Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: kidnapping

He offered the boy for sale.

Kidnapping. — On Thursday last, a free boy of color, named Josiah Lomax, was abducted from the house of his parents, near this place, by an unknown white man, well dressed, of genteel appearance, and riding a good bay horse, with new Saddle and Bridle. In the absence of the boy’s father, this man told the mother that he had hired the son from her husband, and that he lived in this county. She thereupon permitted him to take away the boy. He has since been heard of in Richmond County, near Laurel Hill, about 45 miles S. West of this place, where he had offered the boy for sale, but refused to sign a bill of sale, or permit any conversation with the boy. Handbills having been forwarded in all directions on Friday morning, it is hoped that the man has ere this been taken up. We learn that before the above occurrence, an unsuccessful attempt was made to carry off a boy from another family. — ib. [Fayetteville Observer]

Tarboro’ Press, 23 May 1834.

Stolen boy rescued in New Orleans.

From the New Orleans Commercial Times.

A CASE FOR THE TRIBUNE. – N. Carolina Standard. The editor of this paper calls for information regarding the fate of Hilliard Evans, a free boy of color, stolen some time ago from that State, by Wm. R. Boswell. Boswell was arrested by Capt. Winter, of the Second Municipality Police, on the charge of kidnapping Evans, and offering to sell him here for $500. He was sent to the Criminal Court, and the boy detained to bear witness against him. Boswell’s friends, however, as we are requested to state by Capt. Winter, a free man of color to bail the prisoner in sum of $1500; the man of color swearing he was worth that sum; $50 was presented to the bailor, for his services, and Boswell was liberated. He is now a fugitive from justice, and the bailor, it appears, is a mere man of straw. Hilliard Evans will now be forwarded to his home by the first convenient opportunity that offers. Capt. Winter has more than once written to his friends. Every care has been taken of the lad.

We trust that the above case will be duly noticed by certain persons at the North, who are so fond of denouncing the South for its indifference to the rights of the poor negro.

The Weekly Standard (Raleigh), 18 February 1846.

Perhaps: Hilliard Evans, 37, listed in the 1870 Mortality Schedule for Granville County. A carpenter, he died of consumption.

Miserable man, a strange being, kidnaps free boy of color.

Our Superior Court is now in session, Judge Caldwell presiding. … The next case taken up was the State vs. John Bullock, for stealing a free boy of color, named Nelson Dudley Richardson, from his parents in Raleigh, and bringing him to this place, where he claimed the boy as his property, and offered to sell him. The case was clearly made out on the part of the State, and after an absence of ten minutes, the Jury returned a verdict of guilty. The offender in this case has been well known in the Western part of the State as a great villain, having been twice whipped, once at Wadesboro’ and once at Asheville. … Carolina Watchman.

The Weekly Standard (Raleigh), 25 March 1846.


JOHN BULLOCH – This miserable man, who has been lying in jail here for several months, for stealing a free boy of color, from his Parents in Raleigh, was discharged from prison on the 3d inst. He has been hanging about town ever since. One day this week he was detected in an attempt to decoy another negro. This is too much. Twice or thrice has he been whipped, and now just from a gloomy dungeon, he walks in our midst without the least terror of the law! Strange being! Has he common sense? Or is he led captive by the evil one at his will?

P.S. Since the above was written, this wretched man has experienced the “tender mercies” of a rail riding Court. On Wednesday night last he was rode on a rail. This is was wrong. The laws are our protection against such scamps. But the laws would not drive him from among us. We regret that he occasioned our young men to do an act they disapprove of as much as any people. We regret that he has been the means of bringing this stain upon our community; and we trust that he may never return to occasion a renewal of such a scene as our streets presented in the night of his late exit from Salisbury. – Carolina Watchman.

Weekly Raleigh Register, 17 July 1846.

Beware the goller-headed swindler.

Beware of a Swindler.

