Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Sheridan

She wanted to advance in life her nephews.

State of North Carolina, Robeson County    } Court of Equity, Fall Term A.D. 1867

To the Honorable the Judge of said Court The Bill of Complaint of Lucy Sheridan of Robeson County Plaintiff against Noah Oxendine Sally Oxendine Mary Oxendine John Oxendine and Lucy Ann Oxendine Minor heirs of James Oxendine dec’d of the Same county defendants

Humbly complaining Showeth unto your Honor Your Oratrix the Said Lucy Sheridan that about Sixteen years ago having sold a tract of land to which she had title She became possessed of about Two Hundred dollars in money at one time and to advance in life her nephews James Oxendine and Bryant Oxendine and aid them in the purchase of a tract of land upon which they could have a permanent home of their own and with this view she joined with them in the purchase of Two Hundred acres of Land from Arch’d S. McKay in Robeson County adjoining the lands Alex McIntyre Angus McGill arch’d Buie and others at the price of Three Hundred Dollars Your Oratrix further Showeth unto you Honor that she furnished One Hundred and ninety five dollars of the purchase money and James Oxendine and Bryant Oxendine furnished the balance to wit One Hundred and five dollars Your Oratrix further Showeth unto your Honor that the Said James Oxendine negotiated for the purchase of said Tract of land the money for that purpose was placed in his hands and he paid the same over to the vendor and took the title to the whole of the Two Hundred Acres in his own name and received a deed for the same from Arch’d S. McKay and that after the purchase it was distinctly agreed between your oratrix and James Oxendine and Bryant Oxendine that your oratrix should have half to wit One Hundred acres of said tract and James & Bryant Oxendine should have hold and possess the remaining One Hundred acres between them and in accordance with that agreement James Oxendine gave to your oratrix his note of hand or bond for forty five dollars being the excess over and above her share of the purchase money paid by her and the said James & Bryant Oxendine went into possession of the said remaining hundred acres of the two hundred acre tract and that for some time the title to the whole remained and rested in James under the deed to him from Arch’d S. McKay but that about three years thereafter it was agreed that he should convey to your oratrix by deed her Share of the land so as to vest the legal title in her and accordingly a deed was drawn and prepared by John C. Sinclair and duly signed and executed by the said James Oxendine conveying to your Oratrix one Hundred acres in fee simple being the upper end of a tract to two Hundred acres survey convey by deed from Arch’d S. McKay to James Oxendine lying on the south side of Mossey Neck adjoining the lands of Gilbert Locklear Arch’d Buie and Angus McGill & others the Said deed was executed at the House of James & Bryant Oxendine and the draftsman the said John C. Sinclair Subscribed the Said deed as witness and besides it was executed in the presence of Bryant Oxendine and Ann Oxendine who afterwards intermarried with David Strickland that the consideration was One Hundred and fifty dollars the amount of money advanced by your Oratrix in addition to the forty five dollars for which James Oxendine gave his note to your oratrix further showeth unto you Honor that the said deed from James Oxendine to her has never been registered and in Some way unaccounted to your Oratrix the Said deed has been lost or destroyed most probably in some way in removing her personal chattels from Bladen County after the death of her husband to her home on said One Hundred Acres of Land conveyed to her by James Oxendine upon which she now lives at all events she did not miss said deed until She had arrived and moved all her personal goods to Robeson County upon the discovery of the loss of said she informed James Oxendine of the fact who promised to execute to your Oratrix another deed similar to the one lost by your Oratrix and she fully believes he fully intended to do so having asked Alexander McIntyre and perhaps others to avow the deed for him expressing a purpose of reconveying said land to your Oratrix And your Oratrix verily believes he would have done so had he not come to a sudden death soon thereafter But your Orator showeth unto your Honor that said James Oxendine died about one and one half years ago without having executed to your Oratrix a deed as a substitute for the one lost as aforesaid leaving him surviving the defendants his children and only heirs at Law on whom his real estate descended upon his death he having died intestate To the end therefore that these defendants may be required by a decree of this Honorable Court to convey to your Oratrix a title in fee simple to the land conveyed by James Oxendine which deed of conveyance is lost described as the upper end of a tract of Two Hundred Acres conveyed by deed from Arch’d S. McKey to James Oxendine lying on the South side of Mossey Neck adjoining the lands of Gilbert Locklear Arch’d Buie Angues McGill and others And that your Orator may have such other and further relief in the premises as the nature and circumstances of this case may require and to you Honor shall same meet May it please your Honor to grant unto your Oratrix the State’s Writ of Subpoena to be directed to the Said Noah Oxendine Sally Oxendine Mary Oxendine John Oxendine and Lucy Ann Oxendine commanding each of them to appear before your Honor in this Honorable Court as the next term thereof then and there to answer the premises &c. And your Orator Shall ever pray   /s/ Giles Leitch Solicitor for Plaintiff

Personally appeared before me Lucy Sheridan who swears that the matters and things contained in the foregoing bill as of her own knowledge are true and that on the information of others he believes to be true Sworn to & subscribed before me 20th Sept 1867 Lucy X Sheridan

Lucy Sheridan vs Noah Oxendine Sally Oxendine Mary Oxendine John Oxendine Lucy Ann Oxendine – Original Bill to Fall Term A.D. 1867 Filed in my office 20th Sep’r 1867.

