Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Surname swap, no. 5.

In 1860, Wayne County Court of Pleas & Quarters Sessions bound James Newsom, 7, and Norfleet Newsom, 5, to Barny D. Yelverton to serve as apprentices.

But, in the 1860 census of Davis, Wayne County: Barney Yelverton’s household includes Nervy Artis, 27, and sons James Artis, 6, and Norphlet Artis, 4.

Free-Issue Death Certificates: MISCELLANEOUS, no. 8.

Marsellas Evans. Died 21 September 1922, New Hope, Chatham County. Colored. Married to Emmer Evans. Farmer. Age 64. Born Hatham County to Granderson Evans of Chatham County and Arbella Smith of Raleigh. Buried Mount Zion Church. Informant, Weldon Evans.

In the 1860 census of Eastern Division, Chatham County: Granderson Evans, 36, farmer, wife Arobella, 20, and children Marcellas, 3, and Leweann, 2, plus William Stewart, 3, and Fab Lucus, 9.

Vancie Ann Glover. Died 29 April 1930, Hickory Mountain, Chatham County. Resided Siler City. Colored. Single. Age 75. Daughter of Kerney Glover and unknown mother. Buried Glovers cemetery. Informant, Berneice Alston.

In the 1860 census of the Western Division of Chatham County: Carney Glover, 38, Mahala, 35, Susan, 15, Sarah, 11, and Ann, 2.

Elda Cummings. Died 14 June 1923, Jones County. Negro. Single. Cook for Chas. Jones. Age about 65. Born Jones County to Jim Cummings of Lenoir County and Rebecca Bowen. Buried Gooding graveyard. Informant, Allen Gooding, Comfort NC.

In the 1860 census of Southern Division, Jones County: James Cummings, 56, cooper, born Onslow County; wife Rebecca, 52; and John J., 21, Farina, 10, and Elda Cummings, 6. 

Polly Edmundson. Died 20 May 1923, Nahunta, Wayne County. Colored. Widow of Lewis Edmundson. Born 1860 in Wayne County to Henry Hobbs of Johnston County and Elizabeth Hogans, Johnston County. Buried in Bert graveyard. Informant, Wesley Hobbs.

Lucinda Artis.  Died 23 June 1931, Wilson, Wilson County. Resided at 310 Reid Street. Colored. Widow of Jessie Artis. Age 84. Born Wayne County to Henry Hobbs of unknown and Elizabeth Hobbs of Wayne County. Buried in Wayne County. Informant, Cora Artis, Wilson NC.

In the 1860 census of Neuse River, Johnston County: Henry Hobbs, 37, distiller, wife Betsey, 36, and children Lucinda, 12, John, 11, Nicey, 9, Laurina, 7, Francis, 5, Polly, 4, and Green, 3.

George King.  Died 6 November 1923, Dudley, Wayne County. Colored. Single. Blacksmith. Age 76. Born Wayne County to Jim King of NC and Susie Booker of Duplin County. Informant, Jim King.

In the 1860 census of Buck Swamp, Wayne County:  James King, 43, carpenter, Susan, 27, and children George, 9, James H., 8, Jerome, 4, John, 4 months, and Polly A., 2.

Free Colored Inhabitants of the Town of Hillsborough, Orange County, 1850.

#286. Green Caudle, 33, cabinet maker, born in NC, and Catharine Strudwick, 24, born Orange County.

#287. Henry Evans, 33, cabinet maker, born Hillsboro, wife Henrietta, 22, born NC, and children Lizzy, 6, Julia, 4, Matthew, 2, and Sarah, 10 months, all born in Hillsboro, plus Fanny Evans, 65, born in Virginia, and James Allison, 66, cabinet maker, born Delaware.

#288. Martha Day, 25, Mary Day, 5, and Susan Day, 2, all born in Orange County, in the household of Anderson Vanderford, carpenter.

#289. Alexander Webb, 53, saddler, and Judy Webb, 55, both born NC.

#294. Richard Mayo, 29, cabinet maker, Martha Mayo, 40, William Mayo, 17, laborer, Mary Mayo, 12, Jane Mayo, 3, Henrietta Mayo, 3, Betsey Mayo, 60, George Mayo, 18, laborer, and Faddis Mayo, 25, laborer, all born in NC.

#295. Julia Revell, 3, born in Orange County, in the household of James Parks, shoemaker.

#298. James Volentine, 28, barber, born NC, Susan Volentine, 30, born Orange County, Manuel Strudwick, 80, shoemaker, born NC; Jack Strudwick, 24, and Umstead Mayo, both laborers, and Eliza Mayo, 15, the last three born in Orange County.

#303. Samuel Barton, 15, laborer, born NC, in the household of James M. Palmer.

#328. William Freeman, 66, laborer, born Virginia.

