Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.

Not Very Neighborly: the 1864 Political Murders in Columbus, Polk County, North Carolina

« Back to Projects Dashboard

Project Tags

view all


A book project being researched by Pam Wilson and Jack Underwood

Unknown to many, the Civil War in the mountainous areas of the South was not fought on the large, grassy battlegrounds between large battalions. Instead, the war on the ground unfolded more as a guerrilla war between small groups of men with opposing ideologies based upon social class positions, family loyalties, and local political alliances, as well as around the larger political and economic issues that fueled the secession of the Confederacy. As historians Inscoe and McKinney (2003) explain, "Differing ideologies turned into opposing loyalties, and those divisions eventually proved as disruptive as anything imposed by outside armies in certain areas. As the mountains came to serve as refuges and hiding places for deserters, draft dodger, escaped slaves, and escaped prisoners fo war, the conflict became even more localized and internalized, and at the same time became far messier, less rational, and more mean-spirited, vindictive and personal" (p. 9).

In this messy and unregimented grassroots war, whole families became involved, as real and personal property was vandalized, stolen and destroyed, and as wives and children found themselves in the midst of the bloodshed. The ability to separate military activities from civilian activities diminished as neighbors turned upon neighbor in this divisive moment of our histories.

The population of Polk County, North Carolina--twice formed out of Rutherford County (in 1847 and 1855)--was widely varied in culture and socioeconomic class. Its earliest settlers, when it was part of Old Tryon County, were wealthy families who acquired large tracts of land and who, over several generations, became both the social and political elite. During the Revolution, these families were divided by loyalties as either Loyalists or Patriots, and in many ways this divisiveness remained a norm throughout the early 18th century and leading into the "War Between the States" just after mid-century. The geography of the county, consisting of the front range of the Blue Ridge that had served as the Indian Line before 1776, included rich and fertile piedmont lowlands that lent themselves to large plantations. The next zone moving west was the hilly terrain in the immediate foothills, where the major towns of Columbus and later Tryon formed, then the terrain dramatically rises westward through steep slopes riddled with mountain coves, up to the highlands of Henderson County, the edge of which became the site for fertile fruit orchards.

Multi-generational family networks played an extremely significant role in local politics. The story we are about to tell centers around several of these networks and their supporters. On the one hand, the Mills family descended from infamous Loyalist Col. Ambrose Mills was perhaps the wealthiest family in the county. Its leading members at the beginning of the Civil War were brothers Columbus and Govan Mills, prominent plantation owners and slaveholders with hundreds of slaves between them on plantations both in Polk County and in neighboring Spartanburg County, South Carolina. They also had family ties in mountainous Henderson County to the west, where their grandfather William Mills was a pioneering (or escaping, as some have written) white Loyalist settler when the Cherokee frontier lands west of the mountains were opened for settlement, in 1783. He forged through the Mills Gap wagon road, named Mills River and many other geographical features, and planted the apple and cherry orchards that gave the community of Fruitland its name.

Another less wealthy but extremely powerful kinship network consisted of the extended family descended from George and Abigail Braden Williams, which included family surnames of those men with whom their daughters and granddaughters had intermarried: the Weavers, Rhodes, Garrisons, Hamptons, Hunters, McFarlands, and others. Little is known about George Williams the patriarch, who in the late 1700s acquired through grant, purchase and perhaps inheritance through his wife Abigail Braden Williams (from her father Robert Braden) a large tract of land in the beautiful and fertile Pacolet River Valley in what was then Rutherford County, NC. Today it lies on the northern side of the town of Tryon, between Tryon and Columbus, in Polk County. His large family consisted of one son, Pulaski B. Williams (the first sheriff of Polk County), and five powerful daughters: Adeline Rhodes, Sophronia Hampton, Mahulda Weaver, Malissa Garrison and Harriet Morrow, most of whom married men who were active in local government. These close multigenerational family allegiances played out repeatedly in local politics.

This story, while primarily about the actions of men, also highlights the extremely important role that the women in these families played in local cultural politics.

The story begins in November of 1864, when Dr. Columbus Mills claims that a marauding band of dangerous men has broken into his home and bodily threatened him while stealing much of his personal property including furniture, horses and wagons. Similar break-ins have been reported in the same county as well as in neighboring Henderson County and were generally attributed to deserters hiding in the mountains. However, Mills is a well-known surgeon, state legislator and the "founder" of Polk County--and the person for whom the new county seat of Columbus has just been named. He is also the wealthiest man and the largest slave-owner in the county. He has friends in high places.

