Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

I worked for it.


NAPOLEON HIGGINS, colored, sworn and examined. By Senator Vance:

Question: Where do you reside? – Answer. Near Goldsborough. I don’t stay in Goldsborough, but it is my county seat. I live fifteen miles from town.

Q. What is your occupation? – A. I am farming.

Q. Do you farm your own land? – A. Yes, sir.

Q. How much do you own? – A. Four hundred and eighty-five acres.

Q. How did you get it? – A. I worked for it.

Q. Were you formerly a slave? – A. No, sir; I was a free man before the war.

Q. What did you pay for it? – A. I believe I paid $5,500; and then I have got a little town lot there that I don’t count; but I think it is worth about $500.

Q. How much cotton do you raise? – A. I don’t raise as much as I ought to. I only raised fifty-eight bales last year.

Q. What is that worth? – A. I think I got $55 a bale.

Q. How many hands do you work yourself? – A. I generally rent my land. I only worked four last year, and paid the best hand, who fed the mules and tended around the house, ten dollars; and the others I paid ten, and eight, and seven. … I gave them rations; and to a man with a family I gave a garden patch and a house, and a place to raise potatoes.

Q. How did you start [your farm]? – A. I rented a farm and started on two government horses. I went to the tightest man I know and got him to help me. I rented from Mr. Exam out there.

Senate Report 693, 2nd Session, 46th Congress: Proceedings of the Select Committee of the United States Senate to Investigate the Causes of the Removal of the Negroes from the Southern States to the Northern States, Washington DC, beginning Tuesday, 9 March 1880.

Napoleon Hagans (not Higgins) testified before a Senate Select Committee investigating the migration of hundreds of “colored people” from the South to Indiana in the late 1870s.  Hagans testified about the source of his relative wealth (above), as well his opinion of the political climate for colored men in his part of North Carolina.

Napoleon Hagans, 6, was apprenticed in 1845 to William Thompson.  Apprenticeship Records, Wayne County Records, North Carolina State Archives. In the 1850 census of  North of Neuse, Wayne County, Aaron Seaberry, 32 year-old black farmhand, with wife Louisa, [stepson] Napoleon [Hagans], daughter Frances, and 17 year-old Celia Seaberry. In a duplicate listing, also North of the Neuse: Leacy Hagans, 55, with probable grandson Napoleon Hagans, 10.  


Hiram Rhodes Revels.


Hiram Rhodes Revels was the first person of color to serve in the United States Congress.

Revels was born free in 1827 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. In 1838 he moved to Lincolnton, North Carolina to apprentice in his brother Elias B. Revels’ barber shop. After attending seminary in Indiana and Ohio, Revels was ordained as a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1845 and served as a preacher and religious teacher throughout the Midwest.

Revels served as a chaplain in the United States Army during the Civil War and helped recruit and organize black Union regiments in Maryland and Missouri. He took part at the battle of Vicksburg in Mississippi. In 1865, Revels left the AME Church and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1866, he was given a permanent pastorship in Natchez, Mississippi, where he settled with his wife and five daughters, became an elder in the Mississippi District, continued his ministerial work, and founded schools for black children.

In 1869, Revels was elected to represent Adams County in the Mississippi State Senate. In 1870 he was elected to finish the term of one of the state’s two United States Senators, vacant since Mississippi seceded from the Union.

When Revels arrived in Washington, Southern Democrats opposed seating him in the Senate, basing their arguments on the Dred Scott decision, which ruled that people of African ancestry were not and could not be citizens. Because no black man was a citizen before the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868, they argued, Revels could not satisfy the requirement for nine years’ prior citizenship.

Revels’ supporters of Revels made a number of arguments, including: (1)  that Revels was of mixed black and white ancestry (an “octoroon”) and the Dred Scott decision applied only to blacks who were of purely African ancestry; (2) that Revels had been  considered a citizen (and indeed had voted in Ohio) before Dred Scott; and (3) that the Civil War and the Reconstruction Amendments had voided Dred Scott. On February 25, 1870, Revels, on a strict party-line vote of 48 to 8, became the first black man to be seated in the United States Senate.

Revels resigned two months before his term expired to accept appointment as the first president of Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Alcorn State University). In 1873, Revels took a leave of absence from Alcorn to serve as Mississippi’s secretary of state ad interim.  He died on January 16, 1901.

Adapted from Wikipedia. 

