The community now known as Chesterfield is located five miles northeast of Morganton.
Settlers moved in slowly at
first, but land grants and old deeds show that by the latter part of the 1770's
land was owned by Daniel Bullinger, Joshua Brown, Lucas Hood,
Benedict Bristol, Kemp Hallyburton,
John Kincaid, James McKenny, Jacob Harshaw,
the Montgomerys, and John Franklin. Some of the Franklin land was bounty land
received after the Revolutionary War. South of the present village land was
owned by Mrs. Hulda England and the Erwins.
James Hood and his brother,
John, operated the first store for a while, and the first post office was
located in the James Hood home, one of the first houses built in the center of
the village. According to Sketches of Burke County by Cordelia Camp, the
village was known as Hoodville. Sanford Self soon built a house across the
road from the James Hood home and operated a store. After a time the James Hood
home burned; the post office was moved to the home of John and
Chester, and the name was changed to Chesterfield. The post office remained
there until Mac Arney assumed postal duties. The old postal equipment is now
owned by his grandson, Robert Sides. The first rural mail carrier was Charles
Huffman, son of Charles Huffman, Sr., who lived on John's River.
Many remember the revolving
wagon wheel which supported the mailboxes at the cross roads. Charles Hensley, Sr.
bought the Self property and store which remained in his family, continued in
operation until a few years ago, and became a landmark. Others who operated
stores were Robert Suddreth, Sidney Kincaid, and members of the Rader family.
The community was predominantly
Methodist, and religion was a vital part of the lives of most of the early
settlers. However churches were few and distances apart in the early 1800's;
so several families would camp out in tents and worship together. In the
center of the tents was an "arbor." J.B. Ivey in My Memoirs described
the Mount Pleasant Camp Ground. The "Arbor" was at first covered by large
branches of leafy tress; later it was covered with shingles. The ground floor
was covered with straw, and everyone knelt in prayer. Rev. George Ivey, father
of J.B. Ivey, the department store founder, came from Lenoir to hold services.
As the years passed, many fine
preachers including Bishop D.S. Doggett preached to large crowds. Eventually
the "Arbor" burned, and Mount Pleasant Church was established near its present
location. William Winfield Kincaid, Jr.
gave a deed for three acres of land for the church site and church yard and
sold one half acre for the school close by.