Wills & Estates

The will and estates of William and Unity Ellis.

Per Powell and Powell, Wilson County Founding Families (2009), published by Wilson County Genealogical Society, William Ellis was born about 1740 in what was then Chowan County, North Carolina. He married Unity Dixon and settled in an area of Edgecombe County that is now Wilson County. His and Unity Ellis’ children were Willie, William, Coffield, Dixon, John, Gray, Jonathan and Spicy Ellis.

William Ellis made out his will on Christmas Eve 1812 in Edgecombe County:

  • to wife Unity Ellis, a life interest in the plantation on which lived lying at the fork of Mill or Panthers Branch and Toisnot Swamp, to revert to son Willie Ellis at her death. Also, Unity received life interests in enslaved people Arthur, Jonas, Isham, Belford, Lisle, Pat, Mimah, Treasy and Hester.
  • to son Coffield Ellis, a grist mill and land lying on the south side of Mill Branch, as well as slaves Sam and Harry, who were available to Unity Ellis during her lifetime or until Coffield turned 21
  • to son Dixon Ellis, the plantation on which William formerly lived on White Oak Swamp and a second parcel of land, as well as slave Giddeon
  • to son John Ellis, the plantation on which John lived on the main road from Tarboro to Stanton’s Bridge [roughly modern N.C. Highways 111 and 222], containing 149 acres, as well as a second one-hundred-acre tract and an enslaved man named Jack
  • to son Gray Ellis, if he had heirs, a plantation near Tarboro containing 125 acres (to go to son Jonathan Ellis if Gray had no lawful children) and an enslaved man named Bob
  • to son Jonathan Ellis, a plantation on the south side of the main road from Tarboro to Greenville, containing 100 acres, and an enslaved man named Guilford
  • to daughter Spicey Ellis, a plantation on the south side of Toisnot Swamp on the main road from Stanton’s Bridge to Tarboro, containing 100 acres, and slaves Hannah, Byhuel, Chaney and Beedy
  • to son William, an enslaved man named Jim; and
  • to son Willie, slaves Anthony and Mol, who were available to Unity Ellis during her lifetime or until Willie turned 21

Unity Ellis died in 1817, before the settlement of William Ellis’ estate. Her share of William’s enslaved estate was divided thus: to son John, Arthur ($525) and Pat ($5); to son Dixon, Jonas ($712); to son Coffield, Belfour ($712); for son Willie, Isham ($636); for son Jonathan, Mima, Sary and Clary ($888); and to son William, Trease ($600) and Hester ($350). Lisle, presumably, died between 1812 and 1818, and Sarah and Clara were born to Mima during the same period.

——

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Isom Ellis, 67; wife Patience, 62; and son (grandson?) Jacob, 18, farm laborer.

Perhaps, in the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Guilford Ellis, 40, farm laborer; wife Pleasance, 29; and children Ned, 16, Cherry, 14, Jesse, 12, Arabella, 11, and Sarah, 4.

Will of William Ellis (1812); Wilson County, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

The will and estate of William H. Skinner.

William H. Skinner made out his will in Wilson County on 8 September 1860. Among other things, he left his wife Rebecca Skinner 423 acres “on both sides of the swamp,” “also the following Slaves [blank] & two children Randal & Judy a boy Peter a slave, a boy a slave Jo ….” [The phrasing and lack of punctuation make it difficult to determine how many people are included in this list.]

Skinner also directed “a Negro Girl Matilda & all the balance of my Property … be divided among” several named heirs and, at his wife’s death, all slaves were to be sold and the proceeds divided among his remaining heirs.

On 11 January 1861, executor Thomas H. Skinner held a public sale of William H. Skinner’s personal property. The very last item listed, accounting for more than a quarter of the proceeds brought in, is this unnamed woman. Presumably, she was Matilda:

Screen Shot 2019-11-29 at 4.04.12 PM.png

——

In 1866, Peter Skinner and Cherry Sharp registered their cohabitation in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Peter Skinner, 24; wife Cherry, 24; and children Van, 7, and Fate, 3.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Rosa Skinner, 30; and children Randal, 13, farm laborer, and John, 8, Judea, 7, Dennis, 3, and Amos, 3 months.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Pettigrew Street, farmer Peter Skinner, 35; wife Sarah, 35; and children Van Buren, 14, and Lafayette, 13.

