Court Actions

Who was Carey C. Hill?

As is often the case for African-Americans who lived and died prior to the early 20th century, there’s relatively little information readily available about Carey C. Hill.

The Tarborough Southerner, 20 October 1881.

I have not found him in the 1870 census, but on 4 April 1874, Cary Hill, 24, married Anna Pascal, 20, in Edgecombe County, North Carolina.

In the 1880 census of Tarboro, Edgecombe County: Cary Hill, 32, laborer, and wife Anna, 28.

The following year, Carey C. Hill was murdered.

On 28 November 1881, James H. Harris of Wilson applied in Edgecombe County for letters of administration for Hill’s estate. (Though he worked in Wilson and was well-known and well-respected there, Hill’s permanent residence apparently was in Tarboro.) Hill’s small estate was estimated at $100. Harris listed Hill’s heirs as wife Anna Hill and, curiously, Nannie Harris, Sarah Clark, Lucy Jones, Mary Lawrence, Susan Lawrence, James H. Lawrence, and Isaac Lawrence. (Nannie Harris was James Harris’ wife, and the Lawrences were children of Haywood and Eveline Lawrence of Caledonia township, Halifax County, North Carolina. Who were they to Hill and why were they — neither his spouse, nor children, nor parents — his heirs?)

Wilson residents G. Washington Suggs and Ned Barnes served as Harris’ sureties. (Or maybe William J. Harriss, as that’s whose signature appears on the bond below.)

A week earlier Murray & Woodard, a Wilson law firm, had written to W.A. Duggan, Clerk of Edgecombe County Superior Court, to vouch for James Harris, “quite a respectable colored man” who was “nearly related” to Anna Hill. Anna Hill was described as “mentally incapable of acting as administratrix,” but whether from grief or cognitive challenge we cannot say. The firm mentioned that Harris’ sureties were “not willing to trouble themselves to go to Edgecombe” with him, but vouched for their ability to give bond. Murray & Woodard acknowledged that Hill’s estate was small, but noted “there is talk of bringing suit against the parties who killed Carey,” but Ben May and John Gardner were out of state and not likely to return, and such talk was premature. In a short note pencilled in at the end of the letter, the firm added: “We will be responsible for the costs attending taking out administration. Give Harris the bill to hand to us.”

I have found nothing further about Carey Hill or his estate or the fate of his murderers.

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  • James H. Harris — in the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Spring Street, house carpenter James Harriss, 35; wife Nannie, 35; children Susie, 13, Nannie, 11, Willie, 10, Mattie, 4, Jimmie, 2, and an unnamed infant girl, 2 months; and sister Susan Lawrence, 19, cook. (Was Susan James Harriss’ sister, or Nannie Harris’?)
  • G. Washington Suggs
  • Ned Barnes

Cary Hill Estate Records, North Carolina Wills and Estates, 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. Lee Simms.

In the summer of 1913, justice of the peace Elias G. Barnes issued an arrest warrant for Lee Simms for assault with a deadly weapon against his wife Mary Simms.

Barnes took this testimony in support of the charge:

State vs. Lee Simms  }   Before Elias G. Barnes J.P.

Mary Simms, witness for the State, being sworn says: I am Lee Simms’ wife. On Sunday the 15th day of June 1913, in the morning I asked Lee to cut some stove-wood for me. He got his gun and tried to shoot me, but my daughter and myself got hold of the gun and prevented his shooting me. While we were strugling for the gun, Lee fired it off, but it did not hit any one.

Maggie Simms, being duly sworn says: Mother asked pappa to cut her some stove-wood. He said he would stop her from following him. He went into a room, and got his gun. I took hold of his gun. We went into the yard. Mother helped me, and we kept him from shooting her. While we were scuffling over the gun, father fired it off, but it did not hit any one.

W.M. Michener [Mitchner], being sworn, says: I was passing Lee Simms’ on Sunday morning, and saw him, his wife, and daughter in the yard, they seemed to be scuffling over something. His wife asked me to come and help her. I thought they were playing. While I while I [sic] was noticing a gun fired.

