Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Herring

If any slave is deserving of freedom, he is.

To the honorable the Judge of the Superior Court for the County of Wayne, the Petition of Benajah Herring of said County

Your petitioner sheweth that he is the owner of a negro slave Willis, and is desirous of being permitted to emancipate him. Your Petitioner sheweth that the said slave was raised by Michael Herring formerly of said County and after the death of said Michael belonged for many years to Ichabod Herring now of said County, that the said slave has been from his infancy up to this moment distinguished by his sobriety industry and faithfulness, that his services have uniformly been of the most meritorious kind, that he has been left in charge by his late master for months of his plantation and rural concerns and hath acquitted himself in the most exemplary manner, and that if any slave be deserving of freedom your Petiioner believes that the said Willis is. Your Petitioner saith that the said Willis hath by his industry and economy paid to his late master a considerable sum the price of his freedom and having secured the payment of the residue a conveyance of the said slave hath been made to this Petitoiner for the purpose of soliciting and endeavouring to effect his emancipation          /s/ Benajah Herring

Records of Slaves and Free Persons of Color, Wayne County Miscellaneous Records, North Carolina State Archives.

The petition is undated, but Willis Herring is listed as a head of household in the 1840 census of Wayne County.

Assault on a free colored man.

Murrell Martin & Benjamin Jones assault on John R. Williams (free col’d man)

Kedar Raiford for cutting John Herring (free col’d man)

Undated. Wayne County Superior Court Grand Jury Presentments 1830-1850, Miscellaneous Records, Wayne County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

Where are they now? No. 17.

P.M. was born in the mid-1960s in Goldsboro NC.  She is descended from:

(1) Margaret Balkcum [1836-1915, Sampson/Wayne County]

(2) Patsey Henderson [ca1795-??, Onslow County] via James Henderson [1815-ca1885, Onslow/Sampson/Wayne County] via Lewis Henderson [1836-1912, Onslow/Sampson/Wayne County] via Ann Elizabeth Henderson [1862-1900, Wayne County]

(3) Susan Herring [ca1831-ca1890, Wayne County]

(4) James King [ca1817-ca1890, Wayne County] via Polly Ann King [1858-ca1925, Wayne County]

(5) Axey J. Manuel [1823-1885, Wayne County]

(6) Winnie Medlin

(7) Haywood Musgrave [c1805-ca1875, Wayne County] via Alfred Musgrave [ca1857-ca1925,Wayne County]

(8) Phereby Simmons [1772-ca1855, Bertie/Wayne County] via James Simmons [1798-1860, Wayne/Sampson County] via (a) George W. Simmons [ca1820-1919, Wayne County] via Hillary B. Simmons [1853-1941, Wayne County] and (b) Pennie Simmons [ca1825-??, Wayne County]

Herring, Union soldier.

Hillary Herring enlisted in the 37th Colored Troops in 1864.  At the time, he was 23 years old, 6 feet 1/2 inches tall, light-complexioned, with black eyes and dark hair.  He was born in Onslow County and worked as a farmer. Herring was discharged from the army on 11 February 1867.  After a two-year acquaintance, he married Kizzy Dudley on 18 December 1869 in Burgaw, Pender County. Rev. Elisha Boon performed the ceremony. It was Hillary’s first marriage, but Kizzy had married John Herring in 1863 and was left a widow when he died in August 1866.  Hillery Herring died 30 June 1876 in Bentonsville, Johnston County, of “disease of lungs.” Dr. Martin Harper attended him during his final illness.  Lewis Hood furnished his coffin and served as undertaker, and Rev. John James Harper, a white man, preached the funeral sermon.

At the time of her application, Kizzy Herring lived in Lonoke, Lonoke County, Arkansas. Many of her witnesses had known her in North Carolina and had also migrated West.  She was poor and little able to support herself.

Abstracted from “#563,970. Claim of Kizza Harring, widow of Hillary Harring, Co. A, 37 U.S.C.T., for Widow’s Pension.”

