Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

A deserving case.

Wants Pension for James Saunders.

Citizens of Onslow County have sent up a petition, asking that James Saunders, colored, be put upon the Confederate pension roll, for service rendered at Fort Fisher in the works and as a soldier. Mr. Koonce says that Saunders is the old free negro type and a deserving case; and that he is the first one of the race to ask for a pension. The Legislature has done worse things.

The Courier, Asheboro, 4 February 1909.

In the 1860 census of Richlands, Onslow County: James Sanders, 28, farm laborer, Amos Dove, 14, and Zachariah Dove, 10. 

Free-Issue Death Certificates: BOWSER.

William Hardy Bowser.  Died 19 April 1928, Alligator, Tyrrell County. Colored. Married. Farmer. Born 9 September 1859 in Tyrrell County to Zion Bowser and Nansy Hill. Buried home cemetery. Informant, Linton Bowser, South Shores.

William Franklin Bowser. Died 28 June 1917, Alligator, Tyrrell County. Colored. Married. Farmer. Born 14 July 1862, Tyrrell County to Zion Bowser and Nancy Hill, both of Tyrrell Hill. Buried South Shore. Informant, Ardel Liverman, South Shore.

Ellin E. Sykes. Died 10 Dec 1930, Alligator, Tyrrell County. Colored. Widowed. Age 65. Born Tyrrell County to Zion Bowser and Nancy O. Buried at Twiddy graveyard. Informant, John W. Sykes.

In the 1860 census of Tyrrell County: Zion Bowser, 24, mariner, wife Nancy, 20, and son Hardy, 9 months.

Polly Bowser. Died 19 November 1932, Gum Neck, Tyrrell County. Negro. Widow of Randell Bowser. Midwife. Age 89. Born in Gum Neck to Abner Hill and Litha Hill, both of Gum Neck. Informant, Tom Barrow.

In the 1860 census of Tyrrell County: Abner Hill, 67, farmer, wife Elitha, 54, and Edmund, 23, William, 19, Elizabeth, 17, Mary, 12, Asa, 10, Agga, 8, and Eliza, 4.

John Bryant.  Died 28 November 1923, Alligator, Tyrrell County. Resided Fort Landing. Colored. Married to Burney Bryant. Farmer. Age about 70. Born Alligator to Martin Bryant of Gum Neck and Nancy Bowser of Alligator. Buried South Shore cemetery. Informant, Bunch Bryant.

In the 1860 census of Tyrrell County: Martin Bryan, 50, farm laborer, wife Nancy, 25, and children Victoria, 12, Mary, 10, Sarepta, 7, Martha, 6, John, 4, Affa, 1, and Nelson Bryan, 11.

Surnames: Tyrrell County, 1860.

The following surnames are found among free people of color in Tyrrell County in 1860:


Surnames: Watauga County, 1860.

The following surnames are found among free people of color in Watauga County in 1860:


Craven County Apprentices, 1805-09.

On 16 March 1805, Joshua Dove, a free person of colour aged 6 years 28 next May, was bound to Thomas Austin as a cooper.

On 10 September 180, William Parrish, a free person of colour aged 5 years last April, was bound to Shadrach Davis as a cooper.

On 13 December 1805, Jeremiah Godett, a free person of colour aged one year last March, was bound to George Godett as a cooper.

On 11 September 1806, William Lewis, free boy of color aged 13 years, was bound to Richard Harden as a tailor.

On 9 June 1807, Israel Harris, a free person of color aged 15 years, was bound to Jane Carney as a cooper.

On 10 [June] 1807, Loftin Chance, a free boy of color aged 9 years, was bound to Thomas Roe as a cooper.

On 10 June 1807, John Dove, a free black boy aged 14 years, was bound to John C. Stanly as a brick maker.

On 13 September 1808, Ann Cooper, a free girl of color, was bound to John C. Stanly as a spinster.

On 12 December 1808, Gatsy Davis, a free baseborn girl of color aged 9 years, was bound to John M. Oliver as a spinster.

On 15 March 1809, Caleb Copes and Jacob Copes, free boys of color, were bound to James Dukes as ship carpenters.

On 15 March 1809, James Dove, a free person of color aged 15 years and 6 months, was bound to Joseph Sparrow as a boat builder.

On 12 September 1809, Jessy Powers, a free boy of color aged 9 years in March 1810, was bound to William Mitchell as a farmer.

