1850s

They unlawfully hired their time of their master.

An enslaver could, and often did, rent the services of an enslaved person to others for specific tasks or under long-term leases. Under North Carolina law, however, enslavers were prohibited from allowing their slaves to rent their own time. That is, to come to their own terms and arrangements for working for others for wages that they either kept for themselves or split with their masters. Slaves who hired their own time created their own wealth, a dangerous circumstance. There was a wide gulf between law and reality, however.

Dennis, a man over whom white Wilson County carpenter John Farmer claimed ownership, was indicted on misdemeanor charges of hiring his time at July term, 1859, of the Wilson County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions.  Five years later, at July 1864, jurors indicted Farmer himself for allowing the entrepreneurial activities of enslaved women named Mary, Lucy and Silvia.

The jurors for the State on their oath present, that Dennis, a Slave the property of John Farmer (Carpt) at and in the County of Wilson on the first day of January 1859 and on divers other days and times as well before as afterwards up to the taking of this inquisition by the permission of the said John Farmer his master, unlawfully did go at large, the said Salve having then and there unlawfully hired his own time of his said master, contrary to the form of the Stature in such case made and provided, and against the peace and dignity of the State.

——

John Farmer may have been the John W. Farmer of Wilson township, Wilson County, who is listed in the 1860 slave schedule as the owner of ten enslaved men and women.

Court Cases Involving Slaves, Slave Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

State vs. Jim, a slave.

State of North Carolina, County of Wilson   }  Superior Court of Law, Fall Term AD 1858

The jurors for the State upon their oath present that Jim, a slave, the property of Jacob Robbins, late of the County Wilson, not having the fear of God before his eyes, but being moved and seduced by the instigation of the devil, in the first day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty-eight with force and arms , at and in the said County of Wilson, int and upon one Jacob D. Robbins in the peace of the State then and there being feloniously, wilfully and his malice aforethought did make an assault: and that the said Jim with a certain axe, of the value of one dollar, which he the said Jim, then and there in both his hands had and held, him the said Jacob D. Robbins in and upon the right side of the head of him the said Jack D. Robbins, then and there feloniously, wilfully and and of his malice aforethought did hit and strike; and that the said Jim did then and there give unto him the said Jacob D. Robbins by such striking and hitting of him the said Jacob D. Robbins with the axe aforesaid one mortal wound of the length of two inches, and of the breadth of one inch in and upon the said right side of the head of him the said Jacob D. Robbins, of which said mortal wound the said Jacob D. Robbins then and there instantly died; and so the jurors aforesaid upon their oath aforesaid do say that the said Jim, him the said Jacob D. Robbins, then and there, in manner and form aforesaid feloniously, wilfully and of his malice aforethought did kill and murder against the peace and dignity of the State.

And the jurors aforesaid on their oath aforesaid do further present that the said Jim a slave the property of Jacob Robbins, late of said County of Wilson, not having the fear of God before his eyes, but being moved and seduced by the instigation of the devil, afterwards to wit on the day and year aforesaid, with force and arms, at and in the County aforesaid, in and upon one Jacob D. Robbins in the peace of the State, then & there being, feloniously, willfully and of his malice aforethought did make an assault and that he the said Jim, witth a certain axe of the value of one dollar, which he the said Jim, then and there, in both his hands had and held him the said Jacob D. Robbins, in and upon the right sight of the head, and in and upon the face of him the said Jacob D. Robbins, then and there feloniously, wilfully and of his malice aforethought divers times did beat and strike, giving to him the said Jacob D. Robbins, then & there by striking and beating him as aforesaid with the axe aforesaid several mortal wounds of the length of one inch and the depth of one inch in and upon the right side of the head and in and upon the face of him the said Jacob D. Robbins, of which said mortal wounds the said Jacob D. Robbins then and there instantly died, and so the jurors aforesaid on their oath aforesaid do say that the said Jim him the said Jacob D. Robbins then and there in manner and form aforesaid feloniously willfully and of his malice aforethought did kill and murder against the peace and dignity of the State.   /s/ Geo. A Stevenson Sol.

