1820s

Commemoration and celebration at Scarborough House.

Black Wide-Awake has featured several of Wilson County’s remaining antebellum plantation houses, including the James Scarborough house, built circa 1821, just outside Saratoga.

Now an event space and bed-and-breakfast, “Scarborough House Resort is committed to a long-term and ongoing effort to more deeply understand and respond to the historic role this property contributed to the injustice of slavery, as well as the legacies of enslavement on the Scarborough Plantation. Through engagement with the members of the Preservation of Wilson, collaborative projects with our surrounding community, and continued initiatives of learning and research, the Scarborough House Resort resolves to memorialize and reconcile with the wrongs of the past. We aim to follow a path of love and respect for all humanity, creating an inclusive environment, where all people will feel welcomed.” The site goes on to request that anyone with information, photographs, documents or other artifacts pertaining to Scarborough Plantation or its residents, enslaved or free, to contact PreserveOldWilson@gmail.com or reach out to the Scarborough staff.

I am thrilled and honored that Scarborough House has engaged me to research the property’s African-American past, a first step toward respect and reconciliation. On 22 April 2023 Scarborough House Resort is hosting a tea party to benefit Preservation of Wilson. Guests will enjoy a tree-planting in honor of Earth Day, learn the history of the house and its original inhabitants, and join in the dedication of a bench memorializing the lives of enslaved people who worked its land.

Photo collage courtesy of Scarborough House Resort.

The estates of Ephraim Daniel and Zilpha Fort Daniel.

The second in a series documenting enslaved people held by the Daniel family, who lived in the Black Creek area in what was once Wayne County.

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Though Ephraim Daniel named only four enslaved people — Simon, Temperance, Robbin and May —  in his will, estate documents reveal that he claimed 26 at the time of his death in 1822. On December 16 of that year, 22 enslaved people were sold to 16 different buyers in the liquidation of Daniel’s estate.

The men, women, and children dispersed from their homes were James (purchased by Hardy Horn and maybe the Jim referred to in Horn’s will and estate file); Jacob; Bob; Oen; Burden; Peter; Enos; Levi; Sarah; Fan; Hester; Jury and child Amy; Silviar; old man Bob; Lany and her three children George, Sintha, and Moses; old man Ned; old man Dick; and Isaac Hoods “the use of him reserved to the old Widow Hood her life time.”

Zilpha Daniel died just two years after her husband Ephraim. An inventory of her estate listed six enslaved people among her property. On 2 January 1826, her belongings went on the block. Her son Rufus hired out Hester; Simon, his wife, and children; and Oen [Owen], who was described as “very sick,” until March 1. On 11 March 1826, all were offered for sale. Rufus Daniel bought Simon, Temperance, and their children Robert and May, whom his father had specifically passed to Zilpha under the terms of his 1822 will.

Estate Files of Ephraim Daniel (1822) and Zilpha Daniel (1824), Wayne County, North Carolina Estate Files, 1663-1979, http://www.familysearch.org.

African-American members of Lower Black Creek P.B. Church, part 8.

Lower Black Creek Primitive Baptist Church, founded in 1783, was the second church organized in what is now Wilson County. (It closed its doors in 2010.) The church’s nineteenth and early twentieth-century records includes names of enslaved and freed African-American members, who worshipped with the congregation as second-class Christians even after Emancipation.

This page is entitled “A list of Names & members belonging to the church at Black Creek Meeting House Wayne County.” It is not dated, but the left margin contains baptism dates (and suggests the page was compile from earlier data.) Additional info appears for a few members in the right-hand column. Four “servants,” i.e., enslaved people, appear in the list.

  • Choe, a servant of John Barnes, baptized in 1827
  • Joe, a [servant of] of William Horne, baptized in 1828, “dead”
  • Jim, a servant of John Hooks, baptized in 1828
  • Mary, a [servant] belonging [to] T. Wasson, baptized in August 1852

 

The estates of Jesse and Patience Aycock.

Revolutionary War veteran Jesse Aycock (1743-1823) lived in the Nahunta area of Wayne County, N.C., but owned property in what would become Black Creek township, Wilson County. This property included the land upon which Lower Black Creek Primitive Baptist church stood; he bequeathed the parcel to the church in his 1822 will.

The Aycocks attended Lower Black Creek P.B., as did their slaves. Church records mention a woman Hannah owned by Jesse Aycock, and Briton(?) and Peter, owned by Aycock’s second wife, Patience Aycock.

Jesse Aycock drafted his will on 7 November 1822. To his wife Patience, he left a lifetime interest in “four negroes by names Jacob Peter and two by name of Haner.” (In other words, the four were Jacob, Peter, Hannah, and Hannah.)

Aycock owned additional slaves, as evidenced by a subsequent provision: “I leave all my Negroes that I have not lent to my wife to be sold with Balance of my Estate.” The proceeds were to be used to pay off his debts, and any remainder was to be distributed among his children and grandchildren.

Further, after Patience Aycock’s death, Jesse Aycock’s enslaved people were to be sold, with “Peter and Haner to be sold together.” (Presumably, they were a married couple and perhaps were elderly.)

Jesse Aycock died in 1823, leaving many dozens of heirs by his first wife and an estate whose settlement dragged on for decades.

Patience Aycock drafted her will on 4 June 1824. Though she had life estates in her husband’s slaves, she could not devise them to anyone, and her will only mentions a woman named Rose, who was to go to her son Joel Newsom.

The inventory of Patience Aycock’s estate, made in November 1827, confirmed that she owned only one enslaved person outright:

“An Inventory of the Property of Patience Acock Deecast Late of Wayne County Taken the 3rd of November 1827 by Hardy Williamson”

Will of Jesse Aycock (1822), Wayne County, North Carolina, U.S. Wills and Probate Records 1665-1998, http://www.ancestry.com; Estate of Patience Aycock (1827), Wayne County, North Carolina, U.S. Wills and Probate Records 1665-1998, http://www.ancestry.com.

African-Americans dismissed or excommunicated from Lower Black Creek P.B. church, part 6.

Lower Black Creek Primitive Baptist Church, founded in 1783, was the second church organized in what is now Wilson County. (It closed its doors in 2010.) The church’s nineteenth and early twentieth-century records includes names of enslaved and freed African-American members, who worshipped with the congregation as second-class Christians even after Emancipation.

This page continues with names of members “dismissed by letter,” i.e. voluntarily, to join another church, as well as members excommunicated for serious infractions. The page includes references to 14 enslaved African-Americans, including one man cast out for disobeying his mistress. (Bless his heart.) As Primitive Baptists did not practice infant baptism, the 14 were, if not adults, then nearly so, and thus were all born in the 1700s or early 1800s. Some may have lived to see Emancipation, but even if they remained in Wilson County, I have no way to identify them further.

Dismissals by letter:

  • Haywood, a servant of John Sherrod
  • Hanah, a servant of James Aycock sen’r
  • Hannah, a servant of James Aycock sen’r
  • Hannah, a servant of Godfrey Stancil 
  • Rose, a servant of W. Fort

Excommunications:

  • Harry, a servant
  • Kedar, a servant
  • Moses, a servant
  • Samuel, a servant
  • Harry, a servant
  • Peter, a servant of Patience Aycock charged with Disobedience to his Mistress
  • Ann, a servant restored to fellowship
  • Kedar, a servant
  • Harry, a servant

Copy of documents courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III. Originals now housed at North Carolina State Archives. 

The estate of Benjamin Amason Jr.

It’s not a common surname in Wilson County anymore, but in the early 1800s a prosperous extended family of Amasons lived in the Stantonsburg area (in what was then Edgecombe County, North Carolina). They owned extensive real property and considerable slaves, and often left estates that spent years in probate as family members bickered, and heirs and administrators died.

This post is second in a series featuring documents from Amason (Amerson) family estate files.

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Benjamin Amason Jr. married a woman named Mary Ann in 1815. Amason was a widower with a young daughter, Nancy Matilda Amason. The marriage quickly failed, and Amason left Edgecombe [later, Wilson] County for Fairfield County, South Carolina. There, he fathered a son, Washington Amason, out of wedlock.

Amason died in South Carolina about 1823. A few years prior, he transferred to his children his interest in several enslaved people belonging to the estate of his father Benjamin Amason Sr. Mary Amason sued, claiming that the deed of gift had been made to defraud her of her dower right.

A set of referees agreed. Their 7 March 1829 decision named the enslaved people at issue as Cherry, Henry, Tamar, Pheby, Spencer, Jinny, and Polly, and ordered that they be sold.

The account of sale notes that Polly was Cherry’s daughter. They were sold out of the family to Ephraim Daniel, while Roderick Amason bought Henry and Tamar. Asa Amason bought Phebe; Josiah R. Horn bought Spencer; and Jinny went to Jonathan Ellis. In total, the sale raised $1325.00 for the estate.

When Roderick Amason died just months later, Henry and Tamar went on the block again. Two days before Christmas, they were “taken and resold by Josiah R. Horne” in what appear to be various trades in forgiveness of notes owed to Roderick Amason’s estate. Reddick Barnes came away with Henry; Tamar went to Blake Little.

Estate Files of Benjamin Amason Jr., North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

African-Americans baptized at and dismissed from Lower Black Creek P.B. Church, part 5.

Lower Black Creek Primitive Baptist Church, founded in 1783, was the second church organized in what is now Wilson County. (It closed its doors in 2010.) The church’s nineteenth and early twentieth-century records includes names of enslaved and freed African-American members, who worshipped with the congregation as second-class Christians even after Emancipation.

This page continues the previous “Reception to Babtism” with entries from 1824 to 1831, as well as names of several members “dismissed by letter.” (Members leaving voluntarily requested letters of good Christian character from their home church to another church.) The page includes references to seven enslaved African-Americans. (Don’t let “servant” fool you.) As Primitive Baptists did not practice infant baptism, the seven were, if not adults, then nearly so, and thus were all born in the 1700s or very early 1800s. Some may have lived to see Emancipation, but even if they remained in Wilson County, I have no way to identify them further.

Baptisms:

  • Dick, a servant
  • Raiford, a servant
  • Lewis, a servant
  • Will, a servant of Johnathan Dickerson
  • Jane, a servant of A. Farmer

Dismissals by letter:

  • Kedar, a servant
  • Harry, a servant

Copy of documents courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III. Originals now housed at North Carolina State Archives. 

African-Americans baptized at Lower Black Creek P.B. Church, part 4.

Lower Black Creek Primitive Baptist Church, founded in 1783, was the second church organized in what is now Wilson County. (It closed its doors in 2010.) The church’s nineteenth and early twentieth-century records includes names of enslaved and freed African-American members, who worshipped with the congregation as second-class Christians even after Emancipation.

This page continues the previous “Reception to Babtism” entries from 1824 to 1831 (with other notes inserted in the second column.) It includes references to six enslaved African-Americans. (Don’t let “servant” fool you.) As Primitive Baptists did not practice infant baptism, the six were, if not adults, then nearly so, and thus were all born in the 1700s or very early 1800s. Some may have lived to see Emancipation, but even if they remained in Wilson County, I have no way to identify them further.

  • Briton(?), a servant of Patience Aycock
  • Cloah, a servant of John Barnes Senr
  • Joe, a servant of William Horn
  • Lidge, a servant of Hardy Horn
  • Haywood, a servant of John Sherrod
  • Haner, a servant of Little John Barnes

Copy of documents courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III. Originals now housed at North Carolina State Archives. 

The last will and testament of Ephraim Daniel.

Ephraim Daniel likely lived in a section of northeast Wayne County, North Carolina, that is now the Black Creek area of southeast Wilson County. (He was a member of Lower Black Creek Primitive Baptist Church.) His will, drafted and entered into probate in 1822, included these provisions:

  • “2nd I give grant and bequeath to my Wife the followin negros Simon and his wife Temperance and their two children Robbin and May.”

  • “It is further my desire that the whole of my negros not already devised to be sold at a credit of twelve months.”

Last Will and Testament of Ephraim Daniel, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records 1665-1998, http://www.ancestry.com. 

The last will and testament of John Bardin.

John Bardin likely lived in a section of northeast Wayne County, North Carolina, that is now the Black Creek area of southeast Wilson County. (He was a member of Lower Black Creek Primitive Baptist Church.) His will, drafted in September 1819, entered probate in 1823 and included these provisions:

  • to wife Nancy Bardin, a life interest in “three Negroes Abram Philis Levi
  • to daughter Eliza Barnes, a girl named Sarah
  • to daughter Nancy Amason, a girl named Penny
  • to daughter Seania Bardin, a woman named Ann
  • to son John Bardin after Nancy Bardin’s death or remarriage, Abram
  • to son Sherrard Bardin, a man named Loften
  • to son David Bardin after Nancy Bardin’s death of remarriage, Levi
  • “I leave Old Philis to the Pleasure & Discretion of my wife when she has done with her”
  • “I wish my Blind Negro Toney to live with some of the Family”
  • “I Desire that my Negro Man Carolina be sold after my Death” (and the proceeds used to pay Bardin’s debts)

John Bardin Will, North Carolina, U.S. Wills and Probate Records 1665-1998, http://www.ancestry.com.