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Lucy Sheridan v. Noah Oxendine et al   } In Equity – Lucy Sheridan present —

Bryant Oxendine is sworn for complaint.

State all you know about the purchase of a Two hundred acre tract of land in Robeson County purchased & [illegible] Alex McIntyre and others to James Oxendine, and what interest and agency Lucy Sheridan had in the purchase?

Ans: All I know is that Lucy Sheridan paid one hundred and ninety five Dollars toward the purchase of the land the title to the whole land was made to James Oxendine, and James Oxendine made Lucy Sheridan a deed for one hundred acres of the said land. I saw the deed executed and delivered, this was about sixteen years ago. James Oxendine made the deed to Lucy Sheridan.

Cross Examined by Deft’s Counsel –

Interog – Did you see the money paid? Ans. I did not.

Interog – How do you know the money was paid by Lucy Sheridan

Ans. James Oxendine told me Lucy Sheridan had paid him & he the witness helped to work out the balance of the money that went to pay for the land. And furthermore this deponent saith not.   Bryant X Oxendine

Sworn to & Subscribed before me the 25th March 1868

In the 1850 census of Upper Division, Robeson County: Kizia Oxendine, 35, with Margaret, 22, James, 18, Bryant, 12, Anny, 11, Lias, 6, and Silas Oxendine, 35. In the 1860 census of North Division, Robeson County: Jams Oxendine, 27, farmer, wife V., 20, and children N., 1, and S., 1 month. In the 1860 census of Bladen County: Thos. Shearidan, 72, farmer, and wife Lucy, 55.

Some have resolved to move to Africa.

AUGUSTA, (GEORGIA) May 21st, 1837

To the Board of Managers of the American Colonization Society;

GENTLEMEN, I have the honor to submit a brief report of my proceedings since I left Washington early in March, with such suggestions and reflections as may occur during the relation of the incidents and observations of my tour up to this date.

North Carolina will stand forth a powerful and decided friend of the scheme of Colonization. … The Society of Friends in this State, early turned their thoughts to the plan of African Colonization, encouraged the free people of colour under their protection to emigrate to Liberia, and supplied a generous fund to defray the expenses of such as consented to remove thither. Several hundreds, once under the guardian care of this Society, are now enjoying the freedom and privileges of that Colony. There are still in North Carolina numerous free coloured persons of respectable intelligence and moral character. Those in Fayetteville, Elizabethtown, and Wilmington, have probably no superiors, among their own class, in the United States. After careful reflection, some have resolved to remove to Africa, and others are anxiously directing their thoughts to the subject. Louis Sheridan, with whose reputation and views the Board are partially acquainted, is a man of education, uncommon talents for business, a handsome property, and the master of nineteen slaves. His determination to emigrate to Liberia with a company of from forty to sixty of his relations and friends has already been announced. The public meetings held in Raleigh, during my visit, were well attended and of much interest, and addressed with spirit and effect by several of the citizens of that place. Collections were made for the benefit of the Society. The Resolutions adopted by the citizens of Raleigh are before the public.

I have the honor to be, With great respect, Gentlemen, your obedient Servant,

R. R. [Ralph Randolph] GURLEY

Excerpt from Secretary’s Report, The African Repository and Colonial Journal 13, No. 7 (July 1837), pages 201-206.

Thomas Sheridan.

Thomas Sheridan (ca. 1787-1864) was an emancipated mulatto carpenter active in Bladen County during the antebellum period, whose only documented building is the Brown Marsh Presbyterian Church (1828) in that county.

“Thomas Sheridan’s family background illustrates the complexities of race and status in his era. Probably born in Bladen County, he may have been the son of Nancy Sheridan (a woman of color who was emancipated after his birth) and Joseph R. Gautier, a wealthy Bladen County planter and merchant of French Huguenot background. Gautier, who was frequently listed among the leading men of the Cape Fear region, was a political figure in Elizabethtown, a state senator (1791), and an early supporter of the University of North Carolina noted for having left his library of some 100 volumes (mostly in French) to the university’s library. Gautier was the owner of several slaves, including Thomas Sheridan and his brother Louis Sheridan, and probably Nancy Sheridan. Circumstantial evidence also indicates that Joseph Gautier and Nancy Sheridan had a long-term domestic relationship: many white men who had such relationships with their enslaved women often freed their enslaved family members and provided for them (although emancipation became increasingly difficult in the early and mid-19th century).

