1716 - 1789
||most likely in England 
||Aft 4 May 1789
||Lincoln Co. NC [1, 2]
- LINCOLN COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA DEATH BOOK, BOOK 17 PG 211
||07 Jul 2016 |
||Maryland [1, 2]
| ||1. Benjamin BENTLEY, b. Abt 1746, Frederick Co. MD , d. Bef 15 Mar 1839, Wilkes Co. NC |
| ||2. Mary BENTLEY, b. Abt 1749, Frederick Co. MD , d. Bef 1833, Buncombe Co. NC |
| ||3. Rachel BENTLEY, b. 1750, Frederick Co. MD , d. Bef 1810, Washington Co. VA |
| ||4. Daniel BENTLEY, b. 1752, Frederick Co. MD , d. 15 Jan 1839, Letcher Co. KY |
| ||5. Lydia BENTLEY, b. Abt 1755, Frederick Co. MD , d. 15 Jul 1847, Fannin Co. GA |
| ||6. Patience BENTLEY, b. Abt 1760, Frederick Co. MD |
| ||7. Margaret BENTLEY, b. Abt 1765, Frederick Co. MD , d. Abt 1829, Letcher Co. KY |
- Conjecture on his reasons for migrating to Maryland from James W. Miller:
"I was always told that there were two Bentley boys ousted from England. I always thought that one of them was Thomas. But I just assumed the other was a brother never thought to ask the name of the other. I was told that they were ousted for shaving on Sunday which was aganist their relegious belief in England.
On the Registers of Servants sent to Foreign Plantations web site, there's a listing of a Benjamin Bentley from St. Olave, Southwark, Surrey, age 19 in Nov 12 1739, occupation cordwainer, destination Maryland, 4 year indenture, father and mother dead, Nathaniel Wilson, London, agent. I wonder if this could be Thomas' brother?"
The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb 27, 1734
Run away from Henry Smith's plantation above Tulpehocken, the 12th Inst a servant man named Tho. Bently, aged eighteen years, fresh colour'd, something freckled, had on a brown Kersey, blue coat cloth cap, Indian shoes and stockings, a garlix shirt; took with him the following goods belonging to his master; twelve yards of strowds, three Indian blankets, twelve pounds of powder, twenty bars of lead, two dozen clasp knives, one shot gun, a roan horse marked I.D. on the near shoulder or buttock, or both, with a narrow white slip on his forehead; the said servant went in company with Wm Mark, a hired man to the Henry Smith, pretending to go Indian trading. Whoever takes up the said Bently, and brings him to Philadelphia, to Edward Shippen, shall have three pounds and reasonable charges paid by, Edward Shippen.
His age being given as 18 years would have him being born about 1716, the right age of "our" Thomas Bentley. Between the years 1734 and 1739 Thomas's masters may gave changed. Thomas would have been about 23 at this time.
He may have been an indentured servant in the service of Rev. Joseph Hooper in 1739 in Maryland "with 2 years to serve."
On Friday, July 12, 1739, the Rev. Joseph Hooper , Rector of St. Paul's Parish of the Episcopal Church of England of Baltimore Co. passed away. Included in the inventory in his will are several indentured servants, among them a "Thomas Bentley serv w/ 2 years to serve".
Thomas, in wishing to come to America, evidently indentured himself to someone who was willing to pay his passage by ship. Clara W. Shook of Taylorsville was one of the first researchers in western North Carolina to make the connection that Thomas Bentley of North Carolina was from the Frederick County, Maryland, area.
His indenture would have ended in 1741, and the one thing which probably kept him in the area was a certain young woman named Hannah, who would later become his wife.
Thomas Bentley received a patent in Baltimore Co., MD, for 50 acres named Hill Spring, the patent reading 'hath due unto him fifty acres" indicating it may have been land allowed by law of the time period to which indentured servants were entitled to for meeting the "conditions of plantation." In later records Thomas Bentley has been referenced as a "planter."
