Tickle Brothers’ North Carolina Land Grants

While researching the Digel/Tickle lines, I’ve had to familiarise myself with American geography and history. If I make any mistakes in what I write, please forgive me and feel free to comment and correct!

map of us showing north carolina
Location of North Carolina

North Carolina lies on the east coast of the United States. It has Virginia to the north, Georgia and South Carolina to the south, Tennessee to the west and the Atlantic to the east.

In 1777, North Carolina passed an act taking over land that had formerly belonged to the King and making it available for purchase by what were called land grants. The shortage of good land further north led many German immigrants living in Pennsylvania to make the journey to the Carolinas. John (Johannes) and Peter Tickle (formerly Digel) were among those who travelled south to obtain land.

The trail to Carolina came to be called the Great Wagon Road. It ran through the Great Appalachian Valley from Pennsylvania to North Carolina, and on from there to Georgia.

The first step in getting land was for the prospective landowner to find some vacant land and record a claim, normally camping out on the land meanwhile.. In 1778 and 1779, when the Tickle brothers made their claims, they also had to pledge allegiance to the state. There was then a waiting period, during which other people could claim that all or part of the land was already owned. 

If there were no disputes, the claim would be surveyed and the payment due calculated. At the time of the Tickles’ claims, the state charged 50 shillings per hundred acres. Once the claimant had paid the fees, the land grant was signed by the Governor and had the state seal attached.

The Tickle brothers were both granted their land on the same day, 13 March, 1780. Their plots were in Orange County, in the Piedmont – a high, hilly, plateau in the central region of the state, east of the Appalachian mountains. Piedmont is a French word meaning “foot of the mountain.” Most of the German settlers were farmers, and chose land near lakes and streams, which allowed them to produce successful crops as well as to keep livestock. John was granted 235 acres, described as ‘on the waters of Reedy fork of Haw River‘, while Peter had 200 acres ‘on the waters of Davis’s Creek‘.

Details of the Land Grants

Name: John Tickle
Issue Date: 13 Mar 1780
Residence Place: Orange , North Carolina , USA
Certificate Number Range: 4-908
Description: Orange 4-908

Name: Peter Tickle
Issue Date: 13 Mar 1780
Residence Place:Orange , North Carolina , USA
Certificate Number Range: 4-908
Description: Orange 4-908

Settler Life & Death

Many of the German settlers clustered together and preserved their native language and customs for some time. The families lived in traditional pioneer cabins built of logs, consisting of one large room with a smaller loft above. Later, as they became more prosperous, these cabins were replaced with wooden and stone houses.

John Tickle died on 1 May 1822 and was buried in the Friedens Lutheran Church Cemetery, Gibsonville, Guilford County, North Carolina. The image below is of his grave stone. I am grateful to fellow Guild member, Jon Casbon, for deciphering the German inscription. It reads:: “Herlichste Graben, Johannes Dickel Er ist gestorben den 1 Tag May 1822,” meaning, roughly, “glorious (blessed?) grave of Johannnes Dickel. He died the 1st day of May 1822.” There are apparently a number of Tickle graves in the same cemetery. Peter Tickle died the following year, so possibly he is also buried there..

Both John and Peter left wills, which can be found online. In John’s will he leaves tracts of land, cows, and sheep to various members of his family. Peter’s is simpler, with his estate being divided equally among his six children (with a sum being deducted from one share for a payment he made for his son-in-law).

I’ve come across quite a few descendants of John Tickle, who is often referred to as John Tickle Snr, but, strangely, none so far who trace their ancestry back to Peter Tickle. I’m not sure why that is. From my research, I have found that several of Peter’s descendants moved away from North Carolina. They can be found in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas, among other places. Perhaps distance has obscured their roots.

I’ll post more about this family in future. Meanwhile, if either of the Tickles are your ancestor, do contact me or leave a comment below. If you believe you may be descended from either of the brothers but don’t have the paper trail to prove it, why not consider taking a DNA test to see what that shows? If you are a male with the surname Tickle, I’d be particularly delighted if you’d join the Y-DNA project connected to this study. Please contact me for more details.

1 thought on “Tickle Brothers’ North Carolina Land Grants”

  1. Margaret Cline Harmon

    You have done a tremendous amount of work and it is wonderful!!! I look forward to each new section of this website! Congratulations on a terrific website.

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