Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Free-Issue Death Certificates: BREWINGTON.

Simon Brewington.  Died 9 June 1933, Saddle Tree, Robeson County.  Indian. Married to Rhoda Brewington.  Born 4 Feb 1851, Sampson County, to Raiford Brewington and Bash Marine McQueen.  Farmer.  Informant, L.W. Brewington, Lumberton NC.  [Duplicate: Simon Brewington.  Died 9 June 1933, Saddle Tree, Robeson County.  Indian. Married to Rhoda Brewington.  Age 81. Born Sampson County, to Raeford Brewington and Mary McDuncan.  Farmer.  Informant, L.W. Brewington, Lumberton NC.

Allen B. Brewington.  Died 18 Aug 1926, Honeycutts, Sampson County.  Indian. Single. Age 70 years, 1 month, 20 days.  Born Sampson County to Raiford Brewington and Bashia Manuel.  Buried Brewington graveyard. Informant. J. Arthur Brewington, Clinton NC.

Ann Liza Manuel.  Died 29 March 1925, Dudley, Brogden, Wayne County. Colored. Widow of Alvin Manuel. Born 1841, Sampson County to Raiford Brewington and Basheba Brewington, both of Sampson County. Informant, Randolph Winn.

In the 1860 census of Honeycutts, Sampson County: Raiford Brewington, 48, farmer; wife Basheba, 45; and children Thomas, 21, Ann E., 17, James, 15, Hardy, 13, Joshua, 11, Raiford, 9, Simon P., 8, Polla A., 6, Allen B., 4, and Nathan, 1; all mulatto.

Mary Taylor Maynor.  Died 3 March 1918, Fayetteville, Cumberland County.  Cherokee Indian. Widowed. Age 86.  Born NC to Nathan Brewington and Matilda Chestnut, both of NC.  Informant, Della Holliday, Fayetteville NC.

In the 1850 census of the Northern Division, Sampson County: Nathan Brewington, 35, laborer; wife Matilda, 34; and children William, 15, George, 13, Mary, 11, Susan, 10, John, 8, Partially, 5, Sarah, 4, and Amma, 1; plus Bunion Manuel, 24; all mulatto.

Andrew Brewington.  Died 4 Sep 1920, Sampson County.  Negro. Married to Absilla Brewington. Age 70. Farming. Born in NC to Johnson Brewington and unknown mother.  Informant, D.A. Brewington.

Polly Ann Jackson.  Died 24 Jan 1915, Dismal, Sampson County.  Negro. Widowed. Age 57. Born Sampson County to Johnson Brewington and Nancy Jane Manuel, both of Sampson County.  Buried Willie Bass graveyard, Sampson County. Informant, Jansie D. Williams, Cooper NC.

In the 1860 census of the Northern Division of Sampson County, Johnson Bruington, 50, cooper; wife Nancy, 45; and children Young, 12, Charles, 13, Johnson, 12, Andrew, 9, Mary, 8, Elizabeth, 7, William, 6, Alexandria, 5, Matilda, 3, and Adolphus, 1, all mulatto.

Abbie Jane Brewington.  Died 16 Jan 1933, Dunn, Harnett County. Colored. Widow of Nathan Brewington. Age 71. Born Sampson County to Jesse Jacobs and Abbie Jane Jacobs, both of Sampson County.  Buried Wilkins cemetery.  Informant, Rena Goodman (daughter), Dunn NC.

Jail break, no. 4.

50 Dollars Reward. Broke the jail of Orange county, on the night of 30th November, 1821, two prisoners, Archibald Brown and Meredith Chavers. – Said Brown was charged with murder, and was sent to said jail from Chatham county.  He resided on Rocky River, in Chatham county, where his family now lives.  He is about 5 feet 9 or 10 inches high, fair complexion, has pimples upon his face and nose, and is addicted to intoxication.  Chavers is a free mulatto, about 6 feet high, and formerly lived on the waters of Back Creek, in Orange county.  The above reward will be paid to any person who will arrest the said Brown in this state, so that I get him again; and a reward of five dollars for the arrest and delivery of the said Chavers to me.  JAMES CLANCY, Jailor.  December 1st, 1821.

Western Carolinian, 25 Dec 1821.

Surnames: Chowan County, 1850.



