Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Baptist Church

London Woodard & Penny Lassiter.


“Uncle London” Woodard (1792-November 15, 1870) was one of the most respectable black men of his area and time. Having been married about 1817 to James Bullock Woodard’s Venus, he was purchased by this planter on May 24, 1828, and became his overseer and distiller. London was baptized into the fellowship of the Tosneot Primitive Baptist Church on August 24, 1828, and Venus on August 4, 1838. This good woman died about the end of 1845, leaving several children to mourn her loss.

In 1846, he married Penelope Lassiter, daughter of Hardy Lassiter. She had become an indispensable part of the James B. Woodard household after the death of his first wife in 1837. “Aunt Pennie,” a free woman of light color, who worked hard, saved her money, and bought land. On September 18, 1854, she also bought “Uncle London” and made him a free man. He was “liberated to preach” on April 21, 1866, and in the following December Mrs. Elizabeth Farmer gave him one acres upon which he soon erected “London’s Primitive Baptist Church” which is still in existence.

From the introduction to Hugh Buckner Johnston, The Woodard Confederate Letters of Wilson County (1977). 

Photo of London Church taken by  Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2013.

[Sidenote: Actually, while London Woodard may have lived essentially as a free man after Penny Lassiter’s purchase, there is no evidence that he was in fact emancipated prior to the end of the Civil War.  No record of such has been found and, while Penny and their children appear as Lassiters in the 1860 census, he does not.

The London Church congregation built a new edifice on the church’s original site on Herring Avenue in Wilson. The building above was saved and moved around the corner to a site on London Church Road, where it sits neglected. — LYH]

Colored Baptist Church.

Samuel Sampson and his wife, Maria sold a plot of land on Warsaw Road (now College Street) for a sum of $60.00 paid by members of the Colored Baptist Church conveyed unto Balam Best, Warren Holmes, and Boyt (Boyette) Robinson chosen as trustees and their successors by the Colored Church, deeded February 23, 1870 and registered by Probate Judge J. H. Morrisey on April 26, 1879; Deed Book 37 Pages 493-494.

Hardy Bunting, Cato Brunson, Balam Best, Warren Holmes, Daniel Moore, Agrippa Bizzell, Ronnie Bennett, and Unus Hubbard became the first deacons of the church and their wives, Sarah Bunting, Jane Brunson, Elizabeth Holmes, Eliza Moore, Edith Bizzell, Rosa Bennett, and Alice Hubbard were the first Mothers of the church.

Excerpt from history of First Baptist Church of Clinton,

In the 1850 census of Northern District, Sampson County: Polly Bizzell, 37, and children Griffith, 8, Ann, 6, Penelope, 4, and Claudius, 3. In the 1860 census of Clinton, Sampson County: Holland, 21, Agrippa, 18, Ann, 16, Penelope, 14, and Claudius B. Bizzell, 12, in the household of William E. Draughorn, farmer.

Free colored Baptists.

“The early rolls of the white First Baptist Church [founded in 1843] carried its Negro membership. … Of this group of 34 members, twenty-four were members of the white church, and ten came in as original members of the new [African-American] church.”

George Hooks, Angelina Capps, Chloe Morrisey, Chloe Baker, Esther Carroll, Mary Hines, Ammon Webb, Dolly Burnett, Mary Burnett, Anise Exum, William Wade, Sarah Washington, Martha Suggs, Harriett Wilcox, Simon Morrisey, Penney Fields, Serena Dewey, Peggy Privett, George Washington, Abram Baker, Moses Carroll, Rachell Hassell, Patience Essler, Keziah Burnett, Winney Green, Milley Cogdell, Charles Wait Thompson, Lizzy Thompson, Amy Ford, John C. Privott, Burley Burrell, Betsy Baker, Amy Lynch, Sarah Jernigan.

From First African Baptist Church 1864-1978: Dedicatorial Year, published by First African Baptist Church, Goldsboro.

In the 1860 census of Goldsboro, Wayne County: Susan Bordan, 70, baker; Angia Capps, 60, sewer; and Catharine Carrol, 7. Also, Dolly Burnett, 20, “serving,” Polly Burnett, 18, Betsy Burnett, 5, and William An Burnett, 3.

In the 1850 census of the North Side of Neuse, Wayne County: Cuzzy Green40, and William Burnett, 35, barber, who claimed $300 property.