Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

She was fully 5/8ths white.

“Facts in matter of James Lamms Children –

“Joe Horne – Great Grandmother of these children was Ezrit Locas _ She was about [sic] _ I think her father was a white man _ Grandmother was Wealthy Locas Think her father was a white man _ Know mother of children, Jane Lamm. Think her father was a white man _ said to be Van B. Carter _ Father of children James Lamm white _

“H.M. Rowe – Know Ezrit Locas _ she was fully 5/8 white _ her father a white man _ Grandmother is practically white. Her father was a white man. Mother of child, her father was a white man _ Jane Lamm father white _ Jane Lamm Great Grandmother was 5/8 white at least _ Grandmother _ Her father was Dallas Taylor a pure blooded white man _ Mother of child _ Her father pure blooded white man.”

This unsigned handwritten note is found among papers related to the matter of James Lamm v. J.S. Horne, Fred B. Boswell, A.A. Aycock, School Committeemen of Black Creek Township, filed in November Term, 1909, in Wilson County Superior Court.  Lamm complained that his children had been barred from the white public school in Black Creek, though they had attended for many years prior.  Based on the evidence above, a judge determined that the children, though descended from free women of color, were sufficiently white to attend white schools, and so ordered.  School Records, 1909; Wilson County Miscellaneous Records; North Carolina State Archives.

In the 1900 census of Black Creek, Wilson County: James Lamm, born 1837; wife Jane, 1869; and children Robert L., 1890, James C., 1892, Mamie, 1895 and Leona, 1897; all described as white.  Nearby: Wealthy Locas, born 1849, single, mother of eight (six living), and her children Zacariah, 1886, and Fannie, 1890; all black.  

Jane Carter Lamm died 21 February 1945 in Wilson, Wilson County.  Her death certificate lists her parents as Van Carter and Wealthy Joyner, and she is classified as white.

A guide for scouting parties of Union troops.

Willis M. Lewis filed claim #11536 with the Southern Claims Commission.  He was a farmer and resided on Trent Road in Craven County about three miles from New Bern.  “I frequently acted as a guide for scouting parties of United States troops, often aided and cared for sick and wounded soldiers.” Troops took his mare, hogs and corn and cut down pine trees for lumber to build barracks.  The 12th N.Y. Cavalry were encamped about ¾ mile from his place, and the 8th Connecticut were within 1 ½ miles. “I am a colored man, was free born, this property was my own.  The land from which the timber was cut I inherited from my father, the other property I purchased with moneys of my own.”

Calvin Bryan, age 34, testified to Lewis’ loyalty, confirming that Lewis had cared for sick Union soldiers and had guided scouting parties. He averred that Lewis “often said that he would go north if [the Confederacy] succeeded, he would not stay.” He witnessed Lewis’ property being hauled off to Camp Palmer.

In the 1860 census of Richardsons, Craven County: Willis Lewis, 74, farmer, with Sidney, 30, Willis, 22, Frederick, 8, Edward, 5, and Robinson Lewis, 4; plus James A. Morgan, 14; Frances Williams, 24; and Charles Sampson, 5.

Sold for taxes.

RUNAWAY from the subscriber on Saturday night, the 28th of April, a free negro boy calling himself BRYANT OXYDIM.  He was sold in February last at Sheriff’s sale for his taxes, until December next for which time I purchased him.  For the last two or three years he has been living about Watkinsville.  Bryant is about 28 or 30 years of age; about 5 ½ feet high; dark mulatto; spare made; limps slightly in his left leg when walking; his eyes being set very close cause him to appear cross-eyed.  He carried several suits of clothing, made mostly of cheap goods.

Any information respecting him will be thankfully received, and a fair compensation made for arresting him.  It is probable he will make his way to Jasper county, as he came from there.  He was born in North Carolina, and came to Georgia, when very young.  Athens, May 3, 1849.  W.S. Hemphill.

Southern Whig, Athens, Georgia, May __, 1849.

Solomon W. Nash.

Solomon Waddell Nash, Sr. (1779-June 25, 1846) was an African-American carpenter in antebellum Wilmington before and after he was emancipated in 1827. During his career as a builder, especially in the 1830s, Nash worked and spent time in both Wilmington and Fayetteville, port cities linked by trade along the Cape Fear River, both known for their many free people of color.