A Cuban petitions in Craven County.

Craven County Js’s.  To the Justices of the Peace constituting the Inferior Court of Craven County aforesaid, the Petition of Antonio Muray (a free Negro) humbly Sheweth.

First in this year one thousand Seven hundred and Sixty nine your unhappy Petitioner left a Wife & Children in the Havanah, Shipped himself on Board a Vessel Bound to Jamaica and arrived at Jamaica & from thence to Carthagene, and back to Jamaica, and that he had lent one of the Sailors (John Taylor by Name) a Pistole while at Carthagene and their return to Jamaica a Dispute happened between your Petitioner and the said John Taylor, who refused to repay it, upon which the said John Taylor struck your Petitioner and he returned blows, and your Petitioner being a Black man was taken up at the Instance or Complaint of the Said John Taylor and committed to Gaol, for which Assault he was not prosecuted, and after being Detained three months in the Said Gaol untill as I understood five or Six pounds was due for the Fees of the Gaol, when a Certain Timothy Clear and Capt. Roberts came to the Gaol & talked about purchasing some Negroes that were in the Gaol & at last agreed with the Gaoler to pay the Gaol fees & take out your Petitioner & another free Negro which was in the Same Gaol.  Mr. Clear pd. the fees for me, & Capt. Roberts paid for the other, but before we left the Gaol an indenture was made for six or seven years to the said Clear who promised to set me at Liberty as soon as I had earned the value of the money which he paid, and that notwithstanding the fair promises of the said Timothy Clear (that he would use me kindly & not detain me any Longer than sufficient to reimburse him for about the sum of six pounds which was all he paid for me) he hath treated me cruelly, by unmerciful whipping, frequently for six years, and being Satisfied with my labour as a Slave during the said Term, sold me again to my present Master Thomas Parsons, who treats me Very Ill.  Your Poor Petitioner Humbly prays that your Worships will take my unhappy case into serious Consideration, and do what Justice and Humanity requires to be done in the premises.  And your Petitioner will ever pray, JW Cogdell for the Petitioner.

Petition of Antonio for Freedom. December Court 1775. Read and rejected.

Miscellaneous Records, Craven County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

Malaga Moll’s great-grandson sues for freedom.

William Dowry ag’t Francis Thomas   } Pet’o for freedom in the General Court.

The deposition of Ann Ridgely of Anne Arundel County aged between fifty seven and fifty eight years being first sworn on the holy Evangely of Almighty God, saith that she has seen William Dowry the petitioner but does not know much of him; that she knew Fanny who it is said, is Mother of the petitioner, very well; and this deponant also knew Mary Dove, the Mother of Fanny ever since she knew her own Mother, and she knew Fanny who is of about the age of the deponant from the time she was a child until she was a woman; this deponant is the daughter of Eliazar Burkhead who was the son of Abraham Burkhead, to whom Mary and Fanny both belonged when this deponent first knew them; and he gave Fanny to his daughter Frances Shekell the wife of John Shekell; this deponant further saith that Mary was a tall spare woman, of a brown complexion, and was the grand daughter of the woman, who came, or was imported into this Country and belonged to this deponants great grand Father as she has been informed and understood from her mother and her grand Father beforementioned: that her grand Father was the only child of his Father and possessed the whole estate; that this deponant has always understood that the Grand Mother of Mary Dove was a yellow woman and had long black hair; but this deponant doth not know whether she was reputed to be an East Indian or a Madagascarian, but she has understood that she was called in the family Malaga Moll, her name being Mary; and Mary Dove the Grand-daughter claimed her Sirname from her said Grand Mother; this deponant further saith that the Mother of Mary Dove (whose name she does not remember) died before her Mother, and whilst her daughter Mary Dove aforesaid was a small girl; and this deponant saith after the death of her father, her Mother intermarried with Leonard Thomas and the aforesaid Mary Dove then lived in the family and belonged to this deponant’s Brother James Birkhead, and upwards of forty years ago she sued for her freedom, and before any determination of the suit the aforesaid Leonard Thomas moved with his family and effects to North Carolina, about twenty miles from New Burn and carried the aforesaid Mary Dove with him, this deponants Brother James being then about five or six years of age: that the said Mary Dove prosecuted her claim to freedom at Newburn in North Carolina soon after she was removed there, and obtained her freedom upon trial at this deponant understood, together with three of her Children and two of her Grand Children and they were all discharged from the possession of the said Leonard Thomas; that the Children were named James, Nell and Sue, and the Grand Children, Will and Sal; that this deponant has heard her father in Law Leonard Thomas say that a certain Alexander Sands, who was the Son of an East Indian woman; and was commonly called Indian Sawny, was a Witness for the said Mary Dove, and that he proved that the Grand Mother of Mary Dove was an East Indian Woman; that this deponant does not recollect to have heard her father in law mention any other witness in particular who was sworn for the petitioner, but thinks he mentioned that one John Wells was sworn on her behalf; that the said Mary Dove had a brother named Dowry who belonged to this deponants uncle. That the aforesaid Leonard Thomas removed back to Maryland in a few years and sometime afterwards returned to North Carolina near the Yadkin and died about twelvemonth ago: — sworn to in open Court 16 Octo. 1791.    True Copy     Jno. G. [illegible]

