Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: bastardy

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.

They are bound to support their bastard children.

State v. John L. Lee, 29 NC 265 (1847).

On appeal from Craven County Superior Court, the issue in this case was whether John Lee, after having been tried and convicted of bastardy, could move to quash the proceedings against him on the grounds that Catharine Curtis, the mother of the child, was a woman of color and therefore incompetent to testify against a white man.  The verdict: too late.

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

On appeal from Martin County.  In May 1848, Lucinda Simpson, then pregnant, swore that the father of her child was Thomas Long. Long moved to dismiss proceedings against him on the grounds that Simpson was a woman of mixed blood within the fourth degree and therefore incompetent to give testimony against him.  The Court was satisfied that in fact she was of mixed blood and dismissed the case.  In October 1848, on Simpson’s oath, another warrant for the same pregnancy issued for Long.  These proceedings were dismissed based upon the earlier finding.  The Supreme Court held that the prior judgment was binding and the second case rightfully quashed and noted that the better course would have been an appeal. 

State v. Williamson Haithcock, 33 NC 32 (1850).

On appeal from Orange County.  Williamson Haithcock, an admitted free negro, was charged with bastardy by a white woman.  Haithcock’s counsel moved to quash on the grounds that bastardy laws did apply to such a case. The Supreme Court: “We are at a loss to conceive of any reason why the defendant should be exempted from the operation of the bastardy laws, merely because he is a free negro.  Free negroes are capable of holding property, they can sue and be sued, and are bound to support their bastard children, whether begotten a free white woman or free black woman.  They can set up no ‘exclusive privilege’ in this behalf.”

Babies’ daddies.

The following bastardy bonds involving free people of color were entered in Wayne County during the period 1852-1860:

In 1852, Zilpha Artis named William Artis as the father of her child.  Artis and Daniel Aycock posted security for the child’s support.

In the 1860 census of Davis, Wayne County: Simon Pig Artis, 70, farmer, wife Celia, 70, son Thos., 23, daughter Zilpha, 30, and grandchildren Lumiza, 17, and Penninah, 11. [Sidenote: Penninah may be the child above. – LYH] 

In 1852, Rachel Munday named Henderson Mitchell as the father of her child.

In the 1860 census of Indian Springs, Wayne County: Henderson Mitch, 30, wife Margrett J., 30, and children Virginia, 11, Elizabeth, 8, Silvany, 6, Wm., 4, and John, 1.

In 1853, Sally Burnett named David Proctor as the father of her child.  Proctor and J.J. Bradbury posted security.

In the 1850 census of North Side of Neuse, Wayne County: Sarah Burnett, 27, her children Delity, 9, Micagah, 6, and David, 1 month; Zilpha Wilkins, 45, David Proctor, 26, brickmason; and James Turnage, 28, brickmason, his wife Ann, 20, and their children Henry, 5, and Allis, 4. [Sidenote: it seems likely that one-month-old David Burnett is the child above.]

In 1854, Polly Newel named David Simmons as the father of her child.  Simmons, Harris Barfield and Calvin Dail posted security.

In the 1850 census of South of Neuse, Wayne County: Ity Simmons, 40, and sons David, 22, and George, 20.  Also, Celia Newell, 60, daughters Peggy, 30, Polly, 24, Ann, 19, and Margarett, 1; all white. In the 1860 census of Buck Swamp, Wayne County: Celia Newell, 50, Margarett, 25, Polly, 30, and Margarett A. Newell, 13, all white.  Next door: Jesse Brinson, 65, farmer, wife Ita, 50, and Mary Newell, 7; all mulatto. [Sidenote: Ita Brinson was formerly Ita Simmons. Mary Newell is her son David’s child. Also, per her marriage application, the father of Polly Newell’s daughter Margaret was Quin Young, a free man of color. – – LYH]

In 1854, Jane Artis named Bryan Capps as the father of her child.  Tabitha Mitchell and Kenan W. Langston provided security.

In 1855, Jane Artis named Wilson Hagans as the father of her child.  Hagans was not found in the county and could not be served with the action.

In 1855, Jane Artis named Bryant Capps as father of her child.  Capps and Willie Roe provided security.

In 1855, Elizabeth Burnett named Henderson Ganzy as father of her child.  Ganzy was not to be found in the county.

In 1856, Anna Newell named William Winn as father of her child.  Winn, Washington Winn and David Simmons provided security.

In 1857, Wayte Locus named Calvin Hagans as father of her child.  Hagans, H. Woodard Lewis and William Thompson provided security.

In the 1870 census of Nahunta, Wayne County: Raiford Coley, 70, Waity Locus, 55, Dewitt, 15, Candus, 12, and Wiley, 10. [Sidenote: The child was Candis Locust. – LYH]

In 1858, Sallie Simmons named Washington Winn as father of her child.  Winn, William Vernon and Wait G. Martin provided security.

In 1860, Eliza Winn named John Newell as father of her child.  Newell, Jesse Brinson and Charles Winn provided security.

Bastardy Bonds, Wayne County Records, North Carolina State Archives.