By William Dickson
Particulars Respecting Duplin County of which Information is Requested by the Editors of the
Duplin County and Sampson County was formerly a part of
New Hanover County, and about the year 17501 was divided from New Hanover by a line Runing from the No. East River at the Mouth of Rockfish, through Holly Shelter Pocoson, due East to Onslow County line. And from the Mouth of said Rockfish Creek up the Meanders thereof to the head, thence a line Crossing Black River at the Mouth of Clear River, and thence continuing on due West to South River and up South River, the Meanders thereof to Black Mingo and up Black Mingo to the head. All to the North of said Creek and lines was formed into a County by the Name of Duplin, this County then Contained all the Waters runing into the No. East River on either side from the Mouth of Rockfish up to the head thereof. The Principal Water Courses, were the No. East, Goshen, The Grove, Rockfish, Maxwell, Muddy Creek, and Limestone, all which form considerable large Swamps.—The Western part of the County then contained the Water Courses Runing into Black River on either side from the Mouth of Clear River up to the heads, and all the Waters Runing into South River on the East side up &c. their Principal Streams were the Six Runs, Great Cohera, little Cohera, and South River, all which form Considerable large Swamps.2—
The South and South West limits of this County are about from 35 to 40 Miles from the Sea. The North & North West limits are about from 80 to 90 Miles from the Sea.
1st. The face of the Country is generally level, except near the large Water Courses, the ground is uneven & broken with small water Courses, but with Easy Riseings and declivities. The forrest growth there is generally Oak, Hickory, Dogwood, wild Grape vine Persimmon with a Mixture of Pine, and Shrubs.
The low grounds on these water Courses are either Swamp or Marsh. The Natural growth of the Swamps, are, Gum, Ash, Water Oak, White Oak, Cypress, Poplar, Elm, & Maple, and a Variety of Shrubs,—Beach and Birch and Juniper are found in some parts of the County but it is scarce. Black Walnut, Wild Cherry, Mulberry Chesnut & Hazle and Sycomore, are no where found but where they are planted.
The Swamp lands are proper for Rice but very little of it is Cultivated. The Soile of the High lands is generally light on the Surface, the foundation Clay, sometimes mixed with gravel or small white flint[note][note]
stone. The Soile of these lands are proper for the Culture of Indian Corn, Pease, Potatoes, and Cotton, Also Wheat, Rye, & Oates, all which it will produce without Manure. Apple and Peach orchards thrive well while young, but are not dureable.
These lands are of various Classes, and they are Estimated in value, according to their quality and local Situation in their Natural, Forrest State, they are now estimated at $3.p. Acre, and upwards as high as $10. p. Acre.
The level lands or middle grounds may be Computed at about three fourths of the County, the Growth generally Pine and blackjack. it may be divided into three—Classes or qualities, to wit, Sandy lands, Stiff lands, and Savannahs,—These are divesified with innumerable small Pocosons, Commonly called ponds, the growth of which are Pine, Water Oak, Maple, Gum, Bay, with a variety of Shrubs, of which the most noted is the Huckleberry, which Produces a delicious fruit.
The Savannah lands make good Pasture, Produceing grass abundantly, but scarce of Water in Summer. The Stiff Piney lands where Cultivated, with a light Manure will Produce, very well every Species of Crop that is Raised on the Oakey lands. Those lands which lie Remote from water Courses, are esteemed to be of little value only for Range.—Those lying near and Convenient to Navigable Streams, produce Naval Stores, Pitch, Tar, Turpentine, and Sawed lumber.
These lands are Estimated in value, according to their local Situation; Those convenient to Navigation and well coated with Timber or lightwood are worth from $1. to $2. p. Acre, Those lying Remote from Navigation may frequently be purchased for 50 Cents p. Acre.
