Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: free papers

She was a good girl.

Richard Arnolds, Will

In the name of God, Amen, I Richard Arnold of Caswell County, North Carolina being of sound and perfect memory (blessed be God) do this nineteenth day of April in the year of Our Lord Eighteen hundred and thirty, make and publish this my last will and Testament in manner following, that is to say –

1st first, I give to my well beloved wife Mary Arnold, my bed and furniture, my chest and gold-ring; also my desire is that my wife Shall Live with my family as She has always done as long as She lives –

2nd. My will is that all my personal property Should be equally divided, between my three daughters (to wit) Elizabeth, Rachiel & Mary White Arnold –

3d. My desire is that when Ann Patterfoot shall be of age Shall have her freedom recorded in Caswell County at the Expense of my estate –

Now I, Richard Arnold do to this my last will and Testament leave my trusty friends the Rev. John Stadler and Thomas Prendergast my Sole Executors to this my last will and Testament. In Witness Whereof I have set my hand and affixed my Seal the date above written.  /s/ Richard Arnold {seal}

Signed Sealed and delivered by the said Richard Arnold as his last will and Testament in the presence of us   Tho Prendergast, Isham X Turner, James X Turner.

Proved October Court 1830. Will Book L, page 567. 


Evidence of the Freedom of Ann Paterfude, a free Woman of Colour –

Caswell County, North Carolina, January 4th, 1837 –

The following is a description of a free Woman of Colour named Ann Paterfude, Who Served Richard Arnold Decd a term of years, the said Decd, in making his last Will and Testament, requested that the Said Ann’s freedom should be Recorded at the expense of his Estate, saying that she was a good Girl, which will more appear, reference being had to the Will She is about Twenty-four years old, five feet, seven Inches and a half high, of dark complexion, black Eyes, Tolerable Slender made, remarkable thick lips, Nose flat, speaks fluently, hands & fingers remarkably long — a scar on her left hand between the Wrist and Thumb. Taken by Thomas Prendergast Executor to the last Will and Testament of the said decd.   /s/ Tho Prendergast, Exc’r.

Returned April Court 1837.

Will Book M, page 51.

North Carolina Probate Records 1735-1970. https://familysearch,org. Original, North Carolina State Archives.

He now has a desire to travel.

Know all men by these presents that we, Charles Hinson, Solomon Williams, & John Smith are well acquainted with Samuel Conrad (free man of color) whose forefinger was cut off by accident when he was a boy & now having a desire to travel, wishes for a certificate of character from us, know therefore that we have been acquainted with Samuel Conrad for 13 years (since the year 1810) & believe him to be an honest & punctual man & just & fair in his dealings & faithful in his labors & undertakings & we do recommend him as such & do further believe that he will continue to conduct himself in good & proper manner, given under our hands & seals this 22nd day of July in the year of our Lord 1823

Deed Book U, page 545, Register of Deeds Office, Anson County Courthouse, Wadesboro. 

[Thanks to Steve Bailey, Anson County genealogist. He may be reached at]

His manner is contradictory.


And committed to the Jail of Craven County, on the 14th inst. A Negro Man, who says his name is John Carpenter, alias Abraham, that he is free, and a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut. He is about 5 feet 10 inches high; 21 or 22 years of age, of light complexion, and had on when taken, light domestic clothing. From the contradictory manner in which he accounts for himself, there is little doubt but he is a runaway slave. He has no free papers, but exhibits a paper professing to be a pass, which is believed to be a forgery. The owner, if any, is requested to come forward, prove property, pay charges, and take said Negro away. JORDAN S. CARROW, Jailor. Newbern August 22, 1829.

North Carolina Sentinel, New Bern, 19 December 1829.

I gave him a copy of his indentures.

Haywood Chatham cty. N.C.

I do hereby certify that a coloured Boy, by the name of Banks Evans; that was bound to Col John Farrar of this county, has lived in my employ; for the last three years up to February last; about which time he became Twenty one years of age & in a short time afterward left my employ & hired himself; to a man in my neighborhood in Rutherford county NC. with whom at the time I left in June last he was living as a free man; & receiving pay for his services as a free man; after he became free I gave him a copy of his indentures with the certificate of the clerk of the county court  of Chatham Cty with the county seal thereto attached believing that was sufficient evidence of his freedom.  /s/ Jno. Smith

Sworn & subscribed to before me this 10th July 1837 J.H. Shull J.P.

[On reverse: John Smith affidavit in the case of Banks Evans a free boy of colour — 1837 — August Term]

On his way to Petersburg.

COMMITTED to the jail in this city, on the 16th inst. A Negro man who says his name is John Mumford, and that he is free, and was travelling from Kershaw District, S.C. to Petersburg, Va. He is about 23 years of age, and is yellow complected. The said negro has a pass, signed by Wm. Alexander, Rob’t Lane, & Charles House, all appear to be signed by the same person. The owner, if any, is requested to come forward, prove property, pay charges and take him away.  CHARLES JOHNSON, Jailor.  Raleigh, May 4, 1815.

