Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

These persons, though free, were sold and enslaved.

November Sup. Court, Edenton District 1778 }  State of No. Carolina

On motion that a Writ of Certiorari should Issue to the Justices of Pasquotank County, to remove all the Orders and Proceedings of the Court of the said County relating to the Sale and enslaving of the following Persons, either of them, vizs. Hannah, David, Charles, Toby, Pritchard, Nero, Prissilla, Rose, Judith, Jane, Albertson, Samuel, Hagai, Ann and Sarah, on a Suggestion that the said Persons, ‘tho free subjects of the state, were Sold and enslaved by Order of said Court, in express Violation of the Constitution of this State, and contrary to Natural Justice, and that there are Manifest Errors and Irregularities in the said Proceedings.

Ordered that a Certiorari Issue accordingly, unless Sufficient  Cause to the Contrary be shewn within the three first days of the next insuing Term.    /s/ Will Righton for Cha. Bondfield C.S.C.

Records of Slaves and Free Persons of Color, Pasquotank County, North Carolina State Archives.

Beat her terribly and carried off her children.

BROAD CREEK, on Neuse River, April 9.  On Saturday night, April the 4th, broke into the house of the subscriber at the head of Green’s Creek, where I had some small property under the care of Ann Driggus, a free negro woman, two men in disguise, who with masks on their faces, and clubs in their hands, beat and wounded her terribly and carried away four of her children, three girls and a boy, the biggest of said girls got off in the dark and made her escape, one of the girl’s name is Becca, and the other Charita, the boy is named Shadrack; she says the men were William Munday and Charles Towzer, a sailor lately from Newbern, these men were on board of a boat belonging to Kelly Cason, and was with him in the boat about the middle of the day.  Fifty dollars reward will be given to any person who will stop the children and apprehend the robbers so that they may be brought to justice.  JOHN CARUTHERS.

North Carolina Gazette, New Bern, 10 April 1778.

Surnames: Union County, 1850.

The following surnames are found among free people of color in Union County:


He once sold a free negro named Wingfield.

State v. John C. Hardin, 19 NC 407 (1837).

John C. Hardin (and John Haney, whose case went to the Supreme Court separately) was indicted for negro-stealing in Rutherford county. Hardin’s trial was removed to Burke County, where he was convicted on both counts in the indictment.   At trial, the State proved that a slave, the property of Nancy Davis, was stolen, or seduced, or went, from Davis’ Rutherford County plantation, on the fourth Saturday of July, 1836.

A witness named Robins testified that on the day after the slave disappeared, he saw Haney at a meeting house in the neighborhood. Haney told him that a negro had come to him the preceding night a little before day and requested that Haney go that evening and tell Hardin to meet him at a place called Webb’s old field that night, about an hour after dark. In the course of the conversation, Haney remarked, “Hardin has missed the one he has been trying to secure; but good luck will come after bad. Tell him, this boy has come to me.” Robins and Hardin went to the place and at the time appointed. Haney whistled and “a large negro-man” When asked where he had come from, Haney said, “He came from the widow Davis.” Haney then remarked, “You, Robins, must take him off. It will be a safe trip, as the widow has not energy to press like some people. In the mean time Hardin will keep him till you get ready to start.” As Haney left, he remarked to Hardin, “You know our agreement,” to which Hardin replied, “yes, it will do.” Hardin, Robins, and the slave then went to a point about a half-mile distant from Hardin’s house.  Hardin thought there might be somebody at his house and directed Robin and the slave to stay in the woods until he checked and returned. Hardin did not return that night, but came with food the next morning. Hardin, Robins and the slave agreed that Robins would take the negro to South Carolina and sell him; that Robins would leave that day and to prepare; and that the enslaved man would meet him the next day at a point designated on the road. All proceeded accordingly, and Robins and another associate, Williams, carried the slave to South Carolina and sold him for nine hundred dollars. Williams was paid part, Haney was paid one hundred and forty-five dollars, and Hardin was paid two hundred and fifty-five dollars. (Hardin insisted upon having the largest share because of “his having tried so long to get a negro, in which he met with bad luck.”) Robins testified that his habits had been moral and upright until he met Hanes and Hardin, who influenced him to join a club that had members spread over the country.  This was his first adventure in selling slaves. However, when further pressed, Robins admitted that he had once sold a free negro named Wingfield for one thousand dollars, of which he gave two hundred dollars to Wingfield himself (for agreeing to be sold); two hundred dollars to a man in South Carolina for helping him to sell Wingfield; one hundred dollars to Haney; ninety dollars to Hardin; and the rest for himself. Robins also stated Haney told him and Hardin, “You know our plan is to steal the negro again and sell him over, so you must make up something to pay for doing that,” and each gave Haney twenty-five more dollars. 

