Roper Family of Burke County, North Carolina Area


L. David Roper
6 March, 2002


Earliest Ropers in Burke County Area (Before 1815)


Virginia. South Carolina and Orange/Caswell County NC Prelude


See the appendix for a list of the data referred to here.


There were two David Ropers in New Kent County, VA in the early 1700s. One (b 1727/28) was the son of John and Mary and the older one (children b 1737 and 1739) was probably John's brother. I have found no David Roper records in New Kent County after 1739.


A David Roper is listed as a son in a 1759 Charles City County, VA will for John Roper (arrived there from overseas in 1690). Also, a David was in this county in 1780, 1782, 1787, 1800 and 1806. A Charles City Co., VA 1763 deed exists between two Davids in Orange County, NC. So it appears that a David Roper, possibly with a son David, moved from Charles City Co., VA to Orange County, and perhaps the younger David moved back to occupy the land in Charles City County. There were several David Ropers in both Charles City Co., VA and Orange Co., NC. It will be difficult to delineate among them.


Some references indicate that there were two David Ropers in Brunswick County, VA in 1773. However, I suspect that one or both of them may have been David Rosser, as that name is often mistaken for Roper by investigators of Brunswick County records. If one were the older David from New Kent County, VA (see above), he would have been at least sixty years old. Some reference indicate that a David was later in Greensville County, VA; Greensville was formed from Brunswick in 1780. This appears to be a mistake; it should be a Rosser.


The David Roper in Orange County, NC in 1755, when son David was born, and 1760 (Granville land grant) possibly is the younger David from New Kent County, VA (see above) or the older David from Charles City County, VA (see above). He was in northern Orange County, which became Caswell County in 1777. In 1779 he deeded his land to William Roper and possibly moved to Rutherford/Burke Counties (almost on Border; land grant in 1778 and land map in 1795). He possibly had sons David, Jr. and James with him in Rutherford/Burke Counties (all are on 1790 censuses; James‑Burke, others‑Rutherford). (David, Jr. married Sarah France in 1788 in Rutherford County.) In or before 1792 he possibly, at about age 65, moved back to Caswell County with wife Sarah, where son William deeded some land back to him. Possibly David, Jr. occupied the land on the 1795 map see above).


James Roper is on the 1777 Caswell County census and as a bondsman there (Ropper) for Jemina Ropper in 1779, on the 1785 Rutherford County tax list and on both Caswell County and Burke County 1790 censuses. He is on many land and court records in Burke County, but on none in Caswell County. Possibly James took father David back to Caswell County in 1790 and was recorded in both places in the census; while there he legalized his marriage to Mary O'Neill in 1792. He possibly moved back to Burke County by 1793 when his first land grant was recorded. Records indicate an older James Roper in Caswell County who was in the Revolutionary War; he was born in 1745, married a Greer and later married Mary Neal in 1778 and moved to Chester County, SC about 1793. I think that he was an uncle of the younger James.


Clarence W. Griffin's History of Old Tyron and Rutherford Counties North Carolina 1730‑1936 states (pp.2&4): Four great Indian trails, or trading routes, traversed the state. These trails were noted by explorers as early as 1710. One of these four trails started near Pickens, SC, passed a few miles to the east of Columbus, thence through Rutherfordton and a few miles to the west of Morganton, then turned northwest to the headwaters of Linville River, thence a few miles to the west of Boone, and crossed Iron Mountains toward Taylorsville, TN. A feeder trail branched off at Rutherfordton and followed a general easterly course toward Raleigh, NC, affording an east‑west connection between three of these great routes. ... Settlers from eastern counties of NC, and from SC, desiring less thickly populated neighborhoods, and new, fertile land, drifted into the county, and eventually assisted in settling TN, KY, and western NC counties. This section also received a large number of settlers from the Old Dominion, they coming principally from the central VA counties.


Earliest Ropers in Burke County Area (Before 1815)


Included herein are all Roper records that I have found from old Rowan and Tyron Counties and more recent Burke, Rutherford, Cleveland and Lincoln Counties of North Carolina.


The earliest evidence I have of a Roper in or near Burke County is:

Rowan County tax list for 1768 lists Meridith Roper.

John Oliphant's list (present Iredell and Catawba County area).

This implies that Meridith Roper was born before about 1750.

#710, Caleb Phifer, 300 acres on Mecklings Creek of Lyles Creek on east side his mill survey including Ropers Cabbin, joining Cowans. Entered 1 Sept. 1778.

Lyle Creek and Mclin Crook run together in old Lincoln County, now Catawba County near the city of Catawba. This area was once in old Burke County and was later ceded to Lincoln County. This cabin probably belonged to Meredith Roper (see above and below).

#1031, p.338, David Rooper, 100 acres on Rich Mountain a mile to east of branch into Jacobs fork and some Springs, for complement, 12 Nov. 1778. (Entry, but no grant was issued.) From Huggin's book.)


The North Carolina Gazette states: Jacob Fork rises in south Burke Co. and flows NE into Catawba Co. where it joins Henry River to form South Fork Catawba River. Named for pioneer settler Jacob Shuford.


A map of "The South Mountains Speculation Lands being 30080 acre" granted to James Greenlee, James Erwin and William Erwin" dated 9 December 1795, surveyed and mapped by J. S. Montgomery, Lenoir, NC shows an arc‑shaped tract of land inside the speculation area Just above Rutherford County that I estimate to be about 100 acres as belonging to David Roper. It lies at the extreme western head waters of Henrys River (Henry Fork River parallels Jacob Fork less than five miles to the north). Two creeks that cross the property begin at Hickory Knob at the NE property corner and at Probti's Knob SW of the property in Rutherford County (marked Icy Knob on 1987 Burke County map). Nearest marked tracts are Daniel Smith and Joshua Smith.

This David Rooper/Roper would be too old (b bef about 1760) to be the first David Roper shown in the Burke County US census records (1810) (b 1770‑1780); However, he could be the Rev. David Roper (b bef 1774) in the 1790 Rutherford County US census. Perhaps he was the father of the other Ropers in Burke County and Rutherford County (James, David, Jr. and Charles). Rich Mountain and Jacob Fork are in the southeast part of Burke County (called South Mountains in the 1980's) near the Rutherford County (on west) and Lincoln County (on east) borders, the area which many of the following records involve. The 1987 Burke County map shows Rich Mountain lying between the head waters of Jacobs Fork on the east and the head waters of Henry River on the west. The nearest roads to this land in 1989 are:

(1) Branstrom Orchard Street south off of Rt. 64 at Denton Chapel Methodist Church. It is about two miles up to Hickory Knob from the end of the road.

