Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Warren County

Always free?


WILEY LOWEREY, sworn and examined, duly testified:

Q. Where do you live?  A. In Kinston, Lenoir County, North Carolina.

Q. What is your business at home?  A. Well, sir, I run drays on the street, and I have been drayer there for two or three years. I keep store besides.

Q. In the town of Kinston?  A. Yes, sir.

Q. Have you held any public office in the county?  A. I have been county commissioner.

Q. How long?  A. About eight years.

Q. Are you county commissioner now?  A: No, sir.

Q. Were you formerly a slave?  A. No, sir.

Q. You were a freeman before the war?  A. Yes, sir.

Q. Do you own property?  A. Yes, sir.

Q. How much, and what does it consist of?  A. Town property principally.

Q. Real estate?  A. Yes, sir.

Q. Have you made it since the war?  A. Yes, sir; most of it.

Q. Do you own a house and lot?  A. Yes, sir; I own a right smart of houses. My renters pay me between four and five hundred dollars a year.


Q. How far is Lenoir County from Warren?  A. I think 180 miles.

Q. How long was it after you left there before you moved to the one where you are now?  A. I was raised there.

Q. You always lived there before you came to Lenoir?  A. Yes, sir.

Q. And you were always free?  A. Yes, sir.

Q. Always free? A. Yes, sir.

Q. What is your age now?  A. I am forty-seven years old.

Q. Were you always free?  A. Yes, sir.

Q. You were born free?  A. Yes, sir.

Q. Were your parents ever slaves?  A. No, they never was. My old grandfather was a hundred and five when he died, and was always free.

Q. Neither you or any of your ancestors were ever slaves in this country?  A. No, sir.

Q. What were your opportunities for education before the war?  A. I do not know, sir. Before the war, I did not know much; but the free colored people had a school going on in Raleigh.

Q. You said you were a county commissioner; where did you find such an education such as you found necessary in that position?  A. I just picked it up. I never went to school a day in my life.

Q. You found time to study and pick up a little arithmetic?  A. Yes, sir; I can read and write.

Wiley Lowery testified before a Senate Select Committee investigating the migration of hundreds of “colored people” from the South to Indiana in the late 1870s.

Senate Report 693, 2nd Session, 46th Congress: Proceedings of the Select Committee of the United States Senate to Investigate the Causes of the Removal of the Negroes from the Southern States to the Northern States, Washington DC, beginning Tuesday, 9 March 1880.

Willie Lowery married Winnie Tann in Warren County on 16 January 1860. Matthew Guy was bondsman, John W. White was witness, and N.A. Purefoy, Minister of the Gospel, performed the service. 

Matthew Guy married Surbina Lowery on 10 December 1850 in Warren County. In the 1860 census of Warrenton, Warren County: #84, M. Guy and family; #85, P. Lowery, 65, mulatto, washerwoman; #86, N.A. Purefoy, white, clergyman, and family; #98, W. Lowery, 24, black, stonemason, born in Warren County, W. Lowery, 22, mulatto, seamstress, born in Northampton County; and M. Mitchell, 25, black, washerwoman, born in Halifax County.

Index to Marriage Bonds Filed in the North Carolina State Archives, North Carolina Division of Archives and History, Raleigh; federal census schedules.

He complained of being unwell.

Law. – …

We understand that Joel Mitchell, a free negro, who was arraigned at the last Halifax Superior Court for the murder of Miles Ralph another free negro, and who had his cause removed to Warren county, was attempted to be brought to trial at the Superior Court held for that county last week. On his way to the Court-house Mitchell complained of being unwell, and was suffered to take a seat in the Court-house yard – medical aid was immediately procured, but it was ineffectual, the prisoner breathing his last in a few minutes – he was much debilitated, having been severely indisposed during his confinement; and it is supposed that the alarm attendant upon the situation in which he was unhappily placed, hastened his dissolution.

