Saturday, June 27, 2020

George Kirk

The fourth person mentioned in the division of land in the John Kirk Dec’d estate file is George Kirk.

Division the 4th Lot No 3 valuation $440 George Kirk. Lying on both sides of Lick Creek beginning at a pine by a hickory and post oak pointers on the south side of said creek and runs forty west ninety poles to a pine by a pine pointer thence 80 45 west one hundred and seventy nine poles to a blackjack by a post oak thence south forty five east 70 poles to a small post oak thence north forty five (?) east sixty eight poles thence south forty five east one hundred and fifteen poles to a post oak thence north 45 east 112 poles to a pine by a red oak thence north 45 west 115 poles to the beginning. Containing one hundred and eighty acres.


Much research has been done on George Kirk, the son of John Kirk Esq. Hundreds of internet pages detailing nearly every aspect of his life can be found. George Kirk, the son of John Kirk Esq, was born about 1794. He lived his entire life in Montgomery County, North Carolina. He owned property on both sides of the Yadkin / Pee Dee River. He died in 1845, 4 years after the formation of Stanly County from Montgomery County in 1841.

I was surprised to learn that there were two George Kirk’s in Montgomery County. The other George Kirk was much older and can be found on the 1790 Census for Montgomery County along with James and John Kirk. This George also had 4 land grants on the east side of the Pee Dee River and along the Uwharrie River from as early as 1779, at the formation of Montgomery County from Anson County. Anson records show no listing of a George Kirk that I could find online. His nearest neighbors were Moses Sanders/Saunders and John Morris.

More information on Moses Sanders/Saunders can be found here:
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/25009501/moses-sanders
http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~sandersgenealogy/genealogy/

I have no further information on who John Morris is.


Back to George Kirk, the son of John Kirk Esq. George married Francis Bell, the daughter of Benjamin Bell and Elizabeth Ledbetter who resided on the west side of the Pee Dee River. I have posted two Blogs about the Bell family back in January and February.

In the estate file found at Family Search, the 1847 Stanly County court petition for a widow’s dower states that her (Francis) husband died seized and possessed of a very large and valuable real estate lying in the counties of Stanly and Montgomery.

1st tract: Lying in the county of Stanly on the waters of the Pee Dee River containing 150 acres, it being the Home tract including the dwelling house and Ferry, boundaries of which will more fully appear by reference to a deed from Alexander Kirk to George Kirk.

2nd tract: Lying in the county of Stanly on the waters of the Yadkin River containing 192 acres, the boundaries of which will appear by reference to a deed from John Kirk dated 17 Sep 1835.

3rd tract: Lying in the county of Stanly on the waters of the Pee Dee or Yadkin containing 87 acres, the boundaries of which will appear by reference to a deed from Elizabeth Melton dated 23 Oct 1830.

4th tract: Lying and adjoining the last-mentioned tract (3rd tract) containing 30 acres, the boundaries of which will appear by reference to a deed from Elizabeth Melton and William Melton dated 23 Oct 1830.

5th tract: Containing 250 acres lying on the Yadkin Ricer in the county aforesaid (Stanly) the boundaries of which will appear by reference to a deed from Thomas Huckabee dated 13 Apr 1832.

6th tract: Lying in the Pee Dee River containing 100 acres, the boundaries of which will appear by reference to a deed from Thomas Pemberton dated 1 Nov 1837.

7th tract: Lying in the waters of the Pee Dee River containing 150 acres, the boundaries of which will appear by reference to a deed from George C. Mendenhall dated 26 Sep 1840.

8th tract: Containing 25 acres, the boundaries of which will appear by reference to a deed from Benjamin Bell dated 15 Oct 1838.

9th tract: 50 acres granted to George Kirk on 4 Dec 1840, the boundaries of which will appear by reference to said grant.

10th tract: Containing 5 acres, it being an island near George Kirk’s fish trap, as will appear by reference to a grant dated 12 Feb 1847.

11th tract: A small lot of land lying between Horse Ford Island and the Terrapin H? on which is situated a fish trap.

12th tract: Containing 87 acres adjoining the lands of Nancy Harris and others lying near the Salisbury Road in the county of Stanly.

13th tract: In the county of Montgomery on the waters of Dutch John Creek containing 380 acres, the boundaries of which will appear by reference to a deed from William Brookshire.


I was only able to find one deed, dated 1838, in Montgomery County between George Kirk and Benjamin Bell, his father-in-law, where George sold to Benjamin 20 acres of land for $15. It is assumed that the deeds noted above were lost or destroyed in multiple courthouse fires.


Remember, when I began this series of posts last month, in May, on the Kirk family, I said, “To my knowledge, I am not a direct descendant of the Kirk family. I became interested in learning about the Kirk family because they once lived in the same area as my Marks and Fesperman families. Therefore, knowing about the Kirk’s might bring some knowledge about my own direct ancestors.”
Imagine my excitement when I found my fourth great grandfather, John Marks, and his son, William Marks, my third great grandfather, serving as chain carrier for a grant for George Kirk, who had at least two land grants in Montgomery County, one issued in 1827, Grant # 2816 and another in 1840, Grant # 3243.

