Family

“Charles, he has shot your daddie.”

State of North Carolina, Wilson County   }

Be it remembered that on this the 16th day of April 1901 I, John K. Ruffin, Coroner of Wilson County, attended by a jury of good and lawful men, viz Larry Bass, A.P. Moore, Green Finch, Sam Breme, L.A. Lamm, Gray White by me summoned for that purpose, according to law, after being by me duly sworn and impaneled at the residence of Joe Flora in the County aforesaid, did hold an inquest over the dead body of Dempsey Pool (Col); and after inquiring into the facts and circumstances of the death of the deceased, from a view of the corpse, and all the testimony to be procured, the Jury find as follow, that is to say, that Dempsey Pool came to his death by a gunshot wound inflicted by Stephen Sims, col: and that in our opinion said would was inflicted in self-defense. And that it is a case of justifiable homicide.  /s/ Larry Bass, A.P. Moore, Green Finch, Gray White, L.A. Lamm, Sam Brame, John K. Ruffin, Coroner of Wilson County

North Carolina, Wilson County  }

The examination of Easter Pool, Gracie Pool, Mrs. E.E. Flora, Mrs. Wethly Flora, E.F. Flora, J.S. Flora, Mary Sims, Jane Sims, Will Artis, J.T. Corbett, taken before the undersigned, Coroner of said county this 16th of April 1901, at the house of J.S. Flora upon the body of Dempsey Pool then and there lying dead to wit: —

E.F. Flora being duly sworn says: —

The fussing commenced about 7 oclock, when Stephen Sims came into the yard and got the wagon, and Easter and Annie Pool, daughters of Dempsey Pool objected. Sims went on with the wagon & got a load of guano from an out house. Coming back to the yard, a boy was driving the wagon & Stephen had his gun on his shoulder. The daughters Easter & Annie went home & come back with their father, mother & brother. These were all at the front gate as the wagon come in. Pool’s crowd has cart-rounds, sticks & a pitchfork, this latter held by Pool’s wife. Sims did not come to the gate, but got over the fence before he got to them & went around the field coming into the yard by a back gate. I told him not to come in the ward with his gun. Pool had come into the yard, following Sims along the fence cursing Sims. When Sims got into the yard, he put his gun to his face & Pool kept advancing I never heard Sims say a word. Pool got about 5 or 6 steps from Sims when Sims shot Pool. Pool ran twenty steps or more after Sims, not saying anything, Sims running from Pool around the house. At the corner of the house Pool fell. Sims went around the house & out the same gate & all of Pool’s crowd were after Sims. Charles, a son of Pool & a grown man, was here shot by Sims. The Pool crowd then struck Sims as he jumped the ditch, and broke the gun. This gun (produced) is a single barrel breech loader. As he went out the gate, Sims daughter, said “Pap, don’t put no more shell in that gun,” but Sims loaded it again. After Sims was knocked down he run down the field & fell over the fence. Charles, who was also shot, was 18 years of age. I did not go out of the house at all. After Dempsey Pool was shot, I saw something in his hand as he ran toward Sims, holding it out straight. Could not tell what it was. Don’t know as to their being on friendly terms. When the shooting was going on in the yard Pool’s children & Sims children were fighting along with the wagon.        E.F. (X) Flora

J.S. Flora being duly sworn says: —

Am a son of preceding witness. Pools girls come here this morning & Sims was hitching up to wagon. I heard them talking & went out there & found them quarreling over the wagon. I told the Pool crowd that they could use my wagon today. One wanted to come back & wanted to hitch up. The other went on & collect her sister who followed. This was about half an hour or more before the shooting, When I started to the field I met Pool, his wife, two girls, the boy, Charles. I said Dempsey, go & hitch up to my wagon & don’t have no fuss with Stephen Sims. He said, “no” & went out to the lot. I understood some of them to say that they were going to have that wagon and some one had to die. The wagon belonged to the place, none having a special right to it. I went on out to the field and heard Dempsey Pool cussing at Steven Sims, calling him to some on if he wanted to fight. I saw Stephen come down the road & get over the fence about 30 yards from the Pool crowd, who were at the gate, saw him when he come in the yard with the gun on his shoulder. In 5 minutes heard the gun fire next thing saw Pool run after Sims; did not know that Pool was hurt. Saw Sims go out same gate he come in & the Pool crowd were after him, about twenty yards behind him. The girls had sticks. Saw Charles Pool & Stephen Sims point weapons with Charles holding out hand as if presenting pistol & saw smoke when he fired. Both shot about the same time, pistol a short time before. Charles then came back to the yard & the women pursued Sims & knocked him down. Sims then run home & the Pool crowd come back in the yard.  /s/ J.S. Flora

Mary Simms being duly sworn says: —

Am daughter of Steffen Simms. Came on from home with wagon to the main house. My brothers, James Billie & Willie with me. I will be 21 in August. James is 17 years old. I opened the gate, was walking I come on in behind the wagon. The Pool crowd, Easter, Annie, and Gracie, Ella & May, met me at the gate. Dempsey Pool was with them but walked out to meet Pap Easter was standing in the road & told James not to run over her. She hit me on the arm with  a plough-bench. I did not hit her. Dempsey went out to the fence & asked Pap why did you strike at my daughter for Pap said I did not strike at her. Pool then called Pap a lie & a s__ of a b___. The fence was then between them, Dempsey followed Pap down the fence, had a pistol & shot at him once before they got to the gate. While Pool was shooting at Pap, the Pool crowd was following after us to fight, but we did not fight. When Pap says don’t come on me Pool kept coming & Pap shot him. When Pap shot, the Pool crowd went near their father & all making toward my father. Pool certainly had pistol & shot at Pa across the fence.

Don’t know where he got it. After the shooting, Pap ran around the house & out same gate & put another shell in his gun, with the Pool crowd following, Charles with pistol. Some of the Pool crowd said shoot him Charlie & Charlie shot & then Pa shot. Charles did not fall but followed Pa a little way & then came back into the yard. The rest of the Pool crowd followed Pa. When I went to get over the fence, Easter Pool hit me. When I saw Pap, he was down then got up & went home one followed us nearly home. There were seven in the Pool crowd.   /s/ Mary Simmes

James Simms being duly sworn says: —

Me & my brother Bill went & caught mules. Pa was in the yard, we come together when we were currying Easter Pool was taking our traces off the wagon. Pa says let them traces alone. He started toward the wagon. Easter then run to another wagon  flat & pulled a round out she thought Pa was after her. He told her to wait until he carried the load of guano to the field & then she could have the wagon. She called him a ___ rascal & said that her father had sent her after the wagon & she was going to have it. We hitched the wagon & went after the guano & then went by home for breakfast. Then I saw Easter her mother & sister father & brother Charles coming up to the house. We did not wait for breakfast but come on Heard Dempsey call my father & curse him & tell him he was going to have wagon or be killed or kill some body. Pa come down with gun & got over the fence before he got to Pool, Pool went up to the yard fence, had pistol in hand & shot one fence at Pa. Pa come in gate & Dempsey kept coming on him & Pa shot Dempsey & then run around house & back out of same gate.

Charles was on edge first & had pistol, all the Pools were behind Pa & some one of them told Charles to shoot & he shot & then Pa shot. Then Charles walked on a little way, then turned back & come into yard.

