NCROWAN-L ArchivesArchiver > NCROWAN > 2003-05 > 1053464201
Subject: [NCRowan] Re: 1782 Rowan Property Confiscation List
Date: 20 May 2003 14:58:27 -0600
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I do not think these were army deserters. During the Revolutionary War, confiscation acts were passed allowing the states to assume title to the lands of Tories and those accused of not being loyal to the revolutionary cause. These seem to have been widely abused and used commonly against conscientious objectiors such as the Quakers, German Dunkards and related faiths (many on the list are Dunkards). I have read contemporary accounts mentioning "the vultures who got rich after the war". This happened in many states other than NC, but in Rowan Co there was also the complication that many lands were held by the Granville company and when that land office closed about 1762 there was no way to obtain legal title to lands there until the State of NC land office opened in 1778. There seems to have been a great deal of claim jumping at that time, "The Petition of Jacob Crouse" which is posted elsewhere on this forum attests to this. I'm not sure to which of these calamities the men!
on this list fell victim, but they at any rate seem to have fled the area (there are a number who are "ded" as well, suggesting a violent period). Most of these families were neighbors, many going back to connections in MD in the early 1700s. A couple of years later - around 1786 - many of these same men and families show up on the Central KY militia lists of George Rogers Clark (the Cornstalk Militia) and the Fayette & Woodford Co. KY tax lists.
The following notes are from Jo White Linn's preface to her book “Rowan County, North Carolina Tax Lists 1757-1800 Annotated Transcriptions,” and explain the land grant and taxing systems in early Rowan County. I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone researching early Rowan Co. It can be ordered from www.willowbendbooks.com :
pp. vii - x. (from the Introduction by William Doub Bennett)
..From the establishment of the colony (of North Carolina –kvl) until 1868 there was no geo-political division of counties into townships. Instead, the geo-political divisions were designated Militia Districts. Each Militia District was supposed to consist of an area with a population that would provide one company of militia. The basic size of the company was fifty men, although it could vary from about thirty to one hundred men eligible for militia service. During the colonial period, covered in this volume, all able-bodied white males aged sixteen to sixty were subject to militia service. Following the Revolution, service was changed to all able-bodied white males aged twenty one to fifty. Because the area of the Militia District was based on the population, the boundaries of the district changed as the population pattern shifted. For this reason a man could be in one district one year, in a neighboring district the next year, and back in his original district the!
following year even though he was living on the same farm the entire time.
Earlier tax acts of the General Assembly provided for taxes on land. These taxes were discontinued in the 1720s. By the time Rowan County was formed in 1753, the only general tax on the populace was a poll tax (or head tax). The tax law of 1749 defined those taxable as:
All and every White Person, Male, of the Age of Sixteen Years, and upwards, all Negroes, Mulattoes male or Female, and all Persons of Mixt Blood, to the Fourth Generation, of the Age of Twelve Years, and upwards, and all white Persons intermarrying with any Negro, mulatto, or Mustee, or other Person of mixt Blood, while so intermarried, and no other Person or Persons whatsoever, shall be deemed Taxables.
This act also defined the method of listing taxes.
Every Master or Mistress of a Family, or Overseer of a Plantation, of which there is no Master or Mistress, although not summoned, is hereby required to appear before one of his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace, and to give in his or her List of Taxables, setting forth in such List, the name and Sex of each Taxable Person, whether white or black, bond or free, and distinguishing such Male Slaves as are Sixteen Years of Age, and upwards.
The Laws of 1760 provided that taxes were to be listed ten days before the second court held after the first of May. This act also provided that each county was to keep bound ledgers of its tax records. No such bound ledgers have been found for Rowan County. To give some idea of the taxes being paid by the colonists, reference is made to an account book of the settlements between the sheriffs and the treasurer of the colony listing taxes collected from 1757 to 1762. This list includes the following taxes: Contingent Tax; Sinking Fund; Act of December 1758; The First Two Shilling Aid; Nine Penny Aid; Punting Tax; First Four Shilling Tax; Six Penny Tax; Four Shilling Six Pence Tax; Two Shilling Aid; Third Four Shilling Tax; and One Shilling Eight Pence Aid of 1761. From 1755 through 1759 the taxables were charged a School Tax, although it appears that the money collected was never used for schools, but was used to finance the French and Indian War. In addition to these taxes !
which went to the treasurer of the colony, the residents of Rowan County were also paying a Vestry Tax, tax for the Wardens of the Poor, tax to fund the operation of thecounty, taxes to build a county and district courthouse, prison, and stocks.
