BRETHREN-L ArchivesArchiver > BRETHREN > 2009-04 > 1240882126
From: "Robert Carpenter" <>
Subject: Re: [BRE] North Carolina Brethren Settlements
Date: Mon, 27 Apr 2009 21:28:46 -0400
I will respond to your statements. First of all, I described the German
Settlements, not just Brethren settlements, in North Carolina prior to the
American Revolution. Within those German settlements could be found one or
two Brethren settlements.
Dwayne, you did a very good job of listing the early Brethren settlements
based upon historical research. I think more can be discovered but these
areas are basically correct.
I will respond to each of your listings.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Dwayne Wrightsman" <>
Sent: Monday, April 27, 2009 10:39 AM
Subject: [BRE] North Carolina Brethren Settlements
> In my attempts to trace the steps of the Brethren who settled on the New
> River headwaters of North Carolina (located west of the Blue Ridge in what
> is now Ashe County), I have found that most came from earlier nearby
> settlements. This has prompted me to enumerate these settlements so that
> can see in my mind's-eye where they were located among the various
> in western North Carolina. To get a handle on this I have referred to the
> writings of Roger Sappington and John Scott Davenport.
> 1. Both Sappington and Davenport agree on the first settlement.
> (following the lead of Morgan Edwards) called it the CATAWBA settlement,
> while Davenport called it KILLIAN'S SETTLEMENT (1752). I would like to
> each settlement a geographic name, so I need the reader's help finding out
> where on the Catawba this settlement was located.
1. The Catawba and Killians Settlement are one and the same. It is located
in present eastern Lincoln County, NC. I prefer to call it Killians
Settlement since the word Catawba conjures up a number of images. The
Catawba River was rather long and traversed much of Piedmont western NC.
Christopher Guise and Abraham Earhard were the early ministers to this
congregation. Both left the area prior to the Revolution.
Let's agree to call this Dunker area the Killians Settlement.
By the way some researchers have suggested that the Killian family were
Anabaptist or Dunker. I have found no proof of that statement. I think
they were probably pietist. I have found Killians in both Oley Valley and
Lancaster County, PA. They later attended Lutheran Churches.
> 2. Both Sappington and Davenport agree on the second settlement as well.
> Sappington (again following Edwards) referred to it as the YADKIN
> settlement, while Davenport called it CRANE CREEK (1758). I prefer
> Davenport's "Crane Creek" description since it is a clearly discernible
> creek system that feeds into the lengthy Yadkin River not far from
2. I agree with Dwayne that we should refer this settlement as Crane Creek.
Yadkin is a very long river in Piedmont NC which can be confusing. In fact
its tributaries also impact other Brethren settlements. I agree with Cane
> 3. The third settlement was the EWARRY (Edwards, Sappington),
> UWHARRIE (Davenport). This settlement is dated 1764 by Davenport. The
> Uwharrie River is a relatively short river in present-day Randolph County
> but the western creeks that feed the Uwharrie begin in the eastern part of
> Rowan County. This can be confusing since the records of the Uwharrie
> Brethren are found in both counties. The Uwharrie Brethren lived on the
> western creeks flowing into the Uwharrie, but some lived close to the
> in Randolph County, while others lived further away in Rowan County. It
> important to know that the Uwharrie River ran parallel to the county line
> the Randolph County side of the line.
3. The Uwharrie River is another major river in NC. It is not as large as
the Yadkin or Catawaba. The current spelling is Uwahrrie. This settlement
was in current Randolph County or as you say near the boundary with Rowan
and Randolph. I have never researched this group until now. It would
appear that most if not all the Brethren left the area both prior to and
after the American Revolution.
> 4. The fourth settlement was called "Dutchman's Creek in the Forks of the
> Yadkin" by Sappington, and simply FORKS OF THE YADKIN (mid-1770s) by
> Davenport who described it as located in "the divide between the waters of
> Dutchman Creek and Bear Creek (about fifteen miles northwest of Crane
> Creek). The "Forks of the Yadkin" name is quite descriptive as long as
> knows that we are talking about the area between the South Yadkin River
> and the North Yadkin River fork.
4. The Forks of the Yadkin settlement was the German and Brethren
settlement that I called the Davie County settlement. Most of the Brethren
lived in what is today Davie County, then Rowan County, near present
Mocksville. This was a mixed community of Germans and English speaking
peoples. Most became Tories. The Bryan family, which I think is related to
the Boones, lived here and were notorious Tories during the Revolution.
> 5. The fifth settlement was the OLD TRYON (after 1775) settlement as
> described by Davenport. I believe that this is the same settlement now
> described by Robert Carpenter (of this list) as the Lincoln County
> settlement. I believe that this was the part of Tryon County that became
> Lincoln County. Robert, please correct me if I'm wrong. Also, if one
> to try to describe this area by reference to a water body, what would it
> called? Catawba River is too vague a description. Where was it relative
> Killian's settlement on the Catawba? South, I presume. Interestingly,
> Old Tryon settlement was not covered by Sappington in his study of the
> North Carolina Brethren.
