The Foundation’s first project was the reconstruction of the log home of Josiah and Frances Ray Young. The house was originally located on Bolens Creek and is thought to have been built around 1840-1850. Josiah Young was the son of Strawbridge and Martha Wilson Young and the grandson of Thomas and Naomi Hyatt Young.
Thomas and Naomi Hyatt Young came from Maryland to North Carolina in the 1760s and were the first settlers in the North Cove in what is now McDowell County. Part of the first Methodist meeting in America, they named their son for Robert Strawbridge, the first Methodist minister in the colonies. At that time, the Blue Ridge was the western boundary of colonial North Carolina. After the Revolutionary War, the western territories were opened up and Strawbridge Young was one of the first settlers in what is now Yancey County, NC. He built his home just up from the South Toe River at Newdale. His sons and daughters would clear land and create farms throughout several counties. One son went to the California gold rush and then settled in Arkansas.
Josiah Young first owned property on Shoal Creek in the 1830s and 1840s. He bought the property from the heirs of John Gray Blount and it was part of a grant of 350,000 acres which Blount was given for his financial support of the Revolution. Although we do not know for sure that Josiah and Frances Ray Young ever lived on Shoal Creek, in all likelihood they did settle there and were among the first to clear the land and farm there. Frances Ray Young was the daughter of Rev. James Bean Ray and he was the son and heir of Thomas Ray, the biggest slave and landowner in Yancey County. When Frances inherited property on Bolens Creek in the 1850s, the family moved there and several generations were born and died there. Josiah and Frances and several of their descendants are buried in the family graveyard up near Low Gap overlooking the Bolens Creek Valley.
The hewn-log house of Josiah and Frances Ray Young is the oldest surviving structure in the family and the only surviving home from that generation of the family.
Click each thumbnail to view larger image