“In 1799, Joseph Gautier of Elizabethtown petitioned the North Carolina General Assembly to emancipate “two mulatto boys belonging to him.” Gautier explained that, “as their childhood would render fruitless a recourse to the county court, he prays the aid at the Legislature to establish by a law the freedom of said boys.” (Laws governing emancipation by county courts required demonstration of meritorious service, which a child could not have earned; thus Gautier appealed to the legislature. No matter what the status of the father, a child born to an enslaved mother was born a slave.) Gautier’s petition succeeded, and the legislature enacted a law that “the said mulatto boys be emancipated and set free from slavery, and henceforward be called and known by the names of Thomas Sheridan and Louis Sheridan.” In 1799, Thomas was about twelve years of age and Louis was about six. In the 1800 census of Bladen County, J. R. Gautier was listed as head of household with one white male, three “other” free persons–probably Nancy, Thomas, and Louis–and seven slaves. His will of 1800 left his plantation “at the marsh,” his household and plantation utensils, and five slaves to Nancy Sheridan, “my emancipated black woman” (suggesting that he himself had freed her, though no record has been found). He left three slaves to “her child” Louis Sheridan, a small amount of property to his (presumably white) nephew, Joseph Gautier, Jr., and £500 to Thomas Sheridan, no relationship specified. The terms of the will make it uncertain as to whether Thomas as well as Louis Sheridan was the son of Nancy Sheridan: Thomas might have been the son of Gautier with another woman, or even of Nancy and another father. In any case, Gautier freed and provided for young Thomas. Gautier died in 1807.

“Louis Sheridan (ca. 1793-1844), probably Thomas’s brother or half-brother, gained a good education and became an important merchant and large property owner in Elizabethtown with business connections throughout the state and even the nation. He owned as many as sixteen slaves. He also acquired many town lots in Elizabethtown, including those he sold as sites for the courthouse and for the Presbyterian and Methodist churches. Probably because of his father’s position and connections, Sheridan was aided by former governor John Owen and other leading men of the region and traveled widely for business to Philadelphia, New York, and elsewhere. Although he had initially opposed colonization, after the state placed tighter restrictions on free people of color in the 1830s, Louis Sheridan joined the Liberian colonization movement. He sold his slaves and moved with his family to Liberia in 1837, where he found a situation far less rosy than he anticipated and wrote (often negative) reports back to the United States. He remained there nevertheless and died there in 1844.

“Thomas Sheridan pursued the carpentry trade and remained in Bladen County. Although he doubtless built other structures, he is remembered chiefly as builder of Brown Marsh Presbyterian Church. The plainly finished, weatherboarded building is one of the few intact examples still standing of the state’s once numerous simple frame churches. A board in the church ceiling retains the chalked signature, “Thos. Sheridan,” and the date, probably 1828, possibly 1818. Within several years, in 1834, the Presbyterians in the county seat of Elizabethtown built a more substantial church on land deeded to the congregation by Louis Sheridan. Possibly the congregation employed Thomas Sheridan to build it, but this is not documented.

“According to the United States census of 1850, unlike his brother Thomas Sheridan did not become wealthy. He was listed as a mulatto carpenter, aged 62, with $30 worth of real estate. He headed a household that included his wife Agnes and their adult daughter, Martha. They lived in a rural neighborhood among primarily white farmers, plus a few other free artisans of color. In 1851 Sheridan remarried, to Lucy Oxendine of Robeson County, of a large Native American family. In 1860, Thomas Sheridan was listed as a farmer with a farm worth $200 and personal property worth $170, with his wife Lucy, aged 55. In his will of 1863 (probated in 1864), Sheridan left his farm, livestock, and household goods to his wife, then to his daughter Martha. He specified that his gun (for which in most areas a man of color had to obtain a special license) and his carpentry tools should be sold to pay for his funeral; and he left the lumber in his shop “to make my coffin.”

Author: Catherine W. Bishir. Published 2009.

As published in North Carolina Architects and Builders: A Biographical Dictionary,  http://ncarchitects.lib.ncsu.edu  (All rights retained.) This web site is a growing reference work that contains brief biographical accounts, building lists, and bibliographical information about architects, builders, and other artisans who planned and built North Carolina’s architecture.