Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Enos & Matilda Goodman Jacobs.


ENOS JACOBS (1842-1925) and ALMIRA MATILDA GOODMAN JACOBS (1847-1927) of Sampson County. Enos was the son of Archibald Jacobs and Temperance Manuel Jacobs.  Matilda was the daughter of Timothy Goodman and Nancy Maynor Goodman.

Mortality Schedule: Cumberland County, 1850.

Cater Bryant, Fayetteville, 33, mulatto, cooper, died February, drowned.

John Bryant, Fayetteville, 4, mulatto, died December, fever.

Calvin Burnet, Northern Division, 20, mulatto, died December, barber, unknown causes.

Elizabeth Burnet, Northern Division, 1 month, mulatto, died April, unknown causes.

Curtis Demry, Northern Division, 13, black, died August, dropsy.

Obediah Hagans, Northern Division, 80, mulatto, laborer, died May, unknown causes.

Ephraim Holly, Northern Division, 10, mulatto, died September, measles.

Patsy Holly, Northern Division, 2, mulatto, died September, “Infl. throat.”

Nelly Will Kings, Fayetteville, 90, mulatto, died July, old age.

Sarah J. Lucas, Northern Division, 2, mulatto, died July, diarrhoea.

Virginia Lucas, Eastover, 1 month, mulatto, died April, pneumonia.

Rose Mainer, Northern Division, 50, black, died July, consumption.

Elsey Parker, Northern Division, 20, mulatto, died September, unknown causes.

Sophia Scott, Northern Division, 1 month, mulatto, died October, unknown causes.

James Stewart, Northern Division, 1, mulatto, died June, consumption.

Infant, Northern Division, 1 month, mulatto, died July, colick.

All deaths in 1849. US Federal Mortality Schedule, 1850.

He cannot go blow for blow, but he can defend himself.

State v. Lawrence Davis, 52 NC 52 (1859).

This indictment for assault and battery arose in Craven Superior Court.  Lawrence Davis was a free negro living in New Bern.  Edward Hart was a regularly appointed and qualified constable for the town. Hart had a notice directing David to show cause why he should not work on the streets as the penalty for not having paid his taxes. (A New Bern ordinance: “Ordered that all free negroes, who have not paid their taxes, shall be made to work on the streets two days for each and every dollar of tax due the town by them, and if he refuses to do the same, upon due notice being given him, he shall pay a fine, at the discretion of the Mayor, not exceeding $10.” Hart arrested Davis and, while he attempted to tie him, Davis struck him.

The lower court found Davis guilty, and he appealed.

The Supreme Court suggested that Davis’ conviction may have rested on the proposition that a free negro is not justified, under any circumstances, in striking a white man. “To this, we cannot yield our assent. Self-defense is a natural right, and, although the social relation of this third class of our population, and a regard for its proper subordination requires that the right should be restricted, yet, nothing short of manifest public necessity can furnish a ground for taking it away absolutely; because a free negro, however lowly his condition, is in the “peace of the State,” and to deprive him of this right, would be to put him on the footing of an outlaw.” So, though a free negro ordinarily was not to return blow for blow or fight with a white man, “as one white man may do with another, or one free negro with another, he is not deprived, absolutely, of the right of self-defense.” Rather, to justify a battery on a white man, the free negro is required to prove that it was necessary for him to strike in order to protect himself from “great bodily harm or grievous oppression.” In other words, if there is cruelty or unusual circumstances of oppression, a blow is excusable. 

In this case, a constable serving a notice on the defendant, without any authority whatever, arrested him and attempted to tie him.  “Is not this gross oppression? For what purpose was he to be tied? What degree of cruelty might not the defendant reasonably apprehend after he should be entirely in the power of one who had set upon him in so highhanded and lawless a manner? Was he to submit tamely? Or, was he not excusable for resorting to the natural right of self-defense?” 

Under these circumstances, the judge committed error, and a new trial was ordered.