Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Granville County

Where are they now?, no. 21.

Y.R. was born in circa 1930 in Oxford NC.  She is descended from these free people of color:

(1) Elizabeth Anderson [1825-??, Granville County]

(2) Emaline Bookram [1827-1897, Granville County]

(3) Burwell Brandon [1785-??, Virginia/Granville County] > Elizabeth Brandon [1833-??, Granville County] > Parthenia Brandon [1851-1934, Granville County]

(4) Jesse Hedgepeth [1823-1897, Orange/Granville County] > William Turner Hedgepeth [1861-1946, Granville County]

(5) Alexander Howell [1815-??, Granville County] > Junius Thomas Howell [1848-??, Granville County]

(6) Lucy Stoye [1795-??, Virginia/Granville County]

Joe the wagoner.

Ten Dollars Reward.

Ran away from the subscriber, living in Granville county, on 19th October last, a likely Negro Man, named PLEASANT, aged about 27 years, dark complected, no particular marks recollected, only on his left thumb, cut with an axe, and is strong built. I understand he is aiming for the course of Fayetteville as a wagoner, and has a wagon whip with him. He calls himself Joe, or perhaps Joe Curtin, a free negro. Any person apprehending said slave, can receive the above reward of ten dollars, if said negro is confined in any gaol in the State, or delivered to the subscriber. Letters directed to Oxford or Red Mountain Post Office, will be immediately received. ALFRED CARRINGTON Nov. 20th, 1829.

The North Carolina Star (Raleigh), 10 December 1829.

He has known James Harris since childhood.

State of North Carolina, Granville County   }

This day John Dickerson personaly appeard before me David A. Paschall an acting Justice of the peace for the said county and made oath that he has been acquainted with Jas. Harris from his childhood & knows him to be Free that he is a dark mulatoe has a scar upon his head & is about nineteen years of age                 John X Dickerson

Sworn to and subscribed Before me this 18th day of March 1848 D.A. Paschall J.P.

James Henry Harris Personal Collection, North Carolina State Archives.

They talked about their service and privations together.

State of North Carolina Wak County pearsonally appeared before us Nancey Whitehead widow of Burwell Whitehead Aged ninety years and made oath in Dew form of Law to following affidaved

That She was Raised in the County of hallifax and State of North Carolina and that She was pearsonally Acquanited with Axum Scot and that they was Both Raised in the Same neighbourhood and Lived in a mile of Each other and that She well recollects that he married Alley Sweat and in a Short time after thear mariage had a Son they named him Zachariah and further this Deponent Saith not Sworn to and Subscribed before is August 13th 1846  Nancey X Whitehead

[illegible} JP, Tignall Jones JP


State of North Carolina, Wake County   }  Personally appeared before me Tignal Jones an acting Justice of the peace for said County on the 13th day of August 1845 Gilbert Evans aged fifty seven years and made oath to the following affidavit

That he was personally acquainted with Exum Scott for many years and often heard him speak of his services in the revolutionary War and heard him talk of his distress in leaving home to enter the army. And this deponent further saith that he has often heard his father (William Evans) who was also a revolutionary Soldier speak of the said Exum Scott as a Soldier of the revolution and also has heard them talking together of their services & privations together in the war and saith that the said Scott was always bore the Character of a revolutionary Soldier and always treated as such

Sworn to and subscribed before me the day & date first written    Gilbert X Evans


State of North Carolina, Wake County   }  This day Barney Scott of Granville County appears before me Tignal Jones a Justice of the peace of said County and made oath that he is the third son of Exum and Alley Scott that he is now as he believes 68 years of age and that he recollects when his father returned home from the War and that he has often heard his father say that he served under Col Long of Halifax and often heard him talk of the War and his services in the War and heard him say he served eighteen months under Col Long and further that his father was always called an old revolutionary Soldier & always treated as such and also had heard his father say that Jesse Potts was his Captain and that his father died in Wake County about the year 1823. Sworn to & subscribed before me this 23rd day of July AD 1845  Barney X Scott

Witness Tignall Jones JP


Widow Alley Sweatt Scott and son Zachary Scott, among others, also gave affidavits attesting to Exum Scott’s marital status and war service. There was testimony that Exum and Alley married in 1774 in Halifax County and that they moved to Wake County about 1801. George Pettiford of Granville County, himself a Revolutionary War veteran,  gave an affidavit concerning Scott’s service, and other documents named a third son, Guilford Scott.

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

In the 1790 census of Edgecombe District, Halifax County: Exum Scott listed as head of a household of 9 free people of color.

James H. Harris.

