Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Pettiford

They talked about their service and privations together.

State of North Carolina Wak County pearsonally appeared before us Nancey Whitehead widow of Burwell Whitehead Aged ninety years and made oath in Dew form of Law to following affidaved

That She was Raised in the County of hallifax and State of North Carolina and that She was pearsonally Acquanited with Axum Scot and that they was Both Raised in the Same neighbourhood and Lived in a mile of Each other and that She well recollects that he married Alley Sweat and in a Short time after thear mariage had a Son they named him Zachariah and further this Deponent Saith not Sworn to and Subscribed before is August 13th 1846  Nancey X Whitehead

[illegible} JP, Tignall Jones JP


State of North Carolina, Wake County   }  Personally appeared before me Tignal Jones an acting Justice of the peace for said County on the 13th day of August 1845 Gilbert Evans aged fifty seven years and made oath to the following affidavit

That he was personally acquainted with Exum Scott for many years and often heard him speak of his services in the revolutionary War and heard him talk of his distress in leaving home to enter the army. And this deponent further saith that he has often heard his father (William Evans) who was also a revolutionary Soldier speak of the said Exum Scott as a Soldier of the revolution and also has heard them talking together of their services & privations together in the war and saith that the said Scott was always bore the Character of a revolutionary Soldier and always treated as such

Sworn to and subscribed before me the day & date first written    Gilbert X Evans


State of North Carolina, Wake County   }  This day Barney Scott of Granville County appears before me Tignal Jones a Justice of the peace of said County and made oath that he is the third son of Exum and Alley Scott that he is now as he believes 68 years of age and that he recollects when his father returned home from the War and that he has often heard his father say that he served under Col Long of Halifax and often heard him talk of the War and his services in the War and heard him say he served eighteen months under Col Long and further that his father was always called an old revolutionary Soldier & always treated as such and also had heard his father say that Jesse Potts was his Captain and that his father died in Wake County about the year 1823. Sworn to & subscribed before me this 23rd day of July AD 1845  Barney X Scott

Witness Tignall Jones JP


Widow Alley Sweatt Scott and son Zachary Scott, among others, also gave affidavits attesting to Exum Scott’s marital status and war service. There was testimony that Exum and Alley married in 1774 in Halifax County and that they moved to Wake County about 1801. George Pettiford of Granville County, himself a Revolutionary War veteran,  gave an affidavit concerning Scott’s service, and other documents named a third son, Guilford Scott.

From the file of Exum Scott, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives and Records Administration.

In the 1790 census of Edgecombe District, Halifax County: Exum Scott listed as head of a household of 9 free people of color.

She was a good girl.

Richard Arnolds, Will

In the name of God, Amen, I Richard Arnold of Caswell County, North Carolina being of sound and perfect memory (blessed be God) do this nineteenth day of April in the year of Our Lord Eighteen hundred and thirty, make and publish this my last will and Testament in manner following, that is to say –

1st first, I give to my well beloved wife Mary Arnold, my bed and furniture, my chest and gold-ring; also my desire is that my wife Shall Live with my family as She has always done as long as She lives –

2nd. My will is that all my personal property Should be equally divided, between my three daughters (to wit) Elizabeth, Rachiel & Mary White Arnold –

3d. My desire is that when Ann Patterfoot shall be of age Shall have her freedom recorded in Caswell County at the Expense of my estate –

Now I, Richard Arnold do to this my last will and Testament leave my trusty friends the Rev. John Stadler and Thomas Prendergast my Sole Executors to this my last will and Testament. In Witness Whereof I have set my hand and affixed my Seal the date above written.  /s/ Richard Arnold {seal}

Signed Sealed and delivered by the said Richard Arnold as his last will and Testament in the presence of us   Tho Prendergast, Isham X Turner, James X Turner.

Proved October Court 1830. Will Book L, page 567. 


