Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

I give as a legacy.

This Dec. the 28 1911

State of N.C. County of Wayne

I Adam T. Artis of aforesaid State and County being of sound mind considering the uncertainty of life I hereby constitute and declare this to be my last will and Testament.

Item 1. I hereby constitute and appoint my friend S.S. Strother to execute this my last will.

Item 2. My executor shall prepare a decent burial for my body suitable to the wishes of my relatives and friends and pay for the same out of the first money that comes into his hands together with all my just debts.

Item 3. For the love and affection I have for my wife Katie Artis I give and bequeath unto her about 18 acres [illegible] of the Thompson Tract of land as widow dower [illegible] life together with all appurtenances thereto, I also give and bequeath unto said wife Katie all of my Household and Kitchen furniture with all other personal property belonging unto me to have and to hold during her natural life.

Item 4. I give as a Legacy unto my son Pinkney Artis $100.00 One hundred Dollars.

Item 5. I give unto my son June Scott Artis Ten Dollars for his full share of my property.

Item 6. I give unto my son Henry Artis Ten Dollars for his full share of my property.

Item 7. I give unto my son Columbus Artis Ten Dollars for his full share of my property.

Item 8. I give unto my son William Artis Five Dollars for his full share of my property.

Item 9. I give unto my son Walter Artis Five Dollars for his full share of my property.

Item 10. I give unto my daughter Josephine Artis Sherard Fifteen Dollars for her full share of my property.

Item 11. I give unto my son Robert Artis Five Dollars for his full share of my property.

Item 12. My executor shall sell the balance of my land after my death and pay over to my children the Items I have give to them and what is left shall be paid over to, in equal shares, Vicey Aldridge, Liza Everet, Augustus K. Artis, Georgana Reid, Mary Jane Artis, Emma D. Locus, Ida Reid, Lillie Thompson, Napoleon Artis, Haywood Artis, Addie Artis, Annie Artis, Alberta Artis, Jesse Artis, and at the death of my wife Katie the property I gave to her shall be equally divided between the 12 above named heirs, that are not limited.   Testator – Adam X Artis.

Witness W.F. Lewis, J.J. Coley, J.E. Exum

Proved 1 May 1919. Will Book 4, page 398. Office of Clerk of Superior Court, Wayne County Courthouse, Goldsboro.

[Sidenote: Adam Artis bought and sold hundreds of acres near present-day Eureka in northern Wayne County.  He outlived four wives (Winnie Coley, Lucinda Jones, Frances Seaberry, and Amanda Aldridge) and at least five of his children (Cain, Caroline, Adam jr., Emma, and Louetta). Son Noah is the only child not mentioned in his father’s will. Josephine A. Sherrod, Adam’s longest-lived child, died in 1988. –LYH]

Dempsey Reid’s estate settlement.

Inventory of the Estate of Dempsey Read dec’d taken 21st May 1850

Cash on hand at the time of his death Twenty five 85/100 dollars $25.85. One Note on Council Best for four 80/100 due the 4th April 1849. Bad debts – one note on James Mathews for $2.00 due 6th October 1847, on d’o on Stephen Pettiford for $5.00 due 18th November 1848, One account on James Pettiford for $1.50    Aug Co 1850   /s/ Jesse Coleman adm’r.

Jesse Coleman filed an account of the sale of Dempsey Reed’s property. The buyers included Tabitha Read, John Read, Wash. Read, Rhody Read, Benj. Read, Absalom Artis, Zion Read, Nelson Row, Jane Read, Dave, Dempsy Hall, Waty Locus, and a smattering of white neighbors. The sale netted $98.50.  Recording Docket Book 10, pages 434-435, Office of Clerk of Superior Court, Wayne County Courthouse, Goldsboro.

In the settlement of Dempsey Read’s estate, Jesse Coleman paid Pearcy Read $2.50, plus 38 cents interest, on 16 July 1850; and $9.50, plus 57 cents interest, each to Patsey Read, Lila Read and Barna Read on 19 November 1850. Recording Docket Book 11, pp. 163-164, Office of Clerk of Superior Court, Wayne County Courthouse, Goldsboro.

In the 1850 mortality schedule of Wayne County: Dempsey Read, age 70, black, free, hatter, died in March of unknown causes. 

[Sidenote: The relationships among the Reids are not clear. As reported in the 1840 census of Wayne County, Dempsey Reid lived alone. He may not have had a wife or children.  Other Reid heads of household were Allen Reed, Barna Reed (the one above?), Bytha Reed, Bytha Reed and Rhoda Reed.  Pearcy Reid, above, born about 1825, was the daughter of Allen and Sarah “Sally” Reid. Tabitha “Bitha” Reid was married to an enslaved man named Raiford.  They had no known children Rhoda Reid’s husband, David — “Dave,” above — was also enslaved. Their children were Tabitha Reid (one of the Bythas, above, born ca. 1811), Melvina Reid Artis (ca. 1813), Zion Reid (ca. 1815), Washington Reid (ca. 1818), John Reid (ca. 1822), Martha “Patsey” Reid Hall (married to Dempsey Hall above, ca. 1824), Isaac Reid (ca. 1828) and Benjamin Reid (ca. 1831). — LYH]

Surnames: Burke County, 1850.


I am sorry that Mrs. Lynch is trying to be so large.

Camp near Kinston

Feby 22d 1864

Dear wife,

Your letter by Tom has been Read. I am glad to hear that you are all well. I am well & hearty. I am sorry that Mrs. Lynch is trying to be so large. I think the best way you can manage is for her to stay to herself. I want you to let her go Back to her house & stay there. If you & she can’t get along, there is no use trying to stay together. You may give her all that you think you can spare. I told Lynch when he came I could let him have what you could spare. You may tell Lynch that I had rather she would stay in her House as you & she can’t agree. I don’t see why she made such a bargain & then flew from it so quickly. The Best way you can do is to attend to your own Business. I think you will be better satisfied. I want you to tell Lynch that our Bargain shall all be right. I told Lynch his wife could have corn from my House & all the Bacon I could Spare. I left that to you to say what you could Spare & he & I were to settle that ourselves. You may tell Lynch that all will be right with me & him & tell his wife I rather she would not stay as one of the family. I think you had best attend to your own Business than to be run over by a negro. You know already she will not do to depend upon.

[The remainder of this letter has been lost.]

Footnotes: “Caroline Lynch was a free Negro woman born in 1837.” “Wyatt Lynch, an illiterate free Negro, was born in 1830. He was a plasterer and brickmason by occupation.”

In another letter written 23 May, 1864, Barnes told his wife, “Tell Lynch he must make my colt gentle.”

Hugh Buckner Johnston, Jr., ed., “The Confederate Letters of Ruffin Barnes of Wilson County,” North Carolina Historical Review, vol. XXI, no. 1 (January 1954).

In the 1860 census of Saratoga, Wilson County: Wyatt Lynch, 30, wife Caroline, 23, and child Frances, 3. [Sidenote: in the 1870 census, Lynch’s wife is named Nicey. Lynch married Nicey Hall on 5 June 1860 in Wilson County. It appears that Nicey and Caroline were the same woman. In the 1850 census of North Side Neuse, Wayne County: Lucy Hall, 45, and children Sarah, 16, George, 15, Nathan, 13, Nicy, 10, Samuel, 3, and Esther Hall, 6, plus Alford Artis, 15, and John Artis, 14, and Rhoda Artis, 13, and her children Julia, 12, and Rheuben Artis, 10, plus Rufus Lane, 22. – LYH]