Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Tarboro

To Mary Ann Jones and her two children.

Be it remembered that I Henry S. Lloyd of Tarboro North Carolina being of sound mind and memory, but of infirm health do make and publish this my last will and Testament, hereby revoking all other Wills by me at any time heretofore made

I direct  that all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid and I nominate and appoint Whitmel P. Lloyd and William Norfleet of the County of Edgecombe in the State of North Carolina, Executors and Trustees under this my last will and Testament

I authorize and empower my Said executors to carry on my farms for the term of two years after my decease, and to adopt all measures necessary for that purpose, if the same be necessary to pay my debts, and to apply the income thereon as the same may be received to the payment of my Said debts. I further authorize and empower my said Executors to sell and convey at public or private sale, all my real estate in the Town of Tarboro not Specially devised or otherwise disposed of in this my last Will and to apply the proceeds of the Said Sale to the payment of my debts and legacies

I give and bequeath to my Aunt Helen B. Slade, all my right title and interest in the farm on which she lives

I also give and bequeath to my said Aunt Helen B. Slade all my negroes on my Roanoke plantation, also all my negroes on my Edgecombe farms which I got from Martin County whether I inherited or purchased them

After the payment of my debts I give and bequeath to the two children of Mary Ann Jones, free colored woman, twenty five hundred dollars each, and I direct that the said money shall be received and held by William Norfleet in trust to apply so much of the income of the said Legacies, as he may deem necessary for the support of the Said children during their minorities; and to pay the principal, and the accumulation of interest to them, as they shall respectively, arrive at the age of twenty one years. Should either of the children die during her minority without issue, then to pay the same to the survivor, and if both of the said children should die under the age of twenty one years, and without issue, then to pay the said principal and the accumulation of interest to their mother, but should either of the said children die leaving issue, the said issue shall take his, her or their mothers share

I give and devise to Mary Ann Jones, free colored woman of the said Town of Tarboro, and to her heirs and assigns forever the lot of ground and the house thereon erected in the Town of Tarboro in which she now lives. I also give and bequeath to her the sum of one hundred Dollars a year, for and during the term of Ten years

I give and devise to the daughter of Elizabeth Bland of the County of Martin, in the State of North Carolina (the said daughter being her first child and the one the paternity of which she imputed to me) and to her heirs and assigns forever, certain tracts of Land in the said county, containing about four hundred and sixty acres more or less, being the premises which I purchased of Amileach C. Williams, as by his deed to me will more fully appear, but should the said child die during her minority without issue, then I give and bequeath the said tracts of land to her mother, the said Elizabeth Bland, and to her heirs and assigns forever.

I give and bequeath to Elizabeth Bell the sum of five hundred Dollars absolutely, and I give to her in trust the sum of one hundred Dollars to be expended by her, from time to time in the purchase of clothing for James Adams as he may need them

I give and bequeath to my friend William Norfleet my negro woman Nancy, and her two youngest children I also give and bequeath to him my buggy and two black mares

I give and bequeath to my friend Joel Lewis, my gold watch, and my bay Horse which I bought of Tom Cook

All the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, both real and personal, I give, devise and bequeath, one third thereof to my sister Mary Louise Caldwell, and to her heirs and assigns forever, one third thereof to my brother Whitmel P. Lloyd and to his heirs and assigns forever, and the remaining one third to David Barlow in trust to receive the rents, issues, profits and income thereof, and to pay the same to my brother, Joseph W. Lloyd for and during the term of his natural life, and after the death of my said brother, I give, devise and bequeath the said one third, to the Children of my said brother, who may be then alive, and to the issue of such as may be then dead leaving issue, and should all of the children of my brother Joseph be dead, at the time of his decease, without leaving issue, then I give, devise and bequeath the said one third of my estate to my said brother Whitmel and sister Mary Louisa, their heirs and assigns, and should they or either of them be then dead, the child or children of my said deceased brother or sister shall take his or her or their parents share absolutely and in fee

In testimony whereof, I the said Henry S. Lloyd the testator above named, have to this my last Will and Testament set my hand and seal, this 13th day of February Anno Domini one thousand eight hundred and sixty  /s/ Henry S. Lloyd

Witnessed by E. Barnes and Jno. Norfleet, proved at February Term 1860. Edgecombe County Will Book G, p. 181.