Evidence of the Freedom of Ann Paterfude, a free Woman of Colour –

Caswell County, North Carolina, January 4th, 1837 –

The following is a description of a free Woman of Colour named Ann Paterfude, Who Served Richard Arnold Decd a term of years, the said Decd, in making his last Will and Testament, requested that the Said Ann’s freedom should be Recorded at the expense of his Estate, saying that she was a good Girl, which will more appear, reference being had to the Will She is about Twenty-four years old, five feet, seven Inches and a half high, of dark complexion, black Eyes, Tolerable Slender made, remarkable thick lips, Nose flat, speaks fluently, hands & fingers remarkably long — a scar on her left hand between the Wrist and Thumb. Taken by Thomas Prendergast Executor to the last Will and Testament of the said decd.   /s/ Tho Prendergast, Exc’r.

Returned April Court 1837.

Will Book M, page 51.

North Carolina Probate Records 1735-1970. https://familysearch,org. Original, North Carolina State Archives.

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.

William R. Pettiford.


Rev. William Reuben Pettiford, D.D.

This popular and influential pastor well deserves mention for hard, persevering, laborious, and faithful work for God and his fellow man.

Rev. W.R. Pettiford was born in Granville County, North Carolina, January 20, 1847.His parents, William and Matilda Pettiford, were free, and, according to the law of the land, their son was free. … His parents sold their little farm and moved to Person County, where he had the advantage of private instruction, and obtained a very fair knowledge of the English branches. Being the oldest child, he had to bear a part of the burden of the family; the hard, toilsome work he was compelled to do was a school of preparation for his life work.

Being converted in 1868, and baptized at Salisbury, N.C., by Rev. Ezekiel Horton, was the beginning of the life which has made him an earnest disciple and minister of Christ. … In 1869 he married Miss Mary J. Farley. Business becoming dull he moved to Selma, Alabama, and worked there both as a laborer and teacher. In March, 1870, after being married eight months, his wife died. Deciding to pursue a further course of training he entered the state normal school at Marion, Alabama. He remained there seven years, paying his expenses by teaching during vacations. … He was connected with the church at Marion, where he made a favorable impression upon the brethren by attending and conducting prayer-meetings and revivals. The church licensed him to preach in March, 1879. Mr. Pettiford had in the mean time, 1873, married a Mrs. Jennie Powell, of Marion, who died September, 1874, leaving him for the second time a widower. As principal of the school at Uniontown he was assisted by Mrs. Florence Billingslea and Rev. John Dozier. Mr. Pettiford met with much success. Wishing to take a more extended course of study, he resigned his position as principal, 1877, and entered Selma University. The following year the trustees appointed him a teacher at a salary of twenty dollars per month and permission to pursue the theological studies …. [He married Della Boyd on November 23, 1880; was ordained at St. Philip Baptist Church in Selma; moved to Union Springs; then, in 1883, accepted a call at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.]

At this time the church had a membership of one hundred and fifty, were worshiping in a store in the low part of town, and five hundred dollars in debt. [A year later, the debt was retired and a new edifice costing more than $7000 built.]

He is president of the ministerial union of Birmingham, a trustee of Selma University, president of the Baptist State Convention, and president of Alabama Penny Savings Bank. Besides owning a valuable home in the city, he is interested in other property. …

The degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred upon Rev. Pettiford by Selma University.

Adapted from A.W. Pegues, Our Baptist Ministers and Schools (1892).

Free-Issue Death Certificates: PETTIFORD.

Fathia Thomas Pettiford. Died 10 November 1930, Oxford, Granville County. Resided Hillsboro Street. Colored. Widowed. Age 82. Born Franklin County to Thomas Pettiford and Fathia Anderson. Buried Harrisburg. Informant, H.P. Pettiford.

Sallie Howell. Died 23 August 1934, Oxford, Fishing Creek, Granville County. Colored. Widow of James R. Howell. Age 81. Born Franklinton to Thomas Pettiford and Fathie Pettiford. Buried Antiock. Informant, Mrs. Bettie Cannady.

