The estate of William Woodard.

Having “sworn on the holy Evangelist of Almighty God,” on 10 December 1851, three commissioners met at Elizabeth Woodard’s house to divide William Woodard’s enslaved property — consisting of 55 men, women and children — among his heirs.

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Lot no. 1, drawn by Elizabeth Woodard — Amy $500, Liz $150, Lewis $250, Mary $350, Harry $400, Dennis $100, Plas [Pleasant] $400, Jim $500, Sarah $450, Siller $50, and Mintus $75.

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Lot no. 2, drawn by Patience Woodard — Esther $200, Mandy $350, Thain $350, Randol $100, Rachel $500, Tom $700, Ned $450, Nancy $500, Sal [$0] and Richard [$0].

Lot no. 3, drawn by William Woodard — Piety $550, Charlot $550, Ben $700, Jenny $150, Mariah $300, Hiliard $300, Mintus Jr. $100, Jonathan $500, and Edy $350.

Lot no. 4, drawn by Warren Woodard — Bont [Blount] $800, Peggy $500, Vinus $125, Alford $600, John $400, Cherry $500, and Jessy $400.

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Lot no. 5, drawn by James Woodard — Morris $700, Gray $400, George $650, Silva $500, Rody $550, Amos $125, London $150, and Harriet $100.

Lot no. 6, drawn by Calvin Woodard — Rose Jr. $200, Rose Sr. $200, Elizer $500, Arch $750, Liberty $700, Dark $500, Beck $200, Phereby $200, Ned $100, and Simon $100.

——

The houses of William Woodard and his extended family today form the Woodard Family Rural Historic District. As noted here, the 55 enslaved people listed in William Woodard’s inventory did not include all the family’s slaves. Also, though some of the lots may have included groupings of mothers with young children, it is clear that some small children were separated from their nuclear families. Most adults were married to spouses enslaved by a different owner.

Here are the families I have been able to identify among William Woodard’s enslaved and their whereabouts in the years after Emancipation.

  • Rose Woodard Artis and her children John, Jesse, Gray, Ned and Tamar

Rose Woodard was allotted to Calvin Woodard; her free husband Arch Artis is listed as a member of that household in 1860. Evidence concerning this family was set forth here. Based on her age, Rose likely had more than the five children I have identified. Ned, who was about 5, was allotted to Calvin Woodard as well. John and Jesse, who were likely a few years older, went to Warren Woodard, and Gray, to James Woodard. Tamar Woodard, then about 4, is not listed in the distribution.

  • Pleasant Woodard and sons Lewis and Harry

Pleasant Woodard and her sons were allotted to Elizabeth Woodard.

On 7 December 1867, Lewis Woodard, son of Louis Shallington and Pleasant Woodard, married Bathsheba Tyson, daughter of Blount Petteway and Netty Ellis, at Saint Timothy’s in Wilson.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Lewis Woodard, 25; wife Tebetha [Bathsheba], 24; and son Henry, 6.

On an unspecified date in 1867, Harry Woodard, son of Lewis Shalington and Pleasant Woodard, married Dellah Woodard, daughter of Ben Woodard and Phereba Woodard, in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer

  • Easter Woodard and daughter Peggy

Easter Woodard was allotted to Patience Woodard; her daughter Peggy Woodard to Warren Woodard.

On 13 March 1870, Peggy Woodard, daughter of Easter Woodard, married Ebenezer McGowan, at Warren Woodard’s in Wilson County.

  • Mintus Woodard

The designation “Jr.” in this list seems to have meant “younger” rather than a parent-child relationship. I have no evidence of the relationship between Mintus Jr. and the Mintus distributed to Elizabeth Woodard (who was either very young or very old, judging by his assigned value).

On 29 December 1866, Mentus Woodard married Sarah Barnes in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Mentus Woodard, 22; wife Sarah, 20; and children John, 2, and Lawyer, 2 months. (William Woodard Jr. was next door.)

In the 1880 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Permentus Woodard, 31; wife Sarah, 31; and children John, 12, Lawyer, 8, Cora, 6, London, James, and George, .

  • Hilliard Woodard

On 11 January 1868, Hillard Woodard, son of Mose Barnes and Winney Woodard, to Rose Ellis, daughter of Benjamin Bynum and Netty Bynum, at William Woodard’s.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Hilliard Woodard, 25, and wife Rose, 20.

