Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: miscegenation

Two years longer for the mulatto.

Charlotte DeOrmond, a white woman servant of Major John Dunn has had a white & a mulatto bastard; she must serve a year for the white bastard and two years longer for the mulatto, who, being a female, is bound to said Dunn until 21 years old.

January Term, 1769, Minutes, Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, Rowan County Records, North Carolina State Archives.  

She mixed his blood with whiskey and drank it.


I was never a slave. Although I was born somewhere about 1855, I was not born in slavery, but my father was. I’m afraid this story will be more about my father and mother than it will be about myself.

My mother was a white woman. Her name was Tempie James. She lived on her father’s big plantation on the Roanoke River at Rich Square, North Carolina. Her father owned acres of land and many slaves. His stables were the best anywhere around; they were filled with horses, and the head coachman was named Squire James. Squire was a good looking, well behaved Negro who had a white father. He was tall and light colored. Tempie James fell in love with this Negro coachman. Nobody knows how long they had been in love before Tempie’s father found it out, but when he did he locked Tempie in her room. For days he and Miss Charlottie, his wife, raved, begged and pleaded, but Tempie just said she loved Squire. ‘Why will you act so?’ Miss Charlottie was crying. ‘Haven’t we done everything for you and given you everything you wanted?’

Tempie shook her head and said: ‘You haven’t given me Squire. He’s all I do want.’

Then it was that in the dark of the night Mr. James sent Squire away; he sent him to another state and sold him.

But Tempie found it out. She took what money she could find and ran away. She went to the owner of Squire and bought him, then she set him free and changed his name to Walden, Squire Walden. But then it was against the law for a white woman to marry a Negro unless they had a strain of Negro blood, so Tempie cut Squire’s finger and drained out some blood. She mixed this with some whiskey and drank it, then she got on the stand and swore she had Negro blood in her, so they were married. She never went back home and her people disowned her.

Tempie James Walden, my mother, was a beautiful woman. She was tall and fair with long light hair. She had fifteen children, seven boys and eight girls, and all of them lived to be old enough to see their great-grandchildren. I am the youngest and only one living now. Most of us came back to North Carolina. Two of my sisters married and came back to Rich Square to live. They lived not far from the James plantation on Roanoke River. Once when we were children my sister and I were visiting in Rich Square. One day we went out to pick huckleberries. A woman came riding down the road on a horse. She was a tall woman in a long grey riding habit. She had grey hair and grey eyes. She stopped and looked at us. ‘My,’ she said, ‘whose pretty little girls are you?’

‘We’re Squire Walden’s children,’ I said.

She looked at me so long and hard that I thought she was going to hit me with her whip, but she didn’t, she hit the horse. He jumped and ran so fast I thought she was going to fall off, but she went around the curve and I never saw her again. I never knew until later that she was Mis’ Charlottie James, my grandmother.

I don’t know anything about slavery times, for I was born free of free parents and raised on my father’s own plantation. I’ve been living in Durham over sixty-five years.

From Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves (1841).

Squire Walden married Tempy James on 28 March 1832 in Halifax County. John Keemer was bondsman, and clerk of court J.H. Harwell witnessed. 

In the 1850 census of Northampton County: Squire Walden, 38, laborer, wife Temperance, 34, and children Samuel, 14, William, 13, Amanda, 12, Martha, 11, James, 9, Hester, 8, Peyton, 5, and Whitman, 1, plus William Walden, 78, farmer. All born in NC, except the elder William, who was born in Virginia. All were described as mulatto.


Deep-rooted and virtuous prejudices.

State of North Carolina, Wayne County   } At a Superior Court of Law began and held for the County of Wayne at the Court House in Waynesborough the first Monday after the fourth Monday of March 1828. Appeared there and then into Court Jesse Barden, and by his attorney Lewis D. Henry Esq’r., filed the following Petition under the act of 1827 –

North Carolina, Wayne County   } To the Honorable the Judge of the Superior Court of Law for Said County – The Petition of Jesse Barden, Humbly Shews that he is a Citizen of this County, That he intermarried with one Ann Mariah Bradberry about the Month of April in the Year 1827, That at the time he married her he cherished a fond affection for her and believed her to be good woman, and that she would make an excellent wife, That at the time of their marriage She had a child, which he believed was his own and had been begotten by him before their intermarriage, That her Conduct and Manners were so artfully devised during their Courtship, that he entertained the opinion She was a virtuous woman and that she had never departed from the path of Moral rectitude but in the instance alluded to, and then from the excess of an ardent and imprudent passion for himself, That shortly after their intermarriage however, your Petitioner discovered that Child So born before their marriage was a black child, to his utter Horror and astonishment, and which has Completely ruined his peace and Happiness for life, That as soon as Your Petitioner was Satisfied of the Colour of the Child and of the artful wiles that the said Ann Mariah had employed during their courtship to decoy him with the Conjugal Connection, by protestations of affection that she had made to him from time to time. He was so overcome with her perfidity that he not only broke off all connection with her, but has turned her from his House.

