Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Went a-hunting with white folks.

State v. John Harris, 51 NC 448 (1858)

An indictment against John Harris, a free man of color, for carrying firearms.  Harris had obtained a license from the Craven County court “to keep about his person, and carry on his own land a shot-gun.”  At the time of the alleged offense, Harris, “in company with certain white persons, went a hunting” and carried his gun off his property.  The trial judge found that Craven County had no power to limit Harris’ gun license and judged him not guilty.  On appeal, the Supreme Court disagreed.

Two free black men named John Harris appear in the 1850 census of Craven County, one born in 1785, the other in 1828.

My mother was an Indian woman came from Guadaloupe.

Lewis W. Levy Sr.‘s claim (#16083) with the Southern Claims Commission was submitted to Congress on 4 December 1876.  Levy lived in Cumberland County, 3 miles southeast of Fayetteville; was a free-born colored man; and owned 109 acres, of which 40 were under cultivation.  He worked as a saddle and harness maker.  During the war, he was forced to work in his trade at Fayetteville arsenal, where he was “insulted, abused and molested by the rebels.” He fed 6 Union soldiers on their way to federal lines after escaping from Florence SC, and his son Lewis Levy Jr. and Alexander Jackson, another colored man, piloted them over the Cape Fear River.

The Commissioners noted: “He was unusually well off in property for a colored man, much above the average of colored people.  He was nearly white, so much so that the confederates arrested him and tried to force him into their Army, but the surgeon discharged him on the ground of physical inability.”

“A large force of Genl. Sherman’s Army camped near him for 2 or 3 days in March 1865; & we have no doubt from the nature of the case that they stripped him of all he had. … We allow $723.00.”

“I was free born.  My mother was an Indian woman came from Guadeloupe France to this country in 1794.”

Alexander Jackson, age 60, testified that he was a colored man and that he resided in Rockfish township, Cumberland County and worked as a saddle and harness maker.  He was not related to Lewis Levy, but had known him 30 years and lived about 2 1/2 miles from him.  They sometimes worked in the same shop.

Edinboro Scurlock, age 48, testified that he was colored, lived in Cumberland County near Fayetteville and was a wagon maker.  He was not related to Lewis Levy, but knew him all his life and lived about 1/2 mile from him.

Lewis’ son Robert W. Levy was a 21 year-old farmer who lived in Rockfish township.  His testimony mentioned his mother, brothers Lewis Jr. and Matthew N. Levy, sister Ann Eliza Levy, and Wright Lambert.  Matthew N. Levy, age 23, and Lewis W. Levy Jr., 24, also testified. They lived in Fayetteville and worked as coopers.

George D. Simmons, age 39, lived in Fayetteville and worked as a barber and grocer. He had known Levy for 22 years and lived about 5 miles from him.

In the 1850 census of Fayetteville, Cumberland County: Lewis Levy, 30, saddle and harnessmaker; wife Sarah C., 25; children Robt., 6, Eliza, 8, Lewis, 4, and Matthew, 6 months; plus Abel  G. Stuart, 20, apprentice saddlemaker; Paul Jones, 23, painter; and Wm. Dunstan, 34, painter.  All were described as mulatto.