Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Wilson

Tools and poultry.

State of North Carolina, Wayne County    }   I, Zilphy Wilson, of the County and State, aforesaid begin of sound mind and memory, but considering the uncertainty of my earthly existence to make and declare this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following, that is to say: — That my Executor hereinafter named shall provide for my body a decent burial, suitable to the wishes of my relations and friends, and pay all funeral expenses together with my just debts out of the first money that may come into his hands as a part or parcel of my estate.

Item 1. I give and bequeath to my daughter Bettie Reid 7 acres of land to be cut off the North East corner of the tract of land on which I now reside for and during her natural life, and after her death to be equally divided between all of her children that she may have now, or may have living at the time of her death, the said Bettie Reid not to have possession of said Land until the debts against my estate are paid.

Item 2. I give devise and bequeath to my son Adam Wilson and my daughter Vicey Wilson, share and share alike all of the tract of Land on which I now live, with the exception of the seven acres given away in Item first of this will, with all the priviledges and appertances thereunto belonging for and during their natural like, should they both have heirs, then they to have their mother & Father part, and should Adam or Vicey only one of them leave heirs, then and in that case I give said land to the surviving hairs of that one to them and their heirs in the fee simple forever.

Item 3. I give and devise unto my son Adam Wilson and Vicy Wilson, share and share alike, all of my Household and Kichen furniture of every description Farming implements of every description, Tools of Mechanics &c &c, Stocks of all kinds, and all the poultry of kind to them and their heirs in fee simple forever.

Item 4. It is my will and I so direct, that my son Adam Wilson to retain possession of the whole of my land at yearly rental of seven hundred lbs. of lint cotton which is to be applied to the payment of the debts against my estate, as soon as said debts are paid, I direct that Bettie Reid be put in possession of the seven acres of land given to her in a former Item of this Will. I also desire that my daughter Bettie Reed become an equal heir in my household and kitchen furniture with my son Adam and daughter Vicey.   Changes made in Zilphia Wilson’s Will Oct[?] 4, 1893

Item 5. I give and devise unto William and Jonah Wilson children of William Wilson Sixty dollars to be paid to them when they arrive at lawful age.

Item 6. I give and devise unto Johney, Lominary, Levy, Laronzo Locus, Children Louisa Locus Sixty dollars to be paid to them as they arrive at lawful age.

Item 7. It is my will and so direct that the Legacies mentioned in Items 5 & 6 of this Will be assessed by my son Adam and my Daughter Vicy Wilson, and I direct that they pay to each one of the above mentioned heirs, as they arrive of lawful age their proportionable part of said Legacies with interest on the same from the time the debts of the estate are settled.

Lastly, I hereby constitute and appoint my brother Jonah Williams and my son Adam Wilson Executors to this my last Will and Testament, hereby revoking all the Wills heretofore made by me.    Zilphy X Wilson

Signed and sealed in the presence of Fred I. Becton and Thomas Artis, who witnessed the same at her request.  /s/ Richard H. Battle, Fred I. Becton

[Proved 17 December 1902.] Will Book 2, page 421. Register of Deeds Office, Wayne County Courthouse, Goldsboro.

In the 1850 census of Bull Head, Greene County: Vicy Artess with children Zilpha, Louis, Jonah, Jethro, and Richard Artis.  Next door, Vicey’s children Adam, Charity and Jane  Artess in the household of Silas Bryant.  

In the 1860 census of Davis, Wayne County: carpenter Jack Wilson, wife Zilpha, and two unnamed “infants.”  Jack reported $500 personal property, $300 real property, and the family lived very near Zilpha’s mother, Vicey Artis. 

The old reliable.


The Old Reliable Barber.

May always be found at his shop on Tarboro Street, where he will be pleased [to] serve his friends and former patrons.

Shaving 10 cts; shaving and cutting hair 30 cents.

The Wilson Advance, 20 February 1880.

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,”

Next generation marriage.

