More from Mrs. Stahle Linn, Jr., C.G., R.G.
In this volume are abstracts of the first ten deed books of Rowan County, abstracted from the recorded deeds in the Rowan County Register of Deeds Office. Copies of pertinent deeds may be ordered from the Register of Deeds, County Office Building, 402 N. Main Street, Salisbury, N.C. 28144. The fee is in 1983 50c per page plus large SASE.
Many deeds were not recorded until years after the transaction took place. Therefore, it cannot be assumed that someone buying or selling property recorded his instrument at the time one might expect. The Rowan County deed indices are almost impossible to use, and a genealogist may be needed to explore the later records.
In Rowan County lie the earliest extant set of court records for the piedmont section of North Carolina; twenty–seven counties in North Carolina and all of Tennessee have been formed from the area that was once Rowan, an area who western boundary was the Pacific Ocean. For twenty-three years, Salisbury, the county seat, was the farthest west county seat in the Colonies.
Rowan County was formed from Anson County in 1753 and most of the early Anson records were lost to fire. Anson had been formed in 1750 from Bladen County, where many records were destroyed by fires in 1756 and 1893.
There has been no major loss of records in Rowan. However, in the Land Grant Office of the Secretary of State, Raleigh, N.C., are some early land grants that were not recorded in the county deed books.
Eighteenth century Rowan County prior to 1771 embraced the entire northwestern quarter of North Carolina. North Carolina was established as a proprietary colony when in 1663 King Charles II granted to eight supporters who had helped him regain the English throne the lands in the new world between the parallels of 31 degrees and 36 degrees north latitude. The land was extended in 1665 to 30 degrees north latitude, the present north Carolina-Virginia boundary. Under the Carolina Charters, the Lords Proprietors received, among other things, the right to grant lands, and the colony was under the control and leadership of the Lords Proprietors for more than sixty years. In 1728, seven of the original proprietary shares were sold to George II, and North Carolina became a crown colony.
One shareholder declined to sell: John Carteret or the Right Honourable John Earl Granville, Viscount Carteret and Baron Carteret, of Hawnes, in the County of Bedford, in the Kingdom of Great Britain, Lord President of his Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council, and Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. Born in 1691, he had inherited one-eighth of Carolina in 1695.
The Granville District was a strip of land about sixty miles in depth bounded by the Virginia Line on the north, the southern border of Rowan on the south, the Atlantic Ocean on the east, and the Pacific Ocean on the west, roughly the upper half of present-day North Carolina. Granville was given the right and title to all vacant lands, and his land agents granted the lands and collected the rents and fees i his name. Much of the land in Rowan was granted by Francis Corbin and Thomas Child, agents of Granville. John Earl Granville died in 1763, never having seen his North Carolina lands, and the land office was closed due to difficulties concerning the Regulator Movement. The American Revolution intervened, wiping out all traces of feudalism, socage, and quitrents. All the Granville properties were confiscated by the state.
To further complicate the matter of real estate in the colony, Henry McCulloh, a merchant of London, was granted in 1737, 1,200,00 acres of land, some 450,000 of which lay within the Granville proprietary. For this reason, the researcher will find both Granville and McCulloh grants appearing in Rowan County prior to 1766 and the Revolution.
In late 1778 land offices were set up in the counties to grant land formerly held by Granville. One could locate for himself 640 acres of vacant and previously ungranted land with 100 acres for his wife and 100 acres for each minor child. The state land grants continued until 1959.
The procedure for obtaining land was the same, regardless of who granted it. A person found the land he wanted and made application to the land office; this application is called the “entry” which was a rough description of the property. A Warrant then was issued to the county surveyor to set apart the land that had been somewhat vaguely described in the entry, and he surveyed the tract and drew a plat of it with a metes and bounds description of the property. Metes and bounds descriptions use natural or man-made features of the land as the terminal points for boundary lines, such as “the stump on Williams’ line” or the “persimmon tree on the creek bank.” The plat was returned with the survey, and then the patent or deed was granted, once the necessary fees had been remitted, and the deed or patent was recorded.
It should be noted that not all the so-called Granville grants appear in the recorded deeds of Rowan County nor in the Land Grant Office. Some appear in the North Carolina State Archives, 109 E. Jones Street, Raleigh, NC. 27611. There is an indexed card file for these grants.
The importance of the use of land records in genealogical research can scarcely be overestimated, for most of the eighteenth century deeds give the entire chain of title and relationships are spelled out in exquisite detail. Divisions of estates, deeds of gift, and powers of attorney appear also in the recorded deeds.
In working with a county a large as original Rowan, it becomes necessary to determine the approximate location of the property so that one will know in which offshoot county to expect to find later records. Special note should be made of the watercourses mentioned in the deed and the names of the adjoining landowners. William S. Powell’s North Carolina Gazetteer will be a useful aid in determining into which present-day county the land fell.
In this volume of deed abstracts, a person’s mark is given in parentheses with his name; if no mark is shown, the reader may assume he signed. Place names of the principals are included where they are other than Rowan County; occasionally a county name, such as Mecklenburg, will be given, and there is no indication as to the state. Care has been taken to show alternate spellings of names within the deeds themselves, and the index makes cross references to aid the reader in finding the alternate spellings of the names. The index, because it became unwieldy, does not indicate the fact that a name may appear more than once on a page, so it behooves the careful researcher to peruse the entire page. Some names were impossible to decipher, and some names were written in German and could not be translated by this compiler. When a person signed in German, the fact is so noted.
Appreciation is expressed to Mrs. Lynne Michael of Salisbury Printing Company for her fine work in preparing the monumental index to these deeds, a tedious and exacting exercise, and to the personnel when the compiler took up residency there. Heaven forbid that there be any corrections or emandations, but such will be gratefully received by the compiler.
9:578. 10 Oct. 1783. State Grant #418 @ 50 sh the 100 A to James McCord, 300 A n fork of Hunting Crk opposite the mouth of Fords branch adj Elsberry.
9:620. 10 Oct. 1783. State Grant #334 @ 50 sh the 100 A to Thomas Young, 640 A on N side Hunting Crk adj James McCord, Christopher Harston, Houston & Bryant.