Five years into freedom.

Just five years after the Civil War’s end, enumerators set out on foot and horseback to record the 1870 census. They would count 5073 black men, women and children in Wilson County that year, the overwhelming majority newly emancipated. How had these new citizens fared in the early days of freedom? Who had managed to gain a toehold?

A review of the 1870 census of Wilson County discloses 48 African-American men and two women (just under 1% of the total black population) who reported owning real property (land). Most also reported owning personal property, represented by the second dollar amount below. Only six men — London Woodard, Jarman Farmer, Amos Bynum, Lawrence Ward, Jesse Ward, Rufus Renfrow — held assets worth more than $1000 — barely one-tenth of 1%.

  1. Elijah Cox, 66, shoemaker, $150, Cross Roads
  2. George Thomson, 51, farm laborer, $300, $200, Cross Roads
  3. London Woodard, 79, farmer, $1000, $400, Gardner’s
  4. Charles Bynum, 45, farmer, $300, $200, Gardner’s
  5. Burdon Armstrong, 45, farm laborer, $400, $300, Gardner’s
  6. Edwin Dowdy, 30, farm laborer, $400, $100, Gardner’s
  7. Benj’n [Benjamin] Artis, 46, farm laborer, $100, $125, Gardner’s
  8. Jordan Thomas, 52, farm laborer, $175, $100, Gardner’s
  9. Elbert Parker, 27, farmer, $200, Joyner’s
  10. Jarman Farmer, 34, farm laborer, $2000, $1000, Joyner’s
  11. Willie Short, 40, farmer, $200, Joyner’s
  12. Hardy Farmer, 55, farmer, $200, Joyner’s
  13. Preston Williams, 46, farmer, $300, $125, Joyner’s
  14. Amos Bynum, 30, farmer, $1500, $100, Joyner’s
  15. Willis Jones, 70, farmer, $350, $100, Oldfields
  16. Jacob Jones, 43, “at steam saw mill,” $500, $100, Oldfields
  17. Patrick Williamson, 45, farm laborer, $175, $300, Oldfields
  18. Dempsey Powell, 40, farm laborer, $225, Oldfields
  19. Howel Moore, 50, farmer, $400, $200, Saratoga
  20. Larrence Ward, 25, farmer, $1000, $250, Saratoga
  21. Jesse Ward, 27, farmer, $1000, $225, Saratoga
  22. William Hawley, 28, farmer, $400, $250, Springhill
  23. Rufous Renfrow, 32, farmer, $1000, $500, Springhill
  24. Ellen Williamson, 33, farmer, $175, $100, Springhill
  25. Albert Adams, 50, farmer, $500, $125, Springhill
  26. Moses Hegans [Hagans], 70, farmer, $100, Taylor
  27. Nelson Eatmon, 53, farmer, $450, $250, Taylor
  28. Delus [Zealous] Howard, 35, farmer, $300, $100, Taylor
  29. Ivey Evans, 37, farmer, $175, Taylor
  30. Hilliard Ellis, farmer, 43, $500, $300, Taylor
  31. Stephen Lipscomb, 49, carpenter, $100, Taylor
  32. George Rountree, 70, farmer, $400, $250, Taylor
  33. Moses Adams, 36, farm laborer, $200, Taylor
  34. Thomas Brantley, 57, farm laborer, $150, $200, Taylor
  35. Ezekeal Wiggins, 27, farm laborer, $500, Taylor
  36. Adeline Price, 35, farm laborer, $150, Taylor
  37. James Mitchell, 33, farm laborer, $150, Taylor
  38. Henry Forbes, 48, domestic servant, $100, $200, Wilson
  39. Edwin Barnes, 34, domestic servant, $75, Wilson
  40. David Bullock, 52, farm laborer, $125, Wilson
  41. Bitha Moye, 32, keeping house, $75, Wilson
  42. Jerry Washington, 42, blacksmith, $250, Wilson
  43. Green Lassiter, 46, farm laborer, $500, $125, Wilson
  44. Amos Taylor, 59, farm laborer, $800, $150, Wilson
  45. Everett Due [Dew], 58, farm laborer, $135, Wilson
  46. Alford Jackson, 40, farm laborer, $150, Wilson
  47. Samuel Simms, 43, farm laborer, $500, Wilson
  48. Peter Rountree, 46, shoemaker, $250, Town of Wilson
  49. Henry Jones, 55, shoemaker, $300, $100, Town of Wilson
  50. Lemon Taber [Taborn], 28, barber, $500, $200, Town of Wilson

An additional 53 African-American men (just over 1%) reported owning personal property of value. As with landowners, these individuals lived in all nine of Wilson County’s townships.