He prays Your Honor therefore that these facts may be inquired into and that he may be divorced from the bonds of Matrimony with the said Ann Mariah his wife, and such other and further relief as You may think proper.

This affiant swears that the facts Set forth in this Petition are true to the Best of his knowledge and belief and that the Said Complaint is not made out of Levity or Collusion between him and his said wife and for the mere purpose of being freed and Separated from each other.     /s/ Jesse Barden

Sworn to Subscribed before me the 3rd day of April 1828. Rob’t Strange

Whereupon it was ordered by the Court that a Subpoena and Copy of the Petition issue to the defendant returnable to the next Term which was done and the Sheriff of Wayne made return thereon that the defendant was not to be found [in] his County. After which It was ordered by the Court that an alias subp’a and copy of Petition issue to defendant returnable to Spring Term of Said Court 1829, which was issued.

This matter reached the North Carolina Supreme Court in Jesse Barden v. Ann M. Barden, 14 NC 548 (1832). In distinguishing the case from another decided the same term, Justice Thomas Ruffin noted that “in so young an infant, whose mother was white, it might not be in the power of an ordinary man, from inspection of the face and other uncovered parts of the body, to discover the tinge, although it were so deep as to lead to the belief now, that it is the issue of a father of full African blood.”  The case was remanded to ascertain (1) that the child was mixed race; (2) that both Bardens were white; (3) that Jesse Barden believed at the time of his marriage that the child was white; (4) that his belief was based on Ann Mariah’s misrepresentations; and (5) that the child’s “real color” was not obvious. If all were true, Barden was entitled to a divorce. “This is a concession to the deep rooted and virtuous prejudices of the community on this subject.”

Please free our sister.

To the Worshipfull, The Justices of the County Court held for the County of Craven of the term of June AD 1798 –

The Petition of Ann G. Daly Administratrix of the Goods & Chattels &c of John Daly esq’r dec’d & Guardian of Ann G. Daly & Sidney Maria Daly, children of the said John Daly dec’d, Robert Donnell & Eliz., his wife & Guardian of John Daly, son of sd. John Daly dec’d & John Sears, humbly Sheweth to your worships that the said Administratrix has at present in her possession a certain female mulattoe slave named Mary about the age of twenty years, which Slave in strictness of law makes a part of the personal estate of the said John Daly dec’d.  Your Petitioners further shew that the said Mary has always been reputed to be the child of the said John Daly dec’d, and in that light treated & regarded by the said John in his life time.

Your Petitioners further state that it was the full determined and avowed intention & desire of the said John to give or procure for the said Mary her freedom, and that to the effect the said John hath repeatedly & uniformly expressed himself during his life and at the hour of his death.

Your Petitioners further state that the said Mary is a Girl of excellent Character, that she is industrious Sober & honest & has always behaved dutifully and affectionately towards the whole family.  Your Petitioners feel themselves bound to state that, (John Daly, Ann G. Daly & Sidney M. Daly, three of the children of John Daly dec’d are under age & that to remove all objections that may arise an amount of the interest they have in the said Mary your Petitioners, Robert Donnell & Jno. Sears, are ready to give any security the Court may require either for their or the indemnification of the said Administratrix.  Your petitioners therefore pray that taking the promises into consideration your worships would pass an order granting the said Ann G. Daly Administratrix as aforesaid a license to make free & emancipate said Mulattoe female slave named Mary.  And your Petitioners in duty bound Shall ever pray, /s/ Ann G. Daly, Robert Donnells, and Jno. Sears.


Miscellaneous Records, Craven County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

Her complexion is an act of the Almighty, not her crime.