Aunt Grace, Easter & Annie followed Pa to the road & struck him as he went over the fence. Aunt Grace had pitchfork. The other girls had sticks. One little girl, Mary, followed us nearly home, other behind.   James (X) Simms

Grace Pool being duly sworn says: —

I am wife of Dempsey Pool. I came in the yard this morning & I went to the kitchen & asked why they allowed so much fussing here, & asked Mr. Flora whose wagon it was. Mr. Flora did not seem to talk much said Dempsey could have his wagon about this time Dempsey come in & said carry team back & [illegible] going to do nothing. I says “yes lets put up fence.” He says “no, Steve Sims wants to fight let him come on out in the road.” He hollowed to Steve who was at home to come on & he would fight. This was after Steve had carried wagon after guano. About this time the wagon come in, we all met, Steve’s crowd & my crowd met in the yard. Steve got over field fence & Dempsey stayed in yard, Steven coming around fence & into gate & Dempsey following him. Dempsey was going toward Steven, & Steven was stepping back & said Don’t come here. Dempsey kept on & Steve shot him. Steve then went on around house & Dempsey following until he fell. Steven went out same gate & all of us after him. Charles was back of us. I says “Charles, he has shot your daddie.” Charles then went for Steve & Steve shot him. Charles had no pistol and was half turned when Steve shot him. If Charles had a pistol I don’t know it. Dempsey did not have a pistol at home of abroad & did not have a pistol when he was shot.     Grace (X) Pool

Will Artis being duly sworn says: —

Don’t know anything about the fight. Took Charles Pool home. Heard him say that after Stefen Sims shot his father that he, Charles Pool, shot at Steffen.    Will (X) Artis

J.T. Corbett being duly sworn says: —

Know nothing of fight. Saw Charles Pool since fight. I was sent down to get his pistol & he said he did not know where it was unless his mother had it. He did not tell me he used it, but said his crowd had one.    /s/ J.T. Corbett

Easter Pool being duly sworn says: —

Am daughter of Dempsey Pool. Pa sent me & Annie to catch mules to haul rails to swamp. Stephen was up here.  About 5,30 oclock. When I went to take off traces Steve says “don’t do that I am going to use wagon. I said “we want to use wagon.” He says “you are not going to use it. He was coming toward me with lines in his hand. He struck at me with lines & I jumped back. I got me a wagon round & Annie says lets go home we went home & told Pa. Annie told him that Steven had struck at me. Pa told me to come back & “let Steve whip me. Then all of us, mother, sister & brother, came up to the house. Charlie went & caught mule Ma asked Mr Flora what was matter. He said he did not know, then Pa came in the gate & Mr Flora met him & told him to take his wagon. Pa refused to take Mr Floras wagon. He went down to front gate & called me & told me to go & have Steve arrested. I said that [illegible] suit was no use, to get & get wagon & go to field. Pa then got on fence & called Steve & said “You have been messing with my children all the year, now come on to whip them.” Steve took his gun & come on up here. When he got to corner of fence got over on field side & Pa come on up to back gate in yard & met at back gate. Pa was going toward Steve & Steve said “don’t come on me.” Steve then pointed his gun at Pa & Pa said “Don’t shoot here” I then heard the gun fire. Next thing I saw was Steve running around house & then followed fight in field. I have never seen Pa with a pistol.   Easter (X) Pool

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On 24 December 1874, Dempsey Pool, 23, married Grace Bynum, 23, in Edgecombe County.

In the 1900 census of Wilson Town, Wilson County: farmer Dempsey Pool, 50; wife Gracey, 45; and children Easter, 22, Elizabeth, 20, Dempsey Jr., 18, Charlie, 17, Annie, 14, Ella, 13, Mary, 11, Alice, 9, Haley, 8, Minnie, 5, and Richard, 2.

In the 1900 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Stephen Simms, 46; wife Zanie, 40; and children Mary, 19, Lizzie, 16, James, 14, Billie, 12, Willie, 9, and Rommie, 6.

Coroner’s Records, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

The Hawleys, the Roses and the color line.

The families of William and Nancy Rose Hawley illustrate the fluidity of identity along the color line and the complexity of Southern race relations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Their families lived among a cluster of families in the Lucama area — Hawleys, Roses, Ayerses and Taylors — whose members’ racial classifications shifted back and forth over time. Both William and Nancy were regarded as mixed-race for much of their lives, but died white.

In the 1850 census of District 9, Johnston County: John Sillivant, 53, farmer; Sally Hawley, 60; and Martha Hawley, 35, and her children Nancy, 12, William, 9, Mary, and Elizabeth, 3. All were described as white.

Also in the 1850 census of District 9, Johnston County: Sarah Rose, 44, and children Piety, 22, William 11, Nancy, 3, and James, 0. All were described as white.

Piety Rose married Noah Lynch on 2 March 1853 in Edgecombe County. [Lynch was probably a brother of Wyatt Lynch.]

In the 1860 census of Kirbys district, Wilson County: Sallie Hawley, 75; daughter Patsey [nickname for Martha], 35; and grandchildren William, 17, Mary, 14, Cerenia, 10, Willey, 4, Saffira, 4, and John D., 1. Patsey, Cerenia and John were described as mulatto; the others, white. [Kirby’s district had been the north-most part of Johnston County before Wilson County was created in 1855.]

Also in the 1860 census of Kirbys district, Wilson County: Sarah Rose, 50; Richard Odom, 21, cooper; Willis Taylor, 45, turpentine worker; Nancy Rose, 11, and Alice Rose, 7. Taylor and the Rose girls were described as mulatto. Sarah reported owning $500 real estate and $300 personal.

In the 1860 census of Town of Wilson, Wilson County: plasterer Noah Lynch, 30; wife Piety, 33, washerwoman; domestic Julia Higgins, 20; John James, 10; and Martha Taylor, 7; all mulatto. Noah reported owning $700 in real property.

On 26 June 1867, William Hawley, son of Joseph Hair and Patsey Hawley, married Nancy Rose, daughter of Sarah Rose, at Sarah Rose’s house in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: farmer William Hawley, 28, wife Nancy, 20, son Joseph, 1, and Aquilla Hawley, 17. William, Joseph and Aquilla were classified as mulatto; Nancy, as white.

In the 1870 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Patsey Hawley, 40; and children Betsey, 18, Rena, 17, Willie, 16, Quilly, 16, and John D., 10; all white. Next door: Sarah Rose, 59, and daughter Alice, 15, both described as white. Next door to them: Willis Taylor, 51, farm laborer, white.

On 26 February 1874, Piety Lynch, 40, and Raiford Edwards, 52, both colored, both of Smithfield, were married in Johnston County. The ceremony was performed at J.B. Alford’s in the presence of Daniel Alford, Bettie Alford, and Daniel Freeman.

In the 1880 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: farmer William Hawley, 39, wife Nancy, 32, and children Joseph, 10, Sally An, 7, and John, 3; all described as mulatto.

In the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Patsey Hawley, 60, and grandson Charles Anderson Hawley, 11, both mulatto. Willis Taylor, 70, farmer, mulatto — who had lived with the Roses in 1860 — lived next door. Next door to him: farmer Leonidas Adams, 38, his wife Alice, 25, and children Willis, 8, Junius, 7, Mary Ann, 5, and John, 2; plus Piety Lynch, 54, and John E. Denson, 30, a fruit tree seller. All were mulatto except Denson, who was white. (Alice Adams and Piety Lynch were Nancy Rose Hawley’s sisters.) Also in Cross Roads, widow Sarah Rose, 72, living alone, described as white.

