Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Anson County

An unfavorable report.

Mr. Montgomery, of Hertford, from the same committee [on propositions and grievances], to home was referred the petition of sundry citizens of Anson county, praying the passage of an act, to permit Ralph Freeman, a freeman of color of said county, to exercise the privileges and functions of a preacher of the Gospel, made an unfavorable report thereon, and asking to be discharged from the further consideration of the subject, in which report the Senate concurred, and the committee was discharged accordingly.

Journals of the Senate and House of Commons of the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina at the Session of 1832-33 (Raleigh, 1833).

He now has a desire to travel.

Know all men by these presents that we, Charles Hinson, Solomon Williams, & John Smith are well acquainted with Samuel Conrad (free man of color) whose forefinger was cut off by accident when he was a boy & now having a desire to travel, wishes for a certificate of character from us, know therefore that we have been acquainted with Samuel Conrad for 13 years (since the year 1810) & believe him to be an honest & punctual man & just & fair in his dealings & faithful in his labors & undertakings & we do recommend him as such & do further believe that he will continue to conduct himself in good & proper manner, given under our hands & seals this 22nd day of July in the year of our Lord 1823

Deed Book U, page 545, Register of Deeds Office, Anson County Courthouse, Wadesboro. 

[Thanks to Steve Bailey, Anson County genealogist. He may be reached at]

Ralph Freeman.


Elder Ralph was a colored man, and at first a slave belonging to a man in Anson county, N. C. Soon after making a profession of religion and being baptized, it was discovered that he had impressions to preach; he was licensed by the church of which he was a member. His owner proposed to sell him, and the brethren bought and gave to him his freedom. Soon after this, he was ordained to the work of the ministry. He travelled and preached a great deal in the counties of Anson, Montgomery, Moore, Randolph, and Davidson. He became a good reader, and was well read in the Scriptures. He was considered an able preacher, was frequently called upon to preach on funeral occasions, was appointed to preach on Sabbath at the association, and frequently administered the ordinance of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. He was of common size, was perfectly black, with smiling countenance, especially in the pulpit while speaking. He was very humble in his appearance at all times, and especially when conducting religious services. Great personal respect was always shown him by the brethren whom he visited in his preaching excursions. Elder Joseph Magee, a Baptist minister, became his warm friend, and travelled and preached with him. Such was their attachment for each other, that they agreed that the surviving one should preach the funeral of the one that died first. Elder Magee moved to the West, and died first. Upon his deathbed, he bequeathed to Ralph his riding horse, overcoat, Bible, and fifty dollars in cash, and requested his family to send for Ralph to come and preach at his funeral. In company with a white brother, Ralph went to the West and preached the funeral sermon from a text the deceased had selected. The brother that went with Ralph stated to Elder N. Richardson that he never before saw so large a congregation. At the conclusion of the sermon, Elder Magee’s brother stated to the congregation what provision his deceased brother had made for Ralph, and added, if any of you would like to give him any amount, it would be thankfully received; the congregation soon made up fifty dollars, which was given to him. While this contribution was being made, a Methodist came up and handed to Ralph one dollar. A Presbyterian, who observed it, said to him, He was singled out by a legislative act that forbade him from preaching to Black congregations. You ought not to give Ralph anything. “Why not?” said the Methodist. “Because,” said the Presbyterian, “he has torn your system all to pieces.” The Methodist replied, “I believe he has preached the truth, and I will give him the dollar.”

Ralph was able in illustrating and unfolding the doctrines of grace. Elder N. Richardson (to whom we are indebted for this biographical sketch), has baptized a number of persons who dated their convictions to the preaching of Ralph.

When the anti-mission party was formed, we have been told that Ralph became an anti-missionary.

When the legislature passed the law prohibiting colored men from preaching, Ralph was greatly mortified and had the sympathy of many brethren. Ralph was, no doubt, a truly pious and humble Christian, he had the confidence and esteem of thousands, and died in the full assurance of a blessed immortality.

From Elder George W. Purefoy, The History of the Sandy Creek Baptist Association (1859).

Ralph Freeman‘s headstone: RALPH. Died about 1838/ He was a Primitive Baptist/ Preacher of much force and /usefulness./ His freedom was/ purchased by the/ Bear Creek Association/ Erected 1907.

Photo courtesy of

Free Colored Inhabitants of the Town of Wadesboro, Anson County, 1860.

#598. Adaline Revel, 30, servant, in the household of James Grimsley, hotelkeeper.

