Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Rowan County

Wearing and carrying.

State of North Carolina, Rowan County  }   Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions

The Jurors for the State on their oath present that Mack Rankin a free person of color late of said County in the County aforesaid on the 1st day of January AD 1858 and on divers days and times afterward and before the finding of this inquisition unlawfully and with force and arms did wear and carry about his person a pistol not having obtained a license therefor from the court of Pleas and quarter sessions of his County within one year next preceeding the time of the wearing and carrying thereof against the form of the statue in such case made and provided and against the peace and dignity of the State.  /s/ Robt. E. Love

Records of Slaves and People of Color, Miscellaneous Records, Rowan County Records, North Carolina State Archives.


Rowan County Sup’r Ct. March Term 1842

The Grand Jury present Elija Volentine a free man of colour for intermarrying & cohabiting with Nancy a slave of Sarah Brown. Witnesses Sarah Brown & Geo. Brown.

Also Susan Volentine a free woman of colour for intermarrying and conhabiting with Isaac a man slave of Wm. Thomason. Witnesses James Owens & Sam’l Marlin

Also Betsey Hollis a free woman of colour for intermarrying & cohabiting with Angus a man Slave the property of the late Nancy McCorkle Dec’d, Witnesses Jacob Correll & John C. Miller


Rowan County Sup’r Ct. March Term 1842

The Grand Jury present Eliza Volentine a free woman of colour for intermarrying & cohabiting with Dennis a man slave the property of Jacob Krider. Witnesses William Gray & Andrew Gray.

Also Ruth Hostler a free wom of colour for intermarrying and cohabiting with Jack a man Slave the property of John Kerr, Witnesses John Johnston & John Kerr.

Also Edward Volentine a free man of colour for intermarrying & cohabiting with Jude a woman slave the property of Hezekiah Turner, Witnesses John Foard & Robert Bradshaw.


Records of Slaves and Persons of Color, Miscellaneous Records, Rowan County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

In the 185o census, School District 36, Rowan County: Elijah Valentine, 35, mulatto, in the household of white farmer Alexander Brown, 44.

In the 1850 census, Salisbury, Rowan County: Susan Valentine, 65, black, with Camer, 47, and Rachel Valentine, 45, washerwomen. 

In the 1850 census, School District 6, Rowan County: Ruth Hosler, 50, mulatto, in the household of Jane G. Kerr, white.

Free Isaac owes.

State No. Carolina, Rowan County   }  To any Lawful Officer to Execute Whereas Benj’a Abbett of Said County Complains To me one of the Justices of Said County that Free Isaac of Said County Stands Justly Indeted To him The Sum of three Pounds twelve Shillings Speacie and Delayeth payment there are therefore to Command you to Summands Free Isaac to Appear Before me or Sum other Justices of Said County to answer the Aboce Complaint Given Under my hand and Seal this twenty Ninth Day of march 1783    /s/ Robert Mackie

Summand Solomon Waller as a Witness for the Plantif


The Plantif and Defendant both apparing before me and After Hearing the Complaint My Judgment is that the Defendant free Isack Pay the Plantif L 3-12-0 Given under my Hand and Seale This 26 Day of April 1783  /s/ Robert Mackie

Records of Slaves and Persons of Color, Miscellaneous Records, Rowan County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

Well-known and respected.

“E-1 William Valentine

A free man of color, William Valentine was a well-known and respected barber in the 1850s. While his whereabouts during the Civil War are unclear, he was open for business again by 1869.”

Description of a bronze historical marker placed at East Innes and North Main Streets on Salisbury’s History and Art Trail,

In the 1860 census of Salisbury, Rowan County: William Valentine, 35, Rebecca, 25, Louis C., 8, and Horace R. Valentine, 10 months; all mulatto.


Carolina Watchman, 22 April 1870.

Cohabiting as man and wife.

State of North Carolina, Rowan County } 1st May, A.D. 1866.