North Carolina Free Press (Halifax), 27 October 1827.

An equal share being $8.75.

State of N. Carolina, Warren County   }

In obedience to an order to us directed from the worshipful the County Court of Warren November Term 1844, we the undersigned commissioners appointed to divide the lands of Matthew Evans Dec’d have divided the same according to the prayer of the Petitioners in the following manner to wit, Lot No 1 drawn by Fanney Toney containing seven Acres valued $1.50 cts per Acre making the sum of $10.50 his Equal Share being $8.75 he is to pay to Lot No 2 $ 1.75 cts the Boundary of which can be seen by refference to the surveyors report.

Lot 2 Drawn by Moses Evans containing seven Acres valued at $7 his equal share being $8.75 he is to receive from Lot No 1 $1.75 the boundary of which can be seen by refference to the surveyors report.

Lot No 3 Drawn by Isaac Evans and containing seven Acres valued at $1.25 cts per Acre making the sum of $8.75 which is his equal share the Boundary of which can be seen by refference to the surveyors report.

Lot No 4 Drawn by Henry Evans valued at $1.25 cts per Acre and containing seven Acres making the sum of $8.75 which is his equal Share.

Lot No 5 Drawn by Crecy Green and valued at $1.50 cts per Acre and containing seven Acres making the sum of $10.50 his equal share being $8.75 cts he is to pay to Lot 7 $1.75 the Bound of which can be seen by referance to the surveyors report.

Lot No 6 Drawn by Nancy Green and valued at $1.50 cts per Acre and containing seven Acres making the sum of ten dollars and fifty cents She is to pay to Lot No 8 one dollar and seventy five cents her equal share being only eight dollars and seventy five cents.

Lot No 7 Drawn by Cely Toney and valued at One dollar per Acre making the sum of seven dollars her equal share being eight dollars and seventy five cents. She is to receive from Lot No 5 one dollar and seventy five cents the Boundary of which can be seen by referance to the surveyors report.

Lot No 8 drawn by Patience Martial and valued at one dollar per Acre making the sum of seven dollars his equal share being eight dollars and seventy five cents. He is to receive from Lot No 6 one dollar and seventy five cents the Boundary of which can be seen by referance to the surveyors report.

All of which is respectfully submitted.   /s/ W. C. Williams, Miles Bobbitt, David D. W. Dowtin

Estate Records, Warren County, North Carolina State Archives.

In the 1850 census of Warren County: Isac Evans, 45, farmer, wife Winny, 44, and children Isac Jr., 21, Mathew, 17, Drucilla, 16, Henry, 13, Crockette, 10, Winny, 9, Elizabeth, 8, Doctor, 6, Nancy, 5, and Moses Evans, 2. Also, Allen Green, 60, Pitts Green, 15, Creasy Green, 55, and John Green, 4. In Warrenton, Warren County: James Green, 73, painter, wife Nancy, 53, and son James, Jr., 15.

Jeffreys, woodworkers.

Thomas Day—who was born in 1801 in Greensville County, Virginia, to mixed-race parents, John and Mourning Day—moved with his family to Warren County, North Carolina, in 1817. When he moved to Hillsborough in the early 1820s, it appears that he became friends with members of the Jeffreys family who, although listed as “mulattos” in official records, were actually of Indian origin. The Jeffreys were part of a larger group of Occaneechi people from Virginia who had settled in the northwest section of Orange County, which became Alamance County in 1849. As with the Day family, the Jeffreys family had originated in Greensville County, Virginia. In 1830 Uriah Jeffreys served as a bondsman for Thomas Day when he married Aquilla Wilson. A bondsman was usually a close family member (such as a father, brother, or uncle) who assured the court that the couple should be married, and that the groom would not change his mind and leave the bride at the altar. Uriah Jeffreys must have been a close friend of Thomas to agree to be his bondsman. Historic records make it clear that both men were cabinetmakers, and it is possible that Uriah and his brother Nathan worked with Day for a short time. In 1828 Uriah decided to move. He advertised in the Hillsborough Recorder that he had a variety of furniture from his cabinetmaking business for sale, including “Bureaus, Bedsteads, Tables.”

