Perkins and his lovely bride spent their honeymoon visiting 
their friends. What married couple will ever forget their honeymoon 
— the primrose path of pleasure, peace, joy, ecstatis bliss! Not a care, 
not a wave of trouble disturbs their happy souls. After that they enter 
into a new life. They have to swarm out from the old hive. A new 
government must be established — often ruled by a queen. They would 
like to linger around the old homestead; but like the eagles, the eaglets 
most be pushed from their nests, their infant wings to try, and battle 
through the storms of life. They were settled on a plantation not far 
from the home of their childhood, now owned by M. J. Cochran. In the 
process of time they became the happy recipients of ten children — five 
sons and five daughters. The sons were Elisha, who married Linny 
Sherrill, his neighbor, Enos Sherrill's, daughter. David and Daniel 
died unmarried. John married Elizabeth Norris and Robert married 
Elzabeth Martin, who died, and he married her sister Matilda. The 
daughters were Adaline, who married Abel A. Shuford. Caroline mar- 
ried Colin Campbell, of Tennessee. Catharine married John Beard. 
Elizabeth married Dr. Robert Adams, and Martha, called Patsy, married 



10 

Hon. F. D. Reinhardt, who represented old Lincoln county from 1844 
to 1850 in the North Carolina Legislature. Patsy was the youngest 
daughter. She was large, fine looking, dignified and of excellent man- 
ners. She was full of kindness and benevolence. She was a loving 
wife, an affectionate mother, a good neighbor and a devoted Christian. 
She loved her husband, her children, her kin and her God. She was 
baptized by her uncle, Rev. R. J. Miller, and afterwards confirmed by 
him — a member of the Episcopal Church, the church of her father; 
but when she married she joined the church of her husband, the Re- 
formed Church. She considered that the four great reformed churches 
of the 16th century — the Anglican or Episcopal, the Lutheran, the 
German or Dutch Reformed and the Scotch Reformed or Presbyterian 
churches — were essentially the same in their main features — justifi- 
cation by faith and salvation by grace. 

Hers and her husband's home was a great place of resort for the 
young people of the neighborhood — especially on festive occasions. 
One Christmas eve a party of young people paid them a visit. During 
the evening they engaged in several innocent amusements. They chal- 
Inged each other before retiring that they would catch each other's 
Christmas gifts. Mr. Reinhardt at the time lived in a double log cabin 
with a wide entry between the cabins and only two fireplaces, one in 
each room below. The young ladies slept upstairs, where there was no 
fireplace, and they were told by Mrs. Reinhardt to undress in her room 
and go up to bed and the next morning slip back through this entry 
and come into her room and dress by the fire. In order to ascertain 
whether the young gentlemen were up, who slept in one of the rooms 
below, one of the girls came over their room (upstairs) and hollowed 
down, "Christmas gift!" They were answered in bed — that one could 
not be caught unless you could see them. Finding that the young men 
were in bed, the ladies came down and were, all in Mrs. Reinhardt's 
room. The young men were informed of that fact, and one of them, 
who was quite playful, jumped out of bed, in his night clothes, and ran 
across the entry, opened the door of the room just a little, where the 

girls were, and hollowed "Chris" -, but before he could get the 

word out he was landed in the middle of the room by some unknown 
person. The girls gave a squall and fled in confusion — some under the 
bed, some behind Mrs. Reinhardt and the others no telling where. 
The young man rapdily retreated to his own room, without knowing 
by whom he was landed on the floor; but he always suspected Mr. 
Reinhardt. Mrs. Reinhordt came in and gave him a severe scolding 
for his rashness, and if he had not been her kin his acquaintance would 
have been cut and he would have spent no more Christmas eves there. 

She was the mother of four children, only one of whom survives — 
•Capt. Robert Perkins Reinhardt, the model farmer of Catawba. 

There is also reprinted from the Morganton Herald the following, from 
the pen of the late Col. Thomas G. Walton of Morganton, which is inter- 



11 

esting and histori»al» barring certain inaccuracies that will be pointed out: 

THE PERKINS FAMILY 
(€ol. T. G. Walton in the Morganton Herald) 

The Perkins family, of John's river, descended from a native of Eng- 
land, who came to the Colonies in 1732. Landing in Pennsylvania, he 
removed to Lincoln county, North Carolina (then Tryon), erected in 
1779. By way of pre-eminence he was known as "Gentleman John 
Perkins." Accompanying an exploring party, led by a Moravian bishop 
(from Salem, now in Stokes county, erected 1789, the "United Breth- 
ren" having built a church there in 1763) before any grants had been 
issued by the State for the rich alluvial lands of John's river and Lower 
creek, which were then still untilled and unoccupied. Availing himself 
of this fact, he entered and obtained grants from the State for large 
bodies of the best land in Western North Carolina, devising the same 
to his four sons, Joseph, John, Alexander and Elisha, and daughter, 
Mary, whose offspring still own and live on them. The broad lowlands, 
having been cultivated in the various cereals for more than a century, 
without the use of fertilizers, show but little if any loss from the orig- 
inal productiveness. The name John's river was derived from "Gen- 
tleman John," perpetuating his name as long as flows the limpid water 
of this beautiful stream, from its source near the eastern base of the 
Grandfather mountain (said by distinguished geologists to be the 
oldest visible earthly formation as yet discovered). Joseph Perkins 
married Melissa Lavender, a relative and protegee of Col. Waightstill 
Avery, Sr. She was of French descent, probably Huguenot. (The 
name La Vender has possibly been anglicised from La Vendee, a meri- 
time department in the west of France), by whom Joseph had three 
sons. Dr. James Hervey, Osborne and William, and four daughters, 
Elizabeth, who married Allen Connelly; Mary became the wife of David 
Corpening; Myra married Allen's brother, George Connelly; Mary be- 
came the wife of David Corpening, and Salena the wife of Levi Lajcton. 
James Hei^ey and William died unmarried. John Perkins married 
Nancy Abernethy, who was a relative of the wife of Gen. Peter Forney 
of Lincoln county, a soldier of the Revolution. The maiden name of 
his wife was Nancy Abernethy, Mrs. Perkins being probably her name- 
sake. Mr. Perkins died, leaving but one child, heiress to a large fortune 
in land and slaves. She married 1;. V. Michaux, a lawyer, who came 
to Burke in 1834 from Virginia. He was a relative of the distinguished 
North Carolinian, Nathaniel Macon. 

Alexander Perkins married a Miss Moore (a relative of Dr. Bou- 
chelle). By her he had three children, two sons, Theodore and Thad- 
deus, and daughter, Clarissa. The only surviving members of this 
branch of this branch of the Perkins family is Thaddeus, Jr., and his 
family, who are the sole owners of the splendid domain on Wilson's 
creek and John's river. Alexander and his brother John were the first 



12 

to introduce horses of good pedigree in Burke county, breeding from 
celebrated stock in Virginia, belonging to William Amis and Col. John- 
son. They took great pains in training them, and delighted in showing 
their superiority in fleetness and bottom at long distances on the Quaker 
Meadow and other race courses, over the scrubs of the country. 

Elisha Perkins, the youngest son of "Gentleman John" (the ancestor 
of Alfred Perkins) inherited the fine alluvial lowlands on the west side 
of John's river, about three miles above its mouth, from his father. He 
died at an early age, leaving a widow and one son. The widow married 
Maj. Highland, who had distinguished himself during the war of the 
Revolution in battles fought against the British and Tories, and who 
was wounded at the battle of Ramsauer's Mill. 

Alfred Perkins, a man highly esteemed for his probity, was a leading 
elder in the Presbyterian church. His death in the meridian of life 
was deeply regretted by all who knew him. He, like all the older mem- 
bers of the Perkins family, was of the bone and sinew of the land. 
He married Mary, the youngest daughter of Robert Caldwell, Sr., leav- 
ing at his death three children, Elisha Alexander, Robert C, and Eliza- 
beth. Alexander reminds me very much of his father, in character, 
form and face, 

"So near approach we their celestial kind 
By justice, truth, and probity of mind." 

"Parson Miller" 

Mary, the daughter of John, Sr., married the Rev. Robert Miller, a 
native of England, a clergyman of the Episcopal church, a high-toned 
gentleman of the old school, dignified and blunt in manner (like most 
Englishmen I have known) yet benevolent and kind. 

^ He joined in marriage the descendants of the old pioneers, and bap- 
tized their children, and prayed that God's blessing might rest upon 
them. He married my father in 1803. His dress at that time was 
knee breeches, black silk stockings, low shoes, with silver knee and shoe 
bucklets, with rubicund complexion and powdered hair. Thus, tout 
ensemble, he stood, prayer book in hand, a fine specimen of an English 
parson of Goldsmith's days: 

"A man he was to all the country dear. 
And passing rich with forty pounds a year." 

He lived on a plantation left his wife, Mary, on Lower creek, his 
residence near the road side, named by him after his wife, "Mary's 
Grove." I remember his baptizing a child of one of Burke's leading cit- 
zens, more than sixty years since, who prided himself (as I think) in 
always redeeming his pledges. (In similar cases many, I fear, do not 
feel the responsibility resting upon them in becoming sponsors for chil- 
dren and taking upon themselves the solemn vows and promises re- 
quired in baptism.) A large assemblage of persons were present, in 



13 

what was then a part of the present building of the Presbyterian church. 
After the usual preliminary prayers, etc., preceding the promises to be 
made by the Godfather and mother, the question: "Dost thou, in the 
name of this child, renounce the devil and all his works, the vain pomp 
and glory of the world?" and so on to the end. To the astonishment of 
the congregation the response came from the father, loud and distinct, 
"I do not, sir." The parson looked at him sorrowfully in the face and 
said, "You will on the part of your child?" He replied, "I will on his 
part." "I wish you could say as much for yourself," said the parson. 
This is the only instance on record, so far as I know, where the matter 
had proceeded, as far as in this case, where the parent could not, 
conscientiously, and therefore would not, make a promise which he did 
not intend to fulfill — to his credit, be it said. 

Alexander Perkins, the brother-in-law of Parson Miller, was a pro- 
fane man, and frequently sorely tried the patience of the good man. 
Illustrating this, on one occasion he got the upper hand of the parson. 
He was on the way to market with a heavily-loaded wagon drawn by a 
team of spirited horses. The public road passed in front of and near 
the parson's residence, near the summit of a hill. The horses balked, 
refusing to pull. Perkins, irritated, beating the horses, cursing and 
swearing, brought the parson out, and, rebuking him for his profan- 
ity, he said:' "Brother Aleck, don't you see that all this abuse of the 
dumb brutes, and the taking of the name of your 'Maker in vain, does no 
good. Why, then, do you persist in doing so?" "Well," he said, "par- 
son, that is so. I have tried cursing and beating them, with no effect. 
Now you get down on your knees and pray and let us see if that will 
make the horses pull the wagon up the hill." Leaving in disgust, he 
said, "Perkins, you are a depraved, incorrigible man." Mr. Miller left 
two sons and two daughters, one of whom, Margaret, married John S. 
Sudderth. The sons were Elisha P. and Nelson. The oldest, Elisha, 
married Sydney, the youngest daughter of Robert Caldwell, Sr. He 
was very popular, and was elected to the State Legislature from Burke 
in 1836-38, and from Caldwell in 1844-48. 

PART I 

JOHN PERKINS 

Rev. Robert Johnstone Miller, son-in-law of John Perkins, made the 
following entry in an old Church of England Prayer Book, now in the pos- 
session of Mrs. Carter Beverly Harrison of Lenoir, N. C, great-great-grand- 
daughter of Parson Miller: 

"John Perkins, of Lincoln county, State of North Carolina, son of Elisha 
Perkins, of the State of Virginia, was born in Virginia, on the fifteenth day 
of September, 1733, A. D., and departed this mortal life on Friday morning 
at 5 minutes past 7 o'clock, the thirteenth day of April, 1804, aged 70 
years and 7 months, wanting two days." 



14 

-'"'' i 

An old manuscript states that "John, the son of Elisha Perkins, was bom 
the 15th Sept., 1733," but does not state where he was born. The same 
manuscript records also the birth of the children of John and Catherine 
Perkins, of the county of Rowan, parish of St. James, as follows: 

(1) Elisha, born Oct. 18, 1760. 

(2) Mary, born Oct. 6, 1762. 

(3) Ephraim, bom Nov. 6, 1764. 

(4) John, born Feb. 11, 1767. 

(5) Joseph, born Dec. 2, 1768. 

(6) Burwell, born May 21, 1771, and died Jan. 20, 1773. 

The above children were all born in South Carolina and Burwell was 
buried there. 

(7) Alexander, born Dec. 6, 1773, at Island Ford, Kowan county, N. C. 

(8) Saraih, born Jan. 8, 1776. 

(9) Eli, born Dec. 27, 1777. 

(10) Ann, bom Dec. 27, 1780. 

Burwell and Ann died in infancy. His wife, Catherine, was born Aug. 
13, 174'2, and died Oct. 5, 1819. The date of their marriage is not given. 

It is interesting to note that there is internal evidence in the language 
of this old manuscript that shows it to have been written at an earlier period 
than the record of Parson Miller, which was made subsequent to April 13, 
1804. At that date John Perkins' residence was in Lincoln county; at the 
date of the writing of the old manuscript the same place was in "the county 
of Rowan, Parish of St. James." 

Judge McCorkle did not know where John Perkins was born. Col. Thomas 
G. Walton says he was descended from an Englishman who came to this 
country in 1732, landing in Pennsylvania and removing to Lincoln county. 

Col Walton is probably correct, except as to the statement that Elisha 
Perkins came to North Carolina. He came no further South than Virginia 
when he left Pennsylvania, if he ever was in Pennsylvania. The part of 
Lincoln county in which John Perkins resided was, before the establishment 
of Lincoln county, in Rowan county. 

I think it probable that Elisha Perkins, father of John Perkins, was one 
of the two representatives of Frederick county in the Virginia General 
Assembly that met at Williamsburg 1752-5, as contended by a writer in the 
Baltimore Sun of Dec. 8, 1907. 

The first record of the appearance of John Perkins in North Carolina is 
found in the Colonial Records, wherein it is stated that the Moravian Bishop 
Spangejiburg was introduced to him by Andrew Lambert, "a well-known 
Scotchman," in 1752. Earl Granville's agents had offered a large grant of 
the Earl's lands in North Carolina for a Moravian settlement to be brought 
from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and Bishop Spangenburg was leading an 
exploring and surveying expedition up the Catawba river in search of a 
suitable situation for his colony. At Island Ford he saw ahead of him, in 



15 

his journey up the river, a very sparsely settled and untraveled country, 
infested with Indians, and felt the need of a guide. As such Andrew Lam- 
bert recommended to him John Perkins, a "hunter," and a trustworthy man. 
Bishop Spangenburg employed him and added: "I especially recommend 
John Perkins as a dilligent and trustworthy man and a friend of the breth- 
ren." At that time John Perkins was a youth, 19 years old, and had prob- 
ably left the parental roof in Virginia within a year. To be accounted dili- 
gent and trustw'orthy is a fine character for a 19-year-old boy to have 
earned, and in this instance his history shows the boy to have been father to 
the man. This recommendation of the old Moravian Bishop will be more 
prized, perhaps, by John Perkins' descendants than the appellation of 
"Gentleman" John Perkins, which in after years was sometimes given to 
him. The grants he received for his lands from Earl Granville were all 
made to "John Perkins, Gentleman," following an old English form of 
grant, and that is the only reasonable explanation that can be given of 
the appellation of "Gentleman" John Perkins. A diligent and trustworthy 
boy, 19 years old and full of the spirit of adventure, would probably have 
started out from a Virginia home in 1752 on a prospecting tour armed with 
his trusty rifle and munitions and not heavily laden with coin, and would 
have found hunting through a region teeming with game of all kinds a com- 
paratively easy means of livelihood, temporarily at least. 

From Island Ford the expedition, under the guidance of John Perkins, set 
out up the Catawba river, and the Colonial Records describe their travels 
and set forth their surveys so minutely that the party can be trailed every 
step of the way. At the mouth of Middle creek or river (now John's river) 
the expedition left the Catawba river and traveled north up Middle river 
(John's river) from where it empties into the Catawba, near the present line 
between Burke and Caldwell counties, to its source, on top of the Blue 
Ridge, at Blowing Rock. The lands along this river are well described in 
the survey published in the Colonial Records that they are recognizable 
at this day. From Blowing Rock the expedition turned eastward and soon 
struck down the Yadkin river, which it followed till it arrived at what 
became its destination — Salem. The Moravians relinquished all right to 
any lands which they had tentatively surveyd. 

Andrew Lambert, the "well-known Scotchman," did John Perkins a great 
service when he recommended him to Bishop Spangenburg, and it may be 
assumed that when the diligent and trustworthy lad, strong, adventurous 
and filled with high hopes for the future, set out upon his journey from his 
home in the Virginia valley, his highest anticipations did not foresee his 
prospects in any such measure as the future had in store for him. There 
is romance in life for all who strike out boldly, exercising initiative and 
individuality, provided there is also diligence and trustworthiness, and we 
are prone to believe that there is more room for the exercise of these up- 
building qualities in pioneer ages than in the days of complex civilization. 
It is true that the pioneer is a romantic character, but are not Edison, Bell, 
Morse, the Wrights pioneers? 



16 

Earl Granville's people were anxious to secure the Moravian colony, 
which was the most considerable settlement in one place they had been able 
to attract, and Bishop Spangenburg and his advisers were very influential 
with the land office. It is probable that John Perkins accompanied the expe- 
dition during the whole course of the journey, from Island Ford to Salem, 
and that he had been of much practical service to his employers. And it 
is not difficult to imagine that he had personal qualities of attraction that 
won the friendship of Bishop Spangenburg and his associates. It is not 
to be doubted that Bishop Spangenburg gave John Perkins all that he 
desired of the surveys, charts, etc., that were not to be utilized by the 
Moravians and that he exercised his powerful influence with the land office 
to make his young friend and erstwhile guide persona grata with the Earl 
of Granville's people. Else how can we account for John Perkins, a mere 
stripling, holding grants for thousands of acres of lands on John's river 
and having the river named for him? Col. Walton speaks of these grants 
being issued by the State, but there was no State then (as to those lands) 
and the grants came from Earl Granville. Such things have always gone 
by favor, and it is far from credible that John Perkins, the young hunter, 
however diligent and trustworthy and bright and resourceful he may have 
been, should have been able to ingratiate himself with the cold-blooded 
agents of the English Earl who were never known to give something for 
nothing. 

Judge McCorkle tells of several thousand acres of land acquired in Rowan 
(Lincoln, and later Catawba), and Col. Walton tells of thousands acquired 
on John's river and elsewhere in Burke. He must have owned, on both the 
Catawba and John's rivers, between ten and fifteen thousand acres of the 
finest land in Western North Carolina. The Burke county lands were given 
by John Perkins to his children, Elisha, Joseph, John, Alexander and Mary 
(wife of Parson Miller), and his Catawba river lands, in Lincoln (now 
Catawba) to Ephraim, Eli and Sarah (wife of Thomas Snoddy of Surry). 
As Col. Walton says, all of the lands given to Elisha, John and Alexander 
belong to the family to this day, as does a portion of the lands left to Joseph 
and Mary Miller. To illustrate the approximate size of the plantations 
given to each child, it is to be noted that the share of John Perkins, Jr., on 
John's river, a beautiful farm of 1400 acres, a large proportion of it being 
broad river bottoms, descended to his only child, a daughter, in whose pos- 
session it remained until her death, in 1900,. Estimating the seven other 
shares of the estate of John Perkins, Sr., at 1400 acres each, we have 11,200 
acres as the amount of his holdings. 

Col. Walton speaks of Elisha Perkins as the youngest son of John Per- 
kins, while he was really his oldest child, and Judge McCorkle doea not 
mention him at all. 

Judge McCorkle says of John Perkins that he was "every inch a man," 
and that "he had great pride of ancestry." He. also speaks of the "Catherine 
Lowrance, the noble wife of John Perkins, who was an accomplished woman, 



17 

well-bred." Bishop Spangenburg's estimate of him as being diligent and 
trustworthy at the age of of 19 years should be somewhat of an index to his 
character and a promise that there was the making of a man in him. He 
was very successful and became a wealthy man for that time and section, 
very early in life. In 1790, after he had settled his oldest son, Elisha, and 
his daughter, Mary, wife of Parson Miller, on fine plantations in Burke, 
he is credited in the census of that year with the possession of 13 slaves. 
At that period there were not as large holdings of slaves in the West as in 
the East; in fact, the West never did become as much of a slave-holding 
section as the East. Gen. William Lenoir, who had rich landed estates on 
the Yadkin in Wilkes, owned 12 slaves. Elisha Perkins owned 9 slaves in 
Burke and Mary Miller two in the same county, and it is probable that 
their father had furnished them with the.^e negroes when he settled them 
on their plantations. So that, in that section at that time, the possession 
of wealth did not necessarily imply the ownership of vast "quarters" of 
slaves. 

It has been suggested that John Perkins owed the favorable standing he 
was in with Earl Granville's land office to the friendly intervention of 
Bishop Spangenburg. Whether this is true or not, there is no doubt about 
his having been treated with the greatest favor by Earl Granville's agents, 
who necessarily exercised a powerful influence over the Governor and other 
servants of the Crown. As the troubles that culminated during the fate- 
ful days of 1775 and 177G began to accumulate into a dark cloud rising 
over the country, we may be sure that they were the days that "tried men's 
souls." It was the same trial that a majority — at least a great many — of 
the men of the South went through v/hen it c;^me to the point of secession 
in 18C1. It was not at all a one-sided question, proclaiming our independ- 
ence of England. Of course we see it from an elevated point of view 
now and know that iMecklenburg and Philadelphia spoke the. words of truth 
and soberness and that patriotism pointed away from the mother country; 
but there were then thousands of good, honest men who did not see it that 
way at all and felt that the world was turning upside dov/n; that vested rights 
were to be done away with, and that radicalism, revolution and atheism 
were running rampant. It is a fancy that, until after the fight became 
hot, the word "revolution" was used as a term of reproach. 

It is another fancy of mine that John Perkins, for one, took little stock 
in the insurrectionary doings in Alamance and could not understand why 
there should have been such high-talking, seditious meetings in Mecklen- 
burg. He must have been of a like mind with thousands of other respect- 
able North Carolinians, who just could not understand it all. What was 
all the bother about? The thing-s complained of seemed trivial enough and 
they had no cause of complaint against the government that had been 
extremely good to them. Loyalty was a habit with them, a part of their 
religion, and they were rather dazed by the commotion. And it never oc- 
curred to them at all that there was any possibility of anything but trouble 
coming to many of their good friends who had gone crazy and were crying 
out against the King. They hoped, at the proper time, to be able to inter- 



18 

cede and to lessen the blows that were sure to be aimed at many a hot-head. 
Perhaps John Pei-kins did not think this way at all, but, recognizing 
that the ship of state was passing through rough waters, thought it the 
part of wisdom and prudence to sit tight, without rocking the boat, and 
tactfully to keep a cool head while so many other people were losing theirs 
by becoming wild partisans for or against the King. 

A question of whether he was favorable to the cause of the colonies 
was raised in the committee of safety held at Salisbury at one meeting, 
and a committee was appointed to visit John Perkins for the purpose of 
securing from him a declaration of his principles touching the matters in 
controversy between said colonies and Great Britain. At a subsequent 
meeting of the committee of safety held at Salisbury the special committee 
reported that its members had called upon John Perkins in regard to the 
matters referred to them at a previous meeting and that the replies of 
John Perkins to the questions of the committee had been satisfactory. 

The two paragraphs, above referred to, in the proceedings of the com- 
mittee of safety, as published in Wheeler's History, always, whenever I 
have read them, inspired me with increased respect for John Perkins and 
are proof to me that he was a long-headed, broad-minded old colonial. He 
had no personal kick against the government; it had never occurred to 
him that there was any serious chance of the colonies becoming independ- 
ent; but these people around Salisbury and Charlotte-town appeared to be 
in earnest and talked of self-government; he had no objection to majority 
rule and, as far as he could see into it, he was in sympathy with and would 
try to be further in sympathy with the people who were his neighbors; 
they said the masses were oppressed and, while he saw many abuses, he 
had not thought there were enough of them or such serious ones as to make 
it necessary to go to war about them; but, if the majority decided to go 
to war, he for one would not go to war against his neighbors. In other 
words, he could not stir himself into a passion over the course of the col- 
onies, but he could assure his friends of the sub-committee that they might 
assure the committee of safety at Salisbury that he was not and never 
would be a — Tory. And that is about the size of the answer the com- 
mittee took back to Salisbury from this wise old pionee^r. 

In 1883 the late Judge M. L. McCorkle of Catawba wrote a long con- 
tribution for the Newton Enterprise, covering the front page of four issues 
of that paper, which ostensibly was a description of the marriage of 
Ephraim Perkins, son of John Perkins, and Betsy Abernethy, daughter of 
David Albernethy, in 1800; the thread of the story was kept well, from 
atart to finish, but the Judge ingeniously filled it in with the rich fund of 
information he possessed concerning all the best people of Lincoln and the 
neighboring counties. It is an extremely interesting collection of anec- 
dotes, history, personal characteristics, and touching the Forneys, Brevards, 
Grahams, Abernethys, Hokes, Shipps, Millers, Lowrances, Lockes, McBees, 
Couldters, Shufords, Perkinses, Reinhardts, as a well as a delineation of 
manners and customs prevailing more than 100 years ago, and it deserves 



19 

to be preserved more permanently than it is possible to be preserved for 
popular use in the files of an out-of-date newspaper. One of his most 
exciting stories is the account of the "infare" at John Perkins' house when 
his son Ephraim brought his bride home. After all the feasting and par- 
taking of various other entertainments, the party closed with a horse-race 
and the company adjourned to the race course and witnessed a four-mile 
heat by four thoroughbred colts belonging to the master of the place. 

It is probable that if John Perkins ever returned to his old home in 
Virginia after he came to North Carolina he must have done so subsequent 
to the Revolutionary war, for during the first years of his residence in this 
State he was busily engaged in building up his fortunes, and, by the time 
his estate and condition in life were such as to permit him to go upon his 
travels, the unsettled and distracted state of the country which continued 
up to and through the war, was not favorable for long journeys from home. 
It is presumable that, during the last twenty years of his life there was 
mutual visiting between him and his Virginia relatives, but at this day 
no letters or other documents are at hand to indicate it. Entries on the 
fly-leaves of an old copy of Shaw's "Justice" give the dates of the birth of 
his elder brother, Elisha, and of the latter's daughter, Elizabeth. 

Besides, for thirteen or fourteen years John Perkins lived in South Caro- 
lina; for the old manuscript, after the record of the births of the first six 
of his children, adds: "The above children were born in South Carolina 
and Burwell is buried there." The eldest son, Elisha, was born on Oct. 
18, 1760, and Burwell died Jan. 20, 1773. Alexander was born Dec. 6, 
1773, near Island Ford, so that the return from South Carolina was be- 
tween Jan. 20 and Dec. 6, 1773. 