Court Cases Involving Slaves, Slave Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

Bill of sale for one negro boy named Wesley, 1858.

In February 1858, James H. Barnes registered a bill of sale signed by Alfred Boykin upon Barnes’ purchase of an enslaved man named Wesley. I have not been able to identify Wesley post-Emancipation. Barnes may have been the J.H. Barnes of Joyners and Gardners township in the 1860 slave schedule who reported owning 15 enslaved people, including four boys and men, aged 11, 15, 19 and 30, who may have been Wesley. [Based on his valuation, I am inclined to believe he was one of the younger two.] Alfred Boykin appears in the same schedule in Oldfields township owning five enslaved people.

Received of James H. Barnes Six Hundred and twenty dollars in full for one negro boy named Wesley. The right and title of Said negro I will forever warrant and defend also I warrant the Said negro to be young and Healthy January 12th 1858        /s/ Alfred Boykin, Wm. H. Bardin [witness]

The reverse of the receipt: The execution of the within Bill of Sale is proved before me by the oath & examination of W.H. Bardin the subscribing witness thereto. Let it be registered Jany. 29th 1858  /s/ T.C. Davis

Registered foregoing Bill of sale Feb 16th 1858.   R.J. Taylor Regr.

Bill of Sale, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

A levy upon three enslaved persons, the property of George W. Barefoot.

State of North Carolina, Wilson County  }

Know all men by these presents that we A.J. Barefoot & J.D. Rountree are held & firmly bound  unto Elias Barnes in the sum of five hundred Dollars for which payment we bind ourselves, our heirs, executors & administrators jointly & severally Sealed with our seals & dated April 25th 1855. Whereas, the said Elias Barnes has placed in the hands of the said A.J. Barefoot negro slaves Mary, Cherry and Henry the property of Geo. W. Barefoot which were lately levied upon & taken by the said Elias, as Sheriff of Wilson County, by virtue of original attachments in favor of Jas. D. Barnes, and J.D. & M. Rountree to the use of Wm. Barnes Jr. against the said Geo.W. Barefoot, returnable to July Term 1855 of the Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions of said County.

Now the condition of the above obligation is such that should the said Barefoot produce the said negro slaves at the next Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions & be held for the County of Wilson at B.H. Bardens store in the Town of Wilson there to abide the decision & judgment of the Court then this obligation to be void otherwise to remain in full force & virtue.   /s/ A.J. Barefoot, J.D. Rountree

Court Cases Involving Slaves, Slave Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

The last will and testament of Turner Bynum.

On 17 September 1858, Turner Bynum of Edgecombe and Wilson Counties penned a will whose provisions included:

  • to son Robert Bynum, 855 acres on the north side of White Oak swamp in Wilson County, “old negroes Britt and Miles also my negro man Daniel” and ten shares of railroad stock
  • to daughter Nancy Sugg, 1240 acres plus “my four negroes Moriah and her two children Abby and Mike and Jerry and all their increase.” After Nancy’s death, these to be equally distributed among her children, and
  • a ratification of earlier gifts of other, unnamed negroes.

Turner Bynum did not die until 1867, mooting the matter of the distribution of his human chattel.

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

The Woodard plantations.

Woodard Family Rural Historic District is a national historic district located near Wilson, Wilson County, North Carolina. It encompasses 29 contributing buildings in a rural area near Wilson. The district developed between 1830 and 1911 and includes notable examples of Colonial Revival and Greek Revival style architecture. Notable buildings include the William Woodard House, built circa 1832; the Woodard House, build circa 1855; William Woodard Jr. House, built circa 1850; and Elder William Woodard Sr. House, built later. The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

Per the Nomination Form, the historic district consists of a cluster of farmhouses and outbuildings built on land acquired by William Woodard in the 1820s and ’30s. The 550-acre district in eastern Wilson County is located in the fork of Toisnot Swamp and White Oak Swamp. Most of the land is cleared for agriculture, but there is a large timbered section near Buck Branch. The main houses of the district are located along modern Alternate Highway 264, which largely follows the route of the antebellum Wilson to Greenville Plank Road. “Associated with the agricultural prosperity in the eastern part of present Wilson County during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Woodard Family Rural Historic District is indicative of the character and diversity of rural life in the area.”

