The Tar River, NC

Richard Cheek and his family arrived in Edgecombe County, North Carolina, sometime between 1730-1732. In 1738, Richard patented 640 acres on the Tar River in Beaufort County "near the South Swamp of the Coneghta" (Conetoe). This was at the border of Beaufort (later Pitt) and Edgecombe Counties. The Cheeks had a mill on a creek that enters the Tar River about 10 miles southeast of Tarboro, at the present-day town of Penny Hill. This creek is still known as Cheek's Mill Creek.

Richard's children left Beaufort County after their father's death in 1745. John Cheek may have gone first, reaching Bladen (later Anson) County by 1746. The others travelled more gradually along a common migration route up the Tar River to Fishing Creek in what was then Granville County (later Bute, later Warren County). William Cheek settled permanently in the Fishing Creek area. Richard, Robert, James, Randolph, and their two sisters -- Jane (who married Cornelius Tyson) and Elizabeth (who married John Burney) -- eventually continued southwest from Granville/Bute County into Orange County and Cumberland/Moore County. On these journeys, they probably followed the great Occaneechi Trail, later called the "Upper Road", originally an Indian trading path that led from Fredericksburg, Virginia, to Greenville, South Carolina. Along the way, it passed through the towns of Hillsborough, Salisbury, and Charlotte, North Carolina, and Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Cheek's Mill Creek & the Tar River Region, NC
A 1776 map of Cheeks Mill Creek and 

This computer-enhanced image was created from a map of North & South Carolina published in 1776 in Jeffrey's American Atlas by Sayer & Bennett, London. The original map can be viewed on the David Rumsey Collection website (do a keyword search for "0346028").