Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Boon’s horse.

William Boon filed claim #1708 with the Southern Claims Commission.  He was 40 years old and born free and reared in Gates County.  He had lived about 5 miles from Gatesville for 22 years.

On 21 July 1863, a large force of cavalry, the 11th Pennsylvania, passed in the road to Suffolk. They took Boon’s seven or eight year-old sorrel-colored horse, which was worth about $200.

James A. Green was a 37 year-old, free-born brickmason and farmer who lived about 4 miles from Boon.

Zachariah Boon, age 68, was William’s father.  William had lived with him at the time the horse was taken.

Alonzo Green, age 28, was the postmaster at Gatesville. He had known William Boon all his life and had lived about 6 miles from him during the war.

Just so you know, they might be free.

Free Jack v. Woodruff, 10 NC 106 (1824).

An action for freedom.  Free Jack was the son of a woman of color named Jane Scott, who, in 1774 was “in the possession of” one Allen, who asserted that Jane was free.  In 1784, Jack was indented by Surry County court to one Meredith, who frequently said he was free, but then sold him to Moses Woodruff. Woodruff sold Jack with the warning that he was reported to be free and caveat emptor.  Allen, meanwhile, sold Jane Scott to Abraham Cresong, who sold her and twelve of her children to William Terrill Lewis on 22 October 1788.  Lewis, fearing he would lose them otherwise, sent the children out of state.  Woodruff, to prove that Jane was a slave, introduced a Rowan County record that showed that Jane and her children had been “set at liberty” on a writ of habeas corpus by a Surry County court, but that judgment had been reversed for want of jurisdiction.  The judgment in the lower court was for Free Jack, and Woodruff appealed.  Upon consideration of certain evidentiary questions involving parol evidence and hearsay, the Supreme Court ordered a new trial.

The Scott family’s struggles to maintain their freedom were generational.  Jane’s grandson Samuel’s travails similarly lead to the state’s highest court.  See Samuel Scott v. Joseph Williams, 12 NC 376 (1828).

Surnames: Hertford County, 1860.


An apprentice leads the way.

30 dollars reward.

Ranaway from the subscriber on Thursday the 28th of November last, a mulatto boy named TOM, between 16 and 18 years of age, about 5 feet 4 inches, stout made, lips thick, down look and a small scar on his face, was indifferently dressed when he ran off.  It is supposed that Ryal Bryant an apprentice to Wm Delancey hatter, (who has also run away) enticed him off.  The above reward will be paid to any person for apprehending and securing the  above fellow in any jail so that the subscriber gets him again   JAS. ROACH  Rockingham County, Dec 9

The Star and North Carolina State Gazette, 20 December 1816

A bill to prevent immigration.

A bill to prevent free persons of colour from migrating into the state of North Carolina, for the good government of such persons resident in the state, and for other purposes, was virtually rejected, the first section being stricken out, by a vote of 56 to 47.

Wilmingtonian and Delaware Adviser, 12 January 1826.

Determined to seek a home in the North.

A Semi-Centennial Anniversary. A pleasant company, numbering about forty persons, assempled on Monday afternoon, August 15th, at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. John C. Copeland, a little southwest of Oberlin, in response to invitations to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary or golden wedding of the host and hostess. Congratulatory remarks were made by Hon. James Monroe, and prayer offered by Dea. W. W. Wright, after which a bountiful supper was served. The presents consisted of about $50.00 in gold coin, two gold-lined silver cups, numerous floral offerings, and other articles.

John C. Copeland and Delilah Evans were married in Hillsboro, North Carolina, August 15th, 1831, and settled in Raleigh, the capital of the State, which had previously been the home of Mr. Copeland, and where he labored for seven years as carpenter on the State House. Mr. Copeland was born a slave, but at the age of seven years was made free by the will of his deceased master, who was also his father. Mrs. Copeland was never a slave. She is a sister of our fellow townsman, Mr. W. B. Evans.

