Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: free status

Some evil-disposed person sold him.

State of North Carolina, Pasquotank County   } Decem’r Term 1793

To the Worshipful the County Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions for the County of Pasquotank aforesaid.

The petition of Jeremiah Alias Jeremiah Burges Sheweth

That he was Born of the Body of Nancy Alias Nancy Burges a Free Woman of Colour late of the said County of Pasquotank that some evil disposed person during the Infancy of your Petitioner sold him as he hath been informed to Edward Everigain late of the said County of Pasquotank Esquire deceased as a Slave in who Service he has since remained and that David George administrator of the said Edward Everigain since his death continues to hold your Petitioner in Slavery all which Actings & doings are contrary to the Law of Land & of Equity & good conscience In tender consideration whereof may it please your worships to grant to your Pet’r a Writ or Writs or Subp. Commanding the said David George adm. as aforesaid to appear & answer & to grant to your Pet’r such other & further relief as under the Act of Assembly in such case made & provided & in Equity he is entitled to receive & your Pet’t as in duty bound shall ever pray &c    /s/ Will Blair Atty

Records of Slaves and Free People of Color, Pasquotank County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

The liberty which free persons in a free country are entitled to.

To the worshipfull the Justices of Craven County Court  March Term 1785

The humble petition of Dorcas Brinson Sheweth That she is illegally held in Servitude by William Clark when she conceives she is entitled to her Freedom & the Liberty which Free persons in a Free Country are entitled to, and as her Complaint is returned to your Worships, she humbly hopes you will take her case into Consideration and Discharge her from Servitude.

And as in duty Bound she will ever pray &c   Dorcas Brinson

Records of Slaves and Free People of Color, Craven County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

He is a free boy of colour.

This is to certify that Simeon is a free boy of colour son of Alson Brothers & Favourite his wife given under my hand and seal Dec 13th 1841   E.L. Hinton JP

Slave Records, Pasquotank County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

In the 1850 census of Camden County: Alson Brothers, 62, farmer, and wife Farvur, 60, both of Pasquotank County, with children James, 17, John, 15, Milly, 13, and Lucy, 11, all born in Camden County. In the 1860 census of Camden County: Simeon Brothers, 30, “insane,” in the household of Martha Thornton.

It did not make a slave of Mills.

John A. Philips v. Patrick Murphy, Adm’r, 49 NC 4 (1856).

This action arose in Cumberland Superior Court.

Robert Mills, a free man of color, entered into this written contract with Louis A. Nixon:

“Know all men by these presents, that I, Robert Mills, for and in consideration of sixty dollars, to me in hand paid, at and before the sealing and delivery of these presents, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, have given, granted, bargained and sold, and by these presents do give, grant, bargain and sell unto Louis A. Nixon, his executors and assigns, my active services, as a servant, for the full and entire term of five years, and the full and entire control of my person and labor during that entire time.”

Nixon died, and his administrator entered into a contract with plaintiff Phillips: “Six months after date, we, or either of us, promise to pay Charles D. Nixon, administrator of Louis A. Nixon, or order, the sum of one hundred and twenty-five dollars for value received, in hire of a certain negro, Robert Mills, for the term of four years, or so long as Louis A. Nixon was entitled to the services of the said negro.” Phillips then put Mills “against his consent … into the possession of” a Barksdale.”

The suit contended that this bond was void as being against the policy of the law because “no man could sell himself into a state of slavery …” The Court disagreed, stating, “There is nothing in the transaction against the policy of the law. The legal effect of the deed executed by Mills to Nixon, was not to make a slave of Mills, or in any way vest in Nixon a title to him as property, but simply to give Nixon a right to his service for five years, upon an executory agreement, for a breach whereof an action of covenant would lie. The fact, that Mills is a free negro, makes no difference, for a white man may bind himself in the same manner. Indeed, it is common in some portions of the State, for white men to hire themselves during crop time, or for a year. The peculiarity about this contract is, that it is for five years, and is extended, by express words, to the assigns of Nixon. …”

The poor fellow is an orderly and honest seaman.

