Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Rev. Silver dies at home.


Reverend Joseph Silver, Sr., well known and highly respected Negro minister, died Tuesday at his home in the Delmar community, on Enfield Route 3.  He celebrated his 100th birthday anniversary last July 22 at a large gathering of friends and relatives. Rev. Silver had been in poor health about four years and had been confined to his bed for the past four months.

Funeral services will be held from the Plumbline Holiness Church, Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. The body will lay in state at the church an hour before the funeral.  The Rev. L.G. Young, of Henderson, will preach the funeral and burial will be in the family plot.  Among those expected at the final rites are Bishop M.C. Clemmen of Richmond, Va., and Bishop H.B. Jackson of Ayden.

Rev. Silver began preaching in 1893 when he he organized and built Plumbline Church.  Among other churches built by his ministry are ones at Ayden and Summitt, near Littleton. He was an organizer of the United Holiness Church of America and served on the board of Elders until his death.

Rev. Silver was married three times; first to Felicia Hawkins, who died in 1931, then to Sarah Jacobs of Wilson, who died in 1938; and last to Martha Aldridge of Goldsboro, who survives.  In addition to his wife, Rev. Silver is survived by five sons N.D. and Samuel Silver, of Washington, DC; Gideon, of Pittsburg, Pa.; Joseph, Jr., of Halifax and A.M. Silver of Route 3, Enfield; three daughters, Epsi Copeland and Roberta Hewling, of Enfield, Route 3, and Emma Goines, of Pittsburg, Pa. Eighty grandchildren, 109 great-grandchildren, and 17 great great grandchildren also survive.

Unnamed newspaper clipping, January 10, 1958.

The 1860 census of Western District, Halifax County, lists Willis Silver, 27, wife Eliza, 25, and children William, 7, Wesley, 5, Elizabeth, 3, and Joseph Silver, 8 months.

See also “Jesse & Sarah Henderson Jacobs,” posted 25 October 2012. [Rev. Silver’s second wife, Sarah Henderson Jacobs, reared my grandmother, Hattie Henderson Ricks, who was her sister’s granddaughter. — LYH.]

Acount of Sale of the Property of Bethana Jones

Image“Acount of the Sale of the Property of Bethana Jones Dest: Sold the 28 of December 1852 on a Credit of Six months the Percher to give Note With Two Approved Suritis before the Rite Con is Changed Sold by Bengamin Simpson a Special Admin”

Bethana Jones was a prosperous farmer, matriarch of a sprawling family that knit all of southern Nash and western Wilson Counties’ major free colored families, including Joneses, Blackwells, Powells, Evanses, and Locuses.  Kinsmen purchasing goods from her estate included Willis Jones, Jacob Jones, William Jones, Asberry Blackwell, Dempsey Powell, Shadrach Jones, and Joseph Jones. This is the first page of three.

Estate Records, Records of Wilson County, North Carolina State Archives.

Knowing their future would be very dark if they remained, they started North.

Federal Writers’ Project of the W.P.A., District #6, Marion County

Anna Pritchett, 1200 Kentucky Avenue, Folklore

Mrs. Lizzie Johnson, 706 North Senate Avenue, Apt. 1 [Indianapolis, IN]

Mrs. Johnson’s father, Arthur Locklear, was born in Wilmington, N.C. in 1822. He lived in the South and endured many hardships until 1852. He was very fortunate in having a white man befriend him in many ways. This man taught him to read and write. Many nights after a hard days work, he would lie on the floor in front of the fireplace, trying to study by the light from the blazing wood, so he might improve his reading and writing.

He married very young, and as his family increased, he became ambitious for them, knowing their future would be very dark if they remained South.

He then started a movement to come north. There were about twenty-six or twenty-eight men and women, who had the same thoughts about their children, banded together, and in 1852 they started for somewhere North.

The people selected had to be loyal to the cause of their children’s future lives, morally clean, truthful, and hard-working.

Some had oxen, some had carts. They pooled all of their scant belongings, and started on their long hard journey.

The women and children rode in the ox-carts, the men walked. They would travel a few days, then stop on the roadside to rest. The women would wash their few clothes, cook enough food to last a few days more, then they would start out again. They were six weeks making the trip.

Some settled in Madison, Indiana. Two brothers and their families went on to Ohio, and the rest came to Indianapolis.

John Scott, one of their number was a hod carrier. He earned $2.50 a day, knowing that would not accumulate fast enough, he was strong and thrifty. After he had worked hard all day, he would spend his evenings putting new bottoms in chairs, and knitting gloves for anyone who wanted that kind of work. In the summer he made a garden, sold his vegetables. He worked very hard, day and night, and was able to save some money.

He could not read or write, but he taught his children the value of truthfulness, cleanliness of mind and body, loyalty, and thrift. The father and his sons all worked together and bought some ground, built a little house where the family lived many years.

Before old Mr. Scott died, he had saved enough money to give each son $200.00. His bank was tin cans hidden around in his house.

Will Scott, the artist, is a grandson of this John Scott.

