Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: voting

Void and of no effect.

AMENDMENTS to the Constitution of the State of North Carolina.


So much of the constitution as entitles free persons of colour to vote for members of the Senate, and of the House of Commons, is hereby made void and of no effect.

Proposed amendments published in Carolina Watchman, 23 March 1833.

[Sidenote: Free people of color ultimately were stripped of the right to vote in 1837. — LYH]

I blame the State of North Carolina.


I was born free, in Halifax Co. North Carolina, where I lived thirty-five years. About ten years ago, I removed to Indiana. My father was a farmer, half white, who ran through his farm. If a white man there brings a great account, the white man would carry it against the colored, — the law there does not favor colored people. I cannot read or write. A free-born man in North Carolina is as much oppressed, in one sense, as the slave: I was not allowed to go to school. I recollect when I was a boy, a colored man came from Ohio, and opened a school, but it was broken up. I was in the field ploughing with my father, — he said he wished we could go and learn. I think it an outrageous sin and shame, that a free colored man could not be taught. My ignorance has a very injurious effect on my prospects and success. I blame the State of North Carolina — the white people of that State — for it. I am now engaged in a troublesome lawsuit, about the title to my estate, which I would not have got into, had I known how to read and write.

There were lots of slaves in the neighborhood where I was raised. After I grew up to take notice of things, I found I was oppressed as well as they. I thought it a sin then, for one man to hold another. I never was allowed to visit among the slaves, — had I been caught visiting them, I should have been fined: if a slave had visited me, he would have been whipped. This prevented my having much intercourse with them, except when I was hired to work by the masters. The conversation among the slaves was, that they worked hard, and got no benefit, — that the masters got it all. They knew but little about the good of themselves, — they often grumbled about food and clothing, — that they had not enough. I never heard a colored man grumbling about that here. They were generally religious, — they believed in a just God, and thought the owners wrong in punishing them in the way they were punished. A good many were so ignorant that they did not know any better, than to suppose that they were made for slavery, and the white men for freedom. Some, however, would talk about freedom, and think they ought to be free.

I have often been insulted, abused, and imposed upon, and had advantage taken of me by the whites in North Carolina, and could not help myself.

When I was twenty-one, I went to vote, supposing it would be allowed. The ‘Squire, who held the box objected, and said no colored man was allowed to vote. I felt very badly about it, — I felt cheap, and I felt vexed: but I knew better than to make an answer, — I would have been knocked down certain. Unless I took off my hat, and made a bow to a white man, when I met him, he would rip out an oath, —  “d–n you, you mulatto, ain’t you got no politeness? Do n’t you know enough to take off your hat to a white man?” On going into a store, I was required to take off my hat.

I have seen slaves with whom I worked, nearly starved out, and yet stripped and whipped; blood cut out of them. It makes my flesh creep now to think of it – such gashes as I’ve seen cut in them. After a whipping, they would often leave and take to the woods for a month or two, and live by taking what they could find. I’ve often heard it said that’s the cause of colored people in the South being dishonest, because they are brought so as to be obliged to steal. But I do not consider it dishonest — I always thought it right for a slave to take and eat as much as he wanted where he labored.

At some places where I have worked, I have known that the slaves had not a bite of meat given them. They had a pint of corn meal unsifted, for a meal, — three pints a day. I have seen the white men measure it, and the cook bake it, and seen them eat it: that was all they had but water — they might have as much of that as they wanted. This is no hearsay — I’ve seen it through the spring, and on until crop time: three pints of meal a day and the bran and nothing else. I heard them talk among themselves about having got a chicken or something, and being whipped for it. They were a bad looking set — some twenty of them — starved and without clothing enough for decency. It ought to have been a disgrace to their master, to see them about his house. If a man were to go through Canada so, they ‘d stop him to know what he meant by it — whether it was poverty or if he was crazy, — and they ‘d put a suit of clothes on him. I have seen them working out in the hot sun in July or August without hats — bareheaded. It was not from choice, — they could n’t get hats.

I have seen families put on the block and sold, some one way, some another way. I remember a family about two miles from me, — a father and mother and three children. Their master died, and they were sold. The father went one way, the mother another, with one child, and the other two children another way. I saw the sale — I was there — I went to buy hogs. The purchaser examined the persons of the slaves to see if they were sound, — if they were “good niggers.” I was used to such things, but it made me feel bad to see it. The oldest was about ten or eleven years. It was hard upon them to be separated — they made lamentations about it. I never heard a white man at a sale express a wish that a family might be sold together.