“Born a slave in 1779, Nash worked as an enslaved artisan during much of his life and gained his freedom in middle age. On July 26, 1827, members of the prominent white Waddell family (John, Francis, and John, Jr.) posted a bond for the emancipation of “a certain negro slave named Solomon Nash.” Nash’s surname recalled another leading white family in the state with ties to the Waddells. His parents’ names are not known. At the time of his emancipation, Nash must have had his business well established, for in March 1828 he took three orphaned boys of color — Robert Bryan, James Jacobs, and James Allen — as apprentices to the carpenter’s trade in New Hanover County. In Cumberland County he took William Revels, aged 16 in 1832, and Robert Wesley, aged 11 in 1834, as carpenter’s apprentices, and in New Hanover County in 1838 he apprenticed Joshua Jacobs and Charles Cochran, both 16. Nash also acquired real estate in Wilmington, owning lots with a total purchase price of about $3,200. His carpenter’s shop was located on his lot on Front Street between Chestnut Street and Mulberry (Grace) Streets. He also owned at least five slaves at his death and may have owned others.

“Like other emancipated individuals, Nash worked to gain the freedom of his family members. His first wife was an enslaved woman, and thus his children with her were also enslaved. In 1835-1836, as a resident of Fayetteville, he obtained a special act of the legislature to emancipate his children, Lucy, Ann, Emiline, and Priscilla. In the meantime, Nash had remarried in 1833, his second wife being a free woman, Celia A. Bryant. According to family accounts, the couple had two sons, Solomon Nash, Jr., and John Nash, born in about 1836 and 1841.

“Despite Nash’s long career in his trade, little is known of specific buildings he constructed. According to Nicholas Schenck’s memoir of antebellum Wilmington, the “Jas. Anderson” house (the Hogg-Anderson House) was “built by Solomon Nash.” This is a 2 1/2-story, Federal style frame dwelling with side-passage plan and transitional Federal-Greek Revival finish. Indicative of his trade practices, after Nash’s death, the Wilmington Commercial newspaper advertised for sale “a part of a House Frame on the lot of S. W. Nash’s late residence, 1 Lot of Window Blinds, 1 Lot about 3,000 ft. Lumber opposite Mrs. Owen’s residence, and about 10,000 ft. seasoned 1 1/4 inch boards.” The advertisement indicates that Nash had his workshop and his residence at the same address.

“In 1846, Nash was working on a project for brick contractor Robert B. Wood (see Wood Brothers). Wood’s son, Thomas F. Wood, remembered that when Wood was “putting up a building on Front Street between Market and Dock, “a mulatto carpenter by the name of Solomon Nash fell from the scaffolding and was killed.” The Wilmington Chronicle of July 1, 1846, reported that the scaffolding had collapsed, sending three white workers, two slaves, and the free carpenter Nash tumbling to the ground. All survived but Nash. The slaves, identified as Ben Berry and Ephraim Bettencourt, may have belonged to Nash. A few months later, the Chronicle of September 23, 1846, carried an advertisement offering for hire for the rest of the year “two carpenters, one woman, and two children, belonging to the estate of Solomon Nash, deceased.”

“At his death, Nash left to his wife Celia a house and lot on Winslow Street in Fayetteville. He also left a female slave, Venice, to his daughters, with the condition that she be freed ten years after his death. His executor was Matthew N. Leary, one of Fayetteville’s leading free men of color. By 1850, the two Nash sons, Solomon, Jr., and John, were living in Fayetteville in the household of Nelson and Elizabeth Henderson. Solomon, Jr., also entered the carpentry business in Wilmington and for a time had his shop at his father’s old location on Front Street. After the Civil War he became active in political and civic affairs, serving as county jailer, a founder of Pine Forest Cemetery (ca. 1869), and in leadership positions at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and Giblem Masonic Lodge. Several years after his death, the senior Nash’s remains were moved to the Pine Forest Cemetery, where handsome carved stone markers were erected, probably by Solomon Nash, Jr., to mark the graves of Solomon, Sr., and Priscilla Nash Burney (d. 1855).”

Author: Nancy Beeler. Update: Catherine W. Bishir.  Published 2010.

As published in North Carolina Architects and Builders: A Biographical Dictionary,  (All rights retained.) This web site is a growing reference work that contains brief biographical accounts, building lists, and bibliographical information about architects, builders, and other artisans who planned and built North Carolina’s architecture.  

