1860s

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:

record-image_939D-XQV4-X

record-image_939D-XQVW-Y

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.

record-image_939D-XQVW-P

record-image_939D-XQVC-Z

record-image_939D-XQVW-J

record-image_939D-XQVW-6

record-image_939D-XQVW-8

record-image_939D-XQVW-4

record-image_939D-XQVW-Q

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.

record-image_939D-XQVW-S

record-image_939D-XQV3-R

record-image_939D-XQV3-L

record-image_939D-XQV7-J

record-image_939D-XQV7-Z

record-image_939D-XQV7-W

The contract itself:

 

record-image_939D-XQV7-N

record-image_939D-XQV7-8

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.

m1909_17-0972

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.

record-image_939d-x72w-l

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]

screen-shot-2015-11-01-at-7-07-17-pm

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.

w-adv-8-1-1889

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.

32959_033041-01169

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.

npope

[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.

The last wills and testaments of the David Dews.

On 31 October 1861, David Dew Sr. of Wilson County penned a will whose provisions included:

  • to nephew Jonathan T. Dew, son of Larry Dew, “two negroes Forten and Sally and their increase”
  • to nephew David Dew, son of Larry, “one negro man Everitt
  • to nephew Moses Dew, son of Larry, “one negro boy Gray
  • to nephew Willie Dew, son of Larry, “one negro boy Dick
  • to nephew George Washington Dew, son of Larry, “one negro girl Rose and her increase”
  • to niece Nancy Dew, daughter of Larry, “one negro girl Mary Ann and her increase”

Five months later, on 24 March 1862, his nephew David Dew executed a will that provided, among other things:

  • to brother William L. Dew, “negro boy Young Everitt
  • to brother Moses Dew, “negro boy Amos,” a gold watch and chain
  • to brother Willie R. Dew, “negro Everitt derived from estate” of his uncle David Dew
  • to brother G.W. Dew, “negro boy Van Buren

——

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Everett Due, 58, wife Sarah, 59, and Joseph, 23, and Rachel Due, 18.

Also in Wilson township, near the households of white farmers Washington Due and Moses Due, Amos Due, 39, wife Louisa, 35, and children Isaac, 9, Ella, 5, and Morning, 1, with Everette Due, 32, wife Jane, 24, and Edward Due, 8 months, next door.

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

The Union League.

Nearly 80% black, and representing the 40% of North Carolina’s population that was African-American, the Union League was critical to the success of the Republican Party post-Civil War. Governor William W. Holden, committed to black political and social equality, pulled the Union League under the party’s umbrella with white Unionists. The newly formed Ku Klux Klan rose up in opposition, unleashing a scourge of retribution and intimidation across the state and driving Holden from office. Under this pressure, the League effectively collapsed by 1871.

In 1912, the Sewanee Review published J.G. de Roulhac Hamilton’s “The Union League in North Carolina,” a disapproving assessment of the League’s activities across the state. In the article, Hamilton, a professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and founder of that institution’s esteemed Southern Historical Collection, briefly touched upon Wilson County’s organization:

“In December, 1869, at Wilson Court, in the case of two members of the League who were indicted for whipping a negro for voting the Conservative ticket, Judge Thomas refused to admit any evidence to show that the League had ordered the whipping, and sentenced them when convicted to thirty and sixty days’ imprisonment respectively. They were immediately pardoned by the governor.”

 

 

Redding had two wives.

Wilson, N.C. Nov 25th 1865

Commissioner of Freedman at Goldsboro. Sir there is a Colored woman in prison in this County Committed by some Magistrate in Edgcombe County. I do not know any of the particulars. I have been told that she was in prison with one or two little children & they will certainly suffer with Cold if they remain there. Mr. John Smith of this County has in his care five orphan children have no near relations Mr. Smith has been a loyal citizen to the U.S. Government all the war, he is a good man clothes & feeds well, he wishes to have them bound. There names & ages are Samuel 17 years old, Caroline 15 years old, Symeon 13 years old, Princh 11 years old, Frank 9 years old. Mr. Smith can give the best of refference.

