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The Brave New Name

"The boundary commission had produced the services of twenty-seven-year-old William Christmas as surveyor. He was a member of a family that had come early from Virginia, and members of it had served in various county and provincial offices. ... William Christmas had qualified as a surveyor at the age of eighteen, having given his bond in 1770. Probably it was he who persuaded the commissioners to follow for most of the dividing the line winding course of Little Shocco and Shocco Creeks.  Decision as to the locations of the courthouse was also referred to the commissioners.  For the Warren County courthouse Faulcon and Duke were joined by Colonel William Johnson, Philemon Hawkins, Edward Jones, and Adkin McLemore.  Again William Christmas may have helped them make up their minds, for they chose a tract of one hundred acres belonging to his uncle [brother], Thomas Christmas, conveniently located near the center of Warren County. 

 This site was a pleasant, well-drained area, enclosed by Horse, Possumquarter, and Fishing creeks.  It bore not a single dwelling place, though Thomas Christmas' home was near at hand.  Perhaps half a mile to eastward near Possumquarter Creek stood a small knot of buildings at the point where the stage coach road from Richmond forked, southeast toward Halifax and southwest past a church called Shady Grove near Shocco Creek, to continue toward South Carolina.

 At this road fork was a store that sold provisions, cloth, tobacco, and liquor.  There was also a blacksmith and wheelwright's shop, established to shoe the horses and repair the carriages of the stage line and others who traveled the road.  This logical little nucleus of a town, complete with an established traffic way and the beginnings of a business district, was ignored by the founders of the county seat - perhaps because they chose to buy land from the uncle [brother] of their useful and influential young surveyor.  Upon the hundred-acre plot was marked a central square as site for the courthouse, the jail, and the stocks.  One hundred lots of half an acre each were also mapped to be sold by subscription at $50 each.  The remainder of the tract was designated as a common.

Expenses of the surveyor, submitted to the officers of the vanishing Bute County, came to 565 pounds, 16 shillings and 16 pence in the woefully depreciated currency of North Carolina.

 Meanwhile, a much more pressing summons to duty was heard, by William Christmas and by all other men of Warren County who were capable of bearing arms.

Warren County prepared to build its courthouse and jail and meanwhile held court and transacted other county business at the home of Thomas Christmas.  At the end of the war, young John Hawkins as sheriff, and his cousin Wyatt Hawkins, was treasurer."

 Note: Thomas Christmas was William's brother.

Contributed by Ginger Christmas-Beattie

[Out of respect of the Ethnic heritage of the Slaves I have listed them as Negro or Slave where the records do not capitalize the words.]

2002 by Ginger L. Christmas-Beattie.  No portion of this any document appearing on this site is to be used for other than personal research.  Any republication or reposting is expressly forbidden without the written consent of the owner.