Cleveland moved from Virginia about 1775 to what is now Wilkes County. He
settled, near the Yadkin River, on a tract of land that had been granted to him.
During the American Revolutionary War, Robert and his brother, Col. Benjamin Cleveland, took an active part in reprisals against the Tories, who were often accused of various crimes. Benjamin, in particular, was known for pursuing and hanging, without delay, a number of Tories.
In the Battle of Kings Mountain, Benjamin served as colonel in the militia and led one of the many columns which successfully assaulted the British position. Robert served as captain of a company in his brother's regiment. This victory of the colonial militia was a significant one in that it forced General Cornwallis to withdraw in South Carolina.
Robert Cleveland built his house on Parsonville Road in western Wilkes County around 1779. He farmed and had 13 children by his first wife, Aley Mathis. A set of twin girls were born in 1791. When the twins were two weeks old, their mother and one of the little girls, died on the same day, December 18.
A few years later, Robert married Sallie Johnson and produced four children by that marriage. He died in 1812 at the age of 68. Hundreds of descendants have visited the house of their ancestory.
For many years the house stood vacant, slowly decaying, a refuge for an occasional stray animals. In 1987, the house was purchased by Old Wilkes Inc., and disassembled and relocated to downtown Wilkesboro.
The original logs were used with only a few having to be replaced and the mountain rocks which made the chimneys were washed, stacked and reused in the two large chimneys and fireplaces. All the original beams are exposed, however, the floors and rafters had to be replaced. The rafters were cut from the Cleveland land and are held together with wooden pegs, as it was originally constructed.
The census of 1790 shows the Cleveland household of 24 persons, including ten slaves. At least part of the activities of the farm was devoted to whiskey making as is evident from Cleveland's will.
The Robert Cleveland log home is believed to be the oldest house in Wilkes County. The house is part of the Wilkes Heritage Museum tour, Candlelight Ghost Tours, and is host to educational events.