Reconstruction

Calvin Bone supports his claim.

More on the contract dispute with Jourdin Artis that Calvin Bone brought to the attention of the Freedmen’s Bureau:

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Black creek N.C., July 3 1867.

Mr. O Compton, I Received your note yesterday in closed you will find the am of my Acct against Jourdin Artis, allso an Acct he should of had to of settled with his hands. Jourdin has never bin to me for asettlement nor nor finished the contract he is oing me right smart Am. now. I thought all last fall he would come & complete the egagement you want the Am of labour done there has bin only 6423 bushels of marl thrown out & agreeable to contract he should of thrown out 26000 bushels. I would go down at once & see you but my crop is allmost ruined with grass I have narry dutiful Sevent or that will do to risk. if you request my going to your office let me hear from you again I shall be at this post office again in five or six days.  Verry Respectfully yrs., Calvin Bone.

Bone attached pages and pages documenting supplies advanced to Artis for laborers Artis employed — tobacco, flour, sugar, whiskey, herrings, mullet, shoes, clothing.

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Including documents that named the workers. Though Bone lived in Black Creek, Wilson County, Artis appears — per the 1870 census — to have hired his hands from nearby Wayne County communities.

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The contract itself:

 

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Witnesseth that the said Jourdin Artis agrees with the Said Calvin Bone that he will clear off dig & threw out twenty six thousand bushels of pure marl on the farm of the said Calvin Bones in the mill Swamp on or before the first of Dcr next

and the said Calvin Bone in consideration of the fourgoing agreement promises and agrees, to and with the Said Jourdin Artis pay one cent a bushel in Specie or its value in Something wee can agree on, and the said Calvin Bone do further to furnish the said Jourdin Artis with one hundred & eighty lbs of bacon or its adequate in herrings & ten bushels of meal during the time he is labouring & digging the above named marl, & the said Jourdin Artis is to give the said Calvin Bone his trade whilst he is performing the above named labour this the twenty third day of July one thousand eight hundred Sixty Six in witnesseth whereoff wee set our hands and seals 

This is a true coppy of the contract with me and Jourdin Artis there was only one ritten Ys truly Calvin Bone

 

North Carolina Freedmen’s Bureau Assistant Commissioner Records 1862-1870, http://www.familysearch.org.

 

 

 

I need his labor on my farm.

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Wilson, N.C. , August 26th 1867

Supt. Freedmens Bureau, Goldsboro N.C.   }

Dear Sir by refference to your records you will find a contract entered into between Dennis Swift free laborer, and myself on the 13th day of May ult. This contract was witnessed by Mr. J.J. Lutts and sent to your predecessor for approval by the concent of the said laborer. And I have thought it my duty [to] report his case to you as he has not complied with his contract one week since he entered into it. He has been absent from his post without my consent on many occasions and is absent from his post now and has been for several days. I appeal to you for the remedy and ask is there no remedy for such cases. I have complied with all the requirements of our contract and only ask that he do the same. I need his labor on my farm and would be glad to have your instruction in the matter as to what course I had best pursue. Please write by return mail.  Yours &c, J.H. Winstead

—–

Probably, the Dennis Swift, 24, parents unknown, who married Ella Thompson, 23, daughter of Gilbert Wilder of Wilson County and Elizabeth Shallington of Greene County, on 23 July 1877 in Greene County, North Carolina.

In the 1880 census of Bull Head district, Wilson County: farmer Dennis Swift, 28, a native of Maryland; wife Ella, 22; and son Peter, 6.

North Carolina, Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1863-1872, http://FamilySearch.org.

The family is doing well.

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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.

The Union League.

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

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

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

 

 

Redding had two wives.

Wilson, N.C. Nov 25th 1865

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

Respectfully

W.J. Bullock, Capt. L.P.F.

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

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Wilson N.C. Dec 26th 1865

Geo. O. Glavis

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

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

Very respectfully

Your Obedt Servt

W.J. Bullock

Capt. L.P. Force

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

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

They have urged me to take them from their father.

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

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

Colonel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wm. H. Culler, Brt.Lt.Col. & A.S.A.C.

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

She went off of her own accord.