The late Judge A. C. Avery of Morganton wrote of John Perkins on pages 
83 to 8C, inclusive, in "Western North Carolina; Historical and Biograph- 
ical; 1890, A. D. Smith & Co., Charlotte, N. C." Judge Avery says in 
part on pages 85 and 8G: 

"John Perkins, when he accompanied the Bishop, had an entry surveyed 
in his own name, including the Michaux place on John's river"— this sur- 
vey covered practically all the land on John's river from the mouth of 
Wilson's creek, where it flows into John's river, a distance of perhaps ten 
or twelve miles, almost to the mouth of John's river as it enters the. Ca- 
tawba— "and afterwards, during the French war, in the year 1758, he 
took out a grant for it, being the oldest title, to land in the county of Burke, 
as originally constituted. It is to be regretted that this patent was de- 
stroyed when the house of Mrs. Michaux was burned a few years since, 
and that the registry of it was also removed from the office and lost when 
Stoneman's raiders passed through this section in 1865. Perkins went over 
to South Carolina from his home at Island Ford probably in the early part 
of the French-Indian war, about 1754, and remained there for nineteen 
years. It appears from a copy of his family record, in possession of Capt. 
Alexander Perkins, that all of his children were born in South Carolina, 



20 

except Alexander" [and Sarah, Eli and Ann] "who was bom near Island 
Ford, after his father's return in 1773, in a tent erected, we suppose, on 
the site of his cabin burnt by the Indians. John Perkins died three miles 
above Catawba Station. He had never lived on John's river, as most per- 
sons suppose, but evidently returned when the war was over to look after 
the land surveyed by the Bishop, and, finding: that others had anticipated 
him as to that near the mouth of the river, he made entries in his own 
name from the Erwin place, then occupied by Sherrill, to the old Alexander 
Perkins place" [mouth of Wilson's creek]. "These entries include the macr- 
nificent farms occupied by his descendants, his sons Elisha, Joseph, John 
and Alexander having made their homes on them at an early day, while 
one of his daughters (Mary) married old "Parson Miller," who was the 
first Episcopal minister that sought a home in this country, and of whose 
Christian graces tradition has drawn a companion picture in simple prose 
to that of Goldsmith's village preacher." [The land given his daughter 
Mary was on Lower creek in what is now Caldwell county, and Parson 
Miller established himself there and named the place "Mary's Grove."] 
"He was the progenitor of the Miller family, most of whom now reside in 
Caldwell. The Perkins land on John river, except the Michaux place" 
[the share of John Perkins 2nd, who left one heir, a daughter, Susan, who 
married Richard Venable Michaux of Prince Edward county, Virginia] 
"like the tract near it" [20 miles away in Lincoln] "on the Catawba, was 
entered in Granville's office, surveyed by Griffith Rutherford, and again 
entered later in Burke county after it was established in 1777, surveyed 
again by Beekman and taken out of the office in 1780." 

The unsettled conditions in the colonies, especially in the Southern colo- 
nies, during the French-Indian war, extending almost up to the Revolution, 
varied by temporary truces, treaties, etc., is matter of history and is graph- 
ically described on pages 155-160 of "Indians in North Carolina," Senate 
Document No. 677, 53rd Congress, 2nd session. In spite of truces, treaties, 
and a shameful, cowardly convention that Governor Dobbs appears to have 
entered into with some of the tribes, there was no real peace and there 
never could have been as long as the two races were keyed up to the high- 
est tension by race antipathy and conflict of communal interests that gripped 
and held both sides eternally on the watch. And it was all perfectly nat- 
ural — from the human standpoint. The Indians did not hate the white 
man except for what they considered the most real reasons. For genera- 
tions they had heard about and some of them then living, upon occasional 
excursions down the Nickajock trail for hunting and trading, had seen 
with their own eyes, the whites firmly established in Albemarle and rapidly 
spreading out and growing westward towards the foothills. Now they saw 
them invading their own forests and hunting grrounds, 'building cabins, 
appropriating their clearings, and making them larger by cutting down 
the trees. It was intolerable for an Indian to contemplate such a high- 
handed outrage. (Incidentally, it is interesting to note in this pamphlet, 
"Indians in North Carolina," the wonderful amount of booty the whites 
captured when they looted an Indian village — thousands of bushels of corn 



21 

and thousands of pounds of pork and bacon; also to note the great number 
of slaves — prisoners taken in war — 'both whites and Indians possessed, all 
of Indian blood.) Ethically perhaps the whites had not so much logic for 
their position. But it was a condition and not a theory that confronted 
them; here they were, to settle and civilize a rich commonwealth, and all 
that stood in their v/ay was a congeries of wild savage tribes obstructing 
them, like a dog in a manger, intent upon keeping the wilderness a wilder- 
ness and a desert for ever. And it is probable that the notion that no 
Indian ever becomes a good Indian until he dies was even a firmer convic- 
tion in the minds of the men of this age of flint and steel than it ever 
became in the minds of the men of the United States army during the sev- 
enth decade of the nineteenth century. I think it highly improbable that, 
under such circumstances as these existing, as high-spirited and adventurous 
a youth of John Perkins appears to have been would have turned tail and 
run away into South Carolina, and for this and other reasons I believe that 
Judge Avery erred in the supposition, which he did not strongly advance, 
that John Perkins went to South Carolina as early as 1754, only two years 
after he made the trip through the mountains with Bishop Spangenburg 
and not a great deal more than two years after his arrival in North Caro- 
lina. All his worldly, material interests bound him to North Carolina and 
it is almost certain that he never did leave Rowan county, Catawba and 
John's rivers until he was compelled to do so by circumstances that he 
could not overcome. I am satisfied he would have run the risk of danger 
from hostile savages. What he had to do, if he was a wise man, was to lead 
up from his surveys to grants from Earl Granville's land office. Work of 
this kind is not done in a day or a year, especially when ten or fifteen 
thousand acres of land are involved; it probably took him several years 
to perfect his titles. We see that, after he had gotten his grants through 
the Earl of Granville's ofiice, the State took the matter up and issued grants 
after the war was over. This is true of the Michaux grant, so called — that 
is, that tract that afterwards fell to the share of John Perkins' granddaugh- 
ter, the daughter of his son John. This grant issued in 1758, and I do not 
doubt that grants for the other tracts were issued earlier. The fact that 
the Michaux grant is the only one that was known to exist in our day is 
no evidence that the others did not exist, for if he had waited until after 
1758 to enter the land surveyed by Bishop Spangenburg it is probable he 
would have been too late. If John Perkins ran away in 1754 he must have 
come back from time to time before 1758 to make his plats and to do all 
the other necessary and tedious things that lead up to the issuance of a 
land grant. He could not have ridden up to the Earl of Granville's land 
office and called out offhand for a grant for land, without "proving up." 

I think that John Perkins did get into trouble, very serious trouble, that 
made it necessary for him to get away. I think that, in the course of his 
work of surveying, platting and traveling over the lands he was endeavoring 
to have granted to him, he had an altercation with an Indian and that he 
was forced to kill the red man. I believe the following letter of Governor 



22 

Dobbs, published in 5 Colonial Records 004, refers to John Perkins: 

"Newbern, July 18, 175G. 
"To Messrs. Waddell, Osborne and Alexander: 

**....! am sorry to find that there hath been one of the Catawbas 
killed 'by Perkins contrary to the express orders I had given to bear with ill 
usage and make a regular complaint in order to have satisfaction demanded 
of the Nation who is the aggressor and therefore if you have made up that 
to the satisfaction of the Catawbas and they wont be content to have him 
tryed and punished by the colony laws, I would advise you to give up the 
delinquent to them, as it is better that one should suffer who has done his 
utmost to bring on a National war than a whole community should suffer 
by his restiveness and disobedience and if he has made his escape do your 
utmost to apprehend him . . . ARTHUR DOBBS." 

The probabilities are that John Perkins left the State and went to South 
Carolina subsequent to the date of this letter. He was just 23 years old 
when this Indian was killed, and, if he killed him, I am sure he did it in 
self-defense. Now, that the Governor was guilty of the cruelty of trying 
to deliver him over (without giving him the rights inherent in every English- 
man) to be tortured and burned at the stake, he realized that he was up 
against it and that it was the part of prudence to go away from tlie State. 

John Perkins wife, Catherine Lowrance, was born Aug. 13, 1742, and 
when their first child, Elisha, was born, on Oct. 18, 1760, she was just a 
little more than 18 years old. Judge McCorkle speaks of iier as the daugh- 
ter of Isaac Lowrance of Bunker Hill, in Lincoln county, and that statement 
does not militate against the traditional statement in the family that she 
was born in the Union district. South Carolina, for it is plausible to conclude 
that, when John Perkins found it safe to return to Rowan county, his 
father-in-law decided to move at the same time to the new and rich coun- 
try, where his son-in-law owned so much valuable property. 

A pretty story touching Catherine Lowrance comes to me, through Mrs. 
Carter B. Harrison of Lenoir, a descendant of John and Catherine Perkins,' 
from the late Miss Laura Norwood of Lenoir. Miss Norwood was a most 
charming woman, intellectual, cultivated, of brilliant wit and of great artistic 
talent which was highly developed and trained. Many women in North 
Carolina have learned from her at Saint Mary's and elsewhere the delicate 
and beautiful art of counterfeiting nature by drawing and by commingling, 
with pencil or brush, in harmonious combinations, the various tints of the 
rainbow. [Camouflage for "teaching art."] Miss Norwood had a taste for 
historical, biographical and genealogical research, especially about Western 
North Crolina subjects, and, being of Huguenot ancestry herself, took espe- 
cial interest in Hug-uenot derivation generally. Knowing that John Perkins' 
son Joseph married a wife, Melissa Lavender, of Huguenot lineage, and 
that hJ3 granddaughter, Susan, daughter of his son John, was married to 
Richard Veiiable Michaux, a descendant of the old Huguenot emigre, Abra- 
ham Michuux, who established himself in Prince Edward county, Virginia, 
about the middle of the seventeenth century, she felt that it was according 



23 

to the eternal fitness of things that Catherine Lowrance, coming from South 
Carolina, should be a Hu}^uenot herself. Exactly upon what facts they 
founded their belief I do not know, but Miss Norwood and Mrs. Harrison 
fully persuaded themselves that John Perkins married Catherine Laurens of 
South Carolina. If he did he did not know it, for he spelled her name "Low- 
rance." It is to be admitted that John Perkins could not have qualified as an 
expert orthographist and that if he were living today he would probably be 
an advocate of the phonetic or simplified school of spelling, under the rules 
of which "Lowrance" might approximate the French pronunciation of "Lau- 
rens" provided the "broad a." were used in "Lowrance." In evidence that 
John Perkins antedated former President Roosevelt as a patron of simplified 
spelling it is only necessary to produce his family record wherein he spells 
the name of his son Burwell "Burrell," which he might have still further 
simplified as "Burl." 

Judge McCorkle wrote around John Perkins and Ephraim Perkins' wed- 
ding to bring in the store of the personal recollections and traditions he 
possessed concerning the prominent people of old Lincoln, all for the enter- 
tainment of the readers of the Neu-ton Enterprise; a detailed biographical 
sketch of John Perkins would have been "another story" for him and would 
have included much that was omitted in these interesting reminiscences. 
He was probably 55 or 60 years old in 1883 and, being connected by blood 
and marriage with the family of Catherine Lowrance and with the Aber- 
nethys and having been born and raised in the neighborhood where John 
Perkins had lived, probably knew about the latter's trouble with Indians and 
about his long Bojourn in South Carolina. At any rate, the one episode 
is proved documentarily, while the other is almost certainly substantiated 
by documents and circumstantially. But fair dealing requires that Governor 
Dobbs be not convicted of endeavoring to deliver over John Perkins to the 
tender mercies and cruel practices of savage Indians unless it is proved. 
However, Governor Dobbs convicts himself of making the eifort, in his 
timidity and panic, to bring that fate upon some free-iborn. British subject 
and citizen of North Carolina, and no injustice is done him. From what we 
know of the characters of Messrs. Waddill, Osborne and Alexander it may 
safely be concluded that they practically ignored this ridiculous edict and 
tfiat the most that they did in the premises was to warn John Perkins to 
keep as much in seclusion as possible while finishing up the work he had in 
hand in the matter of securing his land grants and then to disappear for 
a period until the clouds blew away. The probaibilities are that he did 
not leave the State before 1758, 

That the "clouds blew away" long before John Perkins moved back to 
Island Ford in 1773 is not to be doubted. He had left Rowan a young 
bachelor at least 15 years before that and when he came back to live tem- 
porarily in a tent at Island Ford, in which his seventh child was bom in 
December, 1773, he was forty years old and brought with him his wife 
and five children. His long stay in South Carolina must have been caused 
by a certain amount of material prosperity and it is certain that he did 



24 ' 

not come back empty-handed to the thousands of acres of land that had 
been granted him by the Earl of Granville, every acre of which was part of 
the unbroken forest when he resumed personal occupancy of it. This must 
be so, for in 1790, seventeen years subsequent to his return, seven years 
of which had been years of war and revolution, he was reported by the 
first census, he and those of his children who were householders at that 
time, to have owned 24 negroes. This indicates the possession of personal 
and chattel property that should be estimated as considerable at the least. 
The probability is that he brought most of these negroes with him from 
South Carolina and that the first work upon v/hich they were engaged was 
clearing the bottom lands on the Catawba and John's rivers. 

Living in a tent like Abraham of old, of course one of his earliest activ- 
ities was to build houses and barns, and the first ones erected were doubtless 
very primitive buildings. Later he built more pretentious houses. Re- 
cently I received two photographs from a lady who is a descendant of John 
Perkins, one of which she said was the house in which John Perkins lived 
and died on his Island Ford plantation, about three mile^ from Catawba 
Station. The photograph is of a large, commodious two-story brick house, 
in a good state of preservation, surrounded by fine old oak trees, which 
indicate that there is, or had been, an extensive grove about the place. 
There are brick chimnej^s at each end of the house and the entrance in the 
center of the facade is covered by a small porch, although discolorations 
on the upper walls show v/here there had been rafters to support a porch 
or piazza running the whole length of the house, probably supported by 
"colonial" pillars, as was the custom in the old days. The chimneys on 
the ends of the house would make it appear that there was only one fire- 
place on each story and that one-half of the first story, at least, was one 
big room or "hall," a style of building that was almost universal before 
1800. The other phootgraph was of a tall mantel-piece, the shelf at the 
top being suitable for the convenience of nobody who was not tall. It 
appeared to be of cherry or walnut — some darkish wood, which could not 
be identified in a photograph, and the carving was extremely pretty and 
appropriate. The lady wrote as follows in transmitting the photographs: 
"I am sending you some pictures of the old Perkins house at Island Ford. 
Mrs. George Powell wrote me about the wonderful state of preservation of 
the house. I have heard that the brick came from England. The old 
mantel-piece is hand-carved and has a panel to match going around the 
ceiling of the room. Then, isn't that old oak immense? . . . Mrs. Powell 
also told me a story that had been related of Gentleman John — that he 
had a race course on an island in the Catawba and that, after his fine 
horses were groomed, he would rub a white silk handkerchief over them 
to show if it would show soil, and if so the work would have to be done 
over." I take the white handkerchief story with a grain of salt, as there 
never was a horse raised that could be groomed so clean as that, and I 
have never believed that the bringing over of so many brick from England 
sounded reasonable. It is said that remains of the foundations of the grand- 



25 

stand and temporary stables are still to be seen on the Island. If John 
Perkins built this house it was of course done before 1804, the year of his 
death. 

The years from 1773 to 1776 were busy years with John Perkins, who 
was deeply engrossed by his private business, looking after his farms and 
clearing and improving them, and paying little if any attention to public 
affairs and politics. But, never in the history of America, was politics 
hotter, more e-xciting or fiercer, and, if Pohn Perkins was not a politician, 
many of his neighbors were. Judge Avery used to tell, with great gusto, 
about a gentleman with political aspirations in the eastern part of North 
Carolina who was ambitious to go as a delegate to the national Democratic 
convention of 1896 and was canvassing some of his friends looking to his 
selection. One of these friends catechised him and put him through his 
paces as to his loyalty to the issue of the free and unlimited coinage of 
silver. He asked him question after question and at last irritated the can- 
didate. "See here," said the aspirant, "there is not a stronger friend of 
silver than I am in North Carolina, but I am not going to be a damned fool 
about anything." "You won't do!" was the retort, and the gentleman did 
not go as a delegate to the convention. Some of John Perkins' neighbors 
had been watching him, listening to him and talking to him, and had come 
to the conclusion that his loyalty to the cause of the American colonies was 
just libout on a par with what the Eastern North Carolina candidate's enhtu- 
siasm for free silver was; so they reported him to the Committee of Safety 
at Salisbury, as the following extract from the minutes shows: 

"Proceedings of the Committee of Safety in Rowan County, Salisbury, 
Sept. 20, 1775. — Resolved, that Captain Brevard cite John Perkins to appear 
before the next committee in Salisbury to give an account of his political 
sentiments relative to American Freedom. 

"Oct. 17, 1775. — Pursuant to resolve of last committee John Perkins ap- 
peared. Resolved, that said John Perkins has given such account of his 
political sentiments relative to American freedom as is satisfactory. 

"Resolved, that the principles upon which and the measures Christopher 
Beekman pursued in obtaining the appearance of John Perkins before this 
committee was reasonable and just." — See 10 Colonial Records, pages 
253 and 280. 

That last "Resolve," relative, to the reasonableness and justice of Chris- 
topher Beekman's proceedings in "obtaining the appearance" of John 
Perkins, opens up a wide field for speculation. The committee gave John 
Perkins a clean bill of health politically, but he evidently wanted something 
more. He must have protested to the committee about the course pursued 
by Christopher Beekman in obtaining his appearance. I am inclined to 
believe that Christopher Beekman wont to John Perkihs' house, on the eve 
of the October meeting of the Committee of Safety and served the citation 
for his appearance; that John Perkins promised to be there, but that that 
did not satisfy Beekman, and that he arrested Perkins and, putting him 
under bodily restraint, took him as a prisoner to Salisbury. This is only 



\ 



2G 

surmise, but, if it is true, -it was an outra«e and John~ Perkins was rigrht 
in protesting:. However, in 'those hot time^'the Committee of Safety would 
have been afraid even to mildly chide ?o- energetic a co-laborer as Christo- 
pher Beekman. 

John Perkins' character as a patriot was established by the Committee 
of Safety's "Resolve" of Oct. 17, 1775, and was confirmed iby the act of 
the General Assembly of 1777, which appointed William Sharp, John Hard- 
ing and John Perkins, Esquires, commissioners to run the dividing? lines 
between Rowan and Burke counties. 24 State Records, 29. 

And it was further confirmed by the act of the General Assembly of 
October 23, 1778, which appointed John Perkins one of the thirty Justices 
of the Peace for Rowan county and a Justice of the "County Court and 
Sessions of the Peace." And Christopher Beekman was one of hi.s col- 
leagues! — 23 State Records, 994. 

From the date of his return to Rowan county John Perkins was in the 
midst of a busy career probably for twenty years. In 1790 he had given 
plantations to two of this children, Elisha, on John's river, and Mary, wife 
of Parson Miller, on Lower creek, when they married and "went to them- 
selves," and it is pre.'^umable that at that time his affairs had so prospered 
that they did not require as close application from him as when he be^an 
the arduous task of clearing his thousands of acres of river bottoms. He 
started out well, with a good force of negroes; he was a man of energy, 
industry, foresight and expedients, and within the twenty years of his 
closest application to business, from 1773 to 1793, he was blessed with 
wonderful prosperity. Judge McCorkle pictures him as a country gentle- 
man of affluence and there is no doubt of his having been a very wealthy 
countryman for thai, time and section. It would, however, not be a true 
estimate of his riches to meiisure them by the wealth of his four sons on 
John's river in Burke, for each of them was, when in his prime, a richer 
man than their father Vvas in his day. This may sound paradoxical — 
assuming very properly that they did not add to their wealth of themselves 
— 'but it is due largely to the principle of the growth of wealth through the 
"unearned increment," as Henry George called it. The influx of population 
into North Carolina ran up the value of those four plantations on John's 
river so high that any one of them was worth more, when the master of it 
was 60 years old, than all of John Perkins' property was worth before he 
had given any of it away to his children. The principle will work out and 
is akin the one that water seeks its levcd; the higher the value of land the 
greater will be the net income from it. 

The four "Perkins boys" received four magnificent plantations from their 
father on John's river. John's river heads in a cold spring near Blowing 
Rock and runs down through two valleys, the upper and the lower valley. 
The upper valley bei;ins at the foot of the mountain and extends down 
about ten miles to Collettsville, the site of the old abandoned Indian village 
that Bishop Spangenburg notes as one of his camping places; the lower 
valley extends from Collettsville, 12 or 14 mile.s, to the mouth of the river, 



.27 

•< where itT flows into the Catawba. John P-erkinis' prrants did not extend out- 
side of the lower valley, three-fourths t)f which 'belonged to him. At Col- 
' lettsville, and for some distance above, the hills extend down to the river 
on both sides and there is little or no bottom land, so that the upper valley 
has a generally oval shape and has always been called the "Globe," and, 
with some additions from surrounding? mountain lands, is now Globe town- 
ship, in Caldwell county. In the latter half of the 18th century the Moores, 
Coffeys and Graggs moved in from Southwest Virginia, entered most of the 
land the bulk of at is still in possession of the descendants of the original 
entry-men. 

Beginning with Elisha, the oldest, who received the Pleasant Valley farm, 
nearest the mouth of the river, the four farms extended up the river for six 
or eight miles to the mouth of Wilson's creek, below Collettsville, in the 
following order: Elisha, Joseph, John and Alexander, Alexander's farm 
being the furthest up the river from the mouth. These young Perkinses 
had been raised up with horses and when they went to Burke to live took 
with their horses their love for tine stock and a taste for the races, and it is 
very probable that they all had race-courses on their farms, unless an excep- 
tion be made of Pleasant Valley. Elisha died young and his son Alfred, 
only about ten years younger than his Uncle Alexander, became master at 
Pleasant Valley. As Alfred was a Presbyterian Elder there may be 
some doubt about his having had a race-course at Pleasant Valley. I have 
seen the remains of the track at Alexander's place and also the remains of 
the one at Mary's Grove on Lower creek at Elisha P. Miller's, a grandson of 
John Perkins. There were also very extensive orchards on these farms, the 
preponderating kind of fruit being a delicious, mellow summer apple called 
the ''Perkins P.ed-graft," which John Perkins had introduced. It is an apple 
very like the Winesap and it is within the bounds of probability that brandy 
was made from the apples as well as cider. It may be that even Alfred made 
brandy. The Perkins apple goes by that name yet in Burke and Caldwell 
and is still a delicious fruit. 

To indicate something of the value of these four Perkins farms on John's 
river the following interesting facts may be stated: Along in 1915 Thad- 
deus Perkins, grandson of Alexander and great-grandson of John Perkins, 
who owns the Alexander tract intact, gave an option on it for $80,000. It 
is true that the conditions of the option were not carried out, but the fact 
of the option gives an idea of the value placed upon it. 

The tract of John Perkins, Jr., which lies just below that of Alexander, 
was held in undivided possession by his only child, Mrs. Richard V. Michaux, 
until her death in 1900. It was then divided into seven shares, all of which 
remain in possession of the heirs except two-thirds of one share, which was 
sold. This two-thirds of a one-seventh .share of the John Perkins, Jr., tract 
was lately sold for $9,500. At the same rate the whole tract would sell for 
nearly $93,000. 

The next farm down the river was the Joseph Perkins tract, which has 
been sold out of the family except a small portion of it. It was a magnifi- 



28 , - 

cent faiTTi. 

The last tract, lyin^r on tlie lower part of the river, is the Elisha Perkins 
tract, which has been held by many to have been the most valuable of the 
four, with the exception, perhaps, of the John Perkins, Jr., tract. One of 
four shares in this tract has been divided off and the three ladies who own 
the remaining three-fourths declare they would not take $80,000 for it, 
ORIGIN OF COGNOMEN "GENTLEMAN" 

I 'believe I have discovered the origin of the cognomen "Gentleman" as 
applied to John Perkins: It could possibly have arisen from the fact of 
there having lived in his neighborhood another John Perkins who was an 
uncouth, untidy, slouchy, "Slovenly Peter" sort of fellow and that to dis- 
tinguish him from this John Perkins the John Perkins under consideration 
was called "Gentleman" John Perkins. But this is not likely, for there is 
no record or tradition of there ever having been another John Perkins, and, 
if there had been, such a nei.'^hborhood title would not probably have become 
so generally in use as it was in the case of John Perkins, or to have clung 
to his name for over 100 years after his death. 

Of course if he had been a silly ass and had been in the habit of going 
about boasting and claiminj^ to be a gentleman; for instance, because he was 
styled "John Perkins, Gentleman," in the grants made to him out of the 
Earl of Granville's land oflice, we can easily imagine that he could have 
secured for himself the title of "Gentleman John," bestowed in derision. 
But from what we have read of him and learned about him from tradition 
we have every reason to conclude that he was not such a fool as that. 

The picture drawn of him by tradition is that of a man of good stature, 
well put up, of handsome appearance, "of commanding presence," and 
rather above the average physically. He was well-Jbred and well-mannered 
according to the times and the customs of the country in which he lived, and, 
ir. spite, perhaps, of .an inclination tov/ard a choleric temperament, mc^ni- 
fested a due amount of suiavity and consideration for other people. Men 
of that description are called gentlemen in these days, but no one thinks of 
selecting any particular one and dubbing him the gentleman par excellence 
because he may possess these admirable qualities. In John Perkins' days 
there were many other men in Rowan who possessed the same attributes of 
gentility that he did, and it is idle to suppose that the Scotch-Irish com- 
muniy singled him out for distinction as the model gentleman of the county, 
or of the Island Ford precinct. 

It is a far cry from Salisbury to London, and it is safe to presume that 
the term "gentleman" as used in England was not synonymous with the 
same term as used in Rowan and Mecklenburg in those days. It is but a 
word, and yet these two uses- of it, or rather the use and the non-use of it, 
are some of the indications tliat a line of dt'marcation was being dr::wn 
between the coloni.^ts and the loyalists that was to separate them into hostile 
camps in 1775 and 1770. The loyalists, who were back of the Governor 
and of the oiTicial caste, were the ruling class in the colony as long as the 
Kinjj's authority, as repre.-pnted by his ofticials, was supi-eme. A revolt 



29 

or a revolution is not the easiest thin^^ in the world to foment among Anglo- 
Saxon people, and it cannot be accomplished unless a large proportion of 
the masses of the people jion in. A belief in the necessity for oibedience 
is bred in the bone of this race, and those living in North Carolina in those 
days entertained, either from birth or descent, strong prejudices in favor 
of the mother country and it took something to overcome their loyalty to 
the King. In spite of their many follies, which eventually hastened their 
downfall, the. ruling class, loyal to the crown, exercised many influences 
to control the masses and to hold them from going after the colonial agi- 
tators. These latter were probably the "intellectuals" of that day, young, 
educated, enthusiastic, inspired by the writings of the French "encyclo- 
paedists," many of them well-born but hostile to the monarchy and favoring 
separation from England. It was their task to draw over the masses to 
their side, and they used all the means at hand, preaching the alluring 
principles of equality and liberty as set forth in the new philosophy. Their 
efforts met with great success in firing the popular imagination and was 
greatly assisted by the tactless policy of the royal government, which, as 
far as it was able, was as ruthless and careless of popular sensibilities as 
Louis the Fourteenth of Prance was when he said that it mattered little 
to him what happened after he was gone — even if the flood should come 
again! The climax was reached in May, 1775, when the action of the 
Mecklenburgers stirred the other counties, and, like a match set to shavings, 
started a fire that was never put out. The Committee of Safety of Rowan 
county was dominated by earnest, conscientious, fair-minded men whose 
solicitude was to control the enthusiasm of their followers without damping 
their ardor, and they desired to do strict justice. 

When John Perkins was brought before the committee by Christopher 
Beekman, upon citation of Capt. Brevard, on Oct. 17, 1775, and gave a 
"satisfactory account of his political sentiments relative to American free- 
dom," that was his vindication. But evidently John Perkins protested 
against "the measures pursued by Christopher Beekman in obtaining the 
appearance of John Perkins," or the. committee would not have taken the 
trouble to pass a third resolve that these measures were "reasonable and 
just." It has been suggested that Beekman arrested Perkins and took 
him to Salisbury as a prisoner from his home at Island Ford. People are not 
always nice about such matters in war-times or in near-war-times, as we 
know from reecnt experiences. There have been instances of the arrest, 
in good faith, of perfectly loyal and patriotic American citizens upon 
charges of pro-Germanism, who have been, upon examination, released and 
exonerated. What would you do? To punish a citizen or an oflicer for 
arresting an alleged pro-German mi^rht tend to discourage the patriotic ef- 
forts of others and might result in injury to the country. One can write 
about it philosophically; John Perkins protested, and I am satisfied protested 
vehemently. I can reconstruct the scene: He denounced as an outrage 
his arrest upon a flimsy charge based upon no evidence, and his being 
brought to Salisbury as a prisoner, like a sheep-stealer, as if he were 



30 

guilty of a felony — he, a true colonial and citizen of Rowan county, a gen- 
tleman and not a thief! It was a very natural protest and reasonable, but 
there is no accounting for the whims of a mob or crowd. The Committee 
of Safety was the people's supreme court and was always held with open 
doora. The mob was there and the term "gentleman" evidently used in the 
most unobjectionable sense, was taken up as being used in the loyalist 
sense, a sense that would have allowed of but a few gentlemen in Rowan 
county, none but great land-holders and justices of the peace. That was 
bound to be the sense in which John Perkins used it, for was he not brought 
before the committee on the charge of being unfriendly to American lib- 
erty? This was natural, too — natural but totally unjust. And so they 
echoed back at him — "Gentleman" John Perkins! They builded wiser than 
they knew, for though they dubbed him '^Gentleman John" in reproach, the 
name spread and became general wherever he was known, and now, 115 
years after his death, men call him "Gentleman" John Perkins, not in re- 
proach and not knowing why, but supposing it to be complimentary rather 
than derogatory. 

