Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Artis

I give as a legacy.

This Dec. the 28 1911

State of N.C. County of Wayne

I Adam T. Artis of aforesaid State and County being of sound mind considering the uncertainty of life I hereby constitute and declare this to be my last will and Testament.

Item 1. I hereby constitute and appoint my friend S.S. Strother to execute this my last will.

Item 2. My executor shall prepare a decent burial for my body suitable to the wishes of my relatives and friends and pay for the same out of the first money that comes into his hands together with all my just debts.

Item 3. For the love and affection I have for my wife Katie Artis I give and bequeath unto her about 18 acres [illegible] of the Thompson Tract of land as widow dower [illegible] life together with all appurtenances thereto, I also give and bequeath unto said wife Katie all of my Household and Kitchen furniture with all other personal property belonging unto me to have and to hold during her natural life.

Item 4. I give as a Legacy unto my son Pinkney Artis $100.00 One hundred Dollars.

Item 5. I give unto my son June Scott Artis Ten Dollars for his full share of my property.

Item 6. I give unto my son Henry Artis Ten Dollars for his full share of my property.

Item 7. I give unto my son Columbus Artis Ten Dollars for his full share of my property.

Item 8. I give unto my son William Artis Five Dollars for his full share of my property.

Item 9. I give unto my son Walter Artis Five Dollars for his full share of my property.

Item 10. I give unto my daughter Josephine Artis Sherard Fifteen Dollars for her full share of my property.

Item 11. I give unto my son Robert Artis Five Dollars for his full share of my property.

Item 12. My executor shall sell the balance of my land after my death and pay over to my children the Items I have give to them and what is left shall be paid over to, in equal shares, Vicey Aldridge, Liza Everet, Augustus K. Artis, Georgana Reid, Mary Jane Artis, Emma D. Locus, Ida Reid, Lillie Thompson, Napoleon Artis, Haywood Artis, Addie Artis, Annie Artis, Alberta Artis, Jesse Artis, and at the death of my wife Katie the property I gave to her shall be equally divided between the 12 above named heirs, that are not limited.   Testator – Adam X Artis.

Witness W.F. Lewis, J.J. Coley, J.E. Exum

Proved 1 May 1919. Will Book 4, page 398. Office of Clerk of Superior Court, Wayne County Courthouse, Goldsboro.

[Sidenote: Adam Artis bought and sold hundreds of acres near present-day Eureka in northern Wayne County.  He outlived four wives (Winnie Coley, Lucinda Jones, Frances Seaberry, and Amanda Aldridge) and at least five of his children (Cain, Caroline, Adam jr., Emma, and Louetta). Son Noah is the only child not mentioned in his father’s will. Josephine A. Sherrod, Adam’s longest-lived child, died in 1988. –LYH]

The partition of Robert Aldridge’s estate.

On 4 July 1902, dower laid off and partition made of Robert Aldridge‘s land as follows:

Dower — Eliza Aldridge received 53 acres on a run of Stoney Run Branch.

Lot No. 1 — Mathew W. Aldridge received 100 acres on Stoney Run and Hurricane Branches, excluding the Agustus Church and free school house lots.  Interest Mathew bought from his father included in the described tract.  Residue valued at $200.

Lot No. 2 — George W. Aldridge received 42 acres on Stoney Run and the county road, valued at $200.

Lot No. 3 — Joseph Aldridge received 53 acres on Stoney Run and the county road, valued at $200.

Lot No. 4 — David Aldridge received 80 acres on Stoney Run and the county road, valued at $200.

Lot No. 5 — Robert Aldridge received 41 acres on a prong of Stoney Run and the Spring Road, valued at $200.

Lot No. 6 — John W. Aldridge received 50 acres on Stoney Run Branch below the mineral spring and the Spring Road, valued at $285.

Lot No. 7 — Frances Locust received 33 acres on Stoney Run and the Spring Road, valued at $200.

Lot No. 8 — Talitha Brewington, Hattie Brewington, Elijah Brewington, Mattie Brewington, Lundy Brewington, and Toney Brewington jointly and subject to the life estate of Joshua Brewington, received 33 acres on W&W Railroad, valued at $193.

Lot No. 9 — Louetta Aldridge received 32 acres on Stoney Run Branch, valued at $193.

Lot No. 10 — Lizzie Aldridge received 32 acres on the W&W Railroad and Stoney Run Branch, valued at $193.