Hardin was found guilty and sentenced to death.  He appealed, arguing  that (1) the jury relied upon the uncorroborated testimony of a co-conspirator, and (2) he had only conveyed away, not stolen, the slave.  The state supreme court rejected the former argument, but agreed with the latter, i.e. that Hardin was a “mere accessory” to the actual theft of the slave.  Venire de novo awarded.

Onslow County Apprentices, 1820-1822.

James Jarman, son of Charlotte, was bound to James Glenn Jr. in 1820.

Frances Hammonds, daughter of Sena Hammonds, was bound to Joseph Hawkins in 1820.

James Henderson and Bryan Henderson, sons of Patsey Henderson, were bound to Jesse Gregory at February term, 1821.

“Patsey Henderson a free woman of color in Onslow County came into court and desired her two sons (viz) James Henderson and Bryan Henderson be bound to Jesse Gregory agreeable to law and give Jason Gregory and Hezekiah Williams for securities in the sum of $1000 each.”  February term, 1821, Minutes of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, Onslow County Records, North Carolina State Archives.  In the 1840 census of Onslow County, James Henderson is listed twice.  First, his household includes 1 male 24-26; 1 female 10-24; 2 males under 10; and 1 female under 10, all colored, and is listed between Bryant Koonce and William Mills.  Second, the household composition is the same, but is listed between William Boyett and Jesse King. In the 1850 census of Upper Richlands, Onslow County: Jim Henderson, 35 year-old mulatto mechanic, is listed in the household of white farmer B.S. Koonce.  [Sidenote: James Henderson was my great-great-great-great-grandfather. — LYH]

Miranda Henderson and Patsey Henderson, daughters of Nancy Henderson, were bound to Nancy Henderson at May term, 1821.

The minutes of May term, 1821, Onslow County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions show that Jason and Gregory gave security for the bond. Court Records, Onslow County Records, North Carolina State Archives.  In the 1850 census of Upper Richlands, Onslow County: Nancy Henderson, 55, and children and grandchildren Gatsey, 30, Nervy, 25, Monday, 6, Lott, 4, Jessee, 1, and Sally Ann, 6 months.[Sidenote: Who was the Nancy Henderson to which the children were bound? A child could not be bound to his or her own parent. — LYH]

Charles Chance and Nancy Chance were bound to Nichodemus Gurganus in 1821.

In the 1850 census of Lower Richlands, Onslow County: Nancy Chance, 44, and her children Right, 26, Vicy, 12, Hester, 7, C.A., 6, and Rache, 3.

Patsey Henderson, age 5 or 6, was bound to Jason Gregory in 1822.

Gatsey Henderson and William Henderson, children of Simon Dove, were bound to James Glenn Sr. at August term, 1822.

The minutes of August term, 1822, minutes, Onslow County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, describe Gatsey and William as “colour’d children the reputed children of Simon Dove dec’d.”  Court Records, Onslow County Records, North Carolina State Archives. In the 1850 census of Upper Richlands, Onslow County: Nancy Henderson, 55, and children and grandchildren Gatsey, 30, Nervy, 25, Monday, 6, Lott, 4, Jessee, 1, and Sally Ann, 6 months.  

Alfred [no last name] was bound to John Thompson in 1822.

Isaac [no last name] was bound to Bazel Newbold in 1822.

George Boon was bound to John Thompson in 1822.

He might have saved his own had he not tried to save his master’s instead.

Peter Thomejeux of the town of Newbern merchant Maketh oath that his Servant Martial a mustee or person of mixed blood has during a period of years served him with uncommon faithfulness.  That he has during that time been entrusted with the care of a Store in which were large quantities of goods & often Sums of money & has even withstood the temptation such trust gave rise to. That he has attended him with care & affection during many long journies of sickness. That having been Suffered to have under his master’s eyes; he had hoarded up a sum almost sufficient to reimburse his master his purchase money. Which property was destroyed by the late fire, altho’ he might have saved it had he not endeavoured to save his master’s goods in preference to his own. That for these services this deponent pray a license to reward his said slave’s fidelity by setting him free. /s/ Thomezuen

Sworn to in open court this 16 Dec 1791

Miscellaneous Records, Craven County, North Carolina State Archives.