Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Dunn

An act to emancipate Louis.

An Act to emancipate Louis, a slave, the property of James Dunn

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That Louis, a slave, the property of James Dunn, of Cumberland county, be and he is hereby, with the consent and at the request of the said owner, emancipated and set fee, and by the name of Louis Dunn shall hereafter possess and excercise all the rights and privileges which are enjoyed by other free persons of color in this State: Provided, nevertheless, That before said slave shall be emancipated, his said owner shall give bond with good sureties in the sum of five hundred dollars, payable to the Governor of the State and his successors in office, that the said slave shall honestly and correctly demean himself while he remains in this State, and not become a county charge; which bond shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the court of pleas and quarter sessions of Cumberland county, and may be sued upon in the name of the governor for the time being, to the use of the county or persons injured by a breach thereof. [Ratified 16th day of February, 1855]

Chapter 113, Public and Private Laws of North Carolina Passed by the General Assembly 1854-55, North Carolina State Archives.

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.”