The uper parts of Duplin and Sampson Counties are generally Esteemed to be Healthy. the Water made use of whether Springs or Wells is generally Sweet and wholesom. The lower parts of the Counties being more flat, and abound in Savannahs, the Water is not so pure and wholesom.—
2d. About the year 1736 this part of the Country, (then the uper part of New Hanover County) was first Setled by Emigrants from the North of Ireland and some Dutch from Switzerland;— Henry McCulloh Esq. of London, having purchased a Tract of land from the Crown, Containing 71,160 Acres lying in the uper part of New Hanover County, between the No. East branch of Cape fear River and Black River. Encouraged a Number of Irish and Dutch to come over from Europe to Settle his lands,3 with a promise of certain Conditions to give them Titles[note]
to certain Portions of it.—Their first Settlements were at Soracta4 on the No. East River, and at the lower end of Goshen, (then called Woodwards Chase,) And on the Grove, where Duplin Court House now Stands; About the same time, and soon after, a Number of families Emigrated from Roanoak, Meherrin,5 and Elcewhere, and Setled on Cohera, Six Runs, Goshen, and No. East.—The Country being then New; The Range fresh and luxuriant, and the Country abounding with wild Game, their Principal object then was Raising Stock and Hunting.—
At the first forming of this County, which then Included both Duplin and Sampson, it contained but about 360 white Poll Taxables, and very few Negroes. At the Commencement of the Revolutionary War it contained about 900, or 1000 White Poll Taxables very few of them were then Emigrants from Europe.6History of the County.
Previous to the Revolution, at the time when the Stamp Duty was attempted to be enforced by Governor Tryon, (in North Carolina,)7 most of the Respectability of the County turned out volunteers, Marched down to Wilmington with Capt. James Kenan,8 and joined Colo. John Ashe,9 to oppose the Enforcement of the Stamp Duty.
Afterwards when Governor Tryon Marched up the Country against the Insurgents, commonly called Regulators, None of the Inhabitants of Duplin County cou'd be prevailed upon to accompany him, or to Enlist[note][note][note][note][note][note]
in that Service, only five or Six light Horse followed on afterwards and joined him at Alamance.10
Governor Tryon Imputed the Tardiness of Duplin County in this affair, to disaffection to the Kings Governmt. and on his Return, Authorized Colo John Ashe, with his Militia troops to Tarry certain days in Duplin and cause the Inhabitants to take on Oath of Allegiance to the King, and issu'd orders to the Inhabitants to attend Colo Ashe for that purpose,—The Inhabitants of Duplin County generally Resented this order as an Indignity offered them, it not being Required of the Inhabitants of any other County; very few of the Inhabitants attended Colo Ashe for that purpose, he taried in Duplin only one day and Marched on homewards without executing the Governors order.
At the Commencement of the Revolution, the People in Duplin County were generally United, They formed Committees, Elected their Officers, Encouraged the Recruiting Service, trained the Militia in the Exercise of Arms, held frequent Meetings; Sent Delegates to the Conventions at Newbern, Hilsborough and Halifax.11 A Number of Young men Enlisted in the Regular Army and Marched to the Northward under Capts. Danl. Williams12& Joseph T. Rhodes,13 both of Duplin County, and no difficulty was experianced in Raiseing our quota of Militia men when Called for.—
At the time when Genl. Mc.Donald14 Embodied the Scotch Highlanders and Tories in the Vicinity of FayetteVills. (then Campbelton,)15 the Duplin Militia almost Unanimously turned out, and were in Motion, about 30016 Marched with Colo Kenan17 to Rockfish in the Vicinity of Campbelton[note][note][note][note][note][note][note][note]
and there joined Genl. Moore;18—At the same time two Companies of Minute men under Captains Clinton19 and Love, Marched from Duplin to Moores Creek, and there joined Colo Lillington,20 when Colos. Caswell21 and Lillington, Defeated and took Genl. Mc.Donald Prisoner, and Dispersed the Scotch Highlanders.
After this when Colo Abraham Sheppard was sent by the State of No. Carolina, to the Aid of South Carolina,22 he was joined by Capt. Gillespie23 with a Company of Voluntiers from Duplin County, who performed a Tour of Duty in South Carolina.
