1860s

94 acres, more or less.

Just two years into freedom, Patrick Williamson paid $163 to purchase his first real property at auction. According to his descendants, some of the land remains in the family’s hands:

This Indenture made the 28th day of January 1868 between Thomas Lamm administrator of Martin R Thorn deceased of the County of Wilson State of North Carolina of the first part & Patrick Williamson of the county & State aforesaid of the second part, Whereas at the Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions held for the County of Wilson on the fourth Monday in October 1867 it was ordered by the said court in a said cause then pending in said court wherein Thomas Lamm administrators petitions that the land mentioned in the petition in this case be sold  on a credit of six months &c and Thomas Lamm in pursuance of said order did on the 22nd day of October 1867 sell at public auction the tract of land hereinafter described having first been given lawful notice of the time & place of sale by advertisements at which sale the land was struck off to Patrick Williamson for the sum of one hundred & sixty three dollars that being the high bid for the same & whereas said party of second part having complied with the terms of said sale & whereas the said Williamson hath fully paid off said purchase money together with all Lawful Interest, Now Therefore the Indenture witnesses that the said Thomas Lamb administrator had granted bargained sold & conveyed to the said party of the second part his heirs & assigns The tract of land in the county of Wilson known as the Martin R. Thomas tract adjoining the lands Wilie Lamm Ransom Thorn et al containing ninety four acres more or less to have & to hold the same to him & his heirs forever      Thomas X Lamm

A Barnes

The Execution of the foregoing deed was duly acknowledged before me by Thomas Lamm the subscriber this 29th day of Dec 1868 Let the same be registered.    A Barnes Probate Judge

Deed book 2, page 568, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson, Wilson County.

The Washingtons arrive from Goldsboro.

This Indenture made the twenty ninth day of December in the year one thousand eight hundred & sixty six (1866) between Richard H Blount of the county of Wilson & State of North Carolina of the first part & Jerry Washington of the Town of Goldsboro of the County of Wayne & State of North Carolina of the second part. Witnesseth that the said party of the first part for & in consideration of one hundred dollars $100 lawful money of the United States to himself paid before the delivery hereof, hath bargained, sold & by these presents doth grant & convey to the said party of the second part his heirs & assigns forever all of a certain piece or parcel of land lying & being in the county of Wilson & State of North Carolina which is known & described as follows to Wit beginning at the line of Arthur D Farmer in the County road to Goldsboro near the Town of Wilson & running with the line of said road seventy yards to a corner thence at a right angle from said corner directly back one hundred & forty yards to a corner thence again forming another right angle & running in a straight line with parallel with the aforesaid Goldsboro Road to the aforesaid Arthur D Farmers line Thence with street line back to the beginning forming a parallelogram in figure & containing by estimate ten acres, together with all the appurtenances & all the estate, title & interest of the said party of the first part therein, and the said party of the first part doth hereby covenant & agree with the said party of the second part that at the time of the delivery thereof, the said party the first parties ts the lawful owner of the premises above granted & seized thereof in fee simple absolute & that hw will warrant & defend the above granted premises in the quiet & peaceable possession of the said party of the second part his heirs & assigns forever. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal This 29th day of December one Thousand eight hundred & sixty six  R.H. Blount

Signed sealed & delivered in the presence of C. Lee Parker, Henry E. Benton

——

Newly freed Jerry Washington and Jane Washington registered their four-year cohabitation in Wayne County in 1866. Just before the year ended, Jerry Washington bought ten acres of land just outside Wilson town limits and moved his family 25 miles north.

Six years later, Washington paid $1000 for another ten acres on the south side of town.

Deed book 2, page 238, Register of Deeds office, Wilson.

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.

Register.

These African-American men were among the Wilson Countians nominated as delegates to the North Carolina constitutional convention just after the Civil War. None were selected.

register

  • Henry Jones, age 30, farmer, black.
  • Lawrence Moye, age 25, preacher, black.
  • Gordon Grimes, age 35, farmer, black.
  • Mac. Jones, age 24, farmer, black.
  • Edw. Barnes, farmer, black.
  • Jeremiah Bullet, colored.

I have not found certain record of any of these men in any other Wilson County records.

From “Registers and reports of registrars recommended for the election of delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1868,” North Carolina Freedmen’s Bureau Assistant Commissioner Records, 1862-1870, http://www.familysearch.org.