From the records it is learned that John Perkins never held any other 
office but that of Justice of the Pease and member of the Court of Pleas 
and Quarter Sessions for Lincoln county. Any library of books he owned 
must have been a miscellaneous collection, and, like, all the colections of 
those days, would be very interesting to browse over in these days. I know 
of but one book he possessed, which I have — "Shaw's Justice," an ancient 
tome published in London in the middle of the eighteenth century, upon 
which were probably based his judgments delivered in his dusty-foot court 
of Justice of the Peace and from the bench of the High Court of Pleas and 
Quarter Sessions. It may be assumed that sometimes, perplexed by the 
complicated syllogisms of this old black-letter commentary, he said to him- 
self in the words of Dogberry, **The law is a ass," and fell back upon his 
chimney corner digests and horse-3?n3e pandects. 

SOME OF JOHN PERKINS' MORE PROMINENT DESCENDANTS 
AND SUCCESSORS 

His son, Ephraim Perkins, represented Lincoln in the Senate of 1805. 

Ephraim's son-in-law, Franklin D. Rhinehart, represented Lincoln in 
the House of Commons of four General Assemblies, 1844, 1846, 1848 and 
1850, and in the Senate in the General Assembly of 1858. 

Two of Franklin D. Rhlnehart's grandsons are Wallace A. Rhinehart, son 
of the late Robert Perkins Rhinehart of Newton, who is a member of the 
North Carolina State Senate, Legislature of 119; and young lawyer Mur- 
phy, son of Rev. J. L. Murphy of the Reformed church at Hickory. Both 
are prominent citizens of Catawba county. 

John Perkins* son, Alexander, represented Burke in the Senate in 
the General Assemblies of 1815, 1817 and 1819. (Up to 1835 the General 
Assembly met annually; after that date biennially.) 

^mes Harvey Perkins, son of Joseph and grandson of John, represented 



31 

Burke in the House of Commona in the General Assemblies of 1834, 1835 
and 1836. 

And Joseph Perkins' son-in-law, David Corpening, represented Burke 
in the House of Commons in the General Assembly of 1833. 

Elisha Perkins Miller, son of Parson Miller and of his wife Mary, and 
p^ndson of John Perkins, represented Burke in the House of Commons in 
the General Assemblies of 1836, 1838 and 1840 and Caldwell in the House 
of Commons of the General Assemblies of 1846, 1848 and 1852, and he 
represented Burke and Caldwell in the Senate of 1858. He was the first 
Clerk of the Superior Court for the new county of Caldwell, 1840-1844. 
He was known aa Maj. Miller of the old-time broom-stick militia, the offi- 
cers of which were noted for their g:orgeou3 uniforms, gold lace and ostrich 
feathers and the rank and file for their lack of uniforms and for their poor 
discipline; but he had a "war record" of 13 days, as witness the following 
declaration of Adjutant-General McCain under date of Aug. 3, 1916: "It 
is shown by the official records that Elisha P. Miller served as captain of 
Capt. Miller's company, 3rd North Carolina Militia, in the Cherokee war; 
that he was mustered in to date June 5, 1838, and that ha was mustered 
out at Franklin, North Carolina, June 17, 1838." The Cherokee war was 
a 'bloodless conflict arising out of the removal of the eastern band of 
Cherokee Indians, under treaty, from their old reservation in the extreme 
western part of North Carolina to the new one in far-off Indian Territory. 
Some of them refused to go and assumed such a belligerent attitude that 
the authorities decided on a military "demonstration" and volunteers were 
raised and sent to Cherokee county. These companies were probably not 
technically cavalry, but they went on horseback. Two companies were sent 
from what is now Caldwell county — Capt. Miller's from the Burke section 
and Capt. Horton'a from the Wilkes section. After 13 days of war's wild 
alarms these volunteers were disbanded in the Indian country, the contro- 
versy having been settled without bloodshed. As a matter of fact the 
Indians appear to have gained their point, for they are living there today 
on the eastern Cherokee reservation. 

Dr. Alfred A. Kent (tlu-ough Paraon Miller), a prominent physician and 
capitalist of Lenoir, has represented Caldwell in the House; his uncle, A. 
Vannoy Miller, in the House, and his brother-in-law, Edward F. Wakefield, 
in the Senate. Dr. Kent and his son, Archibald, recently returned from 
the front in France, where he was with the 80th division, are both Univer- 
sity men. 

William C. Newland of Lenoir, through Joseph Perkins, has been a 
member of the House several times, as Lieutenant-Governor has. presided 
over the Senate, and was a very able Solicitor of his judicial district for 
two terms. His nephew, Thomas Newland, a brilliant young lawyer, was 
also Solicitor of the district afterwards, and died in office, cut off upon 
the threshold of a promising career. W. C. Newland's father, the late Dr. 
Joseph C. Newland, represented Caldwell and McDowell in the Senate and 
House, and his uncle, Maj. Avery Connelly (throuj^h Joseph) represented 



32 

McDowell in both houses. Dr. Newland's wife was Laura, daughter of 
Allen and Elizabeth Connelly, Elizabeth being a daughter of Joseph Perkina. 
Gov. Newland is one of the most popular of the public men in the State, 
and his wonderful geniality and the amiability of his disposition have won 
for him the affection and esteem of the people in his district as well as the 
confidence of the people of the whole State. Mr. Newland is a successful 
lawyer and began his career under bright auspices, being well equipped 
professionally, having a most popular turn for engaging the favorable at- 
tention of his constituents and being blessed by nature with a handsome 
person and pleasing address. 

€apt. Nelson A. Miller, son of Ellsha P. Miller and great-grandson of 
John Perkins, was captain of a Confederate cavalry company, was for many 
years on the Board of County Commissioners, was a successful and up-to- 
date farmer and was esteemed one of the most public-spirited of Caldwell's 
citizens. He was a popular man and was frequently pressed to become a 
candidate for political office, but he had no taste for politics and always 
declined. 

William S. Miller, grandson of Parson Miller, a prominent business man 
in Lenoir, has been Sheriff of Caldwell, was long Postmaster of Lenoir, a 
position which son, W. Eugene Miller, filled for several years also. 

Miss Mary Perkins was married to Horatio Miller Kent, descended from 
John Perkins through Parson Miller and his wife, Mary Perkins Miller. 

Charles L. Schiefflin Corpening ("Shuff"), through Joseph, was the son 
of David Corpening and Mary, daughter of Joseph Perkins. David Corpen- 
ing came of fine old Dutch stock, with the same tracings as the New York 
Schiefflins. "Shuff" Corpening, as he was universally called, was the suc- 
cessor to "Squire" Robert C. Pearson of Morganton as leader of the broad- 
minded business men of the mid-western section of the State, west of Salis- 
bury. Besides his wide business activities he was for many years Clerk 
of the. Superior Court for McDowell county. His son, Charles M. Corpening, 
of McDowell, is a retired captain in the U. S. navy, having left the service 
during the Klondike excitement to establish and conduct an electrical plant 
for Dawson City. He is now living the life of a retired sailor on his farm. 
He goes back to John Perkins through John the second by his mother, 
Martha A. Michaux. His son. Max, recently graduated from West Point. 

C. L. S. Corpening had four sisters, and his sister Laura married Leland 
Martin of Wilkes and they have a son, Philetus, who is a Judge of a Superior 
Court in a Texas judicial district. His sister Laura married Leland Mar- 
tin's brother Philetus of Wilkes, and their son, Julius C. Martin, is a prom- 
nent and wealthy lawyer and capitalist in Asheville. His sister Julia mar- 
ried Joseph Lavender Laxton (whose mother, Selina, was a daughter of 
Joseph Perkins), a gallant Confederate soldier who came out- of the war 
with only one leg and was for years a prominent Burke county physician 
and treasurer of the county until his death. Their sons, Ralph and Fred 
Laxton, are prominent in Charlotte as electrical engineers and business 
men generally. The fourth sister, Selina, married Col. Philetu* Roberta. 



33 . - 

a brave Confederate officer who was killed at the battle of Bethel. 

Joseph Perkins had two daughters, Myra and Elizabeth, who married 
two brothers, George Connelly of Caldwell and Allen Connelly of Burke. 
From Allen and Elizabeth Connelly are derived the Newlands of Caldwell, 
the Bergner Forneys of Burke and Maj. Avery Connelly of McDowell. 

George and 'Myra Connelly had several sons and two daughters, and all 
of those surviving raised up families of children who have prospered and 
are among the best of the citizenship of North Carolina and of the country. 
Reference to the descendants of one of their children is made below: 

Jane Connelly, gfreat-granddaughter of John Perkins, was married to Sid- 
ney P. Dula, a well-to-do planter in Caldwell and for many years Clerk of 
the Court. On both the paternal and maternal sides Mr. Dhla belonged to 
colonial families in Wilkes county who took prominent parts in the War of 
the Revolution. On the maternal side he was of the family of the eminent 
Presbyterian divine, Rev. Dr. John Witherspoon, president of Princeton 
College, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence for the 
State of New Jersey. John and David Witherspoon of Wilkes were Revo- 
lutionary patriots, whose general service for the colonies and whose espe- 
cially signal service at the battle of King's Mountain and elsewhere are 
graphically described in Draper's "Heroes of King's Mountain." Mr. Dula 
and his wife raised a large family of children, sons and daughters, and, 
soon after the civil war, moved to Missouri, where Mr. Dula went into the 
business of tobacco farming. Without going through all the details from 
the beginning of this venture until this time, it is sufficient to note its 
success: Caleb Connelly Dula, president of the Liggett & Myers Tobacco 
Company, and Robert B. Dula, a retired officer of the American Tobacco 
Company, both of New York and both great-great-grandsons of John Per- 
kins, make the nearest approach to financial solvency of any of the old 
gentleman's living descendants, as they are accounted to be very wealthy, 
the pleasing epithet of "multimillionaire" Dcing applied to them. Most of 
the members of this Dula family have sha; 'd in the wealth brought by to- 
bacco, but Caleb and Robert are supposed to be the richest members of the 
family. "Bob" Dula, as he was called in CaidewU, was 17 years old in the 
last years of the war and when he arrived at that age went into the Con- 
federate army, and, though he is not an old man, has to confess to being 
a Confederate "veteran." His father was in the army, as well as an older 
'brother, George. His sister, Mrs. Laura D. English, of St. Louis, is much 
interested in everything connected with her great-great-grandfather. Gen- 
tleman John. It was she who furnished the photographs of his house. 

Ward and Frank Powell are two rich young farmers living near Lenoir. 
Ward was County Commissioner a term of two, but resigned upon tne 
plea that his official duties interfered with his private business. They are 
grandchildren of Sidney P. and Jane Connelly Dula, but have another line 
by which to reach John Perkiiis, being grandsons of Rev. John B. Powell, a 
fine old Baptist preacher, who married Margaret Sudderth, a granddaughter 
of Parson Miller and Mary Perkins Miller. 



34 

Jim and Ralph Connelly, bright boys who went through the University, 
are sons of Harvey Perkins Connelly, brother of Jane Dula, and the late 
James B. Connelly, Clerk of the Iredell Superior Court — (and don't they all 
seem to have had it in for the Superior Court clerkships?) — was a son of 
James Mortimer Connelly of Caldwell, brother of Jane Dula. 

John Theodore Perkins, only child of Osmond and Mary Avery Perkins, 
is a Morganton lawyer and rated as being one of the ablest members of the 
Western North Carolina bar. 

Dr. Walter Scott married Eliza, only daughter of Major Elisha P. and 
Sidney Caldwell Miller, granddaughter of Parson Miller and great-gi-and- 
daughter of John Perkins. Dr. Scott was for years before, during and 
after the civil war one of the prominent physicians of that section and was 
extremely popular, although he consistently declined political preferment. 
He was for eight years Treasurer of Caldwell county (1882-1890). 

George Sumpter Powell, a prominent and prosperous Asheville capital- 
ist, is a son of Nelson A. and Mary Sumpter Powell, a grandson of Thomas 
and Amelia Miller Sumpter, a great-grandson of Parson Miller and a 
great-great-grandson of John Perkins. George Powell's grandfather, 
Thomas Sumpter, was a nephew of Gen. Sumpter, the Revolutionary soldier. 

Horatio Nelson Miller, a son of Parson Miller and grandson of John 
Perkins, was a farmer living near Lenoir and for a long time Clerk of 
Caldwell County Court. He was father of William S. and A. V. Miller and 
grandfather of the Kents. 

Many more than half of the descendants of John Perkins live today be- 
yond the confines of North Carolina and I have traced them to every State 
in the Union except the New England States. The above, imperfect list 
includes such of his descendants (and, in a few instances, men who have 
married into the family) as, according to my fallible memory, have filled 
pu<blic positions or have risen above the average in business success. I do 
not doubt that I have omitted scores of names, in and out of the State, 
that should figure in that list as rightfully as those I have placed in it. 
In analyzing it it is interesting to note that not a single minister is found 
among John Perkns' descendants. Among them, scattered over North 
Carolina and outside of it, there may be and probably are some ministers, 
but if there are I do not know of them. There is a fair average of lawyers, 
newspaper men and doctors, and politics appears to have been of interest 
to each generation. But the great majority of the members of this family 
have taken naturally to commerce and agriculture. Up to the time of the 
civil war I do not find the members of this family to have been patrons 
of the University. Many of their women were educated at St. Mary's, 
Edgeworth (?), at Greensboro and Salem, but most of the pre-war boys 
appear to have concluded their studies at such schools as old Valle Crucis 
and Bingham's, and at those, conducted by the very thorough old teachers 
of the class of Parson Miller and Robert Abernethy, at Lincolnton, "Classi- 
cal Academy," and of John William Frederick Gates, Peter Stuart Ney, 
William Owen and William Lavender. John Perkins' son Alexander had 



■\m'-iBmoai 



35 



a son, Theodore, who went through West Point, but I do not think he 
entered the army, as the army in those days was not big enough to accom- 
modate with offices even the meager classes that graduated. The generation 
that was ready for college after the close of the war may (be excused, for 
from 1868 the doors of the University were closed for several years. How- 
ever, since the beginning of the new era in the life of the great institution 
the Perkins family has contributed its share of alumni. 

The fly-leaf entries in the old Shaw's "Justice" are written in a bold, 
strong hand and were probably made by John Perkins himself; all the 
dates are put down as in "ye yare of ye Lord God," and there is no criti- 
cism to be made of the entries other than of the manner of spelling the 
word "year." But good spelling was not a universal accomplishment in 
those days and too much is not to be expected of John Perkins, who started 
out in the world when he was 19 years old. These entries are, moreover, 
some indication of how the word "year" was pronounced, if not by the 
generality, at least by the writer of the entries. "Ye yare of ye Lord God" 
is not Latin, but plain, simple, expressive, homespun English. The English 
translation of "Anno Domini" is "in the year of our Lord," and for two 
thousand years the bulk of Christians have read into the word "Dominus," 
and its equivalent "Lord" in English and its other equivalents in whatever 
languages they have used, the implication of the attributes of divinity; 
although the word has always been applied to human potentates and even 
to persons of lesser dignity. John Perkins was no controversialist, but his 
was the age of hot controversy and the ministers of all the churches 
preached a large proportion of their sermons in controversy with the 
teachers of infidelity and atheism who abounded in those days. Is it 
possible that he used a phrase that may have been for a time in use at 
that period to emphasize and to bring into prominence the belief in the 
fact of the divinity of the Second Person of the Godhead, which the athe- 
ists and infidels were logically bound to deny? It is interesting, because I 
never came across the phrase before. 

When John Perkins first came from Virginia to Island Ford, a lad of 18 
or 19 years of age in 1751-2, he was in all probability of Church of England 
proclivities; not that he needed necessarily to have been very religiously 
disposed, but because many Englishmen of that day, both in the mother 
country and in the colonies (especially if they had any connection with 
the colonial governments) felt that they owed a two-fold allegiance to the 
King — as head of the body-politic and as head of the Church. If John 
Perkins' father, Elisha, was the Perkins who, with his colleague, George 
William Fairfa.x, represented Frederick county, Virginia, in the House of 
Burgesses that met at Williamsburg from 1752 to 1755, he was a Church 
of England man and we may be sure that all of his family had been brought 
up as strict adherents of the State church. And Bishop Meade, in his "Old 
Churches and Old Families in Virginia," lists Isaac Perkins as a vestryman 
of the parish in which Winchester was situated, about the beginning of 
the Revolutionary war, .showing that the Perkinses of Frederick were 
Church of F^ngland people. From the time when John Perkins came to 



Xt.-ux^^'--^- 



36 

Island Ford until he moved to South Carolina, a period of six or eight 
years, there were no Methodists and perhaps few Baptists in Rowan and 
no other English-speaking Protestants except Presbyterians. While most 
of these Presbytrians traced themselves back to Ireland and their Irish 
Presbyterian Church owed its origin to the English Presbyterians, they 
were familiar with the fact of State Presbj'terianism in Scotland, and 
probably shared the general indifference in Rowan to the whole matter of 
church precedence. The fires were smoldering, it is presumable, as early 
as 1752, but it was more than ten years before the agitation issuing 
in the battle of Alamance became acute. So the chances are that before 
he moved to South Carolina nothing occurred to interfere with John Per- 
kins' youthful predilections, and when he returned to Island Ford in 1773 
we may assume that his sentiments in regard to the Church at least were 
unchanged. We know that two years later doubts existed as to his senti- 
ments in regard to matters of state, which he resolved satisfactorily. 

Even if this were not known by family tradition to have been the case, 
there would be a strong presumption that his children, as long as they 
remained under the parental roof, were nominally if not by profession 
Episcopalians. Parson Miller, his ion-in-law, was an Episcopal clergyman 
and Joseph Perkins, one of the sons, accompanied Parson Miller as a lay 
delegate from White Haven Episcopal parish to the Tarboro convention 
that elected Rev. Charles Pettigrew Bishop of the Diocese. But in the 
next generation the adherents of the Episcopal Church diminished greatly. 
John Perkins the Second had but one child, Susan, wife of Richard V. 
Michaux, and practically all of their descendants, with a few exceptions, 
are Episcopalians. The descendants of Mary, daughter of Joseph Perkins 
and wife of David Corpening, are the only descendants of Joseph Perkins 
who are Episcopalians. Even the family of Parson Miller was lax in its 
loyalty to the church of their father. The descendants of his son, Elisha 
P. Miller of Mary's Grove, are all Episcopalians, and so are some of the 
descendants of his son, Horatio Nelson,, and of his daughter, Amelia Sump- 
ter. These are all of the Episcopalian descendants of John Perkins for 
whom I can vouch. 

PART II. 

ELISHA PERKINS, THIRD 

Born Oct. 18, 1760. The. maiden name of his wife is not known; after 

bis death she married Maj. Highland, a Revolutionary soldier. He had a 

daughter, for there is a record of an Elisha Perkins Kincaid, a grandson; 

I know nothing further of them. 

AXiFRED was the only other child, who inherited the Pleasant Valley 
plantation. CoL Walton speaks of Elisha and his son Alfred. Alfred mar- 
ried iMary, daughter of Robert Caldwell of Burke, an Ulster Irishman who 
was "out in '98," and found it expedient to gro upon his travels, winding 
up in Burke county. The daughter, Elizabeth, married a Mr. Williams 
and moved to Georgia, and Elisha Alexander and Robert Caldwell, truly 
par nobile fratrum, became owners of Pleasant Valley. It would take a 



37 

book to record all the delightful things that could be written about these 
two brothers who owned everything in common as long as they both lived. 
Robert married Mary Neal of Hertford county, a niece of the late Dr. 
Richard Browning Baker of Bertie. She died within a few years. Later 
he married Emma Sue Gordon of Chowan. Alexander remained a bachelor 
for several years. He went into the civil war as captain of a cavalry com- 
pany from Burke, Caldwell and McDowell. Soon after the close of the 
war he married Juliana Gordon, sister of Mrs. Robert C. Perkins. Mrs. 
Robert C. Perkins died childless; then followed the death of Mrs. Alexander 
Perkins, leaving four daughter for these two men to raise, and right well 
did they live up to their responsibilities. Alexander, the father, died first, 
leaving Robert head of the house, hut the children had never known any 
difference between them. And then Robert died, but the four girls were 
then young ladies, and there, at Pleasant Valley, three of them live the 
ideal lives of country gentlewomen in their sweet home, the House of Hos- 
pitality, where the many kinf oiks and hosts of other friends delight to con- 
gregate. Mrs. H. M. Kent of Caldwell, Mrs. Robert McConnaughey, Mrs. 
Robert L. Forney and Miss Sue Gordon Perkins of Pleasant Valley. 

The late Justice Alfonso C. Avery of Burke, in his "History of the Pres- 
byterian Churches of Quaker Meadows and Morganton," speaks as follows 
of Alfred Perkins and of his two sons, Elisha Alexander and Robert Cald- 
well Perkins : 

"Elder Alfred Perkins 
"Alfred Perkins was a son of Elisha Perkins and grandson of Gentleman 
John Perkins, who was among the earliest landowners in the fertile valley 
of John's River. 

"Alfred Perkins was bom (probahly about 1785). He married 

Mary Caldwell, a daughter of Robin Caldwell and sister of John Caldwell, 
the father of Gov. Tod R. Caldwell. He was a quiet, unobtrustive gentle- 
man, but by reason of his high character, sound judgment and store of gen- 
eral information he was naturally brought forward and looked to as a leader 
in church and state. We know that he was the Senator from the Burke dis^ 
trict in 1817. His name was brought forward by John H. Wheeler as 
Senator 'A Perkins.' 

"He was ordained elder during the pastorate of Rev. John Silliman. 
Owing to the loss of record of the session prior to 1835 the precise date 
of his ordination cannot be ascertained. But the minutes of Concord 
Presbytery show that he often attended Presbytery as a delegate during the 
pastorates of Rev. John Silliman and Rev. John S. McCutchan, and was 
an active and interested participant in the proceedings. It was he who 
expressed the assent of the church at Morganton to the dissolution of pas- 
toral relations with Mr. Silliman and who obtained the sanction of that 
body to the call of his friend. Rev. J. S. McCutchan. 

"Mr. Alfred Perkins left a daughter, Elizabeth, who married Mr. Wil- 
liams and moved to Georgia; and two sons, Capt. E. A. Perkins and Mr. 
Robert C. Perkins. Like his friend and neighbor, W. W. Erwin, who lived 
on an adjacent farm, he left two sons who were elected elders in his old 
church and followed in his footsteps in leading exemplary lives. 



38 

**Elder ElisKa Alexander Perkins 

*Tapt. E. A. Perkins was the eJder of two sons of Alfred Perkins, the sub- 
ject of a sketch already written. He was bom Jan. 16, 1823, at his father's 
old home. Pleasant Valley,' on John's River, and died on Aug. 16, 1897. He 
was a quiet, sweet-tempered and modest man, but was unyielding in his 
adherence to principle and to what his conscience taught him was right. 

"He volunteered as a private in the first company of cavalry raised in 
Burke county, which later was Company F of the Forty-first North Carolina, 
or Third Cavalry regiment; but on the reorganization of the company at 
the end of the year was elected captain and served in that capacity till the 
close of the. civil war. In his private life he was always deliberate, never 
known to be excited, and in battle was as cool and clear-headed as when 
engaged in his ordinary business in private life. He was distinguished for 
his uniform courage in battle, and his kindness and attention to his men 
in camp. Capt. Perkins was ordained an elder soon after uniting with the 
church in 1867, and as an officer of the church commanded the confidence 
and love of its members. 

"He was married to Miss Juliana Gordon, a sister of the second wife of 
his brother, Robert C. Perkins, and of this marriage four daughters were 
'born, all but one of whom retain their connection with the church and 
are among its staunch and liberal supporters. 

"Elder Robert C. Perkins 

'"Robert Caldwell Perkins was born at 'Pleasant Valley,' on John's River, 
May 9, 1825, and died at his home Feb. 23, 1904. He was the only brother 
of Capt. E. A. Perkins. 

"The two brothers lived with their mother until her death and after- 
wards occupied the same house until separated by death. The devotion of 
the two to each other seems to have been without parallel, even amongst 
brothers. They continued to cultivate a valuable farm, without a thought 
of dividing it or of a division of rents. They had but one purse and either 
felt at liberty to resort to it to meet personal expenses. At one time R. C. 
Perkins went, with a large party of North Carolinians, to California, where 
,he spent some years in mining. But when he returned all that he had made 
in mining was mingled with the common fund arising from the profits of 
the farm under his brother's management. It was said that they never 
disagreed, though they consulted freely about the management of their 
property. 

"Mr. R. C. Perkins was twice married, but no children were born to him 
of either union. He was first married to Miss Mary Neal of Halifax, sister 
of Maj. John B. Neal, who was prominent as a soldier and a politician. His 
second wife was Miss Emma Sue Gordon, a cousin of Miss Neal's, and whose 
sister afterwards became the wife of Capt. E. A. Perkins. R. C. Perkins 
seemed to love his brother's children as if they were his own, and lived with 
them until he provided for them before his death. He never sought public 
office, though upon the resignation of E. P. Moore as sheriif he was ap- 
pointed to fill the unexpired term and proved a very efficient and accept- 
able officer. 



39 

"He had been installed as deacon before the death of his l)rother and was 
afterwards elected elder. He was upright and careful in the conduct of his 
■business. He was firm in his adherence to principle and was esteemed as a 
model in his walk and conversation by the community in which he lived." 
"Pleasant Valley Farm," on John's river, one of the richest and most 
valuable plantations in Burke county, is in acreage and extent just as it 
was when John Perkins gave it to his son, Elisha 3rd, something over 126 
years ago, and undivided as to its broad acres, is the property in common 
of four ladies, great-great-granddaughters of John Perkins. Elisha Per- 
kins left a widow and one son, Alfred, of whom Col. Walton says: "Alfred 
Perkins, a man highly esteemed for his probity, was a leading elder in the 
Presbyterian Church. His death in the meridian of life was deeply regret- 
ted by all who knew him. He, like the older members of the Perkins fam- 
ily, was of the bone and sinew of the land. He married Mary, the youngest 
daughter of Robert Caldwell, St., leaving at his death three children, Elisha 
Alexander, Robert Caldwell and Elizabeth. Alexander reminds me very 
much of his father, in character, form and face. 

"So near approach we their celestial kind 
By justice, truth and probity of mind." 
Alexander and Robert bought the interest in "Pleasant Valley" of their 
sister, Elizabeth, who married a Mr. Williams of Mississippi. Robert mar- 
ried first Miss Mary Neal of Hertford county and, second. Miss Emma Susan 
Gordon of Chowan; he had no children by either wife. Alexander was 
like his father in being a Presbyterian elder. He was captain of a company 
of cavalry in the civil war. Somewhat late in life he married a sister of 
his brother's second wife. Miss Juliana Gordon, who was the mother of the 
four ladies who now own "Pleasant Valley" — Mrs. Mary Perkins Kent, Mrs. 
Emma Perkins McConnaughey and Miss Susan Gordon Perkins. These two 
brothers, from their babyhood to the death of Alexander, lived together and 
owned everything in common, and, at the death of Alexander, Robert en- 
tered into loco parentis to his brother's four daughters, who had never 
known any difference, in love and affexition, between the two. Although 
Alexander was the older of this par nobile fratrum, as Judge McCorkle 
justly calls them for the sake of euphony, they were in common parlance 
always spoken of together as "Bob and Aleck" Perkins. The English 
rule of primogeniture would assign the headship of the House of Perkins 
in North Carolina to Mrs. Mary Perkins Kent, a charming and accomplished 
lady, a graduate of Peace Institute, who was married to Horatio Miller Kent, 
descended from Jehn Perkins through Parson Miller and his wife, Mary 
Perkins Miller. The three other sisters, like their father and uncle, reside 
together in the fine old home at "Pleasant Valley," Mrs. Forney being a 
widow. 