Beddie Parish. Died 8 January 1923, Oxford, Granville County. Colored. Widowed. Age 62. Born Franklin County to Tomas Pettiford and Fathy Pattiford, both of Franklin County.  Buried Harrisburg. Informant, Alex Parish.

In the 1860 census of Cedar Creek, Granville County: Thomas Pettiford, 40, day laborer, wife Fatha, 35, and children Nick, 24, Minerva, 22, Bettie, 14, Fatha, 12, Delila, 10, Lewis, 8, Sally, 6, and Bittie, 4, plus Elijah Valentine, 90.

Sallie Brandon. Died 9 May 1926, Kittrell, Vance County. Colored. Married. Age 75. Born to Wm. Pettiford of Granville County and unknown mother. Buried in family graveyard. Informant, Isiah Brandon.

In the 1860 census of Oxford, Granville County: Will. Pettiford, 50, farmer; wife Avy; and children Lewis, 18, Bettie, 14, Edny, 13, Sally, 11, Will., 8, James, 5, Lewis, 4, and unnamed, 2.

Coleman Pettiford. Died 24 May 1933, Raleigh, Wake County. Resided 228 East Lenoir Street. Colored. Married to Pheoby Pettiford. Farmer. Born 1837 in Franklin County to Herman Pettiford of Franklin County and Lizzie Evans of Granville County. Buried Mount Hope cemetery. Informant, St. Agnes Hospital.

In the 1850 census of Fort Creek, Granville County: Hillmon Pettyford, 50, wife Lizzy, 40, and children Jane, 21, William, 16, Sally, 14, Coleman, 12, Louisa, 8, John, 6, Gilly, 4, and Elizabeth, 2.

Silas Pettiford. Died 23 December 1935, Franklinton, Franklin County. Colored. Widower. Age 95. Born Granville County to Reuben Pettiford and Rebecca Pettiford. Buried Long graveyard. Informant, Irie Tensley.

Rubin Pettiford. Died 28 July 1916, Plymouth, Washington County. Negro. Brickmason. Born February 1837, Wayne County, to Rheubin Pettiford and Julia Artist, both of Wayne County. Informant, Roberta Pettiford, Plymouth.

In the 1850 census of Warren County: Reuben Pettiford, 50, stonemason, wife Judy A., 37, and children Eliza Artis, 21, Alfred Artis, 15, Jack Artis, 13, Rhody Artis, 12, Ruben Artis Jr., 10, Julian Artis, 9, Mary Artis, 7, Elizabeth J. Pettiford, 5, and Virginia Pettiford, 3, plus Middy Artis, 60, and Isah Artis, 4 months. But see also, in the 1850 census of Louisburg, Franklin County: Ruben Petifoot, 50, stone cutter, wife Julia, 37, children Eliza, 21, Mary, 8, Betsy, 6, Virginia, 4, Moses, 2, and Isaac Petifoot, 7 months, plus Middy Artirst, 80. And see: in the 1850 census of Nash County, Judah Pettiford, 36, Milly Artis, 90, Eliza Artis, 20, Mary Pettiford, 7, Elizabeth Pettiford, 5, Virginia Pettiford, 3, Josephine Pettiford, 1, and Dick Pettiford, 4 months.  In the 1860 census of Western District, Halifax County: Rubin Pettiford, 60, and Julia, 50, Rubin, 22, Julia, 19, Mary, 17, Betsy, 15, Virginia, 13, James, 10, and Isaiah, 11, all Pettifords.


A good deal of human interest.

There is a good deal of human interest to be found in many of the experiences of these colored slaveholders and in their relations with those whom they held in bondage. Rose Petepher, of the neighborhood of New Bern, N.C., was a free colored woman who was married to a slave named Richard Gasken, who had taken the name of his master. He ran away and was in the woods for years, when his wife finally bought him to take possession. When she could find him this change of owners brought him in at once. They lived together for many years afterward, raising many children whom they hired out just as slaves were hired out. Thus they all prospered. Near the town mentioned above, on their own land, some of the grandchildren are now living and doing well.