(2) Bethelem Creek Road south off of Enola Road near Enola community up to Bethelem Baptist Church. Hickory Knob is about 2.5 miles beyond the end of the road.

(3) The road up to the new resort development on Roper Hollow off of Rt. 64 south of Morgantown goes to a peak not far from Hickory Knob peak.


These two land records could be for the same tract of land. So David lived in southernmost Burke County at least by 1778. James Roper (see below) was twelve years old then, so this possibly was James' childhood home.


This is probably the David Roper in the Rutherford County 1782 and 1785 tax lists and the Rev. David Roper in the 1790 US census for Rutherford County (see below). A David Roper, Sr. also occurs in a 1777 tax list for Caswell County, one year before this land record. It seems likely that he moved from Caswell County to Burke/Rutherford County, since a David Roper does not occur in Caswell County records again until 1792 when William Roper deeded land to him and wife Sarah and many others followed that route.


The spelling of Rooper in the land record may be because David could not write (see below) and the writer spelled it as it sounded. Perhaps a mountain accent was the cause. Note that the map shows the name as Roper.


Phifer (p. 43) lists Roper as a common English name in Burke County.


Burke County genealogist Betsy Pittman states "While the Ropers intermarried with the Germans who were their neighbors, the early names of Roper children are not the typical German names of that time and place. James, David and Charles were names used by the Scotch‑Irish and English."


Phifer (p. 40) states: "After 1763 the number of migrants to the Burke area increased rapidly until the onset of the Revolution in 1776."


Betsy Pittman, Burke County genealogist, states: "Because you have determined that David Roper (possible father of James) was here in 1778, he was among the early Burke County inhabitants. Burke County was formed in 1777, but the land grant      office did not reopen until 1778. Many of those folks who were here by 1778 had been here for a period of time. They just couldn't gain title to their land because the land office had been closed since 1763, when Lord Granville died. Burke County lay in the Granville District."


No.1025 Rutherford Co. land grant No. 964. Charles Roper. 100 acres. Issued 16th Jan 1795. Warrant Co. Entry No. 49. Entered 28 Jul 177g. Book No. 83. Page No. 251. Location: On Crooked Run of French Broad River (error: should be First Broad River).

NC #49 David Miller Entry Officer of Claims for lands in the County of Rutherford to the Surveyor of said County. Greeting you are here­by Required as soon as may be to lay off and Survey for Charles Roper tract or parcel of land containing a hondrid acres in the Countey afore seed Lying on Both Sides of Croucked ron he Widors for kind all Inproviment the waters of furist Broad River for Compliment Observing the Dercetions of an act of Assembly in such case made and & provided for Runing out lands Two just and fair plans of such survey with a proper Certificate annexed to Each. You are to transmit with this Warrant to the Secretasys Office Without Delay. Given under my hand at office the first Day of Agist ano Domina 1792 David Miller

Charles Roper (map shows rectangular land with a streem crossing the lower left corner of it) N49 Surveyed for Charles Roper 100 Acres of Land in Rutherford County on Crooked Run of first Broad River begining at a Red Oak on the E Side of the Creek thence W 160 poles crossing the Creek to a hicory then S 100 poles to a Stake thence N 100 poles Crossing the Creek to the beginning.  1;2 of Dec 1794 by Me Tom Riggs. John Anderson, William Hanna CB


Revolutionary War record S30683 for David Roper: He enlisted 16 Sep 1776 while a resident of Orange Co., NC. He was born in Orange Co. in Oct 1755. At about age 25 (c1780) he moved to Rutherford Co. on Little Broad River near Gilbert Town (Rutherford/on) where he lived for 16 or 17 years; from thence he moved (c1796) to Garrard Co., Ky lived there 1 or 2 years; then he moved (c1798) to his farm in Pulaski Co., Ky where he "now lives." (illiterate)


An 18 Sep 1783 Rev. War pay voucher exists for David Roper for Morgan District (includes Burke & Rutherford Counties). No. 2352 11 pounds & 5 shillings

Little Broad River is just below Burke County. This is probably the David Roper, Jr. who married Sarah France (see below) in 1788 and who was in the 1790 Rutherford County census (see below). Therefore, I conclude that the Burke County Ropers are of English ancestry.

The 1782 tax list for Rutherford County lists among 500 taxables in Captain Whitesides Company:

David Roper 150 acres, 2 horses, 2 cattle, 40 pounds assessment


Minutes of Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions for Rutherford Co.: Jul 1782: John Smith, Edwd. Callahan, Aaron Deveny, Robert Cole, John Jones. Saml. Carpenter, Christopher Walbert, Felix Walker, James Wilson, John Anderson, John McAdams, John Lattimore, Daniel Lattimore, Daniel Lacefield, and David Roper be a Jury to lay off road from Rutherford Court House the nighest and best way to John Smith's Mills on First Broad River and from thence to Lincoln line leading towards Sufford's ford on the South appear before William Gilbert, Esq. and qualify, and report their proceedings at next Court.


In Rutherford County Minutes of Court for January 1783: Whereas, Summonses having issued to the Sheriff to notify the following persons to appear and answer an Inquisition of treason, felony and forfiture found against them by the Grand Jury. To wits: (list of 150 names including Charles Roper) And now being Solemnly called Show cause why their property should not be Confiscated, failed to appear to Show any Cause. It is therefore considered by the Court that their property be ADJUDGED forfited.


On 4 Aug 1784 Meredeth Roper was a witness for a Lincoln County deed from Abraham Barrier & wife Elisabeth (Rowan Co.) to Balsor Sigman (Lincoln Co.) for 320 acres on a branch of Lyles Creek.


On 4 Aug 1784 Merideth Roper was a witness for a Lincoln County deed from Abraham Barrier & wife Elisabeth (Rowan Co.) to George Deal (Lincoln Co.) for 270 acres on a branch of Lyles Creek.