Star, Raleigh, 19 May 1815.

James has his papers.

NOTICE. Taken up and committed to the Jail of Moore county, on the 14th day of July, 1860, as a Runaway, a NEGRO MAN who says that he is free, that his name is JOHN LUCAS, and that he is from Nash County, N.C., and was bound to Marcom Hinesdeen of Nash County, and says that James Night has his papers. He is about 29 years old, dark complected, 5 feet 10 or 11 inches high, weighs about 165 or 170 lbs. The owner is requested to come forward , prove property, pay charges, and take him away, or he will be dealt with as the law directs.   L.F. CADDELL, Jailor. Aug. 13.

Carolina Observer, 13 August 1860.

He is making for the Western Country.

One Hundred Dollars Reward.

RANAWAY from the subscriber on the 6th day of March last, a mulatto man by the name of JACK, well built, about five feet five or six inches high, 28 years of age, a tolerable shoe maker, and has been much in the habit of driving a wagon – He has a scar on his forehead, and a part of one of his upper foreteeth is broken off, one of his wrists broke and crooked, and his right leg pretty much shot with small shot which will shew very plainly. He has been seen on his way making for the Western Country, and passes as a free man but the name of John Revill, having obtained a pass from a black free man of that name which was written and signed by John Taylor Clerk of the County Court of Orange, (State of North-Carolina) – Any person who will deliver the aforesaid mulatto man to the Subscriber at Hillsborough in the state aforesaid, shall receive the above reward, and all reasonable charges paid from time of his being taken until delivered.  LEVI WHITTED.

Hillsborough Record, April 8, 1812.

P.S. The Subscriber was somewhat mistaken before in a part of the description given of this fellow, that is with respect to his height.

The Editor of the paper at Knoxville, is hereby requested to give this advertisement an insertion in his paper and continue the same about 6 weeks, for which he will be good enough to forward his account to the subscriber living at Hillsborough, and the money shall be duly forwarded.   L. WHITTED.

He has a mulatto indenture.

One Hundred Dollars Reward.  Ranaway from the subscriber in April, 1800, a negro man named ZIBE, about 25 years of age, 5 feet 7 or 8 inches high, well made, handsome features, and dark complexion – I do suppose he is in or about Norfolk, as his mother and some of his other connexions live in that place. I have lately understood he has a mulattoe indenture and certificate, and goes by the name of the mulattoe, which is James Turtle, which if he has the indentures was executed in Bertie county North Carolina, to Mr. Jesse Brown, of county and state aforesaid, and the certificate was granted to said Turtle, by said Jesse Brown. The above reward will be given to any person apprehending said negro and confining him to that I get him again, or delivering him to me in Hertford county North Carolina, and all reasonable expences paid.  Eli Moor.

N.B. He is a tolerable shoemaker.

Norfolk Herald, 1 July 1802.

He has no papers to prove his freedom.

Committed to Norfolk county jail, a Mulatto fellow, who says he is a free man, but has no papers to prove his freedom, he is a bright mulatto, 6 feet high; he says he is named JOHN MASINS, born in Washington county, N.C., a small scar over his right eye, and one on his right ear. His owner is requested to come forward, pay charges and take him away.  CHARLES RUDDER, Jailor.

Norfolk Herald, 1 July 1802.

Green, country-looking man and woman without papers.

SENT BEFORE THE GRAND JURY. – Oswald Wright, the person charged with bringing Eveline Mills, a free negro of North Carolina, into the state contrary to law, was, yesterday brought the Mayor, and after an examination into the case was required to find security for his appearance before the Hustings’ Court Grand Jury, to answer any indictment that might be found against him for the offence. The amount of security ($150) was not given by him, and he was committed to jail. The punishment should he tried and convicted is a fine of not more than $500, and imprisonment not exceeding six months. The jury may vote the accrued guilty, fine him one cent, and put him in jail one hour. Eveline Mills, the woman who was held as an adjunct of weight in the offence, produced her certificate of freedom and discharged from custody.

The Daily Dispatch, Richmond VA, 27 August 1857.


SENT BACK. – Oswald Wright, who stands accused of bringing Evelyn Mills, a free negro, into this state from North Carolina, contrary to the law, was before the Mayor yesterday, but the case was not gone into, on account of the absence of witnesses. The defendant was sent back to jail. – Wright, a green country looking individual, says he came from Rockingham county, and was on his way back when arrested. The woman, Evelyn Mills was likewise sent back to answer for coming into the State without free papers. It is not known with certainty whether she is free as she asserts.

The Daily Dispatch, Richmond VA, 3 September 1857.


HUSTINGS COURT. – This tribunal commences its regular monthly term on to-day next. Below we give a list of cases which will occupy the attention of the magistrates during the session …. The misdemeanor cases … will be found in the following list:

7. Oswald Wright. Bringing a free negro from North Carolina to this city, contrary to the laws of Virginia.

The Daily Dispatch, Richmond VA, 9 November 1857.