Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

He supposed she had gone to New Bern.


We learn from Mr. O.F. Alexander, that on the 24th of February last, his negro girl Sarah Jane, left his premises without any cause, and he supposed she had gone to Newbern. On Friday last, the 18th of March, he was informed that a free negro, called John Shavers, had carried her off. That night two of his neighbors and himself went to look Shavers up, and luckily succeeded in taking him. On examining him he said he had carried the girl off to the edge of Onslow county and left her in a piece of woods, in Mr. Seth King’s field, he being at the time hired at some Salt Works near by. Mr. Alexander kept Shavers secure until Saturday morning, when he made his escape, carrying off a trace chain locked around his ankles. Mr. Alexander repaired to the place Shavers had described to him where he left the girl, and about 150 yards from the road, with some friends, found the dead body of the girl covered over with limbs, straw, etc. Her head was separated from the body – by her side lay a lightwood limb, from which most probably the unfortunate girl received the fatal blow.

A jury of inquest was called, and their verdict was, “that Sarah Jane came to her death by a blow or blows inflicted on the back of her head by the hands of John Shavers.”

A reward of $100 is offered for his arrest. Wil. Journal, 26th.

North Carolina Argus (Wadesboro), 7 April 1864.

Armwoods on the lam.

$200 Reward!

Stop the Thieves and runaway Mulattoes.

WHEREAS, sometime ago, Jemima Armwood, a free mulatto woman, for the sum of $200, (to enable her to purchase her husband, named Richard, or commonly called Dick Youngblood, well known in Barnwell District, So. Ca.) bound three of her Girls, named Becky, about 17 years old, Teena, about 14, and Darcas, about 12, to me, to serve as indented servants, and on Thursday, the 8th instant, they inveigled them from my service and removed to parts unknown, taking them my three servants; they besides committed several acts of swindling, theft, outrages, and other rogueries, to myself and others, — such as stealing my sulkey and harness, and selling them in Hamburg, S.C., on the 7th instant; and on the 8th, assaulting and beating a white man, a respectable old gentleman; and many other villainies too numerous to be here inserted.

A reward of $200 dollars will be paid for apprehending the said Jemima, her husband Dick, Becky, Teena, and Darcas, and deliver them to me, or in the Augusta Jail. They have besides five smaller children, one a sucking baby, and may probably have their son, named Daniel, about 22 years of age, all mulattoes, 10 or 11 in number. They started with a cart and a white blind mare; the cart is an uncommon one, it has a very large new body nailed to the shafts, the wheels are from an old gig, originally painted green, but dirty – the axletree of the cart is wood, and the ends that goes in the wheels are iron. Dick is short, about 40 or 50 years of age, illiterate but keen, artful, and well acquainted with the world – most any subject can furnish him with grounds on which to build plausible stories, to secure in his favor the sympathy of others; (and girls are known to be prolific subjects.) Therefore, in order, if possible to counteract his cunning, and as I am not known at a distance, let it be known that I am a married man, with wife and seven small children, the oldest only ten years. I employed the three girls in nursing my small children, and to no other work, and never whipped them; but Dick gave Teena a most unmerciful whipping on the 8th instant, for not robbing me according his directions, and may probably place that whipping too, to my credit, in order to enlist the feelings of others in his favor. – They have been traced to Fayetteville, N.C., and arrived there between the 18th and 26th February. JOHN GUIMARIN, Watch Maker, No. 171, Broad Street. Augusta, Geo. Feb. 23, 1827.

Fayetteville Weekly Observer, 3 May 1827.

Satisfied with his guilt, the spectators immediately hung him.


MURFREESBORO, N.C., Dec. 16, 1862.

On Saturday 13th inst., Mr. Joshua Ferguson, of this (Hertford) county, left his house, taking his little son along; he soon after told the little fellow to return home and he went on. Mr. F. was not heard from for some days, when his mutilated remains, partially charred, were found near the cabin of a free negro named Artis. Artis was taken into custody and his wife and father informed the captors, that Artis had murdered Mr. Ferguson, first striking him on the head with a hoe, afterwards chopped him to pieces with an axe and attempted to burn the body up. Being satisfied of the guilt of Artis, the incensed spectators immediately hung him. S.J.W.

The Spirit of the Age (Raleigh), 22 December 1862.

She staggered, fell and died.

Coroner’s Inquest.

Coroner Jones held an inquest yesterday on the body of Mary Green, a free mulatto woman. The particulars of her death as we have heard are as follows: She, in company with another woman, started to Green’s Mill, about one mile from town, sometime during the middle of the day on Monday. Just before getting to the mill, Mary was observed to stagger and fall, apparently in a fit. Her companion ran for assistance, and when she returned found that she was dead. The verdict of the jury was in accordance with the above facts.