  • Jonathan Woodard

Jonathan Woodard and Margrett Woodard registered their 10-year cohabitation on 15 August 1866.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Johnathan Woodard, 38; wife Margarett, 27; and children Everett, 9, Gray, 7, Sarah, 6, Amos, 3, Emma, 2, and Minnie, 2 months.

  • Rhoda Woodard and children Amos, London and Harriet

Rhoda Woodard and her children Amos, London, aged about 4, and Harriet, about 1, were allotted to James Woodard. Rhoda married Howell Woodard, son of famed Primitive Baptist preacher London Woodard and his first wife, Venus.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Howell Woodard, 52; wife Rodah, 40; and children London, 23, Harriet, 20, Venus, 19, Ferebee, 17, Virginia, 17, Mary, 14, Sarah, 13, Penelope, 12, Rodah, 10, Puss, 6, John, 8, Kenny, 5, Fanny, 1, and Martha, 1 month.

On 19 January 1872, Amos Woodard, son of Howell and Rhoda Woodard, married Fanny Barnes in the Town of Wilson.

  • Morrison Woodard

Morrison Woodard and Martha Thorn registered their 16-year cohabitation in Wilson County on 31 August 1866.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: carpenter Morrison Woodard, 47, wife Martha, 32, and children Nancy, 18, Arche, 17, Cherry, 15, Rosa, 13, Frances, 8, Jane, 7, John, 4, Martha, 1, and Mary, 2 months.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township (south of the Plank Road), Wilson County: farmer Morrison Woodard, 56, wife Martha, 45, and children Frances, 17, Jane, 15, John, 13, Martha, 11, Fena, 8, and Maggie, 3.

  • Blount Woodard

Blount Woodard and Dilcy Ruffin registered their 20-year cohabitation in Wilson County on 8 August 1866.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Blount Woodard, 43, farm laborer; wife Dilsey, 60; and children Webster, 15, Nelly, 19, and Alice Woodard, 13; plus Eliza, 19, Haywood, 9, George, 4, Alice, 6, Willie, 1, Bettie, 7 months, and Lucy Ruffin, 2 months.

  • Rachel Woodard

Rachel Woodard and Harry Newsom registered their 10-year cohabitation in Wilson County on 31 August 1866.

  • Liberty Woodard

In the 1870 census of California township, Pitt County: Lib Woodard, farmhand; wife Charlotte, 35; and children Nancy, 17, Lorenda, 16, Lucinda, 6, Buck, 4, and Puss, 1 month.

On 24 June 1882, Liberty Woodard, age illegible, son of Liberty Woodard and [mother’s first name illegible] Woodard, married Rosa Dilda, age illegible, daughter of Curtis Cotten and Ann Scarborg, in Falkland township, Pitt County.

  • Charlotte Woodard

On 28 March 1866, Charlotte Woodard married Haywood Bynum in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Haywood Bynum, 35; wife Charlotte, 39; and daughter Virginia, 17.

  • Rose Woodard Jr.

As noted above, the designation “Jr.” in this list seems to have meant “younger” rather than a parent-child relationship. At this point, I have no evidence that Rose Jr. was the daughter of Rose Sr., above. I had believed Rose Jr. to be the Rose Woodard, 19, (daughter of Morrison and Martha Woodard), who married Arch Harris, 23, on 19 October 1876 in Wilson County and whose children are listed in the 1880 census of Stantonsburg township as James, 3, Martha, 1, and Morrison, 2 months. However, Rose Woodard Harris was born about 1857, much too late to have been included in William Woodard’s property distribution.

 

Oust him.

Wilson, N.C., July 31st 1865

J.B. Woodard

Sir, you will oust or cause to leave Mr. L.D. Farmer’s premises one negro man by the name of Warren, also his wife. Should he refuse to leave and not return, bring him to me. Call in any person to your assistance.    W.J. Bullock, Capt. L.P.Y.

——

I have not been able to identify Warren or his wife or the reason Larry Dew Farmer wanted them off his property so soon after Emancipation.

