Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Wilmington

He went off as a free man.

$300 REWARD. – Escaped from the fortifications in Wilmington, North Carolina, in May or June last, my man GEORGE WASHINGTON. Yellow complexion; he has a small scar on his left cheek, kinky head of hair, twenty-two or three years old, about five feet six inches high, pleasing appearance and speech.

George Washington was raised in Franklin county, North Carolina, by David Ingram, near Laurel post office. I understand that he went off from Wilmington with some Southern soldiers to Richmond as a free man. I will pay the above reward of three hundred dollars for his apprehension, and delivered to Lieutenant Colonel John L. Harris, Twenty-fourth regiment North Carolina Troops, Petersburg, or to Robert Lumpkin, Richmond, or to me at Roxboro, Person county, North Carolina.  JAMES HOLLOWAY.

Richmond Examiner, Richmond VA, 3 December 1864.

Awful calamity.

Awful Calamity. – That devoted town, Wilmington, has been again visited with a most calamitous fire, which has destroyed a large amount of property and reduced some from situations of comfort, to poverty and distress. The worthy editor of the Cape Fear Recorder is amongst the principal sufferers, and we cannot here withhold the expression of our most cordial sympathy for his loss. A friend informs us that all the sufferers are most deserving citizens, and with one or two exceptions, unable to sustain the burden of their misfortune. … [August 2 was excessively hot, and thunderstorms developed that night. At about 11:00 o’clock, lightning struck first “the northern end of Mr. Langdon’s large wooden building on Market and Second street” and again near the partition separating the building from the office of the Recorder. Flames spread “until the whole block of wooden houses, from Second street to Mrs. Wright’s alley, was consumed.” The fire was contained by firemen blowing up and a small two-story house on the east side of the alley.]

The sufferers in this dreadful fire which did not last much longer than two hours, were, Samuel Langdon, Esq., Mr. Chambers, Mr. John Brown, E.P. Hall, Esq., Mrs. Scatt, Wm. C. Lord, Esq., Ancrum Berry, Esq., Mrs. Wright, Gabriel Holmes, Esq., Mr. Tibbitts, Archibald M. Hooper, and Henry Sampson, a coloured man.

…  Ral. Reg.

Free Press, Tarboro, 20 August 1830.

He was the same person who had been kidnapped from his mother.

Wilmington, Oct. 2. – About eleven years ago, a white man came to the house of a free coloured woman, named Fanny Larrington, living on the sound, in the neighbourhood of this town, and requested her to lend him some assistance in bringing up some things he had landed close by. She readily sent her eldest child Dick with him. His long stay alarmed her; she went to look for him, and then she called, received no answer. She had not gone far when she heard the cry of her two younger children whom she left in the house. In returning to their relief she suddenly came upon a Negro man who had under each arm one of her children, who, he instantly dropped and made his escape into the woods. The mother knew at once the fate of her son, and while she embraced her little daughters thus fortunately rescued, she cried bitterly for the loss of her eldest child, who had been so cruelly and treacherously stolen from her. Of this son she had not heard any tidings, until a few days ago he arrived in Wilmington, and made her, as he was himself, happy by the recovery of his long lost freedom. He went before a very respectable Magistrate of this town and proved by two credible witnesses, that he was the same person who had been kidnapped from his mother as above recited, and that he was born free. He states that he went along with the white man to the landing, but saw nothing to bring away; he was obliged to go into a canoe over to the opposite side of the Creek, and when, on hearing his mother call for him he attempted to answer her, his mouth was gagged and he forced to accompany him through the woods, until, as by concert, they met on the road a wagon and team going into the back country. The apparent owner of it, who called himself “Dukes” claimed him as his property, carried him away and sold him. His last master was Mr. Wm. Walker, of Stokes county, with whom he went by the name of Prince. A subscription had been raised for the purpose of sending on a person who could identify this boy and by regular process of law, release him from his slavery. But Dick had availed himself of a favourable opportunity. He escaped, and by the exercise of considerable ingenuity, made good his way to Wilmington, where his claims to freedom have been substantiated beyond the possibility of a doubt.

Observing in the Raleigh Star an advertisement of Mr. Walker for a runway Negro, it would be well for the Editor of that paper to notice the circumstances here stated. It is hoped that by means of his last master, the perpetrators of this atrocious crime may be found out and brought to that punishment which they richly deserve.  – Gazette.