Respectfully

W.J. Bullock, Capt. L.P.F.

[Different handwriting] Roberson Baker put Redding Baker in jail and took his children.

——

Wilson N.C. Dec 26th 1865

Geo. O. Glavis

Sir, I received a Communication from you this morning in reguard to one Redding Baker (freedman) stating that he was put in jail by Rob Baker, and I ought not to permit such proceeding &c. I presume you know nothing or but little about the case or myself either, or you would not have wrote as you did. You said Baker had no authority for taking those children &c, if he had not of had an order to that effect he certainly would not have gotten them returned to him, and that authority was the highest in this state. I presume from Col. Whitlesy. The case is as follows Redding had two wives one at Mr. Bakers, and one at a Mr. Blows. He had discarded the wife who lived at Mr. Bakers, took the other one home, I assisted him in getting his children by his wife at home; he afterwards took the children of his other wife, she went to see them, and he whipped her very bad or as she stated to me, she said she wanted her children to stay at Mr Bakers, the case was sent to Raleigh and Col Whitlesy ordered the children carried back to Mr Baker’s. I was absent at the time, Mr Baker called on a Lt of the Police to return the children as the order requested him to call on the Police to return them. The Lt served the order on Redding he promised to return them by a certain day; he did not obey the order & when I came home the Lt sent me to know what course to pursue. I ordered him to return the children to Mr Baker according to the Order from Raleigh, and to send Redding to me for whipping Annikey his abandoned wife, he was sent late in the evening I lodged him in jail for investigation I investigated the case laid no furnishment, found it was a case of not sufficient importants to send to you & discharged him. I hope the above will be satisfactory. You see Mr Baker did not put him in jail. And besides the jailor of this County is a gentleman, and knows his duty, will not receive any one in the jail unless committed by a Magistrate or myself. There have not been any freedmen put in the jail who has not been reported to you or Gen Hardin, except in cases of minor importants upon investigation discharged. There are not any freedmen in jail here at all, the last who was there escaped before I got orders to send him off.

Should the above not be satisfactory, I will try to satisfy you when up to Wilson. As for my character I will refer you to the Union men of the County among them W. Daniel, W.G. Sharp, G.W. Blount & others.

Very respectfully

Your Obedt Servt

W.J. Bullock

Capt. L.P. Force

——

White farmer William Bullock, 38, is listed in the 1870 census of Town of Wilson, Wilson County NC. 52 year-old white farmer Roberson Baker is listed in Oldfields township. Neither Redding nor Annikey Baker nor their children appear in the county.

Freedmen Bureau Records of Field Offices, 1863-1878 [database online], http://www.ancestry.com.

They have urged me to take them from their father.

Bu.R.F.&A.L., Office Asst. Sub. Asst. Com, Rocky Mount N.C. Dec 3rd 1867

Brt.Lt.Col. C.E. Compton, Sub. Asst. Com.

Colonel

There is a colored man living in Wilson County by the name of Exum Joyner, who has five children, the oldest is about fifteen years of age.

The children have been to me twice and urged me to take them from their father & send them to some place where they could earn a comfortable support & protect them in so doing. I told them I had no authority to take them away from their father & sent them back to him.

I have made enquiries of both White & Black men who are neighbors, and know Exum’s character & the response has been, in every case, that he is Lazy worthless fellow & that he does not take [care] of his children.

They were certainly in a pitiable condition when they came to my office.

Would it be proper for me to ask the court in Wilson County to appoint a guardian for them

These children have a half brother who is twenty five years old, and he is an active, intelligent man; he is willing to take charge of them, providing he can be properly authorized.

I have the honor to be, Very Respectfully, Your Obed’t Svt.,

Wm. H. Culler, Brt.Lt.Col. & A.S.A.C.

Freedmen Bureau Records of Field Offices, 1863-1878 [database online], http://www.ancestry.com.