This day personally appeared Peter Mull, a free man, and Eve Crawford, late a slave of Christine Brown, who acknowledge that they have been cohabiting as man and wife since sometime in the year 1844, and wish to continue as such. Obadiah Woodson, Clerk.


State of North Carolina, Rowan County  } 3rd May, A.D. 1866.

This day personally appeared Richard Cress (a free man of color) and Dathna Ann Latham, late a slave of Frederick Latham, who acknowledge that they have been cohabiting as man and wife since sometime in July, A.D. 1863, and wish to continue as such.   Obadiah Woodson, Clerk.

Cohabitation records, Register of Deeds Office, Rowan County Courthouse, Salisbury NC.

In March 1866, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to ratify the marriages of former enslaved persons.  Justices of the Peace were to collect and record in the County Clerk’s office so-called cohabitation records. Under penalty of misdemeanor charge, freedmen were required to register before September 1, 1866.

Neither Peter Mull nor Richard Cress found in pre-or post-Civil War census records. However,


Daily Charlotte Observer, 13 June 1874.

By her tender years incapable.

To the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina

The petition of John Monroe, Zebulon Hunt, Alexander B. Caldcleugh, and James Sawyer Executors of the last Will and Testament of Andrew Caldcleugh late of the County of Rowan dec: respectfully sheweth That their Testator on the 11th of february 1822 made and published his last Will and Testament in writing, in which among other things, he devised as follows — That his woman Slave Fanny Kelly should be emancipated for meritorious serviced, rendered to him and his wife, during their sickness, their Testator further devised that the daughter of the said woman Fanny Kelly, called and known by the name of Sally Zimmerman a child of tender Years, should be also emancipated. The said Testator in and by his last Will made ample provisions for the maintenance and support of the said Fanny and Sally as will be seen by reference to his Will.

For the purpose of carrying their Testators Will into effect, Your petitioners applied to the Superior Court of law held for Rowan County at October term 1822, and were permitted by the Judgment of the said Court to emancipate the said woman Fanny Kelly, which they have done in conformity with law. But the said Court having power only to allow emancipation of Slaves for meritorious services rendered to their Owners, and the said Sally from her tender Years, being incapable of rendering such services as are contemplated by the act of Assembly Your petitioners are unable to affect the emancipation of the said Child Sally by the Judgment of said Court.

Your petitioners further state, that no other person then Your petitioner Alexander R. Caldcleugh has any interest in retaining the said Girl Sally in a state of Slavery, he being the only child and heir at law, as well as resduary legatee of the said Andrew Caldcleugh.

Your petitioners being unable from the circumstances they have stated to give effect to the wishes of their Testators, without the Assistance of the General Assembly respectfully pray, that an act may be passed for the emancipaton of the said Sally Zimmerman.  /s/ Alex R. Caldcleugh, James Sawyer, Jno. Monroe, L. Hunt

General Assembly Session Records, Box 1 (November 1832-January 1924), Folder November 29, North Carolina State Archives.


An apprentice to the house carpenter’s trade.

“Samuel Lemly (ca. 1790-1848) was a master carpenter, contractor, and planter in Rowan County, North Carolina who was responsible for several building projects in the western piedmont including a major bridge over the South Yadkin River (1825) and the first eight buildings at Davidson College (1836-1838). His career as a master builder in North Carolina covered the period from the 1810s through the 1830s, after which he moved to Mississippi, where he died and was buried in Jackson.

“Records suggest that Lemly was at his most active as a carpenter and builder in the 1820s. In August 1819 he took William Kent, a free Negro, as apprentice to the house carpenter’s trade, and during the 1820s he apprenticed six other youths: Alfred Huie (August 1822); Anderson Cowan (July 1823); Samuel Kent, a free Negro (February 1824); David Fraley (May 1824); Jeremiah Brown (November 1825); and Joseph Hampton (November 1827). …”

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.  