On removing to Indiana, the white people did not seem so hostile altogether, nor want the colored people to knuckle quite so low. There were more white people who were friendly than in North Carolina. I was not allowed my vote nor my oath. There were more who wished colored people to have their rights than in North Carolina, — I mean there were abolitionists in Indiana.

I came here a year last spring, to escape the oppression of the laws upon the colored men. After the fugitive slave bill was passed, a man came into Indianapolis, and claimed John Freeman, a free colored man, an industrious, respectable man, as his slave. He brought proofs enough. Freeman was kept in jail several weeks, — but at last it turned out that the slave sought, was not Freeman, but a colored man in Canada, and F. was released. The danger of being taken as Freeman was, and suffering from a different decision, worked on my mind. I came away into Canada in consequence, as did many others. There were colored people who could have testified to Freeman’s being free from his birth, but their oath would not be taken in Indiana.

In regard to Canada, I like the country, the soil, as well as any country I ever saw. I like the laws, which leave a man as much freedom as a man can have, — still there is prejudice here. The colored people are trying to remove this by improving and educating themselves, and by industry, to show that they are a people who have minds, and that all they want is cultivating.

I do not know how many colored people are here — but last summer five hundred and twenty-five were counted leaving the four churches.

From Benjamin Drew, A North-Side View of Slavery. The Refugee: or the Narratives of Fugitive Slaves in Canada Related by Themselves, with an Account of the History and Condition of the Colored Population of Upper Canada (1856).

Though his age is off by several years, this is possibly the Tho. Hedgepath, 31, farmer, with wife Mary, 28, and children A., 7, M.J., 3, and L., 7 months, listed in the 1850 census of Center, Marion County, Indiana. Thomas, Mary and A. were born in North Carolina; the younger children in Indiana.

Voter Registration Under the Grandfather Clause: Wayne County

Public Laws of North Carolina, 1899, chapter 218.

(Sec. 4.) Every person presenting himself for registration shall be able to read and write any section of the constitution in the English language and before he shall be entitled to vote he shall have paid on or before the first day of March of the year in which he proposes to vote his poll tax as prescribed by law for the previous year. Poll taxes shall be a lien only on assessed property and no process shall issue to enforce the collection of the same except against assessed property.

(Sec. 5.) No male person who was on January one, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, or at any time prior thereto entitled to vote under the laws of any states in the United States wherein he then resided, and no lineal descendant of any such person, shall be denied the right to register and vote at any election in this state by reason of his failure to possess the educational qualification prescribed in section four of this article….

The following colored men registered to vote in Wayne County in 1902.  In accordance with Section 5, each was required to name the ancestor who “grandfathered” him in.

Joseph Aldridge, 36, Brogden, Robert Aldridge.

M.W. Aldridge, 45, Goldsboro, Robert Aldridge.

Robert Aldridge, 33, Brogden, Robert Aldridge.

In the 1860 census of Newton Grove, Sampson County: Robert Aldridge, farmer, $260, illiterate, with wife Mary E., and children George W., John J., Armelia, Matthew L., David S., and a one month-old infant.

A.B. Artis, 29, Nahunta, Absalom Artis.

Joseph Artis, 21, Nahunta, Absalom Artis.

Mack Artis, 52, Nahunta, Absalom Artis.

Nathan Artis, 42, Saulston, Absalom Artis.

In the 1860 census of North Side of the Neuse, Wayne County: Absolom Artis, 70, wife Clarkey, 55, and Absalum, 23, Joseph, 19, Jane, 17, Eveline, 14, and Albert, 12.

Albert Artis, 58, Nahunta, Edwin Artis.

Donnie Artis, 21, Nahunta, Edwin Artis.

In the 1860 census of Buck Swamp, Wayne County: Edwin Artis, 50, Emily, 35, Albert, 16, Elvira, 14,  Absalom, 12, Clarkey, 10, George, 8, William Edwin, 6, and Baby, 9 months.

J.F. Artis, 58, Buck Swamp, James Artis.

John Artis, 39, Buck Swamp, William Hagans.

Oscar Artis, 22, Buck Swamp, Jim Pig.

Will Artis, 47, Buck Swamp, Jim Pig.

