The last will and testament of Stephen Woodard Sr. (1858).

When Stephen Woodard Sr. executed his last will and testament in 1858, he determined the fates of 72 enslaved African-Americans.

In Item 2nd, Woodard bequeathed to his son Stephen Woodard Jr. 26 enslaved people — Lazarus, Randol, Henry, Harry, Little Bob, Jack, Arch, Solomon, Cooper, Mintus, Chacy and her child Handy, Jackan and her children Julia and Silvia, Rachel and her children Lawrence and Jim, Charity and her children Minger and Anzy, Little Peggy, Dianna, Nicey, Old Peggy, and Darkus. (In Item 6th, Woodard provided that, if an annuity could not be paid to son John G. Woodard, he would receive Jackan and her children.)

In Item 8th, son Willie Woodard received 11 enslaved people — Barden; Sy; Reddic; Jonas; Sena and her four children Smithy, Amos, Jesse, and Michel; and Maram and her child Bedy.

In Item 11th, daughter Elizabeth Woodard Newsome received 15 enslaved people: Alfred; Washington; Sherard; Ned; Wright; Frank; Auston; Etney and her three children Jane, Hugh, and Oliver; Jincy and her child Chany; Hester; and Lucy.

In Item 15th, daughter Penelope Woodard received 20 enslaved people — Asa, James, Ben, George; William; Jacob; Gray; Sam; Old Bob; Sarah and her children Delilah, Edwin, and Ellen; Rebecca and her children Isidore, Isaac, and Mary; Rose; Cherry; and Barbery.

Woodard’s will also gave insight into the way his farming operation was set up. He also bequeathed Stephen Woodard Jr. “all of my stock hogs at Lazerus’ pen & at Reddic’s pen and those at my home place” and Willie Woodard “my stock hogs at Washington’s pen.” In other words, Woodard’s hogs were kept at several locations across his plantation, including pens assigned to specific enslaved men.

Later posts will attempt to trace forward each group of Woodard’s enslaved.

Will of Stephen Woodard (1858), North Carolina, U.S. Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998,


  1. Hello my Grandma was born in 1934 in Wilson lived here all her life. Her father was Johnny Woodard I believe. He had a Grocery store on Lincoln. Called Woodard Grocery. Can anyone one help me fill in the gaps PLEASE?

Leave a Reply