This rural life, of course, was supported by many dozens of enslaved people and, later, tenant farmers. In 1852, after William Woodard was declared dead years after disappearing during a trip to Texas, his estate went into probate, and his assets were distributed to his heirs. Fifty-five men, women and children, valued at more $19,000, were divided thus:

005241706_00184

Their names: Mintas, Siller, Ginny, Rose, Easther, Thain, Dark, Pleasant, Morris, Blont, Ben, Arch, Alford, Tom, Peg, Rody, Silvier, Charlot, Liberty, George, Jonathan, Jim, Rachel, Nancy, Ned, Elizur, Sarah, Cherry, Amy, Harry, Gray, John, Jess, Piety, Edy, Mandy, Little Rose, Mal, Lewis, Lizzy, Sal, Little Mintas, Mariah, Hiliard, Beck, Phereby, Little Ned, Simon, London, Amos, Harrit, Richard, Dennis, Randol, and Venice.

These 55 people did not represent the total of the Woodard family’s human capital however. William’s widow Elizabeth Woodard, for example, had reported 67 slaves in the 1850 federal schedule. Her sons William Jr., Warren, James S., and Calvin reported 21, 21, 14 and 18, respectively, in the 1860 schedule.

screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-3-07-35-pm

The heart of the Woodard Family Rural Historic District today.

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

Fifteen lashes.

Ord. 15. Any free negro caught at the house of a slave after night without the permission of the owner or manager of the slave shall be whipped not to exceed fifteen lashes; and any slave caught at the house of a free negro without a pass from his owner or manager shall be whipped not to exceed fifteen lashes.

——

Wilson’s earliest town ordinances have been transcribed in Minutes of City Council, Volume 1, 1850-1885, a bound volume shelved at Wilson County Public Library, Wilson.

Materially and essentially promoted.

State of North Carolina, Wilson County  }   Court of Equity, Fall Term 1860

To the Honorble, the Judge of Said Court

The Petition of Joshua Barnes Trustee of Mary Harper and of John Harper & Mary Harper his wife

Humbly complaining respectfully Showeth unto your Honor that on the 12th day of May AD 1855 a deed was executed by your Petitioner John Harper conveying certain slaves to your Petitioner Joshua Barnes in trust for the benefit of your Petitioner the said Mary Harper who is the wife of your petitioner John Harper for a more minute description of which Refference is hereby made, and a true and verified copy of which is hereunto Attached Marked A and prayed to be taken as a part of this your Petitioners Petition

Your Petitioners further show that in pursuance to said deed your petitioner held said Slaves therein conveyed until some time in the month of [blank] when one of the slaves man named Jason therein conveyed becoming so disorderly and rebellis that it became unsafe for him to remain in this community for his life having been frequently threatened on an account of Spirit of insubordination and rebellion when your petitioner took him & sent him out of the State & sold him the sum of fifteen hundred and fifteen dollars and out the proceeds of said he purchased a negro woman Named Agnes & child for the sum of twelve hundred and fifty dollars this was done by and with the consent and approval of your petitioners John & Mary Harper and under the advice of many of the friends of all your petitioners.