In the 1860 census of Tarboro, Edgecombe County: Mary Jones, 23, her daughters George A., 3, and Mary, 1, and mother Charity Jones, 42, plus Jackey Thomson, 49.

And rapacious, to boot.

Superior Court, Edgecombe County

Fred Philips Administrator of Wright Locust


Augustus Locust, Primmy Washington, Charity Battle, Isham Locust, Harry Locust, Martha Ann Woodley, Mourning Jones, George W. Locust, Jo Anna Locust, Zaney Barnes, and Eliza Daniel.

The Petition of Fred Philips the above named Plaintiff respectfully shows

1. That on the 8th day of October 1881 Wright Locust died intestate and on the 12th day of October 1881 he was appointed administrator and duly qualified as such upon his estate.

2. That from the best information and knowledge which he has been able to obtain the outstanding debts of the said estate amount to about One hundred and seventy five dollars

3. That the value of the personal estate is Forty nine 46/100 dollars, and consisted of household furniture and carpenters tools which have been sold. That the sum of Forty four 25/100 dollars has been expended in paying some of preferred debts of the estate. That the intestate died seized and possessed of the real estate hereinafter described to wit “A certain piece or parcel of land situate in the town of Tarboro and County of Edgecombe and being the North Western half of the lot designated in the plan of said town as lot no 132. The said half lot being about 150 by 75 feet and containing one fourth of an acre. The same being the land the said Wright Locust resided upon at the time of his death and which was purchased by him from John Norfleet on the 1st day of Nov. 1858, and is estimated to be worth four or five hundred dollars.

4. That the defendant Augustus Locust is a child of the said Wright Locust, and claims to be the only heir at law and entitled to all his estate after paying the debts. But your petitioner has been informed and believes that Wright Locust and Tempy his wife the Father and Mother of the said Augustus were never married until the year 1866, many years after the birth of the said Augustus and that in Law he is a bastard and he has never been legitimized.

5. That the defendant Primmy Washington claims that the illegitimate brothers & sisters of the said Wright are his only heirs at law, and at the time of the death of said Wright Locust, he had no brothers or sisters living except herself and that she is the sole heir of the said Wright, and is entitled to all his estate after paying the debts.

6. That the defendants Charity Battle, Isham Locust, Harry Locust are the children of Mourning Locust, a sister of the said Wright who died in Nash County about 26 years ago. That the defendants Martha Ann Woodley, Mourning Jones, and George W. Locust are the children of Emanuel Locust who was a child of the said Mourning and died several years ago. That the said Charity, Isham, Harry and Martha Ann, Mourning, and George W., the children of Emanuel claim that they as representatives of Mourning Locust a sister of the said intestate are entitled to a share of intestates estate after paying the debts.

7. That the defendant Jo Anna Locust is the only surviving child of one Nancy Locust who died in March 1871 and who was the only child of Uny Locust a sister of the said Wright and who died many years ago in or near Nashville NC. That the said Jo Anna Locust claims that she as representative of Uny Locust is entitled to a share of intestates estate after paying the debts.

8. That the defendants Zaney Braswell who married [blank] Barnes and Eliza Braswell who married [blank] Daniel are the only surviving children of Jenny Locust who intermarried with one Jordan Braswell and died about 50 years ago. That the Defendants Zaney and Eliza claim that they as representatives of Jenny Locust a sister of the said intestate are entitled to a share of intestates estate after paying the debts.

9. That the said Wright Locust had other brothers and sisters to wit – Smith, Clem, Patience and Moriah but they are all dead and without issue as your Petitioner has been informed and believes.

Your petitioner represents that the personal estate is wholly insufficient to pay the debts of the said intestate and the costs of administering the estate and that a sale of said land is necessary to enable him to pay the debts of his intestate and the charges of administration. To the end that the said land may be sold by your petitioner under advice of this Court on such terms as the Court may direct, and that the proceeds of the sale may constitute assets in his hands for the payment of debts and charges your petitioner prays that a summons be issued to each of the above defendants to appear and answer and how their respective claims for any surplus after paying the debts judicially determined by a decree of this Court.       H.L. Staton Jr. Atty for Petr.

