The hire of Lewis, 1863.

Farmer Charles A. Scott enlisted in the Confederate Army on 14 May 1862. He was hospitalized several times during his service and died 11 September 1863 in a Goldsboro, North Carolina, hospital.

Scott enslaved one person at the time of his death, a man named Lewis. David Ammons Scott, administrator of Charles Scott’s estate, hired Lewis out to Matthew V. Peele of Cross Roads township, Wilson County, for a period of just over a year.

Acount of the hire of Lewis be longing to estate of Charles A Scott Dec.d hired out from the 30th of November 1863 to the 2nd of January 1865 Said Lewis to be furnished with Provisions and the following clothing to wit, three Suits of clothes one of which is to be woolen one hat one Blanket one pair socks two pair of shoes by his hirer and to be returned to me at the court house in the Town of Wilson on the 2nd day of January 1865 the hirer will be Required to give Bond with approved security before the delivery of negro     David A. Scott Admr.

Lewis to M.V. Peele  $51.50

Document courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Commemoration and celebration at Scarborough House.

Black Wide-Awake has featured several of Wilson County’s remaining antebellum plantation houses, including the James Scarborough house, built circa 1821, just outside Saratoga.

Now an event space and bed-and-breakfast, “Scarborough House Resort is committed to a long-term and ongoing effort to more deeply understand and respond to the historic role this property contributed to the injustice of slavery, as well as the legacies of enslavement on the Scarborough Plantation. Through engagement with the members of the Preservation of Wilson, collaborative projects with our surrounding community, and continued initiatives of learning and research, the Scarborough House Resort resolves to memorialize and reconcile with the wrongs of the past. We aim to follow a path of love and respect for all humanity, creating an inclusive environment, where all people will feel welcomed.” The site goes on to request that anyone with information, photographs, documents or other artifacts pertaining to Scarborough Plantation or its residents, enslaved or free, to contact or reach out to the Scarborough staff.

I am thrilled and honored that Scarborough House has engaged me to research the property’s African-American past, a first step toward respect and reconciliation. On 22 April 2023 Scarborough House Resort is hosting a tea party to benefit Preservation of Wilson. Guests will enjoy a tree-planting in honor of Earth Day, learn the history of the house and its original inhabitants, and join in the dedication of a bench memorializing the lives of enslaved people who worked its land.

Photo collage courtesy of Scarborough House Resort.

Observations on the estate of Josiah Vick.

Josiah Vick died in Nash County circa 1846. This detail from an “acct. of sale & Hire of Negroes” prepared by Vick’s administrator Benjamin H. Blount shows that Joshua Barnes purchased several enslaved people — Simeon; Lettice, her children Hines and Madison; and Jane — from Vick’s estate.

The connections between large slaveowners in Nash, Edgecombe, and (later) Wilson Counties formed a dense web, with surprising echoes decades later among Wilson’s  African-American elite:

  • Josiah Vick was the owner of Daniel Vick.
  • B.H. Blount, administrator of Vick’s estate, enslaved Daniel’s future wife, Fannie Blount, her mother Violet Blount, her siblings, and children, including Samuel H. Vick, born in 1863.
  • Josiah Vick’s daughter Susan Margaret Vick married John Routh Mercer of  Temperance Hall in Edgecombe County. Mercer likely enslaved a child named Della and her mother Callie; Mercer is believed to have been Della’s biological father. Della Mercer Hines‘ first two sons were William Hines and Walter S. Hines, neighbors and business contemporaries of Samuel H. Vick. In 1894, Della Hines married David Barnes, who had been enslaved in childhood by Joshua Barnes. Dave and Della Barnes’ youngest son Boisey O. Barnes was a prominent physician in Wilson.
  • Daniel, Fannie, and Samuel Vick, and Della and Dave Barnes are buried in Odd Fellows Cemetery, which was established around what was originally the Vick family cemetery. Benjamin Mincey, famed leader of the all-Black Red Hot Hose and Reel volunteer firemen, is also buried in Odd Fellows. Madison Barnes, sold as a boy to Joshua Barnes, was Ben Mincey’s father-in-law and the namesake of Madison Ben Mincey, who worked for decades to keep the cemetery clear.


  • Simeon
  • Lettice and her sons Hines and Madison

On 9 September 1868, Madison Barnes, son of Ephraim Booses and Lettice Parker, married Mariah Strickland, daughter of Henry Strickland and Frances Strickland, at the Wilson County Courthouse.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Hines Barnes, 30, farm laborer.

