Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

The Chubbs of Chubbtown.

The history of the Chubb Chapel, and in fact Chubbtown itself, must be seen in the context of the Chubb family and its struggle first to escape slavery and then as a rare, free-black family to migrate seeking better opportunities, as did most of its free white contemporaries.

The history of the Chubb family in North America dates back at least to 1775. Nicholas Chubb is listed a free colored male, head of a household on the 1820 census of Caswell County, North Carolina. His age is listed as 45 years or older, which means that Nicholas Chubb probably was not born later than 1775, whether he was born free, or in slavery is not known. If born a slave, it is not yet known when or under what circumstances he was freed.

Isaac Chubb, born about 1797 in North Carolina, is presumed to be one of Nicholas Chubb’s sons. Isaac appeared as a free black in the 1830 Census of Caswell County, North Carolina and shortly thereafter migrated to north Georgia before 1833 when his first child is recorded as having been born in Georgia. It is important to note that Isaac Chubb, a free black male, migrated with his family to Georgia, a slave state, rather than to a northern free state. Isaac Chubb, who was a blacksmith by profession, apparently was successful enough in his profession to keep his family together. In 1850, Isaac and his family were living in Morgan County, Georgia.

In 1850, Georgia’s population was just over 906,000 people with just over 381,000 being slave, and 521,000 free whites. Only 2,931 were listed as free blacks, and of these 16 were recorded living in Morgan County. Of these 16, 10 were Isaac Chubb and family. The only large congregation of free blacks in the state were in the larger cities of Savannah, Augusta, Macon, and Columbus.

By 1860, Georgia’s total population had risen to 1,057,000 or so, with whites making up 591,000 or so, while the slave population had grown to over 462,000. The free black total had grown to 3500 exactly.

While the 1860 Census does not reflect the exact whereabouts of the Chubb family, it would appear that they were already in Floyd County. The free black residents of Morgan County totalled 16 in 1850 (of which 10 were Isaac and family) and only 7 in 1860, for a loss of 9. Floyd County, on the other hand, had only 4 free blacks in 1850 but had gained 9 for a total of 13 in 1860.

Isaac Chubb and his eight sons (William, Henry, John, Thomas, Jacob, Isaac, Jr., Nicholas and George) thus arrived at, or were subsequently born in, Floyd County, Georgia, by the early 1860s. Neither research nor family tradition has indicated any reason for this northwesterly move. The older sons soon began purchasing real estate before the end of the Civil War. Henry Chubb purchased 120 acres in 1864 before the end of the war.

The 1870 census of Floyd County, Georgia, reflects that Isaac was dead and Henry was head of the family. The census lists the various occupations of the brothers as blacksmith, wagon maker, house carpenter, sawmill operator and the rest farmers. Apparently, these varied talents enabled the Chubb brothers to prosper.

Chubb Chapel United Methodist Church was established in a community that most probably was one of a kind, one that was established and owned by blacks before the turn of the century in the United States.

Legend has it that the community in which Chubb Chapel United Methodist Church is located was once inhabited by the Cherokee Indians before they were forced to relocate during the winter of 1838-1939.

In an undated deed recorded on August 8, 1870, “Henry Chubb and brothers, of town of Cave Spring” conveyed for $200 approximately one acre of land “at Chubbs” to the Trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church, with “a house now situated on said lot and occupied as a school and a place of religious worship by the colored people.” Henry Chubb, one of the Chubb Brothers, was one of the original trustees.

Although William Chubb was the oldest son of Isaac Chubb, Sr. as shown on the census, Henry Chubb seems to have taken on the role as head of the Chubb family in Floyd County. The wording of the church deed, Henry’s inclusion as the sole Chubb family member as one of the trustees and his listing in the 1870 census support the tradition that Henry Chubb had become head of the Chubb family in Floyd County by 1870.

During the Post-Reconstruction period the Chubb brothers continued purchasing real estate. Their real estate holdings became a self- sufficient community known as Chubbtown. Chubbtown provided goods and services to white and black residents of the surrounding areas.

Chubbtown was indeed a self-sufficient community. The community, which was serviced by its own post office, was composed of a general store, blacksmith shop, grist mill, distillery, syrup mill, saw mill, wagon company, cotton gin, casket (coffin) company and several farms, all owned and operated by the Chubb family.

