Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Seaberry

Being in a slow state of health.

In the Name God Amen

I Tamsey Gandy of the County Wayne and State of North Carolina being in slow State of Health but of Sound mind and memory blessed be god for the Same Calling to mind the certainty of death, I make & publish this my last will and Testament in manner and form following Viz I give and bequeath unto my Son Henderson Gandy my bed bedstead and necessary furniture, and Red chest and all my clothes and Spun Cotton. I leave the rest of my property to be Sold by my Executor and money arising there from I leave to my Son Anderson Gandy.

I leave my Worthy friend Robert Williams my Executor to this my last will and Testament revoaking all other Wills by me made. April 28th in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty two whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal    Tansey X Gandy

Signed sealed and published in the presence of William Lewis

The will was proved at May Term 1842. Recording Docket Book 8, p. 309. Office of Clerk of Superior Court, Wayne County Courthouse, Goldsboro.

Tamsey Gandy’s estate was sold on 15 August 1842 and brought in $41.33 ¼.  Purchasers included Theo. Seaberry and Offie Seaberry (probably the same man, Theophilus Seaberry), but were primarily white neighbors. Though she could not write (or, presumably, read), Tamsey’s estate included “1 Lot Books.” Recording Docket Book 8, p. 355-356. Office of Clerk of Superior Court, Wayne County Courthouse, Goldsboro.

Edward Gandy named his daughter Tamsey Gandy as a beneficiary in his 23 July 1823 will filed in Nash County. Will Book 1, page 291, Office of the Clerk of Superior Court, Nash County Courthouse, Nashville. In 1809, the surname of Tamsey Whiddon and her siblings Griffin, Brinkley and Elizabeth was changed to Gandy, and they were “legitimated.” North Carolina General Assembly, 1809 Session Laws, Chapter CXXVIII, page 40.

Napoleon Hagans.

ImageNAPOLEON HAGANS‘ grave marker stands about one hundred yards west of his house near Fremont, Wayne County. His wife Apsilla is memorialized on the other side of the stone. Hagans was born in 1840 to Louisa Hagans (ca1824-ca1875) and reared with the help of Louisa’s mother Leasy Hagans (ca1800-ca1855) and husband Aaron Seaberry (1818-ca1905), whom she married circa 1844. Hagans was a prosperous farmer and landowner.

Photo taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2010.

I worked for it.


NAPOLEON HIGGINS, colored, sworn and examined. By Senator Vance:

Question: Where do you reside? – Answer. Near Goldsborough. I don’t stay in Goldsborough, but it is my county seat. I live fifteen miles from town.

Q. What is your occupation? – A. I am farming.

Q. Do you farm your own land? – A. Yes, sir.

Q. How much do you own? – A. Four hundred and eighty-five acres.

Q. How did you get it? – A. I worked for it.

Q. Were you formerly a slave? – A. No, sir; I was a free man before the war.

Q. What did you pay for it? – A. I believe I paid $5,500; and then I have got a little town lot there that I don’t count; but I think it is worth about $500.

Q. How much cotton do you raise? – A. I don’t raise as much as I ought to. I only raised fifty-eight bales last year.

Q. What is that worth? – A. I think I got $55 a bale.

Q. How many hands do you work yourself? – A. I generally rent my land. I only worked four last year, and paid the best hand, who fed the mules and tended around the house, ten dollars; and the others I paid ten, and eight, and seven. … I gave them rations; and to a man with a family I gave a garden patch and a house, and a place to raise potatoes.

Q. How did you start [your farm]? – A. I rented a farm and started on two government horses. I went to the tightest man I know and got him to help me. I rented from Mr. Exam out there.

Senate Report 693, 2nd Session, 46th Congress: Proceedings of the Select Committee of the United States Senate to Investigate the Causes of the Removal of the Negroes from the Southern States to the Northern States, Washington DC, beginning Tuesday, 9 March 1880.

Napoleon Hagans (not Higgins) testified before a Senate Select Committee investigating the migration of hundreds of “colored people” from the South to Indiana in the late 1870s.  Hagans testified about the source of his relative wealth (above), as well his opinion of the political climate for colored men in his part of North Carolina.

Napoleon Hagans, 6, was apprenticed in 1845 to William Thompson.  Apprenticeship Records, Wayne County Records, North Carolina State Archives. In the 1850 census of  North of Neuse, Wayne County, Aaron Seaberry, 32 year-old black farmhand, with wife Louisa, [stepson] Napoleon [Hagans], daughter Frances, and 17 year-old Celia Seaberry. In a duplicate listing, also North of the Neuse: Leacy Hagans, 55, with probable grandson Napoleon Hagans, 10.  


