Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

She lived to herself and was controlled by no one.

William Brookfield v. Jonathan Stanton, 51 NC 156 (1858)

William Brookfield, whom Jonathan Stanton claimed as a slave, brought the action to try his right to freedom.  Brookfield introduced evidence that for 30 years or more prior to his birth, his mother and maternal grandmother were recognized and admitted to be free people of color.  They were known as the McKim negroes.  His mother had moved from Carteret to Hyde County and lived as a free woman.  She was reported to be the wife of a slave “but lived to herself and was controlled by no one.”

Stanton sought to prove that Brookfield’s mother and grandmother were slaves.  He proffered (1) an attachment made on behalf of an Elijah Cannady against John McKim, who resided in another state, that was levied upon a negro woman named Beck and her children Fan and Olly in 1809 and (2) a bill of sale for the purchase of Bookfield. Both were rejected.

The Supreme Court noted that when a person is black, i.e. dark-skinned, a presumption arises that he is a slave.  Nonetheless, where that person’s mother and grandmother have been treated as free for 30 years, there is an inference that they were lawfully manumitted.  The case was remanded to Craven County court.

There are no free colored Brookfields or McKims listed in antebellum North Carolina census records.

We, all here, were a proscribed people.

John Herring Jr. filed claim #11519 with the Southern Claims Commission.  He was a 67 year-old farmer living in Dudley, Wayne County.  During the Civil War, he lived in Grantham township on rented land on a two-horse farm (about 45 acres.)  “The claimant being a colored man it is needless to question him as to loyalty.”

“Sherman’s whole army was encamped within about a mile and a half ‘and stayed there longer than I wanted them to!'”

“I was always a free man was born free, all my days a farmer.”

Augustus Blunt, age 38, testifying to Herring’s loyalty, said that he lived in Brogden township and ran a sawmill.  He was Herring’s son-in-law.  He overheard one Union officer remark, “You are making a purty good raise boys.”  Daughter-in-law Kizzie Herring, age 36, living in Grantham, also testified, as well as son Doctor Herring, 24.

John Bryant Capps, age 44, was a boarding house keeper in Goldsboro.  He testified that he had known Herring for 20 years and lived about 7 miles from him.  “Shortly after the outbreak of the war I was carried off by the rebels to serve as a cook.  When I made an effort to get home to my family I was prevented and they gave me 50 lashes.”  I never knew a man of my color who did not wish to see the south get whipped by way of satisfaction for the the many whippings inflicted upon us.”

Wm. H. Thompson, age 27, lived in Goldsboro and had known Herring since childhood.  During the war he lived about 5-8 miles from Herring.  “I have yet to learn of the first colored man who was not in full sympathy with the Union cause.  We, all here, were a proscribed people, and during the war had to keep our mouths shut or they would have been effectively shut for us forever.”

John Herring, age 50, mulatto, his wife Charity and their children (including 2 month-old Doctor) appear in the 1850 census of Wayne County living south of the Neuse River.

Augustus Brunt [sic] is listed twice in the 1850 census of Wayne County, both times south of the Neuse.  He appears as a 12 year-old (probably an apprentice) in the household of William Benton, and as a 13 year-old with his mother, Polly Brunt.  The censustaker noted that Augustus was born in Wayne County and Polly in Johnston.

John Capps, age 22, mulatto, is listed in the 1850 census of Wayne County on the south side of the Neuse River.

Where are they now? No. 2

D.C. was born in the early 1960s in Indiana.  She is descended from:

(1) Margaret Balkcum [1836-1915, Sampson/Wayne County]

(2) Patsey Henderson [ca1795-??, Onslow County] via James Henderson [1815-ca1885, Onslow/Sampson/Wayne County] via Lewis Henderson [1836-1912, Onslow/Sampson/Wayne County] via Ann Elizabeth Henderson  [1862-1900, Wayne County]

(3) Axey J. Manuel [1823-1885, Wayne County]

(4) Winnie Medlin

(5) Phereby Simmons [1772-ca1855, Bertie/Wayne County] via James Simmons [1798-1860, Wayne/Sampson County] via George W. Simmons [ca1820-1919, Wayne County] via Hillary B. Simmons [1853-1941, Wayne County]

47 legitimate children?

It comes from Fremont, Wayne county, that Adam Artis, colored, 75 years old, who lives near there, is the father of 47 legitimate children and that in addition there are 80 or 90 grandchildren.

The Landmark, Statesville, 9 Jan 1906.

Adam Toussaint Artis was born free in 1831 in Greene or Wayne County.  Estimates of the number of his children vary, but more than two dozen have been positively identified.  [Sidenote: I am descended from one of them. –LYH.]