For reasons yet to be determined, Mills blames local merchants Peyton S. Hunter and Francis A. (Frank) Weaver for these unsavory actions. [Frank Weaver's wife Mahulda Weaver is one of George Williams' daughters, and his daughter Jane Weaver Hunter is married to Peyton Hunter's son Samuel Hunter .] Mills calls in the Home Guard, a local militia from the neighboring county of Henderson, to serve as a posse to arrest and bring to justice the group of marauders. On Dec 29 and 30th, 1864, soldiers loosely associated with the North Carolina Home Guard execute a number of prominent citizens of Columbus in Polk County, N.C. possibly after being urged to do so by Dr. Columbus Mills,

According to a North Carolina history site, "The Home Guard was comprised of men over the age of 45 and under 18. Unlike the army, which was formally organized and commanded from the top down, the Home Guard was a collection of small units organized on a local level. The Home Guard’s activities were supervised by the state government, and the Governor could call out the Home Guard in case of an emergency. The Home Guard’s duties included arresting deserters, enforcing the draft, policing residents who were suspected of having pro-Union sympathies, putting down domestic disturbances or unrest, and gathering and protecting supplies for the army. The Home Guard was also the last line of defense against invading Union troops."

In Spring Term 1870, widow Mahulda Weaver brings a complaint against Columbus Mills in Polk County Superior Court, which states: "That on the 30th day of December 1864 or thereabouts, one Lee Grant and divers other persons, whose names are unknown to complainant, unlawfully killed her said husband F. A. Weaver at and in said county. Columbus Mills was accessory to the said unlawful and willful killing, and aided, counseled and abetted the same and therein." Further, she alleges that "said unlawful and willful killing was done and committed at the instance and by the advice, consent and counsel of the defendant Columbus Mills." The plaintiff demands a judgment of $10,000 as fair and just compensation for the pecuniary injury she has sustained.

The suits and countersuits begin. They continue for decades as new truths are discovered and uncovered. The ripples of this case and its related legal machinations are felt for generations, yet for some reason, this story has been kept from the historical annals, unlike similar incidents such as the 1863 Shelton Laurel Massacre in Madison County, NC. Since this is a story that needs to be told not only to add to local and regional history but also to better understand the culture of this historical period and place, we are working on a book about what happened in Polk County in December of 1864 and for many years thereafter.


Peyton S. Hunter April 17, 1812 to Dec 29, 1864. Killed at hotel he owned in downtown Columbus, with 7 bullet wounds

Charles P Hunter May 24th, 1847 to Dec 30th, 1864. Wounded and possibly killed at Hotel; was "16 year old" mentioned by Archer

Samuel Hunter Shot in elbow in fight at the hotel, then executed by firing squad in the woods after a ride out of town on horseback, supposedly to be taken to Asheville Jail.

Francis (Frank) Asbury Weaver. Dec 13, 1818-Dec 30th 1864. Executed by firing squad in the woods after a ride out of town on horseback, supposedly to be taken to Asheville Jail.

Benjamin (Doc) Franklin Hampton, son of John W. Hampton and Sophronia Williams, nephew of Mahulda Williams Weaver. January 4, 1837-December 30, 1864. Executed by firing squad in the woods after a ride out of town on horseback, supposedly to be taken to Asheville Jail. Eyewitnesses report that he was shot after begging on his knees to be spared.

John Shehan A young man who had joined and deserted the Confederate Army as well as the Union Army. Executed by FIring squad in the woods.

Killed 5 months later: John S. Panther, a local man who was a Recruiting Officer for the Union Army who tried to avenge the murders but ended up being killed by Lane's Home Guard unit instead.


  • Dr. Columbus Mills, b. June 20, 1808 d. December 10, 1882, physician, state senator, member of the Council of State, Confederate surgeon. Active advocate for founding of Polk County; as a result, its new county seat, Columbus, was named in his honor.

Soldiers in the Home Guard and/or named in lawsuits by Mahulda Weaver

* '''J. K. Robertson'''

* Isaac Lyda


People named in Matilda Archer's story

  • Matilda Archer: was a young woman from Cherokee County, Georgia, visiting family in the Polk County area who witnessed the aftermath and wrote about the event in her memoirs
  • Braxton Bragg Lankford the distant cousin (first cousin, thrice removed--her great-grandfather Nathan Lankford's first cousin) with whom Matilda was visiting in Polk County: an "overbearing Rebel"
  • George Williams was her father Craton Archer's great-uncle. Craton's mother was Rachel Archer, whose mother was Elizabeth Williams, connecting her as the sister of George Williams (who was the patriarch of many of the families involved; see below). Married to Abigail Braden.