Many researchers have been under the mistaken impression that a man was relieved of taxes once he reached age sixty. It is true that on reaching age sixty a man was relieved of militia duty. However, only the General Assembly could relieve a man of paying taxes. ...The Laws of 1782 granted the county courts the right to relieve a man of taxes without having to petition the General Assembly. It was not until 1786 that the General Assembly placed a maximum age on free polls. That year the General Assembly provided that “all free males and servants between the ages of twentyone and sixty, all slaves male and female between the ages of twelve and sixty were subject to the payment of public taxes.”
With the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, one of the first concerns of the leaders of the State was how to finance the operations of the State government and how to finance the prosecution of the was with England. To gain support of the entire state and to answer the vigorous complaints from the central and western part of the state, the General Assembly enacted a tax act that had not been used since 1714. The act reads:
Whereas the levying a tax on property by general assessment will tend to the ease of inhabitants of this State and will greatly relieve the poor people therof and as it is absolutely necessary for the support of government and defraying the expences and contingent charges thereof that a tax be immediately laid and the monies arising therefrom be collected as soon as may be.
The act proceeded to levy a tax on each pound value of all the lands, lots, houses, slaves, money at interest, stock in trade, horses, and cattle. Freemen who did not possess an estate of one hundred pounds value were assessed a poll tax equivalent to the tax on one hundred pounds. (1776 –kvl) The following year single men were charged a poll tax equivalent to a tax on four hundred pounds. Those with property in two or more counties listed their property in their county of residence. Failure to list property was subject to a two fold tax. (1777 –kvl) The following year, 1778, failure to list resulted in a four fold tax. Conscientious objectors, such as Quakers, Moravians, Menonists, and Dunkers, and those who refused to swear allegiance to the State were charged a three fold tax. (this is the tax act which applies to tax lists of 1778 transcribed above –kvl). In 1779 the three fold tax on conscientious objectors was removed from orphans under sixteen!
, widows, and those over fifty years of age. In 1782 an additional tax was placed on “every wheel attached to any coach, chariot, phaeton, stage waggon, or other carriage of pleasure.”
With the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783, the State of North Carolina again changed it's method of taxation. The tax act of 1784 provided that: “All lands shall be liable to be taxed by the quantity and freemen and male servants twenty-one years old and upwards and slaves male and female between the age of twelve and fifty years shall be subject to a poll-tax.” The act also provided for a numbr of taxes which do not appear on the taax lists, such as recording deeds, marriage licenses, writs, etc. However, there were also taxes placed on decks of playing cards brought into the State, tavern keepers, billiard tables, stud horses, and carriages kept for pleasure. These last items were to be listed at the same time the other taxes were listed. During this period land west of the Appalachian Mountains was taxed at a reduced rate and is listed separately on the tax lists. Since in 1786 a man aged sixty years and older was relieved of paying a poll tax, if a m!
an is found listed for land taxes and not charged a poll tax it is indicative that he is sixty eyars of age or older.
..For those doing research in these tax lists there are several bits of information these lists provide. First, during the colonial period, if a man is listed it means he was at least sixteen years of age. If a woman is charged a poll tax it means she either has a son aged sixteen or older or that she is married to someone of another race. After 1777 any man charged for an estate valued at exactly one hundred pounds was married; if his estate was valued at four hundred pounds, he was single. It also means he was aged twenty one or older. If the taxable was charged a three fold tax it meant that he was either a conscientious objector or had refused to take the oath of allegiance to the State. Likewise, where the lists separate those charged a three fold tax from those paying a single tax, it is proof that those paying a single tax had sworn allegiance to the State. After 1783 any man listed as a free poll is aged twenty one or older, whether white or black...
pp. xi - xv. (from the Preface by Jo White Linn)
..since the seat of Rowan County lay at the junction of the Great Philadelphia Wagon Road and the East West Indian Trading Path, the movement of people into and out of the area was incredible, even to the Colonial authorities and the historians of that day. From original Rowan County, twenty-six North Carolina counties were formed – and all of Tennessee.
