1860s

The estate of Stephen Boykin.

In January 1865, a court-appointed committee of neighbors divided “negro slaves and stock among and between” the heirs of Stephen Boykin, who died in 1864. (Various sums of money changed hands among the heirs to even the value of their inheritances.)

Boykin’s widow Sallie Davis Boykin received “Anthony valued at $400.”

Sallie Mercer received Nancy and Rose, valued at $500.

Kizziah Pope received Henry, $800.

Willie Coleman and wife Smithy received Chaney, $700.

John Barnes and wife Nicey received Thom, $700.

Willis Hanes and wife Cally received Jason, $500.

Mules and cattle were distributed next.

Four months later, these men, women, and children were freed.

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In the 1870 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: farm laborer Henry Boykin, 24; Nancy, 55; Jason, 15; and Rosetta, 12. [This appears to be a nuclear family — a mother, or perhaps grandmother, with her offspring. If so, the distribution of Stephen Boykin’s estate had briefly divided them among three households.] Next door: Allen Powell, 32, dipping turpentine; wife Charity, 22 [Chaney Boykin]; and children Robert, 4, and Cena, 2.

Also in the 1870 census of Oldfields: Anthony Boykin, 60, blacksmith.

And: Thomas Boykin, 27, farm laborer; wife Thana, 34; and daughter William Harriet, 6 months.

Stephen Boykin Estate File (1865), Wilson County, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

State vs. Benjamin Ellis.

To stave off responsibility for caring for poor women and their children, unwed mothers were regularly brought before justices of the peace to answer sharp questions about their circumstances.

On 26 January 1867, Zily Lucas admitted to Wilson County justice of the peace Solomon Lamm that her four-month-old son Bryan had been born out of wedlock and  his father was Benjamin Ellis. Lamm ordered that Ellis be arrested and taken to a justice to answer Lucas’ charge.

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In the 1870 census of Chesterfield township, Nash County, N.C.: Delila Lucus, 32; Rachel, 25; Zillie, 16; Louisa, 13; and Bryant, 2. [Note that Zillie was about 14 when her son was born.]

In the 1880 census of Jackson township, Nash County: farmer Dilla Locus, 40; niece Louiza, 29; cousin Mary E., 16; nephew Bryant, 13; cousin Dora, 5; and mother Delila, 72.

In the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: mill laborer Bryan Locus, 31; wife Susan, 28; and children Pat, 12, Lou, 9, G[illegible], 6, Martha, 3, and Arthur, 10 months.

In the 1910 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Bryant Lucas, 45; wife Susan, 38; daughters Pattie Winstead, 22, and Lula Joyner, 20; children Mary L., 17, Matha A., 15, James A., 12, Susan, 9, Laura C., 7, and John H.B., 4; and grandchildren Arta Lee, 5, and Eva May Winstead, 2, and May Lizzie Lucas, 10 months.

In the 1930 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farm laborer Bryant Locus, 64; wife Susie, 69; daughter Charity, 10, and son James R., 6; son-in-law Willie Barnes, 32, farm laborer; daughter Martha, 26; and granddaughters Catherine, 16, and Pauline Barnes, 13.

Susie F. Lucas died 10 June 1933 in Wilson. Per her death certification, she was 55 years old; was born in Nash County, N.C., to Dock and Charity Wilkins; was married to Bryant Lucas; and lived at 507 Carroll Street.

Martha Barnes died 7 December 1961 in Wilson township. Per her death certificate, she was born 20 September 1897 in Nash County to Bryant Lucas and Susie Wilkins;  and was widowed. Catherine Nicholson, 103 North Vick, was informant.

Bastardy Bonds, 1866, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

State vs. Jeffrey Simms.

To stave off responsibility for caring for poor women and their children, unwed mothers were regularly brought before justices of the peace to answer sharp questions about their circumstances.

On 11 December 1866, Rebecca Barnes admitted to Wilson County justice of the peace Washington Barnes that she had given birth to a child whose father was Jeffrey Simms. Barnes ordered that Simms be arrested and taken to a justice to answer Barnes’ charge.

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In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Jeffrey Simms, 24, wife Caroline, 22, and an unnamed one month-old infant, plus Bryant Simms, 80.

Bastardy Bonds, 1866, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

Recommended reading, no. 3: the Second Middle Passage.