Lot No. 11 — Louetta Artis, Robert Artis, Columbus Artis, Josephine Artis, J. Scott Artis, J.B. Artis, Lillie Artis, Annie Artis and Elberta Artis, jointly and subject to the life estate of Adam Artis, received 32 acres at the mouth of a ditch on the run of Stoney Run and the railroad, valued at $193.

Submitted by Sam C. Casey, Walter C. O’Berry, Ira W. Hatch.

The margins of this document contain notations and signatures acknowledging receipt of moneys due to balance the lot values, including signatures of Lizzie Aldridge, Tilithia King, J.W. Aldridge, Joseph Aldridge, Hattie Brewington, Columbus Artis, Elijah Brewington, Tony C. Brewington, Robert Aldridge, Lundia Brewington, and June Scott Artis, and Eliza Artis’ mark.

John Aldridge, owner of Lot No. 6, paid $7 each to the owners of Lots 8-11, and $57 to the Clerk of Superior Court for costs of the division.

Louetta Aldridge’s share was divided among her siblings “the owner of said amount now being dead this day Aug 22=1904.”

Abstract from document in the file of Robert Aldridge, Estate Records, Wayne County Records, North Carolina State Archives.  [Sidenote: Robert Aldridge, born circa 1819, was my great-great-great-grandfather. Bits of his land remain in family hands. The Brewingtons were children of Robert’s daughter Amelia, who died a few years before he did. The Artises were children of his daughter Amanda, who died about the same time. Frances Locust and her husband changed their surname to Randall. — LYH]

Next generation marriage.

ImageCandis Locust‘s birth was the subject of a bastardy action by the State on behalf of Waity Locust against Calvin Hagans. Louisa Wilson’s parents were John “Jack” Wilson and Zilpha Artis (herself the daughter of Vicey Artis and Solomon Williams.) Louisa’s brother, William Wilson, stood as witness.

Marriage Records, Register of Deeds Office, Wayne County Courthouse, Goldsboro.

Free-Issue Death Certificates: MISCELLANEOUS, no. 12.

Jane Nixon. Died 25 October 1921, Wilmington, New Hanover County. Resided 707 Brunswick. Negro. Widow of John Owen Nixon. Born 3 September 1866 in Wilmington to Elvin Artis and Lizzie Green, both of NC. Buried Pine Forest. Informant, Eliza Nixon.

In the 1850 census of Wilmington, New Hanover County: Elvin Artis, 37, “carpt,” wife Eliza, 22, and children E.A., 8, Champion, 6, Silvester, 4, twins Hildred and Eldred, 9 months, and John Henry, 17.

Geo. Freeman. Died 29 August 1931, Leland, North West, Brunswick County. Colored. Widower of Nancy Vernon Freeman. Age 87. Born NC to Sam Freeman and Mary Jane Freeman. Informant, Drussilla Brown, Leland.

In the 1860 census of North West District, Brunswick County: Saml. Freeman, 35, laborer, wife Mary, 30, and children Melvina, 13, George, 10, John, 6, and Madaline, 3.

Duncan T. Mitchell. Died 16 July 1915, Fayetteville, Cumberland County. Resided 522 Russell, Ward 2. Black. Married. Born 15 October 1860. Minister. “Good” educational attainment. Born NC to Duncan Mitchell and Mary C. Mitchell. Buried Pettiford cemetery, Fayetteville. Informant, J.W. Mitchell, Fayetteville.

In the 1860 census of North West District, Brunswick County: Duncan Mitchell, 48, farmer; wife Catharine, 48, and children Thomas, 17, Everett, 14, Joanna, 13, William C., 10, Martha J., 5, James M., 6, Mary E., 3, and Duncan T., 11 months.

Joe Webb. Died 2 February 1823, North West, Brunswick County. Resident of Delco. Negro. Married to Mary Lizzie Webb. About 74 years old. Born NC to John Webb and Lizzie Phillips. Buried Evergreen cemetery. Informant, Bucky Brown, Delco.

In the 1860 census of North West District, Brunswick County: Joe Webb, 11, in the household of Jordan Holland, farmer.

Caroline Cromartie. Died 15 September 1935, Lagoon, Colly, Bladen County. Colored. Widow of Dave Cromartie. Born 1840 in Bladen County to Charles Hayes and Edie Hayes, both of Bladen. Buried at Big Sugar Loaf. Informant, Gus Johnson.

In the 1860 census of Cypress Creek, Bladen County: Edy Hayse, 54, with Rebecca, 36, Mary J., 24, Caroline, 18, Peggy, 15, Owen, 22, and Wm. Hayse, 16, and Francenia King, 5.

