Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Runaway bound boy, no. 5.

Five cents Reward.

RANAWAY from the Subscriber, on the 5th inst. An indented mulatto boy named WHITMEL Anderson, about 15 or 16 years old, very bright complexion, and has a large scar across the right hand.  It is supposed that he is lurking about Col. Joshua Pender’s mill in Conetoe, where his connexions reside.  The above reward will be given for the apprehension and delivery of said boy to me in Edgecombe county.  All persons are forbid harboring, employing, or carrying off said boy under penalty of the law.  BURREL DUNN.  Oct. 7, 1834.

Tarboro Press, 10 Oct 1835.

Something wrong was going on.

State v. Edmund Martin, 34 NC 157 (1851).

Edmund Martin, a free man of color, was indicted in Forsyth County Superior Court for stealing a slave named Giles, the property of George W. Smith.  The State’s first witness was Edward Booker.  Booker testified that in late October or November 1850, he was on his way south with his son Henry and a man called Null carrying a load of tobacco belonging to a man named Hamlett in Stokes County.  They stopped at a campground near Martin’s property.  There one of Null’s horses became violently ill, and Martin helped secure and administer aid.  While they treated the horse, Booker gave Martin two or three drinks.  Martin told Booker that he “liked his looks,” asked if wagoning was a slow business, and told him that he could put him into a business that could make money much faster, if he could be trusted.  Martin could make Booker “rich as Hairston.” Booker asked if Martin was referring to horses, and Martin replied that he was not, but his stock was worth $600 to $1200 a piece, “and, by being smart, [Booker] could make five or six hundred dollars in a few weeks.” Booker admitted that he would like to make more money in an honest business.  Martin did not explicitly disclose his plans, but Booker inferred them and agreed to call on Martin when he returned in five or six weeks.

On the first Saturday of December, Booker returned and agreed to enter into business with Martin.  Martin told him he had several slaves concealed at some distance – “he could not keep them near him for fear of being suspected: that there were a great many fox hunters around him, and he had frequently been tracked by their dogs, and been compelled to stand in water up to his waist for an hour at a time in cold weather.” The slaves believed that Martin was going to send them to a free state.  While Booker and Martin were talking, a man named Rains came in to speak privately with Martin, and Booker learned that Rains, too, was going to transport slaves for Martin.  Booker agreed to return around Christmas when Martin would have a slave ready.  Booker was to take the slave, sell him, and divide the profits with Martin.  Booker returned the Thursday after Christmas, but Martin told him he could get things ready before Saturday.  Their plans were thwarted by the arrival of another white man, who persisted in staying all night despite Martin’s efforts to get him to leave.  On Sunday Booker returned to Martin’s house. Martin gave “Jeff.,” a slave, a dram and told him to fetch the slave.  Some time after midnight, Booker heard someone enter the kitchen-end of the house, and Martin brought the slave Giles to him and told him they needed to leave as soon as possible.  Martin told Booker to get his horse and go by himself to Thompson’s lane about a mile away.  There were too many wagoners camping nearby and his neighbor Swicegood’s dogs were “very bad.” Martin would take Giles via short-cut and meet him at the lane.  Booker took Giles to Salem to “Mr. Lash,” but, as the Forsyth jail was not completed, took him on to the jail in Germantown.  Booker, who claimed he  had been pretending to work with Martin in order to catch him in his crime, immediately sent word to Giles’ owner Smith.  Booker met with Smith, and the two hatched a plan.  Booker returned to Martin with $400 counterfeit money and a fictitious note for $300.  He paid off Martin, who was quite pleased, and made arrangements to take another slave, this one a blacksmith.  Booker then went to magistrate McDonald to tip him off to his and Smith’s plan.  When he returned to Martin’s, Martin chained his horse to the smokehouse, confronted him with the counterfeit money, accused him of betrayal and threatened to kill him that night.  Martin said that he belonged to a Murrel clan, and his brothers would kill Booker if he did not.  Another white man there opined that Booker had treated Martin badly.  Booker, alarmed, left without his horse and went to a neighbor’s house.  The next day he sent for magistrate McDonald and had Martin arrested.

Wallis McDonald, the magistrate, testified that Booker had come to his house, about four or five miles from Martin’s, and with some minor variations told him essentially what he had testified to on the stand.