Thomas Bently Pat[ent] 50 acres Hill Spring}
SOURCE: MSA No. SM2, Land Office (Patent Record), Volume PT 1, pp. 165-166, abstracted by Mary Kay Coker
"Know ye that for and consideration that Thomas Bentley of Baltimore County hath due unto him fifty acres of land within our said province by virtue of a warrant for that quantity granted him the twenty eighth day of July Anno Dom Seventeen hundred forty four as appears in our land office and upon such conditions and terms as are expressed in our conditions of plantation of our said province...[on instructions of various dates made in London]...We do therefore hereby grant unto him the said Thomas Bentley all that tract of land called Hill Spring lying on the south side of great pipe creek...for fifty acres more or less...Given under our great seal of our said province of Maryland this twenty second day of January Anno Dom Seventeen hundred forty four . Witness our Trusty and well beloved Thomas Bladen Esq Lieutenant General and chief Governor of our said province of Maryland chancellor and keeper of the great seal."
Settlers of Maryland 1679 - 1783, Consolidated edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., (2002), page 49, gives the following references concerning Thomas Bentley:
1) Bal[timore] Co., Hill Spring, 50 acres, 22 Jan 1745, ref[erence] PTI/165 (Patents 1743-1747, [microfilm number] SR7482.
2) Fdk [Frederick] Co., Carolina Addition, 35 acres, 3 Apr 1761, ref BC21/266; BC 23/188 Certificates 1761-1764, SR7518; Patents 1762-1765, SR7520.
3) Fdk [Frederick]Co., Slavery, 100 acres, 21 Nov 1763, ref BC26/321; BC27/292 Patents 1762-1767, SR7523; Certificates 1762-1765, SR7524.
One wonders if Thomas Bentley, if having served time as an indentured servant, was making a statement in naming the 100 acre tract "Slavery."
Thomas Bentley's land lay on the Great Pipe Creek (also called Big Pipe Creek). His first land grant of 50 acres, Hill Spring, was in at the time Baltimore County from which Frederick County would be formed later and which is today in Carroll County. Deeds of successive land owners referenced Bentley's Branch which was named after Thomas Bentley.
Hill Spring, the land first patented to Thomas Bentley is now part of the historic Shriver mill/museum in Union Mills, MD, Carroll County.
On 21 June 1751 Jacob Banker purchased the Hill Spring tract from Thomas Bentley of Frederick Co., MD. His wife, Hannah, relinquished her dower rights to the said land.
"Jacob Banker [purchaser] recorded 21 June 1751. Made 29 May 1751 between Thomas Bentley of FC [Frederick County], for 39 pcm [pounds current money], tract called "Hill Spring," on south side of Great Pipe Creek, M&B [metes and bounds] given; for 50 acres. Signed Thos. Bentley, before Nath Wickham, Nathl Wickham 3d. Thomas Bently ack. deed, and at same time Hannah Bentley, wife of Thomas Bentley examined apart released dower [before Nath Wickham and Tho Beatty]. Receipt. AF [alienation fee] paid."
SOURCE: Frederick County Maryland Land Records, Liber B Abstracts, 1748-1752, by Patricia Abelard Andersen, p. 45 (and copy from courthouse)
On 5 June 1767 Thomas Bentley of "Roan" [Rowan] Co. NC sold land to Jacob Banker. Hannah again relinquished her dower rights.
"Jacob Banker [purchaser] recorded 6 June 1767, made 5 June between Thomas Bently of the County of Roan in the Province of North Carolina, for 168 [pounds] Penn., sells parcel called Carolina, and also one tract called Addition to Carolina, containing 108 acres and 35 acres. M&B given. Said tract Carolina containing 280 acres taken up by Dr. Charles Carroll and sold to Thomas Bentley in 1751. Signed Thomas Bently before Jos Wood, Joh Fee [in German]. Receipt. Ack. and Hannah wife of Thomas Bentley released dower, before Jos Wood, Thomas Price. AF paid."
SOURCE: Frederick County Maryland Land Records, Liber K Abstracts, 1765-1768, by Patricia Abelard Andersen, p. 100 (and copy from courthouse)
The List for rent Due on Land in Frederick County, 1768-69, lists "Thomas Bentley, gone to Carolina."
Perhaps the reason Thomas Bentley sold his Pipe Creek area land in Frederick Co., MD, was because the Germans/Pennsylvania Dutch(German) and Brethren were beginning to move into his valley. Thomas may have wanted to be more aligned with the Quakers and thus his move to the Bear Creek area of Rowan(Davie) County, NC. He lived here within a just a few miles of the Lewis Quaker meeting house.
NORTH CAROLINA RECORDS
Thomas Bentley first appears in Rowan Co., NC, in the 1768 tax list where he and his son, Benjamin Bentley, are listed at one poll each.