Will of W.H. Skinner (1860); Estate Records of W.H. Skinner (1860); Wilson County, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

The estate of Rhoda Shallington.

W.E.J. Shallington‘s mother died about four years after her son. Her estate consisted almost totally of promissory notes, but “There is one negro boy belonging to the estate 18 years old” and “There is one negro woman belonging to the estate 42 years old.”  005277156_01824.jpg

Rhoda Shallington’s personal effects were sold off, and her enslaved property hired out on 28 December 1864 for what all parties believed would be a year. Both the boy Arch and the woman Dilley went to her son David Pender Shallington for hyper-inflated rates that approached the sales prices of just a few years before.

005277156_01829.jpg

Estate Records of Rhoda Shallington, Wilson County, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

The estate of W.E.J. Shallington (or: “Hines has gone to the Yankees.”)

When Dr. W.E.J. Shallington died without a will at the end of 1860, his widow Sarah Shallington relinquished her right to administer his estate to David L. Hardy. The Shallingtons had minor children, and Hardy had the unenviable task of managing the estate to provide income for the family during the entirety of the Civil War.

Dr. Shallington held six people in slavery, and on Christmas Eve Hardy hired all of them out through 1 January 1862. Willis went to William Hamlet for $156.00; Hines to Gray B. Sharp for $60.00; Ann to widow Shallington for the nominal sum of $1.00; and Critty and her two children to Hamlet for $31.00. J.D. Rountree rented the Shallingtons’ house and lot in Wilson for $15.00

005277156_01865.jpg

Though the account is not in the estate file, Hardy likely rented out the group 2 January 1862 through 1 January 1863 as well. The process repeated on 2 January 1863, with Willis, Hines, and Critty and her children going to J.H. Bullock and Ann remaining with Sarah Shallington. George Barefoot rented the house and lot at a cut rate.

005277156_01861.jpg

The following year, the hiring out took place at Joyner’s Depot [Elm City] for the period of 28 December 1864 to 28 December 1865. (Or so the parties intended. Events at Appomattox would intervene.) Willis, Critty and her children went to Jordan Winstead at inflated rates (reflected also in the house rental); Ann, to Sarah Shallington. Hines, perhaps smelling freedom in the air, had “gone to the Yankees.”

005277156_01863.jpg

With no enslaved labor to tap as a resource, by 1869 D.L. Hardy’s account of rentals contained a single line item: “6 March 1869, To amt rec’d for rent for house & lot from David Strickland cold. [colored] to Jany 1st 1870 $14.00. The house was vacant for 2 months as I could not rent it out at the 1st Jany 1869 on satisfactory terms.” Strickland renewed his lease on 1 January 1870 at an increase of four dollars a month.

005277156_01860.jpg

——

In the 1860 census of Coopers township, Wilson County: Roda Shallington, 69; [daughter-in-law] Sarah, 36; and Mary Ann, 15, Caroline, 12, and Fredrick Shallington, 1. Roda claimed $5000 in personal property, and the rest of the Shallingtons, $3800. (This constant amount likely represented their (anticipated) inheritance from recently deceased W.E.J. Shallington.)

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: David Strickland, 30, farm laborer; wife Fillis, 28; and children Isaac, 2, Amanda, 12, and Samuel Strickland, 8; William Farmer, 1; and Jane Mosely, 9.

There are no Shallingtons, black or white, listed in the 1870 census of Wilson County. (In fact, I have found none of the men and women listed in W.E.J. Shallington’s estate using the surname Shallington.) However, in the 1880 census of North Wilson township, Wilson County, widow Sallie Shallington, 55, is listed as a member of an otherwise African-American household: Aaron Edmundson, 31, well digger; wife Ann, 26; and their children Earnest, 5, and Hattie, 3. (The census taker, perhaps startled by the unexpected arrangement, wrote a W over the B he initially recorded for her race. Also, this may be the Ann hired out above, if that Ann were a child.)