Daddy’s baby.

Julius A. Howell et al. v. Henry Troutman, 53 NC 304 (1860).

This Rowan County case involved a contested will.  Jacob Troutman’s last will and testament contained the following bequests and devises:

“Item 3d. I will and bequeath to Ann Allmond two hundred and fifty dollars, provided the said Ann shall live with my wife, Polly, and assist her in health and in sickness; and if the said Ann shall faithfully perform her duty to my said wife during the life of my wife or widowhood, then at the death of my said wife, I will and bequeath to the said Ann, five dollars more.”

“Item 4. All the ballance of my estate and property of every kind and description, including my gold mine and every thing else, I will and bequeath to Lucy, the infant child of the said Ann Allmond, and if the said Lucy should die without lawful children or child, then it is my will, that all I have willed to the said Lucy, shall be divided between the children of my brothers, David Troutman, John Troutman, and my sister, Sarah Earnhart’s children.”

Troutman’s execution of the will was duly proven by the three subscribing witnesses, who also testified that in their opinion he was of sound mind when he signed it.

Jacob Troutman and his wife Polly had no children.  Ann Allmond lived in their house as a housekeeper from 1849 to 1858. (Troutman died in the fall of the latter year.)  A witness at trial testified that Ann Allmond was a white woman and her daughter Lucy, in his opinion, was a mulatto; that Lucy died at about age three; and that, both before and since Lucy’s death, Troutman told him that the child was his, and accounted for her color from a fright which Ann Allmond had received while pregnant.  The witness further testified that he had done a lot of business for Jacob Troutman; that Troutman sent Ann out of the room during the drafting of the will; that the witness urged Troutman to leave his brother Henry Troutman something, but he declined, saying that Henry would spend it in litigation. The witness also stated that Troutman had become displeased with Henry because of some lawsuit they had had.

Witness James Montgomery swore that he had no doubt that Lucy was a half-blood mulatto, based on her color; that he was a neighbor and had frequent opportunities to see the child; and that Troutman believed the child was his, said he knew she was, and that he intended to make a lady of her.

Dr. J. P. Cunningham testified that he was a practicing physician in the vicinity of Jacob Troutman’s residence; that on one occasion he was called upon by Troutman to visit Lucy; that when he arrived, he found her in his arms; that he called her “daddy’s baby”; and that the child was unquestionably a negro.

Dr. John R. Wilson, also a practicing physician, testified that Lucy was, in his opinion, a mulatto, and that Troutman had once remarked to him that he loved the child as much as if she were his own, and that Allmond had gone out and picked it up somewhere.

J. C. Barnhart swore that he was a justice of the peace in the county when Ann Allmond was pregnant,  and issued a warrant for her to make her swear to the father or give bond as prescribed by law; that she gave the bond and Jacob Troutman either became her surety or procured someone to do so, he did not remember which; and that Troutman was a man of sound mind, though very illiterate.

J. M. Long, Esq., the draftsman of the will, testified that, after Lucy’s death, Troutman asked him whether another will was necessary to dispose of the part he had left for the child; that he advised him that it was not, but that the property would go over to his relatives under the provisions of the existing will.

Henry Troutman’s counsel insisted that the jury should hear testimony that the will was procured by the false representations and undue influence of Ann Allmond.  However, the County Court charged the jury that there was no evidence of such influence as would invalidate the will and, if they believed the testimony, the decedent was of sound mind; also, that the will was properly attested and executed. Henry Troutman’s counsel excepted.

The Supreme Court’s decision: The fact that Troutman bequeathed a legacy to the mulatto child of his housekeeper, a white woman, which the mother had induced him to believe was his, is no evidence that his will was obtained by fraud and undue influence. “Supposing that he did believe the child was his, and that the mother of it told him so, there is not the slightest testimony to show that she ever even asked him to make a will in favor of her and the child, or that she knew, before the will was made, that he intended to make one, or, afterwards, that he had made it.” “The truth is, that the old man, being childless by his wife, took a strange fancy to the child of his housekeeper, and whether it were his or not, he had a father’s love for it, and our law imposes no prohibition upon a man to prevent him from bestowing his property upon the object of his affection. Affection or attachment, as Sir John Nichol said, ‘would be a very strong ground of support of a testamentary act.’”