Therefore, the Ropers Cabbin mentioned above (1778) on Lylses Creek was probably Meredith Roper’s. Lincoln County is on the east border of Burke County.

The 1785 tax list for Rutherford County shows David Roper and | James Roper. No land ownership was indicated.


Minutes of Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions for Rutherford Co.: | Oct 1785: Ord. that William Willis, ..., David Roper, William | Cestison?, John Walbert, ...Booth, Benjamin Lacefield, Christopher (rest is torn)


James Roper was a chain carrier for a land survey on Brier Creek on 12 Jan 1786. It was for land grant #1108 for John Walbert.


Brier Creek a northern tributary of Little Broad River in NW Cleveland County and NE Rutherford County, which area was in Rutherford County in 1786 and is just below the Burke County border less than five miles south of David Roper's land on the head waters of Henry River discribed above. James possibly traveled down from Hickory Knob to help with the survey. Just to the east of Brier Creek is Wards Creek where a map shows land of John Walbert in 1764‑86. The next two creeks to the west are Stoney Run and Crooked Run where David Roper and Charles Roper had land in 1779 and 1795 (see above). The latter David is probably a son of the former David.

Phifer (p. 9) states: "In 1787 all of Burke lying south of the South Mountains on the first Little Broad River was annexed to Rutherford County . . . "


Clarence W. Griffin's History of Old Tyron and Rutherford Counties North Carolina 1730‑1936 states (p.113): An act for establishing the division lines between Rutherford and Burke Counties was passed at this (1788) session. "Whereas, the division line between the counties of Burke and Rutherford hath not yet been established, in consequence of which land west of the Appalachian Mountains have been indiscriminately entered in the respective counties, contrary to the intent and meaning of an act of the Assembly in that case made and provided: ... that the line as laid out, ... by Joseph McDowell, Jr., in the year 1785, ... which line is hereby established to be the dividing line between the counties of Rutherford and Burke. "

So one should expect some confusion about actual county jurisdiction for records of persons who lived around that border, which the Ropers did.

The following marriage bond record exists for Rutherford County: Know all men by these presents that we David Roper Junr, Charles Rooper and James Rooper all of the County of Rutherford & State of North Carolina are held & firmly bound unto his Excellency the governor for the time being & Successors in office in the Sum of five hundred pownds Sterling to which payment will & truely to be Made we bind our selves our & Each of our Heirs Exn & admin Jointly & Severally firmly by these presents Sealed With our Seales & Dated this 25 Day of Feb. 1788‑The condition of the above obligation is such that whereas the above bounder David Roper Junr hath the Day of the Date have obtained a Marriage License to be Celebrated between him & Sarah France. Now if it Shall here after appear that there is no Lawful Course to obstruct Said Marriage then this obligation to be Void otherwise to be & Remain in full force & Virtue in Law.

Given under our hands & Seales the Day above written.


Shad Hogan                                                                                                                                                                                                                        his mark    David X Rooper (seal)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              his mark                                                                   Charles X Rooper (seal)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              his mark                                                                       James X Roper (seal)

(Note the X that indicates that a person cannot write his own name.) David's last name is written Rooper once and Roper twice, James' and Charles' last name is given as Rooper twice. Surely David, Jr. and Sarah were at least 15 years of age at marriage, so they would have been born before 1773. I think that he is the Revolutionary War David mentioned above who was born in 1755 in Caswell County and moved to Rutherford County c1779. This record implies that there was a David Roper, Sr. likely the Rooper/Roper mentioned in the land records above. Possibly David, Charles and James were sons of David Roper, Sr. However, I shall later conclude that Charles is probably a son of Meredith Roper.

Pittman states "At this time in our history 'Jr.' usually was the nephew of 'Sr.', rather than the son. Commonly, 'Jr.', at that time, indicated 'the younger man of the same name in the neighborhood'."

It is possible that Meredith Roper is the father of David, Jr., Charles and/or James, but the fact that David Roper's land was much nearer James' land than was Meredith's makes this seem improbable for these two.

The following marriage records exist for Rutherford County:

1789: Martha Roper to John Higdon bm Samuel Crabtree & R. Lewis

17 Sep 1789: Nancy Roper to Jesse McGlamry bm William Queen & Iac Whiteside


Lee Ann Propst (5639 Catherine Ave., LaGrange, IL 60525) in Burke County Genealogical Society Journal, Vol. 2, No. 3, Oct 1984, p.47 indicates that John Higdon married Martha Roper prior to 1800.

John Higdon sold land to James Roper in 1802 (see below). So it appears likely that Martha is James' sister, and also perhaps Nancy.

The 1790 US census for Burke County shows James Roper at greater than 16 years with two females. They had no slaves. He was the only Roper in Burke County. The area was Company 13 in south and Southeastern Burke County (Salem, South Mountains, George Hildebran area).

Thus the birth date for James is before 1774.

The 1790 US census for Rutherford County lists in Ninth Company:

Rev. David Roper M: 1(16 up) 1(0‑16); F.: 5

Charles Roper M: 1(16 up) 2(0‑16); F: 5

Merideth Roper M: 3(16 up) 1(0‑16); F.: 4

David Roper, Jr. M: 1(16‑up) 1(0‑16); F.: 1

Ninth Company was just below the Burke County border. There were 1200 heads of family in Rutherford County.

Thus the birth dates are:

David, Rev.   (Bef 1774)      M:                               1(1774‑1790); F.: 5

Charles          (Bef 1774)      M:                               2(1774‑1790); F.: 5

Meredith        (Bef 1774)      M:       2(Bef 1774)    1(1774‑1790);            F: 4

David, Jr.       (Bef 1774)      M:                               1(1774‑1790);            F: 1


Perhaps the Bethelem Baptist Church below David's property (see above) was where David served as minister. However, Betsy Pittman has suggested that "Rev." may refer to service in the Revolutionary War. I do not think that this is probable.

A Meriday Roper was a chain carrier for a Granville land grant survey for David Roper in Orange Co. in 1760.

A Meredith Roper is listed as a son of Benjamin Roper, Sr. in Pickens County, SC in A Collection of Upper South Carolina Genealogical and Family Records, Vol.II by James E. Wooley. Benjamin died 8 Aug 1831. (Pickers is just south of Rutherford County, NC.) No David Roper is listed as a son of Benjamin. No other mention of Meredith is made in this three volume set.


