Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Always free?

 TESTIMONY OF WILEY LOWEREY.

WILEY LOWEREY, sworn and examined, duly testified:

Q. Where do you live?  A. In Kinston, Lenoir County, North Carolina.

Q. What is your business at home?  A. Well, sir, I run drays on the street, and I have been drayer there for two or three years. I keep store besides.

Q. In the town of Kinston?  A. Yes, sir.

Q. Have you held any public office in the county?  A. I have been county commissioner.

Q. How long?  A. About eight years.

Q. Are you county commissioner now?  A: No, sir.

Q. Were you formerly a slave?  A. No, sir.

Q. You were a freeman before the war?  A. Yes, sir.

Q. Do you own property?  A. Yes, sir.

Q. How much, and what does it consist of?  A. Town property principally.

Q. Real estate?  A. Yes, sir.

Q. Have you made it since the war?  A. Yes, sir; most of it.

Q. Do you own a house and lot?  A. Yes, sir; I own a right smart of houses. My renters pay me between four and five hundred dollars a year.

By SENATOR BLAIR:

Q. How far is Lenoir County from Warren?  A. I think 180 miles.

Q. How long was it after you left there before you moved to the one where you are now?  A. I was raised there.

Q. You always lived there before you came to Lenoir?  A. Yes, sir.

Q. And you were always free?  A. Yes, sir.

Q. Always free? A. Yes, sir.

Q. What is your age now?  A. I am forty-seven years old.

Q. Were you always free?  A. Yes, sir.

Q. You were born free?  A. Yes, sir.

Q. Were your parents ever slaves?  A. No, they never was. My old grandfather was a hundred and five when he died, and was always free.

Q. Neither you or any of your ancestors were ever slaves in this country?  A. No, sir.

Q. What were your opportunities for education before the war?  A. I do not know, sir. Before the war, I did not know much; but the free colored people had a school going on in Raleigh.

Q. You said you were a county commissioner; where did you find such an education such as you found necessary in that position?  A. I just picked it up. I never went to school a day in my life.

Q. You found time to study and pick up a little arithmetic?  A. Yes, sir; I can read and write.

Wiley Lowery testified before a Senate Select Committee investigating the migration of hundreds of “colored people” from the South to Indiana in the late 1870s.

Senate Report 693, 2nd Session, 46th Congress: Proceedings of the Select Committee of the United States Senate to Investigate the Causes of the Removal of the Negroes from the Southern States to the Northern States, Washington DC, beginning Tuesday, 9 March 1880.

Willie Lowery married Winnie Tann in Warren County on 16 January 1860. Matthew Guy was bondsman, John W. White was witness, and N.A. Purefoy, Minister of the Gospel, performed the service. 

Matthew Guy married Surbina Lowery on 10 December 1850 in Warren County. In the 1860 census of Warrenton, Warren County: #84, M. Guy and family; #85, P. Lowery, 65, mulatto, washerwoman; #86, N.A. Purefoy, white, clergyman, and family; #98, W. Lowery, 24, black, stonemason, born in Warren County, W. Lowery, 22, mulatto, seamstress, born in Northampton County; and M. Mitchell, 25, black, washerwoman, born in Halifax County.

Index to Marriage Bonds Filed in the North Carolina State Archives, North Carolina Division of Archives and History, Raleigh; federal census schedules.

Full and entire liberty.

In the name of God Amen I Rebekah Black of the County of Iredell & state of Northcarolina being Sound in mind & memory but of old age & mindful of mortality do make ordain & declare this my last will & Testament as follows.

My negro man London I allow to be disposed of as follows for one year after my death I give & bequeath his servises & labor to my son Wm. the next year to my son James the next year to my son William & the next year to my son James after the sd. London shall have served my two sons affoursaid four years from the day of my death I give & bequeath to the sd. London his full & intire liberty this I do consideration of the faithfullness & meritoreous good servises of the sd. London as a servant to me during twelve years I have lived a widow & I do soncearly hope & trust in the fidelity of my executor & in the Justice & human sentiment of the legislature to confirm as far as may be necessary this my bequeathment to my faithful & trusty servant above named.

… I do hereby constitute & appoint my son Jas. Black  & Richar H. King executors of this my will hereby declaring all former Will or Wills by me made to be null & void & confirming Publishing & declaring this & none other to be my last will & testament this 4th Day of May in the year one Thous’d eight hundred & Eight Signed Sealed & Published & declared in Presence of Sam King, Cyntha King   {seal} Rebekah Black

Will Book 1, page 125-126. Office of Clerk of Superior Court, Iredell County Courthouse, Statesville.