Judge William Gasken, who owned the man of whom we have just told, was thrice married, one of his wives being a daughter of Colonel McClure of New Bern. After his death, one of the slaves, Jacob, became the property of Mrs. Gasken. This Jacob’s wife was a free woman, and they had a son Jacob, then a young man and free of course, as the child of a free woman. Aided by his mother’s efforts, he managed to purchase his father at a very reasonable price as negroes were then held. All went smoothly for awhile, when young Jacob did not act as his father thought he should and his parent reproved him with fatherly love. Young Jacob was so disgruntled that he went off to a negro speculator named John Gildersleeve, who was from Long Island and was then in New Bern. This trader bought the father at a high price and at once sent him off south. Young Jacob afterward boasted that “the old man had gone off to the corn fields about New Orleans where they might learn him some manners.”

From Calvin D. Wilson, “Negroes Who Owned Slaves,” Popular Science Monthly, vol. LXXXI (1912).

In the 1850 census of Craven County: Richard Pettiford, 80, wife Rose, 69, children Dinah, 27, and Bryan, 25, and Elizabeth Pettiford, 100. (!!!) (Note that Richard adopted his wife’s surname. Wright Pettiford, 38, living alone nearby may have been another son.)

Perhaps: in the 1850 census of Craven County: Jacob Gaskins, 64, farmer, Penelope Gaskins, 88, Sarah Wiggans, 25, and her children Martha, 5, Elizabeth, 3, and Sabeah, 1 month.

Free-Issue Death Certificates: MISCELLANEOUS, no. 9.

W.H. (Willon Hatch) Brooks. Died 21 May 1925, Mitchell, Bertie County. Colored. Married. Farmer. Born 29 April 1860 in Wayne County to Wright Casey and Caline Brooks. Informant, Dave Brooks.

In the 1860 census of Indian Springs, Wayne County: Annis Brooks, 51, Caroline, 20, Bassel, 14, Elizabeth, 10, and Hatch, 2 months.

Louisa Davis. Died 23 August 1915, New Hope, Wayne County. Colored. Widow. Born 19 July 1840 in NC to Peter Ward and Milly Smith. Buried New Hope township. Informant, Clarisy Davis, Goldsboro.

Isham Smith. Died 12 February 1914, Fork, Wayne County, Colored. Married. Undertaker. Born North Carolina to unknown parents. Buried in Goldsboro. Informant, W.W. Faison.

In the 1860 census of Buck Swamp, Wayne County: Milly Smith, 45, and children Louisa, 25, Bitha, 15, Frances, 8, Clarissa, 4, Eliza, 5, Isam, 3, and Virginia, 1. [Sidenote: Isham Smith married Nancy Henderson, daughter of James and Louisa Armwood Henderson and sister or half-sister to Lewis and John Henderson and others. Isham and Nancy’s daughter Annie Smith married James Guess, who took over his father-in-law’s undertaking business and operated James Guess Funeral Home into the mid-20th century. — LYH]

Fannie S. Norwood.  Died August 1930, Wilmington, New Hanover County. Resided 520 Walnut. Negro. Widowed. Teacher. Born in 1846 in Wilmington to James D. Sampson of Sampson County and Francinea Kellogg of Wilmington. Buried in Pine Forest. Informant, Mrs. S.E. Merrick, 520 Walnut.

In the 1850 census of Wilmington, New Hanover County: Jas. Sampson, 44, carpenter, wife Fanny, 39, children Jas., 20, Jos., 18, and Benj’a, all apprentices, John, 14, Mary, 12, M.A., 10, George, 8, Fanny, 4, and Nathan, 2.

William Petapher. Died 4 May 1910, New Bern, Craven County. Colored. Married. Shoemaker. Born 1843 to Wright Petapher and unknown mother. Buried Greenwood cemetery. Informant, Rosa Petapher.

Cesero Wiggins. Died [no day] April 1924, New Bern, Craven County. Negro. Carpenter. Resided 24 Crooked.  Widower of Clarncie Wiggins. Born 1860 in New Bern to Wright Pettipher and Sarah Wiggins. Buried at Pettiphords cemetery. Informant Louisa Wiggins.

