History in the Making

Dr. Francis Joseph Kron—1798 -1883

The home of pioneer physician, Dr. Francis Joseph Kron, sits on a picturesque hillside in Morrow Mountain State Park. The Kron family named their plantation Attaway Hill and referred to it in the manner in all correspondence. Dr. Kron purchased the home site in 1834. The original site contained 234 acres once owned by the Rev. McGregor, a Scotsman, who preached for the Baptists. Dr. Kron continued to purchase and to sell other tracts of land and may have owned a substantial plantation in Stanly County.


The original Dr. Francis Kron House, Morrow Mountain. Torn down in 1950’s

Franz Joseph Kron was born in Trier, Prussia, then a part of the French Republic. When the French, under Napoleon, were expelled in 1813 a young Franz Kron left Prussia and spent the next 10 years in Paris. While there he travelled extensively and spent much of his time attending lectures in the universities and gardens.

Dr. Francis Joseph Kron in his later years, Old Homeplace at Morrow Mountain.

Dr. Francis Joseph Kron in his later years, Old Homeplace at Morrow Mountain.

In June 1823, he married Mary Catherine Delamothe from Tours, France. Mrs. Kron’s uncle Henry Delamothe had immigrated to North Carolina and settled in Montgomery County on the east side of the Yadkin/Pee Dee River at the confluence of the Uwharrie River. Having never married and becoming quite wealthy, Delamothe invited some of his relatives to join him in America and indicated they might inherit his wealth.

In August 1823, Mr. & Mrs. Kron along with Mrs. Kron’s father, Jean Baptiste Delamothe sailed for New York. When they at the Port of New York on September 29, 1823 the ship Elizabeth’s manifest showed Francis J. Kron to be a “professor of languages”. They arrived in Montgomery County in November 1823. During the years of 1824 to 1829, he was an itinerate teacher in Chapel Hill, New Bern and Salisbury.

Delamothe encouraged and funded Dr. Kron’s medical school education at the University of Pennsylvania in 1829/1830.  After his return, he set up a medical practice on property owned by Delamothe east of the Pee Dee River. After the relationship between the Delamothes and the Krons became strained, Dr. Kron purchased the McGregor property on the west side of the Pee Dee River. Dr. Kron set about improving the property with a medical office. Much of his medical practice involved house calls. It is said he could be seen traveling about the country side with his white horse, Hall, and a buggy.

After having lived among the vineyards of the Moselle River Valley, as well as visiting the Loire wine region of Mrs. Kron’s birthplace, Dr. Kron set about improving the soil and developing vineyards. He grew many unfamiliar vegetables, grafted fruit trees and raised farm animals. Oranges and pineapples along with other exotic fruits and flowers were grown in the greenhouse. He did scientific experiments and maintained records for both the Smithsonian Institute and U.S. Agricultural Commission.

In addition, Dr. Kron was involved in many civic activities. He was a member of the court of common pleas, one of 9 men appointed superintendent of schools, a commissioner to build the Stanly County courthouse in 1842, chair of the Home Guard during the Civil War.

The Kron’s had two daughters, Adalaide (1828-1910) and Elizabeth (1831-1896). A son born in 1833 did not survive. The daughters were home schooled during their youth. In 1846 they attended Greensboro Female Academy. The following year, they attended St. Mary’s College in Raleigh. The daughters were skilled artists in water colors, silk making and needlework. It is said they never married because of their father’s disapproval of the local men.

After a lengthy law suit, the Kron daughters inherited 6090 acres on the east side of the Pee Dee River from Henry Delamothe. Miss Addie seemed to have inherited some of her father’s business skills, but lacked the ability to manage a large plantation. After Dr. Kron’s death, the daughters sold much of their land and borrowed from friends in order to provide for themselves. They were cared for by descendents of some of their former slaves. Miss Addie attempted to leave a portion of her estate to them, but lacked proper signatures on her will.

A report on the life, dwelling, and writings of Dr. Francis J. Kron, as well as interviews conducted with family and acquaintances. The Kron house was used as the model for the lodge and bathrooms at Morrow Mountain State Park in Stanly County, N.C. Written by Robert O. Poplin, Jr. in 1958. Available for download from DigitalNC.