WALTER BARROTT, of Moore county, N.C. eloped from his father’s house on the 11th December last, taking with him sundry articles of clothing and a large Sorrel Horse, belonging to his father, also a very likely bay horse, which he had just purchased from a man in Stokes county, and for which he gave a $100 counterfeit note. It is thought that he took about $4000 of counterfeit money with him. He also took away with him a free mulatto man named Berry Walden, and said that he intended to sell him and one of the horses, and then go low down in Georgia and So. Carolina, where he thought he could pass some of his counterfeit notes. Walden is about 5 feet 9 inches high, of a light copper colour. Barrott is about the same size, 30 years of age, of a dark complexion, down look, very curly black hair, black eyes, and think lips, hump-shouldered, knock-kneed and goller-headed. It is hoped the public will be on their guard against him, and that he may be arrested, and the stolen property restored. Moore County, January 1828.

Fayetteville Weekly Observer, 17 January 1828.

Attempting to sell a free woman.

From the Raleigh Register.

A man by the name of Raiford Watkins, of Johnston, was brought before Justice Thompson, in this City, on Monday, upon a charge of attempting to sell Phoebe Flowers, a Free woman of color. He was bound over, in the sum of $200, to make his appearance at the next term of Wake Superior Court, and, failing to give bond, was committed to jail, to await trial.

Tarboro’ Press, 21 September 1850.

Stealing free negroes of color.

Stop the Villains. Escaped from the Jail in Tarborough on the night of the seventh instant, William B. Crawford, a notorious counterfeiter, between sixty and seventy years of age, about six feet high, his head white; also, John M. Windham, about thirty years of age, five feet seven or eight inches high, with an uncommon long face and chin, his fore teeth very long and prominent; this villain was imprisoned at the last term of the Superior Court of Edgecombe to eighteen months imprisonment, for stealing free negroes of colour; also Elias Owens, about fifty years of age, who was in Jail for debt, and the principal instrument in breaking the Jail. I will give one hundred dollars reward for their apprehension and delivery in this place, or a proper portion for either of them.  BENJAMIN HART, Jailer.

Star, Raleigh, 23 July 1819.

One-eyed boy missing.


A free Black-Boy named BILL.

Twelve or thirteen years of age, has but one eye; formerly of the slaves belonging to the Estate of Col. WM. THOMPSON of Beaufort, Carteret County. – Said boy was placed by his mother under the care of SAM WHITNEY; who passes for a free negro in the Town of Newbern. – Said Boy disappeared about the 2nd Monday in March last, nor has his mother or any one been able to obtain any account of him. – If any information of said boy can be lodged by any one with the Editor of this paper he would thereby subserve the cause of humanity & probably of public Justice.   Newbern, 11th April, 1818.

Carolina Federal Republican, Newbern, 11 April 1818.

He was the same person who had been kidnapped from his mother.

Wilmington, Oct. 2. – About eleven years ago, a white man came to the house of a free coloured woman, named Fanny Larrington, living on the sound, in the neighbourhood of this town, and requested her to lend him some assistance in bringing up some things he had landed close by. She readily sent her eldest child Dick with him. His long stay alarmed her; she went to look for him, and then she called, received no answer. She had not gone far when she heard the cry of her two younger children whom she left in the house. In returning to their relief she suddenly came upon a Negro man who had under each arm one of her children, who, he instantly dropped and made his escape into the woods. The mother knew at once the fate of her son, and while she embraced her little daughters thus fortunately rescued, she cried bitterly for the loss of her eldest child, who had been so cruelly and treacherously stolen from her. Of this son she had not heard any tidings, until a few days ago he arrived in Wilmington, and made her, as he was himself, happy by the recovery of his long lost freedom. He went before a very respectable Magistrate of this town and proved by two credible witnesses, that he was the same person who had been kidnapped from his mother as above recited, and that he was born free. He states that he went along with the white man to the landing, but saw nothing to bring away; he was obliged to go into a canoe over to the opposite side of the Creek, and when, on hearing his mother call for him he attempted to answer her, his mouth was gagged and he forced to accompany him through the woods, until, as by concert, they met on the road a wagon and team going into the back country. The apparent owner of it, who called himself “Dukes” claimed him as his property, carried him away and sold him. His last master was Mr. Wm. Walker, of Stokes county, with whom he went by the name of Prince. A subscription had been raised for the purpose of sending on a person who could identify this boy and by regular process of law, release him from his slavery. But Dick had availed himself of a favourable opportunity. He escaped, and by the exercise of considerable ingenuity, made good his way to Wilmington, where his claims to freedom have been substantiated beyond the possibility of a doubt.

