Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Milton

Killed by a blast in a mine.

Harris Milton, a free man of color was killed by a blast in a mine at Gold Hill on Thursday the 15th ult.

The Charlotte Democrat, 2 March 1855.

In the 1850 census of Gold Hill, Rowan County: Ann Bird, 28; Harris Milton, 28, laborer.

Free Colored Inhabitants of the Town of Milton, Caswell County, 1850.

#243. Lucy Pulliam, 60, in the household of William Terrill, boot & shoemaker.

#244. William Philips, 12, in the household of James R. Collum, druggist.

#246. Sarah Hutson, 40, born in Virginia, in the household of Wiley Kezort, blacksmith.

#248. Dabney Palmer, 20, tailor, born Person County, in the household of Benjamin Hines, tailor.

#266. William Pounds, 20, and James Harris, 22, both laborers, in the household of Hugh M. Raimey, mechanic.

#269. Willis Freeman, 25, laborer, wife Jane, 24, and Mary Piles, 6.

#271. Anderson Piles, 12, born Caswell County, in the household of L.R. Atkinson, jeweler.

#272. Francis Weaver, 30, born Hertford, in the household of Archibald McDorrett, teacher.

#287. Tannin(?) Sawyers, 21, born in Virginia, in the household of James Nuttall, tavern keeper.

#288. R. Mills, 40, laborer, born in Virginia, in the household of G.W. Thompson.

#289. Thomas Day, 49, cabinet maker, born in Virginia; wife Aquila, 44, born in Virginia; son Devereux J., 17, born Milton; Morning S. Day, 84, born Virginia; plus Joshua Wood, 21, cabinet maker, born in Virginia; James Hutchinson, 30, cabinet maker, born Guilford; Aaron McCormick, 20, born Virginia; James Wallace, 21, laborer, born Virginia; Burg[illegible] Smith, 20, cabinet maker, born Raleigh; Daniel Proctor, 20, cabinet maker, born Granville; and William Slate, 14, cabinet maker, born Virginia. All mulatto except Wood, Hutchinson, McCormick, Wallace, Proctor and Slate, who were white. Day reported $800 real property.

#298. Nancy Cousins, 50, born Virginia, in the household of Joana Hancock.

#307. Jane Watkins, 23, Mary Cousins, 27, and Cornelia Cousins, 4, all born Caswell.

#309. Harriet Jones, 29, and children Lewis, 6, Virginia, 4, and Caroline, 10 months, all born in Milton.

#310. John Freeman, 30, blacksmith, born Virginia, in the household of Alexander Smith.

#311. Lucy Sawyer, 39; Eliza A. Palmer, 17; Clem Palmer, 13; John Palmer, 8; Susan Sawyers, 2; and Sallie A. Palmer, 1.

#312. Rhoda Lovet, 80, Sallie Piles, 50, and Mary Piles, 20.

#314. Fanny McMunn, 20, born Orange, in the household of C.N.B. Evans, S. Editor.

#316. Jenny Watkins, 72, born Virginia; Tabitha A. Jones, 25, Andrew, 7, Marcus, 5, and Edward, 2, all born in Milton.

#317. Caroline Thomas, 24; Lavinia Thomas, 20; Isabella Thomas, 5; and James Thomas, 2.

Thomas Day.


Thomas Day, a cabinetmaker by trade, is the most celebrated of North Carolina’s antebellum craftsmen. He was born 1801 in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, to a family of free, landowning African-Americans. His father, John Day, was a skilled cabinetmaker who plied other trades as well, but always relied on woodworking to bring in money. Thomas and his brother John Day were well-educated. John’s education, during which he boarded with prominent whites and attending schools with them, is documented in his later correspondence, and it is assumed that Thomas did the same. Both of the Day sons initially followed in their father’s footsteps, learning the skills of a cabinetmaker. John eventually left the trade to study theology and later moved to Liberia, becoming one of its founders by signing its Declaration of Independence.

John Day moved to Warren County by 1820 and it is believed that Thomas was with him. The Days had established themselves in the furniture business in Milton by 1823. Thomas Day became a prominent and well-respected citizen of the community. In response to an act that prohibited free blacks from immigrating into the state, Milton’s white leaders petitioned the General Assembly in 1830 to allow Day’s bride, Aquilla Wilson, a free black from Virginia, to join him. They reared two sons and a daughter. In his almost forty years in Milton, Thomas Day built an extraordinary business, employing freedmen and slaves alike to craft stock lines of furniture and to fill custom orders for furniture and interior woodworking. By 1850, Day had the largest cabinetry shop in North Carolina. He is believed to have died in about 1861, after having suffered financial losses due to the national panic of 1857.

Adapted from

In the 1850 census of Milton, Caswell County: Thomas Day, 49, cabinetmaker, born Virginia, property valued at $8000; wife Aquila, 44; son Devereux J., 17, cabinetmaker, born Milton; Mourning S. Day, 84, born VA; and Joshua Wood, 32, cabinetnaker; all mulatto except the last, who was white.