Another Company of Voluntiers and Drafts, Marched from this County under Capt. Hubbard to South Carolina, and were in the Battle at Stonoe.24
Three Companies of Duplin Militia, Marched with Major John Tradwell25 to Cambden, and were followed by a small Company of light Horse Voluntiers under Capt. William Routledge;26 and were with Genl. Gates when defeated near Cambden.27
Colo James Kenan, with Captains Williams28 & Molton29 marched two Companies of light Horse to the Aid of South Carolina, and did a three Months Tour of Duty on Pee Dee River, joining the boundary line of this State.
Duplin County sent her Quota of Men to the aid of Georgia, who Marched there under Genl. Ashe and were there with him when defeated at Brier Creek.30[note][note][note][note][note][note][note][note][note][note][note][note][note]
A Company of Duplin Militia under Capt. Bourden, Marched out to Uhara,31 near the Yadkin, to Suppress the Torries in that place—While General Lillington was there, Major Craig32 with a Body of Brittish troops took Possession of and Fortified Wilmington, Colo James Kenan Marched down with about 350 of the Duplin Militia and Encamped at the long bridge 10 Miles above Wilmington, and was there joined by the Militia of New Hanover; Onslow, and Jones Counties; When Genl. Lillington Marched down from Uhara, and took the Command;
When Earl Cornwallis Marched from Guilford Court House to Wilmington, Genl. Lillington Retreated up the Country, and the Militia Tour of three Months being ended, the whole Militia was discharged at Kingston.33
Cornwallis at that time proceeded on his March from Wilmington to Virginia. He passed through Duplin unmolisted,34 there being no Troops Embodied to Impede his March, or Harrass his Rear.—As he approached the Inhabitants of Duplin Retreated to places of Safity, Removeing their Stock, and such Property as they could out of the Enemies way; It was now the first week in May 1781.—
Cornwallis now by some considered to be Victorious and Pursueing his Rout unmolisted, the Tories and disaffected, (of which there were many in the Eastern and Western parts of the County,) began to take Courage and bid defiance, They in the Western part of the County formed a Camp in Cohera Swamp, in a Secret place; they declared for the King of England, took some young men who had been in the Service of the Country & Compelled them to take Parolls, (from them,)—Colo Kenan being—informed of their Proceedings and where they had formed their Camp, Collected immediately about 12 or 15 Men, went in search of their Camp, thinking to Disperse them before they became formidable.—He found their Camp, some Shot were exchanged; In the beginning of the Skirmish Owen Kenan, Brother of the Colonel was killed, & both Parties Retreated.—The Tories finding they had lost nothing,—began to triumph and Exult, and encreaseing their Party, Embodied to about the Number of 120.—Formed their Camp on the West side of Cohera at the Bridge on the Fayette Ville Road, and there choose their leaders, Middleton Mobley & Biggars Mobley.—Colo Kenan being informed of their Progress; sent out and was immediately joined by about 60 light Horse, with which he Encamped at Mr. Clintons about 3 Miles in front of the Tory Camp, where he lay two days to watch their Motions. As soon as they found that Colo Kenan was in their way and their March obstructed, they filed off in the Night, left the Road and Retreated through the woods, down black River: Colo Kenan[note][note][note][note]
being informed the next day of their Retreat (by a Person whom they detained as a Prisoner, and found means to Escape from them in the Night,) He immediately Pursued with his small troop of Cavalry, and at day brake the next Morning, came up with them at Portevints Mill,35 where they halted to Supply themselves with Meal; some Skirmishing ensued, the Tories Retreated into the low grounds of black River, where the Horse cou'd not with any probability of Success Pursue them. Colo Kenan then determined to Ambuscade them at a certain place about three Miles ahead, but before got up to the intended place, discovered them ahead, they had quit the swamp and were Runing a Cross the woods;—The Horse Rushed upon them in full speed;—The Tories Posted themselves behind trees, and the Horse were immediately mixed amongst them;—a Confused fireing commenced, the Horse Retreated in order to load their Guns again, (they haveing but few Swords;) which gave the Tories another opportunity of gaining the Swamp; they again pursued, but without Success; The Tories made good their Retreat, got to Wilmington and joined the Brittish Troops under Major Craig.—In this days Skirmishing there were only two men of the Whigs, and four of the Tory Party, Slightly wounded; Three Horses were killed, and two others wounded.—The Tories bagage which was only their Provisions and their Baggage Horses were all taken;
At this time the Tories began to be troublesome in the Eastern parts of Duplin, and were joined by disaffected Persons from Dobbs, Onslow, and Jones Counties, which were frequently dispersed by Capt. Gillespie, who Collected some Voluntier light Horse, and Harrassed them continually, that he prevented them from making any Successful Incursions in the middle of the County.
