1860s

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.

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  • 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

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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.

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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.”

Calvin Bone supports his claim.

More on the contract dispute with Jourdin Artis that Calvin Bone brought to the attention of the Freedmen’s Bureau:

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Black creek N.C., July 3 1867.

Mr. O Compton, I Received your note yesterday in closed you will find the am of my Acct against Jourdin Artis, allso an Acct he should of had to of settled with his hands. Jourdin has never bin to me for asettlement nor nor finished the contract he is oing me right smart Am. now. I thought all last fall he would come & complete the egagement you want the Am of labour done there has bin only 6423 bushels of marl thrown out & agreeable to contract he should of thrown out 26000 bushels. I would go down at once & see you but my crop is allmost ruined with grass I have narry dutiful Sevent or that will do to risk. if you request my going to your office let me hear from you again I shall be at this post office again in five or six days.  Verry Respectfully yrs., Calvin Bone.

Bone attached pages and pages documenting supplies advanced to Artis for laborers Artis employed — tobacco, flour, sugar, whiskey, herrings, mullet, shoes, clothing.

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Including documents that named the workers. Though Bone lived in Black Creek, Wilson County, Artis appears — per the 1870 census — to have hired his hands from nearby Wayne County communities.

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The contract itself:

 

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Witnesseth that the said Jourdin Artis agrees with the Said Calvin Bone that he will clear off dig & threw out twenty six thousand bushels of pure marl on the farm of the said Calvin Bones in the mill Swamp on or before the first of Dcr next

and the said Calvin Bone in consideration of the fourgoing agreement promises and agrees, to and with the Said Jourdin Artis pay one cent a bushel in Specie or its value in Something wee can agree on, and the said Calvin Bone do further to furnish the said Jourdin Artis with one hundred & eighty lbs of bacon or its adequate in herrings & ten bushels of meal during the time he is labouring & digging the above named marl, & the said Jourdin Artis is to give the said Calvin Bone his trade whilst he is performing the above named labour this the twenty third day of July one thousand eight hundred Sixty Six in witnesseth whereoff wee set our hands and seals 

This is a true coppy of the contract with me and Jourdin Artis there was only one ritten Ys truly Calvin Bone

 

North Carolina Freedmen’s Bureau Assistant Commissioner Records 1862-1870, http://www.familysearch.org.

 

 

 

I need his labor on my farm.

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Wilson, N.C. , August 26th 1867

Supt. Freedmens Bureau, Goldsboro N.C.   }

Dear Sir by refference to your records you will find a contract entered into between Dennis Swift free laborer, and myself on the 13th day of May ult. This contract was witnessed by Mr. J.J. Lutts and sent to your predecessor for approval by the concent of the said laborer. And I have thought it my duty [to] report his case to you as he has not complied with his contract one week since he entered into it. He has been absent from his post without my consent on many occasions and is absent from his post now and has been for several days. I appeal to you for the remedy and ask is there no remedy for such cases. I have complied with all the requirements of our contract and only ask that he do the same. I need his labor on my farm and would be glad to have your instruction in the matter as to what course I had best pursue. Please write by return mail.  Yours &c, J.H. Winstead

—–

Probably, the Dennis Swift, 24, parents unknown, who married Ella Thompson, 23, daughter of Gilbert Wilder of Wilson County and Elizabeth Shallington of Greene County, on 23 July 1877 in Greene County, North Carolina.

In the 1880 census of Bull Head district, Wilson County: farmer Dennis Swift, 28, a native of Maryland; wife Ella, 22; and son Peter, 6.

North Carolina, Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1863-1872, http://FamilySearch.org.

The family is doing well.

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Bureau R.F. & A.L., Sub. Dist. Goldsboro, Goldsboro, N.C. Novr. 9th 1866

Bvt.Col. A.G. Brady, Supt. Central Dist. N.C., Raleigh N.C. 

Col., I had the honor about ten (10) days since to receive through you a communication from a man in Boston inquiring about a family of freedmen in Wilson Co. which I sent to Mr. J.J. Lutts in Wilson and he replied that the family was then doing well etc. but I mislaid the communication so I cannot find it or it may have been taken or dropped from my pocket, or I fear most torn up and swep out with waste paper and you will much oblige by sending a copy of the breif with endorsements. The family inquire about was Taylor and Barnes. Your kind attention and early reply is respectfully solicited. Very respectfully, yr obt. Svt., Jas.W.H. Stickney [illegible]

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Bureau of Refugees Freedmen &c., Hd.Qrs. Asst. Commissioners, Raleigh N.C. Dec 14th 1866

Bell Jas B., Boston Mass

Sir, In answer to your communication of Oct 19th [illegible] in relation to whereabout of certain colored people. I quote language of Asst Supt at Goldsboro N.C.

“This family inquired for are living in the town of Wilson Wilson County N.C. are doing well and any communications for them can be addressed to Mr Benjamin Woods or to his care at Wilson”

Your communication having been mislaid the names of the family cannot be given.

Very respectfully, Your Obdt Servant, Jacob F. Ohm, Bt.Lt.Col. & A.A.A.G.

North Carolina, Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1863-1872, http://FamilySearch.org.

Rejoicing.

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Wilson Advance, 1 August 1889.

——

Probably, in the 1880 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: widow Farrby Pope, 50, living alone.

Fibie Pope filed for a widow’s pension on 14 November 1885.

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Her husband, Nathan Pope, a native of Pitt County, enlisted at Washington, North Carolina, on 26 January 1864. He served in Company F, 37th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry, where he was appointed corporal. For a history of the company and a list of its officers and soldiers, see here.

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[Sidenote: The Bank of Branch & Co., which put Mrs. Pope’s business in the street, was founded in Wilson and is the precursor to today’s megabank BB&T.]

Civil War Pensions Index, http://www.fold3.com; U.S. Colored Troops Military Service Records, 1863-1865 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

The last will and testament of William H. Skinner.

On 8 September 1860, William H. Skinner of Wilson County, “weak in body,” penned a will whose provisions included:

  • to wife Rebecca Skinner, during her natural life or widowhood, “the following Slaves & two children Randel & Judy a boy Peter a slave, a boy a slave Jo,” plus horses, hogs, oxen, cows, a wagon, a cart, furniture, fodder, pork, molasses, flour, coffee, lard, potatoes, peas, etc.
  • “a Negro Girl Matilda & all the balance of my Property [be sold] & the proceeds after paying all my debts to be equally divided between Thomas H. Skinner Mary Ann Harrell Jane Skinner Lisha Skinner Wm Ann Skinner Florence Skinner Della Skinner & Martha Bass’s heirs”
  • after wife Rebecca’s death, “the Slaves which I have lent to my wife be sold & the proceeds equally divided” between the people above.

Skinner apparently died within days, as his will was admitted to probate at October Term 1860 of the county court.

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

——

Perhaps: on 31 March 1866, Peter Skinner and Cherry Sharp registered their cohabitation before Wilson County justice of the peace. In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Peter Skinner, 24, wife Cherry, 24, and sons Van, 7, and Fate, 3. In the 1880 census of same: Peter Skinner, 35, wife Sarah B., 35, and sons Van Buran, 14, and Lafayette, 13.