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The History of Stanley, North Carolina Back ] Next ]
The 1700's ] [ Early 1800 ] 1850 to 1900 ] Early 1900 ] 1950 and After ]

Early 1800'S

Up Gold Mining The Brevard Family

After Independence

Historians tells us that the countryside which later became the town of Stanley lay in territory that was included in the county of Anson in 1748, in Mecklenburg County in 1762, in Tryon County in 1769 and in Lincoln County in 1779 (after the Independence from England). North Carolina was admitted as a state on 21 November 1789 (12th of the original 13 colonies). In 1846 Stanley became a part of Gaston County, a new county that had been formed out of the larger Lincoln County, because the people from this area felt they needed a closer seat of government. The County Seat was subsequently located in the neighboring town of Dallas, just a few miles west of Stanley. For most of the early part of the 1800's, though, the county encompassing the town of Stanley was Lincoln.

John Adams had been elected President of the new United States in 1797. For the first time people in Stanley as well as the rest of North Carolina were able to vote for a President. North Carolina had not been able to vote for President George Washington. In 1801 Thomas Jefferson was elected President. During his term the Louisiana Territory was acquired, opening up new areas for migration.

Just a little past the Stanley Creek area over near Leepers Creek lived Peter Forney, son of the Pioneers, Jacob Forney and Maria Bergner, in his home called Mt. Welcome. In the late 1700's Peter Forney was one of the pioneers in the iron industry in this area. Peter Forney, a Captain in the Whig Army, fought in the Revolutionary War, and after the war was commissioned a General. It is said that while he was away fighting for his country the British General Cornwallis and his men camped on Peter Forney's lands and raided his supplies. Peter was a member of the House of Commons, a State Senator and a Councilor of State. He also was elected to Congress, 1813-1815, and was in Washington City when the Capitol was burned by the British.

On 27 February 1783 Peter Forney married Nancy Abernethy, the daughter of David Abernethy and Martha Ann Turner. Nancy was described at that time as being "a lady of great worth, full of kind feelings, and benevolent in all her ways and actions." Peter and Nancy are buried alongside one of their children in a private graveyard near Mt. Welcome on a hill above Leepers Creek. (In what is now the community of Mariposa.)

Unfortunately today the grave of this noble ancestor who played a significant roll in the organization of our part of North Carolina, is in a wooded area, in near ruins and inaccessible to the general public. On his tombstone the following words are inscribed:

"To the memory of
General Peter Forney,
who was born April 21st, 1756,
and died February 1st, 1834.
In Public life the deceased acquitted himself
with reputation as a useful
and efficient member of Congress and as
an Elector from the People for President of
the United States.
He carried out the Republican principles
upon which he had acted through life by
voting successively for
Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Madison, Mr. Monroe and
General Jackson.
And in all the relations of private life
he acquired the love and esteem
of all who know him."

On 1 June 1812 President James Madison asked Congress to declare War against the British. Some referred to this confrontation as the second War of Independence. Among soldiers from the Stanley Creek area were:

Henry Eddleman
Moses Abernathy
Alexander Moore
William Nance
John Edwards
William McGinnis
John Leeper
John Rhyne
John Butch Rankin
Michel Sides
Jacob Eddleman
Adam Cloninger, Jr.
Henry Sadler
Robinson Moore
John McGinnis
Alexander Rankin
Jacob Rhyne

The years following the Revolutionary War brought about an exodus of people from this area to lands in the west in search of better farm land, gold, riches, etc.; all the same reasons they or their ancestors had migrated to this area years prior. Then after the War of 1812 many left North Carolina because the leaders of the State were not seen as caring for the needs of the people. Many from the Abernethy family, the Eddlemans, the Cloningers, the Hagers and the Henkles went west, to Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky and Ohio. Some of the Brevards, the Rhynes, the Forneys went to Alabama following the iron trade. Others went to the territory of Texas. At the same time other families were migrating into this area.


The Year Without a Summer

The year 1816 was famous as "the year without a summer." That year started out, in Stanley as well as other regions of the south, so mild for the months of January and February that many folks let their fires go out and burned wood only for cooking; however, March was very cold and windy. Showers started the Month of April but ended with snow and ice. In May the temperature was like that of winter. The young buds that began forming in April were stiff and frozen. Ice, one half inch thick formed on ponds and rivers in North and South Carolina. Corn was killed and after being planted again and again nothing was reaped from the cornfields. June was cold, the coldest month ever experienced in this latitude. Almost all green things as well as fruits were killed. There was ice, frost, and some snow flurries in July. August proved to be the worst month of all not only here but even in Europe. September started out with two weeks of pleasant weather and the rest of the month was cold. October and November were extremely cold and then December was mild. This extraordinary weather condition in 1816 had been caused by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Temboro in the Dutch East Indies, blowing 50 cubic miles of dust into the air and killing some 66,000 people. The volcanic dust clouded the skies all over the earth causing the "year without a summer."



Migration out of the state seemed to slow down during the years between 1835 and 1860 chiefly because the state constitution had been rewritten giving people more confidence in the government as well as supplying some of the needs of the citizens such as, plank roads and bringing in manufacturing to the region. During this period a tax was levied and a form of public schools was implemented.


Brevard Deed

In 1843 Ephraim A. and Robert A. Brevard conveyed by deed some of their property near the Tuckasegee Stagecoach Road for the establishment of a Lutheran Church. This property was located about a mile and half west of Stanley creek.


A New County

On December 5, 1846 a motion was passed in the Senate establishing a new county from a division of Lincoln County. It was eventually named Gaston for Judge William Gaston. The Stanley Creek area lay in the Gaston County division. The First Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions for the new county of Gaston was held in the home of Jesse Holland in Dallas. Among the first county justices were the following men from the Stanley area: John Al McGinnis, Milton A. Smith, Alfred Abernethy. These first justices in turn appointed new Gaston County Justices. All the justices collectively proceeded by electing a County Clerk. Sheriff, County Trustee, Solicitor, Surveyor and a number of other offices. The new sheriff was Benjamin Morris of Stanley Creek. (Benjamin Morris was the son of Vincent and Margaret Hunt Morris). The new Gaston County Trustee was Richard Rankin, grandson of the pioneer, Samuel Rankin, and a Stanley Creek resident.


Slave Troops

One of the first actions taken by the newly appointed justices of Gaston County was to form slave patrols whose principle duty was to attempt to prevent the escape of runaway slaves and to apprehend those who managed to run away. Patrols were formed in different townships of the county. The River Bend Township patrol was lead by Captain Jarrett and the company consisted of A. W. Davenport, R. M. Alexander, and John D. Rankin. Captain Sadler lead the Stanley Creek Company which consisted of Milton A. Smith, Valentine Derr, and Andrew Carpenter.

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Gold mining at its peak employed more North Carolinians than any occupation other than farming from 1800 to the Civil War years. Entire families, including the children from five to six years up worked in the mines










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