On 20 February 1855, James Viverett of Edgecombe County, North Carolina, conveyed to trustee James Wiggins “two Slaves one woman by the name of Silah & child name Lucinda three head of houses five head of cattle twenty five head hogs three goats all my featherbeds & furniture together with the whole of my house hold & kitchen furniture all my corn & blade fodder peas &c” as security for debts owed to six entities, most of which appear to have been mercantile outfits. If Viverett were to default, all the listed property would be sold at public auction to pay off his debt. Viverett and his creditors appear to have lived on either side of the Wilson County-Edgecombe County border in the Town Creek-Temperance Hall area.
One of the creditors, William J. Armstrong, a merchant in what is now Elm City, died two years later. His estate records show that “Scilla” and her unnamed children were among Armstrong’s enslaved property. Scilla and one unnamed child (presumably an infant born after the conveyance above) were given to Armstrong’s son-in-law Willie G. Barnes and Barnes’ wife (unnamed in the document, but Mary E. Armstrong Barnes.) A Lucinda, who may have been Scilla’s older child above, went to W.J. Armstrong’s son-in-law John H. Winstead and wife (who was Crissie Armstrong Winstead.) (Children over about age eight were listed individually in inventories and freely separated from their mothers.) Thus, in the space of two years, Scilla changed hands twice and was separated from a daughter who was probably no more than about age eight or nine.
The transaction is recorded in Deed Book 1, page 21, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.