Lois York Hamilton (3500 Sycamore Drive, Boise, ID 83703) states: Richard York of 1790 ~ 1800 Pendleton District SC named a son Meredith Roper York, a name that was passed down through several generations. ... Meredith Roper married Lucinda Keith d/o Cornelius Keith from Stokes/Surry Co NC area. Ref: 1800 Pendleton Diet SC census. Yorks had much land in the South Mountains of Burke Co. near where the Ropers had land.

Perhaps Benjamin Roper, Sr., Meriday/Meredith Roper and Rev. David Roper are brothers.

Meriday Roper is a head of family (age 45 up) with a wife (45 up) and a female (16‑26) in the 1800 census for Pendleton District (now Pickens County), SC.

Perhaps this is the Merideth Roper in the 1790' Rutherford County US census and he moved to be near his brother Benjamin after brother Rev. David moved back to Caswell County.

A Meredith Roper is in the 1830 census for Pickens County, SC

Perhaps he is a son of the Rutherford County Meredith since no Meredith exists in the Pendleton censuses for 1810 or 1820.


It appears probable that Meredith Roper moved to Lincoln County, NC from Orange Co. (Meriday) before 1768, then to Rutherford County, NC before 1790 and then possibly moved to SC (Meriday) before 1800.


Several persons with last name Merredeth or Meredith married persons with last name Roper in Charles City Co., VA and Powhatan Co., VA during the early 1700s, so that is probably the origin of this first name.

The only James Roper marriage record in North Carolina earlier than 1800 that I could find is to Mary ONeill in Caswell County at the north‑central border. The date is 27 Mar 1792.


Many O'Neils (O'Neill, O'Neal, Neal, Neil, Neill, Nail, Naile) occur in the early census records in southern Burke County and in Phifer's book.


Pittman states "I noticed many Roper marriage bonds in Caswell County; ... Many people came to this area from the Orange County area." (Caswell adjoins Orange on the north and was formed from Orange in 1777. )


A James Roper exists in the Caswell County 1790 US census.

It is possible that James Roper and Mary accompanied his father Rev. David back to Caswell County in 1790, was recorded in both counties' censuses and made their marriage legal while there and then returned to Burke County before 1793.

Bulletin of Genealogical Society of Old Tryon County 1988: p.23: 1792 petition of the citizens of the Eastern and lower end of Rutherford Co. to allow a separate place of election other than the Courthouse because it is 25 to 35 miles from the majority that…

signed: ...David Roper in a portion of the District of Capt. Jas. Wilson …David Roper River …


The following land grant appears for James Roper in 1793:

State of North Carolina No. 395

Thomas Smith Entering Officer of Claims for lands in the County of Burke to the surveyors of s'd County greeting you are herby required as may be two lay off and survey for James Roper on pratt or parcel of land Containing Fifty Acres lying in your County bounded as followeth.

Lying on a creek Called Mountain Creek the waters of Jacobs River of the south forke including the improvement of James Roperts.

Entered Aprile 25 Day 1793

Observing the directions of the act of Assembly in such Case made and provided for Runing out lands two just and fair plans of such survey with a proper Certificate Annexed to Each together with this

warrant you are to transmit to the secretarys office with out Delay.

Given under My Hand at office this 25th day of July 1793

Thomas Smith E. S. (signed)

(second page:)

Scale 50 pots to an Inch. (Map is here. It shows Mountain Creek winding south on the east side of the property.)

State of North Carolina Burke County

By virtue of the within warrant No. 395 dated April 25th 1793 I have surveyed fifty acres of Land for James Ropper lying on Mountain Creek ~ the waters of Jacobs River Bounded as followeth Viz.

Begining at a pine Tree on the North side of the Creek and Runs No. forty degrees East one hundred and twenty six pots to two small Black Oaks. Then South fifty Degrees East Sixty four pots xing The Creek to a Stake near a small branch. Then South forty Degrees West one hundred and twenty six pots to a Stake. Then No. fifty Degrees West xing the Creek to the Begining. Surveyed Feb 10th, 1794.

John Brown (CC)                                          by me

John Smith (CC)                                           Robert Logan C.S. (signed)

Note that CC indicates the name of the chain carriers for the surveyor. If "James Roperts" means "James Roper", then James already had been on the land for some time and had already made some "improvements. " Perhaps he had originally settled on and thereby "claimed" this land before returning to Caswell County in 1790 with his father Rev. David and then filed a legal claim ater returning to Burke County. See below for a description of the location of this land.


I think the James in Burke and Caswell Counties are the same person. I think that Rev. David Roper brought his family, including sons James and David, Jr. to northern Rutherford County on or before 1778, and that James and his probable father Rev. David went back to Caswell County from Burke/Rutherford in 1790 and that James returned to Burke in 1792/3. There was an older James in Orange/Caswell County who served in the Revolutionary War, had a brother George who also served, and moved to Chester County, SC in 1779. This older James was probably a brother of Rev. David.


The following Rutherford County deeds exist:

Grantee                       Grantors                     Book/Page      Date

Roper, David             William Goings           J‑L:131            1794

Roper, David             State of NC (grant)     M‑Q:206         1796

Martin, Jonas              David Roper                M‑Q:229         1796

A 1764‑86 map shows William Going (McGowan) and John Walbert land on Wards Creek, a northern tributary of Little Broad River east of Briar Creek in Cleveland County just below Burke County.

The following marriage records exist for Rutherford County:

23 Oct 1794: Elizabeth Roper to Thomas Boyd bm John Keye & Samuel Carpente

18 Sep 1795: Sary Roper to Robert Boyd bm Jesse McGlamry & Samuel Carpenter

These women were probably sisters, or cousins, of James Roper.

In the 1795‑1798 Minutes of the Court of Pleas of Quarter Sessions (January and July Sessions, 1796) for Burke County, James Roper was involved in laying "off a road from John Stillwells at the mouth of the Laurel Fork of the right fork of the So fork of the Catauba ... to where the road begins already laid of in Lincoln near the widdow Orrs that is to be cut from the Lincoln line to Rings Mountain."


The January Session 1796 also has James Roper witnessing a deed on 27 January 1795 for 50 acres from Solomon Right to Samuel Brown.