Algood Locust and Polly Locust, children of Mariah Locust, eventually joined the action as defendants. Documents in the file show that Wright Locust owned chickens and a pig and received rental income from unnamed sources. His debts included medical bills owed to two doctors; $1.00 owed to a druggist; $2.00 owed to Charlotte Bells for washing; $16.50 owed to Jenny Jackson and $10.50 to Hilliard Locust for nursing him in his last illness; and $3.00 to Harry Redmond for digging his grave. His town lot was sold for $585.

Augustus Locust’s Answer to the action filed by the administrator of the estate of his father, Wright Locust, included these paragraphs:

“2nd. That he denies that he is a Bastard – because he has been informed and believes that his father, the said Wright Locust, and his mother, Tempy Jones, free persons of color, were lawfully married in Halifax County before the birth of this defendant; but at this distant period (defendant himself being now in the 57th year of his age) is it difficult if not impossible to obtain proper evidence of said Marriage, owing to the loose and negligent manner in which the record of all marriages was kept, and the death or removal of them who might have been personal witnesses. Nor does defendant think that the remarriage of the said Wright and Tempy in the year 1866 in the County of Edgecombe, was a denial of the validity of the first marriage, for in this they, in the extreme ignorance of their condition and color, were merely misguided imitators of other colored people who at that time were marrying, after having cohabitated as husband and wife in slavery, under a law the provisions of which were intended to apply only to those who had formerly been slaves and incapable of contracting marriage – but which free people of color might mistake as applying to their class also.

3rd. That it is an undeniable fact that both in the counties of Halifax and Edgecombe the said Wright and Tempy openly and notoriously lived and cohabited together as husband and wife and hesitated not to avow the marital relationship existing between them, long before the birth of this defendant; and that, subsequently thereto, and up to the time of their deaths, they continued so to live & acknowledge each other, in the Town of Tarboro, where they owned Real Estate, and remained unmolested by the laws against fornication and adultery, — which in law is presumption of defendant’s legitimacy and capacity to inherit. And the fact that these parties were only ignorant colored people, tends to render the presumption only the more violent; and, if better proof of marriage were required, it is doubtful if it could be given in one case out of a hundred, where the marriage is alleged to have taken place sixty years ago. For himself Defendant further avows and is ready to verify that he has often heard both his said parents say that they were married in Halifax, and that his birth took place after their removal to the Town of Tarboro. …”

Locust went on to argue that Wright Locust bought his property and paid for it by the labor of “his own hands, assisted also by [Augustus’] mother,” from whom, even if he were illegitimate, he could inherit; that his parents had promised him repeatedly that the land would be his alone after their deaths – he was their “only child.” As to the other defendants, Augustus knew little except what was in the petition, i.e. that they were all “bastard collateral relations” of his father, and “rapacious” to boot.

Several men testified to their knowledge that Wright and Tempy Locust lived together as man and wife; that Augustus was their child; and they were free negroes. The court ruled in favor of Augustus Locust, and he was declared his father’s sole heir.

From the file of Wright Locust, North Carolina Estate Files 1663-1979, Original, North Carolina State Archives.

In the 1830 census of District 1, Edgecombe County: Wright Locus headed a household that included two males under age 10; one male aged 24-36; one female under age 10; and one female aged 24-36; all free people of color. In District 8: Clem Locus headed a household that included two white females under age 10; one white female aged 24-36; one white female aged 70-80; and one colored male aged 24-36.

In the 1850 census of Edgecombe County: Right Locust, 45, carpenter, Temperance, 37, and A. Locust, 14. In the 1860 census of Tarboro, Edgecombe County: Wright Locust, 50, Tempy, 45, and Hillard Locust, 3.

In the 1860 census of Winsteads, Nash County: Algood Locus, 23, farm laborer, Lizzey, 25, Jane, 10, Larkin J., 9, and Manda, 4.  In Coopers, Nash County: Mourning Locus, 50.  In Nashville, Nash County: Nancy Locus, 50, Uny L. Locus, 70, and Joanna Locus, 18.



She is entitled to all of it.

Doe on the demise of Mary Ann Jones v. William Norfleet, 52 NC 473 (1860).

This ejectment action was tried in Edgecombe County Superior Court.

