Thursday, April 19, 2007

History of Graves Mill (Caswell County, North Carolina)

History of Graves Mill

The rock dam remnant on Country Line Creek about two miles southwest of Yanceyville can be associated with the earliest settlement of Caswell County. Country Line Creek, from its origin in southeastern Rockingham County, dissects Caswell in a northeasterly direction. The creek appears in the records as a geographical location as early as 1752, and William S. Powell suggests that the stream " . . . was probably named from the eighteenth century custom of calling the North Carolina - Virginia line the 'country line,' as the two colonies were regarded as different countries. The fertile soil in the drainage basin, a plentiful water supply, and abundance of fish proved highly attractive to the early settlers of the area. Between January 18, 1752 and October 10, 1762, when Caswell was part of Orange County, 8,148 acres were patented along Country Line Creek. Among these early settlers came John Graves who erected a mill on the site under study perhaps more than a decade before the American Revolution.

This is the opening paragraph from A Brief History of Graves Mill: An Archaelogical Site on Country Line Creek, Caswell County, North Carolina, Jerry L. Cross (1982), which can be found at Graves Mill. If you have problems with the link to the Graves Mill document use the following URL:

To The Researcher

A Brief History of Graves Mill: An Archaelogical Site on Country Line Creek, Caswell County, North Carolina was authored by Jerry L. Cross, February 24, 1982, under the auspices of the North Carolina State Archives, which kindly gave limited republication rights to the Caswell County Historical Association. Note, however, this report was compiled from the published sources indicated and from original records held by the North Carolina State Archives. Unauthorized reproduction of the entire report is expressly prohibited. Permission has been granted by the North Carolina State Archives to publish brief extracts from this work. This authorization is not to be construed as a surrender of copyright, literary right, or any other property right that is or may be vested in the State of North Carolina.

Background Information

The following is from the 1810 letter to the editor written by Bartlett Yancey, Jr.

This county was first settled about the year 1750; from that time until 1754 or 5, there were about 8 or 10 families in that part of the county, now known by the name of Caswell: A family by the name of Reynolds, and two others by the name of D[page edge worn] and Bankston were among the first settlers; not one of the family are now in county, and it is believed not one of their descendants: The Lea's, Graves', Patersons, & Kimbros came to this County about 1753, 54 & 55: they came from Orange and Culpepper in Virginia: Several hundred of there families and their descendants are now living in the County: The object of the first settlers, was to possess themselves of fertile land, and good pasture: I am told by the first settlers, that cane was so plenty, at that time, that their cattle [smudged] fat all thru winter without feeding:

Note that he states that the Graves family was one of the early settlers of Caswell County. This was the family of John Graves (1715-1792), who married Isabella Lea (1738-aft.1796). The Leas and Graves did not, however, relocated from either Orange or Culpepper in Virginia. They moved to Caswell County from Spotsylvania County, Virginia, during the 1850s (probably 1854). John Graves accumulated considerable land holdings, much of which was along Country Line Creek, which generally runs from the southwest portion of Caswell County to its northeast corner where it empties into the Dan River at Milton, North Carolina.

For more on John Graves go to John Graves (1715-1792).



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