Caswell County Place Names (some still used; others long obsolete)
Hell's Half Acre
Sweet Gum Grove
Many, perhaps most, of Caswell County's early communities grew up around a country store. And, the name of this store owner was given to some communities. As the population grew and could support churches, they were added, as were mills if near a stream. Eventually, some communities (even small ones) would have an officially designated US (and, for a few years, CSA) post office (often located in the country store).
Blackwell/Blackwell's. This community is named for the Blackwell family -- probably Captain Robert Blackwell (1742-1813) and his descendants.
Camp Springs. The name Camp Springs purportedly comes from early horse traders, who once traveled from place to place selling horses, camping at the spring for several days each time they visited the area. Others claim the area is so named because, during the Revolutionary War, Lord Cornwallis rested his troops there for several days.
Cherry Grove. Cherry Grove was named for the large number of cherry trees in the area. A post office operated there 1882-1905.
Covington. Named for Edward Green Covington (1827-1916) and his descendants.
Fitch's Store/Fitch. Named for the Fitch family. Post office operated there 1876-1926.
Hamer. Origin of name is not known. A post office operated there 1882-1904, probably from a store that stood at the intersection of NC Highway 62 N and High Rock School Road.
Hightowers. Hightowers is located in the southeastern part of Caswell County at the crossroads of NC 86 and NC 119. The community purportedly is named for Daniel Hightower who moved to the area from Virginia. A post office was established in 1833 and served the community until 1935.
Matkins. Named for the Matkins family. No known post office. Burlington Industries purchased the estate lands of Lemuel Gibbons Matkins (1879-1960) from his children in 1964. In 1966, a textile weaving plant known as "Williamsburg" was built on this land. Burlington Industries was in need of a location for their postal address, and "Matkins" was chosen due to the continuity of the Matkins family on this land since 1793.
Source: Whitlow, Jeannine D., Editor. The Heritage of Caswell County North Carolina 1985. Winston-Salem: Hunter Publishing Company, 1985 (Article #466: "Matkins in Caswell County, N.C." by Clarence C. Matkins, Page 371).
Milesville. When James Miles (1784-1848) and Elizabeth Burnett (Betsy) Gunn Miles (1786-1873) were first married(1807), they built and lived in a one-room log cabin with a half-wooden, half-dirt floor, which was located south of Yanceyville, North Carolina. At that time, they were unable to afford a completely wooden floor. They later bought the Judge Thomas Ruffin farm in Stoney Creek Township, consisting of 1700 acres, for 50 cents an acre. Much later, the farm was divided among the twelve children. James Miles gave the name Milesville to the location where he settled and for years there was a general store and post office at the site. Source: The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 382-383 (Article #489 "The Miles Family" by Alice M. Reavis). Post office operated there 1882-1907.
Milton. Milton, incorporated in 1796, purportedly was so named because Asa Thomas operated a mill nearby. A post office has operated there since 1818.
Pelham. Pelham came from the name given to the railroad depot, itself named 1863 in honor of Major Pelham who fought (and died) in the Revolutionary War. The Pelham post office was established in 1865, changing the name from Graves (which had operated since 1845).
Prospect Hill. Prospect Hill is named for the Warren plantation. It generally is in the area around the intersection of NC Highway 86 and NC Highway 49. A post office was established there in 1823.
Red House. Tradition tells that the Red House community is named for an inn or tavern located on the Hillsborough stagecoach road, which was painted red.
Ridgeville. Once known as Pea Ridge, Ridgeville is believed to be one of the highest elevations in Caswell County. The origin of Pea Ridge is not known. A post office operated there from 1870 to 1876 as Pea Ridge, and from 1874 until 1948 as Ridgeville. Note the apparent two-year overlap, which is not understood.
Semora. This community apparently is named for the post office, established in 1877, which was named for Semora Stella McAden, the six-year-old daughter of the first postmaster. This is not the only Caswell County post office named for a postmaster's daughter. See Blanch.
Yarbro. In 1887, a post office was established in honor of Captain Joe Yarbrough. However, oddly, it was named Yarbro.