Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Simmons

To Minta, reserving for Itey a life estate.

In the name of God Amen,

I, James M. McDuffie being of a sound and disposing mind and memory, blessed be God, though weak and infirm in body make and constitute this my last will and testament

Item 1st  It is my will and desire that my Executor hereinafter named shall have my body decently interred after my death in the old family grave yard in the county of Cumberland and after paying all my just debts to dispose of the residue of my Estate as follows.

Item 2nd I will and bequeath unto Minta Bryant the tract of land on which Itey Simmons now lives, reserving to said Itey a life estate in said land, which tract contains about fifty six acres, adjoining the lands of Pollock, Glisson & others to have and to hold said land with its appurtenances to and her heirs forever;

Item 3rd I will and bequeath all the balance of my property of whatsoever kind or description both in possession and in action real and personal to my brother Malcom J. McDuffie to use occupy and possess the same to dispose of it in whatever manner he may deem fit and proper (due regard being paid to what slaves I may own or leave at my death) to have and to hold the same to him and his heirs forever;

Item 4th I hereby constitute my said brother Malcom J. McDuffie Executor of this my last will and testament and do revoke all wills and testament by me heretofore made,

In witness whereof I hereunto set my hand and affix my seal this the Twenty first day of May 1862.    /s/ Jas. M. McDuffie

Signed and sealed in the presence of W. Vernon, Wm. W. Fulghum

Proved August Term 1862. Wayne County Will Book R13, page 462, North Carolina Probate Records 1735-1970, Original, North Carolina State Archives.

In the 1860 census of Indian Springs, Wayne County, Minta Bryant, 23, and her children Mitchel, 4, Edith, 6, and Rufus Bryant, 2, all mulatto, lived in the household of James McDuffee, 41.

[Sidenote: Was McDuffie the father of Bryant’s children? He purchased the land from Itey Simmons’ son David in 1855, subject to Itey’s life estate. After Itey’s death, Minta Bryant was forced to sue to recover the property.]

Approved teachers.

State of North Carolina, Wayne County, Monday, Sept. 3rd 1877

To the Register of Deeds of Wayne County:

The County Examiner, in pursuance of Section 16 of the School Laws, reports for the year ending the day preceding the first Monday in September, 1877, as follows:


Washington Simmons. Col’d. Third Grade. Male.

J.C. Carroll. Col’d. Third Grade. Male.

Mathew Aldridge. Col’d. Third Grade. Male.

Washington Winn. Col’d. Third Grade. Male.

Susan Winn. Col’d. Third Grade. Female.

Mary Aldridge. Col’d. Third Grade. Female.

Nights as well as days.

State of North Carolina, Wayne County    } Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, November term AD 1860

The Grand Jurors for the State upon their oath present that Willie Simmons a Free Negro late of the county of Wayne with force and arms at and in Said county of Wayne on the first day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and Sixty and on divers other days times, nights as well before or afterwords up to the taking of this inquisition a Shot Gun did keep in his house and he the said Willie Simmons did wear keep and Carry the aforesaid Shot Gun without having obtained a license therefor from the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of Wayne County within one year next preceeding the time of keeping wearing and carrying the aofresaid Shot Gun contrary to the form of the Statute in Such case made and provided and against the Peace and dignity of the State.     Everitt.  Sol.

Records of Slaves and Free Persons of Color, Wayne County Records, North Carolina State Archive.

W. Frank & Sarah Simmons.

ImageWILLIAM FRANK SIMMONS was the son of Bryant Simmons and Elizabeth Wynn Simmons.  SARAH WYNN SIMMONS was likely related to Frank’s mother, but her parentage is not clear. They are buried at First Congregational Church cemetery, Dudley, Wayne County.

Polly is to have the crop raised on the land.

State of North Carolina, Duplin County }

In the name of God amen

I Kenan Millard being in a low state of health but of sound and perfect mind & memory do make publish & declare this my last will & testiment in manner and form following to wit: Knowing that it is appointed for all men to die First I commend my body to the dust and my soul to God that gave it

Item 1st I give and bequeath unto my brother Isaac Millard my home plantation whereon I now live to him and his heirs forever and my two negro women Phillis and Caty to him & his heirs forever

Item 2nd I loan to my brother in law Joseph Williams and his wife Nancy my Charles Bennett land for the term of ten years and after that ten years shall expire from that time I give and bequeath the aforesaid land to my nephew Kenan Williams to him & his heirs forever also one leather trunk to him & his heirs forever

Item 3rd I give and bequeath unto my nephew Jesse Millard my George Reasons tract of land lying in Wayne County & State aforesaid to him & his heirs forever