Feloniously and burglariously.

State of North Carolina, Wilson County   } Superior Court of Law, Fall Term A.D. 1862

The Jurors for the State upon their oath present that Jacon a negro slave late of Wilson County the property of James Pender of the County of Wilson and Law a negro Slave late of said County of Wilson the property of Joshua Barnes of said County of Wilson on the first day of October A.D. 1862 about the hour of eleven o’clock in the night of the same day with force and arms at and in the County of Wilson aforesaid the dwelling house of one Levi M. Hays there situated feloniously and burglariously did break and enter with intent the goods and chattels of the said Levi M. Hays in said dwelling house there and then being found, then and there feloniously and burglariously to steal take and carry away against the peace and dignity of the State.  /s/A. Thompson Sol

——

State vs. Jacon (a slave) & Law (a slave)

Burglary

Witness Woodard (a slave), Levi M. Hays, W.W. Batts, John B. Batts, Josiah Farmer

Sworn & sent J.W. Davis Clk

Nott a true bill  Jos. H. Armstrong forman

——

All that to say that two enslaved men, Jacon and Law, were charged with breaking and entering Levi M. Hays at eleven at night, but no true bill was returned.

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

Harboring.

The solicitor of the 1860 fall term of Wilson County Superior Court presented to the grand jury a charge against Delitia Eatmon for harboring a slave, Violet, who was owned by Berkley Cone.

In the 1860 census of Sullivants district, Nash County, Berkley Cone was a 45 year-old farmer whose household included a 10 year-old mulatto boy named Richard Locus, who was probably an involuntary apprentice. The 1860 slave schedule of Nash County lists Cone as the owner of a single enslaved person — a 15 year-old mulatto girl. Who was reported as a fugitive from the state. It’s reasonable to assume that Violet was the runaway.

Delitia (or, more likely, Selitia) Eatmon was born about 1810 in what was then Nash County. She and her children are listed in her parents’ household in the 1850 census of Nash, but by 1860 she headed her own household in Oldfields township, Wilson County. She, too, owned enslaved people as reported in the 1860 Wilson County slave schedule. Five, who appear to have been an elderly woman, her daughter, and that daughter’s three children.

Who was Violet to Selitia Eatmon? Why would Eatmon have kept and concealed Violet from Berkley Cone? Were Eatmon’s slaves Violet’s family? Had she been with Eatmon the entire six months between the census enumeration and the grand jury panel? Longer? Had she run because she missed her family? To avoid Cone’s close attention to her teenaged body? To thwart sale?

Berkley Cone and J. Calvin Narron appeared before the grand jury to offer testimony. Whatever they swore to, it was not enough. “Not a true bill,” said the jury. No indictment.

Harboring a Slave, Slave Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

Henry Jones’ enlistment.

m1818_254-0746

An enlistment card for Henry Jones, whose former owner was named as Jefferson Higginbotham here. That Jones described his birthplace as Wilson County, rather than Edgecombe or Wayne or Johnston or Nash, suggests that he left the area after 1855 when the county was founded. Jones’ identification of a non-Wilson County resident as his enslaver further suggests that he was sold away, rather than ran away.

U.S. Colored Troops Military Service Records, 1863-1865 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

 

Send for your negro and get mine.

Mr. W.W. Batts

Please send for your negro and get mine and bring her to your house, if you please, and I will come to your house this Evening.

Jany the 1 1860       W.H. Edwards

[Second handwriting on face of letter]

Henry I will do what this calls for. I will bring her as far as my house.  W.W. Batts

[Handwritten on reverse]

Permit Lewis to carry this to W.H. Edwards.  W.W. Batts

 

——

In 1977, late Wilson historian Hugh B. Johnston Jr. published an annotated collection of letters written to and from members of the Edwards family of Wilson County during the Civil War. William H. Edwards (1839-1864), son of Edwin and Zilpha Batts Edwards, lived in the Joyner’s Depot area just north of present-day Elm City. He was killed by cannonball during a battle near Petersburg, Virginia. His kinsman William W. Batts (1827-1869) also lived near Joyner’s Depot.

The meaning of the note is unclear, and the enslaved people to whom it refers — “your negro” and “mine” — are unknown. The message on the back conveys permission for Lewis, an enslaved man apparently belonging to Batts, to travel in Batts’ service. In other words, it is a “free pass.”