Principles not generally understood; or, he is not a slave, you cannot flog him.


The Fall Term of the Superior Court for Rowan County, was held in this town week before last: Judge Badger presided. There were but two criminal cases tried at this term: on one which there was a conviction of grand larceny. – Lemuel Bealey was found guilty, and sentenced to receive 30 lashes; 15 of which he received on Monday after Superior Court, the other 15 to be given him on the week of our next County Court.

There was one case tried at this term, which involves principles perhaps not generally understood. Major Haskins, and others, were indicted for a misdemeanor, in flogging a free negro, for some mischief he had done.  Maj. Haskins, it appears, procured two Justices of the Peace to authorize the infliction of the corporal punishment on the negro, supposing, no doubt, that the transaction would thereby be legalized. There is an old law of our state empowering Justices of the Peace to authorize the summary punishment of slaves, in cases of this kind; it was this law which led Maj. Haskins, and the Justices referred to, into the fatal error. The negro doubtless deserved punishing; but as he was free, the law knows no distinction between him and a white man. He should have been indicted, and brought into Court for trial, in the same manner that free white citizens are.

The jury found a verdict against the defendants of all that was charged in the indictment. Maj. Haskins was fined twelve hundred dollars; one of the justices 100, the other 100, and the constable who acted as executioner 10 shillings.

The negro David Valentine, has now commenced an action for damages against the plaintiffs in the above case.  Western Carolinian.

Newbern Sentinel, 9 November 1822.

An act to emancipate Sally Zimmerman.

An Act to emancipate Sally Zimmerman, a slave belonging to the estate of Andrew Caldcleugh, deceased, late of Rowan County.

Whereas the said Andrew Caldcleugh, in and by his last will, did devise that a female slave, called and known by the name of Sally Zimmerman, a child of tender years, should be emancipated and set free; and whereas the executors of the said Andrew Caldcleugh, by and with the consent of the heirs at law, and residuary legatee of the said Andrew Caldcleugh, have petitioned this General Assembly to carry the will of the said Andrew into effect as it relates to the said slave:

Therefore be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That from and after the ratification of this act, the said slave Sally shall be, and hereby is emancipated, and set free from slavery, fully and absolutely, and shall be called and known by the name of Sally Zimmerman.

Ratified three times and ratified in General Assembly, this 31st day of Dec. 1823

A. Moore, S.H.C.

B. Yancey, S.S.

A true Copy, Wm. Hill, Secretary

Chapter CLXVI, Public and Private Laws of North Carolina Passed by the General Assembly 1823-26, North Carolina State Library.

In the 1850 census of Northern Division, Davidson County: Sarah Zimmerman, 31, living alone. She reported owning $600 in real property.

A devilish confusion.

A knotty point for the civilians. – Ned Mitchell, a free man of colour, was married to his wife Cressy in the year 1820, she having had one (white) child, but that was at Chapel Hill. They lived together for ten long years in the enjoyment of domestic felicity, and in perfect harmony, during which time Cressy had five children, as much like Ned, as shot are like bullets. At length in 1830, Cressy moved to distant parts; Ned promised to follow her, but went to the Montgomery Gold Mines and has been there ever since. Cressy, in 1833, returned to Salisbury, and not finding Ned there, nor hearing of them thereabouts, she, in the course of time, gave her hand in matrimony to another gentleman, with whom she had one child. A few days since, who should make his appearance but Ned Mitchell, claiming to be restored to his matrimonial rights; and a devilish confusion is about to be the upshot of it. In the priminary, we have been professionally consulted, but not deeming the matter fairly within our province, we have turned it over to the eccelesiatics, Dan Macay and Hanibal brown, and if they should encounter any difficulty, we have advised, that they call on the “Kitchen Cabinet,” before which, matters of this kind are “peculiarly cognizable,” as the Lawyers say. – Salisbury Watchman.

Tarborough Free Press, 21 March 1834.