Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Franklin County

His papers have never been seen.


Tarborough Southerner, 15 May 1852.



$10 Reward.

RANAWAY from the subscriber, on the 1st day of April, 1852, a mulatto fellow named Jerry Manly, as he calls himself, and says that he is a free man, but his papers have never been seen. Said boy is 30 or 32 years old, and has a free woman for his wife — the woman is well known by the name of Nancy Reed, she has a sister in the neighborhood for Tarboro’, and Logsboro’, and no doubt they are lurking in that vicinity. The boy was raised in the town of Louisburg, N.C., and has a mother and several brothers in that place. The above reward will be paid for his delivery to the undersigned at Rocky Mount, or any jail so that I can get him again.  S.D. Armstrong.

Rocky Mount, April 3rd, 1852.

In the 1850 census of Nash County: Nancy Reed, 32, with Betsey, 16, Mary, 6, and William Reed, 7 months, plus Matilda Cross, 29, all mulatto.

He, his father, his mother, his grandfather AND his grandmother….

State of North Carolina, Franklin County    }

Be it known that this 1st day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty eight Came before us James Baker & Richard Arrendell two of the Justices of the peace for the County and Franklin, aforesaid, Thomas Broom and Thomas Williams both of the County & State aforesaid, and maketh oath that they are well aquainted with Frederick Reed (a man of Colour, the bearer hereof, and that he has always passed as a free borned man; that they new his father & mother, and his Grandfather & grandmother, and that they were also reputed to be free persons; that the Said Frederick is about 36 years old, of dark yellow complexion, about 5 ¾ feet high and by profession farmer.    /s/ Thomas Williams    Thos. Broom

Sworn to & subscribed before us, this date & Date above written Attest Richd. Arrendell J.P. Jas. Baker J.P.

Miscellaneous Records, Franklin County, North Carolina State Records.

To enslave herself.



By Mr. Green, of Franklin, a memorial from Ellen Ransom, a free woman of color, of Franklin county, to be allowed to enslave herself for life to Leonidas Perry.

Weekly Standard, Raleigh, 12 December 1860.

In the 1860 census of Franklinton, Franklin County: Susan Ransom, 75, washerwoman, daughter Ellen, 26, her children Marcellus, 9, and Susan, 7, and Henrietta Mason, 15.


Legislature of North Carolina.


By Mr. Ewell, a bill to permit Celia Lynch, a free woman of color, to enslave herself for life. Referred to committee on propositions and grievances.

Weekly Standard, Raleigh, 19 December 1860.

Free-Issue Death Certificates: PETTIFORD.

Fathia Thomas Pettiford. Died 10 November 1930, Oxford, Granville County. Resided Hillsboro Street. Colored. Widowed. Age 82. Born Franklin County to Thomas Pettiford and Fathia Anderson. Buried Harrisburg. Informant, H.P. Pettiford.

Sallie Howell. Died 23 August 1934, Oxford, Fishing Creek, Granville County. Colored. Widow of James R. Howell. Age 81. Born Franklinton to Thomas Pettiford and Fathie Pettiford. Buried Antiock. Informant, Mrs. Bettie Cannady.

Beddie Parish. Died 8 January 1923, Oxford, Granville County. Colored. Widowed. Age 62. Born Franklin County to Tomas Pettiford and Fathy Pattiford, both of Franklin County.  Buried Harrisburg. Informant, Alex Parish.

In the 1860 census of Cedar Creek, Granville County: Thomas Pettiford, 40, day laborer, wife Fatha, 35, and children Nick, 24, Minerva, 22, Bettie, 14, Fatha, 12, Delila, 10, Lewis, 8, Sally, 6, and Bittie, 4, plus Elijah Valentine, 90.

Sallie Brandon. Died 9 May 1926, Kittrell, Vance County. Colored. Married. Age 75. Born to Wm. Pettiford of Granville County and unknown mother. Buried in family graveyard. Informant, Isiah Brandon.

