Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Not so fast — those slaves are mine.

William K. Lane v. Jane Bennett et al., 56 NC 371 (1858).

This case was removed from the Wayne County Court of Equity.  By valid will, Furnifold Jernigan made several provisions for the disposal of his slaves.  To his wife Jane Jernigan (who later married Thomas Bennett), he left 13 slaves, including Bill Winn, John Winn, Simpson and Anne. To his daughter Mary Anne Kelly, he left eight slaves, including Olive. He provided for the liberation of “negroes, Dave, Tom, Morris, Lila and Mary” and their transport to a free state, and he directed that ten named slaves be sold. John A. Green and William K. Lane were named executors.

Before the legacies were paid out, Adam Winn filed suit to recover John Winn, Bill Winn, Simpson, Anne, Olive and Dave, claiming that (1) he had mortgaged the slaves to Jernigan to secure payment of money Jernigan loaned him, and (2) he had a judgment attesting that he had repaid the money, and the slaves had been reconveyed to him.

The executors filed a “bill” with the court seeking guidance on the will’s provisions.  Jane Bennett and Mary Anne Kelly claimed the full value of the slaves bequeathed to them or, in the alternative, the amount paid by Winn to redeem them.  The court found that each was entitled to the amount of the redemption. (And, incidentally, Dave, having been redeemed by Winn, “loses, of course, his freedom intended for him…”)

[Sidenote: As noted elsewhere, John Winn and Bill Winn were Adam Winn’s sons, as well as his slaves. He mortgaged his children repeatedly. Jernigan, of course, was a notorious negro-stealer. — LYH]

Freedman’s Bank depositor, no. 3.

No. 3521. Record for James Crawford.  Date April 21, 1873. Where born: New Bern. Where brought up: ditto. Residence: East Front Street. Age 29, September 15. Complexion: dark brown. Occupation: porter for J. and J.A. Patterson. Wife: Mary Noble, married August 1, 1872. Children: None. Father: Virgil Crawford, dead. Mother: Gatsey Dove. One half-brother: Virgil A. /s/ James Crawford.

Freedman’s Bank Records, National Archives and Records Administration.

In the 1850 census of Upper Richlands, Onslow County: Virgil Crawford, 39, mechanic, in the household of Stephen Wallis, farmer. In the 1860 census of Onslow County: Gatsey Dove, 35, domestic, in the household of Edward K. Ervin, farmer. [Sidenote: in 1860, Gatsey Dove appears as Gatsey Henderson in her mother Nancy Henderson‘s household in Upper Richlands, Onslow County. — LYH]

Tell them.

Tell them if I am Black I am free born American & a revolutionary soldier & therefore ought not to be thrown entirely out of the scale of notice.

Letter from John Chavis to Senator Willie Mangum, March 10, 1832; Willie P. Mangum Papers, State Library of North Carolina.