Ben Mincey, 21, of Wilson, son of P. Mincey, and Mattie Barnes, 20, of Wilson, daughter of M. and Mariah Barnes, were married on 12 January 1904. Berry Williams applied for the license, and Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in his home in the presence of Harry Mercer, W. Aken, and E.M. Davis.

On 6 June 1907, Madison Barnes, 50, son of Eaton Booze and Lettice Harper, married Caroline Stewart, 40, in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister N.D. King performed the ceremony in the presence of Charles Thomas, Alfred Dew, and Eugene Canady.

On 7 September 1908, Lula Barnes, 17, of Wilson, daughter of Madison Barnes and a deceased mother, married William Donnell, 22, of Stantonsburg, son of Hamp Donnell, at the bride’s residence.

On 24 December 1919, Madison Barnes, 64, applied for a license to marry Dollie Barnes, 54.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Saratoga Road, farm laborer Madison Barnes, 70; wife Dollie Ann, 53; and granddaughter Annie V. Vick, 8.

Madison Barnes died 18 September 1934 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 90 years old; was born in Nash County to unknown parents; was a widower; and had worked as a laborer. Lillie Mitchell was informant.

Lillie Mitchell died 11 January 1936 in Wilson township. Per her death certificate, she was 42 years old; was born in Wilson to Madison Barnes and Mariah Barnes; was married to Henry Mitchell; and worked as a farmer.

Edward Barnes died 20 February 1945 in Wilson township. Per his death certificate, he was 49 years old; was born in Wilson County to Madison Barnes and Mariah Strickland; was married to Lula Barnes; was engaged in farming; and was buried din Roundtree cemetery.

Mattie Barnes Mincey died 9 February 1960 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 15 December 1886 in Wilson to Madison Barnes and Mariah [maiden name unknown]; was a widow; lived at 706 Wiggins Street; and was buried at Rountree Cemetery. [If she is buried with her husband and his family, Mattie Barnes Mincey is actually buried in Odd Fellows.]

  • Jane

Josiah Vick Estate File (1846), Nash County, North Carolina Estate Files 1663-1979,

Military histories of soldiers of Company C.

“This description, or extract from the official records, is to be considered strictly confidential, and is furnished to the disbursing officer to enable him to detect frauds. He should question each claimant fully as to military history, and, in cases of deceased soldiers, the heirs should be questioned as to the military history of husband, father, brother, or son, as the case may be.

“Before making disbursements the disbursing officer should be fully satisfied that the parties claiming the money are the persons they represent themselves to be. In case of doubt as to the identity of the soldier, payment will be refused, and the disbursing officer will reduce to writing the questions and answers, and at once transmit the same to the Adjutant General of the Army, with a full report.”

  • Isaac Acot [Aycock]

Isaac Aycock named Wilson County natives Jerry Borden and Henry Borden as men who had enlisted at the same time and served in Company C of the 14th Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery.

  • Henry Borden [Barden]

Wilson County native Henry Borden named Wilson County natives Edward Borden and Dennis Borden. The kinship relationships between Jerry, Edward, Henry and Dennis Borden is not known, but all likely had been enslaved by Arthur Bardin or his kin.

Confidential Lists for the Identification of Claimants, U.S. Freedmen’s Bureau Records of Field Offices 1863-1878,

The estate of Arthur Bardin.

The fourth in a series documenting enslaved people held by the Bardin/Barden family, who lived in the Black Creek area in what was once Wayne County, but is now Wilson County.


Arthur Bardin, born 1775, executed a comprehensive will on 8 September 1843 distributing his considerable wealth among his second wife Mary Howell Bardin and his 13 children. Among other items, 36 African-American men and women and children were earmarked:

  • wife Mary Bardin was to receive “four negroes,” Queeny, Sarah, Exey, and Exum, as well as life interests in Ben and Milley
  • son James Bardin was to receive Antoney and Creasey
  • daughter Sally Bardin Daniel, Tempsey
  • daughter Mary Bardin Yelverton, Abby and Rose, and the remainder interest in Milley, above
  • daughter Martha Jane Bardin, Bob, Cinthey, and Chana
  • daughter Susan Ann Bardin, Esther, Phereby, and Civil
  • daughter Mary Belinda Bardin [Barnes], Warren, Anakey, and Lizzey
  • son Arthur Bardin, Joe
  • son Benjamin H. Bardin, Wiley and Dennis
  • son John P. Bardin, Sam and Jerrey
  • son William H. Bardin, Nelson and Henry
  • son Jesse J. Bardin, Ben, Vinson, and Mike (the “three negro man shall remain and work on the plantation where I now live until [Jesse] shall arrive to the age of eighteen for the purpose of raising and educating my three youngest children.”)
  • daughter Penelope Bardin Stancil, a life interest in Bob and Charity, but if she died before they did, they were to be sold and the money divided among her children
  • and daughter Nancy Bardin Dew, Arch
  • also, Matilda; Limberne and Reuben, who had been purchased by the [general merchandising] firm Barnes & Bardin; and all other property not disposed of were to be sold to pay off debts.

Bardin died in April 1844. His estate quickly entered probate, and property was disposed of in a series of sales and hires out. In the first, held 30 June 1844, John Tyson purchased a woman named Matilda, (sold per specific directive), Larry Newson purchased a boy named Harris, and widow Mary Howell Bardin purchased a girl named Gatsey. (The children were not named in Bardin’s will.)

On 27 December 1844, 32 enslaved people from Arthur Bardin’s estate were hired out for one year to various family members and neighbors, “each to be furnished with three suits one of wollen one pare of shoes & stockings one hat & blanket.” “[I]f a woman should have a child in the time hired she is to have that attention paid her the nature of such case requir.” A number of people, most likely the elderly, infirm, or very young, remained with widow Bardin, who received small dollar amounts for their upkeep.

On 13 November 1845, the estate sold property that Bardin had left his daughter Martha, who had died that summer. Stephen Woodard purchased Cintha and her son Jack, as well as Bob, and Burrell Howell bought Chana.

Few African-Americans in Wilson or Wayne Counties adopted the surname Barden. however, we identified three women in the examination of Mary Howell Burden’s estate — Queeny, Sarah, and Exey. In 1866, Ben Barden and Quince [Queeny] Barden registered their 40-year cohabitation in Wilson County. Ben was probably the same man whose labor Arthur Bardin reserved for the care of his youngest children.

The child Jerry named in the hire document may be Jerry Borden.

Arch, who was bequeathed to Nancy Bardin Dew and sent to her husband Larry Dew for “keeping” in the hire document, may be the same Arch that is listed in Larry Dew’s 1861 will.

In 1866, Sam Barden and Nicy Sims registered their ten-year cohabitation with a Wilson County justice of the peace. In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farm laborer Samuel Barden 41; wife Nicey, 30; and Louisa, 12.

The estate of Phebe Barden of Pontotoc County, Mississippi.

The third in a series documenting enslaved people held by the Bardin/Barden family, who lived in the Black Creek area in what was once Wayne County, but is now Wilson County.


Phebe Barden was born in 1826 to William and Nancy Cook Barden. After their father’s death in 1837, Phebe Barden and her siblings migrated to Mississippi, primarily to Pontotoc County.

Phebe Barden died shortly after her 18th birthday in 1844. Her brother Jacob Barden was appointed administrator of her estate. On 8 February 1845, he sold Phebe Barden’s property — four enslaved people. Phebe had received Cherry and one of Cherry’s children in the distribution of her father’s estate. It seems likely the boys Addison, Jack, and Nathan were Cherry’s sons. Phebe’s brother William Barden purchased Cherry, whose price was either discounted or suggests poor health, and the children were parted from their mother (or mother figure) when Phebe’s brother-in-law John Smith (married to Penelope Barden Smith) bought Addison and brother James Bardin bought Jack and Nathan.

I have no further information about Cherry, Addison, Jack, or Nathan.

Book 2, pages 436-437, Pontotoc County, Mississippi Wills and Probate Records 1780-1982,

The will and estate of William Barden.

The second in a series documenting enslaved people held by the Bardin/Barden family, who lived in the Black Creek area in what was once Wayne County, but is now Wilson County.


When William Barden (1785-1837 drafted his last will and testament on 3 October 1835, he disposed of his enslaved property in two paragraphs. First, “my negro man Dred” was to be sold. Second, “all the rest of my Negroes” were to be equally divided among his children Celia Barden, James Barden, Jacob Barden, Penelope Barden Holmes, John Barden, Henry Barden, Nancy Barden, William Barden, Phebe Barden, Charity Barden, and Sally F. Barden.

