Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: property

To Minta, reserving for Itey a life estate.

In the name of God Amen,

I, James M. McDuffie being of a sound and disposing mind and memory, blessed be God, though weak and infirm in body make and constitute this my last will and testament

Item 1st  It is my will and desire that my Executor hereinafter named shall have my body decently interred after my death in the old family grave yard in the county of Cumberland and after paying all my just debts to dispose of the residue of my Estate as follows.

Item 2nd I will and bequeath unto Minta Bryant the tract of land on which Itey Simmons now lives, reserving to said Itey a life estate in said land, which tract contains about fifty six acres, adjoining the lands of Pollock, Glisson & others to have and to hold said land with its appurtenances to and her heirs forever;

Item 3rd I will and bequeath all the balance of my property of whatsoever kind or description both in possession and in action real and personal to my brother Malcom J. McDuffie to use occupy and possess the same to dispose of it in whatever manner he may deem fit and proper (due regard being paid to what slaves I may own or leave at my death) to have and to hold the same to him and his heirs forever;

Item 4th I hereby constitute my said brother Malcom J. McDuffie Executor of this my last will and testament and do revoke all wills and testament by me heretofore made,

In witness whereof I hereunto set my hand and affix my seal this the Twenty first day of May 1862.    /s/ Jas. M. McDuffie

Signed and sealed in the presence of W. Vernon, Wm. W. Fulghum

Proved August Term 1862. Wayne County Will Book R13, page 462, North Carolina Probate Records 1735-1970, Original, North Carolina State Archives.

In the 1860 census of Indian Springs, Wayne County, Minta Bryant, 23, and her children Mitchel, 4, Edith, 6, and Rufus Bryant, 2, all mulatto, lived in the household of James McDuffee, 41.

[Sidenote: Was McDuffie the father of Bryant’s children? He purchased the land from Itey Simmons’ son David in 1855, subject to Itey’s life estate. After Itey’s death, Minta Bryant was forced to sue to recover the property.]

She is entitled to all of it.

Doe on the demise of Mary Ann Jones v. William Norfleet, 52 NC 473 (1860).

This ejectment action was tried in Edgecombe County Superior Court.

The plaintiff, “a colored woman,” claims title to a parcel of land under the 1860 will of Henry S. Lloyd, which contains the following clause: “I give and devise to Mary Ann Jones, a free colored woman, of the said town of Tarborough, and to her heirs and assigns forever, the lot of ground and the house thereon erected in the said town, on which she now lives.”

William Norfleet, Lloyd’s executor, having been directed to sell all of Lloyd’s real estate in Tarboro, except that specifically devised, took possession of lot 118, insisting that lot only 107 passed to Jones.

The two lots, totaling about an acre, adjoin each other and are enclosed by one fence, except nine or ten feet of lot 118 at the upper end, which has a steep descent. There has never been a dividing line between the lots, which are situated “in the suburbs” of Tarboro.

In 1856, before the lots were enclosed, Lloyd built an ice house on lot 118, at a cost of some 800 dollars, for storing ice for a tavern in which he had one-half ownership. The lots were surrounded by a board fence in 1857, and the same year Lloyd built Jones a house on lot 107.  She moved in immediately and resided there at the time of the suit. In the spring of 1859, Jones enclosed a small portion of the ground for a garden. There is a smokehouse on lot 107, built when the house was built, and, on lot 118, a small privy. In 1858, Lloyd built a rough cabin with a small garden for an aged slave. Jones had the use of the rest of both lots for the purpose of cultivation.

Tarboro’s town plan shows lots fifty yards square, and according to such measurement, part of Jones’ garden and the privy are situated on 118. Lloyd bought both lots from the same person at the same time. He lived near them and frequently saw them, but it is unknown whether he knew where the line between them would run.

The Superior Court judge ruled that Jones was entitled to both lots, and Norfleet appealed.

“A testator, owning a parcel of land embracing two town lots, on which he had settled a woman, having built her a dwelling on one lot and an outhouse on the other, and permitted her to inclose a garden, partly on each lot, and to use the whole parcel inclosed within one fence, devised to her ‘the lot of ground and house thereon erected in the said town where she now lives.’ The facts are distinctly and clearly stated, and after duly considering them, in connection with the language of the will, we are of opinion that the entire parcel of ground, embracing lots 107 and 118, passed under the devise, except such portions as had been appropriated by the devisor to the ice-house and to the cabin and garden of the old slave.” Judgment affirmed.

To a poplar standing in the Cornfield Branch.