In as much therefore as the acts and doings of the trustee aforesaid are not binding and legitimate without the Sanction of the this Court and in as much as the interest of his cestui que trust has been materially and essentially promoted by the sale of Slave Jason and purchase of Woman Agnes & child (now [blank] children)

Your petitioners do therefore pray your Honor to duly consider the premises and make a decree confirming the sale of said Slave Jason and also the purchase of the Agnes & child and ordering, directing and decreeing that the Said Joshua Barnes as trustee aforesaid shall keep hold use and apply to the same uses purposes and trusts as was expressed and implied in the original conveyance from Harper to Barnes aforesaid the said woman Slave Agness & children and their increase and the balance of the money arising from the sale of Jason after paying for the woman Agness & child and all necessary expenses of selling Jason and purchasing Agness & child together with the costs of this proceeding

And as in duty bound your Petitioners will ever pray &c      E.A. Thompson Solicitor for Petitioner

He shall be at liberty to expend in hiring of laborers to assist in supporting the family or otherwise as he may consider best for the interest of his cestui que trust.

Jas. D. Barnes John T. Barnes maketh oath that in their opinion the interest of the Cestui que trust the said Mary Harper has been materially and essentially promoted by the sale of the Slave Jason and the purchase of Negro woman Agnes & child

Sworn to & subscribed before me this 5th day of Dec 1860} J.T. Barnes, Jas. D. Barnes, Wm. H. Barnes C.M.E.

——

[Attachment A]

Know all men by these presents that I, John Harper, of the county of Wilson State of North Carolina for & in consideration of the natural love & affection I bear to my wife Mary Harper & my children & for the further consideration of one Dollar in hand paid the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged have given, granted, bargained, sold & conveyed & by these presents do give, grant, bargain sell & convey unto Joshua Barnes three slaves, Jason, Lettice & Martha To have & to hold unto the said Joshua Barnes his executors & administrators nevertheless in Trust for the sole & separate use & benefit of the said Mary Harper during her Natural life or widowhood, & after her death or Marriage to divide & make over the same to such person or persons as would be my Distributees at that time. And the said Joshua Barnes for himself his executors & administrators does hereby covenant & agree to faithfully execute the above Trusts.

In testimony whereof I the said John Harper & Joshua Barnes as Trustee hereunto affix our hands & seals this the 12th day of May AD 1855.   John Harper {seal} Witness Geo. Howard Jr.

State of North Carolina Wilson County This is the 12th day of May 1855 Geo Howard Jr the subscribing witness to the above Deed appears before me & being duly sworn proved the execution of the same by John Harper whereupon it is so ordered to be registered  Washington Barnes C.C. Clerk

This deed was received for Registration the 12th day of May 1855  L. Sauls Register

I hereby certify that this is a true copy of the above Deed from the Register Oct 22 AD 1860  A.J. Brown Reg

——

In other words, John Harper set aside three enslaved people in trust for his wife and children and designated Joshua Barnes — “Father of Wilson County” — as trustee. When Jason became “disorderly and rebellious,” Barnes sold him out of state and purchased Agnes and her child with the proceeds. A trustee’s actions required court approval, and Barnes petitioned for same, asserting that the transactions had benefited the trust. He also tacked on a request to be able to hire laborers, i.e. slaves, to support the Harper family.

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

Negroes on credit at 6% interest.

Bartlett Deans vs. Wyatt Moye  }

By virtue and in pursuance of a commission to me directed from the Superior Court of Law for the County of Wilson State of North Carolina, to take the deposition of Robert S. Adams, a witness on the part of the Defendant in the above entitled Cause, I have this day caused to come before me the said Robert L. Adams, who being by me, first duly sworn to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, touching and concerning the facts in aforesaid suit, deposes as follows.

