Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

They are bound to support their bastard children.

State v. John L. Lee, 29 NC 265 (1847).

On appeal from Craven County Superior Court, the issue in this case was whether John Lee, after having been tried and convicted of bastardy, could move to quash the proceedings against him on the grounds that Catharine Curtis, the mother of the child, was a woman of color and therefore incompetent to testify against a white man.  The verdict: too late.

State v.  Thomas Long, 31 NC 488 (1849).

On appeal from Martin County.  In May 1848, Lucinda Simpson, then pregnant, swore that the father of her child was Thomas Long. Long moved to dismiss proceedings against him on the grounds that Simpson was a woman of mixed blood within the fourth degree and therefore incompetent to give testimony against him.  The Court was satisfied that in fact she was of mixed blood and dismissed the case.  In October 1848, on Simpson’s oath, another warrant for the same pregnancy issued for Long.  These proceedings were dismissed based upon the earlier finding.  The Supreme Court held that the prior judgment was binding and the second case rightfully quashed and noted that the better course would have been an appeal. 

State v. Williamson Haithcock, 33 NC 32 (1850).

On appeal from Orange County.  Williamson Haithcock, an admitted free negro, was charged with bastardy by a white woman.  Haithcock’s counsel moved to quash on the grounds that bastardy laws did apply to such a case. The Supreme Court: “We are at a loss to conceive of any reason why the defendant should be exempted from the operation of the bastardy laws, merely because he is a free negro.  Free negroes are capable of holding property, they can sue and be sued, and are bound to support their bastard children, whether begotten a free white woman or free black woman.  They can set up no ‘exclusive privilege’ in this behalf.”

Surnames: Pitt County, 1850.


Free-Issue Death Certificates: HENDERSON.

Marguriet Henderson.  Died 17 July 1915, Brogden, Wayne County. Black. Age 82. Born Sampson County to an unknown father and Margaret Bowkin.  Informant, Lucian Henderson.

In the 1860 census of Westbrooks, Sampson County: Lewis Henderson, 25, mulatto, turpentine laborer, wife Margaret, 26, and children Lewis T., 4, James L., 3, and Isabella J., 4 mos. [James L. is Lucian Henderson, “Lution,” below. Lewis and Margaret were my great-great-great-grandparents. — LYH.]

Alex’r Henderson.  Died 13 June 1916, Goldsboro, Wayne County. Colored. Married. Age 56. Born Wayne County to Stephen Henderson and unknown mother. Buried Elmwood cemetery.  Informant, Mary Henderson.

In the 1860 census of Westbrooks, Sampson County, James Henderson, mulatto, carpenter, wife Eliza and children Anna J., Susan, Hepsie, and Alexander. [Alex Henderson’s father was James, not Stephen, Henderson. His mother was Eliza (or Louisa) Armwood. — LYH]

Lution Henderson.  Died 22 June 1934, Brogden, Wayne County. Colored. Married to Susan Henderson. Age 75 years, 3 months. Farmer. Born Wayne County to Louis Henderson of Wayne County and Maggie Hill of Sampson County.  Informant, Jonnie Carter, Dudley.

John Henderson.  Died 8 August 1924, Goldsboro, Wayne County.  Colored.  Married.  Age 63. Farmer. Born Sampson County to James Henderson of Onslow County and [blank] Armwood of Sampson County.  Buried Dudley NC. Informant, Sarrah Henderson.

In the 1870 census of Faisons, Duplin County, James Henderson, 52, farmer, wife Eliza and children Ann, 17, Susan, 16, Hepsey, 14, Aleck, 13, John H., 11, Nancy, 6, and Betty, 3, plus son James Henderson, 27, and boarders James Ammons and Thomas Cox.  [John and Alex Henderson were brothers, and Lewis Henderson (Margaret’s husband) was their half-brother.]

At the risk of my life if it had been known.

Raleigh Seaberry filed claim #10453 with the Southern Claims Commission.  He was 54 years old and free-born.

He lived in “Carvers Creek Township Cumberland County NC 3 miles from Little River Academy “ and had lived there 13 years. “Before that time I lived about 5 miles from the place I now live at keeping Smith fery on Cape Fear River my occupation was farming and keeping the fery.” He was born in Wayne County 6 miles from Goldsboro.  During the war, he lived at “Averysboro Harnett County NC Coopering and Farming. I continue to farm and cooper for 2 years after that I farmed and kept the fery. I changed my residence 3 times during the war I first move from Averysboro to Dr. Turners about 9 miles from Smiths Ferry I remained at Dr Turners one year from there to Wm Dows about 19 miles from Smiths Ferry.  I remain 2 years at Dows from Dows back to Averysboro remained there 1 year and from there to Smith Ferry where I remained to the close of the war. I move from place to place as I could rent Land to the best advantage not having any of my own.”

He was “on the Side of the Union from the beginning to the end.”  “I put some 5 or 6 union Soldiers cross the Ferry at Diferent times at nights at the risk of my life if it had been know. I also fed them they told me that they were Deserters from Confederate Prisons. … They were al white and related [to] me.” “I was at altimes rejoice at the Victorys of the union armys and especially so at the final surrender of the confederate forces.”  I was under “very strict orders not to put any union soldiers cross the River while at the Ferry. If should or so I was told that I would be shot.”

“I was order out in the spring of 1863 to meet at Lilington Harnett County NC as I suppose to work on Brest works. I went to Goldsboro and got my free papers and went to Lillington. I was over the age require and I was let off.”

Sherman’s soldiers took his corn, bacon, hogs, a horse, chickens, turkeys, blankets and tobacco.

Evens Chance, aged about 80, resident of Harnett County, testified that he had known Seaberry about 40 years. “I have no doubt of the Claimants Loyalty to the United States, as I never knew or heard of a col’d man during the war that was not in favour of the  United States Government.” “I never heard of a col’d man that was regarded by col’d people any thing but a union loving man.”

William McDougald, near 60 years old, resident of Carvers Creek township, Cumberland County, testified that he lived and worked with Seaberry about 18 months to two years during the war. McDougald worked as a farmer and turpentine distiller.

James M. Seaberry, age 29, lived with his father Raleigh Seaberry. He was present when soldiers took his father’s property.

Smithy J. McNeill, age 24, resided in Little River three or four miles from Little River Academy.  She was married about 7 years prior to her affidavit. Raleigh Seaberry was her father.

In the 1850 census, Eastern Division, Cumberland County, Raleigh Sedberry, 26, mulatto, farmer, wife Emeline, 22, and  children James M., 1, and Sarah E., 1 month.