Miscellaneous Records, Craven County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

[It is a reasonable conjecture that Mary Dove was the forebear of all the free colored Craven, and later Onslow and Jones, and later still Lenoir County Doves.]

Notice of mislaid note.

LOST OR MISLAID.  On Friday or Saturday last, a note of hand, given by George Moses and made payable to me, dated 17th January 1850 for $10. Persons are hereby notified not to trade for said note, and the drawer from paying it, to any one except myself.    WILLIAM BURNETT.  Goldsboro’ Jan. 22, 1850.

North Carolina Telegram, Goldsboro, 31 January 1850.

Shew cause why he keepeth her in a state of slavery.

State of North Carolina, Edgcombe Countye   }  To the Sheriff of sd. County greeting you are hereby commanded that you Summon James Williams if to be found in your Bailiwic to make his Personal Appearance at the next county court of pleas &c., to be held for the County of Edgcombe afores’d on the first monday in May next then and there to shew Cause why he keepeth in a State of Slavery, Sarah Rogers, who by her petition to the Justices of the county court afores’d allegeth that she is a free woman And have you then there this Writ — Witness Edward Hall Clerk afs’d court the 7th Day of Feby. 1785.  Edward Hale Clk.

Slave Records, Edgecombe County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

He has taken the shop books.

CAUTION. — Supposed to have absconded from this place, on last Sunday, a colored man named CHARLES MARTIN, who says that he is free.  The fellow is by trade a Blacksmith, and has been doing work, in that line, for me and on my premises.  He has taken with him the shop books, but I believe has heretofore collected the whole of the sums that was due him.  He may, however, endeavour to trade them off.  I understand he has trumped up a large account against me, which he may possibly attempt to transfer.  This is therefore to forewarn all persons from taking any [illegible] comment thereof and have considered demands against the said fellow.  William Scott, June 2.

The Raleigh Minerva, 2 June 1815.

Lucy sues for all.

Thomas v. Palmer, 54 US 249 (1854).

Nathiniel P. Thomas of Caswell County, among other things, devised and bequeathed as follows:

“My mill tract of land, situate in Caswell county, containing eighty-five acres, on the waters of Pumpkin Creek, adjoining the lands of Carter Powell, and others, and the Crowder tract of land, containing about sixty-six acres, adjoining the same. I do hereby devise to my executor, to be sold on a liberal credit, and the proceeds of the said sale to be placed at interest, after investing a portion of the same in purchasing a suitable home for my mulatto woman, Lucy, and children, purchased of the trustees of Robert A. Crowder; the interest in the said two tracts to be appropriated towards their support, and until the amount of said sale becomes due, I direct my executor to appropriate a sufficient amount out of the proceeds of my estate generally, for their maintainance and support.

3rd. My mulatto woman, Lucy, as aforesaid, I do hereby devise and bequeath, to Nathaniel J. Palmer, together with her children, Mary Jane, James and Newton, and any other children that she may have, in trust and confidence, nevertheless, that he will provide for them a suitable home, as aforesaid, and for her support, and that of her children, until they are able to support themselves, out of the proceeds of the real estate aforesaid. And in the event of the death of the said Nathaniel J. Palmer, the said woman, and children are to be held by my friend, William Bryant, of Pittsylvania county, Virginia, as trustee aforesaid, and in the event of his death, they are to be held by such trustee as he may select, and the County Court of Caswell approve and appoint, it being understood that the said woman and children are not to be removed from the county of Caswell, without her free will and consent, and a copy of this will recorded in the clerk’s office of the county, to which she may remove.”