[Also in the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, this cluster of families: #162. Sylvia Hawley, 22, with children Paul, 3, and Minnie, 2; #163. Martha Ann Hawley, 25, with children Chalmus, 5, and Maud, 2 months; #164. Quillie Hawley, 25, with children William, 5, and Victoria, 2; #165. Patrick Hawley, 35, wife Polly, 29, and children Mary Jane, 9, and Penelope, 5; and #166. John Dancy Adams, 54, Martha Ann Hawley, 45, Pharo Rowe, 30, and Dudley Hawley, 22. All were classified mulatto except John D. Adams and Pharo Rowe. Quillie appears to be Patsey Hawley’s daughter Aquilla. Dudley was Patsey’s son John Dudley Hawley. John D. Adams was the father of Alice Rose Adams’ husband Oleander Adams. In the 1860 census of Kirby’s, Patrick Hawley and the elder Martha Ann Hawley were listed as Patrick and Martha Taylor in John D. Adams’ household, and Sylvia Hawley and the younger Martha Ann Hawley were Taylors in the household of William Taylor, 22, and Sallie Taylor, 30 (who were probably siblings.) All were mulatto in this census, but race-fluid as demonstrated in other records. Who were these people? Were they related to Sally and Patsey Hawley? To the Roses? To Willis Taylor?]

Sarah Rose executed her will in early 1888:

I Sarah Rose of the County of Wilson and state of North Carolina being of sound mind and memory, but considering the uncertainty of my earthly existence, do make and declare this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following that is to say: —

First – That my executor (hereinafter named) shall provide for my body a decent burial, suitable to the wishes of my relations and friend, and pay all funeral expenses together with my just debts howsoever and to whomsoever owing out of the moneys that may first come in to his hands as a part or parcel of my estate.

Second I want my land sold to the highest bidder for cash and pay the same to my last will & testament here after mentioned. Also my personal property All that may be found at my death sold as above written and apply the same to all my heirs.

3rd I give to my son John Rose twenty dollars to be paied to him and his personal representative for ever. 4th I give to my Daughter Pity Linch five dollars to be paied to her. My daughter Allice Adams I want to give her twenty five dollars to be paied to her or her personal representative.

After those above mention received what I have given them my will is to equally divide the balance among William Rose, Mary Alford, and Nancy Holley.

And lastly, I do hereby constitute and appoint my trusty son in law William Holley my lawful executor to all intents and purposes, to execute this my last Will and Testament according to the true intent and meaning of the same and every part and clause thereof hereby revoking and declaring utterly void all others wills and testaments by me heretofore made in witness whereof I the said Sarah Rose do hereunto set my hand and seal. This the 14th day of March A.D. 1888  Sarah (X) Rose

Signed sealed published and declared by the saied Sarah Rose to be her last Will and Testament in the presence of us who at her request and in her presence do subscribe our names as witness thereunto  /s/ J.T Renfrow, A.G. Price

In the 1900 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: William R. Hawley Sr., 60, wife Nancy, 52, and children Willie, 15, and Patience, 13. All were described as black.

In the 1900 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Leander Adams, 46, and wife Alice, 46, both black.

In the 1900 census of Smithfield, Johnston County: widow Piety Lynch, 72, black, living alone.

In the 1910 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: on Lucama Branch Road, William M. Hawley, 69, wife Nancy, 62, and daughter Patience, 22; all described as mulatto.

In the 1910 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: railroad laborer Arnold Adams, 67, wife Alice, 57, and widower son John, 35, a brickyard laborer; all mulatto.

In the 1910 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Ainley Adams, 711, and wife Alice R. Adams, both white.

William Hawley executed his will in 1913:

In the name of God, Amen, I, William Hawley of the county of Wilson and state of North Carolina being of sound mind and memory do hereby make, publish and declare this my last will and testament hereby revoking all former Wills by me at any time heretofore made, and as to my worldly estate and all the property real or personal which I may die seized and possessed I devise, bequeath and dispose thereof in the following manner, that is to say –

First – My will is that all of my just debts and funeral expenses shall be paid out of my estate by my executor hereinafter named as soon after my decease as by him shall be found convenient.

Item 1st. I give devise and bequeath to my beloved wife Nancy Hawley all of my real estate for and during her lifetime or widowhood, the said lands being situated in the county and state aforesaid in two tracts – the first tract being the land whereon I now low bounded on the west by the lands of Luke Tedder, on the north by Arch Atkinson and M.B. Hinnant, on the east by the lands of B.A. Scott and on the south by Jethro Moore containing Eighty Eight acres more or less, also one other tract of land adjoining the lands of J.T. Rentfrow, Seth W. Scott, B.A. Scott and others containing Seventy five acres more of less and known as the Sarah Rose tract – all of which I hereby give to my said wife Nancy Hawley for and during her lifetime or widowhood as aforesaid. I also give devise and bequeath to her all of my person al property not otherwise herein disposed of to-wit – all of my household and kitchen furniture, all of my live stock and all farming tools and all other personal property except such personal property as I may herein dispose of otherwise. 

Item 2. I give, devise, and bequeath to my beloved daughter Sallie Tedder all of the following land by and after the decease of my said wife Nancy Hawley, bounded as follows: Beginning at a stake at the crook of the ditch in Bull Pond Branch and runs north to a corner to be made in Arch Atkinson’s line, thence southwesterly with Atkinson’s line to Luke Tedder and Jethro Moore’s corner, thence easterly with Jethro Moore’s line to the head of the ditch in Bull Pond branch thence north with the ditch about 100 yeards to the beginning, containing thirty acres more or less, to her the said Sallie Tedder and her heirs by and after the decease of the said Nancy Hawley as aforesaid, provided however that one eight of an acre of this land be reserved to my family as a Graveyard for myself and family.

Item 3rd. I give, devise, and bequeath unto my son J.G. Hawley one hundred and fifty Dollars in money to be paid to him by my executor hereinafter named out of my estate. I also give to him the said J.G. Hawley one feather bed, bedstead and furniture.

Item 4th. I give, devise, and bequeath unto my son John Hawley One Hundred and fifty Dollars in money to be paid to him by my executor hereinafter named out of my estate. I also give to him one feather bed, bedstead and furniture.

Item 5th. I give, devise, and bequeath unto my son Willie Hawley the following described tract of land by and after the decease of his mother the said Nancy Hawley, bounded on the West by the lands of Benajah Scott, and on the north by Isaac W. Lamm and on the East by the lands of Haywood Lamm and on the south by J.T. Rentfrow containing Seventy five acres more or less, the same being known as the Sarah Rose place, to him the said Willie Hawley and his heirs in fee simple forever. I also give to him the said Willie Hawley one feather bed, Bedstead and furniture.

Item 6. I lend to my daughter Patience Taylor for and during her lifetime only the following described tract of land. Beginning at a stake in the Bull Pond Branch in Joseph Tedder and Adolph Taylor’s line and runs thence westerly to Sallie Tedder’s corner, thence northerly with her line to Arch Atkinson line thence a northeasterly course with Atkinson’s line to Mary Ann Hinnant’s deed line thence with said Hinnant’s line easterly to the Road thence south with the Road to creak below the Tobacco Barn thence a south line to the beginning containing twenty-five acres more or less to her the said Patience Taylor for and during her lifetime only and after her decease I hereby give  the same to such children as she may have born of her body if any living and if no children living then to her Brothers and sisters then living. I also give to her the said Patience Taylor, one feather Bed, Bedstead and furniture.

Item 7. All of the property which I may die seized and possessed not herein disposed of or any personal property herein bequeathed to my wife Nancy Hawley, and not disposed of by her during her lifetime, I desire the same to be sold by my executor hereinafter named, and after my said sons J.G. Hawley and John Hawley receive the sums of one hundred and fifty Dollars each as herein provided in the third and fourth Items of this my last will, I desire that the remainder of the proceeds of said sale be equally divided between my daughter Sallie Tedder and my daughter Patience Hawley and my son Willie Hawley share and share alike, and lastly I do hereby nominate and appoint my friend John T. Revell to be sole executor to this my last will and testament to all intents and purposes thereof. In testimony whereof I the said William Hawley have hereunto set my hand and seal this 13th day of January 1913.  /s/ Wm. Hawley.