Richmond Swicegood testified that he lived about 300 yards from Martin, that he saw Booker at Martin’s house frequently, that he thought “something wrong was going on” and decided to watch the house.  The night was very wet and rainy, but he “slipped up near” the house and heard Martin trying to get rid of Wood, the white man that Booker testified would not leave. Martin went into the kitchen house, and Swicegood stood near a crack and heard Martin tell his son Henry, “I never told your mother ‘till yesterday what Booker was staying here for.”  Martin then said that “by being smart” he could make five or six hundred dollars in six or seven weeks; “it was a dangerous business, but he did not know any better they could do.”  Satisfied that Martin was up to no good, he decided to consult a neighbor.

G.M. Smith testified that he lived in Davidson County, about seven or eight miles from Martin; that his slave Giles left without permission on 22 November 1850; that he found him in the Germantown jail on 8 January 1851; that he sold Giles immediately; and that on his way home from Germantown he saw Booker, who saw him and Giles.

At the close of evidence, the court’s instructions to the jury included a warning that Martin “was to be tried as if he were a white man” and that “they were to divest themselves of prejudice on account of his color.”  Having, perhaps, done so, the jury found Martin guilty, and he appealed to the state Supreme Court.  Citing State v. Hardin, the court ordered a new trial on the grounds that, as there was no evidence Martin had actually the slave from his owner, he could not have committed a capital felony under the statute.

Caswell County Will Books: H

At April term, 1817, Daniel Phillips, orphan boy of colour, age 8 years, bound to Edwin Rainey.

At July term, 1817, William Howel, a boy of colour age 12 years last September, bound to William Kennon.

At January term, 1818, Henry Logan, boy of colour age 14 years the 10th of March next, bound to William Sawyer.

At January term, 1818, Betsy Logan, a girl of colour age 12 years the 5th of April next, bound to Anderson Morton.

At April term, 1819, Luscinda Gillaspy, child of colour age 6 years the 20th May next, bound to Chandler Wilkins.

At April term, 1819, Anosha Gillaspy, child of colour age 3 years the 29th July next, bound to Frances Smith.

At January term, 1820, Dilcey Phillips, a girl of colour age 15 next September, and Frederick Phillips, a boy of colour age 12 years next March, bound to Polly Evans.

At January term, 1820, Matilda Garrott, a girl of colour age 12 in April next, bound to John N. McNeil until she attains 21 years of age.

At January term, 1820, John Robinson of Lynchburg, Virginia, desirous of rewarding a black by name of Jacob Thomas, who was raised by Bartlett Bennett of Orange County, Virginia, and was purchased by Robinson on 1 October 1808 from Thomas Jones of Campbell County.  (Said Jacob’s father being a free man of the same name.)  For $900 paid by Jacob Thomas, Robinson does hereby emancipate him and bestow upon him all the rights of a free man of colour in rhe Commonwealth of Virginia. 

At October term, 1820, Bob Kean, a boy of colour age 10 years the 25th of December next, bound to Thomas Brinefield.

At January term, 1821, Robert Gwyn and Ransom Gwyn, orphan children of colour age 7 and 11 years, bound to Azariah Graves. 

Free-Issue Death Certificates: ARTIS, no. 2.

Lucinda Allen.  Died 1 October 1922, Flea Hill, Cumberland County.  Negro. Widow of William Allen.  90 years old. Daughter of unknown father and Lila Artist.  Buried in McPhail cemetery.  Informant, W.B. Allen.

In the 1850 census of Eastern Division, Cumberland County: Delila Artis, 63, with children and grandchildren, Mariah, 27, Lucinda, 20, Eliza, 30, Irvin, 13, Druzilla, 5, and Haywood, 1; all mulatto.  In the 1860 census of Cumberland East, Cumberland County: Wm Allen, 34, wife Louisa, 28, and children William G., 13, Marsha, 9,  Kisiah, 5, and Peter, 1 month; all black.

Martha Ann Allen, Died 29 August 1915, Flea Hill, Cumberland County. Black. Married. Born 1847 in NC to Jad Boone and Perniesa Artis.  Informant, M.E. Allen.

