Seemingly white predominating their features.

by Lisa Y. Henderson


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.