Because Rowan County lay within the Granville Proprietary and because the Granville Land Office snapped shut in 1763 and never reopened, there was no way for a person to gain title to vacant land for the fifteen year period until the State Land Office opened in 1778. Because many of the settlers who flooded into the area during the period could not gain title to land, their names do not appear in the deed records and cannot readily be confirmed by other records. Not being landowners, they could not serve on juries, and they are close to impossible to identify except through these tax lists, which in the pre-Revolutionary period defined only the taxable persons (known as polls), and not by acreage. The word poll often appears in the records as pool, pole, poal, or worse.
A few of the lists show the number of acres of entered land as well as the number of acres of deeded land. A word of explanation is in order. The technique for acquiring clear title to vacant land remained the same, no matter from whom one got it. The individual made an entry at the land office for the property he wanted. If no caveat against the entry had been filed within six months, a warrant was then issued to authorizethe County Surveyor to set apart the land that had been loosely described in the entry. Upon receipt of the warrant, the surveyor took his instruments to the tract of land, surveyed it, and drew a plat of the survey. He returned two copies of th the plat of the tract with the detailed description of the land in metes and bounds set forth in courses and distances. Upon receipt of the plat and description and the required fees, the proper official recorded the patent or deed conveying the land. The process could be interrupted anywhere along the line, and a !
person could convey his warrant to another. But the process of what is called the “ripening” of a deed required the aforementioned four steps: entry, warrant, survey, plat. Records resulting from the process during the Granville period are at the North Carolina Archives, 109 E. Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 27601-2807. All land records are presently (1995) in the North Carolina State Archives. Granville grants bear the signature of the grantee.
Entered land, therefore, is land for which the deed had not yet been perfected.
Tax lists after the Revolution show the acreage (or value thereof), the number of taxable polls, black and white. However, because many men did not record deeds until the property changed hands, there is some hazard in trying to determine acquisition of the property. There is no question that the Captain of the Militia/ Tax District knew who did and who didn’t own land, regardless of whether the deed had been recorded. Genealogists and historians should be aware that frequently there is no deed to the person for land for which he is taxable. While he may simply not have bothered to record the deeds (it was a long way to the Courthouse, many times requiring rivers to be forded), it is also possible that he had inherited the land, either in his own right or in the right of his wife – and in neither case was a deed required. Land could pass through several generations with no deed being recorded. The tax lists may show a person with acreage that is obviously tha!
t of a predecessor or an equal portion thereof. While a will or an estate division may prove the inheritance, it is more likely that a later disposition deed will set out the entire chain of title, thus identifying all persons involved and their relationships. Deeds must be traced over a very long period of time.
It is close to impossible to determine property values because of the changing value of the currency. In How Much is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States (Charlottesville, University Press of Virginia, 1993), John J. McCusker has pointed out that the silver dollar worth $100.00 in North Carolina currency in January 1777 had soared in value to $72,500.00 in December 1781. One can determine by comparing the values assigned to persons on the same tax list the relative economic status of an individual.
Genealogists and historians, in order to make connections and draw conclusions, need the information furnished in the tax lists, for the presence of a name identifies a person in the area at a specific time, shows his neighbors, and indicates his lifestyle. For the historian the demographics from a “run” of tax lists for an area is bright yellow gold. For example, the tax summations for 1784, 1786, 1789, 1798, and 1800 are provided.
One of the joys in discovering these lists is that a number of the militia lists supply proof of Revolutionary War service for many men who did not fight in the Continental Line, particularly for the German settlers who guarded the Salisbury Gaol. Their duties provide eligibility for DAR and SAR.
The lists of the Scouting parties for Indian alarms provide proof of Colonial service for various hereditary societies.
The petitions of various sort provide historical details of the many difficulties with the Colonial government not only in regard to Indian threats but also those of the French in 1759. They set out in detail the burdens of excessive taxation and corrupt officials, of not having Justices in remote areas of the county, of the inequity in not allowing Presbyterian ministers to perform marriages, supplying hundreds of names.
The lists of Delinquents and Runaways suggest persons who have left the area for one reason or another. The lists of persons summoned in 1782 to appear and show cause why their property should not be confiscated give rise to other considerations. (KVL note: What exactly does JWL mean by this??? ...lots of Maryland Whitakers and their neighbors on this list)