Sunday, April 27, 2014

APRIL 30, 1814

200 years ago this month, George Beck probably rode through the Benjamin Brewer homestead to see how the settlement of Salem was progressing. Being of German descent from Rowan County, North Carolina, Beck was amused that the newly placed seat of government for a County named after George Washington could not be called Mount Vernon because Mary Pitts Lindley was concerned that those of German heritage could not properly pronounce it. He was hopeful that this new town would benefit business at his mill rather than hurt it. On his trips from the mill to Royse’s Lick, he often noticed the pall of smoke from the burning of brush and timber from the newly cleared farmsteads. There was little smoke around Beck’s Mill as the barrens were no longer annually burned off by the Indians to maintain its prairie appearance. Since the Pigeon Roost Massacre about a year and a half before, the Lenni Lenape bands of Old Ox and Highland had left the area due to hostility from the settlers entering their former home. With no timber in the barrens south of Beck’s Mill, this land was not being claimed and cleared.

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