In a codicil to this will, Thomas provided: “In the event that the laws of North Carolina, or the policy of the same, as construed by the Supreme Court, shall present any obstacle to the fulfillment of the trust mentioned in the foregoing will in relation to my mulatto woman, Lucy, and her children, I do hereby authorise and direct my executor, to send them to such State, territory or country as she may select, and he may think best, and I do hereby charge my estate with a sum sufficient to provide for their removal to such State, territory, and country, and for their comfortable settlement there; it being my will and desire, that she shall not be continued in slavery.”

When Lucy was advised that North Carolina’s laws forbade her to remain in the State and obtain any of the advantages proposed in Thomas’ will or codicil, she moved with her children to Ohio.

In her suit, Lucy Thomas and her children alleged that they were able to get to Ohio, but had not been provided with a home or settlement as the will directed, and “that they are in want, and destitution, and that the children being small, the mother is unable to support herself and them, without the assistance of the fund provided in the will.” They argued that the codicil of the will validated the provision made for them in the will and that they are entitled to the proceeds of the sale of the two tracts of land, which amounts to some $1,500; to the expenses of their removal; and to a comfortable settlement out of the Thomas’ estate.

Palmer, the executor, objected to this construction, arguing that there is nothing in the codicil to validate the deficient and illegal devises in the body of the will, and the plaintiffs are not entitled to any thing but the expenses of their removal and a comfortable settlement in Ohio.  He asserted that he had already advanced funds to them to assist their move, and as soon as the condition of the estate allowed, would provide for their comfortable settlement.

The Supreme Court determined: “Emancipation is not forbidden by our laws; but a negro, who is set free, is required forthwith to leave the State; for it is against public policy to have the number of free negroes increased, or to allow negroes to remain among us in a qualified state of slavery. … It follows that the provision in the will by which Lucy and her children were to remain in this State under the care and protection of one, who was to act nominally as master, but was to provide a house for them to live in, and apply the interest of a certain fund for their support and maintenance, so as to let them have the control of their own time, is void. Fortunately for the complainants, the testator became aware of this in time to make provision by a codicil for their emancipation and removal to another country….”

The complainants insisted, in error, that the codicil had the further effect of making valid the provision that is made for them in the will, and that they were entitled to the provisions of both.  “In other words, that besides having the expenses of their removal and comfortable settlement in another country paid out of the estate of the testator, they are entitled to the fund produced by the sale of the two tracts of land. We do not think so.”

The provision made by the codicil was intended as a substitute for the provision made by the will in the event that the will could not be carried out. “The intention is clearly this: If the negroes can be kept in this State, they are to be provided for as directed by the will. If they cannot remain here and be so provided for; then, they are to be provided for as directed by the codicil. There is not the slightest intimation that the two modes of providing for them are in any degree, or to any extent, to be cumulative.”

In the 1860 census of Ward 6, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio: Lucy Thomas, 35, nurse, daughter Mary J., 14, and Lucy B. Hill, 25.  The Thomases were born in North Carolina, and Hill in England.  No color designation was marked.

Credit or cash.

“The terms of the Sale of the Property Belonging to Serril Newsom Deceased Was Solde on a Credit of Six Months or Cash Which Ever the Perchiser chose on the 29 of Decr 1864 By Jas. H. Smith his Admr” is a four-page document listing the contents of Serrell Newsome’s estate and its buyers.  Paying inflated Civil War-era prices with Confederate money, buyers included free men of color Zion Reed (“1 Cast Plow”), Aaron Sebary [Seaberry] (“1 Lot of Shovels, 1 Single Tres, 3 ½ Booshels of Oats, 1 Cart & Wheeles, 1 Lot of Seed Cotton”), and Rufus Artis (“1 Lot of Peas”).

In the 1850 census of the North Side of the Neuse, Wayne County: Serrell Newsom, 43, farmer, with sons Nathan, 18, Willie, 17, and William, 14.

Estate Records, Wayne County Records, North Carolina State Archives. US Federal Population Schedules.