1870s

Mortality schedule, no. 5: Taylors township, 1870.

Each of the United States federal censuses from 1850 to 1880 included a mortality schedule enumerating individuals who had died in the previous year previous. Each entry noted the decedent’s family number in the population schedule, name, age, sex, color, marital status, place of birth, month of death, occupation, and cause of death.

Here is a detail from the 1870 mortality schedule for Taylor township, Wilson County:

  • Taylor, Milbry. Age 29, farm laborer, died in November, [illegible] fever.

In the 1870 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: farm laborer James Taylor, 56; wife Charity, 61; and Delphia Taylor, 21; Jeremiah, 9, and Cornelious Person, 5; and Wesley, 4, and Henry Taylor, 4 months.

Valentine Farmer buys four acres.

This indenture made the 4th day of September in the year of our lord eighteen hundred & seventy three between Warren Woodard & Jerusha Woodard wife of Warren Woodard of the County of Wilson & State of North Carolina of the first part & Volentine Farmer of the County of Wilson & State of North Carolina of the second part Witnesseth that the said party of the first part for and in consideration of the sum of one dollar the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged has given bargained sold & granted & conveyed and does hereby give grant bargain sell & convey to the said party of the second part his heirs and assigns all that tract or parcel of land lying in the County of Wilson State of North Carolina bounded as follows Beginning at at a lightwood stake in S.B. Farmers line thence N 85 East by chaines & thirty two & 1/2 links to a lightwood stake thence N 1 East Six chaines and thirty two and 1/2 links to a stake thence S 5 E six chaines and thirty two and 1/2 links to a stake in line thence S 1 west by chaines & thirty two & 1/2 link to the first station containing four acres to have & to hold the same with the appurtenances thereunto belonging Volentine Farmer the said party of the second part his heirs and assigns forever And the said party of the first part for the consideration aforesaid does hereby covenant and agree to warrant and defend the persons(?) aforesaid to the said party of the second part his Executors Administrators and assigns against the claims & entry of all persons whatsoever And said Warren Woodard and Jerusha Woodard does further Covenant that the said Volentine Farmer is seized of the premises in fee simple and has power to make and convey such an estate by this Indenture and has  done the same by these

In witness whereof the said party of the first part has hereunto [set] their hand & seals on the day & year above written    /s/ Warren Woodard, Jerusha Woodard

Witness M.D. (X) Franklin

——

Valentine Farmer paid Warren and Jerusha Woodard the nominal sum of one dollar for four acres, his first land purchase. Jerusha Farmer Woodard was the daughter of Moses Farmer Sr., Valentine Farmer’s former owner, which may shed light on the basis of the favorable transaction.

Deed book 8, page 194, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

State v. Moses Bynum and Martha Snead (1870).

In August 1870, Moses Bynum, with J.W. Smith, posted a bond to insure Bynum’s appearance in Wilson County court to face an adultery charge.

Jack Privett and Jinsey Privett were subpoenaed to appear as witnesses against Bynum and Martha Snead.

In the 1870 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: South Carolina-born farm laborer Jack Privett, 40; wife Quincy, 32 [probably Jincey]; and daughter Malvinia, 4; plus Adeler Privett, 18, and her likely children Jane, 3, and Eli, 9 months.

Laura Sneed, 19, of Wilson County, daughter of Moses Bynum and [illegible] Bynum, married Burnis Hinnant, 21, of Wilson County, son of Amos Hinnant and Lindy Hinnant, on 3 September 1888 at Henry Dudley’s residence in Cross Roads township.

Mollie Hinnant died 4 August 1954 in Kenly, Johnston County. Per her death certificate, she was born 11 September 1878 in Wilson County to Moses Bynum and Martha Snead and was a widow. Mrs. Lossie Shaw was informant. [Her marriage license and the 1910 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County, suggest that Laura “Mollie” Bynum Hinnant was in fact born about 1869, which is consistent with her parents’ prosecution.]

Adultery Records –1870, Miscellaneous Records, Records of Wilson County, North Carolina State Archives.

The estate of Moses Hagans.

