Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Surry County

Surnames: Surry County, 1850.

The following surnames are found among free people of color in Surry County:


North from North Carolina, no. 2.

In the 1830 census of Surry County: Arthur Larter listed as head of household with 4 males under 10, 2 males 10-24, 1 male 36-55, two females under 10, 1 female 10-24, and one female 24-36.

In the 1850 census of Pilot, Surry County, Arter Larter (58, farmer), wife Polly (55), with children Sally (16), Jennings (17), Sanders (13) and Parmelia (11), all mulatto.

In Owens County, Indiana, Marriage Records: Jennings Larter married Barsheba Harris, 22 Feb 1855.

In the 1860 census of  Marion, Owen County, Indiana: Jennings Larter (27, day laborer, born NC), wife Beshaba (26, b. IN), and children Leason (4), Permelia J. (2) and Mary Ann (6 mos.) In the

1860 census, Perry, Lawrence County, Indiana: Arthur Larter (67, farmer), wife Mary (63), Elizabeth (43), Sanders, Alford, John, Parmiler (28), plus E. Partridge (15).  All born in NC, save E., who was born in KY.  Next door: William Larter (36, farmer) and wife Susan (18).

Larter brothers, U.S. Colored Troops.

ImageImageJennings Larter and Alfred Larter were sons of Arthur and Mary Larter, who migrated from Surry County NC to Owen and Lawrence Counties, Indiana, in the early 1850s. The Twenty-eighth U. S. Colored Troops were recruited in Indiana. Six companies were organized at Indianapolis in April, 1864, and turned over to the United States as a battalion of the 28th U. S. Colored infantry.

Compiled Military Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers in the 26th through 30th Infantry Units, and the 29th Connecticut Infantry (Colored). National Archives and Records Administration.

Caesar applies for Confederate pension.



On this 2 day of July, A.D. 1917, personally appeared before me A.L. Sparger J.P., in and for the State and County aforesaid, Phillip Ceaser, age 90 years, and a resident at Mt. Airy post-office, in said County and State, and who, being duly sworn, makes the following declaration in order to obtain the pension under the provisions of an act entitled “An act for the relief of certain Confederate Soldiers, Sailors and Widows,” ratified March 8, 1907; that he is the identical Phillip Ceasar who enlisted in Co. A, Reg., N.C. State Troops, on or about 1 day of May, 1864, to serve in the armies of the late Confederate States, and that while in service at Fort Caswell in the State of N.C., on or about 15th day of Nov, 1864, he received a wound or wounds, etc. [description] from which wound a fistula resulted.

He further states:

That he is, and has been for twelve months immediately preceding this Application for Pension, a bona fide resident of North Carolina;

That he holds no office under the United States, or any State or County, from which he is receiving the sum of three hundred dollars as fees or as salary annually;

That he is not worth in his own right, or the right of his wife, property at its assessed value for taxation to the amount of five hundred dollars ($500), or has he disposed of property of such value by gift or voluntary conveyance since the 11th of March, 1885;

That he is not receiving any aid from the State of North Carolina or under any other statue providing for the relief of the maimed and blind soldiers of the State.   Phillip X Ceaser

Sworn and subscribed to before me, this 2 day of July, 1917.  A.L. Spanger, J.P.

Also personally appeared before me J.A. Adams, who resides at Dobson post-office, in said County and State, a person whom I know to be respectable and entitled to credit, and being by me duly sworn, says he acquainted with Phillip Ceaser, the applicant for pension, and has every reason to believe that he is the identical person he represents himself to be, and that the facts set forth in this affidavit are correct to the best of his knowledge and belief, and that he has no interest, direct or indirect, in this claim. J.A. Adams.

Sworn and subscribed to before me, this 2 day of July, 1917A.L. Spanger, J.P.


State of North Carolina, Surry County} Office of County Board of Pensions

To the State Board of Pensions

The attached application of one Phillip Cesar who makes application for an allowance as pensioner for services rendered the Confederate States during the Civil War in building fortifications at the time the services were rendered he was one of the old issue of free negroes we find no law for allowing him a pension. We simply recommend the allowance as a 4th class pension, and if the claim is not allowable by your board you know what disposition to make of it.  J.G. Burns Chairman, S.C. Franklin, R.S. Folger

From the file of Phillip Caesar; North Carolina, Confederate Soldiers and Widows Pension Applications, 1885-1953; Original, North Carolina State Archives.

In the 1860 census of Mount Airy, Surry County: Philip Ceaser, 23, wife Jane, 20, and daughter Sarah, 6 months.

Free-Issue Death Certificates: MISCELLANEOUS, no. 11.