ImageCandis Locust‘s birth was the subject of a bastardy action by the State on behalf of Waity Locust against Calvin Hagans. Louisa Wilson’s parents were John “Jack” Wilson and Zilpha Artis (herself the daughter of Vicey Artis and Solomon Williams.) Louisa’s brother, William Wilson, stood as witness.

Marriage Records, Register of Deeds Office, Wayne County Courthouse, Goldsboro.

He seems to know these places, but …

Notice. Was committed to jail of this county, on Thursday the 14th inst. a negro man who says his name is John Wilson, and that he is free man; that he has a wife and family in Baltimore, Md.; that he has lived in Baltimore and Philadelphia; that a man by the name of John Wilson carried him to the state of Tennessee as a waiting-man, and there sold him to a man by the name Wilson, from whom he shortly afterwards ran-away. On being examined the fellow seems to have knowledge of those places but is thought to be a slave.  He appears to be about 30 years of age, 5 feet 7 or 8 inches high, light complexion. The owner, if any may, or any other person, if he is free a requested to come forward and release him from confinement according to law.  GEO SWEARENGEN, Jailor. Randolph County, Oct 31 1816.

Star, Raleigh, 15 November 1816.

Free-Issue Death Certificates: MISCELLANEOUS, no. 10.

James Francis. Died 21 September 1941, Dysartville, McDowell County. Colored. Widower. Farmer. Born 15 November 1856, McDowell County, to Austin Francis and Mary Owens.

Biddie Jackson. Died 17 October 1955, Gassy Creek, Mitchell County. Negro. Widowed. Resided Spruce Pine, Mitchell County. Born 9 February 1850 to Austin Francis and Mary Owens. Buried family cemetery. Informant, Mrs. Claude Ray, Spruce Pine.

In the 1860 census of McDowell County: Austin Francis, 49, miner, wife Mary, 48, and children Rachel, 16, William, 12, Jane, 10, Elizabeth, 7, and James, 5.

Mattie Owens Johnson. Died 18 June 1930, Bracketts, McDowell County. Colored. Widow of Henry Johnson. Born about 1854, McDowell County, to Bill Owens and Lucinda Mathews. Informant, George Owens.

Joseph Owens. Died 20 November 1923, Brackett, Vein Mountain, McDowell County. Resided Vein Mountain. Colored. Widower of Martha Payne. Born 14 Jan 1839, Vein Mountain, McDowell County, to William M. Owens and [blank] Mathis. Buried Bracket Town Colored Cemetery. Informant, S.R. Soxan.

In the 1860 census of McDowell County: William Owens, 45, miner, wife Loucinda, 46, and children Joseph, 19, Edward, 17, Jane, 15, James, 13, William, 11, Thomas, 8, Martha, 6, and Rachel Owens, 1, plus Isaac Herdy, 10, Washington Wilson, 10, William Daniel, 14, and Sarah Johnson, 50.

Free Colored Inhabitants of the Town of Wilson, Wilson County, 1860.

#352. James Higgins, 16, day laborer; Mary Butler, 40, cook, and Molly Butler, 1; in the household of E.T. Mayo.

#354. John Butler, 18, “ostler,” in the household of H.W. Peel.

#355. Lemon Taborn, 26, barber; William Shavers, 25, barber; and William Johnston, 23, carpenter; in the household of Joseph Barbee.

#362. Dave Simms, 25, day laborer, in the household of W.D. Rountree, merchant.

#369. Eliza Himan, 15, and Theodore Himan, 5, in the household of David Nolly, farmer.

#385. Joseph Thorn, 30, plasterer, and Caroline Thorn, 24, domestic, in the household of A.H. Williams, merchant.

#386. Sarah Locus, 6, in the household of Thomas C. Davis, County Court Clerk.

#388. Tenie Marbly, 11, and Henry Wiggins, 40, carpenter, in the household of Edmund Moore, farmer.