William Barden died in 1837.

Immediately, on 20 March 1837, his executor hired out several enslaved people to bring in income.

A 15 May 1837 note in Barden’s estate file reveals that, even before he died, Barden authorized his son Jacob Barden “to carry out of the state and sell the negroe boy Dred.” Accordingly, J. Barden took Dred to Alabama and sold him to John Cook for $1000 — $500 down and $500 on credit.

On 6 June 1837, a committee divided the men, women, and children who had lived together as Arthur Barden’s enslaved property:

  • Ben, valued at $600, to Sally F. Barden
  • Whitley, valued at $550, to James Barden
  • Hardy, $525, to Nancy Barden
  • Tom, $500, to William Barden
  • Wilie, $425, to Jacob Barden
  • Milly, $500, to John Barden
  • Cherry and child, $550, to Pheraby [Phebe] Barden
  • Jerry, $325, to Penny Holmes
  • Mary, $325, to Henry Barden
  • Pursey and Ruffin, $425 to Lilia Barden
  • Lany and Patrick, $500, to Charity Barden


All William Barden’s children moved to Pontotoc and Itawamba Counties, Mississippi, within a few years of their father’s death. They undoubtedly took with them named here, pulling them hundreds of miles from the families and communities they knew and loved. I have only been able to locate what appears to be further record of one — Dred, who was sold away.

  • Dred

On 14 August 1867, Dred Cook, colored, registered to vote in Precinct No. 17, Greene County, Alabama. (John J. Cook had settled in Greene County as early as 1825.)

In the 1870 census of Mount Hebron township, Greene County, Alabama: Dred Cook, 83, farmer, born in North Carolina; presumed wife Mahala, 50, born in N.C.; and Wiley, 19, and Delia Cook, 15, both born in Alabama.

Also, in the 1870 census of Boligee township, Greene County, Alabama: Dred Cook, 83, farmer; presumed wife Haley, 50; and Wiley, 18, and Deley Cook, 15, all reported born in Alabama.

Estate File of William Barden (1837), Wayne County, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998,

The estate of Mary Howell Bardin.

The first in a series documenting enslaved people held by the Bardin/Barden family, who lived in the Black Creek area in what was once Wayne County but is now Wilson County.


Mary Howell Bardin, widow of Arthur Bardin, died about 1854. Mary Bardin’s estate file contains a document recording the 14 December 1854 division of enslaved people among her six surviving children:

  • James H. Barnes and wife Susan A. Bardin Barnes received Axey and her unnamed child.
  • John P. Bardin received Sarah and her child Wright.
  • William H. Bardin received Handy and Queen.
  • Benjamin H. Bardin received Mourning.
  • Mary B. Bardin received Caroline and Winny.
  • Jesse J. Bardin received Mariah and Jane.


  • Axey and child

In a post about Jeremiah Barden (Jerry Borden)’s Freedmen’s Bank accounts, I wrote: “When Jeremiah Barden opened his first account, he reported that he was living up the Trent River in Jones County, working on Colonel Whitford’s land for himself (i.e. as a tenant farmer.) Barden is frustratingly elusive in census records. His birth family, however, remained back in Wilson County and appear in the 1870 census of Black Creek township: farm laborer Washington Simms, 57, and wife Exy, 47, plus Henry, 32, Gatsey, 27, Nathan, 10, Grant, 4, and Harrit Simms, 5; Waity Nelson, 18; Joseph, 14, Samuel, 12, Mary, 10, and Della Simms, 8; Ellen Barden, 1; and William Nelson, 26. They are listed in close proximity to white farmers Arthur Barden, 54, and Benjamin Barden, 42. It is a reasonable conjecture that Exy Simms and her children (but not her husband Washington) belonged to one of these Bardens prior to Emancipation, and Jeremiah adopted “Barden” as a surname as a result.”

My hunch was right. In 1866, Washington Simms and Axey Barnes registered their 30-year marriage with a Wilson County justice of the peace. Axey, who had been enslaved by Mary Barden, was allotted to James and Susan Barnes in 1854 and adopted the Barnes surname. Her son Jerry, born about 1840, had a different owner, and adopted Barden (which became Borden) as his surname. (Their husband and father, Washington Simms, had been enslaved by Benjamin Simms II. More to come on that.)

  • Sarah and child Wright

In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Alford Barden, 28; wife Mourning, 25; and children Harriss, 3, and Sarah, 1; plus Wright, 15, and Caroline Barden, 21, and Thoms Harrison, 28.

