When the upstir was about the Negro rising I readily delivered my gun.

by Lisa Y. Henderson

State of North Carolina     }  To the worshipful — the Court of pleas and

Wayne County                }       quarters sessions August Term 1841

From the observance of an act of Assembly Ratified 11th Jany, 1841 prohibiting Negroes &c from Carrying fire Arms at Page 61 and Chapter 30.

Free Willis Petitions your worships that he be allowed to keep and use a shot-gun and Ammunition at his home as usual

As it may pleas your worships I have ever been permitted to Keep a shot-gun and ammunition and no charge has Ever been against me for any injury done thereby — And when the upstir was about the Negro rising I readily delivered my gun to Mr Henry Sasser who Kept it Untill the stir was all over and then gave it to me again   August 17th 1841   Willis

Willis lives at one End of my plantation and as I apprehend no danger in his Keeping his gun and ammunition and as he does me some benefit by destroying the Vermin around my fields I would rather he could retain his gun     Benajah Herring

Benajah Herring’s petition to Wayne County Superior Court secured Free Willis’ freedom in the 1830s.  The “Negro rising” referred to probably was Nat Turner’s Rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia, and/or an aborted slave revolt in Duplin and Sampson Counties, NC, both with took place in the late summer of 1831.  Willis Herring appears, immediately adjacent to Benajah Herring, as a head of household in the 1840 census of Wayne County.  He lived alone.

Records of Slaves and Free People of Color, Wayne County Records, North Carolina State Archives.