Iron forges in the new country were insufficient to meet wartime demands; those with experience in mining and operating a forge were released from military service to operate the forges. The North Carolina General Assembly passed an act in 1788 “to encourage the building of Iron Works in the State.”
This act enabled a person to claim three thousand acres of land found unfit for cultivation. It also required the production of five thousand pounds of iron within a period of three years. During this period, Clisby Cobb of New Jersey was released from the military to work with David Allen in Allen’s Settlement. It was not long after the Revolution had ended, that Cobb was listed as a landowner in multiple counties (Lincoln, Catawba, Alleghany. Burke and Surry) and an ironworks in Burke County was initially called Cobb’s Iron Works.
As had been done in Surry and Wilkes to open roads to Allen’s Forge, a Burke County Court declared in 1793, “Road ordered to be laid off from Indian Gap, by Cobb’s Iron Works on Gunpowder Creek, to the Horse Ford, on Catawba River.” In 1804, Cobb was associated with the Jenny Lind Forge in Maiden. Although he died in 1815, Cobb’s grandson Madison Smith continued his grandfather’s trade and built Stonewall Furnace in Lincoln County on the Catawba River.
While land records in Surry and Yadkin have not been thoroughly researched, it may be likely that the Jonesville creek that allegedly bears Cobb’s name may also have been the site of another of his iron works or at best, a sawmill and grist mill.
NOTE: These structures are located on private land and are not accessible by public roads.