Local men named as serving in Union Army

John S. Panther who served as a Union recruiter in Western North Carolina; he was married to Mahulda Weaver's niece Harriet Rhodes Panther Rollins, who was the daughter of Jesse Rhodes and Fidelia Adeline Williams.

T.C. Bradley, married to Jane "Jennie Hampton, sister of "Doc" Hampton. He signed an affadavit in October 1885 stating that he, Sam Hunter, W. Metcalf, Frank Taylor and others were in the same unit of the Union Army: Capt. Henry Bates' Company, Col. Carmine's regiment.

John Shehan and his older brother Bynum of Broad River Township in neighboring Rutherford County in 1850 census

Family Members of the Victims:

Named or involved in lawsuits

  • Govan Mills, brother of Dr. Columbus Mills, died in 1862 but his estate was tied up in many lawsuits for a generation afterward, including for debts he owed to Frank A. Weaver.
  • Nancy R. Mills d. 29 April 1870 in Charlotte; widow of Govan Mills
  • Dr. Thomas K. Cureton (married to Govan and Nancy Mills' daughter Mary, co-administered Govan's estate with Nancy Mills)
  • Thomas S. Duffy admin for Joseph McDowell Carson, dec'd (originally sued for unpaid debts to F.A. Weaver dating back to 1848 of $147.89; subpoenaed by Mahulda Weaver to answer charges of trespass and damages of $500, Sept. 1866) was married to Joseph McD. Carson's daughter Catherine.
  • Jacob "Jake" Carson (subpoenaed by Mahulda Weaver to testify on behalf of T.S. Duffy, defendant) a former slave on Joseph McD. Carson's Green River Plantation
  • Solomon Shehan (subpoenaed by Mahulda Weaver to testify on behalf of T.S. Duffy, defendant). A worker or tenant farmer on the Green River Plantation owned by Joseph McDowell Carson.
  • James G. Weaver (subpoenaed by Mahulda Weaver to testify on behalf of T.S. Duffy, defendant). Originally, overseer of the Green River Plantation, then he married Joseph Carson's daughter Margaret who inherited the plantation after Carson's death, but he also fathered children by another woman, Martha Edwards or Hunsinger, whom he married decades later.
  • Reuben Carson (subpoenaed by Mahulda Weaver to testify on behalf of T.S. Duffy, defendant) a former slave on the Carson's Green River Plantation
  • John Carson (subpoenaed by Mahulda Weaver to testify on behalf of T.S. Duffy, defendant) a former slave on the Carson's Green River Plantation
  • R.S. Abrams, Clerk of Court for Polk County
  • C. M. Pace, Clerk of Court for Henderson County
  • N. B. Hampton, Sheriff of Polk County (son of John W. Hampton and Sophronia Williams)

Attorneys for Weavers et al.

  • Michael H. Justice, admitted 1868
  • Hon. William Preston Bynum, Attorney for Mahulda Weaver
  • Churchill & Whiteside, Rutherfordton, NC: Lewis F. Churchill (was presiding judge in County Court; admitted 1857) and George M. Whiteside (was NC state senator and representative; admitted 1867)
  • Hon. George W. Logan was a noted Rutherford County attorney, superior court judge, Unionist, and Republican leader and Congressman to the Confederate Congress.
  • S. V. Pickens, attorney for Mahulda Weaver vs. James W. Jones and his later estate administrators


1839: Frank Weaver marries Mahulda Hannon Williams and acquires a large tract of land along Horse Creek in what is then Rutherford County but will become Polk County.

1847: First creation of Polk County. Frank Weaver named as County Ranger (a county ranger was basically in charge of lost livestock and slave not legal issues.) Frank Weaver named the postmaster of Horse Creek.

1855: Second creation of Polk County.

1857: The Town of Columbus is formed out of land donated by Columbus Mills. There is a lot of speculation in the area with the creation of the new town and new county. News articles mention the town being on the future route for the railroad when it is built.