Pasquotank County   } To the Worshipfull the Justices of the Inferior Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of the County of Pasquotank County now in Court sitting.  The humble Petition of Ruth Jillet a free born, coloured Woman, Humbly sheweth unto Your Worships, that she was born of a Free woman named Ann Jillet, The daughter of the Wife of one [blank space] Jillet of Powel’s Point, supposed by a Black Man; That your Petitioner’s mother moved from Currituck to a Neighborhood on Little River, and was delivered of your Petitioner at the House of one Timothy Mead, where she remained until the Death of her Mother and the said Timothy, at whose [illegible] she was sold to one Blackstock who she verily believes was not ignorant of her Condition and Rights to Liberty, and sold her to a distant Merchant called Barny Coffoo of Newbern.  At which place, she had eight, Several Masters, each getting rid of her, as soon as thgey could, on hearing of her Story, and her Resolution to regain her Liberty.  That in the lifetime of her last Master John Bishop, she made her escape, and came to her native County, to which Place the said Bishop followed her and sold her to one Zachariah Jordon, (and he, as she has been informed gave no Purchase Money for her, and that the said Bishop enjoin’d the said Zachariah to inquire into her Rights and if true, to let her enjoy them, and if otherwise to send him payment, which was like the common Honest behaviour of his Life) who she believes, noways ignorant of the Premisses, still detains her in Slavery and Duress.  Your Petitioner humbly begs to inform Your Worships, That she has been so happy to find reputable and honest Evidence alive, although at the Distance of forty Years, of her Birth and of her Civil and Social Rights.

Whereupon your Poor and Distressed Petitioner humbly prays (Altho’ her Complection, which is an Act of the Almighty Not her Crime) Your Worships will, of your Mercy, take her Case under your Guidance and Consideration, and to render her such Redress as to Your Worships in your great Wisdom and Justice you shall seem Meet.    And Your Poor Petitioner as in Duty bound and ever Pray &c, Ruth Jillet by Will Cumming her Att’y

Ruth Jillet vs Zachariah Jordon}   Petition

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

She was fully 5/8ths white.

“Facts in matter of James Lamms Children –

“Joe Horne – Great Grandmother of these children was Ezrit Locas _ She was about [sic] _ I think her father was a white man _ Grandmother was Wealthy Locas Think her father was a white man _ Know mother of children, Jane Lamm. Think her father was a white man _ said to be Van B. Carter _ Father of children James Lamm white _

“H.M. Rowe – Know Ezrit Locas _ she was fully 5/8 white _ her father a white man _ Grandmother is practically white. Her father was a white man. Mother of child, her father was a white man _ Jane Lamm father white _ Jane Lamm Great Grandmother was 5/8 white at least _ Grandmother _ Her father was Dallas Taylor a pure blooded white man _ Mother of child _ Her father pure blooded white man.”

This unsigned handwritten note is found among papers related to the matter of James Lamm v. J.S. Horne, Fred B. Boswell, A.A. Aycock, School Committeemen of Black Creek Township, filed in November Term, 1909, in Wilson County Superior Court.  Lamm complained that his children had been barred from the white public school in Black Creek, though they had attended for many years prior.  Based on the evidence above, a judge determined that the children, though descended from free women of color, were sufficiently white to attend white schools, and so ordered.  School Records, 1909; Wilson County Miscellaneous Records; North Carolina State Archives.

In the 1900 census of Black Creek, Wilson County: James Lamm, born 1837; wife Jane, 1869; and children Robert L., 1890, James C., 1892, Mamie, 1895 and Leona, 1897; all described as white.  Nearby: Wealthy Locas, born 1849, single, mother of eight (six living), and her children Zacariah, 1886, and Fannie, 1890; all black.  

Jane Carter Lamm died 21 February 1945 in Wilson, Wilson County.  Her death certificate lists her parents as Van Carter and Wealthy Joyner, and she is classified as white.

Daddy’s baby.

Julius A. Howell et al. v. Henry Troutman, 53 NC 304 (1860).

This Rowan County case involved a contested will.  Jacob Troutman’s last will and testament contained the following bequests and devises:

“Item 3d. I will and bequeath to Ann Allmond two hundred and fifty dollars, provided the said Ann shall live with my wife, Polly, and assist her in health and in sickness; and if the said Ann shall faithfully perform her duty to my said wife during the life of my wife or widowhood, then at the death of my said wife, I will and bequeath to the said Ann, five dollars more.”

“Item 4. All the ballance of my estate and property of every kind and description, including my gold mine and every thing else, I will and bequeath to Lucy, the infant child of the said Ann Allmond, and if the said Lucy should die without lawful children or child, then it is my will, that all I have willed to the said Lucy, shall be divided between the children of my brothers, David Troutman, John Troutman, and my sister, Sarah Earnhart’s children.”

Troutman’s execution of the will was duly proven by the three subscribing witnesses, who also testified that in their opinion he was of sound mind when he signed it.