Moses Hagans died early in the spring of 1873. His wife Theresa Lassiter Hagans, unlettered and unfamiliar with the workings of probate, signed over her rights to administer her late husband’s estate to Larry D. Farmer, a public administrator.

record-image_-4.jpg

Farmer filed in Probate Court for letters of administration, estimating the value of Hagans’ estate at $200 and naming his heirs as widow Theresa Hagans and Lucinda Hagans Brantley, who was Hagans’ daughter.

record-image_-3.jpg

On 12 April 1873, Farmer filed an inventory of Hagans’ personal estate, which consisted of meat and lard; household kitchen furniture; “old plunder in & around the houses”; a small amount of lint cotton; corn and peas; a cart and a crosscut saw; fodder; poultry and dogs; a horse and farming implements; sows and pigs; and a garden of greens. All of it was allotted to “Trecy” Hagans for her support while the estate was in probate.

record-image_.jpg

It was a meager showing, insufficient to meet the $300 minimum required for a year’s support.

record-image_-2.jpg

——

In the 1830 census of Edgecombe County, North Carolina, Moses Hagans was head of a household of four free people of color.

In the 1840 census of Edgecombe County, North Carolina, Moses Hagans was head of a household of nine free people of color.

On 10 February 1846, Moses Hagans, “now of Edgecombe,” paid Thomas Hadly of Wayne County $328.50 for 164 1/4 acres on Little Swamp in Nash County. The transaction is recorded in Deed Book 18, page 331. (A mortgage for the purchase is recorded at book 18, page 325.) Little Swamp is now in Wilson County. It rises near Old Raleigh Road; flows south between Radio Tower and Flowers Roads; crosses under Interstate 95 near its junction with N.C. Highway 42; then flows east to join Contentnea Creek.

In the 1850 census of Nash County, North Carolina: Moses Hagans, 48, farmer; wife Pitty, 38; and son Gray B., 19, farmer. Also: Thomas Brantley, 28, turpentine worker, and wife Lucinda, 23.

On 25 October 1857, Moses Hagans applied for a license to marry Trecy Laciter in Wilson County.

In the 1860 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Moses Heggins, 60, farmer, and wife Theresa, 48. Moses claimed $125 in real property and $115 in personal property. [Hagans’ estate records do not mention real property.] Also, Thomas Brantley, 52, farmer; wife Lucinda, 35; and children William, 9, and James W., 6. Thomas claimed $800 in real property, $200 in personal property.

In the 1870 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farmer Moses Hegans, 70; wife Trecy, 50; and James R. Locust, 12, farm laborer. Also: farm laborer Thomas Brantly, 57; wife Lucinda, 39; and son Willie, 15, farm laborer.

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

Severe whippings for trifling faults.

State of North Carolina, Wilson County }

In the Probate Court Before A. Barnes, Probate Judge, May 8th, A.D. 1871.

George Morris an apprentice by indenture to Thomas White, colored, complaining says:

1st That he was bound by articles of indenture to Thomas White, colored, on the ___ day of _____ 18 ___ by

2nd That the said Thomas White has treated with great cruelty, inflicting upon him severe whippings for trifling faults, especially on the evening of Friday May 5th A.D. 1871 , when he was beaten by the said Thomas White in a most cruel and inhumane manner

Wherefore petitioner humbly asks your Honor that you will by order command the said Thomas White to appear before you at some early day to be named by your Honor to show cause why the articles of indenture above specified should not be cancelled.

George Morris, by Kenan & Durham, his Attorneys

——

  • George Morris — in the 1870 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County, George Morriss, 10, is listed in the household of his mother Eliza Morriss. The family is described as white. [Eliza Morris was the widow of Warren Morris, with whom she appears in the 1850 Johnston County census.] The absence of a color designation behind Morris’ name in this petition can be interpreted as as an indication that he was white, which accords with this census entry.
  • Thomas White — in the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Thomas White, 56; wife Charlotte, 56; and Lucy, 14, Reuben, 15, George, 10, and Lucy White, 3. [The apprenticeship of white children by African-American masters was exceedingly rare, and White was surely taking his life in his hands abusing one.]
  • Kenan & Durham — Col. Thomas S. Kenan (1838-1911) settled in Wilson in 1869 and opened a law practice that flourished and lead to a long and influential legal career.

Apprentice Records-1871, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

To have and to hold the land, pt. 3.