Robert Johnstone and Mary Perkins Miller 

According to the records of the office of the Fourth Assistant Postmaster 
General at Washington, Lower Creek postoffice, Burke county, N. C, was, 
established at Mary's Grove and Robert Johnstone Miller appointed post- 



40 

master, May 23, 182G, which position he held until his death in 1834. The 
postoffice was evidently created as a pu'blic convenience and not as a means 
of personal emolument for Parson Miller, who derived from the office in 
1833 an income of $11.86. Perhaps he derived more benefit from the priv- 
ilege the office conferred on him of franking his own correspondence, which 
was large. This was a privilege belonging to all postmasters, and in his 
case was all the more deserved because, as a Revolutionary veteran, he had 
consistently declined to apply for a pension, and so did his widow after his 
death. It is assumed that he availed himself of the franking privilege. 
Ui>on Parson Miller's death James Harper, Esq., was appointed postmaster 
of Lower Creek and moved the office a mile eastward to his large store at 
Fairfield, located just a mile west of where the court house in Lenoir now 
stands, and in 1841, when the town of Lenoir was established, the past- 
office was removed to that town and James Harper made postmaster. So 
the present Lenoir postoffice may be said to be the lineal descendant of 
the Lower Creek postoffice established at Mary's Grove in 1826. 

The Mary's Grove plantation, which was given by John Perkins to his 
daughter Mary when she married Parson Miller, was not a part of any 
grants made to him by Earl Granville, but was bought, either during or 
after the Revolutionary war, from Isaac Baldwin, a Tory, who deemed it 
expedient to leave the country. There was a "sprinkling" of Tories in the 
western section and one quite prominent lived but a few miles southwest of 
Mary's Grove, Col. Veezy Husband, a brother of Herman Husband, for 
whom was named Husband's creek in Caldwell, which runs through lands 
once owned by him. Lower Creek runs through Caldwell, past Lenoir, to 
the Catawiba river, into which Lower creek, a Caldwell stream. Middle 
creek (John's river) running along the line between Caldwell and Burke, 
and Upper creek, in Burke — all three in Burke in those days — empty almost 
together near the line between the two counties. Parson Miller resided on 
the plantation from the date of his marriage in 1787 until 1792, during 
which period three of his children were born, moving back to Lincoln in 
1792. In 1806 he returned to Mary's Grove, where he built the "hospitable 
mansion," where he lived until his death. The grove in which the house 
was situated was a magnificent collection of giant oaks and hickories; fifty 
years ago it covered a space of at least ten acres, and, though diminished in 
size now, is still a beautiful grove. During the first ten or fifteen years 
of his residence at Mary's Grove Parson Miller was away a great deal on 
missionary tours in North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina and Vir- 
ginia, and his excellent wife was the head of the house and the manager 
of aiTairs. 

In appearance Parson Miller is described as straight, dignified, above the 
average height, being a little under six feet tall, and of a benevolent but 

serious cast of countenance. He never gave up wearing "short-clothes" 

knee pants and stockings — and his silver knee buckles and shoe buckles are 
in possession of a descendant now, in a very peculiar shape — that of silver 
apoons! The spoons are valued highly as relics, it is true, but they lack 
the personal sentiment that would attach to the buckles. 

These were their children: 
(A) John W«>Uy. 



41 

He was born at Mary's Grove, Dec. 23, 1787. There are no data at hand 
touching his history. 

(B) George Osman. 

Born July 8, 1789, at Mary's Grove; died March 18, 1805, in Lincoln 
county. 

(C) Catherine Lowrance. 

Born Nov. 15, 1790, at Mary's Grove. Married Rev. Godfrey Dreher, a 
Luthern minister in South Carolina, in which State they have numerous 
descendants of respectability. 

(D) Margaret Bothiar. 

Born Aug. 5, 1792, at Poplar Hill, near Island Ford, Lincoln county. 
Married John Suddcrth, a wealthy farmer on John's river. Their children 
were: 

(1) Anne, who married Robert McCombs in Cherokee county, where 
numerous descendants reside, enjoying the respect of their neighbors. 

(2) Sydney, who married a Miss Bristol of Burke, where their family 
still lives. 

(3) John, who married a Miss Shuford of Catawba. A daughter married 
John S. Haigler, a great-grandson of Parson Miller. 

(4) Margaret Bothier, who married Rev. John B. Powell, a much es- 
teemed Baptist minister in Caldwell, who belonged to the family founded 
by an officer in Ferguson's army that was defeated by the colonists at King's 
Mountain. In spite of their having been on the royalist side in the Revo- 
lutionary war the Powells established themselves as a leading family in this 
section, and one of them, in this instance, married the daughter of a rebel 
veteran. Their children were: 

(1) John M., who married Addie Dula; his history is set forth under the 
head of Joseph Perkins. Besides Ward and Frank, the sons, there are two 
daughters, Mrs. Jennings and Mrs. Throneburg. 

(2) Horace, who married Miss Hartley. The husband is dead and the 
widow lives with her family in Virginia. 

(£) Sarah Amelia. 

Born July 23, 1784, at Poplar Hill, near Island Ford, and married, first, 
Col. Sumpter of South Carolina, a relative of Gen. Sumpter; married, sec- 
ond. Rev. Joseph Puett, a Methodist minister. The children were: 

(1) Robert Sumpter, who went to Virginia at an early age; no data at 
hand. 

(2) Caroline Sumpter, who married Albert E. Haigler of Lenoir. Their 
sons, Elisha P. and John S. Haigler, were gallant Confederate soldiers, who 
moved to Texas soon after the civil war and have become prosperous and 
prominent citizens. John S. Haigler married Miss Sudderth, a great-grand^ 
daughter of Parson Miller. Elisha married a Texas lady. Both have sons 
and daughters: Sarah, who married Capt. Stowe of Gaston county. They 
were married soon after Capt. Stowe came out of the civil war and moved 
to Kansas. Mrs. Stowe was a graduate of St. Mary's, Raleigh, and was 
one of the most accomplished women ever sent out from that great school. 
She left one daughter, Caroline Sumpter, who inherited her mother's beauty 



42 

and talents and also went to St. Mary's. Her well-trained and beautiful 
voice and her unusual gifts in the arts of drawing and painting early placed 
her among the foremost of the galaxy of remarkaibly gifted and talented 
•vromen which the passing generation has given to Lenoir. She is married 
to Carter Beverly Harrison of Williamsburg, Va., a civil and railroad con- 
structing engineer who later went into business and is one of the leading 
business men of Lenoir. They have a family of six interesting daughters. 
Mary, who married Samuel Hartley, one of the old-time business standbys 
of Lenoir. Both are dead, childless. Caroline and Amanda, twins. The 
former married, first, John L. Powell of Catawba, and second. Col. Gard of 
Florida. She is living in Lenoir, widowed and childless. Her twin sister, 
Amanda, married Lewis Brown of Salisbury, who later moved to Asheville, 
where they now live. Mrs. Gard and Mrs. Brown both graduated at St. 
Mary's, Raleigh. 

(3) Mary Sumpter, who married Nelson A. Powell, a prominent manu- 
facturer and farmer of Lenoir, and a brother of Rev. John B. Powell, above 
spoken of. Their children were George Sumpter Powell, one of the most 
prominent business men and financiers in the State, with headquarters at 
Asheville; and Lucy, who married her cousin, Tate Powell, of Catawba, and 
went to live in Mississippi and Florida. 

(4) Elisha Perkins Puett, a Confederate soldier who died childless. 

(5) Joseph Pinkney Puett, also a good Confederate soldier who survived 
the war many years. He married Miss Sally Haigler of Caldwell, and 
raised a family of worthy sons and daughters. He was widely known and 
respected in the county as one of its most sterling citizens: John, Joseph, 
Stella and Caroline. 

(F) ELISHA PERKINS AND SIDNEY CALDWELL MILLER 

Elisha Perkins Miller was born July 21, 1796, at Willow Hill, near White- 
haven church, Lincoln county. His wife, Sidney Caldwell, daughter of 
Robert Caldwell of Burke, was born at Londonderry, Ireland, in 1801, 
came to this country with her parents when she was six years old and died 
in 1875. She was educated at Salem Female Academy. Her sister iMary 
married Alfred Perkins and she was the aunt of Alexander and Robert 
Perkins, of former Gov. Tod R. Caldwell and of Robert Caldwell Pearson, 
at one time president of the Western North Carolina Railroad Company, 
all of Burke. An older brother, Robert Caldwell 2nd, was a wealthy mer- 
chant in Petersburg, Va., who, dying unmarried in 1818, left his fortune 
to his brother John and to his sisters. The considerable bequest left to 
Mrs. Miller by her brother's will enabled her to assist Major Miller to 
acquire the whole of the Mary's Grove property at the death of Parson 
Miller. Under the proprietorship of Major and Mrs. Miller Mary's Grove 
became and continued to be one of the notable seats of hospitality in Burke 
and Caldwell for many years. Major Miller represented Burke county in 
the biennial Legislatures of 1836, 1838 and 1840. The Legislature of 1840 
created the county of Caldwell from portions of Burke and Wilkes coun- 
ties and the county was founded in 1841. In 1842 Major Miller was elected 
tha first Clerk of the Superior Court for the county. He did not exercise 



43 

the functions of his office except by deputy, which was not a popular thing 
to do, and in 1844 he was defeated by a rising young physician, Ur. J. U. 
Newland. In 1842 and 1844 the county was represented in the lower house 
of the Legislature by William Dickson, a Whig friend of Major Miller. In 
1846 and in 1848 Major Miller represented Caldwell in the lower house 
of the General Assembly. In 1850 his nephew, Tod R. Caldwell of Burke, 
was a candidate for the State Senate for the 46th district, and Major Miller 
supported his old friend, John Hayes of Caldwell, for the lower house, who 
was elected. In 1852 he was again elected to the lower house. In 1854 
he was defeated for the Legislature by a margin of six votes by Gen. 
Cornelius Clarke, a Democrat. In 1856 he was again defeated by a small 
majority by Gen. S. F. Patterson, I believe. In 1858 he was elected to 
the State Senate for the 46th district. In 1860 his failing health took him 
out of politics and early in 1861 he died. For 25 years he was a man of 
great popularity in Burke and Caldwell counties and exerted a wide influ- 
ence upon Whig politics in the western section of the State. Judge Mc- 
Corkle calls him the "father of Caldwell county," a title which he perhaps 
deserves, for it is probable that, but for his exertions, the creation of the 
county would have been delayed several years. Elisha P. Miller had six 
sons and one daughter living at the beginning of the war; all the sons were 
in the Confederate army and were good soldiers: 

(1) Robert Caldwell Miller was born in 1821 and died in 1873. As a 
very young man, in 1841-2-3, he was Deputy Clerk of the Superior Court 
of Caldwell county under his father, who was the first clerk. He was a fine 
business man and at one time was engaged in the manufacture of tobacco 
with Richard V. Michaux of Burke. When the collapse of the Episcopal 
school at Valle Crucis, in Watauga county (it was then Ashe county) came, 
Mr. Miller bought the property of the school, something like 2,000 acres, 
and turned it into a stock farm. He married Lucy Kendrick Abemethy, a 
ward and kinswoman of Bartlett Shipp of Lincoln, and had one son, Robert 
CaldwelL Both mother and son died within a few years. He was a member 
of Company F, 41st Regiment (cavalry) N. C. State troops, Capt. Perkins' 
company. Susan Fenimore Cooper, daughter of James Fenimore Cooper, 
in her "Memoir of William West Skiles; a Sketch of Missionary Life at 
Valle Crucis" (New York: James Pott & Co., publishers, 1890), which de- 
scribes the missionary work of the Episcopal Church in Ashe county, after 
the failure of Valle Crucis as a school and mission station, makes the fol- 
lowing reference to Mr. Miller: 

"The property, heavily encumbered with debt, was sold, both land and" 
stock, by the representatives of Dr. Ives to Mr. Robert Miller, the grandson 
of a Church clergyman of the olden time, who now worked the former mis- 
sion ground as a farm. He was very kind to Mr. Skiles. The little office, 
or library, became the home of the missionary, who slept there, taking his 
meals, without charge, at Mr. Miller's. From the herd which had been so 
long his care the good Deacon reserved a favorite horse for missionary 
work, and several pet cows; and for these Mr. Miller also provided liber- 
ally. The missionary took all the care of the horse on himself. Henry, a 



44 

fine, spirited roan, was already a sort of brother missionary, carrying his 
master faithfully, by night and day, over many a rugged path on errands 
of duty, or charity. The cows were re.ser\'ed for the benefit of poor parish- 
ioners. ... In the summer of 1853 a fellow-laborer in the good work came 
to assist Mr. Skiles, Mr. George N. Evans, a layman from Lenoir. He was 
received very kindly by Mr. Miller, who gave him two rooms in his own 
house, a front room with a fireplace and a bedroom adjoining, both com- 
fortably furnished. A particular horse was placed at his disposal. For 
these conveniences and three bountiful meals daily the charge was three 
dollars a month ! . . . Across the valley from the farmstead in the meadows 
beyond the little stream, labourers might 'be seen saving hay for a herd of 
fifty cattle. Near the buildings in the home field some twelve or fifteen 
sleek, straight-backed, small-tailed calves were seen gambolling and feeding. 
Night and morning a procession of twelve or fifteen sleek, glossy Durham 
cows came home to be milked. Of the milk and butter from this fine herd 
no account was taken; what was not eaten at table, or used for cooking, was 
left freely to the negroes. On the mountain was a large herd of fine Dur- 
hams, grazing at wi'l. Every Saturday Mr. Miller went up to tns Alpine 
pasture to salt the herd; occasionally, for a holiday, Mr. Skiles and Mr. 
Evans went with him. After reaching the wild open pasture the usual call 
would be given, and in a moment the great creatures would come running, 
jumping, leaping, in their uncouth way, surrounding the visitors, their 
kindly faces and large dark eyes all turned towards their friend, the farmer. 
... It was a regular habit with Mr. Miller to take gun and hounds with him 
to the "salting." A deer was almost invariably roused on returning, and 
the crack of the rifle, with the baying of the hounds, was often heard from 
the pastures where the herd was feeding. The cattle heeded these sounds 
very little and were seldom alarmed by them, being familiar with the 
iounds. In one year, nt this date, about 1854, seven deer were killed within 
tixe limits of Valle Crucis. . . . There were great fishermen, as well as 
hunters, in the valley. A brother of Mr. Miller was a very skillful angler. 
The finest of brook trout were on table almost every day during the season. 
Occasionally he would go to particular points on the mountain streams, 
familiar to him, equipped witli rod and flies, and return in the evening with 
perhaps fifty or sixty trout, some of them nearly a foot long. Mr. Miller 
was something of a naturalist; rather too much so for the comfort of his 
friends. Among his pets was a live rattlesnake, a near neighbor of the 
missionary. He kept it in a cage on the porch. On one occasion when Mr. 
Skiles and Mr. Evans were passing through the porch after supper they 
heard Mr. Miller calling out in surprise: "Why, what are you doing here?" 
It was the rattlesnake with whom he was conversing. The creature was 
crawling about at leisure, having crept through the slats of his cage, flat- 
tening himself to an incredible degree to accomplish the feat. Mr. Miller, 
not at all discomposed, took the snake by the neck with a pair of tongs, 
and with the other hand held the tail, rattles and all, and coolly replaced it 
in the cage. On another occasion he was seen riding past the office with a 
bag of trout at his side, and over one shoulder a pole, with a live rattlesnake 



45 

attached to it. He had seen the snake, caught it, tied it with a strip of bark 
to a tree until he had caught trout enough, and then fastened it to a pole, 
neck, body and tail, and, carrying the pole over one shoulder, rode quietly 
home with the deadly reptile at his back." 

This idyllic experience of Mr. Miller, which, together with the other expe- 
riences of life at Valle Crucis, Miss Cooper describes so graphically and 
realistically as to raise her book almost to the dignity of a prose eclogue, 
occurred soon after his bereavement in the death of his wife, and son, and 
no doubt the life he led here was more of a solace than any other occupation 
he could have engaged in. Subsequent to this came his business ventures, 
although he retained the Valle €rucis property for several years afterwards. 

[It is interesting to note that Miss Susan Fenimore Cooper, the writer 
of the fascinating little book from which the above extracts were taken, 
was the daughter of James Fenimore Cooper, the great American novelist, 
was born at Scarsboro, N. J., in 1813, and during the last years of her 
father's life was his secretary and amanuensis. She died in Cooperstown, 
N. Y., Dec. 31, 1894, in her 81st year, just four years after the publication 
of her book about Valle Crucis. — From the People's Cyclopoedia.] 

The Valle Crucis Estate 

The following extract is made from Mr. Marshall DeLancey Haywood's 
"Bishops of North Carolina": 

"It was in 1844-'45 that Bishop Ives began to take steps toward the 
establishment of a mountain mission in Watauga (Ashe) county at a place 
called Valle Crucis. This was a noble conception for the spread of religion 
and education throughout the mountainous section of the diocese, thereto- 
fore a much-neglected field; and, had he confined his religious views strictly 
to the teachings of the Holy Scriptures and Book of Common Prayer, the 
andertaking might have met with more success. Even with its early record, 
whereby it lost the confidence of the Church for a time, much good has 
been accomplished there. ... In August, 1844, while on a visit to the 
Watauga Valley, the Bishop purchased a farm and awarded contracts for 
the erection of buildings for a missionary station. Of this farm, one hun- 
dred acres were under cultivation when the land was purchased. A small 
grist mill and tannery were already on the place. The first buildings 
erected under the auspices of Bishop Ives were a saw mill, a log kitchen 
and dining room, a log dwelling containing four rooms, and a frame build- 
ing (sixty by twenty feet) with a room at each end for teachers, togethex 
with a large hall for school purposes in the center, all on the ground floor. 
Over the whole was a dormitory for boys. All these buildings, said the 
Bishop, would be ready by June, 1845. The objects of the Valle Crucis 
mission, as set forth by Bishop Ives to the convention of 1845, were as 
follows: To extend the gospel throughout a territory, thirty or forty 
miles in every direction, to a religiously destitute people; to give rudi- 
mentary instruction to poor children of the immediate neighborhood on 
terms which their parents could afford; to receive into the institution young 
men of talent from the surrounding country, on condition that they should 
serve as teachers and catechists for a certain time after graduation, under 



46 

the direction of the authorities of the mission; to train hoys of talent and 
merit for either the ministry or subordinate services to the Church; to 
g:ive theological training to candidates for holy orders; to conduct a gen- 
eral school, both classical and agricultural; and to maintain a model farm, 
both as an aid in maintaining the mission and as a means of instructing 
the surrounding population in improved agriculture. This was the first 
school in North Carolina where practical agriculture was taught. The farm 
work was under the direction of a young agriculturist from the State of 
New York. In 1846 much progress was reported at Valle Crucis. Several 
of the old mills had been replaced with new and improved buildings for 
the same uses, and a large barn and blacksmith shop had been added, besides 
other houses. In the classical and agricultural school twenty-eight pupils 
had received instruction during the year, nine of these being given instruc- 
tion and board free of charge. There were also seven candidates for holy 
orders residing there. Upon receipt of this report for 1847 the Committee 
on the State of the Church, through its chairman, the Reverend Robert 
Brent Drane of Wilmington, reported that it deeply sympathized with the 
Bishop in his wishes and agreed with him in the expectation of its ulti- 
mately becoming a noble, and permanent nursery of the Church. In 1846 
the Valle Crucis mission sustained a severe blow in the death of its first 
rector, the Reverend William Thurston. Of that faithful servant of God 
Bishop Ives wrote: 'As a friend, a presbyter, the rector of the school 
at Valle Crucis, and my associate in that self-sacrificing enterprise, his 
simplicity and guilelessness, and fidelity, and unflinching toil, had not only 
endeared him to my heart, but also made his loss a severe trial to my faith 
in the important work (to which I felt myself so urgently called) of spread- 
ing the light of life through our mountain wilds.' After the death of Mr. 
Thurston the Reverend Henry H. Prout became head of the mission and 
the Reverend Jarvis Buxton (son of the Reverend Jarvis Barry Buxton) 
had charge of the school. In time the Reverend William Glenny French 
succeeded Mr. Prout as head of the mission. In addition to those already 
mentioned in connection with Valle Crucis, quite a number of others lived 
there, at one time or another, who were either then in the sacred ministry 
or later took holy orders. Among these may be mentioned William R. 
Gries, William Passmore, George Patterson, Frederick Fitz-Gerald, Joseph 
W. Murphy, Richard Wainwright Barber, Charles T. Bland, William West 
Skiles and Thomas F. Davis, Jr. There were probably others also. In 
the report of the Committee on the State of the Church for 1848 we find 
the announcement: *It is understood that the religious house at Valle 
Crucis will henceforth devote its energies to the instruction of candidates, 
or those who desire to become candidates, for holy orders. The importance 
of this institution to the diocese is immense, as the nursery of a future 
ministry. It appears to possess peculiar advantages for this work, not 
only in the retirement, for the time being, of its studejits from the dis- 
tractions of society, and the hardy and useful discipline to which they are 
Inured, but also in the great economy with which the work can be con- 
ducted — your committee being informed that $50 apiece, per annum, may 
be made to cover all necessary expenses, except clothing.' By 1849 the 



47 

mission at Valle Crucis had beg:un to drift away from the teaching of the 
Church, and was fast becoming a feeble and undignified imitation of the 
monastic institutions of the Church of Rome- ... In connection with the 
Valle Crucis mission it is but just to the clergymen there stationed by 
Bishop Ives to add that when he abandoned his Church a few years later 
not one followed his example. Their vow of 'obedience' did not carry 
them that far. After the defection of its founder the above mission was 
almost deserted for nearly half a century, though the Reverend William 
West Skiles faithfully labored as a missionary in that vicinity until his 
death, Dec. 8, 1862. The work there was revived, many years later, chiefly 
through the instrumentality of Bishop Cheshire; but it is at present situated 
within the missionary jurisdiction of Asheville, under Bishop Homer — 
an enthusiast on religious education — and is now daily doing the work for 
which it was originally founded." 

The following has been written concerning Dr. Walter Scott, who was 
sent from Mr. William Bingham's great school at Hillsboro to "Valle Crucis: 
"He was sent to Valle Crucis, a school that had been established by 
Bishop Ives in the mountains of Ashe (now Watauga) county, about ten 
miles from Blowing Rock, at the foot of the Grandfather mountain. It 
was a 'grammar school,' with academic and collegiate pretensions, con- 
ducted in connection with a divinity school, and here were gathered the 
teachers of both schools, mostly ministers, as Dr. Thurston and Messrs. 
French, Cries, etc., and among the young divinity students, who also acted 
as tutors, was Dr. Scott's life-long friend, Rev. Dr. Jarvis Buxton, to whom 
he sent his son to school in after years, and who spent the last years of 
his useful life as rector of St. James' church, Lenoir, of which Dr. Scott 
was senior warden. 

"The romance and the tragedy connected with the history of Valle Crucis 
are not a part of this story, but, in spite of the fact that the school did not 
survive the apostasy of Bishop Ives, during the few years of its existence 
it was a high-grade institution, and being situated in the highest, wildest, 
healthfulest and most beautiful part of the Blue Ridge mountains it was 
considered by many parents in middle and eastern North Carolina an ideal 
location for a school for their sons. Established in the midst of a royal 
domain of several thousand acres of forest, meadow and pasture land, rolling 
land for barley, buckwheat and other grains, Valle Crucis was a seat to 
arouse the enthusiasm of lovers of the chase, for all around it abounded 
deer and smaller game, and in the fastnesses of the Grandfather mountain 
quantities of black bear made their lair. Naturally the boys took to the 
sports and exercises tliat Nature afforded them, and, when the Christmas 
holidays came round, a lot of robust, healthy lads, brown as berries and 
almost as brawny as their mountain neighbors, returned to their lowland 
homes to illustrate the beauty of mens sana in cano corpore. Everybody 
had a gun of some kind, and Walter Scott, although lame, had the weak 
ankle of his shrunken left leg strongly braced and vied with the most ath- 
letic of his schoolfellows in field and woodland sports. He was a famous 
rifle shot and during his two years' stay at Valle Crucis brought down 
several deer. Once in a drive his stand was near the brink of High Falls 



48 

and he heard the hounds in full cry coming down the creek; soon he saw 
a magnificent buck come loping toward him, and, lost in admiration of the 
beautiful apparition, he was overcome by *buck fever' and forgot all about 
having a gun. Pushed by the hounds and terrified hy the scent or sight 
of the hoy lying in wait for him, the stag leaped frantically over the falls 
and down a precipice of ninety feet, to his death. These falls, near the 
Valle iCrucis school, have a grandeur that would be sublime if the creek 
were larger, but it is only a large-sized brook or rivulet. On another 
occasion John Starke Ravenscroft Miller, a friend and schoolmate of Wal- 
ter Scott and afterwards his brother-in-law, found a big buck snared, with 
horns tangled in a bramble bush, near the foot of these falls and boldly 
laid hold upon his horns, at the same time yelling for help. Despite the 
struggles of the deer he was held down until assistance came, when he 
was dispatched. That night there was venison for supper at Valle Crucis, 
a place was selected on the walls of the Hall for hanging a pair of antlers 
and the tanner was given a deer-hide to put in the vats." 

As has been stated, Mr. Robert C. Miller eventually became owner of the 
Valle €rucis property and ran it as a stock farm. The Valle Crucis farm 
is referred to above as a "royal domain of several thousand acres." It 
was undoubtedly a fine piece of property, hut that description probably is 
an exaggeration. An old manuscript memorandum kept by Mr. Miller 
in his Valle Crucis papers and dated 1845 sets forth the following items: 

"Wm. Thurston and L. S. Ives; Deed from Joel Mast, 400 acres, recorded 
in Ashe. 

"L. S. Ives to R. C. Miller, bond. 

*'l. L. S. Ives and Wm. Thurston, V. C . 400 acres. 

**2. Entered in name of L. S. Ives 100 " 

*'3. Entered in name of W. W. Skiles 100 " 

"4. Entered in name of C. & M., East Ashe 50 " 

♦*6. Hair Ridge, No. 11204 300 " 

"6. Entry No. 11111, North of original purchase 238 " 

"7. Murphy 25 " 

1313 acres" 
Mr. Miller's 1313 included, it would seem, the "original purchase" of the 
"V. 'C." land, 400 acres, and 250 additional acres entered hy the Valle 
Crucis' people, not to speak of the 25 acres entered by Rev. Joel Murphy. 
He himself entered Entry No. 11111 of 238 acres. It is not clear by whom 
Entry No. 11204 of 300 acres was made. 

(2) Eli Perkins Miller, born 1823, died unmarried in 1853, was a young 
man of marked business ability, handsome, a general favorite and gave 
promise of making a successful career for himself; he died at Asheboro, 
Randolph county, where he was engaged in gold-mining. 

