In which grimly bald-faced assertions of privilege are roundly rejected, and children are returned to their family.

Letters from the files of the Goldsboro Field Office of the Freedmen’s Bureau, which had jurisdiction over Wilson County:

Wilson N.C. 4th June 1867

C.C. Compton Major U.S.A.

Sir

In answer to your Order directing me to return the boys Oscar & Marcus who were apprenticed to me by the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of Wilson County, to their parents or other kin, permit me to inform you that Samberry Battle pretending to claim them as his children has filed his Complaint against me, first before the Gentleman of the bureau at Rockymount, who made an Order on me to deliver them to him or show cause &c. I got my son G.W. Blount who knew most of the facts connected with the matter to go to Rockymount and make a statement of facts for the consideration of the Bureau and thereupon the case was dismissed. Some few weeks ago Samberry filed another complaint against me before your predecessor Capt. [blank] at Goldsborough who issued his order for me to deliver the boys to Samberry or report to him &c. Being unwell at the time and unable to attend in person I wrote to him and made a statement of facts which I requested him to consider before making his final decision. Which letter, my son G.W. Blount, who was well acquainted with most of the facts therein stated and was willing to swear to them, carried down to Goldsborough and delivered it to the Capt who considered the matter and expressed himself as perfectly satisfied and said that he would dismiss the proceedings and write to me in a few days giving me official information, which I was expecting up to the time I received your Order yesterday. I presume the Capt., your predecessor turned over to you all the papers belonging to his office and if so, be so good as to look at the statement made by me to him and I feel confident that your decision will be the same as his. The case decided by the Supreme Court of N.C. was different from this in many respects, but it is not my purpose to argue the matter but simply to present some facts showing the injustice of the claims set up by Samberry and others who never did any thing toward the support of the boys while I have worked night and day to feed and clothe them. I admit that the boys were not in court at the time of the binding, but they were in town and would have been carried into the Court room if it had been required by the Court. And as to notice — the mother has been dead several years and their fathers (they are different men) if living are not in this country and could not be notified. The boys were born mine and I have fed and clothed them until they were large enough to remunerate me in some small decree for their expenses it seems to me that it would be a very great injustice to deprive me of their services and to give them up to persons that never contributed one cent to their support. Their next of kin are too poor to provide for them and protect them properly and their means would be to hire them out as slaves and treated as such. Be so good as to look at my statement made to your predecessor, as that is more full and explicit. If you have any doubt about the truth my statement I would refer you to Mr. Dortch of your town who knows my character and has known it from his early youth. If you should decide that I must turn them out upon the cold charities of the world I shall do so promptly. Inform me of your decision at your convenience & Oblige very respectfully &c. /s/ B.H. Blount

——

I Violet Blount do hereby certify on oath that Oscar & Marcus Blount are my grand-children that their reputed father is a resident of another county & that he has no controll of them, that they were apprenticed to Mr. B.H. Blount without their knowledge or consent, that they were not in Open Court at the time of such binding, as the records of the Court will show. I further certify that I am old & infirm & am dependent upon the labor of my grand daughter & husband for support. I further certify that Marcus & Oscar have a younger brother who is unable to support himself, being only about ten years old. I further certify that I am willing that Daniel Vick should have said boys apprenticed to him that they may assist him in my support.    Violet X Blount

Sworn to & subscribed before me this 25th day of June 1867   /s/ Elisha Barnes J.P.

——

State of North Carolina, Wilson County   }

Court of P.&.Q. Sessions July Term A.D. 1867

On motion it is ordered by the Court that the Indentures of Apprenticeship between A.G. Brooks Chairman of the Court and Benj. H. Blount binding of Oscar and Marcus col’d children is canseld & it is further Ordered that the said Oscar age 16 years and Marcus age 18 years be apprenticed to Violet Blount colard woman all parties being in open court and consenting.  Witness B.F. Briggs Clerk

