Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Alamance County

Harbored by a free negro woman.

A RUNAWAY SHOT. – A negro man, the property of Mr. Thomas Foust, of Alamance, was shot near this place on Saturday last. He ran away the 15th of May 1861, after threatening his master’s life, and he has been prowling about this neighborhood for some time, and was harbored, it appears, by a free negro woman named Jane Day, living a few miles from this place. Several slaves were in confidence with him, and they often met at Jane Day’s and gambled together, one of whom betrayed him. On Saturday last several gentlemen armed went out to capture him, but he refused to surrender, swore he would not be taken, and threatened to cut his way through if opposed. He had ascended to the top of the chimney, intending to make his egress from the house that way, and was told to stop, or he would be shot. One of the company aimed at his legs, but the negro stooped just at the time to make a leap, and the load lodged in his abdomen. He fell on the outside, and a large bowie knife which he had, fell inside of the chimney. He died in fifteen or twenty minutes. – Hils. Rec.

The North Carolina Argus, 30 January 1862.

He ill-treated, whipped and abused her, then took up with a slave.

North Carolina, Guilford County    }   Superior Court of Law, To Fall Term, A.D. 1866.

To the Honorable, the Judges of the said Court:

Mary Hubbard, of said County, by her petitioner, respectfully showeth unto your Honor, that she was born free and was intermarried, about twelve years ago, with a free man of color of the name of John Hubbard; that they obtained a license from the Clerk of the County Court of Alamance County and the rites of matrimony were solemnized between them by a Justice of the peace in said county; that your petitioner and her said husband, John Hubbard, lived together agreeably, and as man and wife should, for about three years; that during this time she was treated affectionately and kindly; that for some cause, to your petitioner then unknown, the said John Hubbard, her husband aforesaid, began to ill-treat, beat, whip and abuse your petitioner in such wise as to make her life oppressive and burthensome; that this abuse of your petitioner continued from that time, with short intervals when he was less cruel and unkind to her, now and then, up to about the first of September, A.D. 1865; that prior to that time and to your petitioner’s quitting her said husband’s house, her said husband, the aforesaid John Hubbard, became intimate with one Emily, a slave then and in property of one Tobias May, of Alamance, and, as your petitioner is advised and believes, her said husband had habitually illicit and adulterous intercourse with the said Emily; that for these reasons and for the further reasons that her life with him became intolerable and unendurable, she left him and hath not cohabited with him since that time; that she is advised and believes, that the said John Hubbard, her husband aforesaid, hath since kept up his illicit, adulterous and criminal intercourse aforesaid, with the said Emily May, who is now free, and he is illegally and improperly cohabiting with the said Emily at this time, contrary to law and in despite of his vows of chastity and fidelity to your petitioner, made and entered into at the time of their marriage; that your petitioner hath resided in this county for the last twelve years and ever since she was married, and now resideth here; that the course of action hath existed ever since last September, which is about ten and a half months; that your petitioner hath kept her vows of chastity and fidelity to her said husband, both before and since this parting; that she is now leading a correct and chaste life:

Your petitioner, for the reasons aforesaid, most respectfully prays your Honor, that the bonds of matrimony, now existing between her and the said John Hubbard, her husband aforesaid, may be dissolved, and that your petitioner may have such other and further relief as the nature of her case may require and to your Honor may see merit.  She further prayeth, that the said John Hubbard be served with a copy of this libel, and a subpoena, commanding the said John Hubbard to appear at the next term of this honorable Court, to be held for the County aforesaid, at the courthouse in Greensboro; on the Fourth Monday after the Fourth Monday of September next; then and there, to plead, or answer, to this libel, and to stand to, abide by and perform the order, claims and Judgments of this Court. And an in duty-bound she will ever pray.    Scott & Scott, Attos. for Petitioner.

Divorce Records, Guilford County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

He abused and abandoned her.

