Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: migration

James Edward Reed.

ImageMr. J. E. Reed was born of free parents in North Carolina, and knew nothing of slavery. He came to New Bedford, Mass., in 1878, where he attended school for two years; at the end of that time, in 1880, he secured employment as errand boy in Mr. G. F. Parlow’s photograph galleries of that city. Mr. Parlow found that the young man possessed very excellent qualities of mind, and as an evidence of his appreciation, asked him if he would like to learn photography. I need not add that Mr. Reed was only too glad to accept the offer. After mastering the profession he worked as an assistant to Mr. Parlow until 1888, when he formed a partnership with Mr. P. C. Headly, a young white man. The two young men bought out the gallery where Mr. Reed had learned his profession. This firm of Headly & Reed continued in business until 1895, when Mr. Reed bought out the interest of Mr. Headly. These young men were regarded as by far the best work-men in their line the city afforded. Their patrons were numbered among the very best people in New Bedford. To me, the most interesting phase of Mr. Reed’s work was his partnership with Mr. Headly, for I have always felt that one of the very best things that could be done, in solving what is called in this country the “Race question,” would be to bring white and colored men together in a business way, where they will have an opportunity to study each other as only those whose financial interests are blended can. I have no doubt but many comments, and doubtless unpleasant ones too, were made about the co-partnership of a white and colored man. But the fact that they succeeded, and won the respect and confidence of the best people in New Bedford, makes me hope we may hear of more such firms, in other parts of the country, for I am sure that it will prove helpful to both races to be brought more together in a business way. I can speak for Mr. Reed’s ability as an artist, having had work done in his gallery. I am also pleased to note that Mr. Reed is a very useful and energetic church and Sunday-school worker.

From G.F. Richings, Evidence of Progress Among Colored People (1902).

In the 1870 census of Parkville, Perquimans County: John Reed, 33, wife Mary Adeline, 31, and sons William Henry, 8, and James Edward, 6. In the 1880 census of New Bedford, Bristol County, Massachusetts:on Sherman Street, John Reed, 45, carpenter, born Virginia; wife Mary A., 42, born NC; and sons James E., 16, and John, 7, both born in NC.

[Sidenote: The wording of the status of John Reed’s parents is ambiguous, and they are not found in the 1860 census. — LYH]

The fellow went towards Wadesborough.

Ten Dollars Reward.

Ranaway from Darlington Court-House, South Carolina, on Saturday 3rd, December 1814, a man of Colour who calls himself ROBERT BYRD, a black man, aged 20 or 25 years old, who has with him a pass from William Tunstall, Clerk, Pittsylvania County, Virginia – Said Negroe stole, and carried away a chestnut sorrel MARE, about 14 1-2 hands high, with a large star in her forehead and snip on her nose, a natural trotter, rather low in order. I will give the above reward for any person who will apprehend, and confine said fellow in any Joal [sic] so that he may brought to Justice, or deliver him to me, and all reasonable expences to any one who will deliver the said Mare to me – The fellow went towards Wadesborough, N. Carolina. JEREMIAH BROWN. December 6, 1814.

Star, Raleigh, 13 January 1815

Father a slave.

At page 14 of Chi Chi Mills, “Descendants of William Mills Sr. of Onslow County,” www.ncgenweb-data.com/onslow/family, Eliza Ann Mills is listed as the daughter of William Mills and Nancy Whaley. Eliza Ann Mills’ son was William Kelly Mills, born 1836, who married first Anna Maria Simms, then Alvina Reeves. Eliza married Lewis Turner, but William Kelly Mills’ name carries the notation “father a slave.”

In the 1850 census of Lawrence County, Illinois: Eliza Turner, 30, born North Carolina; Kelly Turner, 13, born North Carolina; Nancy Turner, 11, born Illinois; and Mary Turner, 8, born Illinois; all were described as white.

In the 1860 census of Christy, Lawrence County, Illinois: Eliza Turner, 40, born NC; Alex, 25, NC; Kelley, 20, born NC; Nancy, 20, born Illinois; and Mary Turner, 4, born Illinois; all white.

In the 1870 census of Christy, Lawrence County, Illinois: Eliza Turner, 51, born NC; Charlotte Turner, 14, born Illinois; and William Mills, 33, born NC; all white.

In the 1880 census of Sumner, Lawrence County, Illinois: Kelley T. Mills, 43, plasterer, born NC; wife Alvina E., 30, born Illinois; and children Eliza A., 7, Laura M., 6, and Elura B., 2. Alvina was described as white; Kelley and the children as mulatto.

In the 1900, 1910 and 1920 censuses of Christy, Lawrence County, William “W.K.” Mills, NC-born plasterer, is described as mulatto. He died in Lawrenceville, Illinois, on 1 April 1927. Wm. Kelley Mills’ death certificate noted that he was born 25 August 1836 in New Bern NC to Eliza Mills.

[Sidenote: Eliza Mills Turner’s cousin, Nancy Mills Parker, and brother John Mills testified in 1860 to the free status of Nancy Henderson Dove, my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Patsey Henderson‘s sister. Their mother was a white woman. – LYH]

Unlawfully did migrate, no. 4.