Freedman’s Bank depositor, no. 4.

No. 7110. Record for Jno. Artis. Date July 14, 1873. Where born: Wilmington. Where brought up: ditto. Residence: Corner Brunswic & 7th Sts. Age: 21. Complexion: dark. Occupation: carpenter for self. Wife: none. Children: None. Father: Elvin, dead. Mother: Lizzie. Brothers and sisters: Hildred, Eldred, Champ, Sylvester, Jane, Lizzie. /s/ John Artis.

Freedman’s Bank Records, National Archives and Records Administration.

“Elvin Artis, a free man of color, was the carpentry contractor for the [Bellamy Mansion] project [in Wilmington].” See

In the 1850 census of Wilmington, New Hanover County: Elvin Artis, 37, “carpt,” wife Eliza, 22, and children E.A., 8, Champion, 6, Silvester, 4, twins Hildred and Eldred, 9 months, and John Henry, 17.

Adam & Angy Norphlet Artis.

Image Marriage license of Adam Artis and Angy Norphlet, Northampton County, 1835.

On 7 November 1848, Adam Artis of PIke County purchased “The North East quarter of the North West quarter of Section Fifteen, in Township Six, of Range Twenty; in the District of Lands subject to sale at Chillicothe Ohio; Containing Forty Acres,” certificate no. 16,235. US General Land Office Records 1796-1907,

In the 1850 census of District 17, Beaver township, Pike County, Ohio: Adam Artis, 36, laborer, wife Angelina, 30, and children Susan, 16, James, 13, and Aaron, 10, all born in Virginia.  In the 1860 census of Jackson, Pike Co. Ohio: Adam Artes, 40, farmer, wife Angeline, 40, and children Aaron, 20, and James, 23. Adam reportedly owns real estate valued at $400 and personal estate valued at $225.

[Sidenote: This Adam is not known to be related to Adam T. Artis — except in the sense that almost all Artises ultimately descend from a common ancestor. — LYH]

The Artis sisters give and bequeath.

Know all men by these presents that I Zilpha Artis of the County of Wayne and State of North Carolina being of sound mind and memory but considering the uncertainty of life do make and declare this my last will and testament in manner and form following that is to say. That my Executor Philip Fort shall provide for my body a decent burial according to the wishes of my relatives and friend and pay all funeral expenses together with my just debts to whomsoever due out of the money that may first come into his as a part or parcel of my estate.

I give and devise to my niece Francis Diggs all of my entire lands and all my household and Kitchen furniture to have and to hold to her the said Francis Diggs for and during the time of her natural life and after her death to be equally divided between her two children Sula Artis and Margaret Diggs their heirs and assigns forever

I give and bequeath to my Sister Eliza Artis the sum of fifty cents

I give and bequeath to my Sister Leatha Artis the sum of fifty cents

I give abd bequeath to Brother Calvin Artis the sum of fifty cents

And I give and bequeath to my brother Thomas Artis the sum of fifty cents

And lastly I do hereby appoint and constitute Phillip Fort my lawful executor to all intents and purposes to execute this my last will and testament according to the true intent and meaning of the same and every part and clause therein hereby revoking and declaring utterly void all other wills and testaments by me heretofore made.

In testimony whereof I the said Zilpha Artis do hereunto set my hand and seal this 19th day of November A.D. 1881    Zilpha X Artis {seal}

Signed and sealed in the presence of B.J. Person, John B. Person

Book 1, page 245; proved 20 September 1882, Probate Court, Wayne County.


In the Name of God Amen:

I Eliza Artis of the County of Wayne and State of North Carolina being of sound mind and memory and considering the uncertainty of human life do therefore make Publish and declare this to be my last Will and testament: That is to say first after all my burial expenses are paid and discharged the residue of my estate. I give and bequeath and dispose of as follows to wit to John Newsom son of James Newsom and Penina Newsom Four Dollars to Francis Diggs all the balance of my personal and real estate that I may be in Possession of at my death during her Natural life and after the death of said Francis Diggs all of said Personal and real estate is to be equally divided between Francis Diggs’s three children Sula Artis Margrett Diggs and William Diggs Likewise I make constitute and appoint Noble Exum and George Exum to be my Executors to this my last Will and testament hereby revoking all former wills made by me

In witness whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed my seal this the eleventh day of February in the year of our lord one Thousand eight hundred and Ninety  Eliza X Artice {seal}

In the presence of Witnesses John H. Skinner, R. X H. Locus

Hand-written notation in margin: “See Book No 32 Page 320 Register of Deeds Office”; Book 1, page 524.