In the 1880 census of Pikeville, Wayne County: Willey Artis, 24, wife Charlotte, 24, and son Oschar L., 2 months.

G.W. Barnes, 33, Pikeville, Asey Artis.

In the 1860 census of Wayne County: Asa Artis, 35, wife Phereby, 34, and Lumizer, 20, Mary, 18, Penninah, 15, Lewis, 12, William G., 7, Zilpha J., 3, and Benaja, 1.

Calvin Brock, 52, Brogden, Fred Gibson.

Calvin V. Brock, 24, Brogden, Fred Gibson.

In the 1860 census of the Northern Division of Duplin County: Cassy Smith, 45, with Charlott, 25, Dorcas, 19, Rebecca, 16, Richard, 14, Mary G., 12, Ezekiel, 8, and Thear Smith, 4; plus Calvin Brock, 10, and Samuel Purvie, 35.

Calvin V. Brock was Calvin Brock’s son.

Marshall Carter, 42, Brogden, Mike Carter.

Williby Carter, 22, Brogden, Mike Carter.

In the 1860 census of Clinton, Sampson County: Michael Carter, 57, and wife Patience, 47. Next door, Wm. Carter, 26, wife Mary, 34, and children Cornelia, 6, Francenia, 6, Thos. G., 5, Sarah J., 2, and Archibald, 9 months.  In a duplicate listing in Piney Grove, Sampson County: William Carter, 27, turpentine laborer, Mary 27, Cornelia, 12, Francenia, 6, Isaiah T., 4, Sarah J., 2, and Archy M., 6 months. (Archibald “Archy” M. Carter was Marshall Carter.)

Williby Carter was Marshall Carter’s son.

George Hagans, 48, Nahunta, William Hagans.

H.E. Hagans, 34, Goldsboro, Napoleon Hagans.

W.S. Hagans, 31, Nahunta, Dr. Ward.

Napoleon Hagans, age 6, was apprenticed in 1845 to William Thompson in Wayne County NC.  Apprenticeship Records, Records of Wayne County, North Carolina State Archives.

In the 1850 census of North of the Neuse, Wayne County: Aaron Seaberry, 32, farmhand, wife Louisa, [stepson] Napoleon [Hagans], 10, Frances, 5, and Celia Seaberry, 17. In a duplicate listing, Leacy Hagans with  [grandson] Napoleon Hagans. 

Henry E. and William S. Hagans were Napoleon Hagans’ sons.  (Dr. Ward was David G.W. Ward, father of Henry and William’s mother Apsaline “Appie” Ward Hagans.)

R.H. Hagans, 22, Nahunta, Everett Hagans.

Edwin Hall, 53 Nahunta, Dempsey Hall.

In the 1860 census of Wayne County, North Side of the Neuse: Dempsey Hall, 26, wife Martha, 26, and children Vina, 2, Edwin, 1, and Eveline, 2 months.

John H. Jacob, 52, Brogden, Jesse Jacob.

In the 1860 census of Honeycutts, Sampson County: Jesse Jacobs, 43, wife Abba, 31, and children Edward J. 14, Betsey A., 13, John R., 11, Martha, 8, Solomon, 6, Jesse, 4, and Abba J., 6, plus William, 10, Eliza, 8, and John Jacobs, 6.

George Linch, 22, Buck Swamp, Haywood Linch.

Haywood Linch, 56, Buck Swamp, self.

Morrow J. Linch, 26, Buck Swamp, Haywood Linch.

In the 1850 census of Wayne County, North Side of the Neuse: Raiford Linch, 38, wife Rebeca, 38, and children Bryant, 17, Eveline, 15, Bud, 13, Sarah, 11, Eliza, 10, Haywood, 8, Aley, 5, and John, 2.

Morrow (Marion?) and George Haywood Lynch were Haywood Lynch’s sons.

Wiley Mozingo, 76, Goldsboro, Christopher Mozingo.

In the 1850 census of Northern District, Sampson County: C. Mazingo, 50, mulatto, with Wiley, 18, Joshua, 16, and William, 14.

David Reed, 87, Fork, self.

In the 1860 census of Nahunta, Wayne County: Rhody Reid, 50, son Isaac, 26, and husband David Reid, 65. 

George W. Reid, 32, Goldsboro, Washington Reid.

In the 1850 census of Wayne County, North Side of the Neuse: Washington Read, farmhand, 28, wife Penninah, 25, and Lewiser, 2 months.