Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Sampson

Free colored Craven County slaveowners, no. 2.

Mr. Thomas Blackwell, who lived in Vance County, N. C, owned a favorite negro named Tom, who was a fine blacksmith. He was allowed to hire his own time and was finally permitted to buy his freedom at a price far below his worth; he was a very valuable man. This was about 1820. Tom prospered and bought two or three slaves. William Chavers was a well-educated negro who bought a good deal of land in Vance County, from 1750 to 1780, and he owned a good many slaves; his descendants also for several generations were slaveholders. John Sampson, of Wilmington, was a slaveholder in 1855.

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

Awful calamity.

Awful Calamity. – That devoted town, Wilmington, has been again visited with a most calamitous fire, which has destroyed a large amount of property and reduced some from situations of comfort, to poverty and distress. The worthy editor of the Cape Fear Recorder is amongst the principal sufferers, and we cannot here withhold the expression of our most cordial sympathy for his loss. A friend informs us that all the sufferers are most deserving citizens, and with one or two exceptions, unable to sustain the burden of their misfortune. … [August 2 was excessively hot, and thunderstorms developed that night. At about 11:00 o’clock, lightning struck first “the northern end of Mr. Langdon’s large wooden building on Market and Second street” and again near the partition separating the building from the office of the Recorder. Flames spread “until the whole block of wooden houses, from Second street to Mrs. Wright’s alley, was consumed.” The fire was contained by firemen blowing up and a small two-story house on the east side of the alley.]

The sufferers in this dreadful fire which did not last much longer than two hours, were, Samuel Langdon, Esq., Mr. Chambers, Mr. John Brown, E.P. Hall, Esq., Mrs. Scatt, Wm. C. Lord, Esq., Ancrum Berry, Esq., Mrs. Wright, Gabriel Holmes, Esq., Mr. Tibbitts, Archibald M. Hooper, and Henry Sampson, a coloured man.

…  Ral. Reg.

Free Press, Tarboro, 20 August 1830.

He went immediately among free negroes.


RAN AWAY from the Subscriber, on Saturday the 1st inst., my negro fellow named SHADRACH, he is about 21 years of age, five feet seven or eight inches high, well made and proportioned, a dark copper colour, talks rather slow when spoken to, is very likely, if any scars not remembered, and had on when he left an osnaburg shirt and pantaloons (considerably worn,) and old straw hat. I understood he went immediately on Neuse, Craven County, among the free negroes and called himself Jim Sampson and took passage in some boat for Newbern, no doubt he will try to get to the north in some vessel.

All persons are forewarned from harboring, or carrying him away under the penalty of the law, which will certainly be enforced against those who violate its provisions in such case made and provided. The above reward will be paid to any person for lodging him in any jail in this State so that I get him again.

DAVID L. JONES. Carteret County, August 5th, 1840.

Newbern Spectator and Literary Journal, 8 August 1840.

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.

James Drawhorn Sampson.

ImageNegro History Bulletin, January 1940.

Shuffer Tonies was free issues and part Indian.

MEMORIES OF UNCLE JACKSON, John H. Jackson, 309 S. Sixth St., Wilmington, N.C.

My mother was the laund’ess for the white folks. In those days ladies wore clo’es, an’ plenty of ’em. My daddy was one of the part Indian folks. My mammy was brought here from Washin’ton City, an’ when her owner went back home he sold her to my folks. You know, round Washin’ton an’ up that way they was Ginny (Guinea) niggers, an’ that’s what my mammy was. We had a lot of these malatto negroes round here, they was called ‘Shuffer Tonies’, they was free issues and part Indian. The leader of ’em was James Sampson. We child’en was told to play in our own yard and not have nothin’ to do with free issue chil’en or the common chil’en ‘cross the street, white or colored, because they was’nt fitten to ‘sociate with us. You see our owners was rich folks. Our big house is the one where the ladies of Sokosis (Sorosis) has their Club House, an’ our yard spread all round there, an’ our house servants, an’ some of the bes’ artisans in Wilmin’ton lived in our yard.