In the 1860 census of Neuse River, Craven County: Sarah Wiggins, 35, day laborer, Martha, 14, Julia, 12, Sabine, 10, Rebecca, 8, and Cicero, 6.

Theophilus George. Died 26 February 1918, #5, Craven County.  Negro.  Married to Hepsey George. Born 10 July 1850 to Theophilus George and Sarah Harkley. Informant, Oscar Frazier.

Mary F. Carter. Died 27 July 1915, North Harlour, Craven County. Negro. Married. Born 10 April 1863 in Craven County to Lige George and Sarah Fenner, both of Craven County.  Buried Cohogue. Informant, A.V. George.

In the 1860 census of Goodings, Craven County: Elijah George, 50, farmer, wife Sarah, 30, Theophilus, 20, Timothy, 8, Nancy, 10, J.P., 4, and T.J., 2.

Bailey Godette. Died 22 June 1915, No. 5, Craven County. Negro. Married. Farmer. Born 15 May 1861 in North Harlowe to Andrew Godette and Debah George, both of North Harlowe. Buried North Harlowe cemetery. Informant, Debah Jackson, 99 Bern Street.

In the 1860 census of Goodings, Craven County: Andrew Godett, 24, day laborer, Mary F., 27, William B., 6, Nancy, 4, and Sarah A., 3 months.

Her husband was a pensioner.

State of North Carolina, County of Granville

On this fourth day of February One thousand eight hundred and fifty six before the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions held within and for the County and State aforesaid, personally appeared Mrs. Tabitha Pettiford aged Sixty eight years a resident near Oxford in the County of Granville in the State of North Carolina who being duly Sworn according to law doth on her oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the provision made by the Act of Congress passed on the third day of February A.D. 1853 granting pensions to widows of persons who Served during the Revolutionary War that she is the widow of George Pettiford deceased who was a Private in the North Carolina Continental line in the War of the Revolution that her said husband was a Pensioner of the United States under the act of March 18th A.D. 1818 at the rate of Ninety six dollars per annum which was paid to him at the agency in Fayettville in the State of North Carolina she further states that she was married to the said George Pettiford in Granville County in the Tenth day of May 1837 by one John Mallory a Minister of the Gospel and that her name before her said marriage was Tabitha Johnson that her said husband died at his residence in the County of Granville in the State of North Carolina on the Fifth day of February in the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty three that She was not married to the said George Pettiford prior to the second day of January eighteen hundred but at the time above stated she further stated that there is a Public record of her marriage and that there is no Private record of her marriage and further declares that she is now a widow and has not married since his death that she cannot file herewith her husband’s original certificate of pension from the fact that it was sent to the office of the 3d addition of the treasury to which she refers in support of this her claim.

She hereby appoints J. C. Codner of Smithfield North Carolina (irrevocably) her true and lawful attorney to prosecute this her claim for pension to receive the certificate when issued and to do all other acts necessary and proper in the premises.       Tabitha X Pettiford

L. A. Paschall Ch’mn of Granville County Court

From the file of George Pettiford, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives and Records Administration.

In the 1850 census of Oxford, Granville County: George Petterford, age 106, and wife Tobitha, 47. Next door, Edmond Pettyford, 50, and wife Rebecca, 52.

George Pettiford married Taby Johnson, 1 May 1837, in Granville County. Edmond Pettiford was bondsman, and G.C. Wiggins witnessed.

Free-Issue Death Certificates: PETTIFORD.

Alvarin Pettiford. Died 22 June 1916, Winston, Forsyth County. Resided 9 No. Liberty. Negro. Married. Gardener. Born 2 May 1848 to Henderson Pettiford and Fannie Clarke. Buried Jamestown NC. Informant, Alex Pettiford, Winston-Salem.

Alexander Pettiford. Died 17 February 1914, Jamestown, Guilford County. Black. Widower. Farmhand. Born 1858 to Hence Pettiford and unknown mother. Informant, J.W. Sechrist.

