Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Month: April, 2013

Some have resolved to move to Africa.

AUGUSTA, (GEORGIA) May 21st, 1837

To the Board of Managers of the American Colonization Society;

GENTLEMEN, I have the honor to submit a brief report of my proceedings since I left Washington early in March, with such suggestions and reflections as may occur during the relation of the incidents and observations of my tour up to this date.

North Carolina will stand forth a powerful and decided friend of the scheme of Colonization. … The Society of Friends in this State, early turned their thoughts to the plan of African Colonization, encouraged the free people of colour under their protection to emigrate to Liberia, and supplied a generous fund to defray the expenses of such as consented to remove thither. Several hundreds, once under the guardian care of this Society, are now enjoying the freedom and privileges of that Colony. There are still in North Carolina numerous free coloured persons of respectable intelligence and moral character. Those in Fayetteville, Elizabethtown, and Wilmington, have probably no superiors, among their own class, in the United States. After careful reflection, some have resolved to remove to Africa, and others are anxiously directing their thoughts to the subject. Louis Sheridan, with whose reputation and views the Board are partially acquainted, is a man of education, uncommon talents for business, a handsome property, and the master of nineteen slaves. His determination to emigrate to Liberia with a company of from forty to sixty of his relations and friends has already been announced. The public meetings held in Raleigh, during my visit, were well attended and of much interest, and addressed with spirit and effect by several of the citizens of that place. Collections were made for the benefit of the Society. The Resolutions adopted by the citizens of Raleigh are before the public.

I have the honor to be, With great respect, Gentlemen, your obedient Servant,

R. R. [Ralph Randolph] GURLEY

Excerpt from Secretary’s Report, The African Repository and Colonial Journal 13, No. 7 (July 1837), pages 201-206.

Miles Howard.

Miles Howard was born enslaved and, when he was about 11 years old, was brought to Halifax and sold to Thomas Burgess, a prominent attorney in the Halifax area. Burgess evidently took a liking to the young Miles and made sure that he learned a trade as a barber. Around 1818, Howard took a wife by consent of both his and her masters. Howard was emancipated very shortly afterwards. Burgess sold him property in Halifax in 1825 and more property later. In 1832, Burgess wrote to Senator Mangum regarding a free man of color who was a barber and a musician. The free man had purchased children from a former master. He had not been able to free them due to a law prohibiting this. He wished to move his family to a state where they could be freed and not held as his slaves. Evidently, nothing came from this request, as Howard later died in Halifax.

Burgess, in his will, gave “his worthy and excellent friend Miles Howard the Barber two lots in Halifax, now occupied by said Miles.” In 1838, in an act of emancipation the four children and slaves of Miles Howard were set free, and the family was baptized by a Catholic priest in Halifax. Between 1842 and 1846, Matilda died, and Howard married Caroline Valentine. The two had children who were also baptized Catholic. Howard handled various land transactions and was a sound businessman in Halifax. He died in 1857 without leaving a will. A lawsuit ensued, with the children of his first marriage seeking a share of his property and the children of his second marriage fighting them. The case went to North Carolina Superior Court, which ruled in favor of the children of the second marriage, because the first marriage was a slave marriage and not legal in the eyes of the law.

Adapted from http://www.nchistoricsites.org/halifax/people.htm

Only his aunt remains alive.

Charlotte County Virginia. This day Mary Belcher came before me Hillery Moseley a Justice for said County at the request of Lucy Chavers who has been married to Robert Cole both black persons and the said Lucy had a Sister by the name of Betty Chavers who had a Son which was crissind in my house by the name of John Jackson Chavers, and made Oath that the said two women were Sisters and She don’t believe there is any of the aforesaid Family a Live at this time except the said Lucy Cole, Given from under my hand this 27th day of April 1808  /s/ Hillery Moseley

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Mecklenburg County, Virginia. This day Haywood Rudd came before me a Justice for said county and made oath that he was acquainted with a black boy by the name of John Jackson Chaves that the said boy was bound and apprentice to William Steward a blacksmith and that when he the said Steward went from the County to Wake County N Carolina the aforesaid John Jackson Chaves went with him and that he knows of no relations of said John Jackson Chaves except Lucy Cole rais’d said J. Jackson Chaves from his infancy until he was bound apprentice to the said William Steward. Given under my hand this 9th day May 1808.  /s/ James Hester

