American Revolutionary War

18th Century Pioneers of Stokes County, NC

Stokes County, NC is filled with a vast amount of intriguing history. Present day highways often cross the same paths of our early ancestors. A prime example of this is NC Highway 66. The road was known as The Old Hollow Road and crossed through the heart of the county from Peter’s Creek to the upper Dan River.  The 1781 map pictured below, clearly demonstrates the settlements at that time. It also shows the location of the Dan River and various creeks located in Stokes County. Routes were created to reach Bethania, Salem and Germanton for trade purposes. The map shows details of Virginia and South Carolina as well.

1790 nc map

1781 Map of North Carolina/Virginia/South Carolina

Segment 4 of this series begins with the migration of the Fulton family. Robert Fulton arrived between 1781 and 1783 to North Carolina from Maryland. He was traveling with his mother, Elizabeth Clark, his step-father, Samuel Clark and his siblings. Robert’s father, Francis Fulton died and his mother remarried. He lived in Stokes County and worked as a blacksmith for several years. Robert married Elizabeth McAnally(1774-1794) and her grave site can be located in the old McAnally Family Cemetery along the banks of the Dan River. Robert married again and continued to live in the area.

Reuben George(1749-1832) was born in Virginia and arrived in Stokes County during the year of 1783. He lived near Rock Creek and is known to have had at least 6 children, Richard, James, Jesse, Samuel, Isaac and Presley. Presley George(1778-1866) married Mary Cook and lived on Beaver Dam Creek.

William Gordon was born in 1779 and married Elizabeth Herring in 1802. William is the son of Thomas and Sarah Flynn Gordon. William and his wife lived in between the area of Pilot Mountain and Pinnacle. Children of William and Elizabeth are Thomas H(1804) married Anna Grigg, Hardin P(1806) married Lucy West, Squire D(1809) married Eliza Davis.

Randolph Hall lived and married in Stokes County. He first appears in the area of 1778. His son, David is born in 1780 and he married Katherine Fulkner. They lived near Peters Creek and had at least 2 sons, James(1805) and Greene(1811).


Dan River, NC

The Heath family settled in what is known today as Town Fork Creek or Walnut Cove. January of 1789 shows a land grant to Thomas Heath, 150 acres near Ash Camp Creek. His will gives details to his family and possessions dated August 29, 1779. His wife is not mentioned by name, but the will states that the home plantation is to belong to her until death comes upon her. Son, Thomas Jr. is to inherit the plantation after his mother’s death. Son, John Heath inherited a cooper and various farm tools. 5 shillings was to be equally given to the remaining children, of these none were named. Witnesses for the will were Joseph Winston and Leonard Ziglar.

Matthew Hill was born circa 1740 and married Nancy between 1763 and 1764. A will located at the Danbury courthouse dated 1803, assigns all of the real and personal property of Matthew to his son, Matthew, a grandson, John and his wife, Nancy. A son named, Samuel, was left 1 dollar. Most of Matthew’s children were born in Virginia. Children are Manning married Mary Fulkner, Matthew, Frederick(1785) married Elizabeth Tilley, John, James(1792) was a Baptist minister, Samuel(1766) married Sarah Cox. The date of arrival to Stokes County is not known, but the family appears on the 1790 census. Matthew Senior owned 200 acres near the Dan River and he became a member of the Primitive Baptist Church of Christ in 1802. A story that has survived through the generations claims John Hill, son of Matthew, was captured by the Indians and held for 2 years before he escaped and returned to his family. Matthew Hill Jr. moved with his wife and children to Tennessee after 1810. Samuel Hill continued to live in the area and worked as a hatter and a farmer. Samuel Hill lived in the Snow Creek area and the original rock chimney of his home can still be viewed. The majority of the family is buried at the “Old Hill Cemetery”.

stokes county

Stokes County looking west towards Pilot Mtn.

The year of 1760 brought many settlers to Carolina, among them were the Dearings, Vernons, Wards, Vawters, Walls, Lindsays and Jacksons. Samuel Jackson arrived from Chester County, Pennsylvania and settled along Tom’s Creek, Stokes County. Samuel had at least one son, Joseph Jackson(1761-1818) married Sarah Jessup, daughter of Joseph and Priscilla Jessup.

