Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Free colored Craven County slaveowners, no. 2.

Mr. Thomas Blackwell, who lived in Vance County, N. C, owned a favorite negro named Tom, who was a fine blacksmith. He was allowed to hire his own time and was finally permitted to buy his freedom at a price far below his worth; he was a very valuable man. This was about 1820. Tom prospered and bought two or three slaves. William Chavers was a well-educated negro who bought a good deal of land in Vance County, from 1750 to 1780, and he owned a good many slaves; his descendants also for several generations were slaveholders. John Sampson, of Wilmington, was a slaveholder in 1855.

From Calvin D. Wilson, “Negroes Who Owned Slaves,” Popular Science Monthly, vol. LXXXI, (1912).

Our oldest, best known and most highly respected.

Mr. Buckner Simmons, after an illness of ten years, died Tuesday morning. Mrs. Mary Simmons, better known to our old citizens as “Aunt Polly,” came to Cleveland 51 years ago with her two sons, and daughter from North Carolina. They settled in their present at 31 Newton street, and have lived there continuously since. Mr. Simmons was well-known and highly respected. His mother, aged 95 years, and sister, Mrs. Eliza Bryant, have the sincerest sympathy of the community. Funeral Thursday at 2 p.m., from the residence, Rev. J.M. Gilmore officiating.

Cleveland Gazette, Cleveland OH, 20 February 1904.

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Mrs. Eliza Bryant, aged 80 years, died May 13. Funeral from the house May 15, conducted by Rev. Ira A. Collins, assisted by Rev. W.T. Maxwell. Interment in Woodland Cemetery. Boyd & Dean, undertakers.

Cleveland Gazette, Cleveland OH, 25 May 1907.

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Mrs. Mary Simmons better known as “Aunt Polly” Simmons of 2188 E. 31st (Newton) St., mother of Mr. Buckner Simmons, deceased, one of our oldest, best known and most highly respected residents, died Monday night of old age and a complication of ailments. Mrs. Simmons was a North Carolinian by birth but came to Cleveland about 1860. Funeral Thursday afternoon from the residence, Dr. Chas. Bundy officiating, assisted by Rev. G.V. Clark. She was one of the church’s oldest members. E.F. Boyd, funeral director. Interment in Woodland cemetery.

Cleveland Gazette, Cleveland OH, 9 September 1911.