In the 1860 census of Oxford, Granville County: Will. Pettiford, 50, farmer; wife Avy; and children Lewis, 18, Bettie, 14, Edny, 13, Sally, 11, Will., 8, James, 5, Lewis, 4, and unnamed, 2.

Coleman Pettiford. Died 24 May 1933, Raleigh, Wake County. Resided 228 East Lenoir Street. Colored. Married to Pheoby Pettiford. Farmer. Born 1837 in Franklin County to Herman Pettiford of Franklin County and Lizzie Evans of Granville County. Buried Mount Hope cemetery. Informant, St. Agnes Hospital.

In the 1850 census of Fort Creek, Granville County: Hillmon Pettyford, 50, wife Lizzy, 40, and children Jane, 21, William, 16, Sally, 14, Coleman, 12, Louisa, 8, John, 6, Gilly, 4, and Elizabeth, 2.

Silas Pettiford. Died 23 December 1935, Franklinton, Franklin County. Colored. Widower. Age 95. Born Granville County to Reuben Pettiford and Rebecca Pettiford. Buried Long graveyard. Informant, Irie Tensley.

Rubin Pettiford. Died 28 July 1916, Plymouth, Washington County. Negro. Brickmason. Born February 1837, Wayne County, to Rheubin Pettiford and Julia Artist, both of Wayne County. Informant, Roberta Pettiford, Plymouth.

In the 1850 census of Warren County: Reuben Pettiford, 50, stonemason, wife Judy A., 37, and children Eliza Artis, 21, Alfred Artis, 15, Jack Artis, 13, Rhody Artis, 12, Ruben Artis Jr., 10, Julian Artis, 9, Mary Artis, 7, Elizabeth J. Pettiford, 5, and Virginia Pettiford, 3, plus Middy Artis, 60, and Isah Artis, 4 months. But see also, in the 1850 census of Louisburg, Franklin County: Ruben Petifoot, 50, stone cutter, wife Julia, 37, children Eliza, 21, Mary, 8, Betsy, 6, Virginia, 4, Moses, 2, and Isaac Petifoot, 7 months, plus Middy Artirst, 80. And see: in the 1850 census of Nash County, Judah Pettiford, 36, Milly Artis, 90, Eliza Artis, 20, Mary Pettiford, 7, Elizabeth Pettiford, 5, Virginia Pettiford, 3, Josephine Pettiford, 1, and Dick Pettiford, 4 months.  In the 1860 census of Western District, Halifax County: Rubin Pettiford, 60, and Julia, 50, Rubin, 22, Julia, 19, Mary, 17, Betsy, 15, Virginia, 13, James, 10, and Isaiah, 11, all Pettifords.


Piety — cook, seamstress, weaver, baker, brewer, runaway — passed as a free woman for 16 years.

$100 REWARD. RUN AWAY, or was stolen from the subscriber on the night of the eighth instant, a bright mulatto woman (slave) and her child, a girl of about four years old. This woman ran away from the subscriber, executor of John Hunt, dec’d, in the summer of 1808, and passed as a free woman by the name of Patsy Young, until about the first of June last, when she apprehended as a runaway. On the 6th of the same month I obtained possession of her in the town of Halifax; since which time, by an order of Franklin county court, she and her child Eliza have been sold, when the subscriber became the purchaser. She spent the greater part of the time she was run away (say about sixteen years,) in the neighbourhood of and in the town of Halifax; one or two summers at Rock-Landing, where I am informed she cooked for the hands employed on the Canal. She has also spent some of her time in Plymouth, her occupation while there not known. At the above places she has many acquaintances. She is a tall spare woman, thin face and lips, long sharp nose, and fore-teeth somewhat decayed. She is an excellent seamstress, can make ladies and gentlemens dresses, is a good cook and weaver, and I am informed is a good cake-baker and beer-brewer, &c. by which occupations she principally gained her living. Some time during last summer she married a free man of color named Chrael Johnson, who had been living in and about Plymouth, and followed boating on the Roanoke. Since his marriage, he leased a farm of Mr. James Cotton of Scotland-Neck, Halifax county, where he was living together with this woman, at the time she was taken up as a runaway slave in June last. I have but little doubt, that Johnson has contrived to seduce or steal her and child out of my possession, and will attempt to get them out of the State and pass a free persons. Should this be the case, I will give sixty-five dollars for his detection and conviction before the proper tribunal, in any part of this State. I will give for the apprehension of the woman and child, on their delivery to me, or so secured in jail or otherwise that I get them, thirty-five dollars; or, I will give twenty-five dollars for the woman alone, and ten dollars for the child alone. The proper name of the woman is PIETY, but she will no doubt change it as she did before.