Near Wilson Oct 2 1867

Sir

My Son Walter is sick and as it may be important for you to get the information, I have concluded to write. We hired Mary Tomlin last year to wash on the farm and I asked her at the end of the year if she was willing to live with me this year and do any little thing about the house, and wash, and iron. She said she was, but did not know how to iron, therefore we had our ironing done by others, and when she washed we had our cooking done by others. She has never been burdened for she had half of her time to work for herself. We agreed to give her two dollars a month and feed her two small children which was her price and when she wanted anything we purchased it for her and charged her with it, and last summer she had a little girl that was without a home, which she wished me to hire. I told her I would, if she would let me have her for five years which I would learn her enough to make her useful to her, and herself, too. I also promised to learn her to read. I told her to think about it, that I did not wish her to answer me hastily for I did not want her without she was perfectly willing. In a few weeks she told me that she rather I would have her than any body else so we had a contract written, and I am to pay her at the end of every year. Last winter we hired her son at eight dollar a month her price, she agreed to let him have half to buy clothes as he was very destitute when he came, he has nearly had it and she wanted a settlement at the end of the year. When she left we would have owed her sixteen dollars, but she had traded to the amount of twenty dollars, fell in my debt, so we do not owe her any thing until the end of the year. About three months ago she became dissatisfied and wish to leave, I told her I could hold her to her bargain if I choose, but if she wanted to leave I would let her go off with her two small children, but she did not at that time, but was often threatening to go until she called for a settlement, and as I had told her before, that I would let her off, I did not oppose her. I had enquired where I could get some one to take her place when she did, she never was sent from here she went off on her own accord. I have always tried to be fair with all that I have hired and since she left I have said nothing against her to keep her from getting a home, and I have tried to help them from getting in debt, when her pay is due for her children it will be paid certain all that we owe. We do not want to wrong her out of a cent.   Respectfully, Margaret H. Battle

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In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: minister Amos J. Battle, 65, wife Margret J., 59, sons Jesse, 19, and Cullen, 22, and fifteen hotel boarders, plus Kit Carmel, 35, his wife Louisa, 35, a hotel cook, and sons Joseph, 11, and Henry, 8; George Merit, 21, and Warren Adams, 22, hotel porters; and chambermaid Harret Barnes, 18.

Elsewhere in town: Washer woman Mary Tomlin, 40, with Ellen, 17, Orphius, 20, Blount, 9, and Willie Tomlin, 12, and James Davis, 27. Ellen worked as a domestic servant and Orphius as a blacksmith’s apprentice. Davis, who was white, worked as a store clerk and appears to have been a boarder.

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

In which grimly bald-faced assertions of privilege are roundly rejected, and children are returned to their family.

Letters from the files of the Goldsboro Field Office of the Freedmen’s Bureau, which had jurisdiction over Wilson County:

Wilson N.C. 4th June 1867

C.C. Compton Major U.S.A.

Sir

In answer to your Order directing me to return the boys Oscar & Marcus who were apprenticed to me by the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of Wilson County, to their parents or other kin, permit me to inform you that Samberry Battle pretending to claim them as his children has filed his Complaint against me, first before the Gentleman of the bureau at Rockymount, who made an Order on me to deliver them to him or show cause &c. I got my son G.W. Blount who knew most of the facts connected with the matter to go to Rockymount and make a statement of facts for the consideration of the Bureau and thereupon the case was dismissed. Some few weeks ago Samberry filed another complaint against me before your predecessor Capt. [blank] at Goldsborough who issued his order for me to deliver the boys to Samberry or report to him &c. Being unwell at the time and unable to attend in person I wrote to him and made a statement of facts which I requested him to consider before making his final decision. Which letter, my son G.W. Blount, who was well acquainted with most of the facts therein stated and was willing to swear to them, carried down to Goldsborough and delivered it to the Capt who considered the matter and expressed himself as perfectly satisfied and said that he would dismiss the proceedings and write to me in a few days giving me official information, which I was expecting up to the time I received your Order yesterday. I presume the Capt., your predecessor turned over to you all the papers belonging to his office and if so, be so good as to look at the statement made by me to him and I feel confident that your decision will be the same as his. The case decided by the Supreme Court of N.C. was different from this in many respects, but it is not my purpose to argue the matter but simply to present some facts showing the injustice of the claims set up by Samberry and others who never did any thing toward the support of the boys while I have worked night and day to feed and clothe them. I admit that the boys were not in court at the time of the binding, but they were in town and would have been carried into the Court room if it had been required by the Court. And as to notice — the mother has been dead several years and their fathers (they are different men) if living are not in this country and could not be notified. The boys were born mine and I have fed and clothed them until they were large enough to remunerate me in some small decree for their expenses it seems to me that it would be a very great injustice to deprive me of their services and to give them up to persons that never contributed one cent to their support. Their next of kin are too poor to provide for them and protect them properly and their means would be to hire them out as slaves and treated as such. Be so good as to look at my statement made to your predecessor, as that is more full and explicit. If you have any doubt about the truth my statement I would refer you to Mr. Dortch of your town who knows my character and has known it from his early youth. If you should decide that I must turn them out upon the cold charities of the world I shall do so promptly. Inform me of your decision at your convenience & Oblige very respectfully &c. /s/ B.H. Blount