Sentenced to be sold.

Bill, a free negro, indicted for an assault upon the person of a colored female child, was tried for the offense at the late term of Court, convicted, and sentenced to be sold to pay costs. He was sold into slavery for the period of 4 1/2 years, R.F. Simonton, Esq., being the purchaser.

Iredell Express (Statesville), 20 April 1860.

Accidentally discharged.

Coroner Wood held an inquest yesterday over the dead body of a free colored man, named Jordan Howard, employed at the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad, who came to his death from the effects of a shot from a pistol, accidentally discharged, on Saturday last, while in the hands of Mr. Strouse, who keeps a store above the Railroad. The man died on Monday.

The verdict of the jury completely exonerates Mr. Strouse from any blame in the matter.

Wilmington Journal, 2 May 1856.

Both buildings were entirely consumed.

The alarm of fire Wednesday night was caused by the burning of two wooden buildings on Third st., between Mulberry and Chesnut streets. The fire is said to have originated in the building owned by Mr. A.A. WANET, extending to the next building South, used as a carpenter’s shop, and occupied by James Usher, a colored man. Both buildings were entirely consumed. It is supposed to have been the work of an incendiary.

Wilmington Journal, 3 November 1864.

He strove to entice.

A Free Negro Entices a Slave to Runaway

Kit Huffman, a free negro who was tried for murder last spring in our Court, has enticed a boy, the property of Wm. Cade, Esq., of this place, to run away with him and go North. It seems that for some time past he had been striving to entice two of Mr. Cade’s boys (brothers) away, and prevailed upon one to do so. Kitt was up here on Wednesday, but left in the boat for Wilmington, just one hour before the officer arrived at the wharf. It is expected that he will leave the boat at White Hall or some place between this and Wilmington, and meet the boy at some place before arranged upon. Kitt is a bright mulatto, about 5 feet 11 inches or 6 feet high. The citizens of this and adjoining counties ought to keep good look out for them. – Fay. Carolinian.

Wilmington Daily Herald, 20 February 1860.

In the old times and old Country.

State of Indiana, Marion County }

Reuben Lawhon of the age of 50 years and George Lawhon of the age of 20 years both of the County of Park and State of Indiana being duly sworn – They testify that they have been well acquainted with Primus Tyler for all the lifetime of the affiant George Lawhon also with his son Shepherd Tyler all his lifetime and with Betsey or Elizabeth Tyler in her lifetime – She was the mother of the said Shepherd Tyler – Shepherd died unmarried – He was a good and faithful son He supported his Father and Mother in her lifetime – Primus Tyler was a slave in Green Co North Carolina – his family were free and came to Indiana and raised money through the Friend Quakers to buy him – which they in 1851 when he came here to this state and leased and rented some land in the quaker settlement in Park Co Indiana for some three years or more – this said same Shepherd Tyler working for his parents during this time – Then Primus Tyler rented a small farm from Thomas Harshman which was about ten years ago – they lived on that for one year when his wife and children purchased the far – 158 acres and gave about $4000.00 for it – on which his children still owe about $1300.00 and he now lives with his children on that place – His said son gave him $100.00 Bounty when he enlisted and his son was killed before he was again paid – since which he has collected the arrears of pay and Bounty – Primus Tyler is old and feeble and has long been disabled from rheumatism — affiants have not interest in this matter.   Reuben X Lawhon, /s/ George W. Lawhorn

[Witnesses] Ben D. House, William Saulsberry

——

State of Indiana, County of Parke   }

Ephraim Cook aged Sixty years and Walden Russell aged 41 years residents of the County and State aforesaid being duly sworn upon their several oaths declare that are well acquainted with the family of Primus Tyler and were acquainted with his wife Elizabeth Tyler in her lifetime who departed this life July 6th 1861 and they further declare that the said Primus and Elizabeth Tyler were the parents of Shepherd Tyler late Co C 28th Regt US.C.T. who was killed at Chickahominy Swamp June 1864.They further declare that they personally know that the said Primus and Elizabeth Tyler were married in Green Co N.C. in the year 1827 the said Primus being at that time a slave and the said Elizabeth free and that the said Elizabeth Tyler thereafter bought the said Primus Tyler affiant’s knowledge of these matters is derived from an intimate personal acquaintance with all of the above mentioned parties and a consequent personal cognizance of the matters testified of and they have no interest in this matter. /s/ Ephraim Cook, Walden Russel