Estate Records of W.E.J. Shallington, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

The estate of William Woodard.

Having “sworn on the holy Evangelist of Almighty God,” on 10 December 1851, three commissioners met at Elizabeth Woodard’s house to divide William Woodard’s enslaved property — consisting of 55 men, women and children — among his heirs.

Screen Shot 2019-11-13 at 8.40.37 PM.png

Lot no. 1, drawn by Elizabeth Woodard — Amy $500, Liz $150, Lewis $250, Mary $350, Harry $400, Dennis $100, Plas [Pleasant] $400, Jim $500, Sarah $450, Siller $50, and Mintus $75.

Screen Shot 2019-11-13 at 8.43.14 PM.png

Lot no. 2, drawn by Patience Woodard — Esther $200, Mandy $350, Thain $350, Randol $100, Rachel $500, Tom $700, Ned $450, Nancy $500, Sal [$0] and Richard [$0].

Lot no. 3, drawn by William Woodard — Piety $550, Charlot $550, Ben $700, Jenny $150, Mariah $300, Hiliard $300, Mintus Jr. $100, Jonathan $500, and Edy $350.

Lot no. 4, drawn by Warren Woodard — Bont [Blount] $800, Peggy $500, Vinus $125, Alford $600, John $400, Cherry $500, and Jessy $400.

Screen Shot 2019-11-13 at 8.42.33 PM.png

Lot no. 5, drawn by James Woodard — Morris $700, Gray $400, George $650, Silva $500, Rody $550, Amos $125, London $150, and Harriet $100.

Lot no. 6, drawn by Calvin Woodard — Rose Jr. $200, Rose Sr. $200, Elizer $500, Arch $750, Liberty $700, Dark $500, Beck $200, Phereby $200, Ned $100, and Simon $100.

——

The houses of William Woodard and his extended family today form the Woodard Family Rural Historic District. As noted here, the 55 enslaved people listed in William Woodard’s inventory did not include all the family’s slaves. Also, though some of the lots may have included groupings of mothers with young children, it is clear that some small children were separated from their nuclear families. Most adults were married to spouses enslaved by a different owner.

Here are the families I have been able to identify among William Woodard’s enslaved and their whereabouts in the years after Emancipation.

  • Rose Woodard Artis and her children John, Jesse, Gray, Ned and Tamar

Rose Woodard was allotted to Calvin Woodard; her free husband Arch Artis is listed as a member of that household in 1860. Evidence concerning this family was set forth here. Based on her age, Rose likely had more than the five children I have identified. Ned, who was about 5, was allotted to Calvin Woodard as well. John and Jesse, who were likely a few years older, went to Warren Woodard, and Gray, to James Woodard. Tamar Woodard, then about 4, is not listed in the distribution.

  • Pleasant Woodard and sons Lewis and Harry

Pleasant Woodard and her sons were allotted to Elizabeth Woodard.

On 7 December 1867, Lewis Woodard, son of Louis Shallington and Pleasant Woodard, married Bathsheba Tyson, daughter of Blount Petteway and Netty Ellis, at Saint Timothy’s in Wilson.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Lewis Woodard, 25; wife Tebetha [Bathsheba], 24; and son Henry, 6.

On an unspecified date in 1867, Harry Woodard, son of Lewis Shalington and Pleasant Woodard, married Dellah Woodard, daughter of Ben Woodard and Phereba Woodard, in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer

  • Easter Woodard and daughter Peggy

Easter Woodard was allotted to Patience Woodard; her daughter Peggy Woodard to Warren Woodard.

On 13 March 1870, Peggy Woodard, daughter of Easter Woodard, married Ebenezer McGowan, at Warren Woodard’s in Wilson County.

