Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Wake County

Sad death of a respected colored citizen.

Sad Death.

Tuesday, February the 19th., Jackson Tabourn an old colored man was found dead in the woods in Ferrell’s Township, two miles above Stanhope. He had been from home and was returning at the time of his death. The cause of his sudden demise is unknown, but it thought that he died a natural death. He was a respected colored citizen and his death is to be deplored.

The Wilson Advance, 20 February 1880.

In the 1850 census of Nash County: Jackson Tayborne, 28, wife Mary, 26, and children Margie A., 9, Emily A., 7, Dossey, 4, and Mardecie, 2.

In the 1860 census of North Western District, Wake County: Jackson Taborn, 45, farm laborer, wife Mary, 46, and children Emily, 17, Mardesia, 13, Dawson, 15, While, 9, Dane, 6, and Joseph, 3.

In the 1880 mortality schedule of Nash County: Jackson Tayborn, 56, colored, died February, apoplexy.

They talked about their service and privations together.

State of North Carolina Wak County pearsonally appeared before us Nancey Whitehead widow of Burwell Whitehead Aged ninety years and made oath in Dew form of Law to following affidaved

That She was Raised in the County of hallifax and State of North Carolina and that She was pearsonally Acquanited with Axum Scot and that they was Both Raised in the Same neighbourhood and Lived in a mile of Each other and that She well recollects that he married Alley Sweat and in a Short time after thear mariage had a Son they named him Zachariah and further this Deponent Saith not Sworn to and Subscribed before is August 13th 1846  Nancey X Whitehead

[illegible} JP, Tignall Jones JP


State of North Carolina, Wake County   }  Personally appeared before me Tignal Jones an acting Justice of the peace for said County on the 13th day of August 1845 Gilbert Evans aged fifty seven years and made oath to the following affidavit

That he was personally acquainted with Exum Scott for many years and often heard him speak of his services in the revolutionary War and heard him talk of his distress in leaving home to enter the army. And this deponent further saith that he has often heard his father (William Evans) who was also a revolutionary Soldier speak of the said Exum Scott as a Soldier of the revolution and also has heard them talking together of their services & privations together in the war and saith that the said Scott was always bore the Character of a revolutionary Soldier and always treated as such

Sworn to and subscribed before me the day & date first written    Gilbert X Evans


State of North Carolina, Wake County   }  This day Barney Scott of Granville County appears before me Tignal Jones a Justice of the peace of said County and made oath that he is the third son of Exum and Alley Scott that he is now as he believes 68 years of age and that he recollects when his father returned home from the War and that he has often heard his father say that he served under Col Long of Halifax and often heard him talk of the War and his services in the War and heard him say he served eighteen months under Col Long and further that his father was always called an old revolutionary Soldier & always treated as such and also had heard his father say that Jesse Potts was his Captain and that his father died in Wake County about the year 1823. Sworn to & subscribed before me this 23rd day of July AD 1845  Barney X Scott

Witness Tignall Jones JP


Widow Alley Sweatt Scott and son Zachary Scott, among others, also gave affidavits attesting to Exum Scott’s marital status and war service. There was testimony that Exum and Alley married in 1774 in Halifax County and that they moved to Wake County about 1801. George Pettiford of Granville County, himself a Revolutionary War veteran,  gave an affidavit concerning Scott’s service, and other documents named a third son, Guilford Scott.

From the file of Exum Scott, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives and Records Administration.

In the 1790 census of Edgecombe District, Halifax County: Exum Scott listed as head of a household of 9 free people of color.

Only his aunt remains alive.

Charlotte County Virginia. This day Mary Belcher came before me Hillery Moseley a Justice for said County at the request of Lucy Chavers who has been married to Robert Cole both black persons and the said Lucy had a Sister by the name of Betty Chavers who had a Son which was crissind in my house by the name of John Jackson Chavers, and made Oath that the said two women were Sisters and She don’t believe there is any of the aforesaid Family a Live at this time except the said Lucy Cole, Given from under my hand this 27th day of April 1808  /s/ Hillery Moseley


Mecklenburg County, Virginia. This day Haywood Rudd came before me a Justice for said county and made oath that he was acquainted with a black boy by the name of John Jackson Chaves that the said boy was bound and apprentice to William Steward a blacksmith and that when he the said Steward went from the County to Wake County N Carolina the aforesaid John Jackson Chaves went with him and that he knows of no relations of said John Jackson Chaves except Lucy Cole rais’d said J. Jackson Chaves from his infancy until he was bound apprentice to the said William Steward. Given under my hand this 9th day May 1808.  /s/ James Hester


Mecklenburg County, Virginia. This day came Mathew Carter before me a Justice for the said County, and made oath that Lucy Cole Lived several years on his plantation in this County & that she rais’d a boy there by the name of John Jackson Chaves, Who was then said to be her sisters son that the said John Jackson Chaves was afterwards bound apprentice to William Steward blacksmith who carry’d him the sd. John Jackson Chaves with him when he moved from this county and that he knows of no relations in these parts to said Chaves or any where else except Lucy Cole, given under my hand this 9th day of May 1808  /s/ James Hester

Miscellaneous Records & Apprentice Bonds and Records, Wake County Records, North Carolina State Archives.