Thomas Johnson was born circa 1764 and was living in present day Stokes County during the year of 1789. The Life of Thomas Johnson(1764-1846)

James King, son of James, married Martha Sanders, daughter of Nahum and Susanna Sanders, on February 12, 1791. James King Sr. died soon after 1800. James and Martha had the following children: Sanders(1793), James J, Nancy, Martha, William and Barnabas(1811) The family lived near Lick Creek.

Thomas Benjamin King was known as a tradesman, fur trader and cattleman. During the early 18th century, the Saura and Catawba Indian tribes lived in present day Stokes County and the surrounding area. There is a Indian burial ground located at the Little Yadkin and the Big Yadkin connection. Indian rocks with markings upon them can be viewed along the Yadkin River. The few settlers who lived here at that time traded with the Indians, traveled their trails through the countryside and up on Pilot Mountain, or Mt. Ararat. The Indians used Pilot Mountain as a lookout point and years later Thomas Benjamin King used the same route to help drive cattle from the south to the western mountains. While traveling through the area, he met his future wife. Thomas married Elizabeth and they operated a tavern at the foot of Pilot Mountain circa 1830. Here, Thomas lived the remainder of his life, raising at least 3 children.


Hanging Rock, Stokes County, NC

This concludes segment 4 of this series, but no worries, more segments will arrive later this spring. I encourage you all to research further into Stokes County’s past. This is an amazing journey we all are taking. Tracing our ancestors leads to experiences that otherwise, we would have never known. The mountainous terrain of Stokes County hampered many pioneers from settling the area. They would venture further on the Great Wagon Road in hopes of finding more open level lands. The numerous rocks, hills and vast forests did appeal to a smaller group of pioneers. The beauty within the landscape filled with it’s creeks and rivers must have spoken loudly to the pioneers of long ago. As their wagons passed through Pilot Mountain, their eyes allowed their minds to view opportunity and hope within the beauty of Stokes County. Weary from traveling and longing to stop the rolling wheels of the wagon, Stokes County welcomed them.

I would like to thank Stokes County GenWeb for sharing this blog on their website. Also, look for updates on the Piedmont Trails Genealogy website as new family pages are being added this month. I have included research links below to encourage you all to research further into Stokes County history. I want to Thank each of you for your support of Piedmont Trails and wish you all great success with your family research.

Research tools:

Stokes County GenWeb

Stokes County Historical Society

Stokes County DigitalNC

Stokes NCpedia

Piedmont Trails NC Genealogy Links



4 replies »

  1. I am a descendant of. Saunders Fulton of Stokes County. He was a pre Civil War Doctor in Stokes County. He lost his life in the Civil War at 2nd MANASSAS. I would appreciate any information concerning him or his Nephew Francis Vaughn who lost his life at “First Winchester” in the Civil War. James Moskos tel. 919 273 6269

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was able to located the following information from my files concerning Saunders(Sanders) Fulton of Stokes County, NC. Sanders was born in 1836 to the parents of Samuel and Nancy Redmon Fulton. Sanders was a Lt. Colonel in the 21st NC Regiment in the Civil War. It is recorded that “He was a man who was absolutely without fear and who evidently believed he was not to be killed in battle.” He was killed at the Second Battle of Manassas, Virginia on August 28, 1862. Sanders father, Samuel, was a large tobacco manufacturer prior to the Civil War. I have much more info on the parents of Sanders and his grandparents. Samuel Fulton was the executor of Sanders will dated 1862 and filed in Stokes County in 1866. The only reference I could locate on Francis Vaughn was that he enlisted with the 21st Infantry of NC at the age of 21 in 1861.


  2. I am a descendant of James G. Watkins born 30 Mar, 1817 in Stokes County. He married Mary Patterson on 19 Jan. 1839 in Stokes County. Would you possibly have any information on his parents , siblings, or vital interesting facts for my research. Any information would be very helpful. Thank you Brooke L. Dearing tuffmom2006@


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