  • Mintus Woodard

The designation “Jr.” in this list seems to have meant “younger” rather than a parent-child relationship. I have no evidence of the relationship between Mintus Jr. and the Mintus distributed to Elizabeth Woodard (who was either very young or very old, judging by his assigned value).

On 29 December 1866, Mentus Woodard married Sarah Barnes in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Mentus Woodard, 22; wife Sarah, 20; and children John, 2, and Lawyer, 2 months. (William Woodard Jr. was next door.)

In the 1880 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Permentus Woodard, 31; wife Sarah, 31; and children John, 12, Lawyer, 8, Cora, 6, London, James, and George, .

  • Hilliard Woodard

On 11 January 1868, Hillard Woodard, son of Mose Barnes and Winney Woodard, to Rose Ellis, daughter of Benjamin Bynum and Netty Bynum, at William Woodard’s.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Hilliard Woodard, 25, and wife Rose, 20.

  • Jonathan Woodard

Jonathan Woodard and Margrett Woodard registered their 10-year cohabitation on 15 August 1866.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Johnathan Woodard, 38; wife Margarett, 27; and children Everett, 9, Gray, 7, Sarah, 6, Amos, 3, Emma, 2, and Minnie, 2 months.

  • Rhoda Woodard and children Amos, London and Harriet

Rhoda Woodard and her children Amos, London, aged about 4, and Harriet, about 1, were allotted to James Woodard. Rhoda married Howell Woodard, son of famed Primitive Baptist preacher London Woodard and his first wife, Venus.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Howell Woodard, 52; wife Rodah, 40; and children London, 23, Harriet, 20, Venus, 19, Ferebee, 17, Virginia, 17, Mary, 14, Sarah, 13, Penelope, 12, Rodah, 10, Puss, 6, John, 8, Kenny, 5, Fanny, 1, and Martha, 1 month.

On 19 January 1872, Amos Woodard, son of Howell and Rhoda Woodard, married Fanny Barnes in the Town of Wilson.

  • Morrison Woodard

Morrison Woodard and Martha Thorn registered their 16-year cohabitation in Wilson County on 31 August 1866.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: carpenter Morrison Woodard, 47, wife Martha, 32, and children Nancy, 18, Arche, 17, Cherry, 15, Rosa, 13, Frances, 8, Jane, 7, John, 4, Martha, 1, and Mary, 2 months.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township (south of the Plank Road), Wilson County: farmer Morrison Woodard, 56, wife Martha, 45, and children Frances, 17, Jane, 15, John, 13, Martha, 11, Fena, 8, and Maggie, 3.

  • Blount Woodard

Blount Woodard and Dilcy Ruffin registered their 20-year cohabitation in Wilson County on 8 August 1866.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Blount Woodard, 43, farm laborer; wife Dilsey, 60; and children Webster, 15, Nelly, 19, and Alice Woodard, 13; plus Eliza, 19, Haywood, 9, George, 4, Alice, 6, Willie, 1, Bettie, 7 months, and Lucy Ruffin, 2 months.

  • Rachel Woodard

Rachel Woodard and Harry Newsom registered their 10-year cohabitation in Wilson County on 31 August 1866.

  • Liberty Woodard

In the 1870 census of California township, Pitt County: Lib Woodard, farmhand; wife Charlotte, 35; and children Nancy, 17, Lorenda, 16, Lucinda, 6, Buck, 4, and Puss, 1 month.

On 24 June 1882, Liberty Woodard, age illegible, son of Liberty Woodard and [mother’s first name illegible] Woodard, married Rosa Dilda, age illegible, daughter of Curtis Cotten and Ann Scarborg, in Falkland township, Pitt County.

  • Charlotte Woodard

On 28 March 1866, Charlotte Woodard married Haywood Bynum in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Haywood Bynum, 35; wife Charlotte, 39; and daughter Virginia, 17.

  • Rose Woodard Jr.

