Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Seemingly white predominating their features.

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William J. Bledsole, one of the most prominent Indians of Sampson County, was evidently a white man with only a small degree of Indian blood. His wife was Nancy Emanuel, the This couple reside in Dismal Township, Sampson County. The father of William was a Croatan and his mother was Mary Bledsole, a white woman. Nancy, his wife, was Nancy Manuel, a sister of Enoch Manuel, and youngest daughter of Michael Manuel. The Manuels were large land owners in Sampson County prior and since the Revolutionary War. There is no record in their family history or family tradition for over 150 years showing any mixture of negro blood. This couple have seven children: Docia, wife of Enoch Manuel. Jr.; Rutha, wife of Ollin Brewington; Molsy, wife of Matthew Burnette; Isabella, wife of Erias Brewington; Lou Berta, wife of Jonah Manuel; W. L. Bledsole, who married Amandy Warrick; James Henry Bledsole, who married Hannah Warrick. Amandy and Hannah were daughters of William J. Warrick and wife Betsie Manuel Warrick, prominent Croatans of Robeson County. The Bledsole family are good specimens of white and Indian blood.  His oldest son, Luther Bledsole, married Amandy Warrick, a woman of white and Indian blood. Her father was William J. Warrick and her mother, Betsie Emanuel. James Henry Bledsole, his youngest son, married Hannah Warrick, the daughter of the above named William J. Warrick.

The Bledsole families are fine specimens of pure white and Indian, seemingly white predominating their features.

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

In the 1860 census of Westbrooks, Sampson County: Robin Bedsole, 80, Polly Bedsole, 35, Eliza Bedsole, 16, and William Bedsole, 12. William is described as mulatto; the others, white.

In the 1850 census of Northern District, Sampson County: Michael Manuel, 63, cooper; wife Fereby, 49; and children Gideon, 19, Cintilla, 16, Drusilla, 15,Michael, 13, Eden, 11, John, 9, William, 7, Enoch, 4, and Nancy, 1; all described as mulatto.

In the aftermath of Nat Turner …

The Edenton Gazette states, upon information received from an undoubted source, that there have been killed in Southampton county upwards of one hundred negroes, consequent upon the late insurrection in that county. Fourteen of the thoughtless, savage wretches have been tried, of whom, thirteen were convicted, and are to be hung during the present week — there are thirty more now in the jail at Jerusalem yet to be tried, besides others in jail at Bellfield.

We understand that about twenty-one negroes have been committed to jail in Edenton, on a charge of having been concerned in concerting a project of rebellion. A slave has also been arrested and imprisoned in Duplin county, upon a similar allegation. He had communicated his knowledge of the scheme in agitation to a free man of color, who gave immediate information to the whites. Serious reports in relation to a revolt of the slaves in Wilmington and Sampson county, reached this city, by the way of Smithfield, on Monday night and Tuesday morning last. On Tuesday evening, certain intelligence from various sources reached us of an insurrection having occurred on Sunday night last in a part of Sampson and Duplin counties. Its extent or the damage done is unknown to us. But, as the militia have been called out in the adjacent counties, we flatter ourselves that it will be speedily suppressed, and that the deluded wretches who are concerned in the diabolical attempt will be made to suffer severely for their temerity.…

The miserable deluded and fiendish band in Southampton have paid dearly for their stupidity and atrocious wickedness; and such will inevitably be the late of all who may ever be so silly and depraved as to intimate their example. But there are some, it seems, reckless enough to attempt it. Vigilance, therefore, becomes necessary for perfect security.

North Carolina Star, Raleigh,15 September 1831.

We ain’t knowed so much ’bout slavery.

An Interview with Anthony Ransome of 321 S. Tarboro St., Raleigh, N.C.

I reckon dat I is eighty years old, an’ I wus borned in Murfreesboro in Hertford County. My mammy wus named Annice an’ my father wus named Calvin Jones. My brothers wus named Thomas, Wesley, Charlie, Henry an’ William.

We wus borned free, my mammy bein’ de daughter of a white ‘oman, an’ my paw’s paw onct saved do life o’ his master’s chile, an’ wus freed.

My paw wus a shoemaker an’ he made a putty good livin’ fer us. Course we ain’t knowed so much ’bout slavery, but Doctor Manning who lived near us owned some slaves an’ he treated ’em bad. We could hyar ’em screamin’ at de top of dere voices onct in a while, an’ when dey got through beatin’ ’em dey wus tied down in de cellar. Dey ain’t had much ter eat nother.

Dar wus a preacher what tol’ us ’bout a member of his congregation durin’ de war. De wife wus sold from de husban’ an’ he married ag’in. Atter de war his fust wife comed back an’ atter his secon’ wife died he married de fust one ober ag’in.

From Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves (1841).

Free-Issue Death Certificates: MISCELLANEOUS, no. 9.

