Roper Family of
See the appendix for a list of the data referred to here.
There were two
David Ropers in New Kent County, VA in the early 1700s. One (b 1727/28) was the
son of John and Mary and the older one (children b 1737 and 1739) was probably
John's brother. I have found no David Roper records in
A David Roper is
listed as a son in a 1759
indicate that there were two David Ropers in
The David Roper in Orange County, NC in 1755, when son David was born, and 1760 (Granville land grant) possibly is the younger David from New Kent County, VA (see above) or the older David from Charles City County, VA (see above). He was in northern Orange County, which became Caswell County in 1777. In 1779 he deeded his land to William Roper and possibly moved to Rutherford/Burke Counties (almost on Border; land grant in 1778 and land map in 1795). He possibly had sons David, Jr. and James with him in Rutherford/Burke Counties (all are on 1790 censuses; James‑Burke, others‑Rutherford). (David, Jr. married Sarah France in 1788 in Rutherford County.) In or before 1792 he possibly, at about age 65, moved back to Caswell County with wife Sarah, where son William deeded some land back to him. Possibly David, Jr. occupied the land on the 1795 map see above).
James Roper is on the 1777 Caswell County census and as a bondsman there (Ropper) for Jemina Ropper in 1779, on the 1785 Rutherford County tax list and on both Caswell County and Burke County 1790 censuses. He is on many land and court records in Burke County, but on none in Caswell County. Possibly James took father David back to Caswell County in 1790 and was recorded in both places in the census; while there he legalized his marriage to Mary O'Neill in 1792. He possibly moved back to Burke County by 1793 when his first land grant was recorded. Records indicate an older James Roper in Caswell County who was in the Revolutionary War; he was born in 1745, married a Greer and later married Mary Neal in 1778 and moved to Chester County, SC about 1793. I think that he was an uncle of the younger James.
Earliest Ropers in Burke County Area (Before 1815)
Included herein are all Roper records that I have found from old Rowan and Tyron Counties and more recent Burke, Rutherford, Cleveland and Lincoln Counties of North Carolina.
The earliest evidence I have of a Roper in or near Burke County is:
This implies that Meridith Roper was born before about 1750.
Lyle Creek and Mclin Crook run together in old Lincoln County, now Catawba County near the city of Catawba. This area was once in old Burke County and was later ceded to Lincoln County. This cabin probably belonged to Meredith Roper (see above and below).
This David Rooper/Roper would be too old (b bef about 1760) to be the first David Roper shown in the Burke County US census records (1810) (b 1770‑1780); However, he could be the Rev. David Roper (b bef 1774) in the 1790 Rutherford County US census. Perhaps he was the father of the other Ropers in Burke County and Rutherford County (James, David, Jr. and Charles). Rich Mountain and Jacob Fork are in the southeast part of Burke County (called South Mountains in the 1980's) near the Rutherford County (on west) and Lincoln County (on east) borders, the area which many of the following records involve. The 1987 Burke County map shows Rich Mountain lying between the head waters of Jacobs Fork on the east and the head waters of Henry River on the west. The nearest roads to this land in 1989 are:
(1) Branstrom Orchard Street south off of Rt. 64 at Denton Chapel Methodist Church. It is about two miles up to Hickory Knob from the end of the road.
(2) Bethelem Creek Road south off of Enola Road near Enola community up to Bethelem Baptist Church. Hickory Knob is about 2.5 miles beyond the end of the road.
(3) The road up to the new resort development on Roper Hollow off of Rt. 64 south of Morgantown goes to a peak not far from Hickory Knob peak.
These two land records could be for the same tract of land. So David lived in southernmost Burke County at least by 1778. James Roper (see below) was twelve years old then, so this possibly was James' childhood home.
This is probably the David Roper in the Rutherford County 1782 and 1785 tax lists and the Rev. David Roper in the 1790 US census for Rutherford County (see below). A David Roper, Sr. also occurs in a 1777 tax list for Caswell County, one year before this land record. It seems likely that he moved from Caswell County to Burke/Rutherford County, since a David Roper does not occur in Caswell County records again until 1792 when William Roper deeded land to him and wife Sarah and many others followed that route.