Jacob Ing’s children.

In the name of God I Jacob Ing of the County of Nash and State of North Carolina being of sound mind and memory do this 8th day of April A.D. Eighteen Hundred and Sixty Seven, make this my last Will and Testament as follows (viz)

I will and direct that my Executor hereinafter named Sell my real and perishable Estate either private or publick at his discretion, and the proceed therefrom together with all species of Property of every discription be disposed of as follows (to wit)

I give and bequeath to Mary Reynolds, wife of Benjamin Reynolds, Elizabeth Boon wife of Jesse Boon, Selah White, wife of James White, Sally Reynolds, wife of William H. Reynolds, William C. Jones, Matthew Jones, also old Chaney Freed woman (formally my house servant) also Lucinda Artist (dead) to her Children if any surviving (all colored) to be Equally divided in Nine parts, and distributed as above directed.  In case any of the above named persons dies before the execution of this will, leaving Children, in that event their child or children will take the parents intended shear to them and their heirs for ever. (carried forward)

I do hereby nominate and appoint my friend Jesse H. Drake the sale executor of this my last will and Testament ratifying this and no other to be my last.  In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year above written.

Jacob Ing

April 30th 1869.  I Jacob Ing of the County of Edgecombe and State of North Carolina do make this my Codicial to my last will and Testament, bearing date the 8th day of April 1867.  I will and direct that said will be so amended that altered that the said old woman Chaney therein provided for I loan her the lot and improvements whereon I now live (in Battleboro) during her natural life and at her death the same be sold and proceeds Equally divided amongst the surviving Legatees there mentioned.  In Testimony whereof I have hereunto Set my hand and Seal the day and date above written.

Jacob Ing

Easter Jones, also known as Hester, was the mother of Jacob Ing’s children.  The family appear together in the 1850 census of Nash County: Jacob Ing (64, white, farmer) and Easter Jones (55), John Jones (20) (and his wife Dolly, 21), Matthew Jones (18) and Lucy Jones (16), all mulatto.  

Lucinda “Lucy” Jones married Adam T. Artist on 10 October 1855 in Nash County.  Their children Noah, Mary Jane and Augustus Kerney Artis inherited her share of her father’s estate.

Wills, Nash County Records, North Carolina State Archives; Estates Records, Wayne County Records, North Carolina State Archives; Marriage Records, Register of Deeds, Wayne County Courthouse, Goldsboro NC; 1850 federal census schedule.

An earlier post shows Ing’s application for a marriage license for his daughter Elizabeth and Jesse Boon.

Free-issue Death Certificates: HAGANS.

Charles Hagans.  Died 26 Mar 1939 in Wilson.  Resided at 210 Manchester Street, Wilson.  Colored.  Widower of Clara Hagans. Age 80 years, 1 month, 1 day.  Preacher.  Born Wilson County to Richard Hagans and Allie Faithful.  Informant, Richard Hagans.

Infant Charles Hagans is listed in the household of his parents, Richard and Alley Hagans, in the 1860 census of Edgecombe County.

Geo. Hagans.  Died 24 June 1925, Nahunta township, Wayne County. Negro. Married to Ann Hagans. Age 75.  Farmer. Born Pikeville, Wayne County, to William Henry Hagans and Matilda [no last name], both of Wayne County. Buried in Pikeville cemetery.  Informant, Raeford Hagans.

Polly Hagans.  Died 10 Feb 1927, New Hope township, Wayne County.  Colored.  Widow.  Age about 85. Born in NC.  Father, Gary Rowe.  Buried Lenoir County.  Informant, Jack Rowe. 

Gary Rowe is listed as a head of household in the 1840 census of Davis District, Wayne County, and the 1860 census of Stoney Creek township, Wayne County.

Grandfathered in.

The following Wayne County free men of color registered to vote, naming Absalom Artis, as their qualifying ancestor under the Grandfather Clause: A.B. Artis, age 29; Mack Artis, age 52; Joseph Artis, age 21; Nathan Artis, age 42; and Donnie Artis, age 21.  Albert Artis, age 58, named Absalom’s son Edwin Artis.  All the voters lived in Nahunta township except Nathan, who lived in Saulston.

With an express design to disenfranchise black voters, in 1900, North Carolina passed a constitutional amendment requiring that voters be able to read and write a section of the state constitution and pay a poll tax.  To avoid disenfranchising illiterate whites, the amendment contained a “grandfather clause,” which exempted a registrant from the literary requirement if he or a lineal ancestor was eligible vote on 1 Jan 1867.  A number of free men of color were thus able to thwart the law’s intent.