In the 1850 census of Cambridge City, Wayne County, Indiana: Robert Freeman, 34, laborer, born Virginia; Jane Freeman, 30, born Virginia; Malinda Freeman, 14, born Ohio; Hannah, 13, William H., 10, Robert, 4, and Margaret Freeman, 3, all born in Indiana; Charles Guinea, 18, born Virginia; and Hiram Revels, 25, and wife Phebe Revels, 17, both born in NC.

In the 1860 census of Ward 11, Baltimore, Baltimore County, Maryland: Hiram Revels, 35, Prest’n clergyman O.S., born North Carolina; wife Phoebe, 25, born Ohio; Elizabeth, 5, and Emma Revels, 3 months, born in Maryland; and Mary Brooks, 16, born in Maryland.

Register of (NC-Born) Negroes and Mulattos: Bartholomew County, Indiana, no. 3.

Daniel Oxendine, age 37, born Robeson County NC, registered 19 Aug 1853.  He was described as a mulatto man, five feet nine and a half inches high; rather rawboned; medium size; rather light complexion; good teeth, two out; with a small mole on the right side of his upper lip.  Witnesses: John A. Abbott and Randolph Griffith.

Priscilla Jane Oxendine, age 10, born Robeson County NC, registered 10 Apr 1854.  She was described as a mulatto girl, daughter of Daniel Oxendine.

Sarah L. Almenya Oxendine, age 9, born Robeson County NC, registered 5 Oct 1855.  She was described as a bright mulatto girl, daughter of Daniel Oxendine, no marks.

Senith Oxendine, age 7, born Robeson County NC, registered 5 Oct 1855.  She was described as a dark mulatto, daughter of Daniel Oxendine, no marks.

In the 1850 census of Columbus, Bartholomew County: Daniel Oxendine, 33, laborer, born NC, wife Elizabeth, 41, and children Priscilla Jane, 7, Sarah E., 4, Seneth E., 2, Mary Ann, 1, plus Samuel Freeman, 45, and William Gilmore, 12. All born in NC except Seneth and Mary Ann, born in Indiana.


Free Colored Inhabitants of the Town of Murfreesboro, Hertford County, 1850.

#47. Hester Artis, 19, servant, born in Hertford County, in the household of Ann M. Neal.

#48. Dempsy Ely, 36, sailor; wife Frances Ely, 30, day laborer; Cordelia Weaver, 18; Walter Weaver, 7 months; and Jno. Weaver, 20, brick mason; all born in Hertford County.

#49. Bridget Weaver, 64, day laborer; Ann Weaver, 29, day laborer; all born in Hertford County.

#50. Peggy Weaver, 78, day laborer; born in Hertford County.

#51. Margaret Boone, 28, servant, born Southampton County VA; in the household of John Hart, clerk.

#53. Jno. Boone, 13, servant; born in Hertford County; in the household of Ely Carter, merchant.

#55. Rachell Reynolds, 40, servant; Elizabeth Reynolds, 25, day laborer; both born in Hertford County; in the household of E.J. Jester.

#57. Henry Vaughan, 59, day laborer; wife J.A., 30; and children J.W., 2, and Henry, 1; Henry born in Northampton County, the others in Hertford.

#58. Patsy Boon, 55, day laborer, and Viney Boon, 57; both born in Hertford County.

#65. Warren Britt, 50; Lucy Britt, 45; Thos. Reynolds, 17, day laborer; Mariah Boon, 14, servant; and Eliza Woodson, 6. Warren, Thomas and Eliza were born in Hertford County; Lucy in Nansemond County VA; and Mariah in Southampton County VA.

#66. Jno. Chavious, 38, in the household of Holloway Ballance, farmer; born in Hertford County.

#68. Emma Bowser, 43; Sarah, 23, Wm., 19, M.T., 3, and M.A. Bowser, 3 months; all born in Hertford County. Emma, Sarah and William worked as day laborers.

#69. John Main, 25, field laborer; Nancy Main, 14; Ely Scott, 22; Wm. Weaver, 20; all born Northampton County; in the household of Jno. G. Wilson.

#70. Charles Simmons, 58, and Patsy Simmons, 56, both born in Northampton County.

#78. Phillip Weaver, 56, farmer, born in Southampton County VA; Hester Weaver, 40, born in Hertford County; Jane Askew, 16, day laborer, born in Northampton County; Elizabeth Beatman, 12, born in Northampton County.