As noted above, the designation “Jr.” in this list seems to have meant “younger” rather than a parent-child relationship. At this point, I have no evidence that Rose Jr. was the daughter of Rose Sr., above. I had believed Rose Jr. to be the Rose Woodard, 19, (daughter of Morrison and Martha Woodard), who married Arch Harris, 23, on 19 October 1876 in Wilson County and whose children are listed in the 1880 census of Stantonsburg township as James, 3, Martha, 1, and Morrison, 2 months. However, Rose Woodard Harris was born about 1857, much too late to have been included in William Woodard’s property distribution.

Estate Records of William Woodard, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

Arch Artis, a free man of color.

8301952.png

In the 30 August 1952 edition of his Daily Times column “Looking Backward,” Hugh B. Johnston transcribed a will executed in 1849 by Arch Artice, a free man of color. The will is not included in Ancestry.com or Familysearch.org databases, and I have found no evidence that it ever entered probate. Artis (the more common spelling) is not to be confused with Archibald Artis Sr. (or Jr.) of Johnston County, who was his rough contemporary, and here’s what we know of him:

In the 1850 census of Edgecombe County, Arch Artis is listed as a 55 year-old “mulatto free” and described as blind. Elisha Vick, a 48 year-old white laborer, and Elizabeth Woodard, 46, who witnessed his will, were Artis’ close neighbors.

Screen Shot 2019-11-11 at 7.19.31 PM.png

1850 federal census of Edgecombe County, N.C.

In the 1860 census of Gardners township, Wilson County, Arch Artis, 65, blind, is listed in the household of white farmer Calvin Woodard, a 32 year-old white farmer who reported owning $17,225 in personal property (which would have been mostly in the form of enslaved people. Calvin Woodard was the son of Elizabeth Simms Woodard, above, and William Woodard Sr., who died about 1850.)

On 31 October 1869, Puss Artice, daughter of Arch and Rosa Artice, married George Bynum, son of Thos. Drake and Eliza Bynum, at Arch Artice’s. [“Puss” was the nickname of Tamar Artis Bynum.]

On 6 January 1870, Jessie Woodard, son of Arch and Rosa Artice, married Pennie Bess, daughter of Harry Ellis and Selvey Bess, in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Archabald Artis, 70; wife Rosa, 34; Tamer Bynum, 23, and [her husband] George, 25. Though they did not register their cohabitation, the record strongly suggests that Arch Artis had a relationship spanning several decades with a woman named Rosa, who was enslaved. She, with her and Arch’s children, had belonged to members of  William Woodard Sr.’s family. (Details to come in a later post.)

Arch Artis seems to have died between 1870 and 1880.

John Artist, son of Arch and Rosa Artis, married Hannah Ellis, daughter of Jack and Margaret Ellis, on 29 February 1872 in Wilson County. (This was his second marriage. On 9 April 1867, John Artice married Pricilla Woodard in Wilson County.)

Ned Artis died 21 October 1917 in Falkland township, Pitt County, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 1831 in Wilson County to Arch Artis and Rose Artis; was single; was buried in Wilson County; undertaker was Jesse Artis; and informant was Joe Artis, Falkland, N.C.

Gray Artis, 72, of Chicod township, Pitt County, son of Arch and Rosa Artis, married Caroline Howard, 66, of Chicod township, daughter of Emily Nobles, on 22 April 1918 in Chicod township, Pitt County.

Tamar Bynum died 25 February 1923 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 77 years old; was born in Wilson County to Arch and Rosa Artis; was the widow of George Bynum; and had farmed. Rosa Bynum was informant.

Sukey’s journey, part 1.

Recd. of Jas. B. Woodard a negro girl Sucky in his possession as Execr. of Obedience Brownrigg decd., the legacy of Alfred Brownrigg which said girl was sold by Alfred Brownrigg to Edwin Brownrigg in as good health & Condition as he recd. her under the will of Mrs. Brownrigg, and obligates to hold him the sd. Woodard harmless in Event any difficulty should rise from the delivery of sd. negro.    Feby. 14th 1842  Jno. Wright for Edwin Brownrigg

——

Waynesboro, N.C., 15 Feb. 1842

Edwin Barnes, Esq., Tosnot Depot

Dr Sir, You will please hand Mr. Barnes the above receipt for Sucky. If it does not suit him, write out any thing to give him such as will satisfy him. I am under many obligations to you for the trouble I have put you to in this and other matters of mine. I am much in hopes yr health will speedily return.

