I had the privilege to meet with Bowman Gray (IV) this morning (April 2nd) over coffee and hot chocolate. Bo and I discussed family matters a bit and then got down to business concerning the history of "the farm"... Brookberry Farm. The farm is located in western Forsyth County, and recently annexed into the city of Winston-Salem.
I am on a research mission to determine the location of a 1750's farm (508 acres), originally granted by the state of North Carolina to Samuel Stewart. Sam and his wife Lydia (Harrison) moved to what was then Rowan Co NC in the early to mid 1750s, roughly 1754. Sam and Lydia were neighbors of my ancestors, Robert and Sarah Patterson, in both Harrisonburg, Va (1740s and 50s) and also Sussex Co DE (1720s and 30s). Sam and Lydia died in the late 1760s and early 1770s, respectively, and I believe they are buried in a family cemetery on their old farm. I also believe that when my ancestors left Va in the late 1750s or 1760 perhaps, they would have lodged for a time at the Stewarts' home, on their way south to the Kings Mountain area along the NC/SC border.
The Great Wagon Road in those days would have traversed through the modern day Brookberry Farm or perhaps just a little to the north and west of it, but no more than a mile away at best. It is also my belief that old Sam Stewart's farm was part of the modern day Brookberry Farm.
Bo's grandfather (Bowman Gray Jr) was the one who grew the farm to its current size, some 800-900 acres. Jr's brother Gordon was actually the first to buy any of that land in the 1940s, but a year later was "called to Washington" and therefore sold the land to his brother, Bowman Jr. The rest is history.
In the next couple weeks, Bo plans to take me on a hiking expedition across the farm. There are strict rules regarding being on this land, and therefore Bo must escort any non-family member on the property. Furthermore, there are no plans to preserve any land on the farm, which is currently owned and managed by a development firm, under legal contract.
Go here for more information on Samuel and Lydia Harrison Stewart.
Another goal of mine concerning the Stewarts' farm is to research the Brookberry Farm owners back through history to their original owner(s) and therefore make the connection with the Stewarts, or at least find the proximity between Stewart's land, and the modern day Brookberry Farm.
More on this later...