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Archiver > HODGES > 1997-10 > 0877001259

From: Kenneth Hodge <>
Subject: Thomas/Watauga Co., NC
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 1997 07:27:39 -0400

By Dr. J.E. Hodges, Maiden, N.C.

When Tom Hodges unloaded his two pack horses and two milk cows, on whose backs
were transported all the world s goods he brought over the mountains, all the
territory of what is now Watauga County was a howling wilderness.

He had left the scattered settlement on the Yadkin far behind. Many miles down
the Watauga, about Sycamore shoals, was the Watauga settlement. In the Valle
Crucis section, Sam Hix and his son-in-law, James Holtsclaw, had a cabin and
stockade, but it is doubtful if Hodges ever knew they were there. In fact, he
was where the foot of white men had seldom trod, with nature for his companion.

Just West of Boone he built his camp, for that is just what it was a Faced
CampĀ¶, in the language of the frontier. It was built of logs with back and ends
solid, roof sloping front to back and front open. The big fire for cooking and
warmth was built in front of the open side.

The small amount of bedding brought along, soon supplemented by bear skins, was
spread on forest leaves in the back of the camp for sleeping and rolled up out
of the way in the day time. This camp had to answer all the purposes of a home
till the pioneer could build a cabin of round logs, covered with split logs and
fitted with a big rough stone chimney.

Soon after this cabin was completed and enclosed with a rail fence, the family
received quite a scare when the head of the house was away with the dogs and his
rifle on a bear hunt. Had he stayed at home there would have been no need for a
hunt, for an enormous black bear came into the clearing and proceeded to
investigate this intrusion into his domain. Reaching the fence that surrounded
the little cabin, he stood erect and placing both front paws on the top rail
quietly, and for some time, surveyed the surroundings till satisfied, and went
on his way, to the great relief of the wife and children.


According to the 1790 census, Thomas Hodges had nine children, four sons and
five daughters. Of these, only one son was past 16 years of age. In this
article only the three best known sons will be considered. These were William,
Jesse, and Gilbert. William Hodges married a Mullins, a sister of Jesse
Mullins, a great hunter, trapper, and old time fiddler. He owned a farm on the
east side of New River lying on both sides of the Wilkesboro road. It is said
that he had considerable sums of money hidden here and there in the hills, and
never found.

William Hodges settled on a place a short distance east of the late John Hardin
home, owning a large tract of land there, which he later sold for a rifle gun
and dressed buckskin. He reared a large family - Larkin, Adam, William, John
(Jack), Burton, Mark, Sallie, Delphia, and Mary (or Nancy). Of these, Larkin
was a Baptist preacher of some note in his day. He married Polly Moody. Adam
moved to Tennessee and died there. William married a Morris and settled near
Elk Cross Roads. John married a Norris, a sister of William s wife. Burton
married a Miss Northern. Mark married a Calloway. Delphia married Adam Cook,
and Sallie married his brother, the Rev. John Cook. Mary (or Nancy) married
Soloman Greer who lived on Stony Fork. Jesse married Polly Clawson and lived in
the Old Soda Hill community, later selling his farm to David Lookabill just
before the beginning of the Civil War. Of his children, Frank married Nancy
Ingraham; William, a Triplett; Elbert, Kattie Davis; Patsy, a Stansburg;
Elizabeth, a Jones (on his death she married William Miller); Nancy, Thomas
Griever of Tennessee. Thomas died during the Civil War, unmarried. Jack was
killed by bushwhackers during the war. Cynthia married Edward Blackburn, and
was the mother of congressman Spencer Blackburn. The third son, Gilbert,
married Sallie Shearer, daughter of pioneer Robert Shearer, who built his first
cabin in the pines on the bluffs where the Three ForksĀ¶ came together. The old
Indian trail passed by and he concealed his home from them. According to Robert
Shearer s records, she was born March 24, 1799 and married Gilbert Hodges
September 11, 1817. Of the children of Gilbert Hodges, Thomas married Mary
Ingraham; Robert, Peggy Ingraham (he lived till 1914, Holland); Riley, married
Violet Moody; Elizabeth, Edward Clawson; Louisa, John Green; Larkin, Louisa

People now living recall many of these people and a number of the children of
the above couples are still in our midst. For example, ex-sheriff John W.
Hodges of Boone, is a son of Burton Hodges, who was son of William. He is
therefore the great-grandson of the pioneer, Thomas Hodges, who came to the
mountains in 1781.

The Hodges of eastern Carolina, while of the common stock, are descended from a
different branch. They have been prominent from the days of the early

They are plentiful in the Patriot Army, and while I have carefully searched the
records, have found only one Hodges in North Carolina who was a Tory, Lieux
(sic.) Joseph Hodges of Cumberland County, they served their country in almost
every capacity during the long, heart-breaking struggle for independence.

It has, as almost families, an outside feature. In this family it is a tendency
to medicine in some branch or other, where you find a considerable number of
Hodges you will find doctors. They do not seem to have taken to the law and
politics very extensively, and I have not found that any have especially
distinguished themselves at the bar, bench or the legislative halls, after
medicine, as general practitioners, as specialists, druggists, chemists, etc.
The ministry seems to attract them, and a great number of the name have filled
the pulpit of various denominations. The Rev. William Hodges, of Orange, who
participated in spreading the "Great Revival" over Tennessee and Kentucky about
1800 to 1805, was especially outstanding in the Presbyterian church of his day.

As a whole, they have been a quiet, unobtrusive people, generally preferring
agriculture, the mechanical trades, the mercantile and business fields to the
more exciting and uncertain paths of life, and I have found but few instances
where any community suffered by their being a part of it.

Ken in Orlando

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