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I Violet Blount do hereby certify on oath that Oscar & Marcus Blount are my grand-children that their reputed father is a resident of another county & that he has no controll of them, that they were apprenticed to Mr. B.H. Blount without their knowledge or consent, that they were not in Open Court at the time of such binding, as the records of the Court will show. I further certify that I am old & infirm & am dependent upon the labor of my grand daughter & husband for support. I further certify that Marcus & Oscar have a younger brother who is unable to support himself, being only about ten years old. I further certify that I am willing that Daniel Vick should have said boys apprenticed to him that they may assist him in my support.    Violet X Blount

Sworn to & subscribed before me this 25th day of June 1867   /s/ Elisha Barnes J.P.

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State of North Carolina, Wilson County   }

Court of P.&.Q. Sessions July Term A.D. 1867

On motion it is ordered by the Court that the Indentures of Apprenticeship between A.G. Brooks Chairman of the Court and Benj. H. Blount binding of Oscar and Marcus col’d children is canseld & it is further Ordered that the said Oscar age 16 years and Marcus age 18 years be apprenticed to Violet Blount colard woman all parties being in open court and consenting.  Witness B.F. Briggs Clerk

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  • Daniel Vick and Fannie Blount registered their six-year cohabitation in Wilson County on August 31, 1866.
  • Sambery Battle married America Vick in Nash County on 2 May 1867. Wallace Battle served as bondsman.
  • Violet Blount, described as a 70 year-old, married mulatto woman, is listed in the 1870 mortality schedule of Wilson township, Wilson County. She had died of cancer in July 1869.
  • Benjamin Harrison Blount (1804-1876) lived and worked as a merchant in the Castalia area of northwest Nash County. It is clear that he held Marcus and Oscar Blount, if not their mother and grandmother, in slavery. The 1860 federal slave schedule records him as owner of 16 enslaved people, who lived crammed in two houses. Per a biography published at Findagrave.com, “After the Civil War, hard times saw the [Blount] family remove to Wilson where eldest son George W. Blount had married established himself as a successful attorney.” I have not found the detailed letter Blount said he sent to Major Compton’s predecessor.
  • In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: baker Samuel Williams, 30, carpenter Daniel Vick, 25, wife Fannie, 24, children Samuel, 8, Earnest, 3, and Nettie M., 5, plus Violet Drake, 52. The Blount brothers are not found.
  • Marcus W. Blount, 26, and Frank O. [Oscar] Blount, 20, appear in the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County, in the household of their brother-in-law Daniel Vick and sister Fannie Blount Vick. I have not found the younger brother referred to in their grandmother’s letter.
  • In the 1880 census of Nashville, Nash County: Sambery Battle, 57, farmer, with wife Ann, 54, daughter Bettie, 15, and grandchildren Sambery, 10, and Laura, 5.
  • On 18 January 1880, Henry Battle, 26, son of Samberry Battle, married Cornelia Boddie, 19, in Nash County. Henry was the (half-?) brother of Marcus (and maybe Oscar) Blount. On 13 August 1887, Henry married again to Mary May, 21, in Nash County.
  • As a skilled carpenter, Daniel Vick was unlikely to have been as destitute as Benjamin Blount charged. He amassed considerable property just outside Wilson’s western city limits, sent at least three of his sons — Samuel, William Henry and J. Oscar — to college, and probably paid for F. Oscar Blount’s schooling, too. (For more about Oscar Blount, see here.)
  • Unlike his brother, Marcus Blount spent his entire life in Wilson. On 27 December 1888, Mark Blount, 35, son of Sebery Battle and Margaret Blount, married Annie Smith, 27, daughter of Louisa Bryant. F.O. Blount applied for the license on his brother’s behalf. The couple were married at the A.M.E. Zion church in the presence of F.O. Blount and their nephews S.H. and W.H. Vick.
  • In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: the widower Mark Blount, 38, a cook, and his children Coneva, 10, Dotsey, 9, and Theodore W., 6, were lodgers in the household of George Faggin, just a few households away from Samuel Vick.
  • On 4 March 1903, Mark Blount, 50, married Alice Black, 23, at the residence of Thomas Johnson in Wilson. Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of Willie A. Johnson, John Battle and Mamie Lucas.
  • On 14 November 1906, Coneva Blount, 21, daughter of Mark Blount, married Boston Griffin of Farmville, 24, at the residence of George Faggin in Wilson. Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony before Dotsie Blount, S.Y. Griffin, and Annie Taylor.
  • In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: cook at cafe Mark Blount, 60, wife Mary, 29, children Allen, 2, Frances E., 1, Dotsey, 19, a nurse, and Walter, 17, a tobacco factory laborer. Next door: Boston Griffin, 27, brickmason, and wife Coneva, 21, a private cook.
  • On 24 June 1916, Dotsie Bount, 24, daughter of Mark and Alice Blount, married A.B. Barnhill, 27, of Greenville. Rev. H.B. Taylor performed the ceremony before G.W. Joyner, Mrs. M. Ada Perry and C.C. McCoy.
  • On 16 August 1918, school boy Allen Blount, son of Mark Blount and Allice Black, died of pulmonary tuberculosis a month shy of his 12th birthday. (Oddly, Mark reported his birthplace as Asheville. Should this have read “Nashville”? Alice’s birthplace was listed as Fayetteville.)
  • In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Mark Blount, 67, cook at cafe; wife Alice, 31; children Florence, 10, and Hellen, 7; divorced son-in-law Boston Griffin, a furniture delivery man; and roomer David Carrol, a tobacco factory worker.
  • On 12 February 1928, Walter Mark Blunt (as his death certificate reads) died of kidney disease in Wilson. He lived at 113 East Street, was married to Mary Alice Blunt, and worked as a chef. He was 69 years old and had been born in Castalia, North Carolina, to Samberry Battle and Margaret Blunt.
  • On 11 May 1927, Florence Blount, daughter of Mark and Alice Blount, married James Hollingsworth of Norfolk, Virginia. E.H. Cox, a Freewill Baptist minister, performed the service before James Tinsley, John Lennards and Lee Lennards.
  • On 15 April 1932, Helen Blount died of the same disease that killed her brother Allen, pulmonary tuberculosis. Her death certificate noted that she was born in 1915 to Mark Blount of Nash County and Mary Alice Black of Fayetteville and lived at 113 South East Street. Sister Florence Hollingsworth was the informant.
  • On 8 February 1941, Corneva Gaston died in Wilson, though she was a regular resident of Warsaw, Duplin County. Her death certificate notes that she was born 18 July 1899 to Mark Blount and Annie Blunt and was married to Theodore Gaston.
  • On 16 January 1988, Florence English, a resident of 113 South East Street, died. Her death certificate lists her parents as Marcus Blount and Mary Alice Black.

