1850s

An account of the sale of Negroes.

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On 3 January 1859, administratrix Mahala Barnes sold two families belonging to her deceased husband Elias Barnesestate. Elias’ brother Joshua Barnes purchased Axey and her two children for $1321 and Rachel and her child for $1105 on behalf of the estate of Jesse Barnes Sr., who was Elias and Joshua’s late father.

Estate of Elias Barnes (1856), North Carolina Wills and Estates 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

Bob is hired for one year.

On 1 January 1857, Jesse Minshew, acting for the partnership Minshew & Caho, hired Bob from John A. Sam, guardian of William H. Applewhite, for one year for $146. Minshew & Caho agreed to furnish Bob with three suits of clothes (one woolen), a pair of shoes, a hat and a blanket.

William H. Applewhite was the son of Henry and Orpha Pike Applewhite. His father died when he was eight years old, leaving him and his siblings inheritances that included Bob and other enslaved people. As the guardian of a minor, John Sam’s job was to protect his interests and increase his assets, and sending Bob to work for Minshew & Caho was calculated to do just that. (It’s not clear what kind of business Wayne County farmer Jesse Minshew and steam miller John M. Caho were engaged in.)

Slave Hire-1857, Records of Slaves and Free People of Color, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

Hired for twelve months.

On 2 January 1857, Bassett Sikes and B.H. Bardin promised to pay Elizabeth Farmer $162 for the hire of two enslaved woman, Chaney and Merica, for twelve months.

  • Bassett Sikes — in the 1850 census of Greene County, North Carolina, Sikes is listed as a 44 year-old merchant with $4000 in personal property.
  • B.H. [Benjamin Howell] Bardin — in the 1860 census of Town of Wilson, Wilson County, Bardin is a 34 year-old farmer who claimed $12,800 in real property and $42,500 in personal property. His personal property would have included the 21 slaves he reported in the 1860 slave schedule.

Slave Hire-1857, Records of Slaves and Free People of Color, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

The estate of Nathan Blackwell.

We examined the will of free man of color Nathan Blackwell here, in which he left his estate to sons Nathan, Exum, and Josiah Blackwell and named Asberry Blackwell as his executor. Nathan directed Asberry, who was probably his brother, to “take Andrew and see to his labor for my children to the best advantage also take my children and take care of them.”

Andrew was an enslaved man.

Nathan Blackwell died sometime in 1846 in a section of eastern Nash County that is now Wilson County. His personal assets were sold on 16 August 1846, and buyers included his relatives Peter Blackwell and Drucilla Blackwell, as well as Stephen and Josiah Powell, who were likely relatives of his deceased wife Jincey Powell Blackwell. Willis Jones was listed among debtors to the estate.

Nathan Blackwell’s orphaned sons were minors. Ordinarily, they would have been placed with a white family via involuntary apprenticeship. However, their father’s estate had assets, and a couple of white men, Jarman Eatman and Mabry H. Hinnant, took turns as their guardian. Exum seems to have died not long after his father

As requested, “negro Andrew” was hired out and his lease fee applied to Blackwell’s estate for the benefit of his boys. Jesse Simpson, for example, hired him for about 54 dollars on credit in the year 1848.

Nathan Blackwell Estate Records (1846), Nash County, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

The estates of Jonathan and Elizabeth Ward Ellis.

Jonathan Ellis, son of William and Unity Ellis, died intestate in Wilson County about 1857, and his wife Elizabeth Ward Ellis about 1858. Their heirs were their granddaughters Susan Bynum Bynum, Louisa Bynum Best, Elizabeth Bynum, Sarah Bynum and Virginia Bynum, whose mother Spicy Ellis had married Reuben Bynum.