I forward all owners of boats, captains and owners of vessels, from taking on board their vessels, or carrying away this woman and her child Eliza, under the penalty of the law. NAT. HUNT. August 15.

Raleigh Register and North Carolina Weekly Advertiser, 20 August 1824.

James Boon.

James Boon (1808-1850s or later) was a free black carpenter active in North Carolina from the 1820s through the 1850s. As historian John Hope Franklin relates, the rare if not unique survival of the personal papers of this free black artisan provides an important window into the ‘common experiences, the fortunes, both good and ill, which all free Negroes had.’ Boon was evidently born to a free mother and was apprenticed at 18 to Franklin County carpenter William Jones until the age of 21. In 1829, he received a paper that served as a pass, stating ‘James Boon, a boy of colour who was bound to William Jones by this court’ was ‘ordered to be liberated and set free.’

“Boon led a mobile life and carried with him passes and letters of reference from employers and prominent citizens to affirm his free status and good work. He worked first around Louisburg in construction and furniture making. In the mid-1830s, he went to Raleigh, possibly to help build the Duncan Cameron House (1835-1836). He traveled to Littleton in 1839 and to rural Halifax County in 1842. A reference to ‘Boon’ in Skinner family correspondence suggests that he worked on the Greek Revival style plantation house Linden Hall (1841-1844) near Littleton for Charles and Susan Little Skinner; there are also references to ‘Mr. Bragg’ (probably Thomas Bragg, Sr.) and ‘Jones’ (possibly Albert Gamaliel Jones). One of his employers, R. H. Mosby, affirmed in 1842 that Boon was ‘an orderly and well behaved man, and attentive to his business. His work is executed better and with more taste than any persons within my knowledge in this section of country.’ In 1848, James Boon joined his brothers and a friend seeking work in Wilmington. He then went to Raleigh in 1849, where he was employed by the prominent builder Dabney Cosby on various projects. There he hired other workmen to help on ‘Mr. D. Cosby’s work.’ On October 27, 1850, Cosby wrote him a reference stating that ‘Jim Boon’ had been in his employ ‘for some time’ and was ‘a good workman.’

“Boon sometimes worked alone but also hired as many as nine workmen, including whites, slaves, and free blacks. He charged $1.25 a day for his own time and $0.50 cents to $1.00 for his employees. He owned one slave, Lewis, and land in Franklin County, which he occasionally mortgaged. Boon did not learn to read and write, but William Jones, who remained a friend, helped him in business matters. Various receipts note payment for such jobs as ‘Mill House 30 by 36, Ten feet pitch, Two stories, three floors, 12 windows and ten doors, weatherboarding dressed plain strong work,’ or for a more finished project, ‘24 lights glass, 12 x 15, Pilasters rose blocks–inside double architraves.’

“James Boon’s family included a brother, Carter Evans. Boon’s first wife was Sarah, a literate slave who belonged to Maria Stallings. They had a son who went to Raleigh with his father in 1849. (James Boon does not appear in the 1850 census.) In 1854, Boon married Mahaly Buffalo in Raleigh. His last record was in 1857; his death date is unknown.”

Author: Catherine W. Bishir.  Published 2009.

As published in North Carolina Architects and Builders: A Biographical Dictionary,  (All rights retained.) This web site is a growing reference work that contains brief biographical accounts, building lists, and bibliographical information about architects, builders, and other artisans who planned and built North Carolina’s architecture.  