Rowan Co., NC, List of Taxables, 1768
List of Morgan Bryan, Davie Co., NC, "Forks of the Yadkin" of today)
Thomas Bentley 1 [poll]
Benjamin Bentley 1 [poll]
Source: Rowan County List of Taxables, 1768, NC State Archives, Raleigh, NC, CRX 244)
Source: Jackson, Ron V., Accelerated Indexing Systems, comp.. North Carolina Census, 1790-1890. Compiled and digitized by Mr. Jackson and AIS from microfilmed schedules of the U.S. Federal Decennial Census, territorial/state censuses, and/or census substitutes.
Name: Thomas Bently
County: Rowan County
Database: NC Early Census Index
Thomas Bentley probably made excursions into the present day Forks of the Yadkin area from Maryland seeking the land he wished to claim before he moved his family. The French and Indian War began in 1754 and attacks of the Cherokee Indians forced many settlers in the area to flee to safer parts.
In 1759 the Squire Boone family (father of Daniel Boone) was forced to flee to Virginia for a short time Squire Boone's home was in northern Davie County. With the end of the Indian War in 1763, some of the earlier settlers began to return to their lands. However, this area was part of the Earl of Granville's district. No settler was able to obtain a land grant in the district from the time of Granville's death in 1763 until the state of North Carolina opened its land office in 1778.
Benjamin Bentley was quick to obtain a state grant for the Bentley land in 1780 to protect the Bentley house and holdings. Others applying for lands grants were his adjoining neighbor, John Wilcockson, who had married Sarah Boone, sister of Daniel Boone; Daniel Lewis, Alex Cearns/Carns, Anthony Peeler, James Carson and Thomas Maxwell.
On 17 December 1769 Thomas Bentley wrote a letter requesting that his son be permitted to sign the Rowan County marriage bond, issued by Thomas Frohock, allowing Aaron Freeman to marry his daughter, Mary Bentley, as follows:
Sr [Sir] if you please to let Aaron Freeman have licence for my daughter Marry [sic] Bentley I am Sattisfied so far let my son sign the licence bond I hope you are in better health then when I saw you last No more at present but your humb servt [humble servant]
December ye 17th day 1769 [signed] Thos Bentley
Wits [Witnesses] present
Benjamin Bentley (his mark)
James Freeman (his mark)
Rent Rolls 1771-1772
Frederick County, Maryland
Rent Due on Land in Frederick County, 1771-1772
A List of Persons who stand charged with lands on Frederick County which are under such circumstances as rendered it out of the Power of George Scott, Farmer of the said County to collect the Rents and therefore Claims Allowance under his articles for the same - from March 1771 to March 1772.
Included in the alphabetical listing are the names:
At the 9 August 1771 session of Rowan County Court, Thomas Bentley's flesh mark, or livestock brand, was recorded as a "Crap and a Hole in the Right ear & a Crap of the Left."
The minutes of Rowan County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, book four, page 128, show that Thomas Bentley, among others, appeared in court 4 November 1777 and swore an oath of fidelity to the State of North Carolina.
Thomas Bentley appears to have been a patriot in his political conviction for he and others, including neighbors, Wm. Frohock and Anthony Peeler, appeared in Rowan County Court and swore an Oath of Fidelity to the State of North Carolina. The Forks of the Yadkin was a hotbed of Tory, or Loyalist, activity during the Revolutionary struggle for independence.
An excerpt from James W. Wall's Davie County: A Brief History, page 24, details the following concerning sentiments in the forks of the Yadkin during the struggle for independence:
"Extreme cruelties, persecution, murder, and looting were practiced by members of both philosophies. The Moravian records note that in 1776 'we heard that up on the Yadkin many who sided with the King were driven from house and home by persecution; and that these people were hiding in the woods in our neighborhood.' This is the first mention of 'Outlyers,' as they were called. The year 1780 seems to have been the worst. The Moravian records refer to 'infrequent acts of robbery and murder' in that year. On October 4, 1780, the Moravians reported, 'We hear that on the Atkin [Yadkin] a party of Tories has fallen on the people, but only on those who had formerly done the same to them.'"
Thomas and his son, Benjamin, sold supplies to the revolutionary cause as can be found the Revolutionary Army Account is the State Archives in Raleigh, NC. Thomas' son, Daniel, received a pension for serving as a soldier.
The following is a transcript by James Miller of the original voucher which can be found in Revolutionary Army Accounts in the NC State Archives, Raleigh, NC.
