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The North Carolina Booklet Vol. XII, No. 1, July 1912
Great Events in North Carolina History
Published Quarterly by the North Carolina Society
Daughter of the Revolution
Out of print; transcribed from a scanned copy at archive.org
(Images from SC Dept. of Archives and History,
Heritage Room Collection and ancestry.com)
This booklet included the following history:
Union County and the Old Waxhaw Settlement
by Robert Ney McNeely
The territory lying between the Rocky River and the Catawba and which now comprises Union County, North Carolina, was, prior to the coming of the white settlers, inhabited by a tribe of Indians called the “Waxhaws,” from whom the Waxhaw Settlement took its name. Aside from the traditions of the Catawba Indians, a kindred tribe of the Waxhaws, of the battles between the Waxhaws and neighboring tribes of Indians, the earliest information we have of the Waxhaws is the mention made by John Lawson, Surveyor-General of the Carolinas, who on the last day of the year 1699 left Charlestown, South Carolina, and made his way up through the Carolinas on a surveying or rather prospecting tour. He had with him one man, and he tells in his diary that when they reached the settlement of the Waxhaw Indians, the chief of the tribe received them cordially, entertained them in his wigwam, and gave them every assistance that he could; that the man he had with him married one of the Indians girls the first evening they were in the Waxhaws, that on the next morning he awoke and found that his new Indian wife had secretly abandoned him in the night and carried away with her all of his clothes, valuables, a pair of moccasins and a red bandana handkerchief, and that the chief upon being informed of the loss that the groom has suffered ordered some of his men to go in search of the young lady, had her brought back and compelled her to restore the stolen articles.
In about the year 1740, the Waxhaw Indians were attacked with an epidemic of smallpox, a disease theretofore unknown to this tribe, which killed so many of them as to cause the tribe to disband and join the Catawbas and other neighboring tribes. The lands covered by the village of the Waxhaws were later embraced in the farm of Capt. Andrew Pickens on Waxhaw Creek. Upon this territory becoming abandoned by the Indians, the land agents, finding so goodly a land unmolested by savaged and claimed by no one, immediately began an advertising scheme to bring desirable immigrants to it from any and all place where the best class of immigrants could be found. This brought settlers from Germany, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and the already settled portions of North Carolina. The Scotch-Irish settlers from Pennsylvania made what has been termed “The Waxhaw Settlement,” which comprises Jackson and Sandy Ridge townships in Union County and a portion of Lancaster County across the South Carolina line. Vance and Goose Creek townships were settled mostly by people from Rowan and Cabarrus counties. New Salem, Marshville, and Lane’s Creek townships were settled by people from Virginia and the settled portions of North Carolina. Buford Township was settled by immigrants from Germany and Monroe Township was settled by immigrants from all the places hereinbefore named.
At the time of the coming of the white settlers, this territory was covered with a massive forest of oak, pine and other timber. There was no underbrush, the trees were large, rather far apart, high to the limbs and heavy topped—so, that, while the rays of the sun could hardly reach the g round through the thick tops, the view from the ground of the surface of the country was unbroken except by the large tree trunks which like rustic columns supported the canopy of foliage above. For grazing the territory was unsurpassed, for the grass grew almost waist high and the country was covered with a thick growth of wild pea vines. Here the pioneer hunter found game in abundance and fish in every stream.
The territory which is now Union County was, until 1749, included in the boundary of Bladen, after which time until 1763, it was included in the boundary of Anson, and from 1763 until the county of Union was established in 1842 one-half of the territory belonged to Anson and the other half to Mecklenburg. So, the best of both Mecklenburg and Anson was taken to make Union.
View photos (from SC Dept. of Archives and History) - old Waxhaw Presbyterian Church Cemetery below - then read the ENTIRE ARTICLE (about 8 pages transcribed on a separate page.)