Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Orange County

The free people of color would harbor him.

Twenty Dollars Reward.

Ran away from the subscriber in February last, a tall negro man by the name of WILLIS, about thirty-five years of age; he is rather slim built and thin visage; has a down look, speaks slow, and would be very easily confused if strictly interrogated. No particular marks recollected, by which he could be described. It is probable he has obtained a free pass by some means or other, and may be in the employment of some person under a pretence of being free. He has some relations on the Hickory Mountain, in this county; he was very intimate in the family of Peter Chavas (a free man of colour,) who has left this country, and is now living in or near the Hawfields, Orange county, and also with the Carters‘ free persons of colour, who now live in Guilford county; he also had some connexion with the Hathcocks, who ran away from Clintham, a year or two since, and are now living in Davidson county. I have good reason to believe the Hathcocks, Carters, or Chavas would harbour him, and render any assistance in their power. The above reward will be given to any person or persons who will apprehend and confine in Jail the said fellow, so that I get him again; and all other reasonable expenses paid, if delivered to me in Chatham county, on New-Hope.  THOS. BELL, Sen.  May 23, 1827

The North-Carolina Star (Raleigh), 21 June 1827.

He gave this boy his pass.


RANAWAY from the Subscribe, living in Orange County, N.C., on the 4th inst. a Negro man named SAM. He is about 30 or 32 year of age, about five ten inches in height, rather chunky made, no particular marks except a dimple or scar on the side of his under jaw, not recollected which side, occasioned by a rising from a tooth. He is, from all circumstances, trying to get to a free State or pass as a free man, by changing his name to JOHN HARRIS, as he has secured a pass in the above name from John Harris, a free man of colour. The pass was given to John Harris and his wife and child, and was signed by myself Jeff. Horner, J.P. The said Jno. Harris was living with the Subscriber, at the time he gave this boy Sam his pass. I will give the above Reward of Thirty Dollars for his apprehension and delivery, or confinement in any Jail so that I may get him again.  JEFF. HORNER.

June 13, 1839.

N.B. This Pass was dated the last of Sept., or the first of October, 1838, or thereabouts.

Raleigh Register, 10 August 1839.


The Subscriber is a free colored man, and some persons a few days past stole his Pocket Book, containing his papers of freedom, signed by John Taylor, Clerk of the court of Orange county – should any colored person attempt to pass under the said papers, the public are hereby cautioned and warned to have them immediately arrested as impostors. MACKLIN REVELS. March, 22.

Fayetteville Weekly Observer, 3 April 1823.

Jeffreys, woodworkers.

Thomas Day—who was born in 1801 in Greensville County, Virginia, to mixed-race parents, John and Mourning Day—moved with his family to Warren County, North Carolina, in 1817. When he moved to Hillsborough in the early 1820s, it appears that he became friends with members of the Jeffreys family who, although listed as “mulattos” in official records, were actually of Indian origin. The Jeffreys were part of a larger group of Occaneechi people from Virginia who had settled in the northwest section of Orange County, which became Alamance County in 1849. As with the Day family, the Jeffreys family had originated in Greensville County, Virginia. In 1830 Uriah Jeffreys served as a bondsman for Thomas Day when he married Aquilla Wilson. A bondsman was usually a close family member (such as a father, brother, or uncle) who assured the court that the couple should be married, and that the groom would not change his mind and leave the bride at the altar. Uriah Jeffreys must have been a close friend of Thomas to agree to be his bondsman. Historic records make it clear that both men were cabinetmakers, and it is possible that Uriah and his brother Nathan worked with Day for a short time. In 1828 Uriah decided to move. He advertised in the Hillsborough Recorder that he had a variety of furniture from his cabinetmaking business for sale, including “Bureaus, Bedsteads, Tables.”

Uriah moved to Ohio with two of his brothers, Parker and Augustus. Unfortunately, they experienced the same type of prejudice in the North that they had tried to leave behind. The law required free blacks entering Ohio to pay a bond of $500 to county officials. Whites thought this would guarantee that only free blacks of “good character” would settle and be able to support themselves. Parker Jeffreys refused to pay, insisting that his blood was a mixture of Indian and white, and not black. The case went to the county court, where he lost. Jeffreys persevered, and the Ohio Supreme Court heard his case in 1842. In Parker Jeffreys v. Ankeny et al., the supreme court justices ruled that he was an Indian with no African ancestry and did not have to pay the bond. Members of the Jeffreys family continued to make furniture near Xenia, Ohio, well into the twentieth century.

Nathan Jeffreys lived the rest of his life in North Carolina. It seems that he continued to work as a journeyman cabinetmaker, because in 1834 he is listed as such in a court document. However, in the 1850 and 1860 censuses, he is listed as a farmer owning $500 in property. Many cabinetmakers supplemented their incomes by farming. Day clearly considered Nathan a close family friend, because in 1851 in a letter to his own daughter, Mary Ann, he mentions the death of Nathan’s daughter, Safroney.

