Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2000 18:13:03 EST
Subject: Jersey Settlement and Jersey Church, Rowan CO NC
Jersey Settlement and Jersey Church, Rowan CO NC
Jersey Settlement and Robert Barkley and Leah of Rowan County NC
Submitted by Dr. Teddy Barclay Pope of Tyler County, Texas
January 11, 2000.
Preface: This paper contains text from the research of 1964 of Margaret
Barclay of Waco, Texas, now deceased. Teddy and Margaret are descendants
of Robert Barkley of Old Rowan county and his wife Leah through their son
Walter Barkley b. 1774 in Rowan County NC and his wife Elizabeth McQueen
Barkley b. 1790 in Madison County, Kentucky. Walter went to Madison
County, Kentucky after the death of his father, Robert Barkley of Rowan
County, to take up land in Kentucky that was left to him in his father's
will. His brother Robert also went.. After several years in Kentucky,
Walter, aged 30, married Elizabeth McQueen, aged 14. In the 1830's,
Walter and Elizabeth McQueen Barkley, and their large family of three
generations, migrated from Alabama to the Menard district of east Texas,
then part of Mexico. The Walter Barkley family was accompanied in this
migration by the sisters and brothers of Elizabeth McQueen, her cousin
Squire Couse and his family and later, her parents. Robert and Leah's son
Robert, b. 1774, met and married Mary Hubbard in Madison County, NC.
Robert and Mary Hubbard Barkley went with the Hubbard family into the
Louisiana Purchase in what became Missouri. Walter and Robert's brother
John also married a Madison County, Kentucky girl. Many of his
descendants through his son Peter, born around 1790, reside today in
Richmond and other parts of Madison Co., Kentucky. Their brother Samuel,
who was married to Mary Davis, left Rowan County and went to Tennessee.
Some of the descendants of Samuel also went to east Texas. They settled
around Falls county.
Map of Jersey Settlement before 1755. Map furnished by Dennise L. Pope
Beginning around 1740, some people from New Jersey, and the congregation
of the Baptist Church now known as Old School Baptist Church of Hopewell,
New Jersey, began to migrate to North Carolina to an area called Jersey
Settlement. Eventually they built a church called Jersey Church. Today
that church is the largest church in the area, Jersey Baptist Church,
located on Jersey Church Road.
The museum representative at Hopewell told the writer that their records
name some persons who were in a suit about land that was in North
Carolina as their money had been taken, but it was a scam. They had to
pay twice. She called some of the names out over the telephone, but the
writer did not hear the name of Barkley and did not write down the other
names. She said that this suit was why they had any record of the names
of the persons from Hopewell New Jersey going to North Carolina.
The church secretary at Jersey Baptist Church read to the writer from the
church history book, which is a bounded published book in its second
printing and now has an index. The book tells of about 125 young people
who migrated from the congregation of Old School Baptist Church in 1756
to Rowan County North Carolina and formed a settlement called Jersey
Settlement. They had a grant of 100,000 acres of land, within the
Granville grant, for settling. Their preacher was John Gano. John Gano
was not at the time an ordained minister, because the Hopewell Church
thought he was too young and too inexperienced to be ordained by them.
It was not John Gano's intent to stay permanently in Jersey settlement.
He went back to Hopewell NJ, but came to visit Jersey Settlement several
times. He also asked for a missionary to go to Jersey settlement to work
with the people there. Later, John Gano converted and baptized General
This writer was interested in Jersey Church and the Jersey Settlement
because of her ancestors, Robert Barkley and his wife Leah, who lived in
Rowan County NC. Their property was part of or near Jersey Settlement.
The minutes of Jersey Baptist Church began in 1784. Earlier minutes were
lost. By then, church had been meeting for thirty years in Jersey. One of
the first entries of the minutes tells of Samuel Barkley and his wife
Mary (Davis) coming by experience. Mention is also made in the minutes of
Jersey Church of Samuel's sisters Mary and Margaret, who were married to
Benjamin Todd and John Hendericks. Samuel was the eldest son of Robert
Barkley and his wife Leah.
The following information was found in the book online A Colonial History
of Rowan County North Carolina by James Ervin, published by the
University of North Carolina, 1917 about the Baptist in Rowan County.
Information as to the Baptists in early Rowan is very meagre. When the
Rev. Hugh McAden passed through this section in 1755 he found a meeting
house in the Jersey Settlement. There was much confusion in the
congregation, many of whom were Baptists and several professing to be
Presbyterians. One cause of the trouble arose from the labors of a Mr.
Miller, a Baptist minister. With the aid of a Rev. Mr., Gano, Miller
established a Baptist Church in the Jersey Settlement.
The graveyard of Jersey Church contains many very old graves and markers.
Some of these stones have inscriptions that can be read. On others, the
inscriptions are not readable. There is not an inscription on a tombstone
that can be read, with the name of Robert Barkley or his wife Leah.
Jersey Baptist Church had a section of land they thought was for
expansion of their graveyard. When they began to attempt to use it, they
found that it was already full, and containing even older graves that
were unmarked. They did not know why the graves were unmarked. It might
have been that the graves had markers earlier that had deteriorated and
were removed. It might have been that the graves were not marked to
conceal the number of dead from the Indians, who would have been better
able to determine the number of living by knowing the number who had
died. The strength of the living by numbers was a security factor.
