Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Greene County

Taxes due on one slave.

Free man of color Dick Miller appeared in a list of delinquent Greene County taxpayers published in a New Bern newspaper in 1818.

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Carolina Federal Republican (New Bern), 31 January 1818.

Hat tip to Mike Edge.

In the old times and old Country.

State of Indiana, Marion County }

Reuben Lawhon of the age of 50 years and George Lawhon of the age of 20 years both of the County of Park and State of Indiana being duly sworn – They testify that they have been well acquainted with Primus Tyler for all the lifetime of the affiant George Lawhon also with his son Shepherd Tyler all his lifetime and with Betsey or Elizabeth Tyler in her lifetime – She was the mother of the said Shepherd Tyler – Shepherd died unmarried – He was a good and faithful son He supported his Father and Mother in her lifetime – Primus Tyler was a slave in Green Co North Carolina – his family were free and came to Indiana and raised money through the Friend Quakers to buy him – which they in 1851 when he came here to this state and leased and rented some land in the quaker settlement in Park Co Indiana for some three years or more – this said same Shepherd Tyler working for his parents during this time – Then Primus Tyler rented a small farm from Thomas Harshman which was about ten years ago – they lived on that for one year when his wife and children purchased the far – 158 acres and gave about $4000.00 for it – on which his children still owe about $1300.00 and he now lives with his children on that place – His said son gave him $100.00 Bounty when he enlisted and his son was killed before he was again paid – since which he has collected the arrears of pay and Bounty – Primus Tyler is old and feeble and has long been disabled from rheumatism — affiants have not interest in this matter.   Reuben X Lawhon, /s/ George W. Lawhorn

[Witnesses] Ben D. House, William Saulsberry


State of Indiana, County of Parke   }

Ephraim Cook aged Sixty years and Walden Russell aged 41 years residents of the County and State aforesaid being duly sworn upon their several oaths declare that are well acquainted with the family of Primus Tyler and were acquainted with his wife Elizabeth Tyler in her lifetime who departed this life July 6th 1861 and they further declare that the said Primus and Elizabeth Tyler were the parents of Shepherd Tyler late Co C 28th Regt US.C.T. who was killed at Chickahominy Swamp June 1864.They further declare that they personally know that the said Primus and Elizabeth Tyler were married in Green Co N.C. in the year 1827 the said Primus being at that time a slave and the said Elizabeth free and that the said Elizabeth Tyler thereafter bought the said Primus Tyler affiant’s knowledge of these matters is derived from an intimate personal acquaintance with all of the above mentioned parties and a consequent personal cognizance of the matters testified of and they have no interest in this matter. /s/ Ephraim Cook, Walden Russel


Catlin Station Ind. Mar 24th 1869

Mr Harlan Hamlin, Indianapolis

Dear Sir, Inclosed you will please find a bill of sale conveying me from Elizabeth Edwards of North Carolina to James Siler of Indiana and on the same bill under the hand of the said Siler is a writing relinquishing all claims and demands on me to Elizabeth Tyler my wife showing conclusively that the facts was known & recognized by those of that day familiar with the class With regard to living witness I don’t suppose I can produce any from they being advanced in age. I have outlived all those that was present at the time I was married according to the manor and custome of such persons in the old times and old Country which was simply to prepare a supper invite in the friends and at the proper time the groom & bride took their places at the ends of the table facing each other after supper the parties was considered duly married and was recognized by the law when not conflicting with the interest of the masters. Inclosed you please find a postage stamp with which to return the inclosed bill and I trust you will let me know immediately whether it will do any good or not if it wont do I want to know so I may look in some other direction /s/ Primus Tyler

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From the file in the Pension Application of Shepherd Tyler, deceased (by his father Primus Tyler), #171234, National Archives and Records Administration.


In the 1850 census of Greene County, North Carolina: Elizabeth Tyler, 40, with children Shepherd, 11, Sally, 1, and Nancy, 5.

In the 1850 census of District 85, Parke County, Indiana: Reuben Lawhorn, 36, Eiza, 25, Oliver, 5, Alice, 2, George, 9 months, all born in North Carolina; plus George, 24, Nancy, 20, Hymerick, 18, Elizabeth, 17, Primus, 16, Avy, 14, and Moses Tyler, 13, all born in North Carolina.