Observing in the Raleigh Star an advertisement of Mr. Walker for a runway Negro, it would be well for the Editor of that paper to notice the circumstances here stated. It is hoped that by means of his last master, the perpetrators of this atrocious crime may be found out and brought to that punishment which they richly deserve.  – Gazette.

Star, Raleigh, 11 October 1810.

Woman, stolen, asks for support in old age.

Headquarters Bureau Refugee Freedmen and Abandoned Lands SC

Charleston SC Aug. 11th 1866

Major General O. O. Howard



I have the honor to present the case of Mary Richardson an aged half breed now living in Manningsville this state.

She states that when she was about thirteen years of age and living with her parents in a village in North Carolina the name of which she has forgotten she was sent to a slave for articles and while there a stranger named Jacob Whitehead immediately caught her and placing her on a saddle with him carried her away against her will, riding all day and night crossing into SC, sleeping in the woods days and riding nights, in this manner until they arrived at his home in Manningsville SC. That Jacob Whitehead kept her as a servant in his house until she arrived at the age of puberty when he kept her as his mistress with the knowledge of his wife. After living with him for about seven years, she had a son born of him and the wife took charge of the child. 

About ten years after the child was born the father Whitehead tried to sell her at auction in Charleston City SC but was unable to do so, she being free born of Indian parents and Whitehead being unable to show title.

Eight or ten years after this went the wife of Whitehead died and she (Mary) and Mr. W. were quarreling continually, and by some arrangement she was transferred to a Mr. John Reams of Manningsville, with whom she lived as a slave until Gen. Sherman went through.

She orates that her son is still living a man grown on the Santee River this state, but she has not seen him for many years nor has she heard anything of her parents since she was kidnapped. All of her repeated effort to learn of them and to tell them of her fate being intercepted before she began to grow old, by the post masters and others who were relatives and friends of Mr. Whitehead. After Mr. Whitehead sold or transferred her to Reams he married a second wife: Mr. W. died during the war and his widow now lives on the estate at Manningsville as does Nath’ Whitehead the son of the first wife of Jacob Whitehead.

She now asks that some measures may be taken to secure to her from Jacob Whitehead’s estate means of support in her old age as also to the son she had by Whitehead his just position and standing among his people.

I am General, very respectfully, your Obd. Servant

Brevet Major General, Asst. Com. SC

Records of Assistant Commissioner of the State of South Carolina; Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands; National Archives Microfilm Publication M869.

Find her mother and send her Wilmington!

Fayetteville, No. Carolina, Aug. 21st, 1792


On my way to Charleston, I came across a free girl in this place, by the name of Sally Valentine. Her mother lives, I believe, in Norfolk by the name of Amy Valentine; she was stolen from that place about eight years ago by Jacob Abraham, a Butcher, and one James Bishop, and brought to this place and sold as a slave. I am well acquainted with the girl – having lived with my mother about three years. I apply’d to a Magistrate to get her liberated by my testimony and the testimony of a Lady in this place, who has known the girl ever since her birth, and is also well acquainted with her mother, but the magistrate informed me he could do nothing before Court, which is next October; and as it will not be in my power to be hear then, beg the favour of you to find out her mother if possible, and send her to Wilmington by water – from whence she can easily get to this place, and it will be necessary she should bring credentials of her freedom, and by which means she may recover her child. These people brought of some other young negroes at the same time, which in all probability are either free or stolen from their masters.

The people that have this girl in possession treat her in the most barbarous manner. If you will write to Mr. John Nevison or Doct’r Taylor at Norfolk to this effect, I make no doubt they will interest themselves in the affair, as they know the mother, and I believe the Daughter, and it will, I hope, be a means of bringing the villains to Justice. As soon as you can get any information respecting the matter, please write to Mr. Lee DeKeyson, of this place, who has promised me to see the Girl Justice done. Knowing your humanity and desire to do Justice, makes me trouble you on this occasion.

I am, sir, with Respect, Y’r ob’t Servant, DAVID MILLER

Col. Champion Travis, W’msburg, Va.

From Sherwin McRae, ed., Calendar of Virginia State Papers … from August 11, 1792, to December 31, 1793, v. 6 (1886).

For more on this crime, see