Signed, sealed, published and declared by the said William Hawley to be his last will and testament in the presence of us as witnesses hereto.  /s/  John T. Revell, Sarah Revell

In the 1920 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: on Aycocks Crossing Road, William M. Hawley, 77, and wife Nancy, 73, both mulatto.

William Hawley died 22 March 1920 in Spring Hill township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born in Wilson County to unnamed parents; was married to Nancy Hawley; was a farmer; was buried at the home place; and was declared white. J.S. Tedder was informant. [Per Findagrave.com, he was buried in the J.D. Hawley cemetery near Rock Ridge, North Carolina. Others buried there are Nancy Rose Hawley, William A. Hawley, Sarah Rose and Sally Hawley Tedder.]

Alice Adams died 1 June 1927 in Cross Roads township. Per her death certificate, she was about 70 years old; was born in Wilson County to Sarah Rose and Willis Taylor; was married to Onley Adams; and worked for Ambrose Loucas. She was colored. Informant was John Adams, Lucama. [Alice Adams’ death record reveals the relationship between Sarah Rose and her close neighbor, Willis Taylor, who presumably was also the father of Rose’s other mixed-race children.]

Nancy Hawley died 14 February 1935 in Spring Hill township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was the widow of the late W.M. Hawley, was born 8 December 1837 in Wilson County to an unknown father and Sarah Rose, and was white. J.S. Tedder was informant.

John Dudley Hawley [brother of William Hawley] died 27 September 1948 at his home at 407 Factory Street in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was a widower; was born in Wilson County to unnamed parents; and was white. Informant was Miss Maggie Hawley.

In death, William and Nancy Rose Hawley’s children, like their parents, achieved the permanent crossing of the color line that had eluded them in life:

Sally Ann Hawley Tedder died 11 June 1945 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 1 November 1872 in Wilson County to William Hawley and Nancy Rose and was a resident of Lucama. Informant Mrs. Berry Lewis certified that Sally Ann was white.

William A. Hawley died 14 March 1948 in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was a 64 year-old barber; resided in Lucama; was born in Wilson County to William Hawley and Nancy Rose; and was white. J.S. Tedder was informant, and William was buried in Hawley cemetery.

Pattie Hawley Taylor died 14 May 1972 in Monroe, Union County, North Carolina. Per her death certificate, she was 85 years old, white, widowed, and the daughter of William Wilson Hawley and Nancy Rose. Informant was Grace Sasser, Monroe.

On the other hand, Alice Rose Adams’ children died classified as “colored,” like their mother:

Junious Adams died 25 September 1926 in Wilson township, Wilson County. His address was a rural route near Lucama. Per his death certificate, he was born about 1871 in Wilson County to Leander Adams and Alice Rose; worked as a tenant farmer for Josiah Hinnant; was married to Susan Adams; and was colored. Informant was Willis Adams, Black Creek.

Willis D. Adams died 4 July 1942 in Black Creek township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was about 68 years old; was born in Wilson County to Leander Adams and Alice Rose; was a farmer; was married to Eva Adams; and was colored. Informant was Eva Adams.

John Q. Adams died 23 September 1964 at Dew’s Rest Home in Wilson. Per his death certificate, his regular residence was Lucama; he was born 20 May 1879 in Wilson County to Onley Adams and Alice Rose; had worked as a farmer; was a widower; and was Negro. Informant was Ollie Adams Sr., Norfolk, Virginia.

 

 

Lynch’s 54 acres on Hominy Swamp.

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On 5 June 1860, Wyatt Lynch married Nicey Hall in Wilson County.

In the 1860 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: plasterer and brickmason Wyatt Lynch, 30, wife Caroline, 23, and daughter Frances, 3.

As revealed in this letter, while he was away at war, Captain Ruffin Barnes arranged with Wyatt Lynch for Lynch’s wife to live with Barnes’ wife and perform household chores. Caroline “Nicey” Lynch butted heads with Barnes’ wife, however, and Barnes advised that she be sent back home. Despite all, Barnes seemed anxious not to antagonize Lynch, as he emphasized that he would still supply Nicey Lynch with food supplies as promised.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: brick maker Wyatt Lynch, 48, wife Nicey, 35, and children Harriet, 4, and John, 1.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on the south side of the Plank Road, widow Nicy Lynch, 40, children Harriot, 13, John, 11, Noah, 9, Sammy, 7, and Mary Wyatt, 3, with mother-in-law Nancy Lynch, 98.

On 24 January 1899, Hattie Lynch, 33, of Wilson County, daughter of Wyatt and Nicy Lynch, married William Young, 46, of Wilson County, son of Manuel and Caroline Young of Mississippi. Primitive Baptist minister J.S. Woodard performed the ceremony.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Road, widowed farmer Nicey Lynch, 60, daughters Harriet Young, 35, and Mary Rhodes, 23, and grandson John Rhodes, 2.

On 7 May 1905, Hattie Lynch, 39, daughter of John and Nicy Lynch, married Robert Dixon, 33, son of William and Charlotte Dixon, in Wilson County. Witnesses were D.F. Scott, Mary Rhoads, and Charley Edward.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Road, farmer Robert Dickson, 37, wife Hattie, 46, mother-in-law Nicie Lynch, and nephew Johnnie Rhodes, 12.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Road, farmer Reuben Ellis, 45, wife Mary, 42, and stepson John Hardy Rhoades, 21. Next door: farmer Robert Dixon, 52, and wife Hattie, 48.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Road, farmer Richard Dickson, 37, wife Hattie, 46, mother-in-law Nicie Lynch, and nephew Johnnie Rhodes, 12.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Road, farmer Ruben Ellis, 60, wife Mary, 62, and grandchildren James R., 17, and Charlie Rhodes, 15, and Cora Bell Ellis, 11. Next door: farmer Robert Dixon, 73, and wife Hattie, 73.

Apparently, Wyatt Lynch’s estate was divided and distributed only after Nicey Lynch’s death. Though the commissioners’ report refers to a map, none in fact is appended to the report in the Record of Land Divisions volume. It is possible, though, to locate very roughly Wyatt’s land by the references to Hominy Swamp in the report and Stantonsburg Road in census records.

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The encircled area is the approximate location of Lynch’s land, about 3 miles southeast of downtown Wilson, between Hominy Swamp and Old Stantonsburg Road.

Mary Wyatt Ellis died 10 October 1943 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 16 May 1876 in Wilson County to Wyatt Linch and Nicie L.; was married to Rubin Ellis; and was buried in a cemetery on the Lynch farm.

Harriet Hattie Dixon died 16 January 1958 in Wilson, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was a widow; was born 27 June 1865 in Wilson County to Wyatt Lynch and Nicie [last name unknown]; and had worked as farmer. Informant was Mrs. Hattie Anderson.

Hattie Dixon had executed a will on 1 December 1952, and it was filed in Wilson County Superior Court exactly one week after her death. She left 29 acres of land “about three miles southeasterly from the City of Wilson on the old Stantonsburg Road,” her mules and various tools and farm equipment to her great-niece Hattie Rhoades Anderson, and divided the rest of her estate among Anderson and Anderson’s siblings Carrie Dunham, James Rhoades and Charlie Rhoades. (They were the grandchildren of Hattie’s sister Mary Lynch Rhodes Ellis.) The land was comprised of acreage Hattie inherited from her father Wyatt Lynch, as well as from her late husband Robert Dixon.

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Record of Land Divisions, volume 78, page 215, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office, Wilson; map courtesy of Google Maps; North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

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.

“I want to know is it ligal”: the fight for Malinda Hinnant’s widow’s pension.

In 1897, Malinda Hinnant filed for a Civil War widow’s pension on the basis of her husband Amos Hinnant’s service in Company K, 14th United States Colored Volunteers, Heavy Artillery.

Here — drawn from Malinda Hinnant’s widow’s pension file — is the sorry story of what happened after.