About the latter end of July 1781. Colo Kenan Embodied about 250 of the Duplin Militia at Rockfish Bridge, on the Wilmington Road to prevent any Brittish Parties from comeing into the County and Driveing off Stock &c. He was there joined by Major Griffin from Halifax with about 150 men;36 At that time Major Craig determined to Visit Newbern, and March through Duplin on his way there;37 Colo Kenan had Notice of his Approach, and made such Preparation for Defence as he was able, by hastily throwing up a Slight breastwork; but inadequate to the Purpose intended; At the very Instant when Major Craig[note][note][note]
made the Attack on our Breastwork with his Cannon we were attacked in the Rear by Capt. Gordon38 with about 60 Horse, 10 of which were Brittish Dragoons, and two Companies of Infantry; They had made a Circuitous March through the woods, and were Close upon our Rear before discovered.—Confusion and dismay was the immediate Consequence. The Militia broke, and quit their Post before one half of them had discharged their Guns, Colo Kenan and some of his officers made every Exertion they cou'd to Rally the men again but to no purpose.—Our Ammunition, Bagage, Provisions &c. fell into the Enemies hands; Eight or ten of our men were wounded and made Prisoners, (none were killed.) The Brittish had one man killed there.
Two days afterwards Craig Marched up to the Grove and Encamped at Colo Routledges39 House, lay there about three days, Collected some Cattle, destroyed some Crops of Corn Burned Capt. Gillespies40 and Lieut. Houstons Houses, and destroyed such of their Property as they cou'd not carry away; Then Marched on towards Newbern, commiting depredations and Enticeing Negroes to Desert their Masters and go with them. They were followed and Harrassed by some Militia from Duplin, Onslow and Dobbs Counties, Capt. Gordon of the Brittish Dragoons was Killed on the way by some of the Onslow men. This happened in the first week in August 1781.
Thus two Brittish Armies Marched through Duplin County in the Year 1781, and after they were gon, their trace was Scarcely perceiveable, the Inhabitants on their approach Retired out of their way, and as soon as they had passed by, Returned to their Houses, which they frequently found Plundered and their Stock driven off.
After this the Tories made frequent attempts to Embody both in the Western and Eastern parts of the County, but by the Executions of Colo Kenan, Colo Moore, Capt. Gillespie and other officers, they were as often dispersed with loss as they attempted to Collect together.
About the latter end of September 1781. The Tories were Collecting on Cohera. when Colo Moore with Captains Williams,41 Dodd,42 and Miller, Collected some Militia, went out, in Search of their Camp, Surprised & dispersed them without Sustaining any loss in Colo Moores Party four of the Tories were killed in that Action. They never made any Considerable head in Duplin afterwards.—[note][note][note][note][note]
The Spirit of the Tories was now broke, they generally came in and Surrendered themselves up to Government and complied with the Requisitions of the law by going into or finding a Substitute in the Army of the United States, and Middleton Mobley their leader being abandoned by all his deluded followers was obliged to leave the County, he was afterwards taken in Martin County and brot. back to Wilmington, tried, Condemned, and Executed.—
At the Battle, at the Eutaw Springs43 in South Carolina Capt. Joseph Thomas Rhodes44 from Duplin with a Company of about 40 Men mostly Raw Recruits raised in Duplin Behaved there with as much Personal Bravery and Intrepidity as any that were in that Engagement, they had joined the Army but a few days Previous to the action;—
When the line was formed for Action Capt. Rhodes had his Post assigned him on the main Road leading down Santee, towards the Springs; Genl. Green in Person observed to him, that he expected the Enemy wou'd endeavour to force our lines at that place, and if he cou'd maintain his Ground he might depend on being Reinforced in a very short time.—According to the Generals Expectation the Battle became Violent in that part of the line, and the promised Reinforcements never came till a very late stage of the Action, But the men under Capt. Rhodes's Command, behaved with the utmost order and bravery, and Sustained Considerable loss; the Reinforcements when they came up took the Ground on the left, where at that time the Enemy began to Retreat.—He then with the few men he had left, and the Remains of Captains Goodm[an's] and Porterfields45 Companies, (the Captains being both killed.) advanced near the Brick House, and attacked the Brittish Artillery, and took Possession of Several field pieces, one of which they kept and brot. off, the others were Retaken by a Brittish Reinforcement of Superior Strength in Number.