The Chubb family remained and prospered in Floyd County, Georgia, while many southern blacks were seeking prosperity in the north. The family’s prosperity declined around the 1940s when a flood destroyed many of the family’s businesses.

By the 1870 census, Henry Chubb had acquired considerable property as an individual, separate from the family’s holdings. Perhaps this is the reason that he became the head of the family.

In the county’s first official county history, A History of Rome and Floyd County, written by George M. Battey, Jr., and published in 1922, the family and its community even attracted the attention of the white community of Floyd County, as seen by the following reference to the family in the encyclopedic section under the heading “Darkeys of Rome, Old-Time”: “Chubb Family: These darkeys were farmers around Chubbtown, near Cave Spring and the Polk County line, whose industry and thrift enabled them to accumulate considerable property, gins, mills, houses, etc. They were law-abiding, respected by the whites and generally good citizens. Their master set them free before the Civil War.”

Although the reference to the Chubbs as “darkeys” certainly will not amuse the current descendants of the Chubb brothers, the reference must be put in its proper historic context. They were the only black family discussed, all the other entries were individuals. The history was published in 1922, when far more insulting words were used to describe blacks. What is far more important to note is that Chubbtown, a community established by blacks, had gained such respect and prominence that it could not be ignored by the white author. As in all Georgia county histories of the era, blacks were relegated to only brief mentions, or appendices, even though in many counties they had long constituted a major percentage of the population.

Perhaps the descendants of the Chubb brothers will not find the following reference to Chubbtown, from the same history, as offensive as the preceding one:

“Chubbtown is a settlement of prosperous and respectable negroes four miles southeast of Cave Spring at the Polk County line.” (p. 397)

The Chubb brothers and Chubbtown certainly had received some recognition by the 1920s. Unfortunately, by 1940 all of the Chubb brothers had died; however, their dreams and lives lived on through their children. The Chubb brothers (William, Henry, John, Thomas, Jacob, Isaac, Nicholas and George) along with many of their children and other descendants are buried in the Chubb Cemetery, located on land donated by the Chubb and Jones families in Chubbtown.

Although the community that the Chubb brothers established is no longer a self-sufficient town and is no longer exclusively owned by members of the Chubb family, it continues to bear the name Chubbtown, and is recognized as such on the U.S.G.S. topographic map, Cedartown West Quadrangle.

The church that the Chubb brothers helped establish in August 1870 stands today and is still operating as a church and is now known as Chubb Chapel United Methodist Church. It is the only historic building dating from the period of Chubbtown’s historic development.

From the National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for Chubb Methodist Episcopal Church, Cave Spring, Georgia.

[Sidenote: Arguably, the most famous Chubb is patriarch Nicholas’ namesake, Georgia Bulldog running back Nick Chubb.]

Poet and minister’s father.

“Islay Walden, black poet and Congregational minister, was born in Randolph County, the son of a slave named Ruth belonging to James Gardner. At Gardner’s death in 1843 Ruth and her two children were sold to Dolphin Gardner. Islay was at that time a babe in arms while his sister, Sarah, was two. How many times he was sold after that is unknown. His father was William D. Walden, a free black who was highly respected in his community. …”

— From

He offered the boy for sale.

Kidnapping. — On Thursday last, a free boy of color, named Josiah Lomax, was abducted from the house of his parents, near this place, by an unknown white man, well dressed, of genteel appearance, and riding a good bay horse, with new Saddle and Bridle. In the absence of the boy’s father, this man told the mother that he had hired the son from her husband, and that he lived in this county. She thereupon permitted him to take away the boy. He has since been heard of in Richmond County, near Laurel Hill, about 45 miles S. West of this place, where he had offered the boy for sale, but refused to sign a bill of sale, or permit any conversation with the boy. Handbills having been forwarded in all directions on Friday morning, it is hoped that the man has ere this been taken up. We learn that before the above occurrence, an unsuccessful attempt was made to carry off a boy from another family. — ib. [Fayetteville Observer]

Tarboro’ Press, 23 May 1834.

Drowned in the river.


Was held yesterday, by JOHN C. WOOD, Esq., Coroner, over the body of a free colored boy named THOMAS ALLEN, who was drowned on Thursday, whilst bathing in the river. The verdict of the jury was “accidental drowning.”

