Slavery

Israel Hardy, Co. C, 14th United States Colored Heavy Artillery.

Israel Hardy enrolled in Company C, 14th United Stated Colored Heavy Artillery, on 18 May 1864 in New Bern, North Carolina. He reported that he was born in Wilson County, N.C., about 1842 and worked as a laborer. After less than five months of service, Hardy contracted yellow fever, but recovered and returned to duty in November 1864. He was discharged in December 1865.

Israel Hardy returned to New Bern after the war. Within a few years, he moved east into Pamlico County, where he remained the rest of his life.

United States Freedmen’s Bureau records show that Israel Hardy received a $200 bounty for his military service in February 1868.

In the 1870 census of Township #4, Craven County, North Carolina: farm laborer Israel Hardy, 27; wife Mahala, 23; children William, 2, and Henry, 5; and Edward Hardy, 18, farm laborer. Israel Hardy reported that he owned $300 worth of real property and $160 in personal property.

In the 1880 census of Township #2, Pamlico County, North Carolina: farmer Iserel Hardy, 40; wife Mabelle, 29; children Henry, 16, Mabelle, 8, Josie, 10, Susan, 6, Caroline, 3, and Jessy, 2; and boarders Annie, 24, and Henrietta, 10.

On 24 April 1889, Henry Hardy, 24, married Sidney Oden, 21, in Pamlico County.

On 11 August 1892, Samuel Roberts, 21, of #3 Township, Pamlico County, son of John and Tempy Roberts, married Caroline Hardy, 18, of Vandemere, daughter of Israel and Mahala Hardy, at Mahala Hardy’s residence in Pamlico County.

On 29 August 1892, Henry Jones, 24, of Vandemere, son of Simbo Jones and Margaret Washington, married Susan Hardy, 18, of Vandemere, daughter of Isreal and Mahala Hardy.

On 17 October 1894, Edward McCotter, 33, of Pamlico County, son of Barney and Joana McCotter, married Sarah F. Hardy, 22, of Vandemere, daughter of Isral and Mahala Hardy, in Pamlico County.

On 19 March 1898, Israel Hardy, 50, of Pamlico County, son of Peter and Venis Beckton, married Zenia Gibson [or Gibbs], 29, of Pamlico County, daughter of Adam and Rachel Gibson [or Gibbs].

Jessie Hardy died 27 December 1946 in New Bern, Craven County. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 February 1885 in Vandemere, Pamlico County, to Israel Hardy and Mahaliah Hardy, both of Hyde County, N.C.; was married; resided in Vandemere; and worked as a “fishman.” He was buried in Marabelle [Maribel] Cemetery, Pamlico County.

Carrie Roberts died 5 October 1948 in Collier, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Per her death certificate, she was born 13 September 1873 in Bay River, N.C., to Israel Hardy and Mahalia (last name unknown); was the widow of Samuel Roberts; and resided at 4533 Webster Avenue, Pittsburgh.

File #1,071,351, Application of Israel Hardy for Invalid’s Pension, National Archives and Records Administration.

Lewis Bass, Co. C, 14th United States Colored Heavy Artillery.

“Birthplace, Wilson, N.C.; age, 66 years; height 5 ft. 11 in; weight 175 pounds; complexion, dark; color of eyes, Black; color of hair, Black; occupation, farmer.”

Relationships forged during slavery complicated the pension claims of Lewis Bass and his widow Frances Hassell Wiggins Bass.

Lewis Bass was born enslaved in Wilson County around 1835. Prior to the Civil War, he married a woman (who is not named in his pension file) and had a daughter named Benzona (whom I have not been able to identify in records). Bass never returned to Wilson County after the war, settling instead in Pamlico County, North Carolina. As Frances Bass told it in her pension application: “Lewis Bass told me that he had a woman in slave days. He did not tell me her name but told me he had a child by her; said his child’s name was Benzona. Lewis Bass said he never saw his slave wife after he left for the army as he never went back to that locality; said as soon as he was discharged he came right down here ….”

