Coroner’s Inquest held over the dead Body of Smithy Artis
State of North Carolina, Wilson County }
Be it remembered that on the 3rd day of March 1874 I H.W. Peel Coroner of Said County attended by a Jury of Good and Lawful Men (viz) J.J. Bynum, Elbert Felton, J.C. Barnes, Hardy Skinner W.J. Owens, Benj’n Baker, Josiah Hinson, S.H. Gay, Frank Edmundson, Willie Ruffin, Benjamin Dupree, John Ellis by me Summoned for that purpose according to Law, after being by me duly Sworn and empanelled at Gray Webb in the County aforesaid did hold an inquest over the dead body of Smithey Artis (col) and after inquiring into the facts and circumstances of the death of the deceased from a view of the corpse and all the testimony to be procured, the Jury find as follows, that is to say, that the Ds’d came to her Death by some unknown cause to the Jury. /s/ S.H. Gay, Frank (X) Edmondson, Willie (X) Griffin, Benjm (X) Dupree, John (X) Ellis, J.J. Bynum (foreman), Elbert Felton, J.C. Barnes, Hardy (X) Skinner, W.J. Owens, B.B. (X) Baker, Josiah (X) Hinson. H.W. Peel, Coroner.
In the 1850 census of Edgecombe County, North Car: “free b[lack]” Smith Artis, 25, and her disabled son, George, 9 (described as “idiot”), in the household of white farmer Elisha Carter. The term in that era was commonly used to describe people who were deaf and mute.
In the 1860 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Smithy Artis, 38, and son George, 21, in the household of Zilpha Daniel.
In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Smith Artis, 50, with son, George, 28 (described as “idiotic”).
Coroner’s Records, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.