First, Malinda’s claim: on 16 July 1897, Malinda Hinnant, 53, appeared before notary public Sidney A. Woodard to make a declaration in support of her claim for a pension. According to the document, written by Woodard, she stated that she was the widow of Amos Hinnant, who had enrolled on 10 April 1865 in Company K, 14th Regiment, United State Colored Troops, Heavy Artillery. Amos was honorably discharged on 10 December 1865 at Fort Macon, North Carolina. Malinda, then a Barnes, married Amos Hinnant about 1867 in Wilson County, and it was a first marriage for both. Amos died 7 July 1897, and she had not remarried. Malinda appointed Frederick A. Woodard as her attorney for the claim. Her post office address was Taylor, Wilson County, and she no means of support beyond her daily labor. She signed the claim with an X in the presence of witnesses J.C. Hadley, a merchant, and L.H. Peacock, a school teacher.

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Jacket of Malinda Hinnant’s petition.

An introduction: Sidney A. Woodard and Frederick A. Woodard were brothers and law partners. At the time Malinda Hinnant filed her claim, Frederick was fresh off a humiliating loss to George H. White, his African-American opponent for a seat in the United States Congress. Per Sidney Woodard’s obituary, published 1 August 1915 in the Greensboro Daily News, he “from early manhood showed had showed a considerable business capacity. At the time of his death he owned several farms, was a large stockholder in the Wilson cotton mills, the Contentnea Guano factory, the P.L. Woodard company and the Briggs hotel.”

In July 1899, Malinda’s claim was approved, the Bureau of Pensions cut her a check, and the Woodards tried to steal her money. Malinda fought back, firing off a letter of complaint to the Bureau of Pensions. Less than a month later, Special Examiner I.C. Stockton arrived from New Bern to investigate.

malinda-hinnant-letter

Malinda Hinnant’s complaint.

Malinda Hinnant gave a deposition on 12 September 1899 at Taylor.  She stated that since her claim had been investigated in May 1899, she had received only two pieces of mail from the pension commissioner. One was a letter dated 26 August 1899 in response to an inquiry about her claim from United States Congressman George H. White. The second was from the United States Pension Agent at Knoxville, notifying her that her inquiry had been referred to headquarters. She had not yet received a cent of her pension. Her son Haywood was in Wilson in mid-June 1899 and Sidney Woodard (“S.A. Woodard he signs his name”) told him her claim had been allowed. When Haywood said Malinda was unable to come to town, Woodard said he would go out to their house to “fix up the matter.” About the second week of July, Woodard came to her house to have her execute papers for the pension. She knew what the papers were only by what Woodard told her as she could not read and he did not read them to her. She said she had always signed whatever papers Woodard brought her and knew only what he told her. Woodard told her the papers had to be signed before she could get her money. He would send them off, and she would receive a check at the Taylor post office in a few days. Haywood and Spicey Jane Adams [sic, Atkinson] witnessed her make her mark. She was not sworn beforehand. James Barnes is the postmaster at Taylor. She never authorized Woodard to get any mail for her. She never authorized James Barnes or his wife to give Woodard her mail, and she did not know how Woodard got it. Woodard visited her again in late July 1899. He had some more papers for her to sign and left a yellow slip of paper. He explained that they were for her quarterly payments. He also said he had a check for $159 and some cents, but would have to have $25 out of it for him and $50 for his brother Fred Woodard. He said she owed them this amount for “the writing and work they had done” to get her pension. “I told him that I had had nothing to do with his brother Fred and that I did not owe Fred anything.” Woodard responded that Fred had done the “court work” and both would have to be paid. She refused to pay, and he asked how much she would give him. “I finally offered ten ($10) dollars and he just hooted at me & said he would have to have twenty five ($25) dollars or nothing, so he went off without the check doing anything about it.” He was holding a piece of paper that he said was her check. Bryant Hinnant, James Price, Bettie Boykin and her son Haywood were present. She had not seen Woodard since. Malinda asked B.A. Scott to go to Wilson with her son “to do the best they could for me.” She did not owe either Woodard any debt. Sidney Woodard prepared her pension application. Simon Barnes, the postmaster at Meeksville, North Carolina, executed all her affidavits, and Malinda paid him for some. Barnes told Haywood that he would not charge her for making out the other papers and, if she got a pension, she could pay him what she chose. Sid. Woodard never told her what he would charge to get her pension. She tried to get him to make an agreement, but he would not. “He said we would not fall out about a fee.” She did not know whether Woodard had received a fee from the government. Malinda signed her deposition after it was read to her, and Haywood Hinnant and his wife Esther signed as her witnesses. (Special Examiner Stockton, who took all the depositions in this matter, rated Hinnant’s reputation as “good.”)

Malinda’s son (and Amos Hinnant’s stepson) Haywood (or Howard) Hinnant, 36, gave a deposition on 12 September 1899 at Taylor, Wilson County. He said sometime in June 1899 he met Sidney Woodard on the street in Wilson, and Woodard told him his mother’s claim had been approved. He asked Haywood to bring his mother to Wilson, but Haywood said she could not sit up. Woodard agreed to go to her to “fix up her papers.” Woodard came out to the Hinnants’ home the second week in July bearing a pension certificate and pension vouchers for her signature. She was to receive $159.07. Malinda signed with a mark, and Haywood and Spicey Jane Atkinson signed as witnesses. Woodard said Malinda would get her money in eight to ten days. At the end of July, Haywood saw Woodard in Wilson on a Saturday morning. “I told him I thought the 8 or 10 days were a long time coming around & that I had a mind to write to the Pension Agent about the money.” Woodard said that was not necessary, that he had the check. Haywood asked what Woodard was going to charge his mother for getting the pension, and Woodard asked what she was willing to pay. Haywood “told him that as he was doing the work he ought to say what he would do it for.” Woodard said he would come to their house the next Sunday, and they would discuss fees then. Woodard and his wife showed up the following Sunday. Woodard stood on the “front piazza” and completed some paperwork that Malinda, without being sworn, signed with an X. Betty Boykin signed the vouchers as a witness. Bryant Hinnant was there, too. Haywood did not read the vouchers and did not know how they came into Woodard’s possession. His mother never received them through the mail. Woodard claimed they called for Malinda to be paid $24 quarterly payment. As of the date of his deposition, Malinda had not received a cent. Malinda never authorized Woodard to receive her mail or the postmaster to deliver her mail to Woodard. Nor had Woodard been authorized to collect her pension money. After Malinda signed the vouchers, Haywood again asked Woodard his fee. Woodard said he wanted $25, and his brother Fred. Woodard, as a lawyer licensed to practice before the Bureau, should get $50. “He admitted that that the law would not give him anything, but he thought he ought to have something …” “I told him I did not know that his brother Fred. was entitled to anything as mother had not employed him. I also told him that mother was willing to pay him what the law allowed him.” Woodard said the law did not allow him anything, but he thought he should get $25. Haywood asked if the government had not already paid him $10. Woodard said no, that he could not practice before the Bureau. “He further said if my mother would not pay him anything he would have to get along with his brother getting the fifty ($50) dollars …” Woodard said he had enough money to pay Malinda her pension if she would give him $25 and his brother $50. Malinda refused. Woodard left, saying Haywood could pick up her pension money, minus Fred’s $50, in Wilson next week. The following week, Haywood went with B.A. Scott to Woodard. Scott demanded that Woodard pay him Malinda’s pension money. Woodard said he would pay it with a discount of $50. Scott said he could accept that and asked if Woodard had not received a $10 fee from the government. Woodard said no. Before they left Wilson, Scott consulted another lawyer, who advised them to pay Woodard $25 “to save trouble.” Scott and Haywood returned to Woodard and offered to allow him $25 to settle the matter. Woodard refused. Haywood acknowledged that he had never made a demand to Woodard to turn over the check. He also stated that they had never had dealings with Fred Woodard and did not recall whether his name was mentioned in his mother’s pension application. Malinda Hinnant did not owe debts to either Woodard. Haywood owed Sidney Woodard $5, which he agreed to pay when Malinda received her money. “My mother lives with me & I am interested in getting what is justly due her.” Haywood Hinnant signed his deposition after it was read to him. (Special Examiner Stockton rated Hinnant’s reputation as “good.”)