The Tri-Weekly Commercial (Wilmington), 5 August 1848.

The regimental muster.


Mr. Hamlin Writes Interestingly About the Olden Days In The Past.

Mr. Editor:

As indicated in my last communication the camp-meeting was pre-eminently the religion-social gathering in the days of yore and the only general gathering marked by the presence of ladies. The presence of the mothers with their daughters of the best families enlivened, restrained and dignified the occasion. … The boys, as a general rule, didn’t attend. The regimental muster, coming in May and held in the field fronting Capt. Killian’s dwelling, now the Mills property, was largely attended by those of 18 to 45 years of age by law, the elder ones by choice. Harry Guinn, a free colored man, furnished ginger-bread and beer. Some whiskey, only a few jugs, and pure, was at all these places. It made men funny but not vicious. A fisticuff was rare. Uncle Joe Dunn played the fiddle with his left hand and four or five elderly men danced. …

Brevard News, 7 December 1921.


Jesse Harris, a free negro, charged with the murder of Matthew Russel, also a free negro, was acquitted. The Hon. Edward STANLY, for the State; and Geo. W. HAYWOOD, H.W. MILLER and D.K. McRAE, Esqrs., for the prisoner.

North Carolina Star, 13 October 1847.

The free people of color would harbor him.

Twenty Dollars Reward.

Ran away from the subscriber in February last, a tall negro man by the name of WILLIS, about thirty-five years of age; he is rather slim built and thin visage; has a down look, speaks slow, and would be very easily confused if strictly interrogated. No particular marks recollected, by which he could be described. It is probable he has obtained a free pass by some means or other, and may be in the employment of some person under a pretence of being free. He has some relations on the Hickory Mountain, in this county; he was very intimate in the family of Peter Chavas (a free man of colour,) who has left this country, and is now living in or near the Hawfields, Orange county, and also with the Carters‘ free persons of colour, who now live in Guilford county; he also had some connexion with the Hathcocks, who ran away from Clintham, a year or two since, and are now living in Davidson county. I have good reason to believe the Hathcocks, Carters, or Chavas would harbour him, and render any assistance in their power. The above reward will be given to any person or persons who will apprehend and confine in Jail the said fellow, so that I get him again; and all other reasonable expenses paid, if delivered to me in Chatham county, on New-Hope.  THOS. BELL, Sen.  May 23, 1827

The North-Carolina Star (Raleigh), 21 June 1827.

Voluntary enslavement of herself and her son.

… Mr Alford presented a petition from Sally Scott, free woman of color, praying for the voluntary enslavement of herself and infant son to Sidney A. Henton. …

Charlotte Democrat, 2 December 1862.

Died from a blow to the leg.

We learn (says the Standard) that Ephraim Holmes, a free man of color, died in this place on Monday morning last, from injuries received, by a blow on his leg, given by John Mitchell a free negro who, we learn, is in Jail.

The North-Carolina Star (Raleigh), 21 January 1852.

Robertson perpetrates an outrage.

Terrible Affair . — One of our most worthy Citizens Fatally Wounded. — On Thursday night last, Messrs. Albert Hinton, James Penny, and Keith, three citizens of this County, who were acting as a patrol under the appointment of our Court, in the discharge of their duties, visited the plantation of Mr. B.K.S. Jones, about 10 miles from this city, where a negro wedding was in progress. On going into the kitchen where the negroes were assembled, Wm. Robertson, a free negro, who was sold out of the jail in this City some time last year for debt, assaulted Mr. Hinton with an axe, splitting his head open, and inflicting a wound upon him which it is feared will prove fatal. The same negro struck Mr. James Penny with a shovel and knocked him senseless to the ground. Mr. Keitch was also knocked down, but by whom it is not known. Messrs. Penny and Keitch soon recovered, but we are pained to learn there is but little hope for Mr. Hinton. Mr. H resides about 4 miles from this city, and is one of the most estimable men in the county. Our citizens are greatly incensed against the perpetrator of this outrage, and a large number of them joined Sheriff High yesterday morning, and went out in search of the diabolical fiend. The negro, Wm. Robertson, is described as very black, and about 6 feet in height. 

P.S. Since writing the above, we have learned that it is reported that Mr. Hinton died yesterday morning from his injuries. — Ral. Register.

Fayetteville Observer, 4 May 1857.


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