About 1866, Lewis Bass married Martin County, N.C., native Frances Hassel Wiggins, who had been married to Isaac Wiggins during slavery. Like Bass, Wiggins enlisted in the United States Colored Troops — Company F, 1st U.S.C.T., in his case — and never returned home. (“We were married so long before the war that we had a son who was large enough to go in the army. His name was Daniel Wiggins and he was a flag bearer in his father’s company so I heard. I have never laid eyes on either my husband or son since they left me to join the army.”) Frances assumed he was dead and went on with her life. She initially applied for Wiggins’ widow’s pension and swore — per lawyers’ advice, she said — that she had never remarried. applied for Bass’ widow’s pension, however, the question had to be settled — was she Bass’ widow or Wiggins’?

File #728893, Application of Lewis Bass for Pension, File #766477, Application of Frances Wiggins for Widow’s Pension, National Archives and Records Administration.

The death of Blount Baker, supercentenarian.

Wilson Daily Times, 7 March 1941.

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In the late 1930s, Blount Baker sat for an interview with a W.P.A. worker in which he spoke of his life in slavery. Baker was one of the last people in Wilson County who had been enslaved.

In the 1940 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Lee Woodard, 31; wife Mamie, 32; children Ella M., 10, David L., 7, James T., 5, Doris, 3, and Robert N., 1 month; mother Ella, 68, widow; Ester Barnes, 40, widow; uncle Blunt Baker, 109, widower; and nephew James R. Farmer, 21.

Blunt Baker died 3 March 1941 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 107 years old; was born in Wilson County to Anyka Baker; was a widower; was a retired farmer; resided near Lucama; and was buried in Eatmon cemetery, Wilson County. Informant was Dock Eatmon, Sims.

Thomas Deans, Co. H, United States Colored Heavy Artillery.

On 4 February 1901, in Norfolk, Virginia, Thomas Deans gave a sworn statement in support of his claim for a Union soldier’s pension.

I am about 57 years of age; my post office address is 117 Green St., Portsmouth, Va. Laborer.

My full and correct name is Thomas Deans. I was never known by any name other than Thomas Deans. I was a slave and belonged to Wiley Deans, who resides 10 miles from Wilson, N.C.

My fathers name was Harry Newsom. My mothers name was Rena Deans. I had two brothers and two sisters. Rose and Charity. Rose resides somewhere in Miss[issippi] and Charity is dead. Jacob Woodard and Jordan Woodard are my brothers. Jacob died soon after the close of the War. I have not seen or heard of Jordan for 40 years. He was sold away before the war. When these boys were born my fathers owner was Woodard — Stephen Woodard. I was only six weeks old when i was sold by Woodard to Deans.

I was born in Wilson Co. N.C. and when 18 or 19 I enlisted at Newberne N.C. in Co. H — 14th U.S.C.H.A. for three years but did not serve that long. I do not know whether I was in the service two years. I can’t tell how long I did serve. I enlisted about “shad” time, early spring, and discharged in winter, at Fort Macon, N.C.

I had no other service.

Poor was Col. Hopkins was St. and Capt. They changed so after that I do not remember the names of all the Sts. George Taylor, Samuel Boykin was my tent mates. Freeman Harvey William Jones, Alfred Dixon was in my Co. I was detailed at Morehead City loading and unloading goods. Any [illegible] for 4 months. I was in Hospital at Morehead for three months with fever. I never knew the name of the fever My Regt was not in any engagement. We were at Newbern Fort Macon and Morehead all the time.

I did not incur any disability in the service. There were no [illegible] results of the fever.

I never applied for pension until the new law was passed.

Since discharge I have resided at Wilson, Goldsboro, and Wilmington N.C. and Newberne N.C. and Norfolk, Va. I have resided in Norfolk since Feb 1900.

I have been employed at the Norfolk Navy Yard for one year, in the capacity of laborer and have received the same wages as other laborers, $1.52 per day.

Dr. Love Wilmington N.C.

Dr. Whitley Newberne N.C. have treated me, at times, in recent years.

Thomas X Deans

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The National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers were established following the Civil War to provide living space for disabled American soldiers and sailors. Deans entered the home at Hampton, Virginia, a few months before his death in 1911.