No. 1118. Land grant No. 974 Rutherford Co. to David Roper for 200 acres, Issued 3 Dec 1795. Entry No. 765. Entered 18 Jan 1795 Book No. 89, Page No. 264. Location: On waters of Crooked Run. State of NC ? County this day personally appeared before me one of the justices of said County Samuel Carpenter and made oath in ? form of law that he paid to David Miller Entry taker for the County of Rutherford three pounds ten shillings and eight pence for David Roper being the purchase money of two Hundred Acres of Land in said County. Sworn to and subscribed this day of Nov 1795. Nathl. Jones, Samuel Carpenter

The 16th of Jan 1795 by David Roper by the hands of Samuel Carpenter three pound ten and eight pence wich is the purchis mony and secretaris and my are fur and full for Two hundred acres of Land

Entered by me & pay ? by me. David Miller

??????? David Miller Entry officer of claims for lands in the County of Rutherford to the surveyer of said County Greeting you are hereby directed & Required as soon as may be to lay off & survey for

David Roper a tract or parcel of land containing of two hondrid acres in the County ???? Lying niear or Joyining Judge McCayes and David Millers Land on the waters of Crocked Run and Stoney Run including his one Inproviment for Compliment.

Observing the directions of the act of Assembly in such case made & provided for Runing out lands two Just & fair plans of such survey with a proper Certificate annexed to Each. You are to transmit with this Warrant to the Sec. Office the Seckont day of Agist anno Domni 1795. David Miller Et. David Roper (Map shows irregular polygon with a creek crossing the lower left corner and two branches of a creek entering the top and terminating within the land.) N 765 Surveyed for David Roper Two hundred Acres of Land in Rutherford County on the waters of Crooked Run and Stoney Run Begining at a Red Oak In or Near McCoys Line thence South fifty West one hundred and Eighty poles to a white oak thence South fifty nine East one hundred and Six poles to a black oak thence North seventy two East one hundred and Ninety four poles to a black oak thence North twenty five East thirty four poles to a post? oak thence North twenty three West one hundred and thirty two poles to a Stake thence South Sixty one West one hundred poles to the Begining. The 12 of Sept 1795 by Me ? Riggs. Jacob Goodman, John Pruit CB


On 21 Oct 1795 Joseph Roper witnessed a Rutherford County will of Thomas Boyd involving land on Grassy Branch and land on long branch of Knob Creek on First Broad River.

First Broad River is the same as Little Broad River. Knob Creek is the next creek east of Crooked Run. Joseph Roper was probably a brother of James or a son of Meredith. Since Meriday, Charles and Joseph Roper all occur in the 1800 Pendleton District, SC US census, it appears probable that Charles is Meriday/Meredith's son and Joseph is either Meredith's or Charles' son.


The James Roper deed witnessing is also shown in Huggins' Burke County. North Carolina Records, Vol. IV. In this volume also exists the following in a tax list:

1796, Capt. Benjamin Brittain's Co. (incomplete) (Acreage) Robert Morris,199,48;William Tate,42,232;William Cathcart,182,960; James Kad(?),100;William Jones, 415;Samuel Brown;John Martin;David Ramsey;Nichlas Burns;... Southerland;William Southerland;Conrad Hiltebrand;John Kell;Zacharias Downs, Sr.;William Morrow;Shadrack Sanders;Thomas Kell, Jr.;Thomas Kell, Sr.;Joseph England, Sr.; Isaac Thomson;Fellis Wild;Samuel Brittain;John Stillwell;Henry Hill,290;Adam Smith,300;Richard Gibbs,100;James Ropper, 50; David Bear, 213 ;John Hughes, 820.

Note that James' last name is spelled differently this time, and that he already had 50 acres of land.

The North Carolina Room of the Burke County Public Library has a list of the persons buried in the old cemeteries of Burke County. The two oldest Ropers listed, and the only ones born in the

1700s, are:

Mary Roper b 25 Aug 1783 d 30 Mar 1865 Salem Methodist Church

John Roper b 6 Sep 1797 d 10 Jan 1868 Salem Methodist Church

No information has been found concerning their birth place.

Burke Co. land grant No. 361 to George Sealey: Lying on Mountain Creeke below James Roper Joining my own Line including both sides of the Creek and Crossing Jacobs Fork from thence to my own Line for Complement. Entered 25th day of January 1797.


The 1800 Us census lists James Roper as the only Roper in Burke County:

The males (age) were: 4(0‑10) 1(30‑40)

The females were: 2(0‑10) 1(10‑20) 1(30‑40)

He had no slaves.

Thus the birth dates are: James (1760‑1770) WIFE (1760‑1770)

                     M: 4(1790‑1800); F: 1(1780‑1790) 2(1790‑1800)

The John Roper mentioned above could be a son of James, but later we will assign him to be a son of David Roper, Jr.


No Ropers are listed in the Rutherford County 1800 US census. It appears that, of the four Ropers in the 1790 Rutherford County US census, Rev. David moved back north to Caswell County in 1790, David, Jr. moved to Kentucky in 1795, and Meredith/Meriday and Charles moved to Pendleton District, SC before 1800. Both Meriday and Charles are in the 1800 Pendleton District US census but were not there for the 1790 census.


The Burke County Minutes of the Court of Pleas of Quarter Sessions for 1799‑1803 contains:

January Session 1802:

John Higdon to James Roper for 90 acres of land, dated the 1st day of December 1801, proved in court by Joseph Hawkins.

April Session 1803:

William Smith to James Roper for 50 acres of land, dated the 16th day of April 1803, proved in court by Joseph Hawkins.

A Lawson Hawkins occurs in James' estate papers (see below); perhaps this Joseph Hawkins was a brother‑in‑law of James.


The Burke County Minutes of the Court of Pleas of Quarter Sessions for 1799‑1803 indicates that James Roper served on juries in April 1800, July 1803 and October 1803, along with John Greenlee, Thomas Higdon, George Sigmon and others.


