Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

I was stolen from my parents.

State of Virginia, Southampton County  } SS.

On this 7 day of March 1834 personally appeared in open court before the Justices of the county court of Southampton now acting Drewry Tann (a Free man of Colour) a Resident of said county aged about seventy five years who being first duly sworn according to Law doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress passed June the 7th 1832.

That he enlisted under Capt. Hadley in the County of Wake in the State of North Carolina (and states the manner he came in the service as follows) that being born free in the county of Wake he was stolen from his parents when a small boy by persons unknown to him, who were carrying him of to sell him into to [sic] Slavery, and had gotten with him and other stolen property, as far as the mountains on their way, that his parents made complaint to a Mr. Tanner Alford who was then a magistrate in the county of Wake State of N. Carolina to get me back from those who had stolen me, and he did pursue the Rogues & overtook them at the mountains and took me from them & my parents agreed that I should serve him (Tanner Alford) until I was twenty one years old, when he had served Alford several years (Six years) it came Alfords time to go in the army (or he told me so) and told me if I would go in the army he would set me free on which conditions I readily listed under Capt. Hadley for eighteen months as he was told and marched to Charleston and thence to Jameses Isleand where he served out his term of enlistment that he had a discharge and was about returning home when a Capt. Benjamin Coleman (who told me he lived in Bladen County N. Carolina) took his discharge from him and tried to compel him to remain in the service & be his waitingman – his name is to be found in the Records of the State of North Carolina as he is informed by Mr. Deverieux of the City of Raleigh N. Carolina & the term of his enlistments as well as the fact of his enlisting under Capt. Hadley as state above – he cannot state at what period of the war he entered the service. General Green was the commander in chief, Col Lightly & Capt Lightly. Adjutant Ivy that he served in the N. Carolina Regiment, that he has no other documentary evidence than that refered to in the Archives in the State of N. Carolina at the City of Raileigh and knows of no person living who can testify to his service. He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or annuity except the present & declares that his name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any state.  Drewry X Tann

The said Drewry Tann states that he was born in the county of Wake N. Carolina in what year he does not know, that he has no Record of his age, that he was living in Wake County N. Carolina when he was Enlisted and that he has lived since the Revolution in the countys of Northampton N. Carolina and Southampton Virginia. That he lives in the county of Southampton at this time.  That he listed volluntarily in the army under Capt. Hadley. He since as before stated on Jameses isleand near Charleston S. Carolina when there were some English prisoners & he was sometimes stationed as a guard on them, Gen Green was the commanding officer Col and Capt Lightley & Adjutant Ivy are all the names he can at this time remember he does not know what regiments he served with – he did secure a discharge from the service & Capt. Coleman took it from him & what has become of it he cannot say. He is known to Mr. Edwin G. Hart Mr. W. Owens John Hart Col. Clements Rochelle James Maggett Davis Bryant and many others.    Drewry X Tann

Sworn to and subscribed in open court this 17 day of May 1834

From the file of Drewry Tann, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives and Records Administration.

Surnames: Richmond County, 1850.


Free People of Color Listed in Mortality Schedule: 1850.

Jane Hagens, 16, female, black, born NC, died June, “bilious f[ever]”, Wayne County.

Raiford Artice, 22, male, black, born NC, died July, farmer, unknown causes, Wayne County.

Jesse Hall, 20, male, black, born NC, died June, farmhand, bilious f[ever], Wayne County.

Robert Mitchell, 2, male, mulatto, born NC, died July, unknown causes, Wayne County.

Dempsey Read, 70, male, black, born NC, died March, hatter, unknown causes, Wayne County.

Allen Read, 60, male, black, born NC, died May, hatter, unknown reasons, Wayne County.

Hannah Croom, 43, female, mulatto, married, born Wayne County, died June, “bil fever,” Wayne County.

Gray Simmons, 33, mulatto, married, died January, farmer, pneumonia, Wayne County.

Sally Read, 80, female, mulatto, born Davis district, died January, old age, Franklin County.

Adeline(?) Finch, 26, female, mulatto, born Davis district, died December, pauper, Franklin County.

Lucy Dunstone, 30, female, black, died January, dropsy, Franklin County.

Lucy Mayho, 20 female, black, died May, unknown causes, Nash County.

They commenced to taking everything.

Abel Payne, age 77, filed claim #21703 with the Southern Claims Commission.  He lived in Fayetteville and worked as a builder.  He rented and operated a grist mill for three months just before and at the start of the war and did not know whether he ground any corn for Confederates.  He was arrested by an officer at the Confederate arsenal one time, but released because of his age.

“I was born a slave.  I bought myself and family and was emancipated by the Legislature of North Carolina in 1837 I think it was.”

On 11 March 1865, a group of union soldiers came to his house, took his horse from the stable on his lot, “then commenced to taking” everything else within an hour.  “Took all my good cloths and my watch, after all my property and while my house was full of soldiers an officer rode by I went to him told him that the soldiers had taken everything that I had, he put a Guard at my house, the Guard cleared the premises.”

Peter Harmon, 52, was a gardener.  He was employed by Payne as a drayman.  He drove Payne’s horse, a small sorrel about 7 or 8 years old, the night before the soldiers came and put it in the stable.  He went to Payne’s house hoping he could get some provisions and found that the soldiers had taken all.

Martha Payne, 77, was Abel Payne’s wife. She witnessed the soldiers take his property.  They asked for the keys to trunks “which was given to them or rather the trunks was opened for them.” They broke into the stable and rode off on the horse.

Mary Payne, 32, was Abel Payne’s daughter.

John Stewart, 40, brickmason, and Alexander Murphy, 45, carpenter, testified to Payne’s loyalty. Murphy worked for during the war. Murphy testified that Capt. James M. Williams threatened to send Payne to work at the breastworks “because he did not please him in some work he was doing for him. I never knew him to contribute anything in any way to aid the Confederate govt. or its officers or soldiers except to make hay presses for Capt. Williams which I suppose was for the Confederate or state government.”

In the 1860 census of Fayetteville, Cumberland County: Abel Payne, 64, carpenter, wife Martha, 65, seamstress, and daughters Jane, 31, Mary, 21, and Martha, 19.