Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Free Colored Inhabitants of the Town of Oxford, Granville County, 1850.

#12. Gustin Willaford, 7, and Lunsford Willaford, 5, in the household of Isaac Hester, merchant.

#15. Lethia Anderson, 32, Robert Anderson, 21, and Eliza Anderson, 25.

#22. Amelia Vaughan, 26, and Dunbar Vaughan, 2.

#29. Anderson Chavors, 30, and Harriet Chavors, 45.

#33. Cherry Maho, 33, and child Harriet Maho, 4.

#35. Matilda Vaughan, 6, in the household of Lyman Lathan, blacksmith.

#43. Wesley Mitchell, 35, Isham Dew, 18, and Polly Bass, 35, in the household of Daniel A. Paschall, inn keeper.

Surnames: Forsyth County, 1850.

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


Onslow County Apprentices, 1825-1827.

Elizabeth Simmons was bound to John Grant in 1825.

Alfred, son of Rhoda (no last name given), was bound to Charles Thompson in 1825.

James Jarman was bound to Thomas Batten in 1825.

Gatsey Pittman was bound to Jacob Williams in 1826.

James Sheppard was bound to Edward Johnson in 1826.

Betty Sampson was bound to Solomon E. Grant in 1826.

Bill White, Edward White, Morris White and Anna White, children of Elizabeth White, were bound to Jesse Sandlin in 1827.

Gatsey Pittman was bound to Hezekiah Williams in 1827.

Betsy White and Nancy White, children of Oma White, were bound to Lott Gregory in 1827.

William Henderson, son of Nancy Henderson, was bound to Lemuel Williams in 1827.

Joe Higgins was bound to Henry Henderson in 1927.

George Boon was bound to John B. Thompson in 1827.

Apprentice Records, Onslow County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

Charles Waddell Chesnutt.


Charles Waddell Chesnutt was an author, essayist, political activist and lawyer, best known for his novels and short stories exploring complex issues of racial and social identity in the post-Civil War South. Chesnutt was born June 20, 1858, in Cleveland, Ohio, to A. Jackson Chesnutt and Ann Maria Sampson Chesnutt, free people of color from Fayetteville, North Carolina. His paternal grandfather was known to be a white slaveholder. Chesnutt said he was seven-eighths white, but identified as a colored man.

In 1867, the Chesnutts returned to Fayetteville. By age 13, Charles was a pupil-teacher at the Howard School, one of many founded for black students by the Freedmen’s Bureau during the Reconstruction era. He eventually was promoted to assistant principal of the normal school in Fayetteville (later Fayetteville State University), one of a number of historically black colleges established for the training of black teachers. In 1878, Chesnutt married Susan Perry. The couple moved briefly to New York City, then Cleveland, Ohio. Chesnutt passed the Ohio bar exam in 1887 and established a lucrative legal stenography business.  Chesnutt also began writing stories, and in August 1887 Atlantic Monthly published his first short story, “The Goophered Grapevine.” Chesnutt’s The Conjure Woman, a collection of short stories, appeared in 1899.  Chesnutt’s works grappled with complex issues of racial identity and social place, and he began to write novels that reflected his stronger sense of activism. His Marrow of Tradition was a political-historical novel based on the Wilmington Massacre of 1898, in which white Democratic insurrectionists overthrew city government, burned a black newspaper office, and randomly killed black citizens. Because his novels posed a more direct challenge to existing sociopolitical conditions, they were not as popular as his short stories, and poor sales doomed his hopes of a self-supporting literary career.

In the new century, Chesnutt increasingly turned his energies social and political activism. He served on the General Committee of the newly founded National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and became one of the early 20th century’s most prominent activists and commentators. Chesnutt died on November 15, 1932, at the age of 74. He was interred in Cleveland’s Lake View Cemetery.

Modified from Wikipedia.