The following land grant appears for James Roper in 1801:

           No. 3417

County Burke            Name Roper. James              Acres 50‑                        

Grant No. 3262          Issued 10 December 1803     Entry No. 4153               

Entered 28 April 1801   Book No. 117   Page No. 322

Location on Mountain Creek

           North Carolina

                                                                                                            Comptroller's Office Dec 14 1803

It appears from a Receipt of the Treasurer lodged in this Office, that James Roper has paid the Purchase Money for an Entry of Land of Fifty Acres in the County of Burke which Entry is No. 4153.

                                                                                                J. Craven, Compt. (signed)

(second page:) State of North Carolina N4153 Thomas Smith Entry officer of Claim for Land in the County of Burke to the surveyor of said County. Greeting you are hereby required to soon as may be to lay off and survey for James Roper one tract or parcel of Land Containing Fifty Acres Lying in your County Bounded as followeth

Joining to My own tract on both sides of Mountain Creek above Me Entered 2th day of Aprile 1801 Observing the directions of the Act of Assembly in just Case Made and provides for Runing out Land two Just and fair plans of such survey with a proper Certificate Annexed to Each to gather with this warrant you are to transmit to the secretarys office with out delay.

Given under My Hand at office this 2th day of July 1801

Thomas Smith E. T. (signed)

(third page:)

Scale 50 poles to an Inch. Surveyed May 12 1803 (map is here)

Plate No. Carolina Burke County.

By virtue of the warrant hereunto annexed No. 4153‑ Entered April 28 1801. I have surveyed fifty acres of Land for James Roper lying on mountain Creek. Begining on a pine fore said Roper Corner and Run.South fifty Degrees East sixty pots to a stake in a field. Then south forty Degrees West Eighty pots to a white Oak in the Bottom. Then No. fifty Degrees W. Eighty pots to a Spanish Oak. Then No. forty East one hundred and sixty pots to a stake. Then South fifty East twenty pots to a stake. Then to the begining.

John Moyser (CC)                                        by me

Isaac Brown (CC)                                         Robert Logan C.S. (signed)

Note that CC indicates the name of the chain carriers for the surveyor.

The North Carolina Gazette states: Mountain Creek rises in north Rutherford Co. and follows south into Broad River. Fort McFadden was on this creek, near present site of Rutherfordton, in the mid 18th century.

This creek is in central Rutherford County, too far from the Burke County border for the land to be confused as to its county location. I think "Mountain creek" refers here to what later became known as Roper Mill Creek (see below in Samuel Roper grants), which is a branch of Henry Fork River which is a fork of the South Fork of the Catawba River. This land is near Walkers Chapel Baptist Church about nine miles NE of the David Roper land described above. See below for a     detailed description of the location of this


The following Rutherford County deeds exist:

Grantee                       Grantors                      Book/Pag        Date

Goodman, Jacob         Charles Roper           15‑17:454        1802

Roper, Charles          State of NC (grant)     22‑23:475        1806

William Lucas             David Roper              22‑23:565        1806

So, Charles Roper obtained some more land after his land had been confiscated in 1783 because he was a Loyalist (see above). However, no Charles is in the North Carolina 1800 census.

A Charles Roper appears in the Pendleton District, SC 1800 census (b bef 1755) with 3 other males and 7 females. (Area of Pickens County now. This borders Rutherford County, NC on the south.) There were two Roper families there for the 1790 census and ten Roper families for the 1800 census. A Charles Roper also appears there for the 1820 (b bef 1775), 1840 and 1850 censuses.

It appears that Charles moved from Rutherford County to Pendleton District, SC before 1800 and then moved back to Rutherford County and disposed of some land, obtained a land grant and then sold it.

Burke Co. deed Apr 1806 William Sellars to David Roper for 98 acres dated 10 Aug 1806. Proved by Moses Wilkinson.


A Charles Roper appears in the 1810 US census for Macon County, NC.

Perhaps Charles moved from Pendleton District, SC to Macon County, NC before 1810 and then back to Pendleton District before 1820.

The Burke County Tax List for 1805 shows James Ropier having 240 acres. (misspelled name) 1 white pole (i.e. age 21‑50)

The 1815 Tax List also shows 240 acres as follows:

James Roper 3 tracts of land lying on the South fork  Joining Each other of

                                          Land                                                          Valuation                                          White Pole                                              

                                          90                                                              $200

                                          100                                                            200

                                          50                                                              100

                                          240                                                            $500

All of this land is accounted for in the documents described above: He had 50 acres in 1796, bought 90 acres in 1802, bought 50 acres in 1803 and had a land grant for 50 acres in 1801‑3. "South fork" either refers to the many tributaries that flow into the Catawba River from the south or to what became known as the Roper Mill Creek (see 1829 land grant for Samuel Roper below) that flows from the south into Henry Fork River which itself flows from the southeast into the Catawba River. An entry for white pole (age 21‑50) for 1805 puts James Roper's birth date as 1755‑1774 and no entry for white pole for 1815 puts his birth date as before 1765.

This land lies next to River Road in the South Mountains about one mile west of the turnoff to Walkers Chapel Baptist Church; it now (1989) belongs to Frank Huffman. The old earth‑rock mill dam is still very obvious, although it was washed out in the 1916 flood.

No Ropers are in the Rutherford County US census for 1810.

The US 1810 census for Burke County lists:                                                                          Page

James Roper:                                                                                                                         104

Males:             3(0‑10)            1(10‑20)          2(20‑30)          1(40 up)

Females:          1(0‑10)            2(10‑20)          1(20‑30)          1(30‑40)                         (no slaves)

David Roper:                                                                                                                                          126

Males:             2(0‑10)            4(10‑20)          1(30‑40)

Females:          3(0‑10)            1(10‑20)          1(30‑40)                                 (no slaves)

Both are in what is now the Lower Fork township.

Thus the birth dates are:

James (bef 1770) WIFE (1770‑1780)

   M: 2(1780‑1790) 1(1790‑1800) 3(1800‑1810)

   F: 1(1780‑1790) 2(1790‑1800) 1(1800‑1810)

Combining this with the 1800 census data above puts James' wife's birth year near 1770. The two older males (b 1780‑1790) do not correspond to any of James' children in the 1800 census; perhaps they were brothers of James or his wife.