In the 1860 census of Raccoon, Parke County, Indiana: at #386, farm laborer Reuben Lohorn, 40, Eliza, 36, Oliver, 15, Alice M., 13, George, 11, Susan, 8, Alfred, 4, Martha A., 3, and Elias, 3 months. Reuben, Eliza and the oldest two children were born in North Carolina; the remaining children in Indiana.) At #387, Primus Tyler, 60, Betsey, 45, Richard, Arcada, Primus, Moses, 18, Elizabeth, 20, Shepherd, Nancy B., Sally A., Edward F., Elwood, and Matilda J. (Note: Arcada, nee Artis, was Richard’s wife. He, too, enlisted in the Union Army, and his widow applied for a pension. In the 1850 census of District 85, Parke County, Indiana: Micajach Artis, 50, Beaty, 40, Arcada, 17, Eliza, 14, Burket, 4, and Henriette, 1; all born in North Carolina except Henriette, born in Indiana. Burkett Artis gave minor testimony in support of Primus Tyler’s application. Micajah is listed as a head of household in the 1830 census of Nash County NC and the 1840 census of Wayne County NC. A Micajah Artis married Rilly Eatmon in Edgecombe County in 1826. The three counties were contiguous at the time.)

Daniel Artis’ will and estate.

Daniel Artis was born about 1820, probably in Greene County, and died in early 1905. He married an enslaved woman (or women) whose name is unknown, and his children were born in slavery. Daniel recorded two wills in short succession in Greene County. The first, dated 15 January 1905, was recorded in Will Book 1 at page 514; the second, dated two days later, at page 524. The legatees are the same, but the gifts are packaged differently:

Item 1. Page 514 — to daughter Clary Edwards, wife of Henry Edwards, his interest valued at $172 in the tract of land on which Clary and Henry live. The tract was purchased from Debro Cobb with money advanced from Henry Artis. If $172 is more than the other’s children’s share, Clary is to make them even, and vice versa. Page 524 — to daughter Clara Edwards, wife of Henry Edwards, his interest valued at $172 in the tract of land purchased from Debro Cobb. His agreement with Henry Edwards has not been recorded.

Item 2. Page 514 — to son Henry Artis, 1/4 interest in his real estate. Page 524 — to son Henry Artis, 40 acres, including the house in which Daniel then lived.

Item 3. Page 514 — to the children of his son Lodrick Artis (Anna Randolph, Frank Artis, Lula Forbes, Madison Artis, Marcellus Artis, Ernest Artis, Dicey Batts and Hannah Artis) 1/4 of his estate. Page 524 — to the children of Lodrick Artis and his wife Mandy, 40 acres (land Lodrick resided on at the time of his death) and all buildings thereon.

Item 4. Page 514 — to the children of his daughter Prior An Thompson (Isaac Sauls, C.D. Sauls, Maria Edwards and Clara Lane), 1/4 of his estate. Page 524 — to Prior An Thompson’s children and their heirs, 40 acres that Willis Thompson lives on.

Item 5. Page 514 — $50 to daughter Mariah Swinson, wife of Jesse Swinson, to be paid from the shares of the others in the amount of $12.50 each. Page 524 — a committee to be appointed to assess value of shares and make Clara Edwards’ share equal to the others, difference to be paid within seven years.

Item 6. Page 514 — none. Page 524 — Each lot to be taxed $12.50 to pay daughter Mariah Swinson, wife of Jesse Swinson.

Grandson Isaac Sauls was appointed executor in both, Daniel Artis signed each with an X, and both were proved on 21 March 1905.

Whatever his intent at clarification, things did not go well with Daniel’s estate. A Notice of Sale ran four weeks from December 1923-January 1924 in the Greene County weekly The Standard-Laconic announcing the sale of “a certain tract or parcel of land devised to Henry Artis by Daniel Artis by his last will and testament, … containing 40 acres.” The sale was advertised pursuant to a judgment in Greene County Superior Court in the matter of Frances Hall; Bennett Hall; Bessie Woodard, infant; and Alice Woodard, infant, by their next friend Amos Woodard v. J. Settle Artis and Roumania Artis. Settle Artis, who was Henry Artis’ son, had purchased the parcel at a courthouse sale the previous July. Frances and Bennett Hall were Settle’s sister and brother-in-law, and Amos Woodard was another brother-in-law, widower of Settle’s sister Dillie.