In the 1859 Fall Term of Wilson County Superior Court, the clerk issued an order directing William Barnes Jr., Washington Barnes and Edwin Barnes to divide Jonathan Ellis’ enslaved people Ruben, Jacob, Ephraim, Tom, Hannah, Hester, Adeline, Bob, Lamm, Blount, Lucy, Gilford, Norfleet, Isaac, Patience, Maria, Violet, Job, Mark, Harriet, Tiller and Alley into one-fourth shares. Son-in-law Joseph J. Bynum was administrator of Ellis’ estate, and his foot-dragging led to a petition for division by his sisters-in-law. (It is not clear to me why Susan Bynum was not entitled to a share.) The commissioners reported allotting to William and Louisa Best enslaved people Blount, Mark, Tom and Harriet and her three children Adeline, Lucy and Manervy, valued at $4100. The remaining men, women and children were held as “common stock” for minors Elizabeth, Sarah and Virginia Bynum.

Meanwhile, also during the 1859 Fall Term of Wilson County Superior Court, the clerk issued an order directing the same men to divide Elizabeth Ellis’ enslaved people Guilford, Amos, Beckey, Jim, Jesse, Ben, “2 Lettuces,” Ellen, Rose, Rachael, Hewell, Isham, Sam, Amanda and Harriet into one-fifth shares.

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The Barneses filed a report on the division as directed. They allotted Jim and Rose, valued at $1900, to Susan and her husband Joseph Bynum; Jesse, Lettice, Lettice and Gilford, valued at $2050, to Louisa and her husband William Best; and the remainder were held in common for minor heirs Betsey, Sally and Virginia.

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

 

 

 

The last will and testament of Coffield Ellis.

On 28 January 1854, Coffield Ellis of Edgecombe County penned a will that included these provisions:

  • to wife Penninah Ellis, enslaved people Minny, Lewis, Robbin, Jacob, Young Minny, Turner, Jane, Laurence, Bright, Chaney, Greene, Mary, Jonas, Charlott, Frances, Robert, Ellen, Annah, Calvin, Cherry, Faroby, Littleton, Bryant and George. After Penninah’s death, Robert and Charlotte were to go to son William Ellis.
  • if “at any time during her life [wife Penninah] became tired of keeping any of the said negroes she may call three disinterested men together and point out to them said such of said negroes as she wishes to get clear of,” to be divided between their daughters Sally, wife of William Barnes, and Louisa, wife of James Barnes.
  • to son William Ellis, the right to take any of Coffield Ellis’ slaves to use, when water level is low, to complete a canal in Toisnot Swamp
  • “if my faithful servant Old Miney shall survive my wife,” she shall be able to choose a master from his three children
  • to daughter Sally, wife of William Barnes, an enslaved woman named Gilly
  • to daughter Louisa, wife of James Barnes, an enslaved woman named Caroline

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

 

The estate of William Woodard.

Having “sworn on the holy Evangelist of Almighty God,” on 10 December 1851, three commissioners met at Elizabeth Woodard’s house to divide William Woodard’s enslaved property — consisting of 55 men, women and children — among his heirs.

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Lot no. 1, drawn by Elizabeth Woodard — Amy $500, Liz $150, Lewis $250, Mary $350, Harry $400, Dennis $100, Plas [Pleasant] $400, Jim $500, Sarah $450, Siller $50, and Mintus $75.

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Lot no. 2, drawn by Patience Woodard — Esther $200, Mandy $350, Thain $350, Randol $100, Rachel $500, Tom $700, Ned $450, Nancy $500, Sal [$0] and Richard [$0].

Lot no. 3, drawn by William Woodard — Piety $550, Charlot $550, Ben $700, Jenny $150, Mariah $300, Hiliard $300, Mintus Jr. $100, Jonathan $500, and Edy $350.

Lot no. 4, drawn by Warren Woodard — Bont [Blount] $800, Peggy $500, Vinus $125, Alford $600, John $400, Cherry $500, and Jessy $400.

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Lot no. 5, drawn by James Woodard — Morris $700, Gray $400, George $650, Silva $500, Rody $550, Amos $125, London $150, and Harriet $100.

Lot no. 6, drawn by Calvin Woodard — Rose Jr. $200, Rose Sr. $200, Elizer $500, Arch $750, Liberty $700, Dark $500, Beck $200, Phereby $200, Ned $100, and Simon $100.

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The houses of William Woodard and his extended family today form the Woodard Family Rural Historic District. As noted here, the 55 enslaved people listed in William Woodard’s inventory did not include all the family’s slaves. Also, though some of the lots may have included groupings of mothers with young children, it is clear that some small children were separated from their nuclear families. Most adults were married to spouses enslaved by a different owner.

