01/31/15 439 W - + 7 - 3 Bethania? Little Rockfish? Two Towns of Yore


This week's research into public and private laws of North Carolina yields a pair of fire companies that this historian's never heard of:

Bethania
Located in Stokes County
Free white males of the authorized to form and "enroll themselves" into a "fire engine company." No more than forty members. Five year period of enrollment. Captain of company charged with caring for apparatus, equipment, and "house prepared for that purpose." Town commissioners authorized to purchase fire engine and equipment, via annual tax "not exceeding one dollar on every white taxable poll" nor "more than fifty cents on every hundred dollars of real estate." Fire wardens and company officers also authorized to "order any house or houses to be pulled down, blown up, or otherwise destroyed" to stop the progress of a fire. Plus other language related to laws, rules, regulations, by-laws, etc. Authorized by General Assembly on January 3, 1839. 

Franklin Fire Company
Little Rockfish
Cumberland County
Alonzo R. Ketcham, Roderick McRae, and Daniel Patterson appointed commissioners for the organization of the Little Rockfish Franklin Fire Company within six months. No more than twenty members. When there are least ten members, the fire company "shall be deemed and taken to be a corporation." Immediately after organization, "it shall be the duty of said Company to provide and keept in readiness at all times for us, such hooks, ladders, buckets, hose and such other articles and implements as many be necessary and useful in the extinguishment of houses on fire." Members are exempt from service in militia exercises. Plus other language relaed to laws, rules, regulations, by-laws, etc. Authorized by General Assembly on January 24, 1843.

Where the heck are these places?

Bethania, says this Wikipedia article, was the first planned Moravian settlement in the state. It's the only remaining, continuously active Moravian village in the south. The only known "existing Germanic-type Linear Agricultural village" in the south. And the oldest municipality in Forsyth County (which appears to have been carved from Stokes County). The town was chartered in 1838/39 and most recently incorporated in 1995.

Little Rockfish was precursor to the town of Hope Mills. Also called "Rockfish Village," it developed around the Rockfish Manufacturing Company, which was located on Little Rockfish Creek. This Fayetteville Observer story by Roy Parker Jr., from December 1990, tells about the history.  The cornerstone was laid in 1839 and started production at a small scale later that year. The factory operated for a quarter century until Union soliders destroyed the structure on March 10, 1865.







  
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