A register of births of enslaved children, part 3.

The North Carolina State Archives’ Private Collections holds a remarkable and exceedingly rare document within the Virginia Pou Davis Doughton Papers. A small booklet, comprised of thirteen hand-sewn pages, holds list after list of the birthdates of enslaved women and the children they bore.

The provenance of the manuscript is unclear. The finding aid describes it as “Slaves of Bynum or Farmer Family in Edgecombe or Wilson Counties, 1825-1865.” However, in part 2, I argued that the booklet belonged to Robert Bynum, Virginia Doughton’s maternal grandfather, a substantial slaveholder.

While examining these pages, I realized that the penciled notes left-side and bottom right-side pages are lists of rations issued to enslaved people.


Mariah‘s children. Melissa was born May 1860. Jefferson Davis dead Dec 1861.

Henry To 2 plugs tobacco

Mr Oliver To 2 galls molasses to 6 lbs meat 2 bbls [barrels] corn

  • Mariah and her children
  • Henry


Thane‘s children. Fanny was born in 1857. Redmond was born in Aug. 1860. Oscar was born Nov. 1862. Oliver was born Nov. 1863. Polly ”  ”  ” ” [was born Nov. 1862?]

Howel To 1 plug tobacco

  • Thaney and children

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Thomas Bynum, 30; wife Bethana, 28; children James, 11, Oliver, 9, Mary, 6, Lavinia, 4, “no name,” 2; and Lucy Pitt, 53.

In the 1900 census of Portsmouth, Virginia: lumber mill fireman Oliver Bynum, 38; wife Harriet, 50, laundress; sister-in-law Susan Smith, 56; and servant Adaline Carter, 13.

On 27 September 1882, Redmond Bynum, 23, of Wilson County, son of Thomas and Bettie Bynum, married Allice Farmer, 22, of Wilson County, daughter of Belford and Peggie Farmer, at Alice Farmer’s residence in Wilson township. Methodist minister P.W. Howard performed the ceremony in the presence of Johnson Blue, Washington Simms, and H.C. Lassiter.

  • Howell


Dilsey‘s Children. Edney dead was born the 28 day Augst 1861. Diana dead was born 24 June 1863. Charlie

Jolly To 1 Plug tobacco

Church To 1 plug tobacco 1/2 gallon molasses

  • Dilsey and children
  • Jolly

In 1866, Jolly Bynum and Amy Pender registered their 30-year cohabitation with a Wilson County justice of the peace.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Jolly Bynum, 60, farm laborer; wife Amy, 54; and Isaac Bynum, 15, farm laborer. [Jolly Bynum indentured Isaac Bynum as an apprentice in 186x. Isaac, described as an orphan, may have been the Bynum’s grandson.]

  • Church

On 19 July 1866, Church Bynum and Thaney Farmer registered their 30-year cohabitation with a Wilson County justice of the peace.

On 5 March 1868, Emla Sharp, daughter of Church Bynum and Thaney Sharpe, married Mac Harrison, son of Lindsay Melton and Eliza Bynum, at the courthouse in Wilson.

On 12 January 1869, Abram Sharp, son of Church Bynum and Thanee Sharp, married Caroline Hines, daughter of Allen and Harriet Hines.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Church Bynum, 66, farm laborer; wife Thanah, 65; and Columbus Bynum, 10.

On 25 December 1870, James Bynum, son of Church Bynum, married Mary Rountree, daughter of Jesse and Rebecca Rountree, in Wilson.

On 28 December 1871, Jerry Bynum, son of Church and Thaney Bynum, married Florence Rountree, daughter of Warren and Sarah Rountree, at Josh Rountree’s in Wilson County.

In the 1880 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Church Bynum, 78, farmer; wife Thaney, 70; son Collumbus, 30; and granddaughter Francis Lipcond, 4.

Slaves — Bynum or Farmer Families, Edgecombe, Wilson Counties, 1825-1865, P.C. 1981.3; Virginia Pou Doughton Family Papers, Private Collections, State Archives of North Carolina. Thanks to Jennifer Johnson for bringing this collection to my attention. 

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