She was delivered of a colored child.
by Lisa Y. Henderson
To the Hon’bl the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina –
The memorial and petition of John Fugate of the County of Wilkes respectfully represents that he intermarried with one Patsey Johnson on the 8th day of May 1823, and that on the 8th day of the ensuing July the said Patsey was delivered of a coloured child – That at the time of the intermarriage of your petitioner, he had no knowledge of the pregnancy of the said Patsey, and that as soon as the facts came to his knowledge, and the child was discovered to be a coloured one, he immediately abandoned the said Patsey, and has had no kind of connection with her since – Your Petitioner further represents that he is extremely poor and not able to make application to the Superior Court for relief, even if his case was cognizable by that authority, of which he is informed there are some doubts – He therefore prays that your Honorable Body will take his case into consideration and pass an act absolving him from the bonds of matrimony with the said Patsey, and he as in duty bound will ever pray. /s/ John Fugate Dec’r 20th 1826
[A supporting affidavit signed by 14 friends and neighbors is attached.]
General Assembly Session Records, December 1826-February 1827, Box 4, North Carolina State Archives.
Could it be that these wives who delivered ‘colored’ babies were acutally mixed race themselves (may not have known as linage could have been trying to breed the black out as the Bunches and Simmons did) and the genes just decided to show themselves with that particular child ?
I don’t know, but as there have always been many more white women than phenotypically-white-but-actually-mixed-race women, I’d say that the odds are “no.” I have several white female ancestors who bore children by men of color. (Hence, my father’s H3 maternal haplotype.) Census records are replete with examples. And I don’t mean women who belonged to well-known FPC families like the Bunches or Simmonses. (No comment on “breeding the black out.”) I mean ordinary, if transgressive, white women.