Dureing the whole of this Action, which is said to be the hotest and most Bloody, for the Number of men Engaged, that has been fought dureing the Revolutionary War, the Men under Capt. Rhodes's Command, manifested such undaunted bravery as is Seldom Surpassed by old dissiplined Vitrons.—Dureing this Action Capt. Rhodes himself and thirteen of his men, only came of unhurt; the others being killed or wounded, and of those, that came off unhurt, only three of them but what had marks of a ball or a Bayonet.—
After the War Terminated.—In June 1784. The County of Duplin was divided by a line Runing from the head of Rockfish Creek, where the Road Crosses Bull tail branch, nearly North, Crossing Stewarts Creek at the Bridge and Turkey near the old Court House, and Goshen[note][note][note]
at the Mouth of Youngs Swamp.46 And all to the West of said line was Erected into a Separate County by the name of Sampson County.—By this division Duplin Contained the No. East River, from the moth of Rockfish Creek to the heads of said River, with all the Waters & Creeks falling into it on either side.—And the County of Sampson Contained Black River from New Hanover County line up on both sides, with all the Waters falling into South River on the East side, with the Waters of the Six Runs, Great Cohera, little Cohera, and the head of Goshen.
3d. The No. East River, which is the only River, now in Duplin County, is Navigable for Boats & small Rafts, from the Mouth of Rockfish Creek as high as the No. East Bridge a Mile above the Mouth of Goshen, but that only in Winter or when the Waters is Raised by heavy Rains.—Goshen as well as the No. East and Several other Creeks falling into it, form very large Extensive Swamps all which are Remarkable for the great quantyty of large Cyprus trees in them.—It is believed that the Swamps of No. East and Goshen, can be so improved by opening and Clearing logs &c. out of their Runs, as to admit the passage of Boats and small Rafts, for several Miles higher up, but only when their Waters are raised by heavy Rains.—This woud be a desirable object particularly on Goshen, which is the most Pleasant, agreeable, and Fertile Portion of the County.
The Vicinity of the Grove, and near about the Court House, is also much Esteemed for Pleasant Situations fertility of Soile and Wealthy Inhabitants.
The County of Duplin abounds with good Roads through every part of it, leading to and from the Court House, with Bridges over the Water Courses, kept in Repair by the adjacent Inhabitants, there are only two Bridges in the County built at Public expence, that is the Bridge over the No. East River at the Mouth of limestone Creek on the Road leading from Fayette Ville to Newbern, and the Bridge over Rockfish Creek on the Road leading from Wilmington to Duplin Court House.—there are no toll bridges in the County.
Lakes, Bays, Harbours, Cannals, Cateracts, Islands, Mines, Minerals, Medicinal Springs, and Curiosities, none discovered in the County worth notice.
4th. The Produce Raised for Market, in the lower parts of the County is Pitch, Tar, & Turpentine, and Sawed lumber and Staves.—In the uper parts of the County, Particularly on Goshen and its branches,[note]
where the lands are most fertile and Remote from Navigation; Pork, Bacon, Indian Corn, and Cotton, are the Articles mostly Raised for Market, and Conveyed in Carts and Waggons.
5th. The County being Remote from Navigation there is no trade in it, the general and Individual Wealth in it Rises from the Production of their lands and labour of their Negroes, none are very Rich.—47
6th. Soon after the division of Duplin County a Town was Established by Act of Assembly on the East side of the No. East River about twenty Miles above the Mouth of Rockfish Creek by the name of Soracta.48 lotts were laid off and sold, But it has never been improved, no Buildings have been Erected nor trade Established in it.
