Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: selling free people of color

He tore up and destroyed his free papers.

KIDNAPPER ARRESTED.

Mr. James Franklin, a blind man, and a resident of Columbia, S.C., was arrested in this city yesterday, having been detected in endeavoring to sell a free negro into bondage. It appears that Franklin, about a week ago, went to Charlotte, N.C., where he made it known that he wished to hire a free negro to go with him and take care of him on a trip to the Virginia Springs. Harmon Proctor, a free negro, was recommended, and accepted the position. Franklin, having made his arrangements, went from Charlotte to Richmond, Va., when he changed his destination, and shortly after left for Greenville, Tennessee, where he has a brother living. After remaining there a few days, Franklin went to Louisville, and thence to Cincinnati, where he chanced to meet a free negro named A.W. Thompson, whom he engaged to accompany him to New Orleans, at which point it was understood that he intended to send Proctor home, taking Thompson for his body servant. In getting as far as Vicksburg, however, Thompson (who is a very bright mulatto, and a fellow of much shrewdness) learned of the disabilities imposed on free negroes by the laws of Louisiana, and prevailed upon Mr Franklin to return, which he did on the Edward J. Gay, which reached here on yesterday afternoon. While the Gay was discharging freight, Thompson prevailed upon Franklin to stop in Memphis for a day or two, and shortly after they made an attempt to sell Harmon Proctor as a slave. Proctor discovered what they were about after they had got him to the slave-dealer’s mart, and showed to the proposed purchaser the evidence of his freedom, which being shown to Mr Franklin, he immediately tore up and destroyed in the presence of the slave-dealer. These facts coming to the knowledge of the officers, the kidnappers, James Franklin (white) and A.W. Thompson (colored), were lodged in jail to await trial, as well also the negro whom they attempted to sell.

James Franklin is said to be a man of means living in Columbia, S.C., and a little fast in his expenditures for a blind man. It is supposed that the wily Cincinnati free negro first conceived the idea of selling Harmon Proctor into slavery, and then inveigled Franklin into it. Fortunately they are all in jail, and the guilty party will be made to suffer the full penalty of the law. – Memphis Enquirer.

The Charlotte Democrat, 9 October 1860.

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In the 1850 census of Cleveland County, Harmon Proctor, 18, in the household of white farmer William H. Cabaniss.

On 22 December 1856, Hermon Proctor married Anny Freeman. Rowan County Marriage Records.

He sold Betsy, well knowing she was free.

State of North Carolina  }    Superior Court of Law

Wayne County             }    Spring Term 1837

The Jurors for the State upon their oath present, that Farnifold Jernigan, late of the County of Wayne, and State of North Carolina, on the first day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty six, at and in the County aforesaid, one free negro, by the name of Betsy Dinkins, unlawfully did sell to one Robert Daniel, said Jernigan knowing the said Betsy Dinkins to be free, contrary to the form of the Statute, in such case made and provided and against the peace and dignity of the State.

And the Jurors aforesaid upon their oath aforesaid do further present, that Farnifold Jernigan, late of the County of Wayne, and State aforesaid, on the first day of March, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and thirty six, at and in the county aforesaid, unlawfully, did sell one Betsy Dinkins, a person of mixed blood, to one Robert Daniel, the said Betsy Dinkins, then and there being free, and the said Farnifold Jernigan, well knowing that the said Betsy Dinkins was free, contrary to the form of the Statute, in such case made and provided, and against the peace and dignity of the State.

And the Jurors aforesaid upon their oath aforesaid do further present, that Farnifold Jernigan, late of the County of Wayne, and State aforesaid, on the first day of March, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and thirty six, at and in the county aforesaid, unlawfully, did sell one Betsy Dinkins, a person of mixed blood, (daughter of one Sally Dinkins a white woman) to one Robert Daniel of said county, the said Farnifold Jernigan, knowing the said Betsy Dinkins to be free, contrary to the form of the Statute, in such case made and provided, and against the peace and dignity of the State.

And the Jurors aforesaid upon their oath aforesaid do further present, that Farnifold Jernigan, late of Wayne County and State aforesaid, on the first day of March, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and thirty six, at and in the county and state aforesaid, unlawfully, did sell one Betsy Dinkins, then and there a person of mixed blood, to one Robert Daniel, for the price of fifty dollars, the said Betsy Dinkins, then and there being free, and the said Farnifold Jernigan, knowing that the said Betsy to be free, contrary to the form of the Statute, in such case made and provided and against the peace and dignity of the State.     /s/ Edw. Banly Solicitor

In 1834, Furnifold Jernigan and David Cole were charged in Wayne County Superior Court with taking Kilby O’Quinn from Wayne to Bladen County for “their own use.” In 1837, Jernigan was indicted for selling Betsy Dinkins. In that three-year period, Jernigan and at least four co-defendants appeared on the Wayne County docket ten times on charges of selling free negroes, but never vent to trial. Despite Jernigan’s notoriety (he had fourteen other unrelated court appearances in the same period,) the state’s solicitor in the Dinkins case was compelled to complain to the judge that “the defendant by the influence of several men of standing … has …  so many of the Court yard, in his favor, that it would be amere mockery to enter upon this trial in Wayne.” The case was ordered removed to Greene County, but never appeared on the docket there. In 1850, Jernigan, still living in Wayne, owned $5000 in farmland and 43 slaves. Minutes of the Superior Court of Wayne County, Spring Term, 1834, and Minutes of the Superior Court of Wayne County, Spring Term, 1837, Records of Wayne County, NCSA; State Docket, Superior Court of Wayne County, vol. 1, 1834-1843, Records of Wayne County, NCSA;Petition from Edward Banly to Superior Court, April 6, 1837,Box 4, Records Concerning Slaves and Free Persons of Color, Records of Wayne County, NCSA.