Went a-hunting with white folks.

by Lisa Y. Henderson

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.