BELK, Thomas Milburn
CRAIG, Mary Lucinda
BELK, Abel Nelson Washington


Family Links

1. WALKUP, Sara Narcissus

BELK, Abel Nelson Washington 3028,5734,5737

  • Born: 21 Mar 1833 5737
  • Marriage (1): WALKUP, Sara Narcissus on 22 Nov 1859 5734
  • Died: 26 Feb 1865 5737
  • Buried: Shiloh ARP Church Cemetery, Lancaster, Lancaster County, South Carolina 5737

   Other names for Abel were BELK, A. N. W.,5737 BELK, Abel 5737 and BELK, Abel N. W..5736


  Noted events in his life were:

1. Story, 1865. Abel Belk had been killed by marauding Yankees when Sherman's army came through in 1865. The soldiers tried to force Abel to reveal the location of a small family gold mine and when he refused to tell they drowned him. (written by historian Louise Pettus, posted at

2. Story: Drowned, 26 Feb 1865. 3028,5734 Drowned by Yankee soldiers under Sherman because he could not tell them where he had any gold hidden.

3. Story: Children. 5734 Children of Abel Nelson Washington Belk and Sara Narcissus Walkup were: Thomas Milburn Belk, born 1860, died Aug 1875
William Henry Belk, born June 2, 1862, died Feb 23, 1951
John Montgomery Belk, born July 1864, died March 1928

4. Story. More than 80 years after the event, William Henry Belk could still recall his father and several black men hitching the horses to wagons loaded with household goods. Belk was only 2 years and 8 months. He was left behind with his brothers-one 4 years old and a baby of 7 months-and his mother, Sarah Walkup Belk.

In 1950 LeGette Blythe set down William Henry's memory of that day in this fashion: "My father had heard that old Sherman was heading our way on his march towards Charlotte. He had what in those days they called weak lungs, and hadn't been strong enough to join the Confederate Army. "He figured that if the Yankees came along by our place and caught him at home, they'd probably hang him and take all the horses and anything else they wanted, and burn down the house. . . ."

For Abel Nelson Washington Belk the decision to leave his home on the south side of Twelve Mile Creek in Lancaster County proved to be fatal. The Yankees didn't come that far north but turned to the east when they left the town of Lancaster. Abel Belk had headed for his father's place on Gills Creek some 6 or 7 miles east of Lancaster where his father owned a small gold mine. William Henry Belk said that the Yankees "caught a fellow down that way who figured he'd save his own hide and get in their good graces by turning up my grandfather, old man Tom Belk. This scoundrel told them that my grandfather had barrels of gold hid out at his mine and he said that if they caught him they could make him tell where the gold was." It was later revealed that the troops found Abel Belk instead of his father and when they tried to force Abel to tell where the non-existent barrels of gold were hidden, Belk could only say that he did not know. He was taken to the creek and his head pushed under the water time and again in an attempt to make him talk. Abel Belk's, already sick with fever, collapsed and drowned.

On March 8, 1865 Herron Belk, brother of the drowned man, wrote Sarah Belk, the widow, that "there was a certain person buried about one and half miles below here, in Graham's field, who I suppose is Abel." One of the blacks who had accompanied Abel was able to identify Abel's dead mule near the creek. Herron Belk asked Sarah Belk to bring horses (the Union forces had taken every horse in the community) and a wagon to his house so that they could move the body to Shiloh Church. After seeing her husband buried, Sarah Belk returned home to raise three little boys. A college graduate she would be able to give her sons the rudiments of an education. It would be far more difficult to operate a farm at a profit in the hard postwar years. With Alexander, Ely, Ben, Amanda and Moriah, now free, she labored and finally paid off the mortgage on the farm in 1872.

In 1873 Sarah Belk married John Simpson, a man she had hired as an overseer. The family moved to Monroe, N. C. It was in Monroe that William Henry Belk, at the age of 14, went to work for Benjamin Dawson Heath in a dry goods store. He proved to be indispensable to Heath who frequently left Belk in charge while he pursued other business interests (one of his businesses was the Bank of Charlotte which evolved into the present Bank of America). When he was 26, William Henry Belk opened the first store of what would become Belk Brothers, a large chain of department stores now known simply as Belk.

(written by historian Louise Pettus, posted at

5. Story. 5737 [This is posted at Find a Space but without any source:]
About the 21st of February the army of Gen. Sherman began to cross the Catawba river, at various points, from a few miles above Camden to Rocky Mount Ferry in Lancaster District; and within a few days thereafter the whole army occupied the districts of Kershaw and Lancaster, devastating in the most ruinous and ruthless manner the entire section of country extending from a few miles above Lancaster C.H. to a short distance below Camden, embracing a scope of about fifty miles in breadth. On the 24th of February Kilpatrick's cavalry occupied our village. Here he remained until the 29th; and although it has been said that the depredations committed here were less than in many other places, they were sufficient in all condolence, to stigmatize with infamy any people claiming to be civilized. The stores and other places of business were broken open by the soldiery, and the negroes, many of whom had congregated upon the streets, invited to go in and pillage; which invitation they were not slow to avail themselves of, and were as destructive as the Yankees themselves. Some of the store houses and offices were occupied by the troops and some of them used as stables for horses. All of the prominent dwellings, though occupied by the owners, were taken possession of as quarters for the officers.
Other dwellings were pillaged and stripped. Many articles which could not be appropriate, such as house furniture, were destroyed. Females of the highest respectability were in-united in their dwellings; and in some instances the males were brutally maltreated and abused. Some hung up by the neck to make them divulge where property was hidden. Others were robbed in the streets of the clothing on their persons.
No houses within the village, with the exception of the jail, were burned. After the main body left a squad came in with orders, it is said, to fire the place; but before they could put their designs in execution a body of Wheeler's cavalry drove them away.
Three citizens were killed by the enemy in cold blood. One of them, Mr. Hiram Adams, who resided near this place, was made a prisoner, and because he could not walk fast enough to suit their purposes, they shot him. Mr. Abel Belk, a very worthy man, was found dead in the woods where he was trying to conceal himself from the foe, with every evidence of having been drowned or throttled. Mr. C.B. Northrop, a prominent lawyer of this place, burned his own gin house on the approach of the enemy. They then set fire to his dwelling, burning it with all of its contents; and a few days afterwards Mr. Northrop was found dead in his fields nearby. His dwelling was within a half mile of the village. They spared neither age, sex nor condition.
A debauched and demoralized soldiery, bent upon plunder and destruction, they cared not who furnished them with the means of gratifying their hellish instincts. White flags, or other tokens of submission, were of no avail, and the few who resorted to those cowardly devices fared no better than their neighbors.
The country was stripped almost entirely of horses. Cows were driven off in large numbers, and many cows and hogs were shot down with no other purpose than to gratify the devilish dispositions of the foe. All gin houses were burned; also other houses containing cotton. All of the important mills, all machine shops of every description, and all unoccupied dwellings, and dwellings that were temporarily abandoned on the approach of the enemy, were destroyed. Wagons, carriages and other vehicles were either burned or so mutilated as to render them wholly unserviceable. It seemed to be the purpose of the foe, not only to deprive us of the means of present living, but to so cripple us that we cannot make a subsistence in the future.


Abel married Sara Narcissus WALKUP, daughter of Robert WALKUP and Dorcas MONTGOMERY, on 22 Nov 1859.5734 (Sara Narcissus WALKUP was born on 27 Jun 1836,5735 died on 9 Mar 1932 5735 and was buried in Suncrest Cemetery, Monroe, Union County, North Carolina 5735.)

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