W.H. (Willon Hatch) Brooks. Died 21 May 1925, Mitchell, Bertie County. Colored. Married. Farmer. Born 29 April 1860 in Wayne County to Wright Casey and Caline Brooks. Informant, Dave Brooks.

In the 1860 census of Indian Springs, Wayne County: Annis Brooks, 51, Caroline, 20, Bassel, 14, Elizabeth, 10, and Hatch, 2 months.

Louisa Davis. Died 23 August 1915, New Hope, Wayne County. Colored. Widow. Born 19 July 1840 in NC to Peter Ward and Milly Smith. Buried New Hope township. Informant, Clarisy Davis, Goldsboro.

Isham Smith. Died 12 February 1914, Fork, Wayne County, Colored. Married. Undertaker. Born North Carolina to unknown parents. Buried in Goldsboro. Informant, W.W. Faison.

In the 1860 census of Buck Swamp, Wayne County: Milly Smith, 45, and children Louisa, 25, Bitha, 15, Frances, 8, Clarissa, 4, Eliza, 5, Isam, 3, and Virginia, 1. [Sidenote: Isham Smith married Nancy Henderson, daughter of James and Louisa Armwood Henderson and sister or half-sister to Lewis and John Henderson and others. Isham and Nancy’s daughter Annie Smith married James Guess, who took over his father-in-law’s undertaking business and operated James Guess Funeral Home into the mid-20th century. — LYH]

Fannie S. Norwood.  Died August 1930, Wilmington, New Hanover County. Resided 520 Walnut. Negro. Widowed. Teacher. Born in 1846 in Wilmington to James D. Sampson of Sampson County and Francinea Kellogg of Wilmington. Buried in Pine Forest. Informant, Mrs. S.E. Merrick, 520 Walnut.

In the 1850 census of Wilmington, New Hanover County: Jas. Sampson, 44, carpenter, wife Fanny, 39, children Jas., 20, Jos., 18, and Benj’a, all apprentices, John, 14, Mary, 12, M.A., 10, George, 8, Fanny, 4, and Nathan, 2.

William Petapher. Died 4 May 1910, New Bern, Craven County. Colored. Married. Shoemaker. Born 1843 to Wright Petapher and unknown mother. Buried Greenwood cemetery. Informant, Rosa Petapher.

Cesero Wiggins. Died [no day] April 1924, New Bern, Craven County. Negro. Carpenter. Resided 24 Crooked.  Widower of Clarncie Wiggins. Born 1860 in New Bern to Wright Pettipher and Sarah Wiggins. Buried at Pettiphords cemetery. Informant Louisa Wiggins.

In the 1860 census of Neuse River, Craven County: Sarah Wiggins, 35, day laborer, Martha, 14, Julia, 12, Sabine, 10, Rebecca, 8, and Cicero, 6.

Theophilus George. Died 26 February 1918, #5, Craven County.  Negro.  Married to Hepsey George. Born 10 July 1850 to Theophilus George and Sarah Harkley. Informant, Oscar Frazier.

Mary F. Carter. Died 27 July 1915, North Harlour, Craven County. Negro. Married. Born 10 April 1863 in Craven County to Lige George and Sarah Fenner, both of Craven County.  Buried Cohogue. Informant, A.V. George.

In the 1860 census of Goodings, Craven County: Elijah George, 50, farmer, wife Sarah, 30, Theophilus, 20, Timothy, 8, Nancy, 10, J.P., 4, and T.J., 2.

Bailey Godette. Died 22 June 1915, No. 5, Craven County. Negro. Married. Farmer. Born 15 May 1861 in North Harlowe to Andrew Godette and Debah George, both of North Harlowe. Buried North Harlowe cemetery. Informant, Debah Jackson, 99 Bern Street.

In the 1860 census of Goodings, Craven County: Andrew Godett, 24, day laborer, Mary F., 27, William B., 6, Nancy, 4, and Sarah A., 3 months.

An Act to Emancipate Phillis.

CHAPTER XVIII.

An Act to Emancipate a certain Negro Slave named Phillis, late the Property of George Jacobs, of the town of Wilmington, Deceased.

Whereas it is represented to the General Assembly that the aforesaid George Jacobs, deceased, in his last illness, did earnestly request that his negro slave named Phillis should be liberated for her great attention to her said master during her continuance with him, and more especially for her care and assiduity in his last illness: In order therefore to carry into effect the dying request of the said George Jacobs, deceased:

I. Be it Enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby Enacted by the authority of the same, That from and after the passing of this Act, the aforesaid negro woman named Phillis, shall be emancipated and forever discharged from her bondage, in as full and ample manner as if she had been born free; any law, usage or custom to the contrary notwithstanding: And the said negro woman shall forever hereafter be known by the name of Phillis Freeman.

Acts of the North Carolina General Assembly, 1788, Colonial and State Records of North Carolina.