State of North Carolina, Guilford County    }   Superior Court of Law In Fall Term 1866

To the Honorable the Judge of said County

Zilpha Ann Goings of the county and state aforesaid by her petition respectfully showeth unto your Honor, that she was born free, that she intermarried in the county of Alamance on 7th of August 1858 with one Barrister Goings, a free man of color, that the said Barrister obtained a license from the clerk of the County Court for said County of Alamance, and the rites of matrimony were solemnized between them by a Justice of the Peace according to Law that the said Barrister lived [with] her about eighteen months, that for the first three months their life was peaceful and happy, that about that time, for some reason unknown to your Petitioner but wholly without Just cause, the said Barrister became Jealous of her, and began to curse, whip, illtreat, and threaten your Petitioner, that this course of conduct was kept up until some time in June 1860, when the said Barrister without cause and against the will of your Petitioner, left her and went to the county of Chatham, that in the autumn of that year, he returned to her, staid three weeks, quarreled with her, abused her threatened to take her life and again abandoned her, that she strove to make him happy and induce him to live with her, but it was all in vain, that he hath never returned to her house since that time, and has wholly and cruelly abandoned her, that he hath never since then helped her, in furnishing her in any thing to subsist, or paid any the least attention to her, whatever, that she is advised and believes that he has led a lewd life, since he quited her, that she is informed and believes, that he after leaving her, visited one Ruth Bass, a free woman of color, had illicit intercourse with her, and that afterwards the said Ruth was delivered [page missing] ly him, that she good reasons to believe and does believe that he has had illicit and adulterous intercourse with persons to her unknown, in the county of Chatham where he lived for some time after he left her, that she has not heard of him for about  two years, and does not know now where he lives, or in what manner he is conducting himself, that she has resided in Guilford county over seven years, that the course of action has existed for nearly eight years, that she hath born herself, as a wife should, hath observed her vows, of chasity and fidelity, and regretted no little that she could not induce her husband to continue with her, and observe his own vows of chastity and fidelity, help her to make a livelyhood, and lead with her a correct and upright life, that she hath never given him any cause for the course he has since stronly pursured, your Petitioner therefore prays your Honor that she may be dissolved from the bonds of matrimony with her said husband, the said Barrister Goings, and for further and such other relief, as the nature of her case may require and to your Honor may seem meet. May it please your Honor to grant unto her [illegible] writ of supoena directed to the said Barrister Goings, commanding him to appear at the next Term of the Superior Court of Law to be held for the county of Guilford at the Court in Greensboro on 4th Monday after 4th Monday in September 1866 then and there to plead, or answer the Libel of your Petitioner and stand to, abide by, and perform such orders and Judgments as shall lie made in this case, And as in duty bound will pray     Scott & Scott Atty

Divorce Records, Guilford County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

In the 1850 census of Southern Division: Barister Goans, 13, in the household of William Workman, 32. In the 1860 census of Eastern Division, Chatham County: Barrister Goings, 30, and Emeline Goings, 28.  In the 1870 census of Pittsboro Road North Side, Chatham County: Barrister Goens, 40, wife Nancy, 35, and children John, 11, George, 7, and Nathan, 5.

In the 1860 census of Alamance County: Stephen Bass, 60, with Ruth, 16, Sarah, 12, Jonathan, 10, and Eliza Bass, 6, and Maria, 23, M.J., 6, and John Dunnan, 2.

Jeffreys, woodworkers.

Thomas Day—who was born in 1801 in Greensville County, Virginia, to mixed-race parents, John and Mourning Day—moved with his family to Warren County, North Carolina, in 1817. When he moved to Hillsborough in the early 1820s, it appears that he became friends with members of the Jeffreys family who, although listed as “mulattos” in official records, were actually of Indian origin. The Jeffreys were part of a larger group of Occaneechi people from Virginia who had settled in the northwest section of Orange County, which became Alamance County in 1849. As with the Day family, the Jeffreys family had originated in Greensville County, Virginia. In 1830 Uriah Jeffreys served as a bondsman for Thomas Day when he married Aquilla Wilson. A bondsman was usually a close family member (such as a father, brother, or uncle) who assured the court that the couple should be married, and that the groom would not change his mind and leave the bride at the altar. Uriah Jeffreys must have been a close friend of Thomas to agree to be his bondsman. Historic records make it clear that both men were cabinetmakers, and it is possible that Uriah and his brother Nathan worked with Day for a short time. In 1828 Uriah decided to move. He advertised in the Hillsborough Recorder that he had a variety of furniture from his cabinetmaking business for sale, including “Bureaus, Bedsteads, Tables.”

Uriah moved to Ohio with two of his brothers, Parker and Augustus. Unfortunately, they experienced the same type of prejudice in the North that they had tried to leave behind. The law required free blacks entering Ohio to pay a bond of $500 to county officials. Whites thought this would guarantee that only free blacks of “good character” would settle and be able to support themselves. Parker Jeffreys refused to pay, insisting that his blood was a mixture of Indian and white, and not black. The case went to the county court, where he lost. Jeffreys persevered, and the Ohio Supreme Court heard his case in 1842. In Parker Jeffreys v. Ankeny et al., the supreme court justices ruled that he was an Indian with no African ancestry and did not have to pay the bond. Members of the Jeffreys family continued to make furniture near Xenia, Ohio, well into the twentieth century.