5. The settlement named Old Tryon was in present Gaston County. The
earliest meeting house was in northern present Gaston County about 1/2 mile
from my house. The Germans in this area originated from Lancaster County
and were a mix of Anabaptist, Mennonite, Amish, and Reformed. My direct
ancestor, Hans Zimmerman, was listed in the book Sectarians by Sachse as the
High Priest of the New Mooners in Lancaster County. He entertained
Moravians and others. The Zimmermans were from Steffisburg, Switzerland,
Canton of Berne, and lived for sometime in Alsace where they came into
contact with Jakob Ammann and his followers. Besides Hans Zimmermann, Rev.
John Frederick Doubbert (variously spelled) also served these people in the
1760's. He had a Reformed and pietist background. He was involved with the
Weberites in South Carolina. If you have never read about them and their
excesses, type Weberite into Google and go to the website. I do not believe
that this settlement was primarily Dunker. The Anabaptist influences caused
people to consider it Dunker. I have found few Brethren among these people.
Most were pietist Mennonite, Amish, Reformed, and Lutheran. The Swiss
influence was prominent.
Also this settlement became heavily Tory. My ancestor, Peter Zimmerman, had
beef confiscated and was wounded at the Battle of Ramsours Mill as a Tory
Captain. His nephew (I think) left and went to Nova Scotia because of his
Toryism. Rev. Doubber died in Charleston, SC during the war serving the
Lutheran and Reformed congregation of St. Johns as the British Tory
By the way George Bashore was buried at this meeting house. I think he was
a pietist Reformed or pietist Lutheran while here in NC. He married in
Lancaster County, PA.
> 6. The sixth settlement was REEDY CREEK (1779) near Wachovia. Davenport
> dates this settlement from 1779 because that was when elder Nicholas
> Leatherman moved there. Sappington called this settlement the "Fraternity
> Congregation" settlement, but his description centered around those who
> after the Leathermans.
6. Reedy Creek is an appropriate name. It is in present Davidson County,
NC. It was then in Rowan County. It was in the midst of a German
settlement located north of current Lexington, NC in present Davidson
County. I agree that Reedy Creek is a good name. Some of the Leathermans
moved west of the Catawba River after the American Revolution. The Reedy
Creek area was home of the Leonard family, whose members also came west of
the Catawba after the Revolution.
> 7. The seventh (and last) settlement is the one I am trying to piece
> together. Sappington called it the "Ashe County Congregation" settlement,
> but his description is mostly about the time when the leaders (Faw and
> Miller) were there (after Ashe County became a county in 1799). The
> settlement dates from 1787 when the Fouts, Burkett, Shearer,
> and Younce families moved up from the Uwharrie. Other families soon
> followed. Between 1790 and 1795, no new families moved in. After 1795,
> some of the old families began moving out and new families moved in. In
> opinion the name for the settlement should be called the Wilkes County
> settlement, or better yet, the New River Headwaters settlement (not to be
> confused with the much, much earlier New River settlements downstream in
7. You are correct that the Ashe County Brethren was another settlement
made up of migrants primarily from the Uwharrie settlement, many by way of
Lincoln County, NC. This settlement occurred after the American Revolution,
which is why I did not list it in my earlier notes.
8. Here is the new history for Brethren researchers: Two Brethren
congregations existed in present eastern Catawba and Lincoln Counties after
the American Revolution. While some members were transplants from the
Killians Settlement Congregation, most were new migrants to the area. They
had two active ministers: Rev. Lorentz Linhardt (Leonhardt) and Rev. Henry
Rhodes (Roth). I think Rev. Rhodes was raised west of the Catawba and was a
product of Killians Settlement congregation. Rev. Linhardt was not. His
origin remains obscure. He could have originated as a Leonard in the Reedy
Creek settlement. The Leonards were good Reformed churchmen in that area.
Lorentz may have converted to the Brethren at some point in time and
accompanied neighbors west of the Catawba to serve the Dunker churches here.
These two congregations, both called Thessalonica, started after the
Revolution and survived until the 1830's when the pastoral leadership died.
I am researching the Killians Settlement group, the Old Tryon group (which I
think is really not Brethren but rather pietist and Anabaptist), and this
later Brethren settlement in western Lincoln and Catawba County.
I think Dwayne did an excellent job of summarizing this information and
putting it into an understandable format. Give me your feedback.
> Corrections to the above descriptions will be much appreciated. Mostly I
> would like some geographical labels to paste to the two settlements that
> were on the waters of the Catawba. I cannot picture these in my
> I guess I need a better map of North Carolina.
> Dwayne Wrightsman
> Search the Archives at http://archiver.rootsweb.com/th/index/BRETHREN
> Support Our Sponsoring Agency
> The Fellowship Of Brethren Genealogists (FOBG)
> For further information contact Ron McAdams mailto:
> To unsubscribe from the list, please send an email to
> with the word 'unsubscribe' without the
> quotes in the subject and the body of the message