The next suit over Daniel’s estate — filed in 1930 — was Isaac Sauls; Walter Sauls; Luby Sauls; Edward Sauls; Hattie Speight and her husband Walter Speight; Mariah Thompson; Lillie May Sauls, minor, George Sauls, minor, Sarah Sauls, minor, Lillie Lee Sauls, minor, Walter Sauls, minor, appearing by their next friend, Luby Sauls; and Nettie Sauls; Henry B. Lane; Lillie Maud Best and her husband Alex Best; John H. Lane and Carrie D. Lane, a minor, children and heirs at law of Clara Thompson; Penny Edwards, Silas Edwards, Prior Edwards and the Henry Pettaway children as follows: Hadie Pettaway, minor, Willie Harrison Pettaway, Georgia May Pettaway, minor, Minnie Clyde Pettaway, minor, grandchildren of Mariah Edwards, by their next friend Henry Pettaway v. C.D. Sauls and Duffrey Edwards. In other words, a fight among the heirs of Daniel’s daughter Prior Ann Artis Sauls Thompson. The crux of the matter is set out in paragraph 10:

10. That the plaintiffs, heirs at law of Isaac Sauls, Mariah Edwards and Clara Thompson are the owners of three fifths of the land devised by Daniel Artis in Item 4 of his will to the children of his daughter Prior Ann and are entitled to have the defendant Cain D. Sauls declared to have the same held in trust for them and are entitled to an accounting of the rents and profits of the same from the date of his purchase in 1908.

Instead, they alleged, C.D. Sauls had been keeping hundreds of dollars of rent for himself and, in 1928, had sold the parcel to Duffrey Edwards for $3000, with full knowledge by Edwards that Sauls was trustee for his relatives. C.D. denied all, of course. In 1937, his daughter and son-in-law, Willie Sauls Burgess and W.D. Burgess, were added as defendants after C.D. and his wife Ada allegedly tried to fraudulently transfer the disputed property to her. In 1939, the clerk of court entered a non-suit judgment noting that the parties had reached an amicable settlement. No details were included. The matter was over.

I received no bounty.


Wm Conner


In the 1850 census of Greene County, Lemmon Lyntch, 32 year-old white farmer, and William Conner, 18 year-old mulatto. William was likely an apprentice.

In the 1860 census of Hookerton, Greene County, William Conner, 28, and Argent Conner, 50, both mulatto. 

2 Cav. U.S.C.T. William Conner. Co. A, 2 Reg’t. U.S.C.T. Cav. appears on Company Descriptive Book of the organization named above. Description: age, 33 years; height, 5 feet 8 inches; complexion, tawny; eyes, dark; hair, black; where born, Green County, NC. Enlistment: when, 22 Dec 1863; where, Newberne; by whom: Capt. Hourd; term, 3 years. Remarks: Promoted to Company Farrior 1 Nov 1864.


Image of letter to Freedmen’s Bureau supplied by Conner’s descendant, Trisha Blount Hewitt, whom I thank for bringing Conner to my attention. [Sidenote: According to Hewitt, Conner initially served as a “laundress” in Co. A, 3rd N.C. Infantry, Confederate Army.]

The murder of one Dick Jones.

To His Excellency John M. Morehead, Governor of the State of North Carolina

The Petition of the undersigned respectfully shew unto your Excellency that at the Fall Term 1842 of the Superior Court of Law for the County of Green an Indictment was tried against Joseph Suggs, Bright Cannady and Edith Brown for the murder of one Dick Jones, alias – Jeffrey Mares, a free Negro – that upon the trial of said Indictment the said Bright Cannady and Edith Brown were acquitted and the said Joseph Suggs was convicted of the murder of the said Dick Jones, that the undersigned are some of them acquainted with the said Joseph Suggs and beleive that he is a very ignorant illiterate man and has not the ordinary sense belonging to person of his age and station, that they beleive a violent assault had been commited on the said Joseph Suggs by Dick Jones and his brother Jim Jones who were both free Negroes, and that the shooting took place very soon – not more then a half hour after the assault was committed upon him by the said free Negros, but the Jury under the charge of the Court considered that rather prolong a time had elapsed before the wound was inflicted of which Jones died and therefore felt bound under the said charge to find him guilty of murder