Here are the families I have been able to identify among William Woodard’s enslaved and their whereabouts in the years after Emancipation.

  • Rose Woodard Artis and her children John, Jesse, Gray, Ned and Tamar

Rose Woodard was allotted to Calvin Woodard; her free husband Arch Artis is listed as a member of that household in 1860. Evidence concerning this family was set forth here. Based on her age, Rose likely had more than the five children I have identified. Ned, who was about 5, was allotted to Calvin Woodard as well. John and Jesse, who were likely a few years older, went to Warren Woodard, and Gray, to James Woodard. Tamar Woodard, then about 4, is not listed in the distribution.

  • Pleasant Woodard and sons Lewis and Harry

Pleasant Woodard and her sons were allotted to Elizabeth Woodard.

On 7 December 1867, Lewis Woodard, son of Louis Shallington and Pleasant Woodard, married Bathsheba Tyson, daughter of Blount Petteway and Netty Ellis, at Saint Timothy’s in Wilson.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Lewis Woodard, 25; wife Tebetha [Bathsheba], 24; and son Henry, 6.

On an unspecified date in 1867, Harry Woodard, son of Lewis Shalington and Pleasant Woodard, married Dellah Woodard, daughter of Ben Woodard and Phereba Woodard, in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer

  • Easter Woodard and daughter Peggy

Easter Woodard was allotted to Patience Woodard; her daughter Peggy Woodard to Warren Woodard.

On 13 March 1870, Peggy Woodard, daughter of Easter Woodard, married Ebenezer McGowan, at Warren Woodard’s in Wilson County.

  • Mintus Woodard

The designation “Jr.” in this list seems to have meant “younger” rather than a parent-child relationship. I have no evidence of the relationship between Mintus Jr. and the Mintus distributed to Elizabeth Woodard (who was either very young or very old, judging by his assigned value).

On 29 December 1866, Mentus Woodard married Sarah Barnes in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Mentus Woodard, 22; wife Sarah, 20; and children John, 2, and Lawyer, 2 months. (William Woodard Jr. was next door.)

In the 1880 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Permentus Woodard, 31; wife Sarah, 31; and children John, 12, Lawyer, 8, Cora, 6, London, James, and George, .

  • Hilliard Woodard

On 11 January 1868, Hillard Woodard, son of Mose Barnes and Winney Woodard, to Rose Ellis, daughter of Benjamin Bynum and Netty Bynum, at William Woodard’s.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Hilliard Woodard, 25, and wife Rose, 20.

  • Jonathan Woodard

Jonathan Woodard and Margrett Woodard registered their 10-year cohabitation on 15 August 1866.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Johnathan Woodard, 38; wife Margarett, 27; and children Everett, 9, Gray, 7, Sarah, 6, Amos, 3, Emma, 2, and Minnie, 2 months.

  • Rhoda Woodard and children Amos, London and Harriet

Rhoda Woodard and her children Amos, London, aged about 4, and Harriet, about 1, were allotted to James Woodard. Rhoda married Howell Woodard, son of famed Primitive Baptist preacher London Woodard and his first wife, Venus.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Howell Woodard, 52; wife Rodah, 40; and children London, 23, Harriet, 20, Venus, 19, Ferebee, 17, Virginia, 17, Mary, 14, Sarah, 13, Penelope, 12, Rodah, 10, Puss, 6, John, 8, Kenny, 5, Fanny, 1, and Martha, 1 month.

On 19 January 1872, Amos Woodard, son of Howell and Rhoda Woodard, married Fanny Barnes in the Town of Wilson.

  • Morrison Woodard

Morrison Woodard and Martha Thorn registered their 16-year cohabitation in Wilson County on 31 August 1866.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: carpenter Morrison Woodard, 47, wife Martha, 32, and children Nancy, 18, Arche, 17, Cherry, 15, Rosa, 13, Frances, 8, Jane, 7, John, 4, Martha, 1, and Mary, 2 months.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township (south of the Plank Road), Wilson County: farmer Morrison Woodard, 56, wife Martha, 45, and children Frances, 17, Jane, 15, John, 13, Martha, 11, Fena, 8, and Maggie, 3.