I stayed all night near Bartlett Deans on my way to Mississippi on the night of the 14th September AD 1848 with a lot of Negroes belonging to Moye & Adams and Bartlett Deans offered to sell us (Moye & Adams) two Negroes, Aberdeen and Abraham, both about twenty Six years old, for Eleven Hundred and fifty Dollars on one or two years Credit, with Six per cent Interest, and we refused to buy at that price. We then made with him the following Contract. We were to take the two Negroes above mentioned to Mississippi for the said Deans, and to hire them out for said Deans in the State of Mississippi Monroe County, or to deliver them over to some agent, and bring him the agents receipt, or if R.S. Adams could see them, so as to make them nett said Deans Eleven Hundred and fifty Dollars, then they were to be sold: but if said Adams hired them, Deans was to pay all expenses and trouble for bringing them out, And on that occasion, said Deans did offer to hand us the money for bringing them out, which money we refused, not knowing whether the negroes would be sold on his account or hired. I did not deliver the above named Negroes over to any agent, because I thought I could sell them for more money that limit set on them. And all over the Eleven Hundred and fifty Dollars, was to go to us for bringing the Negroes out, in paying us for our trouble and expense. I did sell said Negroes on the 11th day of November AD 1848 to Lewis McLendon, he giving me John Brooks for security. I consulted with several of my best friends, before consummating the trade, if it would not be a good debt, and was told, it would be undoubted, as to the solvency of the Debt. I then sold the said Negroes for the Sum of Thirteen Hundred and fifty Dollars on one and two years credit with interest from the date at the rate of Six per cent, per annum, as Deans agent, and gave the Bill of Sale, sighning Deans name by me as his agent. At the time we received the said negroes and gave our receipt for them, Deans instructed us to take them, and if we sold them to sell either on time or on Cash just as we thought best, and as Negroes at that time were very low and dull we had to sell all of our lot on time, and also sold his in the same way. When the money became due I applied to McLendon several times for the money, and he as often promised that he would pay; but we found he would not Comply with his promise, and we then put the notes in the hands of an Attorney to bring suit upon, which was brought in the United States Court for the North District of Mississippi. There he through his Attorney’s plea, the Statute then in force in the State of Mississippi declaring that any Negro over fifteen years of age, should be accompanied by a certificate, Sworned to by two freeholders before the Clerk of the Court that they were of good character. The Judge, then presiding, decided, or was about to decide, sustaining the pleas, when the Counsel in both sides agreed for each party to pay half the cost, and stop the suit, in that Court, as an appeal could not be taken from that Court to the Supreme Court of the United States at Washington City, because the Sum was under two thousand Dollars.  We then commenced suit on both the notes in the Circuit Court of Monroe County State of Mississippi. He made the same pleas in the said Circuit Court, which were made in the United States District Court, and which were not sustained there. He then took an appeal to the High Court of Errors and Appeals for the State of Mississippi in both cases. The said High Court of Errors and Appeals sustained his pleas and liberated him from both the notes. We in all the Courts employed Messrs Davis and Acker and William H. Dowd, who were considered as good Lawyers as any in the Northern portion of Mississippi. This we did in accordance with letters received from Bartlett Deans, which telling us to employ the best Counsel we could get. He in said letters recognized the suits as his and not ours. The endorsements on the receipt was put on them after the Negroes were sold; the one written by Wyatt Moye was on the receipt when I put the bottom one on written by myself, which I did at the March Superior Court of Wayne County at Waynesboro about the last week in March AD 1849. At the time I put the endorsements on the receipt Deans did not claim the money from us, but from the notes. Nor I never heard of his claiming it from us until I hear that he had sued Wyatt Moye. Always when talking to me about the debt, he spoke of it as his own, and would want to know when he would get his money from those men out in Mississippi whom he had sued.

His only object he said in getting me to put the endorsements on the receipt, stating the time the Negroes were sold, was to know from what time the claim began to draw Interest. I saw Deans several times during the time the suits were pending, and he always asked me about the suits and how they were progressing, and always spoke of the suits as his own, and never in any other way, only as his own. I am entirely uninterested in the suit in Wilson Superior Court State of North Carolina between Bartlett Deans and Wyatt Moye which grew out of the sale of the two Negroes Aberdeen and Abraham as he, the said Wyatt Moye, was given me a release both in Law an Equity, which release I annex to this deposition marked Exhibit B.   /s/ Robert S. Adams