Fine furniture made by Nathan Jeffreys between 1845 and 1855 is known to exist in a private collection. The construction techniques that he used are similar to those found on the bureaus made in Day’s Milton shop, indicating that the two men probably worked together at one time. Jeffreys and other members of the Indian community passed on their woodworking skills. His great-great-grandson, William Bill Jeffries, learned woodworking from his father. He built houses as well as chairs during most of the twentieth century.

Adapted from Dr. Patricia Phillips Marshall, “Indian Cabinetmakers in Piedmont North Carolina,”

Free-Issue Death Certificates: MISCELLANEOUS, no. 11.

Jane Ceaser. Died 27 October 1921, Mount Airy, Surry County. Black. Widow of Phillip Ceaser. Age about 90. Born in NC to [first name unknown] Starling and unknown mother. Buried Ararat cemetery. Informant, Jess Rowley, Mount Airy.

Sarah Stubblefield. Died 16 May 1915, Winston-Salem, Forsyth County. Colored. Married. Born 1860 in NC to Phillip Caesar and Jane Stewart. Buried Brushy Fork cemetery. Informant, George Stubblefield.

In the 1860 census of Mount Airy, Surry County: Philip Ceaser, 23, wife Jane, 20, and daughter Sarah, 6 months.

John Dimery. Died 7 January 1916, Elizabeth, Bladen County. “Molato.” Married. Cooper. Age about 70. Born Bladen County to Allen Dimery and unknown mother, both of Bladen County. Buried at “John Martins bur place,” Bladen County. Informant, Rev. Williamson, Elizabethtown.

In the 1860 census of Bladen County: Allen Dimery, 54, cooper, wife Sarah, 50, and children Martha, 18, John, 17, Early J., 14, A.M., 7, A.V., 7, W.D., 6, and S.J., 5.

Hawkins Carter. Died 6 Mar 1920, Judkins, Warren County. Colored. Married. Farmer. Born 1846 in Warren County to Hawkins Carter and Betsy Carter. Informant, Archer Carter, Littleton.

H.W. Carter. Died 21 August 1927, Durham, Durham County. Resided 512 Douglass. Farmer. Colored. Married to Nannie Carter. Age 85. Born in NC to Plummer Carter and Amey Hawkins. Buried Warrenton NC. Informant, Miss P.H. Carter, Durham.

Wesley Carter. Died 11 December 1917, Aurelian Springs, Brinkleyville, Halifax County. Colored. Married. Farmer. “Had been blind 47 years.” Born Warren County to Hawkins Carter of unknown and Betsie Shaw of Halifax. Buried “Popular Grove.” Informant, Eligah Carter, Aurelian Springs.

In the 1850 census of Warren, Warren County: Hawkins Carter, 45, wife Elizabeth, 40, Wesley, 10, Lavenia, 8, Hawkins, 6, Plummer, 4, Eaton, 2, and Lemuel, 1; plus Plummer Carter, 50.

Bessie Jane Jeffries. Died 11 February 1936, Burlington, Pleasant Grove, Alamance County. Black. Widow of Bedford Jeffries. About 80 years old. Born Orange County to William Haithcock and unknown mother. Buried Martin Chapel. Informant, Alvis McAdams.

In the 1860 census of Alamance County: Caty Jeffries, 50, Barb Jeffries, 48, Jacob Jeffries, 35, Bedford Jeffries, 18, and Thos. Jeffries. 15.

Runaway redux.

RUNAWAY from the subscriber on Saturday night, the 27th inst. his negro boy TOM, about fifteen years of age, he was clad in dark homespun clothes, has a scar over his right eye near the brow – he rode away a bay mare; she has a star in her forehead.

Said boy Tom runaway some weeks ago and passed in Orange county for a free boy by the name of Tom Pettiford, and will probably attempt to pass for a free boy again. Any person who will apprehend said boy, and confine him in jail so that I get him again, shall be generously rewarded.  J.M. JELKS. Wake County, 9 miles west of Raleigh, February 23, 1820.

Star, Raleigh, 3 March 1820.

He is making for the Western Country.

One Hundred Dollars Reward.

RANAWAY from the subscriber on the 6th day of March last, a mulatto man by the name of JACK, well built, about five feet five or six inches high, 28 years of age, a tolerable shoe maker, and has been much in the habit of driving a wagon – He has a scar on his forehead, and a part of one of his upper foreteeth is broken off, one of his wrists broke and crooked, and his right leg pretty much shot with small shot which will shew very plainly. He has been seen on his way making for the Western Country, and passes as a free man but the name of John Revill, having obtained a pass from a black free man of that name which was written and signed by John Taylor Clerk of the County Court of Orange, (State of North-Carolina) – Any person who will deliver the aforesaid mulatto man to the Subscriber at Hillsborough in the state aforesaid, shall receive the above reward, and all reasonable charges paid from time of his being taken until delivered.  LEVI WHITTED.

Hillsborough Record, April 8, 1812.

P.S. The Subscriber was somewhat mistaken before in a part of the description given of this fellow, that is with respect to his height.

The Editor of the paper at Knoxville, is hereby requested to give this advertisement an insertion in his paper and continue the same about 6 weeks, for which he will be good enough to forward his account to the subscriber living at Hillsborough, and the money shall be duly forwarded.   L. WHITTED.