In the 1850 census of the South Side of the Neuse, Wayne County: John Herring, 50, wife Charity, 40, and their children John Green, 18, Solomon, 16, Daniel, 14, Hillery, 12, James, 10, Outy, 7, Harriet, 4, and Doctor, 0.

[Sidenote: On 21 November 1872, my great-great-great-grandparents, Lewis and Margaret Henderson, and Hillery and Keziah Herring sold two tracts totalling about 80 acres to John P. Cobb and Jesse Hollowell, these being tracts purchased from William R. Davis.  There was no deed recording the purchase from Davis. Both Lewis and Hillery were born in Onslow County.  Were they related?  If not, why did they buy land together? — LYH]  

We, all here, were a proscribed people.

John Herring Jr. filed claim #11519 with the Southern Claims Commission.  He was a 67 year-old farmer living in Dudley, Wayne County.  During the Civil War, he lived in Grantham township on rented land on a two-horse farm (about 45 acres.)  “The claimant being a colored man it is needless to question him as to loyalty.”

“Sherman’s whole army was encamped within about a mile and a half ‘and stayed there longer than I wanted them to!'”

“I was always a free man was born free, all my days a farmer.”

Augustus Blunt, age 38, testifying to Herring’s loyalty, said that he lived in Brogden township and ran a sawmill.  He was Herring’s son-in-law.  He overheard one Union officer remark, “You are making a purty good raise boys.”  Daughter-in-law Kizzie Herring, age 36, living in Grantham, also testified, as well as son Doctor Herring, 24.

John Bryant Capps, age 44, was a boarding house keeper in Goldsboro.  He testified that he had known Herring for 20 years and lived about 7 miles from him.  “Shortly after the outbreak of the war I was carried off by the rebels to serve as a cook.  When I made an effort to get home to my family I was prevented and they gave me 50 lashes.”  I never knew a man of my color who did not wish to see the south get whipped by way of satisfaction for the the many whippings inflicted upon us.”

Wm. H. Thompson, age 27, lived in Goldsboro and had known Herring since childhood.  During the war he lived about 5-8 miles from Herring.  “I have yet to learn of the first colored man who was not in full sympathy with the Union cause.  We, all here, were a proscribed people, and during the war had to keep our mouths shut or they would have been effectively shut for us forever.”

John Herring, age 50, mulatto, his wife Charity and their children (including 2 month-old Doctor) appear in the 1850 census of Wayne County living south of the Neuse River.

Augustus Brunt [sic] is listed twice in the 1850 census of Wayne County, both times south of the Neuse.  He appears as a 12 year-old (probably an apprentice) in the household of William Benton, and as a 13 year-old with his mother, Polly Brunt.  The censustaker noted that Augustus was born in Wayne County and Polly in Johnston.

John Capps, age 22, mulatto, is listed in the 1850 census of Wayne County on the south side of the Neuse River.

When the upstir was about the Negro rising I readily delivered my gun.

State of North Carolina     }  To the worshipful — the Court of pleas and

Wayne County                }       quarters sessions August Term 1841

From the observance of an act of Assembly Ratified 11th Jany, 1841 prohibiting Negroes &c from Carrying fire Arms at Page 61 and Chapter 30.

Free Willis Petitions your worships that he be allowed to keep and use a shot-gun and Ammunition at his home as usual

As it may pleas your worships I have ever been permitted to Keep a shot-gun and ammunition and no charge has Ever been against me for any injury done thereby — And when the upstir was about the Negro rising I readily delivered my gun to Mr Henry Sasser who Kept it Untill the stir was all over and then gave it to me again   August 17th 1841   Willis

Willis lives at one End of my plantation and as I apprehend no danger in his Keeping his gun and ammunition and as he does me some benefit by destroying the Vermin around my fields I would rather he could retain his gun     Benajah Herring

Benajah Herring’s petition to Wayne County Superior Court secured Free Willis’ freedom in the 1830s.  The “Negro rising” referred to probably was Nat Turner’s Rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia, and/or an aborted slave revolt in Duplin and Sampson Counties, NC, both with took place in the late summer of 1831.  Willis Herring appears, immediately adjacent to Benajah Herring, as a head of household in the 1840 census of Wayne County.  He lived alone.

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