Green Lassiter buys land in 1855.

Green Lassiter, a free man of color, bought just over fifty acres from William L. Farmer in December 1855 and registered the deed for his purchase about six weeks later. Wilson County formed in 1855, and this is the first registered purchase of real property by a free person of color in the county. (The land Lassiter bought just north of the town of Wilson had been in Edgecombe County before Wilson County was established, and certainly free people of color had owned land — though they did not often register their deeds — in the parts of Edgecombe, Nash, Wayne, and Johnston Counties that later formed Wilson County.)

Lassiter had a close business relationship with William L. Farmer (who had been the administrator of Green’s father Hardy Lassiter‘s estate), and Farmer’s 1856 estate records show that he had extended Lassiter a number of small loans. 

Deed book 1, page 123, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.

This Indenture made the 22nd day of December A.D. 1855 between Wm. L. Farmer of the first part & Green Lassiter of the second part all the county of Wilson State of North Carolina witnesseth that for and in consideration of the sum of Four Hundred Dollars the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged that said Wm. L. Farmer has given granted bargained sold & conveyed & by these presents does give grant bargain sell & convey unto the said Green Lassiter his heirs & assigns a certain tract or parcel of land lying in the County of Wilson adjoining the lands of Watson Rountree Washington Ruffin & others containing fifty & a half acres more or less to have & to hold the said Land with the said Green Lassiter his heirs & assigns and the said Wm. L. Farmer does hereby covenant & agree to for himself & his heirs executors & administrators to forever covenant & defend the title hereby conveyed to the said Green Lassiter his heirs & assigns forever In testimony whereof we hereunto set our hands & seals this the day & date above written       W.L. Farmer {seal}

Witness  Isaiah Farmer

Wilson County Feb 5th 1856 The Execution of the foregoing Deed is duly proven by the oath of Isaiah Farmer before me W. Barnes Clerk let it be Registered   W. Barnes Clerk

Received for registration this foregoing Deed the 6th day of Feb 1856  L.T. Sauls Registrar


In the 1850 census of Edgecombe County: Hardy Laster, 73, wife Beady, 54, and children Mathew, 26, Silas, 26, Green, 25, Hardy, 21, and Rachel, 20; all described as mulatto. Hardy reported owning $650 of real property.

In the 1860 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Green Lassiter, 36, farmer, and his siblings Mary Lassiter, 24, Matthew Lassiter, 37, and Rachel Lassiter, 30, farm laborers. Green reported $750 in real estate.

Green Lassiter married Mary Ann Powell on 19 January 1860 in Wilson County at Dempsey Powell‘s residence. 

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Green Lassiter, 46; wife Mary, 31; and children Henry, 10, Sallie, 8, Hardy, 6, and John G., 1 month. Lassiter reported owning $500 in real property and $125 in personal property.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Green Lassiter, 55; wife Mary Ann, 42; and children Henry, 19, Sally Ann, 17, Hardy, 15, John Green, 10, Dempsey S., 5, and Mary C., 2.

Mary Mercer died 27 February 1912 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 31 years old; was born in Wilson County to Green Lester and Mary Powell; was married; and engaged in domestic work. Beadie Blackwell was informant.

Hardy Lassiter died 24 June 1928 in Pine Bluff, Jefferson County, Arkansas. Per his death certificate, he was 55 years old; was born in Wilson, N.C., to Green Lassiter; lived at 1601 Texas, Pine Bluff; was a laborer at a heading factory; and was married. Julius Lassiter was informant.

Dempsey Lassiter died 17 July 1946 at his home at 106 South East Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 68 years old; was born in Wilson County to Green Lassiter and Mary Ann Powell; was engaged in farming; was married to Mary J. Lassiter; and was buried in Rountree [actually Odd Fellows] Cemetery.


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