ImageBorn a slave around 1830 in Granville County, James Harris was freed in 1848. After receiving his freedom, Harris was apprenticed to a carpenter and later opened his own business in Raleigh. Harris left North Carolina prior to the Civil War and attended school at Oberlin College in Ohio for two years, followed by trips to Canada and Africa. In 1863, he received a commission to organize the 28th Regiment of United States Colored Troops in Indiana. (Note: Contrary to the original marker inscription, Harris did not serve as a Union colonel. The text has been rewritten and the marker reordered.) After the Civil War, Harris moved back to his native state as a teacher affiliated with the New England Freedmen’s Aid Society. He became involved in Reconstruction politics and was one of the charter members of the state’s Republican Party after serving as a delegate to the state’s Freedmen’s Convention in 1865. A staunch advocate for the rights of African Americans, Harris sought to provide a voice for equality while maintaining a moderate tone. His philosophy was that blacks and whites had to work together to promote the interests of each race. A gifted speaker, Harris received numerous appointments, including service as a delegate to the state’s 1868 constitutional convention. He was elected a state legislator in the house, 1868-1870, and 1883 and in the senate, 1872-1874. Harris also served Raleigh as a city alderman and as an advocate for the construction of the Colored Institution for the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind. Harris was appointed vice-president of the National Equal Rights Convention in 1865, president of the National Convention of Colored Men in 1869, and vice-president of the National Black Convention in 1877. He attended the 1868, 1872, and 1876 Republican National Conventions, serving as a presidential elector in 1872. Harris edited the North Carolina Republican in the 1880s and pushed for reforms for the protection of laborers, women, orphans and other disadvantaged groups. Harris died in 1891 in Washington, D.C. and was buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in Raleigh.

Adapted from

He has a pass, but …

COMMITTED To the Jail of Rockingham County, North-Carolina, on the 5th inst. a mulatto fellow, who calls his name George Petteford, jr. about 24 years old, five feet high; and has in his possession a pass signed by William M. Sneed, Esq. from Granville county, dated 11th November, 1817. If the said George belongs to any person, the owner is requested to come forward, prove his property, pay charges and take him away.    SAM’L MOXLY Jailor.  Sept. 15, 1820.

Star, Raleigh, 6 October 1820.

Horse-stealer sold for payment of fines.

Superior Court. – At the late September term of Orange Superior Court, Judge DICK presiding, there was an unsual amount of business on the criminal docket to be disposed of. There were three convictions for Grand Larceny; two white men, and a free negro, whose trial was removed from Granville to this county.

Moses T. Hopkins, (alias Thomas Jones, and a half dozen other aliases,) a white man from Virginia, was convicted of stealing a Horse, and having prayed for the benefit of clergy, was sentenced by the Court to receive of clergy, was sentenced by the Court to receive thirty-nine lashes immediately, to remain in prison until Tuesday of November court, when he is again to receive thirty-nine, and then be discharged according to law. He has also been indicted fir Bigamy, and is a notorious offender.

Green Morrow, a white man, convicted of stealing money, was sentenced to receive thirty-nine lashes, and be discharged according to law.

John Mitchell, a free negro, convicted of stealing a Horse, was sentenced to pay a fine of sixty dollars, and to be sold for the payment of the fine and costs.

The remainder of the cases tried were for misdemeanors; and most of them originated, as is generally the case, in intemperance.

Hillsborough Recorder, 18 September 1845.

William R. Pettiford.


Rev. William Reuben Pettiford, D.D.

This popular and influential pastor well deserves mention for hard, persevering, laborious, and faithful work for God and his fellow man.

Rev. W.R. Pettiford was born in Granville County, North Carolina, January 20, 1847.His parents, William and Matilda Pettiford, were free, and, according to the law of the land, their son was free. … His parents sold their little farm and moved to Person County, where he had the advantage of private instruction, and obtained a very fair knowledge of the English branches. Being the oldest child, he had to bear a part of the burden of the family; the hard, toilsome work he was compelled to do was a school of preparation for his life work.

Being converted in 1868, and baptized at Salisbury, N.C., by Rev. Ezekiel Horton, was the beginning of the life which has made him an earnest disciple and minister of Christ. … In 1869 he married Miss Mary J. Farley. Business becoming dull he moved to Selma, Alabama, and worked there both as a laborer and teacher. In March, 1870, after being married eight months, his wife died. Deciding to pursue a further course of training he entered the state normal school at Marion, Alabama. He remained there seven years, paying his expenses by teaching during vacations. … He was connected with the church at Marion, where he made a favorable impression upon the brethren by attending and conducting prayer-meetings and revivals. The church licensed him to preach in March, 1879. Mr. Pettiford had in the mean time, 1873, married a Mrs. Jennie Powell, of Marion, who died September, 1874, leaving him for the second time a widower. As principal of the school at Uniontown he was assisted by Mrs. Florence Billingslea and Rev. John Dozier. Mr. Pettiford met with much success. Wishing to take a more extended course of study, he resigned his position as principal, 1877, and entered Selma University. The following year the trustees appointed him a teacher at a salary of twenty dollars per month and permission to pursue the theological studies …. [He married Della Boyd on November 23, 1880; was ordained at St. Philip Baptist Church in Selma; moved to Union Springs; then, in 1883, accepted a call at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.]