Freedmen Bureau Records of Field Offices, 1863-1878 [database online], http://www.ancestry.com; North Carolina, Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1863-1872, Goldsboro (assistant subassistant commissioner) > Roll 17, Letters received, Jul-Sep 1867 , http://www.familysearch.org 

Failed to work on the streets.

List of Colored Citizens failing to work on Streets 

Richard Lindsey                 Absent on Rail Road

Laurince Smith                  Absent from Town

David Johnston                  Brick Yard

David Simms                      Absent without excuse

James Wiggins                   Brick Yard

Ellick Apaten                      Gone to Laurinburg

Austin Bynum                    Absent without excuse

James Battle                        Gone to New Bern

Henry Barnes

Sol Barnes                            Gone

Williard Bryan                     Brick yd

Mack Joyner                         Gone

David Johnston                   Gone

Abram Hart                          Gone

Emanuel Adams                  Gone from town

Geo Farmer                           Out of town

Ellick Barnes                        Absent with excuse

Wm. Mayo                             Same

Mose Farmer                        Absent with excuse

——

  • In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Richd. Lindsey, 33, carpenter; Olive, 34, domestic servant; and children Austin, 14, Richd., 4, and Henry, 2; plus Mary Cotton, 15, domestice servant. In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Pettigrew Street, Richard Lindsey, 51, mechanic; Olive, 42, midwife; and sons Richard, 14, Henry, 11, and Austin, 23, a drayman.
  • In the 1860 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Dave Simms, 25, mulatto, day laborer, is listed in the household of white merchant W.D. Rountree.
  • In the 1880 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: Austine Bynum, 45, wife Mary, 35, children Allen, 14, Denice, 19, and Marina, 1, in the household of white farmer Benjamin Pittman.

This list, dated 1866, appears Minutes of City Council, Volume 1, 1850-1885, transcribed in a bound volume shelved at Wilson County Public Library, Wilson.