The spelling of Rooper in the land record may be because David could not write (see below) and the writer spelled it as it sounded. Perhaps a mountain accent was the cause. Note that the map shows the name as Roper.
Little Broad River is just below Burke County. This is probably the David Roper, Jr. who married Sarah France (see below) in 1788 and who was in the 1790 Rutherford County census (see below). Therefore, I conclude that the Burke County Ropers are of English ancestry.
Therefore, the Ropers Cabbin mentioned above (1778) on Lylses Creek was probably Meredith Roper’s. Lincoln County is on the east border of Burke County.
Brier Creek a northern tributary of Little Broad River in NW Cleveland County and NE Rutherford County, which area was in Rutherford County in 1786 and is just below the Burke County border less than five miles south of David Roper's land on the head waters of Henry River discribed above. James possibly traveled down from Hickory Knob to help with the survey. Just to the east of Brier Creek is Wards Creek where a map shows land of John Walbert in 1764‑86. The next two creeks to the west are Stoney Run and Crooked Run where David Roper and Charles Roper had land in 1779 and 1795 (see above). The latter David is probably a son of the former David.
So one should expect some confusion about actual county jurisdiction for records of persons who lived around that border, which the Ropers did.
(Note the X that indicates that a person cannot write his own name.) David's last name is written Rooper once and Roper twice, James' and Charles' last name is given as Rooper twice. Surely David, Jr. and Sarah were at least 15 years of age at marriage, so they would have been born before 1773. I think that he is the Revolutionary War David mentioned above who was born in 1755 in Caswell County and moved to Rutherford County c1779. This record implies that there was a David Roper, Sr. likely the Rooper/Roper mentioned in the land records above. Possibly David, Charles and James were sons of David Roper, Sr. However, I shall later conclude that Charles is probably a son of Meredith Roper.
It is possible that Meredith Roper is the father of David, Jr., Charles and/or James, but the fact that David Roper's land was much nearer James' land than was Meredith's makes this seem improbable for these two.
John Higdon sold land to James Roper in 1802 (see below). So it appears likely that Martha is James' sister, and also perhaps Nancy.
Thus the birth date for James is before 1774.
Ninth Company was just below the Burke County border. There were 1200 heads of family in Rutherford County.
Thus the birth dates are:
David, Rev. (Bef 1774) M: 1(1774‑1790); F.: 5
Charles (Bef 1774) M: 2(1774‑1790); F.: 5
Meredith (Bef 1774) M: 2(Bef 1774) 1(1774‑1790); F: 4
David, Jr. (Bef 1774) M: 1(1774‑1790); F: 1
Perhaps the Bethelem Baptist Church below David's property (see above) was where David served as minister. However, Betsy Pittman has suggested that "Rev." may refer to service in the Revolutionary War. I do not think that this is probable.
Perhaps Benjamin Roper, Sr., Meriday/Meredith Roper and Rev. David Roper are brothers.
Perhaps this is the Merideth Roper in the 1790' Rutherford County US census and he moved to be near his brother Benjamin after brother Rev. David moved back to Caswell County.
Perhaps he is a son of the Rutherford County Meredith since no Meredith exists in the Pendleton censuses for 1810 or 1820.
It appears probable that Meredith Roper moved to Lincoln County, NC from Orange Co. (Meriday) before 1768, then to Rutherford County, NC before 1790 and then possibly moved to SC (Meriday) before 1800.
Several persons with last name Merredeth or Meredith married persons with last name Roper in Charles City Co., VA and Powhatan Co., VA during the early 1700s, so that is probably the origin of this first name.
It is possible that James Roper and Mary accompanied his father Rev. David back to Caswell County in 1790, was recorded in both counties' censuses and made their marriage legal while there and then returned to Burke County before 1793.
The following land grant appears for James Roper in 1793:
Note that CC indicates the name of the chain carriers for the surveyor. If "James Roperts" means "James Roper", then James already had been on the land for some time and had already made some "improvements. " Perhaps he had originally settled on and thereby "claimed" this land before returning to Caswell County in 1790 with his father Rev. David and then filed a legal claim ater returning to Burke County. See below for a description of the location of this land.