#616. Evander Conrad, 29, mason, wife Margaret, 23, and children Francis, 5, Emma, 3, and Mary, 7 months, plus Martha Reid, 45.

#617. Thomas Conrad, 22, plasterer, and wife Elizabeth Conrad, 25.

#618. Delany Conrad, 48, seamstress, and Sarah Conrad, 18.

#619. Elizabeth Lomac, 27, servant, in the household of R.T. Hall, clk. of court.

#629. Basil Bunting, 36, painter, and wife Mary Bunting, 25.

#662. Elizabeth Baker, 70, washing, and Sidi Brown, 45, day laborer.

#665. Hannah Willoughby, 83, baker, and Victoria Robinson, 18, seamstress.

Ruptured, but faithful.

State of North Carolina, Cumberland County   }  I Thomas J. Robeson Lately a Major 4th Rifle Reg’t United States Army, now resident in the Town of Fayetteville, county and State aforesaid Do hereby certify that corporal Josiah Abshier (a man of coulor) now resident in Anson county and State of North Carolina, was a corporal of the Poineirs and attached to Capt. Parkers company 3rd Rifle Regiment United States Army under Lieut Col’o Wm. S. Hambleton on a march from Camp Bottoms Bridge Below Richmond Va. to Washington City (green leaf Point) Maryland.   That at or near Alexandra Va in January A.D. 1815 while in the actual performance of his duty on a march [illegible] did fall from one of the Bagage Wagons thereby became Ruptured and was in consequence [illegible] from the Army of the United States, as Invalid. I further certify that I did march with the 3rd Rifle Regiment from Charlotte No Ca in the winter A.D. 1814 to Washington city as aforesaid that during the Said march & while in quarters that the said Corporal Josiah Abshier did faithfully perform his duty as Corporal and Soldier of the United States Army, and deserve the aid of his Country; that the said corporal Abshier is now in the fifty Six year of his age,  and So disabled by the Ruptor as aforesaid to provent him from Manual Labour. Given under my hand in Fayetteville this 15th December 1825. Thomas L. Robeson Lately Major 4th Rifle Reg’t U.S.A.

File of Josiah Abshier, War of 1812 Pension & Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives and Records Administration.

Counterfeiters for good.

STOP THE RUNAWAY. $75 REWARD. – Runaway from the subscriber on the 17th day of September last, a negro fellow by the name of JOLLY. He is about 5 feet 7 or 8 inches high; broad shouldered, speaks a little slow, dish faced, and has a trembling in his hands when holding any thing; rather bow legged.  I think he can read print. I had another fellow who started off Jolly to Ohio with free passes. Jolly’s was a pass belonging to a free negro by the name of Wilson Smith, who had a genuine certificate signed W. Dismukes, clerk county court of Anson county, and certified by Wm. Johnson, Chairman of said County, certified by the then Governor Edward B. Dudley.  Said pass was found on Jolly in Moore county, and the man thought he was a free negro, and let him go on. About the 18th March last, a friend of mine knowing all about my negroes, pursued Jolly, and came up with him within three miles of Greensboro’, in company with three Virginia Wagoners, and took him. On his way back, Jolly made his escape, and no doubt he will try and get another free pass from the same scoundrel that furnished this with the first.

The other negro was committed to Moore county jail, and I have since got him. His free pass was written, and signed C.Q. Cooley, clerk county court of Montgomery, O. Willie, Chairman – a old paper, entirely counterfeit, though it bore the impress of something resembling a County Seal.  No doubt now remains but Simeon D. Pemberton, of Anson County, is the rascal who procured these passes for my negroes. It may be that the counterfeiter, Geasling, of Rockingham County, who was whipped and imprisoned at Wadesborough, wrote one of the passes.  When he was discharged, he visited his particular friend, Simeon D. Pemberton, and laid at his house for more than a week, fixing a plan to get my negroes off into the hands of this counterfeiting gang.

I will give $25 for the confinement of Jolly and $50 for proof to convict the rascal who took him off.  Simeon D. Pemberton is about the Height of Jolly, (not higher,) large white eyes, black beard, and will weigh from 140 to 150 pounds, a whining voice, very dark complected, and a very ingenuous and cunning fellow. I would warn the public to keep an eye upon him.  THOMAS TOMLINSON, Norwood’s P.O., Stanly Co., N.C.

Carolina Watchman, 18 April 1850.

Surnames: Anson County, 1850.