(3) Dr. William Walter Scott, born at Elm Grove, Perquimans county, 
married Eliza Snell Miller, the only daughter of Elisha P. and Sidney C. 
Miller. Dr. Scott was of old Albemarle Quaker stock, his father, William 
Copeland Scott, having lost his birthright by marrying Martha White "out 
of the meeting." He was a lineal desicendant of that Joseph Scott, a mem- 



49 

ber of the Colonial Assembly, at whose house brother George Fax, the 
great English Quaker, makes record of sojourning during his visit to Amer- 
ica in 1672, and where he held a "precious meeting," as stated in the 
Colonial Records. In the early forties of the last century William C. Scott, 
leaving his Elm Grove farm in Perquimans in charge of others, took up a 
temporary residence in Hills-boro for the education of his children, which 
move placed young Walter Scott under the tutelage of the distinguished 
ed!ucator, the late William Bingham, noted for the thoroughness of his 
teaching and the strictness of his discipline. From this great school he was 
translated to the Valle Crucis school and spent several years there advan- 
tageously. Whatever else may be said of Valle Crucis, it was a good school 
while it lasted. Major Miller of Mary's Grove had those of his sons, who 
were young enough, at school at Valle Crucis, and in the summer months 
resided with his family there much of the time. In this beautiful and ro- 
mantic place Walter Scott met Eliza Miller and the. result was that they 
were married in 1852. But before that event he had to finish school, read 
medicine with Dr. Richard Browning Baker of Hertford (later of Hickory), 
go to a medical college in Baltimore two years and wind up and graduate, 
as a full-fledged doctor, at Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia. Then 
he was married and settled down as a country doctor at Hertford, Per- 
quimans county. But Mrs. Scott, raised in the west, could not stand the 
eastern climate, and in 1854 he moved to Lenoir and began the practice of 
his profession there. Although lame from his childhood and exempt from 
military service, Dr. Scott was surgeon of Company B, 17th Battalion 
(Major Avery's command) and an examining surgeon for the conscript 
service, during the war. After the war he found himself, like so many 
others, high and dry financially, and in 186G he accepted an offer to engage 
in the drug business in Norfolk, Va., where he remained until 1877, when, 
having somewhat recouped his war losses, he returned to Caldwell and 
settled on his farm, two and a half miles west of Lenoir, adjoining Mary's 
Grove; here he remained, practicing his profession and farming, till 1889, 
when he moved to Lenoir and engaged in the drug business again. He was 
Treasurer of Caldwell county from 1882 to 1890, the only elective office 
to which he ever aspired. His skill and success as a physician were well 
recognized in the State and the practice he was called upon to do was 
always greater than he could attejid to, extending into the adjoining coun- 
ties. As Mr. H. S. Blair, who wrote of him in the Lenoir Topic when he 
died, said; "He was beloved by all who knew him." No citizen of the 
county, however rich or poor, had any hesitation in sending for Dr. Scott, 
night or day, knowing that the question of pay would never come up till 
later and, when it did come up, that inability to pay would be as good as 
a receipt in full. He gave much to the poor and was beloved by the poor. 
His sweet and gentle character was well recognized by all who knew him. 
The old-time doctors were generally good men, and this is certainly true of 
Dr. 'Scott's old friends, colleagues and contemporaries. Dr. Scroggs and 
Dr, Beall; and we know that the Lord has given credit to these three 
worthies for much of free and loving service performed in behalf of the 
Lord's own poor, who are nearer to Him than the rich. Dr. Scott died Oct. 



50 

3, 1896, and Rev. Dr. Jarvis Buxton, rector of the Episcopal church in 
Lenoir, who performed the last sad rites, had been his preceptor at Valle 
Crucis, Dr. Buxton being a clerical student as well as a preceptor and Dr. 
Scott a lay student. He had been a member of the Episcopal Church from 
childhood and was Senior Warden of St. James' parish at his death. Mrs. 
Scott was educated at home, in Morganton, in Lincolnton and finally at 
Epworth School, Greensboro. The home school was under John William 
Frederick Gates (probably Goetz) whom Major Miller employed to teach 
his children; the children of neighbors also came to school to Mr. Gates 
and the children of Burke relatives came down and lived at Mary's Grove 
and enjoyed the privileges of learning under him. He was a German, tall, 
straight, military in his movements, strict in discipline and at stated inter- 
vals subject to disappearing, upon which occasions he was generally credited 
(or debited) with being in his cups. Upon the rare occasions when he 
appeared openly under the influence of liquor he was apt to speak darkly 
of great European personages who were forced for political reasons to 
reside incognito upon foreign shores; he had probably heard the claim made 
by Peter Stuart Ney, the Iredell-Surrey school teacher contemporary with 
himself, that he was Marshal Ney in disguise. He was said to have been an 
excellent teacher, especially strong in mathematics. He was certainly a 
good "scribe-" A well-bound manuscript prepared by Mrs. Scott is still 
extant, which contains on every page "examples" in the rule of three, tare 
and and such intricate mathematical problems, worked out and 

written down in detail, and the writing is something marvelous. The most 
perfect mechanical "script" cannot excel it. There are some exquisite 
"copies" (by Mr. Gates, which, however, do not much surpass in excellence 
the work of his young pupil. There are still living in Caldwell elderly gen- 
tlemen who recount with glee, at this late day, the powerful thrashings they 
received at the hands (and hickory switch) of "old man Gates." But this 
story is of Mrs. Scott. The rare character of this dear lady is a cherished 
remembrance to all who knew her. Duty, with all that it involved, was, to 
her, life; truth was everlasting, the opposite chaff. This creed, based 
upon her Christian faith, was the rock upon which she stood. The sweet 
simplicity of her nature invested her with a dignity that put her at ease 
under all circumstances; gentle but steadfast, never allowing tact to over- 
step the bounds of truth, there was something heroic in her mould; for the 
poverty of war times, the poverty of the times succeeding the war, the un- 
gallant threats and abuses of invading enemies in arms — all were met with 
high courage and uncomplaining trust in a Power higher than worldly 
forces. In 1899, at the ripe age of 74, she passed away, but never during 
her life did she give the impression of being an old lady. Dr. and Mrs. Scott 
had four children, three of whom are living — William Walter, Jr., lawyer, 
for fifteen years editor of the Lenoir Topie and now employed in the Treas- 
ury Department, Washington, D. C. ; married to his cousin, Mary Anderson 
Miller, who traces back to John Perkins both through R. J. and Mary Per- 
kins Miller and John Perkins the second. — Robert Eli, died in infancy. — 
Martha White, married to Capt. Edmund Jones of Lenoir, N. •€. — Mary 
Sidney Caldwell, wife of Rev. Dr. C. B. Bryan, rector of Grace Protestant 



51 

Episcopal church, Petersburg, Va. ; se.ven children, six living: Elizabeth, 
wife of J. Morton Townsend, a Petersburg lawyer; one daughter and three 
sons living, one son died in infancy; — Delia, wife of George West Harrison, 
a Petersburg merchant; two daughters and one son; — iMary Sidney Cald- 
well, unmarried; — 'Corbin Braxton, 2nd, married to Alice Kent, one son; 
first lieutenant in National Army, booked for France but did not embark 
on account of armistice; — William Walter, unmarried, second lieutenant 
in National Army, booked for Siberia but did not embark on account of 
armistice. (Both C. B., Jr., and Walter enlisted, the one in the Richmond 
Howitzers and the other in the Richmond Blues, and received commissions 
after being detailed to officers' training comps.) — Frances Bland Tucker, 
unmarried. 

(4) Nelson Alexander Miller was bom in 1827 and died in 190 — ; mar- 
ried Adeline Wilfong of Catawba, a leading farmer, prominent in political 
and other county affairs, was for many years a member of the board of 
county commissioners, declined legislative and other official nominations 
which were often pressed upon him, was captain of Company B, 17th Bat- 
talion (Maj. Avery's command) during the civil war. His children: James 
E., a prospering lumbering and timber man in Louisiana; John W., a rich 
ranchman in Oklahoma, who has been sheriff of his county; Caldwell, pros- 
pecting in Montana; George Franklin and Robert Johnstone, 4th, are among 
the most progressive farmers in Caldwell; Lucy, an unmarried daughter, 
deceased; Eliza, widow of D. R. S. Frazier, a wealthy farmer and mine- 
owner of the county; his mining property is in Montana and one of his 
farms is the rich plantation once owned by Col. George N. Folk, "River- 
side," on the Yadkin. They have several fine sons who are making the most 
of the A. and E. College. John and Dan were in the National Army and 
John was in France during the great war. Steele Frazier was a genuine 
Tar Heel, but his father, old Donald Frazier, was a born Scotchman and 
set great store by the clan and plaid of the Highland Erasers. Scotch clan- 
nishness is proverbial. Old Robin Fleming, a Scotchman who died at a 
great age in Caldwell just after the civil war, used to come visiting down 
to Mary's Grove and, over his glass of toddy, would entertain Maj. Miller 
by extolling the glories of Parson Miller, of blessed memory, winding up 
with "The Scotch aye love ane anither." In old Burke — ^which included 
Caldwell — there must have ibeen a good many Scotch, for Robert was gen- 
erally called Robin. 

(5) John Starke Ravenscroft Miller, bom in 1831, killed at the battle 
of Winchester, Va., June 15, 1863. He was the fisherman brother of 
Robert Caldwell iMiller, to whom Miss Cooper refers in her book, "Memoirs 
of W. W. Bkiles." At that time he was young, in figure lithe, shapely and 
graceful, handsome and full of romance. We can picture him offering the 
fly to the elusive trout in the streams near Valle Crucis, with a volume of 
love sonnets near at hand. Love sonnets, since they were first indited, 
have been responsible for their share of masculine rash acts. A small 
matter, a little thing that most men would sigh over and soon forget, ran- 
kled in his bosom. He disappeared and it was perhaps a month or more 
before his family knew where he had gone. Then came a letter from out 



52 

of the West. He had enlisted as a regular in the United States army! This 
was about 1855 or 1856. He was in Albert Sidney Johnson's regiment, 
which was on its way to Salt Lake City to give the Mormons a lesson they 
deserved after the Mountain Meadows massacre. It was a long, tedious and 
dangerous ejcpedition, but was well managed. After the Mormons had the 
curb placed upon them the regiment was sent on a campaign against the 
wild Indians upi in what was then called the Nebraska country. This 
service was also long in duration and hazardous. By 1861, when the 
explosion at Fort Sumter took place, the young North Carolina soldier had 
become a sergeant-major of the regiment. Albert Sidney Johnson and the 
other commissioned officers had little trouble in having their resignations 
accepted, but it was more difficult to cancel an enlisted man's engagement. 
After considerable effort it was accomplished. Young Miller found him- 
self a free man at Fort Laramie, situated in the northwestern wilds, the 
only inhabitants being wild and hostile Indians, and no roads leading away 
from it. To escape the almost certainty of death in traveling Indian trails 
he paddled in a canoe 1,000 miles down the Platte river, and, after many 
privations and much tribulation, reached Lenoir, N. C, in the course of a 
few months. He became adjutant of the 1st Regiment N. C. State troops. 
His military experience was extensive and practical and he was largely 
responsible for the fact that the First Regiment was soon recognized as a 
superbly-drilled body of men. Afterwards he was captain of Company H, 
from Martin county, in the same regiment. It is not proposed to follow 
him through his military career in the civil war. In 1862 in some engage- 
ment he was shot through the left foot just under the ankle, and this 
brought him home to Mary's Grove for a few weeks' furlough. This was the 
first opportunity his small nephews and nieces had had to become acquainted 
with "Uncle John," whom they had never seen before — except for a glimpse 
when he came back from the West and went right away again to the war — 
and whom they regarded as possessor of the all the spells of Romance. 
They hung upon every word of this engaging, debonair, knightly uncle, 
limping around on his crutches, who described to them with great gusto 
his adventures out upon the boundless plains, teeming with countless herds 
of buffalo, elk and wild horses and roving tribes of wild, war-like red In- 
dians, with feathers in their hair, leather breeches and armed with dreadful 
tomahawks and scalping knives. They readily understood the emergency 
of his departure from this wonderful country and accepted his apology for 
not bringing them the Indian ponies, beaded moccasins and other wonderful 
gift" he had promised them in his letters to their parents. This war in 
which he was lamed was a prosaic, everyday affair, something they were 
used to and a necessary evil, for we had to fight the Yankees and would 
perhaps always be fighting them, but fighting on the plains with red Indians, 
stampeding herds of buffalo and droves of wild horses was altogether an- 
other matter and had romance in it, and **Uncle John," in telling of his 
adventures, was quite like a story book writer and the picturesqueness and 
romance of it all appealed to them. His wound healed and he returned to 
his post. A year rolled round and he returned to Mary's Grove — at least 
they were told he had returned, but they never saw him any more. What 



53 

they did see was the little grandmother and their dear mothers weeping, 
a great crowd in Mary's Grove graveyard, the minister in his surplice having 
church and the filling up of a grave. From that day until they were nearly 
grown they never saw their mothers clad in anything but somber black, and 
the little grandmother's dress was black as long as she lived. Shot-through- 
the-head-on-the-field-of-battle. That is how it voiced itself to these chil- 
dren, and to this day this grim phrase associates itself with him whenever 
he is in their thoughts. Children, although they lose much of it when they 
grow up, have the dramatic instinct in a large degree, and immediately 
these little ones, in their imaginatons, saw ther gallant knight, after his 
exploits that were to them Homeric, ride out of the Elysian fields and mount 
a pedestal Tragedy had erected for him, and there he has stood ever since 
for them. For some time before Capt. Miller's death a vacancy in the 
colonelcy of his regiment was impending and soon after he was killed it 
actually occurred. He was almost the unanimous choice of the personnel 
of the regiment to fill the vacancy and it is probable that, if he had lived, 
he would have received the promotion. He died unmarried. 

(6) Julius Sidney Miller, born 1833, died in 1862. Private in Company 
A, 22nd Regiment, N. C. State troops. He died in the service and was 
unmarried. A lovable, popular young soldier. 

(7) Elisha Hamilton Miller, born in 1335 and died April 10, 1910. Pri- 
vate in Company F, 41st Regiment (cavalry), N. C. State troops. This 
lovable old bachelor had many friends and no enemies; his quaintness and 
small eccentricities but added to his attractions; he was reserved among 
strangers but, upon acquaintance, became affable; he was full of wise saws 
and queer and amusing illustrations; he knew all about woodcraft, birds, 
animals and fishes, and about the weather — if he bespoke rain it rained; 
if fair weather it was dry. He was a strict Episcopalian. 

(8) Anderson Mitchell Miller, youngest child of Elisha P. and Sidney C. 
Miller, was born in 1837 and died in 1862. He was the sergeant of Com- 
pany E, 6th Regiment, N. C. State troops. A handsome, tall, athletic youth, 
he enlisted at the beginning of the war and in less than two years died in 
the service; he was noted for personal bravery and is said to have laid 
himself open to benevolent reprimand from his superiors for recklessness 
in 'battle; a little experience, no doubt, taught him the expediency of not 
running too far ahead of the line of battle in a charge. In 1862 he married 
Mary Macon iMichaux, daughter of Richard V. Michaux of Burke, and their 
daughter, Mary Anderson, is the wife of William Water Scott, 2nd. 

(G) Robert Johnstone Miller, 2n(l. 

Fourth son of R. J. and Mary Miller, born June 1, 1798, at Willow Hill, 
Lincoln county. No data. 
(H) William Sidney Miller. 

Fifth son of R. J. and Mary Perkins, born March 18, 1801, at Willow 
Hill, Lincoln county. Moved to Georgia, where he married. No data as 
to his family. 
(I) Eli Waahington Miller. 

Sixth son of Robert Johnstone and Mary Perkins Miller, born Nov. 26, 



54 

1802, at Willow Hill, Lincoln county. Died in 1820. 
(J) Horat;U> Nelson Miller. 

Seventh son of Robert Johnstone and iMary Perkins Miller, born , 

180 — , at Willow Hill, Lincoln county. If a man's name controlled his 
destiny "Squire Nelson" Miller would have entered the navy; he did not, 
however, but remained in civil life to become an honored and respected 
citizen of Burke and Caldwell counties, a Justice of the Peace, Clerk of the 
Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions and a successful farmer. He married 
Caroline Vannoy of Wilkes, a noted beauty in her day, and raised a large 
family of pretty daughters and useful sons. Their children were • 

(1) Col. Abram Sudderth and Mary Elizabeth Kent. 

Col. Kent married Mary Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Horatio Nelson 
Miller, in the late fifties of the nineteenth century. He was the only son 
af a wealthy Virginian who came to North Carolina and acquired, partly by 
purchase and partly by marriage, extensive landed property on Lower creek, 
three miles west of Lenoir. The Colonel was rich, had much rich land, and 
could live in abundance without having recourse to the intensive methods 
of farming of the present day, which were not in vognae during his life. He 
loved stock, raised a great deal of it and consequently had extensive mead- 
ows. During th war he was a member of Company B, 17th Battalion (cav- 
alry) Avery's command. A characteristic story is told of the Colonel by 
a young kinsman, upon whom he called just after the young man had 
returned from Raleigh bearing one of those wonderful "sheepskins" which 
the Supreme Court directs to be delivered, upon the payment of $20 in gold 
coin, to those ignoramuses whom they have examined and licensed to prac- 
tice the profession of the law. The Colonel presented to the young man a 
carefully prepared list of data and directions and told him he wanted him 
to write his will. The youth was frightened and had not the nerve the most 
incipient lawyer is supposed to have. He flatly refused, advising his kins- 
man to seek more mature counsel; told him making a will was serious 
business and that, for his part, he did not propose to have generations yet 
unborn to rise up and call him cussed. "Fiddlesticks," replied the Colonel, 
"go and get help," and insisted so strongly that the young lawyer went to 
his old preceptor and, between them, they drew up, or, rather, the preceptor 
drew up, the will as directed, and he said it was a fine thing for the young- 
ster, to whom the work and the experience were worth more than six 
months' hard study. When he took the will to Col. Kent and was asked to 
name his fee, he replied nothing; that the work and experience were enough 
pay. "Fiddlesticks," again retorted the Colonel. "Here are $100, which 
you will take and say nothing more about it." And the young lawyer took 
the largest fee he has ever received for writing a will. The old preceptor 
refused to share the we, but his grateful student made him take a part of 
it as a present. It is pleasant to record such generous acts on the part of 
the (then) young lawyer's very dear friends. Col. Abram S. Kent and Col. 
Clinton A. Cilley. — A fine old Perkins of the olden time was wont to say 
that "the Perkinses produce the finest women and the sorriest men of any 
family in the State!" Of course this was said in a manner of pleasantry. 



55 

but more frequently in the presence of certain young Perkinses whom the 
old gentleman regarded as too "modern." These pages confirm the old 
gentleman's declaration that there have been many fine Perkins women. 
When some months ago it was published that Mrs. Mary Killer Kent was 
dead, aged 80 years, there was general surprise that she had lived so many 
years. Those who had known her long had known her first as young, 
beautiful and lovable, and she had kept that picture in their minds all 
through the years — a type of "Irish beauty," though she had not a drop of 
Irish blood in her veins, a beautiful blue-eyed brunette. Their children 
were: Horatio Miller (Horry) Kent, the oldest of the children, is a Uni- 
versity of North Carolina man, a successful farmer and civil engineer and 
was a first lieutenant in the Spanish-American war. He married Miss 
Perkins, a great-great-granddaughter of John Perkins, through Elisha, and 
they have three children, Mrs. Julia Corpening, Robert Perkins Kent (mar- 
ried to Miss Anderson) and Mary Perkins Kent. — Dr. Alfred A. Kent, one 
of the eminent physicians of the State, prominent in all Lenoir activities, 
a leader in the Methodist church, one of the foremost manufacturers, a 
large landholder in the county and in the State of Oklahoma, all of which 
activities have made him a wealthy man. He has represented the county 
in the Legislature, where he introducd and passed many important bills 
of State-wide importance, a number of them involving hygienic and sani- 
tary reform sand progress. His home, "Kentwood," located upon a com- 
manding eminence, is one of the show places in Lenoir. He married Miss 
Anna Wright of Duplin county, and they have four sons and one daughter, 
including John A., a bright young fellow, just graduated from Chapel Hill 
(and late with the A. E. F. overseas), and Miss Olive, who prosecuted her 
studies at various seminaries in North and South Carolina. — Sarah, who 
married Edward F. WakefieJd; she died several years ago, leaving two 
charming young daughters, Sarah and Lillian, the latter lately married to 
Mr. George Bernhardt. 

(2) Elisha Perkins Miller, 2nd. 

Upon the settlement of the estate of his uncle, Elisha P. Miller, Elisha P. 
Miller 2nd purchased the home section of the Mary's GroVe estate and it 
is now in possession of his wife and children. Mary's Grove "God's Acre" 
— the graveyard — was reserved and is held in the name of W. W. Scott 2nd. 
Mr. Miller was a good Confederate soldier, serving through the. whole war. 
He was a good citizen, a good manager of his excellent farm, and up to the 
time of his death took a laudable interest in the public affairs of the 
county. He married Miss Susan Hartley, a sister of Samuel Hartley, hus- 
band of Miss Mary Haigler, elsewhere spoken of, and left a large, family of 
sons and daughters who are achieving success. One daughter, Nellie, mar- 
ried Logan E. Rabb, one of the most successful heads of the manufacturing 
interests of Lenoir. Little John Perkins Rubb is one of the few living 
namesakes of "Gentleman John." 

(3) William Sidney Miller. 

"Billy" Miller is a man of substance, engaged in a paying mercantile 
business in Lenoir, has been Sheriff, of Caldwell county and postmaster of 



56 

Lenoir, and has raised a family of sons and daughters creditable to his 
family, among whom are: W. Eugene Miller, a popular young business 
man, who himself has been postmaster of Lenoir; Mrs. Edgar Allen Poe, 
Mrs. J. D. Matheson and Mrs. Elisha Harris. Mr, Miller married Miss 
Elizabeth Harshaw, of one of the leading families on John's river. 

(4) Robert Johnstone Miller. 

Robert Johnstone Miller, a grandson and namesake of Parson Miller, is 
the third of that name. He is an amiable bachelor who resides in Lenoir. 

(5) John H. Miller. 

"Jack" Miller was a "seventeen-year-old boy" in the Confederate service- 
Of this family only two of the sons went to the war because the others were 
not old enough. He was married twice, first to a Miss Young of Yancey 
county, by whom he had one son, who is a successful railroad man in Cal- 
ifornia, and, second, to a Miss Tuttle of Mitchell, the mother of several 
children who survive their father, one of them being Alfred, in business 
in Lenoir. 

(6) A. Vannoy Miller. 

Mr. Miller is a farmer, is in business in Lenoir with his nephew, Alfred, 
has represented the district in the State Senate and married Miss Emma 
Harshaw of John's River; they have an interesting family of a son and 
two daughters. 

(7) Laura Miller. 

'She is remembered as being, like her sisters, extremely pretty; graduated 
from St. Mary's, Raleigh; married a Mr. Dickson of Virginia and moved to 
Oregon. No details as to family. 

(8) Eliza Miller. 

The above paragraph applies to Miss Eliza Miller, with the modification 
that she married Mr. William W. Grant of Caldwell and moved to Virginia. 
A son, Wallace Grant, is known of by the writer as a creditable descendant. 

(9) Alfred Miller. 

A promising young man who died unmarried. 

(3) Ephraim Perkins. 

Judge MoCorkle, writing of the marriage of Ephraim Perkins and Eliza- 
beth Albemethy, says that they were married "about 1800." Ephraim 
Perkins was born Nov. 6, 1764, in South Carolina. Judge McCorkle thus 
describes them: 

"Ephraim Perkins was about six feet high, complexion somewhat light, 
with blue eyes, fine chiseled nose, ma.ssive forehead and an intellectual 
countenance. . . . Betsy Abernethy was said to be the handsomest woman 
of her day. She was tall and handsome and her form and carriage were 
graceful and elegant. Her eyes were dark and sparkling and her hair as 
black as the raven's wing; her cheeks were as the sunny side of the luscious 
peach; her lips somewhat pouting, challenging kisses. It was said that the 
Abemethys received their dark complexion from their Pocahontas blood. 
Whether this was said in envy or as a compliment I cannot tell. The 
Scotch-ilrish blood cannot be enriched by that of any people on earth, es- 
pecially not by the Indian race . . . Her father, David Ahernethy, lived 
in what is now Lincoln county, about six miles southwest of Beatty's Ford, 



57 

on a plantation now (1833) owned by Miss Sally Lucky. The maiden 
name of hex mother was Martha Turner. Her parents were from Vir- 
ginia, hut originally from Aberdeen, Scotland. She had six brothers, Rob- 
ert, David, John, Turner, Moses and Miles, and two sisters, Nancy, who 
married Gen. Peter Forney, and Martha, who married Robert Abemethy." 

From the above it does not appear possible for any Indian blood to have 
combined with Elizabeth Abernethy's Scotch-Irish blood. Jud^^e McCorkle 
then goes on to describe the settling down to married life of the young 
married couple and to give some description of their children: 

"Ephraim Perkins and his lovely bride spent their honeymoon visiting 
their friends. . . . After that they enter into a new life. They have to 
sv/arm out of the old hive . . . They were settled on a plantation not far 
from the home of their childhood, now owned by M. J. Cochran. In the 
process of time they became the happy recipients of ten childrens — ^five 
sons and five daughters. The sons were Elisha, who married Linney Sher- 
rill, his neighbor, Enos Sherrill's, daughter; David and Daniel died unmar- 
ried; John married Elizabeth Norris and Robert married Elizabeth Martin, 
who died, and he maried her sister Matilda. The daughters were Adeline, 
who married Abel A. Shufcrd; Caroline married Colin Campbell of Ten- 
nessee; Catherine married John Beard; Elizabeth married Dr. Robert Ad- 
ams and Martha, called Patsy, married the Hon. Frank D. Reinhardt, who 
represented old Lincoln from 18 U to 1850 in the North Carolina Legis- 
lature. Patsy w-.s the youngest daughter. She. was large, fine-looking, 
dignified and of erxeHent manners. She v/as full of kindness and benevo- 
lence. . . . She was baptized by her uncle, Rev. R. J. Miller, and after- 
wards, through his administration, confirmed a member of the Episcopal 
Church, the church of her father; but when she married she joined the 
church of her hu9band, the Reformed. She regarded the Anglican, Lu- 
theran, German or Dutch Reformed and the Scotch Presbyterian churches 
essentially the same in their main features — ^justification by faith and sal- 
vation by grace." 

(4) John Perkins, 2nd. 

Judge McCorkle in describing the marriage of Ephraim Perkins and 
Elizabeth Abernethy in 1800 says: 

"John Perkins, Jr., was there. For the first time he beheld Nancy Aber- 
nethy. She was not mere than sweet sixteen, was well grown and had 
blue eyes, and was fair as the lily. The winds of heaven had never been 
permitted to blow upon her face too roughly. Her form was faultless, her 
movements graceful, her conversational powers unsurpassed for one of her 
age. Young as slie was she sighed and felt no pain. John Perkins and 
she gave each other unutterable looks. They shortly afterwards were hus- 
band and wife and are the ancestors of Susan, consort of the late Richard 
V. Michaux of Burke." 

Nancy was not there, for John Perkins, Jr., did not marry her until he 
w.as about 50 years old in 181 G. From what has been handed down by 
tradition it is probable that all that Judge McCorkle says about this fair 
lady of the olden days is true, even as to her age when she was married. 



58 

for it was a case of May and December mating:. After the wedding John 
Perkins, Jr., took his bride home to "Old Oaks," the plantation on John's 
river given him by his father and namesake, which was the most valuable 
farm iri Burke county. Three children were born to them but only one 
survived, Susan, who married Richard Venable Michaux of Prince Edward 
county, Virginia. Seldom is ever seen as handsome and distinguished look- 
ing a couple. She was tall, stately, shapely, beautiful, full of grace and 
dignity and yet withal gentle and sweet of disposition, and to her dying 
day, fifteen or twenty years ago, she looked the grande dame. Mr. Michaux 
was a proper consort for so lovely a bride. He was six feet and four inches 
tall, well-proportioned, easy of carriage and graceful. He belonged to 
to a Huguenot family that came to Virginia in the 17th century and had 
the blood of the Venables and Macons in tiis veins, being a near relative 
of our Nathaniel Macon. Mr. Michaux, although bred to the law and en- 
joying a lucrative practice, had a taste for agriculture and became one 
of the leading and most successful tobacco planters and manufacturers of 
the State in the days before the war. Mr. and Mrs. Michaux had three sons 
and five daughters, tall and handsome — the "tall Michaux": John Michaux 
joined the Confederate army at 17 years of age and died in the service- 
Richard Venable Michaux, Jr., was educated partly at Finley High School, 
LfCnoir, partly at Hampden-Sydney, Virginia, and partly at West Point. 
He read law but never practiced. He is a bachelor and resides at the old 
home built by his father and called "Valley Farm," dividing his time be- 
tween attention to his farm and devotion to his ibooks. As his years accu- 
mulate he reminds his friends more and more of his distinguished-looking 
father in appearance. (Upon the death of John Perkins, Jr., his widow 
kept "Old Oaks" as part of her dower and Mr. Michaux built a modern 
residence across the river and called it "Valley Farm.") — William Macon 
Michaux, educated at Finley High School, Lenoir, is a farmer and lumber- 
man, married Miss Carnelia Henderson and has a family of promising sons 
and daughten;. Beautiful Mary Macon Michaux graduated from St. Mary's 
Hall, Burlington, N. J., the year the civil war began and married in 18G2 
Anderson Mitchell Miller of Caldwell, home from the war on furlough, who 
was a great-grandson of John Perkins through Parson Miller. He died 
within a year and his daughter, Mary Anderson Miller, ii now the wife of 
William Walter Scott of Caldwell, great-grandson of John Perkins through 
Parson Miller. — iMrs. Mary Macon Michaux Miller was married, in second 
nuptials, to Moses N. Harshaw, a prominent lawyer, politician and farmer 
ol Caldwell. Mr, Harshaw has represented his county in the Legislature, 
has been Solicitor, and is one of the most prominent of the Republican 
politicians in the State. Two sons were born of this marriage: (1) Jacob, 
deceased, who married Eliza P. Houck, daughter of John M. Houck; there 
was one daughter, Johnsie, the wife of H. C. Martin, Jr., who traces back 
to John Perkins through Joseph Perkins. (2) John M., who married Mary 
Houck, sister of Jacob's wife, and they have several children, among them 
Moses R. Harshaw, Jr., who ran away before he was 18 years old and en- 
listed in the regular army and joined the American forces in France during 
the great war. — Martha A. Michaux at the age of 16 married Chas. L. 



