To stave off responsibility for caring for poor women and their children, unwed mothers were regularly brought before justices of the peace to answer sharp questions about their circumstances.
On 15 September 1866, Lucy Taylor admitted to Wilson County justice of the peace D.W. Barnes that she was pregnant and unmarried, and Amos Williams was her child’s father. Barnes ordered that Williams be arrested and taken to a justice to answer Taylor’s charge.
Amos Williams appeared with J.G. Williams and M.M. Williams to post a bond for his appearance at the next session of court.
In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Benjamin Tillery, 27; wife Cherry; and daughter Jane, 3; Lucy Taylor, 23, and son Columbus, 8 months; and Daniel Sharp, 26, farm laborer. [Columbus Taylor is not the child that was the subject of the above bastardy action.]
Bastardy Bonds, 1866, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.