Jane Ceaser. Died 27 October 1921, Mount Airy, Surry County. Black. Widow of Phillip Ceaser. Age about 90. Born in NC to [first name unknown] Starling and unknown mother. Buried Ararat cemetery. Informant, Jess Rowley, Mount Airy.

Sarah Stubblefield. Died 16 May 1915, Winston-Salem, Forsyth County. Colored. Married. Born 1860 in NC to Phillip Caesar and Jane Stewart. Buried Brushy Fork cemetery. Informant, George Stubblefield.

In the 1860 census of Mount Airy, Surry County: Philip Ceaser, 23, wife Jane, 20, and daughter Sarah, 6 months.

John Dimery. Died 7 January 1916, Elizabeth, Bladen County. “Molato.” Married. Cooper. Age about 70. Born Bladen County to Allen Dimery and unknown mother, both of Bladen County. Buried at “John Martins bur place,” Bladen County. Informant, Rev. Williamson, Elizabethtown.

In the 1860 census of Bladen County: Allen Dimery, 54, cooper, wife Sarah, 50, and children Martha, 18, John, 17, Early J., 14, A.M., 7, A.V., 7, W.D., 6, and S.J., 5.

Hawkins Carter. Died 6 Mar 1920, Judkins, Warren County. Colored. Married. Farmer. Born 1846 in Warren County to Hawkins Carter and Betsy Carter. Informant, Archer Carter, Littleton.

H.W. Carter. Died 21 August 1927, Durham, Durham County. Resided 512 Douglass. Farmer. Colored. Married to Nannie Carter. Age 85. Born in NC to Plummer Carter and Amey Hawkins. Buried Warrenton NC. Informant, Miss P.H. Carter, Durham.

Wesley Carter. Died 11 December 1917, Aurelian Springs, Brinkleyville, Halifax County. Colored. Married. Farmer. “Had been blind 47 years.” Born Warren County to Hawkins Carter of unknown and Betsie Shaw of Halifax. Buried “Popular Grove.” Informant, Eligah Carter, Aurelian Springs.

In the 1850 census of Warren, Warren County: Hawkins Carter, 45, wife Elizabeth, 40, Wesley, 10, Lavenia, 8, Hawkins, 6, Plummer, 4, Eaton, 2, and Lemuel, 1; plus Plummer Carter, 50.

Bessie Jane Jeffries. Died 11 February 1936, Burlington, Pleasant Grove, Alamance County. Black. Widow of Bedford Jeffries. About 80 years old. Born Orange County to William Haithcock and unknown mother. Buried Martin Chapel. Informant, Alvis McAdams.

In the 1860 census of Alamance County: Caty Jeffries, 50, Barb Jeffries, 48, Jacob Jeffries, 35, Bedford Jeffries, 18, and Thos. Jeffries. 15.

It is not slander, per se, to charge a white man with being a free negro.

Abner C. McDowell v. William Bowles, 53 NC 184 (1860).

“It is not actionable, per se, to charge a white man with being a free negro; and it does not alter the case, that such man was a minister of the gospel.”

This slander case was tried in Surry Superior Court. Abner McDowell charged that, when he attempted to vote at a constable’s election, William Bowles said that McDowell had no right to vote, that he was a free negro, and that “if you let free negroes vote, here, let Zach. Warden vote also.”  (Warden was, in fact, a free man of color.) McDowell declared that he was “a clear blooded white man, and a regular licensed minister of the Baptist Church” and charged Bowles with slander.

Bowles moved for summary judgment on the ground that his alleged words were not actionable. The court agreed, and McDowell appealed.

The state Supreme Court noted that slanderous words fell into three categories: those that impute a crime; those that “impute an contagious disease, by which the party impugned would be excluded from society;” and those derogatory with respect to a person’s profession. “We are not aware of any class of defamatory words, which are held to be actionable, that would embrace the language complained of in this case.”

He induced a free negro to go over the mountains.

Condemned.  At Surry Superior Court, last week, Abram Weaver, who has been confined in the jail of this county for some eighteen months, was tried and convicted of selling a free negro.  An appeal was taken to the Supreme Court.  People’s Press.

Carolina Watchman, Salisbury, 30 September 1852.



This notorious individual, we learn, was tried for kidnapping, at the recent term of the Superior Court of Surry county – Judge Ellis presiding.  He was found guilty, and condemned to be hung on the first Friday in October; but appealed to the Supreme Court.

We understand it was in evidence that in the Spring of 1848 Weaver induced a free negro, Jim Corn, to go with him from Stokes county over the mountains into Virginia, on a trip to sell guns; that they stopped at the house of one Lowder, in Burke’s Garden, soon after which the prisoner, sold the said free negro into bondage, who was carried to Louisville, Kentucky, where the negro sued for and obtained his freedom.  Greens. Pat.

Carolina Watchman, Salisbury, 7 Oct 1852.

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).