Horse-stealer sold for payment of fines.

Superior Court. – At the late September term of Orange Superior Court, Judge DICK presiding, there was an unsual amount of business on the criminal docket to be disposed of. There were three convictions for Grand Larceny; two white men, and a free negro, whose trial was removed from Granville to this county.

Moses T. Hopkins, (alias Thomas Jones, and a half dozen other aliases,) a white man from Virginia, was convicted of stealing a Horse, and having prayed for the benefit of clergy, was sentenced by the Court to receive of clergy, was sentenced by the Court to receive thirty-nine lashes immediately, to remain in prison until Tuesday of November court, when he is again to receive thirty-nine, and then be discharged according to law. He has also been indicted fir Bigamy, and is a notorious offender.

Green Morrow, a white man, convicted of stealing money, was sentenced to receive thirty-nine lashes, and be discharged according to law.

John Mitchell, a free negro, convicted of stealing a Horse, was sentenced to pay a fine of sixty dollars, and to be sold for the payment of the fine and costs.

The remainder of the cases tried were for misdemeanors; and most of them originated, as is generally the case, in intemperance.

Hillsborough Recorder, 18 September 1845.

He gave the last and final vote.


I am indebted to my uncle Alex Smith for the following short history of Hillsboro, written by Lawyer Joe Turner over twenty years ago, thinking it may interest some of the readers of the leader, I send same for print if you see fit. – F.W. Nelson.

Hillsboro was one of the five towns entitled to a representative (see Wheelers history if it be five or seven). Governor Graham and Chief justice Nash were Borough representatives. Traditions says it was a tie between Gov. Graham and his competitor when Hazekiah Revels an old issue free negro was sent for and gave the last and final vote for Graham, dropping this speech with his vote, “Ki Revels always votes for a gentlemen.” Before the next election the constitution was amended and the free negroes with old Ki Revels were disenfranched. …

Mebane Leader, 13 July 1911.

Free Colored Inhabitants of the Town of Hillsborough, Orange County, 1850.

#286. Green Caudle, 33, cabinet maker, born in NC, and Catharine Strudwick, 24, born Orange County.

#287. Henry Evans, 33, cabinet maker, born Hillsboro, wife Henrietta, 22, born NC, and children Lizzy, 6, Julia, 4, Matthew, 2, and Sarah, 10 months, all born in Hillsboro, plus Fanny Evans, 65, born in Virginia, and James Allison, 66, cabinet maker, born Delaware.

#288. Martha Day, 25, Mary Day, 5, and Susan Day, 2, all born in Orange County, in the household of Anderson Vanderford, carpenter.

#289. Alexander Webb, 53, saddler, and Judy Webb, 55, both born NC.

#294. Richard Mayo, 29, cabinet maker, Martha Mayo, 40, William Mayo, 17, laborer, Mary Mayo, 12, Jane Mayo, 3, Henrietta Mayo, 3, Betsey Mayo, 60, George Mayo, 18, laborer, and Faddis Mayo, 25, laborer, all born in NC.

#295. Julia Revell, 3, born in Orange County, in the household of James Parks, shoemaker.

#298. James Volentine, 28, barber, born NC, Susan Volentine, 30, born Orange County, Manuel Strudwick, 80, shoemaker, born NC; Jack Strudwick, 24, and Umstead Mayo, both laborers, and Eliza Mayo, 15, the last three born in Orange County.

#303. Samuel Barton, 15, laborer, born NC, in the household of James M. Palmer.

#328. William Freeman, 66, laborer, born Virginia.

#329. Henry Freeman, 32, shoemaker, wife Patsey, 45, Nancy Burke, 20, Edy Mitchell, 11, and Mary Redding, 28, all born in NC.

#332. Peggy Revill, 49, Sally Day, 20, Fanny Chaveous, 10, Wilson Evans, 26, cabinet maker, Coon Chaveous, 26, laborer, James Huckabee, 23, laborer, all born NC.

#335. Waldon Jeffreis, laborer, born Orange County.

#338. Patience Chavous, 28, Polly Burnett, 20, John Burnett, 2 months, Rebecca Chavous, 14, Patsy Revills, 4 months, all born NC.

#343. George Mays, 19, laborer, born Hillsboro.

#344. Eliza Chavous, 40, Leroy Chavous, 10, and Martin Chavous, 6 months, all born NC, in the household of Andrew C. Murdock.

#349. Dicey Winstead, 51, Harriet Wilson, 28, James Wilson, 16, laborer, Egbert Wilson, 9, John Wilson, 10, Mary Wilson, 7, and Thomas Wilson, 3, all born NC.

#352. Ned Cain, 76, laborer, born NC.

#355. Mary Bush, 16, born NC, in the household of William Newman Sr., laborer.

#370. Harry Douglas, 70, laborer, born NC.

#373. “Jail” – James Mitchell, 25, laborer, born NC, “stealing money, and John McAndless, 22, laborer, born NC, “giving his free papers to a slave.”

#378. Robert Mitchell, 50, laborer, Sophia Mitchell, 46, Frances Mitchell, 7, all born NC.