"No. 246 State of North Carolina, Rowan County, This may Certify that as Commissioner for the County aforesaid, I have purchased from Thomas Bently thirty five Bushels Corn at the Prices ascertained in Spanish milled dollars, by a resolution of Congress dated the 25th February 1780 amounting in the whole to Twenty Six & one fourth Spanish milled dollars, which Sum is to bear Interest at 6 pcent until paid, agreeable to the act of General Assembly in such case made. By me this 6th day of Decr in the year 1780. Alexander Long, C. P."
"No. 148. State of North Carolina. Rowan County, This may Certify that as Commissioner for the County aforesaid, I [have] purchased from Benjamin Bently Thirty bushells Corne at the Prices ascertained in Spanish milled Dollars, by a resolution of Congress dated the 25th February 1780, amounting in the whole to Twenty two & on[e] half Spanish milled Dollars, which Sum is to bear Interest at 6 P[er] Cent until paid, agreeable to an Act of General Ass[embly] in Such Case made. By me this 13th day of Decemr in the Year 1780. Alexander Long, Commiss."
Thomas Bentley was paid for services or supplies rendered to the Revolutionary cause as detailed in a manuscript volume in the custody of the North Carolina State Archives titled "Revolutionary Army Accounts."
Hillsborough, Treasury Office, "A list of Specie and Currency Certificates, received from the County Treasurers, Entry Takers" October the 3rd 1785.
John Brevard, Sheriff of Rowan County, paid Thomas Bently the principal amount of 10 pounds, 10 shillings and interest of 2 pounds, 10 shillings.
His descendants can enroll in the DAR based on this service. Mrs. Margie Bertie of Titusville, FL, had Thomas Bentley's name added to the roster in 1987, DAR National Number 06918939 A658, DAR Computer code Number 3-037-FL.
Thomas was also in the same district at Richard Whiteaker, 1778 Rowan Cty, N C
In the 1778 Rowan tax list of Capt. Lyon's District, lists is one "Thomas Bentley junr" with property valued at 609 pounds and who is evidently Benjamin's father, since no record has been found to verify or substantiate Thomas Bentley had a son named Thomas, Jr.
In Walter Clark's The State Records of North Carolina is found an undated petition where Thos. Bentley subscribed his name along with twenty-six other individuals who were residents of the Bear Creek area of Davie County. This petition, directed from John Crouse to North Carolina's Governor, Thomas Burke, can be dated as 1781 or 1782 as these were the years Burke served as governor.
Many of the subscribing witnesses to Jacob Crouse's petition, who were living in the Forks of the Yadkin area, share a Frederick County, Maryland, connection; some also lived in the Great Pipe Creek area where Thomas Bentley owned land before moving to the "Forks" area.
NC State Records Book 19, pg 926-927, Petition on behalf of John Crouse, " Petitioner of the Society of Dunkards", 1782. This petition to the governor of the state of NC includes the names of 27 Dunkards/ Brethren/ Quakers from the area of Dutchman's Creek in the forks of the Yadkin River in NC. Many of these men apparently are named in Rowan Co deeds of 1770-1790's, including Thomas Bentley. This document very likely establishes Thomas' religion as Brethren, or Quaker.
It is interesting to note that the Quaker's migration route from PA in early 1700's went south to MD to the Pipe Creek area which is the location of Thomas' first land deed. Many of these MD Quaker settlers eventually went on down south to the Yadkin River area in NC, where Thomas settled as well.
On 7 December 1779 Thomas Bentley made entry for 100 acres of vacant land lying on the water of the South Yadkin River adjoining Benjamin Bentley, Anthony Peeler, and Carson's [James Carson] land, which he made over, or assigned, to Alexander Carons [Cairns/Carnes].
In Wynette Parks Haun's Halifax District North Carolina Superior Court of Law & Equity 1785-1790 (Bills & Answers), 1797-1805 (Minutes) , pages 135-137, is found the Inventory of the Sale of the Estate of William Frohock, Jan 28, 17__. Thomas Bentley and many of his neighbors from the "forks of the Yadkin" were at this sale since William Frohock was a near neighbor. On page 134 of the court minutes the Court ordered that the Clerk of the County Court of Rowan issue letters testamentary to Thomas Frohock, executor of the estate of William Frohock, deceased, with the will annexed. This was the same Thomas Frohock to whom Thomas Bentley wrote the letter about his daughter Mary's marriage to Aaron Freeman. At the Frohock sale Thomas Bentley purchased one check reel at the price of 1 pound, 1 shilling , 6 pence.