I mus’ tell you’ bout Gov’ner Dudley’s election, an’ the free issue niggers. They say Mr. Dudley told ’em if they’d vote for him he’d do more for ’em than any man ever had. So they voted for him an’ he was elected. Then he ups an’ calls a const’utional convention in Raleigh an’ had all the voting taken away from ’em. An’ that the big thing he done for em.

From Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves (1841).

In the 1860 census of Wilmington, New Hanover County: carpenter Jas. Sampson heads a household that includes his wife Francinia, 49; James, 30, shoemaker; Joseph, 28, carpenter; Eliza, 19; Jannie, 15; and Susan Sampson, 8; carpenters Ben Freeman, 19, and Wm. Campbell, 18; and “sv’t in house” Melinda Green, 72, Dave Miller, 30, Lucy Miller, 27, Virgil McRae, 60, and Maria McRae, 55, all mulatto. Sampson reported owning $26,000 real estate and $10,000 personal estate.

Charles Waddell Chesnutt.


Charles Waddell Chesnutt was an author, essayist, political activist and lawyer, best known for his novels and short stories exploring complex issues of racial and social identity in the post-Civil War South. Chesnutt was born June 20, 1858, in Cleveland, Ohio, to A. Jackson Chesnutt and Ann Maria Sampson Chesnutt, free people of color from Fayetteville, North Carolina. His paternal grandfather was known to be a white slaveholder. Chesnutt said he was seven-eighths white, but identified as a colored man.

In 1867, the Chesnutts returned to Fayetteville. By age 13, Charles was a pupil-teacher at the Howard School, one of many founded for black students by the Freedmen’s Bureau during the Reconstruction era. He eventually was promoted to assistant principal of the normal school in Fayetteville (later Fayetteville State University), one of a number of historically black colleges established for the training of black teachers. In 1878, Chesnutt married Susan Perry. The couple moved briefly to New York City, then Cleveland, Ohio. Chesnutt passed the Ohio bar exam in 1887 and established a lucrative legal stenography business.  Chesnutt also began writing stories, and in August 1887 Atlantic Monthly published his first short story, “The Goophered Grapevine.” Chesnutt’s The Conjure Woman, a collection of short stories, appeared in 1899.  Chesnutt’s works grappled with complex issues of racial identity and social place, and he began to write novels that reflected his stronger sense of activism. His Marrow of Tradition was a political-historical novel based on the Wilmington Massacre of 1898, in which white Democratic insurrectionists overthrew city government, burned a black newspaper office, and randomly killed black citizens. Because his novels posed a more direct challenge to existing sociopolitical conditions, they were not as popular as his short stories, and poor sales doomed his hopes of a self-supporting literary career.

In the new century, Chesnutt increasingly turned his energies social and political activism. He served on the General Committee of the newly founded National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and became one of the early 20th century’s most prominent activists and commentators. Chesnutt died on November 15, 1932, at the age of 74. He was interred in Cleveland’s Lake View Cemetery.

Modified from Wikipedia.

In the 1850 census of Fayetteville, Cumberland County: Anna M. Chestnut, 37, and children Geo. W., 19, barber, Jackson, 17, laborer, Sophia, 13, Stephen, 9, Mary Ann, 7, and Dallas Chestnut, 3. All of Anna’s children claimed real property valued $100-250, possibly inherited from their father.  Also, Moses Harris, 45, carpenter; wife Chloe Harris, 40; Ann M. Sampson, 18; and John Jasper, 6.

Andrew Jackson Chestnut died 26 December 1920 in Fayetteville, Cumberland County. His death certificate described him as a married, colored male; aged 87; and a farmer. He was born in North Carolina to Waddell Cade and Annie Chestnut.  He was buried in Brookside Annex. Miss Annie Chestnut of Fayetteville was the informant.