In the 1850 census of Southern Division, Guilford County: Henderson Pettiford, 30, shoemaker, born Wake County; wife Fanny, 30; and children Alverin, 3, John, 1, and Benjmine, 9 months, all born in Guilford; plus Mary Ann Clark, 11, born Davidson County.

Archie Tyner. Died 21 September 1950, Walkertown, Middle Fork, Forsyth County. Colored. Widower. Retired farmer. Born 19 February 1855 to James Tyner and Pollie Pettiford. Informant, C.C. Tyner, Colfax NC.

Mrs. Saluda Tyner Watkins. Died 6 Oct 1952, Bethania, Forsyth County. Colored. Widow. Born 3 September 1857 in Forsyth County to Jim Tyner and Polly Pettiford.

In the 1850 census of Forsyth County: James Tyner, 23, laborer, and wife Polly Tyner, 32.

Enoch Pettiford.  Died 30 October 1924, Gilmer, Greensboro, Guilford County. Colored. Resided 532 High Street. Married to Rosa Pettiford. Railroad worker. Born about 1850 in Guilford County to Ransom Pettiford and Mary Ann Scott. Buried Maplewood Cemetery.

In the 1860 census of Southern Division, Guilford County: Ransom Petterfield, 48, laborer, wife Anna, 43, and children Wm. S., 20, Emily, 16, Franklin, 15, Enoch, 12, Stephen, 11, McKeys, 8, Edmond, 6, Henry, 4, E.J., 3, and Nathan Petterfield, 2, plus Louise, 21, Nath, 8, and Betsy A. Haithcock, 3.


Wounded with a cannonball at the Battle of Monmouth.

North Carolina, Wake County  }  Schedule:  Court of pleas and quarter Sessions on this 25th day of august 1820 Personaly appeared in open Court it being a court of Record for the county aforesaid Drury Pettiford aged 69 years resident in Said County & State being first duly sworn according to law on his oath declare that he served in the Revolutionary war as follows, that he served 2 years in the 2nd Regiment in the company commanded by Cap’t Lewis Burwell and that he has here unto rec’d a pension certificate No. 5443 upon his original declaration made before Judge Potter on the 27th day of May 1818.  And I do solemly swear that I was a resident citizen of the U.States on the 18th day of March 1818, and that I have not since that time by gift Sale or any manner disposed of my Property or any part thereof with intent thereby so to diminish it. As to bring myself with in the provisions of an act of congress entitled an act to provide for certain persons engaged in the land & naval service of the united States in the Revolutionary war passed on the 18th day of March 1818 and that I have not nor has any person intrust for me any property or Security contracts or debts due to me nor have I any income other than what is contained in the Schedule hereunto annexed and by me Subscribed.

Real Estate – none; Personal Estate – one blind sorrel mare; one Sow and 2 shoats; 4 chairs; 2 Dishes and 1 Basin; 1 Sett knives & forks; One pott.

Names & ages of the family now resident with him are himself aged 69, Dicy his wife aged 66, Jesse aged 18 years Nicholas aged 16 years Janey 12 years Drury aged 9 years Sally aged 7 years Franky aged 6 years & Thomas aged 9 years.  That all the assistance he has is from the labour of his two eldest sons Jesse & Nicholas that himself and wife are not able to do much & his eldest daughter only assists her and have to rent land and being verry old and infirm he is himself unable to pursue his Occupation having also been wounded with a cannon ball at the battle of Monmouth in his right knee which verry much injured the bones & sinews of his leg & knee, & much burned by the blowing up of a magazine in middlebrook.  Sworn to and subscribed in open court   Drury X Pettiford

From the file of Drury Pettiford, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives and Records Administration.

Drury Pettiford married Tycey Bass on 12 November 1781 in Granville County.  Right Bass served as bondsman, and Bennet Searcy witnessed.  In the 1830 census of Wake County, Drury Pettiford headed a household of six free people of color.