Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Wayne County

Particulars for the funeral.


Funeral bill for Anna Henderson Simmons, who died in Logansport, Cass County, Indiana, on 16 June 1906.

Anna H. Simmons was a native of Wayne County, North Carolina. Contrary to information shown in this document, her parents were James Henderson and Eliza Armwood Henderson. Anna’s husband Montraville Simmons was born in Duplin or Wayne County, North Carolina, in 1839 to John Calvin Simmons and Hepsie Whitley Simmons. The family migrated to Ontario, Canada, in the 1850s.

In the 1850 census of South Side of Neuse, Wayne County, North Carolina: farmer Calvin Simmons, 42, wife Hepsey, 46, and children Harriet, 13, Susan, 11, Montrival, 9, Jno. R., 7, Margaret, 5, Dixon, 3, and Geo. W., 1, plus Robt. Aldridge, 26, who worked as a hireling. 

In the 1860 census of Westbrooks, Sampson County, North Carolina: James Henderson, mulatto carpenter; wife Eliza; and four children, Anna J., Susan, Hepsie, and Alexander

Copy of funeral bill courtesy of Kroeger Funeral Home, Logansport, Indiana.

An heirloom wart cure.


Wilson Advance, 26 December 1895.

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

A landmark.

The death of Green Simmons, an old and well known colored landmark, of Dudley, occurred last night.

Goldsboro Daily Argus, 7 January 1901.

In the 1850 census of South Side of the Neuse, Wayne County: cooper Green Simmons, 33, wife Betsy J., 26, and children Needham, 5, Cicero, 3, and Mary, 1.

A settlement about his wife and children.

Witness: Love McDaniel

On the 30th March 1860 I was in Goldsboro with Henry Simmons. I accompanied by Simmons called upon William B. Fields for Simmons and told him that Henry Simmons had come there to have a settlement with him about his Wife & children according to their bargain & that he Simmons had the money to pay up what he owed him, when he told me to mind my own business & then left me. This was on Friday night. On the next day upon some information received by me myself & Henry Simmons attended at the Office of Wm T Dortch in Company with George B Strong Attorney for Simmons. This meeting was for the Purpose of a Compromise but we could not do so. Fields presenting and account which was Considered on the Part of those acting for Simmons as extravagant & outrageous for the Keeping of Jenny & her children making his claim to amount of $2300,00 The account being objected to he Fields offered to take $2200.00 and refusing to take anything less. Simmons through his attorney Mr Strong offered to Pay Fields $1800.00 which he refused to take. Mr. Strong then offered to Pay $1900.00 in Cash & the amount of Simmons account against Fields in addition on One part of Simmons stating that had the money and offered to pay it & I know the fact that he had the money present at the time. This Fields refused and swore that would not take less than $2200.00. I had no interest in the negroes except to befriend Simmons and had no secret understanding with him that I was to own the negroes nor did I then nor do I now desire to own any of them. I know Henry Simmons to be a good Carpenter having employed him to build a house for me and employed him at the recommendation of Wm B Fields who said he was a smart good Workman. Simmons was in my empoyment at teh time I went to Goldsboro & went at his request to take charge of his money & have a proper settlement made with Fields for the negroes. 

Cross Examined by Defendant

Did you hear Simmons admit in a conversation in Mr Dortch’s office that he had taken back from Mr Fields one hundred Dollars in small notes which were insolvent for which he had given Fields in Part Payment

Answer — I have no distinct recollection about it.  Question 2 — Was any money exhibited to Fields in this conbversation of which you speak in your examination in chief.  Answer Mr. Strong had it in his pocket & put his hand & his breast pocket & told Fields the money was there for him but did not show it. I know that Strong had it in his pocket. The money was Bank Rolls on different banks in ther State.    /s/ Love McDaniel

Sworn & Subscribed  W.A. Haskin(?) Clk & Mast

This affidavit was filed in support of the plaintiff in the bill of complaint of Henry Simmons, a free man of color of Cumberland County, against William B. Fields of Wayne County alleging that Fields had purchased for $1500 from the estate of L. Dortch slaves Jenny and her children Jane, Mary and Charles, who were Simmons’ wife and children. Fields allegedly agreed to convey the slaves to Simmons when Simmons repaid the purchase money, plus interest, but refused to turn them over when Simmons presented his cash. Documents in the file of Records of Slaves and Free Persons of Color, Wayne County Records, North Carolina State Archives. 

