The News-Journal (Raeford, N.C.) /
May 12, 1983, edition 1 /
Part of The News-Journal (Raeford, N.C.) / About this page
page has errors
The date, title, or page description is wrong
This page has harmful content
This page contains sensitive or offensive material
^Vlew* - journal
Thursday, May 12, 1983
Editorials ? Columns ? Features ? Classified Ads
The grave of John Gilchrist stands in
the family cemetery along with his
wife and other descendants. His
epitaph not only memorializes him
but shows what history books claim ,
that Gilchrist was an educated and
religious man. He also was a powerful
member of the community having
served as a legislator for many years.
The tombstone , which was hand
designed remains in good condition
almost 200 years after it was erected.
Gilchrist , A F ounding Hoke Family
H> Sherr> Matthews
W $:uler back in time. Go to the
. eai P'O, and imagine what it
nu>; have been like.
Hike County did not exist. The
ire.i was divided between
Cumberland and Robeson.
Svotiish highlanders were im
migrating to the Cape Fear region
itic .1 battle with England that
tail u ti them homeless.
One Mich highlander who made
In- journey and eventually carved
ml i niche in the history of the
:ounty was John Gilchrist of Kin
Most Hoke County residents
uobably are not keenly aware of
Liilchrist and his family or thecon
ributions they made to the area,
Tut he did a great deal to educate
md advance the people of his day.
Gilchrist, his wife, Effie, her
parents and his sister, settled in
Bladen County, which became
Robeson in 1787 and is now Hoke
County, in 1770.
Although most of the Scottish
immigrants were destitute,
Gilchrist appeared to be a man of
Records show that Gilchrist
brought a tutor for his children to
the region, which seems to indicate
he was a man of some knowledge
He served in the House of Com
mons for five years (1792-1797)
and in the North Carolina
Legislature for two years.
Many historians feel that within
20 years after his arrival, Gilchrist
had carved out a place for himself
in the community.
He was no longer just an im
migrant; he was a leader and an
achiever in the area and the state.
Gilchrist was a religious man
and believed to have been at least
partly responsible for founding the
Acres of land, and a bridge too
Members of the Gilchrist family, descended from John, were honored
with this memorial bridge which was erected In the early I900's. The
bridge crosses land owned by the Gilchrist family. It is believed that the
Gilchrist family were some of the largest land owners In Hoke and the sur
rounding areas. Some say that over the years the family members purchas
ed around 40,000 acres of land and were generous in re-setting at a low
price. There is some evidence that at times, the Gilchrists did not receive
payment for land they sold.
Presbyterian Church in his section
of the county.
Some believe he may have at
tended the Raft Swamp Church
which has since been relocated and
renamed Antioch Presbyterian.
Another reminder of John
Gilchrist and his family still stands
today and is being restored.
The Mill Prong House, located
in Hoke County, that Gilchrist
built for his second wife, remains
erect after over 200 years of ex
In the woodwork of the house is
a history that has been left untold
It is a story of a man and his
family, immigrants who were try
ing to take their place in a new
The Gilchrist family made their
place, a rather large one, and to
day Hoke County residents in
terested in keeping the remainder
of Gilchrist's work in tact are try
ing to restore Mill Prong.
Gilchrist is believed to have
designed the house himself which
again indicates that he was an
Along with most of his family,
John Gilchrist is buried in the
cemetery he purchased in Hoke
Graves in the Gilchrist Cemetery
date back 200 years and remain in
John Gilchrist Sr. was not the
only one who made history in
More popular than his father,
John Gilchrist Jr. made an even
larger contribution to the people of
John Jr. was probably the most
illustrious of the Gilchrist children.
He was one of the first graduates
of the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill from
He received a Bachelor's Degree
in 1809 and later went back and
gained his Master's Degree.
John Jr., was also a lawyer and
like his father served in the state
But the most important of all his
contribution was the founding of
Floral College was the younger
In 1841 that dream was realized
and Floral College became the first
college chartered by the state
legislature allowing women to
receive bachelor of arts degrees.
Along with his co-founder,
Gilchrist accomplished a great task
by allowing women the chance at a
JoHti Jr. appears to have been a
well educated man and a com
munity minded citizen.
Even with his achievements,
Gilchrist never married, which for
those days seemed a bit strange.
It was rumored and later
reported in a history of the county
that John Jr., was in love once, but
his fiancee died with typhoid fever.
After her death, it is said that
Gilchrist never chose to marry and
was not interested in a social life.
He seems to have become com
pletely engrossed in working with
the college and the legislature.
Floral College, which is located
about 10 miles from Raeford in
Robeson County, faltered soon
after the younger Gilchrist's death,
but a limb of that school still exists
Many believe that Floral College
was continued in pride and tradi
tion through the founding of Flora
Macdonald College in Red
Some of the people involved
with Gilchrist and his college were
connected with the organization of
Flora Macdonald and in essence
John Jr.'s dream lived on.
Hoke County may not have ex
isted at the time of the Gilchrist
family but their achievements are
felt not only in the area, but across
MIU Prong, th e home of John Gilchrist and his second wife, still stands
after 290 years of existence. Although weather and age have deteriorated
soma ports of the house, the from e and chimney stand much as they did In
the late mi's. The Mill Prong Preservation Society is in the process of
trying to restore the old house so that Hoke County can revel in the history
that exists within the hand-hewed timbers.
The News-Journal (Raeford, N.C.)
groups preceding, succeeding, and alternate titles together.
May 12, 1983, edition 1
Click "Submit" to
request a review of this
page. NCDHC staff will check .
0 / 75
North Carolina Newspapers is powered by Open ONI. View system reports.
DigitalNC is a project of the North Carolina Digital Heritage
Center, the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural
Hill Libraries and our sponsors.
Background image: Grandfather Mountain,