Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Scott

Voluntary enslavement of herself and her son.

… Mr Alford presented a petition from Sally Scott, free woman of color, praying for the voluntary enslavement of herself and infant son to Sidney A. Henton. …

Charlotte Democrat, 2 December 1862.

She might have gone off with him.

$10 Reward.

RANAWAY from the Subscriber, about the 15th ult. a negro woman named HANNAH; formerly the property of Col. Edward Williams, of Onslow County, but more recently owned by Richard Saunders, Esq. Hannah is above the ordinary size, black complexion – about Forty years of age. – She has relations in Onslow county and at Rocky Point.

She has, for some years past, been living with a free colored man named Isaac Scott, who has left this place, and she might have gone off with him.

I will give the above reward for her apprehension, upon delivery to me at Wilmington, or confinement in any jail, so that I may recover her. ANN GUTHRIE. Wilmington, Sept. 11th, 1835.

Wilmington People’s Press and Advertiser, 25 September 1835.

They talked about their service and privations together.

State of North Carolina Wak County pearsonally appeared before us Nancey Whitehead widow of Burwell Whitehead Aged ninety years and made oath in Dew form of Law to following affidaved

That She was Raised in the County of hallifax and State of North Carolina and that She was pearsonally Acquanited with Axum Scot and that they was Both Raised in the Same neighbourhood and Lived in a mile of Each other and that She well recollects that he married Alley Sweat and in a Short time after thear mariage had a Son they named him Zachariah and further this Deponent Saith not Sworn to and Subscribed before is August 13th 1846  Nancey X Whitehead

[illegible} JP, Tignall Jones JP


State of North Carolina, Wake County   }  Personally appeared before me Tignal Jones an acting Justice of the peace for said County on the 13th day of August 1845 Gilbert Evans aged fifty seven years and made oath to the following affidavit

That he was personally acquainted with Exum Scott for many years and often heard him speak of his services in the revolutionary War and heard him talk of his distress in leaving home to enter the army. And this deponent further saith that he has often heard his father (William Evans) who was also a revolutionary Soldier speak of the said Exum Scott as a Soldier of the revolution and also has heard them talking together of their services & privations together in the war and saith that the said Scott was always bore the Character of a revolutionary Soldier and always treated as such

Sworn to and subscribed before me the day & date first written    Gilbert X Evans


State of North Carolina, Wake County   }  This day Barney Scott of Granville County appears before me Tignal Jones a Justice of the peace of said County and made oath that he is the third son of Exum and Alley Scott that he is now as he believes 68 years of age and that he recollects when his father returned home from the War and that he has often heard his father say that he served under Col Long of Halifax and often heard him talk of the War and his services in the War and heard him say he served eighteen months under Col Long and further that his father was always called an old revolutionary Soldier & always treated as such and also had heard his father say that Jesse Potts was his Captain and that his father died in Wake County about the year 1823. Sworn to & subscribed before me this 23rd day of July AD 1845  Barney X Scott

Witness Tignall Jones JP


Widow Alley Sweatt Scott and son Zachary Scott, among others, also gave affidavits attesting to Exum Scott’s marital status and war service. There was testimony that Exum and Alley married in 1774 in Halifax County and that they moved to Wake County about 1801. George Pettiford of Granville County, himself a Revolutionary War veteran,  gave an affidavit concerning Scott’s service, and other documents named a third son, Guilford Scott.

From the file of Exum Scott, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives and Records Administration.

In the 1790 census of Edgecombe District, Halifax County: Exum Scott listed as head of a household of 9 free people of color.

Now, you see, my father was a free man.

William Scott

William Scott: Ex-Slave Story, 401 Church St., 77 years old.

My name is William Scott. I live at 401 Church Street, Raleigh, North Carolina. I wuz born 1860, March 31st. I wuz free born. My father wuz William Scott. I wuz named after my father. My mother wuz Cynthia Scott. She wuz a Scott before she wuz married to my father. She wuz born free. As far back as I can learn on my mother’s side they were always free.