Run over and killed on the railroad.

A free negro by the name of Wm. Jones, was run over and killed near Goldsboro’, on the Central Railroad, a few days ago.

Asheville News, 4 October 1855.

To come back to North Carolina and be a slave again.

Wants to Return.

We find in the Kinston Advocate, the annexed letter from a colored man formerly a slave in Wayne County, but who was emancipated some years since by the Legislature, and went to the Northern land of promise where negroes are as good as white people, and every body loved them so much – out of their sight.

The letter is addressed to Wm. T. Dortch, Esq., a member elect from Wayne County to the next Legislature. It will itself explain the objects and wishes of the writer, however defective it may be in spelling and composition: —

State of New York, Brooklyn L.I.   }

september 1st 1860                       }

Mr W.T. Doch sir I writ to you to let you no that I am well hoping these few lines may find you the same. I have written to you because I no you are a man I can depend on. I want to no if I pertition to come back to N.C. and be a slave again if you are a member elected this year if you will advocate it the general assembly & if you will be after gitting the consent of wayn county of her leading men you will please to writ to me & let me no what the prospect would be. Your obedient servant, D.B. Williams.

this was my old name   david Bulls Williams

If this letter is agreeable I will writ again & let you no my reason for writing at all

Direct your letter to Brooklyn L.I. Nancy St No. 152

Wilmington Journal, 27 September 1860.

Jonah Williams.


Jonah Williams, son of free woman of color Vicey Artis and her enslaved husband Solomon Williams, is buried in a now-overgrown cemetery near Eureka, Wayne County.

Docket report.

Edgecombe Superior Court.

Griffin Stewart, a free negro, charged with the murder of Penny Anderson, was removed on his own affidavit to Nash county, to be tried on Wednesday next.

Alfred Hagans, a free negro, charged with a rape on a white woman, removed on his own affidavit to the Superior Court of Wayne county, to be held on the 1st Monday of April.

Malachi Anderson, a free negro, charged with grand larceny, moved likewise to Wayne, on his own affidavit.

Tarboro’ Press, 17 March 1849.

He was in for the right thing.

Charles Wynn filed claim #9340 with the Southern Claims Commission. On 1 July 1872, he testified: “I am fifty-five years of age, reside in Wayne County, North Carolina …. I resided during the war in Wayne County, North Carolina, on my own land. It contained about 230 acres, 100 of which was under cultivation.” Tony Roberts, age 40, colored, testified that he lived about a quarter of a mile from Wynn during the war and saw him often. Roberts said Wynn “believed the Union army would succeed, that he thought its cause wasa right, and he was in for the right thing. He said that secession would ruin the country, and he thought its cause was right, and he was in for the right thing.” William H. Thompson, age 28, colored, swore that he had known Wynn for 24 years and saw him every four months or so during the war. He said Wynn “hoped that the Union army would be successful, put down the rebellion and do away with slavery” and revealed that the Confederate government occasionally pressed Wynn’s wagons and drivers into service to haul its goods. (Confederate archives revealed two vouchers for hauling arms from Fayetteville to Raleigh, dated in 1862, and signed by others on behalf of Wynn.)

In December 1898, a special attorney rejected the claims of Wynn’s estate: “We do not care to review the testimony in the case. If the testimony were offered in behalf of a white man under the same circumstances, it would scarcely be sufficient to prove loyalty. But in view of the fact that the claimant was a colored man, his loyalty must be largely presumed from his natural sympathies with those of his own color and those who were fighting, as the colored man believed, in his behalf.”



Napoleon Road is a bent elbow of a dirt lane running north west of Eureka in Wayne County. At its southern end, it debouches into Reidtown Road, so named for the free colored Reid family who lived in the area as early as the 1830s.  Napoleon Road is no longer than a mile or so, and there is one house on it. Napoleon Hagans built that house.

Rural roads did not have formal names until the county implemented its 911 system perhaps 20 years ago.  It is a testament to Napoleon Hagans’ stature that, nearly one hundred years after his death and three-quarters of a century after his descendants left the state, the majority landowner along what had been his road chose to memorialize him permanently.