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Mecklenburg County, Virginia. This day came Mathew Carter before me a Justice for the said County, and made oath that Lucy Cole Lived several years on his plantation in this County & that she rais’d a boy there by the name of John Jackson Chaves, Who was then said to be her sisters son that the said John Jackson Chaves was afterwards bound apprentice to William Steward blacksmith who carry’d him the sd. John Jackson Chaves with him when he moved from this county and that he knows of no relations in these parts to said Chaves or any where else except Lucy Cole, given under my hand this 9th day of May 1808  /s/ James Hester

Miscellaneous Records & Apprentice Bonds and Records, Wake County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

A reasonable presumption.

State v. Thomas S. Jones, 20 NC 120 (1838).

This case arose in Chowan County on a charge of petit larceny of four pigs. Two were found in Thomas Jones’ possession, and two in the possession of a free person of color who bought them from Jones after he branded them with the mark of a long-dead uncle. Jones lived with his father, whose pigs were differently marked. A week after he was indicted, Jones left for Tennessee and did not return to Chowan County until the week before the next court term. Jones called his brother-in-law Dennis, who testified that Jones asked him to come to Edenton on a Sunday morning to hunt for some lost pigs, which he described particularly. After looking two or three places, they stopped at a free colored woman’s house and found the pigs. Jones took them, sold two, and took the rest to his father’s house. A Mrs. King and Jones’ brother William Jones also testified that Jones told them he had lost some pigs.  Mr. Smith, a merchant in Edenton, testified that on Saturday night Jones asked him to help look for some pigs and the next morning told him he had found them. Witness McNider testified that “about a half an hour by sun” on Sunday, Jones told him he had found all his pigs in a negro woman’s possession.  Jones was convicted.

“The presumption arising from possession of stolen goods is stronger or weaker as the possession is more or less recent. A recent possession raises a reasonable presumption of guilt.” Judgment affirmed.

James H. Harris.

ImageBorn a slave around 1830 in Granville County, James Harris was freed in 1848. After receiving his freedom, Harris was apprenticed to a carpenter and later opened his own business in Raleigh. Harris left North Carolina prior to the Civil War and attended school at Oberlin College in Ohio for two years, followed by trips to Canada and Africa. In 1863, he received a commission to organize the 28th Regiment of United States Colored Troops in Indiana. (Note: Contrary to the original marker inscription, Harris did not serve as a Union colonel. The text has been rewritten and the marker reordered.) After the Civil War, Harris moved back to his native state as a teacher affiliated with the New England Freedmen’s Aid Society. He became involved in Reconstruction politics and was one of the charter members of the state’s Republican Party after serving as a delegate to the state’s Freedmen’s Convention in 1865. A staunch advocate for the rights of African Americans, Harris sought to provide a voice for equality while maintaining a moderate tone. His philosophy was that blacks and whites had to work together to promote the interests of each race. A gifted speaker, Harris received numerous appointments, including service as a delegate to the state’s 1868 constitutional convention. He was elected a state legislator in the house, 1868-1870, and 1883 and in the senate, 1872-1874. Harris also served Raleigh as a city alderman and as an advocate for the construction of the Colored Institution for the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind. Harris was appointed vice-president of the National Equal Rights Convention in 1865, president of the National Convention of Colored Men in 1869, and vice-president of the National Black Convention in 1877. He attended the 1868, 1872, and 1876 Republican National Conventions, serving as a presidential elector in 1872. Harris edited the North Carolina Republican in the 1880s and pushed for reforms for the protection of laborers, women, orphans and other disadvantaged groups. Harris died in 1891 in Washington, D.C. and was buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in Raleigh.

Adapted from http://www.ncmarkers.com

On his way to Petersburg.