Uriah moved to Ohio with two of his brothers, Parker and Augustus. Unfortunately, they experienced the same type of prejudice in the North that they had tried to leave behind. The law required free blacks entering Ohio to pay a bond of $500 to county officials. Whites thought this would guarantee that only free blacks of “good character” would settle and be able to support themselves. Parker Jeffreys refused to pay, insisting that his blood was a mixture of Indian and white, and not black. The case went to the county court, where he lost. Jeffreys persevered, and the Ohio Supreme Court heard his case in 1842. In Parker Jeffreys v. Ankeny et al., the supreme court justices ruled that he was an Indian with no African ancestry and did not have to pay the bond. Members of the Jeffreys family continued to make furniture near Xenia, Ohio, well into the twentieth century.

Nathan Jeffreys lived the rest of his life in North Carolina. It seems that he continued to work as a journeyman cabinetmaker, because in 1834 he is listed as such in a court document. However, in the 1850 and 1860 censuses, he is listed as a farmer owning $500 in property. Many cabinetmakers supplemented their incomes by farming. Day clearly considered Nathan a close family friend, because in 1851 in a letter to his own daughter, Mary Ann, he mentions the death of Nathan’s daughter, Safroney.

Fine furniture made by Nathan Jeffreys between 1845 and 1855 is known to exist in a private collection. The construction techniques that he used are similar to those found on the bureaus made in Day’s Milton shop, indicating that the two men probably worked together at one time. Jeffreys and other members of the Indian community passed on their woodworking skills. His great-great-grandson, William Bill Jeffries, learned woodworking from his father. He built houses as well as chairs during most of the twentieth century.

Adapted from Dr. Patricia Phillips Marshall, “Indian Cabinetmakers in Piedmont North Carolina,”

Carter applies for Confederate pension.



On this 16 day of May, A.D. 1927, personally appeared before me John D. Newell, C.S.C. in and for the State and County aforesaid, Hawkins W. Carter, age 87 years, and a resident at Warrenton 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 to amend and consolidate the pension laws of the State of North Carolina,“ ratified March 8, 1921: That he is the identical Hawkins W. Carter (Colored), who went with who enlisted in Co. C-46, Reg., N.C. State Troops, as servant on or about [blank] day of [blank], 1861, to serve in the armies of the late Confederate States, and that while in service at [blank] in the State of [blank], on or about [blank] day of [blank], [blank], he received a wound or wounds, etc. [description] First went to Newbern, N.C. throwing up breastworks. Then went with Stephen W. Jones to Goldsboro, N.C., then to Richmond, Va., where we fought 7 days; and then remained in Army until War Ended. Was at battle Wilderness. I waited on white soldiers – cook, baggage and etc. I was not wounded; but am 87 and can not work; any at all.

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 two thousand dollars ($2,000), nor 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.   /s/ Hawkins W. Carter

Sworn and subscribed to before me, this 16 day of May, 1927.  /s/ John D. Newell.

Also personally appeared before me John W. Allen, Commander John White Camp Old Vetran, who resides at Warrenton, N.C. postoffice, 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 Hawkins W. Carter, 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. /s/ John W. Allen

Sworn and subscribed to before me, this 16 day of May, 1927.  /s/ John D. Newell

[Approved 16 October 1927]

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

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.

A faithful and affectionate husband.