I Lethy Ann Artice of Nahunta Township, State of North Carolina being of sound mind and memory, do declare this to be my last will and testament.

I give and bequeath to my son James Artice Five acres of land known as my fathers place to have to hold through his natural life, after his death to Maggie Artis his daughter. But should she want to live on said land before his death, I give her a right, so to do.

I give and bequeath to Luby Baker and Anna Baker the children of Mildly Baker Four acres provided Mildly Baker shall be guardian for said children until they reach their majority.

I give and bequeath to Bettie Bradford and Brantham Five acres land to have and to hold their natural life afterwards to their heirs.

I give and bequeath to Zachary Artice Five acres land.

I give and bequeath to John and Octavius the sons of Thomas Artis my son Four acres land if they should want to sell each other all right but no one else.

I give and bequeath to Zachary his fathers chest. All heirs to pay Zachary Artice for burial expenses Sarah & Jackson, before coming in possession of the property I give.

I also give to Zachary the big pot, I also give him his house, no matter on whose land it falls on. Be it understood I have already given Zachary ½ acre during my life time. I also gave Thomas Two Dollars and a Bull. I also give Baker a cow and calf, Betsey two Dollars I say this to show what I have given. Bitsey and Mildly I give one bed a piece, my large bed to be divided between Tom & Zachary. I also give Maggie Artice James daughter, Sarahs chest. I also give the [illegible] and gear to Scintha Ann Artice. All the heirs, with Scintha Ann take my wearing clothes also House furniture also. But should Zachary want any particular thing, as he been my protector let him have it I appoint I.F. Ormond Executor of this will. In witness whereof I Letha Ann Artice have herewith set my hand and seal This 9th day of Oct 1892   Letha Ann X Artice

Subscribed by the testator in the presence of each of us and declared by her to be the last will testament Witnesses   J.H. Skinner, Noble Exum

Book 2, page 184; proved 2 January 1897, Superior Court, Wayne County.

Will Books, Office of Clerk of Superior Court, Wayne County Courthouse, Goldsboro.

In the 1850 census of the North Side of Neuse, Wayne County: Celia Artis, 50, with Eliza, 34, Zelpha, 28, Thomas, 15, Calvin, 20, and Lumisa Artis, 6. Also, John Artis, 28, Leatha, 30, Sarah, 3, and Zachariah, 2.  [Sidenote: Leatha, Eliza and Zilpha Artis were daughters of Celia Artis and her enslaved husband, Simon Pig. Celia was one of the wealthiest free people of color in Wayne County. — LYH]

Free-Issue Death Certificates: PETTIFORD.

Fathia Thomas Pettiford. Died 10 November 1930, Oxford, Granville County. Resided Hillsboro Street. Colored. Widowed. Age 82. Born Franklin County to Thomas Pettiford and Fathia Anderson. Buried Harrisburg. Informant, H.P. Pettiford.

Sallie Howell. Died 23 August 1934, Oxford, Fishing Creek, Granville County. Colored. Widow of James R. Howell. Age 81. Born Franklinton to Thomas Pettiford and Fathie Pettiford. Buried Antiock. Informant, Mrs. Bettie Cannady.

Beddie Parish. Died 8 January 1923, Oxford, Granville County. Colored. Widowed. Age 62. Born Franklin County to Tomas Pettiford and Fathy Pattiford, both of Franklin County.  Buried Harrisburg. Informant, Alex Parish.

In the 1860 census of Cedar Creek, Granville County: Thomas Pettiford, 40, day laborer, wife Fatha, 35, and children Nick, 24, Minerva, 22, Bettie, 14, Fatha, 12, Delila, 10, Lewis, 8, Sally, 6, and Bittie, 4, plus Elijah Valentine, 90.

Sallie Brandon. Died 9 May 1926, Kittrell, Vance County. Colored. Married. Age 75. Born to Wm. Pettiford of Granville County and unknown mother. Buried in family graveyard. Informant, Isiah Brandon.

In the 1860 census of Oxford, Granville County: Will. Pettiford, 50, farmer; wife Avy; and children Lewis, 18, Bettie, 14, Edny, 13, Sally, 11, Will., 8, James, 5, Lewis, 4, and unnamed, 2.

Coleman Pettiford. Died 24 May 1933, Raleigh, Wake County. Resided 228 East Lenoir Street. Colored. Married to Pheoby Pettiford. Farmer. Born 1837 in Franklin County to Herman Pettiford of Franklin County and Lizzie Evans of Granville County. Buried Mount Hope cemetery. Informant, St. Agnes Hospital.

