How Sam Furr Road Got Its Name

(Huntersville, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina)


It was an innocent question by Jill Santucclo, reporter for the Mecklenburg Gazette.  The  question, "How did Sam Furr Road get its name?"


Jill is one person in a new generation of local people who now work or live in North Mecklenburg--one of the many newly arrived residents from various places, residents who have not had the advantage of local history to help them answer their questions.


This story gives us an insight into the person for whom this road was named.


Needless to say, many roads are named for people who live or lived on them.  Sam Furr Road is no exception.


When the person Sam Furr is mentioned, nearly everyone who knew him replies, "He was a character. There was only one person like him."


This is his story as told primarily by his daughter, Mary Gordon Kelly, a longtime resident of R.F. D. Davidson, now living in Mt. Mourne, N. C., who formerly lived on Torrence Chapel Road.


Samuel Monroe Furr, Sept. 17, 1894-Feb. 24, 1971 and his wife, Mary Knox Furr, 1885-1968, spent their lives in North Mecklenburg except for two years at his ancestral home in Rowan County near the Unity Church Campground.


His wife Mary attended Queens College.  She taught school in Rowan and Mecklenburg Counties.


Sam and Mary were members of Bethel Presbyterian Church, located west of Cornelius, N.C.


Sam was a World War I veteran serving with a graves registration unit. During World War II, Sam was a member of the Mecklenburg County Rationing Board.


Sam was one of the prime movers in establishing the Cornelius Electric Membership Corporation, now Crescent Electric Membership Corporation. This company was organized under the Rural Electric Membership Corporation. Electric power to North Mecklenburg and South Iredell counties was provided by Cornelius Electric Membership Corporation about 1940. East Lincoln County received power in 1941.


After Sam Furr’s first visit to Washington, D.C. to see Congressman and later U.S. Senator Sam Ervin, Senator Ervin prepared for a visit of his friend by making certain that two cuspidors, (spittoons) were available. Sam Furr's favorite tobacco chew was “Apple," purchased at Babe Stilwell’s Store in Gilead. Sam Ervin’s brand was not revealed. Sam Furr was a member of the Corporate Board of Directors of the Cornelius Electric Membership Corporation.


Sam’s speech was liberally sprinkled with, ”By God this and By God that.“ An unusual characteristic was Sam's thinking of people as a group rather than as individuals.


Sam operated a dairy farm on the portion of Sam Furr Road that is not under Lake Norman. From his farm and dairy Sam sold produce and dairy products to faculty members of Davidson College and Davidson residents. When Lake Norman was built, water covered most of his farm.


0ne incident concerning Sam and his friend, Babe Stilwell, a country merchant and farmer noted for growing the largest watermelons in Mecklenburg, concerns Babe's cows getting out of their pasture and eating much of Sam's corn. Babe offered to pay Sam the value of the corn. Sam declined, explaining that he would get reimbursed by visiting Babe's watermelon patch.


When Mecklenburg County was still agrarian in nature, much political power was concentrated in the sheriff’s office. Sam was a friend of several sheriffs: Sheriff Reilly and Sheriff Clyde Hunter. In this capacity as a friend, he often performed services for the sheriff.


For recreation, Sam enjoyed a sport that few people now enjoy. Sam was an avid fox hunter with many trained dogs. Members of the sheriffs department and Mecklenburg County Police enjoyed regularly scheduled hunts on his 300 acre farm, and on Rocky River, East of Davidson on Narrow Passage Hill.


This sport is still enjoyed by fox hunters from several counties in Mecklenburg County every Thursday night. The location-Eastfield Road in Mecklenburg County near the Cabarrus County line is on land owned by Woodley Wallace. This square mile of fenced land, located inside of the Wallace Dairy, has a clubhouse and other amenities to make life more enjoyable for the participants. Needless to say, members of the sheriff’s department and county police are still enjoying the fox hunting by listening to the hounds as they chase the sly and elusive fox.


Another form of recreation that Sam and Mary enjoyed was square dancing at the Old Caldwell Station School on N.C. Highway No. 115. This school, located 3 miles south of Cornelius, after being sold, was converted to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Building and used for square dances. People, who should know, say that you could hear Sam calling the dances at least a mile away from the building.


Another incident that gives us an insight into his character concerns his daughter Mary and her husband, Leslie Kelly. An erroneous radio report that Leslie Kelly's house was on fire resulted in thirteen law enforcement vehicles answering the alarm.


Mary Furr’s father was Joe V. Knox, a builder.  Joe V. built most of the present commercial buildings in downtown Davidson.


Sam Furr was rewarded for his service to his community and his political influence by having a road named for him--Sam Furr Road.


Sam Furr Road is an East-West Road in North Mecklenburg. With the passage of time, part of this road will probably become N. C. Highway No. 73 when this highway is rerouted out of Cornelius and the route mileage of No. 73 shortened by five miles.


Citation:  Lake Norman – Piedmont History, Marvin K. Brotherton, H & B Printer, Huntersville, North Carolina, 1993


Sam Furr is the soldier on the right