#82. John Main, 24, day laborer, and V.S. Main, 33, born in Hertford County; in the household of Jesse J. Yeates, lawyer.


A badge marked FREE.

Acts of the North Carolina General Assembly, 1785, North Carolina General Assembly.

At a General Assembly, begun and held at New Bern on the nineteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-five, and in the tenth year of the independence of the said State, it being the first session of this Assembly. Richard Caswell, Governor.

CHAPTER VI.  An Additional Act to Amend the Several Acts for Regulating the Town of Wilmington, and to Regulate and Restrain the Conduct of Slaves and Others in the Said Town, and in the Towns of Washington, Edenton and Fayetteville.

And in order to discriminate between free negroes, mulattoes and other persons of mixed blood, and slaves:

X. Be it Enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all persons of the above mentioned description, who are or shall be free, shall on or before the said first day of May next, apply to the commissioners, trustees or directors of the respective towns aforesaid, in order to have their names registered; and every such person coming into the said towns respectively to reside, shall within three days after their arrival make the like application; and the commissioners, trustees or directors are hereby authorised and required to give every such free person a badge of cloth, of such colour or colours as they shall respectively direct, to be fixed on the left shoulder, and to have thereon wrought in legible capital letters the word FREE: For registration of each of which names the town clerk shall receive two shillings, and the commissioners, trustees and directors respectively shall receive the sum of eight shillings for the use of their respective towns; which registration and badge shall continue in force during the time that such free person shall remain an inhabitant of the town in which he or she shall reside; and if any free negro, mullatto or other person of mixed blood, shall neglect or refuse to apply to the commissioners, trustees or directors as aforesaid, or shall refuse to receive a badge in manner by this Act directed, every such person so neglecting or refusing shall be subject to pay the same tax that is hereby imposed on slaves who are not returned as town taxables, and who shall have badges to enable them to hire themselves; and that such free persons may be the better known, the justices of the peace who shall receive the returns of taxable property in said towns, shall in their yearly returns describe all such persons as are free, and are negroes, mullattoes or otherwise of mixed blood as aforesaid; and all such persons as aforesaid not paying their fines, fees and taxes shall be hired out for so long time as will pay the same respectively.

Frances Jacobs Carter.


FRANCES JACOBS CARTER was born about 1861 in Sampson County to Jesse Adam Jacobs (ca1820-1902) and Abigail Gilliam Jacobs (ca1820-?). She married Marshall Archie Carter (1860-1922), son of William and Mary Carter, and died in 1937 in Wayne County. Jesse A. Jacobs, Jr., was her brother.

In the 1870 census of Sampson County: Jessey Jacobs, 50, farmer; wife Abigiel, 50; and children John R., 20, Martha, 17, Soloman, 15, Jessey, 13, Abigiel J., 11, and Margett F., 9; all mulatto.

We have further allotted the widow one bed, wheel and cards.

State of North Carolina, Robeson County   }   To the worshipful the Justices of the court of pleas and quarter-sessions for said county November term 1862

We John G. M’Lean Justice of the Peace of said county and Hector J. M’Lean Angus Wilkison and John McNair freeholders in obedience to the anexed order proceeded on the 17th day of October to view the estate of Hugh Chavous, deceased, and out of the crop stock and provisions on hand we have laid off and allotted Clarisa Chavous widow of Hugh Chavous (deceased) as follows that is to say one hindred bushels of corn eighteen hed of hogs one Beef all the peas, one Table four Bushels of Salt one Bible and Hym Book one Loom one pot one tray and sifter and these being not sufficient of the crop stock and provision on hand to make a comfortable provision for the Said Widow and family for a year We assess the deficiency to the sum of Thirty five Dollars in money to be paid to the said Widow by the administrator of the said Hugh Chavous (Decd) and we have further laid off and allotted to the said Widow one Bed and necessary furniture and Wheel and Cards as her absolute property and put her in possession of the same

Given in our hands and seals this 17th day of October AD 1862.  /s/ John G. M’Lean, Hector M’Lean, A.D. Wilkison, Jno. McNair

In the 1860 census of Robeson County: Hugh Chavis, 50, farmer; wife Clarisy, 45; and children Benjamin, 18, Pinkney, 16, Preston, 16, Nancy, 13, Prissey, 13, Hugh, 9, Melinda, 8, Turner, 7, Murdock, 6, D. Richard, 5, Sallie B., 3, and Alston, 1; all described as mulatto.