1830s

A Woodard plantation.

Headed east from Wilson toward Saratoga and Greenville, this house stood just beyond city limits near the fork of Highways 91/264 Alternate and 58. It was set back perhaps 75 yards from the road on the left. I took these photos circa 1990; the house was demolished perhaps a decade later. I was informed by a knowledgeable source that the dwelling was built circa 1832 by William Woodard, but it does not match the description of Woodard’s house in Ohno’s Architectural Heritage book or in the Woodard Family Rural Historic District nomination form. Though its ownership is unclear, there is no doubt that this home dates several decades before the Civil War and anchored a plantation worked by enslaved people.

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Photographs by Lisa Y. Henderson; aerial image courtesy of Google Maps.

Tartt’s negroes, pt. 2.

Thirty-five years after his death, Jonathan Tartt‘s sons and grandsons, which included a bewildering number of Jonathans, Jameses and Elnathans, joined the stream of whites flooding into lands wrested from the Choctaw under the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek. Several settled in and around Sumter County in far southwestern Alabama.

James B. Tartt, son of Jonathan’s son Elnathan Tartt, was an early arrival. A notice he placed in the 26 September 1828 edition of the Raleigh Register signaled his intent to file a claim for a lost hundred dollar note that Thomas E. Tartt had mailed to him at Stantonsburg the year before. By time he posted the ad, however, James had joined Thomas in Lagrange, Alabama. Within a few years, as the Choctaw were pushed out, he shifted across the state to Sumter County.

In October 1832, this ad appeared in North Carolina Free Press:

NC free press 10 2 1832

North Carolina Free Press, 2 October 1832.

Had Adam actually made it more than 700 miles back to Edgecombe County from Sumter? Or had he missed the boat, so to speak, by running away to avoid joining the coffle headed deep South? I do not know if Adam was ever returned to James B. Tartt.

James Tartt did not relinquish all his Edgecombe County possessions immediately, and here is an 1837 advertisement for the sale of 1400 acres he owned at the fork of Toisnot and White Oak Swamps in what is now Wilson County.

Tarboro' Press 10 28 1837

Tarboro Press, 28 October 1837.

By the 1840s, however, he and his children were well established in Sumter County. In the personal letter below, “old man” James B. Tartt’s son Elnathan wrote home to relatives — the envelope is addressed to “Edwin or Washington Barnes,” Stantonsburgh, Edgecombe County NC. He chatted a little about his sisters, but was primarily occupied with another runaway, Calvin, who had absconded on the way from North Carolina to Alabama:

Sumitvill Ala February 3rd 1848

Dear Cousins

I arrived home about three weeks ago and found my folks verry well, we had a verry pleasant trip. No axident hapened at all, the girls was verry much pleased with their trip, I left Elizabeth in Mobile to go to school. I was in Mobile three days. Mr. Stewarts & Pratts famileys wer all verry well.

I have noght bought any place for the old man yet and I doant recon I shall this spring, as it is verry late, and the people have calculated to make a nother crop and will not sell at any thing reasonable, I shall rent a place for him to make a corn crop, he says if he can get him a small place to work his preasant force on he is willing to give the Ballance of his money to his children, the old man don think of any thing but marring thats all his talk, says he is determine to have him a wife. Margret is at my house, going to scool. I receivd a letter from Arch the other day informing me that Calvin had run away. He left the night after they passed Raleigh. I have not heard from them since they left Pittsborough No Carolina but I am looking for them every day. I want you to manage to get Calvin in, some how, make out that you have bought him, or that you are otherwise to sell him and make a shamm sale of him to some one. I think we had better sell him if we can get a fair price, as it will cost a great deal to get him hir even if we could get holt of him. The old man is willing to sell him but I want him to come out hir if it will not cost to much if you can manager to get holt of him put him in jail and let me know it. Or if you know of any person coming out that will bring him I will pay them well. If any person is coming out by the rail road, he would not be but verry little troble — try and see what you can get for him and let me know what the prospects to get holt of him or sell him. Write to me and let me have your opinion what way I had best proceed about him, one relation are all well nothing moor but Rema[ining] yours  /s/ Elnathan Tartt

Give my respects to your family write to me and let me know all the nuse since I lelft, I settle all my buisness befor I left

——

“Arch” was Elnathan’s brother Archelaus B. Tartt.  Margaret and Elizabeth were their sisters. (Elizabeth returned to Wilson, married John Thomas Barnes, and is buried in Maplewood cemetery. Her sisters Penninah Tartt Eason and Margaret B. Tartt also went back to North Carolina.) The family appears in 1850 census of Sumter County in two side-by-side households. At #227: farmer James Tartt, 58, with children Edwin, 20, Elizabeth, 18, Margaret, 14, Paninah, 29, and Arch B., 23, all born in North Carolina. At #228, clerk Elnathan Tartt, 24, wife Mary, 27, and Alabama-born son John, 6, plus 8 year-old Louisa Randolph.

Apparently, one of the many schemes Elnathan mused about worked, and Calvin was returned to the fold. Seven months after Elnathan’s letter, James B. Tartt recorded a deed of gift in Sumter County in which he — in keeping with Elnathan’s hopes — transferred his wealth to his children. On 11 September 1848, “in consideration of the natural love and affection I have for my children” Elnathan Tartt, Enos Tartt, Martha Tartt Adams, Penninah Tartt, Archelaus Tartt, Edwin Tartt, Elizabeth Tartt, Margaret Tartt and Jonathan Tartt, James B. Tartt named his brother Thomas M. Tartt trustee and made the following transfers and distributions: (1) notes, drafts, checks, etc., totaling about $11000, (2) “the following negro slaves one negro named Gray about 26 years old and dark yellow complexion, a negro slave Calvin black and about 27 years old, Warren of dark yellow complexion and about 24 years of age, Sarah a negro woman about 50 years old, a negro girl Mary about 18 years old of yellow complexion, Lizzy black and about 11 years old, Peter, a child, black and about 2 years old and Rose the child of Mary about 1 year old,” (3) mules and wagons, and (4) moneys to secure for himself “a comfortable home and liberal living” and educations and comfortable livings until marriage for his daughters (with Penninah’s portion reduced because she had already been given a nine year-old enslaved girl, Julia). The document also contained provisions for the distribution of any property that remained at James’ death.

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The Tartts enumerated in Alabama’s 1855 state census. James B. Tartt, having given them away, is listed with no slaves. His older sons Enos and Elnathan owned a total of 33 men and women, and his brother Thomas M. Tartt held another 17 in trust.

The first post-Emancipation federal census, counted in 1870, lists 13 North Carolina-born African-Americans named Tartt in Sumter County. Their names and approximate birth years: Hilyard (1795), David (1805), Jessy (1805), Belfer (1810), Burwell (1810), Bettie (1815), Cherry (1816), Howell (1820), Hager (1825), Chaney (1835), Hugh (1810), Zarah (1820) … and Cal (1830).

Many, many thanks to a James B. Tartt descendant for sharing a copy of Elnathan Tartt’s letter. Privately held documents like this are an invaluable resource for African-American researchers.

Aberdeen & Abraham.

In the name of God, Amen. I Elisha Applewhite of the State of North Carolina and County of Wayne being sick and weak of body but of a sound mind and memory thanks be given unto god calling into mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die do make and ordain this my last will and testament that is to say principally and first of all I give recommend my soul into the hands of almighty god that gave it and my Body I recommend to the Earth to be buried in a decent Christian Buriel at the discretion of my Ext. nothing doubting but at the General Resurrection I shall recieve the same again by the mighty power of god and as touching such worldy Estate wherewith it has pleased god to Bless me with in this life I give and devise and dispose of the same in the following manner to wit:

I lend my wife Elizabeth during her widowhood ten acres of land including all the houses and buildings where I now love I also lend her during her natural life one negro man by the name of Ishmael I also lend her during her natural life two negroes Avy & Narcissa also I give her my black mare and three cows and calves and two sows and pigs and one feather bed and stead and furniture and my loom and gear and two woolen wheels and one flax wheel and two paid of cards one painted chest and formerly called her own and six setting chairs all my kitchen furniture including the pot iron pewter and earthen ware and eight head of sheep her choice and all the gees and poultry and one years provision to be alloted her by my executors and one other respectable person and farming tools sufficient for her farm.

Item I lend my daughter Smithey Deans two negroes by the name of Aberdeen and Abram during her natural life and provided she ever has an heir begotten of her body to live to the age of twenty one years the right and title to remane in her forever but if she dies without issue the said negros to be sold and the money divided between all my children then living.

Item I give my son John Applewhite two negroes by the names of Dick and Feriba; also I give my son Peter Applewhite one negro woman Anzy and all the children she has with her and one boy by the name of Henderson; also I lend my daughter Dorotha Daniel during her natural life one negro woman by the name of Sarah and if she is taken out of the house from the said Dorotha business and put in the cornfield with out her consent it is my wish that my son Peter take the negro Sarah and higher her out or keep her himself and pay the said Dorotha the worth of her labour and after the descas of my daughter Dorotha I give the negro Sarah to my Grandson Elisha Daniel him and his heirs forever.

Also I give my son Robert Applewhite two negroes by the names of John and Imigin also I give my daughter Martha two negroes by the names of Rose and Hannah they and there increase to her and her heirs forever. Also I give to my son Lewis Applewhite two negroes Killis and Cilvy also I give my son Jesse Applewhite four negroes by the names of Jacob Chaney Eceline and Crisa also I give my daughter Elizabeth one negro boy by the name of David.I also give her after the widowhood of my wife Avy and all her increase and after the death of my wife I give her my negro man Ismail and one death bed and furniture one woolen wheel and one pair of cards.I give to my son Jesse all my land on the west side of Ballards Mill Swamp and two hundred and fifty acres where I now live lyin next to Westly Howells including the buildings where I now live the exception above named one sorrel horse also I give my daughter Elizabeth my gray horse and one cow and calf also I give my son Jesse one feather bed and furniture and one cow and calf the balance of my land not given away in legisses to be equally divided between my two sons Robert and Jesse and the balance of my Estate not given away in legisses to be sold and all my just debts to be paid lastly I nominate and appoint my friend Zadock Peacock and my son Robert Applewhite hole and sole Executors of this my last Will and Testament this the 21st of February 1835.   /s/ Elisha Applewhite

Signed, sealed and acknowledged in the presence of us  /s/ Raiford Hooks, B.W. Vail

——

Elisha Applewhite (1770-1835) lived in the Nahunta area northeast Wayne County, adjacent to Wilson County. He was the uncle of Henry Applewhite, whose plantation house near Stantonsburg, Wilson County, is described here, and his son Robert Applewhite married Elizabeth Deans, daughter of Bartley Deans of Nash and Wilson County. In 1848, Bartley Deans, you may recall, placed two enslaved men with the slave-trading firm of Moye & Adams for sale on speculation in Mississippi. Those two men, Aberdeen and Abraham, as shown in this will, had originally been owned by Deans’ son-in-law’s father, Elisha Applewhite, whose will devised the men to his unmarried daughter, Smithey Deans Applewhite.

North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line],http://www.ancestry.com.



									

Wright Edmundson plantation.

The Edmundson-Woodard House is a historic plantation home located near Stantonsburg, Wilson County, North Carolina. The house is a two-story, three-bay, single-pile, L-plan, Federal-style frame dwelling. It has a two-story wing added in the mid-19th century, side gable roof, exterior end chimneys, and hipped-roof porch with flared columns. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

Wright Edmundson built the house about 1830 on 1400 acres of land between Toisnot Swamp and Contentnea Creek. He owned another 1600 acres north of Black Creek and was one of the wealthiest planters in the area. The Nomination Form for the property notes that Edmundson reported owning $98,600 in personal property in the 1860 census, but glosses over the form of the bulk of that wealth — slaves. The slave schedule that year is more plain — Edmundson owned 62 men and women housed in 12 cabins.

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Edmundson-Woodard House, 1980. Photo attached to nomination form.

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Wright Edmundson’s land today.

Coartney runs away.

Halifax Free Press 5 4 1833

Halifax Free Press, 4 May 1833.

$25 Reward.

RAN AWAY from the Subscriber, about six months since, a negro woman named COARTNEY — she is about 5 feet 6 inched in height, very black, and about 30 years old. I have no doubt she is lurking about Sparta and Mrs. Hunter’s, near Tarborough. I will give $35, is she is delivered to me in Stantonsburg, or confined in any jail in the State. All persons are forbid harboring or employing her under penalty of the law. WM. STEWART.

Stantonsburg, April 26th, 1833.

He will attempt to pass for a free man.

The Star and North Carolina State Gazette 5 4 1833

The Star and North Carolina State Gazette, 4 May 1833

$25 Reward.

Eloped from my plantation on Tosnot, Edgecomb county, on the 19th instant, a negro man named BRYANT, 22 or 23 years old, five feet 9 or 10 inches high, stout built, quite yellow for the appearance of his hair, which is as knotty as the negroes usually is, long lips, large feet and long toes, has a down look when spoken to; had on when he went off dark clothes and a black forward hat. It is probable that he will procure papers and attempt to pass for a free man, as he has done the like before, and will probably skulk about Doct. Hall’s plantation near Tarborough until he is prepared to make his escape, as his father and mother live there. I will give the above reward to ay person who will confine him in jail so that I get him again, or deliver him to me at Stantonsburg.  WILLIE BROWNRIGG.

Stantonsburg, April 22, 1833

His father is a free negro.

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North-Carolina Free Press (Tarboro), 24 January 1832.

$25 REWARD.

RAN AWAY from the Subscriber, in May Court week last, a bright mulatto boy named JOHN, about 19 or 20 years of age, 5 feet 6 or 7 inches high, thick set and well built – he has a scar under his jaw, (I think the left jaw,) and thick ankles.  He is a shrewd fellow, and will perhaps alter his name and attempt to pass as a free man.  His father is a free negro, named Hardy Lassiter, living on Toisnot.  The above reward will be given for John’s apprehension, if delivered to me in Edgecombe county, or secured in any jail so that I can get him again.  All persons are hereby forbid harboring, employing, carrying off said boy, under the penalty of law.  SAMUEL FARMER.  Nov. 28, 1831.