The hospital’s registry shows that Deans enlisted on 8 March 1865 at Fort Macon, North Carolina, and served as a private in Company H, 14th U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery. He was discharged 11 December 1865 at Fort Macon. His disabilities included a right inguinal hernia, rheumatism, impaired vision, and cardiac hypertrophy.

Deans was born in North Carolina; was 67 years old; was five foot seven inches tall; had a black complexion, black eyes, and black hair; could not read or write; had worked as a laborer; had lived in Phoebus, Virginia; was married; and his nearest relative was his wife Catherine Deans.

Deans’ rate of pension was 13.50 [dollars per …?], and he was admitted to the hospital on 24 March 1908 with pericarditis. At the time his personal effects were valued at fifty-five cents.

Thomas Deans died 21 February 1914 and was buried in Hampton National Cemetery, Hampton, Virginia. Per the cemetery’s burial registry, he was buried in grave 10553 and had been a member of Company H, 14th U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery.

Deans’ wife Catherine was awarded a widow’s pension of twelve dollars per month.

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  • Thomas Deans

In the 1900 census of Norfolk, Virginia: on Caledonia Street, laborer Thomas Deans, 59; wife Catherine, 30; and mother-in-law Julia Joyner, 73; all born in North Carolina.

In the 1910 census of Phoebus, Elizabeth City County [Hampton], Virginia: Thomas Deans, 70, and wife Catherine, 41, washerwoman.

  • Harry Newsom
  • Rena Deans — on 3 August 1867, Jacob Woodard, son of Gabriel Woodard and Rena Deans, married Anna Tyson, daughter of Jack Tyson and Diana Tyson, at the residence of A.G. Brooks, justice of the peace. [This appears to be Thomas Deans’ brother Jacob and mother Rena.]
  • Jacob Woodard — see above. Also, on 5 September 1870, G.W. Blount, J.S. Woodard, and J.W. Blount filed letters of administration for Jacob Woodard. [Was this Thomas Deans’ brother? His death date is consistent with Deans’ testimony that his brother died “soon after the close of the War.”]
  • Joshua Woodard
  • Wiley Deans — son of Bartley Deans Sr., a large slaveowner in Oldfields township, Wilson County.
  • Stephen Woodard — most likely Stephen Woodard Sr., but possibly physician Stephen Woodard Jr.

Files #849,635, Application of Thomas Deans for Invalid’s Pension; #1,029,598, Application of Catherine Deans for Widow’s Pension; National Archives and Records Administration.

The sale of Charity, Aaron, Sarah, Lucinda, and Cloe.

I have undertaken a page-by-page examination of Wilson County’s earliest deed books to look for evidence of the mortgage, sale, trade, or transfer of enslaved people. I found plenty.

  • On Christmas Eve 1861, Ann Scarborough of Wilson County for natural love and affection for her daughter, Mrs. Louisianna C. Murphy, and for one dollar paid by John E.F. Harper of Greene County, sold and conveyed to Harper, in trust for Murphy’s sole use, these enslaved people: a woman named Charity, about 30 years old; a boy named Aaron, aged about 13; a girl named Sarah, aged about 7; a girl named Lucinda, aged about 5 years; and a girl named Cloe, aged about 9. Deed Book 1, page 793, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.

The last will and testament of Hardy Horn.

On 25 January 1830, Hardy Horn of Wayne County dictated a will that included these provisions:

  • sell one Negro boy by the name of Arnold
  • to his wife Edah “nine Negros LigePatienceFannyWarrenDinahJimWinnyAbram & linnet” and their future children until his daughter Sally reached age 15
  • at that time, half of the named enslaved people were to be divided among his daughters Nancy Barnes and Sally, Zilly, and Rebeckah Barnes, and half their increase were to remain with his wife Edah during her lifetime
  • at Edah’s death those enslaved people were to be divided among the children as she saw fit

Horn’s estate entered probate in Wayne County Fall County 1839. After setting aside two-eighths of the enslaved for later distribution to two children born after Horn made his will, on 14 April 1840 commissioners divided the group as follows:

  • widow Edah received Lije ($850); Linnet ($650); Patience and child Hilard ($750); Will ($300); Litha ($350); and Jeffrey ($125)
  • Rebecca Horne received Jim ($800); Jonathan Barnes and wife Nancy Horne Barnes, Warren ($650); James Newsom and wife Sally Horn Newsom, Fanny and child Henry ($750); and Zilla Horn, Pearcy ($350); and Jo ($300)

In a separate transaction the same day, Horn’s youngest children, Mary Ann and Elizabeth, received their joint share — Abram ($750), Diner ($400), Esther ($400), and Hester ($375).

Horn lived between Great Cabin Branch and Black Creek in what is now Wilson County.

Estate of Hardy Horn, Wayne County, North Carolina Estate Files 1883-1979, http://www.familysearch.org.

The sales of Penelope, Emily, Rose, Caroline, Isham, Harriet, Lewis, Haywood, Eugena, Dicy, Teresa, Guilford, Mary, Judah, and William.

I have undertaken a page-by-page examination of Wilson County’s earliest deed books to look for evidence of the mortgage, sale, trade, or transfer of enslaved people. I found plenty.

  • On 1 January 1856, for love and affection, Thomas Hadley of Wilson County sold to Mary Malvina Hadley, wife of Stephen Woodard, nine enslaved people — Penelope, Emily, Rose, Caroline, Isham, Harriet, Lewis, Haywood, and Eugena. Deed Book 1, page 542, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office. [Stephen Woodard Jr. was a physician in Black Creek township. His and Mary Hadley Woodard’s children included Sidney A. Woodard, Paul L. Woodard, and Frederick A. Woodard.]
  • On 3 February 1859, for $6555, David Taylor of Wilson County sold to R.J. Taylor of Wilson County “all of his the said David Taylors slaves to wit Dicy Teresa Guilford Mary (Moll) Judah & William (Bill),” as well a horse and buggy, furniture, all stock in trade in David Taylor’s liquor establishment, and various farm animals. Deed Book 1, page 392, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office. [David Taylor lived in Oldfields township, Wilson County, which had formerly been Nash County. In the 1850 Nash County slave schedule, he is listed with six enslaved people — women aged 40, 55, and 48; two boys aged 5 and 6; and a girl aged 2. Despite the statement in the bill of sale that he was selling “all” of his slaves, Taylor reported in the 1860 slave schedule of Wilson County two women aged 47 and 50, a 13 year-old boy, and girls aged 8 and 12. Robert Jackson Taylor (1833-1912) was David Taylor’s son.]

The sales of Peggy, Henry, Mourning, Harry, Elvy, Essex, Aaron, and Julia.

I have undertaken a page-by-page examination of Wilson County’s earliest deed books to look for evidence of the mortgage, sale, trade, or transfer of enslaved people. I found plenty.

  • On 10 May 1860, for love and affection, John P. Clark sold Pomeroy P. Clark, in trust for Nancy B. Clark, a woman named Peggy, aged about 25, her children Henry, 7, and Mourning, 3, and a man named Harry, 19. Deed Book 1, page 570, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office. [John P. Clark is listed in the 1860 slave schedule of Wilson County as the owner of five enslaved people — a 25 year-old woman (Peggy), a 19 year-old man (Harry), a 7 year-old boy (Henry), a 5 year-old girl, and a 3 year-old girl (Mourning). For more about Peggy Flowers Farmer and Harry Clark, see here and here and here.]
  • On 29 December 1860, for $1, Jennet Holland of Wilson County transferred Needham G. Holland of Wilson County, in trust, property to sell as he thought most advantageous to the benefit of numerous creditors assorted property, including 415 acres on Great Swamp in Wayne and Wilson Counties, farm animals, and enslaved people Elvy, Essex, Aaron, and Julia. Deed Book 1, page 658, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office. [Forty-six year-old Jennet Holland is a head of household in the 1860 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County.]

The sales of George, Harry, Anica, Frances, Lorenzo, Easter, Edith, and Albert.