59 

Schiefflin Corpening, great-grandson of John Perkins through Joseph Per- 
kins, who was for years Clerk of the Superior Court in McDowell county 
and a wealthy and influential man of affairs. They had three sons and two 
daughters: Richard Venable Corpening married Miss Anna Forney of 
Burke and died soon after arriving at his majority. Charles M. Corpening 
graduated from Annapolis, served for ten years in navy, resigning as lieu- 
tenant to go into business, and is now living on his farm in McDowell; he. 
has a son. Max, who has graduated from West Point. Michaux Corpening 
is a successful physician practicing in Oregon. Two daughters, Susan and 
Patty, both married Connellys, of McDowell, and are residing, the former 
in California and the latter in iMcDowell. Katherine Michaux married 
David Laxton of Burke, a great-grandson of John Perkins through Joseph 
Perkins. Virginia Michaux, one of the most beautiful and popular women 
of Burke, died unmarried. She and her sister, Katherine, were graduates 
of St. Mary's, Raleigh. Bettie Venable Michaux, the youngest daughter, 
graduate of Kirkwood School, Lenoir, married Col. William S. Pearson of 
Morganton. They have a family of fine sons and daughtei-s; their two sons 
are making good as business men. 

(5) Joseph Perkins. 

The family of Joseph Perkins was the most prolific of any derived from 
John Perkins and, next to it, the family of Parson Miller and his wife, Mary 
Perkins. Col. Walton says: 

"Joseph Perkins married Melissa Lavender, a relative and protegee of 
Col. V/aigghstill Avery, Sr. She was of French descent, probably Hugue- 
not. (The name La'Vender has possible been Anglicized from La Vendee, 
a maritime province of France.) By her Joseph Perkins had three sons, 
Dr. Joseph Harvey, Osiborne and William, and four daughters, Elizabeth, 
who married Allen Connelly of McDowell; Myra, who married his brother, 
George. Connelly of Caldwell; Mary, who married David Corpening of 
Burke; Selina, who married Levi Laxton of Burke. James Harvey and 
William died unmarried." 

John Perkins gave his son Joseph a splendid farm adjacent to and south 
of /'Old Oaks" and "Valley Farm," but Joseph divided it up among his 
children and some of the divisions were sold out of the family, so that it is 
not easy to give the metes and bounds of the old place. The share of 
Osborne Perkins, who married Mary Avery, is intart and owned by his 
son, John T. Perkins of Morganton, an only child, who is one of the ablest 
lawyers in the State. (Mr. J. T. Perkins has sold his farm to Wallace 
Estes.) Harvey Perkins was sent to the North Carolina Legislature fre- 
quently from Burke. 

Allen and Elizabeth Perkins Connelly. 

Their children v/ere: 

Col. Avery Connelly, a wealthy and influential business man, farmer and 
politician in McDowell. 

Laura Connelly, whose husband was Dr. Joseph C. Newland of Caldwell. 
Mrs. Newland, like her kinswoman, Mrs. Michaux, was noted for her many 
charms of mind and person and closed her earthly pilgrimage through a 



60 

beautiful old age. Dr. Newland was a ma-n of wealth and one of the prom- 
inent men in western North Carolina and had the mana.^ement and control 
of large affairs in financial, mercantile and farming lines; as a young man 
he was Clerk of the Court of Caldwell and from time to time represented 
the county and. the district in the House and Senate of the General Assem- 
bly. Their talented son, William Calhoun Newland, after graduating from 
Finley High School, Lenoir, had training at West Point and afterwards 
studied law with the 'beloved preceptor of so many North Carolina lawyers. 
Col. Clinton A. Cilley. Soon after coming to the ibar he was elected Solic- 
itor for his district, which, besides ibeing a remunerative office, was a splen- 
did school for grounding him in the knowledge of his profession. He is 
very popular and has, whenever he would permit it, been sent to represent 
the county in the General Assembly. He was elected Lieutenant-Governor 
of the State when Governor Kitchin was made Governor and the Senate 
has never had a more efficient presiding officer. Governor Newland is one 
of the most influential politicians in the west and the western people see 
a' long perspective to his political career. He married Miss Jessie Hendi-y, 
a charming lady, and they have an interesting family of three daughters 
and one son — Jessie, who is married to Rev. J. H. Day, formerly a Nor- 
folk, Va., lawyer, who is now a prominent Baptist minister at Yonkers, 
N. Y.; Josephine, wife of Capt. H. H. Etheridge of the A. E. F. in France; 
Mary, married to Wilmar Mason Allen on Sept. 18, 1919; Mr. Allen is son 
of a prominent planter in Prince George county, Maryland, and will soon 
graduate as a physician from Johns Hopkins University; Benjamin, married 
to Miss Burleson of Mitchell. — The late Benjamin Newland, the genial rail- 
road man who was for so many years a popular conductor on the Western 
North Carolina railroad, was a son of Dr. Newland, and by his first wife, a 
Miss Hallyburton of Salisbury, had two daughters, who married, the one 
A. H. Eller, a prominent lawyer and politician of Forsyth, and the other 
a Mr. Greene, a railroad man; and a son, the very able and popular Solici- 
tor for the judicial district in which Caldwell is located, the late Thomas M. 
Newland, who married Miss Mary Wilcox, daughter of the late. Dr. J. Orrin 
Wilcox of Ashe. Mr. Newland died while in office. — Another son of Dr. 
Newland is H. Theodore Newland — everybody calls him Fritz — one. of the big 
■business and financial men of Lenoir, who married Miss Bettie Tuttle of 
Richmond county. — And still another son was the late Augustus M. New- 
land, a successful lawj'er in Newton, whose daughter married C. M. Mc- 
Corkle, a prominent Newton attorney, son of the late Judge M. L. McCorkle, 
a connection and historian of the Perkins family. — John H. Newland v/as 
a son who died unmarried. — A daughter, Kate Newland, married Robert T. 
Claywell, a leading business man in Morganton; died in August, 1919.— 
The youngest d.':iughiei', Almu Nev/Iand, was the first wife of Jacob C 
Seale, a prominent business man ot Lenoir; she lejft a sweet young daugh- 
ter, Alma Newland Seagle. 

Mary Perkins married Bergner Forney, a wealthy Burke county farmer. 
They had one son, John Perkint /orney, who died unmarried, and six beau- 
tiful and accomplished daugh.^rs, two of whom died unmarried and the 



61 

remaining four of whom m&.ried respectively Pleasant G. Moore, one of 
the leading citizens of Caldwell, at the head of large manufacturing inter- 
ests; John Bohannon and Edward Shut .d of Hickory, Cataw'ba county, of 
which city they were leading citizen .nd business men, and Samuel Mc- 
Dowell, a Burlce *;ounty farmer and b jiness man. 

Oeorge and Myra Perliins Connei. . 

George Connelly was a brother of Allen Connelly, and Judge McCorkle 
thus refers to him and his wife: "Myra was ine elegant and accomplished 
daughter of Joseph and Melissa » .ender Perkins, who married George 
Connelly, late oi Caldwell county; they were the parents of Mortimer Con- 
nelly, Esq., of Caldwell, and grandparents of Judge James Connelly of Ire- 
dell." They had two daughters noted for their remaikable beauty, Adelaide 
and Jane, and four sons, Momtimer, L^^rvey Perkins, Julius and Caleb 
Adelaide Connelly married Major Robe.. B. Bogle of Caldwell and had two 
children, William Gaither and Adelaide, both of whom inherited their 
mother's great beauty, the son having been accounted one of the handsomest 
men and the daughter one of the most beautnul women of their day in that 
section. William G. Bogle died childless. Adelaide married Dr. Little of 
Watauga, where they now reside, surrounded by a family of interesting 
sons and daughters. 

Jane Connelly married Sidney P. Dula, at one time a wealthy and at 
all times a popular and influential citizen of Caldwell and member of a lead- 
ing families in the county. For years he was Clerk of the old Court of 
Pleas and Quarter Sessions. As in the case of so many other Southern 
citizens, his fortunes were shattered by the civil war, at the close of which 
settled in Anson county) and settled in Missouri, where he entered upon 
ily (with the exception of his eldest son, George Dula, who married and 
settled in Anson county) and settled in Missouri, whree he entered upon 
the business of tobacco planting. George Dula, the oldest son, was in the 
military service as a "seventeen-year-old boy," and his brother, Robert B., 
though much too young for such work, would upon frequent occasions to- 
ward the close of the war, "jine the cavalry," which was kept busy repelling 
raids upon the county from East Tennessee. The first years in Missouri 
were naturally difficult, but as years went by and as the three sons who 
went with their father grew up, the crops of tobacco began to pay, they 
went into the manufacture of the weed and, to make a long story short, 
Robert B. Dula and Caleb Connelly Dula are now living in New York city, 
at the head of great tobacco interests, millionaires "m-any times over," the 
richest men who were ever citizens of Caldwell county. — ^Their brother 
Adolphus died several years ago. — From the information at hand there 
were three sisters: Mrs. English, who married in St. Louis, and who shared 
in the prosperity brought about by the tobacco industry; Ella, who married 
Lucius Corpening of Burke, and whose prospects were evidently not injured 
by the prosperity of her family; and Addie, who married John Miller Pow- 
ell, a great-gxeat-granddon of John Perkins through Parson Miller. John 
Powell was one of the best farmers in Caldwell and made money in the days 
when farming was not considered a money-making profession. His two 
ions, Ward and Frank, followed in his footsteps and are not only getting 



62 

rich tut are rated as rich men. Ward was County Commissioner for two I 
years but refused a renomination; he could not afford it! Ward is a bache- i 
lor; Frank married a Miss Greer. j 

J. Mortimer Connelly, a most lovable man, married Miss Emily Parks of 
Wilkes. Everybody recognized the gentleness and kind-heartedness of this I 
worthy couple. Besides James B. Connelly, who was Clerk of the Superior i 
Court of Iredell county for many years, there are these sons: Oliver, i 
Walter, John and Georjre, and two daughters who married gentlemen by | 
the name of Gentry in Alleghany, and one unmarried daughter. | 

Harvey Perkins Connelly married Josephine Dula, niece of Sidney P. 1 
Dula, and left a large family of sons and daughters. George Wallace | 
Connelly is a prosperous business man in Indiana. Ralph is electrical 
engineer for the municipality of Charlotte, and James is principal of a 
graded school in an eastern city. 

Julius and Caleb Connelly died unmarried. 

David and Mary Perkins Corpening, 

David Corpening, who married Joseph Perkins' daughter Mary, was a 
wealthy Burke county farmer of Dutch descent. They had the following 
children : 

Charles L. Schiefflin Corpening, who married Martha A. Michaux, grand- 
daughter of (4) John Perkins, 2nd. under which head his history is set 
forth. 

Thomas Corpening, who settled in Statesville, Iredell county, where for 
many years he was a successful dentist. One of his daughters was the 
second wife of the late Judge Furches. 

Julius Corpening, who married and settled in Buncombe county. 

Laura Corpening, who married the late Lee Martin of Wilkes. Harry 
C. Martin, newspaper man and business man of Lenoir, and Judge Philetus 
Martin of Texas are their sons. 

Virginia Corpening married Philetus Martin of Wilkes. Julius 'C. Martin, 
a prominent Asheville lawyer, is their son. 

Julia Corpening married Joseph Lavender Laxton, grandson of Joseph 
Perkins, a gallant Confederate officer who lost a leg in the war, and one 
of the foremost physicians in Morganton at the time of his death. 

Selina Corpening married Col. Philetus Roberts of Asheville. Mrs. Rob- 
erts was a gentlewoman in very truth, and her sweet and engaging dispo- 
rition made her a general favorite. Their children were Thomas, Laura, 
Lucy, Catherine and Bettie (Bethel). All except Laura and Bethel died 
anmarried. Laura married Norman Girdwood, a wealthy Scotchman of 
Asheville, and has since died. Bethel, who was so named because she was 
bom on the day of the battle of Bethel, in which Col. Roberts was killed, 
married Ephraim Clayton, an Asheville business man, and is living. 

Celia Corpening married Dr. James Stephens of Leicester, Buncombe 
county, and their family is one of prominence in the county. 

Levi and Selina Perkins Laxton. 

Their son. Dr. Joseph Lavender Laxton, and his wife, Julia Corpening, 
have been spoken of under the head of David and Mary Corpening. They 



63 

have two sons, Robert and Frederick, prominent business men in 'Charlotte, 
and several talented daughters. Fred married Miss Annie Erwin, daughter 
of the late Col. George Phifer Erwin of Morganton, and Ralph married Miss 
Knabe of Knoxville, Tenn. 

Romulus Laxton, living on John's river, was, like his brother Lavender, 
a brave Confederate soldier; he was married first to Miss Parks of Wilkes, 
and, second, to Miss Tate of Burke, and has a large family of sons and 
daughters, who, keeping in step with the "New South," are making the 
most of their lives and prospering. 

David Laxton married Miss Kate Michaux, spoken of under the head of 
(4) John Perkins, 2nd. Both are dead and have two children possessing 
shares of the estates left by (4) John Perkins, 2nd, and by (5) Joseph 
Perkins — ^Charles and Lucy Laxton, respected citizens of Burke. 
(7) Alexander Porklns. 

Alexander Perkins married Rebecca Moore. The farm given him by his 
father, John Perkins, lies on John's river, near the mouth of Wilson's creek, 
just north of the "Old Oaks"-"Vaney Farm" plantations of John Perkins, 
Jr. It is and was a very rich and valuable farm and, with the exception 
of a small share, now belongs intact to a grandson, who recently optioned 
the place to the Southern Power Company for $80,000. Mr. Perkins, like 
his father, took much interest in fine horses and stock in general and raised 
race-horses, which he ran on his own race-track, a practice very common 
with wealthy farmers of his day. His manner of life was very much such 
as is commonly understood to have been that of the typical old "country 
gentleman" of England in the 18th century — fox-hunting, horse-racing, 
good living generally, etc. His plantation was never formally named, but 
for many years has 'been popularly known as the "Aleck Perkins old place." 
A characteristic story is told of him: He was convoying on horseback a 
big four-horse wagon load of some farm product which his servants were 
driving down to the old Fairfield store, near where Lenoir now stands. 
When they arrived at the ford of a creek near Mary's Grove, the home of 
his brother-in-law, Parson Miller, the team was stalled and there was 
trouble in making it pull out of th eford. In the effort to extricate the wagon 
Mr. Perkins is reported to have sworn roundly at the horses, when Parson 
Miller, who had arrived on the scene, remonstrated. "Tut, tut, Alexander; 
I am surprised that a man of your age and profession should be betrayed 
into profanity." "Well, pray 'em out, please!" was the quick retort. He 
left the following children: 

'Clarissa, married twice, first to Thomas D. Horton, and, second, to J. J. 
Presnell, who died childless. 

Theodore resigned immediately after graduating from West Point and 
married, but died early. He left one daughter, Clara, a beautiful girl, who 
soon after graduating from St. Mary's Raleigh, and did not long survive. 

Theddeus, to whose heirs the whole of the estate fell, died 'before his 
father, and his son, Thaddeus, having bought the share of his brother 
Thomas and part of his brother Allison's share, owns the bulk of the "Aleck 
Perkins old place." He is rich, is one of Caldwell county's leading citizens 



64 

and has the following family: Robert Perkins, wh ois prospering in Beunos 
Aires, Argentina; Perkins, living in Colorado; Samuel ("Si") Per- 
kins, an A. and E. graduate, a scientific expert in the Bureau of Soils, 
Agfricultural Department, Washington; Ernest Perkins, at one time farm 
demonstrator for Burke; George Perkins, member of the Caldwell Board of 
Education, and living at home and assisting his father in conducting the 
farm; Clara, unmarried, at the head of the house; Susan, married to Dr. 
Thomas of Thomasville. 

(8) Sarah Perkins. 

Sarah Perkins married Thomas Snoddy of Surry. No information as to 
them is at hand ; it is believed that they moved to Virginia. 

(9) Eli Perkins. 

Born Dec. 27, 1777, Eli Perkins died unmarried, but the date of his demise 
is not known. All that is known is that he resided at his father's home at 
Island Ford, and by tradition he is credited with having been very amiable 
in disposition but debited with a tendency toward convivial habits. In those 
days, and, indeed, in other days, conviviality was not always discouraged 
as much as it should have been, and in the case of Eli Perkins, tradition 
says, this habit received encouragement from a very dangerous source. He 
had a neg:ro servant to wait upon him, whose only service appears to have 
been to act as body servant to his master, and this negro dearly loved his 
dram. Not content to leave his master to his own devices in the matter 
of drinking, this negro's own thirst caused him frequently to remind his 
master of a thirst he might have forgotten but for his insinuatingly asking: 
"Marse Eli, isn't you gittin' sorter dry?" We know how inaccurate tradi- 
tion often is and how it has passed opened up the wrong trail in more than 
one instance in the history of John Perkins; so I do not give much credence 
to this story, but believe it is simply a survival of a broad species of "josh- 
ing" the boys perpetrated upon Eli to give him the "grins" and perhaps to 
cause him to think twice before imbibing once. At any rate, he was a very 
popular member of his father's family and his visits from Island Ford to his 
four brothers on John's river always ranked with the coming of Christmas 
among the juvenile members of those four families, who placed "Uncle Eli" 
on a pedestal equal in altitude to that of Santa Claus. In each of the three 
succeeding generations Eli Perkins had namesakes and his brother-in-law. 
Parson Miller, named one of his sons for him. One seldom names a son 
for a person for whom one has no esteem. A peculiar fact in this connec- 
tion is that not one of these namesakes lived to be married. (1) Parson 
Miller's son, Eli Washington, born Nov. 26, 1802, died unmarried in 1820. 
(2) Major Elisha Perkins Miller'-s son, Eli Perkins Miller, born in 1823, 
died unmarried in 1853. However, the date had been fixed for his marriage 
to a charming lady who remained unmarried until her death within the 
last ten years. (3) iMajor Miller's grandson, Robert Eli Scott, son of Dr. 
and Mrs. W. W. Scott, born in 1857, died before he was a year old. 

PART III. 
MARY'S GROVE AND VALLE CRUCIS 

The object of this paper is two-fold: 

(1) Covering a period of 75 years, beginning 130 years ago, viz., from 



.65 

1787 to 1861, to depict the average style and manner of life of a family 
residing in the upper Piedmont section, close to the mountains, in western 
North Carolina, and belonging to what may be called, for lack of a better 
word, the "upper class." During this period there were two heads of the 
family, the father, who established Mary's Grove, and his son, who suc- 
ceeded him. The former, who was master of Mary's Grove for 47 years, 
from 1787 to 1834, was a clergyman and a missionary as well as a pioneer, 
and the standard of living established by him was not so typical of the 
standard prevailing in the more settled sections of the State as was that 
followed by his son from 1834 to 18G1. To be sure, there was hospitality 
unbounded and the courtesies and amenities to be looked for from an old- 
fashioned gentleman, but his character as a clergyman, the scarcity of 
neighbors and the "backwoods" state of the country naturally produced 
more simplicity in the conduct of his domestic affairs than was the fashion 
"down the country." When the son succeeded the father times had changed, 
the country had been settled up and brought into communication with the 
rest of the State and the style of living at Mary's Grove under him may be 
regarded as typical of the life of a country gentleman in Piedmont North 
Carolina in easy circumstances but without wealth, as wealth is considered 
in these days. But aside from the modification of the manner of life, which 
was a natural development due to the progress of civilization, it may be 
assumed that the simplicity and lack of ostentation which distinguished the 
establishment under the father prevailed also under the son, although the 
hospitality of the latter was necessarily more extensive because has was a 
layfan, a man of affairs, a politician and owned a racing stable. 

(2) To trace an intimate relation existing between the family at Mary's 
Grove and the "religious house" at Valle Crucis, the establishment of which 
by Bishop Ives is a very romantic, interesting and tragical episode in the 
history of western North Carolina. 

Mary's Gror* Daybook 

There has been preserved an old Mary's Grove record book, stained and 
yellowed by time, in which have been set down items indicating activities 
in farming, stock-raising, blacksmithing, wagon-making, gold-mining and 
raising thoroughbred horses. The record is confined principally to trans- 
actions of the years 1833 and 1834 and is made in the name of Mary's 
Grove, which is used as a clearing house, accounts being kept with Elisha P. 
Miller, the proprietor, and other individuals, with the blacksmith shop, with 
the wagon shop, with the farm, with the gold mine, with the stables. On 
the last page of the »book is a sort of appendix in the nature of a studbook 
or schedule of the horses in the racing stables for the year 1837, together 
with accounts of the achievements of individual horses for that and previous 
years. 

Nathaniel (Natty) Coffey was the farm overseer, in direct control of 
the negroes; Isaac Mathis was head blacksmith, with Allen Kilgrove and 

Wilson assistants and "strikers;" John Stokes was woodworker and 

wagon-maker and, being, a family man, furnished board and lodging to the 
smiths, which was not exorbitant, as there is a credit given to Stokes for 



66 

five months' board of Mathis. $18.75. The record incidentally furnishes 
Kilgrove with the character of a credible witness, for on April 5, 1833, there 
is a charge of $1 made against William Collins for "cash lent at muster (in 
presence of Allen Kilgrove.)" The blacksmith shop is charged with bar-iron 
in 1833 for quantities from 200 to 800 pounds at 5 cents per pound, and 
m 1834 for a ton at 4 cents per pound; cast steel, 30 cents; borax, 50 cents- 
deerskin for Kilgrove's apron, 88 cents; two days' hauling coal-wood, negro' 
and oxen, $1.50; 20 cords coal-wood bought at 37% cents per cord. 

Stokes, the wagon-maker and lodging-house keeper, is charged with beef 
at 2% cents per pound, except for "stall-fed" beef, which is 3 cents; pork 
at 4% cents; brandy at Q2Vz cents per gallon (121/2 cents below the market 
prKie of 75 cents) ; cotton at 16 2-3 cents per pound, if it was ginned, but 
much higher if it was in the seed; half a mutton, $1 ; flour at ZV2 cents per 
pound; to cash at show, 25 cents; to cash at muster to pay tax, $1- and 
credit by woodwork on wagons at $20 each. (These are simply specimens 
of charges and credits, showing prices prevailing in 1833-4.) Kilgrove is 
charged with cash at show, 50 cents; at shooting match, 50 cents; at elec- 
tion, 68% cents. 

The individuals with whom accounts were kept lived, within a radius of 
ten miles, in an area of approximately 225 square miles, and their indebt- 
edness was, for the most part, due to the blacksmith and wagon-maker The 
handiwork of such artisans was, in those days, most hand-made and there 
was httle or no importation. The items abound with charges that sound 
strange and even barbarous at the present day, such as "jumping" axes "up- 
setting" hoes, "laying bull-tongue" plows, shoeing John Waugh's horse all 
round and finding iron, $1, or shoeing Mr. Laxton's horse all round iron 
found, 50 cents; "steeling" an axe, putting "frizzen" on singletrees, mend- 
ing bells, making (bridle bits, making bell clappers. But among the debits 
and credits were other items besides making and mending wagons, plows 
and other implements and shoeing horses: To one customer was charged 

cash advanced for Bishop at church, $1," to another $8 for clearing a 
swamp, and to still another $2.62 1^ for three days' "cradling" wheat— 87% 
cents per day! And to John Boone, nephew of Daniel Boone, was charged 
560 for one gray horse, 8 years old," which was paid for by Mr. Boone's 
administrator a year after his death, along with other debits. Among the 
Items IS "board of Mr. Boone's daughter while at school to Mr. Gates " The 
»ale of the horse to iMr. Boone is the only item of transactions in horses 
contained m the day book, which also fails to record sales of cattle on the 
hoof raised on the mountain pastures. Hogs and sheep are frequently 
charged to individuals, the prices ranging from $1 to $3 each, "com-crack- 
ing pigs, SIX weeks old, being rated at $1 apiece. There is a record of one 

Barkshire hog being sold for $10, evidently for breeding purposes Of 
the cattle, m considerable number, killed for consumption at Mary's Grove 
and for sale to employes and other purchasers, the hides, both "green" and 

dry, were sold to Harper & Waugh, conducting extensive stores and 
tanneries at FairfieW, a mile away and half way between Mary's Grove 
and the site of what afterwards became the town of Lenoir 



67 

John William Frederick Gates 

One interesting^ item is the following charge against Maj. Miller's sister- 
in-law, who lived about 12 miles west of Mary's Grove in the western part 
of Burke county, near Morganton: 

March, 1840. To former board of her son, 13 weeks at .75 $ 9.75 

To her part of Mr. Gates' 'board .75 

Mar. 27, 1840. To 11 weeks' beard of her son at .75 8.25 

To her part of Mr. Gates' board .75 

$19.50 
Mr. Gates was a Prussian by birth who had Anglicized or Americanized 
the spelling of his name. It has been handed down of him that he was 
"highly educated," which may be true. There is evidence that he was a 
man of broad intelligence, of considerable force of character and well 
qualified as a thorough school teacher. Maj. iMiller located him at Mary'a 
Grove, built for him an "office" in the grove, consisting of a commodious 
school room, with quarters attached for his study and a sleeping room. 
Other similar one-story buildings were erected, from time to time as occa- 
sion required, for the accommodation of a limited number of girls and 
boys who came from a distance to attend Mr. Gates' school. These children 
were mostly nephews and nieces of Maj. Miller living in the upper part of 
Burke, near Morganton, and the sons and daughters of a few other friends 
like Mr. Boone. The above bill, rendered to Mrs. Mary Caldwell Perkins, 
of Pleasant Valley, John's river, furnishes a key to Mr. Gates' contract of 
employment, by which he was to receive a net sum per annum, "board and 
lodging found." At the beginning of a term each scholar was assessed a 
pro rata share of the expense of Mr. Gates' board at 75 cents per week and 
of his net salary. There were eight Mary's Grove children and it is easy 
to compute that, after boarding and lodging Mr. Gates and from half a 
dozen to a dozen children at 75 cents per week, the coffers of the "clearing 
house" would swell with the profits of each term. Of course there was a 
number of "day scholars." 

Mr. Gates taught at Mary's Grove for several years, and what they 
learned from him was all "the schooling" many of his pupils ever received. 
He taught "the classics," Latin and Greek, some French, emphasized "the 
Globes" and natural history, and was especially attentive to spelling, hand- 
writing and mathematics. He wrote a beautiful hand, as specimens still 
extant prove, and many is the bad quarter of an hour most of his pupils 
approximate the symmetrical curves of the "copy" he had given them to 
have spent, with heads on one side and chewing their tongues, striving to 
imitate. He was patient, in a degree, and conscientious effort joined to 
moderate improvement was apt to satisfy him, ibut in the long run his pupils 
HAD to progress. This looks like a pretty fair kind of "education." To 
be sure "natural science" was a sealed book and that certainly was unfor- 
tunate, but the great colleges and universities knew as little about that as 
he did, and the men and women he turned out could certainly spell and 
write, accomplishments not universal in these days of advanced systems 
of education. He was a severe disciplinarian and did not spare the rod. 



68 

No traditions of his pupils "locking out the Sinjin" or playing other pranks 
with him have come down, and his old pupils have always spoken of him 
with the greatest respect as "Mr. Gates;" he has never been referred to as 
"old man Gates." 