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On 12 August 1887, Lee Simms 23, and Mary Harriss, 16, were married in Wilson County. Disciples minister P.E. Hines performed the ceremony in the presence of Joe Patterson, Martha Winstead, and Addie Blount.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: brickmason Lee Simes, 35; wife Marry, 29, washing; daughters Bessie, 13, tobacco stemmer, and Maggie, 9.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Saratoga Road, Lee Sims, 44; wife Mary, 40, laundress; and daughter Maggie, 18.

In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Simms Lee (c) bricklyr h south of Nash nr Carroll

In the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Simms Lee (c) bricklyr h 813 E Nash

In the 1920 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Simms Lee (c) bricklyr h 648 Wainwright

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 648 Wainwright Street, Lee Simms, 56; wife Mary, 47; daughter Maggie Williams, 25; and son-in-law Sam Williams, 26.

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Simms Lee (c; Mary) brklyr h 410 Hadley

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 410 Hadley Street, owned and valued at $1300, Lee Simms, 66, building bricklayer; wife Mary L., 60, laundress; and adopted son Clarence Williams, 6.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: ay 205 South Vick, widow Mary Simms, 70; daughter Bessie Woodard, 52, tobacco factory laborer; son-in-law Luther Woodard, 53, oil mill laborer; and grandson Clarence Woodard, 16; daughter Maggie Sharpe, 45; and son-in-law Van Sharpe, 45.

Criminal Action Papers, 1913, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

State vs. Daniel Sharp Jr.

In August 1911, a justice of the peace charged Daniel Sharp Jr. with assault with a deadly weapon for an alleged attack upon Louis Hagans. The charge was based on eyewitness testimony by Rufus Edmundson and Charlie Dawes. Per Edmundson, Sharp shot a pistol at Hagans at New Hope Church. (This, presumably, was New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, located then as now on N.C. Highway 58 just north of Wilson.)

  • Daniel Sharp Jr.
  • Louis Hagans — there were several Louis (or Lewis) Hagans in Wilson County around this time, and it’s not clear which this was.
  • Rufus Edmundson
  • Charlie Dawes

Criminal Action Papers, 1911, 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.

Henderson Howard, alias Brantley, mortgages 25 acres.

On 16 January 1904, having borrowed $250, Henderson Howard, who was also known as Henderson Brantley, gave Zealous Howard a mortgage deed for 25 acres in Taylors township, Wilson County. If Henderson failed to repay the loan, Zealous was authorized to sell the property at auction.

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In the 1850 census of Nash County, North Carolina: Betty Brantley, 50, and her children Kimbrel, 25, Henderson, 14, and Guilford B. Brantley, 12, all described as mulatto.

In the 1860 census of Bailey township, Nash County, North Carolina: Henderson Howard, 21, farm laborer, in the household of farmer Thomas B. Deans, 25. 

In the 1880 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: Henderson Howard, 40; wife Mollie, 25; and children Charley, 8, Richard, 6, Bettie, 5, and Hellan, 1.

In the 1900 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: widow Henderson Howard, 59, farmer; children Charley, 26, and Bettie, 21; and servant Linda Boon, 44. 

In the 1910 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: on Howards Path, Henderson Brantley, 70, widower; daughter Bettie, 23; and cousin Dock Howard, 38.

On 9 April 1915, Hence Brantley executed a will in Wilson County. Under its terms, his daughter Bettie was to receive 22 1/2 acres, including the home place; son Charley Brantley was to receive an adjoining 22 1/2 acres; and daughter Molie Hourd [Mollie Howard] was to receive his remaining land. His money was to be split evenly among the children. Brantley named his “trusty friend” Grover T. Lamm executor, and Lamm and Dock Howard were witnesses.

Henderson Brantley died 2 December 1916 in Taylor township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 80 years old; was a widower; was a retired farmer; and was born in Nash County to Bettie Brantley. Informant was Charles Brantley.

Deed book, page 576-577, 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.