North Carolina Pioneers

Home of 8 Genealogy Websites! Databases in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia!

Joara or Morganton

Joara Excavations As settlers migrated across the mountain of North Carolina, certain families also expanded into border counties of Kentucky and Virginia. A popular county of such transitions was Burke. This region boasts one of the largest Indian mounds at Joara, being 12-acres near Morganton, making it the center of the largest Native American settlement dating from about 1000 A. D. The region suffered from attacks by other tribes until it was taken over by the survivors of larger tribes. These survivors abandoned the area at some historical point, leaving it open to European settlers who came some two hundred years later. As the English, Scotch-Irish and German immigrants poured into this country during the mid 18th century, they found their way the western mountains. Genealogists often find this county was a stopping point for their ancestors.

Fort Cathey of Turkey Cove

Fort Cathey William Cathey purchased land near Turkey Cove at the foot of the mountains where Cove Creek joined the north fork of the Catawba River and built a home there. During 1776, he built a fort in Burke County (now McDowell County) to protect the area from the Cherokee Indians. For a long while it was the furtherest military outpost in North Carolina during the Revolutionary War until Fort Davidson was constructed. As Europeans encroached upon Cherokee lands, native hostilities erupted well before the Revolutionary War. Before that, mostly explorers and traders hunted the wilderness at the foot of the Blue Ridge mountains. By 1750, although only a few Cherokee villages remained, the natives claimed the territory. Among those sent to defend this fort was John Franklin of Burke County, who, during 1777, was sent to Fort Cathey for three months under the command of Captain Homer Watson. During his next service, he was sent to Fort Davidson under the command of Captain Charles McDowell. Reading the details of pension records is helpful to the researcher in gathering details. For example, this John Franklin states that he was born at Ft. Stump, Virginia (now West Virginia). The next step for the genealogists is to actually locate this site and research all of the surrounding counties.

Culgee Watson, the Hermit on Ginger Cake Mountain

Gingercake Mountain Ginger Cake Mountain derives its name from a singular pile of rocks which occupy its extreme summit. The pile is composed of two masses of rock of different materials and form, and they are arranged as if to stand upon a small base. The lower section is composed of rough slate stone, and is in the form of an inverted pyramid, while the upper section is of solid granite which surmounts the lower section in a horizontal position. The rock display offers the viewer the appearance of a masterful work of art. One has the sense of teetering off into space. The mountain was named by Culgee Watson, a hermit who resided at the foot of the mountain in about 1800 and died in 1816. He lived inside of a small cabin and was considered to be eccentric, yet friendly. Whenever a party of ladies visited him, he treated them politely, without speaking to them. Once, after the ladies had left, he had so disliked the visit that he tore down his fence and used it for firewood. Source: Letters from the Alleghany Mountains by Charles Lanman (1849). Hermits are Ancestors you will Never Find David Greer and Bald Mountain More Stories about David Greer, Hermit

Linville Falls in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Linville Falls The falls are situated on the Linville River, which is a tributary of the Catawba River. As one approaches, he encounters the wild scenery as it has thrived for hundreds of years, as though Nature planted the surrounding forest in every imaginable spot in a futile attempt to cloak this beauty from the eyes of the world. Then suddenly there is the loud roaring sound of musical water as it plunges itself into a deep pool hemmed in by gray granite rock. The falls are about 150 feet broad and the water source threads through lofty cliffs clustered in a profusion of beautiful vines and flowers. And all along the gorge, waiting to be discovered, are numerous enchanting caverns.

Guarding the Catawba River Against the Cherokees

Catawba River During the spring of 1775, Thomas Brotherton, a resident of Wilkes County, North Carolina, volunteered to serve in the Revolutionary War under Captain Nicholas, Major McGuire, Colonel Socks and General Rutherford at Salisbury and was marched to Fayetteville where he guarded for sometime. He was discharged and did not re-enlist until the fall of 1775 (under the same officers)to go against Cherokees. Afterwards, he helped to guard the frontiers at the head of the Catawba River in Burke County. Later, he was wounded at Stono and discharged at Bacons Bridge in September of 1779.

