Andersons of Colonial N. Carolina

meant what they said, said what they meant

Cheek’s Mill Creek

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Back a bit in time to 1873…

Penny Hill is (was) the easy to find focal point of the area… find Tar River and follow it to the county borders of Edgecombe and Pitt. There is a modern bridge there now… that is Cheek’s Mill Creek. Penny Hill looks to be a very modern Solar Panel Farm nowadays…Who’dAThunkIt? I used Google Maps to visit the place and snoop around. There is narry a trace of the history that went on there.

Below is the area during the Civil War…1863ish. Penny Hill only had four map dots then… but note some of the folks living a bit north of there- W. and T. Little, J. Thigpen, T. May and W. Cobb to note a few. These names are all descendants of the colonial settlers. The guy I am tracking is Henry Anderson; he was there and died 1801, I am clueless when he first got there, perhaps more on him later but I have become enthralled by all the history. Note that the roads shown go back to the early days… starting about 1737 (or earlier)… mere wagon trails then. The earliest road I find mentioned went all the way to Bath Town.

120 years or so before the T. Little mentioned on the Civil War map above was a progenitor of the Little Clan named Thomas Little. Here is an example of how I find, track and map these folks:

The roads are very helpful to help me place these deeds on to the maps I create. The hilarious spelling of ” Tusckoanra” in the mention of the main Road to Bath town makes me curious as to what in hell they were referring to? Remember that the town of Tarboro was not much more than perhaps a tavern and a warehouse at the time if that. Edward Teach (Blackbeard the pirate) had been hobnobbing with the “royal” criminals (government officials) in Bath Town a mere twenty years or so before this Little deed. Pitt County was unknown and called Beaufort. I trying to find Tranter’s Creek as I type.

Dawn King commented about “The Doctor’s Office”…

To be continued… this may be very long-winded… there was a lot going on back in the day…


In an article for the Tarboro Press written in 1842, the newspaper staff trots out an even earlier article by Jeremiah Battle written by him for the Agricultural Society in 1811. Let that soak in a bit… Mr Battle was more than likely a witness to the American Revolution.

Commenting on when the county may have first been settled, he wrote this:

“…it was probably prior to the year 1726, the oldest land patents we’ve dealt with, bearing this date. As the first settlement of the continent commenced at the mouths of rivers, so these interior settlements commenced at the mouth of creeks progressing upwards, as the natives gave ground. At the mouth of Town Creek it is believed, was the first settlement in the county. The site of Tarborough, and its vicinity, were settled at an early period. The Indians inhabiting these parts were driven by some of the settlers at Bath across Contentnea (creek), where they made a stand and built and dwelt for several years, but were at length besieged and destroyed.”

So just prior to 1737 one Richard Cheek presents a grant for land at a small creek running into Tar River at the boundary of what will be Edgecombe and Pitt Counties. At the time it was Beaufort County and Tar River was then known as Pamptico River. It is all very confusing for new readers in study of the old counties.

So the creek became known as Cheek’s Mill Creek. Mr. Cheek dies by 1745 but the name survived (except for an irritating period when it became Sugg’s Mill Swamp but we won’t tarry in a discussion- that is what it is referred to on the 1905 map but not today). My personal study of this area is my interest in one Henry Anderson who briefly owned some of the original Cheek property. Henry Anderson died in 1801 and his property was passed on to his family until they died or moved on. Reconstructing the history of the various and sundry property owners has proven to be a daunting task. But remember that my starting point is just after an Indian footprint was the only thing in the area… and perhaps an occassional watersnake slithering across the creek.

Next in line for ownership is (perhaps) John Burney who married the daughter of Richard Cheek and thereby inherited some of the land by marriage; he was an Executor to the Estate along with two sons of Cheek. Much confusion begins as the property is carved up between the numerous sons of Richard Cheek and sold piecemeal to different buyers.

Here is a taste of what I am dealing with…

I am presently trying to figure out who bought the carved up land… I know Edward Cobb, et al, got some of it… (you can see Henry Anderson’s patents buried in the Richard Cheeek’s 640 acre patent).

Written by anderson1951

March 2, 2022 at 7:51 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. The book “The Architectural History of Pitt County NC” has the Penny Hill Doctors office on the cover. Tiny masonry building with spectacular corbels and detailing. Dawn King



    March 2, 2022 at 8:16 am

    • It looks like they are trying to put it on the Historic Register.. I ran across it on a Google search. Its nice to see some of these old historic sites being preserved.



      March 2, 2022 at 8:27 am

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