The estate of Benjamin Amason Jr.

It’s not a common surname in Wilson County anymore, but in the early 1800s a prosperous extended family of Amasons lived in the Stantonsburg area (in what was then Edgecombe County, North Carolina). They owned extensive real property and considerable slaves, and often left estates that spent years in probate as family members bickered, and heirs and administrators died.

This post is second in a series featuring documents from Amason (Amerson) family estate files.


Benjamin Amason Jr. married a woman named Mary Ann in 1815. Amason was a widower with a young daughter, Nancy Matilda Amason. The marriage quickly failed, and Amason left Edgecombe [later, Wilson] County for Fairfield County, South Carolina. There, he fathered a son, Washington Amason, out of wedlock.

Amason died in South Carolina about 1823. A few years prior, he transferred to his children his interest in several enslaved people belonging to the estate of his father Benjamin Amason Sr. Mary Amason sued, claiming that the deed of gift had been made to defraud her of her dower right.

A set of referees agreed. Their 7 March 1829 decision named the enslaved people at issue as Cherry, Henry, Tamar, Pheby, Spencer, Jinny, and Polly, and ordered that they be sold.

The account of sale notes that Polly was Cherry’s daughter. They were sold out of the family to Ephraim Daniel, while Roderick Amason bought Henry and Tamar. Asa Amason bought Phebe; Josiah R. Horn bought Spencer; and Jinny went to Jonathan Ellis. In total, the sale raised $1325.00 for the estate.

When Roderick Amason died just months later, Henry and Tamar went on the block again. Two days before Christmas, they were “taken and resold by Josiah R. Horne” in what appear to be various trades in forgiveness of notes owed to Roderick Amason’s estate. Reddick Barnes came away with Henry; Tamar went to Blake Little.

Estate Files of Benjamin Amason Jr., North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line],

Leave a Reply