Join Genealogy History Blog

Map of Burke County

Why Antrim Sent So Many Immigrants to America

Antrim Legend has it that the first rulers of Ireland came from the Baltic Sea area (Iranians) and the country was divided in three parts, amongst three brothers. During Biblical times, as one legend goes, the princess Tea Telphi, a daughter of King Zedekiah who lost his kingdom (Israel) to Nebuchadezzar, was brought to Ireland ca 583 B. C. by the prophet Jeremiah (Ollam Fodhla) who refugeed two daughters out of Jerusalem. One was given in marriage to the King of Spain and the other, Tea Telphi, to prince Eochaidh of Northern Ireland. There is no proof this particular legend, however, the genealogist should bear in mind that the origin of the Irish people to the Celtics is also unproven. Another belief is that ancient Antrim was inhabited by Celtic people known as "the Darini". However, Ireland, with its cultural divisions, has an interesting mix. For example, During the Middle Ages, the southern portion of Antrim was the Kingdom of Ulidia. Then there are the Vikings who visited the country during the eighth and ninth centuries. During the twelfth century Antrim was part of the Earldom of Ulster which was conquered by Anglo-Norman warriors. During the campaign of Edward Bruce (1315 A. D.), the only significent English stronghold which remained was Carrickfergus. During the sixteenth century while the British attempted to colonize the territory, the Scots settled Antrim. Thus, the Scotch-Irish became a familiar term. Then during the Williamite War in Ireland (1689 A. D.), Antrim was the center of Protestant resistance. After the advance of the Irish Army under Richard Hamilton, all of county Antrim was brought under Jacobite control. Thus, to escape persecution, Protestants congregations (Presbyterians) commenced the process of migrating to America during 1700s. The Great Wagon Road The Scotch-Irish in Guilford County The Irish Join the Fight for Freedom in America The Tacksmen Immigrants from North Carolina come in Two Directions The Influence of German Immigrants Seven Tory Prisoners Taken The Origins of the Bethabara Colony The Western Migration from Philadelphia to North Carolina The Name of the Clan Aboard a Ship from Scotland Migrants in the New County

The Trail of the Scotch-Irish into Burke County

1752 Fry Jefferson Map The Scotch-Irish began migrating in large numbers to America during the early 1700s, as did the Germans. Before the American Revolution, it is estimated that 3000 to 4000 Irish had arrived at the port of Philadelphia. Because of language and dialects, settlers made their homes among their own kind in Bucks, Berks and Lancaster Counties. The genealogist should examine these county records as well as those in Philadelphia. I would also suggest researching Hinshaw's Encyclopedia of Quaker Genealogy because some immigrants were seeking other religions before moving into western Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia , North Carolina and Kentucky. The early 1700s was a great exploration era through the Blue Ridge and Alleghany Mountains. The Boone families lived among a community of Irish Quakers in Philadelphia. I believe Daniel Boone's grandfather (George) was one of them, and they had substantially large families. Daniel was not the only member of the family who crossed through Virginia into Kentucky. His uncle Squire Boone lived for a time in western Virginia (Augusta County, later Botetourt) while others went further west. Some Scots first settled in Chester County (later Lancaster County) Pennsylvania before moving on as far west as Ohio. During this time Native Indian tribes occupied the territories between Virginia and Ohio, yet settlers continued to flow into the region. The Treaty of 1744 provided the colonists with the right to settle along the Indian Road, however the Indian Wars (1756-1763) stopped settlers. Afterwards, however, they came in great numbers going south of the Shenandoah Valley to the Roanoke River and the town of Big Lick. From that point, a new road was cut, called "Wilderness Road" which led into Kentucky and ending at the Ohio River where the Shawnee had their stronghold. The trail of the Scotch-Irish was along the Great Wagon Road through Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia. Burke County, North Carolina was a major settlement.

Coffin Ships

During the potato famine in Ireland, the Irish came to America through the ports of Boston and New York. They also employed a route by land through Canada known as "British North America, " first setting sail to Canada to avoid the "coffin ships" The term was used because of the large number of deaths onboard ships sailing in the Trans-Atlantic. For awhile, some groups layed over in Canada until they could raise sufficient funds to continue to America.