Star, Raleigh, 11 October 1810.

An Act to Emancipate Phillis.


An Act to Emancipate a certain Negro Slave named Phillis, late the Property of George Jacobs, of the town of Wilmington, Deceased.

Whereas it is represented to the General Assembly that the aforesaid George Jacobs, deceased, in his last illness, did earnestly request that his negro slave named Phillis should be liberated for her great attention to her said master during her continuance with him, and more especially for her care and assiduity in his last illness: In order therefore to carry into effect the dying request of the said George Jacobs, deceased:

I. 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 from and after the passing of this Act, the aforesaid negro woman named Phillis, shall be emancipated and forever discharged from her bondage, in as full and ample manner as if she had been born free; any law, usage or custom to the contrary notwithstanding: And the said negro woman shall forever hereafter be known by the name of Phillis Freeman.

Acts of the North Carolina General Assembly, 1788, Colonial and State Records of North Carolina. 

James Drawhorn Sampson.

ImageNegro History Bulletin, January 1940.

Shuffer Tonies was free issues and part Indian.

MEMORIES OF UNCLE JACKSON, John H. Jackson, 309 S. Sixth St., Wilmington, N.C.

My mother was the laund’ess for the white folks. In those days ladies wore clo’es, an’ plenty of ’em. My daddy was one of the part Indian folks. My mammy was brought here from Washin’ton City, an’ when her owner went back home he sold her to my folks. You know, round Washin’ton an’ up that way they was Ginny (Guinea) niggers, an’ that’s what my mammy was. We had a lot of these malatto negroes round here, they was called ‘Shuffer Tonies’, they was free issues and part Indian. The leader of ’em was James Sampson. We child’en was told to play in our own yard and not have nothin’ to do with free issue chil’en or the common chil’en ‘cross the street, white or colored, because they was’nt fitten to ‘sociate with us. You see our owners was rich folks. Our big house is the one where the ladies of Sokosis (Sorosis) has their Club House, an’ our yard spread all round there, an’ our house servants, an’ some of the bes’ artisans in Wilmin’ton lived in our yard.

I mus’ tell you’ bout Gov’ner Dudley’s election, an’ the free issue niggers. They say Mr. Dudley told ’em if they’d vote for him he’d do more for ’em than any man ever had. So they voted for him an’ he was elected. Then he ups an’ calls a const’utional convention in Raleigh an’ had all the voting taken away from ’em. An’ that the big thing he done for em.

From Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves (1841).

In the 1860 census of Wilmington, New Hanover County: carpenter Jas. Sampson heads a household that includes his wife Francinia, 49; James, 30, shoemaker; Joseph, 28, carpenter; Eliza, 19; Jannie, 15; and Susan Sampson, 8; carpenters Ben Freeman, 19, and Wm. Campbell, 18; and “sv’t in house” Melinda Green, 72, Dave Miller, 30, Lucy Miller, 27, Virgil McRae, 60, and Maria McRae, 55, all mulatto. Sampson reported owning $26,000 real estate and $10,000 personal estate.

Jail break, no. 5.

Broke Jail. – We learn that Jesse Holley, the yellow fellow convicted at our last Superior Court, of murder and arson, and sentenced to be hung, but in whose case an appeal was taken to the Supreme Court, broke out of the jail of this town last night, and made his escape.  Holley is a most villainous-looking fellow, about 35 years of age, some five feet eight inches high, and rather stout built.  He is rather a light mulatto, with a kind of reddish or sandy hair, as if burned, and a muddy, freckled face.

We believe that a white man, awaiting trial on some charge of felony, made his escape at the same time.  We have not learned any of the particulars. Wilmington Journal.

Fayetteville Observer, 3 June 1852.

Navy deserter.

DESERTED, from the U.S. Gun boat No. 150 ELIJAH BRENT, alias WILLIAMS a dark mulatto man about 5 feet, 5 or 6 inches high much pitted with the small pock, walks erect about 22 or 23 years of age slow of speech –  hails from Charleston where he says his mother and relations reside.  Ten dollars Reward will be given to any person who will take up said deserter and deliver him to any Officer of the U.S. or place him in jail.  T.N. GAUTIER, commanding Naval Officer.  July 24 – tf. 

Wilmington Gazette, 2 Oct 1813, NC Newspaper Digitation Project, North Carolina State Archives Historic Newspaper Archive.