Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: free status

Charles was born free, but is now confined in jail as a runaway slave.

United States of America

State of Maryland, to wit:

I, Samuel Farnandis, Notary Public, by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the State of Maryland, Commissioned and duly Qualified, residing in the City of Baltimore, in the State aforesaid, do hereby CERTIFY, ATTEST, and MAKE KNOWN, that on the day of the date hereof, personally appeared Thomas Wilson and made oath on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God that he knew and was personally acquainted with a Negor Boy named Charles Rigby, now aged twenty two to twenty four years old black complexion, five feet two to five feet four Inches high, has one tooth broke in front, has a long face and large Head; that he knows the said Boy Charles to be free, and that he was born free, that he lived in his Family from the time he was about one year old until about four years since; said Wilson further saith he was understood and verily believes that the said Charles is now confined in Jail in the State of North Carolina as a Runaway Slave.    /s/ Thomas Wilson

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, the said deponent hath hereunto subscribed his name, and I the said Notary have hereunto set my hand, and affixed my Notarial Seal, the Eighteenth day of August in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty Six   /s/ Saml. Farnandis, Not’y Pub.


Charles Rigby Was born in Harford County and lived with Thomas Jenney until he was about 8 or 9 years old the most of the balance with me or under my controle he sail’d with Captain Bernard Johnson in the Schooner Christopher Hughes ran away & was taken and put in Fredericksburg jail I think he is hardly to tall as is mentioned in Mr. Farnandes instrument

Balt August 18th 1836                     Respectfully Yours, &&c, Thos. Wilson

Chowan County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

He is the son of free people.

I Nathan Small one of the Justices of the Peace for Pasquotank County & State of North Carolina, Certify that Jerry Leonard is the son of London and Edy Leonard, Free People of Colour Residing in this County, Octob’r [blank] 1830     /s/ Nathan Small

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

The bearer is free.

I Certify that the Bearer hereof Harvey Griffin is the son of Merrim Griffin and that Merrim Griffin is a free person of Colour, Given under my hand the 28th day of November 1831.  /s/ Joseph Spence

Slave Records, Perquimans County, 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]

Her freedom has never been disputed.

State of North Carolina Onslow County

To all persons whom it may concern we the under Signed being called on to State what we Know concernning the Freedom of Nancy dove formerly Nancy Henderson do certify that Nancy Ann Henderson the Mother of the said Nancy Dove was a Free born white Woman and that the Freedom of the said Nancy Dove never has been disputed given under our hands this 3rd March 1860  /s/ John Mills {seal} Nancy Parker {seal}

Test J.W. Thompson X


March Term 1860

Then was the above certificate proven in open Court by J.W. Thompson  /s/ Harvey(?) Cox


State of North Carolina Onslow County   } Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions March Term 1860

Then was the foregoing Certificate of John Mills and Nancy Parker duly proved in open Court by the Oath of Jonathan W. Thompson and Ordered to be registered  /s/ Jasper Etheridge


State of North Carolina, Onslow County   } Registered in due form of law, April 14th 1860 – Book No 29, Folio 48.  /s/ Z.M. Coston Regr

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

[Sidenote: Nancy Henderson, also known as Nancy Dove, was the sister of my great-great-great-great-grandmother, Patsey Henderson.  –LYH]

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]

From Philadelphia?

Jailor’s Notice.

Taken up on the 25th of June, 1827, and committed to the Jail of New Hanover county, North Carolina, a negro man, named JAMES ARCHEY, 5 feet 8 inches high, 27 years old, two of his upper front teeth out, and a scar over his right eye. This fellow says that he is free, and that he was born in Philadelphia, and his parents live there. There is but very little doubt that he is a slave, as he can tell but little about Philadelphia, or any part of the North. The owner is requested to come forward, prove property, pay charges, and take him away.  CHARLES R. MORRIS, Jailor. Wilmington, N.C., Nov. 27, 1827.

Star, Raleigh, 5 February 1829.

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.

He says he comes from Hanover County.


Taken up and committed to the Jail of Lenoir county, on the 24th day of August, 1828, a negro name who calls himself LEME DEEN, and says he is a free man, and that he came from Hanover county, in Virginia. He is very black complected, is about 5 feet seven or eight inches high, his left eye squinted. The owner is requested to come forward and prove his property, pay charges and take him away, or he will be dealt with as the law directs. JEREMIAH HAWKINS, Jailor. Kinston, Sept, 27, 1828.

Star, Raleigh, 5 February 1829.