In 1718 Elias Stallings was granted a tract of land below the great Dismal Swamp near the headwaters of the Perquimans River. To the south of the Stallings grant was a Luke Hollowell grant. In 1772 John Onley (having married one of the Hollowell girls) discovered that about 20 acres between the Stallings grant and the Hollowell grant had not been claimed, and he received a patent for this land.
The area in which John Onley bought his land was known as Craney Island, probably due to the many sand ridges so near the swamp. The early Onleys lived in a log house and the later Onleys built a wood frame house. The Onleys were known for their huge grapevines and honeybees. People came from several counties to
pick grapes and buy honey. The farm became known as The Onley Place.
My grandfather, William Eason, owned a farm beside the Onleys, and in the early 1900’s, bought The Onley Place. He continued to farm the fields with mules, and his cattle and goats fed in the woods around The Onley Place. When William Eason’s health failed, he sold his farm, including The Onley Place, to his daughter and son-in-law Johnny and Louise Stallings (my aunt and uncle).
As a young boy, I often helped my Uncle Johnny farm the land. I was always on the old John Deer B tractor. What a tractor!
In 1979, my Uncle Johnny and Aunt Louise sold The Onley Place to me.