B.A. Scott, deposed 12 September 1899 at Taylor, stated that in early August sent for him concerning her pension. She told him that Sidney Woodard had her pension, but would not give it to her, and she wanted him to go to Wilson with Haywood Hinnant to see what could be done. He and Haywood visited Woodard about the second week in August. Woodard said they get the money if they paid him $25 and his brother $50. He said that because he was not entitled to practice before the Bureau, he was not entitled to payment unless they gave him some. Scott said he could not understand about the $50, but could give him $10, which was what he understood that the government allowed attorneys in claims. Scott then consulted with other lawyers in town and was told he should settle for $25. Scott went back to Woodard and offered $25, which he refused, “saying he would not work for nothing and if he could not get fifty ($50) dollars he would hold on to the check & wait a while …” Scott did not see the check and did not make a demand for it. He did not know how Woodard got possession of Malinda’s check. Scott was neither related nor interested in the claim. He signed the deposition after it was read to him. (Special Examiner Stockton rated Scott’s reputation as “good.”)

Spicey Jane Atkinson, deposed on 12 September 1899 at Taylor, stated that she was 16 years old and had known Malinda Hinnant several years as a neighbor. She had heard that Malinda was trying to get a pension. On a Tuesday in July 1899, she was passing by Malinda’s house and was asked to come in and witness her signature by mark on some papers. She was told they were pension papers, but did not recall if they were read to her. “There were two papers if I make no mistake and I signed each one in two different places.” Haywood Hinnant signed, too. Spicey did not ask any questions about the papers and did not see Malinda sworn. Malinda asked “Mr. Woodard” what he was going to charge her, and Woodard asked what she would be willing to pay. Malinda said “she supposed the law allowed him ten ($10) dollars,” and Woodard said he had not been allowed anything. Woodard left, saying he would be back in a few days. She was not at the Hinnants’ house again with Woodard. She is neither related to Malinda nor interested in her claim. Spicey J. Atkinson signed her deposition after it was read to her. (Special Examiner Stockton rated Atkinson’s reputation as “fair to good.”)

J.W. Barnes, deposed on 13 September 1899 in Taylor, stated that he was 48 years old and had known Malinda Hinnant all his life. “She nursed me when I was a child.” He was the postmaster at Taylor, Wilson County. There are no pensioners who receive mail at this post office. Haywood Hinnant generally gets his mother’s mail “as she has not been able to go out for a long time, being confined to the house sick.” A few times, when Haywood requested, he gave her mail to Ransom Hinnant, son of her nearest neighbor. Barnes knew Sid Woodard, but Woodard had never been to his house and he had never given Woodard any of Malinda’s mail. He heard that Woodard has Malinda’s pension check and will not give it up unless she pays him $75. He did not know how Woodard got the check, but was positive it was not through the Taylor post office. Barnes is not related, interested or biased in the matter. Malinda Hinnant “is a very reliable and worthy woman and I am interested in her getting a pension if it be justly due her.”  Barnes signed his deposition. (Special Examiner Stockton rated Barnes’ reputation as “good.”)

Bettie Boykin, deposed on 12 September 1899 in Taylor, stated that she was 22 years old. She said that on the first Sunday in August 1899, she called at Malinda Hinnant’s house to see how she was getting along. She found Sidney Woodard and his wife there, as well as Haywood Hinnant and James Price, a neighbor. Woodard asked Malinda to sign her by mark on some papers, and Boykin signed as a witness. She signed two different papers in two places, as did James Price. Woodard did not ask her any questions about Malinda and did not read the papers to any of them. She did not know what they were about. She did not remember Woodard swearing Malinda to an oath. Woodard said his brother was to have $50 and if Malinda did not pay him (Sidney) $25, she “need not pay him anything.” She did not know if Woodard had the money, but heard him say something about having the pension check. Boykin thought Woodard offered to pay Malinda $105. She was not sure, but thought Woodard told Malinda that the amount due her was $183.07. Woodard did not pay Malinda any money in her presence. He took the papers and left. She recalled that this was the first Sunday in August “because I was to go to church with my brother that day and did not go.” Boykin was not related nor interested in the claim. She signed her deposition after it was read to her. (Special Examiner Stockton rated Boykin’s reputation as “fair to good.”)

Bryant R. “B.R.” Hinnant, deposed 12 September 1899 in Taylor, stated that he was 46 years old. He said that sometime in late July 1899 Haywood Hinnant told him he was having some trouble with Sidney Woodard about her pension. Haywood asked Bryant to come down to his mother’s house when he saw Sidney Woodard pass the following Sunday. When he saw Sidney Woodard and his wife pass by, he followed as requested. Malinda came out on the porch and sat down. Woodard took some papers from his pocket “and went to writing.” He then asked Malinda to sign by mark. He asked Bryant to witness, but “as I do not write my name,” he had James Price and Betty Boykin sign. Bryant supposed they were pension papers, as Woodard Malinda that she would have $24 more by the next Friday. Malinda was not sworn at all, and Woodard did not read the papers to her. Woodard told Malinda her check was for “one hundred and fifty odd dollars” and he had enough money with him to cover it, but she should pay him $25 and his brother $50. Woodard said the law did not allow him anything, but did allow his brother $50 because he was a registered lawyer. Malinda asked if he would take $10 and he said no, if he could not gave $25, he would not take anything. Woodard turned to Bryant and said he had worked two years for this pension and thought if it was worth anything it was worth $25. Malinda refused to pay. and Woodard carried the check and other papers off with him. Bryant did not know anything else, and was neither related nor interested in the claim. He signed his deposition with an X after it was read to him. (Special Examiner Stockton rated Hinnant’s reputation as “good.”)

Levi H. “L.H.” Peacock, deposed on 13 September 1899 in Wilson, stated that he was 40 years old and a clerk in the post office at Wilson. About a month before, the post office received a letter addressed to Malinda Hinnant at Meeksville, Wilson County, and forwarded to Wilson. The letter was placed in Frederick Woodard’s post office box. F.A. Woodard and S.A. Woodard were law partners in Wilson. Frederick Woodard has requested that if any mail came for Malinda, clerks should put it in his box. Peacock presumed that Woodard was Malinda Hinnant’s attorney in her pension claim, and for that reason delivered the letter to him. He recalled only one letter, which he thought was from the Bureau of Pensions. Peacock admitted that neither Malinda nor Haywood Hinnant had never ordered her mail delivered to either Woodard. Nor had Woodard ever told him Hinnant had authorized delivery of her mail to the Woodards. Peacock was not related or interested in the claim. He signed his deposition. (Special Examiner Stockton rated Peacock’s reputation as “good.”)

The file contains only the first page of the statement of James “J.M.” Price, deposed on 12 September 1899, at Hawra, Wilson County. He stated that he was 27 years old and had known Malinda Hinnant only since January 1899. Haywood Hinnant told him that Sidney Woodard had a pension check belonging to his mother and “it looked like Woodard was not going to give it to her.” One Sunday in late July or early August, Price was at B.R. Hinnant’s to see about some work when Woodard drove by. Bryant Hinnant asked him to go with him to Malinda Hinnant’s house to see what Woodard had to say. When they arrived, Woodard had just gotten out of his buggy and was talking to Haywood about a pension check. He took some papers from his pocket, wrote on them a while, then had Malinda sign. He did not read the papers aloud. He asked Bryant Hinnant to sign, but as he “cannot write good,” Price and Betty Boykin signed.