A ROBBERY.  In the night of the 31st of December last, my son William Sugg, was robbed on the Road between Raleigh and Joshua Sugg’s, supposed by a free black man named JOHN BLACK, who is well known in this neighborhood, and who has since escaped. The money taken consisted of one or two ten dollar Bank Notes, one five dollar note, and three forty shilling Bills of State Currency. With the money was taken my pocket knife, a small part of both blades of which had been broken. Black is about 25 years old, low and well made – is a Carpenter by trade, and had with him a copy of his former masters will, (Moses Parker,) of Franklin – Any person apprehending said Black, so that he may be brought to justice, shall be well rewarded for their trouble.   WM. SUGG. Wake county, January 5, 1815.

Star, Raleigh, 6 January 1815.

Runaway redux.

RUNAWAY from the subscriber on Saturday night, the 27th inst. his negro boy TOM, about fifteen years of age, he was clad in dark homespun clothes, has a scar over his right eye near the brow – he rode away a bay mare; she has a star in her forehead.

Said boy Tom runaway some weeks ago and passed in Orange county for a free boy by the name of Tom Pettiford, and will probably attempt to pass for a free boy again. Any person who will apprehend said boy, and confine him in jail so that I get him again, shall be generously rewarded.  J.M. JELKS. Wake County, 9 miles west of Raleigh, February 23, 1820.

Star, Raleigh, 3 March 1820.

Acquitted of rape of 80 year-old woman.

Wake Superior Court.

On Wednesday, Jones Kiff, a free boy of colour, about 21 years old, was tried on an indictment for Rape, committed on a free woman of colour, supposed to be 80 years of age. Verdict of acquittal.

Tarboro’ Press, 16 April 1836.

An act authorizing him to free his wife and son.

An Act authorizing John Malone, a free man of color, to emancipate his wife and son, upon certain conditions herein mentioned.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That John Malone, a free man of color, in the county of Wake, be, and he is hereby authorized to emancipate from slavery, Cherry, his wife, and Edmond, his son, who are the slaves of the said John Malone; and that the said Cherry, by the name of Cherry Malone; and the said Edmond, by the name of Edmond Malone, shall thence-forth be free and have and enjoy the same rights and privileges as if they had been born free in this State, and may at their pleasure continue to reside in North Carolina; any law to the contrary notwithstanding; Provided, That the said Edmond Malone shall be, after his emancipation, considered in law the legitimate son and heir of said John Malone, and capable in law to succeed as such to the property, real and personal, whereof the said John Malone may die siezed and possessed, without devising it, or otherwise conveying it to others, in all respects, as though the said Edmond had been born in lawful wedlock of the body of the lawful wife of the said John Malone; and provided further, That the said John Malone shall in due form of law intermarry with said Cherry Malone, and make her his lawful wife, on the same day that she shall be emancipated by him from slavery.

Sec. 2. Be it further enacted, That before the said John Malone shall emancipate the said slaves Cherry and Edmond, and as a precedent condition to give the said act of emancipation effect in this State, the said John Malone shall give a bond, in the penal sum of five hundred dollars, payable to the State of North Carolina, and conditioned that the said slaves, Cherry and Edmond, shall each be of good behavior during his or her residence in the State, and that neither of them shall, after their emancipation, become chargable to the county or any parish or county in North Carolina; and further conditioned, that the said John Malone will renew the said bond, with approved security when it shall at any time be required by the county court of Wake; and the clerk of the county court of Wake, under the written approbation of any two justices of the peace or the county court of Wake, may take the first bond, and the said John Malone shall give one or more good and approved sureties to the said bond, as well the one executed at first, as any other given in renewal thereof. [Ratified 2nd of January, 1847]

Chapter CLXII, Public and Private Laws of North Carolina,1846-47, North Carolina State Library.

In the 1850 census of Raleigh, Wake County: John Malone, 58, livery stable keeper, born Virginia; wife Cherry, 49, born NC; son Edmond, 30; plus Elisabeth Hinton, 22, Sarah J. Leary, 21, William Laws, 17, James Roe, 18, Bryant Smith, 14, Elijah Rollins, 9, Burtie Morgan, 11, Aribella Smith, 13, Virginia Somerville, 9, and James Harriss, 22.

Opens at once both earth and heaven.