Nathan Jeffreys lived the rest of his life in North Carolina. It seems that he continued to work as a journeyman cabinetmaker, because in 1834 he is listed as such in a court document. However, in the 1850 and 1860 censuses, he is listed as a farmer owning $500 in property. Many cabinetmakers supplemented their incomes by farming. Day clearly considered Nathan a close family friend, because in 1851 in a letter to his own daughter, Mary Ann, he mentions the death of Nathan’s daughter, Safroney.

Fine furniture made by Nathan Jeffreys between 1845 and 1855 is known to exist in a private collection. The construction techniques that he used are similar to those found on the bureaus made in Day’s Milton shop, indicating that the two men probably worked together at one time. Jeffreys and other members of the Indian community passed on their woodworking skills. His great-great-grandson, William Bill Jeffries, learned woodworking from his father. He built houses as well as chairs during most of the twentieth century.

Adapted from Dr. Patricia Phillips Marshall, “Indian Cabinetmakers in Piedmont North Carolina,” www.ncpedia.org

Tarheels for freedom.

October, 10th 1856.

To the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina.

The Memorial of James Newlin of the County of Alamance respectfully represents:

That his slave Sam, commonly called Sam Morphis, desires to be emancipated buy the General Assembly with the privilege of remaining in North Carolina. Your memorialist hereby begs leave to recommend the care of the said Sam to the favorable consideration of your Body. He believes that Sam can present to your Body decisive testimonials of a behaviour upon his part uniformly respectful to whites. Sam has been for several years engaged as a hack-driver and waiter at the University, and, your memorialist is informed and believes, has made himself acceptable to all who have employed him, or in any way had dealings with him. Your memorialist will cheerfully enter into any bond which may be required to secure the State in case of his emancipation; and again asks a favorable consideration for this prayer for freedom.

And will ever pray &c               /s/ James Newlin

Appended to Newlin’s petition is a second petition signed by 238 students and faculty members of the University of North Carolina.

General Assembly Session Records, November 1858-February 1859, Box 11, North Carolina State Archives.

Struck over the eyes and skull broken.

Killed with an Axe.

Liberty, N.C. – Alex Heath, an old colored man who lived about 2 ½ miles east of here, just over in Alamance County, was found dead in bed on the morning of Feb. 7th. Someone had gone there the night before and killed him with an axe. He was struck right over the eyes and his skull broken in. It appeared that the old man had gone to bed and was asleep when he was killed. Uncle Alex, as we all called him, was a good, honest old man, and his word was his bond. He had many friends among his white neighbors. He had always been a free negro. Quite a number of Liberty people went down to see him last Sunday and they say he was the most pitiful sight they have ever seen. He had a negro man and his wife living in the house with him and they had some words the morning before and the man and his wife spent the night at a neighbor’s house about ¼ of a mile distant. He was away from the house two hours or more and suspicion was so strong he was put under arrest.

I have thought for some time that the meanest man on earth was the one who wrote letters and signed no name to them and slipped them under doors at night with the purpose of causing hard feelings among neighbors, but I reckon the man who killed Alex Heath was just a little meaner, and if we had the right man I think he ought to be beheaded and let the devil get him before his feet get cold.

… — Liberty correspondent.

Asheboro Courier, 12 February 1903.

Donations to the cause.

DONATIONS

To Company K, 6th Reg’t, N.C. State Troops, by Pleasant Grove District, Alamance, collected and carried to Virginia, by Lieutenant Levi Whitted.

Egbert Corn, (free negro,) 1 quilt; Ned Corn, (free negro) 2 quilts; Dixon Corn, (free negro) 2 blankets: … Sam Martin (free negro) 1 pair shoes ….

Weekly Standard, Raleigh, 10 December 1862.

In the 1860 census, Alamance County: Egbert Corn, mulatto, no age given, farmer, shared a household with Lem Jeffries, mulatto.  Also, in adjacent households: Ned Corn, 60, and children Martha, 28, Ebra, 27, Thos., 24, and L. Corn, 22, plus C. Anderson, 23; and Dixon Corn, 64, wife Tempy, 65, and A.J., 27, Giles, 24, Frank, 18, and J. Mc. Corn, 5, plus, Bill, 15, Haywood, 12, John, 18, and Jackson Heath, 26.