The first Inhabitants of Duplin and Sampson Counties, built and lived in log Cabbins, and as they became more Wealthy, some of them Built framed Clapboard Houses with Clay Chimneys, at Present there are many good Houses, well Constructed, with Brick Chimneys, and Glass lights, there are no Stone or Brick walled Houses, nor any that can be called Edifices in the County.— The greatest Number of the Citizens yet build in the old Stile.
7th. Agriculture, has Progressed but Slowly in Duplin, the Citizens have not yet adapted any Successful Method of Manureing their lands, the Method heretofore has been by Cowpening, but Stocks of Cattle are now Small very little is done in that way.—Some dig up and haul Manure from about their Houses, and put a small quantity in Each Corn hole, others dig up Swamp mud and lay it on in the same manner, and say they have been successful in that way of Manureing their lands, but the greatest number of our Citizens do not Manure any of their lands, But when they wear out and become Poor they Cut down and open fresh lands.
There has not been any considerable Improvement in the breed of Usefull Domestick Animals, except Horses, which have been considerably improved since the Revolution, some think they have improved their breed of Hogs by introduceing a larger kind, but they Require more feeding and Pasturage. Some have lately introduced Mules, but they are yet but few.
8th. No labour saving Machines have yet been Erected in Duplin County, except Saw and Grist Mills, and Cotton Picking Machines,49[note][note][note]
these are common in every part of the County where they have been wanted. no Successfull attempts have been made to Establish Breweries or Distilleries, some of the able farmers who have orchards keep a Still to make their Apple and Peach Brandy, but very few in Duplin make any more of it than for their family Consumption.
9th. There being no Navigation, there is no Commerce or trade carried on in Duplin except some small Country Stores, very few Boats are in Use Except Cannoes for Rafting, The Produce Raised in the uper parts of the County is carried to Market in Carts or Waggons.50
10th. There are no Fisheries in Duplin County and the wild Game of every Species is almost quite extinct.
11th. The first Inhabitants of this place were generally Rude and uncultivated in their Manners, but Sociallity and Civilization has progressed considerably in all Classes of our Citizens since the Revolution.—
12th. Soon after the Revolution an Academy51 was Established in Duplin County by Act of Assembly and Trustees appointed, it had no other funds than the voluntary Subscriptions of Individuals, and the fees for Teaching, it has not been Constantly attended to, and at present is not in Use; Some young men have made Considerable Progress in the Latin language, but not being Sufficiently Supported, none have Received a finished Education, the last Teacher was the Revd.. Samuel Stanford who was well approved, he continued it three years and an half with about 40 or 50 Students mostly small Children and not being Supported any longer has declined it.
This County contains many Citizens who are men of good Genious and Usefull members of Society, but does not boast of any who can claim a distinction for Superiority of Talents.—
13th. The only learned Professional Characters now is this County who have Received a Classical Education, are the Revd.. Samuel Stanford52 a Preacher of the Gospel and Doctors Levi Bordin and Stephen Graham,53 both Phisicians and Surgeons, these are all Natives of this[note][note][note][note]
Country.—I dont know that they or any of them have Received any Collegiate Degrees.
14th. Previous to the Revolution and in time of the War, Schools of any kind had not been so much attended to as Since;—About 25 or 30 years ago, it may be Supposed that one fifth part of the Grown Persons in Duplin County, cou'd not Read a Chapter in the Bible, well and Distinctly nor write his name legibly.—Since the Revolution the Education of Children have been more attended to, And at present there are perhaps not more than one tenth part of the Persons grown up to Maturity in this County, but can Read and Write; Tho many of them being taught by Illiterate teachers, dont Read or Spell very Correctly, nor write very legibly. It is mostly amongst those who have been taught at the Academy we find young men best Qualified to do Business accurately.
15th. Societies for Intellectual improvement libraries &c. there are none in Duplin County.