In the 1850 census of Fayetteville, Cumberland County: Anna M. Chestnut, 37, and children Geo. W., 19, barber, Jackson, 17, laborer, Sophia, 13, Stephen, 9, Mary Ann, 7, and Dallas Chestnut, 3. All of Anna’s children claimed real property valued $100-250, possibly inherited from their father.  Also, Moses Harris, 45, carpenter; wife Chloe Harris, 40; Ann M. Sampson, 18; and John Jasper, 6.

Andrew Jackson Chestnut died 26 December 1920 in Fayetteville, Cumberland County. His death certificate described him as a married, colored male; aged 87; and a farmer. He was born in North Carolina to Waddell Cade and Annie Chestnut.  He was buried in Brookside Annex. Miss Annie Chestnut of Fayetteville was the informant.

Free-Issue Death Certificates: ASHE.

Elizah Ann Ashe. Died 7 August 1914, Littleton, Halifax County. Colored. Married. Born 12 Oct 1842, Halifax County to unknown father and Delia Ann Richardson. Buried at John Hockaday’s. Informant, George W. Ash, Thelma NC.

In the 1850 census of Halifax County: John Richardson, 30, wife Delia, 25, and daughter Eliza, 3, all born in Halifax.

Samuel Ashe. Died 12 April 1925, Enfield, Halifax County. Colored. Married. Age 77. Farmer. Son of Charles Ashe. Buried at home. Informant, Marcia Thornton.

In the 1860 census of Western District, Halifax County: Samuel Ash, 14, black, and Henry Pittards, 22, farm laborer.

Mollie Ashe. Died 28 March 1921, Roanoke Rapids, Halifax County. Black. Widowed. About 70 years old. Farmer. Son of Stevens Scott and Molissa Mills, both of Halifax County. Informant, Robert Ashe.

In the 1850 census of Halifax County: Stephen Scott, 40, farmer, wife Mellissa, 33, and children Emily, 15, F. Scott, 12, Molly, 7, and Ma[illegible], 2.

Eveline Pierce. Died 12 April 1920, Faucette, Halifax County. Colored. Married to Dudley Pierce. Age about 68. Born Halifax County to John Ashe and Gillia Bowser. Informant, P.A. Gee.

Margaret Jones. Died 8 March 1930, Weldon, Halifax County. Colored. Married. Age 89. Born in Halifax County to John Ash and Jullie Bowser. Buried Bowsers graveyard. Informant, Sallie Ann Vincent.

In the 1860 census of Western District, Halifax County: John Ash, 38, farmer, and children Ann M., 18, spinner, Itelia, 15, Nancy, 13, Albert, 12, Evaline, 7, and Rebecca, 6.

William Wiley Bowser. Died 10 June 1928, Butterwood, Halifax County. Colored. Married to Salline Hawkins. Age 84. Farmer. Born in NC to Wiley Bowser and Mary Ash. Informant, B.W. Bowser.

In the 1850 census of Halifax County, farmer Willie Bauser, 45, farmer, wife Mary, 40, and children Wm., 8, Lucy, 5, and Margt, 6 months, all born in Halifax.

Wilson Ashe.  Died 30 April 1915, Faucette, Halifax County. “Killed by a pistol shot.” Colored. Married. Farmer. Born 4 May 1856 in Halifax County in Jack Ashe and Tempe Mills. Informant, Nellie Ashe.

A reward.

To the Worshipful the Justices of the Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions for the County of Chowan at June Term 1807.

The petition of William T. Muse Sheweth, That your petitioner was a negro slave by the name of George, commonly called George Bonner, by trade a house carpenter and aged fifty five years or thereabouts; that the said negro slave from the time that he became the property of your petitioner, and always before that time as your petitioner has reason to believe has distinguished himself by his willing & faithful discharge of his duty to his master as well as by his honesty & orderly conduct. Your petitioner is therefore desirous to give the said negro slave George his freedom considering it as a reward due to his long and meritorious services and prays this worshipful Court to authorize and aid him in so doing.  And your petitioner &c, Wm. A. Littlejohn Sol’r for Pet’r.

[On the reverse: Prayer granted.]

Miscellaneous Records, Chowan County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

In the 1810 census of Edenton, Chowan County, George Bonner appears as the head of a household of two free people of color.