State of North Carolina, Wilson County   } Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions October Term 1850

The Jurors for the State aforesaid upon their oath present that Gray Powel a free negro late of the county of Wilson on the 1st day of June AD 1859 at & in the said county unlawfully did migrate into the State of North Carolina contrary to the provisions of the act of the general assembly in such cases made & provided & that the said Gray Powel afterwards to wit up to this time doth yet remain in said State & in the county aforesaid contrary to the form of the Statute in each case made & provided & against the peace & dignity of the State    /s/ B.B. Barnes Solicitor

Slave Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

In the 1850 census of Stephen Powell, 47, wife Synthia, 36, and children Gray, 9, Queen Anne, 8, Dolly, 7, Crockett, 3, and Noab, 1. [Sidenote: If this is the right Gray Powell, it suggests that he left the state prior to 1859 and tried to return. — LYH]

Only his aunt remains alive.

Charlotte County Virginia. This day Mary Belcher came before me Hillery Moseley a Justice for said County at the request of Lucy Chavers who has been married to Robert Cole both black persons and the said Lucy had a Sister by the name of Betty Chavers who had a Son which was crissind in my house by the name of John Jackson Chavers, and made Oath that the said two women were Sisters and She don’t believe there is any of the aforesaid Family a Live at this time except the said Lucy Cole, Given from under my hand this 27th day of April 1808  /s/ Hillery Moseley

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Mecklenburg County, Virginia. This day Haywood Rudd came before me a Justice for said county and made oath that he was acquainted with a black boy by the name of John Jackson Chaves that the said boy was bound and apprentice to William Steward a blacksmith and that when he the said Steward went from the County to Wake County N Carolina the aforesaid John Jackson Chaves went with him and that he knows of no relations of said John Jackson Chaves except Lucy Cole rais’d said J. Jackson Chaves from his infancy until he was bound apprentice to the said William Steward. Given under my hand this 9th day May 1808.  /s/ James Hester

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Mecklenburg County, Virginia. This day came Mathew Carter before me a Justice for the said County, and made oath that Lucy Cole Lived several years on his plantation in this County & that she rais’d a boy there by the name of John Jackson Chaves, Who was then said to be her sisters son that the said John Jackson Chaves was afterwards bound apprentice to William Steward blacksmith who carry’d him the sd. John Jackson Chaves with him when he moved from this county and that he knows of no relations in these parts to said Chaves or any where else except Lucy Cole, given under my hand this 9th day of May 1808  /s/ James Hester

Miscellaneous Records & Apprentice Bonds and Records, Wake County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

He says he comes from Hanover County.

Notice.

Taken up and committed to the Jail of Lenoir county, on the 24th day of August, 1828, a negro name who calls himself LEME DEEN, and says he is a free man, and that he came from Hanover county, in Virginia. He is very black complected, is about 5 feet seven or eight inches high, his left eye squinted. The owner is requested to come forward and prove his property, pay charges and take him away, or he will be dealt with as the law directs. JEREMIAH HAWKINS, Jailor. Kinston, Sept, 27, 1828.

Star, Raleigh, 5 February 1829.

Sprightly and writes well.

Was committed to Jail of Robeson county, N.C. on the 20th ult. a Negro man who calls himself Joseph Leggan, and says he is free, about five feet seven inches high, dark complexion and bow legged, has a very sprightly look and writes well – He says he was born in Powhatan county, Virginia, and that John Panly, of Buckingham county, raised him, and that his father was a servant of the said Panky, named Ben; that he followed boating in James river for many years, and for eight or ten years he has followed ditching, which has been his occupation since in this county. He is from thirty-four to thirty-five years of age, and is ruptured; he is well-cloathed amd appears to have a variety, a description of which is unnecessary.    ALEX ROWLAND, Sh’ff.  Lumberton, May 4th, 1814.

Star, Raleigh, 13 May 1814.

John P. Green.

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Hon. John P. Green was born in 1845 at New Berne, N.C., of free parents. As a boy of twelve years of age, he went with his widowed mother to Cleveland, Ohio. He was educated in the Cleveland public schools, graduating from the Central High School in 1869.

He was admitted to the bar of South Carolina in 1870. Returning to Cleveland, he for nine years served as justice of the peace. In 1881 he was elected member of the Ohio Legislature, serving three terms.

In 1897 he was appointed to a position in the postoffice department by President McKinley.He was also delegate to the National Republican Convention in 1872, in 1884 and 1896.

From D.W. Culp, ed., Twentieth century Negro literature, or, A cyclopedia of thought on the vital topics relating to the American Negro.

Courtesy of New Bern-Craven County Public Library. 

His father was emancipated in Virginia.

Committed to the Jail of Rockingham county, (N.C.) on the 25th ult. A Negro Fellow, who says his name is JOHN ARMSTRONG, and that he is a free Man – says his father was emancipated by a family of the name of Ladd, near Richmond – says he lived with Mr. Ratford, who formerly kept the Eagle Tavern in that place, and that he also lived several years with Mr. Smoke, who now keeps the Eagle Tavern, in the capacity of Ostler.

JOHN is about 30 years of age, 5 feet 8 inches high, is very much pitted with the small-pox, and when apprehended, said he was on his way to Tennessee, where his wife resides. The owner is requested to prove his property, pay charges and take him away.   JOHN LILLIARD, Jailer. 7th June, 1809.

Star, Raleigh, 20 July 1809.

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.

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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,” http://www.wttw.com/main.taf?p=76,4,3,4; 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); http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org. 

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.