Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Bryant

To Minta, reserving for Itey a life estate.

In the name of God Amen,

I, James M. McDuffie being of a sound and disposing mind and memory, blessed be God, though weak and infirm in body make and constitute this my last will and testament

Item 1st  It is my will and desire that my Executor hereinafter named shall have my body decently interred after my death in the old family grave yard in the county of Cumberland and after paying all my just debts to dispose of the residue of my Estate as follows.

Item 2nd I will and bequeath unto Minta Bryant the tract of land on which Itey Simmons now lives, reserving to said Itey a life estate in said land, which tract contains about fifty six acres, adjoining the lands of Pollock, Glisson & others to have and to hold said land with its appurtenances to and her heirs forever;

Item 3rd I will and bequeath all the balance of my property of whatsoever kind or description both in possession and in action real and personal to my brother Malcom J. McDuffie to use occupy and possess the same to dispose of it in whatever manner he may deem fit and proper (due regard being paid to what slaves I may own or leave at my death) to have and to hold the same to him and his heirs forever;

Item 4th I hereby constitute my said brother Malcom J. McDuffie Executor of this my last will and testament and do revoke all wills and testament by me heretofore made,

In witness whereof I hereunto set my hand and affix my seal this the Twenty first day of May 1862.    /s/ Jas. M. McDuffie

Signed and sealed in the presence of W. Vernon, Wm. W. Fulghum

Proved August Term 1862. Wayne County Will Book R13, page 462, North Carolina Probate Records 1735-1970, https://familysearch.org. Original, North Carolina State Archives.

In the 1860 census of Indian Springs, Wayne County, Minta Bryant, 23, and her children Mitchel, 4, Edith, 6, and Rufus Bryant, 2, all mulatto, lived in the household of James McDuffee, 41.

[Sidenote: Was McDuffie the father of Bryant’s children? He purchased the land from Itey Simmons’ son David in 1855, subject to Itey’s life estate. After Itey’s death, Minta Bryant was forced to sue to recover the property.]

An apprentice leads the way.

30 dollars reward.

Ranaway from the subscriber on Thursday the 28th of November last, a mulatto boy named TOM, between 16 and 18 years of age, about 5 feet 4 inches, stout made, lips thick, down look and a small scar on his face, was indifferently dressed when he ran off.  It is supposed that Ryal Bryant an apprentice to Wm Delancey hatter, (who has also run away) enticed him off.  The above reward will be paid to any person for apprehending and securing the  above fellow in any jail so that the subscriber gets him again   JAS. ROACH  Rockingham County, Dec 9

The Star and North Carolina State Gazette, 20 December 1816

They intended to come beat me.

William H. Haithcock, age 56, filed claim #20604 with the Southern Claims Commission.  He lived in Fayetteville and worked as a carpenter.  Haithcock testified that he was born in Johnson [sic] County and moved to Fayetteville about 1850.  He lived in Fayetteville up to 1863; then in the country 4 miles from Fayetteville, where he had a farm; then, in 1864, to another plantation one mile from Fayetteville, where he made another crop.  He was living there when the United States Army came through.  He moved back to Fayetteville after.  He worked his trade as a carpenter until he went into farmer.

When he was living on the east side of the Cape Fear River, the Confederates took corn, fodder, chickens and other property.  He was living on the west side of the river when the Union army came.  His house was robbed once by Confederate deserters.  “I talked about it, they sent me word that they intended to come beat me and take what money I had but they never came.  Some of the white men up the river above me.  I understood that I should not make another crop at the place I was living and that I ought to be in the war.”

Lucien Bryant, age 50, testified to Haithcock’s loyalty.  Bryant was a farmer and lived in Fayetteville.  Others who testified were: William S. Taylor, 58, painter; Jonathan Revels, 52, farmer; and son James Haithcock, 19, a farmer and wood hauler.

Looked for and prayed for and expected to see the time come.

Lewis Dunn filed claim #17583 with the Southern Claims Commission.  He was 56 years old, lived in Fayetteville (“in my own house, my lot is 1/2 acre”) and worked as a drayman.  The Confederate Army conscripted him to work at an arsenal for 12 months.

“I was free.  I bought myself.  Finish paying for myself about 20 years ago.  I was the last col’d man in the state that the legislature emancipated. … My former master was James England.”

Dunn did not see his property taken.  He was hauling provisions for the United States Army and when he returned “cattle drivers came and camped all around my stable and made a slaughter pen of my lot….”

William S. Bryant, 58, testified that he lived in Fayetteville and worked as a blacksmith.  He was not related to Dunn, but had known him about 40 years.  Bryant reported that Dunn said “the war was brought on an account of slavery and he looked for and prayed for and expected to see the time when all his race would be free.”

Carpenter Jere Husk, 40, and butcher Tom Drake, 57, both of Fayetteville, also testified on Dunn’s behalf.

Dunn’s wife Harret Dunn, 30, testified: “My grandmother was present [when Dunn’s property was stolen.]  She is now dead.  Also a col’d man name Prince McNeill.  He is not in this section of the county now.”