  1. Haywood Barden, 36, farm laborer, $100, Black Creek
  2. Howell Darden, 47, farm laborer, $125, Black Creek
  3. Samuel Barden, 41, farm laborer, $100, Town of Black Creek
  4. Charles Bynum, 38, farm laborer, $150, Gardner’s
  5. Isaac Bullock, 44, farm laborer, $100, Gardner’s
  6. Allen Bynum, 50, farm laborer, $100, Gardner’s
  7. Isaac Bynum, 19, farm laborer, $300, Gardner’s
  8. Jolly Bynum, 60, farm laborer, $100, Gardner’s
  9. Ellis Barron, 50, farm laborer, $100, Gardner’s
  10. Sherod Barnes, 67, farm laborer, $100, Gardner’s
  11. Liberty Thomas, 74, farm laborer, $175, Gardner’s
  12. Jerry Bullock, 50, carpenter, $200, Joyner’s
  13. Jesse Dancy, 49, farmer, $125, Joyner’s
  14. James Whitehead, 35, farmer, $100, Joyner’s
  15. Nathan Weaver, 35, farm laborer, $125, Joyner’s
  16. Guilford Robinson, 35, farm laborer, $250, Oldfields
  17. Benj’n [Benjamin] Harrison, 30, farm laborer, $100, Oldfields
  18. Isaac Daniel, 44, farm laborer, $100, Saratoga
  19. Mason Barnes, 52, farm laborer, $125, Saratoga
  20. Redick Barnes, 61, farm laborer, $200, Saratoga
  21. Henry Applewhite, 30, farm laborer, $125, Saratoga
  22. Aaron Ward, 46, farm laborer, $400, Saratoga
  23. Samuel Barnes, 29, farm laborer, $100, Saratoga
  24. Mecoms Mitchel, 42, farm laborer, $150, Saratoga
  25. Richard Rogers, 59, farm laborer, $175, Saratoga
  26. William Scarborough, 66, farm laborer, $125, Saratoga
  27. Ruffin Raper, 20, farmer, $200, Springhill
  28. John Pettyfoot [Pettiford], 40, farm laborer, $100, Springhill
  29. Gray Hinnant, 17, farm laborer, $200, Springhill
  30. Benjamin Hoketts [Hocutt], 70, farm laborer, Springhill
  31. Ishmael Wilder, 41, farm laborer, Springhill
  32. Treal Williamson, 65, farm laborer, $125, Springhill
  33. Hardy Atkinson, 50, farm laborer, $300, Springhill
  34. Hardy Barnes, 50, farmer, $125, Stantonsburg
  35. Redmond Barnes, 34, farm laborer, $100, Stantonsburg
  36. Cooper Woodard, 56, farm laborer, $225, Stantonsburg
  37. Virgil Randol, 32, farm laborer, $150, Stantonsburg
  38. Jackson Anderson, 47, farm laborer, $150, Stantonsburg
  39. Amos Ellis, 47, farm laborer, $200, Stantonsburg
  40. Solomon Woodard, 30, farmer, $500, Stantonsburg
  41. Ellic Peacock, 51, farm laborer, $160, Stantonsburg
  42. Allen Sauls, 38, farm laborer, $200, Stantonsburg
  43. Frank Simms, 44, farm laborer, $100, Stantonsburg
  44. Arnord Peel, 39, farm laborer, $150, Taylor
  45. David Parker, 50, farm laborer, $100 Taylor
  46. Isaac Thorne, 50, blacksmith, $100, Wilson
  47. Albert Gay, 21, brick molder, $125, Wilson
  48. Samuel Darden, 40, carpenter, $125, Wilson
  49. Aaron Skinner, 37, carpenter, $100, Wilson
  50. Mike Barefoot, 28, farm laborer, $130, Wilson
  51. George Smith, 25, farmer, $350, Wilson
  52. Arthur Young, 37, blacksmith, $125, Wilson
  53. Alford Due [Dew], 26, farm laborer, $200, Wilson

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