Privileges for Joe.
by Lisa Y. Henderson
There was sentiment in both [Wilmington and Fayetteville] in favor of granting slaves special privileges. Joe, the slave of Phillis Dennis of Fayetteville, provides a good example of a person in bondage enjoying the privileges of a freeman. Joe was permitted to hire his own time and was accorded the opportunities of any freeman. In her last will and testament, Joe’s mistress conveyed him to Augustus I. Erambert and Charles A. MacMillan. Her will read that they should permit Joe “to exercise his trade without interference.” Erambert and MacMillan were instructed to allow Joe to “occupy possess, and enjoy her dwelling house during his life.” Upon the death of either party the survivor at the request of Joe was to appoint some prudent and discreet man to be named by Joe as a trustee.
From James Howard Brewer, “Legislation Designed to Control Slavery in Wilmington and Fayetteville,” North Carolina Historical Review, Volume XXX, No. 2, April 1953.
[…] that Joseph Dennis and Fillis Dennis were not married, but were siblings or other kin. Though Phillis Dennis' enslaved husband was named Joe, he could not have purchased property with her. — […]