Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Rowan County

Runaway bound boy, no. 7.

COMMITTED to the Jail of Rowan County, on the 4th of August, a negro boy named Edward Bailey, who says he is free, and bound to Newsome Westmoreland of Stokes county. Said boy is of dark complexion, about 13 or 14 years of age. N. ROBERTS, Jailor. Salisbury, Aug. 16, 1845.

Carolina Watchman, 18 August 1845.

Two years longer for the mulatto.

Charlotte DeOrmond, a white woman servant of Major John Dunn has had a white & a mulatto bastard; she must serve a year for the white bastard and two years longer for the mulatto, who, being a female, is bound to said Dunn until 21 years old.

January Term, 1769, Minutes, Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, Rowan County Records, North Carolina State Archives.  

Free Colored Inhabitants of the Town of Salisbury, Rowan County, 1850.

#374. Martha McCann, 23, in the household of Edmund Wade, stage driver.

#392. Rachel Valentine, 25, and Fanny Valentine, 27.

#394. Alpheus Seers, 20, laborer, in the household of George Vogler, gunsmith.

#404. Henry Porter, 22, in the household of Samuel Reeves, farmer.

#406. Sophia Rimer, 35, and daughter Elisabeth Rimer, 5.

#419. James Benson, 22, in the household of Ezekiel Segraves, brickmason.

#430. Amy Porter, 50.

#444. Betsy Freeman, 30, in the household of Archabald Baker, 37, clergyman.

#447. Samuel Holtshouser, 19, laborer, in the household of William Overman, carriage trimmer.

#461. Ann Valentine, 29, and Randal Twopence, 41, in the household of Samuel W. James, printer.

#462. Frank Doland, 8, in the household of Farby Ellis.

#476. Steven Steel, 25, waiter, in the household of William J. Polmer, stage contractor.

#481. William Jarett, 13, in the household of Lorenzo D. Beneni.

#487. James Smith, 30, carpenter; Sophia Smith, 24; and Wesley Smith, 26.

#489. Henry Mitchel, 22, mattress maker; Lucinda A. Smith, 18; and Sarah A. Valentine, 15.

#506. Evander Calvin, 28, housepainter, born in South Carolina; wife Maria Calvin, 26; and daughter Mary E. Calvin, 2; Eliza Canada, 48, Henry Canada, 19, painter, Solomon Canada, house painter, and Henderson Evans, 30, housepainter.

#529. James T. Kinder, 19; Sarah S. Kinder, 20; and John C.P. Kinder, 6 months.

#539. David Porter, 28; Peggy Porter, 24; and William Valentine, 38.

#540. Eliza Dustan, 25; Joseph Dustan, 4; Lenora Dustan, 2; Sally Mitchell, 70; James M. Mitchell, 23, housepainter; and Margaret Hickman, 6.

#543. Moses Hodgens, 80.

#544. Susanna Steel, 80, in the household of Archibald Henderson, farmer.

#554. Ishmael McDaniel, 70, in the household of David Watson.

A free mulatto child for sale!

Kidnapping.  – We learn from the Greensborough Patriot that a gentleman from Patrick county, Va. lately offered for sale, in Salisbury, a free mulatto child!  On discovering an acquaintance, as he was parading the streets in the notable character of a speculator, he made his bow, retired, so fast as not to be heard from when looked after. – Ral. Reg.

Tarboro’ Press, 13 June 1835.

Daddy’s baby.

Julius A. Howell et al. v. Henry Troutman, 53 NC 304 (1860).

This Rowan County case involved a contested will.  Jacob Troutman’s last will and testament contained the following bequests and devises:

“Item 3d. I will and bequeath to Ann Allmond two hundred and fifty dollars, provided the said Ann shall live with my wife, Polly, and assist her in health and in sickness; and if the said Ann shall faithfully perform her duty to my said wife during the life of my wife or widowhood, then at the death of my said wife, I will and bequeath to the said Ann, five dollars more.”

“Item 4. All the ballance of my estate and property of every kind and description, including my gold mine and every thing else, I will and bequeath to Lucy, the infant child of the said Ann Allmond, and if the said Lucy should die without lawful children or child, then it is my will, that all I have willed to the said Lucy, shall be divided between the children of my brothers, David Troutman, John Troutman, and my sister, Sarah Earnhart’s children.”

Troutman’s execution of the will was duly proven by the three subscribing witnesses, who also testified that in their opinion he was of sound mind when he signed it.

Jacob Troutman and his wife Polly had no children.  Ann Allmond lived in their house as a housekeeper from 1849 to 1858. (Troutman died in the fall of the latter year.)  A witness at trial testified that Ann Allmond was a white woman and her daughter Lucy, in his opinion, was a mulatto; that Lucy died at about age three; and that, both before and since Lucy’s death, Troutman told him that the child was his, and accounted for her color from a fright which Ann Allmond had received while pregnant.  The witness further testified that he had done a lot of business for Jacob Troutman; that Troutman sent Ann out of the room during the drafting of the will; that the witness urged Troutman to leave his brother Henry Troutman something, but he declined, saying that Henry would spend it in litigation. The witness also stated that Troutman had become displeased with Henry because of some lawsuit they had had.