Abstracts of deeds recording the purchase of real property by African-Americans in Wilson County during the first fifty years of freedom:

  • Hilliard Ellis paid R.J. Taylor and wife Gallie Taylor $500 for 92 acres. The purchase was recorded 11 March 1872 in Deed Book 6, page 24, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.
  • On 21 October 1873, William Airs [Ayers] paid Simon Newsom and Oliver and Penina Farrell $525  for 150 acres. The purchase was recorded 26 October 1874 in Deed Book 9, page 402, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.
  • On 29 December 1874, Emily Gay paid Frank W. Barnes and wife Mattie B. Barnes $750 for a lot of land containing about one and a half acres on the east side of Wilson near the corporate limits and adjoining R.J. Taylor, Samuel Williams and others for “the sum of her natural life remainder to Charles Gay Mary Gay Ethelders Gay and William F. Gay children of said Emily Gay.”  The purchase was recorded 31 December 1874 in Deed Book 9, page 522, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson. [Gay lost a half-acre of this property in 1885.]
  • Jesse Aires [Ayers] paid Martha Hawley $106 for 16 acres known as “Bits Aires Place” adjoining the lands Hawley and Ayers. The purchase was recorded 13 November 1879 in Deed Book 15, page 489, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.
  • Hilliard Ellis paid Alpheus Branch and wife Nannie Branch and A.J. Hines and wife Eliza A. Hines $300 for a 50-acre parcel adjoining Ellis’ own land. The purchase was recorded 22 December 1879 in Deed Book 16, page 71, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.
  • On 10 December 1879, Garry Armstrong paid C.S. Braswell and wife Martha A. Braswell $125 for 15 acres. The purchase was recorded on 6 March 1880 in Deed Book 16, page 353, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.
  • Benjamin Hardy paid Thomas Woodard and wife Elmina Woodard $500 for a 29 1/2 acres on the New Road from Barefoots Mills in Cross Roads township. The purchase was recorded 16 December 1880 in Deed Book 16, page 628, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.
  • On 9 November 1892, Penelope Tynes paid Mahala Artis of Buncombe County, North Carolina, $250 for a 81′ by 143′ lot “in the northern angle of Green and [blank] Streets” adjoining Thomas Knight and Penelope Tynes Proctor. The purchase was recorded 18 November 1892 in Deed Book 31, page 351, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson. [Mahala Artis moved to Asheville, North Carolina, circa 1890.]
  • Hilliard Ellis Jr., Master Workman; Austin Williams, Treasurer; Charles Williams, Financial Secretary; and Milly Ellis, Recording Secretary of Local Association of the Knights of Labor No. 734 paid Hilliard Ellis Sr. one dollar for a one-acre parcel on the west side of the Wilson and Nashville Road in Taylor township. “The condition of this deed is such that whereas the parties of the first part are justly indebted to Hilliard Ellis in the sum of Eighty dollars (money borrowed to erect a building upon the above described land) due and payable Jan’y 1, 1892 with 8 % interest.” If the Lodge defaulted, Ellis Sr. was authorized to sell the parcel on the courthouse steps. This purchase was recorded 10 March 1893 in Deed Book 33, page 246, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

He has received less care and attention than his years demanded.

In 1877, Abram Farmer petitioned Probate Court to apprentice his grandson to him, charging that the boy was being neglected by his stepfather:

Before H.C. Moss, Judge of Probate for Wilson County

The Petition of Abraham Farmer of Wilson County North Carolina, respectfully shows with your Honor that his grandson, Gray Pender a boy of color, aged about Sixteen years, is an orphan, his father Richmond Pender having died about six years ago, and his mother, Sarah Pender died about two years ago. That the said orphan has been living with this step father, Stephen Battle since the death of his mother, & by him hired out for wages, & has received less care & attention than his tender years demanded &c &c

Your petitioner respectfully makes application before your Honorable Court that the said orphan may be summoned to appear before the [illegible] & show cause why he may not be apprenticed to him or to some other good master who will educate & provide for said orphan as the law directs

Jan’y 22nd 1877     J.S. Woodard Atty for Petitioner

The said orphan is now at the house of your petitioner on the premises of Isaac B. Farmer.

——

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Rich’d Pender, 28, farm laborer; wife Sarah, 25; and sons Gray, 9, and George, 1.

