Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Riley B. Simmons.

ImageRILEY B. SIMMONS was born 4 August 1841 in Duplin or Wayne County to George W. Simmons and Axey Jane Manuel Simmons.  He married  Penny Bryant in 1864; Matilda Graham in 1895; and Tempsey Locus Boseman in 1914; all in Wayne County.  He died 11 July 1924 and is buried in the First Congregational Church cemetery in Dudley, Wayne County.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, March 2013.

In the 1860 census of Indian Springs, Wayne County: George Simmons, 40, wife Axey J, 38, and children Riley B., 19, Simon, 15, Susan A., 17, George R., 13, Zack, 10, Silvania, 9, Bryant, 7, H.B., 5, and Gen., 2. 

In the 1860 census of Indian Springs, Wayne County: Sally Bryant, 40, Penny, 18, Rich’d, 14, and Caroline Bryant, 10. Sally was white; her children, mulatto.

In the 1850 census of Nash County: Rachel Locust, 29, and daughters Sarah, 10, Tincy, 6, and Tilda, 2.

Artimpsey Locus married James Boseman in Nash County on 11 February 1863.  In the 1860 census of Buck Swamp, Wayne County: Matthew Aldridge, 50, wife Catharine, 28, and children William, 10, John H., 16, Frances, 7, Delia, 3, and Mary A., 1, plus James Bosmon, 20, who was probably Catharine’s brother.

Horrible murder.

HORRIBLE MURDER. – Mrs. Abe Rhodes, wife of B.C. Rhodes, was found dead in Lumber river on Monday last, with her throat cut and head crushed. She had a few days previous eloped with a free mulatto by name of Shad Williams, taking with them $2,500 in money. Williams has been arrested and lodged in jail at Lumberton to await his trial. – Fayetteville (N.C.) Carolinian.

Baltimore Sun, 16 June 1860.

A faithful and affectionate husband.

To the worshipful the Justices of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of the County of Warren. The memorial of Mouring Ivins humbly representing sheweth unto your worships —  that your memorialist is a free person of colour residing in the County aforesaid — that she early in life marryed and connected herself with a negro man that the property of William West — that by him she has eight children — that sometime in the year 1804 your memorialist by her sole care and industry accumalated money enough to purchase her said husband Nat of his then proprietor William West aforesaid and accordingly received from the said William West a Bill of sale which is of record, transfering to her your memorialist the absolute right & title to the said Negro Nat — your memorialist further states that the said Negro man Nat has ever conducted himself towards her as a faithful and affectionate husband — that in all circumstances as well in sickness and in health he has manifested to your memorialist & her children the most unceasing care & solitude — that by his industry & attention he has enabled your memorialist to support her children free from want and as respectably as any persons in their condition — your memorialist in consideration of the premiss and test upon the death of your memorialist the said negro man Nat should by the policy of the State or her children & their representatives be reduced unto a state of slavery prays that your worshipful body will free & emancipate the said Nat by the name of Nathaniel Ivins & your memorialist as in duty will ever pray

To Mr. Nathaniel Macon


To the honorabell gentel men whome this may cum befor — there is a negro man by the name of Natt which said negro I ras’d from a childe until I solde him to Mouring Ivins and she the said Ivins has a disior all togeather to set him free if yor Honner gentel men pleas to take it in to consideraticion I will enform you on my honner the correcton of said negro Natt as wel as I can — he is a engenias hand and common about a plantaticion or as you genrally find and an extrodonary shue maker and verry endusstrus and while he lieved with me I entrusted abundance of buisness in his hands and he proformd his duty verry faithfully to me — so that I entended to sett him free at my deth but his haveing a free wife and childrean I solde him to her for butt trifeling — I am gentelmen your frend — given under my hand this 23rd day of august 1806     William West          

To Mr Nathanial Macon & other gentelmen &c in Warren County North Carolina

Nathaniel Macon Papers, Private Collections, North Carolina State Archives.