On 1 January 1783 Thomas Bentley bought 100 acres for 30 pounds on both sides of Indian Creek in Lincoln County from Robert Armstrong and Hugh Beaty, executors of the last will and testament Francis Beaty, deceased, of Mecklenburg Co., NC. ; originally grated to Francis Beatty 22 December 1768 & No. 101. Robert Armstrong (seal), Hugh Beaty (seal); Wit: Francis Beaty, Wallace Beaty. Recorded Oct Term 1783. ( Lincoln County, NC, Deed Book 2, pages 631, 632)
In 1783 Thomas and Hannah Bentley purchased property from Thomas Welch on Indian Creek, NC.
Also on 1 January 1783, Thomas also bought 120 acres from Thomas Wilsh (Welch), planter, for 20 pounds; part of 200 acres originally granted to Thomas Welsh 5 May 1769 & No. 343, and the remainder of the tract is lost by an older right. This land also lay on both sides of Indian Creek. Thomas Welsh (his mark); Wit: Forney G. Norman, Wallace Beatty. Recorded October Term 1783. (Lincoln Co., NC, Deed Book 2 page 636.)
Thomas Bentley died in 1789 and this property went to their only sons, Daniel & Benjamin with 25 acres reserved for Hannah.
In 1789 Thomas, about 73 years old, may have begun to experience poor health as on the fourth of May ...
"To All People to Whom These Presents Come, I, Thomas Bentley of Lincoln County in the State of North Carolina & on the fourth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred & eighty nine Send Greeting Know ye, that I, Thomas Bentley, for and in consideration of the natural love and affection which I bear & have unto Hannah Bentley, my beloved wife and for also other good causes and considerations met thereunto moving here given granted and by these presents do give grant & confirm unto the said Hannah Bentley, all my goods, chattels, Lesses, debts, plate, jewels, working tools, one Negro man named Saul, and all my other substance."
In presence of Thomas Bentley (his B mark)
Test. Francis McNemar
Lincoln Co., NC, Deed Book 3, page 508
In 1782 Thomas, his wife Hannah, and some of the children moved to the Indian Creek area of eastern Lincoln County, North Carolina. Accompanying Thomas and Hannah were Daniel and Nancy (Lewis) Bentley; Meshack Davis, who had married Thomas and Hannah's daughter Lydia about 1774 in Rowan County; Richard Whiteaker, and his wife Rachel Bentley; and Thomas and Hannah's daughter, Margaret, who would later marry William Yonts in Lincoln Co. NC.
CENSUS U S North Carolina 1790 Sixth District Lincoln County.
In Maryland, Thomas Bentley was very involved with the families of German Baptist Brethren (Dunkards) and also Quakers. His wife, Hannah, is most likely the daughter of one of these families in the Frederick County area. Likewise, he was associated with families of these same faiths in the Bear Creek area of the Forks of the Yadkin area of old Rowan County in what is today southern Davie County, North Carolina.
ABOUT THE BENTLEY HOUSE
Mr. Armand T. Daniel purchased the former Bentley property in 1945. His research and remodeling efforts of the log house were featured in the Davie County Enterprise Record, August 7, 1975, page 1B, as follows:
The Bentley House Over 200 Years Old
For over two years Armand Daniel tried to sell what he thought was just an old frame house on his property.
It wasn't until years later he discovered underneath the exterior of boards and paint was an old log house dating back more than two centuries.
Benjamin Bentley, according to Daniel's research, was apparently in this vicinity when the Boone expedition first came this route through Davie County. His research shows this location as being the first known community in the county and it was named "Bentley."
Daniel says there was the Bentley School, Post Office trading post, and in fact it was the community for the entire group of our first settlers.
Archibald G. Carter lived in this old log house. He purchased Bentley around 1823 and the school was then known as the "Baldy Carter School."
The original house was two 20 ft. x 20 ft. square rooms downstairs separated by a 10 foot wide entrance way and they were studded together by four 50-foot long logs. The upstairs floor space was the same.
Daniel, who is in the process of restoring the old house, recently moved one of the 50-foot logs with the help of nine other men. "It took ten of us to get that log down," Daniel said, "and I just wonder how many men it took to put it up there."