State of North Carolina, Edgecombe County   } Agreeably to an order of Edgecombe County Court February Term 1834 to us directed as commissioners appointed to [illegible] the Estate of Miles Read dec’d & to lay off and allot unto Nancy Read the Widow of said Dec’d. Such part of the Crop Stock and provisions as we may conceive necessary and adaquate for the support of her self and family for one year &c

Report – All have this day met on the premises and after viewing said Estate have alloted to the Said Widow (viz) forty Barrels of Corn, twelve hundred pounds of bacon, three thousand pounds of blade fodder – all of the wheat on hand Eight bushels of peas – Seventy five pounds of picked cotton, two hundred handfuls of flax – five gallons of brandy – all the Wool on hand – One cow – hur Choice one bed and its necessary furniture, and one wheel and pair of cards.

Given under our hands and Seals this 17th day of March 1834.  /s/ Peter Hines, John Ritter, Elijah Harrell, James Barron, Turner Bynum JP


State of North Carolina, Edgecombe County   } Agreeably to an order of Edgecombe County Court February Term 1834 Directed to the Sheriff of Said County commanding of him to Summons a Jury of good and lawfull men of his County to lay off and allot unto Nancy Read Widow of Miles Read dec’d her legal dower in the lands that her late husband died seized and possessed of in Said County of Edgecombe. All the undersigned having been summoned by the Sheriff of Said County have this day met on the premises and after being sworn agreeably law, We proceeded to lay off and allot unto the said Widow as follows (viz) Beginning at a litewood Stake in Col Hines line thence N. 11o E. 65 poles to a poplar standing in the cornfield branch; then down the various courses of said branch to the Mile Swamp then up said Swamp to the mouth of the boggy branch; then up said branch to a poplar and litewood stake in said branch then S. 1o W. 110 poles to a pine, thence round the lines of the land of the Harrel tract to the beginning containing One hundred & ninety eight acres, &c – Including the dwelling house out houses orchards, &c where the Said dec’d most generally dwelt next before his death

Given under our hands & Seals this 17th day March 1834.  /s/ John Fulton, E.R. Holland, David X Webb, Anson X Dunn, Joab Moore, John Carter, Rowland Wiggins, Thomas Stark, Jacob X Dunn, James Pender, Thos. D. Gatton, Elisha X Felton


State of North Carolina, Edgecombe County   } Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions, August term 1834

To the worshipful the Justices of the Court aforesaid: The petition of Arthur Read, William Read, David Read, Zachariah Bass and his wife Elizabeth, and John Ritter guardian ad litem for Elisha Read, Mima Read, Mary Ann Read and Miles Read, humbly complaining, respectfully sheweth:

That on the [blank] day of February last past Miles Read, late of the County aforesaid, departed this life intestate, seized and possessed of sundry real and personal estate, leaving Arthur Read, William Read, David Read, Zachariah Bass and his wife Elizabeth, who are of full age, and Elisha Read, Mima Read, Mary Ann Read and Miles Read, who are infants, his sole distributes and heirs at law. Your petitioners who are of full age, and John Ritter who for this purpose has been duly appointed guardian ad litem for the said minors, further represent that they are desirous of having partition made of the said real estate as in by law in such cases made and provided, but are remidiless in this behalf without the interposition of your worshipful Court.

They therefore respectfully pray that an order issue to Peter Hines, William Hines, Benj. Sharpe, Elisha Harrell, John Carter and William Jenkins directing them to go upon the premises and allot and set apart share and share alike to said heirs the said real estate and make return of their proceedings to the next term of your worshipful Court, and make such other and further order in the premises as to your worships may appear meet and proper, and your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray &c.  /s/ B.R. Hines attorney

From the file of Miles Read, North Carolina Estate Files 1663-1979, Original, North Carolina State Archives.

Wilmouth Eatman gives share and share alike.


I, Wilmouth Eatman of the aforesaid county and state being of sound mind and desposing memory, but considering the uncertainty of my earthly existence do make and declare this my last will and testament.

FIRST: My executor, hereinafter named shall give my body a decent burial suitable to the wishes of my relatives and friends and pay all funeral and burial expenses to-gether with all my just debts out of the first monies which may come into his hands belonging to my estate.

SECOND: I give and devise to my four children Joe Eatman, Magaret Locus, Kinion Eatman, and Annie Locus, wife of Acie Locus, Joitly and equally to share and share alike in the devision of same of the proceeds thereof, the lands conveyed to me by Deal Howard which said deed is duly recorded in book 24 page 195 Register Deeds Office Wilson County, said lands being situated in the said County and state, Taylors Township adjoining the lands of John B. Thompson, Wood Eatman, Deal Howard, the mark Mathews land et als. And bounded as follows to-wit: Beginning at a Gum in the big branch, thence south 2 ½ west to a stake in John B. Thompson line thence north 87 ½ west 69 poles to a stake in said Thompson’s line, thence south 2 ½ east to a black gum in said big branch, thence down said branch to the beginning containing forty one and one fourth acres, more or less.