Free-Issue Death Certificates: MISCELLANEOUS, no. 5.

Henry Artis.  Died 7 Dec 1925, Mount Olive, Duplin County.  Colored. Married. Age 73. Farmer.  Born Wayne County to Abson Artis and Liza Artis, both of Wayne County.  Buried Dudley NC. Informant, Anna Artis.

Smitha McNeill.  Died 22 Nov 1924, Averasboro, Harnett County.  “Burned to death in burning building.”  Colored. Widowed.  About 69 years old.  Born in NC to Raleigh Seaberry  and Emmaline [last name unknown.]  Buried Dunn cemetery.  Informant, Alex Cagle.

Madison Seaberry.  Died 7 Apr 1923, Averasboro, Harnett County. Indian. Married to Frances Seaberry. Born 29 July 1846 to Raleigh Seaberry and Emily Emmanuel. Buried Carter Cemetery.  Informant, Raleigh Seaberry, Linden NC.

Dred Hagins. Died 6 June 1927, Speights Bridge, Greene County. Colored. Widow of Martha Hagins.  Farmer. Born 1854, Wilson County to Wilson Hagins and unknown mother.  Informant, Louis Hagins, Walstonburg.

At the risk of my life if it had been known.

Raleigh Seaberry filed claim #10453 with the Southern Claims Commission.  He was 54 years old and free-born.

He lived in “Carvers Creek Township Cumberland County NC 3 miles from Little River Academy “ and had lived there 13 years. “Before that time I lived about 5 miles from the place I now live at keeping Smith fery on Cape Fear River my occupation was farming and keeping the fery.” He was born in Wayne County 6 miles from Goldsboro.  During the war, he lived at “Averysboro Harnett County NC Coopering and Farming. I continue to farm and cooper for 2 years after that I farmed and kept the fery. I changed my residence 3 times during the war I first move from Averysboro to Dr. Turners about 9 miles from Smiths Ferry I remained at Dr Turners one year from there to Wm Dows about 19 miles from Smiths Ferry.  I remain 2 years at Dows from Dows back to Averysboro remained there 1 year and from there to Smith Ferry where I remained to the close of the war. I move from place to place as I could rent Land to the best advantage not having any of my own.”

He was “on the Side of the Union from the beginning to the end.”  “I put some 5 or 6 union Soldiers cross the Ferry at Diferent times at nights at the risk of my life if it had been know. I also fed them they told me that they were Deserters from Confederate Prisons. … They were al white and related [to] me.” “I was at altimes rejoice at the Victorys of the union armys and especially so at the final surrender of the confederate forces.”  I was under “very strict orders not to put any union soldiers cross the River while at the Ferry. If should or so I was told that I would be shot.”

“I was order out in the spring of 1863 to meet at Lilington Harnett County NC as I suppose to work on Brest works. I went to Goldsboro and got my free papers and went to Lillington. I was over the age require and I was let off.”

Sherman’s soldiers took his corn, bacon, hogs, a horse, chickens, turkeys, blankets and tobacco.

Evens Chance, aged about 80, resident of Harnett County, testified that he had known Seaberry about 40 years. “I have no doubt of the Claimants Loyalty to the United States, as I never knew or heard of a col’d man during the war that was not in favour of the  United States Government.” “I never heard of a col’d man that was regarded by col’d people any thing but a union loving man.”

William McDougald, near 60 years old, resident of Carvers Creek township, Cumberland County, testified that he lived and worked with Seaberry about 18 months to two years during the war. McDougald worked as a farmer and turpentine distiller.

James M. Seaberry, age 29, lived with his father Raleigh Seaberry. He was present when soldiers took his father’s property.

Smithy J. McNeill, age 24, resided in Little River three or four miles from Little River Academy.  She was married about 7 years prior to her affidavit. Raleigh Seaberry was her father.

In the 1850 census, Eastern Division, Cumberland County, Raleigh Sedberry, 26, mulatto, farmer, wife Emeline, 22, and  children James M., 1, and Sarah E., 1 month.

How Napoleon recouped.

In the 1850 census of the North Side of Neuse, Wayne County: Aaron Seaberry, 32, farmhand, wife Louisa [Eliza], Napoleon, Frances and Celia Seaberry.

On 18 Jan 1860, in Wayne County, Bryan Minshew sold Eliza Seaberry a certain parcel of land for $109.37, beginning at a stake “in the run of a small branch in the new road and runs with the run of the same to a small whortleberry” then to the stake, measuring 3 1/2 acres.  The parcel was conveyed in the presence of James M. Gardner and Martin Sauls, but the deed, found at Book 27, page 255, was not registered until 1862.