The file is also missing the first page of the statement of Sidney A. Woodard. Beginning at page 2, he stated that fee agreements were not executed initially, but on 18 July 1899, Malinda Hinnant signed an agreement to allow a $25 fee. He did not file the fee agreements because he did not want to delay payment of Hinnant’s money, but provided them in Special Examiner Stockton during this investigation. When the check came, he took it out to Hinnant, who endorsed it and directed him to cash it. He was to deposit the check and pay the amount, minus $50, to whomever came to collect it. The next day B.A. Scott went to see him. Woodard was sick in bed and his brother was away. In a day or two he deposited the check. Scott and Haywood Hinnant went to see him about the money, Scott said Malinda was dissatisfied about the $50. As Frederick Woodard was away, he could not settle for less. They left and said they would see further about it. Later that day, Woodard saw Scott on the street and Scott said he would give him the $25. Woodard again said he had no authority to settle for less than $50. Since then, he had no further contact with the Hinnants. He supposed the check had been collected, but had not checked with the bank. He knew Hinnant intended to write to the Bureau about it, so he was waiting to hear from them to explain his position. When he found out the Hinnants were not satisfied, he he went to the bank to withdraw the check, but learned that it had been forwarded for collection. Since his brother had been paid $10, and since he was informed that the duplicate fee agreements Fred obtained were invalid, he would go the next day to pay Malinda Hinnant the full amount of the check and send a receipt to Stockton at New Bern. Woodard signed his deposition. (Special Examiner Stockton rated Woodard’s reputation as “said to be questionable in money matters.”)

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The fraudulent fee agreement.

Despite his sworn statement to make things right, Woodard had further tricks up his sleeve, necessitating that Special Examiner Stockton travel to Wilson for a second round of depositions.

Haywood Hinnant gave a deposition in Wilson on 19 December 1899. He was 36 years old and resided at Taylor, Wilson County. He started with a clarification. “My correct and proper name is Howard Hinnant. When I was a boy in school my teacher taught me to sign my name H.W. Hinnant. I have been called “Haywood” Hinnant ever since I can remember. Quite a number of my acquaintances call me “Wood” Hinnant — a nickname for short — but my father gave me the name Howard. My father died when I was small and my stepfather, Amos Hinnant, gave me the name Haywood Hinnant and I am called Haywood Hinnant by most people. In signing the papers in my mother’s claim I have always signed my name Haywood Hinnant.” He showed the examiner an envelope from the Treasury Department addressed to Haywood Hinnant and stated that he did not believe he had ever signed any papers for Sidney Woodard as “Howard Hinnant.” His mother Malinda Hinnant died 13 November 1899. On 15 September, Sidney Woodard came to his house to pay his mother the money due her as the first payment of her pension. Malinda Hinnant was at Lewis Stott’s home that day, and Haywood and Woodard went to Stott’s. Woodard told her he had brought her $155. Haywood asked if had made a mistake in the amount, and Woodard said no. Haywood said Woodard had showed him a check for $159 and, he believed, 41 cents. Woodard denied it. When Haywood said he could prove it, Woodard said he had made a mistake and the amount was only $155. (But if Haywood could prove it, he would give him the four dollars.) He then asked Malinda how much she was going to give him. “My mother told him she was not willing to allow him anything.”  Woodard then asked Haywood if he thought his mother should give him something. Haywood asked if he had not already gotten what the law allowed. Woodard said his brother had gotten $10, but he, who had done all the work, had received nothing. He repeated his demand for $25. “So after much persuading, mother finally agreed to pay him a fee of twenty-five ($25) dollars.” Woodard also deducted the $5 Haywood owed him and gave Malinda $125. Haywood and Malinda then signed some kind of receipt. He was not sure whether he read the receipt, but did not believe it was in the amount of $159.07. Haywood went to Woodard twice after this, but Woodard said he had nothing more. Lewis Stott, his mother Rachel Stott, his daughter Effie Stott, and Haywood’s wife Esther Hinnant were present and heard Woodard demand $25 from his mother and pay her $125.  When shown a receipt of Malinda Hinnant for $159.07 received from Sidney Woodard, Haywood acknowledged his signature but claimed it should show $155. “I remember particularly when Mr. Woodard started to go that I spoke about the amt. of the check being $159 and Mr. Woodard said not it was not. Then in a joking way I told him I would go him the treat if there were not $4 more coming to mother and he promised the same back to me.” Haywood remembered seeing the check in Woodard’s hands at his house. Bryant Hinnant, James Price and Betty Boykin were there. Malinda Hinnant did not endorse this check or authorize Woodard to collect the money for the check. Woodard filled out the voucher for her quarterly pension, but no one signed the check. Woodard did not show the check until he through writing and had put the papers in his pocket. He pulled it from an envelope in his pocket as he prepared to leave. He, Price and Bryant HInnant looked at the check, but his mother did not endorse it. The first time Woodard came to his house was a Tuesday in Juily. Haywood and Spicey Atkinson witnessed her signature on the voucher, but he did not read it. Woodard told him it had to be signed and returned before Malinda could be paid. He thought he signed his name ‘Haywood Hinnant’ and believed the signature was genuine. He also examined his signatures on the fee agreements. If he signed them, he did not know what he was signing as his mother never agreed to pay any fee to Woodard. “The more I look at the voucher the second place where I signed with Spicey J. Atkinson does not look like my handwriting — neither like mine not Spicey’s.” The other looked like his handwriting and he supposed he signed ‘Howard.’ He signed ‘Howard or Haywood Hinnant’ after the deposition was read to him.

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The alleged receipt for $159.07.

Bettie Boykin’s second deposition was 21 December 1899 in Wilson. She stated that she thought she signed her name in three places on two papers, but could not say whether the papers were alike or not. Woodard did not read them to anyone, and she was not sworn. Nor were James Price or “Aunt Malinda.” She heard some conversation about Woodard having the check, but did not see it. She did not know if she wrote her name on the check or not. She believed she would recognize the papers if she saw them. When shown, she said “The first two signatures of my name are genuine. The third place where my signature appears I am not certain about. The signature does not look like my handwriting.” When shown the $159.07 check with her signature on the back, she said she did not remember seeing that paper before. She may have signed it, but did not remember seeing it. She did not know what any of the papers were that she signed. She signed the deposition after it was read to her.

J.M. Price gave his second deposition on 20 December 1899 at Hawra, Wilson County. He said he and Bettie Boykin witnessed Malinda Hinnant’s signature on a paper that Sidney Woodard said concerned her pension. He did not read it, and Woodard did not read it to Malinda. He signed only one document in two, or perhaps three, places. After the signatures, Woodard told Haywood and Malinda that he had the check and pulled it out of his pocket. Price stood near him and saw the amount of the check. It was for 140 or 150-odd dollars; he did not recall. Woodard said he had enough money to pay them if they allowed him $25 and his brother $50. The Hinnants would not do it, and Woodard put the check back in his pocket. Neither he nor Bettie signed the check. Price recognized his signature in four places on the voucher, but denied that two of them were valid. He could not swear that the signature on the $159.07 check was not his, but had no recollection [“it has passed my remembrance entirely”] of signing a check. He was not sworn to the paper he signed as he “would not be qualified to any paper on Sunday.” He signed the deposition after it was read to him.

voucher

The falsified voucher.

