Little River Township

Little River Township

From W.E. White’s 1926 History of Alexander County appearing in the Taylorsville Times

There are three foothills of the Brushies, in Alexander County, which approach the magnitude of mountains that are similar in appearance, each one being almost a perfect cone in shape and not much difference in their sizes.

There is Never Mountain, on the line between Ellendale and Little River, Sugar Loaf Mountain, on the Wilkesboro highway, and Little Round Top, in Gwaltney township. Never Mountain is 2010 feet above sea level, Sugar Loaf 1832 feet, and Little Round Top 1754. Sugar Loaf Mountain was so named by early settlers because of its resemblance to the old fashioned loaf of sugar as manufactured several decades ago, and the muster ground, taxpaying or election polling precinct of former days was so designated for the purposes -of such gatherings and finally under the township dispensation, it was called Sugar Loaf township. The geographical center of Sugar Loaf township is about two miles east of the mountain and the gathering place has been for many years at the “Shooting Pine”, near where Melvin Childer’s store now stands.

The dividing ridge of the waters between the South Yadkin and the Catawba is about one mile east of Sugar Loaf Mountain. The Grassy Fork and Muddy Fork of Lower Little River draining to the southwest, and Cedar Run Creek, the headstream of the South Yadkin draining to the southeast. All the surface of Sugar Loaf except a small portion along Grassy Fork on the west side is thickly interspersed knobs and ridges and foothills that make Sugar Loaf the mountain township of Alexander. The tops of these ridges and peaks are up in what is known as the “thermal zone”, a kind of natural phenomenon that occurs in very few localities in as well defined a form as it does in Sugar Loaf. This phenomenon is caused by the drainage of the moisture in the air during the night time of still nights, which prevents the formation of frost. This freedom from frost renders these elevations with their generally fertile soils, ideal locations for the cultivation of the fruits adapted to the latitudes in which they occur and the Sugar Loaf country has well acquired the title of “The Land of Big Red Apples”.

Dr. Henry Louis Smith, former president of Davidson College now president of Washington and Lee University, in Virginia, has a fine, well-equipped orchard on the Black Oak Ridge, in the central eastern part of the township. Dr. Smith says that he operates the orchard as a pastime, but it is evident

to all familiar with the circumstances that it is also a remunerative pastime. There are other orchards throughout the township that pay handsome dividends, and in October of any year are paragons of beauty well worth a pilgrimage to behold.

The view from Dr. Smith’s orchard is fine. The line of the Brushies from the State Highway at Kilby’s Gap to Rocky Ridge, at the Iredell line, is full in view, and southward hill, valley and plain, form a charming rural view. Just opposite the orchard to the north on the line of the Brushies is Cedar Cliff Mountain, at the southwest base of which is the Ten Acre Rock, the surface of which measures ten acres, upon which no vegetation whatever can gain a foothold. The Ball Rock on the western edge of Hodge House Mountain is regarded by all as the dividing point between Sugar Loaf. and Little River townships. The mountain itself acquired its title from a legend that Hodge ran away from some of the lower counties with another man’s wife and lived a while under a sheltering rock on the side of the mountain. The husband, however, followed and found them, killed Hodge and took his wife back home.


Editor’s Note:  In addition to the early pioneers listed below Brinsley Barnes, Sr. (1713 – 1794), his sons Deaf John (1741 – 1822),  James “Handsome Jim” (1740 – circa 1832), Jehu (circa 1751 – 1820), grandson Jehu T (circa 1765 – circa May 1834 son of Handsome Jim and great-grandson Michael (30 Aug 1784 – 23 Oct 1858) son of Jehu T. migrated to Little River before 1800.
The Spangenberg surveys covered a small portion of the Grassy Fork bottoms in Sugar Loaf, which were afterward taken up by William Isbell and afterward transferred by him to Jacob Deal, whose descendants still occupy tie most of the same. Isbell came from Virginia to the Yadkin settlements and from thence across the Brushies with the Browns and others.

Another pioneer on Grassy Fork was a German named Stuffel (Christopher?) Decker.

Other pioneers were Yearby Daniels, Richard Scott, Daniel Russell, Samuel Munday, William Munday, Thomas Munday, John McGee, Ben Russell, Charles Rattan, William Kirby, J. Kirby, William Runsell and others of which notice will be taken in family and individual records.