On 7 June 1871, at Anthony Barnes’, Stephen Battle, son of Hundy and Lucinda Battle, married Sarah Pender.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Pettigrew Street, farmer Abram Farmer, 63; wife Rhoda, 45; step-children Charlotte, 16, Kenneth, 15, Fannie, 11, and Martha, 10; and grandchildren Gray Pender, 17, Gray Farmer, 19; and Thad, 13, and John Armstrong, 10.

In the 1910 census to Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Gray Pender, 47; wife Lillie, 35; and Eliza, 18 months, and Aniky, 4 months.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Grey Pender, 58; wife Lily, 44; and children Elijah, 11, Annie, 10, Herman, 8, Rosetta, 9, Furney, 6, Dennis, 4, and Victoria, 2.

Grey Pender died 22 August 1928 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 67 years old; was born in Wilson County to Richmond and Sarah Pender; was married to Lillie Pender; and was a tenant farmer for Mrs. Mattie Williams.

Apprentice Records 1877, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh.

 

 

They are non-residents of this state.

Hardy Lassiter died about 1853 in a section of Edgecombe County that two years later became part of the newly created Wilson County. During the probate of his estate, the court ordered this ad placed in an attempt to locate his daughter Sally Lassiter Artis and her husband, Morrison Artis.

The Tarborough Southerner, 24 September 1853.

Where were the Artises?  Indiana.

Morrison Artis, son of Micajah and Bedie Powell Artis, was born about 1822 in or near what would become Wilson County. His father Micajah is listed as a head of household in the 1830 census of Taylor district, Nash County, and the 1840 census of Davis district, Wayne County. Morrison Artis married Sarah “Sally” Lassiter circa 1845. Born about 1827 in what was then Edgecombe County, she was the daughter of Hardy and Obedience Lassiter. Morrison and Sally’s first child, Benjamin F. Artis, was born in 1847, and within a year or so the family struck out for Indiana with Morrison’s family.

In the 1850 census of District 85, Parke County, Indiana: Morrison Artis, 24, farmer; wife Sarah, 21; and children Benjamin, 3, and Rachel, 6 months. All except Rachel were born in North Carolina.

In the 1850 census of District 85, Parke County, Indiana: Micajah Artis, 50, farmer; wife Bedy, 40; and children Arcada, 17, Eliza, 14, Burket, 4, and Henriette, 1. All but Henriette were born in North Carolina.

In the 1860 census of Reserve township, Parke County, Indiana: farmer Morrison Artis, 35; wife Sally, 33; and children Benjamin, 13, Rachel. 10, and Martha, 5. Morrison reported owning $1000 in real property and $465 in personal property.

In the 1860 census of Adam township, Parke County, Indiana: Micajah Artis, 58, farmer; wife Beda, 50; and children Birket, 16, Henrietta, 10, Elmeda, 8, and Benson, 7.

Per Early Black Settlements by County, indianahistory.org, “During the 1850s, the Bassett, Artis and Ellis families left Parke County, Indiana, and established a settlement in Ervin Township. (The Bassett and Artis families were free African Americans who came to Indiana from North Carolina.)  At least 11 families lived in this area that became a small farming community of blacks sometime known as the Bassett Settlement or the Bassett and Ellis Settlement.  They had a school, church, cemetery (located at 950 W.), general store, blacksmith shop and a post office.  Some of the other surnames associated with the settlement include Canady, Griggs, Jones, Kirby, Mosely, and Wilson.

“Zachariah and Richard Bassett served as ministers at the Free Union Baptist Church in Howard County.  The 1870 census list Bassetts, Artis, and Ellis as farmers.  Richard had land valued at $8,400 and Morrison Artis’s land was valued at $2,800.  In 1892, Richard Bassett became the third black person to be elected to the Indiana state legislature.”

The heart of the Bassett Settlement as shown in this 1877 plat map. Two parcels are labeled M. Artis — one, perhaps, Micajah and the other Morrison. A small cross is visible at the center of the image in a parcel marked R. Bassett; it marks the community cemetery in which the older Artises were buried. [For an account of my visit to Bassett cemetery and a family connection to this place, see here and here.]

In the 1870 census of Ervin township, Howard County, Indiana: Morrison Artis, 46; wife Sarah, 40; and children Benjamin, 23, Martha, 16, and William, 1. Morrison reported owning $2800 in real property and $500 in personal property.

