The estate of Arthur Bardin.

The fourth in a series documenting enslaved people held by the Bardin/Barden family, who lived in the Black Creek area in what was once Wayne County, but is now Wilson County.


Arthur Bardin, born 1775, executed a comprehensive will on 8 September 1843 distributing his considerable wealth among his second wife Mary Howell Bardin and his 13 children. Among other items, 36 African-American men and women and children were earmarked:

  • wife Mary Bardin was to receive “four negroes,” Queeny, Sarah, Exey, and Exum, as well as life interests in Ben and Milley
  • son James Bardin was to receive Antoney and Creasey
  • daughter Sally Bardin Daniel, Tempsey
  • daughter Mary Bardin Yelverton, Abby and Rose, and the remainder interest in Milley, above
  • daughter Martha Jane Bardin, Bob, Cinthey, and Chana
  • daughter Susan Ann Bardin, Esther, Phereby, and Civil
  • daughter Mary Belinda Bardin [Barnes], Warren, Anakey, and Lizzey
  • son Arthur Bardin, Joe
  • son Benjamin H. Bardin, Wiley and Dennis
  • son John P. Bardin, Sam and Jerrey
  • son William H. Bardin, Nelson and Henry
  • son Jesse J. Bardin, Ben, Vinson, and Mike (the “three negro man shall remain and work on the plantation where I now live until [Jesse] shall arrive to the age of eighteen for the purpose of raising and educating my three youngest children.”)
  • daughter Penelope Bardin Stancil, a life interest in Bob and Charity, but if she died before they did, they were to be sold and the money divided among her children
  • and daughter Nancy Bardin Dew, Arch
  • also, Matilda; Limberne and Reuben, who had been purchased by the [general merchandising] firm Barnes & Bardin; and all other property not disposed of were to be sold to pay off debts.

Bardin died in April 1844. His estate quickly entered probate, and property was disposed of in a series of sales and hires out. In the first, held 30 June 1844, John Tyson purchased a woman named Matilda, (sold per specific directive), Larry Newson purchased a boy named Harris, and widow Mary Howell Bardin purchased a girl named Gatsey. (The children were not named in Bardin’s will.)

On 27 December 1844, 32 enslaved people from Arthur Bardin’s estate were hired out for one year to various family members and neighbors, “each to be furnished with three suits one of wollen one pare of shoes & stockings one hat & blanket.” “[I]f a woman should have a child in the time hired she is to have that attention paid her the nature of such case requir.” A number of people, most likely the elderly, infirm, or very young, remained with widow Bardin, who received small dollar amounts for their upkeep.

On 13 November 1845, the estate sold property that Bardin had left his daughter Martha, who had died that summer. Stephen Woodard purchased Cintha and her son Jack, as well as Bob, and Burrell Howell bought Chana.


Few African-Americans in Wilson or Wayne Counties adopted the surname Barden. however, we identified three women in the examination of Mary Howell Burden’s estate — Queeny, Sarah, and Exey. In 1866, Ben Barden and Quince [Queeny] Barden registered their 40-year cohabitation in Wilson County. Ben was probably the same man whose labor Arthur Bardin reserved for the care of his youngest children.

The child Jerry named in the hire document may be Jerry Borden.

Arch, who was bequeathed to Nancy Bardin Dew and sent to her husband Larry Dew for “keeping” in the hire document, may be the same Arch that is listed in Larry Dew’s 1861 will.

In 1866, Sam Barden and Nicy Sims registered their ten-year cohabitation with a Wilson County justice of the peace. In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farm laborer Samuel Barden 41; wife Nicey, 30; and Louisa, 12.

Arthur Bardin Estate File (1844), Wayne County, North Carolina Estate Files 1663-1979,

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