THIRD: I give and devise to my son Kinion Eatman and my daughter Annie Locus, wife of Acie Locus Joitly and equally to share and share alike in the lands of proceeds thereof all my right title and interested in that certain track of land conveyed to me and Robt. Eatman by Bettie Mathews (See book 57 page 23 Wilson County Register of Deeds Office, The lands being situated in said county and state Taylor Township adjoining the lands of D.E. Mathews Zealous Howard Etals and bounded as fellows: to-wit: Beginning at a corner pine in Bettie Mathews Line, thence up nash road to another corner in the D.E. Mathews line, thence south along said line Zealous Howard line, thence nearly east along the canal to Ed. Farmer’s line thence north along Farmer’s line to the beginning estimated to be about 11 or 12 acres more or less.

FOURTH: I give and bequeath to my said son Robt. Eatman and my daughter Annie Locus, wife of Acie Locus, equally all my personal property of each and every description which I may own at my death, including money on hand, house hold and kitchen furniture, stock, crops, choses in action, to be equally divided between my two said children Kinion and Annie by mu Executor hereinafter named.

FIFTH: It is my will and desire that my executor hereinafter named may either have the lands herein devised to my said children partetioned and allotted to each in severalty, or sold and the monies arising from said sale equally divided as their respective interest appears. Said division of lands or money to be determined according to the wishes of the majority of my said children.

It is my further will and desire that should either one of my said children above named die without issue or legal heirs, or children then and in that event it is my will and desire that said share is shares devised or bequeathed to my said said child or children shall go and be equally divided between my living children and their lawful heirs.

SIXTH. I hereby constitute and appoint my trusty friends and legal adviser J.A. Farmer my lawful Executor to all interest and purposes to execute this my last will and testament to the time intent and morning of same, and every part thereof hereby revoking and declaring utterly void and all other will and testament by me heretofore made.

In witness whereof, I the said Wilmouth Eatman do hereunto set my hand and seal this 10th day of April 1911. Wilmouth X Eatman

Will Book 5, page 79. Office of Clerk of Superior Court, Wilson County Courthouse, Wilson.

In the 1850 census of Nash County: Nelson Eatman, 54, farmer, wife Rinda, 33, and children Rhoda, 12, Wilmot, 12, Princy, 10, Ginny, 8, Smithy, 6, and Alford, 4. In the 1870 census of Taylor, Wilson County: Nelson Eatmon, 53, farmer; wife Marinda, 50; daughter Welmouth, 31, and her children William, 13, Robert, 11, Margaret, 10, Crawford, 4, and Missouri, 7 months; and children Gremsey, 25, Alfred, 23, Emily, 16, Nelson, 13, and Jarman, 11.  In the 1880 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: Wilmoth Eatmon, 46, and children Joseph 24, Robt., 22, Kenan, 7, and Anna, 2, living among a cluster of Eatmons, Howards and Locuses. [Sidenote: Wilmouth Eatman’s sister Rhoda Eatman married Zealous “Deal” Howard. – LYH]

The partition of Isaac Dove’s land.

STATE OF NORTH-CAROLINA.  To the Sheriff of Craven County, GREETING:

You are hereby commanded to summon Hardy L. Jones, James T. Jones Esqr., Gideon Jones, Joseph Davis & Benjamin Borden to meet at such place and at some time before the next Court, to be held for your County, on the second Monday of February next, as you shall seem fit, then and there to make partition of that part of the lands (which were formerly held in common between Isaac Dove and Anthony Brown) which belongs to the heirs of Isaac Dove and are situated in Craven County on the east side of Spring Branch between George Carter & Sukey his wife. Stephen Godett & Mary his wife. Gambo Fenner & Deborah his wife who own the lands on the east side of Spring-Branch, heirs at law of Isaac Dove deceased, in severalty. Herein fail not and return the proceedings of said Commissioners in this behalf to our Court of pleas and Quarter-Sessions to be held on the second Monday of February next, together with this writ.

