Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Fayetteville State founders.


Fayetteville State University, now part of the University of North Carolina system, was the first normal school for African Americans in North Carolina. The university’s founding dates to 1867, when David A. Bryant, Nelson Carter, Andrew J. Chestnutt, George Grainger, Matthew Leary, Thomas Lomax and Robert Simmons paid $140 for a lot on Fayetteville’s Gillespie Street and named themselves into a board of trustees to maintain the property as a permanent site for the education of black children. General O. O. Howard, an early supporter of black education, erected a building on the site, and the school was named the Howard School in his honor.

The education center was chartered by the legislature as the State Colored Normal School in 1877. In 1880 Charles W. Chesnutt was appointed principal of the school after the death of principal Robert Harris. Chesnutt served the institution for three years before resigning and moving to Cleveland, Ohio.

Ezekiel Ezra Smith was appointed as Chestnutt’s replacement in 1883. E. E. Smith had a long and distinguished career at the school. During his span as principal (and eventually president) at the institution, he served in a host of other positions. Smith was appointed Minister Resident and Consul General of the U. S. to Liberia by President Grover Cleveland in 1888. George H. Williams assumed the duties of principal in Smith’s absence. After serving in Liberia for two years, Smith returned to North Carolina to organize the state’s first newspaper for African-Americans, The Carolina Enterprise, in Goldsboro. During Smith’s tenure, he saw the school the school move to its permanent location on Murchison Road in 1907. The high school curriculum was discontinued by the state in 1929 and Smith’s title change to president. He retired in 1933.

Adapted from

In the 1850 census of Fayetteville, Cumberland County: Angus Carter, 45, boatman, wife Dezda, 38, and children Nelson, 16, Angus, 15, John, 13, Margaret A., 12, Betsy, 10, Jane, 8, Alonzo, 5, Mellissa, 2, and Ann, 2 months.

In the 1850 census of Fayetteville, Cumberland County: John Terry, 13, Ellen Terry, 16, Sally Lucus, 12, and Thos. Lomack, 18, in the household of Jesse W. Powers, merchant.

In the 1850 census of Eastern Division, Cumberland County: Griscilla Simmons, 35, Robert, 12, Samuel, 8, and Mary A., 2.

Surnames: Hyde County, 1850.

The following surnames are found among free people of color in Hyde County in the 1850 census:



Near the blacksmith shop on the old road.

I, Thomas Hollowell, of the County of Wayne and the State of North Carolina being in feeble health but of sound mind and memory do make this my last will and testament in manner and form as follows: First – I give to my wife all my household and kitchen furniture, my buggie and harness also I have one note I hold against John Hollowell in the hands of my executors for them to pay to her the amount of interest so long as she may live. My will further is that my two sons Jesse and Thomas shall furnish my wife a bountiful support and in case they shall refuse at any time, I wish for her to have a dower laid off on the lands I leave them. Second – I give to my Levi Hollowell two notes that I hold against him. Item 3rd – I give to my granddaughter Elizabeth A. Stanton one note that I hold against her brother Thomas H. Stanton. Item 4th – I give to my grandson Levi H. Massey one acre of land joining Dudley on the south side of the old road near Levi Winn‘s blacksmith shop. Item 5th – I give to my son John Hollowell two shares in the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad Company. Item 6th – I give to my son Jesse Hollowell all the land I own lying on the east side of my Gin Branch also the upper part in the Big Fork down to where the bend of the Branch comes nearest together, and then down the run of Big Fork to the head of the Gin Branch and then to extend down the Canal to the run of Brook’s Swamp except the privilege of enough land near the Gin House at the end of the Gin Dam to put up a cotton screw also two shares in the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad Company, also two lots in Dudley known as No. 5 and No. 15. Item 7th – I give to my son Thomas L. Hollowell all the land I own on the west side of said Gin Branch from the line marked out for Jesse Hollowell to the aforesaid Brook’s Swamp also one share in the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad Company, two lots in Dudley known as No. 13 and 14, and one note that I hold against the said Thomas L. Hollowell. Item 8th – I wish my executors hereafter named to pay all of my just debts out of my estate not heretofore named and given away. Item 9th – My will and desire is that the balance of the amount due my estate in John Hollowell’s hands after paying the interest to my wife during her life and the balance of my estate after paying my debts to be equally divided between my living children and to those deceased to the heirs of their body. Lastly – I constitute and appoint my son John Hollowell and my grandson Levi H. Massey Executors to this my last will and testament hereby revoking all other wills by me made this 25th of 10th month A.D. 1861. Thomas Hollowell. Sealed in the presence of – Mary E. Hollowell, Jesse T. Hollowell.

Proved November Term 1865.

Book R14, Page 239, Wayne County Superior Court Clerk’s Office, Wayne County Courthouse.

He has no papers to prove his freedom.

Committed to Norfolk county jail, a Mulatto fellow, who says he is a free man, but has no papers to prove his freedom, he is a bright mulatto, 6 feet high; he says he is named JOHN MASINS, born in Washington county, N.C., a small scar over his right eye, and one on his right ear. His owner is requested to come forward, pay charges and take him away.  CHARLES RUDDER, Jailor.

Norfolk Herald, 1 July 1802.

Where Thunder Swamp Branch crosses the main road.

Adam Winn to Lemuel Cherry

State of North Carolina, Duplin County   }         This indenture made this 30th of July 1841 Between Adam Winn of the one part and Lemuel Cherry of the other part and both of the same State and County witness that I the said Adam Winn for and in consideration of the sum of twelve dollars to him in hand paid by Lemuel Cherry before the sealing and delivery of these presents the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged hath given  granted bargained and sold do by these presents bargain sell and make over unto him the said Lemuel Cherry his heirs executors Administrators & assigns forever a certain ankerage or tract of land lying and being in the County of Duplin and on the waters of thunder swamp it being part of the land that Adam Winn bought of Lucy Win and part of the old Jonson tract of land and I the said Adam Winn doth assign over to the said Lemuel Cherry all the right title interest or claim in the before mentioned land containing ten acres more or less and begins and runs as follows (viz) Begins on main road that runs in Wayne and where thunder swamp branch crosses the main road an runs up said road to a large pine and then corners a new made corner and then runs a strait line of marked trees to William L. Hills line and then with Hills line to said Cherrys line then down said Cherrys line to the beginning and I the said Adam Winn doth my heirs executors & admrs or assigns no warrant and defend the before mentioned lands unto him the said Lemuel Cherry his heirs executors admrs or assigns forever against all other person or persons whatsoever laying any claim to the same in witness whereof I the said Adam Winn have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and date first above written signed sealed and delivered in the presence of Kenan Millard and Wm P. Cherry   Adam Winn (seal)

North Carolina, Duplin County Court January term 1852

The due execution of the foregoing deed is proved in open Court by the acknowledgement of Adam Winn the bargainor and ordered to be registered.  B.F. Grady Clk

Grantor Book 20, Page 407, Duplin County Register of Deeds Office, Duplin County Courthouse.

In the 1850 census of North Division, Duplin County: Adam Winn, 45, farmer, with William, 13, Marshal, 11, John, 9, Woodard, 7, Woodley Winn, 5, plus Moses Simmons, 18. Adam reported $3800 in real property.  [Sidenote: Lemuel Cherry, 71, white, farmer, is listed four households away from Adam Winn in this census. His household included Elender Young, 50, who was white. Elender Young was likely the mother of America Young, who married Adam Winn’s brother Charles Winn.  Also, though Adam’s sons are listed as free, they were in fact his own slaves. More about that later. — LYH]