The State of Mississippi, Monroe County   } I Newton J. Beckett Justice of the Peace in and for said State and County, do hereby Certify that I caused to come before me, at the office of William F. Dowd Aberdeen Mississippi Robert S. Adams, the witness named in the foregoing Interrogatories and whose name is signed to this depositon, who being by me first duly sworn to speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth did depose thereto in the foregoing answers or statement; that the said statement of the said witness was by me reduced to writing in his presence, read to him and signed by him as his deposition in my presence. I do hereby further certify that the said deposition has not been altered, or changed since the same was subscribed by the said [illegible] and that the same has remained in my possession even to the time of sealing and delivering the same to the Post Master of Aberdeen Monroe County State of Mississippi. In witness whereof I do hereunto set my hand and affix my hand & private seal having no seal of office this the 29th day of April AD 1858   /s/ Newton J. Beckett {seal} Justice of the Peace and Commissioner

Exhibit B.

State of Mississippi Monroe County April 26th 185[illegible] I hereby Release both as law & Equity Robert L. Adams from all liability growing out of a Suit in the Wilson Superior Court State of North Carolina B. Deans vs Wyatt Moye related to two negroes Aberdeen & Abraham or any other suit which may grow out of said Transaction. Witness by hand & seal  /s/ Wyatt Moye   Witness /s/ J.E. Cunningham

——

It is safe to say that Wyatt Moye and Robert S. Adams were two of the largest slave traders ever to come out of Wilson County. For nearly twenty years — individually, together and in other partnerships — these men built thriving businesses facilitating the sale of enslaved men and women in eastern North Carolina “down the river” to Mississippi and Louisiana.

Moye was born in Greene County in 1793 and lived in Edgecombe until about 1845, when “soon after his wife’s death, Wyatt left for Mississippi where he established Wyatt Moye & Co., which either owned plantations or operated them for many of the wealthy landowners from Eastern North Carolina, including his future son-in-law, William Francis Dancy of Tarboro.” At least, this is way his memorial at Findagrave.com puts it.

In fact, Moye had not left North Carolina for good. On December 20, 1848, as senator from Edgecombe County, he introduced a bill in the Senate to “incorporate Toisnot Depot and Hickory Grove in the County of Edgecombe into a town by the name of Wilson.” He is listed in the 1850 census of Edgecombe County with no occupation but owning $5000 in real property. Ten years later, he is listed in the Western Division of Monroe County, Mississippi, as a “trader” owning $5500 in real property and $7500 in personal property [read: slaves]. Simultaneously, more than 400 miles away in Saint Mary Parish, Louisiana, Wyatt Moye & Company appears in the slave schedule as the owner of 119 slaves. Moye died at Dancy, his Saint Mary plantation, in 1862 and was buried in Tarboro, North Carolina.

Moye’s long-time involvement in the slave trade is borne out in these two ads:

Newbern Spectator 9261829

Newbern Spectator, 26 September 1829.

Gboro Patriot 12251847

Greensboro Patriot, 25 December 1847.

Robert S. Adams (1813-1873) was appointed postmaster at Stantonsburg, then in Edgecombe County, in 1840. He seems to have maintained part-time residency in the Stantonsburg area into the 1850s, but otherwise lived in Aberdeen, Monroe County, Mississippi. He built a grand columned Greek Revival-style mansion there in 1856 and was counted among the town’s residents in the 1860 federal census.

The kerfuffle over Aberdeen and Abraham was not the first deal to go bad for Moye and Adams. In 1849, Moye, Adams and Stephenton Page of Edgecombe County formed a partnership to buy and sell slaves. Using Moye and Adams’ money, Page bought six slaves for $2,762.50. One, Jim, escaped, but Page took the others — Martha, John, Adeline, Viney and Mary — to Mississippi. When he could not sell them, he turned them over to Adams, who sold them for $3375. However, in an action filed in Edgecombe County in 1850, Moye and Adams alleged that Page had captured and sold Jim without sharing any profits and owed them other expenses.

Adams formed another partnership in Aberdeen, Mississippi, with Moses J. Wicks:

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 9.52.46 PM

Natchez Free Trader, 20 November 1852.

In the letters below, he corresponded with Ziba B. Oakes, Esq., a Charleston slave trader, concerning sending a group of slaves to Wilmington and purchasing a “small lot of negroes” in Richmond:

RS Adams to Ziba Oakes

Directions for sending Negroes to Wilmington. Letter from Robert S. Adams to Ziba B. Oakes, 29 July 1853. Rare Books Department, Boston Public Library.

Adams Wicks to Oakes

Request for remittance. Adams & Wicks, Aberdeen, Mississippi, manuscript letter signed to Ziba B. Oakes, 4 January 1854. Rare Books Department, Boston Public Library.

adams french house

Adams-French House, Aberdeen, Mississippi. It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1988.

Bartley Deans, Sr. (1776-1860), for his part, was a Nash County-born farmer whose last will and testament disposed of 44 enslaved people.

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

Last will and testament of Richard Hocutt.

In the name of God Amen, I Richard Hocott of the County of Edgecomb and State of North Carolina being of Sound mind and memory do make ordain declare and publish the following to be and contain my last will & testament in manner and form following to wit

Item first I will and desire my Executors herein after named to provide for my body a decent buryal and to pay all my just debts out of the first moneys coming into there hands as a part and parsel of my Estate

Item second I will desire and devise unto my beloved wife Elizabeth the dwelling house where I now live and one hundred and fifty acres of land around it to be laid off as She may want it to have and to hold to her the Said Elizabeth during her natural life and no longer

Item third I give and bequeath unto my wife Elizabeth the following Slaves with all their issue born after the date of this will to wit one man named Ben and one woman named Sinia and one girl named Hester to have and to hold during her natural life and no longer

Item forth I give and bequeath unto my Said Wife Elizabeth two cows & calves one horse two yews & lambs two Sows & pigs all of which to be her choice all the poultry one loom & all of my house hold and Kitchen furnature except what is here after named one buggy and harness and one bed and furnature (her choice) for an during her life and no longer

Item fifth I give and bequeath unto my Said Wife Elizabeth one other bed her choice with all the bed cloths she had before we were married which She may dispose of as She may like

Item sith I give and bequeath unto my Said Wife Elizabeth one thousand pounds of pork & twenty barrels of corn one thousand pounds of fodder twelve pounds of Sugar & twelve pounds of Coffee & ten gallons of Molasses & three bushels of Salt & one barrel of flour for her years support

Item the seventh I give and bequeath unto my Son Daniel Hocott the following Slaves to wit one negro man named Amos one negro woman named Alif one girl named Mary one girl named Sarah and one boy named John all of which I give to the Said daniel Hocutt in fee simple provided he the said Daniel leaves a child or children surviving him and if he leaves no child or children nor the issue of child or children I want the said slaves equally divided among all my children

Item the eight I give and bequeath unto my Son Benjamin Hocott all my lands not before mentioned and also one negro man named Ben and one woman named Sinia & one girl named Hester before mentioned after the death of my Said Wife Elizabeth also the lands given to my said wife I give to the said Benjamin Hocott after her death

Item the ninth my will and desire is that all my property not herein mentioned be sold after my death and the money be equally divided among all my children except Daniel Hoc0tt and Benjamin Hocott

Item the tenth I nominate and appoint my Sons Daniel Hocott and Benjamin Hocott Executors to this my last will and testament hereby revoking all other wills and testaments by me hereto fore made

In testimony of which I have hereunto set my hand and seal this the Sixteenth day of September A.D. 1853 Signed, published and declared to be and contain the last will and testament of Richard Hocott in the presence who witness the same at his request the year and date above written   Richard (X) Hocutt   /s/ Benjamin Bynum, Newit Owens

——

“One negro man named Ben” may be, in the 1870 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Benjamin Hoketts, 70, wife Clapsly, 60, and Haywood, 27, Daniel, 18, Cain, 16, and Sarah Hoketts, 16, plus Willie Nicholls, 8.

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