I went to my mistress and inquired what was her price for me. She said a thousand dollars. I then told her that I wanted to be free, and asked her if she would sell me to be made free. She said she would; and accordingly I arranged with her, and with the master of my wife, Mr. Smith, already spoken of, for the latter to take my money  and buy of her my freedom, as I could not legally purchase it, and as the laws forbid emancipation except, for “meritorious services.” This done, Mr. Smith endeavored to emancipate me formally, and to get my manumission recorded; I tried also; but the court judged that I had done nothing “meritorious,” and so I remained, nominally only, the slave of Mr. Smith for a year; when, feeling unsafe in that relation, I accompanied him to New York whither he was going to purchase goods, and was there regularly and formally made a freeman, and there my manumission was recorded. I returned to my family in Raleigh, and endeavored to do by them as a freeman should. I had known what it was to be a slave, and I knew what it was to be free.

But I am going too rapidly over my story. When the money was paid to my mistress and the conveyance fairly made to Mr. Smith, I felt that I was free. And a queer and a joyous feeling it is to one who has been a slave. I cannot describe it, only it seemed as though I was in heaven. I used to lie awake whole nights thinking of it. And oh, the strange thoughts that passed through my soul, like so many rivers of light; deep and rich were their waves as they rolled; — these were more to me than sleep, more than soft slumber after long months of watching over the decaying, fading frame of a friend, and the loved one laid to rest in the dust. But I cannot describe my feelings to those who have never been slaves; then why should I attempt it? He who has passed from spiritual death to life, and received the witness within his soul that his sins are forgiven, may possibly form some distant idea, like the ray of the setting sun from the far off mountain top, of the emotions of an emancipated slave. That opens heaven. To break the bonds of slavery, opens up at once both earth and heaven. Neither can be truly seen by us while we are slaves.

[Footnote omitted.] From THE NARRATIVE OF LUNSFORD LANE, FORMERLY OF RALEIGH, N. C., Embracing an account of his early life, the redemption by purchase of himself and family from slavery, And his banishment from the place of his birth for the crime of wearing a colored skin. PUBLISHED BY HIMSELF (1842).

Intelligence received from some free people of colour.

RUNAWAY. From the Subscriber residing in the vicinity of Rolesville, on the 30th day of July last, a negro by the name of BEN, about 30 years of age, nearly 6 feet high, a very slick black, with one crooked knee, perhaps his right, it bears considerably towards his other knee when walking, an uncommon large foot, his fore teeth affected and look dark, so much so, as to be plainly discovered if noticed, it is expected from intelligence received from some free people of colour, since he started, he intends passing as a free man. When last heard from, he was on his way to Edgecomb County, North Carolina. Any person bringing him to me or lodging him in some Jail, so that I get him again, shall receive a reasonable reward with all necessary expenses paid. CLATON LEA. Rolesville, August 7, 1838.

Raleigh Register and North Carolina Weekly Advertiser, 13 August 1838.

John Anthony Copeland Jr.


John Anthony Copeland, Jr. (1834–1859) was born free in Raleigh, North Carolina, to John Anthony Copeland, who was born into slavery in 1808, and Delilah Evans, born free in 1809. Copeland, Sr. was emancipated about 1815. The family lived near Hillsborough, North Carolina, until 1843, when the family migrated to Cincinnati and then Oberlin, Ohio, where some of his wife’s brothers and their families also lived.

John Copeland, Jr. worked as a carpenter and briefly attended Oberlin College. As a young man, he became involved in the Oberlin Anti-Slavery Society.  In September, 1858, with his uncles Henry and Wilson Bruce Evans, Copeland was one of the thirty-seven men involved in the Oberlin-Wellington Rescue to free John Price, a runaway slave who had been captured and held by authorities under the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act. The men freed the slave and helped him escape to Canada.

In September 1859, Copeland was recruited to John Brown’s armed group by his uncle, Lewis Sheridan Leary. Brown led twenty-one followers, sixteen white and five black men, and captured the armory guards of Harpers Ferry, then part of Virginia, where they took control of the Federal arsenal. The raiders were soon pinned down by Virginia militiamen until U.S. marines led by Robert E. Lee arrived to apprehend them.

At Harper’s Ferry, Copeland and John Henry Kagi, a white raider, were to seize control of Hall’s Rifle Works. Kagi and several others were killed while swimming across the Shenandoah River to escape. Copeland was captured alive, and he, John Brown, and five others were held for federal trial.  Copeland was found guilty of treason and murder and sentenced to death by hanging.

Six days before his execution, he wrote to his brother, referring to the American Revolution:

“And now, brother, for having lent my aid to a general no less brave [than George Washington], and engaged in a cause no less honorable and glorious, I am to suffer death. Washington entered the field to fight for the freedom of the American people – not for the white man alone, but for both black and white. Nor were they white men alone who fought for the freedom of this country. The blood of black men flowed as freely as the blood of white men. Yes, the very first blood that was spilt was that of a negro…But this you know as well as I do, … the claims which we, as colored men, have on the American people.”

Copeland’s family continued his struggle by taking up arms during the Civil War. His father served as a cook for the 55th Ohio Infantry, and his younger brother Henry E. Copeland served as a first sergeant in Douglass’s Independent Battery of Colored Artillery in Kansas.

Adapted from Photo courtesy of Kansas Historical Society.