A map and list identifying waterways in Chatham County compiled from old deeds and maps by Jim Wiggins for the Chatham County Historical Association are now available for use by researchers. Earliest land records date from colonial times, when Chatham was part of Orange County, and identify a property first as "on waters of" a named stream or river, such as Haw or Rocky River. The deeds often went on to name smaller waterways, such as branches, forks, and prongs, in defining the boundary lines of the property. |
Over time, some of the names have changed, but Wiggins’ research provides a way to locate property on present-day maps and is thus of great interest to those researching local and family history. The map shows current waterway names relative to current roads. It is overlaid by a USGS grid with letters identifying each map segment.
An alphabetical listing of waterways shown on the map codes each waterway to a map segment to assist in locating a particular stream, and indicates current names for some waterway names that are no longer in use.
The map is part of a study of 203 Granville grants that Wiggins identified with locations in what became Chatham County in 1771.
Wiggins stresses that the map and list are works in progress. As researchers look at deeds from all time periods for other purposes, he expects that many additional waterway names will be found. Wiggins invites additions and corrections from anyone with additional information. He will update the list and map periodically to reflect new information.
Send suggestions for additions or corrections to Jim Wiggins, c/o CCHA, PO Box 93, Pittsboro, NC 27312, or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and contact information so we may ask you for more information if necessary.
Chatham County, NC Historical Association