In an earlier post, we examined the will of Thomas Williamson and the sale after his death in 1856 of 16 boys and girls he had enslaved.
On 16 May 1859, nine men bought the children at top dollar:
Williamson lived in what is now far southwest Wilson County. These 16 children, some just toddlers, were pulled from their mothers, fathers, and siblings, and sold across three counties. It breaks my heart that I can trace only one of the children forward into freedom.
- John T. Barnes purchased Nathan, 8, Denick, 7, Dillicy, 10, and Carolina, 7.
In the 1860 census of the Town of Wilson, Wilson County, John T. Barnes, 29, is listed as the sheriff of Wilson County. He claimed $5000 in real property and $18,000 in personal property. He was living in the household of Jesse H. Adams and presumably owned farmland out in the county. The bulk of his personal property would have been comprised of enslaved people, but I have found no record of their names.
- W. Swift purchased Ben, age 7, for $800.00, and Harriet, age 9, for $950.00.
Wesley Swift is listed in the 1860 census of the Town of Wilson with his wife and daughter. Though no occupation is ascribed to him, he is listed with $6000 in real property and $30,000 in personal property. In the slave schedule the same year, he claimed 12 enslaved people.
- Garry Fulghum purchased Amos, 5, and Catherine, 3.
Garry Fulghum does not appear in the 1860 census, but was a 16 year-old living in his parents’ household in Nash County (in the section of the county that would soon become Oldfields township, Wilson County).
- Wright Blow purchased Joe, 5.
In the 1860 slave schedule of the district east of the Neuse River, Johnston County, North Carolina, Wright Blow claimed 12 enslaved people, including a six year-old boy who likely was Joe. In the federal census, Blow was described as a merchant with $1800 in real property and $12,225 in personal property.
Joe was the son of Charity, who went to Mourning Williamson Peele under the terms of Thomas Williamson’s will. Joe was reunited with his mother after Emancipation, and the family appears in the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Charity Blow, 32, domestic servant, and children Joseph, 18, Lenday, 9, Thomas, 3, and Lucind, 1. By the late 1880s, Joe Blow was serving as constable of Wilson township.
- James Boyette purchased Allen, 3.
In the 1860 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: James Boyette, 53, farmer, who claimed $2900 in real property and $9500 in personal property.
- John Wilkins purchased Bethea, 8.
Of three John Wilkinses in the area in 1860, the most likely is the John Wilkins listed in Joyners & Gardners district, Wilson County, with $2400 in real property and $14,750 in personal property. In the 1860 slave schedule, he claimed 14 enslaved people. I have not been able to identify them by name.
- Joshua Barnes purchased Chaney, 7.
Father of Wilson County General Joshua Barnes enslaved dozens and dozens of Black people. He claimed in $79,000 in personal property in 1860, and the slave schedule shows him with 66 enslaved people housed in ten dwellings on his plantation.
- William Ricks purchased Renner, 5.
In the 1860 census of Collins township, Nash County, farmer William Ricks, 32, claimed $2000 in real property and $15,650 in personal property. I have not been able to identify the people he enslaved by name.
- Ransom Hinnant purchased Dizey, 5.
Ransom Hinnant was an enslaver of relatively modest means, appearing in the 1860 census of Kirbys district, Wilson County, with a very precise $2023 in real property and $5487 in personal property. I have not been able to identify any of the people he enslaved by name.
- A.J. Taylor purchased Lyddey, age 2.
Forty-two year-old farmer Alsey J. Taylor appears in the 1860 census of Bailey district, Nash County, owning $25,000 in real property and $42,850 in personal property. He appears in the slave schedule of Sullivants district with 35 enslaved people housed in ten dwellings. I have not been able to identify them by name.