North Carolina Pioneers

blog Jeannette Holland Austin
Jeannette Holland Austin Profile


John Penn House

John Penn, North Carolina Patriot

John Penn Home "The Solitude", home of John Penn. John Penn was born near Port Royal in Caroline County, Virginia, an only child of Moses Penn and Catherine Penn. He attended at common school for two years as his father did not consider education to be important. After the death of his father, when Penn was eighteen years of age he began to read law with his uncle, Edmund Pendleton and as a result, became a lawyer in Virginia in 1762. In 1774, Penn moved to the Williamsborough, North Carolina area, where he practiced law. At the onset of the American Revolutionary War, he was elected to the North Carolina Provincial Congress as well as to the Continental Congress in 1775 where he served until 1780. For the 1776 signing of the Declaration of Independence, he was part of the North Carolina delegation that included Joseph Hewes and William Hooper. In 1777, Penn was one of the signers of the Articles of Confederation. Penn also served on the Board of War until 1780, when he retired to practice law. He served as receiver of taxes for North Carolina in 1784. When Penn died in 1788, he was buried on his estate near Island Creek in Granville County. Penn was re-interred in Guilford Courthouse National Military Park in 1894, alongside fellow congressional delegate, Hooper. The remains of his home site in Granville County, with his original grave and a nearby slave cemetery, are maintained by the local DAR chapter. John Penn, the famous patriot and Member of the Continental Congress, as well as a signer to the Declaration on Independence, was born 1741 in Caroline County, Virginia. He first practiced law in Virginia before traveling to Granville County, North Carolina and establishing a law practice. During thr Revolutionary War he supplied war materials to the Continental Army under the command of General Nathanael Greene and Francis Marion. After the war, Penn returned to practicing law until his death.

Your Real Story

Tracing ancestors is more than just charts of names. And it is not a picture of a leaf, or tree, but rather real people who existed. Many people trace their ancestry to patriots of the American Revolution and to the first Colonists to America. But there is one thing certain: somewhere, someone immigrated to this country and began writing the story of their lives. It all begins in county records, where the first land grant was acquired or deed filed of record. Then taxes were paid and recorded on tax digests. Sons and daughters were given in marriage and these certificates filed. Later on, people died, leaving estates to be dealt with. Wills, inventories, sales, receipts and annual returns surrounded this process, all filed in the county court house.

Planting the Crop and Soldiering During the Revolutionary War
By Jeannette Holland Austin

Among those who enlisted in the Revolutionary War for 3-month periods was Elisha Dyer. During planting and harvesting, it was necessary to return home. Dyer first enlisted in 1778 when he was sixteen years old and went to Brier Creek where he skirmished with the British at Stono, South Carolina. He re-entered the war about two weeks before the defeat of Gates near Camden (1780). His father sent Jesse Gaskins to serve out his tour as "it was the sickly season". The following year he entered the North Carolina Miitia and participated in the battle of Guilford. Entered the war again at Hillsboro under Capt. Frederick Dubois from Caswell County during 1782 and was stationed as guard to the Legislature then sitting. Altogether, this soldier served twelve months.

The Business of the 17th Century Tavern

Ordinary doing business in a Tavern Oftentimes, business was conducted in a Tavern.

It is where the genealogist begins to unravel the details of a story somewhat inconsistent with family legends and tales. It is the truth. In essence, it is a gift bequeathed to all of the heirs going forward. By that, I mean that the eyes of your descendants will have privy to the information hundreds of years into the future. For this reason, it is also your story. Perhaps now is a good time to discover the details of the dreams of your ancestor, the love which he bore his children, and the heritage bequeathed to you.



Stono River
Stono River to the Left.

Granville County Wills and Estates


Granville MapGranville County was form in 1746 from Edgecombe County and was named after John Carteret, the second Earl Granville, an heir to one of the eight original Lord Proprietors of the Province of North Carolina claimed in the charter of 1665. In 1752 parts of Granville County, Bladen County, and Johnston County were combined to form Orange County. In 1764 the eastern part of Granville County became Bute County. Finally, in 1881 parts of Granville County, Franklin County, and Warren County were combined to form Vance County.

Granville County Wills and other Records Available to Members of North Carolina Pioneers

Miscellaneous Wills
  • Abstracts of Granville County Wills 1707 to 1760
Digital Images of Loose (unrecorded) Wills 1749 to 1771

Testators: Anderson, George | Arendell, Richard | Bell, Thomas | Benson, Thomas | Bledsoe, Abraham | Bradford, Richard | Bridger, William | Bullock, David | Cooper, Benjamin | Daniel, John | Draughton, Robert | Elwick, Darwin | Fowler, Richard | Goodloe, John | Griggs, Minor | Hargrave, Richard | Harris, Sherwood | Hicks, Absalom | Hightower, Joshua | Holmes, Frederick | Howard, Alexander | Hunt, Henry | Jones, Edward | Jordan, George Sr. | Jordin, Sarah | Langston, Solomon | Linsey, Dennis | McMillan, Alexander | Mershaw, John | Miers, Mathias | Mitchell, Robert | Moore, William | Moss, William | Olliver, William | Parlic, Benjamin | Patterson, Francis | Person, Mary | Phipps, Isaiah | Priddey, Robert | Priddy, Robert | Rieves, William | Robeson, George | Rose, William | Shearon, Joseph | Smith, John | Spivey, Littleton | Taylor, Philip | Veazey, Edward | Wallace, John | White, Richard Sr. | Williams, Daniel | Williams, Thomas | Wilson, Ebenezer | Winston, Isaac | Wood, John | Wright, Joseph

William Hooper House
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North Carolina Wills

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