Vicey Artis, a free woman of color, and Solomon Williams, an enslaved man, had eleven children together – Zilpha Artis Wilson, Adam Toussaint Artis, Jane Artis Artis, Loumiza Artis Artis, Charity Artis, Lewis Artis, Jonah Williams, Jethro Artis, Jesse Artis, Richard Artis, and Delilah Williams Exum — before they were able to marry legally. On 31 August 1866, they registered their 35-year cohabitation in Wayne County. Vicey died soon after, but Solomon lived until 1883. The document above, listing his and Vicey’s six surviving children and heirs of their deceased children, is found among Solomon Williams’ estate papers.
In the antebellum period, Vicey Artis and her children, who were apprenticed to Silas Bryant, lived in the Artis Town area of Bull Head township, Greene County, N.C., just a few miles over the border of Wilson County. Solomon Williams presumably lived relatively close by. Before 1860, the family shifted west into the Eureka area of Wayne County (which may have been their original home territory), and Vicey died around 1868. Descendants of at least five of Vicey and Solomon’s children — most notably son Adam T. Artis — migrated into Wilson County starting around 1900, settling in and around Stantonsburg and Wilson.
We have met Jonah Williams here and here and elsewhere. We’ve also met Loumiza Artis Artis’ husband Thomas Artis. Stay tuned for more about my great-great-great-grandfather Adam T. Artis, Zilpha Artis Wilson, Jesse Artis, and Richard Artis.
[Sidenote: Artis was the most common surname among Wayne County free people of color. In the 1840, 1850 and 1860 censuses, Artis families primarily are found clustered in northern Wayne County, near present-day Eureka and Fremont. Though eastern North Carolina Artises ultimately share common ancestry stretching back to mid-17th century Virginia, the precise relationships between various Wayne County lines — not to mention other Greene and Johnston County Artis lines — is not clear. In other words, though many of today’s Artises in Wilson are descended from Vicey Artis and Solomon Williams (or Vicey’s siblings Sylvania Artis Lane and Daniel Artis), none should assume descent from this line.]