  • Handy
  • Queen

In 1866, Ben Barden and Quince Barden registered their 40-year cohabitation in Wilson County.

In the 1880 federal mortality schedule of Wilson County: Queene Barden, 74, widow, died August 1879 at home.

  • Mourning

In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Alford Barden, 28; wife Mourning, 25; and children Harriss, 3, and Sarah, 1; plus Wright, 15, and Caroline Barden, 21, and Thoms Harrison, 28.

  • Caroline

In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Alford Barden, 28; wife Mourning, 25; and children Harriss, 3, and Sarah, 1; plus Wright, 15, and Caroline Barden, 21, and Thoms Harrison, 28.

Also, in the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Caroline Barden, 21, farm laborer, and daughter Georgian, 1.

  • Winny
  • Mariah
  • Jane

In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Alford Barden, 28; wife Mourning, 25; and children Harriss, 3, and Sarah, 1; plus Wright, 15, and Caroline Barden, 21, and Thoms Harrison, 28.

Estate File of Mary Barden (1852), Wayne County, North Carolina Estate Files 1663-1979,

Jerry Borden, Co. C, 14th Heavy Artillery, U.S.C.T.

We met Jerry Borden here and here. At the time of that post, I had not been able to locate him in post-Reconstruction records. However, thanks to a tip from a descendant, I found Borden’s death certificate, which reports that he died in New Bern, Craven County, North Carolina, on 20 August 1914; was born 10 May 1840 to Axell Symns and an unknown mother [sic]; was a “U.S. retired soldier”; and was buried in a national cemetery.

Borden, of course, had been a private in the United States Colored Troops during the Civil War. He was born in what is now Wilson County to Washington Simms and Exie Barnes Simms and enlisted in U.S.C.T. in 1864 in Morehead City, North Carolina.

In the 1890 veterans schedule of Pamlico County: Jerry Borden; private; Company C; date of enlistment 25 April 1864; date of discharge 11 December 1865.

On 24 December 1895, Marshel Faison, 25, of No. 5 township, Pamlico County, son of Rufus Faison and Barbara York, married Sarah Borden, 23, of No. 5 township, daughter of Jerah and Mary Borden, at Oriental, North Carolina.

In the 1900 census of Township 5, Pamlico County: farmer Jerry B. Borden, 57; wife Mary E., 50; and sons John H., 18, Willie, 16, and George E., 13.

On 28 October 1907, George Borden, 22, of No. 5 township, son of Jerry and Mary Borden, married Annie Allen, 19, of No. 5 township, daughter of John and Adeline Allen, in Oriental, No. 5 township, Pamlico County.

In the 1910 census of Township 5, Pamlico County: odd jobs laborer Jury B. Borden, 67; wife Mary L., 51; son George, 23; daughter-in-law Annie, 21; and grandchildren  Hugh, 1, and Audrey, 4 months.

Jerry Borden died 20 August 1914.

U.S. Burial Registers, Military Posts and National Cemeteries, 1862-1960,

Jerry Borden, New Bern National Cemetery. Photo courtesy of

On 20 September 1925, John Borden, 37, of Nahunta township, Wayne County, N.C., son of Jerry and Mary Borden of Craven County, N.C., married Alicy Lane, 45, of Nahunta township, daughter of Wright and Sindia Lane, in Goldsboro, N.C. Presbyterian minister Clarence Dillard performed the ceremony.

Willie Amos Burden died 22 May 1929 in Township 5, Pamlico County. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1884 in Mattoxville, N.C., to Jerry Borden of Wilson County and Mary Mumford of Onslow County, N.C.; was married to Olivia Borden; was a laborer. M.H. Borden, Oriental, N.C., was informant.

Sarah A. Faison died 29 October 1948 in New Bern, Craven County, North Carolina. Per her death certificate, she was born 5 June 1886 in Pamlico County, N.C., to Jerry Borden of Wilson County and Mary Mumford of Onslow County; lived at 1023 Broad Street, New Bern; was married to Marshall Faison; and was buried in Saint Stephens, Pamlico County.

William Henry Borden died 31 October 1960 in Oriental, Pamlico County. Per his death certificate, he was born 28 May 1892 in Oriental to Jerry Borden and Mary Mattocks; was married to Gertrude Borden; and worked as a grocery merchant.