In the 1870 census of Ervin township, Howard County, Indiana: Macajah Artis, 65, farmer; wife Bedea, 65; and children Henrietta, 22, Almedia, 20, and Benson 17. Morrison reported owning $700 in real property and $100 in personal property.

Screen Shot 2019-08-08 at 1.18.45 PM.png

Indianapolis Leader, 30 August 1879.

In the 1880 census of Ervin township, Howard County, Indiana: farmer Morrison Artis, 57; wife Sarah, 55; children Benjamin, 33, Martha, 26, and William M., 11; and grandson Melvin, 8.

In 1891, Morrison Artis was nearly swindled from his life’s accumulation in a fraudulent land transaction.

Kokomo Saturday Tribune, 12 May 1891.

Morrison Artis died in April 1896 after terrible head injuries sustained when his spooked horse threw him, then fell on him.

Kokomo Daily Tribune, 9 April 1896.

Benjamin F. Artis died 8 September 1910 in Coopers Grove, Howard County, Indiana. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 February 1947 in North Carolina to Morrison Artis and Sarah Lassiter; was married to Caroline Artis; and was a retired laborer.

Melvina Bassett died 7 April 1917 in Kokomo, Howard County, Indiana. Per her death certificate, she was born April 1839 in North Carolina to Micajah Artis and Bedie Powell; was the widow of John Bassett; and was buried in Bassett cemetery. William Bassett was informant.

Benson Artis died 17 April 1919 in Kokomo, Howard County, Indiana. Per his death certificate, he was 56 years old; was born in Indiana to M. Artis and an unknown mother; was single; lived at 145 Western Avenue, Kokomo.

William M. Artis died 27 August 1920 in Indianapolis. Per his death certificate, he was born 26 February 1869 in Indiana to Morrison Artis and an unknown mother; was married to Lula Artis; worked as a laborer; and was buried in Kokomo.

U.S. Indexed County Land Ownership Maps, 1860-1918 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

To have and to hold the said land, no. 2.

Abstracts of deeds recording the purchase of real property by African-Americans in Wilson County during the first fifty years of freedom:

  • On 25 February 1878, A.W. Jones paid K.M. Jones, executor of the estate of Milly Jones, $300 for a half-acre parcel in the town of Wilson on Nash Street east of the railroad adjoining the lots of William Smith and Garry Edmundson. The purchase was recorded in Deed Book 14, page 174, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

Milly Jones was the mother of A. Wilson Jones and Kernel Morris Jones.

On , Morris Jones married Amanda Gillespie in Wilson.  In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: baker Morris Jones, ; wife Amanda; son Franklin,; and boarder Rosa Galespie, 16. In the 1905 census of Newark, Essex County, New Jersey: In the 1910 census of Newark, Essex County, New Jersey:

In the 1880 census of Town of Wilson, Wilson County: on Nash Street, Wilson Jones, 22, shoemaker.

  • On 1 February 1880, Jordan Taylor paid John T. and Elizabeth Barnes $115 for a quarter-acre lot in Wilson township near the town of Wilson adjoining Peggy Farmer, John T. Barnes and others. The purchase was recorded in Deed Book 18, page 467, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

There were at least two adult African American men named Jordan Taylor in Wilson in this period.

  • On 28 December 1881, Walter Kersey paid C.C. and Sallie Peacock $40 for a 100′ by 135′ lot on Stantonsburg Road near the town of Wilson adjoining John A. Clark and “Henry Ward (col).” The purchase was recorded in Deed Book 18, page 65, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

Walter Kersey later migrated to Indiana.

  • On 27 January 1882, Noel Jones paid J.F. Eatman $228 for 45 acres in Old Fields township on the canal in “the Mill Stone Swamp.” The purchase was recorded in Deed Book 18, page 258, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

In the 1880 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: laborer Noel Jones, 34; wife Sarah, 32; and children Josiah, 13, Charity, 12, Edith J., 10, Noel J., 6, and Asberry, 6.

Per William Powell and Michael Hill’s North Carolina Gazetteer, 2nd ed., “Millstone Creek rises in nw Wilson County and flows e approx. 5 mi. to join Juniper Creek in forming Bloomery Swamp. Named prior to 1783 for the fact that millstones were made from a type of stone found there.”