Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

A separate and distinct class.

The State v. Elijah Newsom, 27 NC 250 (1844).

The law: “Be it enacted, &c. That if any free negro, mulatto, or free person of color, shall wear of carry about his or her person, or keep in his or her house, any shot gun, musket, rifle, pistol, sword, dagger or bowie-knife, unless he or she shall have obtained a licence therefor from the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of his or her county, within one year preceding the wearing, keeping or carrying thereof, he or she shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and may be indicted therefor.”

In Cumberland County, Elijah Newsom, a free person of color, was indicted for carrying a shotgun without a license on 1 June 1843.  He was found guilty in Superior Court and filed an appeal.  The Supreme Court held that the law violated neither the 2nd Amendment nor Article 3 of the Bill of Rights: “From the earliest period of our history, free people of color have been among us, as a separate and distinct class, requiring, from necessity, in many cases, separate and distinct legislation.” “Free people of color in this State are not to be considered as citizens, in the largest sense of the term, or, if they are, they occupy such a position in society, as justifies, the legislature in adopting a course of policy in its acts peculiar to them — so that they do not violate those great principles of justice, which lie at the foundation of all laws.” Judgment upheld.

In the 1860 census of Cumberland County, Elijah Neuson, 80, “turpentiner,” is listed with wife Clarisa, 60.

Dock Jacobs.

ImageDOCK JACOBS, son of Jesse A. Jacobs Jr. (1856-1926) and Sarah Bridgers Jacobs (1866-ca1895).

See also “Jesse & Sarah Henderson Jacobs.”

Original in possession of Lisa Y. Henderson.

No cards, dice or fornication.

State of North Carolina    This indenture Witnesseth that Edward Upton & Jane his wife of the County of Caswell hath put her son William Long a Mulato and by these presents doth Voluntary and of their own Accord and free will put him an apprentice to Samuel Brackin of the same County his Heirs and Assigns forever, to learn his Trade or Mistery and after the Manner of an Apprentice to Juse him from the day of the date Hereof untill he arives to the age of Twenty one years. During all which time the said apprentice his said Master faithfully shall Serve his Secrets keep his lawfull command & every whim obey, he Shall do no Damage to his said Master, nor See it be done by Others without letting or giving notice thereof to his said Master. He Shall not waste the said Masters goods, nor lend them Unlawfully to any, he shall not Commit Fornication nor contract Matrimony during the said time, at Cards, dice or any other unlawfull games he shall not play whereby his master may be Damaged with his own goods nor the goods of Others during the said time without licence from his said Master He shall not absent himself day nor night might from his said Masters Service without his leave nor haunt Ale houses, taverns or play houses but in all things behave himself as a faithfull apprentice ought to during the said time.  And the said Master shall use the Utmost  of his Endeavours to teach or cause to be taught or Instructed the said Apprentice in the Trade of Mistery he now Followeth, and Procure or Provide for him Suficient Meat Drink Appearl and Washing fitting for an apprentice during the said time – And for the due Performance of all and every the said Covenants and agreements Either of the said Parties bind themselves unto the Other by these Presents, In Witness whereof They have interchangably Put their hands & seals this Second day of August Ano Dom 1783 and in the Eighth year of American Independence.   Edwd X Upton  Jane X Upton

N.B. The above mentioned child was Born August 1st 1781.

Witness Thomas Brookes Thomas Rice

Memorandum that I the within named Saml. Brackin is to Give the within bound William Long one years Schooling and at the Expiration of his time Two Suits of Cloaths one ax one Mattock, Witness & date as within           Saml. Brackin

Test – Thomas Brookes  Thos. Rice

August Term, 1783, Minutes of Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, Caswell County, North Carolina State Archives.

Edgecombe County Free Colored Heads of Household, 1790.

John Stephens, Lauer Artist, Thomas Mitchell, Israel Scott, Isham Scott, Edward Griffin, Matthew Wiggins, Shadrack Hammons, and Jordan Hammons.

Caswell County Will Books: E

At February court, 1804, Lewis Watkins, base born of colour now 2 years and one month old, bound to Daniel Clam.

At February court, 1804, Free Robin Watkins listed among buyers at the second sale of the estate of John Lea on 16 November 1803.

At April court 1805, David Hutson, male child of colour, one year old August next, bound to William Cantrell.  Betsey Hutson, a child of colour, 3 years August next, bound to William Cantrell.

At February court 1806, Joseph Bracken hath petitioned the court that negro slave named Arnes, property of Bracken, may be liberated and become free.  Should Arnes ever become chargeable to the county, said obligation should be voided.

At April court 1806, Mourning Gillaspy girl of colour age 17 years the last day of March last bound to Jacob Ahart.

At July court 1806, Betsy Watkins, age 2 years last September, and Lewis Watkins, age 5 years last March, children of colour, bound to Christopher Dameron. 

At August court 1806, Christopher Dameron Sen. not to remove two free children of colour, Lewis and Betsy Watkins, from Caswell County and should deliver them to Court when they arrive at age.

At January court 1807, Cornelius Willson, male child of colour 4 years old last February, bound to Edward Swann. 

At January court 1807, John Freeman, a free black man of Caswell County indebted to Durett Richards and Josiah Samuel, obliges to serve Richards for a term of 6 years.  Witness: William Yates Jun., John Hall, Ambrose Britt. 11 Dec 1806.

At January court 1808, Lewis Watkins, 7 years old, and Betsy Watkins, 3 years old, orphans of colour, bound to Gregory Hightower.  Also, Edmund McCubbins, orphan of colour, 14 years old next July, bound to Benjamin C. West.