Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Circuit preacher.

Church Directory “Fremont Items” —

Rev. Jonah Williams of Wilson filled his regular appointment at Turners Swamp last Sunday.

The Blade, Wilson, 20 Nov 1897.

[Turner Swamp Primitive Baptist Church still meets in a small church north of Eureka, Wayne County. Descendants of several of Jonah Williams’ siblings are buried there. — LYH]

A preacher of the gospel dies.


In Fayetteville on the night of the 17th inst. in the 50th year of his age, Henry Evans, a free man of colour, a preacher of the gospel, for more than 20 years.

Raleigh Minerva, 27 September 1810.

We have known him from his infancy.

State of North Carolina, Pasquotank County   } Personally Came before me Abraham Symons one of the Justices of the peace for said county Noah Hollowell and William Pow who testifiath that James Overton of Color is a free man having known him from his infancy and also knowing his parents were free previous agreeably to the Constitution of the State Witness my hand and Seal this 23rd day of October 1830.   /s/ A. Symons JP

[In a different handwriting] Jane Parthenia Overton, 5 feet 4 of a Light Black Forty years of age, has a Scar on the left Shoulder Dianna, Simeon, George

Slave Records, Pasquotank County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

In the 1830 census of Pasquotank County, James Overton was head of a household that included one male under 10; one male aged 24-35; two females aged 10-23; and one female aged 24-35.

In the 1850 census of Pasquotank County: Simeon Overton, 35, laborer, wife Elizabeth, 30, and children Daniel, 10, Josephine, 6, and Emily, 4.

An apprentice to the house carpenter’s trade.

“Samuel Lemly (ca. 1790-1848) was a master carpenter, contractor, and planter in Rowan County, North Carolina who was responsible for several building projects in the western piedmont including a major bridge over the South Yadkin River (1825) and the first eight buildings at Davidson College (1836-1838). His career as a master builder in North Carolina covered the period from the 1810s through the 1830s, after which he moved to Mississippi, where he died and was buried in Jackson.

“Records suggest that Lemly was at his most active as a carpenter and builder in the 1820s. In August 1819 he took William Kent, a free Negro, as apprentice to the house carpenter’s trade, and during the 1820s he apprenticed six other youths: Alfred Huie (August 1822); Anderson Cowan (July 1823); Samuel Kent, a free Negro (February 1824); David Fraley (May 1824); Jeremiah Brown (November 1825); and Joseph Hampton (November 1827). …”

As published in North Carolina Architects and Builders: A Biographical Dictionary,  (All rights retained.) This web site is a growing reference work that contains brief biographical accounts, building lists, and bibliographical information about architects, builders, and other artisans who planned and built North Carolina’s architecture.  

I bind my son and daughter.

THIS INDENTURE Made this 5th day of June in the year 1795 Between Hannah Robertson of Anson County and state of North Carolina of the one part and Joseph Clark of the same County of the other part Witnesseth that I said Hannah Robertson for and in consideration of Divers good cause me thereunto moveing have put placed & bound unto Joseph Clark my two children Viz. my son Mastin Robertson & my Daughter Sarah Robertson until they arrive at the age of Twenty one years each that is to say that I Bind my Son Mastin for the Term of Twelve years and nine months and my said Daughter Sarah for the term of Twelve years and Seven month from the date hereof And also I Rachael Chaves do put under and Bind unto Joseph afsd.  My son Edmond Chaves for the Term of Eighteen years & ten month from the date hereof  Each one to learn the Business and occupation of planter etc. he the said Joseph Clark obliging himself to find and provide for them the afsd. Children or cause it to be done Sufficient & usual provision & Clothing and other nessessaries fit for their Condition and Station during the said term and I the said Hannah Robertson & Rachael Chaves by these presents vest and Authorise him the said Joseph Clark with full power to compel them in a Reasonable way to comply with their duty as Bound Servants etc. In Witness whereof we Hannah Robertson & Rachael Chaves have hereunto set our hands & seals the day and year above written.   Hannah X Robertson   Rachel X Chaves

Witnesses Ezra Bostick J.P., James Fields, Samuel Curtis

Deed Book E, page 352. Register of Deeds Office, Anson County Courthouse, Wadesboro.


A stabbing over work.

MURDER—We learn that a negro man, LAWS, belonging to Mr. FRIES, of this place, stabbed a free negro by the name of MITCHELL, at High Point, causing his death. LAWS is confined in jail. The affair originated in a quarrel about some work they were engaged in.

Peoples Press, Salem, 13 February 1857.

Overturned on a technicality.

State v. Bill Ely (1857).

Bill Ely was indicted in Beaufort County Superior Court on a charge of unlawful immigration. The indictment described him as a “free man of color.” The Court noted that Ely had come into North Carolina from Virginia in 1842. During the next two or three years, he went back to Virginia two or three times and stayed a few weeks each time, but had resided continually in Beaufort County for ten years.  Ely was found guilty and fined five hundred dollars. Because Ely was a “free negroe unable to pay the fine,” the court directed the sheriff to hire Ely out to any person willing to pay it. Ely appealed.

In a brief per curiam decision, the Supreme Court noted that Section 54 of Chapter 107 of the Revised Code made it illegal for a “free negro” (not a “free person of color”) to immigrate. Citing State v. Chavers, the Court ordered judgment arrested.

File #7301, Box 284, North Carolina Supreme Court Case Files, North Carolina State Archives.