In the year 1843 Mr. Copeland, Allen Jones and John Lane left North Carolina with their families, determined to seek a home in the North. Traveling with teams, they crossed the Ohio river at Cincinnati, and by the advice of Abolitionist friends, started for New Richmond, Indiana. When within five miles of that place they were hailed by a farmer by the name of Tibbets, a friend of the colored man, and invited to stop and rest. It being near the close of the week, they reamined over the Sabbath, and by invitation attended an Abolitionist meeting in New Richmond. Having been informed by the slaveholders of the South that the Abolitionists in the North were accustomed to capturing colored men and selling them into slavery, they were somewhat reluctant about entering the room where the meeting was held, but after much urging entered and took a seat near the door, where they could escape if indications of danger appeared. They listened to the speaking and were much pleased with their new-found friends, and greatly relieve in their minds to learn that the stories told them by the North Carolina slaveholders were untrue. Here they became acquainted with Amos Dresser; a graduate of Oberlin College, class of ’39, who advised them to locate in Oberlin, where the slave-holders would not kidnap their children as they were in a habit of doing along the Ohio river. With written directions from Mr. Dresser at to the route to be travelled, the three men mounted their horses and started for the colored man’s land of promise. As an illustration of the feeling of the people in regard to Oberlin at that day, Mr. Copeland relates that when within twenty miles of the place they stopped at a tannary to inquire the way, and were told with oaths that there was no such place, that it had “sunk.” Mr. C. replied that he “would go on and look into the chasm.”

They arrived at their destination on Sunday and were much surprised as they passed up the street to see two young men, one white and the other colored, walking arm in arm. They were greeted by some citizens, who inquired why they were riding on Sunday. They answered that they were seeking a home for themselves and families. One of their number was taken in charge by the late Dr. Dascomb, the other two by citizens.

They soon decided to make this their home. Messrs. Copeland and Lane returned to New Richmond for the three families, Mr. Jones sending word that he “had found a paradise and was going to stay.”

For thirty-nine years Mr. Copeland has lived in Oberlin and vicinity; has reared a family of eight children — two daughters and three sons still survive, all of whom have recieved a fair education. Laura A. has for eleven years been teaching in Indiana. Mary, who has also been a teacher, now resides with her parents. William is a lawyer in Arkansas, Henry and Frederick are carpenters, the former living in Kansas, and the latter in Oberlin. The eldest son, John, studied for a time in the college, and started for Detroit to engage in teaching but at Cleveland met with John Brown and became one of his associates in the ill-fated attack upon Harper’s Ferry in 1839, who executed along with the great martyr, and his remains turned over to medical students for dissection, the efforts of Hon. James Monroe and others to recover his body for Christian burial proving unavailing. A number of letters written by the young man while awaiting execution, are preserved by his parents as sacred mementoes.

Mr. Copeland is now 73 years of age and his wife 72. The generous response in the way of presents shows the esteem in which they are held by their friends.

Oberlin Weekly News, Aug. 19, 1881

The Robbers carried off two of their Children.


On the 29th Instant, about Mid’Night, four Men came to the House of VALENTINE LOCUST, an aged Free Negro, who resides on Leek Creek, in Wake County, and calling at the Door to gain Admittance, as soon as the Door was opened, Two of them entered with Clubs, and instantaneously knocked down the old Man and his Wife, and beat them to such a Degree as scarcely to leave Life; and whilst they were in that Situation, the Robbers carried off two of their Children, a Boy named Absalom, aged about twelve Years, of a yellowish Complexion, who is just able to read and write; a Girl, named Polly, aged about five Years, of a Complexion more yellow than her Brother.

The Father of the Children is a respectable and industrious old Man, who has hitherto made ample Provisions for himself and Family; and it is hoped, from the peculiar Circumstances of his Case, arising from hisIncapacity to bear Witness, except against his own Colour, added to the distressed Situation he must be place in after the Loss of his two Children, will awaken the Feelings of the Humane, and that they will contribute every Thing in their Power that may tend to the detecting and punishing of such vile Offenders.

It is supposed the Perpetrators of this Offence, will endeavor to convey their Prey to the State of Georgia, in the Character of Slaves, for the Purpose of Traffic.  Wake County, N. Carolina.  Sep. 30, 1801

The Printers in the U. States who are desirous of detecting the Offenders, will give this a Place in their Papers.

Raleigh Register, 6 October 1801

One horse was taken from a graveyard while we were burying a man.

William Jacobs filed claim #301.  He was 75 or 76 years old and had lived near Rockingham in Richmond County for about 27 years.  He was a farmer.  He was born free in Brunswick County, and his grandfather was free.

“About twelve months before the close of the war a United States soldier came to my place nearly starve he had made his escape from a stockade over in South Carolina about 18 miles from my place.  I have forgotten his name he said he was from Tennessee.  I kept him at my place some 8 or 10 days until he [illegible] up some.  I then sent him to Fayetteville NC in a wagon carried him through Fayetteville in the night.  I sent some relatives of mine in the neighborhood of Fayetteville by the name of Edmon and William Chavers.  They put him over the Cape Fear River near Fayetteville he was making his way to the union lines, the Chavers gave him a map.”