Mr. Gates was not a jovial man, but was reserved and dignified in his 
manner. Whether he came to America in his early youth is not known, 
but his command of the English tongue was so complete that there was 
scarcely perceptible a foreign accent in his use of it. With all these ad- 
mirable qualities he was slave to a great weakness. A reserved bachelor, 
he had no intimates and either affected, or allowed to grow up around him, 
a certain air of mystery. The same is true of a more celeibrated, but not 
more gifted, contemporary, Peter Stewart Ney, who lived further down the 
country, in Rowan and Surry counties, and whose dark sayings when in 
his cups led those who heard him to believe he was Marshal Ney and that 
some one else had been shot in his place in Paris and that he had escaped 
to America. So much other evidence bolstered up this theory that, some 
twenty-odd years ago, Rev. James A. Weston, then rector of Christ church, 
Raleigh, N. C, wrote and published a most interesting and plausible book 
sustaining the thesis. Mr. Gates never touched spirits during school terms, 
but during vacation would frequently indulge in prolonged sprees. It was 
then that he, too, would whisper around dark and mysterious hints, and, 
whether the Peter Ney stories caused the Burke county people to build up 
on Mr. Gates' vaporing or whether he may have made definite claims, it 
began to be believed that he had been some great body in Prussia and that 
he was in America on account of high 'piolitical reasons. What his subse- 
quent career was is not known. 

Mountain Pasture Lands 

North of Mary's Grove, about 20 miles away, rises the crest of the Blue 
Ridge, where grass grows in the woods if only the underbrush is cut away 
aivd the sun allowed to slant in between the limbs of the trees. As far 
back as 1833 a great deal of these mountain lands could be "entered" and 
granted by the State for a small sum per acre or could be purchased from 
grantees for as little as a dollar an acre, so that the possession of large 
areas of land was not an indication of wealth unless the owner was ener- 
getic enough to improve it. The virgin growth of valuable timber was con- 
sidered of no value and was regarded as a disadvantage, the cost of clearing 
the land and fitting it for pasturage and meadow being many times grreater 
ihan that of purchase. Maj. Miller acquired about two sections of this land, 
on both sides of the Blue Ridge, at what is now the popular summer resort 
of Blowing Rock. It was then in Ashe county, now in Watauga. Ample 
pastures and meadows were prepared, and here during the grazing season 
large herds of Durham cattle and a good many of his fine horses were 
pastured. As the grazmg season neared its close the cattle ready for mar- 
ket were in prime condition and were sold to the southern drovers and 
butchers. The dry cows at Mary's Grove were driven up and their places 
taken by others that had become milkers during the summer. These dry 
cows and what remained of the mountain herd went into winter quarters 



69 

and were fed upon the best of timothy hay and the grain that had been 
raised on the mountain land for them. This was principally rye, although 
a limited quantity of a small and hardy kind of corn was raised. Ordinary 
large-grained, large,-eared corn could not be grown in the mountains in 
those early years, although it flourishes there now. The hardiest brood 
mares, colts and yearlings were also stalbled for the winter on the mountain 
farm, while the finest and most promising of the horses and those that 
needed pam'piering were taken to the stables at Mary's Grove. 

The Mary's Grove Durhams were splendid cattle and one of the members 
of the original herd, "Violet" by name, lived to a great age, the writer of 
this having seen her when he was a boy, sporting copper rings in her horns 
as accompaniments to a (blue ribbon awarded her by a New York State fair 
association. She was a gift to Maj. Miller from Bishop Ives. The strain 
of the 'breed still exisits in Caldwell county. The line of descent of a certain 
family was carefully preserved up to fifteen years ago, when the individuals 
were as perfect Jerseys in ajpearance as if they had 'been full 'bloods. Ex- 
cept from a sentimental point of view, the Durham blood had "run out." 

Apropos of the cheapness of land in the old days is this story of an East 
Tennessean who owned a mountain farm and a valley plantation and wanted 
to sell out and go to Texas. He found a purchaser for the valley plantation 
and, after "passing the deed" and receiving his money, went home and said 
that he owned no land in Tennessee at last and could move to Texas in 
peace. But, he was reminded, he had only sold the valley plantation. 
" ^Sh! Not a word till I get out of the State; I slipped the mountain farm 
into the deed and he don't know it!" 

The Miller Gold Mine 

Some years prior to 1833 Judge Anderson Mitchell, Col. Richard Venable 
Michaux, Alexander Perkins, Esq., and Maj. Elisha P. Miller became joint 
owners of a gold mining "prospect" located on a branch in the small moun- 
tains about ten miles west of Mary's Grove. Finally iMaj. Miller became 
sole owner. When developed it was a placer mine in which the. gold was 
"washed" out or "panned" out from the sand or soil according to the prim- 
itive methods of placer mining. It was never a brilliant financial success, 
although there was always enough tantalizing 'promise in it for it to have 
remained a Mary's Grove property for over thirty years, and as it was pop- 
ularly spoken of as a "paying" mine it is probaible that it netted an annual 
income of between four and five hundred dollars. One trouble about such 
mines was that they were generally rented out to practical miners who paid 
a toll of one-fifth of the gross output and the question always boibbed upi — 
Is it one-fifth? The miners in charge were frequently changed, and it was 
probably a mistake that this was so. The only records in the Mary's 
Grove Day Book of the proceeds of the gold mine are for the period from 
Feb. 1 to June 30, 1833, five months, and from June 1 to Sept. 9, 1835, 
three and a third months, and these returns are taken as a measure of the 
returns for future years, the popular impression that the mine was a "pay- 
ing" proposition rcjidering this estimate plausible: 

(1) During 81 worlcing days — for often for weeks at a time no work 



70 

was done — of these five months, 1,230 pennsrweig-hts of gold were taken 
out, the average per day being 15.18 pennj^weights; the highest per diem 
was 24.16 pennyweights and the lowest 7. The gold was 80 cents the pen- 
nyweight — now it is $1. — and this output of 1,230 pennyweights for five 
months was worth $984; toll of one-fifth of this is $196.80, or $39.36 per 
month, making an annual toll, upon this basis, of $472.32. 

(2) The returns made for the period from June 1 to Sept. 9, 1835, cover 
only toll, and eight reports aggregate 241 pennyweights of toll gold for 3 1-3 
months, making 72.3 pennyweights, or $57.84 per month — $694.08 per 
annum. 

(3) Adding the annual toll of the five months' report ($472.32) and the 
annual toll of the three and one-third months report (694.80) gives $1,- 
166.40, which, divided by two, makes $583.20 as a general average annual 
toll. The annual toll of $583.20 is 6 per cent on $9,720, and if any such 
income did continue to be received it is not surprising that the property 
was. held for over thirty years, even if it may have ibeen suspected that it 
was not paying as much as it ought to have paid. 

A few years after the close of the civil war, -between 1867 and 1870, 
there was quite a gold-mining excitement in this section of North Carolina, 
and a corporation chartered outside of the State purchased Pax Hill gold 
mine, a "prospect" only that had never been developed, located on a neigh- 
boring branch to that of the Miller mine, for $50,000, paying $25,000 down. 
Very soon after this transaction some company, possibly the same one that 
had ibought Pax Hill, offered the administrator of Maj. Miller's estate 
$20,000 for the Miller mine. Pax Hill had never been worked and the 
Miller mine had and was known to be a "paying" proposition and naturally 
the administrator desired to receive at least as much for his mine as had 
been paid for Pax Hill. He was sure, he almost knew, his mine was a 'better 
one than Pax Hill. He refused to take $20,000 and held out for more. 
Before a great while the purchasers of Pax Hill convinced themselves that 
their mine had a few extraordinarily rich "pockets" which they had rifled, 
but that they could find no more; so they defaulted on their second payment 
of $25,000. And the Miller mine, for which $20,000 had been offered, was 
later sold for $700. 

Race Horses 

Although more than 50 years had elapsed since the formal separation of 
the American colonies from the British government, the British passion for 
the race-course still existed in North Carolina, along with the rooted con- 
viction that it was the duty of every country gentleman to do his part in 
keeping tiie blooded stock of horses up to the standard. There was nothing 
in this akin to modern Anglomania, for it was bred in the bone and the 
North Carolinians were not conscious of aping the English, but considered 
it part of their inheritance, like Magna Carta. "Other times, other cus- 
toms." It is difficult, at this stage of modem utilitarian development, to 
fully understand how, from sixty to a hundred years ago, upwards of 25 
gentlemen of moderate means, and engaged in agriculture in the counties 
of Burke and Wilkes, should have considered it their duty to keep from 



71 

25 to 50 thorougliibrd horses and colts mewed up in stables, eating their 
heads off and doing Tiothing but running a race now and then — ^just to 
improve the stock! But so it was, and Maj. Miller was one of the enthu- 
siastic patrons of the turf, as is evidenced by the following extract from 
page 143 of Mary's Grove Day Book: 

Stud of E. P. Miller, Burke County, 1837-8 

No. 1 — Bertrand, the Younger, 7 years old, by Bertrand, Senior, dam ty 
Virginius. 

No. 2 — ^Polly Morgan, 3 years old, sorrel filly, by Monsieur Tonson, dam 
by Timoleon. 

No. 3 — Diana, 12 years old, sorrel mare, by Perkins' Florizel, he by im- 
ported Diomed, her dam by Sir Harry, by imported Sir Harry, etc. 

No. 4 — Kitty Smith, bay mare, by Blackburn's Whip, dam by Medley. 

No. 5 — Mountain Maid, bay filly, by Andrew of Tennessee, dam Kitty 
Smith. 

No. 6 — Black Betty, pedigree not known. 

No. 7 — ^Blue Hawk, 3 years old, bay colt, .by Perkins' Riott, dam Black 
Betty. 

No. 8 — Pigeon, brown mare, by Sudderth's Citizen, dam not known. 

No. 9 — Smiling Billy, two years old, sorrel colt by Bertrand, dam Blaze 
of Gallatin. 

No. 10 — Sally Ridge, bay filly by Bertrand, dam Pigeon. 

No. 11 — Maid of Norway, brown filly, out of Black Betty, by Daniel Mor- 
gan, he by Heazein, he by Sir Arehy. 

No. 12 — Talapoosa, sorrel colt, by Daniel Morgan, dam Blaze by Gallatin. 

No. 13 — Paugus, bal colt, by Bertrand, dam Pigeon. 

No. 14 — Mary McDowell, sorrel filly, by Bertrand, dam Sleep Kate, by 
cbay Diomed, grand dam 'by imported President. 

No. 15 — Lucy Forrester, 6 years old, bay mare, by Marshal Ney, by John 
Richard, Iby old Sir Archy; her dam by Carolinian, by imported True Blue. 
Lucy Forrester was raised by ex-Governor Hutchings G. Burton and sold to 
W. J. Alexander of Lincoln, who sold a half interest in the mare to E. P. 
Miller. 

No. 16 — Osceola, chestnut sorrel colt, by Singleton's Godolphin, dam 
Lucy Forrester. 
: No. 17 — Isola, bay filly, by Bertrand, dam Lucy Forrester. 

No. 18 — Roxanna, bay filly, by Bertrand, dam Black Betty. 

No. 19 — Little Jim, sorrel colt, by Bertrand, dam Diana. 

No. 20 — Big Jim, sorrel colt, by Bertrand, dam Kitty Smith. 
^ The above paraphrase of jockey jargon would be almost as unintellible, 
without translation, to the generality of people nowadays as baseball lingo 
would have been to our predecessors of 1837, but to them it was not only 
intelligible but intensely interesting as having relation to the history and 
accomplishments of an equine aristocracy in which these horses held, locally 
at least, distinguished station. 

The record shows the following gentlemen who traded, trafficked and 
crossed stock with the Mary's Grove sta'bles: Robert Simonton, who owned 



72 

Gallatin; James Erwin, who imported and owned Meteor; John Perkins, 
who owned Florizel; Alexander Perkins, who owned Riott; John Sudderth, 
who owned Citizen; Barlett Shipp, Gen. Lowdermilk, Dr. Satterwhite, Dr. 
Jones, Capt. McDowell, W. J. Alexander, R. M. Pearson and others. There 
was great rivalry and difference of opdnion as to superiority -of stock among 
the partisans of Gallatin, Florizel, Riott, Citizen and Bertrand, but the 
acutest divergence was between the Citizen and Bertrand adherents, the 
Sudderth darkeys swearing by Citi-zen while the Mary's Grove negroes bet 
all their money on "Bertram." 

Ellen White, a fine 3-year-old filly, was sold out of the stud in 183G to 
Judge Strange for $150. Blaze, "the Bowman m^are," had also been sold 
out of the stud but left two colts in it. Smiling Billy and Talapoosa. She 
was sold as a filly for $85 and bought for Mary's Grove for $110. The 
record does not state what the Mary's Grove staibles got for her. (These 
•prices show that thoroughbred stock did not sell at exorbitant rates.) There 
are a number of other horses, colts and fillies that had been sold, but no 
other prices are given. 

Only four races are recorded: 

(1) May, 1837, Polly Morgan won a sweepstakes in Morganton, purse 
1137.50, entrance fee $25, beating Capt. McDowell's Lance filly, Alexander 
Perkins' Riott filly, Isaac West's Field filly and a South Carolina horse 
belonging to Mr. Little, Polly carrying nine pounds over weight. Polly 
Morgan was a red sorrel and was bought from Capt. Moody in Raleigh in 
1836. 

(2) October 10, 1837. At Morganton she beat Capt. McDowell's Lance 
filly and Alexander Perkins' Peter Pinder by Riott, she carrying 18 pounds 
over weight. Entrance fee $50. 

(3) At same time and place she was beaten in two heats, of one mile each, 
by A. Sherrill's Riott filly, one heat "from the throat-latch out" and the 
other by half a length. "It was believed she would have distanced the 
filly if she had carried equal weight." (A case of too much jockey.) 
These were all mile heats and Polly's distance is two miles." (No quar- 
ter horse.) 

(4) Ran Polly Morgan at Wilkesborough, November, 1837, two miles 
heats against Gen. Lowdermilk's Monsieur Tonson, 4-year-old horse, and 
against Bogle's colt. She distance the field with ease under a hard pull. 

This is a transcript of the account of four races that has been preserved 
out of a record covering a racing-stable career extending over 20 years into 
the future from a date when the stables and Polly Morgan were of the 
same age — about three years old; the remaining portions of the record, if 
available, would show many victories (and some defeats) in notable events 
in which the redoubtable Polly and the other horses in the stable took 
part; for Polly Morgan and others of her colleagues made great reputa- 
tions in racing circles. In the two heats in which Sherrill's Riott filly beat 
her once "from the throat-latch out" and again "by half a length," her 
fat jockey should have peraphrased Tennyson and encouraged her, in the 



73 



second heat at least, by cryino: out, "Half a lengrth, half a length, half a 
length onward!" 

A horse having the pedigree, appearance and qualities of the three-year- 
year bay filly, Ellen White, sold to Judge Strange in 1836 for $150, would 
sell today for not less than $1,000, and probably for $1,500. 

The record speaks of a fine mare, Arabia by name, the property of Judge 
Pearson, who rusticated, during the summer of 1837, on the mountain 
pasture at Blowing Rock. Fellow-guests with Arabia were a gray mare 
and her thoroughbred colt. Grampus, the property of Bartlett Shipp ol 
Lincoln Mr. Shipp, a respected friend and honored guest at Mary s Grove, 
was cousin and guardian of Lucy K. Abernethy, who became the wife of 
Robert C. Miller, Maj. Miller's eldest son, and was also a cousin of Nancy 
Abernethy, the wife of John Perkins, Jr., Maj. Miller's uncle. A kmsnian 
of the Mary's Grove family used to make the whimsical c^P}^^^"^ tha^ 
they liked Mr. Shipp better than any of their kinspeople and that, when 
they spoke of "Mr. Shipp," they employed a tone of voice like that of the 
wife of a second lieutenant in the army or an ensign in the "/vy when 
she called her husband "Mr.," as if he were just a little better kind of Mr. 
.thL Jhe ordinary "Mr." This was an inherited ^^-^^^^'P' ^.f/;;^^, 
Miller was very fond of Bartlett Shipp and his forbears. St^^l. ^^ could 
no always have his way with his young friend B-tlett, for the corre- 
spondence between Bishop Ravenscroft and Parson Mil er shows that the.e 
Reverend and Right Reverend gentlemen endeavored unsuccessfully to 
induce Bartlett Shipp and Robert Burton to become Episcopal lay-readers 

'""ci^'mingling notices of horses and people is proper, for the horse is a 
noble animal and the friendship between the thoroughbred and his master 
IS very fond and their relations close and intimate. Doubtless Gov. Burton 
of Halifax took pride in having raised aristocratic Lucy Forrester, and her 
Subsequent owners, W. J. Alexander and E. P. Miller, were not less proad 
of the glory she and her progeny brought to their stables or of the pron 
they put in their pockets. Mr. Alexander was grandfather of the beautiful 
Ind takn ed Miss Laura Alexander, who was one of the first of the women 
SNorth Carolina to break an old tradition in entering a public Profession 
Tor soon after the civil war she went upon the sUge, and her no less beau- 
tSxl and channing aunt. Miss "Coosie" Wilson beloved and fdm^red in 
M that section, went with her as a companion and was her niece s chaperon 
during her theatrical career. Thus it appears that with ^^^^ f -^"^o^ ^he 
old regime the character of racing changed and the thoroughbred and their 
masters entered upon new careers involving much of practical utility and 

°%\;:dty'^^'e';Tafl;rtrand and with fast Polly Morgan for her dam 
chestnut sorrel Scotia, foaled April 30, 1839, was a princess of the blood 
royal, so trim and dainty that she was never put upon the course, but was 
set a^ide as riding horse for the only young lady of the Mary's Grove fam- 
ily, which consisted of seven sons and the daughter. One afternoon, as 
Scitia and her young mistress were leaving Lenoir for their home at Mary s 



74 

Grove, two miles away, there rode in front of them an old citizen who sat 
his horse in that bending-forward, bundled-up and swaying attitude char- 
acteristic of a gentleman in his cups, and as they neared him he turned his 
face upward and backward and, in the most agreeable and sociable, if 
somewhat tipsy, manner, called out, "Whip up, my good gal! We're both 
both going the same way." The "good gal' took him at his word and a 
gentle touch of the crap on Scotia's flank was all the hint she needed to 
show her heels and burn the wind. Scotia had been unsaddled and unbridled 
and had wallowed, and had about finished cropping all the grass she cared 
for on the lawn, when she raised her head and whinnied a derisive hello 
at the inebriated citizen and his nag as they jogged and nodded along down 
the road. 

Personal Recollections 

A grandson who was eight years old when Maj. Miller died in 1861 has 
some charming childish recollections of iMary's Grove during the last years 
of the old regime. A recent visit to the old place afforded him food for 
interesting philosophical reflection. Only four things remained as they 
appeared to him in his childhood — the graveyard (which is his own prop- 
erty) ; the grove, still beautiful but depleted; the old well, and the door 
that opened into "grandmother's sitting room;" though even the grove and 
the graveyard are changed. The old door, with its curious little metal knob 
and catches and its quaint battens, was one that Parson Miller had placed 
in the old house when it was built in 1806, and, long before it began to 
open up the pleasures of childhood to the philosophizing visitor, it had 
swung upon its hinges for the frequent comings and goings of Bishop 
Ravenscroft, Bishop Ives, Bishop Atkinson, Bishop Green, John Henry 
Ho'bart, Dr. Buxton, Dr. Thurston, Dr. Gries and scores of other ecslesias- 
tical and lay worthies. W^hen the old house was torn down, many years 
ago, the then owner, perhaps for sejitimental reasons, saved this door and 
had it set in a doorway of the new house built upon the old site. The 
present owner, with rare generosity, has given the door to the whilom 
small boy, who has replaced it with a modern shutter. 

This boy's recollection is that in Bertrand's stead another Sultan reigned, 
a fine black-bay named Puzzle, who lived in solemn, stately seclusion in a 
stable built for him on the lower borders of the limbertwig orchard, where 
Perry, in charge of the horses, cared for him and caressed him. Old Perry, 
good old iblack Perry — it was the joy of his heart to lead Puzzle two miles 
to Lenoir, on court days and other public days, for the purpose of parading 
him before the gaze of an admiring audience, the bestowal of whose praise 
upon the horse was as the oil of gladness to Perry. The 'boy remembers 
distinctly seeing the horses in the stcibles and hearing the race-course talk 
of the negroes, but he does not remember ever having seen a race or know- 
ing anything about one. It is quite evident that during the first six years 
of his life he was too small to be taken to the races and, whether there were 
any races then or not, he would have no recollections concerning them. 
The same is probably true of him, from the age of six to eight years, though 
it is very probable that in those years, owing to the distracted state of 



75 

public opinion, the minds of the community were set upon things more 
serious than horse-racing and that there were no races. 
Fox Hounds and Game Chickens 
The man, to whom the boy referred to is father, never hears a "jar-fly," 
that big locust whose raucous, strident scream from the great oaks is ac- 
counted portentous of hot, dry weather, or tee chanting of myriads of 
swamp frogs, but he thinks of Mary's Grove. His way of getting to Mary's 
Grove was generally this: His grandfather, bestriding his horse, whose head 
is turned homeward from Lenoir, in the afternoon, reaches dov/n and, 
grasping him by the left arm near the shoulder, lifts him up behind, on the 
horse, where he sticks, like a toad on a tussock, holding on grimly to his 
grandfather's coat-skirts. This is often not accomplished without earnest 
material protests which fill the urchin's heart with misgivings but do not 
seem to move the grandsire at all; and what can one do under such dis- 
tressing circumstances? Soon, however, the spirit of depression departs 
and the pleasant prospects and happy greetings on the road bring back 
cheerfulness and the joy of life. As the way shortens, as the westering sun 
declines and as the dark shadows of the grewsome grove envelop them, 
every oak furnishes a jar-fly who joins his fellows in sawing out a savage 
symphony and the frogs in the meadow take up the refrain and sing a 
funexal dirge. It is then that the little lad flrst learns what vanity of van- 
ities means and realizes the futility of all human endeavor without maternal 
supervision, and, shamefacedly but sincerely, he weeps against his grand- 
father's back. But, hark! More cheerful sounds are heard. The hounds 
come trooping out, barking and baying around their master in welcoming 
chorus; the little darkeys, scampering from the nearby quarters, run an 
Olympic race in noisy competition, the goal being opening the gate for 
"Ole Marse;" the cheerful, ruddy lights of candles and hickory log fires 
emanating through the doors and windows enliven the scene, and by the 
time the small boy falls into grandmother's arms and is hugged and kissed 
and patted upon the cheek and called "little tackey" by her, his tears are 
dry and the world has become new and fresh and beautiful again. Where 
to go and what to do next is the problem. And he fears the edict that it 
is too late to go an>'Avhere out of doors, for he had been counting on a round 
of the quarters v.'ith his favorites among the young darkeys and a visit to 
■Uncle Jim to see the 'possum he has fattening and to learn what progress 
Joe is making at putting a new handle in the small iboy's miniature axe. 
There were other things it would be very agreeable to do also, as visiting 
the stables, examining the chicken runs, etc., 'but they would "keep" till 
morning, especially as he was sure that out of seven uncles there would 
!be enough at home to furnish him with choice diversion between supper 
and bedtime. Much as he loved and admired his grandfather, who was 
something of a valetudinarian at this time., he had no patience with his 
imples diet of mush and milk, followed by hot corn pone and butter and a 
glass of milk; so he contrived to be seated at the supper table near his 
grandmother and regaled himself on the more toothsome dainties with 
which she provided him. After supper everybody repaired to "the hall," 



76 

in the wide fireplace of which a big log fire was blazing, the grandmother, 
■who always wore a "cap," sitting in one comer knitting (the most suitable 
diversion for a lady at night when the brighest light was that afforded by 
tallow candles and pine-knots), while the grandfather sat in the other cor- 
ner reading the National Intelligencer, which was not the easiest thing in 
the world for an old gentleman, as was indicated by his frequent "snuffing" 
of the candles. (People in those days seem to have eaten a great deal 
more beef than they do nowadays, and the question is raisd whether they 
did not butcher the beeves, as much as for any other reason, to obtain tallow 
for candles! The small boy seems to remember seeing candle "moulds" 
always in process of being strung with wicks, of having the melted tallow 
poured in the dozen cylinders of each mould and of being hung out in cool 
places to harden. The long winter nights were the cause of the burning 
■up and melting of millions of candles.) Be that as it may, the boy was 
soon deeply interested in more or less veracious stories of hunting, fishing 
and riding, and of the prodigies performed by the various animals engaged 
an the chaSe and race, which his uncles laid themselves out to relate for 
his entertainment. One of these uncles, who allowed himself to be monop- 
olized and tyrannized over by him, was full of folk-lore and woods-lore, 
was weather-wise and knew all about animals, birds and fishes. He was 
a modem Will Honeycombe, without his vagrant habits. It is true that he 
divided his time largely between Mary's Grove, the gold mine and the moun- 
tain farm. The gold mine and the mountain farm were both located, by the 
small hoy's imagination, in the realm of romance and mystery. The gold 
mine, he was sure, was the residence of Aladdin and his wonderful lamp, 
and he had a great longing to visit the mountain farm, for "Sairy in the 
Mountains," a negro woman who cooked at the mountain farm, and who 
from time to time came to Mary's Grove for a change, had given him 
accounts, exaggerated no doubt, of the broad acres in meadow and pasture, 
of the vast droves of horses and herds of cattle on the pastures and of the 
grand scenery. Later his strong desire to go to "the mountains" was grat- 
ified and he visited the mountain farm and Valle Crucis. He has vague 
memories of horses, cattle, mountains massed upon mountains and distant 
views, but the only really distinct recollection he has is that of seeing a 
huge rattlesnake which his uncle, who owned Valle Crucis, kept in a box 
.with a glass window, together with deer horns stuck around the walls and 
bear skins spread on the floors. Dried venison hams and "mountain sugar" 
made from maple syrup also rise up out of the indistinctness and claim a 
place in memory. The boy was allowed to "sit up" till all the family went 
to bed and the excitements of the afternoon and evening had only the 
effect of closing his little eyes in draemless slumber as soon as he was well 
.tucked in. In the middle of the night he was waked by strains of music 
he recognized as the winding of the hunters' horn rounding up the hounds 
for a'fox-chase, and Loud, Lumber, Music and all the pack responded in joy- 
ful chorus of baying up and down the gamut, from the treble of Music to 
the deep bass of old Lumber. A few sharp halloos from "the boys" got the 
hounds well in hand and presently they speeded, yelping, barking, baying. 



77 

off and away toward the forest. The stories the little boy had heard made 
him familiar with every move to be made — circling and hunting, with a 
yelp of encouragement now and then from the leaders, egged on by sharp 
halloos from the hunters; striking the scent and following the trail, an- 
nounced by the "opening" of the leader, when the whole pack joined in a 
grand volume of exciting music which kept up as long as the trail was 
"hot" but diminished and faded away if it grew "cold," which happened 
if the wily fox back-tracked, doubled or took to water; then followed more 
hunting and long-range circling till the hot trail was picked up again ;on a 
hot trail the concerted baying of the hounds was resumed and became one 
harmonious volume of concerted music as it grew hotter; no tongue or pen 
can describe the climax of this swelling, sonorous, bounding billow of bay- 
ing, sweeping in waves through the forest, as the foremost hounds, in the 
ecstasy of the chase, caught the first distant, fleeting glimpse of Reynard's 
gray brush; soon run down and exhausted, the. fox was an easy prey, for in 
face of a pack of hounds he could not be said to be "at bay;" the hunters 
tried always be keep up with the hounds by cutting across and doubling like 
a fox, in order to enjoy the music and excitement and to be in at the death 
to prevent the hounds from tearing the fox to pieces. Lying tucked away 
in his warm nest in bed, the little boy's imagination drew for him these 
exciting pictures while he listened to the music of the horns and hounds 
scampemg away to the forest, and, as the last faint notes of the sweet 
music died away, he dropped off to sleep again. As a boy and man this was 
as near as he ever came to being on a fox-hunt and he is v/ell satisfied, for 
it took a tough, hardy youngster to keep up with the hounds in the rough 
woods, where "riding to the hounds" would have been out of the question. 
The start was at an hour anywhere from 2 a.m. until daybrealc, in order to 
encounter the fox fresh upon his travels and to trail him when the dew was 
on the ground and the scent was fresh and hot. 