1859: Peyton Hunter and his family come to the newly formed Polk County from across the state line in the Fingerville (Campobello Township) area of Spartanburg County, SC, around 1859 and begin buying up lots in the newly-created town of Columbus. He was born in Virginia but his family had settled in Spartanburg County, SC. His grave is located in New Prospect and may have been the home of the family of his wife, Mary Foster (daughter of Moses Pacolet Foster).

1861 March 9th: P.S. Hunter, F.A. Weaver and Dr. Columbus Mills play important roles in a public meeting on the issue of Abraham Lincoln's election. Everyone seems to be on the same pro-Confederate side at the time.

1861 April 20: Peyton S. Hunter, 2nd Lt., is commissioned into the CSA. Resigns June 21, 1861.

1861 May 20: Columbus Mills enlists in the same CSA Unit and is promoted to Surgeon July 1, 1861. He resigns March, 1863.

1861 July 10: Charles Hunter, enlisted in the CSA, discharged July 20, 1862. All the Hunters resign very soon after they joined. The records show Peyton Hunter resigns (but no cause is given), whereas Charles is discharged.

1862: Govan Mills, brother of Columbus Mills (Columbus and Govan married sisters) dies. He had many financial dealings with Frank Weaver, who was a leading whiskey distiller in the region. Weaver sues the estate for money owed. Estate files include numerous hand-written requests and promissory notes for whiskey, from Govan Mills and R.H. Mills, to be put on Govan Mills' tab from 1859-62. A lengthy tab of debts owed to Weaver remained unpaid at Govan Mills' death, including those for whiskey as well as tanned leather and loaned cash. In a judgment on Sept. 5 1864, won by Weaver, Mills' estate was to pay him $175.72. This debt was still unpaid as of Nov 1869, when Mahulda Williams brought it again to court. against the estate of Govan Mills.

1862 June 19th: Peyton Hunter is sued by Alexander Wingo in Spartanburg County. His mother-in-law was a Wingo, so this is perhaps related to family estate issues.

1862, Nov. F. A. Weaver charges T.K. Cureton and Nancy Mills, admins of Govan Mills, with trespass and damages of $500.

1863 March 19th: Columbus Mills was in the newspaper as the Enrolling Officer in charge of conscripted men for the CSA in the Spartanburg District. This is very important as Mills would have been in charge of rounding up deserters and had access to troops in charge of rounding up the deserters. It is also a very good motive for the raid on his home the next year by the same men he was trying to arrest and force back into the Confederate Army.

1864 Summer to fall: Numerous raids in the Flat Rock and Hendersonville area by bushwhackers and outliers resulted in the murder of a number of prominent landowners including the Andrew Johnston murder in Flat Rock in June 1864.

1864 June to Dec: The 64th North Carolina stationed at the Farmers Hotel in Flat Rock, North Carolina under command of Captain B. T. Morris. (When organized in July 1862, Company E of the 64th was from Polk County and included Third Lieutenant B.F. Hampton--the same B.F. Hampton killed Dec 30, 1864.)

1864 Nov 26: Raid on Columbus Mills' Plantation by a "marauding band" of unknown raiders. They then raided "Mr. Erwin's" plantation "2 miles this side of." The Erwin family was living at the Govan Mills' Pacolet river plantation known today as Scriven Plantation. According to the memoirs of Matilda Archer, the raiders were unknown to Mills but he later identified them or pegged their leaders as the Hunters and maybe Weaver. John Huntsinger may have been one of the raiders, and he was probably the one who made the accusations against the victims.

1864 Nov 27/28: Raiders are pursued by "a company of citizens from Spartanburg" but they do not capture them. This may be related to Columbus Mills being Enrolling Officer for the CSA in Spartanburg District and having the conscription officers at his disposal to pursue the raiders, most of whom were presumed deserters.

1864 Early December: Columbus Mills contacts authorities to get some troops sent to the area. Regiments are stationed at Saluda Gap to guard the road, at Flat Rock and in Asheville. The 64th North Carolina commanded by Capt. James W. Jones was stationed at Flat Rock in Henderson County and sent troops to Polk county around this time. Some troops had been stationed at the Polk County courthouse in Columbus for a time. There is mention in a couple of sources that some of the raiders might be coming down from the mountains for some kind of gathering (Christmas?). It seems that Dr Mills was looking for this chance, and he used this opportunity to arrest the Hunters and Weaver.

1864 Dec 29: (A Thursday) Lieutenant Tom Lane and "some citizens and soldiers" that were a mix of Home Guard from Henderson County and local citizens proceed to arrest Peyton Hunter, the owner of the local hotel. The soldiers are under the command of Captain Jones while the raid was led by Lieutenant Lane.