Catholic Immigrants from Ireland

Burke County North Carolina During the great potato famine of the 1840s, Catholics came to America in droves seeking refuge among their own kind. They were destitute and starving, and mostly spoke with the Irish dialect. This was the beginning of the ethnic ghettos in cities along the north eastern seaboard.

Immigrants from the Past did not Demand

Burke County North CarolinaNo demands were made of Americans to support migrating families from Europe. The poor, starviing immigrants crossed the seas to America during during the worst times of their life, a potato famine of Ireland. They wanted to warn their way in America. But getting employment was difficult, especially since they were an unwelcome lot to New York. Yet, they struggled to earn a living and to make a better future for their families. The able-bodied Irish rolled up their sleeves and went to work! Life was tough. It tookand many years for the Irish to earn acceptance overcome the obstacles facing them. Yet, they just kept working their way out of poverty ! Recent excavations in that State reveal bodies withour proper burial, thrown into ditches, presumably in the Irish districts. We do not realize how these people suffered the unwillingness of people to hire them. But there is one thing for sure. They did not arrive in American making demanding charity! The Exiled Indians from Qualla Town The Chowanoac Indians A Trail of Tears from Murphy, NC Yeopim Indians Sold the Chowan River to the English Tuscarora Indians Wiped Out Town Creek Indian Mound Indian Troubles
Burke County North Carolina
Burke County North Carolina

Burke County Wills, Probate Records, Genealogy

Burke County North Carolina
Mountain scenes in Burke County, North Carolina. Burke county was formed from Rowan County in 1777 and was named after Thomas Burke, a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1777 to 1781. Also, he served as Governor of the State of North Carolina from 1781 to 1782. Most of this region was settled by many Scots-Irish and German immigrants. In 1791, parts of Burke County and Rutherford County were combined to form Buncombe County. In 1833, Yancey County was formed from parts of Burke County and Buncombe County. In 1841, parts of Burke County and Wilkes County formed Caldwell County and during 1842 additional parts of Burke County and Rutherford County were combined to make McDowell County. Finally, in 1861, parts of Burke County, Caldwell County, McDowell County, Watauga County and Yancey County were combined to form Mitchell County. Burke County citizens participated in the Battle of Kings Mountain which pitted Appalachian frontiersmen against the loyalist forces of the British commander Ferguson at Kings Mountain, South Carolina during the American Revolution, and were called "Over the Mountain Men" because the militia men did not wait bur crossed over the Blue Ridge mountains to engage the fight.

The earliest records of Burke County is a problem to genealogists because the ink in the will book dating from 1793 faded beyond recognition.

Burke County North Carolina Probate Records available to members of North Carolina Pioneers

Digital Images of Burke County Wills 1793 to 1869 (surviving images)

Avery, Wrightsville Bradshaw, William Branch, Oliver Brittain, W. L. Coffee, William Connelly, John Connelly, Sidney Connelly, Tilney
Dale, George Day, James Day, Nicholas Devine, James Durham, John Durmire, Adam Dysart, William Dyson, Samuel
Edmiston, Sarah England, Daniel England, John England, Thomas England, William Erwin, Arthur Erwin, James Erwin, Matilda
Erwin, Ulysses Erwin, William H. Erwin, William W. Espy, Mary Estes, Delphi Estes, John Estes, Laban Estes, Reuben
Fair, Joseph Finley, Charles Fleming, Elizabeth Fleming, James Fleming, Robert Forney, Jacob Forney, Peter Foster, George
Fox, Hugh Franklin, John Fullerton, William Fulwood, William Harshaw, Jacob Hoyle, Absalom Johnson, D. H. Kenley, Aaron
Kincaid, Milton H. Lail, Jacob London, Marcus Mathew, George McGimsey, A. T. McKesson, Anna Newburn, John O'Neil, Henry
Pullen, Mary Ramsey, Catherine Rector, Martha Reynolds, Nancy Robinson, Sophia Scott, Ambrose Scott, Rebecca Seagle, Jacob
Smith, Mary Southerland Tate, W. C. Taylor, Hugh Walton, Martha Walton, T. George