Sunday, May 22, 2022

On Mill Stone Mountain – the Story of Selby Hearne

Situated between Barnes Creek and Ophir Road, Mill Stone Mountain is one of the summits in Montgomery County, North Carolina with an approximate elevation of 659 feet above sea level. This area, once called Hattom, but now called Ophir, is located in the heart of the Uwharrie National Forest. The area is wooded with occasional peaks of cleared land and old dirt roads that lead to hunting lands but once, perhaps, to homes where families lived. If you were to take away the pavement, the power lines, and metal fencing, you can almost imagine it as it might have looked in 1810.
Ophir was most likely named for the biblical Ophir due to the number of gold mines in the area. Data from the mines that operated in this area is scarce. Russell and Coggin mines are the best known only because they have preserved historic documentation, but there were reported to have been more than 35 mines operating in Montgomery County at one time. Some of my ancestors are reported on Census data as being miners.

Selby Hearne, my fourth great uncle, lived in Hattom. He was a farmer. I have been gathering information on him for a few years because it seemed he always showed up wherever the Morgan’s were. I descend through Selby’s half-brother, William Hearne, my fourth great grandfather, and through William’s son, Stephen Hearne who married Priscilla Morgan, daughter of Joseph and Susannah Smart Morgan. I believe that Selby is in some way related to Hardy Morgan’s wife, Nancy Hearne Morgan, but I am not able to document a paper trail between them. 

Selby Hearne, born about 1785, son of Stephen Hearne and Prudence Coggin, makes his first appearance on the 1810 Census for Hattom, Montgomery County, North Carolina. His is listed as between the ages of 16 and 25. Living with him are his wife, of the same age, and one son and one daughter, both under ten years of age.

Selby’s immediate neighbors are Phillip Edwards, probably the brother of John Edwards, Revolutionary War pensioner who, in his pension file says he is the son of Phillip Edwards of Montgomery County, North Carolina. John, after traveling quite a bit between North Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama, ended up in Jefferson County, Tennessee about 1832 where he was still living when he applied for his pension in 1839. 

Asa Gollihorn, shown living close to Selby, is also mentioned in the Revolutionary War pension file of John Edwards.

Samuel Clemmons, another neighbor, might be the same man known as Samuel Thompson Clemmons who migrated to Wilson County, Tennessee along with Thomas Williams and Samuel Williams, other men from Montgomery County whom he served with in the Revolutionary War. He listed his age in 1832 when he filed his claim for a pension as 81 years old, making him born about 1751. His age is off on the 1810 Census, listed as between 26-44 years old, making him born at the earliest 1766. 

 Note: Thompson Clemmons indicates in his Revolutionary War pension file that he left Montgomery County around 1807. If that is the case, then these are two different men.

Other neighbors are the Morgan’s, late comers to Montgomery County. They migrated from Chatham County, North Carolina to Montgomery County about 1805. Charles, Joseph, my fourth great grandfather, and father to Pricilla who married Stephen Hearne, Selby’s uncle, and Zachariah, live in Selby’s neighborhood. Zachariah Morgan is the brother of Charles while Joseph is most likely the son of Charles Morgan

With the 1820 Census being destroyed, other means must be used to show Selby’s whereabouts for this time. In a deed dated 26 Aug 1819, Selby sold 80 acres of land on the east side of the Uwharrie River known by the name of Poplar Shoal joining the lands of Booth and Cotton to Jane E. Hearne, daughter of Thomas Hearne, Merchant in the town of Fayetteville; the land being one half of the land which Thomas Cotton conveyed to his son James Cotton and at the death of James Cotton fell to his daughter Mary Cotton, afterwards Mary Brumfield, and after marriage was conveyed by Mary Brumfield and Jesse Brumfield, her husband, and George Massey her guardian, to Selby Hearne. 

Jesse and Mary Cotton Brumfield migrated to Rock Hill, York County, South Carolina. They are buried at Ebenezer Presbyterian Church Cemetery.

In 1830, Selby and family are living east of the Pee Dee and Yadkin River. Selby is noted as between the ages of 40 thru 49. He has several children living at home and four enslaved persons
1840 shows Selby still living in the same area. His age, seemingly correct, listed as between 50 thru 59. His wife also listed as still living, being around the same age as Selby. On female, age between 15 thru 19 is listed at home. There are eight enslaved persons living in Selby’s home.
In December 1840, Selby Steed, of Benton County, Alabama appointed Selby Hearne a power of attorney to take care of any legal actions that may arise in Montgomery County. Selby Steed is the son Hilkiah Steed who had died in 1830, and heir at law of Moses Steed, Hilkiah’s father, who had died in 1837. Selby Steed married Louisa Hearne, daughter of Selby Hearne.
In 1832, Selby Steed is witness to a familiar deed. Thomas Hearne, William D. Clark, and Jane E. Hearne Clark of Elbert, Georgia sell to Agrippa A. Steed of Coweta County, Georgia, brother of Selby Steed, the same land earlier sold by Selby Hearne to Jane E. Hearne in 1819 but provides a more detailed description. It being a tract of land granted to James Cotton by his Majesty's patent bearing dated Feb. 26, 1775, known by the name Poplar Shoal.
It becomes clearer where Selby Hearne lives from a land grant dated April 1841. Selby was granted twenty acres of land on the waters of Barnes Creek on the Mill Stone Mountain adjoining George Coggin and William Hurley. Isham Coggin and George Coggin were chain carriers for that survey.
In 1849, a deed is registered between Selby Hearne and Enoch Brookshire and daughter Rebecca Brookshire of Randolph County, North Carolina, a girl slave, about nine years of age, by the name of Rosine.
It is in 1850 Census that we learn the name of Selby’s wife, Nancy, age 62, born about 1788.
In 1851, Selby enters for 50 acres of land but is only granted 28 acres on the waters of Barnes Creek joining Eli Davis and Robert Steele. James Davis and Enoch Davis were chain carriers for the survey.
1860 finds Selby and wife Nancy living in Beans, Montgomery County, North Carolina. Selby has not moved, the name of the area he lives has changed. Nelson Steed, first cousin of Selby Steed is living next door.

Selby Hearne wrote his will on 18 Jul 1864. He was about 79 years old. 

Children of Selby and Nancy Hearne are: 

Stephen: born 1806 

Cassandra: born 1807, married Wyatt Nance Thayer 

Kendrick: born 1810, married Tabitha Hancock 

Louisa: born 1813, married Selby Steed 

Helen: born 1816, married James Davis 

Rebecca: born 1822, married Enoch Brookshire 

Jane: born 1823, married Mastin Crawford Williams

The 13th Amendment, adopted on December 18, 1865, officially abolished slavery, freeing those who Selby Hearne had named in his will, Lydia, Frank, Ann, Lydia, child of Ann, Rowland, Toney, Phillis, Dick, Henry, Ann, and John. 

The 1870 Census finds Rowland living with Rebecca Hearn Brookshire, daughter of Selby Hearne.

Selby’s estate was settled in 1878 when his two tracts of land on the waters of Barnes Creek known as the Jackson place and the [Mill Stone] Mountain were sold.
Seeing the area where Selby Hearne lived is not an easy thing. Selby lived on the Barnes Creek side of Mill Stone Mountain. The Uwharrie National Recreation Trail will take you through that area, but it is very wooded with no long-range views of the surrounding area.

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