Jacob Troutman and his wife Polly had no children.  Ann Allmond lived in their house as a housekeeper from 1849 to 1858. (Troutman died in the fall of the latter year.)  A witness at trial testified that Ann Allmond was a white woman and her daughter Lucy, in his opinion, was a mulatto; that Lucy died at about age three; and that, both before and since Lucy’s death, Troutman told him that the child was his, and accounted for her color from a fright which Ann Allmond had received while pregnant.  The witness further testified that he had done a lot of business for Jacob Troutman; that Troutman sent Ann out of the room during the drafting of the will; that the witness urged Troutman to leave his brother Henry Troutman something, but he declined, saying that Henry would spend it in litigation. The witness also stated that Troutman had become displeased with Henry because of some lawsuit they had had.

Witness James Montgomery swore that he had no doubt that Lucy was a half-blood mulatto, based on her color; that he was a neighbor and had frequent opportunities to see the child; and that Troutman believed the child was his, said he knew she was, and that he intended to make a lady of her.

Dr. J. P. Cunningham testified that he was a practicing physician in the vicinity of Jacob Troutman’s residence; that on one occasion he was called upon by Troutman to visit Lucy; that when he arrived, he found her in his arms; that he called her “daddy’s baby”; and that the child was unquestionably a negro.

Dr. John R. Wilson, also a practicing physician, testified that Lucy was, in his opinion, a mulatto, and that Troutman had once remarked to him that he loved the child as much as if she were his own, and that Allmond had gone out and picked it up somewhere.

J. C. Barnhart swore that he was a justice of the peace in the county when Ann Allmond was pregnant,  and issued a warrant for her to make her swear to the father or give bond as prescribed by law; that she gave the bond and Jacob Troutman either became her surety or procured someone to do so, he did not remember which; and that Troutman was a man of sound mind, though very illiterate.

J. M. Long, Esq., the draftsman of the will, testified that, after Lucy’s death, Troutman asked him whether another will was necessary to dispose of the part he had left for the child; that he advised him that it was not, but that the property would go over to his relatives under the provisions of the existing will.

Henry Troutman’s counsel insisted that the jury should hear testimony that the will was procured by the false representations and undue influence of Ann Allmond.  However, the County Court charged the jury that there was no evidence of such influence as would invalidate the will and, if they believed the testimony, the decedent was of sound mind; also, that the will was properly attested and executed. Henry Troutman’s counsel excepted.

The Supreme Court’s decision: The fact that Troutman bequeathed a legacy to the mulatto child of his housekeeper, a white woman, which the mother had induced him to believe was his, is no evidence that his will was obtained by fraud and undue influence. “Supposing that he did believe the child was his, and that the mother of it told him so, there is not the slightest testimony to show that she ever even asked him to make a will in favor of her and the child, or that she knew, before the will was made, that he intended to make one, or, afterwards, that he had made it.” “The truth is, that the old man, being childless by his wife, took a strange fancy to the child of his housekeeper, and whether it were his or not, he had a father’s love for it, and our law imposes no prohibition upon a man to prevent him from bestowing his property upon the object of his affection. Affection or attachment, as Sir John Nichol said, ‘would be a very strong ground of support of a testamentary act.’”

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.

Criminal conversation with a negro man.

Elizabeth Walters v. Clement H. Jordan, 34 NC 170 (1851).

Elizabeth Walters petitioned for a year’s allowance out of the estate of her late husband, Hardy Walters, who died intestate. Hardy “seduced” Elizabeth and “lived in adultery” with her before marrying her.  Both were white.  After the marriage, Elizabeth “had criminal conversation with a negro man” and got pregnant. Hardy ordered her to leave his home.  She did, but, with his permission, moved into another house on his property. There she gave birth to a mulatto child.  Hardy died soon after.

“Whatever cause this woman may have given her husband for taking steps to have the marriage dissolved, and thereby protect his estate from her claims. it is sufficient for this case, that he did not such thing, but did leave her as his widow and under no bar to her claims, as such, on his property.”

Caswell County Will Books: A & B

Book A, September Court Session, 1781.  Sarah George binds unto Richard Moore a mulatto child named Harbert, aged 2 years, 8 months on 20 Aug 1781.  Wit: L. Johnston, Richd. Smith, James Douglas.

Book A, June Court Session, 1782.  Rebecca Cousins, a free-born Negro, is apprenticed to Robert Daney.

Book B, September Court Session, 1782.  Edward Upton and Jane, his wife, bound her son William Long, a mulatto, to Samuel Bracken.  Wit: Thomas Brooks, Thomas Rice.

Book B, October Court Session, 1790.  Mournin, a mulatto orphan aged 3 years next March, was bound to Andrew Haddock.

Caswell County Will Books, North Carolina State Archives.