Very industrious, good morals … however.
by Lisa Y. Henderson
A Valuable Negro Man for Sale.
ON the 4th day of June next, in the Town of Fayetteville, at public Auction, I shall offer for sale, a negro man of middle age, very industrious and of good morals, a painter by Trade. He is known by the name of WILEY P. LASSITER, a free man of color; he has been free all his life till recently, when he made himself a Slave to me, by Indenture, for the consideration of my endorsing a considerable amount of debt for him, and having it to pay. I have allowed him free privileges, as he formerly had, for more than two years, that he might redeem himself, but finding this course unavailing, I shall necessarily resort to the above. Terms will be made known on day of sale. EMSLEY LASSITER. May 5, 1858.
Fayetteville Weekly Observer, 17 May 1858.
Wiley P(hillips) Lassiter was the son of Miles Lassiter, an African American Quaker from Randolph County, NC. Miles died in 1850. Wiley was a painter and cabinetmaker. He had provided a number of coffins and carriages to Michael Bingham but had not been paid. He sued him in Superior Court. He won 7 judgements but before the decision provisions could be ruled Bingham died and the judge vacated the decision. Wiley had mortgaged everything to pay for legal counsel. He lost everything subsequently. Having gone to Fayetteville presumably to work he wrote home asking for assistance but the letter does not mention the indenture or impending sale. He and his family (wife Elizabeth and children) can be found as free people of color in the 1860 census. Elizabeth “Betsy” (née Ridge) returned with the children to Randolph County by the 1870 census. Among his descendants were High Point lawyer T F Sanders and Washington D C architect Harold Sanders. See: Miles Lassiter (ca 1777-1850)… My research journey to home (Backintyme Publishing, 2011).
Thank you providing the back story to this post, Margo! There was an outlying FPC Lassiter family in Edgecombe/Wilson County that I’ve long suspected was related to either the Randolph or Gates County Lassiters. Would you happen to know? Thanks again, and Merry Christmas!
I don’t know but have suspected the same I haven’t done any research on them to speak of so I just don’t have good info. I did notice and someone by the name of Wiley living in Fayetteville also in 1860 but he was about 25 years older. According to what I have found he came from Eastern North Carolina. I think it was Wilson. He was also a painter I think. Wiley is a popular name but I thought the coincidence curious. Merry Christmas!
The following letter was written by Wiley to his brother Colier/Calier back in Randolph County in August 1858. He was clearly still in debt but apparently not sold as a slave. As I said he was counted as free in the 1860 census. I have no other info on him after that date.
August the 10th 1858
Mr Calier Calier Lassiter
dear Brother I rite a fu lines to you to inform you how
times are with us I can inform you that too of my fam-
ily ar at this time doun sick. Bettey is vary lo can not sit
up any nor waulk on stepe intirly helpelis. too doctters
ar atending to them. Bettey was taken vary sudin afu
days a go she is gitting better we think this is vary
much aginst me stopes me from wark and putting me in
debt for doctters feas. I have a hard time hear sis Jane is
hear staing with us which is a grate helpe. I cold git no
person to helpe us as she dos for les then five dolars a
weak sh stas for 75 cents as son as tha git wel a nuf I
want to cary my family out in the cuntry sum fu miles if
tha cant be any location found for them in randolph tha
all want to go back tar when we leaf town or I should
has moved out in the country last winter.
I am a bige to work hear until I git all paid that I owe
hear and you ar lik to sufer on the a count. Johnsey
Cranford inform me that his propaty was blege to be
sold on my a count unles I cold rase sum muney for
him by the firs of next month pleas Calier to se Jonsey
Cranford or git John may to se him as son as you git
this letter and tel him to tri and mak sum a rang ment
with his dets to give a littl more time I have to jobs of
work to do as son as I can git the m don I whal send him
sum muney under the presant condision I am in I se that
I cant rase aney muney fur him as son as I have inten-
ded in my condision tha dont wants advance muney un-
til the wurk is done unles I had sum way to make them
secure I am going to let sum of my debts stand hear and
pay Johnsey and you the first muney that I rase ex
septng that I spend for sum thing to eat pleas to se him
run home he thinks I am not triing to do aney thing fur
him under the presant surcumstances I am confind at
home earning nothing until my famley git better of I
must make sum other arrangment from the way I am
lifing one of my famley cant do aney thing hear to
helpe me I wil rit to you again in a short time.
W. P. Lasseter
From: Williams (2011). Miles Lassiter (ca 1777-1850) An Early African American Quaker from Lassiter Mill, Randolph County, North Carolina: My Research Journey to Home.(Backintyme Publishing)