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Carolina Vanderfords

The Vanderfords arrived in North Carolina in the mid 1700s. In 1761 Michael Vanderford purchased 620 acres in Granville County and in 1767 Noah Vanderford purchased 100 acres in Bertie County. William Vanderford (246) was settled in Anson County prior to the recording of land records. The 1770s saw John Vanderford (1014), Hollingsworth Vandever (236), Charles Vandever (244) and James Vanderford (240) all leaving the Maryland/Delaware area to settle in North Carolina.

The journey from the eastern shore must have been arduous. The road was little more than a trail. But in the Carolinas there was plenty of land and the price was right. The Vanderfords settled where the land was fertile and the game most abundant.

Towns took a long time to develop. For years they were composed only of public buildings, a store or two, a blacksmith shop and a few inns furnishing "entertainment for man or beast." However, even in the wilds of North Carolina the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions had a long arm. In 1755 the Court fixed the price of wine, whiskey, beer, etc. and even decided that the keepers of inns or taverns should charge as follows:

For dinner of roast or boiled flesh, one shilling.
For supper and breakfast, each, six pence.
For lodging over night, good bed, two pence.
For stabling (24 hours), with good hay or fodder, six pence.
For pasturage, first twenty-four hours, four pence, every twenty- four hours after, two pence.
For Indian corn or other grain, per quart, two pence.22

Much of the Court's time was taken up registering the marks and brands which the citizens invented to distinguish their cattle and other livestock. Cows were a privileged class and allowed to roam at will. Hogs on the other hand came under a strict law. No inhabitant was to "keep any hog or hogs, shoat or pigs, running at large within the corporate limits of said town, under a penalty of twenty shillings," while anyone had the right to "shoot, kill, or destroy" the offending pig on sight.23

The Courts appointed Constables whose beats might lay as much as a hundred miles from the seat of justice. Matthew Vandiver (1038) was appointed on May 9, 1788 as a constable for Rowan County, North Carolina. In 1789 Iredell County was created out of a portion of Rowan County and Matthew served as a constable for Iredell County in 1790 and from 1792-1798. In May of 1791, when he was a juror rather than a constable, he was fined 5 shillings for a breach of the sabbath.

During the Revolutionary War there were many Loyalists in every part of the country who had taken up arms in behalf of Great Britain, but many others who had done their best to remain neutral during the struggle. When peace came those who had fought for independence could scarcely feel that their Tory neighbors ought to enjoy equal rights and privileges. On August 7, 1777 the Rowan County Court cited Charles Vandever (244) on "suspicion of being unfriendly to this State." Charles agreed at the time to take and sign an oath of allegiance.

This was not to be the end of Charles' troubles. An Act was adopted at the first meeting of the General Assembly under the Constitution, April 8, 1777 which "declared it to be treason and punishable with death and confiscation of goods, to take commission in the army of Great Britain in North Carolina, or to aid or assist in any way the enemies of the State."24 Charles' negro man was confiscated and given to Brigadier General Davidson's widow because he had "joined the Enemy under the command of Sam Bryan."25 On May 14, 1782, Charles petitioned the North Carolina assembly to have his man returned. It was resolved that the man was to remain in the possession of Mrs. Davidson until further order. Nevertheless, by 1794 "Old Sol" was back with Charles in Kentucky.

Charles may have had some Loyalist sentiments but they weren't stong enough for him to be listed in the Loyalist records. The other Vanderfords were for Independence and many actively fought for it. Noah Vanderford enlisted in 1777 in Captain Walker's Company, 7th North Carolina Regiment and died on March 5, 1778. Matthew Vandiver (1038) enlisted as did James Vanderford (1049) and Edward Vandiver (9035), both of whom fought in the Battle of Eutaw Springs (see the chapter on the Revolutionary War).

Charles' son, George Vandever (1020) is said to have participated under George Washington in the Battle of Yorktown and the surrender of Cornwallis. Miss Blanche VanDeveer, a great granddaughter of George in February 1928 wrote the following story:

Granddaddy George lived to the mellow age of 108. He heartily despised the "tyranny of England" until his death. Uncle Dave used to say to him, "Granddaddy, did you say that you were named for King George?" "No" would come the thundering reply, "I wasn't named for any damned tyrant that ever lived." Long after the Revolution, the United States Government pensioned the old soldiers. An Agent came to my great grandfather with the information that he was entitled to a pension...My great grandfather didn't want any pension. He didn't fight for money. He fought for freedom and his country, and he would not disgrace his posterity by taking it.26

After the war, the residents of rural North and South Carolina once again returned to their homes and farms. The rich bottom lands brought forth bountiful crops with little labor and left plenty of time for fishing and hunting between planting and harvesting times. Except for a few articles such as iron, salt, sugar, coffee and pepper, the farm, herds and flocks yielded all that was consumed in the home. With markets for grain and flour several hundred miles away and the great expense of transportation, there was little justification in raising more than what could be consumed at home.

Before threshing machines, double log-barns were built with a threshing or tramping floor between the stables. "The wheat and oats were hauled from the harvest fields and packed on the stable lofts, and on the loft over the barn floor. This floor was usually twenty-five or thirty feet square, and was shut in on both sides with huge folding doors. When the tramping time came a floor of wheat was thrown down, bundles untied and laid in a circle around the center of the floor. The folding doors were thrown open, and several spans of horses were put in to walk around and around upon the wheat until it was separated from the straw and chaff - the attendants in the meantime turning over the straw as required. At first the wheat was winnowed with a sheet, or coverlet tied up by two corners, and briskly swung by two men, while one slowly poured down the mixed wheat and chaff. But wheat fans were soon introduced, and their clatter could be heard at a great distance, doing up the work neatly and rapidly. The oats, being more easily crushed by the hard hoofs, and the straw being used to make 'cut feed' for the horses, were usually threshed out with flails, the bundles being kept entire. No matter if the grain was not entirely taken out - the horses would get it in their feed."27

Late in the fall when it was time to shuck the corn, the farmers turned the work into a contest and party. As many as fifty people would arrive just at dark. Two captains would choose up sides and the race would begin while a bottle of brandy was circulated. The winning side would carry their captain around the pile in triumph and then came the shucking supper, a feast of biscuits, ham, pork, chicken pie, pumpkin custard, sweet cakes, apple pie, grape pie, coffee, sweet milk, buttermilk and preserves.

If a farmer died and his estate was to be sold, a large sale was held and folks came from all around. It was a good opportunity to pick up a few items and see old friends. On February 20, 1838 in the Old Pendleton District of South Carolina the estate of Francis Posey was sold. Manning Vandiver (son of 9035) went on a spending spree, buying:28

2 augers & chisels .76
2 goghers & shovel & swingle tree 1.88
2 good cutting axes 2.06 1/4
1 hand axe .81 1/4
2 old axes .62 1/2
3 plows, stocks & irons 3.18 3/4
8 empty barrels 2.06 1/4
2 small jars .56 1/4
2 bread trays .43 1/4
1 brass kettle 2.00
1 sythe & radle 2.56 1/4
1 lot plank and laths 1.06 1/4
195 barrels at 42 1/2 per pound .82 3/4
250 feet plank at 4/8 2.52

"Those were days of plenty. The virgin soil brought forth bountifully. Herds of cattle and droves of swine fed at large, unrestrained by any stock law. Bears, deer, turkeys, wild geese, and ducks abounded. The Yadkin and the Catawba were filled with shad, trout, redhorse, pike, bream, perch, catfish and eels, and the fisherman seldom returned without a heavy string of fish."29


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