My mother and father always told me my grandfather wuz born of a white woman. My grandfather wuz named Elisha Scott. I have forgot her name. If I heard her name called I have forgot it. My grandfather on my mother’s side wuz a Waverly. I can’t tell you all about dese white folks, but some of ’em, when they died, left their property to mulattoes, or half-breed children, and several of them are living in this community now. I can tell you exactly where they are, and where they got their property. Some of them are over half white. They were by a Negro woman who wuz a mulatto and a white man. Dey air so near white you can’t tell them from white folks. This condition has existed as long ago as I have any recollection, and it still exists, but there are not as many children according to the relations as used to be.

Free Negroes were not allowed to go on the plantations much. Now you see my father wuz a free man. We lived right here in town. My father wuz a ditcher and slave gitter. One night the man he worked for got up a crowd and come to whup him and take his money away from him. He had paid father off that day. Dat night dey come an’ got him an’ blindfolded him. He moved the blindfold from over his eyes and run an’ got away from ’em. He never did go back no more to the man he had been workin’ for. I wuz a little boy, but I heard pappy tell it. Dat wuz tereckly after de surrender. Pappy saw the man he had been workin’ for when he slipped the blindfold off his face, and he knowed him.

I wuz a boy when the Yankees came to Raleigh. They came in on the Fayetteville Road. They stopped and quartered at the edge of the town. I remember they had a guardhouse to put the Yankees in who disobeyed. Later on they came in from the east and quartered at the old Soldiers Home right in there, but not in the buildings. There were no houses there when the Yankees came. They had some houses there. They built ’em. They stayed there a good while until all the Yankees left. When the Yankees first came in they camped over near Dix Hill, when they come into town you hardly knew where they come from. They were jist like blue birds. They jist covered the face of the earth. They came to our house and took our sumpin’ to eat. Yes sir, they took our sumpin’ to eat from us Negroes. My daddy didn’t like deir takin’ our rations so he went to de officer and tole him what his men had done, and the officers had sumpin’ to eat sent over there.

My mammy cooked some fur de officers too. Dey had a lot of crackers. Dey called ’em hard tack. The officers brought a lot of ’em over dere. We lived near the Confederate trenches jist below the Fayetteville Crossin’ on Fayetteville Street. The breastworks were right near our house.

I know when the colored men farmed on share craps, dey were given jist enough to live on, and when a white man worked a mule until he wuz worn out he would sell him to de colored man. De colored man would sometime buy ‘im a old buggy; den he wuz called rich. People went to church den on steer carts, that is colored folks, most uv ’em. De only man I wurked for along den who wud gib me biscuit through de week wuz a man named June Goodwin. The others would give us biscuit on Sundays, and I made up my mind den when I got to be a man to eat jist as many biscuits as I wanted; and I have done jist dat.

My mammy used to hire me out to de white folks. I worked and made jist enough to eat and hardly enough clothes to wear to church until I wuz a man. I worked many a day and had only one herrin’ and a piece of bread for dinner. You know what a herrin’ fish is? ‘Twon’t becase I throwed my money away, twas cause we didn’t git it, nuther to save up. When we farmed share crap dey took all we made. In de fall we would have to split cord wood to live through de winter.

I will tell you now how I got my start off now, I am going to use dis man’s name. I went to work for a man name George Whitaker. I drive a wagon for him. He ‘lowed me all de waste wood for my own use. This wuz wood dat would not sell good on de market. I hauled it over home. I worked for him till he died, en his wife lowed me a little side crap. I made this crap, took de money I got for it, and built a little storehouse. I disremember how long I worked fer Mis’ Hannah Whitaker. Den I quit work for her and went to work for myself. I owns dat little storehouse yit, de one I worked wid Mis’ Hannah Whitaker, en from dat I bought me a nudder home.