Letter transcribed in The Past Speaks from Old Letters, “a copy of the working papers found in the files of Hugh B. Johnston, Jr., acquired in the course of his lifelong avocation as a professional genealogist and local historian,” republished by Wilson County Genealogical Society, March 2003.

A public library for black citizens.

Wilson County Public Library’s Local History Room holds a copy of “A History of Public Library Service to Blacks in Wilson, N.C.,” the master’s thesis Doretta Davis Anderson submitted to the University of North Carolina’s School of Library Science in 1976. Here are early excerpts :

“The honor of first suggesting a public library for the black citizens of Wilson, North Carolina belonged to a Mrs. Argie Evans Allen. Mrs. Allen suggested the idea of establishing a library for the black community as a project for her club, the Mary McLeod Bethune Civic Club. Accepting the idea, the club then authorized Mrs. Allen to carry our the project as she saw fit.

“The first actual recorded interest in the establishment of the library appeared in a letter, written by Mrs. Allen to Mrs. Mollie Huston Lee on June 7, 1943. Mrs. Lee, at that time was supervisor of North Carolina’s Negro Public Libraries.  …

“Subsequently, Dr. D.C. Yancey donated a room over his drugstore to the club for the establishment of a library. …

“… Volunteers were solicited to man the library. The first official ‘librarian’ was Evangeline Royal, a local high school student employed to operate the library after school.”

“The following persons were appointed to become members of the library’s first board of trustees: Mrs. W.M. Freeman (Chairman); E. Hilliard (Secretary); James Whitfield (Treasurer); E.F. Battle; William Hines; Dr. D.C. Yancey; and C.W. Foster.

“Considering its relative obscurity, the library was to circulate 108 volumes during its first year of operations and collect $539.40 in donations for operating expenses.

“The following year showed a marked improvement. Aside from acquiring a new librarian, the board of trustees was able to solicit appropriations from the local city and county officials for the financing of the library. … Under the direction of Miss Pauleze Coley (Bryant), the college graduate employed by the library, circulation for the year ending June 30, 1945 totaled 3,172 volumes. …”

Proposed floor plan of Wilson County Negro Library’s location on Pender Street.

  • Argie Evans Allen
  • D.C. Yancey — D’arcey C. Yancey.
  • Evangeline Royal — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 203 Pender Street, widow Ossie M. Royall, 33, an elevator girl at the courthouse; her mother Tossie Jenkins, 53, stemmer at a tobacco factory; daughters LaForest, 16, and Evauline Royall, 14; and a roomer named Ed Hart, 45, a laborer employed by the town of Wilson. Ossie and LaForest were born in Wilson; Evaline in Battleboro [Nash County]; and Tossie and Ed in Nash County.
  • W.M. Freeman — Willie Mae Hendley Freeman.
  • E. Hilliard
  • James Whitfield
  • E.F. Battle
  • William Hines
  • C.W. Foster — Carter W. Foster.
  • Pauleze Coley (Bryant) — Elizabeth Pauleze Coley Bryant.

115 Pender Street East today. The library was housed in the storefront at left until the early 1970s, when it moved to a location on Pender south of Nash Street. Photo courtesy of Google Maps.

Saint Alphonsus graduates.

November is Black Catholic History Month. Accordingly, I offer these images of a 1949 kindergarten graduation celebration at Saint Alphonsus Catholic School captured by Wilson’s preeminent 20th century photographers Charles Raines and Guy Cox. Do you recognize any of the children?

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Many thanks to John Teel for sharing these images from the Raines & Cox collection of photographs at the North Carolina State Archives. They are catalogued as PhC_196_CW_1211H _StAlphonsusGraduation1 through 10..

Sukey’s journey, part 2.

To the General Assembly of North Carolina

The undersigned, Respectfully Petition, the Legislature, to pass an act, in favor of Sucky Borden (a woman of colour) vesting in her, all the rights, and privileges, of a free woman Your Petitioners have long known said Suckey, and believe her to be a worthy woman, who will duly appreciate all her privileges and your Petitioners will ever pray, etc.

….

——

Twenty-six white Wayne County residents presented this petition to the state General Assembly in 1852. The only woman among them? M.A. Borden.