  • Blount Woodard

Blount Woodard and Dilcy Ruffin registered their 20-year cohabitation in Wilson County on 8 August 1866.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Blount Woodard, 43, farm laborer; wife Dilsey, 60; and children Webster, 15, Nelly, 19, and Alice Woodard, 13; plus Eliza, 19, Haywood, 9, George, 4, Alice, 6, Willie, 1, Bettie, 7 months, and Lucy Ruffin, 2 months.

  • Rachel Woodard

Rachel Woodard and Harry Newsom registered their 10-year cohabitation in Wilson County on 31 August 1866.

  • Liberty Woodard

In the 1870 census of California township, Pitt County: Lib Woodard, farmhand; wife Charlotte, 35; and children Nancy, 17, Lorenda, 16, Lucinda, 6, Buck, 4, and Puss, 1 month.

On 24 June 1882, Liberty Woodard, age illegible, son of Liberty Woodard and [mother’s first name illegible] Woodard, married Rosa Dilda, age illegible, daughter of Curtis Cotten and Ann Scarborg, in Falkland township, Pitt County.

  • Charlotte Woodard

On 28 March 1866, Charlotte Woodard married Haywood Bynum in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Haywood Bynum, 35; wife Charlotte, 39; and daughter Virginia, 17.

  • Rose Woodard Jr.

As noted above, the designation “Jr.” in this list seems to have meant “younger” rather than a parent-child relationship. At this point, I have no evidence that Rose Jr. was the daughter of Rose Sr., above. I had believed Rose Jr. to be the Rose Woodard, 19, (daughter of Morrison and Martha Woodard), who married Arch Harris, 23, on 19 October 1876 in Wilson County and whose children are listed in the 1880 census of Stantonsburg township as James, 3, Martha, 1, and Morrison, 2 months. However, Rose Woodard Harris was born about 1857, much too late to have been included in William Woodard’s property distribution.

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

Sukey’s journey, part 2.

To the General Assembly of North Carolina

The undersigned, Respectfully Petition, the Legislature, to pass an act, in favor of Sucky Borden (a woman of colour) vesting in her, all the rights, and privileges, of a free woman Your Petitioners have long known said Suckey, and believe her to be a worthy woman, who will duly appreciate all her privileges and your Petitioners will ever pray, etc.

….

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Twenty-six white Wayne County residents presented this petition to the state General Assembly in 1852. The only woman among them? M.A. Borden.

Maria Ann Brownrigg Borden,  proprietor of the Goldsboro Hotel, was the daughter of George and Obedience Brownrigg. In the 1850 census, she reported $20,000 in real property and 67 slaves. She and her sister Eliza Obedience Brownrigg Wright (whose husband John Wright also signed the petition) had inherited all but one of their mother’s slaves in 1841. That one person was Suckey, who went to Alfred Brownrigg. As noted earlier, Alfred Brownrigg quickly sold Suckey to their brother Edwin Brownrigg. Edwin, however, had begun registering large land grants in Sumter County, Alabama, in 1837 and died there, without heirs, in 1843. It’s not too much of a stretch to conjecture that Suckey never left North Carolina, and her ownership passed to Edwin’s sister Maria Borden after his death.

The 1852 petition to manumit Suckey Borden was successful, and the 1860 census of Goldsboro, Wayne County, North Carolina shows baker Susan Borden, 70, with Angia Capps, 60, sewer, and Catharine Carrol, 7. Borden reported owning $500 in real estate and $100 in personal estate. She is not listed in 1870 and presumably died in the intervening years. Had Susan Borden spent most of her life on a lower Edgecombe (Wilson) County plantation, enslaved by successive Brownrigg family members until one felt moved to seek her freedom?

Petition of W.H. Washington et al. to General Assembly of North Carolina, 1852; Petitions; Papers of the North Carolina General Assembly, North Carolina State Archives.

 

 

Garry Williamson house.

Per Kate Ohno, Wilson County’s Architectural Heritage (1981):

The house as photographed for Ohno’s book.