——

Catlin Station Ind. Mar 24th 1869

Mr Harlan Hamlin, Indianapolis

Dear Sir, Inclosed you will please find a bill of sale conveying me from Elizabeth Edwards of North Carolina to James Siler of Indiana and on the same bill under the hand of the said Siler is a writing relinquishing all claims and demands on me to Elizabeth Tyler my wife showing conclusively that the facts was known & recognized by those of that day familiar with the class With regard to living witness I don’t suppose I can produce any from they being advanced in age. I have outlived all those that was present at the time I was married according to the manor and custome of such persons in the old times and old Country which was simply to prepare a supper invite in the friends and at the proper time the groom & bride took their places at the ends of the table facing each other after supper the parties was considered duly married and was recognized by the law when not conflicting with the interest of the masters. Inclosed you please find a postage stamp with which to return the inclosed bill and I trust you will let me know immediately whether it will do any good or not if it wont do I want to know so I may look in some other direction /s/ Primus Tyler

DSCF2212 copy

From the file in the Pension Application of Shepherd Tyler, deceased (by his father Primus Tyler), #171234, National Archives and Records Administration.

——

In the 1850 census of Greene County, North Carolina: Elizabeth Tyler, 40, with children Shepherd, 11, Sally, 1, and Nancy, 5.

In the 1850 census of District 85, Parke County, Indiana: Reuben Lawhorn, 36, Eiza, 25, Oliver, 5, Alice, 2, George, 9 months, all born in North Carolina; plus George, 24, Nancy, 20, Hymerick, 18, Elizabeth, 17, Primus, 16, Avy, 14, and Moses Tyler, 13, all born in North Carolina.

In the 1860 census of Raccoon, Parke County, Indiana: at #386, farm laborer Reuben Lohorn, 40, Eliza, 36, Oliver, 15, Alice M., 13, George, 11, Susan, 8, Alfred, 4, Martha A., 3, and Elias, 3 months. Reuben, Eliza and the oldest two children were born in North Carolina; the remaining children in Indiana.) At #387, Primus Tyler, 60, Betsey, 45, Richard, Arcada, Primus, Moses, 18, Elizabeth, 20, Shepherd, Nancy B., Sally A., Edward F., Elwood, and Matilda J. (Note: Arcada, nee Artis, was Richard’s wife. He, too, enlisted in the Union Army, and his widow applied for a pension. In the 1850 census of District 85, Parke County, Indiana: Micajach Artis, 50, Beaty, 40, Arcada, 17, Eliza, 14, Burket, 4, and Henriette, 1; all born in North Carolina except Henriette, born in Indiana. Burkett Artis gave minor testimony in support of Primus Tyler’s application. Micajah is listed as a head of household in the 1830 census of Nash County NC and the 1840 census of Wayne County NC. A Micajah Artis married Rilly Eatmon in Edgecombe County in 1826. The three counties were contiguous at the time.)

Where are they now?, no. 21.

Y.R. was born in circa 1930 in Oxford NC.  She is descended from these free people of color:

(1) Elizabeth Anderson [1825-??, Granville County]

(2) Emaline Bookram [1827-1897, Granville County]

(3) Burwell Brandon [1785-??, Virginia/Granville County] > Elizabeth Brandon [1833-??, Granville County] > Parthenia Brandon [1851-1934, Granville County]

(4) Jesse Hedgepeth [1823-1897, Orange/Granville County] > William Turner Hedgepeth [1861-1946, Granville County]

(5) Alexander Howell [1815-??, Granville County] > Junius Thomas Howell [1848-??, Granville County]

(6) Lucy Stoye [1795-??, Virginia/Granville County]

An anniversary; a thank you.

Fourth Generation Inclusive turned two a couple of days ago. More than 1100 posts (and 50,000+ views!) later, I’m still excited about the project and steady on the hunt for any source that documents the obscure and poorly understood lives of North Carolina’s free people of color.

Thanks for your support!

Lisa Y. Henderson

An heirloom wart cure.

Wilson_Advance_12_26_1895_Reid_Wart_Cure

Wilson Advance, 26 December 1895.

In the 1850 census, North Side of the Neuse, Wayne County: farmhand Washington Read, 28, wife Pennina, 25, and daughter Lewiser, 2 months.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 237 other followers