Nejct morning he was up bright and early, had been all around the quar- 
ters and seen his little black friends and had examined Uncle Jim's 'possum, 
which was getting very fat and appeared to be quite as "sullen" as was 
becoming in a 'possum growing in girth and devoted to a sacrifice that was 
only delayed awaiting the preparedness of the accompanying sweet potatoes. 
Joe had given him his toy axe, newly helved, which he kept with him as 
closly as a little girl keeps her 'baby-doll, and as there was still plenty of 
time on his hands before the breakfast bell would ring, he was engaged in 
watching a function that interested him intensely. The game had been 
abroad in the forest in numbers that night, and the wind had been fair — that 
is to say it had been gentle and had not dried up the drew — and the uncles 
had caught two foxes between 2 o'clock and sunup, and as the last one was 
caught near home they "came in." The pelts and brushes had been nailed 
up against he granary wall to dry and the carcases of the foxes, after having 
been boiled in a pot prepared for the purpose, were being cut up in proper 
proportions and thrown to the dogs, which caught them, as trained seals 
on the vaudeville stage catch pieces of fat bacon thrown to them, and 
devourd them greedily. A well-kept hound does not care for the raw flesh 



78 

of a fox but only "picks over it." By feeding them on the well-seasoned 
cooked flesh they were educated to like it and their appetites joined with 
their natural instincts to make them eag-er for success in the chase. This 
;pack, as their predecessors had been, were deer-hounds as well as fox- 
hounds, but as deer was less plentiful than formerly the fox was a more 
frequent quarry than deer. A pack of beagles was once introduced but it 
was soon discovered that these short-legged little hounds were fit only for 
rabbits, and as the rabbit, like the 'possum, was "nigger game," they were 
not kept busy. The little boy's uncle Will Honeycombe was something of 
a heretic in this particular, for he caught rabbits, generally by trapping 
them, for their "hams," which he dried just as venison hams are dried. 
Dried venison is delicious, but, by comparison, dried rabbit ham is as frog 
legs to mutton chops, and the small boy was never happier than when he 
came into possession of a "ham." 

After breakfast there was much to do — visiting the stables, riding a 
gentle horse and so forth. But a surce of never-ending interest and enter- 
tainment was the chicken run, in which only game chickens were raised, 
and only one breed of them, the Arrington Games or Raleigh Reds. They 
were called Arrington Games because Maj. Miller got the stock from Sen- 
ator Arrington of Nash, a colleague in the General Assembly and the pop- 
ular and alliterative name of Raleigh Reds was given to them because the 
cocks were always of some shade of red in color and because Maj. Miller 
was supposed to have brought them with him in his hands, their legs tied 
together, when he returned from the Legislature at Raleigh. They were 
notable fighters and the stock still ranks high among the dominant breeds 
in this section. Besides the Mary's Grove run there were runs at the gold 
mine and at the mountain faim. The chickens were smaller and lighter in 
weight than chickens not pugilistically inclined, but those familiar with 
them have always maintained that no broiler T>ras ever quite so tender and 
toothsome as a game spring chicken. The little boy has never to this day 
seen a chicken fight except as between roosters who of their own will and 
accord have entered upon hostilities, but in those days there is no denying 
that there were cocking mains held. "Other times, other customs" again 
comes to the rescne. It had been a strenuous day and iby the time the boy 
had finished supper he could scarcely keep his eyelids apart, so he was put 
to bed and fell asleep as soon as he "touched the feathers." 

After a full night's rest he rose with the sun, and it seemed to him that 
Mammy Sophy was just trying herself to delay having breakfast till dinner 
time, and after she had served it away up in the day (according to his 
computation), that his grandfather, who had promised to take him home 
after breakfast, was inventing excuse upon excuse to attend to first one 
trivial piece of business after another before starting. There had never 
been a mule or a pair of shafts at Mary's Grove and, unless you walked, 
the only way to get away from there was to drive a pair of horses to a 
buggy or carriage or to ride one. The very convenience of it made horse- 
back riding a common mode of transportation. At last the little boy was 
perched up behind his grandfather on his way to town and to his mother. 



79 

The love of the little boy for his sweet young mother and her love for 
him — ^what can measure it? At the first sight of her dear face such a great 
joy entered into his heart that it could not hold it and he fell into her arms 
and sobbed upon her breast, and she fondled and caressed him and mingled 
her tears wtih his. Then they loved each other back to joy and gladness 
and lightness of heart and the world was bright and happy again for both. 
Negroes at Mary's Grove 

There were never very many negroes at Mary's Grove. The first census — 
that of 1780 — credits Parson Miller with two; his father-in-law, John Per- 
kins, a wealthy planter of Lincoln county, with thirteen, and Gen. William 
Lenoir, a rich Wilkes county planter on the Yadkin, with twelve. Not at 
this early date or at any future period was there the necessity, on the west- 
ern farms, for the large number of negroes that were required on the large 
tobacco and cotton plantations in the central and eastern parts of the State. 

At Mary's Grove a ten-acre swamp in the "bottom land" on Lower creek 
was given to the negroes, upon condition that they cleared it and ditched it 
and brought it into cultivation, for their own, and this lot of land, the richest 
part of the Mary's Grove bottoms, was called "Nigger Bottom" and remained 
theirs as long as the negroes remained at Mary's Grove. Every Saturday 
afternoon was a negro holiday, which they devoted, as occasion demanded, 
to the cultivation of their plot of ground. From the personal recollection of 
a very small boy the names of twenty of the Mary's Grove negroes are re- 
called at the time of "the surrender," not including a number of youngsters 
then on the place and several who had been sold by the executors of the 
estate at the beginning of the civil w:ir. These facts would indicate that, in 
its most flourishing state. Mary's Grove was the home of about forty negroes, 
as the "Nigger Bottom" would have furnished a quarter of an acre apiece 
to forty men, women and children. 

The transactions by the executors were made to accomplish two results — 
to meet the exigencies of debt and the bring families together. For instance, 
Mammy Sophy's husband did not belong to Mary Grove, but to another 
family, and upon occasion he was furnished with a "pass" which authorized 
him to go and pass the week-end, from Saturday at noon until Monday morn- 
ing, at "wife's house." The pass was recognized as placing the bearer out- 
side the category of contraband wanderers by the patrol (pattyroller). 
Mammy Sophy and others in like condition were transferred to the families 
of their husbands. 

The week-ends were always happy times, extending from Saturday at 
noon to bedtime Sunday night, except when the cultivation of "Nigger 
Bottom" required the services of the working force on Saturday afternoon, 
find the presence of visitors added to the pleasure. Through his mind's 
eye the white boy looks back and reviews the childish sports of himself and 
his black playmates, hunting, fishing and "playing" on many a Saturday 
half-holiday, and he sees at night an outdoor congregation in the quarters 
gathered to witness, sometimes by the light of pine-knot bonfires, the grace- 
ful dancing of the larger boys and younger men to the music of a banjo or 
an old fiddle, accompanied by the patting of Juba by the spectators — "Juba 



80 

dis and Juba dat, Juba kill de ole black cat." Each of half a dozen dusky 
youngsters was showing his skill at buck-dancing, doubk-shuffling, pigeon- 
winging, and their swaying bodies and rapid movements presented a picture 
of natural grace, when, at the magic cry of "Whing!" from the leader, 
they all fell into a frantic break-down, the music of their feet keeping time 
with that of the banjo and the patting of Juba, which was redoubled by the 
audience and accompanied by spirited singing: 

'S I's gwine down t'e harves' fiel' 
Black-snake nip be on 'e heel — 
JUMP! Jim Crow. 

Run, niger, run — 

Pattyroller ketch you — 
Run, niger, RUN! 

All this was senseless, of course, but it contributed to the gayety of the 
occasion; and the small boy, who has since seen George Primrose and Billy 
West at their best, looks back upon these darkey buck-dances and their 
accompaniments as equal to anything Terpsichore ever achieved. 

'Generally, on Sunday morning,s they were gathered in "the hall," where 
'^Ole Miss" read from the Bible and the Prayer Book to them and the chil- 
dren were taught the catechism, after which they were free to do as they 
pleased within certain limits; the horses and cattle were to- be attended 
to and firewood provided. It was harder on the cooks than on anybody else, 
but it was managed by relaying to give even the cooks a couple of Sundays 
a month off. All baptisms and most marriages were performed by Episcopal 
ministers and a few of the negroes had been confirmed and were commu- 
nicants of the Episcopal Church, but the majority of them were inclined 
to the Methodist Church. 

The obsolete law or regulation forbidding the teaching of reading and 
writing to negroes was a dead-letter so far as the house-servants were con- 
cerned, and the lad of reminiscences recalls two negro girls (chambermaid 
and nurse), a good deal older than himself, who were learning to spell and 
read while he was being taught his "A B C's'„ and he has a clear recollec- 
tion of the deep interest shown on their faces as they heard read aloud 
the remarkable adventures of Capitola. Old Hurricane and the bad des- 
peradoes in Mrs. Southworth's "Hidden Hand," set forth in the "palpitating 
pages" of the New York Ledger. They also manifested an interest, but not 
so absorbing, in Porte Crayon's description of Southern travel in Harper's 
Magazine. 

Uncle Jim and Aunt Airy claimed to be over a hundred years old. and 
khey looked it. The boy was deeply impressed by Uncle Jim's legs, his 
lower extremities, which were swollen — not from dropsy — and which he 
always kept swathed and bandaged and pervaded by a pleasant arodatic 
odor of liniment, a whiff of which even to this day always brings up mem- 
ories of Uncle Jim and his big bundles of legs. There was a strong bond 
of attachment between the boy and these old negroes, who loved to talk to 
him, and he delighted to listen to them. He remembers no set stories about 



81 

animals, such as Uncle Remus told Miss Sally's little boy, but the line of 
personification of animals and of giving them the power of speech that 
ran through those stories was a thread ravelled out of the weave of negro 
fancy, and the stories sound perfectly natural to the old-time negroes and 
white folks of the South. The boy would sit and listen to Uncle Jim by 
the hour— and so did Aunt Airy, whose talk was generally inconsequential 
to the little boy's ears— but he remembers now actually only one thing the 
old man said, although he remembers that with distinctness. Uncle Jim 
had belonged in his youth to a man who lived to a great age, for whom 
he had great respect and stories about whom he never tired of telling. Of one 
of these stories about his old "Marster"— for Jim, as did all the negroes, 
used the broad "a" in pronouncing Master— only an insignificant portion 
is remembered in detail. Ke told of his master becoming exasperated over 
some state of affairs (which Uncle Jim recounted circumstantially), and 
with great vehemence exclaiming -Splud!" The youthful listener's curios- 
ity to know what this mysterious expletive meant was gratified only to the 
extent of Uncle Jim's declaring that he did not know the meaning of it and 
that it was only a "byword" anyhow. Years after, during the reading of 
Shakespeare of some other book, dealing with life in England two hundred 
years or more ago, the appe^.rance on a page of " 'S blood" brought up 
beside it, in memory, "Splud" and Uncle Jim! Uncle Jim'se old master 
used the old, obsolete and archaic English expletive, " 'S blood!" in Jim^s 
presence, who repeated it ' phonetically and to the mystification of his 
youthful listener. This opened up another fanciful bit of philosophizing. 
If Jim was a hundred years old and if his old master had also lived to be 
a hundred years old and if Jim had been fifteen years old when his old 
master died, the latter would have been ten years old when King Charles 
the Second died. And that was the age when the expletive " 'S blood !" 
was in most common use, for upon the accession of William and Mary it 
soon became archaic and fell into disuse. So, upon the above assumptions, 
the whilom youth worked it out that he had spoken with a man who had 
spoken with another man who might have spoken with King Charles the 
Second! 

Old as she was. Aunt Airy was not responsible for the remark made by 
a centenarian in another family, who certainly looked what she claimed 
to be — much more than a hundred years old. One of her "white folks," 
in conversation with her, adverted to the fact of her having reached a ripe 
old age. "Yes'm, Miss Mary, I sho' is been here a long spell; but, Miss 
Mary," and spoke in an awed tone in which there was real pathos and none 
of the characteristic negro whimsicalities, "I sometimes thinks maybe the 
Lord's forgot me!" 

Old Lawson Michaux, while not a Mary's Grove negro, belonged to an- 
other branch of the Perkins family residing on John's river in Burke county, 
and his son, "young" Lawson, walked in the tracks of his respected parent 
and gave hia sons and daughters the names of good people. He had nine 
sons and two daughters and, after naming one of the sons Lawson, for his 
father (and himself), he called the eight others George Folk, Clinton Cilley, 



82 

Gray Bynum, Burgess Gaither, Alphonso Avery, Nicholas Woodfin, Wade 
Hampton and Grover Cleveland, the names of eight men much respected 
in North Carolina. Th eolder daughter was named for his sister, Minnie 
Lou, and when the youngest child, a daughter, was born, Lawson came 
down the river to tell his "young Miss," a granddaughter of Mr. Richard 
V. Michaux and of Maj. Miller, about her advent. "Now, Lawson," said 
this young lady, "you have one son named for your father, a good man, 
and eight other sons named for eight very eminent gentlemen; Minnie Lou 
is named for a good woman, and you should name this little baby for the 
finest and best woman in the world" 

"Yes'm, I done done so." 

" for the great and good Queen, Victoria." 

"Yes'm, I knows she's a fine 'oman, but ef I names this young 'un Victo-ry 
she'll alius be called Vic for short; so we just named her for you, ma'am!" 
And so Queen Victoria was turned down and the young child was named 
and in the course of years was married to a young negro who bore the same 
name — ^^given and sirname — that the husband of Lawson's "young Miss" 
bears, and the reason that the mails in that community are not badly scram- 
bled is attributed to the fact that there is always a discreet administration 
of the postoffice at Adako. In justice to the black girl it must be said that 
she took the initiative in the matter of marriage and that she had "done got 
her man and gone on" before a white man of the same name as her hus- 
band "tuck and" married "young Miss." 

There were always holidays given when the circus came, on election day 
and for one day during court week, and the negroes always attended these 
functions. If they did not have money of their own — and they generally 
had, either from the proceeds from the "Nigger Bottom" land or from the 
tips that they were expert in accumulating — they were given tickets to the 
circus, and the happiest times at the circus the small hoy could have enjoyed 
would have been to be allowed to go with them — which he was not allowed 
to do! They were regular attendants at elections and on "Tuesday of 
court week," when Perry took Puzzle or some other high-bred stallion to 
parade the streets of Lenoir and to exhibit his fine qualities, he was always 
followed by an admiring throng of his Mary's Grove adherents ready to 
stake the "Bertram" stock against the "Citi-zen" or any other fine breed of 
horses in the State. 

In the days before there were any railroads and before railroads were 
very common the only way of getting to market was by wagons over bad 
roads to Cross Keys (Fayetteville) and Charleston, and, after a railroad 
was built to that town, to Columbia, and of course the negroes, some of 
them, made these trips. And many were the wonderful stories they brought 
back touching their adventures on their travels. For years and years 
afterwards the story of the "falling stars," as related by the party out on 
the road in the fall of 1833, was repeated in the quarters by those who saw 
the phenomenon and they never quite got over the shock that came to them 
when they thought the end of the world was at hand. Mr. N. A. Powell, 
who was then a lad, was out on a trip on that occasion and he used to say 
it was no laughing matter to go through such an experience. The negroes 



83 

had a wonderful story to tell of what they saw and heard as they traveled 
through the domains of the elder Wade Hampton. They said he had tried 
and tried to bring the number of his servants up to an even thousand, but 
that every time he reached that notch one would die or take to the swamps 
and he never could say that his people numbered a thousand. As he would 
be riding along the roads and would meet a negro he would say, "Whose 
darkey are you?" "I belongs to Marse Wade Hampton, sir." Every time 
that answer was made he would throw a silver dollar to the negro — a very 
generous if not a frugal practice. 

There were loom-houses where the cloth was woven for clothing the ne- 
groes and the women, either in their cabins or this house, would card the 
cotton and wool and spin the rolls into thread for the use of the looms. Of 
course there was necessity for dyeing apparatus. As the number of servants 
at Mary's Grove was comparatively small, there were no skilled mechanics 
among them and shoemakers were hired each fall to come and take meas- 
ures, "cut out" and make the season's shoes. There were enough cobblers 
of little skill to half-sole and mend dui-ing the winter. 

There is now living on a farm that was part of the old Mary's Grove 
homeplace a lady who was born on the place in 1835 and since that year 
she has virtually lived on that farm. She was the daughter of Nathan 
Clark, the hatter, who cultivated some land on the Mary's Grove plantation 
and made wool hats. He made all the wool hats needed at Mary's Grove, 
and of course for all the countryside. The writer, then a boy, wore old man 
Nath Clark's wool hats all during the civil war. They may not have been 
as light or as stylish as hats he has since worn, but they kept out the 
weather. As Mrs. Leiter of Washington said of her Dupont Circle palace to 
a friend who was expatiating upon its magnificence, "Oh, well, it is a good 
enough shelter." 

The following "tax-list was given in iby E. P. Miller of Mary^s Grove 
for 1841 :" 

Landi — Home tract, 385 acres, worth $4,000. 

Land — Underdown tract, 220 acres, $450. 

Land — Mill seat and entry, 80 acres, $100. 

Land — Mill tract, 30 acres, $200. 

Landi — Woods tract, 115 acres, $215. 

Land — Braswell mine interest, 200 acres, $255. 

Land — ^Four mountain entries, $20. 

Land — Mountain land (Ashe and Caldwell), 200 acres, $220. 

Yand-^Clontz, Lowdermilk, Perkins and Miller, acres, $180. 

Six (6 black polls). 

Six black polls, 21 years old and over, would indicate from 25 to 30 
negroes of all ages and sexes at Mary'.- Grove. Some of these negroes, in 
conjunction with other families, were engaged in road-building on the first 
construction of the mountain turnpike now known as the Lenoir and Blow- 
ing Rock turnpike. IMaj. Miller took a contract to build one mile of this 
road, some distance above Mulberry Spring, and a curious incident in con- 
nection with this construction is that there is to this day, situated near 
the road, a clearing in a favorable southern and eastern exposure known as 



84 

the "Miller Potato Patch." Raising the potatoes near the location of oper- 
ations was a provident means of furnishingr the hands with this nutritious 
vegetable and thus doing away with that much hauling. The date of the 
building of this road must have been prior to 1850. Of course the record 
is kept by the company. 

In 1899, upon the death of Mrs. W. W. Scott, only daughter of Maj. 
Miller, of Mary's Grove, who had eight children, black Joe Miller was 
greatly grieved and, in talking to a member of the family, made this af- 
fectionate remark: "There's only two of us left now — Marse Hamp and 
me." He referred to the late Mr. E. H. Miller — "Will Honeycombe" — and 
meant that they were the last of a group of children, white and black, who 
had been raised up together at Mary's Grove. Joe and Perry were brothers, 
Joe being teh youngest and Perry the oldest of their family, sons of "Mammy 
Tina." Both were men of high character, correct principles and of the 
strictest loyalty, and the writer of this counted them his dear friends for 
whom he had an affection as for kinsmen. The children, grandchildren and 
great-grandchildren of these good men may well be proud of their for- 
bears. When Gen. Stoneman led his cavalry command of 3,000 men 
through Caldwell just at the close of the war they took away with them 
every horse and mule they could lay their hands on, and very few farmrs 
residing along their line of march saved any of their stock that could be 
taken away. Capt. N. A. Miller was absent from home with his company 
of Confederate cavalry, but Joe got his horses together and, with some 
assistance, took them to the woods. The Yankees got wind of him and 
trailed him, but Joe dodged from one hiding place to another, during the 
two or three days the raid lasted, and finally escaped; and when the coast 
was clear came riding home with his drove intact. 

THE END 



POSTSCRIPT 

The preceding rambling pages do not require any preface unless it may 
be one to serve as an apology and to make certain additions and corrections 
that could not be made in the text. The "Introductory" and "Part I" carry 
a story, as well as it could be compiled from the material at hand, of the 
family of John Perkins from the date of his birth in 1733 to about 1800. 
This story covers the history of his sons and daughters in a fragmentary 
■way, during that period. 

"Part II" takes up the families of these children of John Perkins and is 
an imperfect genealogical record of these families. Such records, however 
complete they may be, are usually of more interest to the persons concerned 
than to the general public and, as might have been expected, "Part II" 
falls far below "Part I" in general interest and in its availability to carry 
anything resembling a connected story. 

, When it was resolved to publish these compilations in book or pamphlet 
form it was deemed advisable to round them out and to bring in a section 
that might pick up the story, temporarily laid aside when "Part I" was con- 
cluded, and carry it forward, as far as possible, along the same lines upon 
which "Part I" was laid. This scheme opened up the way for six or eight dif- 
ferent associated or allied family histories, detailing manners and customs 
prevailing during the first half of the nineteenth century. In "Part I" John 
Perkins was the dominating figure. "Part III," if constructed literally upon 
the same lines, would have developed six or eight other dominating figures, 
and, if any one writer or compiler had been able to collect the material, he 
would have had such an embarrassment of riches in his possession as would 
have forced him to write several books. But no one could have entered 
upon such a task without preparing for years of strenuous work and tireless 
investigation, even if it had been possible or expedient to attempt such an 
extensive publishing project. 

In his assiduous labor of investigating the field covered by these pages 
the writer has discovered that there are from six to a dozen of the allied 
families that would furnish, to a properly equipped writer, material for the 
construction of a "Part III" quite as interesting as the one herewith sub- 
mitted and in a number of instances far more fascinating, considering only 
the material upon which the stories might be based. But if a "Part III" 
had to be written the one herein printed was the only one the present writer 
could write because it was the only one he was entirely familiar and inti- 
mately connected with and he herewith submits it as more or less typical of 
the other six or eight. 

The young county of Avery, except for a slight comer taken from Wa- 
tauga, was a part of the old county of Burke in the days of John Perkins, 
and was carved out of the present counties of Burke, Caldwell, Mitchell and 
Watauga, Mr. William Calhoun Newland was Lieutenant-Governor of 
North Carolina and presiding officer of the Senate in the General Assembly 



of the State. The name of the county was ^ven in honor of a family that 
has always been distinguished not only in Burke but in the State and na- 
tion, and of which Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Alfonso C. Avery 
was the leading representative at that time, the founder of the family in 
North Carolina having been Weightstill Avery, a Revolutionary patriot and 
signer of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, May 20, 1775. A 
signal honor conferred upon the young Lieutenant-^Governor and President 
of the Senate was the naming of the new county seat Newland. The Appa- 
lachian Training School at Boone, Watauga county, one of the most impor- 
tant educational institutions in the State, was always during Mr. Newland's 
legislative career very near to his heart, and he was very influential in 
establishing the school at Boone, where it is the center of a section from 
which it can exert its influence most advantageously. In recognition of his 
unselfish service in the advancement of education in the mountains one of 
the great buildings of the school has been named Newland Hall. 



^ As Col. Walton believed that Parson Miller was an Englishman and has 
so stated, it is but fair to the reverend pioneer to state that he was not 
an English, but a Lowland Scot, "bom July 11, 1758, at Baldovie, near 
Dundee. Forfarshire (sometime Angusshire), Kingdom of North Birtain." 



The "North Carolina Manual, 1874" (compiled by the late John H. 
Wheeler), records the following representation of Burke county in the 
North Carolina Senate: "1816, Alex Perkins; 1817, A. Perkins; 1818, 
David Tate; 1819, A. Perkins." 

"Alex" Perkins, Senator in 1816, was Alexander Perkins, son of John 
Perkins, living on John's Eiver. 

Judge Avery says "we know that Alfred Perkins (son of Elisha and 
grandson of John Perkins) was Senator from Burke county in 1817. So 
this place sthe identity of "A. Perkins," who was Senator in 1819, in the 
!fame state of uncertainty that surrounds the question of whether the mem- 
ber of the House of Representatives in the Congress of 1805 was Joseph 
McDowell of Quaker Meadows or Joseph McDowell of Pleasant Gardens. 



■Page 15. Second paragraph, line 8: "The lands along this river are so 
well described," etc. 

Page 20. Second paragraph, line 5: "63rd Congress, second session," and 
not 63rd. 

Page 21. Line 14: "a youth as John Perkins appears," etc. 

Page SO. Line 7 from the bottom: "Legislature of 1919" and not 119. 

Page 82. Last paragraph: Philetus Martin's wife was Virginia Corpening. 

Page 39. Lines 27 and 28: "Mrs. Mary Perkins Kent, Mrs. Emma Per- 
kins Forney, Mrs. Elizabeth Perkins McConnaughey and Miss Susan Gordon 
Perkins." 



Page 41. (E) Sarah Amelia: She was born in 1794 and not in 1784, 
as in text. 

Read "Margaret Bathier" and not "Bothier." Same as to (4) next 
succeeding. 

Page 42. Add to "(3) Mary Sumpter." etc: 'There were another son 
and another daughter — Emma, who married Dr. Boone Clarke, son of Gen. 
Cornelius W. Clarke of Caldwell; Dr. Clarke was a brave Confederate, sol- 
dier and a captain in the service. After the civil war they moved to Mis- 
sissippi, where Dr. Clarke had an uncle living, Rev. N. L. Clarke, a brother 
of his father and a prominent Baptist minister. The son was Simpson Pow- 
ell, a brave Confederate soldier who died in the service." 

Page 49. Line 1 : Read "George Fox," not "Fax." 

Page 50. Line 23: Insert in blank the word "tret." Line 7, first word: 
Read "Edgeworth." 

Page 51. "(4) Nelson Alexander Miller," etc. Add: "One daughter, 
Julia Sidney Miller, a beautiful character, who died unmarried." 

Page 56. After "(9)" add: "(10) Cornelia married Lieut. Lar- 

gent; married, second, P. L. Baker; children, Martha, Mrs. Bush and Miller." 

Page 55. Mrs. A. A. Kent died suddenly Christmas day, 1919. 

Page 58. William Macon Michaux married Martha Robinson Henderson, 
daughter of Lawson Pinkney and Cornelia Caldwell Henderson, grand- 
daughter of John Caldwell, niece of the late Gov. Tod Robinson Caldwell." 

Page 59. John Theodore Perkins, the eminent Burke county lawyer, 
died in Morgan ton in August, 1919, after a lingering illness. 

Page 60. The initials of "Capt. H. H. Etheridge" are wrong; they should 
be "D. M.." 

In the text there is no mention made of the first marriage of H. Theodore 
Newland. His first wife was Miss Katherine McDowell, daughter of the late 
Dr. John McDowell of Morganton. Their daughter, Margaret, is a charming 
young lady just budding into womanhood. 

Page 61. Mrs. Robert B. Bogle's name was Martha and not Adelaide. She 
had four sisters, Caroline, Jane, Harriet and Adelaide. The sister Jane is 
mentioned in the text. Caroline and Adelaide were married and died 
young. Harriet died unmarried when she was 18 years old. 

William G. Bogle was named William George and not William Gaither. 
He married Lelia iMcIntosh of Taylorsville, N. C, who survives, and they 
have a daughter and son living. The daughter married Maurice Gwaltney 
of Taylorsville. The son, William George Bogle, Jr., married Atlanta Gibson 
of South Carolina, and he is located at Columbia, S. C. During the world 
war he was made first lieutenant at camp and was promoted to captain and 
made a capable and efficient officer. 

Page 62. Julius and Caleb Connelly were Confederate soldiers who died 
in the service. Caleb had the rank of captain and was killed at Shiloh. 
Their brother Harvey Perkins was also a Confederate soldier and was a 
United States commissioner when he died, aged 52 years. His son James is 
now with the Durham Hosiery Company. 



Page 62. One daughter of J. Mortimer Connelly, Alice, married Mr. Gen- 
try; the other daughter, Mary, married Mr. Creed F, Young. 
Page 63. First line : Read "Ralph" instead of "Robert." 
Page 64. First and second lines: It is not "Robert," but Dr. Frank E. 
Perkins who is prospering, not at Beunos Aires, but at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 
of the Chamber of Commerce of which city he is a member and where he 
has large interests. 

Lines 7 and 8: The name of the daughter at home is "Cora" and not 
"Clara," and her sister Susie's husband is Charles R. Thomas, a druggist 
in Thomasville. 

Page 75. First word of line 13: "Maternal" and not "material." 
Page 79. Second line of second paragraph: "1790" instead of "1780." 
Paragraph 4, line 2 ; "debt and to" and not "debt and the." 



y. 



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