#329. Henry Freeman, 32, shoemaker, wife Patsey, 45, Nancy Burke, 20, Edy Mitchell, 11, and Mary Redding, 28, all born in NC.

#332. Peggy Revill, 49, Sally Day, 20, Fanny Chaveous, 10, Wilson Evans, 26, cabinet maker, Coon Chaveous, 26, laborer, James Huckabee, 23, laborer, all born NC.

#335. Waldon Jeffreis, laborer, born Orange County.

#338. Patience Chavous, 28, Polly Burnett, 20, John Burnett, 2 months, Rebecca Chavous, 14, Patsy Revills, 4 months, all born NC.

#343. George Mays, 19, laborer, born Hillsboro.

#344. Eliza Chavous, 40, Leroy Chavous, 10, and Martin Chavous, 6 months, all born NC, in the household of Andrew C. Murdock.

#349. Dicey Winstead, 51, Harriet Wilson, 28, James Wilson, 16, laborer, Egbert Wilson, 9, John Wilson, 10, Mary Wilson, 7, and Thomas Wilson, 3, all born NC.

#352. Ned Cain, 76, laborer, born NC.

#355. Mary Bush, 16, born NC, in the household of William Newman Sr., laborer.

#370. Harry Douglas, 70, laborer, born NC.

#373. “Jail” – James Mitchell, 25, laborer, born NC, “stealing money, and John McAndless, 22, laborer, born NC, “giving his free papers to a slave.”

#378. Robert Mitchell, 50, laborer, Sophia Mitchell, 46, Frances Mitchell, 7, all born NC.


State v. Griffin Stewart, 31 NC 342 (1849).

Griffin Stewart was indicted in Nash County for murder in the death of Penny Anderson.  Though unmarried, he and Anderson had lived together for several years as man and wife. On a Monday night in October 1848, Anderson was at home with Griffin. Witnesses reported hearing blows and lamentation, as if a woman were being beaten violently and begging for mercy. The outcry came from the direction of Stewart’s house. The next morning Penny Anderson was missing, and Stewart claimed, “She had gone to one Hale’s,” who lived about ten miles off.  Anderson had not been at Hale’s, however, and could not be found anywhere. Six weeks later, her body was found, “partially buried in an out-of-the-way place,” some five hundred yards from Stewart’s house. Her badly decomposed body showed signs of violence, and she appeared to have been choked to death.  She was identified by a ring, several articles of clothing, a broken finger, and other means.

Stewart was “of a black complexion.” He had lived in the area about ten years, and during all that time he passed for and was treated as a free man of color.  He was treated as a free negro during trial and spoken of as such by the counsel. Circumstantial evidence tended strongly to show that Stewart had murdered her, and the jury found him guilty.

Stewart appealed on two grounds.  First, evidence showed that the only people at Stewart’s house on the night of the murder were Stewart, Anderson, and Anderson’s grandson, who was between seven and eight years of age. The State did not call the boy as a witness and, in its opening address to the jury, Stewart’s counsel strongly urged that the jury presume that the child’s testimony would have hurt the State’s case. The State countered that the boy had no testimony to offer and, in case, Stewart’s counsel could have called him himself.  Stewart’s lawyer then moved the Court to instruct the jury that they should not convict Stewart upon circumstantial evidence, when the boy’s direct testimony was available. The Court refused to give the instruction, and Stewart’s counsel moved for a new trial.  However, the state Supreme Court found no error on this ground, noting that it is “in the discretion of the prosecuting officer, what witnesses he will examine.” “If other witnesses can shed more light on the controversy, it is competent for the prisoner to call them.”

Second, Counsel argued that Stewart, being black, was prima facie a slave, and the Court had committed error in not admonishing the mulatto witnesses, as required by law in the trial of a slave for a capital offense.  The Supreme Court rejected this argument as well, reasoning that If Stewart had wished to be tried as a slave, he had raised the issue too late. Further, there was evidence to rebut the presumption of slave status, and Stewart had been treated as a free negro during the whole trial. “It would be trifling with the administration of justice, to allow a prisoner to pass himself off as a free negro, and take his chances for a verdict; and then turn around and insist that he was a slave.”

[Sidenote: In White Women, Black Men: Illicit Sex in the 19th Century South, Martha Hodes notes that Penny Anderson was a white woman. I will supplement this post when I get a chance to study the case’s manuscript records. – LYH]

Opens at once both earth and heaven.