They therefore most respectfully pray your Excellency to grant a pardon to the said Joseph Suggs

Signed this 14th day of October 1842

Jurors names who Tried the crimnal

John Beeman
John Sutton
John F. Jones
Thos Wooten
Parrott M. Hardy
Edward Carmon
Henry H. Gibbons
B.F. Hazelton
James E. Exum
John T. Pridgen
Chas. Edwards

[Names of 151 petitioners omitted.]

Governors Papers, Gov. John M. Morehead, G.P. 102, Correspondence, Petitions, etc., Sept., 1842; Correspondence, Petitions, etc., Oct. 1842; North Carolina State Archives.

Tools and poultry.

State of North Carolina, Wayne County    }   I, Zilphy Wilson, of the County and State, aforesaid begin of sound mind and memory, but considering the uncertainty of my earthly existence to make and declare this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following, that is to say: — That my Executor hereinafter named shall provide for my body a decent burial, suitable to the wishes of my relations and friends, and pay all funeral expenses together with my just debts out of the first money that may come into his hands as a part or parcel of my estate.

Item 1. I give and bequeath to my daughter Bettie Reid 7 acres of land to be cut off the North East corner of the tract of land on which I now reside for and during her natural life, and after her death to be equally divided between all of her children that she may have now, or may have living at the time of her death, the said Bettie Reid not to have possession of said Land until the debts against my estate are paid.

Item 2. I give devise and bequeath to my son Adam Wilson and my daughter Vicey Wilson, share and share alike all of the tract of Land on which I now live, with the exception of the seven acres given away in Item first of this will, with all the priviledges and appertances thereunto belonging for and during their natural like, should they both have heirs, then they to have their mother & Father part, and should Adam or Vicey only one of them leave heirs, then and in that case I give said land to the surviving hairs of that one to them and their heirs in the fee simple forever.

Item 3. I give and devise unto my son Adam Wilson and Vicy Wilson, share and share alike, all of my Household and Kichen furniture of every description Farming implements of every description, Tools of Mechanics &c &c, Stocks of all kinds, and all the poultry of kind to them and their heirs in fee simple forever.

Item 4. It is my will and I so direct, that my son Adam Wilson to retain possession of the whole of my land at yearly rental of seven hundred lbs. of lint cotton which is to be applied to the payment of the debts against my estate, as soon as said debts are paid, I direct that Bettie Reid be put in possession of the seven acres of land given to her in a former Item of this Will. I also desire that my daughter Bettie Reed become an equal heir in my household and kitchen furniture with my son Adam and daughter Vicey.   Changes made in Zilphia Wilson’s Will Oct[?] 4, 1893

Item 5. I give and devise unto William and Jonah Wilson children of William Wilson Sixty dollars to be paid to them when they arrive at lawful age.

Item 6. I give and devise unto Johney, Lominary, Levy, Laronzo Locus, Children Louisa Locus Sixty dollars to be paid to them as they arrive at lawful age.

Item 7. It is my will and so direct that the Legacies mentioned in Items 5 & 6 of this Will be assessed by my son Adam and my Daughter Vicy Wilson, and I direct that they pay to each one of the above mentioned heirs, as they arrive of lawful age their proportionable part of said Legacies with interest on the same from the time the debts of the estate are settled.

Lastly, I hereby constitute and appoint my brother Jonah Williams and my son Adam Wilson Executors to this my last Will and Testament, hereby revoking all the Wills heretofore made by me.    Zilphy X Wilson

Signed and sealed in the presence of Fred I. Becton and Thomas Artis, who witnessed the same at her request.  /s/ Richard H. Battle, Fred I. Becton

[Proved 17 December 1902.] Will Book 2, page 421. Register of Deeds Office, Wayne County Courthouse, Goldsboro.