On 13 September 1809, Jacob Carter, a free boy of color aged 15 years in December 1809, was bound to Joseph Physioc as a cooper.

Struck over the eyes and skull broken.

Killed with an Axe.

Liberty, N.C. – Alex Heath, an old colored man who lived about 2 ½ miles east of here, just over in Alamance County, was found dead in bed on the morning of Feb. 7th. Someone had gone there the night before and killed him with an axe. He was struck right over the eyes and his skull broken in. It appeared that the old man had gone to bed and was asleep when he was killed. Uncle Alex, as we all called him, was a good, honest old man, and his word was his bond. He had many friends among his white neighbors. He had always been a free negro. Quite a number of Liberty people went down to see him last Sunday and they say he was the most pitiful sight they have ever seen. He had a negro man and his wife living in the house with him and they had some words the morning before and the man and his wife spent the night at a neighbor’s house about ¼ of a mile distant. He was away from the house two hours or more and suspicion was so strong he was put under arrest.

I have thought for some time that the meanest man on earth was the one who wrote letters and signed no name to them and slipped them under doors at night with the purpose of causing hard feelings among neighbors, but I reckon the man who killed Alex Heath was just a little meaner, and if we had the right man I think he ought to be beheaded and let the devil get him before his feet get cold.

… — Liberty correspondent.

Asheboro Courier, 12 February 1903.

He gave the last and final vote.


I am indebted to my uncle Alex Smith for the following short history of Hillsboro, written by Lawyer Joe Turner over twenty years ago, thinking it may interest some of the readers of the leader, I send same for print if you see fit. – F.W. Nelson.

Hillsboro was one of the five towns entitled to a representative (see Wheelers history if it be five or seven). Governor Graham and Chief justice Nash were Borough representatives. Traditions says it was a tie between Gov. Graham and his competitor when Hazekiah Revels an old issue free negro was sent for and gave the last and final vote for Graham, dropping this speech with his vote, “Ki Revels always votes for a gentlemen.” Before the next election the constitution was amended and the free negroes with old Ki Revels were disenfranched. …

Mebane Leader, 13 July 1911.

The Cousins brothers, dark of skin.

First Residents of Boone and Vicinity. — … There was another house which stood in the orchard near the present Blackburn hotel. It was a small clapboard house, with only one room. Ben Munday and family occupied it first and afterwards Ellington Cousins and family, dark of skin, lived there till Cousins built a house up the Blackburn branch in rear of the Judge Greer house. It is still known as the Cousins place …

John and Ellington Cousin. – The brothers came from near East Bend, Forsythe County, soon after Boone was formed, bringing white women with them. Ellington’s wife was Margaret Myers and John’s was named Lottie. Ransom Hayes sold Ellington an acre of land up the Blackburn branch, where he built a house and lived in 1857, having moved from the house in the orchard below the road near the present Blackburn hotel. He had two daughters. Sarah married Joseph Gibson and moved to Mountain City, Tenn., where he carried on a tannery for Murphy Brothers, but he afterwards returned to the state and lived at or near Lenoir, finally going West, where he remains. Ellington died at Boone and his widow and daughter, nicknamed “Tommy,” went with Gibson and wife to Mountain City, where she also married. John lived near Hodges Gap and at other places, dying at the Ed. Shipley place near Valle Crucis. He had several children.

From John Preston Arthur, A History of Watauga County, North Carolina, with Sketches of Prominent Families (1915).

In the 1850 census of Watauga, Watauga County: Johnson Cusins, 44, farmer, wife Charlotta, 41, and children Hezekiah, 18, Mary, 14, Clarkson, 11, William H., 9, Rebecca, 8, Annanias, 5, Martha, 4, W.W. and Evaline, both 3 months.  All described as mulatto, except Charlotta, white.  In the 1860 census of Boone, Watauga County: John Cuzzens, 52, farmer, wife Charlotte, 50, and children Henry, 19, Rebecca, 17, Ann, 15, Martha, 13, Wiley, 10, and Eveline, 10, all mulatto.

In the 1850 census of Northern Division, Davidson County: in jail, Francis Briant, 20, laborer, Alva Sapp, 22, laborer, and Ellington Cozzens, 41, shoemaker. Cozzens was mulatto; the others, white.  In the 1860 census of Boone, Watauga County: Ellington Cuzzens, 53, boot & shoemaker, wife Margarett, 44, and daughters Sarah, 8, and Martha J., 5; all mulatto except Margarett, was described as white.