Local History Notes

Notes about the history of Iredell County by Joel Reese, Local History Librarian.

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Dec 30

Land Valuations in Iredell County in 1800

Posted on December 30, 2019 at 3:43 PM by Iredell County Public Library

Information about Iredell County can come from a variety of sources. Government gathered information is usually the most reliable and first choice for those doing most research. Historical researchers often use records of marriages, births, deaths, wills, deeds, taxes, court, and Census records to trace family history. Published articles such as those you find in the newspapers or magazines are also a good source for researchers. The North Carolina Historical Review is a publication of the N.C. Division of Archives and History and contains some of the best in historical research dealing with North Carolina.

In the early 1950’s Hugh Hill Wooten published articles in the North Carolina Historical Review dealing with early Iredell County history. H.H. Wooten was born in Iredell County on Nov. 17, 1894 to William Columbus and Mary Adams Wooten. He graduated from N.C. State University and became an economist with the United States Department of Agriculture working with the Federal Land Bank and the Tennessee Valley Authority. Wooten wrote numerous articles for the yearbooks of the U.S. Agriculture Department. Starting with the October 1952 issue of the N.C. Historical Review Wooten contributed a series of three articles dealing with early Iredell County history. In the October 1952 issue appeared his, “Land Valuations of Iredell County in 1800.”  He followed with “Western Migration from Iredell County, 1800-1850” in the January 1953 issue and then finished up the series with “A Fourth Creek Farm from 1800-1830” in April, 1953.

In “Land Valuations of Iredell County in 1800” Wooten uses the county land valuation book along with land records, deeds, family papers, surveyors’ notes, farm accounts, and old letters to gather his information. The article abstracts out a wealth of information about Iredell County in 1800 that helps paint a picture of what the county was like not long after it was formed out of Rowan County in 1788. The land valuation book for 1800 shows Iredell to have 996 farms, 6 stores, 13 sawmills, 4 tanneries, 34 mills, 53 stillhouses, 49 blacksmith shops, and 25 shops of various other types such as wagon, wheelwright, cooper, gunsmith, carpenter, hatter, potter, saddler, and shoe shops. Most farms averaged 292 acres with 50 to 60 acres of it cleared. Over three-fourths of the county was still tree-covered with wild lands valued at 25 cents per acre and unimproved land 50 to 75 cents per acre, Large acreage of medium grade farm land was valued at $1 to $1.75 per acre and well-improved farm land at $2 to $2.50 an acre.

The average value for all land and buildings by the county assessors was $1.10 per acre which with an addition of 25 per cent by the State Board of Commissioners brought the average value per acre to $1.38 while the overall state average was $1.47. The average value of an improved farm in Iredell County in 1800 was $460 with an average tax of about $2.75. By 1815 the value for an average acre of land in Iredell had risen to about $2 compared to a state average of $2.60. In 1800 there were 1,228 houses in Iredell including 97 cabins. Houses valued at less than $100 were listed with the acreage. There were 290 dwellings valued at $100 or more. Of these 82 were valued at $200 or over and 198 at $100 to $199. There were only 13 homes valued at $500 or more with one brick building valued at $1800. The records show there were 475 barns, 604 stables, 890 outhouses which included granaries, cribs, smokehouses, springhouses and others.

Statesville had been formerly called Fourth Creek Settlement after the Fourth Creek Meeting log house which was first erected in 1757. Statesville was named the county seat in 1789 by the e State Legislature. In 1800

Joel Reese, Local History Librarian

Iredell County Public Library

For the Statesville Record and Landmark