I went to my mistress and inquired what was her price for me. She said a thousand dollars. I then told her that I wanted to be free, and asked her if she would sell me to be made free. She said she would; and accordingly I arranged with her, and with the master of my wife, Mr. Smith, already spoken of, for the latter to take my money  and buy of her my freedom, as I could not legally purchase it, and as the laws forbid emancipation except, for “meritorious services.” This done, Mr. Smith endeavored to emancipate me formally, and to get my manumission recorded; I tried also; but the court judged that I had done nothing “meritorious,” and so I remained, nominally only, the slave of Mr. Smith for a year; when, feeling unsafe in that relation, I accompanied him to New York whither he was going to purchase goods, and was there regularly and formally made a freeman, and there my manumission was recorded. I returned to my family in Raleigh, and endeavored to do by them as a freeman should. I had known what it was to be a slave, and I knew what it was to be free.

But I am going too rapidly over my story. When the money was paid to my mistress and the conveyance fairly made to Mr. Smith, I felt that I was free. And a queer and a joyous feeling it is to one who has been a slave. I cannot describe it, only it seemed as though I was in heaven. I used to lie awake whole nights thinking of it. And oh, the strange thoughts that passed through my soul, like so many rivers of light; deep and rich were their waves as they rolled; — these were more to me than sleep, more than soft slumber after long months of watching over the decaying, fading frame of a friend, and the loved one laid to rest in the dust. But I cannot describe my feelings to those who have never been slaves; then why should I attempt it? He who has passed from spiritual death to life, and received the witness within his soul that his sins are forgiven, may possibly form some distant idea, like the ray of the setting sun from the far off mountain top, of the emotions of an emancipated slave. That opens heaven. To break the bonds of slavery, opens up at once both earth and heaven. Neither can be truly seen by us while we are slaves.

[Footnote omitted.] From THE NARRATIVE OF LUNSFORD LANE, FORMERLY OF RALEIGH, N. C., Embracing an account of his early life, the redemption by purchase of himself and family from slavery, And his banishment from the place of his birth for the crime of wearing a colored skin. PUBLISHED BY HIMSELF (1842).

An Act to Emancipate Caesar.


An Act to emancipate Caesar, formerly a Servant of Samuel Yeargan, Deceased.

Whereas by the last will and testament of Samuel Yeargan, deceased, late of the county of Warren, he did desire in his said will that a certain negro man of his property, should after the death of his daughter Anne Alston, wife to William Alston, of Chatham county, be set free, for and during the full-term of fifty-five years: And whereas the said Anne being now dead, it is thought just and right the said last will and testament should be adhered to:

I. Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly, That from and after the passing of this Act, that the aforesaid Caesar shall and may be at his own liberty, for and during the term mentioned in his master’s will, upon the same footing, and under the same restrictions as other free negroes are intitled to in this State, and shall be known and called by the name of Caesar Henry; any law to the contrary notwithstanding. (Passed Jan. 6, 1787.)

Acts of the North Carolina General Assembly, 1786-1787, Colonial and State Records of North Carolina. 

Wayne County Apprentices, 1825-1829.

Dolly Burnett was bound to Robert McKinne in 1825.

James King, age 11, was bound to Uriah Langston as a farmer in 1827.

In the 1860 census of Buck Swamp, Wayne County:  James King, 43, carpenter, Susan, 27, and children George, 9, James H., 8, Jerome, 4, John, 4 months, and Polly A., 2.

Hillary Hagans, age 10, and Elizabeth Hagans, age 8, were bound to Molly Boyte in 1828.

In the 1860 census of Nahunta, Wayne County: Hilry Hagans, 47, carpenter, wife Mary A., 30, and children Smitha J., 12, Zilla, 10, James, 8, Imigin, 6, and Christianna, 3.

Henry Hobbs, age 5, was bound to Reddick Barnes as a farmer in 1829.

In the 1850 census of North Side of Neuse, Wayne County: Henry Hobbs, 26, farmhand, wife Eliza, 27, and children Lucinda, 2, and John, 1 month, plus Mary Hobbs, 54. In the 1860 census of Neuse River, Johnston County: Henry Hobbs, 37, distiller, wife Betsey, 36, and children Lucinda, 12, John, 11, Nicey, 9, Laurina, 7, Francis, 5, Polly, 4, and Green, 3.

David Artist, age 15, was bound to Stephen Woodard as a farmer in 1829.

In the 1840 census of Boswells, Wayne County: David Artis is listed as head of household consisting of two free people of color. In 1850, North Side of Neuse, David Artis, 40, day laborer, wife Siry, 40, and Lafayet Artis, 3. In 1860, Nahunta, Wayne County: David Artis, 50, turpentine hand, and wife Elizabeth, 35.

Edith Artist, age 13, was bound to Elisha Woodard as a spinster in 1829.

Polly Burnett, age 12, was bound to Young Wood as a spinster in 1829.

Lawrence Hagans, age 11, and Haywood Hagans, no age given, were bound to Joseph Daniel in 1829.