And after more than 200 years, these logs are just as solid as ever.
Daniel has a map of the entire farm, dated in 1800, which has helped him considerable in his research.
He has also found on the land an old ice pond, where ice was frozen then cut into blocks and stored in the ice house, located near-by. He is in the process now of filling in the pond.
Behind the main house is what he called a summer house.
"This is where the kinds slept in the summertime because it was too hot upstairs in the main house," he explained.
The summer house was three stories, including a basement and two stories above.
When Kerr Clement purchased this tract of land in 1929, he remodeled the house and it has since been remodeled again. In the original portion of the house the double rafters are significant of the remodeling. The old rafters of the log cabin are easily detected.
When Daniel bought this property 35 years ago and even rented the house, he had no idea it was an original log cabin built over two hundred years ago. Daniel's research shows this to be the best house in Davie County when it was built in the 1700s and remains today one of the better built houses, he says.
Daniel has now torn away all except the original log cabin and when the renovation is complete he says it will be good for another 200 years.
His remodeling plans include building seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms along with the other necessary rooms.
"And I'm gonna build an outdoor kitchen, he said, with a patio between it and the main house."
Daniel plans to invest a great deal of time and money into this project. Upon completion he says he will move his family here from their present location, which was formerly the John Wilcoxson House featured in another edition.
Mr. Daniel was never able to complete his remodeling of the Bentley House before he passed away in 1979. During the four years he worked on the house he was able to add a two-story addition to the rear of the house, plus adding a brick façade to the exterior, three dormers across the front roof, and a slate roof on the entire house. The house sat empty for 26 years until 2005 when it was lost to an unforgivable act of arson.
Davie County Enterprise-Record
Thursday, Feb. 24, 2005 page 1.
Teens Charged With Setting Fire To House
by Mike Gunning
Davie County Enterprise-Record
Two students at South Davie Middle School were charged with arson after they confessed to burning down a 200-year-old house in Cooleemee. Police have not released their names because of their ages.
The boys, ages 14 and 13, cut school last Thursday and during the morning hours entered the Family Dollar Store on Wilkesboro Street, said Davie Sheriff's Detective Robert Trotter. They were charged with larceny of one cigarette lighter and a box of cigars, which the boys smoked after breaking into the unoccupied house at the corner of Daniels Road and Carter Lane, the detective said.
At 11 a.m. neighbors reported seeing smoke billowing from the structure and called the fire department. "I could see the smoke all the way from the firehouse. It was coming up pretty good," Chief Wayne Williams of the Jerusalem Fire Department said. Jerusalem is approximately three miles from the scene.
William's unit was the first to respond, and he immediately noticed the fire had spread to the woods behind the house. Williams knew he had to call in back up.
"We were concerned with the way the wind was blowing that day." Williams said. "Plus, it was difficult to put the fire out because the house was being used to store hay for feed."
Cooleemee and Mocksville departments assisted. Lt. Andy Lipscomb of the Mocksville Fire Department said there was not much left of the house when they arrived.
"It was burned up pretty good," Lipscomb said. "The house was a total loss."
Trotter and Detective Stuart Parker investigated. Trotter said that neighbor's reported seeing two boys in the area. After driving around, Trotter said they spotted the boys who matched the description.
"We asked a few questions, then brought all the parents in for a complete interview at the sheriff's department," Trotter said, "they admitted to starting the fire and stealing a lighter from the store. It was no accident."
According to court records, one of the suspects has a prior arson conviction, and is on probation for that offense. The other child has no prior convictions.
Letter to the Editor, Davie County Enterprise-Record, March 3, 2005, written by Evelyn Daniel, Marjorie D. Foster, and the Daniel Family.
Firefighters Tried to Save Historic Structure
To the editor:
With life moving at the speed of light, sometimes it's easy to overlook the simple acts of kindness and bravery. Like the dedication, commitment and work ethics of our volunteer firefighters. On Thursday, Feb. 17, one of the oldest homes in Davie County was destroyed by fire. My family has owned the old log "Bentley House" since 1945. According to the historical records and genealogical research done by my late father, Armand T. Daniel, the home was constructed between 1780 and 1784. Benjamin Bentley is credited with the original construction of one grandest and largest homes in the area now called Davie County. The original house consisted of two rooms, 20x20 ft. each, constructed of hand hewed forest pine logs spanning 20 feet each. The rooms were spaced 10 feet apart leaving a total of 50 feet of width. Two 50-ft. pine logs were then laid on top of the structure across the front and back. An upstairs story, called a garret, of the same size was placed on top with addition 50-ft. logs spanning the width. The original Bentley House was 2,000 square feet, a very large home for the period. In the early 1800s, a 20x20 kitchen was added 15 feet away and later enclosed for a dining room. Other floors and rooms had been added throughout time. My father, during his period of restoration before his death in 1979, had added more rooms for a total of 8,500 square feet. Unfortunately, he was never able to complete his dream but he had uncovered the history of the home and had the major architectural designs on display.
