Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: New Hanover County

She purchased her daughter that she might give her freedom.

State of North Carolina, Craven County   } September Term

In the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Ninety six, To the Worshipfull the Justices of the County Court of Common Pleas and Quarter Sessions held in and for the said County September Term A.D. 1796

The petition of Amelia Green of this said County and Town of Newbern humbly sheweth to your Worships, that She now is and for several years past has been a free woman, that She is the mother of a large family of Children all of whom except two daughters have been enabled as the fruits of their own industry and meritorious behaviour to acquire their freedom, Your petitioner further sheweth, that one of those two daughters not yet made free a mulatto of the name of Princess and about the age of Sixteen, was late the property of Isabella Chapman of New Hanover County in s’d State by the will of Ann Shaw, But that your petitioner (being induced thereto by her maternal affection toward her, and a desire to see all her family on the same footing) with much toil and industry, has succeeded to raise a sum of money sufficient to purchase the said Princess her daughter from the said Isabbella Chapman and has there with actually purchased by fair bill of sale which She prays may be taken as part of her petition, the said Princess your Petitioner daughter. Your petitioners sole motive to this expense was that She might give freedom to her said daughter, Your petitioner further begs leave to Inform your Worships that she is now far advanced in life that she feels the infirmities of age growing upon her, and contemplates the awfull event of Death as at no very distant period, an event (which, unless the goodness of your worships prevent) might frustrate the pious intentions of your petitioner toward her daughter and disappoint her of the reward  of her labour. Your petitioner presumes to say with Confidance on behalf of Princess that she is a good Girl, a Good daughter, that, she possesses mild and peacefull disposition and industrious habits, which your petitioner will as is required make appear. Taking the premises therefor under your consideration, Your petitioner prays that your Worships would please to grant her a licence to set free and emancipate her said daughter the said Princess. And your petitioner as in duty bound shall every pray &ca.  Amelia X Green

Signed in presence of Edward Graham.


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

Jail break, no. 5.

Broke Jail. – We learn that Jesse Holley, the yellow fellow convicted at our last Superior Court, of murder and arson, and sentenced to be hung, but in whose case an appeal was taken to the Supreme Court, broke out of the jail of this town last night, and made his escape.  Holley is a most villainous-looking fellow, about 35 years of age, some five feet eight inches high, and rather stout built.  He is rather a light mulatto, with a kind of reddish or sandy hair, as if burned, and a muddy, freckled face.

We believe that a white man, awaiting trial on some charge of felony, made his escape at the same time.  We have not learned any of the particulars. Wilmington Journal.

Fayetteville Observer, 3 June 1852.

Solomon W. Nash.

Solomon Waddell Nash, Sr. (1779-June 25, 1846) was an African-American carpenter in antebellum Wilmington before and after he was emancipated in 1827. During his career as a builder, especially in the 1830s, Nash worked and spent time in both Wilmington and Fayetteville, port cities linked by trade along the Cape Fear River, both known for their many free people of color.

“Born a slave in 1779, Nash worked as an enslaved artisan during much of his life and gained his freedom in middle age. On July 26, 1827, members of the prominent white Waddell family (John, Francis, and John, Jr.) posted a bond for the emancipation of “a certain negro slave named Solomon Nash.” Nash’s surname recalled another leading white family in the state with ties to the Waddells. His parents’ names are not known. At the time of his emancipation, Nash must have had his business well established, for in March 1828 he took three orphaned boys of color — Robert Bryan, James Jacobs, and James Allen — as apprentices to the carpenter’s trade in New Hanover County. In Cumberland County he took William Revels, aged 16 in 1832, and Robert Wesley, aged 11 in 1834, as carpenter’s apprentices, and in New Hanover County in 1838 he apprenticed Joshua Jacobs and Charles Cochran, both 16. Nash also acquired real estate in Wilmington, owning lots with a total purchase price of about $3,200. His carpenter’s shop was located on his lot on Front Street between Chestnut Street and Mulberry (Grace) Streets. He also owned at least five slaves at his death and may have owned others.