I think the James in Burke and Caswell Counties are the same person. I think that Rev. David Roper brought his family, including sons James and David, Jr. to northern Rutherford County on or before 1778, and that James and his probable father Rev. David went back to Caswell County from Burke/Rutherford in 1790 and that James returned to Burke in 1792/3. There was an older James in Orange/Caswell County who served in the Revolutionary War, had a brother George who also served, and moved to Chester County, SC in 1779. This older James was probably a brother of Rev. David.
A 1764‑86 map shows William Going (McGowan) and John Walbert land on Wards Creek, a northern tributary of Little Broad River east of Briar Creek in Cleveland County just below Burke County.
These women were probably sisters, or cousins, of James Roper.
First Broad River is the same as Little Broad River. Knob Creek is the next creek east of Crooked Run. Joseph Roper was probably a brother of James or a son of Meredith. Since Meriday, Charles and Joseph Roper all occur in the 1800 Pendleton District, SC US census, it appears probable that Charles is Meriday/Meredith's son and Joseph is either Meredith's or Charles' son.
The James Roper deed witnessing is also shown in Huggins' Burke County. North Carolina Records, Vol. IV. In this volume also exists the following in a tax list:
Note that James' last name is spelled differently this time, and that he already had 50 acres of land.
No information has been found concerning their birth place.
Thus the birth dates are: James (1760‑1770) WIFE (1760‑1770)
M: 4(1790‑1800); F: 1(1780‑1790) 2(1790‑1800)
The John Roper mentioned above could be a son of James, but later we will assign him to be a son of David Roper, Jr.
No Ropers are listed in the Rutherford County 1800 US census. It appears that, of the four Ropers in the 1790 Rutherford County US census, Rev. David moved back north to Caswell County in 1790, David, Jr. moved to Kentucky in 1795, and Meredith/Meriday and Charles moved to Pendleton District, SC before 1800. Both Meriday and Charles are in the 1800 Pendleton District US census but were not there for the 1790 census.
The Burke County Minutes of the Court of Pleas of Quarter Sessions for 1799‑1803 contains:
A Lawson Hawkins occurs in James' estate papers (see below); perhaps this Joseph Hawkins was a brother‑in‑law of James.
The following land grant appears for James Roper in 1801:
Note that CC indicates the name of the chain carriers for the surveyor.
This creek is in central Rutherford County, too far from the Burke County border for the land to be confused as to its county location. I think "Mountain creek" refers here to what later became known as Roper Mill Creek (see below in Samuel Roper grants), which is a branch of Henry Fork River which is a fork of the South Fork of the Catawba River. This land is near Walkers Chapel Baptist Church about nine miles NE of the David Roper land described above. See below for a detailed description of the location of this
So, Charles Roper obtained some more land after his land had been confiscated in 1783 because he was a Loyalist (see above). However, no Charles is in the North Carolina 1800 census.
It appears that Charles moved from Rutherford County to Pendleton District, SC before 1800 and then moved back to Rutherford County and disposed of some land, obtained a land grant and then sold it.
Perhaps Charles moved from Pendleton District, SC to Macon County, NC before 1810 and then back to Pendleton District before 1820.
All of this land is accounted for in the documents described above: He had 50 acres in 1796, bought 90 acres in 1802, bought 50 acres in 1803 and had a land grant for 50 acres in 1801‑3. "South fork" either refers to the many tributaries that flow into the Catawba River from the south or to what became known as the Roper Mill Creek (see 1829 land grant for Samuel Roper below) that flows from the south into Henry Fork River which itself flows from the southeast into the Catawba River. An entry for white pole (age 21‑50) for 1805 puts James Roper's birth date as 1755‑1774 and no entry for white pole for 1815 puts his birth date as before 1765.
This land lies next to River Road in the South Mountains about one mile west of the turnoff to Walkers Chapel Baptist Church; it now (1989) belongs to Frank Huffman. The old earth‑rock mill dam is still very obvious, although it was washed out in the 1916 flood.
No Ropers are in the Rutherford County US census for 1810.