David: (1770‑1780) WIFE (1770‑1780) M: 4(1790‑1800) 2(1800‑1810)

    F: 1(1790‑1800) 3(1800‑1810)


Thus, David (b 1770‑1780) was younger than James and he had no children earlier than 1790. This is consistent with the marriage in Rutherford County in 1788 given above of David Rooper, Jr. and Sarah France, which was witnessed by Charles Rooper and James Rooper; however, I think that he is a younger David. He is too young to be the David Rooper mentioned in the 1778 land record at Jacob Fork (see above) and too young to be the Revolutionary War David (born 1755) who moved to Kentucky c1795. I think he is a son of the Revolutionary War David, who I think is the David, Jr. in the 1790 Rutherford County US census. For now I assume that the older Rev. David Roper is the father of David, Jr. and James. The John Roper (b 6 sep 1797) in the cemetery record above could be a son of either James or David, Jr.; I shall later assign him to David, Jr..

My best guess now for the family structure is:

David Roper' Sr. (Rev.)

(b Bef 1774)                                                    David Roper. Jr.                                                                         6 males

                                                         (b 1755)                                                                       4 females

                                                         (m 25 Feb 1788)

                                                             Sarah France

                                                             (b c1773)

                                                                        James Roper                                                                         4 males

                                                                       (b 1760‑1770)                                                                       4 females

                                                                       (m 27 Mar 1792)

                                                                          Mary O'Neill

                                                                          (b c1770)

                                                                       William Roper

                                                                       (m 31 Aug 1781)

                                                                          Keziah Yates

                                                                       Martha Roper             (These women that follow could

                                                                       (m 1789)                      be Meredith's children.)

                                                                       John Higdon

                                                                    Nancy Roper

                                                                    (m 17 Sep 1789)

                                                                       Jesse McGlamry

                                                                    Elizabeth Roper

                                                                    (m 23 Oct 1794)

                                                                       Thomas Boyd

                                                                    Sary Roper

                                                                    (m 18 Sep 1795)

                                                                       Robert Boyd


Meredith Roper                                               Charles Roper  2 males

                                                                    (b Bef 1774)                                                                    4 females

                                                 Joseph Roper


It appears that the Ropers came into Burke County from the south through Rutherford County and Lincoln County (the area that later became Rutherford County and Cleveland County) and Pickens County, SC just below Rutherford County and before that from Caswell County in the north.



David Ropers in Virginia to 1815


1727    New Kent County                   b 8 Mar s/o Jno. &Mary

1737    New Kent County                  Benju. b 25 Apr s/o David & Elizabeth

1739    New Kent County                   Frances b 5 Mar d/o David & Elizt.

1773    Brunswick County                  inhabitants, listed twice

1759    Charles City County               8 Nov. John Roper inventory,

                                                           exec. Jean/Jane Roper, David Roper and Charles Roper.

Index of Revolutionary War Pension Records (KY & VA)

1780    Charles City County               signed petition

1782    Brunswick County                  taxpayers list

1782    Charles City County               taxpayers list

1783    Brunswick County                  list of surveyors

1783    Greensville County                 will

1787    Charles City County               taxpayers list

1787    Brunswick County                  taxpayers list

1787    Charles City County               census

1797    Charles City County               6 Mar William Hulett m Lucy Roper,

                                                            David Roper consents for "my ward".

1800   Charles City County               tax list

1808   Charles City County               15 Mar, will, children: John, William

                                                           Ann Waddill, Susy Heath, Rebecca, George

                                                           Edward and David; grandchildren:

                                                           David Smith and Edward Phillips; proved 21 Ju1 1808

1814   Henrico County                      2 Feb m Mary Miller


David Ropers in North Carolina to 1816


1755   Orange County                        Oct b; moved to Rutherford Co. about 1779;

                                                           moved to Garrard Co., KY about 1795;

                                                           moved to Pulaski Co., KY about 1797;

                                                           enlisted for Rev. War 16 Sep 1776

1757   Orange County                        appointed overseer of road

1760   Orange County                        Granville land grant

1771   Orange County                        signed petition

1776   Orange County                        freeholder

1776   Orange County                        16 Sep enlisted for Rev. War

1777   Caswell County                       tax list, David, Sr.

1777   Caswell County                       tax list, David, Jr.

1778   Burke County                         land grant entry

1779   Caswell County                       20 Jun William Roper,

                                                           Granville grant land from David on Rattlesnake Creek

1780   Orange County                        moved to Rutherford County

Index of NC Rev. War Pension Applicants

1782    Rutherford County                  tax list, 150 acres

1783    Morgan District                       16 Sep allowed a public claim for Rev. War

1785    Rutherford County                  tax list, no land

1788    Rutherford County                  25 Feb Rooper X m Sarah France,

                                                            bm Charles Rooper x & James Rooper/Roper x

1790    Rutherford County                  census, Rev. David (b bef 1774, +1M&5F),

                                                            David, Jr. (b bef 1774, +lM&lF)

1792    Caswell County                       25 Sep William Roper,

                                                           land on Rattlesnake Creek to parents

                                                            David & Sarah "for Love Goodwill & Effection"

1794    Rutherford County                  deed from William Going

1795    Burke County                         tract on land map of south Burke

1796    Rutherford County                  land grant & deed to Jonas Martin

1795/6 Rutherford County                  moved to Garrard County, KY; then to

                                                            Pulaski County, KY one or two years later

1800    Wilkes County                        census

1801    Caswell County                       13 Jul m Nancy Lewis

1801    Caswell County                       3 Feb received part of estate of Saml. Paul

1806    Rutherford County                  deed to William Lucas

1810    Burke County                         census, b 1770‑1780

1815    Burke County                         tax list, b 1765‑1794

1816    Burke County                         23 Jan m Mary Becknel, bondsman Solomon Roper


David Ropers in South Carolina to 1815


1800    Edgefield County                    census


James Ropers in Virginia North Carolina and South Carolina

James Ropers in Virginia to 1815


1761    Dinwiddie County                   land patent for 44 acres 11 Jul

                                                            on the north side of the Nottoway River

1767    Brunswick County                  estate administrated

1793    Cumberland County                26 Jan m Moley Sims,

                                                            Signers: James Roper & Henry Smith

1794    Cumberland County                bondsman for marriage of Richard Harris and Judith Sims

1800    Cumberland County                tax list


James Ropers in North Carolina to 1815


1730    DAR list of Rev. War soldiers: b c1730 d 10/?/1786 m Mary Peterson

1745    Caswell County                                         Jun b, d 18 Nov 1835; m 1778 Mary Neel/Neal

                                                                                                           (b 22 Apr 1766, Faquier Co., VA);

                                                                                                           moved to Chester Co., SC about 1793;

                                                                                                           moved to Logan (Simpson) Co., KY about 1799

                                                                                                           He and brother George served in Rev. War.