Whenever a new grave was to be dug and it was found that it had already
been used, by a bone or a button or a piece of cloth coming up, the
object was replaced and left further undisturbed.
Books have made several mentions of Jersey Settlement and the church.
Land was deeded for a church in the area, but it was for a Presbyterian
Church. Researchers were cautioned not to discount this as not being
Jersey Church, because it could very well have been and probably was. The
church was started more than one time. Although the present Jersey Church
personnel were not aware of it, other family records and other types of
records make mention of three distinct groups using the same building. It
is not understood if the three groups formed one congregation, or if
three distinct congregations used the same building. It is likely the
people were few, and that they might have met together.
One Barclay family paper, written by Margaret Barkley of Waco, Texas,
mentions a Quaker meeting from Manalapan New Jersey and that turned their
meeting in New Jersey into a Baptist congregation and migrated with their
religious leader John Gano to Rowan County NC. Margaret reported that
they met with the Jersey Church congregation. The Jersey Baptist church
personnel said that they knew nothing about any Quakers what so ever in
connection with their church. It is thought that Margaret of Waco, Texas,
went to Old Rowan County and did research. She provided a bibliography of
the books that she studied with her paper.
Margaret Barclay of Waco is not likely to have gotten this information
from nowhere. Contact with the Quakers produced no information of a
Quaker Meeting there, or the name Robert Barkley of Rowan County NC.
Persons Mentioned in the Will of Robert Barkley of Rowan County North
A landmark spoken of in the Barkley materials was Richard's Creek. The
persons mentioned in Robert's will were; Richard Todd, Joseph Todd,
Thomas Todd, John Hendrickson, Benjamin Todd, Peter Todd and Robert Todd.
Robert Barkley, a grandson, and Robert Todd, another grandson, were
chidden in 1886. They were mentioned as well as all of the sons and
daughters of Robert Barkley of Rowan County and his wife Leah. This will
may be read online.
Research Questions about Jersey Settlement and Jersey Church
This writer has not been to Old Rowan County herself to research the
Barkley property, the landmarks mentioned or Jersey Church. She is just
passing on information from others put together into one paper and placed
online. Several research questions have come to her mind. 1) How far was
the Jersey settlement from the Lake that was built on the Yadkin River,
and is part of Jersey settlement at the bottom of that lake? 2) How far
was this from the land of Squire Boone, identifiable on maps? 3) Did
Squire Boone attend a Quaker meeting in Rowan County, as he had been a
Quaker in Pennsylvania before coming to Rowan County North Carolina? If
yes, where. 4) Were Robert and Leah Barkley buried at Jersey Church
graveyard, or any of their children, such as son William who died after
1786 or son David, who is not accounted for? 5) Can the specific location
of the Barkley property be determined from the landmarks known, the
location of Jersey church and the town of Salisbury. 6) Can anything
further be learning about the Quaker group turned Baptist from Manalapan
New Jersey? 7) Who were the other early members of Jersey Settlement and
Jersey Church? 8) Can the Jersey Church or Baptist Convention shed any
further light on this very interesting history?
Excerpts for the writings of Margaret Barclay of Waco, 1964
The reader is referred to the Barkley Family paper, 1964, written by
Margaret Barclay of Waco, Texas. The story of Robert Barkley of Rowan
County, N. C. is taken from facts found in the "History of the Liberty
Baptist Association" by Elder Henry Sheets, and Lawson^Òs "History of
North Carolina," as well as the colonial records of Rowan County, N. C.
Robert Barclay of Rowan was born 1-9-1717/18 in Dublin Ireland. He came
to America and settled sometime before 1755, as in that year the Baptist
congregation of Manalapan, New Jersey, which had formerly been members of
the Quaker sect, went to North Carolina under the guidance of Rev. John
Gregory, and, with two other denominations, built a church which they
called the Jersey Church. The other denominations fell by the wayside and
the church became, and is today, Baptist. The American Revolution, two
earthquakes, and time have destroyed many of the graves there.
Deed book 23, page 14, 1-29-1814, states that Joseph Haden of Rowan
County let John Darr of Rowan have 183 acres on Richard^Òs Creek
adjoining Benjamin Todd, Thomas Adams, Caleb Campbell and George Fezor,
being part of a track originally owned by the deceased Robert Barclay,
which Walter and Robert Barclay let Thomas Durham have 5-18-1789. Vol.
17, Deed Book, page 327, dated 10-2-1797, shows that Robert and Walter
Barclay sold by deed made in Kentucky two tracts of land in Rowan County.
The Jersey Baptist Church is located on Jersey Church Road, a two mile
road just off the main NC highway. It is at one end of the road and the
school is at the other end. Jersey settlement was between Salisbury and
the later Lexington. Salisbury became the county seat of Old Rowan
County. Today, children in the area go to grade school at the school
there and by bus to Lexington for high school.
Map of North Carolina and Jersey Settlement now. Map furnished by Dennise
The current Jersey Church congregation is invited to contribute further
information about the Jersey Baptist Church from their book, The History
of Jersey Baptist Church of Rowan County North Carolina.
Teddy Barclay Pope, Ed. D.