In the 1860 census of Goldsboro, Wayne County: Lawrence Hagans, 39, ditcher, Charity, 35, Melvina, 12, Wm. A., 13, Leonas, 9, Everett, 6, and Alsey Hagans, 2.

Council Capps, age 4, was bound to Lovet Stephens in 1829.

In the 1850 census Wilmington, New Hanover:  Council Capps, 20, painter, $200, Cathran, 20, Silvester, 3, Jas. L., 3 months, and Sally Kelley, 42. In the 1860 census of Wilmington, New Hanover County:  Counsel Capps, 30, painter, Mary, 24, Jno., 4, Jimmy, 10, Mangeo, 3. 

Critical technicalities of buying liquor.

State v. Trim Hopkins, 49 NC 305 (1857).

This was an indictment In Perquimans County against Trim Hopkins, a free negro, for furnishing liquor to a slave. The indictment contained two counts; one for selling spiritous liquor to a slave; and the other for giving it to him.  Hopkins was with Jack, a slave belonging to a Mr. Skinner, at a house where liquor was sold.  Jack gave Hopkins some money to buy a quart of liquor, which Hopkins bought and immediately gave to Jack. Hopkins was convicted.

On appeal, the Supreme Court emphasized the two counts: one for selling spiritous liquor to a slave, the other for giving the liquor to the slave. “The Revised Code contains two chapters on this subject: the 34th and the 107th. The 87th section of the first provides — ‘No person shall sell or deliver to any slave, for cash, or in exchange for articles delivered, or upon any consideration whatever, or as a gift, any spiritous liquor,’ &c. The 67th section of the latter chapter is as follows: ‘If any free negro shall, directly or indirectly, sell, or give to any person, bond or free, any spiritous liquor, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.’ … The question presented to us is, do the facts stated in evidence bring the defendant within either clause of the recited chapters? We think they do not.”

Where a slave handed money to a free negro in a liquor shop, who handed it to the liquor dealer, received liquor in return, and then handed it to the slave, he was not guilty of either selling or giving the slave liquor. Judgment reversed.

The court also overturned the decision in State v. Jim Wright, 49 NC 308 (1857), on substantially the same grounds. There, Jim Wright, also a free man of color, was charged with selling and delivering a quart of spirits to Sam, a slave owned by a Mrs. Barron.

In a few instances …


        The … Indians will be readily recognized from their general appearance, their intelligence, the color of their eyes, their skin, their straight black hair, their facial features, their erect carriage, their clannishness, their general habits and demeanor, that they are neither white people nor negroes. They do not resemble the negroes or mulattoes, in that their hair is perfectly straight. They have high cheek bones, they do not have flat noses, or thick lips. Many of them have grey eyes, and often have rose tints on their cheeks. They are usually tall and erect, they are cleanly in their habits and mode of living. They are usually land owners, and more thrifty and industrious. They live and congregate in certain localities, and are clannish, and in numerous ways show the Indian traits. 


        These people were never slaves and from the memory of the oldest white inhabitants have always been freemen. There is no record that they ever purchased their freedom from former white men. They were never born nor sold into slavery; they were found living in this country as free and separate people as long ago as we have any record of them. In a few instances there has been some mixture of white and negro blood in them. The whites and the negroes have not been so careful in guarding against the amalgamation of those two races as have these Indians, to preserve intact and prevent their Indian blood from mixture with the other two races. In a few instances these Indians have intermarried with mulattoes, but such intermarriages have been discouraged among them, and in most cases, the parties to such marriages have been ostracised socially from the churches and schools of these Indians. 


        Since 1868, the white people in Sampson County, as a rule, have classed these Indians with the negroes and refused to recognize them except as negroes. They have consequently been forced, in a measure, with the negro race, but they have steadfastly refused to be classed with the negroes. They have refused to attend the churches and the schools of the negroes or to co-mingle with them on terms of social equality. It is marvellous that they have been able to maintain their racial status so well under the adverse social and political status which has been forced upon them by the white people. It shows that they have an ambition to improve their condition and to build themselves upward, morally, socially, and educationally, rather than to be pulled down to a level with the inferior race, with whom they would be socially classed. It is nothing but common justice to these people that the white race, which has done so much and is now endeavoring to do still more, for the education and material progress and welfare of all the people of the State, of every race, that the efforts of these Indians to build up and maintain their superior social and intellectual status from the negro race, should be encouraged in every proper way, as they have been encouraged and recognized in several other counties of the State, in which they are less numerous. It will make them better citizens and at no substantial extra cost to the white and colored race, for them to have their separate schools and churches. They will feel that they have not been discriminated against and that they have been treated with the same fairness and consideration that their people of the same race and blood are given in adjoining counties.

From George E. Butler, “The Croatan Indians of Sampson County, North Carolina. Their Origin and Racial Status. A Plea for Separate Schools,” (1916).