#392. Asburn Dunstan, 23, laborer, in the household of H.L. Winton, boarding house operator.

In the 1850 census of Louisburg, Franklin, Lemuel Dunn, 60, blacksmith; Milly Dunn, 60; Jane Fog, 19; Osborn Dunstan, 14; and John Fog, 8.  The household is listed among a cluster of Dusntan households, including: Osborn Dunstan, 57, swayer, Barbary, 50, and Sarah Dunston, 18, and Osborn May, 6. Also, in Timberlakes, Franklin County: Osborn Dunston, 52, and Sally Dunstan, 16.

#398. John Kersey, 37, blacksmith; wife Julia, 31; and children Louisa, 9, Dellah, 6, John, 5, and William, 1.  Kersey reported personal property valued at $300.

#399. Joseph Thorn, 25, brickmason; wife Caroline, 19, washerwoman; and daughter Fannie, 8 months; plus Bettie Fogg, 60, day laborer.

#401. Noah Lynch, 30, plasterer, and wife Piaty Lynch, 33, washerwoman; plus Julia Higgins, 20, domestic; John James, 10, and Martha Taylor, 7.  Lynch reported personal property valued at $700.

#406. Jesse H. Artis, 48, hostler, in the household of George Howard, Superior Court Judge.

#419. Joseph Fogg, 50, shoemaker, in the household of Edwin Eatmon, bootmaker.

In the 1850 census of Warren, Warren County: Joseph Fogg, 37, shoemaker.

Where are they now? No. 15.

R.R. was born in Wilson NC in the early 1960s.  He is descended from:

(1) Vicey Artis [ca1805-ca1868, Greene/Wilson County] via Zilpha Artis [1828-ca1885, Greene/Wayne County]

(2) Benjamin Hagans

(3) Nancy Hall via Mozana Hall [ca1829-1914, Wayne County]

(4) Rhoda Reid [ca1795-ca1865, Wayne County] via John Reid [ca1826-ca1890, Wayne County] via William Reid [1851-1926, Wayne County]

(5) John Wilson [1821-ca1890, Wayne County] via Elizabeth Wilson [1864-1947, Wayne County]

Family business.

This indenture made this 29th day of September 1855 between Adam Artis of the County of Wayne & State of North Carolina of the one part and John Wilson of the county and state aforesaid of the other part witnesseth — that the said Adam Artis for and in consideration of the sum of one hundred and twenty four dollars to him on hand paid by him the said John Wilson at and before the sealing and delivering of these presents the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged the said Adam Artis has given, granted, bargained and sold and will by these presents grant, bargain and sell unto the said John Wilson his heirs and assigns forever one certain piece of land in said county it being the ten acres of land the said John Wilson sold to the said Adam Artis to have and to hold the above described land and improvements to him the said John Artis [sic] to him and his heirs and assigns — provided nevertheless that said Adam Artis pays or causes to be paid to the said John Wilson one certain note and interest that may accrue thereon said note given for one hundred and twenty four dollars bearing date even with these presents now then if the said Adam Artis pays said note interest within twelve months from the date of this presents then the above obligation to be void otherwise to be in full force and virtue —

In witness whereof I hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year above written — Adam X Artis

Signed and delivered the presence of W. Thompson

Wayne County Octo. 2nd 1855. Then was the above deed of Mortgage from Adam Artis to John Wilson duly proved before me by the oath of William Thompson a subscribing witness thereto — and let it be registered   — Benj. Aycock, Clk

Deeds, Register of Deeds Office, Wayne County.

In the 1850 census of Greene County NC, Adam “Artess” and his sisters Charity and Jane appear in the household of white farmer Silas Bryant.  They were probably apprentices, though no apprentice bonds have been found.  Their mother Vicy Artess was next door with additional children.  Adam’s sister Zilpha Artis married John “Jack” Wilson in the mid-1850s.  Adam and John apparently never recorded a deed for the herein-referenced sale that preceded this one.