A settlement about his wife and children.
by Lisa Y. Henderson
Witness: Love McDaniel
On the 30th March 1860 I was in Goldsboro with Henry Simmons. I accompanied by Simmons called upon William B. Fields for Simmons and told him that Henry Simmons had come there to have a settlement with him about his Wife & children according to their bargain & that he Simmons had the money to pay up what he owed him, when he told me to mind my own business & then left me. This was on Friday night. On the next day upon some information received by me myself & Henry Simmons attended at the Office of Wm T Dortch in Company with George B Strong Attorney for Simmons. This meeting was for the Purpose of a Compromise but we could not do so. Fields presenting and account which was Considered on the Part of those acting for Simmons as extravagant & outrageous for the Keeping of Jenny & her children making his claim to amount of $2300,00 The account being objected to he Fields offered to take $2200.00 and refusing to take anything less. Simmons through his attorney Mr Strong offered to Pay Fields $1800.00 which he refused to take. Mr. Strong then offered to Pay $1900.00 in Cash & the amount of Simmons account against Fields in addition on One part of Simmons stating that had the money and offered to pay it & I know the fact that he had the money present at the time. This Fields refused and swore that would not take less than $2200.00. I had no interest in the negroes except to befriend Simmons and had no secret understanding with him that I was to own the negroes nor did I then nor do I now desire to own any of them. I know Henry Simmons to be a good Carpenter having employed him to build a house for me and employed him at the recommendation of Wm B Fields who said he was a smart good Workman. Simmons was in my empoyment at teh time I went to Goldsboro & went at his request to take charge of his money & have a proper settlement made with Fields for the negroes.
Cross Examined by Defendant
Did you hear Simmons admit in a conversation in Mr Dortch’s office that he had taken back from Mr Fields one hundred Dollars in small notes which were insolvent for which he had given Fields in Part Payment
Answer — I have no distinct recollection about it. Question 2 — Was any money exhibited to Fields in this conbversation of which you speak in your examination in chief. Answer Mr. Strong had it in his pocket & put his hand & his breast pocket & told Fields the money was there for him but did not show it. I know that Strong had it in his pocket. The money was Bank Rolls on different banks in ther State. /s/ Love McDaniel
Sworn & Subscribed W.A. Haskin(?) Clk & Mast
This affidavit was filed in support of the plaintiff in the bill of complaint of Henry Simmons, a free man of color of Cumberland County, against William B. Fields of Wayne County alleging that Fields had purchased for $1500 from the estate of L. Dortch slaves Jenny and her children Jane, Mary and Charles, who were Simmons’ wife and children. Fields allegedly agreed to convey the slaves to Simmons when Simmons repaid the purchase money, plus interest, but refused to turn them over when Simmons presented his cash. Documents in the file of Records of Slaves and Free Persons of Color, Wayne County Records, North Carolina State Archives.