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A L L A N   M A R K H A M

     and his

M A P S of O R I G I N A L  G R A N T S

     of L A N D in P R E S E N T – D A Y

O R A N G E ,  D U R H A M ,  W A K E ,  

     and C H A T H A M  C O U N T I E S


By David Southern

ALLAN BYRON MARKHAM was a Durham native, born 29 January 1896 to James William and Ianna Rebecca Leigh Markham. A graduate of Durham High School and Trinity College and a veteran of World War I, he was with Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company for many years. In 1936, he married Annie Adelaide Pendergraph, and their son, Allan Byron Markham, Jr., was born in 1940. Allan B. Markham, Sr., died 1 March 1977.

     His interest in the history of Markham and related families inspired him to plot the metes and bounds of their neighboring lands in the New Hope Creek and Third Fork Creek valleys. When he began this work in the late 1940s, there were no copying machines, and no means, beyond expensive photostats, for enlarging and reducing drawings to scale. Thus, his land-grant research involved frequent trips to the Secretary of State office in Raleigh where the original records were then preserved, and the recording of copious notes in longhand at that office, and in courthouse deed vaults in Durham, Hillsborough, Raleigh, Oxford, and Pittsboro. From these, he first drafted individual plats and then combined adjacent pieces into larger and larger composites. By the 1970s his research included more than 1800 grants. Overlapping clusters of plats enabled him to assemble two great mosaics that cover the Neuse River basin and its tributaries to the Person County line on the north, the Eno River valley to a point just west of Hillsborough, and New Hope Creek valley from its headwaters below Hillsborough and south including Chapel Hill and much of northern Chatham county; that is: the land records of all of present Durham County, with the eastern half of Orange County, northeast Chatham county, and much of Wake County to a point east of Raleigh.

     In Mr. Markham’s heyday, an older generation of local historians was at work—Ruth Blackwelder, Hugh Conway Browning, Mary Claire Engstrom, George Lougee, Wyatt Dixon, and Ruth Herndon Shields, among others. Early Markham composites have illustrated the published research of Mrs. Shields and Mrs. Engstrom. In the early 1950s, at the request of Mrs. Labouisse of Fairntosh (a great-granddaughter of Duncan Cameron, and living then in the old Cameron plantation house, built 1810-12, between the Little and Flat rivers), Mr. Markham made a small map of early patents covering much of the area of the present Treyburn development. This map of contiguous properties at the confluence of Flat, Little, and Eno rivers, is now part of the Cameron Papers in Wilson Library, UNC-CH [SHC]. The two great maps he published in his last decade have remained a memorial to his long work, informing countless local historians and genealogists alike. Twice, the Eno River Association calendar has modified sections of his maps for cover art. These valuable Markham maps are still in print and copies may be obtained, for a small fee, from Allan B. Markham, Jr., at 215 East Markham Avenue. A telephone call in advance is advised.

Read about Markham's map and Fish Dam Road here