Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Carteret County

He went immediately among free negroes.


RAN AWAY from the Subscriber, on Saturday the 1st inst., my negro fellow named SHADRACH, he is about 21 years of age, five feet seven or eight inches high, well made and proportioned, a dark copper colour, talks rather slow when spoken to, is very likely, if any scars not remembered, and had on when he left an osnaburg shirt and pantaloons (considerably worn,) and old straw hat. I understood he went immediately on Neuse, Craven County, among the free negroes and called himself Jim Sampson and took passage in some boat for Newbern, no doubt he will try to get to the north in some vessel.

All persons are forewarned from harboring, or carrying him away under the penalty of the law, which will certainly be enforced against those who violate its provisions in such case made and provided. The above reward will be paid to any person for lodging him in any jail in this State so that I get him again.

DAVID L. JONES. Carteret County, August 5th, 1840.

Newbern Spectator and Literary Journal, 8 August 1840.

Every presumption was to be made in favor of freedom.

May Stringer v. Shepherd W. Burcham, 34 NC 41 (1851).

May Stringer, a free woman of color, filed suit in Carteret County alleging false imprisonment.

At trial, her counsel introduced a record certified by Craven County Court showing that, in December 1807, William Jessup filed a petition to emancipate certain of his slaves for meritorious services. The petition was granted, and bond provided. Among the slaves was a woman named Sinah.  Stringer, who was born after the decree of emancipation, was the daughter of Hannah, who was Sinah’s daughter. Sinah and her descendents had been regarded as free persons of color since their emancipation, except on one occasion, when a man claiming to be William Jessup’s son came to Craven about 1817 and tried to carry off Hannah and another person.  He was arrested and had not been since heard of. The court held that, “after an acquiescence for 30 years by the public in the enjoyment of her freedom, every presumption was to be made in favor of” Stringer’s freedom, “especially against a trespasser and wrongdoer.”

The jury found in favor of the plaintiff, and Burcham appealed. The State Supreme Court affirmed the verdict.

Carteret County Free Colored Heads of Household, 1790.

Martin Black; Absalom Martin; Cesar Burgase; John Carter; Jenny; Old Samson; Free Peter; Free Carolina; Free Toby, Sr.; Free Dinah; Elizabeth Fisher; Geo. Carter; Peter Cooper; Peter Braddock; Joe Pie Stanton; Jerry; John Carter; Ann Norwood; 92 total free people of color.

40 years’ acquiescence gives effect.

Augustine Cully v. Lovick Jones et al., 31 NC 168 (1848).

This was an action for false imprisonment.  Plaintiff Augustine Cully‘s mother Phebe was the slave of Jane Thompson.  Thompson’s will directed her executor Reuben Jones “to obtain the freedom of Phebe, if practicable, on account of her meritorious services.” In November 1806, Jones filed a petition in Carteret County court for Phebe’s freedom.  Phebe and her children were thereafter permitted to act as free people.  However, Jones neglected to give the required bond for the action until 1816, when he was ordered to do so, and did.  Phebe’s daughter Augustine was born in 1808 and lived as a free person until just before this action commenced, when Lovick Jones seized her and claimed her as a slave.

The NC Supreme Court held that, though Augustine Cully was born before the bond was effectuated, neither Reuben Jones, who neglected his duty, nor anyone claiming for or by him could take advantage of that omission, much less a mere wrong-doer.  “More than forty years have allowed to pass from the act of emancipation and [Augustine’s birth], before any claim was made to hold her as a slave; during all which time, she passed as a free person and was so treated and considered by the community, in which she lived.  After so long an acquiescence, almost any thing will be presumed, in order to give effect to the act of emancipation.”

The 1850 census of New Bern, Craven County, shows a household that included Phillis Martin, 85; Augustin Cully, 35; Adam Cully, 40 and blind; Joseph Martin, 29, and Alex. Martin, 27, both sailors; Abner Cully, 14; Eliza Cully, 11; Elizabeth Cully, 9; and Adam Cully, 5.  All were described as black.

Carteret County Free Colored Heads of Household, 1820

Absolum Martin

Sutton Gibbons

Absalom Martin

Samuel Martin

Rose Carter

Polly Cuff

Thabetha Norwood

Cavanaugh Windsor

Mary Windsor

William Braddock

James Ellison

Nancy Ellison

Tabitha Ellison

Dinah Bell