Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Political Register.


County Officers. …

Commissioners – E.B. Jordan, Washington Winn, J.K. Smith, N.G. Holland

Justices of the Peace. …

Geo. W. Simmons. Date of Qualification, Aug. 30th, 1873. Post Office Address, Dudley.

The Legislative Manual and Political Register of the State of North Carolina for the Year 1874. Raleigh (1874).

In the 1860 census of Buck Swamp, Wayne County: Washington Winn, 35, carpenter, wife Temperance J., and children Aaron, 17, Levi, 15, Elizabeth, 13, James, 11, and Giles, 9.

The roots of Arkansas’ largest free colored community.

DAVID HALL (1782?-1859?), described as a “colored” and “exceedingly stout man,” settled along the White River bottoms some seven miles below the mouth of the Little North Fork in 1819, the year that Congress created Arkansas Territory. The North Carolina-born Hall and his light-skinned wife Sarah, a Tennessean, built a cabin, raised corn, horses and cows, made whiskey in one of the first stills to be seen on the upper White River, and, not least of all, tended to their growing family. An 1840 surveyor’s map shows the Hall farm, which was located twenty miles west of today’s city of Mountain Home, with forty acres under cultivation, a larger operation that any other in his township. Hall paid county and state taxes for thirty years, and these records document his relative prosperity. … [His] sons Willoghby, Joe, and James, and his daughters Margaret Hall Turner and Eliza Hall Caulder established families that expanded the free black population in Marion County. These pioneer families lived in semi-isolation and in harmony with whites, a situation that attracted other free mulattoes who settled in the vicinity, forming antebellum Arkansas’s largest free black community.

Hall and his son-in-law Peter Caulder, despite state laws to the contrary, kept hounds and firearms essential to their frontier life. … Travelign about by any conveyance was legal in the territory and after statehood, but risky for free blacks since they were under the jurisdiction of any white man who cared to exercise that authority. Despite the risk, the Halls and their neighbor John Turner occasionally traveled outside the county by horse and by boat to attend tot heir business affairs.

Land ownership was one of the few legally recognized rights of Negros in slave states such as Arkansas. During the winter of 1849, David Hall and John Hall (possibly a brother) traveled one hundrted miles to the United States government land office at Batesville to pay cash for and later receive patents on their White River valley acreage. …

The settlement lasted until the Arkansas General Assembly passed a law in February 859 entitled, “An Act to Remove the Free Negroes and Mulattos from the State.” Penalties included seizure and sale into slavery, emancipation having already been made illegal in Arkansas. The enormity of the threat was enough to overcome the tenaciousness of folks in the free Negro community. More than one hundred of them abandoned good farms and departed Marion County and the state of Arkansas, a gut-wrenching turn of events, without doubt.

Today the land patented by David Hall lies beneath Bull Shoals Lake. With the exception of weathered and nameless wooden markers placed atop a stone wall alongside the Promised Land Cemetery by the Corps of Engineers before the valley was flooded, no physical trace remains of the free black community that thrived along the banks of the White River near the Missouri border. Hall disappeared from the tax and census records in 1859 when he would have been seventy-six years old. … [by] Billy D. Higgins

Adapted from Nancy A. Williams and Jeannie M. Whayne, eds., Arkansas Biography: A Collection of Notable Lives (2000).

In the 1850 census of Marion County, Arkansas: David Hall, 67, born NC, wife Sarah, 55, born Tennessee, and Mary, 18, Joseph, 12, and Henry Hall, 20, all born in Arkansas. Sons James and Jospeh are listed with theri families nearby.

A strange coincidence.

A WELL-AIMED SHOT – Ends the Career of William G. Whitney – The Shot Fired by Jas. Y. Christmas — Particulars to the Affair – What a Family Feud Lead to – Testimony at the Coroner’s Inquest – Christmas Sent to Jail.

Saturday afternoon, at 5 o’clock, James Y. Christmas shot and instantly killed Wm. G. Whitney, at No. 1326 I street northwest, in the building known as the Catacazy Mansion, and now occupied by the Misses Harrover, as a boarding-house. Here Mrs. Myra Clark Gaines had been living with her son and his wife and their three children and her son-in-law, Mr. Christmas and his three motherless children. The men had been in the hair-mattress business as partners, but, owing to some disagreements, the partnership was dissolved. Whitney then went into business with H.A. Linger & Co., 1117 Nineteenth street.

A STRANGE COINCIDENCE, associated with this homicide, is the fact that many years ago, previous to the war, the father of Mr. Christmas shot and killed a free negro in North Carolina, and was tried and hanged for the crime. A cousin of Christmas was also hanged for murder.

Evening Critic, Washington DC, 27 June 1881.

The largest of any Indian family.

The Brewington family is now the largest of any Indian family in Sampson County, most of which are the children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and even the great-great-grandchildren of the late Raford Brewington, father of Hardy A. Brewington. He had several other sons and daughters. Brewington is a pure English word, which means a brewer of drinks, and we would also add, one that likes such drinks after they have been made, which is one of the characteristics that followed this family for several generations, and even now the evil practice is overcome only by the very best of training. This name was first given to an Indian who was considered by the white settlers of what is now Sampson County, as an excellent maker of “fire water,” as the Indians called it. They called him Bill Brewington. His Indian name was dropped, and he was taught the language of the English.

Bill Brewington’s wife was a Cherokee Indian, by the name of Jane Brewington, who lived a good many years after her husband’s death. They had a daughter, Hannah Brewington, who if now living would be upwards of one hundred and forty years old. Hannah Brewington is well remembered by few of the oldest people of the county, namely John Emanuel, Jonathan Goodman, James Strickland, and others. They describe her as being a true specimen of the original Cherokee, she being of a copper-reddish hue, with prominent cheek-bones, straight black hair and black eyes. She bought land in the year of 1807, as the records in Clinton, N. C., now show, though before that time she and her people lived on the banks of Coharee, without any need of buying, as the land was held in common by the Indians of those days.

The above Hannah Brewington was the mother of Raford Brewington, who has already been mentioned in this section. She helped a poor illiterate bound white boy, who was, as we have been told, a son of a soldier who was killed during the Revolutionary War, while bearing arms for the independence of America. Soon after the death of his father his mother also died, leaving the child to provide for himself. His name was Simon, and as he was placed under the control of a man that owned a good many servants and slaves, he was given the title that has ever been known as his name, “White Simon.” Hannah Brewington proved to be a friend to this poor orphan boy, and in time, by early Indian custom, she and he were married. Soon after the marriage of this couple, Raford, a son, was born in their home. Simon having no real surname, adopted the name of his wife. Soon after the birth of the above Raford Brewington, his father left the State and went north. He has never returned, but was heard from a few times indirectly. Thus you see the beginning of the Brewington family of Sampson County.

One other son and daughter were born to Hannah Brewington, namely, Nathan Brewington and Nancy Brewington.

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

[Sidenote: Though I have offered excerpts from Butler’s appeal without comment, here I think it prudent to advise that it, like all of the early written history reproduced here, should be considered carefully in the context of the time and place — and purpose — for which it was written. — LYH]