In the 1850 census of Bull Head, Greene County: Vicy Artess with children Zilpha, Louis, Jonah, Jethro, and Richard Artis.  Next door, Vicey’s children Adam, Charity and Jane  Artess in the household of Silas Bryant.  

In the 1860 census of Davis, Wayne County: carpenter Jack Wilson, wife Zilpha, and two unnamed “infants.”  Jack reported $500 personal property, $300 real property, and the family lived very near Zilpha’s mother, Vicey Artis. 

John Jones.

ImageJohn Jones was an outspoken civil rights activist and a committed leader in the fight to repeal Illinois’ Black Codes. He was born in Greene County, North Carolina to a free mulatto mother and a German-American father. Trained as a tailor, Jones migrated to Memphis, Tennessee, then moved to Chicago in 1845 with his wife Mary Richardson Jones.  He established a successful tailor shop at 119 Dearborn Street. Not long after his arrival in Chicago, Jones befriended local abolitionists Charles V. Dyer, a physician, and Lemanuel Covell Paine Freer, a noted lawyer. Freer taught Jones to read and write. Jones saw the value of the skills for business and also put them to masterful use in abolition work, including the publication of a 16-page pamphlet entitled “The Black Laws of Illinois and Why They Should Be Repealed.” Jones also worked tirelessly in the struggle against the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which denied runaway slaves the right to trial by jury and imposed high fines on anyone who aided slaves or interfered in their capture. Though he arrived in the city with just $3.50 in his pocket and had no formal education, by 1860 Jones was one of the nation’s wealthiest African Americans. In 1871, Jones was elected the first black Cook County Commissioner.


John Jones’ 1844 certificate of freedom, issued by the State of Illinois, described him as 25 years old; 5 feet ten inches tall, and mulatto; “has a scarr over the Left Eye Brown a Scratch across the cheek bone a scarr on the left Shin bone Taylor to trade.”

Photo: Chicago History Museum. Text adapted from “Early Chicago: Slavery in Illinois,”,4,3,4; see also, and more particularly, Sylvestre C. Watkins, Sr., “Some of Early Illinois’ Free Negroes” in Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, vol. 56, no. 3, Emancipation Centennial Issue (1963); 

In the 1860 census of Ward 2, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois: John Jones, 43, tailor, born NC; wife Mary, 40, born Tennessee; daughter Susan, 16, born Illinois; and Rachel Pettit, 20, born Illinois. Jones reported real property valued at $17000 and personal property at $700.

Free-Issue Death Certificates: MISCELLANEOUS, no. 5.

Henry Artis.  Died 7 Dec 1925, Mount Olive, Duplin County.  Colored. Married. Age 73. Farmer.  Born Wayne County to Abson Artis and Liza Artis, both of Wayne County.  Buried Dudley NC. Informant, Anna Artis.

Smitha McNeill.  Died 22 Nov 1924, Averasboro, Harnett County.  “Burned to death in burning building.”  Colored. Widowed.  About 69 years old.  Born in NC to Raleigh Seaberry  and Emmaline [last name unknown.]  Buried Dunn cemetery.  Informant, Alex Cagle.

Madison Seaberry.  Died 7 Apr 1923, Averasboro, Harnett County. Indian. Married to Frances Seaberry. Born 29 July 1846 to Raleigh Seaberry and Emily Emmanuel. Buried Carter Cemetery.  Informant, Raleigh Seaberry, Linden NC.

Dred Hagins. Died 6 June 1927, Speights Bridge, Greene County. Colored. Widow of Martha Hagins.  Farmer. Born 1854, Wilson County to Wilson Hagins and unknown mother.  Informant, Louis Hagins, Walstonburg.

Whipped to death.

BADLY WHIPPED.  – The Goldsboro’ Tribune says that a bound free negro man in Snowhill, Greene county, having been detected in stealing $200 from a Mrs. Cobb, was taken up and whipped so badly that he died. The parties have been bound over. 

Weekly Standard, Raleigh, 10 July 1861.

Free-Issue Death Certificates: WINN, WYNN.