Wilmington Daily Herald, 27 July 1859.

That greatest curse.

DROPPED DEAD. – A free mulatto named Dick Gee dropped dead in the streets on Thursday last – another victim of that greatest curse of the human race, intemperance, which annually sends so many thousands to the grave. So says the Fayetteville Carolinian.

The Daily Delta (New Bern), 17 May 1859.

Docket report.

Edgecombe Superior Court.

Griffin Stewart, a free negro, charged with the murder of Penny Anderson, was removed on his own affidavit to Nash county, to be tried on Wednesday next.

Alfred Hagans, a free negro, charged with a rape on a white woman, removed on his own affidavit to the Superior Court of Wayne county, to be held on the 1st Monday of April.

Malachi Anderson, a free negro, charged with grand larceny, moved likewise to Wayne, on his own affidavit.

Tarboro’ Press, 17 March 1849.

Jail break, no. 6.


Fifty Dollars Reward.

I will pay a reward of $25 each for the arrest and delivery to me of JOHN AMMONS and WILLIAM PARKER, who broke out of the jail of Robeson county on the night of the 4th inst.

Ammons is a white man about 35 years of age, fair skin, florid complexion, light curly hair, blue eyes, looks down, but on the whole rather good-looking. He is fleshy and heavy built, and about 5 feet 8 or 10 inches high.

Parker is a bright free mulatto, with straight bushy hair; he stands erect and looks up; speaks freely, and has a pleasing expression of countenance. He is about 5 feet 6 or 8 inches high. He is well known about Lower Fayetteville, and as a boat hand on the Cape Fear River. REUBEN KING, Sheriff. Lumberton, Robeson Co., N.C., August 6, 1852.

The North Carolinian (Fayetteville), 4 September 1852.

He stole a free negro pass.

$200 REWARD.

Ran away from the subscriber, on the 10th day of October last, a negro man named PETER, about twenty-one years of age, jetty black complexion, high forehead, teeth of snowy whiteness, and remarkable for the smallness of his ears. He has an impediment in his speech, and when closely examined or agitated, stutters. He is by trade a Blacksmith, is about five feet eight inches high, and carried off with him a variety of clothing. It is supposed he will make for some non-slave holding State. He stole a free negro pass, in the name of JAMES WEAVER, dated about five years ago, a copy of which is subjoined. No doubt he will call himself WEAVER. I will give the above reward for his apprehension and confinement in any jail in the United States, so that I get him again. JOHN HEADEN, St. Lawrence P.O., Chatham co. N.C.

The North Carolina Star (Raleigh), 26 February 1835.

Sold to servitude for idleness and dissipation.

Law. – The Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions for Edgecombe county held its sittings in this place last week. No case of public interest was tried, excepting that of Allen Morgan, a free negro, who was condemned and sold to servitude for one year, under the act of 1826, requiring free negros who are spending their time in idleless and dissipation, to give bond for the industrious and peaceable deportment for one year, or be hired out for a term of service not exceeding three years.

North Carolina Free Press (Halifax), 5 September 1828.

‘Tis supposed he is harbored by a free negro.

State of North Carolina, Craven County, ss.

By RICHARD ELLIS, and WILLIAM TISDALE, Esquires, two of the Justices for the said County.

NEWBERN, June 27, 1777.

WHEREAS complaint hath been made to us, by James Davis, that a negro fellow named SMART, very black, about 5 feet 8 inches high, well made, and very likely, speaks broken English, but very artful and insinuateing, is run away, and is supposed to be lurking about committing many acts of felony.

These are therefore to command the said slave forthwith to surrender himself, and return home to his said Master. And we do also require the Sheriff of the said County to make diligent search and pursuit after the said slave, and him having found, to apprehend and secure, so that he may be conveyed to his said Master, or otherwise discharged as the law directs. And the said sheriff is hereby empowered to raise and take with him such power of his County that he shall think fit, for apprehending the said slave. And we do hereby, by virtue of an act of assembly of this state concerning servants and slaves, intimate and declare, if the said slave doth not surrender himself, and return home, immediately after the publication of these presents, that then any person may kill or destroy the said slave, by such means as he or they may think fit, without accusation or impeachment of any crime or offence for so doing, or without incurring any penalty or forfeiture thereby. RICHARD ELMS, WILLIAM TISDALE.

N.B. ‘Tis supposed he is harboured about South River, by one Abel Carter, a free negro, as he has been seen there several times. I will give fifty dollars if delivered to me at Green Springs, or 20 dollars for his head. JAMES DAVIS.

North Carolina Weekly Gazette (New Bern), 14 November 1778.

In the 1790 census of Craven County, Abel Carter is head of a household of seven free people of color.