Nathaniel Macon (1758-1837) was a United States representative from North Carolina, 1791-1815; speaker of the House of Representatives, 1801-1807; United States senator, 1815-1828; president pro tem of the Senate, 1826-1828; and trustee of the University of North Carolina.

An act to emancipate Isaac.

An Act to emancipate Isaac, a slave

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 Isaac, a slave, the property of Robert Belden, of the county of Cumberland, be, and he is hereby, with the consent and at the request of his said owner, emancipated and set free; and, by the name of Isaac Belden, shall hereafter possess and exercise all the rights and privileges which are enjoyed by other free persons of color in this State: Provided nevertheless, that before said slave shall be emancipated, his said master shall give bond and good security, to the Governor and his successors in office, in the county court of New Hanover county, that the said slave shall honestly and correctly demean himself as long as he shall remain in the State, and shall not become a parish charge; which bond may be sued upon, in the name of the Governor for the time being, to the use of the parish and of any person injured by the mal conduct of said slave. [Ratified 14 December, 1836]

Chapter LXV, Private Laws of North Carolina Passed by the General Assembly 1836-37, State Library of North Carolina.

She lived among free colored people and white people of the lower order.

Ranaway. From the Subscriber, some weeks since, a mulatto Girl Slave named HANNAH, alias Tillah. She is thought to be lurking in the neighborhood of Laurel Hill at present. She has on a former occasion made her way to Robeson County, and lived there among the free coloured people a considerable time, and she has also lived among, and has been employed and entertained by some of the lower order of white people in that County during the last Winter and Spring. I forewarn all persons from harboring, employing, or entertaining said Girl, under the penalty of the law. I will give Five Dollars for her apprehension and delivery to me, if taken in this County, and an additional compensation if caught out of the County, and delivered to me.  JNO. R. BUIE. Near Laurel Hill, Richmond C’ty, N.C., April 16th, 1838.

Carolina Observer, Fayetteville, 25 April 1838.

If any slave is deserving of freedom, he is.

To the honorable the Judge of the Superior Court for the County of Wayne, the Petition of Benajah Herring of said County

Your petitioner sheweth that he is the owner of a negro slave Willis, and is desirous of being permitted to emancipate him. Your Petitioner sheweth that the said slave was raised by Michael Herring formerly of said County and after the death of said Michael belonged for many years to Ichabod Herring now of said County, that the said slave has been from his infancy up to this moment distinguished by his sobriety industry and faithfulness, that his services have uniformly been of the most meritorious kind, that he has been left in charge by his late master for months of his plantation and rural concerns and hath acquitted himself in the most exemplary manner, and that if any slave be deserving of freedom your Petiioner believes that the said Willis is. Your Petitioner saith that the said Willis hath by his industry and economy paid to his late master a considerable sum the price of his freedom and having secured the payment of the residue a conveyance of the said slave hath been made to this Petitoiner for the purpose of soliciting and endeavouring to effect his emancipation          /s/ Benajah Herring

Records of Slaves and Free Persons of Color, Wayne County Miscellaneous Records, North Carolina State Archives.

The petition is undated, but Willis Herring is listed as a head of household in the 1840 census of Wayne County.

You snooze, you lose.

William Hooks v. William T. Perkins, 44 NC 21 (1852).

This case arose in Wayne County.  Rufus Artis and Thomas Artis were bound to William Hooks in 1845 to apprentices until age 21. At the time, Rufus’ age was reported as 7 and Thomas’ as 18. In 1849, after a determination that Thomas was, in fact, only 15 when indentured, the court ordered his indenture amended. It never happened.  Perkins hired Thomas and helped him resist Hooks’ efforts to enforce the order.  Arguing that Thomas was bound to serve him until his actual age was 21, regardless of the age listed on his indenture, Hooks sued Perkins for damages for the period November 1848 to February 1849 during which Perkins would not turn Thomas over.  The state supreme court held that Hooks should have amended Thomas’ term at the time it expired, per the court order, to reflect his true age.  Having failed to do so, Hooks was not Thomas’ master when Perkins hired him and was not entitled to damages.