1766    Orange County(?)                                      born

1777    Caswell County                                         census

1777    Roster of Continental Line from NC‑lst Reg. Of Col. Thos. Clark, James, Pvt., Brinkley's Co.

            Enlisted 7 Apr. 3 years service

1778    Roll of Capt. John Ingles Co., 2nd NC Bat., commanded by Col. John Patton, 9 Sep. James                          Rooper, Enlisted 7 Apr. 3 years service

1778    Salisbury                                 District contractor

1779    Randolph County                    appointed commissioner

1779    Montgomery County               third of four candidates in an election

1779    Caswell County                       8 Mar John Yeats m Jemina Ropper,\

                                                            bondsman James Ropper, (by?) W. Campbell

1780 Allowances from the NC House of Commons in May session 885 pounds

Index of NC Rev. War Pension Applications: James; James & wife Mary

1781    Yarborough County                NC10th Reg., Jas., pt. enlisted 12 Apl,

                                                            service 12 months, Omtd in 1782

1781    Anson County will: children: Martha, Lucy, Mary, William, Sussanna and Green

1783    NC Rev. Army accounts, 25 Jul

1785    Rutherford County                  tax list, no land

1785    NC Military land grants, 17 Sep. James, Pvt., 274 acres, service 36 months

1786    Rutherford County                  chain carrier for survey

1786    Granville County                    census

1788    Rutherford County                  25 Feb David Rooper, Jr. x m Sarah France,

                                                            bm Charles Rooper x & James Rooper/Roper x

1790    Northampton County              census, Halifax District

1790    Caswell County                       census, Hillsborough District

1790    Burke County                         census, Company 12 (SE Burke), (b bef 1774, 2F)

1792    Caswell County                       27 Mar m Mary ONeill, bm John Peterson                                             

1796    Burke County                         helps lay off road; jury duty; witness deeds; militia (Ropper)

1800    Burke County                         census

1800    Richmond County                   census, listed twice

1800    Burke County                         jury duty

1801    Burke County                         land grant for 50 acres

1801    Burke County                         90 acres from John Higdon

1803    Burke County                         jury duty

1803    Burke County                         50 acres from William Smith

1805    Burke County                         tax list, Ropier, 240 acres

1810    Burke County                         census

1810    Richmond County                   census

1813    Rev. War Pension paid, NC Cont'l line, $160, 4 Mar, age 72

1814    Caswell County                       insolvents returned by Sheriff, "no such man"

1815    Burke County                         tax list, 240 acres

James Ropers in South Carolina up to 1815


1800    Pendleton District                   James Roper(?)



1656 John Roper arrived in Northumberland Co., VA from England

1678? John Roper is vestryman in Blisland Parish, VA ?

1683 John Roper arrived in New Kent Co., VA from England

1685‑98 John Roper vestryman in St. Peters Parish, New Kent Co., VA

1690 John Roper arrived in Charles City Co., VA from England

1697/8 John Roper died in New Kent Co., VA

1727 David Roper born, s/o John & Mary in New Kent Co., VA

1737 Benjamin Roper born in New Kent Co., VA, s/o David & Elizabeth

            (David possible brother of John‑1683 above)

1739 Frances Roper born in New Kent Co., VA, s/o David & Elizabeth

1755 David Roper born in Orange Co., NC; father possibly David Roper

            born in New Kent Co., VA in 1727 (see above)

1759 John Roper inventory in Charles City Co., VA, son is David Rope

1773 two David Ropers in Brunswick Co., VA (possibly one was Rosser,

            other may have come down from New Kent Co.)

1777 David Roper, Sr. & David, Jr. in Caswell Co., NC

1778 David Roper entered land grant in Burke Co., NC

1779 David Roper deed to William Roper in Caswell Co., NC

1780 David Roper signed petition in Charles City, Co., VA

1780 David Roper moved to Rutherford Co., NC from Orange Co., NC

1783 David Roper was a surveyor in Brunswick Co., VA

1783 David Roper will in Greensville, Co., VA (Greensville was formed from Brunswick in 1780.)

1782 David Ropers on taxpayers list for Charles City Co., VA & Brunswick Co., VA

1787 David Ropers on taxpayers list for Charles City Co., VA & Brunswick Co., VA

1790 Rev. David Roper, Sr. & David Roper, Jr. on Rutherford Co., NC census

1790 James Roper on Caswell Co., NC & Burke Co., NC censuses

1792 David Roper granted land in Caswell Co., NC from son William

1792 James Roper m Mary ONiell in Caswell Co., NC

1794 David Roper Rutherford Co., NC deed received

1795 David Roper land tract in Burke Co., NC

1796 David Roper land grant & deed given in Rutherford Co., NC

1796/7 David Roper moved to Garrard Co., KY from Rutherford Co., NC

1797 David Roper consents for marriage of Lucy Roper in Charles City Co., VA


Possibly the older New Kent Co. David & wife Elizabeth went to Brunswick/Greensville Co., VA and the younger New Kent Co. David (b 1727, s/o John & Mary) went to Orange Co., NC.

No further trace has been found of the John Roper who arrived in Northumberland Co., VA in 1656. Perhaps he is the ancestor of the northern VA Ropers (Fauquier Co., Loudoun Co., Berkeley Co.).

The other two John Ropers who arrived from England have descendants who are easily separated, even though they often had the same names. The Charles City Co. one (arrived 1690) has descendants who stayed around Charles City Co. and some moved to Charlotte Co. & Campbell Co., VA. Later some move to Jasper Co., MO and then on to KY & KS or IL. The New Kent Co. one (arrived 1683) has descendants who probably moved to Brunswick/Greensville Co., VA and to Orange/Caswell Co., NC and then on to Rutherford/Burke Co., NC. Some moved to Cherokee Co., NC & Pulaski Co., KY. The former has descendants that moved on to MO, OK, NM & CA.