John Edwards, Sr. -

John Edwards and his family arrived in Orange County, North Carolina, by 1757, perhaps from Granville County, although that's not certain.  Records indicate that John Edwards acquired several hundred acres of land on Marks Creek, Morgan Creek, Collins Creek, and Ellerbe Creek.  This places him in the upper New Hope Creek area of Orange County, near the present-day cities of Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham, North Carolina.

The New Hope Creek area around Chapel Hill, NC

Upper New Hope Creek
Orange & Chatham Co., NC

from an 1833 map

[The following information was updated 12/17/11] Bolin Creek and Morgan Creek are both shown on the map at left, from 1833 (Collins Creek is written in).  "Marks Creek" cannot be found on maps but researcher Dan Griffin has discovered that the name probably refers to Morgan Creek (I previously thought it might be an early name for Bolin Creek).  Clues to the location of Marks Creek come from Henry Mouzon's map of North Carolina (1775) shows "T. LOYDE" and a "J. PATTERSON" on the upper branches of New Hope Creek on the road leading south from Hillsborough.  Thomas Lloyd was a British loyalist and prominent figure in the early history of Orange County.  He obtained a land grant on Marks Creek in 1757.  His plantation, "the Meadows," was near the present-day town of Calvander, formerly called Faucette, which is located about 5 miles west of Chapel Hill, between Morgan Creek and Bolin Creek.  James Patterson had a tavern at the crossroads on New Hope Chapel Hill, just north of Bolin Creek.  He was probably related to John Patterson who obtained a land grant on Marks Creek in 1758.

According to Dan Griffin"s research, land records show that on April 17, 1754, Thomas LOYD, Jr. obtained a warrant for 640 acres on "Mark Morgan's Creek" on the upper side of Piney Mountain; the claim was entered Jan. 17, 1757; deed dated May 12, 1757.  This is apparently the same land described in the grant to Thomas Lloyd for 370 acres on "Mark's Creek" dated May 11, 1757.  (Although he had a warrant for 640 acres, he could only claim the amount of land he was able to put under cultivation.) Thomas Lloyd also obtained a warrant for 640 acres on "Benj. Bowlins Creek"; entered Mar. 3, 1752; deed Mar. 12, 1755.  (See Hofmann, "The Granville District Of North Carolina 1748-1763, Abstracts of Land Grants", Vol. 5.)  This proves that "Mark Morgan's Creek" was known as Mark's Creek but later as Morgan's Creek, and that Mark's Creek and Bolin Creek were different creeks.

On Aug. 1, 1792, the Trustees of the University of North Carolina voted to select a location for the new university within a 15-mile radius of Cyprett's Bridge over New Hope Creek.  A group of Commissioners were appointed to visit all places deemed eligible for the site of the university.  The Commissioners' journal records that on Nov. 4, 1792, they "proceeded to Captain EDWARDS' and the widow EDWARDS' places, on the north side of Haw River, and received proposals."  The Edwards' proposal was not accepted, and the Trustees eventually accepted a donation of 1,290 acres from a group of landowners on Chapel Hill.  (See History of the University of North Carolina by K.P. Battle, Vol. I (1907), p.22.)  This record, however, gives a general indication of where the Edwards family lived.  The precise location Cyprett's or Cipritz Bridge is unknown, but university history scholars believe that it spanned a section of New Hope Creek that now forms part of the Jordan Lake Reservoir (the Jordan Dam was constructed in the early 1970's, flooding a large part of the New Hope Creek valley).  "Capt. Edwards" may have been John Edwards Sr. or Jr. (both were alive in 1792), or perhaps it refers to lands belonging to the deceased Tory, Capt. Richard Edwards.  The "Widow Edwards" might have been the widow of one of the Edwards who died in the Revolutionary War—if not Richard, then possibly David, Edward, Sylvanus or William.

Interestingly, there is an Edwards Mountain in Chatham County, NC, just west of Jordan Lake, and less than 5 miles south of the University of North Carolina campus at Chapel Hill.  Presumably, at one time there must have been Edwards living on Edwards Mountain.  It is now home to an exclusive golf course and multi-million-dollar homes. 

John Edwards land records from the Orange Co., NC, Register of Deeds:

Land grants in Orange County, NC:

Sources: Eve B. Weeks, Orange County North Carolina, Register of Deeds, 1725-1768 and 1793 (Danielsville, GA: Heritage Papers, 1983); Pat Shaw Bailey, Land Grant Records of North Carolina: Vol. I, Orange County 1752-1885 (Signal Mountain, TN: Mountain Press, 1990). Also NC Archives on-line index, State Records Collection.

Other Records:

Aug. 13, 1757. Orange Co., NC. John EDWARDS and Thomas CATE were chain carriers for John STROUD, Jr., 522 acres on Collins Creek, Cane Creek, and Watery Fork, adj. William MEBANE. (NC Archives, State Records Collection, "Land Entries, Warrants, and Plats of Survey", Folder No.

May 5, 1762. Orange Co., NC. Land entry by James BROOM describes 700 acres in Orange Co. adj. Haw River, Benjamin CLEMONS [CLEMENTS], and John EDWARDS. (NC Archives, State Records Collection, "Land Entries, Warrants, and Plats of Survey", Folder No.  [Note, no land grant was issued for this property.]

