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

by Lisa Y. Henderson

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.