COMMITTED to the jail in this city, on the 16th inst. A Negro man who says his name is John Mumford, and that he is free, and was travelling from Kershaw District, S.C. to Petersburg, Va. He is about 23 years of age, and is yellow complected. The said negro has a pass, signed by Wm. Alexander, Rob’t Lane, & Charles House, all appear to be signed by the same person. The owner, if any, is requested to come forward, prove property, pay charges and take him away.  CHARLES JOHNSON, Jailor.  Raleigh, May 4, 1815.

Star, Raleigh, 19 May 1815.

He says he comes from Hanover County.

Notice.

Taken up and committed to the Jail of Lenoir county, on the 24th day of August, 1828, a negro name who calls himself LEME DEEN, and says he is a free man, and that he came from Hanover county, in Virginia. He is very black complected, is about 5 feet seven or eight inches high, his left eye squinted. The owner is requested to come forward and prove his property, pay charges and take him away, or he will be dealt with as the law directs. JEREMIAH HAWKINS, Jailor. Kinston, Sept, 27, 1828.

Star, Raleigh, 5 February 1829.

Never guilty of any action to forfeit his freedom.

State of North Carolina, Craven County } To the Worshipfull, the Justices of Craven County

The Petition of James Manly an Indian humbly represents to your Honor that he was free born at Edenton and that he never has been Guilty of any Action by which his Freedom can be forfeited by any of the Laws of this or any other of the United States.

Your Petitioner further begs leave to inform your Worships that he has lived some Time past at Broad Creek and that on or about the [blank] Day of [blank] a Certain John Garland came to the dwelling House of the said James Manly and forcibly drove him away and sold him as a Slave to Colonel Levi Dawson for the Consideration of one hundred pounds Specie. Wherefore as your Petitioner is a Subject of this States; and under the present happy Constitution humbly moves that this worshipfull Court will pass an Order for liberating or Setting him free from the service of Colonel Levi Dawson aforesaid and restore him to his Freedom And as in Duty bound your Petitioner will ever pray.    Jas. Cooke Atty. For the Petitioner.

[On back.] James Manlys Petition  December Term 1782. James Gatlin & Levi Dawson  Read and Granted The Petitioner set Free   Chrisr. Neales C.C.

Miscellaneous Records 1757-1929, Craven County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

Caesar applies for Confederate pension.

SOLDIER’S APPLICATION FOR PENSION

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, COUNTY OF SURRY  }

On this 2 day of July, A.D. 1917, personally appeared before me A.L. Sparger J.P., in and for the State and County aforesaid, Phillip Ceaser, age 90 years, and a resident at Mt. Airy post-office, in said County and State, and who, being duly sworn, makes the following declaration in order to obtain the pension under the provisions of an act entitled “An act for the relief of certain Confederate Soldiers, Sailors and Widows,” ratified March 8, 1907; that he is the identical Phillip Ceasar who enlisted in Co. A, Reg., N.C. State Troops, on or about 1 day of May, 1864, to serve in the armies of the late Confederate States, and that while in service at Fort Caswell in the State of N.C., on or about 15th day of Nov, 1864, he received a wound or wounds, etc. [description] from which wound a fistula resulted.

He further states:

That he is, and has been for twelve months immediately preceding this Application for Pension, a bona fide resident of North Carolina;

That he holds no office under the United States, or any State or County, from which he is receiving the sum of three hundred dollars as fees or as salary annually;

That he is not worth in his own right, or the right of his wife, property at its assessed value for taxation to the amount of five hundred dollars ($500), or has he disposed of property of such value by gift or voluntary conveyance since the 11th of March, 1885;

That he is not receiving any aid from the State of North Carolina or under any other statue providing for the relief of the maimed and blind soldiers of the State.   Phillip X Ceaser

Sworn and subscribed to before me, this 2 day of July, 1917.  A.L. Spanger, J.P.

Also personally appeared before me J.A. Adams, who resides at Dobson post-office, in said County and State, a person whom I know to be respectable and entitled to credit, and being by me duly sworn, says he acquainted with Phillip Ceaser, the applicant for pension, and has every reason to believe that he is the identical person he represents himself to be, and that the facts set forth in this affidavit are correct to the best of his knowledge and belief, and that he has no interest, direct or indirect, in this claim. J.A. Adams.