It always pays to research the neighbors of your ancestors! You are sure to find some tidbit of information. Before this find, the earliest date I had of John Marks being in Montgomery County was around 1833 when he was found making purchases in Daniel Freeman’s General Store in Lawrenceville, then the county seat of Montgomery. The 1833 date is now pushed back seven years to 1826!


In the estate file for George Kirk Dec’d, is a partial record of a court case where Lucretia Fry sued the estate for $90 owed to her by George Kirk. There were some interesting material witnesses subpoenaed for the case, William Solomon and Martha (Dennis) Blalock of Stanly County and Frances Dennis and Willis Morgan of Montgomery County.

William Solomon, also found as a chain carrier with John Marks, married Tabitha Marks, daughter of James Marks and Catherine Gunter of Chatham County, North Carolina. He was a Reverend and had an association with Ebenezer (now Badin) Baptist Church in present day Badin, Stanly County. In fact, after much research into the Solomon and Marks families, I now believe it very possible that my third great grandparents, William Buck Marks and Leah Caroline Fesperman, whose father Michael Fesperman also had a long-standing history with the same church, knew each other through the Solomon/Marks family. They all attended the same church. James and Catherine Gunter Marks were William Marks’s Uncle and Aunt through his father John Marks, brother to James and his mother, Mary Gunter Marks, sister to Catherine.

Martha Dennis Blalock married William David Blalock Jr, who is the son of William David Blalock Sr from Chatham County, North Carolina and lived near the relatives of Willis Morgan. Martha is the daughter of Andrew and Martha Dennis from Montgomery County and the sister-in-law of Frances Blalock Dennis.

Frances Dennis is most likely Francis Blalock Dennis who married Jesse Dennis and is the sister-in-law of Martha Dennis Blalock and sister to William David Blalock Jr.

Willis Morgan is the son of Charles and Delilah Morgan. Charles is from Chatham County as well; moving as a young man to Montgomery County about 1805, with his father Charles Morgan Sr. Willis Morgan married Bethany Bailey Delamothe, the widow of Henry Delamothe.


The estate file of George Kirk offers one testimony, that of Abia Rice of whom I have learned nothing. I am pretty sure that Abia is the Abra Rice found living near-by to Daniel Kirk on the 1840 Census for the West (Stanly) side of the river in then Montgomery County. Listed between 30 and 40 years of age, he would have been born about 1795. If anyone has any information on who this is, drop me a comment.


Abia does offer some insight, telling us that, “at the time the plaintiff (Lucretia Fry) had her property removed from the possession of the defendant (George Kirk) the plaintiff demanded a note of the defendant for the amount due the plaintiff which the defendant refused to give but said he was willing to settle with plaintiff if there was anything due her. Defendant said when he took the note from her, he did not expect to pay her anything but a few dollars at a time.”

Question asked Abia Rice by the Plaintiff, “Did not the defendant agree to give his note for a certain amount less than I claimed of him?” Answer: “I do not recollect.”

Question asked Abia Ria by the Defendant, “Did Lucretia Fry ever live in and with your family?” Answer: “She did.” “Was she any advantage to you or your family?” Answer: “If she was, I do not know it.”

In the Fall Term of Court 1844, George Kirk provides a written statement to explain the absence of Tuner Ingram who was “well acquainted with plaintiff and knew her while she lived with Defendant and knew her to live there as one of the family and treated as such and that her services were worth very little to the defendant and of no benefit over and above her trouble and expense.” In other words, she was more trouble than she was worth! It makes me wonder why she lived with the George Kirk family and why they put up with her? Was she a relative of some sort? It can be extrapolated from the testimony that Lucretia lived with George Kirk and provided some sort of service to him, or at least she thought she did, and was now attempting, through the court, to obtain payment for her services to the George Kirk household.

The other material witnesses, William Solomon and Martha (Dennis) Blalock of Stanly County and Frances Dennis and Willis Morgan of Montgomery County must have all been called as witnesses to provide their insight into the relationship between Lucretia Fry and George Kirk.

The statement, given by George Kirk, provides a genealogical clue that Turner Ingram’s brother lived in Anson County and that as his brother had died, Turner had gone to the funeral.


Moving on to Newspapers, I found that in Nov 1820, George Kirk found a stray horse of which he entered in the Stray Book of Montgomery County. A description of the horse can be found in the Newspaper ad submitted by Richard Stokes, Ranger.


Dr. Francis Kron, who also lived in the area of Montgomery that became Stanly County in 1841, offers insight about his near neighbors and the lives that they lived. In his journal, dated 1835, he writes that he lived about a mile west from the Yadkin River. Dr. Kron personally knew the Kirk family and was personal physician to many of them. Dr. Kron tells us that between his home and the river stood the Kirk Inn and that after George Kirk died, his wife, Francis Bell Kirk, (called Frankie), continued to operate the Kirk Inn.