The US 1810 census for Burke County lists: Page
James Roper: 104
Males: 3(0‑10) 1(10‑20) 2(20‑30) 1(40 up)
Females: 1(0‑10) 2(10‑20) 1(20‑30) 1(30‑40) (no slaves)
David Roper: 126
Males: 2(0‑10) 4(10‑20) 1(30‑40)
Females: 3(0‑10) 1(10‑20) 1(30‑40) (no slaves)
Both are in what is now the Lower Fork township.
Thus the birth dates are:
James (bef 1770) WIFE (1770‑1780)
M: 2(1780‑1790) 1(1790‑1800) 3(1800‑1810)
F: 1(1780‑1790) 2(1790‑1800) 1(1800‑1810)
Combining this with the 1800 census data above puts James' wife's birth year near 1770. The two older males (b 1780‑1790) do not correspond to any of James' children in the 1800 census; perhaps they were brothers of James or his wife.
David: (1770‑1780) WIFE (1770‑1780) M: 4(1790‑1800) 2(1800‑1810)
F: 1(1790‑1800) 3(1800‑1810)
Thus, David (b 1770‑1780) was younger than James and he had no children earlier than 1790. This is consistent with the marriage in Rutherford County in 1788 given above of David Rooper, Jr. and Sarah France, which was witnessed by Charles Rooper and James Rooper; however, I think that he is a younger David. He is too young to be the David Rooper mentioned in the 1778 land record at Jacob Fork (see above) and too young to be the Revolutionary War David (born 1755) who moved to Kentucky c1795. I think he is a son of the Revolutionary War David, who I think is the David, Jr. in the 1790 Rutherford County US census. For now I assume that the older Rev. David Roper is the father of David, Jr. and James. The John Roper (b 6 sep 1797) in the cemetery record above could be a son of either James or David, Jr.; I shall later assign him to David, Jr..
My best guess now for the family structure is:
David Roper' Sr. (Rev.)
(b Bef 1774) David Roper. Jr. 6 males
(b 1755) 4 females
(m 25 Feb 1788)
James Roper 4 males
(b 1760‑1770) 4 females
(m 27 Mar 1792)
(m 31 Aug 1781)
Martha Roper (These women that follow could
(m 1789) be Meredith's children.)
(m 17 Sep 1789)
(m 23 Oct 1794)
(m 18 Sep 1795)
Meredith Roper Charles Roper 2 males
(b Bef 1774) 4 females
It appears that the Ropers came into Burke County from the south through Rutherford County and Lincoln County (the area that later became Rutherford County and Cleveland County) and Pickens County, SC just below Rutherford County and before that from Caswell County in the north.
David Ropers in Virginia to 1815
1727 New Kent County b 8 Mar s/o Jno. &Mary
1737 New Kent County Benju. b 25 Apr s/o David & Elizabeth
1739 New Kent County Frances b 5 Mar d/o David & Elizt.
1773 Brunswick County inhabitants, listed twice
1759 Charles City County 8 Nov. John Roper inventory,
exec. Jean/Jane Roper, David Roper and Charles Roper.
Index of Revolutionary War Pension Records (KY & VA)
1780 Charles City County signed petition
1782 Brunswick County taxpayers list
1782 Charles City County taxpayers list
1783 Brunswick County list of surveyors
1783 Greensville County will
1787 Charles City County taxpayers list
1787 Brunswick County taxpayers list
1787 Charles City County census
1797 Charles City County 6 Mar William Hulett m Lucy Roper,
David Roper consents for "my ward".
1800 Charles City County tax list
1808 Charles City County 15 Mar, will, children: John, William
Ann Waddill, Susy Heath, Rebecca, George
Edward and David; grandchildren:
David Smith and Edward Phillips; proved 21 Ju1 1808
1814 Henrico County 2 Feb m Mary Miller
David Ropers in North Carolina to 1816
1755 Orange County Oct b; moved to Rutherford Co. about 1779;
moved to Garrard Co., KY about 1795;
moved to Pulaski Co., KY about 1797;
