Local History Notes

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

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Dec 30

The Letters of Hugh Reynolds

Posted on December 30, 2019 at 3:45 PM by Iredell County Public Library

The Iredell County Public Library holds a collection of letters to and from the Hugh Reynolds family from the late 1850s through the 1870s. These have been scanned and placed on Flickr along with the envelopes. In some cases we have scanned envelopes that did not contain letters when we received the collection. 

Hugh Reynolds, (April 18, 1809- Oct. 16, 1878) was the son of Hugh Reynolds Sr. and his second wife Margaret McClanahan. He and his brother Reuben were probably born at Davis’ Sulfur Springs, near Hiddenite, Alexander County. His father was from Ireland and owned a grist mill and was a miller by trade. Hugh Sr. was named a Patriot in the Ancestor list of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution for giving 12 bushels of wheat to the patriot army during the Revolutionary War. Hugh Reynolds Sr. moved his family to Statesville in 1827. Hugh Reynolds Sr. is buried in the extreme Northwest corner of the Fourth Creek Presbyterian Cemetery in Statesville.  The tombstone itself may now be illegible.

Hugh Reynolds Jr. was married to Jane Reid (July 24, 1807 – Oct. 11, 1887.) on Oct. 24, 1833. She dies at the age of 80 in the Olin Township in Iredell County at the home of her husband’s brother, Reuben Reynolds. Both Hugh and Jane are buried in the Fourth Creek Presbyterian Cemetery in Statesville. They had a daughter named Margaret “Isabella” Reynolds. Hugh’s brother Reuben Reynolds (Dec. 24, 1813 – Oct. 20, 1903) also had a daughter named Margaret. Reuben in buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Statesville.

Hugh Reynolds Jr. was a prominent merchant in Statesville serving as a county commissioner. A March 23, 1883 article in The Landmark newspaper stated that the whipping post outside the old jail was built in 1860 under the direction of Messrs. C.L. Summers and Hugh Reynolds. Hugh was also part of the building committee in charge of erecting the Presbyterian Church in Statesville in 1870.

Family lore says that the Reynolds family divided over the issue of slavery with part of the family moving to Warren County, Illinois in the 1830’s and later to Oregon.  Though he was too old to serve when the Civil War began the N.C. Presbyterian reported on June 28, 1862 that “In Statesville on June 15, Capt. Wm. H. Sanford, age 30 years; commissary in 7th Regt., North Carolina Troops; received wound at battle of Newbern; died at house of Hugh Reynolds.”

Hugh lived near the northwest corner of Broad and Tradd Streets near his brother-in-law W.F. Watts, on lot 39.  Hugh Reynolds’s place later became the Palmer House and had a well on the property.  Upon his death the Carolina Watchman newspaper out of Salisbury reported on Oct. 24, 1878, “We regret to hear of the death of Mr. Hugh Reynolds of Statesville. We have known Mr. R. long and well. He was justly held in high esteem by his acquaintances, for he was not only just and liberal in all the relations of life, but incorruptible and fearless in duty. A good man has fallen.”

Joel Reese, Local History Librarian

Iredell County Public Library

This article appeared in the Statesville Record and Landmark as “