He was well acquainted with Genl. Washington.

State of North Carolina, Franklin County    }

On this the 18th day of June AD 1841 personally appeared before me one of the Justices of the Peace for the County aforesaid & one of the Justices of the Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions of the same, Solomon Bibbie, a free man of colour a resident of the County of Franklin & State aforesaid, aged ninety years, who being first duly sworn according to law doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed June 7 AD 1832, that he joined the Army under Genl Sumner and served under Capts Pell, Armstrong, & Brickle and others (whose names he cannot now recall) he entered the service in the Spring of the year but what year he does not now recollect, he remained in the service three years from the time he entered as aforesaid as a volunteer, he was at the battles of Eutaw Springs, Camden & Guilford Court House, and attended most of his time to the care of the horses & as protector & guard to the baggage wagons, he was not engaged in any of the said battles, he was a volunteer, & joined & continued as such whilst he was connected with the Army.  He was well acquainted with Genl Gates, Greene, and also with Genl Washington & Malbry (he thinks the name was). He has in his possession no documentary evidence & knows of no one who can testify, except one Pope who lives in the western part of the State somewhere, but at what place he does not know.  He does not know what year he was born in but he was born in this County (which was then called Bute) & State.  He has no record of his age.  He was living near Sandy Creek in the County when he volunteered & has lived ever since.  He received his discharge from service from Genl Sumner through his aid Capt but he has lost it, or it has been destroyed by age.  He states the following as persons living in his neighbourhood who can testify to his character for truth, viz: Presley Parsons, William Ransom, T. Patterson, B. Jones, Jeremiah Perry, Arch’ld Yarbrough, Philemon Hawkins & Nathan Patterson & who can testify also to his good behaviour & most of whom can testify from information received from others of his Revolutionary services, and he hereby relinquishes every claim whatsoever, and he makes oath that he served faithfully through his whole time & that he is now very needy & dependent & unable to work.

Sworn to & subscribed the day & year above before me

Thomas Howerton J.P.                                           Solomon X Bibbie

From the file of Solomon Bibbie, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives and Records Administration.

Solomon Bibby was head of a household of five free people of color listed in the 1830 census of Gills district, Franklin County.

Otherwise he will be dealt with as the law directs.

NOTICE. TAKEN UP AND COMMITTED TO THE COUNTY JAIL of Franklin county, North-Carolina, a mulatto man of medium brightness, about, from his appearance, twenty years of age, about six feet high, has a down look when spoken to, and not very intelligent.  No particular mark or marks on his person known of by which he might be otherwise described other than the above, with the exception of some fresh marks of the lash on his back.  He says he is a free man, by the name of Henry Valentine, was raised in the county of Granville, near Henderson, N.C., and left there to N.M. Harris’s in Nash county, where he remained until some few days since, when he came to Franklin.  He says the reason of his leaving Nash is, that the Volunteers were going to carry him to the war.  He has no free papers, and is badly clad.  His owner, if any, is requested to came and pay charges and take him away before the time limited for such, otherwise he will be dealt with as the law directs.  E.A. Gupton, Sh’ff.  June 24, 1861.

Weekly Standard, Raleigh, 3 July 1861.

Free People of Color Listed in Mortality Schedule: 1860.

Emily Reed, 11, female, mulatto, Indian Springs, born NC, died July, worms, Wayne County.

Oma Whiter, 13, female, black, New Hope, born NC, died August, unknown causes, Wayne County.

Sarah Lasiter, 2 months, female, black, born NC, died November, smothered accident, Wilson County.

Jesse Ratley, 75, male, black, widower, born NC, died January, ditcher, f[illegible] intemperance, Franklin County.

Wesley Wilkins, 21, male, black, single, born NC, died April, farm laborer, pneumonia, Nash County.

Surnames: Franklin County, 1810.

These surnames appear among free people of color in the 1810 federal census of Franklin County: