Robert Simms Sr. of Wayne County made out his will on 18 December 1789. It entered probate in April Court 1891. Simms’ landholdings were in the area between Contentnea and Black Creeks, which is now in Wilson County.
- to wife Mary Simms, a life interest “negro man Roger and his wife beck,” “one boy Jack,” and “one boy Pompey,” with remainder to son Benjamin Simms
- to son Benjamin Simms, “Negro girl Chaney“
- to son Robert Simms, “a Negro boy named Boston“
- to daughter Susanna Simms, “a Negro gairl Named Rashel“
- to son Barnes Simms, “negro boy Charles“
- to son Abm. [Abraham] Simms, “one Negro man named Jim and one Negro boy named peter“
Robert Simms Jr. submitted this undated inventory of his father’s property to court in July Term 1791:
A 26 August 1791 account of sales from Simms’ estate shows that his daughter purchased Roger for two pounds.
Will of Robert Simms (1789), Estate Records of Robert Simms (1791), Wayne County, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.
Per Kate Ohno, Wilson County’s Architectural Heritage (1981):
“This Georgian cottage is said to have been the dwelling of Keziah and Shadrack Dickenson. Dickenson was the daughter of Robert Simms, a major landowner in Black Creek Township. The land upon which this house was built is said to have come from the Simms family. This late eighteenth-century cottage is a rare survival in Wilson County. It was probably constructed much as it stands today. It is a small rectangular building with a gable roof. The gable ends suggest the presence of exterior end chimneys, now removed. The door is board and batten. Although some alterations have been made on the interior, the present appearance suggests that it was once a hall-and-parlor plan dwelling. The interior is sheathed with flush boards and some original woodwork remains intact. The interior and exterior details of this house suggest that it may be of the oldest, as well as one of the best-preserved houses in the county.”
As shown in the last column on this partial image, Shadrach Dickinson reported to the enumerator recording the 1790 census of Wayne County, North Carolina, that he owned 14 enslaved people. (Black Creek township was part of Wayne County prior to 1855.)
Dickinson died in 1818 at the age of about 68. His will entered probate in Wayne County:
In the Name of God Amen — I Shadrack Dickinson of the County of Wayne & State of No Carolina do make and ordain this my Last Will and Testament Revoking all others being in Sound mind & memory. It is my wish and desire that all my children To wit Martha Simms Elizabeth Stanton Polly Thomas Sally Jernigan Patience Turner James Dickinson Penelope Barnes Wm Dickinson & Susannah Edmundson shall have an equal part of all my whole estate that is consisting Lands negroes and money &tc with the Exception of my Daughter Polley Thoma’s part of the negroes which I have now in possession it is my wish and desire after the Valuation of sd negroes that her part be made up to her in money or good notes of hands and the said negroes Eqully Divided between the above name Eight Heirs with the exception of my negro man Jacob & his wife Jenny shall be valued at one Hundred dollars and my negro man Harry shall be valued at three Hundred dollars, and without any compulshon shall have their choice of said Eight Heirs for their Master or Mistress, and the said Four Hundred dollars to be paid in good Notes as the other part of said Estate, it is my wish & desire that all the negroes & perishable property which already has been given to said nine Heirs be valued at the time when said property was [illegible] and also three Hundred Acres of Land deeded to my son James also three Hundred Acres of Land deeded to my daughter Patience valued at this time, it is also my wish and desire after all my Just debts are paid that all the residue of my Estate be Equally divided between the above named nine Heirs by Joel Newsom Junr & Arthur Bardin which I ordain and appoint also my Executors to this my last will and Testament. Oct. 28th 1818. Shadrack Dickinson Signed Seald & acknowledged in the presents of William Dickinson, Henry T. Stanton
1790 United States Federal Census; North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.
Jonathan Tartt of Edgecombe County wrote out his will on February 3, 1789; it was probated May 5 of the same year. Along with personal property and many thousands of acres of lands along Toisnot and White Oak Swamps (in what would become Wilson County), Tartt left:
- To wife Catherine, two Negro boys, Frank and Anthony; a Negro man Lin for 10 years and “afterwards Lin shall be a free man and shall have his cornfield, orchard, and house now known by the name of his as his property;” and, with son James Tartt and daughter Martha Eason, stock, furniture, money and two Negroes Brister and Sharp
- To son Elnathan Tartt, one Negro man Simon and one girl Tamer outright; two Negro men Gideon and Jo for six years; and Negroes Jack, Venus, John, and Sal for 10 years, then to be divided equally between Elnathan Tartt, son James Tartt, and grandchildren Enos and Sarah Tartt
- To son James Tartt, Negro boys Abram and Briant, plus the share in Jack, Venus, John and Sal above
- To daughter Elizabeth Walton, one Negro woman Pen “and her increase”
- To daughter Martha Eason, one Negro woman Cloe and her child Charity
- To grandson Enos Tartt, one Negro man Gideon, plus the share in Jack, Venus, John and Sal above
- To granddaughter Sarah Tartt (orphan of Jonathan Junior), one Negro Joe, plus the share in Jack, Venus, John and Sal above
Jonathan Tartt’s son Elnathan Tartt, also of Edgecombe County, made out his will on Christmas Eve 1795. He left land and a dwelling house along White Oak Swamp, and:
- To wife Obedience, a Negro woman named Cloe; a Negro man named Ellis; also, until son James Tart comes of age, negro women Fillis, Tamer and Sal
- “It is my Will and desire that my negroes still continue at their respective Plantations for the purpose of keeping up their farms and raising stock as heretofore and continue their stocks of any kind”
- To son James Tartt, a negro man named Simon
- To son Thomas Tart, a negro man named Davey
- To daughter Pennina Tart, a negro man named Sam
- To daughter Polly, a negro boy named Bryant
- “Whereas my father Jonathan Tart in his last will and testament left four Negros viz Jack, Venus, John and Sarah, to be divided equally between myself, James Tart, Enos and Sally Tart for a term of years Viz Ten years. My will and desire is that my part of said negroes continue at the plantation where they now live and if said negroes are sold then my Executors may purchase them at such prices as they think proper, and if Jack or Venus should fall to my part, or be purchased by my Executors, my will is that they may have choice to live with which of my two sons they please after my son Thomas comes of Age”; also that negro Tom have his choice of which son to live with
- To four children Penninah, Polly, James and Thomas Tart four negroes and their increase (if any) Vizs Baccus, Fillis, Tamer and Sal as soon as they arrive at age or marry to be divided equally among them
- “if my Executors purchase a negroe Boy Tom and a negroe girl Sarah that they be equally divided between the four children as they may become of age or marry”
Jonathan Tartt’s widow Catherine Jarrell Tartt Peelle made out her will on 17 June 1812. It was recorded in Edgecombe County in November 1814 and included these provisions:
- To my grandson Enos Tartt “Negro man named Antony”
- “… my two Negro men nam’d Brister and Frank be at liberty to chuse whom they may be willing to live with and that they may be valued by three good men whom the court of Edgcombe shall appoint for that purpose and those men whom they chuse to live with to pay up the full valuation. If they see cause otherwise, the said Negroes shall be hired out annually as long as they live, to such persons as they may be willing to live with.”
- “my two Negro men Dempsey and Sam shall be valued by three good men whom the court of Edgcombe shall appoint and that my Grandson Enos Tartt shall take the said Negroes at the valuation and the money arising from the sd. Negroes to be equally divided between my granddaughter Catherine Spates and grandson Elnath Eason”
- “my old Negro woman named Pen be a liberty to chuse whom she is willing to live with and if it is thought that she is not able to support herself by her labor that she shall be suporte out of my Estate”
- “give to the said old Negro [Pen] my weaving Lume & guard also the Wheale and cards she has genurely us’d in my serviss”
- “… unto my nephew John Garrell one Negro woman named Ginney”
- “my stock of every kind whatsoever be sold at six months credit and my farming tools also my blacksmith tools and the money except the legece left to my sister Pearce and the support for Negro Pen to be taken out and the ballance to and with the money that my Negro Frank & Brister shall sell or hire for …”
- According to this (I have not seen the original), the 1769 Dobbs County tax list discloses the names of Jonathan Tartt’s slaves — Rorah, Sam, Jack, Lin, Little Sam, Jin, Pen, and Venus. Twenty years later, in Edgecombe, he retained possession of Jack, Lin, Pen and Venus. (Or, at least, enslaved people with those same names.) Jonathan Tartt was born in perhaps Surry or Isle of Wight County, Virginia, and migrated to Northampton and Bertie Counties, North Carolina before pushing further south into Dobbs County. His land there was on either side of the Neuse River in what is now Wayne County. Thus, men and women that he enslaved in Edgecombe (later Wilson) had traveled with him as he settled across the east-central Coastal Plain.
- Elnathan Tartt disposed of two enslaved people inherited from his father, Simon and Tamer.
- Several of the enslaved people disposed of in Catherine Peelle’s will seem to have been inherited from her husband Jonathan Tartt, including Anthony, Frank, Brister and Pen.