Sunday, November 18, 2007

Quaker Meadows & Pleasant Gardens

The McDowell House at Quaker Meadows Plantation,
built in 1812 by Captain Charles McDowell, Jr
near Morganton, Burke County, North Carolina
From History of the McDowells and Connections, by John Hugh McDowell, pub. 1918, C. B. Johnston:

"According to tradition, the Quaker Meadows farm was so-called long before the McDowells or any other whites established homes in Burke County, and derived its name from the fact that the Indians, after clearing part of the broad and fertile bottoms, had suffered the wild grasses to spring up and form a large meadow, near which a Quaker had camped before the French-Indian war and traded for furs. On the 19th of November, 1752, Bishop [August Gottlieb] Spangenburg recorded in his diary (Vol. V. Colonial Record, page 6) that he was in camp near Quaker Meadows, and that he was "in the forest fifty miles from all settlements." The Bishop described the lowlands of Johns River as the richest he had seen anywhere in Carolina. But, after surveying the large area, he abandoned the idea of taking title for it from Lord Granville, because the Indian War began in 1753, the next year, and lasted nominally seven years, though it was unsafe to venture west of the Catawba until after 1763, and few incurred the risk of doing so before 1770. 'Hunting John' McDowell first entered 'Swan Pond,' about three miles above Quaker Meadows, but sold that place without occupying it, to Colonel Waightstill Avery, and established his home where his son Joseph [of Pleasant Gardens] and grandson James [Moffett McDowell] afterwards lived, and where, still later, Adolphus Erwin [brother-in-law of James] lived for years before his death. His home is three miles north of Marion on the road leading to Bakersville and Burnsville. The name of Pleasant Gardens was afterwards applied not only to this home, but to the place where Col. John Carson* lived high up the Catawba Valley, at the mouth of Buck Creek."

*John Carson (1752-1841) first married Rachel Matilda McDowell (1756-1795), "Hunting John" McDowell's eldest daughter and older sister of Joseph McDowell (1758-1795), of Pleasant Gardens. In 1797, widower John Carson married Joseph "P.G." McDowell's widow Mary Moffett McDowell (1768-1825).