16th. Societies for encourageing the Arts, & Agriculture, & for purposes of Humanity &c. none in Duplin County.History of Religion
17th. As to Religion it has not been as Progressive in this County as in some other parts of the State. The first Setlers here being Emigrants from the North of Ireland were Presbyterians, they Remained many years without a Pastor Resident amonst them, till the Revd.. Hugh Mc.Aden54 became their Pastor, and he Remained with them but a few years; at the Commencement and in time of the Revolutionary War they had not, any, it was Several years after the—Revolution when the Revd.. John Robinson55 became their Pastor, and Resided with them as Such for five years, on his leaveing them the Revd.. Samuel Stanford became and now Continues, to be their Pastor.—Tho Mr. Stanford is Esteemed as a very worthy Character, and an able Preacher of the Gospel, his Church tho the most ancient in the County increases very Slowly. They are Principally formed into two Congregations, Each of which has Meeting House; one is near Goshen in the uper end of the County, and one at the Grove near the Court House. There are also some families on Rockfish which have joined them but they have not yet a Meeting House of their own. The Number of Comunicants in the[note][note]
County of Duplin are not accurately assertained, but may be Estimated at about 100. perhaps, some over,
Soon after the County of Duplin was Established and the Inhabitants became more Numerous, Most of the People and then the Principal Characters in the County Professed themselves to be Members of the Episcopal or Established Church of England, and Readers were appointed to Read the Morning Service &c. on every Sunday at diffirent Houses throughout the County and a Tax laid by the Vestry to pay them. About the year 1760 or soon after; the Revd.. William Millar56 was invited by the Vestry to become the Pastor of the Church of St. Gabriels Parish in Duplin County, which he accepted, and was accordingly inducted. He was a man Possessing some Talent Preached Extempore and was for a year or two very Popular, His places for Preaching were Circuitous round the County at Individuals Houses, there being no Chappels or Meeting Houses Erected for him; He soon became unpopular, Charges of Immorality, and Practices in life derogatory to the Character of a Preacher of the Gospel, were propagated against him which he cou'd not, or did not Refute. till a length he had no friends in the County, and upon the Vestry paying him up his arrearages of Sallary &c. he consented to leave the Parish,
It was not long after Mr. Millar left the Parish when the Revd.. Hobart Briggs57 Succeeded him and became the Parochial Minister. Mr. Briggs was an English man; came over to this Country under the Patronage of Governor Tryon, and through his influence Succeeded to the appointment, he was of a very different Character from his Predecessor. he was Sober, Grave, not addicted to any Vice, He occupied the same Circuitous appointed places for Preaching as his Predecessor, he was Considered to be of weak Intellect, but a good Reader, Read all his Sermons, which he brought in Manuscript from England. He Continued in the Parish till the Revolution, when finding his anual Sallary was discontinued, he disappeared without dismissal or formally takeing leave. No Preacher of the Regular Episcopal Church of England has, since him ever visited this Country.—It cannot with propriety be said that Religion flourished or the Morals of the People were improved under the Patronage or Pastoral care of either of the Parochial Preachers. At present there[note][note]
are very few Persons in this County who Profess themselves Members of the Episcopal Established Church. Those who are disposed to be Religious and Supporte a Religious Character, have joined themselves either to the Presbyterian or Baptist, or Methodist Churches.—
It was Several years after the Settlement of this place, before any Preacher of the Baptist Church visited this County;—The first of Note was Philip Mulkey58 a man of Talents, and then a Popular Preacher;—After him this County was frequently visited by other Itinerant Preachers of the Baptist Profession, from various parts of the State. Their first local Preacher was the Reverand William Goodman, who Established a Church at Bear Marsh59 on Goshen. After Mr. Goodman, the Revd.. Charles Hines, and after him the Revd.. Francis Oliver,60 became the Pastors of it; under their Care and Patronage the Church flourished, encreased and Spread, very considerably; New Congregations were formed, and Meeting Houses Erected, in different parts of the County;—Other Churches were also founded, and Meeting Houses Erected in various parts of the County, of Duplin, and Continue to be Occupied by the Revd.. Silas Carter, Job Thigpen and William Wells, their Pastors;—Since the Death of Francis Oliver, which happened about three years ago, the Church at Bear Marsh, and others under his Care have been Supplied only by Itenerant Preachers, and Visitors from Neighbouring Churches, haveing not yet obtained any Regular ordained Pastor.