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Robert "Bob" Caldwell Perkins
(May 9, 1825 - 1904)

The following excerpts were taken from:
"The Heritage of Burke County 1981." Burke County Historical Society. Hunter Publishing Company, Winston-Salem, NC. 1981.

 

Sheriff Perkin's duties as Sheriff lasted a short one year, as he was called upon to fill the unexpired term of John Tyler Patterson, Burke's 30th and 33rd Sheriff.

 

Robert "Bob" Perkins was born May 9, 1825 in the brick house that his father, Alfred Perkins, built with the dowry from marrying Miss Mary Caldwell. Robert had two other siblings, Jane Elizabeth and Elisha Alexander "Aleck." His father was said to be "a quiet, unobtrusive man, but because of his high character, sound judgment, and vast general information, he was a leader in his church and in the community" (Heritage 349). Alfred was a elder in the Presbyterian Churches in Quaker Meadows and Morganton. Sheriff Perkin's grandfather, Elisha (born October 18,1760) was the son of "Gentleman John Perkins," who acquired land in the valley of Middle Creek (now John's River.) Gentleman John, the son of Elisha Perkins, arrived in N.C. with his uncle, Adam Sherill. In 1752, Sheriff Robert Perkins great-grandfather (Gentleman John) served as a guide to Bishop August Gottlieb Spangenberg in search of a site for a Moravian settlement. This association with the bishop aided in his acquisition of land grants in Burke County.

 

Sheriff "Bob," and his brother "Aleck," were almost polar opposites in their physical appearance. "Aleck" was tall and lean, while Sheriff "Bob" was short and stocky. They were similar though in their disposition, as both were said to be quiet, modest, and pleasant. They were very similar to their father, as both led exemplary lives and were firm in their adherence to principle. They were upright and careful in the conduct of business and both were Presbyterian elders. He and his brother lived in the same house, where they both cultivated the family farm. They never divided their income and rumor had it that they kept the money on the mantle so that either could take funds whenever needed.

 

Sheriff "Bob" has a unique story that only one Sheriff in Burke County history has pursued. He spent several years in California during the gold rush. Upon returning, he placed his earnings on the mantle and again presumed his duties on the farm. Both brothers were also involved in the political scene of Burke County. "Aleck" served as a justice of the Burke County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions in 1851. Sheriff "Bob" served as the county register from 1860-1866 and as Burke's Sheriff in 1870. His brother also enlisted in the Confederate Army in 1861 and was a corporal and captain for the third Regiment of the N.C. Calvary until 1865.

 

Robert "Bob" Perkins married twice. His first wife, Mary S. Neal (1836-1862) was a native of Hertford County, NC. He married his second wife, Emma Gordon (1837-1870) in 1863. No children were born from either marriage. His brother, "Aleck," married one of Sheriff Bob's first wife's sisters, and had four daughters.