Witness James Montgomery swore that he had no doubt that Lucy was a half-blood mulatto, based on her color; that he was a neighbor and had frequent opportunities to see the child; and that Troutman believed the child was his, said he knew she was, and that he intended to make a lady of her.

Dr. J. P. Cunningham testified that he was a practicing physician in the vicinity of Jacob Troutman’s residence; that on one occasion he was called upon by Troutman to visit Lucy; that when he arrived, he found her in his arms; that he called her “daddy’s baby”; and that the child was unquestionably a negro.

Dr. John R. Wilson, also a practicing physician, testified that Lucy was, in his opinion, a mulatto, and that Troutman had once remarked to him that he loved the child as much as if she were his own, and that Allmond had gone out and picked it up somewhere.

J. C. Barnhart swore that he was a justice of the peace in the county when Ann Allmond was pregnant,  and issued a warrant for her to make her swear to the father or give bond as prescribed by law; that she gave the bond and Jacob Troutman either became her surety or procured someone to do so, he did not remember which; and that Troutman was a man of sound mind, though very illiterate.

J. M. Long, Esq., the draftsman of the will, testified that, after Lucy’s death, Troutman asked him whether another will was necessary to dispose of the part he had left for the child; that he advised him that it was not, but that the property would go over to his relatives under the provisions of the existing will.

Henry Troutman’s counsel insisted that the jury should hear testimony that the will was procured by the false representations and undue influence of Ann Allmond.  However, the County Court charged the jury that there was no evidence of such influence as would invalidate the will and, if they believed the testimony, the decedent was of sound mind; also, that the will was properly attested and executed. Henry Troutman’s counsel excepted.

The Supreme Court’s decision: The fact that Troutman bequeathed a legacy to the mulatto child of his housekeeper, a white woman, which the mother had induced him to believe was his, is no evidence that his will was obtained by fraud and undue influence. “Supposing that he did believe the child was his, and that the mother of it told him so, there is not the slightest testimony to show that she ever even asked him to make a will in favor of her and the child, or that she knew, before the will was made, that he intended to make one, or, afterwards, that he had made it.” “The truth is, that the old man, being childless by his wife, took a strange fancy to the child of his housekeeper, and whether it were his or not, he had a father’s love for it, and our law imposes no prohibition upon a man to prevent him from bestowing his property upon the object of his affection. Affection or attachment, as Sir John Nichol said, ‘would be a very strong ground of support of a testamentary act.’”


Beware of the Villain!

An Irishman, called himself McGraw, has, for several months past, been loitering about this neighborhood in company with a free mulatto woman, whom he calls his wife.  No species of villainy is new to this abandoned wretch, who seems to have such a refined taste in the selection of his better half.  He is believed to be the man who persuaded a free girl of color to leave her employer in Salisbury, as they were afterwards seen in company, wending their way towards Wadesboro, N.C. It would be well for the public to keep a good look out, and if he should make his appearance in a tangible form, to let the law, if not the gallows, have its just rights.  JOSEPH HAINES.  Fulton, Rowan Co., N.C., June 6 1832 [sic]  6 June 1835

Free man of color, Confederate deserter.

GASTON BURNS, a free man of color, ranaway from me on the 18th inst.  He has been living at Salisbury, N.C., for a number of years.  I will give the above reward for his apprehension and confinement in some jail, so that I can get him again.  A.W. HOWERTON.  1st Lieut. Co. I, 57th Reg. N.C.T. Richmond, Va., Sept. 18, 1862.

Carolina Watchman, Salisbury, 22 Sept 1862. NC Newspaper Digitization Project, North Carolina State Archives Historic Newspaper Archive.

In the 1860 census of Salisbury, Rowan County: G. Burns, 28, mulatto, listed in the household of Margaret Earnhart, 56, white.

Surnames: Rowan County, 1850.


Just so you know, they might be free.

Free Jack v. Woodruff, 10 NC 106 (1824).

An action for freedom.  Free Jack was the son of a woman of color named Jane Scott, who, in 1774 was “in the possession of” one Allen, who asserted that Jane was free.  In 1784, Jack was indented by Surry County court to one Meredith, who frequently said he was free, but then sold him to Moses Woodruff. Woodruff sold Jack with the warning that he was reported to be free and caveat emptor.  Allen, meanwhile, sold Jane Scott to Abraham Cresong, who sold her and twelve of her children to William Terrill Lewis on 22 October 1788.  Lewis, fearing he would lose them otherwise, sent the children out of state.  Woodruff, to prove that Jane was a slave, introduced a Rowan County record that showed that Jane and her children had been “set at liberty” on a writ of habeas corpus by a Surry County court, but that judgment had been reversed for want of jurisdiction.  The judgment in the lower court was for Free Jack, and Woodruff appealed.  Upon consideration of certain evidentiary questions involving parol evidence and hearsay, the Supreme Court ordered a new trial.

The Scott family’s struggles to maintain their freedom were generational.  Jane’s grandson Samuel’s travails similarly lead to the state’s highest court.  See Samuel Scott v. Joseph Williams, 12 NC 376 (1828).