Item 4th My will and desire is that my Nancy Reasons tract of land the Calvin Simmons land which he holds a bond against me for a title two years hence if he fails to pay, for the same at the end of two years and the Lydia Smith land the Nancy Reasons and Lydia Smith land to be sold by my exer. which I shall hereafter appoint and the mony arising from the sale of said land to be equally divided between my three sisters & Charles Millard to wit — Nancy Williams, Mary Glisson and Sarah Porter to them & their heirs forever the Calvin Simmons land to be sold by the same if not paid for within the two years as before mentioned and the money arising from the same to go to Sarah Porters two sons that she had of George Craddock names not recollected

My will and desire is further that my crop as it is now pitched to remain as it is untill it is made and Polly Simmons is to have the crop that is raised on the Nancy Reasons land and Bass land, all the balance of crop and stocks of all kinds to be sold at a six months credit all my lumber gathered together and inspected and negro man Moses to be sold by my exer. at six months credit and all any just debts to pay out of the same the balance & residue if any to be equally divided between my three sisters to wit — Sarah Williams Mary Glisson  Sarah Porter & Charles Millard  to share and share equal alike to them and heirs forever

I further nominate & appoint my brother Isaac Millard & brother in law Joseph Williams executors to this my last will & testament In Witness whereof the said Kenan Millard have hereunto set his hand and affixed his seal April 28th day AD 1847  /s/ Kenan Millard {seal}

Witness D. Jones, Willis Williamson


North Carolina Duplin County Court January term 1848 Now in open Court the within paper writing is propounded for probate as the last will & testament of Kenan Millard and the due execution thereof is proved to the satisfaction of the Court by the oaths of Daniel Jones & Willis Williamson subscribing witnesses thereto it is considered by the Court that the within paper writing and every part thereof is the last will & testament of said Kenan Millard sufficient in law to pay his [illegible] & personal estate and it is accordingly admitted to probate & ordered to be recorded Test J H Jermans Clk by B F Grady L Clk


Lost or Mislaid, sundry Notes and Bonds.

1 Bond that I hold against Adam Winn for one boy, Woodward Winn.

1 Note against J.A. Brady for $200.

2 Notes against W.L. Jenkins, one $20 and one $10.

My Accounts and Receipts payable to me.

1 Note against W.B. Field; Land Deeds, and my free papers.

I forewarn all persons from trading for said notes and accounts as I have not got value received for them.                         HENRY SIMMONS. Nov. 12.

Fayetteville Observer, 19 November 1860.

[Sidenote: Woodward Winn was Adam Winn’s son, and a slave. — LYH]

Political Register.


County Officers. …

Commissioners – E.B. Jordan, Washington Winn, J.K. Smith, N.G. Holland

Justices of the Peace. …

Geo. W. Simmons. Date of Qualification, Aug. 30th, 1873. Post Office Address, Dudley.

The Legislative Manual and Political Register of the State of North Carolina for the Year 1874. Raleigh (1874).

In the 1860 census of Buck Swamp, Wayne County: Washington Winn, 35, carpenter, wife Temperance J., and children Aaron, 17, Levi, 15, Elizabeth, 13, James, 11, and Giles, 9.

He was elected county commissioner.

“I remember the first election held here after the negroes were given the right to vote. The negroes were corralled in Little Washington by J. E. O’Hara, a West India negro, and formed in two lines and marched to the Court House. I was standing on the piaza [sic] of the old Griswold Hotel, when they turned down Walnut Street, and as the last of the line passed where I was standing, the head of the column was turning into the court house square near where Col. I. F. Dortch’s office stands. The election lasted for three days and the votes were sent to Gen. Canby’s headquarters at Charleston, S.C. to be counted. At the first election held after the adoption of the Canby Constitution, one negro, Green Simmons, was elected on the Board of County Commissioners. Negroes were appointed on the police force of the town.  A Yankee, J. H. Place, who came here with the army, was elected mayor. The finances of the town and county both got into bad shape, county orders getting down as low as forty cents on the dollar.”

From J.M. Hollowell, “War-Time Reminiscences and Other Selections,” Goldsboro Herald, June 1939.

In the 1850 census of South Side of the Neuse, Wayne County: Green Simmons, 33, cooper, wife Betsy J., 26, and children Needham, 5, Cicero, 3, and Mary, 1. All were born in Wayne County, except Betsy, born in Sampson.

Born in 1844 in New York of West Indian and Irish parentage, James E. O’Hara migrated to North Carolina after the Civil War with African Methodist Episcopal Zion missionaries.  He served as clerk for the 1868 state constitutional convention and was elected to the North Carolina State House of Representatives in 1868 and the United States House of Representatives in 1882. O’Hara died in New Ben in 1905.

