This map was created using original land grants from the late 1700s. At that time, immediately following the American Revolution, North Carolina began selling off unsettled land in 50 acre increments. Land prices were set by the state at 50 shillings per acre (50 shillings would have been the price of a cow at the time) Purchasers would file a claim for land, which would then be officially surveyed. All of these grants were filed in the Wilkes County office, as Ashe was part of Wilkes until 1799.
This map was created to foster a better understanding of who some of Ashe County’s original landowners and settlers were. Keep in mind, that many of these land grants were filed by people who never lived in the county. Land speculators, like William Lenoir, Hilliard Rousseau, and Benjamin Cleveland bought thousands of acres of land that they then sold to later settlers for a profit. However, their markers on the map are still useful for establishing the first deeded owner of these properties. For example, the land on which modern day West Jefferson sits, was originally part of a grant purchased by Benjamin Cleveland, the hero of the Battle of King’s Mountain.
A note about the contents of the map: this map represents only a portion, less than half, of all grants filed for property in modern day Ashe County during the late 1700s. Many of the original surveys are vague, using trees and unnamed creek branches as reference points. For that reason, it would be impossible to identify exactly where the grant was located. The points included on this map are the ones that can be identified, with reasonable certainty, to fall within a short distance of where they are marked. Each marker contains a link to the original land grant, which can be used to see the original survey of the property. Orange markers indicate landowners who were listed as residents in the 1800 census of Ashe County. They likely lived on or near the land marked by the grant.