Lewis Stott was deposed at Taylor, Wilson County, on 20 December 1899. He had known Malinda Hinnant all his life and had been living on the same farm near her during the past year. She died 13 November. Stott remembered that Special Examiner Stockton had been to see Malinda about three months ago, that Haywood had gone to Wilson with Stockton , and that Woodard had come to visit Malinda two days later. She was visiting at his house, and Woodard paid her $125 in his presence. He saw Woodard and Haywood count the money. “Mr. Woodard talked so nice to them and pleaded so hard that Aunt Malinda finally agreed to pay him” $25 for his services. He also thought Woodard kept $5 that the Hinnants owed him. He heard Haywood talking to Woodard about a difference of $4. He did not understand the particulars, but heard Woodard say he had books to show the amount and if more were due he would pay it to Haywood next time he came to town. He was neither related nor interested in the claim and signed his deposition with an X after it was read to him.

W.E. Warren was deposed at Wilson on 20 December 1899. He was 42 years old and the cashier at First National Bank in Wilson. “Check no. 260,885 on the Assistant Treasurer of the United States at New York, N.Y. which you have shown me, dated Knoxville, Tenn., July 25th, 1899” was presented for collection by Sidney A. Woodard, if he was not mistaken. The bank’s books showed that Woodard received credit for the the amount of the check, $159.07, on 9 August 1899. Warren did not remember any particulars of the deposit. Woodard did regular business with the bank and made deposits almost daily. He signed his deposition.

Stockton passed his findings on to his superior, and on 11 January 1900 Commissioner H. Clay Evans issued a scathing report to the Secretary of the Interior. In summary: Sidney Woodard had both prepared Malinda Hinnant’s pension documents and notarized them. Woodard obtained her pension vouchers from the post office without permission, secured endorsements without her knowedge, and deposited a check for $159.07 to his credit. He then tried to get Hinnant to pay him and his brother $75 for their alleged services. When she refused, Woodard kept the check. When Hinnant complained, Special Examiner Stockton went to Wilson to investigate. Woodard claimed his demands for payment were made in ignorance of the law and promised to pay Hinnant immediately and to send Stockton a receipt. Afterward, Woodard paid Hinnant and gave her a receipt for $155, but again demanded payment of $25 for himself. “From the foregoing it is evident that the illegal fee of $25, demanded and received by Mr. S.A. Woodard, was a most flagrant violation of law. The same was demanded and received by him after notice from a Special Examiner of this Bureau that the demand, which had before the notice from the Special Examiner been made by Mr. Woodard, was illegal, and his excuse for having made the same in his deposition before the Special Examiner was that he did not know it was in violation of the law. Yet, within thirty days after said notice, he repeated his demand and accepted the money which was paid upon said demand.” The recommendation? “Institution of criminal proceedings against one S.A. Woodard of Wilson, Wilson Co., N.C.”

Unsurprisingly, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina declined to prosecute Woodard. Nonetheless, the steadfast bravery of Malinda Barnes Hinnant and her son Haywood Hinnant, who dared to challenge two prominent lawyers (one a former Congressman) saw them to justice.

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  • Amos and Malinda Barnes Hinnant — Amos was enslaved by  Martha Hinnant. Amos Hinnant, son of Thomas and Charity Hinnant, married Malenda Barnes, parents unknown, on 5 March 1868 in Wilson County. (Amos’ mother Charity may have been enslaved by Martha Hinnant’s sister Mary Hinnant. On 14 July 1866, Charity Hinnant and Allen Williamson registered a cohabitation that had begun only the previous Christmas.) In the 1870 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: farm laborer Amos Hinnant, 30; wife Linday, 25; and sons Haywood, 9, and Burruss, 3. (The last three are described as white, which was almost certainly an error.) In the 1880 census of Spring Hill township: Amos Hinnant, 45, and wife Lendy, 34.
  • Haywood Hinnant — In the 1880 census of Spring Hill township, servant Haywood Hinnant, 16, lived in the household of Bryant R. Hinnant next door to his parents Amos, 45, and Lendy Hinnant, 34. In the 1900 census of Cross Roads township: Haywood Hinnant, 36, wife Esther, 35, and Louis Freeman, 75. In the 1910 census of Cross Roads township, Haywood Hinnant, 46, wife Hester, 43, widowed mother-in-law Rachel Stott, 62, and lodgers Louis Freeman, 92, and Luther Fulton, 15, both laborers.  Howard Hinnant died 10 October 1917 in Spring Hill township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 August 1862 in Spring Hill township to Fielick Godwin and Lendy Barnes, was married, and was engaged in farming.
  • Spicey Jane Atkinson — in the 1900 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: farmer Archabald Atkinson, 48, wife Martha M., 34, and children Mary F., 19, Spicy J., 17, Roxanna, 15, Narcissus, 13, Carline, 11, Minnie L., 8, Adline, 6, and Mattie M., 3. Spicey Jane Barnes died 25 September 1925 in Spring Hill township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born about 1884 in Wilson County to Archie Atkinson and Martha Shaw and was married to Joe Barnes.
  • Bettie Boykin
  • Lewis Stott — in the 1900 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: farmer Lewis Stott, 45, and daughter Effie, 15. Lewis Stott died 1 December 1918 in Cross Roads township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born about 1848 in Wilson County to Bunyan Grice and Rachel Stott and was a widower.
  • James M. Price — James Price is listed as a 27 year-old farmer in the 1900 census of Spring Hill township.
  • W.E. Warren — William E. Warren is listed as a 42 year-old bank cashier in the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County.
  • B.A. Scott
  • Bryant Hinnant — in the 1910 census of Spring Hill township, Bryant R. Hinnant, 46, wife Marry A., 53, son Mabry R., 18, and Earnest Deans, 23, a laborer.
  • James “J.W.” Barnes — in the 1900 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County, James W. Barnes is listed as a 48 year-old farmer. He was the son of John H. and Maturia Barnes. In the 1860 federal slave census of Kirbys district, Wilson County, John H. Barnes is shown as the owner of eight people, aged 3 months to 34 years. The 16 year-old, who had cared for J.W. in his childhood, was Malinda Barnes Hinnant.

File #479,667, Application of Malinda Hinnant for Widow’s Pension, National Archives and Records Administration.

Rufus and Sara Sherard Coley.

This beautiful matching set of photographic portraits depicts Rufus and Sara Sherard Coley.

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On 28 November 1912, Rufus Coley, 29, of Wayne County, son of Dennis and Sarah Coley, married Sarah Sherard, 28, daughter of Swinson and Laura Sherard, in Fork township, Wayne County.

In the 1916 Wilson city directory, Rufus Coley is listed as a carpenter living on Atlantic Street between North Vick and Reid Streets.

Rufus Coley registered for the World War I draft on 12 September 1918. Per his registration card, he was born 6 September 1883; resided at R.F.D.#4, Wilson; was engaged in farming for John R. Raines; and his nearest relative was Sarah E. Coley.

Rufus Coley died 5 April 1925 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born about 1886 in Wayne County to Dennis Coley and Sarah Hill; was married to Sara Coley; worked as a bank manager at First National Bank; and was buried in Wayne County. Levi Coley of Goldsboro, North Carolina, was informant. [Bank manager? First National Bank? Was this a later iteration of Commercial Bank?]

Rufus Coley died intestate, and his wife Sara E. Coley applied in Wilson County Superior Court for letters of administration on 8 June 1925. She estimated his estate as a house and lot valued at about $1200.00 and personal property worth an additional $550.00, and named as heirs herself and children Elaine and James F. Coley. William Hines joined her in pledging bond.

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Just over a year later, on 18 July 1926, Sarah E. Coley died in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 25 March 1883 in Wayne County to Swinson Sherrood and Laura Hooks, both of Wayne. She was the widow of Rufus Coley and resided at 1012 East Atlantic Street, Wilson. John Sherrood was informant.

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Sara E. S. Coley and children Elaine (born 1916) and James Frederick Coley (born 1921).

Photographs courtesy of Ancestry.com user lambie04.