Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Sold for the crime of immigration.

On Monday last, we witnessed the novel spectacle of selling a free negro, Howell Thomas, who was condemned at our last Court, to be sold for ten years, for the “crime” of emigrating to this State from “old Figinny,” was put up to the highest bidder, according to law, and was knocked down at the moderate price of fifty-two dollars – “dog cheap!” – Oxford Exam.

North Carolina Free Press (Halifax), 19 June 1832.

Not guilty!

A Coroner’s Inquest was held on Sunday last, on the dead body of a new born colored infant, found half-buried in a ditch, in a frequented part of the City. The verdict of the Jury was, that the child was born alive, and inhumanely killed by its unnatural mother, a free woman of color, named MARTHA DICKINSON.

The North Carolina Star (Raleigh), 29 January 1845.



No case involving life was taken up before Wednesday, when MARTHA DICKINSON (a free woman of color) was tried for the murder of her new-born child. The Prosecution was conducted by the Attorney General, and the Defence by C.C. BATTLE, Esq. There was no doubt, from the evidence, whether the child died from violence or neglect, and the Jury, after remaining out several hours, returned a Verdict of Not Guilty!

Weekly Raleigh Register, 4 April 1845.

He sold me a free man as a slave.


WILL be paid for the apprehension and confinement, so that he may be brought to justice, of WRIGHT ALLEN, who commonly calls himself Wm. Allen, who sold to me as a slave, a free mulatto boy named DENNIS. Said Allen is a very stout man, dark complexion, about 40 years of age, has an uncommon large hand and nose, the hand very covered with hair. I will give $200 reward for the recovery of the $500 which I paid Allen for the negro, or in proportion for any part of it. He carried with him from Fayetteville about ten days ago, a tall bright mulatto free woman named Mary, and it has been ascertained that they went North together by way of the Wilmington Rail Road. He wore a grey coatee with outside pockets without flaps, a black silk hat, made by J.R. & D. Gee, of Fayetteville, whose names are in the hat; his own name also is worked in the hat with yellow silk. Any information addressed to the Subscriber will be promptly attended to. DANIEL McKINNON. Stewartsville, Richmond County, N.C., November 27, 1838.

Fayetteville Weekly Observer, 28 November 1838.


Runaway bound boy, no. 12.


FROM me, in October last, HENRY MARTIN, a free boy of color, about 18 years of age. The said Martin is a bound apprentice to me. All persons are hereby forbid harboring or trusting him on my account. Any person so doing will be prosecuted to the extent of the law. J.G. SMITH Fayetteville, Dec’r 6, 1856.

Fayetteville Weekly Observer, 8 December 1856.

The Carroll brothers hang.

Raleigh, April 1. – We understand that a free boy of color, named Ned Carroll, was tried at Johnston Superior Court last week, for an assault upon a white female, with an intent to commit a rape. The case was clearly made out to the Jury, who bro’t in a verdict of Guilty. He is sentenced to be hung on the 25th instant. – Register.

North-Carolina Free Press (Halifax), 11 April 1828.


Supreme Court. – On Thursday, the case of HENRY CARROLL, a free boy of color, indicted for an attempt to commit a rape upon a young woman, in the county of Johnston, was taken up, having been removed here for trial. The charge was made out on behalf of the State, with great clearness, by the Attorney General SAUNDERS. The Prisoner was defended by Messrs. MANLY and GEO. W. HAYWOOD, with great ingenuity, considering the utter hopelessness of the task assigned them by the Court. The Jury remained out but a few minutes, before they returned with a verdict of GUILTY, on Friday, after a suitable address to the pronounce sentence of DEATH against him, to be carried into execution, on Friday the 6th of May next. It is a singular and melancholy coincidence, which ought to be stated, that a brother of this boy’s was hung in Johnston county, only a year or two ago, for a like offence! This startling fact illustrates more forcibly the uselessness of Public Executions, than whole columns of argument. Ral. Reg.

Roanoke Advocate (Halifax), 21 April 1831.