At this time the church had a membership of one hundred and fifty, were worshiping in a store in the low part of town, and five hundred dollars in debt. [A year later, the debt was retired and a new edifice costing more than $7000 built.]

He is president of the ministerial union of Birmingham, a trustee of Selma University, president of the Baptist State Convention, and president of Alabama Penny Savings Bank. Besides owning a valuable home in the city, he is interested in other property. …

The degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred upon Rev. Pettiford by Selma University.

Adapted from A.W. Pegues, Our Baptist Ministers and Schools (1892).

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.


He had Negro blood in him.


White Soldier of General Cornwallis’s Army Drank Some of His Colored Sweetheart’s Blood Before Marriage in Order to be Able to Marry Her Legally.

By JOSEPH SEWELL in Raleigh (N.C.) Observer.

Joseph Butler (white), a member of Cornwallis’s army, was severely wounded in the battle of Guilford, March 15, 1781.

In Cornwallis’s retreated toward Eastern North Carolina Butler became a straggler and was lost from the English army. He was succored by a free mulatto woman, who hid him in her home until the surrender of the English army the following October.

During Butler’s confinement he was faithfully nursed by the daughter of his benefactress, who was nearly white, and there grew between them a mutual affection. It was Butler’s ardent desire to marry the young woman, and he was greatly distressed upon realizing that, under the laws of North Carolina, to wed the woman was impossible – she had Negro blood in her, and Butler was a full-blooded white man.

Hid in the Home of his Sweetheart

Butler remained at the home of his sweetheart in an unfrequented part of the country, and cultivated the small farm where he lived – isolated and ignored, an alien enemy, a fugitive hiding under a Negro’s roof. He finally conceived and immediately acted upon a plan to thwart the law, which forbade him marrying the woman he loved.

In those times the “letting of blood” was regarded almost as a panacea in the treatment of all bodily ailments. The mulatto girl was, for some physical disorder, bled by a surgeon.

Her sympathizing lover was at hand during the operation, and to the astonishment of the surgeon, deliberately drank an appreciable portion of the patient’s blood.

He immediately departed and upon his return exhibited a duly authenticated license to wed his mulatto sweetheart. He had gone to the proper official, made affidavit that he had Negro blood in him, and had procured a license to marry a half-blooded Negro woman.

Son of Couple Still Living

Rev. John J. Young, 78, Baptist minister, now living, is the son of this colored girl and the English soldier. His grandfather, Thomas Blacknall, had this interesting history:

Thomas Blacknall was born in Granville County, North Carolina, considerably over a century ago, as the chattel of John Blacknall, a typical slave owner of the South. Tom Blacknall was not only a remarkable Negro, he was a remarkable man.

Under apprenticeship provided by his master, Tom became a blacksmith and bell maker of more than local renown. He was permitted to keep his earnings and “buy his time.”

It is history in the Blacknall family that he was absent from home at intervals of a year without intermission, and that, with his master’s  permission, Tom went as far away as Baltimore, peddling his bells and plying his trade.

Tom Blacknall, the slave, was permitted to save his earnings and buy his freedom. The price paid for his freedom was $900. He afterwards purchased the freedom of his wife and his three sons, taking title to all of his ransomed family in himself.

He afterwards purchased three additional slaves. Had Blacknall’s wife given birth to other children, which does not seem to have occurred, such children would have been chattels of their father. Blacknall’s first wife died in de facto serfdom to her husband and he afterwards married a free Negro.

Wives Owned Their Husbands

He died in 1863 and by the terms of his will his three sons passed to the ownership of their respective wives who were free Negro women. Evidently he believed in reciprocity in the marital relation. His first wife had been his de facto slave and he made his sons, who were also his slaves, the slaves of their wives.

Another astounding thing about Tom Blacknall is that he was a Negro deacon in a white Presbyterian church.

This, and the fact that he frequently led the white congregations in prayer, are established to my entire satisfaction.

I have frequently conversed with very old white people of the highest veracity and of pronounced mentality, who, as restive children, heard but did ot attentively listen to, the prolix implorations of black Tom Blacknall, fervently poured forth in the midst of white congregations in a white Presbyterian church.

The Afro-American, Baltimore MD, 26 April 1930.