Witness, JAMES G. STANLY, Clerk of our said Court, at Newbern, the second Monday of November in the 50th Year of our Independence,   A.D. 1825.  /s/ J.G. Stanly


In obiediece to the Annexed order we the undersigned commissioners have made partition of the Lands heretofore held in common between Isaac Dove and Anthony Brown we find two Hundred and thirty four acres which we divide Eaqually No 1 drawn by Isaac Doves heirs Begins at the patent corner pine and runing So 9 E 203 poles to a Stake thence N 75 W 218 pole and thence to the Beginning Cont’ing One Hundred and seventeen acres No 2 by Anthony Brown or William and Jacob Dove Begins at a poplar the corner of the patent and runing thence No 54 E 90 poles to the corner of No 1 thence along the line So 73 E 218 poles to the corner stake thence So 7 E 45 pole to the patent corner thence No 85 ½ W’t 278 poles to a white oak on Cohoque Creek then down the creek to the Beginning Containing 117 acres In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands and seals this 4th day of February 1826  /s/ Hardy C. Jones, Gideon Jones, James T. Jones, Benj. Bordin

From the file of the estate of Isaac Dove, Craven County. North Carolina Estate Files 1663-1979, Original, North Carolina State Archives.

Polly is to have the crop raised on the land.

State of North Carolina, Duplin County }

In the name of God amen

I Kenan Millard being in a low state of health but of sound and perfect mind & memory do make publish & declare this my last will & testiment in manner and form following to wit: Knowing that it is appointed for all men to die First I commend my body to the dust and my soul to God that gave it

Item 1st I give and bequeath unto my brother Isaac Millard my home plantation whereon I now live to him and his heirs forever and my two negro women Phillis and Caty to him & his heirs forever

Item 2nd I loan to my brother in law Joseph Williams and his wife Nancy my Charles Bennett land for the term of ten years and after that ten years shall expire from that time I give and bequeath the aforesaid land to my nephew Kenan Williams to him & his heirs forever also one leather trunk to him & his heirs forever

Item 3rd I give and bequeath unto my nephew Jesse Millard my George Reasons tract of land lying in Wayne County & State aforesaid to him & his heirs forever

Item 4th My will and desire is that my Nancy Reasons tract of land the Calvin Simmons land which he holds a bond against me for a title two years hence if he fails to pay, for the same at the end of two years and the Lydia Smith land the Nancy Reasons and Lydia Smith land to be sold by my exer. which I shall hereafter appoint and the mony arising from the sale of said land to be equally divided between my three sisters & Charles Millard to wit — Nancy Williams, Mary Glisson and Sarah Porter to them & their heirs forever the Calvin Simmons land to be sold by the same if not paid for within the two years as before mentioned and the money arising from the same to go to Sarah Porters two sons that she had of George Craddock names not recollected

My will and desire is further that my crop as it is now pitched to remain as it is untill it is made and Polly Simmons is to have the crop that is raised on the Nancy Reasons land and Bass land, all the balance of crop and stocks of all kinds to be sold at a six months credit all my lumber gathered together and inspected and negro man Moses to be sold by my exer. at six months credit and all any just debts to pay out of the same the balance & residue if any to be equally divided between my three sisters to wit — Sarah Williams Mary Glisson  Sarah Porter & Charles Millard  to share and share equal alike to them and heirs forever

I further nominate & appoint my brother Isaac Millard & brother in law Joseph Williams executors to this my last will & testament In Witness whereof the said Kenan Millard have hereunto set his hand and affixed his seal April 28th day AD 1847  /s/ Kenan Millard {seal}

Witness D. Jones, Willis Williamson


North Carolina Duplin County Court January term 1848 Now in open Court the within paper writing is propounded for probate as the last will & testament of Kenan Millard and the due execution thereof is proved to the satisfaction of the Court by the oaths of Daniel Jones & Willis Williamson subscribing witnesses thereto it is considered by the Court that the within paper writing and every part thereof is the last will & testament of said Kenan Millard sufficient in law to pay his [illegible] & personal estate and it is accordingly admitted to probate & ordered to be recorded Test J H Jermans Clk by B F Grady L Clk

Valuable property.


The following valuable property will be sold on SATURDAY, 9th of MAY, at Eleven o’clock, at the Market House in Fayetteville: …

Dwelling House on North side of ____ Street, joins Abel Payne.

Fayetteville Observer, 11 May 1863.

Napoleon Hagans house.

ImageNapoleon Hagans (1840-1896) built this house near the south bank of Aycock Swamp, near Fremont in northern Wayne County, between 1870 and 1885. “The house, a single-pile center-hall-plan dwelling, has retained much of its charming original hip-roofed front porch, now supported by replacement square columns. Windows are surmounted by moulded peaked arch surrounds. … One original single-shouldered exterior end chimney was plastered; the other was replaced by a concrete-block flue. …” A stone monument marking the graves of Napoleon and his wife Apsilla Ward Hagans stands in a cornfield about one hundred yards west of the house.

Detail from J. Daniel Pezzoni and Penne Smith, Glimpses of Wayne County, North Carolina: An Architectural History (1998).

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2010.