Pernecine Boone.  Died 14 April 1918, Fayetteville, Cumberland County. Resided Haymarket Hill. Colored. Married. 98 years old. Born in NC to John Artis and Bersalla Artis. Informant, Tom Johnson, Fayetteville.

In the 1860 census of Cumberland East, Cumberland County: Jerre Boon, 30, wife Pernetha, 25, and children Martha A., 3, and Harriet M., 6 months; all mulatto.

Ned Artis.  Died 21 October 1917, Falkland, Pitt County.  Colored. Single.  Born 1831, Wilson County, to Arch Artis and Rose Artis of Wilson County.  Buried Wilson County.  Informant, Joe Artis, Fountain NC. Undertaker, Jessee Artis, Wilson.

Tamar Bynum.  Died 25 December 1923, Wilson, Wilson County. Colored. Widow of George Bynum.  Age 77.  Born Wilson County to Arch Artis and Rosa Artis, both of Wilson County.  Informant, Rosa Bynum.

In the 1850 census of Edgecombe County, 55 year-old Arch Artis, “mulatto free.”  He was blind and lived alone. In the 1860 census of Gardners, Wilson County: Arch Artis, 65, described as blind, was listed in the household of white farmer Calvin Woodard, 32. Arch was free, but his wife Rosa and chidren were not.

Mandie Artis.  Died 20 November 1920, Roanoke, Northampton County. Colored. Widow of Jim Artis. Age 85. Born in the country to Squir Walden and Kimpie Walden.  Buried Lassiters cemetery.  Informant, Lam Artis, Jackson NC.

In the 1850 census of Northampton County: Squire Walden, 38, laborer; wife Temperance, 34; and children Samuel, 14, William, 13, Amanda, 12, Martha, 11, James, 9, Hester, 8, Payton, 5, and Whitman, 5, plus William Walden, 78, farmer, who claimed to own $498 property. All were described as mulatto.  Squire Walden married Tempy James on 28 March 1832 in Halifax County. 

June Bowes.  Died 19 June 1914, Murrays Neck, Hertford County. Negro. Widow.  Born 1827 to Hardy Artis and Polly Artis, both of Murrays Neck.  Informant, Henry Wilson, Murfreesboro.

Jane Sauls. Died 16 December 1928, Stantonsburg, Wilson County. Black. Widow of John Sauls. Born 1842 in Greene County to Guy Lane and Sylvania Artis. Buried Union Grove cemetery, Wayne County. Informant, Anna Sauls.

Mariah Swinson. Died 6 February 1955, Goldsboro, Wayne County.  Resided 500 Creech Street. Negro Widow. Born 14 February 1849 in NC to Daniel Artis and unknown mother. Informant, Mrs. Mary Swinson.

In the 1850 census of Greene County, Sylvany Artess, 36, listed with her children Daniel, 7, Mitchel, 5, Meriah, 4, Gui, 2, and Penny, 3 months; all black.  Her husband, Guy Lane, was a slave.  Was “Meriah” Sylvania’s niece, rather than daughter? In the 1860 census of Bull Head, Greene County, 40 year-old Dannel Artis, a ditcher, was listed next door to white farmer John Lane, in whose household several of Sylvania’s children lived.

Jonah Williams. Died 20 April 1915, Wilson, Wilson County. Colored. Widow. Born 25 Oct 1844 in Greene County to Solomon Williams and Vicie Artist.  Minister. Informant, Clarissa Williams, Wilson NC.

In the 1850 census of Greene County, Vicy Artess, 40, listed with children Zilpha, 22, Louis, 8, Jonah, 7, Jethro, 5, and Richard, 1.

Tabitha Hagins.  Died 19 November 1927, Kinston, Lenior County. Resided 509 Thompson. Colored. Widow. Born 1837 in Wayne County to Arion Seaberry and unknown mother. Buried Pikeville NC. Informant, Rev. J.H. Sampson.

In the 1850 census, North of Neuse, Wayne County, Aaron Seaberry, 32, farmhand, is listed with wife Louisa, stepson Napoleon [Hagans], daughter Frances, and 17 year-old Celia Seaberry, whose relationship to him is unknown.  In 1860, in Davis, Wayne County, Aaron Seaberry is listed with wife Eliza and Frances. Perhaps Tabitha was his daughter by an enslaved woman and was herself a slave.