Maria Ann Brownrigg Borden,  proprietor of the Goldsboro Hotel, was the daughter of George and Obedience Brownrigg. In the 1850 census, she reported $20,000 in real property and 67 slaves. She and her sister Eliza Obedience Brownrigg Wright (whose husband John Wright also signed the petition) had inherited all but one of their mother’s slaves in 1841. That one person was Suckey, who went to Alfred Brownrigg. As noted earlier, Alfred Brownrigg quickly sold Suckey to their brother Edwin Brownrigg. Edwin, however, had begun registering large land grants in Sumter County, Alabama, in 1837 and died there, without heirs, in 1843. It’s not too much of a stretch to conjecture that Suckey never left North Carolina, and her ownership passed to Edwin’s sister Maria Borden after his death.

The 1852 petition to manumit Suckey Borden was successful, and the 1860 census of Goldsboro, Wayne County, North Carolina shows baker Susan Borden, 70, with Angia Capps, 60, sewer, and Catharine Carrol, 7. Borden reported owning $500 in real estate and $100 in personal estate. She is not listed in 1870 and presumably died in the intervening years. Had Susan Borden spent most of her life on a lower Edgecombe (Wilson) County plantation, enslaved by successive Brownrigg family members until one felt moved to seek her freedom?

Petition of W.H. Washington et al. to General Assembly of North Carolina, 1852; Petitions; Papers of the North Carolina General Assembly, North Carolina State Archives.

 

 

Arch Artis, a free man of color.

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In the 30 August 1952 edition of his Daily Times column “Looking Backward,” Hugh B. Johnston transcribed a will executed in 1849 by Arch Artice, a free man of color. The will is not included in Ancestry.com or Familysearch.org databases, and I have found no evidence that it ever entered probate. Artis (the more common spelling) is not to be confused with Archibald Artis Sr. (or Jr.) of Johnston County, who was his rough contemporary, and here’s what we know of him:

In the 1850 census of Edgecombe County, Arch Artis is listed as a 55 year-old “mulatto free” and described as blind. Elisha Vick, a 48 year-old white laborer, and Elizabeth Woodard, 46, who witnessed his will, were Artis’ close neighbors.

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1850 federal census of Edgecombe County, N.C.

In the 1860 census of Gardners township, Wilson County, Arch Artis, 65, blind, is listed in the household of white farmer Calvin Woodard, a 32 year-old white farmer who reported owning $17,225 in personal property (which would have been mostly in the form of enslaved people. Calvin Woodard was the son of Elizabeth Simms Woodard, above, and William Woodard Sr., who died about 1850.)

On 31 October 1869, Puss Artice, daughter of Arch and Rosa Artice, married George Bynum, son of Thos. Drake and Eliza Bynum, at Arch Artice’s. [“Puss” was the nickname of Tamar Artis Bynum.]

On 6 January 1870, Jessie Woodard, son of Arch and Rosa Artice, married Pennie Bess, daughter of Harry Ellis and Selvey Bess, in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Archabald Artis, 70; wife Rosa, 34; Tamer Bynum, 23, and [her husband] George, 25. Though they did not register their cohabitation, the record strongly suggests that Arch Artis had a relationship spanning several decades with a woman named Rosa, who was enslaved. She, with her and Arch’s children, had belonged to members of  William Woodard Sr.’s family. (Details to come in a later post.)

Arch Artis seems to have died between 1870 and 1880.

John Artist, son of Arch and Rosa Artis, married Hannah Ellis, daughter of Jack and Margaret Ellis, on 29 February 1872 in Wilson County. (This was his second marriage. On 9 April 1867, John Artice married Pricilla Woodard in Wilson County.)

Ned Artis died 21 October 1917 in Falkland township, Pitt County, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 1831 in Wilson County to Arch Artis and Rose Artis; was single; was buried in Wilson County; undertaker was Jesse Artis; and informant was Joe Artis, Falkland, N.C.

Gray Artis, 72, of Chicod township, Pitt County, son of Arch and Rosa Artis, married Caroline Howard, 66, of Chicod township, daughter of Emily Nobles, on 22 April 1918 in Chicod township, Pitt County.

Tamar Bynum died 25 February 1923 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 77 years old; was born in Wilson County to Arch and Rosa Artis; was the widow of George Bynum; and had farmed. Rosa Bynum was informant.