Complaint for possession of land.

by Lisa Y. Henderson

North Carolina, Wayne County   } In Superior Court April Term 1892.

David Brown and wife Minta Brown vs. Sallie Simmons and Frank Winn – Complaint.

The plaintiffs for their complaint allege, I. That prior to the [blank] day of April 1854 David Simmons was the owner in fee of a tract of land in Wayne County near the town of Mount Olive on which the defendant Sallie Simmons now lives, bounded as follows, Beginning at a pine and running thence S 82 poles to a pine, then S 87 W 81 poles to a pine, the N 47 W 46 poles to a pine, then N 5 E 56 poles to a stake, then East 110 poles to the beginning containing 57 acres more or less.

II. That on said [blank] day of April 1854 the said David Simmons conveyed said tract of land for life to his mother Ita Simmons reserving an annual rent of one penny by deed duly admitted to probate and registered in Wayne County.

III. That thereafter on the 23rd day of April 1855 the said David Simmons conveyed said land in fee to one James McDuffie by deed duly admitted to probate and registered in Wayne County.

IV. That thereafter the said McDuffie died in the County of Wayne leaving a last will and testament by which he devised said land in fee to the plaintiff Minta Brown (then Minta Bryant) subject to the life estate of the said Ita Simmons.

V. That soon after the execution of said deed to Ita Simmons set out in the second paragraph of this complaint, the said Ita Simmons took possession of said land under said deed and remained in possession thereof until her death in the year 1891.

VI. That the plaintiff Minta Brown is the owner in fee of said land and in entitled to recover possession thereof.

VII. That the defendants are now in possession of said land and wrongfully withholding the same from the plaintiffs.

Wherefore the plaintiffs pray for Judgment.

1. That the plaintiff Minta Brown is the owner in fee of said land.

2. For possession & costs.

Minta Brown being duly sworn says, That the facts stated in the foregoing complaint as of her own knowledge over time and then states on information and belief she believes to be true.  Minta X Brown    Sworn to & subscribed before me this 9 day of April 1892.  Jno. D. Taylor, Clerk Superior Court, New Hanover County

In the 1850 census of the South Side of the Neuse, Wayne County: Ity Simmons, 40, born in Duplin County, with sons David, 22, cooper, and George, 20, hireling; all mulatto.  Also, Sally Bryan, 30, and her children Arimenta, 8, Penny, 6, Charley, 4, and Caroline, 4, and Charity Bryan, 70, perhaps her mother.  Arimenta and Penny were described as mulatto; the rest of the family, white.  In the 1860 census of Indian Springs, Wayne County, Minta Bryant, 23, and her children Mitchel, 4, Edith, 6, and Rufus Bryant, 2, all mulatto, lived in the household of James McDuffee, 41. [Was McDuffie the father of Bryant’s children?]

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