The plaintiff, “a colored woman,” claims title to a parcel of land under the 1860 will of Henry S. Lloyd, which contains the following clause: “I give and devise to Mary Ann Jones, a free colored woman, of the said town of Tarborough, and to her heirs and assigns forever, the lot of ground and the house thereon erected in the said town, on which she now lives.”

William Norfleet, Lloyd’s executor, having been directed to sell all of Lloyd’s real estate in Tarboro, except that specifically devised, took possession of lot 118, insisting that lot only 107 passed to Jones.

The two lots, totaling about an acre, adjoin each other and are enclosed by one fence, except nine or ten feet of lot 118 at the upper end, which has a steep descent. There has never been a dividing line between the lots, which are situated “in the suburbs” of Tarboro.

In 1856, before the lots were enclosed, Lloyd built an ice house on lot 118, at a cost of some 800 dollars, for storing ice for a tavern in which he had one-half ownership. The lots were surrounded by a board fence in 1857, and the same year Lloyd built Jones a house on lot 107.  She moved in immediately and resided there at the time of the suit. In the spring of 1859, Jones enclosed a small portion of the ground for a garden. There is a smokehouse on lot 107, built when the house was built, and, on lot 118, a small privy. In 1858, Lloyd built a rough cabin with a small garden for an aged slave. Jones had the use of the rest of both lots for the purpose of cultivation.

Tarboro’s town plan shows lots fifty yards square, and according to such measurement, part of Jones’ garden and the privy are situated on 118. Lloyd bought both lots from the same person at the same time. He lived near them and frequently saw them, but it is unknown whether he knew where the line between them would run.

The Superior Court judge ruled that Jones was entitled to both lots, and Norfleet appealed.

“A testator, owning a parcel of land embracing two town lots, on which he had settled a woman, having built her a dwelling on one lot and an outhouse on the other, and permitted her to inclose a garden, partly on each lot, and to use the whole parcel inclosed within one fence, devised to her ‘the lot of ground and house thereon erected in the said town where she now lives.’ The facts are distinctly and clearly stated, and after duly considering them, in connection with the language of the will, we are of opinion that the entire parcel of ground, embracing lots 107 and 118, passed under the devise, except such portions as had been appropriated by the devisor to the ice-house and to the cabin and garden of the old slave.” Judgment affirmed.

Free Colored Inhabitants of the Town of Tarboro, Edgecombe County, 1850.

#7. Isach Scott, 35, painter; Drucilla Scott, 40; and J.H. Wilkins, 8.

#8. Right Locust, 45, carpenter, wife Temperance, 37, and A., 14.

#9. Lovy Hagans, 33; wife Cas Morgin, 36; and children Rebecca, 9, and P.A. Morgin, 1 month.

#11. Green Copes, 30, mason; Mary Thompson, 80; and Susan Copes, 17.

#12. J.A. Anderson, 39; Wyatt Hagins, 13, and Jack D. Hagins, 82.

#13. Moses Jones, 25, blacksmith; Sally A. Jones, 24; and W. Jones, 60.

#21. John Mitchel, 10, in the household of carpenter Thomas Oberry.

#23. Rebecca Mitchel, 35; L[illegible] Hagins, 15; and Susan Letten, 12.

#28. Elizabeth Scott, 48, in the household of Randolph Cotton.

#33. Julia Butler, 11, in the household of Lewis Bond, cabinetmaker.

#69. Blunt Letten, 16, and West Letten, 13, in the household of Helvy Shurley, farmer.

Neither purchase the horse nor harbor the boy.


RANAWAY from the subscriber, on Friday morning, 2d inst. About 2 o’clock, a bright mulatto boy named John Murray, aged about 20 or 21 years, 5 feet 7 or 8 inches high, square built.  He had on when he left, a white hat with a broad brim, drab colored close bodied coat, and white pantaloons.  Said boy is free and has free papers, but was hired by me – he stole from me when he left, A Gray Horse, 4 years old, nearly 5 feet high, very well set, and on his wethers he has saddle marks and a small lump.  I will give $20 reward for the apprehension of said boy and horse, if taken within this State – or $50 if without the State, and secured so that I get them again.  All persons are cautioned against purchasing the horse or harboring said boy.  DAVID McDANIEL.  Tarboro’, N.C. Nov. 6, 1838.

Tarboro’ Press, 17 Nov 1838.