—The Baptist Professors are at this time, the most Numerous, and flourishing, of any Religious Sect in the County; they have now in Duplin County Seven Meeting Houses, Regular places of Worship towit, at Bear Marsh, at Nahunga, at Concord, at Island Creek, at Muddy Creek, at Limestone, and at Prospect near Bumcoat; The Number of Comunicants in the County in these different Congregations are as p. Returns made in September 1809.—382.—
The first Methodist Preacher who Visited this County was the Noted Beverly Allen,61 a Celebrated Preacher who visited this County,—immediately after the Revolutionary War. He was followed by Sundry other Itenerent & Circuit Methodist Preachers, they were at first Successfull they formed Several Societies and Classes in the County. These however were not all Permanent, many who had joined and professed themselves Members of that Church, began to think the Rules & Disipline[note][note][note][note]
of it, too Strict, to be, by them Constantly adhered to. Many fell off and Resumed their former Practices, and some joined other Churches.—
The Methodists, however have at this time a very Respectable and Encreasing Church in this County under the Care and Patronage of the Revd.. Peter Carleton and other local Preachers, who keep up the Regular Disipline of their Church; They have now three Meeting Houses or places of Worship in the County towit, one at Maxwell, one at Rockfish, and one at Island Creek. The Number of their Comunicants are 85.—
There are none in this County who Profess to be Roman Catholicks, Quakers, or Universialists.—
18th. Destruction by fire and Storms; None have happened in this County so Material as to require any Notice in this place.—
19th. Diseases, and Remedies, None other than what is common throughout the Country I leave this Article for Phisicians to Comment upon.—
20th. Some People at times will amuse themselves at Cards, and some (but very few) will make Horse Races; and Danceing has been much practised by Young People; But these Amusements are now much Neglected where Religion Progresses.—
21st. When this County was divided and Sampson County taken off in the year 1784. The white Poll Taxables then Remaining in Duplin—
Curiosities in Duplin &c.
|The Black Polls were then||531.|
|By the last Returns 1809. The white Polls were||766.|
|The Blacks were then||1098.|
The long Moss like the Misseltoe62 grows out of the outer bark of trees; it is Common in all the lower Counties in the State, from the Sea till the Rise of the Surface of the Country, Which is about 70 Miles from the Sea.
The Green coloured Rattan Vine63 is—common in the Swamps where the land is good from the Sea to about 70 Miles back, and the Bamboo Brier64 is common in Pocosons, Ponds and branches where the lands are Poor, to the same distance back from the Sea.—But no where up the Country, where it Rises and becomes Stoney.[note][note][note]
To the Editors of the Star.
When your letter of the 30th. March, last, came to hand, Several Persons were Requested to undertake the Busness therein Required, I at first declined it, but when none Elce cou'd be prevailed upon I Reluctantly undertook it, not thinking myself adequate to the task, but expected the assistance of some abler pen. But those whom I I depended upon, declined it altogether.
I have run through the Busness in the best manner I was able. My Composition and Stile in writeing will not bear Public Inspection.—I have however endeavoured to be Correct in Stateing facts.
Being an Infant when this place was first Setled I became Early acquainted with the first Setlers, and many Occurrences which then happened; In Early life I became a land Surveyor in the County, in which Practice I continued till long since the Revolution. Dureing the War, I was almost Continually in Militia Service in the County, but never out of the State. At Commencement of the Revolution, I was put in possession of the Records of the County Court,65 which office I yet hold. These Circumstances has enabled me in some Measure, to State some facts with more Precision perhaps, than any other in the County at this time cou'd do.
Perhaps I have been more Minute in detailing some Occurrences than Necessary, and perhaps omitted some that ought to be noticed.—You may however extract from the whole, what you may deem Necessary for your purpose, and Correct the Stile in which it is written.— I am. Gentlemen.—Your Most Obedt. Servt.
Duplin 23d. Novr. 1810
[To be continued][note][note]