——

  • Daniel Vick and Fannie Blount registered their six-year cohabitation in Wilson County on August 31, 1866.
  • Sambery Battle married America Vick in Nash County on 2 May 1867. Wallace Battle served as bondsman.
  • Violet Blount, described as a 70 year-old, married mulatto woman, is listed in the 1870 mortality schedule of Wilson township, Wilson County. She had died of cancer in July 1869.
  • Benjamin Harrison Blount (1804-1876) lived and worked as a merchant in the Castalia area of northwest Nash County. It is clear that he held Marcus and Oscar Blount, if not their mother and grandmother, in slavery. The 1860 federal slave schedule records him as owner of 16 enslaved people, who lived crammed in two houses. Per a biography published at Findagrave.com, “After the Civil War, hard times saw the [Blount] family remove to Wilson where eldest son George W. Blount had married established himself as a successful attorney.” I have not found the detailed letter Blount said he sent to Major Compton’s predecessor.
  • In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: baker Samuel Williams, 30, carpenter Daniel Vick, 25, wife Fannie, 24, children Samuel, 8, Earnest, 3, and Nettie M., 5, plus Violet Drake, 52. The Blount brothers are not found.
  • Marcus W. Blount, 26, and Frank O. [Oscar] Blount, 20, appear in the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County, in the household of their brother-in-law Daniel Vick and sister Fannie Blount Vick. I have not found the younger brother referred to in their grandmother’s letter.
  • In the 1880 census of Nashville, Nash County: Sambery Battle, 57, farmer, with wife Ann, 54, daughter Bettie, 15, and grandchildren Sambery, 10, and Laura, 5.
  • On 18 January 1880, Henry Battle, 26, son of Samberry Battle, married Cornelia Boddie, 19, in Nash County. Henry was the (half-?) brother of Marcus (and maybe Oscar) Blount. On 13 August 1887, Henry married again to Mary May, 21, in Nash County.
  • As a skilled carpenter, Daniel Vick was unlikely to have been as destitute as Benjamin Blount charged. He amassed considerable property just outside Wilson’s western city limits, sent at least three of his sons — Samuel, William Henry and J. Oscar — to college, and probably paid for F. Oscar Blount’s schooling, too. (For more about Oscar Blount, see here.)
  • Unlike his brother, Marcus Blount spent his entire life in Wilson. On 27 December 1888, Mark Blount, 35, son of Sebery Battle and Margaret Blount, married Annie Smith, 27, daughter of Louisa Bryant. F.O. Blount applied for the license on his brother’s behalf. The couple were married at the A.M.E. Zion church in the presence of F.O. Blount and their nephews S.H. and W.H. Vick.
  • In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: the widower Mark Blount, 38, a cook, and his children Coneva, 10, Dotsey, 9, and Theodore W., 6, were lodgers in the household of George Faggin, just a few households away from Samuel Vick.
  • On 4 March 1903, Mark Blount, 50, married Alice Black, 23, at the residence of Thomas Johnson in Wilson. Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of Willie A. Johnson, John Battle and Mamie Lucas.
  • On 14 November 1906, Coneva Blount, 21, daughter of Mark Blount, married Boston Griffin of Farmville, 24, at the residence of George Faggin in Wilson. Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony before Dotsie Blount, S.Y. Griffin, and Annie Taylor.
  • In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: cook at cafe Mark Blount, 60, wife Mary, 29, children Allen, 2, Frances E., 1, Dotsey, 19, a nurse, and Walter, 17, a tobacco factory laborer. Next door: Boston Griffin, 27, brickmason, and wife Coneva, 21, a private cook.
  • On 24 June 1916, Dotsie Bount, 24, daughter of Mark and Alice Blount, married A.B. Barnhill, 27, of Greenville. Rev. H.B. Taylor performed the ceremony before G.W. Joyner, Mrs. M. Ada Perry and C.C. McCoy.
  • On 16 August 1918, school boy Allen Blount, son of Mark Blount and Allice Black, died of pulmonary tuberculosis a month shy of his 12th birthday. (Oddly, Mark reported his birthplace as Asheville. Should this have read “Nashville”? Alice’s birthplace was listed as Fayetteville.)
  • In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Mark Blount, 67, cook at cafe; wife Alice, 31; children Florence, 10, and Hellen, 7; divorced son-in-law Boston Griffin, a furniture delivery man; and roomer David Carrol, a tobacco factory worker.
  • On 12 February 1928, Walter Mark Blunt (as his death certificate reads) died of kidney disease in Wilson. He lived at 113 East Street, was married to Mary Alice Blunt, and worked as a chef. He was 69 years old and had been born in Castalia, North Carolina, to Samberry Battle and Margaret Blunt.
  • On 11 May 1927, Florence Blount, daughter of Mark and Alice Blount, married James Hollingsworth of Norfolk, Virginia. E.H. Cox, a Freewill Baptist minister, performed the service before James Tinsley, John Lennards and Lee Lennards.
  • On 15 April 1932, Helen Blount died of the same disease that killed her brother Allen, pulmonary tuberculosis. Her death certificate noted that she was born in 1915 to Mark Blount of Nash County and Mary Alice Black of Fayetteville and lived at 113 South East Street. Sister Florence Hollingsworth was the informant.
  • On 8 February 1941, Corneva Gaston died in Wilson, though she was a regular resident of Warsaw, Duplin County. Her death certificate notes that she was born 18 July 1899 to Mark Blount and Annie Blunt and was married to Theodore Gaston.
  • On 16 January 1988, Florence English, a resident of 113 South East Street, died. Her death certificate lists her parents as Marcus Blount and Mary Alice Black.

Freedmen Bureau Records of Field Offices, 1863-1878 [database online], http://www.ancestry.com; North Carolina, Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1863-1872, Goldsboro (assistant subassistant commissioner) > Roll 17, Letters received, Jul-Sep 1867 , http://www.familysearch.org 

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