“Garry Williamson was born in 1817, the son of Thomas and Kasiah Williamson. Williamson inherited part of the land between Contentnea Creek and Marsh Swamp granted to his grandfather, Joseph Williamson, in 1779 by Governor Richard Caswell. Family tradition has it that an earlier plantation house was incorporated into the present house, which Williamson inherited from his father in 1857 and which he is said to have remodelled in the same year. Williamson married Gillie Flowers in 1840. The couple’s daughter Sallie married prominent local physician, Dr. H.F. Freeman, in 1878. Howard Franklin Freeman was born in Franklin County in 1848 and he was educated at Wake Forest University and the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Baltimore. Upon graduation from college, Freeman began his medical in the Rock Ridge area. After his marriage to Sallie Freeman the couple resided wit Garry Williamson and his family at the family homeplace. … The Freeman heirs owned the property until 1976. The house shows little indication of its pre-1857 origins, and the bulk of the fabric of the building appears to date from Garry Williamson’s occupancy. The oldest section of the house consists of a two-and-one-half story gable roofed structure with robust exterior end chimneys. These chimneys are notable because of the use of native stone mixed with brick which was stuccoed and gauged to resemble blocks of dressed stone. The mixed stone and brick chimneys are typical of Old Fields township and seldom found in the easten part of the county, but the gauged stucco work is extremely rare. At the rear of the house stands a one-story ell with porches, which was probably added by Dr. Freeman circa 1880 when he build his office on the northwest corner of the house. In recent years Freeman’s office was moved to the Country Doctor Museum in Bailey. Although little remains of Dr. Freeman’s famous garden, the old turn-of-the-century kitchen stands to one side of the main house. Family tradition asserts that the kitchen was moved to its present location so that Garry Williamson and a daughter could occupy the structure. The interior of the main house exhibits a hall-and-parlor plan with an enclosed stair ascending from the rear of the house. The rear ell appears to have consisted of two rooms.”

It is difficult to reconcile this image from Ohno’s book with that above, but this is said to be the Garry Williamson house in 1903, with members of daughter Sallie Williamson Freeman’s family.

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In the 1850 census of Nash County, North Carolina: farmer Garry Williamson, 33; wife Gilly, 26; and children Hinnant, 10, Nancy 7, and Lucinda, 3.

In the 1850 slave schedule of Nash County, North Carolina, Garry Williamson with two enslaved people, a 20 year-old male and a 17 year-old female, both described as mulatto.

In the 1860 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer Garry Williamson, 44; wife Gilly, 35; and children Lucinda, 13, Nancy, 11, Sidney, 5, and Sarah A., 2.

In the 1860 slave schedule of Old Fields township, Wilson County, having inherited from his father’s estate, Garry Williamson is listed with eight enslaved people, three men aged 23, 28 and 55, and five girls, aged 8 months, 4, 7, 8, 10 and 11.

I have blogged extensively about the extended Williamson family’s slaveholdings (including Garry Williamson’s father, grandparents and brother) and about the lives of African-American Williamsons.

The hire of Patrick.

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The hier of one Negro man Patrick left in the last Will and Testament of Thomas Williamson Dec’d to Dempsey Williamson (his son) hired out by the Admr’s of said Dec’d for the term of one year on the following conditions said negro is to have the following conditions said negro is to have the following clothing 1 suit of woolen 2 suits of cotton 3 pare of shoes 2 pare of woolen socks 1 hat and 1 Blanket and if said negro is cald for before the Expiration of his hier to be returned and pay in perpotion said negro is not to work on Railrods nether in Ditches

The hire of Patrick To Edwin Fulghum $80.00

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Thomas Williamson’s executors hired out Patrick during the settlement of Williamson’s estate. This document sets remarkably precise terms for Patrick’s hire, including changes of clothing; several pairs of shoes; restrictions on the type of work he would be put to (see here to understand why); and, in effect, a cancellation clause. Edwin Fulghum was a neighboring white farmer whose wife Mary was a Williamson. The document is undated but was probably executed about 1857.

Estate File of Thomas Williamson, North Carolina Estate Files, 1663-1979, http://www.familysearch.org.