“Like other emancipated individuals, Nash worked to gain the freedom of his family members. His first wife was an enslaved woman, and thus his children with her were also enslaved. In 1835-1836, as a resident of Fayetteville, he obtained a special act of the legislature to emancipate his children, Lucy, Ann, Emiline, and Priscilla. In the meantime, Nash had remarried in 1833, his second wife being a free woman, Celia A. Bryant. According to family accounts, the couple had two sons, Solomon Nash, Jr., and John Nash, born in about 1836 and 1841.

“Despite Nash’s long career in his trade, little is known of specific buildings he constructed. According to Nicholas Schenck’s memoir of antebellum Wilmington, the “Jas. Anderson” house (the Hogg-Anderson House) was “built by Solomon Nash.” This is a 2 1/2-story, Federal style frame dwelling with side-passage plan and transitional Federal-Greek Revival finish. Indicative of his trade practices, after Nash’s death, the Wilmington Commercial newspaper advertised for sale “a part of a House Frame on the lot of S. W. Nash’s late residence, 1 Lot of Window Blinds, 1 Lot about 3,000 ft. Lumber opposite Mrs. Owen’s residence, and about 10,000 ft. seasoned 1 1/4 inch boards.” The advertisement indicates that Nash had his workshop and his residence at the same address.

“In 1846, Nash was working on a project for brick contractor Robert B. Wood (see Wood Brothers). Wood’s son, Thomas F. Wood, remembered that when Wood was “putting up a building on Front Street between Market and Dock, “a mulatto carpenter by the name of Solomon Nash fell from the scaffolding and was killed.” The Wilmington Chronicle of July 1, 1846, reported that the scaffolding had collapsed, sending three white workers, two slaves, and the free carpenter Nash tumbling to the ground. All survived but Nash. The slaves, identified as Ben Berry and Ephraim Bettencourt, may have belonged to Nash. A few months later, the Chronicle of September 23, 1846, carried an advertisement offering for hire for the rest of the year “two carpenters, one woman, and two children, belonging to the estate of Solomon Nash, deceased.”

“At his death, Nash left to his wife Celia a house and lot on Winslow Street in Fayetteville. He also left a female slave, Venice, to his daughters, with the condition that she be freed ten years after his death. His executor was Matthew N. Leary, one of Fayetteville’s leading free men of color. By 1850, the two Nash sons, Solomon, Jr., and John, were living in Fayetteville in the household of Nelson and Elizabeth Henderson. Solomon, Jr., also entered the carpentry business in Wilmington and for a time had his shop at his father’s old location on Front Street. After the Civil War he became active in political and civic affairs, serving as county jailer, a founder of Pine Forest Cemetery (ca. 1869), and in leadership positions at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and Giblem Masonic Lodge. Several years after his death, the senior Nash’s remains were moved to the Pine Forest Cemetery, where handsome carved stone markers were erected, probably by Solomon Nash, Jr., to mark the graves of Solomon, Sr., and Priscilla Nash Burney (d. 1855).”

Author: Nancy Beeler. Update: Catherine W. Bishir.  Published 2010.

As published in North Carolina Architects and Builders: A Biographical Dictionary,  (All rights retained.) This web site is a growing reference work that contains brief biographical accounts, building lists, and bibliographical information about architects, builders, and other artisans who planned and built North Carolina’s architecture.  

A marriage, two houses and money.

Alexander Flanner filed claim #8852 with the Southern Claims Commission.  He was from New Hanover County.  An official noted that Flanner was a colored man formerly the slave of Joseph H. Flanner of Wilmington.  Before leaving for Europe in March 1865, Joseph Flanner secured a marriage for Alexander to a free woman of color and gave him money and two houses.  Alexander Flanner worked as a drayman until the federal occupation of Wilmington.