On 13 Feb 1867, Aaron Seaberry filed a mortgage deed conveying to Napoleon Hagins [his stepson, see above] a “tract of land lately conveyed by Bryant Minshew to Louisa Seabery, wife of Aaron, all interest therein, also one grey mare, four head of cattle, nine head of hogs, all household and kitchen furniture … and 12 barrels of corn, about one thousand two hundred pounds of fodder & about nine hundred pounds of pork, one wagon & cart,and all the farming implements of every description of the said Aaron Seaberry” for $500.  “The condition of this deed is such that whereas, the said Aaron Seaberry is justly endebted to the said Napoleon Hagins in the sum of one hundred & seventy dollars with interest from the first of February 1866, money paid by the said Hagins to William J. Exum for the said Seaberry and at his request and also the sum of two hundred dollars, loaned by the said Hagins to the said Seaberry, the precise date whereof is not remembered, but which the said Seaberry thinks was about eighteen months prior to the date hereof, and whereas the said Seaberry is justly indebted to the said William J. Exum as agent for J.M. Caho in the sum of thirty six dollars & twenty some cents, with interest from 1st January 1861 due by open account & also in the sum of sixty one dollars and thirty eight cents, due by note, the date of whereof is not now remembered by the said Seaberry, but supposed to have been given about two years ago…”  The deed carried a condition that Hagans sell the conveyed property to pay off Seaberry’s debts, with the balance to be paid to Seaberry.

 Federal population schedule; Deeds, Register of Deeds Office, Wayne County.

Louvicey Artis Aldridge.


LOUVICEY ARTIS ALDRIDGE was born in 1865 near Eureka, Wayne County, to Adam Toussaint Artis (1831-1919) and Frances Seaberry Artis (1845-1878.)  In 1879, she married John William Aldridge (1851-1910), son of Robert Aldridge and Mary Eliza Balkcum Aldridge.

Courtesy of Lisa Y. Henderson.

Where are they now? No. 1.

L.H. was born in the mid-1960s in Wilson NC.  She is descended from:

(1) Robert Aldridge [1819-ca1899, Duplin/Sampson/Wayne County] via John W. Aldridge [1851-1910, Wayne County]

(2) Vicey Artis [ca1810-ca1868, Greene/Wayne County] via Adam T. Artis [1831-1919, Greene/Wayne County]

(3) Margaret Balkcum [1836-195, Sampson/Wayne County]

(4) Leasy Hagans [ca1800-ca1865] via Louisa Hagans [1824-ca1875, Nash/Wayne County]

(5) Patsey Henderson [ca1795-??, Onslow County] via James Henderson [1815-ca1890, Onslow/Sampson/Wayne County] via Lewis Henderson [1836-1912, Onslow/Sampson/Wayne County]

(6) Aaron Seaberry [1818-ca1905, Wayne County] via Frances Seaberry [1845-1878, Wayne County]

and (7) an unknown Skipp of Onslow County.

A coloured apprentice.

State of No Carolina }     Court of Pleas & Quarter

Wayne County        }            Sessions — Nov Term 1837 —

Mr Henry Best Sir You are hereby notified to produce on Monday of Feby term of this court next a coloured apprentice named Vincey Seabery on penalty of forfeiting your bond given for the forthcoming of said negro.

Nov 28th 1837          Jno A Green clk

Apprenticeship Records, Wayne County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

[Sidenote: Melvina Seaberry was seven years old in 1824 when apprenticed to Best, who had indentured her brothers Rufus and James Madison Seaberry in 1820.  Best bound another sibling (or cousin), Raleigh Seaberry, in 1837, and yet another, Harriet Seaberry, in 1837.  Melvina was closing in on 21 years of age in 1837, and her indenture was expiring, which may be the reason for Best’s summons. — LYH]


James Seeberry son of Manse Seeberry was born August the 12 1857

Joseph Seeberry son of the above was born May the 12 1859

Undated, Apprenticeship Records, Records of Wayne County, North Carolina State Archives.

Amancy Seaberry, age 17, and 1 year-old son Green are listed in the 1850 census of Wayne County living north of the Neuse River in the household of Nancy Williams.  Manse, James and Joseph Seaberry appear in farmer David Barden’s household in the 1860 census of Saulston township, Wayne County.  Manse worked as Barden’s cook.  Next door, the household of Tho. [Theophilus] Seaberry, his wife Rachel, and their children Eliza, Eltha, Becca, Henry, Theo. Jnr., Milly, Jack, and Rufus.