Return to Markham maps & Fish Dam Road

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Section 3: Stones Creek to Roxboro Road (US 501)

By David Southern



     John Cabe, son of Barnaby and brother of William, is buried near the Fish Dam Road




in the Cabelands section of Eno River State Park. He is supposed to have had nine beautiful daughters who married millers. His daughters, from the evidence of portraits and contemporary memory, were certainly beautiful; not all married millers, however. Sons-in-law who were mill-owners include: George Johnston, Moses McCown, Herbert Sims, Mann Patterson, and W. T. Shields. Eno calendar informant Marion Shields, who lives in an antebellum house on the Fish Dam Road (present Howe Street), is a descendant of Cabe through the Shields line. The stone cellar of Cabe’s Mill still stands, and the head race and tail race are evident on the south side of Eno River. A network of feeder roads and paths connected Cabe’s Mill, as well as Shield’s Alpha Woolen Mill downsteam, to Fish Dam Road. John Grant Rencher was a lawyer and land speculator. Henry Bunch, listed as a “mulatto” in census records, was comfortably fixed, literate, and influential, with a large grant in the area of present Croasdaile golf course. He was descended from a mixed-race family of English and Tuscarora in Bertie County and was married to a Cole.




Other Bunches in Orange County were Micajah and Jeremiah. The Nobel laureate and delegate to the United Nations, Ralph Bunche (1904-1971)




is a descendant of the North Carolina family of this name. Davis Gresham was a surveyor. William Mebane was a kinsman of the Mebane family of the Hawfields. John May’s grant included land now the site of Durham Regional Hospital.


Granville grants:

there are none associated with Fish Dam Road in this section


State of North Carolina grants:

John Cabe, 304 acres, 13 March 1780, on both sides of Eno River including his mill seat

Thomas Redding, 268 acres, 25 October 1782

John Copley, 260 acres, 25 October 1782, including his improvements

John Ruff, 200 acres, 22 October 1782, on Ellerby Creek adjoining Reed’s old line

John Grant Rencher, 75 acres, 17 April 1797, on waters of Ellerby Creek adjoining Henry

            Bunch “a Black Man” and Benj. Peeler”

Henry Bunch, 640 acres, 25 October 1782, on both sides of the north fork of Elliby’s

            Creek, bounded on the south by Merrits old fields

Davis Gresham, 196 acres, 16 July 1795, on Ellerby Creek

William Mebane, 385 acres, 9 November 1784, on Ellerby Creek including the

Improvements where John Vickers lives (Henry Bunch was one of the chair-

carriers for this survey; this land would include the present Duke Homestead site)

Riley Vickers, 153 ¾ acres, 21 November 1804, on Alibas [Ellerbee] Creek

John May, 400 acres, 13 March 1780, on waters of Ellerby Creek, including his



Orange County deeds:

? / ?? John Ruff to John Rhodes, 200 acres, 26 October 1782, £50, on waters of Ellibees


5 / 704 Davis Grisham [sic] to James Dollar, 196 acres, 1 February 1797, £20, on Ellebies


3 / 118 Henry Bunch to James Heiflin, 320 acres, 22 February 1794, the upper half of the

NC grant to Bunch, the lower half going to John Holt

5 / 746 John Vickers to Riley Vickers, 300 acres, 1 November 1791, £150, part of the NC

            grant to William Mebane

7 / 219 James Heflin to John Riley, 320 acres, 18 March 1798

35 / 220 Norwood Warren to Washington Duke, 130.3 acres, the old Vickers land

on Ellerby Creek and New Hope Road (present Duke Homestead Road)

33 / 466 Charles Carroll to Willis B. Dillard, 13 November 1844, includes part of the

            NC grant to John Copley with the Fish Dam Road as the north line

33 / 482 Willis B. Dillard to James Bennett, the same tract as above and including the

            Bennett Place site

39 / 182 Scarlett to Neal, a portion of the land of Thomas Redding

39 / 226 Harris Wilkerson to Albert Wilkerson (his son), 142 acres,17 March 1854, $1 &

"love and affection"; adjoining Harris Wilkerson, Thomas Proctor, Wesley

Carden, & al.
"BEGINNING on the Fish Dam Road on the north side where the line on the south side [is] corner to the road, thence a northwesterly course along a line of marked trees to a white [oak?] on the east side of the Raleigh Road, then north with the road to Thomas Proctor's corner on the west side of the road, then west with Thomas Proctor's line 22 chains 85 links to a pine (now a pine stump), thence south along Wesley Carden's and Harris Woods's line 45 chains to pointers where a gum stood, then east with John C. Lewis's line 26 chains 45 links to a pine, then north with said Lewis's line 8 chains 25 links to a white oak, then east with Lewis's line 11 chains 50 links to a stake near a black oak sapling, then north with Lewis's line 15 3/4 chains to the Fish Dam Road at the beginning."


Durham County deeds:

1 / 207 Albert and Indiana Wilkerson to W. Duke et al. [county commissioners], 138

acres, 15 November 1881, $1393.45

BEGINNING at a stake on the south side of Fish Dam Road, running thence south 15 chains 15 links to a stake, west 11 chains 50 links to a white oak, then south 8 chains 25 links to a pine, then west 26 chains 45 links to pointers formerly a gum, then north 45 chains to a pine, then east 22 chains 85 links to the Raleigh Road, then along the road southeastwardly to its intersection with the Fish Dam Road, then eastward with the Fish Dam Road to the first station.

3 / 111 Wesley Carden estate, 29 October 1884, A. M. Leathers, surveyor

BEGINNING at pointers on Fish Dam Road, running thence northwestwardly [northeastwardly?] with an old road or lane [possibly present Roxboro Road] to pointers on John Cole's line near the Chapel Hill Road [now Duke Homestead and Denfield roads] then east with Cole 23.66 chains to a black oak, then south 23.60 chains to the Fish Dam Road, then with said road southwestwardly 15.60 chains to the beginning.

18 / 419 Albert and Indiana Wilkerson to Beady Dossett, 3 acres, 1 December 1871, part

            of OC 39/226

1 / 511 Washington Duke to William Newton, the Duke homestead

100 / 186 Martha Allen to Duke University, 1930, the Duke homestead


Durham County plats:

? / ? The Shields land

22 / 93 The William T. Neal, Sr., farm, ca. 1950

? / ?? Eva Neal

5B / 187 The County Farm, 267.4 acres, February 1921

? / ?? Croasdaile Farm

5 / 114 Warren land adjacent the Washington Duke farm

8 / 192 Washington Duke farm


Neals have been on Neal Road, once a section of the old Hillsboro-Raleigh road, since shortly after the Mexican War. According to our informant, Fran Thompson, grand-daughter of W. T. Neal, Sr., there is Neal family tradition that the surrender, in April 1865, of General Johnston’s army to General Sherman was to have taken place on their farm. For a lack of enough cleared land to accommodate all the soldiers, this momentous event was moved to the adjacent Bennett Place. On this plat, drafted in the early 1950s, Fran Thompson’s homeplace is a prominent locator, as is McMannen Methodist Church and the Bennett Place, much reduced from its original acreage. Of particular note is the succession of parallel transportation corridors which are, south to north: the North Carolina Rail Road, old highway NC 10, old highway US 70, present US 70, and the Fish Dam Road.