American Revolutionary War

18th Century Settlers of Stokes County, NC

Welcome to segment 2 of this series. The journey continues as we follow the footsteps of 18th century pioneers in Stokes County. These steps have left behind the trail that leads to their traditions, their homes and their past lives. We only have to learn the signs to enable us to bring the past to present day. There are so many remarkable techniques to use in regards to genealogy. The whole history cannot be discovered without the entire exploration of the trail. Stokes County can be claimed as a treasure trove of incredible history and exquisite stories of the past. Let’s continue the discovery.

The Bowman family has been established in the area since the mid 1700’s. Arriving from Halifax, Virginia, they settled near the present day Belews Creek community.  George Bowman, born in 1794, married Mary Ann Lilley on January 5, 1816. George was living near the Germanton area and had 7 children. Charles(1817), Susannah(1819), John(1822), Joseph(1825), Martha(1828), Eliza(1830) and George(1832). The original family Bible was once in the hands of Charles Bowman and his heirs. It stated that an eighth child was born in 1840 by the name of William and that the couple also raised John Lilley who was born in 1832. George Bowman also had 2 brothers by the names of Philip and Henry.

tobacco barn 1

John Boyles was born circa 1767 and son of William Boyles. John traveled down the Great Wagon Road from central Virginia. In 1788, John married Elizabeth and had at least 8 children. William(1789), John(1792). Hugh(1798), Peggy(1800), Isham(1803), Elizabeth(1804), Rebecca(1805) and Drury(1807). By 1797, John owned over 500 acres of land and his father, William,  died this same year. The eldest child, William(1789) married Charity King on November 25, 1808 and had six children.

Peter Bray was known as a red-headed minister who arrived in the area sometime prior to the American Revolutionary War. Various stories link this Peter to a sizable fortune in which several family members were notified in 1903. The inheritance was located near Windsor near the Thames River, England. Peter Bray married Martha Scott and had several children. One of them, David Bray, born 1744 in Virginia, settled along Fisher River near Rockford, Surry County.  Peter is mentioned in several documents that have him traveling all through the Piedmont area of NC. Vivid details are given from the Moravians as a” preacher of the wilderness”. Peter Bray, arrived in Virginia from Maryland and corresponded with the local Quakers, thus explaining the meeting of his future wife, Martha Scott. Martha, daughter of Abraham Scott who immigrated from London during the early 1700’s. An entire segment could be created for this family. The history is simply amazing.


Richard Browder was living in Dinwiddle County, VA with his wife, Mary Thompson during the 1740’s. Richard was born before 1719 and was the son of John and Elizabeth Browder. Richard had at least eleven children. All were born in Virginia. Jesse Browder, grandson of Richard traveled to Stokes County circa 1850. But, several documents have been located that state Browders were already settled in several sections of NC. It is now believed that Jesse was not the first of this family to move into the Stokes County area.

Joseph Calloway and wife were the parents of at least  seven sons. Thomas, Joseph, William, Frances, James, John and Richard. Joseph had daughters but records have not been located to document their given names with proof. Joseph was living in Virginia during the year of 1665. Through the years, the family became close to the family of Daniel Boone and they arrived in NC prior to 1773. Thomas Calloway’s son, Elijah married Mary Cuthbert, niece of Daniel Boone, in 1780. Richard Calloway traveled with Boone to Kentucky and settled in Boonesborough. Richard later returned to NC and gathered his family and returned to Kentucky. Several families traveled with Richard Calloway and these are named as Flanders, Kiser and Brown. One famous story of this family consists of Jemima Boone and Elizabeth Calloway dated summer of 1776 and the Indians who captured them.


Matthew Corns arrived in Virginia and married Mary circa 1751. Known children are George, Samuel, Nancy, John and Jesse. George was living in Patrick County, VA and had several sons who served during the Civil War with Company H as the Stokes Boys. This family was of German descent and the sons of Matthew all fought during the American Revolutionary War.

Stokes County is filled with historical data. We will continue this journey with segment 3 arriving late spring. We always want to share our Thanks to you all for supporting Piedmont Trails. We are amazed with the kind words and encouragement that we have received. We greatly appreciate each and every one of you as we all work together and learn of our family heritage. Post your comments and questions and stay tuned for updates on our websites.

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4 replies »

  1. I’m so glad to read your article on Stokes County Pioneers. My fathers family settled there in late 1700’s, coming from Pasquotank and coastal NC. The original settler was Bayley Needham. My father was Lawrence D. Needham, great grandson of Reverend Needham, 1800-1899. I look forward to reading more of your stories! Thanks again for the wonderful stories. Respectfully, Carolyn Needham Daniels

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