The raid starts at night and is a surprise, based upon the description that they hid their horses and walked to the hotel. There is some reference to the men they were seeking had come down out of the mountains. Dr. Mills is among the soldiers and we are to assume has accused Hunter of being part of or in charge of the raiders.

A firefight breaks out and Peyton Hunter is killed with seven shots, Lane is wounded three times, and brothers Sam and Charles Hunter are wounded. Charles falls wounded, while Sam is shot in the elbow and escapes for a short time. Once the raid has occurred, the soldiers go to the Weaver home to collect Frank Weaver and maybe Doc Hampton.The troops arrest additional citizens who are charged with being part of the raiders upon Columbus Mills' home; this group of captives includes Frank Weaver, Doc Hampton, and perhaps a John Shehan.

1864 Dec 30th: Four or five captives are marched towards Asheville for trial. Outside of town, the guards stop 1 or 2 miles outside of town on Houston Rd and tie them to a post and execute them by gunfire. Their bodies are left in the woods. One account has Frank Weaver's hands chained, Hampton's hands tied and Sam Hunter's arm shattered and on horseback with his hands tied before him. Charles P. Hunter dies either at this spot or earlier, when his father was shot at the Hotel. John Shehan is mentioned in multiple sources but I am not able to find anything definite on him.

1865 Jan 5th: or so. Bodies of 3 or more are found by a hunter (is it possible they mean found by a Hunter?) and taken to (probably) Weaver's home, still handcuffed together. They are buried in a single grave, still handcuffed, in the same box the next day, according to the Matilda Archer story.

Dr. Mills' plantation is raided a second time, around the end of the war in April, 1865. This time he leaves the area for good. and relocates to Cabarrus County, NC. He has to escape the region and, by the description of his hiding and sneaking along the river, he may have been actively hunted during his flight from Polk County.

1865 February: Jennie Hampton defends her brother Doc Hampton from accusations of being one of the raiders.

1865 May 29 John S. Panther, a Polk County resident and private in Union Army Company “H” 2 nd Regt of N Ca M. Inft. who served as a Recruiting Officer for the 2 nd & 3rd Regts, gathers a small posse of Unionists who capture and hold as prisoners four of Capt. Lane's Company of Confederate soldiers. These are reportedly the same men who "arrested ... near the Court House four highly respectable prominent Union Citizens of Polk County, took them out a short distance from the C.H. and shot them til dead," according to an affadavit by Panther's wife Harriet Rhodes Panther, whose mother was the sister of Mahulda Williams Weaver. Her account continues, "...While passing through the County with his prisoners, he called at the house of J.W. Hampton, Esqr, a prominent Union Citizen, whose son was one of the murdered party, spoken of above, and while there was overtaken, and captured, by a party of Rebel soldiers who swore they would kill Panther, and in trying to make his escape, by flight, was shot by the Rebel party and instantly killed.".

1865: Robert and Joe Bryson move to Texas.

1866, September: John B. Weaver shoots and kills Thomas Huntsinger in Sept 1866 over his involvement in the murder of his father. Weaver seems to have never been charged for this and I cannot find details if it was self defense or murder.

1866: General amnesty act that seemed to stop most of the legal avenues for pursuing criminal prosecution of those who participated in the murders.

1870: Weaver's widow Mahulda sues Columbus Mills for $10,000 for conspiring to have her husband killied. Mills countersues for a debt that was jointly owed to Columbus Mills by Weaver and Govan Mills. Both parties agree to drop both cases and Mills agrees to pay $150 to Mrs. Weaver though denies any guilt in the murder case.

1872: Mills sells his plantation and all his land to Dr. McAboy, who runs it as an inn for many years.

1873: Mahulda Weaver wins case against Captain Jones (who died in 1872) for the killing of her husband. She is awarded $1,500 but does not receive it. The case goes to the state supreme court and, ultimately, the Jones heirs lose. The Jones estate passes through a number of executors before George Weaver, the son of F.A. Weaver, takes over and liquidates the remainder of the Jones estate in around 1888.

1875: Noah Hampton Hill purchased the hotel property in Columbus from the heirs of P.S. Hunter. It was used as a hotel and known as the Chevalier House, the Boxwood Inn and the Columbus Hotel. It stood until the 1990's before being torn down to make way for the fire department.