When de Yankees come to Raleigh dere wuz a building dey called de Governor’s Palace, it stood whur de Auditorium now stands. Right back o’ where de courthouse now stands wuz a jail and a gallows an’ a whuppin’ pos’ all dere together. I know when dey built de Penitentiary dey hauled poles from Johnston County. Dey called dem Johnston County poles. Dey hauled em in on trains. Dis post office wuz not built den. De post office den wuz built of plank set up an’ down.

I remember seeing a man hung down at de jail. His name wuz Mills. He wuz a white man. When he got on de scaffold he said, ‘What you gwine to do to me do it quick and be done wid it’.

I think Abraham Lincoln done the colored man a heap of good. If it hadn’t been for Mr. Roosevelt there are many livin’ today who would have parished to death. There are plenty of people walkin’ about now who would have been dead if Mr. Roosevelt had not helped them. The only chance I had to hold my home wuz a chance given me through him. At my age, I cannot make much at work, but through things he helped me, and I is holding my own.

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

In the 1850 census of Raleigh, Wake County: Alfred Wavy, 25, Kazina, 38, Lewis H. Wavy, 2, and Syntha H. Scott, 14. But: in Camp Creek, Rutherford County: William Scott, 25, Cynda, 17, Rufus, 16, Wesley, 15, and Mary Scott, 6 months.

In the 1860 census of Alamance County: Wm. Scott, 24, fireman, wife Synthia, 23, and children May J., 3, Saml, 1, and Jane, 2 months.

William Scott. Died 14 June 1945, Raleigh, Wake County. Resided 601 Church St. Colored. Widower. Laborer. Born 5 Aug 1852 in Wake County to William Scott and Senthia Scott. Buried Mount Hope, Raleigh. Informant, Pinkie Hall.

Free-Issue Death Certificates: ASHE.

Elizah Ann Ashe. Died 7 August 1914, Littleton, Halifax County. Colored. Married. Born 12 Oct 1842, Halifax County to unknown father and Delia Ann Richardson. Buried at John Hockaday’s. Informant, George W. Ash, Thelma NC.

In the 1850 census of Halifax County: John Richardson, 30, wife Delia, 25, and daughter Eliza, 3, all born in Halifax.

Samuel Ashe. Died 12 April 1925, Enfield, Halifax County. Colored. Married. Age 77. Farmer. Son of Charles Ashe. Buried at home. Informant, Marcia Thornton.

In the 1860 census of Western District, Halifax County: Samuel Ash, 14, black, and Henry Pittards, 22, farm laborer.

Mollie Ashe. Died 28 March 1921, Roanoke Rapids, Halifax County. Black. Widowed. About 70 years old. Farmer. Son of Stevens Scott and Molissa Mills, both of Halifax County. Informant, Robert Ashe.

In the 1850 census of Halifax County: Stephen Scott, 40, farmer, wife Mellissa, 33, and children Emily, 15, F. Scott, 12, Molly, 7, and Ma[illegible], 2.

Eveline Pierce. Died 12 April 1920, Faucette, Halifax County. Colored. Married to Dudley Pierce. Age about 68. Born Halifax County to John Ashe and Gillia Bowser. Informant, P.A. Gee.

Margaret Jones. Died 8 March 1930, Weldon, Halifax County. Colored. Married. Age 89. Born in Halifax County to John Ash and Jullie Bowser. Buried Bowsers graveyard. Informant, Sallie Ann Vincent.

In the 1860 census of Western District, Halifax County: John Ash, 38, farmer, and children Ann M., 18, spinner, Itelia, 15, Nancy, 13, Albert, 12, Evaline, 7, and Rebecca, 6.

William Wiley Bowser. Died 10 June 1928, Butterwood, Halifax County. Colored. Married to Salline Hawkins. Age 84. Farmer. Born in NC to Wiley Bowser and Mary Ash. Informant, B.W. Bowser.

In the 1850 census of Halifax County, farmer Willie Bauser, 45, farmer, wife Mary, 40, and children Wm., 8, Lucy, 5, and Margt, 6 months, all born in Halifax.