I have undertaken a page-by-page examination of Wilson County’s earliest deed books to look for evidence of the mortgage, sale, trade, or transfer of enslaved people. I found plenty.

  • On 3 February 1859, for $925, J.T. Rountree, acting on behalf of J.T. Bynum of Wilson County, sold Eli Robbins of Wilson County “one negro a boy by the name of George about twelve years & ten months old.” Deed Book 1, page 408, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.
  • Also on 3 February 1859, for $1040, David Webb of Wilson County sold Eli Robbins of Wilson County a man named Harry, aged about 28 years. Deed Book 1, page 409, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.

Eli Robbins died in 1864. On 23 October of that year, an inventory of his estate recorded “five negroes Keziah, Amos, Harry, George, Jinny.”

  • On 1 April 1859, Sarah A.E. Stephens of Wilson County pledged to James J. Taylor as security for several notes totaling about $1700 a parcel of land on Barnes Street and Anica, Frances, and Lorenzo. Deed Book 1, page 422, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.
  • On 26 June 1857, for $600, J. William Barnes sold Jesse Haynes a 9 year-old girl named Easter. The sale was not recorded until 26 April 1859. Deed Book 1, page 457, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office. [In the 1860 slave schedule of Oldfields township, Wilson County, Jesse Haynes reported owning two enslaved people — a 36 year-old woman and an 11 year-old girl, who was almost surely Easter.]
  • Also on 26 June 1857, for $600, J. William Barnes sold Jonas Lamb a girl named Edith, aged about 11. Deed Book 1, page 510, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office. [Whether or not they were sisters, Easter and Edith had lived in the same small community, and the pain of their separation from their families and each other is unfathomable.]
  • On 1 January 1859, for $575, Bennett Barnes sold Benjamin Parker an 8 year-old boy named Albert. Deed Book 1, page 518, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office. [In the 1860 slave schedule of Oldfields township, Wilson County, Benjamin Parker reported owning three enslaved people — a 25 year-old woman and two boys, aged 10 (almost surely Albert) and 1.]

Eli Robbins Estate Records, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records 1665-1998, ancestry.com.

The sales of Will, Anna, Dilsey, Ned, Dicey, Teresa, Guilford, Moll, Judah, and Bill.

I finally undertook a page-by-page examination of Wilson County’s earliest deed books to look for evidence of the sale, trade, or transfer of enslaved people. I found plenty.

  • On 27 June 1857, for $1200, P.L. Barnes of Wayne County, N.C., sold John Revels of Wilson County “one negro a boy Named Will & aged about twenty two years,” guaranteed “to be sound in mind & body & free from constitutional diseases or defects.” Deed Book 1, page 284, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.
  • On 28 October 1856, J. Nelson Bone of Nash County conveyed to his daughter Rhoda Mercer [of Oldfields, Wilson County] “a negro woman by the name of Anna which was 16 years old the 7th day of last May.” Deed Book 1, page 227, Wilson Register of Deeds Office. [In the 1860 slave schedule of Wilson County, Rhoda Mercer’s husband Thomas Mercer is listed with two enslaved people — an 18 year-old female and a one year-old male, both described as “black” (i.e. dark-skinned.) This was likely Anna and her child.]
  • On 14 January 1858, for $450, Elisha Barnes of Wilson County sold Cader Rountree of Wilson County “one certain negro girl slave named Delsey about six years old.” Deed Book 1, page 334, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office. [A month later, on 22 February 1858, Cader Rountree drafted a will leaving his wife Crissy Rountree a life interest in “one Negro girl named Delcy.”

From Will of Cader Rountree, Wilson County, 1858.

  • On 28 April 1858, for $775, David Harrel of Wilson County sold James Barnes of Wilson County “one slave a negro boy named Ned and aged Ten years,” guaranteed “to be of sound mind and body & free from constitutional diseases or defects.” Deed Book 1, page 383, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.
  • On 3 February 1859, for $6555, David Taylor of Wilson County sold R.J. Taylor of Wilson County slaves Dicey, Teresa, Guilford, Mary (Moll), Judah, and William (Bill),  Deed Book 1, page 392, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.