William T. Auman, "Civil War in the North Carolina Quaker Belt: The Confederate Campaign Against Peace Agitators, Deserters and Draft Dodgers." McFarland Press, 2014.

Victoria Bynum, "The Long Shadow of the Civil War: Southern Dissent and Its Legacies," Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2010.

Wilma A. Dunaway, "Women, Work and Family in the Antebellum Mountain South," Cambridge Univ. Press, 2008.

James T. Fain, A Partial History of Henderson County, Arno Press, New York, 1980.

John C. Inscoe, "Mountain Masters: Slavery and the Sectional Crisis in Western North Carolina". Knoxville, University of Tennessee Press, 1989.

John C. Inscoe and Gordon B. McKinney, The Heart of Confederate Appalachia: Western North Carolina in the Civil War. The University of North Carolina Press, 2003.

Gordon B. McKinney. Southern Mountain Republicans, 1865–1900: Politics and the Appalachian Community. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1998.

Gordon McKinney, "Layers of Loyalty: Confederate Nationalism and Amnesty Letters from Western North Carolina," Civil War History, LI (March 2005), 5-22.

Steven E. Nash, "Reconstruction's Ragged Edge: The Politics of Postwar Life in the Southern Mountains" (Civil War America), McFarland Press, 2014.

Jonathan Dean Sarris, A Separate Civil War: Communities in Conflict in the Mountain South. University of Virginia, 2006.

William R. Trotter, Bushwhackers: The Civil War in North Carolina: The Mountains, John F. Blair, 1991.

Wealth in Polk County, NC in 1860

An investigation of the wealth of the primary characters in this drama is enlightening. Almost all were comfortably in the middle-to-upper classes. However, the Mills brothers (Columbus and Govan) were far wealthier than the others, in a separate upper upper class that included slaveowners with large plantations:

Columbus Mills $12,400 $50,785 RH Mills Agt for Govan Mills $21,000 $37,860

In the 1860 census for Polk County, NC, Columbus Mills's worth was valued at $12,400 in real estate and $50,785 in personal estate (i.e. slaves). His brother, "Govan Mills by Richard Mills, Agt." (his son who managed his Polk County estate while he lived on his Spartanburg County estate) owned 33 slaves. The 1860 census for Polk County lists "R.H. Mills, Agt." with a financial worth of $21,000 in real estate and $37, 860 in Personal Estate. The worth of these brothers is exorbitantly greater than most of the people, even the planter class, in this county, whose worth ran up to a few thousand dollars on average. These were the billionaires of their day. Only the slave owners had Personal Estate values that were high, on average about $1000-1100 per slave.

Most farmers were listed with real estate and personal property in the 100's if they owned real estate at all. The vast majority of the population was in this group. The more economically solid and prosperous of the small farmers had a combined worth (personal and real estate) of perhaps around $800-1900.

The next level up the economic hierarchy were the large landowners, the wealthiest of which owned up to a dozen slaves but many of which did not own slaves. The combined worth for members of this level would have been $2000-about $10,000. The majority of those listed, below, fall into this ranking. We might think of these as the petit bourgeoisie. The true upper class was a small minority--only 31 people in Polk County had net worths of over $10,000 in 1860. This upper middle class was also very divided, however, since of those, only six people had a net worth between $20,00-$50,000, and more exclusively, four individuals had a worth of over $50,000: Columbus Mills, his brother Govan Mills via his son and agent RH Mills, in Columbus Township and RM Moore and Jason Carson in Sandy Plains Township.

Merchants Peyton Hunter ad Frank Weaver fall into that petit bourgeoisie category--well enough off to be able to buy and sell numerous real estate properties. Hunter owned a few slaves, while Weaver was not a slaveowner; his personal estate wealth was probably based upon the merchandise investments in his distillery operations and hardware store.