You cannot understand the men and women who emerged from slavery to appear in the 1870 census of Wilson County without understanding who was not there — the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and children sold South in America’s domestic slave trade, known as the Second Middle Passage. 

I have no ancestors from Alabama or Mississippi or Louisiana or Texas, but my DNA matches scores of African-Americans who do. They are descended from the close kin of my North Carolina and Virginia ancestors, and the bits of identical chromosome we share is the only evidence of the crime that befell our common forebears.

To understand the depth and breadth of this trade, please study Edward E. Baptist’s The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism

To glimpse how this trade unfolded among our own Wilson County people, see:

To see how buying and selling men, women, and children even locally devastated families:

Remembering Mariah Clark.

When the Daily Times covered Sallie Clark Harrison’s 80th birthday, among other reminiscences it included this snippet:

“Eighty Years Old Today,” Wilson Daily Times, 17 August 1935. 

Records of ownership and sales of enslaved people are relatively rare for Wilson County, and Harrison’s recollection supplies uncommon detail. John Cherry “brought in” (perhaps to the office in which Harrison’s father Edwin Clark worked as postmaster) a 17 year-old girl. Clark paid Cherry $1200 for her and named her Mariah — what had her name been? — an extraordinary sum for that time (likely toward the end of the Civil War) and place.

The 1870 census of the Town of Wilson, Wilson County, shows 20 year-old Mariah Clark, described as mulatto, living in the Clark household as a domestic servant. Despite Sallie Harrison’s claims of selfless devotion, Mariah Clark is not listed in any further census records with the Clarks or Harrisons, and I have not been able to identify her otherwise.

 

Calvin Blount’s first land purchase.

In his 1909 will, Calvin Blount left to his “sons Wright Blount and Tillman Blount, whom I have not heard from in many years” a one-acre lot “on the edge of the Town of Wilson, State and County aforesaid, adjoining the lands of G.W. Sugg, Cater Sugg, and the Colored Cemetery….”

Blount had purchased that small lot in January 1867, less than a year after he was emancipated. He paid Richard Hines Blount, who was likely his former owner and a blood relative, $50 for the parcel, which was located just south and west of present-day Hines and Pender Streets.

Deed book 2, page 182, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office. 

 

State vs. Albert Freeman.

To stave off responsibility for caring for poor women and their children, unwed mothers were regularly brought before justices of the peace to answer sharp questions about their circumstances.

On 1 October 1866, Martha Cooper admitted to Wilson County justice of the peace William G. Jordan that she had fourteen month-old and two month-old children whose father was Albert Freeman. Jordan ordered that Freeman be arrested and taken to a justice to answer Cooper’s charge.

I have not been able to identify either Cooper or Freeman.

Bastardy Bonds, 1866, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

State vs. Jack Aycock.

To stave off responsibility for caring for poor women and their children, unwed mothers were regularly brought before justices of the peace to answer sharp questions about their circumstances. 

On 11 May 1866, Amanda Aycock admitted to Wilson County justice of the peace S. Woodard that she had given birth out of wedlock and Jack Aycock was the child’s father. Woodard ordered that Jack Aycock be arrested and taken to a justice to answer the charge.

Jack Aycock married Letha Daniel on 17 December 1866 in Wilson County. In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Jackson Aycock, 23; wife Litha, 26; and daughter Kate, 1.

I have not identified Amanda Aycock.

Bastardy Bonds, 1866, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

State vs. Barry Lawrence.

To stave off responsibility for caring for poor women and their children, unwed mothers were regularly brought before justices of the peace to answer sharp questions about their circumstances.

On 25 July 1866, Jane Horn admitted to Wilson County justice of the peace Solomon Lamm that her two-month-old child’s father was Barry Lawrence. Lamm ordered that Lawrence be arrested and taken to a justice to answer Anderson’s charge.

I have not been able to identify Horn or Lawrence with certainty.

Bastardy Bonds, 1866, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

State vs. Sidney Edmundson.

In December 1866, someone reported swore to two justices of the peace that Amanda Edmundson, who was unmarried, had given birth to a child. When questioned, Edmundson admitted the birth and named Sidney Edmundson as the child’s father. 

I have found neither in Wilson County records. 

Bastardy Bonds, 1866, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.