Notwithstanding, in the 1850 census of North Side of the Neuse, Wayne County: Rufus, 11, and Thomas Artis, 20, are listed in the household of farmer William Hooks, along with another apprentice, W.H. Hagins, 15. William Perkins does not appear in the county’s census.  In the 1860 census of Nahunta, Wayne County, Rufus Artis has lost more ground, as he is listed as a 17 year-old, along with Polly Hagans, 15, and Ezekiel Hagans, 13, in Wm. Hooks’ household.  [In other words, Hooks learned his lesson well. — LYH]

He deserves a gun.

Agreeably to an act of Assembly passed during the session of 1840-41 Chapter XXX. Hilary Coor free man of color petitions the worshipful Court of pleas and Quarter sessions for license to use a gun for one year from the date hereof.  August 17, 1841

We recommend Hilary Coor as deserving the benefit of the act cited above.

John G. Eliot, J. Martin, Harris Barfield, M.G. Harrell, Saml. Flowers, L. Cogdell, John Manly, Aaron Martin

Records of Slaves and Free Persons of Color, Wayne County Miscellaneous Records, North Carolina State Archives.

[Sidenote: According to the 1850 census, Coor (who was also known Hillary Croom)’s supporters were a collection of farmers and one school teacher, Eliot. Coor/Croom named Eliot as the executor of his 1843 will, which requested that Eliot free Croom’s wife Hannah and their children Charles, Ann and Tempie.  Lewis Cogdell, J. Martin, David Cogdell and Daniel Cogdell witnessed the will. In 1850, Hillery Crooms headed a household on the south side of the Neuse that included children Annie, 14, Charles, 12, Tempy, 10, and John, 9, as well as two slaves, one of which may have been his wife. Two years later, he filed a petition with the North Carolina legislature seeking to bring his freed wife and children back into the state. — LYH]

I am but illy able.

To the Worshipful Court, Feby Term 1833

I beg leave to request that you would take into your wise consderation and bind my Son Sherard unto Exum Pike, as the said Exum has agreed to find & furnish me something towards my support for his labor, as I am but illy able now to support myself without assistance.  Druzilla X Hagans  Feby 18, 1833

Witness Nathan Davis       N.B. Sherard is about 17 years of age.

[Sidenote: Sherard Hagans was already a father when he was bound to Exum Pike. He and Nancy Hall eventually had nine or ten children. The oldest four — Mozana, Samuel, Winifred and Benjah Ann Hall, small children during their father’s term of indenture — were repeatedly bound until they reached adulthood.  When Sherard Hagins, age 63, married Serena Jackson, 35, on 26 September 1878 in Wayne County, their license listed his parents as Sam and Zilla Hagins. — LYH]

Lemuel W. Boone.


LEMUEL WASHINGTON BOONE (1827-1878) was a leader of African American Baptists in North Carolina during the Reconstruction era. In 1866, he organized on Roanoke Island the East Roanoke Association, the first black Baptist association in the state. The following year, he moderated the organizational meeting of the General Association of the Colored Baptists of North Carolina, the first statewide black Baptist association and the direct forerunner of the present-day General Baptist Convention of North Carolina. Praised by Carter Woodson as a “preacher of power,” Boone is said to have “possessed a gift of oratory and mental ability seldom excelled by men of the best opportunities.”

Boone, born free in Northampton County, worked as a brickmason and teacher preceding the Civil War. After moving to Hertford County, he organized twenty churches with over 3,000 members in the area. The inaugural meeting of the statewide Baptist organization took place in 1867 in Goldsboro and was timed to coincide with the white annual Baptist State Convention from whose members they received counsel and support.

Boone sought a reconciliation between white and black Baptists and opposed a rule requiring that white churches dismiss former slaves who ran away to join the Union army and served as one of seven original trustees of Shaw University. At his death in 1878, the minutes of his association recorded that “it is safe to say that from his ordination till his death, no person in eastern North Carolina exerted a wider and more lasting influence among his people than Elder Boone.” In 1913, a monument was erected at his grave.

Adapted from