In 1877, Abram Farmer petitioned Probate Court to apprentice his grandson to him, charging that the boy was being neglected by his stepfather:
Before H.C. Moss, Judge of Probate for Wilson County
The Petition of Abraham Farmer of Wilson County North Carolina, respectfully shows with your Honor that his grandson, Gray Pender a boy of color, aged about Sixteen years, is an orphan, his father Richmond Pender having died about six years ago, and his mother, Sarah Pender died about two years ago. That the said orphan has been living with this step father, Stephen Battle since the death of his mother, & by him hired out for wages, & has received less care & attention than his tender years demanded &c &c
Your petitioner respectfully makes application before your Honorable Court that the said orphan may be summoned to appear before the [illegible] & show cause why he may not be apprenticed to him or to some other good master who will educate & provide for said orphan as the law directs
Jan’y 22nd 1877 J.S. Woodard Atty for Petitioner
The said orphan is now at the house of your petitioner on the premises of Isaac B. Farmer.
In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Rich’d Pender, 28, farm laborer; wife Sarah, 25; and sons Gray, 9, and George, 1.
On 7 June 1871, at Anthony Barnes’, Stephen Battle, son of Hundy and Lucinda Battle, married Sarah Pender.
In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Pettigrew Street, farmer Abram Farmer, 63; wife Rhoda, 45; step-children Charlotte, 16, Kenneth, 15, Fannie, 11, and Martha, 10; and grandchildren Gray Pender, 17, Gray Farmer, 19; and Thad, 13, and John Armstrong, 10.
In the 1910 census to Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Gray Pender, 47; wife Lillie, 35; and Eliza, 18 months, and Aniky, 4 months.
In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Grey Pender, 58; wife Lily, 44; and children Elijah, 11, Annie, 10, Herman, 8, Rosetta, 9, Furney, 6, Dennis, 4, and Victoria, 2.
Grey Pender died 22 August 1928 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 67 years old; was born in Wilson County to Richmond and Sarah Pender; was married to Lillie Pender; and was a tenant farmer for Mrs. Mattie Williams.
Apprentice Records 1877, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh.