Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: manumission

An Act to Invest a Right of Inheritance.

At a General Assembly, begun and held at Fayetteville, on the second Day of November, in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-Nine, and in the Fourteenth Year of Independence of the said State; being the first session of the said Assembly.  Samuel Johnston, Esq., Governor.


An Act to Invest an Indefeasible Right of Inheritance in Charles, Alley and Prudence Oggs, the Surviving Natural Children of John Oggs, of the County of Pasquotank, of such Property as was Bequeathed to them and their Deceased Brother Jesse Oggs.

Whereas, it hath been made appear to this General Assembly, that John Oggs late of the county of Pasquotank, hath departed this life, leaving behind him four natural children, Charles, Alley, Prudence and Jesse, by his negro slave Hester, to whom he bequeathed all his real and personal estate by virtue of a certain last will and testament: And whereas, by the policy of the law the said children, being bastards, are debarred from the rights of inheritance, and being recommended to this General Assembly as persons of good fame: And whereas, Jesse, one of the children is dead:

I. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of North Carolina, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That the above mentioned Charles, Alley and Prudence Oggs, are hereby invested in an indefeasible right of inheritance of all and singular the lands and tenements, goods and chattels which were bequeathed to them by their father John Oggs, in virtue of his last will and testament; and that they hold and take the said property to them and their heirs and assigns forever, agreeably to the directions of the said will, and the intentions of the said John Oggs therein expressed.

And whereas, the within mentioned Hester, and her children Charles, Alley and Prudence Oggs, are recommended to this General Assembly by several very respectable inhabitants of the counties of Camden and Pasquotank, as worthy of being manumitted and set free agreeable to the intention of their father John Oggs:

II. Be it therefore enacted, That the said negro woman Hester, and her children Charles, Alley and Prudence Oggs, are hereby manumitted and set free to all intents and purposes, and to possess all the rights and privileges as if they had been born free.

Acts of the North Carolina General Assembly, 1789. Colonial and State Records of North Carolina.

Petition to free a dutyful wife.

State of North Carolina, Northampton County court, June term 1801.

To the worshipful the Justices of said court, the humble petition Len Kenchen free Negroe humbly complaining Shewing that he the said Len, upwards to ten years ago, purchased of a Mr. Robert Armstead, of Scotland Neck, a negroe woman called Rebecca for the sum of £45 Virg Curcy, and which said negroe, your petr. Len, had as wife, upwards of 15 years previous to said purchase, and until the present day.  And your petr. further shews that he the said Len and the said Rebecca previous to said purchase and until this date has always behaved herself as a dutyful wife and as a faithful servant.  Your petitioner therefore prays your worships will agreeable to the spirit and meaning of the act of assembly in such case Made, liberate and set free the said Rebecca, and your petitioner as in duty bound will pray   /s/ J.H. Keys

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

Despite our natural inclinations….

William Mayho, by his next friend, v. Edward Sears, 25 NC 224 (1842).

On 23 July 1805, John Moring of Surry County, Virginia, executed a deed of manumission for his slaves. Hannah, Patrick, Cherry, Jordan and Charlotte were to be freed immediately.  Isabel, Carter, Polly, Burwell, Maria and Willis were to be set free over the next 19 years, according to a set schedule. Thereafter, Moring moved to Orange County, North Carolina, bringing Polly with him. Prior to 1 April 1814 (her scheduled date of manumission), Polly gave birth to a daughter, who gave birth to plaintiff William Mayho in about 1830.  After 1 April 1814, Polly, her daughter and grandson lived by themselves and acted in every respect as free persons.  They were regarded as free people of color by their neighbors and recognized as such by Moring, until 1838, when he sold Mayho to Edward Sears.

The question before the North Carolina Supreme Court was whether Mayho’s mother was free at birth, or became so prior to his birth.  “There is a natural inclination in the bosom of every judge to favor the side of freedom, and a strong sympathy with the plaintiff, and the other persons situated as he is, who have been allowed to think themselves free and act for so long a time as if they were; and, if we were permitted to decide this controversy according to our feelings, we should with promptness and pleasure pronounce or judgment for the plaintiff.  But the court is to be governed by a different rule, the impartial and unyielding rule of the law; and, after, giving to the case an anxious and deliberate consideration, we find ourselves obliged to hold, that in the law the condition of the plaintiff is that of slavery.”  In other words, applying the laws of Virginia, Polly was still a slave when her daughter was born, making the daughter a slave, and Mayho a slave in turn.

A faithfull & good servant.