1766 Tax List, Orange Co., NC: John EDWARDS, John EDWARDS, Jr., David EDWARDS, Edward EDWARDS, Hugh EDWARDS, Richard EDWARDS, Sylvanus EDWARDS, William EDWARDS, Young EDWARDS.

Note: of the Edwards who appear on the 1766 tax list, we know from John Sr.'s will (see below) that John Jr., David, and Sylvanus were definitely his sons; Young was his grandson, the son of John EDWARDS, Jr. ; Edward and Richard were probably his sons; Hugh EDWARDS is unknown.

Apr. 12, 1769. Orange Co., NC. John EDWARDS, Sr., of Orange, "planter," gave a deed "to my grandson Archibald CAMPBELL of same, love goodwill and affection, one negro boy named Daniel." Signed: John EDWARDS. Wits: William EDWARDS, Sarah LLOYD, Jno CAMPBELL. Recorded April Term 1769. (Orange Co., NC, Deeds.)

1779 Tax List, Orange Co., NC: John EDWARDS, John EDWARDS, Jr.,; David EDWARDS, Edward EDWARDS, Hugh EDWARDS, Richard EDWARDS, Sylvanus EDWARDS, William EDWARDS, Young EDWARDS.

Aug. 1782. Orange Co., NC. Letters for the administration of the estate of Nathaniel EDWARDS were presented to Margaret EDWARDS (wife) in Bond with John EDWARDS in sum £200. (Orange Co., NC, Court Records.)

Aug. 1782. Orange Co., NC. Letters of administration for the estate of Richard EDWARDS were granted to Robert MELLCKEN [MILLIKEN] in Bond with Robert REA. (Orange Co., NC, Court Records.)

Feb. 21, 1783. Orange Co., NC. "To account of the sales of Richard EDWARDS Estate Decd. Sold by order of court February the 21st 1783." (Orange County Records Volume XIII, Inventories & Accounts of Sales 1758-1785.)  Feb. term, 1785: Jno. EDWARDS appointed guardian for Richard EDWARDS, Elizabeth EDWARDS, Mary EDWARDS, Edward EDWARDS and Sarah, orphans of Richd. EDWARDS deceased and entered into bond with Rob. MILLIKIN in the some of £100 each. (Orange Co., NC, Court Records.)

Jan. 24, 1784. Orange Co., NC. Will of William EDWARDS "son of John EDWARDS, Sr., of Orange County". Mentions wife and children but does not identify them by name. Friends Benjamin DAVIS & Sackfield BREWER named executors. Wits: Benjamin LACY, John DURHAM, John EDWARDS. Recorded Feb. Term 1784. (Orange Co., NC, Will Book A, p.300.)

June 14, 1785. Orange Co., NC. A deed for a slave from John EDWARDS to "friend Margaret EDWARDS at her death to her son Henry EDWARDS." Wits: John DURRAM [DURHAM], Sarah DURRAM.(Orange Co., NC, Will Book A, p.367.)  [Note, this may have been a gift from either John EDWARDS Sr. or Jr. to Margaret, widow of Nathaniel EDWARDS.]

Nov. 1785. Orange Co., NC. Jno. EDWARDS Junr. was appointed guardian of James EDWARDS and Henry EDWARDS, orphans of Edward EDWARDS. (Orange Co., NC, Court Records.)

1790 Tax List, Orange Co., NC, Hillsborough, Caswell Dist., pp.92b-93a:
-- Henry Edwards, 1 white poll, 1 black poll, no acres
-- John Edwards, Sr., 0 white polls,* 3 black polls, 780 acres
-- Melen Edwards, 100 acres
-- John Edwards, 2 white polls, 1 black poll, 1320 acres
-- Rich'd Edwards Heirs, 640 acres
-- Sylvanus Edwards Heirs, 200 acres
-- Estate of William Edwards, 200 acres
*This indicates John Edwards, Sr., was over age 60, thus not counted as a "poll"

July 31, 1800. Orange Co., NC. John EDWARDS sold 9 "negroes" to Henry EDWARDS, for £100: fellows named Jack, Charles, and Sin, a girl named Dinah with Edah her mother, a girl named Sarah, boys named Jerry and Lewis, and an old fellow named Tom. Signed: John EDWARDS. Wits: Atha LINDSEY, William MOORE. Proved Aug. 1800. (Orange DB 9, p.43.)

Apr. 2, 1796. Orange Co., NC. The will of John EDWARDS, Sr., dated April 2, 1796, was proved Nov. term 1801. To wife Mary, all estate during her life. To son John, 10 shillings. To daughters Mary CAMPBELL and Susannah ODEAN, 10 shillings each. "I give and bequeath to my son David EDWARDS to his children one negroe boy named [Lane?] to be equally divided. Then I give and bequeath to my son William EDWARDS to his children one negroe named Jen to be equally divided. Then I give and bequeath to my son Sill EDWARDS to his children one negroe by name Lewis to be equally divided." Sets free a negro woman. To son Henry, 5 negroes. Exec: Henry EDWARDS, Zackfield BREWER. Wit: Thomas BREWER, Elizabeth (X) BREWER. (Orange Co., NC, Will Book D, p.56.)