Robert Cleveland Log House (c. 1779)
Robert Cleveland moved from Virginia about 1775 to what is now Wilkes County. He settled, near the
Yadkin River, on a tract of land that had been granted to him. During the American Revolutionary War,
Robert and his brother, Col. Benjamin Cleveland, took an active part in reprisals against the Tories, who
were often accused of various crimes. Benjamin, in particular, was known for pursuing and hanging, without
delay, a number of Tories.
In the Battle of Kings Mountain, Benjamin served as colonel in the militia and led one of the many columns
which successfully assaulted the British position. Robert served as captain of a company in his brother's
regiment. This victory of the colonial militia was a significant one in that it forced General Cornwallis to
withdraw in South Carolina.
Robert Cleveland built his house on the Parsonville Road in Wester Wilkes County around 1779. He
farmed and had 13 children by his first wife, Aley Mathis. A set of twin girls were born in 1791. When the
twins were two weeks old, their mother and one of the little girls, died on the same day. This was
December 18, just one week before Christmas. A few years later, Robert married Sallie Johnson and
produced four children by that marriage. He died in 1812 at the age of 68. Hundreds of descendants have
visited the house of their ancestory.
For many years the house stood vacant, slowly decaying, a refuge for an occasional stray animals. In
1987, the house was purchased by Old Wilkes, taken apart and brought downtown to Wilkesboro, where
the task of reassembling began. The original logs were used with only a few having to be replaced and the
mountain rocks which made the chimneys were washed, stacked and reused in the two large chimneys and
fireplaces. All the original beams are exposed, however, the floors and rafters had to be replaced. The rafters
were cut from the Cleveland land and are held together with wooden pegs, which was the way it was originally
constructed. It is believed to be the oldest house in Wilkes County.
The census of 1790 shows the Cleveland household of 24 persons, including ten slaves. At least part of the
activities of the farm was devoted to whiskey making as is evident from Cleveland will.