To the worshipful the Justices of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of the County of Warren. The memorial of Mouring Ivins humbly representing sheweth unto your worships —  that your memorialist is a free person of colour residing in the County aforesaid — that she early in life marryed and connected herself with a negro man that the property of William West — that by him she has eight children — that sometime in the year 1804 your memorialist by her sole care and industry accumalated money enough to purchase her said husband Nat of his then proprietor William West aforesaid and accordingly received from the said William West a Bill of sale which is of record, transfering to her your memorialist the absolute right & title to the said Negro Nat — your memorialist further states that the said Negro man Nat has ever conducted himself towards her as a faithful and affectionate husband — that in all circumstances as well in sickness and in health he has manifested to your memorialist & her children the most unceasing care & solitude — that by his industry & attention he has enabled your memorialist to support her children free from want and as respectably as any persons in their condition — your memorialist in consideration of the premiss and test upon the death of your memorialist the said negro man Nat should by the policy of the State or her children & their representatives be reduced unto a state of slavery prays that your worshipful body will free & emancipate the said Nat by the name of Nathaniel Ivins & your memorialist as in duty will ever pray

To Mr. Nathaniel Macon


To the honorabell gentel men whome this may cum befor — there is a negro man by the name of Natt which said negro I ras’d from a childe until I solde him to Mouring Ivins and she the said Ivins has a disior all togeather to set him free if yor Honner gentel men pleas to take it in to consideraticion I will enform you on my honner the correcton of said negro Natt as wel as I can — he is a engenias hand and common about a plantaticion or as you genrally find and an extrodonary shue maker and verry endusstrus and while he lieved with me I entrusted abundance of buisness in his hands and he proformd his duty verry faithfully to me — so that I entended to sett him free at my deth but his haveing a free wife and childrean I solde him to her for butt trifeling — I am gentelmen your frend — given under my hand this 23rd day of august 1806     William West          

To Mr Nathanial Macon & other gentelmen &c in Warren County North Carolina

Nathaniel Macon Papers, Private Collections, North Carolina State Archives.

Nathaniel Macon (1758-1837) was a United States representative from North Carolina, 1791-1815; speaker of the House of Representatives, 1801-1807; United States senator, 1815-1828; president pro tem of the Senate, 1826-1828; and trustee of the University of North Carolina.

An Act to Emancipate Caesar.


An Act to emancipate Caesar, formerly a Servant of Samuel Yeargan, Deceased.

Whereas by the last will and testament of Samuel Yeargan, deceased, late of the county of Warren, he did desire in his said will that a certain negro man of his property, should after the death of his daughter Anne Alston, wife to William Alston, of Chatham county, be set free, for and during the full-term of fifty-five years: And whereas the said Anne being now dead, it is thought just and right the said last will and testament should be adhered to:

I. Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly, That from and after the passing of this Act, that the aforesaid Caesar shall and may be at his own liberty, for and during the term mentioned in his master’s will, upon the same footing, and under the same restrictions as other free negroes are intitled to in this State, and shall be known and called by the name of Caesar Henry; any law to the contrary notwithstanding. (Passed Jan. 6, 1787.)

Acts of the North Carolina General Assembly, 1786-1787, Colonial and State Records of North Carolina. 

To testify in a charge of adultery.

To the worshipful the County Court of Warren. The Grand Jury request that John Hughes & Allen Wright free persons of color may be sworn & sent before them to testify in regard to a charge of Adultery.  E[illegible] Williams Form.

This summons is undated, but may have been meant for the Allen Wright, 30, who appears as a head of household in the 1850 census of Warrenton, Warren County, with wife Nancy, 30, and children William, 11, and Martha A., 9.  Several free colored Hughes families are listed nearby, but none include a John.

Miscellaneous Records, Warren County, North Carolina State Archives.  US Federal Population Schedules.

Beat, wound and ill treat.

State of North Carolina, Warren County    } Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions August Term 1852.  The Jurors for the State upon their oath present that James Reed a freeperson of Color at and in the said County of Warren on the first day of August in the AD 1852 with force and arms did assault one John Harris and him the said John Harris did then and there beat wound and illtreat against the peace and dignity of the State.    Ransom Sol.

Miscellaneous Records, Warren County Records, North Carolina State Archives.