Sworn and subscribed to before me, this 2 day of July, 1917A.L. Spanger, J.P.

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State of North Carolina, Surry County} Office of County Board of Pensions

To the State Board of Pensions

The attached application of one Phillip Cesar who makes application for an allowance as pensioner for services rendered the Confederate States during the Civil War in building fortifications at the time the services were rendered he was one of the old issue of free negroes we find no law for allowing him a pension. We simply recommend the allowance as a 4th class pension, and if the claim is not allowable by your board you know what disposition to make of it.  J.G. Burns Chairman, S.C. Franklin, R.S. Folger

From the file of Phillip Caesar; North Carolina, Confederate Soldiers and Widows Pension Applications, 1885-1953; http://FamilySearch.org. Original, North Carolina State Archives.

In the 1860 census of Mount Airy, Surry County: Philip Ceaser, 23, wife Jane, 20, and daughter Sarah, 6 months.

The Winns of Mount Olive.

On March 20, 1838 the county records show that in consideration of the sum of $19.00, Adam Winn deeded the railroad a right-of-way through his lands. In November, 1837 and again in February of 1838 the President and Directors of the railroad had appealed to the Wayne County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions to force Winn to sell them a right-of-way. At that point the railroad was getting near the county line. Winn sold in 1838. It is believed that  Winn’s land lies along present day Center Street.

The 1838 deed to the railroad stated that the adjoining lands to the north belonged to Basil Kornegay, a rich Duplin County planter, member of the state House of Commons in 1814, and brother-in-law of William Rufus King, Vice-President under Franklin Pearce. The adjoining land of Winn’s was owned by Charles Winn, who was a member of his family.

With Winn’s lands on the south, and Flowers’ and Slocumb’s on the north, the railroad had a clear right-of-way to Dudley. The railroad track begins at Wilmington, curves at Faison, and then runs in an almost direct line to Weldon. When it was finished in 1840, with 161 miles of track, it was the longest railroad in the world.

Charles and Levi Winn were both blacksmiths, a vital service in a community which moved almost entirely on hoof. Adam Greenfield, Samuel Parker, George Simmons, Henry Coleman, Edward Griffin and Branson Merritt were coopers. A cooper is a man who makes and repairs barrels. Eastern North Carolina had long been famous for its tar and pitch, commonly called “naval stores.”

The Winn Family

The Winn family is one of the most interesting in the area. In 1836 Ginny Winn purchased a hundred acres of land from Ezekiel Norris in the lower part of Wayne. This is the first land transaction by Winns in Wayne County, though John Kornegay of Duplin County deeded Adam Winn, also of Duplin, land on the northeast “precosin” (swamp) on September 18, 1834. This land ran into Wayne County at one point near present-day Mount Olive.

In the 1850 census the Winn family is listed as “mulatto”, but in the 1860 census they were listed as “black”. The Winn family were free blacks from Duplin County who had received their freedom prior to 1834. The Artis, Simmons and Greenfield families of Mount Olive were also free blacks, according to the1860 census.

Adam Winn was himself a slave owner, for in April 1849 he borrowed money from Benjamin Oliver of Duplin, and put up three slaves, Bethana, Martha and Oliver, as security, along with 133 acres of land. The Winns did business with the most prominent and respected white families, and through the years have generally been considered the most outstanding family of their race in the area. They have produced farmers, school teachers and tradesmen and have been leaders in the black community of Mount Olive. Adam Winn who was also one of the first magistrates of Mount Olive, had sons, William, Charles and Levi. Charles and Levi were blacksmiths, the first to be located in the village of Mount Olive. Levi Winn owned land west of the railroad which was later purchased by Dr. Roberts, and transferred in 1854 to William W. Loftin and Dr. Benjamin Franklin Cobb. William and Charles Winn also owned land in the Mount Olive area.

Extracted from John Baxton Flowers III, “Early History of Mount Olive,” Mount Olive Tribune, 7 September 1979, posted in http://files.usgwarchives.net/nc/wayne/history/other/earlyhis8ms.txt