Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Powell

Nathan Blackwell’s will and desire.

this the 24th of January 1845 }   this my desire and will that I give to Josiah and Nathan Axum Andrew & all my property to be Equally divided and I want Asberry Blackwell to take Andrew and see to his labor for my children to the best advantage also take my children and take care of them and satisfy himself for his troble out of my property this my Last will and testament whereunto I now set my han and Seal to        Nathan (X) Blackwell {seal}

Test  James F. Mercer, Thomas Mercer

Nathan Blackwell received a marriage license to marry Jincey Powell on 15 December 1838 in Nash County, North Carolina. Elijah Powell and Henry Bount were bondsmen, and B.H. Blount, a witness.

In the 1840 census of Nash County, North Carolina, Nathan Blackwell headed a household comprised of one free colored male, aged 10-23; one free colored female, aged 10-23; and two free colored males under 10. In the 1850 census of Nash County, Asberry Blackwell [likely Nathan’s brother] lived alone.

Nathan’s children are not found in the 1850 census. In 1860, Josiah Blackwell, 21, was listed as a steam mill laborer in the household of engineer John Valentine. On 27 March 1861, Josiah married Becky Mitchell at Wiley Lamm’s steam mill. In 1860, Nathan E. Blackwell, 20, is listed as a wagoner living in the household of farmer Robinson Baker in Wilson County.

North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line],

Unlawfully did migrate, no. 4.

State of North Carolina, Wilson County   } Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions October Term 1850

The Jurors for the State aforesaid upon their oath present that Gray Powel a free negro late of the county of Wilson on the 1st day of June AD 1859 at & in the said county unlawfully did migrate into the State of North Carolina contrary to the provisions of the act of the general assembly in such cases made & provided & that the said Gray Powel afterwards to wit up to this time doth yet remain in said State & in the county aforesaid contrary to the form of the Statute in each case made & provided & against the peace & dignity of the State    /s/ B.B. Barnes Solicitor

Slave Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

In the 1850 census of Stephen Powell, 47, wife Synthia, 36, and children Gray, 9, Queen Anne, 8, Dolly, 7, Crockett, 3, and Noab, 1. [Sidenote: If this is the right Gray Powell, it suggests that he left the state prior to 1859 and tried to return. — LYH]

Tenant or servant?

Joseph Hare v. Barney Pearson, 26 NC 76 (1843).

This matter was appealed from Fall Term, 1843, Superior Court of Law of Nash County. The case involved an action of trover (wrongful possession of private property) for a quantity of corn.  At trial, the Hare showed that Pearson rented a small tract of land in 1841 to Elijah Powell, a free man of color, for the year 1841. Powell agreed to pay one-half his corn crop as rent. On 13 March, 1841, an unnamed person obtained a judgment against Powell and an execution was levied on his growing crop the following June. When the corn was gathered, Powell and Pearson divided it equally and stored it in one barn.  Before the sheriff’s sale on 8 February, 1842, more than half the corn had been removed from the barn. Pearson objected to the sale, claiming the remaining corn as his. The sale proceeded, and Hare bought was left. Pearson exclaimed that he would break every bone in Hare’s body before he would let Hare take the corn. Pearson offered evidence that he had not rented the land to Powell, and Powell was only a laborer with no ownership interest in the crop.

The Court left it to the jury to decide whether Powell was Pearson’s tenant in 1841 (in which case, the sheriff had a right to levy on the crop and Hare was entitled to its value after Pearson refused to give it over), or whether he was merely his servant (in which case Hare could not recover.) The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff, and the defendant appealed.

The Supreme Court found that, even if Powell had been Pearson’s servant, the evidence showed that they had split the crop, giving Powell title to half. Powell was present at the sale, and it was he, rather than Pearson, who had standing to object to any irregularity.  Pearson claimed Powell’s corn without title, and his threat to beat Hare rather than let him take his purchase amounted to conversion. This was a matter of law, not fact, and should not have been sent to the jury. Judgment affirmed.

Free-Issue Death Certificates: POWELL.

Elijah Powell.  Died 5 Apr 1914, Wilson township, Wilson County.  Black. Married.  Farmer.  Age 84.  Born in Nash County to Elijah Powell and Seathie Powell.  Buried Wilson County.  Informant, T.A. Jones.

Nineteen year-old farmer Eligah Powell is listed with his parents, Eligah and Selah Powell, in the 1850 census of Nash County.

Dolison Powell.  Died 23 Dec 1915, Wilson township, Wilson County.  Colored.  Married.  Farmer.  Born 5 Apr 1840 in Wilson County to Steven Powell and Sintha Powell, both of Edgecombe County.  Buried Wilson County.  Informant, Howard Powell.

“Dolly” Powell, age 7, is listed in the household of his parents, Stephen and Synthia Powell, in the 1850 Nash County census.

Mary Ann Powell.  Died 5 Apr 1921, Jackson township, Nash County.  Widow of Ickibuck Powell.  Colored.  Age 74.  Born in Wilson County to Silas Lassiter & Orpie Lassiter, both of Wilson County.  Buried Powell gtaveyard.  Informant, Henry Powell.

Mary Lassiter, age 11, is listed in the household of her parents, Silas and Orpie Lassiter, in the 1860 census of Wilson township, Wilson County.