In the 1850 census of Fort Creek, Granville County: Hillmon Pettyford, 50, wife Lizzy, 40, and children Jane, 21, William, 16, Sally, 14, Coleman, 12, Louisa, 8, John, 6, Gilly, 4, and Elizabeth, 2.

Silas Pettiford. Died 23 December 1935, Franklinton, Franklin County. Colored. Widower. Age 95. Born Granville County to Reuben Pettiford and Rebecca Pettiford. Buried Long graveyard. Informant, Irie Tensley.

Rubin Pettiford. Died 28 July 1916, Plymouth, Washington County. Negro. Brickmason. Born February 1837, Wayne County, to Rheubin Pettiford and Julia Artist, both of Wayne County. Informant, Roberta Pettiford, Plymouth.

In the 1850 census of Warren County: Reuben Pettiford, 50, stonemason, wife Judy A., 37, and children Eliza Artis, 21, Alfred Artis, 15, Jack Artis, 13, Rhody Artis, 12, Ruben Artis Jr., 10, Julian Artis, 9, Mary Artis, 7, Elizabeth J. Pettiford, 5, and Virginia Pettiford, 3, plus Middy Artis, 60, and Isah Artis, 4 months. But see also, in the 1850 census of Louisburg, Franklin County: Ruben Petifoot, 50, stone cutter, wife Julia, 37, children Eliza, 21, Mary, 8, Betsy, 6, Virginia, 4, Moses, 2, and Isaac Petifoot, 7 months, plus Middy Artirst, 80. And see: in the 1850 census of Nash County, Judah Pettiford, 36, Milly Artis, 90, Eliza Artis, 20, Mary Pettiford, 7, Elizabeth Pettiford, 5, Virginia Pettiford, 3, Josephine Pettiford, 1, and Dick Pettiford, 4 months.  In the 1860 census of Western District, Halifax County: Rubin Pettiford, 60, and Julia, 50, Rubin, 22, Julia, 19, Mary, 17, Betsy, 15, Virginia, 13, James, 10, and Isaiah, 11, all Pettifords.


You snooze, you lose.

William Hooks v. William T. Perkins, 44 NC 21 (1852).

This case arose in Wayne County.  Rufus Artis and Thomas Artis were bound to William Hooks in 1845 to apprentices until age 21. At the time, Rufus’ age was reported as 7 and Thomas’ as 18. In 1849, after a determination that Thomas was, in fact, only 15 when indentured, the court ordered his indenture amended. It never happened.  Perkins hired Thomas and helped him resist Hooks’ efforts to enforce the order.  Arguing that Thomas was bound to serve him until his actual age was 21, regardless of the age listed on his indenture, Hooks sued Perkins for damages for the period November 1848 to February 1849 during which Perkins would not turn Thomas over.  The state supreme court held that Hooks should have amended Thomas’ term at the time it expired, per the court order, to reflect his true age.  Having failed to do so, Hooks was not Thomas’ master when Perkins hired him and was not entitled to damages.

Notwithstanding, in the 1850 census of North Side of the Neuse, Wayne County: Rufus, 11, and Thomas Artis, 20, are listed in the household of farmer William Hooks, along with another apprentice, W.H. Hagins, 15. William Perkins does not appear in the county’s census.  In the 1860 census of Nahunta, Wayne County, Rufus Artis has lost more ground, as he is listed as a 17 year-old, along with Polly Hagans, 15, and Ezekiel Hagans, 13, in Wm. Hooks’ household.  [In other words, Hooks learned his lesson well. — LYH]

John W. Aldridge.


JOHN WILLIAM ALDRIDGE (1853-1910) was born in Sampson County to Robert Aldridge and Mary Eliza Balkcum Aldridge. In the 1870s, he and his brothers Mathew Aldridge and George Aldridge were among former free men of color hired to teach in Wayne County colored schools. (Another was E.E. Smith.) John and George were posted near Fremont, in northern Wayne County, where John met and married one of his students, Louvicey Artis.  The couple settled among his family near Dudley, in southern Wayne County.  The original site of John’s grave is now forgotten, but he now lies in a family cemetery on land still owned by Aldridge descendants. (The W on the headstone is a bit of a mystery, but suggests that the marker was second-hand.  The spelling of his surname, “Aldrich,” is that preferred by his son, Thomas, who paid for it.)