enlisted for Rev. War 16 Sep 1776
1757 Orange County appointed overseer of road
1760 Orange County Granville land grant
1771 Orange County signed petition
1776 Orange County freeholder
1776 Orange County 16 Sep enlisted for Rev. War
1777 Caswell County tax list, David, Sr.
1777 Caswell County tax list, David, Jr.
1778 Burke County land grant entry
1779 Caswell County 20 Jun William Roper,
Granville grant land from David on Rattlesnake Creek
1780 Orange County moved to Rutherford County
Index of NC Rev. War Pension Applicants
1782 Rutherford County tax list, 150 acres
1783 Morgan District 16 Sep allowed a public claim for Rev. War
1785 Rutherford County tax list, no land
1788 Rutherford County 25 Feb Rooper X m Sarah France,
bm Charles Rooper x & James Rooper/Roper x
1790 Rutherford County census, Rev. David (b bef 1774, +1M&5F),
David, Jr. (b bef 1774, +lM&lF)
1792 Caswell County 25 Sep William Roper,
land on Rattlesnake Creek to parents
David & Sarah "for Love Goodwill & Effection"
1794 Rutherford County deed from William Going
1795 Burke County tract on land map of south Burke
1796 Rutherford County land grant & deed to Jonas Martin
1795/6 Rutherford County moved to Garrard County, KY; then to
Pulaski County, KY one or two years later
1800 Wilkes County census
1801 Caswell County 13 Jul m Nancy Lewis
1801 Caswell County 3 Feb received part of estate of Saml. Paul
1806 Rutherford County deed to William Lucas
1810 Burke County census, b 1770‑1780
1815 Burke County tax list, b 1765‑1794
1816 Burke County 23 Jan m Mary Becknel, bondsman Solomon Roper
David Ropers in South Carolina to 1815
1800 Edgefield County census
James Ropers in Virginia North Carolina and South Carolina
James Ropers in Virginia to 1815
1761 Dinwiddie County land patent for 44 acres 11 Jul
on the north side of the Nottoway River
1767 Brunswick County estate administrated
1793 Cumberland County 26 Jan m Moley Sims,
Signers: James Roper & Henry Smith
1794 Cumberland County bondsman for marriage of Richard Harris and Judith Sims
1800 Cumberland County tax list
James Ropers in North Carolina to 1815
1730 DAR list of Rev. War soldiers: b c1730 d 10/?/1786 m Mary Peterson
1745 Caswell County Jun b, d 18 Nov 1835; m 1778 Mary Neel/Neal
(b 22 Apr 1766, Faquier Co., VA);
moved to Chester Co., SC about 1793;
moved to Logan (Simpson) Co., KY about 1799
He and brother George served in Rev. War.
1766 Orange County(?) born
1777 Caswell County census
1777 Roster of Continental Line from NC‑lst Reg. Of Col. Thos. Clark, James, Pvt., Brinkley's Co.
Enlisted 7 Apr. 3 years service
1778 Roll of Capt. John Ingles Co., 2nd NC Bat., commanded by Col. John Patton, 9 Sep. James Rooper, Enlisted 7 Apr. 3 years service
