No interest in the question.

by Lisa Y. Henderson

Harriet Owens v. Jasper Chaplain, 48 NC 323 (1856).

Currituck County Court bound free colored girl Polly Gordon to Frederick Owens, a free man of color, at August Term, 1851. In October 1854, Owens sailed for the West Indies and was not heard from again, leaving Gordon with his wife, Harriet Owens. Jasper Chaplain took Gordon from Harriet Owens’ custody, and Currituck County Court Court rebound her to him without notifying Harriet Owens and without the girl’s presence. Reversing the lower court, North Carolina Supreme Court held that, because Owens was derelict in his duty towards Gordon, Currituck had the authority to rebind her without notice to the wife (who “had no interest in the question”) and without the girl.

Frederick Owens married Harriet Owens (her maiden name) on 13 July 1850 in Tyrrell County.  The couple appear in Frederick’s mother Mary Owens‘ household in the 1850 census of Poplar Branch, Currituck County.  They are not found in the 1860 census.

In the 1860 federal census of Powells Point township, Currituck County, 53 year-old farmer Jasper Chaplin and his wife share a household with six free colored children, Sidney (17) and Lydia Patterson (15), Joseph Case (14), and Polly (13), Aaron (9) and Pater Gordon (5).

Sarah Wesley’s death certificate reveals that Polly Gordon married her fellow apprentice, Joseph Case.  Wesley was born 7 July 1874 in Jarvisburg NC and died 29 May 1925 in Poplar Branch.  Polly and Joseph are listed as her parents, and they appear together in the 1870, 1880 and 1900 federal censuses of Currituck County.