“My farm is about 5 miles from Rockingham.  I own 110 acres about 15 acres cultivated about 40 acres woodland and the rest wasteland.”

William McPherson, William Jacobs’ son-in-law, testified that he was 36 or 37 years old and had lived near Rockingham since 1862.

Anderson Jacobs, age 22, was William Jacobs’ grandson.  “I was present when the horses was taken I saw them taken by united states soldiers one was taken from my father’s place about 1/4 mile from my grandfather’s … then the other was taken from a grave yard while we were burring a man about 3/4 miles from my grandfather’s place.

Halifax County Marriages: A

Allen, Gideon H. and Nancy M. Mabry, 4 Mar 1829.  Jas. G. Jones, bondsman.

Allen, Gideon H. and Mary Goin, 23 April 1833. John H. Harwell, bondsman.

Archer, David and Jinsey Newsom, 2 Jul 1827. John Wilkins, bondsman.

Archer, Henry and Permelia Scott, 5 Mar 1853.  Joseph Archer, bondsman.

Artis, Alford and Emeline Scott, 9 Dec 1857. Nick Richardson, bondsman.

Artis, John and Polly Artis, 10 Sep 1825. John Smith, bondsman.

Artis, Joseph and Martha Ann Dangerfield, 21 Jun 1856. Geo. G. Gary, bondsman.

Artis, Nicholas and Eliza Green, 13 Jun 1859.

Artist, Isaac and Maria Collins, 15 Oct 1850.

Artist, Wm. Henry and Mary Eliza Cumbo, 7 May 1855. Lewis Conner, bondsman.

Ash, Edmund and Middy Mills, 3 Nov 1826.  Robin Cooley, bondsman.

Ash, Edwin and Jane Ash, 27 May 1831. Noah Underdew, bondsman.

Ash, Gabriel and Melissa Ash, 13 Jul 1831. James Shaw, bondsman.

Ash, Gabriel and Martha Harwell, 13 Apr 1835.  Wm. G. Smith, bondsman.

Ash, James and Mary James, 20 October 1847, B.W. Cotton, bondsman.

Ash, James and Louisa Mitchell, 7 September 1856.  B.W. Cotton, bondsman.

Ash, James and Jane Ash, 12 November 1863.

Ash, Littleberry and Sally Ann James, 1 February 1830.  Britton Mourning, bondsman.

Ash, Nicholas and Elizabeth Banks, 29 October 1834.  Thos. C. Willis, bondsman.

Ash, Sandy and Frankey Shine, 5 January 1832.  James Shaw, bondsman.

Ash, Warren J. and Viney Manley, 30 June 1832. Saml. Locklear, bondsman.

Ash, Weldon and Maria Toney, 25 April 1832.  Silas Banks, bondsman.

Ash, William and Harriet Toney, 1 Nov 1826. Jas. Bouser, bondsman.

Ash, Wilson and Eliza Bowser, 17 Nov 1831.  Silas Banks, bondsman.

Ashe, Emanuel and Jane Mills, 19 Aug 1859.

Ashe, Moses and Aderline Jones, 23 Sep 1852.

Marriage Registers, Register of Deeds, Halifax County.


Where are they now? No. 12.

G.W. was born in the early 1960s in Wilson NC.  He is descended from these free people of color:

(1) Eliza Brantley [ca1820-??, Nash County]

(2) George Drewery [1848-1921, Canada/Michigan/Nash County]

(3) Nelson Eatmon [1816-??, Nash/Wilson County] via Wilmouth Eatmon [1836-1916, Nash/Wilson County]

(4) Martin Locus [ca1815-??, Nash County]

(5) a Lucas line

(6) Lucy Mills [Nash County]

(7) Sallie A. Mitchell [1859-??, Nash County]

(8) Starkey Pulley [1815-??, Nash County] via William Pulley [1859-1930, Nash County]

(9) Allen Taybourn [1815-c1900, Nash County] via Amanda Taybourn [1851-1898]

(10) Bitha Taybourn [1828-1860, Nash County]

(11) Abi Taylor [1843-1930, Nash/Wilson County]

(12) Augustus Wilkins via John Wilkins [1830-1914, Nash County] via William Wilkins (1862-??, Nash County]