That area today, is overgrown and lush, with only a hint that life was once abundant here. The Kirk Inn undoubtedly sat on the hill that rises above the river, an old roadbed cut into the land by the wagons that brought passengers from the Kirk Ferry to the Kirk Inn.

George's brother, Alexander, inherited from John Kirk Esq, their father, what is now known as the old Lowder Ferry, located below the junction of the Uwharrie and Yadkin Rivers, where the Yadkin becomes the Pee Dee River. Dr. Francis Kron, in his journal, referred to a ferry one mile from his home as Kirk's Ferry. In 1830, Alexander Kirk sold the ferry to his brother, George Kirk, who operated it until his death in 1845. Between 1860-1870, George Kirk’s heirs sold the ferry and the land to David Lowder.


According to “Stanly County USA: THE STORY OF AN AREA AND AN ERA (1841-1991), the Kirk Inn was a two-story building that contained 16 rooms with a wood stove in each room.”

“The plantation we live is on the west side of the Yadkin, a mile from Kirk's Ferry the same distance south of the great falls on the market road from Salisbury to Fayetteville.” Dr. Francis Kron’s journal.

“A modern Madeleine was taken in the evening with most violent symptoms of hysteria. Mrs. (widow) Kirk, who was delivered of a posthume two years after the death of her husband, is the penitent to whose aid I was called. She talked most lamentably of her faults, the disgrace of her children, her sorrow and desire for forgiveness and mercy. She is at last in a way to recover from her spasms and menial mania.” Dr. Francis Kron’s journal.

“From my house to within a mile of patient's I traveled on the Salisbury Turn-Pike. It either crosses incessantly the numerous ridges that expire on the edge of the Yadkin or follows the bed of some branch through narrow stony gaps. On that whole road there are but two plantations with tenants; two worn out and abandoned and another in a way of clearing to be abandoned at some future day. The first inhabited plantation about a mile from my house, where one Michael Fesperman, a millwright and ingenious mechanician lives.” Dr. Francis Kron’s journal.

“On returning home met with Mr. Carter of Rowan County a former member of the legislature whom, it being dark and he unacquainted with the road, I conducted to G. Kirk's for traveling accommodations.” Dr. Francis Kron’s journal.

In 1846, the Carolina Watchman, a Newspaper in Salisbury, North Carolina, paid a Tribute of Respect to John Giles Esq, late of Salisbury, who had died at the home of Mrs. George Kirk in Stanly County while on his way from Lawrenceville (Montgomery County) to Albemarle (Stanly County). The article does not say how he died, but in 1846, the only way to get from Lawrenceville to Albemarle was by way of ferry across the river.



Kirk’s Ferry is found in multiple old Newspapers from as far back as 1816, three years before John Kirk Esq, the father of George Kirk, died. It must have been a landmark, known by all in the counties of Montgomery and Stanly and even Rowan. James Mask and Alfred Dockery, when advertising land for sale, made sure to mention that said land was close to Kirk’s Ferry, location, location, location!

Another article, dated 1848, made note that Kirk’s books showed the average for both ways per year was 400 wagon crossings, 750 horseman and 40 to 50 light carts and wagons.

In 1883, Dr Kron’s obituary noted he died at his home near Kirk’s Ferry.

In 1884, news of the storm that destroyed David Lowder’s fine two-story dwelling that was erected at the old Kirk Ferry, at the mouth of the Uwharrie River, was reported from Charlotte.


In 1887, Capt. W.H. Bixby and Lieut. Taylor of the U.S. Engineers, took an adventurous journey down the Yadkin and Pee Dee Rivers in what was reported as a small flat-bottomed skiff with two oars. They put in 40 miles above Salisbury. The trip was to make an examination of the Pee Dee with reference to improvement of the navigation of the river. The gentlemen were to paddle 150 miles down river to Cheraw, South Carolina.

The first day, the party made 57 miles with but little difficulty. The second day they made but 14 miles due the tumbling falls and rapids of the river. They had gone but 3 miles when the boat struck a rock which made a 3-foot-long crack in one side, a quarter inch wide, plunging down a 4-foot fall, and came to rest on a rock. Repairs were made to the boat and the journey continued only to encounter larger, 8 foot falls and currents so swift that the boat was swept along at speeds of more than 20 miles per hour causing the boat to upset and drop its passengers and all their belongings into the river.

Upon pulling the boat to shore and collecting what belongings they could, two of the men decided to make a reconnaissance on foot down the river. They found a fall over which it would have been impossible to pass over in the boat. The article seems to suggest that the men carried the boat between them down the river and over the rocks, past the dangerous falls. About a mile further, the men hauled the boat out of the river again and carried it some 5 miles around the Narrows until finally coming to stop for the day at Mr. Lowder’s, at Kirk’s Ferry.


George Kirk died in 1845 and is said to be buried in the Kron graveyard. His wife, Francis Bell Kirk, called Frankie, lived until Nov 1869, when her name is found on the U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885 as dying from Typhoid Fever.

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