1778 Salisbury District contractor
1779 Randolph County appointed commissioner
1779 Montgomery County third of four candidates in an election
1779 Caswell County 8 Mar John Yeats m Jemina Ropper,\
bondsman James Ropper, (by?) W. Campbell
1780 Allowances from the NC House of Commons in May session 885 pounds
Index of NC Rev. War Pension Applications: James; James & wife Mary
1781 Yarborough County NC10th Reg., Jas., pt. enlisted 12 Apl,
service 12 months, Omtd in 1782
1781 Anson County will: children: Martha, Lucy, Mary, William, Sussanna and Green
1783 NC Rev. Army accounts, 25 Jul
1785 Rutherford County tax list, no land
1785 NC Military land grants, 17 Sep. James, Pvt., 274 acres, service 36 months
1786 Rutherford County chain carrier for survey
1786 Granville County census
1788 Rutherford County 25 Feb David Rooper, Jr. x m Sarah France,
bm Charles Rooper x & James Rooper/Roper x
1790 Northampton County census, Halifax District
1790 Caswell County census, Hillsborough District
1790 Burke County census, Company 12 (SE Burke), (b bef 1774, 2F)
1792 Caswell County 27 Mar m Mary ONeill, bm John Peterson
1796 Burke County helps lay off road; jury duty; witness deeds; militia (Ropper)
1800 Burke County census
1800 Richmond County census, listed twice
1800 Burke County jury duty
1801 Burke County land grant for 50 acres
1801 Burke County 90 acres from John Higdon
1803 Burke County jury duty
1803 Burke County 50 acres from William Smith
1805 Burke County tax list, Ropier, 240 acres
1810 Burke County census
1810 Richmond County census
1813 Rev. War Pension paid, NC Cont'l line, $160, 4 Mar, age 72
1814 Caswell County insolvents returned by Sheriff, "no such man"
1815 Burke County tax list, 240 acres
James Ropers in South Carolina up to 1815
1800 Pendleton District James Roper(?)
1656 John Roper arrived in Northumberland Co., VA from England
1678? John Roper is vestryman in Blisland Parish, VA ?
1683 John Roper arrived in New Kent Co., VA from England
1685‑98 John Roper vestryman in St. Peters Parish, New Kent Co., VA
1690 John Roper arrived in Charles City Co., VA from England
1697/8 John Roper died in New Kent Co., VA
1727 David Roper born, s/o John & Mary in New Kent Co., VA
1737 Benjamin Roper born in New Kent Co., VA, s/o David & Elizabeth
(David possible brother of John‑1683 above)
1739 Frances Roper born in New Kent Co., VA, s/o David & Elizabeth
1755 David Roper born in Orange Co., NC; father possibly David Roper
born in New Kent Co., VA in 1727 (see above)
1759 John Roper inventory in Charles City Co., VA, son is David Rope
1773 two David Ropers in Brunswick Co., VA (possibly one was Rosser,
other may have come down from New Kent Co.)
1777 David Roper, Sr. & David, Jr. in Caswell Co., NC
1778 David Roper entered land grant in Burke Co., NC
1779 David Roper deed to William Roper in Caswell Co., NC
1780 David Roper signed petition in Charles City, Co., VA
1780 David Roper moved to Rutherford Co., NC from Orange Co., NC
1783 David Roper was a surveyor in Brunswick Co., VA
1783 David Roper will in Greensville, Co., VA (Greensville was formed from Brunswick in 1780.)
1782 David Ropers on taxpayers list for Charles City Co., VA & Brunswick Co., VA
1787 David Ropers on taxpayers list for Charles City Co., VA & Brunswick Co., VA
1790 Rev. David Roper, Sr. & David Roper, Jr. on Rutherford Co., NC census
1790 James Roper on Caswell Co., NC & Burke Co., NC censuses
1792 David Roper granted land in Caswell Co., NC from son William
1792 James Roper m Mary ONiell in Caswell Co., NC
1794 David Roper Rutherford Co., NC deed received
1795 David Roper land tract in Burke Co., NC
1796 David Roper land grant & deed given in Rutherford Co., NC
1796/7 David Roper moved to Garrard Co., KY from Rutherford Co., NC
1797 David Roper consents for marriage of Lucy Roper in Charles City Co., VA
Possibly the older New Kent Co. David & wife Elizabeth went to Brunswick/Greensville Co., VA and the younger New Kent Co. David (b 1727, s/o John & Mary) went to Orange Co., NC.
No further trace has been found of the John Roper who arrived in Northumberland Co., VA in 1656. Perhaps he is the ancestor of the northern VA Ropers (Fauquier Co., Loudoun Co., Berkeley Co.).
The other two John Ropers who arrived from England have descendants who are easily separated, even though they often had the same names. The Charles City Co. one (arrived 1690) has descendants who stayed around Charles City Co. and some moved to Charlotte Co. & Campbell Co., VA. Later some move to Jasper Co., MO and then on to KY & KS or IL. The New Kent Co. one (arrived 1683) has descendants who probably moved to Brunswick/Greensville Co., VA and to Orange/Caswell Co., NC and then on to Rutherford/Burke Co., NC. Some moved to Cherokee Co., NC & Pulaski Co., KY. The former has descendants that moved on to MO, OK, NM & CA.