To the Worshipfull the Justices of Perq’s County Court Now Siting

The Petition of the Subscribers in Behalf of a Certain Negro Man Named James formerly the Property of Thomas Newby of the County Aforesaid Humbly Sheweth That some time in the Year 1776 the said Thomas Newby Manumited the said Negro Man James, that since that the Greater Part of his time he has been Employed as a Seaman, and has made Several Voyages from this State & Virginia in the time of the Last War, and that he has Twice, or more been made Prisoner by the British, That he Embraced the Earliest Opportunity in Making his Escape to Return to this Country being the place of his Nativity, where he has a Wife & Children, That once during the War between America & Great Britain he Entered himself onboard of one of the American armed Vessels, That during the Time of his Servitude with his said Master, he behaved himself as a faithfull Servant, and Rendered his Master great Services as a Seaman, and that since his freedom we have reasons to Believe he has Continued to behave Orderly and Honest. We are therefore willing to hope that on your Worships Maturely considering and Weighing every particular, you will be of opinion that the Poor fellow is Intitled to some small share of Merrit, If that should be your worships Opinion. We earnestly Solicit (in the poor fellow behalf) that you Will permit an Entry to be made on the Minutes of your Court allowing the Fellow to have done Something Meritorious, and for that Reason you will give a Sanction to his freedom, that he may with Safety Visit his Wife and Children, when It will be in his Power to Render further Services to this State, as an able Seaman, & Your Petitioners Shall ever pray &c   /s/ Thos. Newby [and nine others]


Slave Records, Perquimans County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

I have known them about forty years.

This is to certify that Negrow Lucy Delilah Betsey & Mary are the daughters of Betsey Thompson which I have known her and mother Sally for about forty years to be free dated September 28th 1830  /s/ Lovey Sawyer

Slave Records, Pasquotank County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

We have known him from his infancy.

State of North Carolina, Pasquotank County   } Personally Came before me Abraham Symons one of the Justices of the peace for said county Noah Hollowell and William Pow who testifiath that James Overton of Color is a free man having known him from his infancy and also knowing his parents were free previous agreeably to the Constitution of the State Witness my hand and Seal this 23rd day of October 1830.   /s/ A. Symons JP

[In a different handwriting] Jane Parthenia Overton, 5 feet 4 of a Light Black Forty years of age, has a Scar on the left Shoulder Dianna, Simeon, George

Slave Records, Pasquotank County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

In the 1830 census of Pasquotank County, James Overton was head of a household that included one male under 10; one male aged 24-35; two females aged 10-23; and one female aged 24-35.

In the 1850 census of Pasquotank County: Simeon Overton, 35, laborer, wife Elizabeth, 30, and children Daniel, 10, Josephine, 6, and Emily, 4.

Please inquire into the fact of his natural freedom.

Unto the Worshipful the Justices of the County Court of Perquimans

The Petition of Negroe Dick at present confined in the Common Gaol of the County: — by the next friend John Smith.

Most Humbly Sheweth That your Petr. has been taken up by Sundrey Persons supposing him to have been a Slave the property of John Smith one of the people called Quakers and illegally liberated by him.

That your Petr. Is at present confined in Gaol under the acts of Assembly 1777 and 1779.

Sheweth that your Petr. Grandmother, Betty was an Indian, a free woman by the Laws of Nature.

May it therefore please your Worships to enquire into the fact of the natural freedom of your Petr. And to do further in the premises as shall seem just & merciful. Respectfully whereof &c  /s/ M.A. Milton

Leave being first had from the worshipful Court to file the above Petition and Directions received from the Chairman of the Court to proceed by Petition  M.A. Milton  Oct. Term 1788

Slave Records, Perquimans County, North Carolina State Archives.

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.

Details notwithstanding, it is generally believed that he is a slave.

WAS committed to Wayne County Jail, on the 31st Oct. last, a negro man who calls his name Billy Holmes, and says he is free. He is about 6 feet high, dark complexion, good teeth, and weighs about 170 lbs., his age is about 24 years. He further says that he was bound to Judge Sanders at 10 years of age, and remained with him until he was 21; after which he went to Wilmington and had a fight with one Charles Hamburg, a white man, for which he was imprisoned; that Mr. John Cowan paid the cost, that he agreed to work with Mr. Cowan until he was paid, and from whom he eventually hired his time; he then worked on the Light Boat two months; then as Fireman on the Petersburg Railroad two months; and thence came to Goldsboro’, where, after committing several acts of Larceny, he was committed to Jail. It is generally believed that he is a runaway slave. 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.

Said Billy says his mother’s name is Amy Hays, and his father is Billy Holmes (the Barber) – born and raised in Wake county.   OLLIN COOR, Sheriff.

Goldsboro’, Nov. 29, 1853.

New Era, Goldsboro, 15 March 1854.