Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: blacksmith

Runaway bound boy, no. 19.


RANAWAY from the subscriber, on the 1st of July last, a free black boy by the name of FRANK MITCHELL, an indented apprentice to the Blacksmith business. Frank is about 19 or 20 years old; of small size; and of light complexion. I hereby forewarn all persons from harboring or employing said boy under the penalty of law. The above reward, but no expenses will be paid for his delivery to me in Newbern. JAMES ARMSTRONG. NEWBERN, Feb. 24th, 1848.

The Newbernian and North Carolina Advocate, 29 February 1848.

Runaway bound boy, no. 17.

$5 Reward.

Runaway from the subscriber, on the 15th August, a free negro known here by the name of Bill Walker, an indented apprentice to the blacksmith’s trade. He is about 20 years old, and stutters badly. I will pay the above reward for him delivered to me.  D.H. DILL.  Oct. 2, 1850

North State Whig (Washington), 2 October 1850.

Beaten, bruised and mangled.

Disgraceful Outrage. – An occurrence took place in this City, on Friday night last, which has excited a great deal of feeling, and will do much towards destroying the deservedly high reputation, which our City has always enjoyed, until recently, as a law loving and law-abiding community. A free man of colour, named Allen Jones, a Blacksmith by trade, who has rendered himself somewhat obnoxious, was forcibly taken from his own house, in the dead of night by a mob, and so beaten, bruised and mangled, that doubts are entertained of his recovery.  – Ral. Reg.

Tarboro’ Press, 22 October 1842.

Near the blacksmith shop on the old road.

I, Thomas Hollowell, of the County of Wayne and the State of North Carolina being in feeble health but of sound mind and memory do make this my last will and testament in manner and form as follows: First – I give to my wife all my household and kitchen furniture, my buggie and harness also I have one note I hold against John Hollowell in the hands of my executors for them to pay to her the amount of interest so long as she may live. My will further is that my two sons Jesse and Thomas shall furnish my wife a bountiful support and in case they shall refuse at any time, I wish for her to have a dower laid off on the lands I leave them. Second – I give to my Levi Hollowell two notes that I hold against him. Item 3rd – I give to my granddaughter Elizabeth A. Stanton one note that I hold against her brother Thomas H. Stanton. Item 4th – I give to my grandson Levi H. Massey one acre of land joining Dudley on the south side of the old road near Levi Winn‘s blacksmith shop. Item 5th – I give to my son John Hollowell two shares in the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad Company. Item 6th – I give to my son Jesse Hollowell all the land I own lying on the east side of my Gin Branch also the upper part in the Big Fork down to where the bend of the Branch comes nearest together, and then down the run of Big Fork to the head of the Gin Branch and then to extend down the Canal to the run of Brook’s Swamp except the privilege of enough land near the Gin House at the end of the Gin Dam to put up a cotton screw also two shares in the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad Company, also two lots in Dudley known as No. 5 and No. 15. Item 7th – I give to my son Thomas L. Hollowell all the land I own on the west side of said Gin Branch from the line marked out for Jesse Hollowell to the aforesaid Brook’s Swamp also one share in the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad Company, two lots in Dudley known as No. 13 and 14, and one note that I hold against the said Thomas L. Hollowell. Item 8th – I wish my executors hereafter named to pay all of my just debts out of my estate not heretofore named and given away. Item 9th – My will and desire is that the balance of the amount due my estate in John Hollowell’s hands after paying the interest to my wife during her life and the balance of my estate after paying my debts to be equally divided between my living children and to those deceased to the heirs of their body. Lastly – I constitute and appoint my son John Hollowell and my grandson Levi H. Massey Executors to this my last will and testament hereby revoking all other wills by me made this 25th of 10th month A.D. 1861. Thomas Hollowell. Sealed in the presence of – Mary E. Hollowell, Jesse T. Hollowell.

Proved November Term 1865.

Book R14, Page 239, Wayne County Superior Court Clerk’s Office, Wayne County Courthouse.

“Floyd, you must be a damned rascal.”

State v. James N. Floyd, 51 NC 392 (1859).

James N. Floyd was indicted for the murder of Richard Martin, a free man of color, in Gaston County, and the case was removed to Mecklenburg County.