Wilson Ashe.  Died 30 April 1915, Faucette, Halifax County. “Killed by a pistol shot.” Colored. Married. Farmer. Born 4 May 1856 in Halifax County in Jack Ashe and Tempe Mills. Informant, Nellie Ashe.

Knowing their future would be very dark if they remained, they started North.

Federal Writers’ Project of the W.P.A., District #6, Marion County

Anna Pritchett, 1200 Kentucky Avenue, Folklore

Mrs. Lizzie Johnson, 706 North Senate Avenue, Apt. 1 [Indianapolis, IN]

Mrs. Johnson’s father, Arthur Locklear, was born in Wilmington, N.C. in 1822. He lived in the South and endured many hardships until 1852. He was very fortunate in having a white man befriend him in many ways. This man taught him to read and write. Many nights after a hard days work, he would lie on the floor in front of the fireplace, trying to study by the light from the blazing wood, so he might improve his reading and writing.

He married very young, and as his family increased, he became ambitious for them, knowing their future would be very dark if they remained South.

He then started a movement to come north. There were about twenty-six or twenty-eight men and women, who had the same thoughts about their children, banded together, and in 1852 they started for somewhere North.

The people selected had to be loyal to the cause of their children’s future lives, morally clean, truthful, and hard-working.

Some had oxen, some had carts. They pooled all of their scant belongings, and started on their long hard journey.

The women and children rode in the ox-carts, the men walked. They would travel a few days, then stop on the roadside to rest. The women would wash their few clothes, cook enough food to last a few days more, then they would start out again. They were six weeks making the trip.

Some settled in Madison, Indiana. Two brothers and their families went on to Ohio, and the rest came to Indianapolis.

John Scott, one of their number was a hod carrier. He earned $2.50 a day, knowing that would not accumulate fast enough, he was strong and thrifty. After he had worked hard all day, he would spend his evenings putting new bottoms in chairs, and knitting gloves for anyone who wanted that kind of work. In the summer he made a garden, sold his vegetables. He worked very hard, day and night, and was able to save some money.

He could not read or write, but he taught his children the value of truthfulness, cleanliness of mind and body, loyalty, and thrift. The father and his sons all worked together and bought some ground, built a little house where the family lived many years.

Before old Mr. Scott died, he had saved enough money to give each son $200.00. His bank was tin cans hidden around in his house.

Will Scott, the artist, is a grandson of this John Scott.

The thing these early settlers wanted most, was for their children to learn to read and write. So many of them had been caught trying to learn to write, and had had their thumbs mashed, so they would not be able to hold a pencil.

Interviewer’s Comment: Mrs. Johnson is a very interesting old woman and remembers so well the things her parents told her. She deplores the “loose living,” as she calls it of this generation.

She is very deliberate, but seems very sure of the story of her early life.

Submitted December 9, 1937
Indianapolis, Indiana

From “Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves, Indiana Narratives,” Works Projects Administration.

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).

A mere question.

Samuel Scott v. Joseph Williams, 12 NC 376 (1828).

Samuel Scott sued Joseph Williams for assault and battery and false imprisonment.  Jane Scott, an allegedly free woman, had been indented to Williams’ father, and Samuel was “given” to Williams by his father as a slave.  Samuel proved at trial that he was the son of Jemima, who was the daughter of Jane Scott, and the question was whether Jane was free.  The trial judge instructed the jury that Jane’s “colour might enter into their consideration” in making the determination.  “If she was of a black African complexion, they might presume from that fact, that she was a slave; if she was of a yellow complexion, no presumption of slavery arose from her color.”  The jury returned a verdict for Scott with substantial damages, and Williams appealed.  Williams argued that the jury instructions were incorrect and that damages ought to be minimal as “it was an action brought to decide a mere question of property between innocent persons.”  The Supreme Court demurred, refused to grant a new trial, and affirmed the judgment.