Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Lassiter

Very industrious, good morals … however.

A Valuable Negro Man for Sale.

ON the 4th day of June next, in the Town of Fayetteville, at public Auction, I shall offer for sale, a negro man of middle age, very industrious and of good morals, a painter by Trade. He is known by the name of WILEY P. LASSITER, a free man of color; he has been free all his life till recently, when he made himself a Slave to me, by Indenture, for the consideration of my endorsing a considerable amount of debt for him, and having it to pay. I have allowed him free privileges, as he formerly had, for more than two years, that he might redeem himself, but finding this course unavailing, I shall necessarily resort to the above. Terms will be made known on day of sale.   EMSLEY LASSITER.  May 5, 1858.

Fayetteville Weekly Observer, 17 May 1858.

Sixteen acres for $66.

This Indenture made and entered into this day between Hardy Laster Jr. and Green Laster both of the County of Edgecomb and State of North Carolina, witnesseth that I Hardy Laster, have bargained and sold unto Green Laster for sixty six dollars Sixteen acres of Land in the County and State aforesaid adjoining B. Simms, Lemon Ruffin and others beginning in Ruffin’s line thence across the Piny woods thence in a direct line with the Crop fence and then with said fence to the Mill Pond with said line out in the piney woods to the beginning a stake containing sixteen acres more or less together with all the appurtenances thereon and I Hardy Laster do forever warrant and defend the right and title unto Green Laster forever free ad clear from any and ever person or persons whomsoever claiming the Same in witness whereof I hereunto set my hand and seal this day 16th September 1854.  Hardy X Laster Jr. Witness J.W. Farmer, Josiah Farmer

Deed Book 1, page 56, Register of Deeds, Edgecombe County.

They are non-residents.

State of North Carolina,


Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions,


Obedience Lassiter vs. Silas Lassiter

Morrison Artis and wife Sally

and others,

Petition for Dower.

IT appearing to the satisfaction of the Court, that Morrison Artis and his wife Sally are non-residents of this State: It is ordered by the Court that publication be made in The Southerner, for six weeks, notifying them to appear at the Court House in Tarboro’, on the fourth Monday of November next, then and there to answer said petition, or the same will be taken pro confesso and heard ex parte as to them.

Witness, W.S. Pitt, Clerk of said Court, at office, the fourth Monday of August, A.D. 1853. W.S. PITT, Clk.

The Southerner (Tarboro), 5 November 1853.


The Lassiters and Artises were heirs of Hardy Lassiter.

London Woodard & Penny Lassiter.


“Uncle London” Woodard (1792-November 15, 1870) was one of the most respectable black men of his area and time. Having been married about 1817 to James Bullock Woodard’s Venus, he was purchased by this planter on May 24, 1828, and became his overseer and distiller. London was baptized into the fellowship of the Tosneot Primitive Baptist Church on August 24, 1828, and Venus on August 4, 1838. This good woman died about the end of 1845, leaving several children to mourn her loss.

In 1846, he married Penelope Lassiter, daughter of Hardy Lassiter. She had become an indispensable part of the James B. Woodard household after the death of his first wife in 1837. “Aunt Pennie,” a free woman of light color, who worked hard, saved her money, and bought land. On September 18, 1854, she also bought “Uncle London” and made him a free man. He was “liberated to preach” on April 21, 1866, and in the following December Mrs. Elizabeth Farmer gave him one acres upon which he soon erected “London’s Primitive Baptist Church” which is still in existence.

From the introduction to Hugh Buckner Johnston, The Woodard Confederate Letters of Wilson County (1977). 

Photo of London Church taken by  Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2013.

[Sidenote: Actually, while London Woodard may have lived essentially as a free man after Penny Lassiter’s purchase, there is no evidence that he was in fact emancipated prior to the end of the Civil War.  No record of such has been found and, while Penny and their children appear as Lassiters in the 1860 census, he does not.

The London Church congregation built a new edifice on the church’s original site on Herring Avenue in Wilson. The building above was saved and moved around the corner to a site on London Church Road, where it sits neglected. — LYH]

I begive and bequeath.