The thing these early settlers wanted most, was for their children to learn to read and write. So many of them had been caught trying to learn to write, and had had their thumbs mashed, so they would not be able to hold a pencil.

Interviewer’s Comment: Mrs. Johnson is a very interesting old woman and remembers so well the things her parents told her. She deplores the “loose living,” as she calls it of this generation.

She is very deliberate, but seems very sure of the story of her early life.

Submitted December 9, 1937
Indianapolis, Indiana

From “Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves, Indiana Narratives,” Works Projects Administration.

Where are they now? No. 13.

E.H. was born in Dudley NC in the late 1940s.  He is descended from these free people of color:

(1) Robert Aldridge [1819-1899, Duplin/Wayne County] via John W. Aldridge [1851-1910, Wayne County]

(2) John Armwood [ca1800-??, Sampson County] via Louisa Armwood [1830-??, Sampson/Wayne County]

(3) Vicey Artis [1810-ca1868, Greene/Wayne County] via Adam T. Artis [1831-1919, Greene/Wayne County]

(4) Mary Eliza Balkcum [1829-1924, Duplin/Wayne County]

(5) Sarah Greenfield [ca1820-??, Duplin/Wayne County]

(6) Patsey Henderson [ca1795-??, Onslow County] via James Henderson [1815-ca1890] via John H. Henderson [1861-1924]

(7) Winnie Medlin [ca1810-ca1905, Wayne County]

(8) James Simmons [ca1798-ca1860, Sampson/Wayne County] via Bryant Simmons [1832-ca1900, Wayne County] via Sarah E. Simmons [1862-1930, Wayne County]

(9) Gray Winn [1818-1850, Wayne County] via Elizabeth Winn [1836-??, Wayne County]

(10) Levi Winn [ca1820-??, Duplin/Wayne County] via Mary Levi Winn [1846-??, Duplin/Wayne County]

(11) Washington Winn [ca1820-1899, Duplin/Wayne County] via Levi Winn [1842-??, Duplin/Wayne County]

Marriages of Free Colored People in Wayne County: A-C.

Artis, Absalom to Eliza Evans, 18 June 1855, at Wm. Vernon’s.

In the 1860 census of Buck Swamp district, Wayne County: Absalom Artis, 32, wife Eliza, 22, sons John F., 4, James W., 2, and George W., 3 months, plus Mary, 55, Henry, 16 and Bunyan Mitchell, 14.

Artis, Adam to Frances Seaberry, 20 August 1861.

Artis, Calvin to Serena Seaberry, 2 October 1853.

In the 1860 census of Davis district, Wayne County: Calvin Artis, 27, wife Serena, 25, and children , 6, Polly, 5, James M., 3, and Henry I., 1.

Artis, Elbert to Edith Hall, 24 December 1857, at E. Hayes’.

In the 1860 census of Pikeville district, Wayne County: Elbert Artis, 24, wife Bedence, 20, and children Georgiana, 2, and Angeline Artis, six months.

Artis, Gilbert to Viney Hagans, 6 May 1859, at Eliza Hagans‘.

In the 1860 census of Buck Swamp district, Wayne County: Gilbert, 26, Melvina, 18, and Louisa Hagans, 11 mos.

Artis, Henderson to Mary Vick, 20 June 1857, at C. Vick’s.

There are two listings for this family in the 1860 census of Buck Swamp district, Wayne County: (1) Henderson, 25, Mary, 22, and Baby Artis, 6 months; and (2) Henderson Artis, 24, Mary,19, and Burkitt Artis, 2.

Artis, James to Smithy J. Hagans, 25 November 1858, at Sherard Hagans‘.

In the 1860 census of Davis district, Wayne County: James Artis, 24, wife Smithy J. Artis, 19, and Geo. W. Hagans, 9 months.

Artis, Jordan to Sarah Evans, 20 March 1860, at Milton NC.

In the 1860 census of Buck Swamp district, Wayne County: Vinson Artis, 50, wife Clarky, 48, son Jordan, 30, Jordan’s wife Sarah, 28, and probable grandchildren Jesse, 9, Mary E., 7, William, 6, and James, 4.

Artis, Mathew to Elizabeth Artis, 20 June 1852.

In the 1860 census of Pikeville district, Wayne County: Matthew Artis, 30, Elizabeth, 25, Zilpah, 5, Polly A., 2, and Emily J., 6 months.

Artis, Morrison to Jane Artis, 27 November 1862.

Artis, Thomas to Winny Artis, 30 Mar 1860, at Thomas Artis‘.

Best, Shepherd to Emily J. Hagans, 1 December 1858, at Eliza Hagans‘.

In the 1860 census of Nahunta district, Wayne County: Sheppard Best, 26, and wife Emily J., 16.

Capps, Haywood to Avy Mozingo, 3 May 1859, at Hinton Suggs’.

In the 1860 census of New Bern, Craven County: Haywood Caps, 34, “fireman on R.R.,” and wife Avy J. Caps, 20.

Capps, William to Margaret Winn, 14 Oct 1858, at Charles Winn‘s.

Croom, Hillary to Narcissa Manley, 24 September 1852, at Goldsboro.