The log framing in the house and the enormous additions made it a unique place. Although restoration had to be abandoned after my father's death, it held many memories of my childhood while he worked on it in his final years. Many historians have come from as far away as Ohio just to view the home. The 225-year-old logs went up in a flash. The slate roofs came crashing down. The volunteers of the Jerusalem Fire Department and others spent the entire day pumping water and foam on the remains. We knew the structure could not be saved, but hoped the surrounding buildings, trees and land could be spared. The wind made for a terrible day to fight a fire. The smoke was horrendous, yet the firefighters stood among the rubble for more than eight hours. They had to cut a very old burning oak tree near the structure along with employing the use of a bulldozer. All of this was a very dangerous job. I did mention a volunteer job. Most fire departments in the county were involved in some way, either assisting or on backup call. The refilled water and foam trucks just kept coming. As I understand it, at least 55,000 gallons of water, that's more than 42 tanker truck loads, plus 25 gallons of concentrated foaming solution at a cost of over $650 were used in the containment of the fire. We especially want to thank the brave men and women of the Jerusalem, Mocksville and Cooleemee departments for the majority of the work. There may have been other departments that I failed to see, but we want to thank any and everyone who assisted in controlling the calamity. The sheriff's department, the EMTs, the US Forest Service, the Fire Marshall, the NC Wildlife, we had them all. Everyone worked well together, and we understand the responsible parties have been detained. It;s a sad day when we lost part of our history to such a senseless act perpetrated by two teen-age boys.
The moral here is, please support your local fire departments. Let them know you are thankful for their dedication and humbled by their unselfish donation of their own time to help someone in need. Buy their chicken pie dinners or whatever else they sell. Or, lend a hand, it's the least we can do.
Marjorie D. Foster, Evelyn Daniel and the Family of the late Armand T. Daniel Mocksville
Sources used in the article "Thomas Bentley of MD, and Old Rowan/Lincoln Counties, NC (2006)"
Walter Clark, The State Records of North Carolina, XIX (Goldsboro, NC: Nash Brothers, 1901), pp. 926-927.
Jo White Linn,"List of Taxables in Rowan County, 1768," North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal (November 1983), p. 207 [NC State Archives stack file number CRX 244, Rowan Co., NC].
Rowan County, Marriage Bonds, NC State Archives, Raleigh.
Jo White Linn, Abstracts of the Rowan County Minutes of the Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions 1775-1789, p. 26
Jo White Linn, "List of Men Whose Property was Threatened with Confiscation," Rowan County Register, III (August 1988), p. 630.
Richard A. Enochs, Rowan Co., N.C., Vacant Land Emtries 1778-1789, entry number 2374.
Rowan County Deed Book 9, p. 277.
James W. Wall, Davie County: A Brief History, (Raleigh: North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, 1976), p. 25.
North Carolina State Archives, "Revolutionary Army Accounts," Volume IX, p. 104, folio 4.
Rowan County Marriage Bonds, NC State Archives, Raleigh.
Perry County, Kentucky, Order Book A, p. 221, November term 1830.
Lincoln County Marriage Bonds, NC State Archives, Raleigh.
James Bentley's Power of Attorney to William Hines, Iredell County, NC, Deed Book T:387.
Lincoln County Marriage Bonds, NC State Archives, Raleigh.
Transcription by Joanne Smith Pirkle Wright, Birmingham, AL, of NC Revolutionary War Pension Application #2747 made by Meshack Davis; transcript made from microfilm in Birmingham Public Library. [1, 2]
- [S27] Thomas Bentley of Frederick County Maryland and Old Rowan County, NC. and His Descendants, James W. Miller, Jr., (Self published, web 2006).
- [S25] Descendants of Richard Whitaker, Jr. and Rachel Bentley, Joye Boardman.