‘Tis supposed he is harbored by a free negro.

by Lisa Y. Henderson

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.