David McCullough testified that he went to Martin’s blacksmith shop about dusk on the evening of 17 December, 1858.  A few minutes later, Floyd came to the shop and remained talking with him and Martin in an apparently friendly manner.  The three men drank a dram of liquor each, and Floyd told Martin that he wanted something to eat.  Martin pointed to a piece of meat hanging up in the shop, told the prisoner to cut some of the meat, and handed him a knife.  Floyd cut off a piece of the meat and broiled on the coals of shop hearth. Martin took two biscuits from a box and gave one to McCullough and one to Floyd.  About a half hour later, Martin asked Floyd for his knife.  Floyd claimed that he did not have it, and Martin replied that he had given it to him to cut the meat, and Floyd had not returned it.  Floyd denied again that he had the knife, and the two quarreled angrily for half an hour.  Martin said, “Floyd, you must be a damned rascal, for you have got my knife and won’t give it to me.” Nothing  more was said for about five minutes, when Martin remarked, “damn the knife, I don’t care anything for it, no how.”  Another five minutes passed, then five minutes more.  McCullough got into his buggy, and Floyd on his horse and, when they got 50-75 yards away, Martin came out of his shop and said, “in a mild, friendly tone,” “I’ll give McCullough a dram, but I won’t give Floyd any.”  McCullough reigned up his horse and stopped, and Floyd turned his horse across the road.  Martin handed McCullough a small glass bottle, from which he took a drink and handed it back to him.  Martin then went up to Floyd and extended the bottle towards him.  Floyd immediately got off his horse, and, without a word, the two began to fight.  McCullough tried to reach them, but when he was about ten steps from them, he saw Martin fall on his back.  In a few minutes, he was dead.  Floyd rested with his hands on a fence for a few minutes, then rode off.  This took place about 10 o’clock on a bright moon-lit night.

Martin’s body was found about one hour after he died.  He had six wounds, three on the top of the right shoulder “from which blood was running next morning;” another on the right side extending into the stomach; a deep fifth one on the outside of the thigh; and a sixth a little to the right of the center of his body, ranging from the right to left, passing through the lungs and nearly through his body.  A large bowie knife belonging to Floyd was found near Martin’s body, covered with blood nearly up to the hilt.

Witness Costner stated that, “about two hours by the sun,” he saw Floyd at Neagle’s store, about half a mile from Martin two’s blacksmith shop. As Costner started for home, Floyd told him not to leave because that he (Floyd) might need friends that evening.  A short time later, Floyd repeated the same comment as he pulled out a bowie knife.  (The knife proved to be the one found at the scene of the homicide.) Costner asked Floyd if he would sell the knife, he said no, he expected to have a use for it that evening. He also said he had bought it in Yorkville for ten dollars.

Floyd’s nephew, who lived with him in York district, South Carolina, testified that on the morning after the homicide, he saw a wound on Floyd’s forehead, near the eyebrow, about an inch and a half long, and two or three wounds on the top of his head. In addition, Floyd’s right thumb was either broken or disjointed.

Other witnesses swore that there was a lot of blood at the murder scene, and a stone weighing almost three pounds was found about five feet from Martin’s body.  There was blood and hair and something like skin on it.  The bowie knife was also found, and its blade had two gaps in it, which were not there when Costner and Neagle saw it.

The Gaston County sheriff testified that he asked Floyd how he got the wound over his eye, and Floyd said, “I reckon I did it with my own knife; or I did it with my own knife; they say I had a fight with Dick Martin and killed him, but I know nothing about that.”

Floyd’s counsel offered testimony to prove Martin’s temper and disposition for violence, but the Court ruled to exclude it, and they filed exceptions.

The Court explained to the jury the difference between murder, manslaughter, and excusable homicide and charged, that if Martin had assaulted Floyd, with a stone, bottle, or in any other way, or had attempted to pull him from his horse, and they immediately got into a mutual combat, and during the fight Floyd killed Martin, he could not be convicted of murder, but only manslaughter only. However, “the law would excuse no one for killing another, unless there was an absolute necessity for so doing to save his own life from destruction, or to prevent great bodily harm.”  So, if the jury found that Martin had not assaulted Floyd before Floyd stabbed him to death, then Floyd was guilty of murder, even if Martin had used “offensive language” toward Floyd in the shop and as he approached him with the bottle.  Floyd’s counsel excepted to these instructions.

The jury found the defendant guilty of murder. Floyd appealed, and the Supreme Court ruled that the lower court had erred by barring evidence of Martin’s reputation. “It is error in a Judge, in a trial for murder, to make a hypothesis omitting the leading fact which goes to the exculpation of the accused. It seems that when it is necessary for the accused to account for the fact that he began a sudden mutual affray with the use of a deadly weapon, in order to repel the inference of malice arising from that fact, he may show that his adversary was a powerful, violent and dangerous man.”

He has taken the shop books.

CAUTION. — Supposed to have absconded from this place, on last Sunday, a colored man named CHARLES MARTIN, who says that he is free.  The fellow is by trade a Blacksmith, and has been doing work, in that line, for me and on my premises.  He has taken with him the shop books, but I believe has heretofore collected the whole of the sums that was due him.  He may, however, endeavour to trade them off.  I understand he has trumped up a large account against me, which he may possibly attempt to transfer.  This is therefore to forewarn all persons from taking any [illegible] comment thereof and have considered demands against the said fellow.  William Scott, June 2.

The Raleigh Minerva, 2 June 1815.