The last will and testament of Sarah Daniel.

On 17 March 1863, Sarah Daniel made her mark on a will that, among other things, bequeathed twelve enslaved African-Americans to her daughters and granddaughter.

Daughter Elizabeth Rountree was to receive Silvia, Anarchy, Henry, and May.

Granddaughter Elizabeth Daniel was to receive Celia.

Daughter Penelope Daniel was to receive Serena, Esther, Lawrence, little Serena, Amos, Caroline, and Rufus.

Sarah Daniel appears in the 1850 census of Wayne County, North Carolina, with her daughter Penney. She lived near present-day Eureka and reported owning nine people in the 1850 slave schedule. By 1860, she had moved a few miles north into the Black Creek area of Wilson County and reported owning 14 enslaved people. Despite her relative wealth, I have not found much about her, including her maiden name or husband’s name.

Daniel died in 1864, and her son-in-law James Rountree handled her affairs. The auction of her personal property reveals a robust In a petition found in her estate records, Rountree asserted that Daniel’s daughter Penelope was “non compos” (non compos mentis, “of unsound mind”) and under the guardianship of Dr. A.G. Brooks, that her son Moses Daniel had moved out of state and could not be found for distribution of the $1000 she left him, that her granddaughter was married and now known as Elizabeth G. Upchurch, but that otherwise the estate had been settled.

Within a year, of course, Sarah Daniel’s plans were undone, and all those named in her will as property went free.


On 4 January 1870, Amos Daniel, son of Matthew Barnes and Serrena Daniel, married Jane Simms, daughter of Axum Barden, at J.P. Barden’s in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Rena Daniels, 55, with Leah, 32, Carolin, 16, John, 11, Gray, 9, and Elizabeth, 1 month. Next door: Amos Daniel, 20, and wife Jane, 19.  [This appears to be “big” Serena, Caroline, and Amos in the will above. Where was Leah in 1863? Was the bequest to Penelope Daniel a family group, i.e. Serena and her children? ]

Around 1871, Gray Rountree, son of Thomas Barnes and Fanny Rountree, applied for a  license to marry Leah Daniels, daughter of Matthew Barnes and Rainey Daniel, in Wilson County. (They did not return the marriage license.)

On 1 February 1873, Joseph Horn, 22, married Caroline Daniel, 18, at Cerena Daniel’s in Wilson County.

In the 1880 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: farmer Gray Rountree, 38; wife Lear, 38; children Elizabeth, 11, Walter, 9, Fannie, 7, Rena, 6, West, 3, and Neelie Rountree, 1; and son Gray Newsome, 15.

In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Joseph Horn, 27, farmer; wife Caroline, 24; children Slah [Selah?], 7, and Jefferson Horn, 5; and Milbry Horn, 14.

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