The Garlock-Elliott Family

The ancestors of Sarah Chamness

The Chamness Family moves South

Again we have no evidence as to why Anthony decided to migrate south to North Carolina. However, his timing was right. This was five years before the French and Indian War when the French burned Frederick, Maryland and most of the colonists were killed. The fact that the Quaker community in Monocacy never really flourished like the Quaker Meetings in Virginia could have been an influence. Anthony may have been looking for the support of a larger community of Friends. Or maybe he decided to follow some of the other settlers of the Monocacy area who had moved on to the Carolinas.

Another scenario could be that Anthony came in contact with an agent for John Carteret, the Earl of Granville. The British Crown had made the Earl the Colonial Lord Proprietor of a large tract of land that included North Carolina. Carteret had been actively recruiting colonists who were known to be industrious to settle his lands and it is likely his agents would have visited the Quaker community for candidates.

For whatever reasons, Anthony Chamness ended up in North Carolina. It would have been a long and arduous trip in those days. They most likely followed the valley along the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains as they made their way well over 300 miles to the south. They would probably have taken "The Great Emigrant Road" through Winchester, Harrisonburg and on to Lexington, Virginia. There they would have veered east to Lynchburg and then south through Danville, Virginia and on to Cane Creek, North Carolina. They would have been travelling with six children, the oldest girl was 12, the oldest boy, our ancestor Joseph, was nine years old.

Settling Orange County

Settlement of the area began in the late 1740s and expanded rapidly when the Quakers migrated there from various areas in the 1750s. Other settlers came from states to the north and east and from neighboring counties in North Carolina. There were other group migrations by German Lutherans, Reformed, Scots-Irish Presbyterians, Virginia Baptists and Methodists from the late 1740s through 1780.

When the settlers first arrived in the Cane Creek area it was in Anson or Bladen County. When Orange County was formed in 1752 it included the Cane Creek settlement. In 1771 when Chatham County was formed the line ran through the middle of the settlement. This left some families in Orange and some in Chatham with some families having children born in both counties without having moved. In 1849 Cane Creek became part of Alamance County when it was formed from Western Orange County.

Map: Transportation and Settlement of North Carolina, 1660-1775

A Land Grant was made from the Earl of Granville’s Province in Anson and Bladen Counties to Anthony Chamness on June 24, 1751 for 490 acres on Cane Creek. It was signed with Anthony’s mark (a sort of fingerprint).13 The land was near Snow Camp in what is now Alamance County, North Carolina not too far from the present Cane Creek Friends Meeting House. Anthony’s name appeared on the tax records of Orange County, 1755.

Someone who knew the Chamness farm in 1822 describes it for us:

The farm lay a mile west of Cane Creek Friends Meeting House, was a good body of land and lay fine. The dwelling was large, perhaps 20 X 80 feet consisting of two main rooms, made of hewn logs, with two shed rooms and the porch the whole length of the front side, with a division wall through the center. A small creek ran through the farm on which there was a grist-mill. Large meadows lay on either side of the stream. The barn was commodious and was occupied by a stationary threshing machine, propelled by horsepower. Many of the neighbors hauled their wheat there to have it threshed and cleaned.14

From Anthony’s will, written in 1776, probated in 1783, we can see that the farm was a prosperous one for that early time. The 490-acre farm and household were both well equipped.

When the Cane Creek MM was set off from the Carver’s Creek MM, October 7, 1751, Anthony and Sarah became charter members of Cane Creek MM.15 Their son, John, was one of the first four children born in the Cane Creek community on January 6, 1749. Anthony and Sarah were appointed Overseers in the first meeting and were both very active throughout their lives. Their names appeared often on the early Monthly Meeting Minutes and their names were frequently found listed on committees.

A replica of the original Cane Creek Meeting House at Drama Road Snow Camp, NC.

Photo by Ed Donley, 2000.

Modern photo of Cane Creek Meeting house replica

According to the Cane Creek Minutes Anthony and Sarah had six more children: John, Anthony, Rachel, Ann, Lydia, and Joshua, all born in Orange County. This brought the total number of children to twelve.

The exact date of Sarah’s death is not known but the last entry of her name in the Minutes was the 4th day of the 5th month of 1765 when she was appointed to a committee to attend Quarterly Meeting.

After Sarah's death Anthony married Rachel Beeson Haworth, widow of Stephanus Haworth on September 1, 1766. Rachel brought five or six children of her own to the marriage. Anthony’s son, John, married Rachel’s oldest daughter, Charity, and they were dismissed from the Meeting in 1769. Anthony, Jr. was also dismissed because of his marriage. Rachel died on March 19, 1775.

On May 9, 1776 Anthony, Sr. married Margaret Williams, widow of William Williams, who also brought more children to the family. Anthony’s youngest son, Joshua, married Margaret’s daughter, Rachel Williams. They were dismissed by the Meeting but later condemned their own action and rejoined.

About sixteen months after his third marriage Anthony died on September 20, 1777, at the age of 64 years. His will was probated in Chatham County, North Carolina in 1783 with his oldest son, Joseph, as sole executor. John inherited the portion of the farm that he lived on at that time and Joshua inherited the land and house their father had been living on.16

Cane Creek Cemetery, Greensboro-Chapel Hill Road, Snow Camp, NC.

Photo by Gene Garlock, 2000.

Photo of Anthony and Sarah Cole Chamness gravestone

Three-and-a-half years later the Revolutionary War Battle at Guilford Courthouse took place on March 15, 1781. After this battle Cornwallis camped in the Snow Camp area and used the house of Simon Dixon as headquarters. Dixon’s Mill and house were on property neighboring Anthony Chamness’ land where his sons, John and Joshua still lived.

In 1975 descendants of the Chamness family held a reunion at Snow Camp, North Carolina and placed a memorial marker in the Cane Creek Cemetery honoring Anthony and Sarah Cole Chamness as pioneer settlers of the Cane Creek Meeting. The marker was placed beside the grave of their youngest son, Joshua and his wife, Rachel. There are still family reunions being held in the area.

Between the years of 1734 and 1764 Anthony and Sarah Chamness had twelve children: Elizabeth, Susanna, Joseph, Sarah, Mary, Martha, John, Anthony, Rachel, Ann, Lydia, and Joshua.17

13 Secretary of State, Granville Grants, S.108.240. SSLG.1-J: Anthony Chamness. North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 4610 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-4610.

14 Zimri Hanson, ed. The Chamness Family of America, History and Genealogy of the American Descendants of John and Ann Chamness (Indiana, 1922).

15 Hinshaw’s Encylcopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, Vol. VI, pg. 348. Genealogical Publishing Company, publ.

16 The will was held in the Chatham County Courthouse in Pittsboro, North Carolina but has been transferred to the North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 4610 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-4610

17 Some researchers include a Stephanus as a possible son of Anthony’s. I don’t believe this is so. His birth is not recorded in the Cane Creek Minutes and he is not included in Anthony’s will. I believe that even though Stephanus was known by the name Chamness, it is more likely he was born to Rachel Beeson and her first husband, Stephanus Haworth.

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Last modified 02-Jan-2001
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