Peyton S Hunter $3360 $8500 FA Weaver $3000 $2550

The following heads of household (and a few others) had combined Real and Personal Estates worth over $2000 in the 1860 census at the height of pre-war prosperity:

(by Township)

(*) over $10,000 combined

(**) over $20,000 combined

(***) over $50,000 combined

  • NB Hampton (Grocer) $0 $2000
  • *Peyton S Hunter $3360 $8500
  • Wm B Wilson $800 $1290
  • John Arledge (CC Clerk) $2500 $400
  • Hazel Hicks $400 $4020
  • Alexander Brice (Jailer) $2500 $1500
  • RS Abrams (SC Clerk) $1000 $4700
  • AJ Cansler (Baptist Clergy) $1500 $3975
  • ***Columbus Mills $12400 $50785 [$63,185 total]
  • *John Camp $5000 $14979
  • *GJ Mills $8000 $10390
  • Mary Mills $0 $6000
  • John W Hampton $4150 $3870
  • FA Weaver $3000 $2550
  • *George Williams $4000 $8430
  • John Garrison $300 $2250
  • Jas E Hannon $1800 $3559
  • ***RH Mills Agt $21,000 $37,860 [$58,860 total]
  • **John Erwin $12,000 $8415
  • TG Ridings $4000 $5000
  • JC Waldrop $1600 $400
  • Wm Barr $700 $4968
  • *Jas Carpenter $3100 $10,457
  • **CC Green $2500 $19,388
  • Ransom Ponder $1500 $3754
  • Jas M. Hamilton $6500 $2538
  • *Wm Splawn $5000 $5812
  • Smith Edwards $1500 $6335
  • JL Ward (Sheriff) $2850 $4765
  • Jas Jackson $3500 $1820
  • *Benj Holbert $1200 $9310
  • Edison Lynch $3000 $2427
  • **Thos Egerton $4000 $20,050
  • JD Waldrop $4000 $580
  • David Owens $2000 $4345
  • Robert Hamilton $7000 $2215
  • Ambrose Mills (wife Phalby) $1000 $532
  • Eljah Taylor $5000 $2478
  • JEA Waldrop $1200 $3409
  • Michael Henderson $1200 $3910
  • Theron Prince $1000 $1680
  • John Green $1500 $894
  • Marcus Morrow $350 $3590
  • **Wm Prince $11,000 $18,777
  • Lewis Williams $1005 $6030
  • John Hines $900 $3525
  • **Henry M. Earle $13,500 $19,345
  • *Adolphus Mills $3000 $9170


  • Jonathan Newman $3000 $2052
  • Isaac Henderson $1000 $1128
  • D. Thompson Sims $500 $5996
  • Jesse Rhoads $810 $2500
  • Churchwell Morris $1658 $1208
  • Braxton Lankford $1000 $880
  • Levi Graham $200 $2217


  • *John Whitesides $2000 $8182
  • *Caleb King $10,000 $9933
  • *Lewis King $10,000 $3000
  • *Richard Whitesides $3500 $14830
  • Jonathan Arledge $2500 $7049
  • Nesbit Dimsdale $1500 $2760
  • Wm Dimsdale $400 $1785
  • Stephen Coward $2000 $537
  • BF Egerton $3500 $1029
  • Wm W Taylor $200 $2715
  • Aaron Fowler $1700 $717
  • Willis Foster $1200 $386


  • ***RM Moore $28440 $32875 [$ 61,315 total]
  • Jasper Gray $1000 $842
  • Jas T Wilkins $600 $1658
  • Melissa Wilkins $600 $1659
  • *Jane Wilkins $2500 $9165
  • *Elizabeth McClane $1728 $15221
  • **Joseph McD. Carson $20925 $27165
  • Jas G Weaver (overseer for Carson) $0 $6000
  • A Whisnant $2450 $1008
  • Wily S Walker $1500 $1561
  • John Wilson $1420 $140
  • *Geo H. Blackwell (Deputy Sheriff) $4400 $5737
  • Wm H Owens $1100 $1020
  • DM Abrams $350 $1540
  • ***Jason H. Carson $37550 $20625 [58,175 total]
  • (Thos Hunsinger, his overseer)
  • *Robt Liles $7250 $8972
  • John Liles $2500 $6190
  • JB Prince $0 $10830
  • *Thos Miller $3500 $9108
  • *Henry Liles $3450 $9325
  • Thos Liles $1500 $2920
  • Joseph Parker $0 $8325
  • John Parker family $4500 $4327
  • Joseph Ridings $1400 $1250
  • BH Padgett $306 $2120
  • Marcus Stricland $1000 $1380
  • Daniel Feagans $4002 $4836
  • *Jas Jackson $5600 $10849
  • *Robert McFarland $2830 $7808
  • John Giles $353 $6359
  • Andrew McDowal $1550 $4899
  • Franklin Ray $1200 $5771
  • *George Feagans $4200 $8194
  • Gideon Greenway $1500 $819
  • Lyda Abrams $800 $10376
  • Anna Abrams $0 $2036