The first free colored person he recollects he ever saw.

by Lisa Y. Henderson

State of North Carolina, Wayne County  } August the 3rd 1853

Jesse Martin after being Duly Sworn Deposeth & Says as follows (viz) that he has known Fariby Simons a free Woman of Color for the last Sixty or Sixty five years and was Raisd within one of Two Miles of hir She was the first free Colord person he Recolects Ever saw and She was Cald free Fariby in the Neighborhood the Deponant further Sais She the Said Fariby Simons Never was considered to be a Slave the Said Fariby Simons livd with William Burnham She & Burnham would have a fawling out at Some times & she thretend to leave him Said Burnham and they would have to Compremise to Keep hir from leaving but She was concidered By all knew his that She was free & has Remaind So to the present time further the Deponant Sayeth Not August the 3rd 1853 then was the above written certificate of Jesse Martin Sworn to & Subscribed to before me George Flowers JP     /s/ J Martin

Jesse Martin’s affidavit  Evidence of Phereby Simmons freedom Recorded Aug 6 1853

Records of Slaves and Free People of Color, Wayne County Miscellaneous Records, North Carolina State Archives.

This is one of four sworn statements by whites attesting to Fereby Simmons’ freedom. They were recorded in Docket Recording Book 11, p. 346, with this notation: “The following papers were presented to the court & permission asked to have them Registered & Recorded for the better security of the evidence therein contained, the court doth therefore grant said request, let them be recorded.”  Office of the Clerk of Superior Court, Wayne County Courthouse, Goldsboro.