ImageTo the Worshipfull County Court of Wayne

The petition of William Newsom humbly represents to your Worships that he is owner of a Negro man called Charles who has always conducted & demeaned himself as a faithfull & good servant who your petitioner is anxious to emancipate & intitle to the privileges of a free Citizen, he therefore prays your Worships to take the Case into consideration & do what appears to you right & proper & your petitioner will ever pray       William X Newsom

J.B.H. Martin

This undated petition is found among Wayne County Records of Slaves and Free Persons of Color, North Carolina State Archives.

We are pleased with him.

Wayne County Nov 16th 1852

To the Members Comprising both houses of the legislature for the State of North Carolina 1852

We the Undersigned Say to you as our representatives that we have a Coloured person living in Goldsboro whose name is Hilary Croom Ailias Coor who was born of a woman of reputable parentage though his father was reputed to have been a Slave of Colour We know the raising of Sd Croom and his Standing now he is Now of fair Standing he is one of the best blacksmiths we have he was born and raised in our County.  When he grew to be a Man he intermarried with a girl of colour the property of one Graddy Herring.  Soon after their Covenant as man and wife sd Herring Removed to the State of Alabama this Character Croom also moved with sd Herring after remaining there some years the legislature of the State of Alabama past a law that all Colourd person which were free Should leave that State within a certain period of time during this time this Citizen Croom purchased his wife and children of Sd Herring and J.B. Herring one of the Subscribers have seen his bill of Sale which can be produced at any time.  In consequence of which the said Croom returned back to his Native State and his wife and family with proper papers from Sd Herring showing he had purchased his Wife and Children.  When he returned to our State our Legislature had pasd a law to the purpost that all Coloured person which had left this State if They returned Should leave this State or forfeit a large sum. Now we are well acquainted with this man Croom he lived by our town Goldsboro in Wayne County we are pleased with him as a blacksmith we pray that he Sustains a fair industrious character he has [blank] children whose names are Ann Charles Temperance

We the undersignd knowing that under our present laws there are many coloured persons among us of more more bass character Must and does remain with us petition to you as our representative, that you pass and act which will be attended by our friend W.H. Washington that said Hilary Croom be Sufferd to remaine  with us that his above named Children before at their arriving to the age of twenty one years and Enjoy all the rights of Citizenship of their Colour to which we the Undersigned have assigned our names the above date.  Hillory X Croom, Benajah Herring, W.C. Bryan, Wm. Smith, L. Cogdell, Wm. Thompson.

The 1850 census of the South Side of the Neuse River, Wayne County, shows Hillery Croom, 41, blacksmith, with children Annie, 14, Charles, 13, Tempy, 10, and John, 9.  All were described as mulatto.  The 1850 slave schedule shows that Hillery owned two slaves, a 55 year-old woman and a 32 year-old man.


21 Dec 1784.  Petition of James Sampson and Richard Clinton, executors for John Sampson deceased, praying negro wench Moll and mulatto wench Hannah to be manumitted and set free agreeable to all; read in, convened with and ordered to be filed.

15 Aug 1786.  Ordered that Miles Hammonds a mulatto orphan boy about 14 to be bound to Jonathan Fryer until 21, to learn the art and mystery of a saddler and shoemaker and to read and write and cypher as far as the rule of 3

16 Aug 1786.  Ordered that mulatto boy George, son of Clarinda, property of James Spiller, be set free and emancipated for sufficient reasons shown to the Court, to be bound til 21 to Spiller

Minutes, Sampson County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions

We believe her to be a worthy woman.

To the General Assembly of North Carolina

The undersigned, Respectfully Petition, the Legislature, to pass an act, in favour of Sucky Borden (a woman of color) vesting in her, all the rights and privileges, of a free woman.  Your petitioners have long known said Suckey, and believe her to be a worthy woman, who will duly appreciate all her privileges — and your Petitioners will Ever pray &c

Wm. H. Washington, Richard Washington, N. Washington, Jno. Wright, Raiford Hooks, M.A. Borden, John Everitt, John C. Slocumb, Wton Thompson, W.C. Bryan, Woodard Howell, Wm, Hollowell, Josiah Howell, C. Hooks, Wm. Robinson, Jere. A. Green, Jno. N. Andrews, O. Coor, Thomas B. Cox, Joseph E. Kennedy, John W. Davis, Chelby Langston, Hinton J. Best, A.H. Langston

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

[Sidenote: The petition was granted: Susan Bordan, age 70, black, is listed in the 1860 federal population census of Goldsboro, Wayne County.  She worked as a baker and reported owning $500 real property and $100 personal property, placing her among the wealthiest free people of color in the county.  She shared her household with 60 year-old mulatto “sewer,” Angia Capps, and 7 year-old mulatto Catharine Carroll.  Borden’s petitioners were a collection of Wayne County’s most solid citizens — planters, a hotel proprietor, the local newspaper editor, two clerks of court, the sheriff and a Methodist clergyman.  Nearly all were slaveowners. — LYH]