They are my grandchildren.

In response to John J. Pender’s claim to three African-American children, Jenny Robbins sent a sworn statement to the Freedmen’s Bureau. Reading between the lines suggests that Pender’s bald claim that Toney Robbins was not the children’s grandfather split hairs. They were, it seems, Jenny Robbins’ grandchildren by blood and Toney Robbins’ by marriage. Note that Robbins gives their surname as Turner, not Pender as set forth in the 1870 census and in J.J. Pender’s claim.

I Jenny Robbins wife of Toney Robbins do certify on oath that Dellah Ann Sylva Ann and Jacob Turner three infant children now in the possession of J.J. Pender of the county of Wilson state of North Carolina are my grand children and do further swear that my daughter Amy the mother of the said three children is and was dead when they were set free that I am the nearest kin now living to the said infants and wish to have the management control and raising of the same which he the said J.J. Pender haves and will not allow me to take or have anything to do with them     Jenny (X) Robbins

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 21st day of August 1867 James Wiggins J.P.

Witness D.W. Weaver, Moses (X) Morris Col., Haywood (X) Batts

Plece let me hear from you soon

——

Former policeman James Wiggins also weighed in in support of Ginny Pender/Jenny Robbins’ claim for custody of her children. (The date of his letter is puzzling, as it more than a year and a half before Robbins’ above. It gives a sense, however, of the protracted fight Toney and Jenny Robbins waged for her grandchildren.)

North Carolina Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1863-1872, Goldsboro (subassistant commissioner), Roll 15, Letters Received Jan 1867-Feb 1868; North Carolina Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1863-1872, Goldsboro (subassistant commissioner), Roll 15, Unregistered Letters Received Aug 1865-Feb 1868, http://www.familysearch.org 

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