Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Category: Rights

Nights as well as days.

State of North Carolina, Wayne County    } Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, November term AD 1860

The Grand Jurors for the State upon their oath present that Willie Simmons a Free Negro late of the county of Wayne with force and arms at and in Said county of Wayne on the first day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and Sixty and on divers other days times, nights as well before or afterwords up to the taking of this inquisition a Shot Gun did keep in his house and he the said Willie Simmons did wear keep and Carry the aforesaid Shot Gun without having obtained a license therefor from the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of Wayne County within one year next preceeding the time of keeping wearing and carrying the aofresaid Shot Gun contrary to the form of the Statute in Such case made and provided and against the Peace and dignity of the State.     Everitt.  Sol.

Records of Slaves and Free Persons of Color, Wayne County Records, North Carolina State Archive.

He may or may not be the child’s father; she has no right to say.

State v. Barrow, 7 NC 121 (1819).

A man charged as the putative father of a “bastard child” is entitled to offer evidence that the mother of the child is “of mixed blood” within “the fourth degree” and therefore excluded by law from testifying against him. Case remanded to the county court to hear defendant’s Barrow’s evidence and determine the competency of the witness.

State v. Thomas Long, 31 NC 488 (1849).

This case arose in Martin County. In May 1848, Lucinda Simpson swore before two magistrates that Thomas Long was the father of her unborn child. The magistrates issued a warrant for Long to appear at the next term of court. He moved to dismiss the proceedings “for the reason that Lucinda Simpson was a woman of mixed blood, within the fourth degree, and therefore incompetent to give testimony against a white man.” The case was dismissed, but Simpson swore again in October 1848 (apparently after the child was born) that Long was the father. Long again succeeded in getting the matter quashed. The decision was upheld in Superior Court and appealed to the State Supreme Court. Double jeopardy; judgment affirmed.

Penalties for gaming and gathering.

ORDINANCES. From and after the 20th Instant, the following Ordinances will be rigidily [sic] enforced. By Order of the Commissioners, NATHAN TISDALE, C.C.

Newbern, June 16, 1827 – ‘82 83.

“In order to prevent as much as possible all indecent, riotous and scandalous behavior of free negros and slaves, It is hereby ordained, that if any negroes or mulattoes shall be found gaming at fives cat, or other games on Sundays, or shall be seen gathering together in the streets, or other places, at any time, in a quarrelsome, riotous, or disorderly manner, each of them shall, for every such offence, on conviction before a Magistrate, or the Intendent of Police, at his discretion, suffer the punishment of twenty four hours imprisonment, or whipping, not exceeding thirty-nine lashes on his or her bare back.  Passed 10th July, 1801.

Newbern Sentinel, 16 June 1827.

No victuals-selling or butter-buying.


At a meeting of the Commissioners of the Town of Hillsborough, held on Tuesday evening, August 3d, it was ORDERED, That the Ordinance of March 13th be so altered, that the Magistrate of Police shall not be authorized to issue any new licence to any slave or free negro, to sell victuals at the Depot, after this date, or to any white person without the payment of five dollars per month.

And it is further ordered, That no slave or free negro shall be permitted to buy chickens, butter, eggs, or other provisions, for the purpose of selling again, under the penalty of twenty lashes, if a slave, or a fine of ten dollars if a free negro, for every offence.   Teste, DENNIS HEARTT, Town Clerk.   August 5.

Hillsborough Recorder, 5 August 1863.


Legislature of North-Carolina.

SENATE.  Wednesday, Nov. 23.

Mr. Montgomery, of Hertford, submitted the following resolution, which was adopted:

Whereas much inconvenience and unnecessary expenditure of public money has been the result of trying free negroes and mulattoes by a jury: to remedy which,

Be it resolved, That the Judiciary committee be instructed to inquire into the expediency of passing a law to constitute three justices of the peace to try free negroes and mulattoes for all offences against the State, other than capital, without the intervention of a jury; and that they report by bill or otherwise.

Star, Raleigh, 3 December 1829.

Void and of no effect.

AMENDMENTS to the Constitution of the State of North Carolina.


So much of the constitution as entitles free persons of colour to vote for members of the Senate, and of the House of Commons, is hereby made void and of no effect.

Proposed amendments published in Carolina Watchman, 23 March 1833.

[Sidenote: Free people of color ultimately were stripped of the right to vote in 1837. — LYH]

License to carry a shotgun.

Ordered by the Court that the following Free Persons of Colour be granted license to carry a shotgun for twelve months next ensuing viz:  Jordan Locklayer, Fed Wilkins, Willie Jones, Jesse Richardson, William Jones, Gideon Richardson, John Smith, Reasa Richardson, Frederick Haithcock, Lem’l Morgan, Aaron Locklayer, Simon Purner, Nicholas Richardson, Richard Conn, Julius Flood, David Reynolds, Robert Mitchum, Ellick Jones, Hardy Richardson, Herrod Scott, Norman Scott

Docket, August Term 1848, Court Records, Halifax County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

He deserves a gun.

Agreeably to an act of Assembly passed during the session of 1840-41 Chapter XXX. Hilary Coor free man of color petitions the worshipful Court of pleas and Quarter sessions for license to use a gun for one year from the date hereof.  August 17, 1841

We recommend Hilary Coor as deserving the benefit of the act cited above.

John G. Eliot, J. Martin, Harris Barfield, M.G. Harrell, Saml. Flowers, L. Cogdell, John Manly, Aaron Martin

Records of Slaves and Free Persons of Color, Wayne County Miscellaneous Records, North Carolina State Archives.

[Sidenote: According to the 1850 census, Coor (who was also known Hillary Croom)’s supporters were a collection of farmers and one school teacher, Eliot. Coor/Croom named Eliot as the executor of his 1843 will, which requested that Eliot free Croom’s wife Hannah and their children Charles, Ann and Tempie.  Lewis Cogdell, J. Martin, David Cogdell and Daniel Cogdell witnessed the will. In 1850, Hillery Crooms headed a household on the south side of the Neuse that included children Annie, 14, Charles, 12, Tempy, 10, and John, 9, as well as two slaves, one of which may have been his wife. Two years later, he filed a petition with the North Carolina legislature seeking to bring his freed wife and children back into the state. — LYH]

He gave the last and final vote.


I am indebted to my uncle Alex Smith for the following short history of Hillsboro, written by Lawyer Joe Turner over twenty years ago, thinking it may interest some of the readers of the leader, I send same for print if you see fit. – F.W. Nelson.

Hillsboro was one of the five towns entitled to a representative (see Wheelers history if it be five or seven). Governor Graham and Chief justice Nash were Borough representatives. Traditions says it was a tie between Gov. Graham and his competitor when Hazekiah Revels an old issue free negro was sent for and gave the last and final vote for Graham, dropping this speech with his vote, “Ki Revels always votes for a gentlemen.” Before the next election the constitution was amended and the free negroes with old Ki Revels were disenfranched. …

Mebane Leader, 13 July 1911.

Did unlawfully live as man & wife with a slave.

State of North Carolina, Wilson County to wit:

Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions January Term AD 1859

The Jurors for the State on their oath present that Benjamin Price a free negro late of the County of Wilson on the 1st day of December AD 1858 and divers other days and times both before and after that day at and in the county aforesaid did unlawfully cohabit & live as man & wife with Easter a slave the property of Dempsey Barnes contrary to the form of the statute in such cases made & provided and against the peace & dignity of the state.    /s/ B.B. Barnes Sol

[Reverse: State vs Ben Price A Slave for Wife / Gov Pros Wit Dempsey Barnes  / Not a true Bill W.E.J. Shallington For’n Grand Jury]

Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.