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The Early Settlers of Sugar Creek, NC 1740-1760

Sugar Creek is a small community lying within the boundaries of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. The Sugeree Native Americans were first mentioned in this area by 1709,1 following John Lawson’s description from his manuscript. Small huts skirted the landscape as Lawson and his party traveled through the area while exploring the people, the wildlife, and the vegetation. During this period, the Lord Proprietors2 were the actual owners of the colony known as Carolina. Sir George Carteret3 owned the area known today as Sugar Creek per the Carolina Charters of 1665. The only heir to the estate of Sir George was Lord John Carteret. His refusal to sell his lands back to King George II as requested in 1728; later created the Granville District of North Carolina. John Carteret, 2nd Earl of Granville, insisted that 1/8th of Carolina should be deeded strictly in his name. After fifteen years of negotiations back and forth, the British crown finally agreed in 1744. Settlers began arriving years before from both the middle colonies, Pennsylvania and Maryland and southern colonies of Georgia and South Carolina. Documentations of these first settlers can be difficult to locate. This article will highlight a small portion of these early North Carolina families.

Sugar Creek, North Carolina (courtesy of USGS)

The following surnames listed below will also contain details about each land grant. Included are the land description, the date issued, and acreage for the initial warrant. Any additional information shared is obtained from the personal files of Piedmont Trails. Each of these individuals owned property along the banks of Sugar Creek. (note: All land grant information has been documented from previous years of research at the NC State Archives. Majority of these listed below can be found online at the NClandgrants.com website.

Alexander, Ezekiel-applied for a land grant October 14, 1752 and was issued April 6, 1753. A total of 347 acres on both sides of Sugar Creek. Personal files indicate DOB circa 1728 in Cecil County, Maryland. Migrated to North Carolina and settled near other family members such as James, Moses, Nathaniel and William Alexander. Personal research shows DOD as 1811 and buried in Sugar Creek Cemetery. Additional references also indicate that this family was living in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia by 1747.4 (note: Piedmont Trails has much more data on the Alexander surname)

Barnet, John-800 acres were issued lying on the west side of Sugar Creek dated August 30, 1753. Personal files indicate this family first settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. John, born in Ireland, left the area prior to 1751 and settled within the Sugar Creek area.

Dickey, John-received two separate land grants during 1754 both consisting of 200 acres each and both lying along the banks of Sugar Creek. The first is described as west of north fork of Sugar Creek and the second as south Fair Forest and Sugar Creek. John was a merchant from St. Mary’s County, Maryland.4 He migrated with several other families to North Carolina during 1750. Traveling with this group could possibly be the surnames of Tennant, Barry, Andrew, Lawson, Gullick and McCune. Personal notes show John as a veteran of the American Revolutionary War and is listed on several pension lists.

Hitchcock, John-received two separate land grants during 1753 lying along Sugar Creek. The first consisted of 560 acres lying along the northside of the creek and Treslem Path. The second consisted of 270 acres. Personal notes indicate this family was residing in Massachusetts during 1735.

Sugar Creek Cemetery #1(courtesy of cm.story.org)

McDowell, Robert-received 323 acres during 1754 on the southwest branch of Sugar Creek. John arrived to the area prior to 1750 with other members of his family and his father, Charles McDowell. Charles was an established planter in Cecil County, Maryland during 1730. Personal research indicates this family within the Davidson’s Creek Settlement during 1750. After the death of Charles in 1754, John McDowell sold his property and migrated west. He is known as one of the leaders persuading many families to migrate soon after the French and Indian War. By 1768, the family is living in Pleasant Gardens located in present day McDowell County.4

McDowell, Mary-issued 320 acres on the southside of Sugar Creek during 1754 along what was then known as the “middle path”. (note: This particular person can be somewhat confusing to research, but Piedmont Trails has more data for this daughter of Charles McDowell)

McKee, John-issued 720 acres on the west side of Sugar Creek on May 17, 1754. John arrived in North Carolina after his father’s estate was settled during 1748. The trip from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania was made with a small group of families from the same area such as William Rea and others. Margaret and James McKee, siblings of John all traveled from Lancaster to North Carolina.

Parks, Hugh-issued 689 acres along Sugar Creek during 1754. Hugh and John Park both migrated from Cecil County, Maryland.4 Unlike many early settlers, the Park family did not reside for a brief time in the colony of Virginia. It appears they traveled directly from Maryland to North Carolina. Following the Cherokee attack on Fort Dobbs during 1760, Hugh joined the local militia led by Waddell.5

Patton, Thomas-issued 3 separate land grants during the year of 1754 along Sugar Creek. Acreage for each of these are 241, 302 and 300. The Patton family with other surnames such as Woods, Cochran and Little all migrated together from Pikeland and Nottingham townships of Chester County, Maryland. In accordance to personal research, it is very likely that Thomas was indeed a land agent. This is noted on the amount of land grants received upon arriving into the area. Thomas and his family eventually migrated west prior to the American Revolutionary War. Portions of this family traveled to Sullivan County, Indiana6 after selling the last 100 acres of the original tract that Thomas Patton owned.

This area is rich in history and genealogy. This article is part one of a two part segment. Thank You so much for your support with Piedmont Trails. Enjoy Your Journey !!

  1. Lawson, John: A New Voyage To Carolina published 1711 London pp.43
  2. Carolina.com
  3. The Royal Colony of North Carolina
  4. Ramsey, Robert: Carolina Cradle published 1964 University of North Carolina pp.51-52, pp. 103, 72, 21, 99, 104
  5. Millsap, Vera: Fort Dobbs State Normal and Industrial College Magazine published 1914 Greensboro, NC pp.21-33
  6. Swanson, Ernest C: Descendants of Isaac Patten Sr. published 1985 Baltimore, Maryland pp.7-9. 14, 20

(Photo credits are mentioned with each photo and attached link for further viewing.)

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