Fayetteville State founders.


Fayetteville State University, now part of the University of North Carolina system, was the first normal school for African Americans in North Carolina. The university’s founding dates to 1867, when David A. Bryant, Nelson Carter, Andrew J. Chestnutt, George Grainger, Matthew Leary, Thomas Lomax and Robert Simmons paid $140 for a lot on Fayetteville’s Gillespie Street and named themselves into a board of trustees to maintain the property as a permanent site for the education of black children. General O. O. Howard, an early supporter of black education, erected a building on the site, and the school was named the Howard School in his honor.

The education center was chartered by the legislature as the State Colored Normal School in 1877. In 1880 Charles W. Chesnutt was appointed principal of the school after the death of principal Robert Harris. Chesnutt served the institution for three years before resigning and moving to Cleveland, Ohio.

Ezekiel Ezra Smith was appointed as Chestnutt’s replacement in 1883. E. E. Smith had a long and distinguished career at the school. During his span as principal (and eventually president) at the institution, he served in a host of other positions. Smith was appointed Minister Resident and Consul General of the U. S. to Liberia by President Grover Cleveland in 1888. George H. Williams assumed the duties of principal in Smith’s absence. After serving in Liberia for two years, Smith returned to North Carolina to organize the state’s first newspaper for African-Americans, The Carolina Enterprise, in Goldsboro. During Smith’s tenure, he saw the school the school move to its permanent location on Murchison Road in 1907. The high school curriculum was discontinued by the state in 1929 and Smith’s title change to president. He retired in 1933.

Adapted from

In the 1850 census of Fayetteville, Cumberland County: Angus Carter, 45, boatman, wife Dezda, 38, and children Nelson, 16, Angus, 15, John, 13, Margaret A., 12, Betsy, 10, Jane, 8, Alonzo, 5, Mellissa, 2, and Ann, 2 months.

In the 1850 census of Fayetteville, Cumberland County: John Terry, 13, Ellen Terry, 16, Sally Lucus, 12, and Thos. Lomack, 18, in the household of Jesse W. Powers, merchant.

In the 1850 census of Eastern Division, Cumberland County: Griscilla Simmons, 35, Robert, 12, Samuel, 8, and Mary A., 2.

Where Thunder Swamp Branch crosses the main road.

Adam Winn to Lemuel Cherry

State of North Carolina, Duplin County   }         This indenture made this 30th of July 1841 Between Adam Winn of the one part and Lemuel Cherry of the other part and both of the same State and County witness that I the said Adam Winn for and in consideration of the sum of twelve dollars to him in hand paid by Lemuel Cherry before the sealing and delivery of these presents the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged hath given  granted bargained and sold do by these presents bargain sell and make over unto him the said Lemuel Cherry his heirs executors Administrators & assigns forever a certain ankerage or tract of land lying and being in the County of Duplin and on the waters of thunder swamp it being part of the land that Adam Winn bought of Lucy Win and part of the old Jonson tract of land and I the said Adam Winn doth assign over to the said Lemuel Cherry all the right title interest or claim in the before mentioned land containing ten acres more or less and begins and runs as follows (viz) Begins on main road that runs in Wayne and where thunder swamp branch crosses the main road an runs up said road to a large pine and then corners a new made corner and then runs a strait line of marked trees to William L. Hills line and then with Hills line to said Cherrys line then down said Cherrys line to the beginning and I the said Adam Winn doth my heirs executors & admrs or assigns no warrant and defend the before mentioned lands unto him the said Lemuel Cherry his heirs executors admrs or assigns forever against all other person or persons whatsoever laying any claim to the same in witness whereof I the said Adam Winn have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and date first above written signed sealed and delivered in the presence of Kenan Millard and Wm P. Cherry   Adam Winn (seal)

North Carolina, Duplin County Court January term 1852

The due execution of the foregoing deed is proved in open Court by the acknowledgement of Adam Winn the bargainor and ordered to be registered.  B.F. Grady Clk

Grantor Book 20, Page 407, Duplin County Register of Deeds Office, Duplin County Courthouse.

In the 1850 census of North Division, Duplin County: Adam Winn, 45, farmer, with William, 13, Marshal, 11, John, 9, Woodard, 7, Woodley Winn, 5, plus Moses Simmons, 18. Adam reported $3800 in real property.  [Sidenote: Lemuel Cherry, 71, white, farmer, is listed four households away from Adam Winn in this census. His household included Elender Young, 50, who was white. Elender Young was likely the mother of America Young, who married Adam Winn’s brother Charles Winn.  Also, though Adam’s sons are listed as free, they were in fact his own slaves. More about that later. — LYH]