I Hardy Laseter of the County of Edgecomb and State of N. Carolina now being of sound mind and memory, but considering the uncertainty of my earthly existence, do make and declare this my Last will and Testament in manner and form following – that is to Say –

First. I give and bequeath unto my son Silas Laseter all that tract of Land where he now Lives known by the name of the Tomlinson tract containing Eighty one acres more or less adjoining the Lands of Benj Sims and I Give and bequeath unto my Sons Mathew Green & Hardy Laseter all my Tract of Land whereon I now Live to be eaqually divided between them.  And it is my will and desire that the said Lands shall be divide in to three equeal Shears & for my son Hardy Laseter to have his shear whereon the House now stand, as the dowery part.  And I begive and bequeath unto my son Silas on sorrel mare by the name of Bony.  And I give unto my son Mathew one Sorril Horse Name Doctor I also give unto my son green one Sorrel Horse one bay mare by the name of bunch.  I Also give unto my daughter treacy fifty dollars in money from the proceeds of my affects

And I give unto my Daughter Penny or her heirs fifty dollars from the proceeds of my affects. I also give unto my Daughter Sally Artice fifty Dollars out of the proceeds of my effects and I Also give unto my Daughter Rachel One feather bed & furniture the one Known as the bed I occupy my self.  And one cow by the name time. And thirty Dollars in Money from the proceeds of my affects.

I Also give unto my Little grand Daughter Elvey Laseter Ten Dollars of the proceeds of my affects And it is my will & desire that all my parishable property to be sold except what I have alredy mentioned in this my Last Will & Testament. And after each one of my Daughters Receiving the amts here set apart for them the Balance to be equally divided between my four Daughters & my Little grand Daughter Elvey according to each ones shear

And I do hereby Constitute and appoint my John W. Farmer my Lawful executor to all my intents and purposes to execute this my Last and Testament according to the true intent and meaning of this [illegible] and every part & Clause thereof, hereby revoking and declareing utterly void all other wills and Testament by men heretofor made in witness I hereto sit my hand and seal this day 9 October 1851. Test William Tomlinson, Josiah Farmer     Hardy X Laseter

Hardy Lassiter’s will was proved at May Term, 1853, of Edgecombe County Court shortly after he died. Wills, Edgecombe County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

In the 1850 census of Edgecombe County: Hardy Laster, 73, wife Beady, and children Mathew and Silas, 26, Green, 25, Hardy, 21, and Rachel, 20.

His father is a free negro.


RAN AWAY from the Subscriber, in May Court week last, a bright mulatto boy named JOHN, about 19 or 20 years of age, 5 feet 6 or 7 inches high, thick set and well built – he has a scar under his jaw, (I think the left jaw,) and thick ankles.  He is a shrewd fellow, and will perhaps alter his name and attempt to pass as a free man.  His father is a free negro, named Hardy Lassiter, living on Toisnot.  The above reward will be given for John’s apprehension, if delivered to me in Edgecombe county, or secured in any jail so that I can get him again.  All persons are hereby forbid harboring, employing, carrying off said boy, under the penalty of law.  SAMUEL FARMER.  Nov. 28, 1831.

North-Carolina Free Press, Tarboro, 24 January 1832.

Free-Issue Death Certificates: POWELL.

Elijah Powell.  Died 5 Apr 1914, Wilson township, Wilson County.  Black. Married.  Farmer.  Age 84.  Born in Nash County to Elijah Powell and Seathie Powell.  Buried Wilson County.  Informant, T.A. Jones.

Nineteen year-old farmer Eligah Powell is listed with his parents, Eligah and Selah Powell, in the 1850 census of Nash County.

Dolison Powell.  Died 23 Dec 1915, Wilson township, Wilson County.  Colored.  Married.  Farmer.  Born 5 Apr 1840 in Wilson County to Steven Powell and Sintha Powell, both of Edgecombe County.  Buried Wilson County.  Informant, Howard Powell.

“Dolly” Powell, age 7, is listed in the household of his parents, Stephen and Synthia Powell, in the 1850 Nash County census.

Mary Ann Powell.  Died 5 Apr 1921, Jackson township, Nash County.  Widow of Ickibuck Powell.  Colored.  Age 74.  Born in Wilson County to Silas Lassiter & Orpie Lassiter, both of Wilson County.  Buried Powell gtaveyard.  Informant, Henry Powell.

Mary Lassiter, age 11, is listed in the household of her parents, Silas and Orpie Lassiter, in the 1860 census of Wilson township, Wilson County.