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"PRESERVING OUR PAST...ENHANCING OUR FUTURE"LEWISVILLE & AREA COMMUNITIES - Heritage & History
These writings are excerpted from the publication THE CHANGING FACE OF FORSYTH COUNTY NORTH CAROLINA: A GUIDE TO ITS HERITAGE AND HISTORY, published in 2003 & 2005 by the Forsyth County Public Library Staff, in celebration of the 250th anniversary (1853-2003) of the settled area today known as Forsyth County, NC.
In the 1700s the first settlers arrived in the area now known as Lewisville. They were attracted by the rich fertile land, ready access to water, and the abundant game supply near the Yadkin River. At that time bear, deer and all types of wild game still roamed freely in this area.
Crossing the Yadkin River in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was a great problem. In one place, the water was shallow where wagons could cross. It was called the Shallow Ford and was a link in the Great Philadelphia Wagon Road, the major migration route in the 1700s and 1800s from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Augusta, Georgia. Camping grounds were established to accommodate travelers on both sides of the river at the Shallow Ford crossing.
German Lutherans from Pennsylvania first settled the bottom lands along the Yadkin River near here. "The Old Dutch Meeting House" was established in 1777. The old cemetery still exists on the grounds of Shiloh Lutheran Church.
A settlement grew up around Wright's Store, a trading post used by travelers in the 1800s. There was also a tavern located near Wright's Store and a campground, in what was the current downtown area of Lewisville. In the 1880s, this area was a bustling stopover for farmers on their way to sell their tobacco, corn, wheat, vegetables and other farm products in Winston.
Lewis Case Laugenour, a descendant of the Lagenauer family that arrived in Friedland about 1773, built an impressive brick home at the Lewisville location about 1860. It is believed that the village called Lewisville derived its name from the first name of Laugenour, who provided tracts of land on which the Lewisville Baptist Church, Lewisville United Methodist Church, Lewisville School and New Hope AME Zion Church were built. The first occurrence of the name "Lewisville" found so far is on a Laugenour deed dated 1859.
Lewisville is the home of Forsyth County's oldest Methodist Church - Concord United Methodist Church, established in 1781 - and the oldest Lutheran Church - Shiloh Lutheran Church, established in 1777. The Town of Lewisville was incorporated in August of 1991.
This small community was located west of Bethania in northern Forsyth County. The neighborhood received its name from a landowner named Brooks who operated a ferry across the Yadkin as early as 1793, near the present Old US 421 River Park. The community that grew near the ferry appears as "Bruxe's Town" on early maps.
During the Revolutionary War era, the area surrounding Vienna and Vienna Township was forest and farm country with its western boundary being the Yadkin River. The land was fertile and farms produced a wide variety of crops and farm animals. The town of Vienna was incorporated in 1794, but it is no longer an active municipality. Little is known about the origin of the town's name.
Prominent early families in the area include Speas, Doub and Conrad, for whom Conrad Road and Conrad Sawmill Road are named. Christian Conrad came to the area in 1768, followed by his brothers Johannes and John Jacob.
This community thrived in the 1800s to early 1900s and was located in the bend of the Yadkin River in western Forsyth County. The community was created by the families of Black, Jones, McBride, Hauser, Dinkins and Nading.
The West Bend Baptist Church and the Jones store were both established in 1876 and still exist. Joseph S. Jones established the store and his home, built the same year, stands nearby. The West Bend Academy was opened in March 1892 with a Masonic Lodge located on the top floor of the building. The Union United Methodist Church dates to 1830. Christian Nading operated Nading's Ferry that took travelers across the Yadkin River before the "Little Yadkin" bridge was built in 1920-21. The 1850 Benjamin Hauser House on Williams Road is now owned by the West Bend Vineyards.
The area was known as the Little Yadkin Township and was bought from Yadkin County by Forsyth County in 1927 for $70,000.
Formerly an incorporated town in Yadkin County, the Williams community is located near Lewisville in western Forsyth County. This area of Yadkin County was annexed to Forsyth County in 1927. Col. Joseph Williams, a Virginia native, came to the area in 1771 and acquired eight thousand acres straddling both sides of the Yadkin River. This plantation, called Panther Creek because of its proximity to the creek of the same name, is near present day Lewisville. Nicholas Glenn Williams, a descendant of Col. Williams, diversified the farming and cattle operations by using the excess corn produced on the farm to distill whiskey. The distillery eventually employed several hundred people and manufactured a brand of liquor called "Old Nick" that became popular with the locals and was reported to have been shipped all over the world.
In North Carolina's pre-prohibition era, Yadkin County was home to a number of federally licensed distilleries, including its biggest, the Williams distillery. The town of Williams, with a population of fifty-two individuals, was incorporated in 1903 to bypass the state law banning distilleries from being located in unincorporated areas. With the statewide ban on distilleries in 1908, however, the Williams distillery was forced to close, the "Old Nick" whiskey brand was discontinued, and the town of Williams faded away.
The Williams community is remembered not only for its famous beverage, but also for the illustrious Williams family, who made numerous contributions to politics and other endeavors. Robert, a son of the Colonel, served in Congress and was governor of Mississippi. Another son, Lewis, served in the NC General Assembly and the House of Representatives. A cousin, Thomas Lanier Williams, took the nickname "Tennessee" and became a famous playwright. Another cousin of the family, Ben Ames Williams, wrote about the Williams plantation in his book A House Divided.
Befitting their wealthy status, the Williams family welcomed visitors from near and far. Famous visitors partaking of their hospitality included such celebrities as John Calhoun and Henry Clay.
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