Tempsy Winn.  Died 6 Apr 1924, Mount Olive, Wayne County. Colored.  Widow of Washington Wynne.  About 85 years old.  Nurse.  Born in Fayetteville, Cumberland County, to Nathan Brewington and unknown mother. Buried, Mount Olive NC. Informant, George W. Winn.

In 1860 census, Buck Swamp, Wayne County: Washington Winn, 35, carpenter; wife Temperance J., 20; and children Aaron, 17, Levi, 15, Elizabeth, 13, James, 11, and Giles, 9.

Levi W. Winn.  Died 1 June 1920, Brogden, Wayne County. Negro.  Married to Mary Winn. Born 1842 in Mount Olive to Washington Winn and Larky Winn.  Buried Mount Olive.  Informant, D.H. Winn.

James Cicero Winn.  Died 16 Oct 1922, Mount Olive, Brogden, Wayne County. Colored.  Married to Mattie Winn.  Born 16 Oct 1848 in Wayne County to Washington Winn and Larkie Brenette. Buried Mount Olive Colored Cemetery.  Informant, Thad Winn.

In the 1850 census of South Side of Neuse, Wayne County: Washington Winn, 30, farmer; wife Larkey, 30; and children Aaron, 8, Levi, 6, Apsoly, 4, and James, 6 months; plus Jno. Newell, 12.

Emiley Winn.  Died 3 Feb 1919, Mount Olive, Brogden, Wayne County. Colored. Widow. Born 1853 in “Fedville” [Fayetteville], Cumberland County, to Ne[illegible]em Terry and Scharlte Terry, both of Fayetteville. Buried Brogden township, Wayne County.  Informant, Leann Winn.

In the 1860 census of Indian Springs, Wayne County: Emily Winn, 19, with son John, 8 months, and husband Wm. Winn, 24.

Charles B. Winn.  Died 27 July 1923, Brogden, Wayne County. Colored. Married to Mary McGee Winn.  Age about 64. Born Wayne County to Bill Winn of Wayne County and Annie Newell-Winn of Fayetteville NC. Buried Wayne County.  Informant, Bruce Winn.

In the 1860 census of Indian Springs, Wayne County: Ann Newell, 25, and sons Wm. D., 7, and Charles, 5. All are described as white.

Mary Winn.  Died 8 Nov 1930, Dudley, Brogden, Wayne County.  Colored. Widow of Edward Winn.  Born 8 Jan 1860, Greene County, to Rob Hagans and [blank] Baker, both of Greene County. Buried Dudley NC. Informant, Fred Hagans.

In the 1860 census of Fields, Greene County: Robert Hagans, 31, day laborer; wife Sarah, 30; and children Mary, 12, Joseph, 8, Penelope, 5, and Edwin, 1, all described as mulatto.

Jim Henry Newell.  Died 26 Jan 1924, Mount Olive, Brogden, Wayne County. Colored. Married to Magie Newell.  Age about 69. Born in Mount Olive to Addam Winn and Larkie Newell.  Informant, Addam Newell.

In the 1860 census of Cumberland East, Cumberland County: Larkin Newell, 30, with her children Ollin G., 12, Washington, 11, Ann E., 8, James H., 6, Penny, 4, and Betsy, 4 months, all with the surname Winn.  Larkin was described as white; the children, mulatto.

Bettie Wynn.  Died 30 Aug 1935, Brogden, Mount Olive, Wayne County. Colored. Married to Giles Wynn. Age 82. Born Dudley NC to Levie Wynn and unknown mother.  Buried Mount Olive NC.  Informant, Lettie Bunting, Mount Olive.

Frances W. Wynn.  Died 12 Mar 1927, Dudley, Brogden., Wayne County. Colored. Widow.  About 67. Born in North Carolina to J. Arigers and [blank] Carther, both of NC. Buried Dudley NC. Informant, Levi Wynn.

Mary L. Wynn.  Died 30 Nov 1934, Mount Olive, Brogden, Wayne County. Colored. Widow of Levy W. Wynn. Age 83. Born Wayne County to Levy Wynn and Betsey Wynn, both of Wayne County. Informant, Daniel H. Wynn, Mount Olive.

 North Carolina Death Certificates; US population schedules.