Yours Truly, Jno. Wright

——

This note and receipt are transcribed in The Past Speaks from Old Letters, a copy of the working papers found in the files of Hugh B. Johnston, Jr., acquired in the course of his lifelong avocation as a professional genealogist and local historian, republished by Wilson County Genealogical Society in 2003. What is going on here?

Obedience Thomas Tartt Brownrigg died in 1840, likely on her plantation near White Oak Swamp in what was then Edgecombe County. She had drafted a will in April 1839, and among its many bequests were these:

  • to daughter Maria Burden [Borden] — “Tom Penny Dennis & William & Maria & Jim & Ellick
  • to son Alfred Brownrigg — “one negro girl by the name of Susan”
  • to daughter Obedience Wright — “one boy Henry one boy Lonor one negroe woman named Winny one boy Bryant one boy John also one girl named Angy & Anscy
  • also to daughter Obedience Wright — “one negro woman named Cloy one negro man named Joe and all my Table & Tea Spoons it it my Will and desire that the labor of Joe Shall Support the Old Woman Cloy her life time then Joe to Obedience Wright”

Obedience Brownrigg’s first husband was Elnathan Tartt, who died in 1796. As shown here, he bequeathed his wife an enslaved woman named Cloe [Chloe], who is surely the Cloy named above, and man named Ellic, who is probably Ellick.

Obedience’s second husband was George Brownrigg, who died without a will in 1821. An inventory of his estate included enslaved people Ellick, Chloe, Joe, Jem, Tom, Penny, Drury, Tom, Annie, Matilda, Suckey, Clara, Fereba, Sarah, Clarky, Anthony, Rachel, Mary, Nelson, Emily, Julia and Abram, and several others unnamed in a petition for division of negroes filed by his heirs in 1825. Ellick and Chloe surely are the man and woman Obedience brought to the marriage. I have not found evidence of the distribution of George Brownrigg’s enslaved property, but Joe, Tom, Penny and Susan seem to have passed to his wife Obedience. (Suckey, pronounced “Sooky,” was a common nickname for Susan.)

So, back to the receipt.

George Brownrigg bequeathed Susan “Sukey” to his widow Obedience about 1821. Obedience Brownrigg in turn left Sukey to her son Alfred Brownrigg. Alfred Brownrigg quickly sold Sukey to his brother Edwin Barnes Brownrigg. On 15 February 1842, Edwin’s representative John Wright took possession of Sukey from James B. Woodard, Obedience Brownrigg’s executor. Wright was married to Eliza Obedience Brownrigg Wright, daughter to Obedience Brownrigg and sister to Alfred and Edwin.

The note is less clear. Wright, who lived in Waynesborough (once the Wayne County seat, now long defunct) is asking someone (the unnamed “sir”) to deliver the receipt to Edwin Barnes of Toisnot Depot (now Wilson.) There were several Edwin Barneses in southeast Edgecombe (to become Wilson) County at that time.  And Edwin Brownrigg’s middle name was Barnes. Are Edwin Barnes and Edwin Brownrigg the same man, whose name was misgiven in one or the documents? In other words, should the receipt have been made out instead to the Edwin Barnes mentioned in the note? If this were the case, the note would make immediate sense. As to Sukey, I’ll explore a possible twist to her story in another post.]

Estate Records of Obedience Brownrigg, Estate Records of George Brownrigg, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

 

The estate of Moses Hagans.

Moses Hagans died early in the spring of 1873. His wife Theresa Lassiter Hagans, unlettered and unfamiliar with the workings of probate, signed over her rights to administer her late husband’s estate to Larry D. Farmer, a public administrator.

record-image_-4.jpg

Farmer filed in Probate Court for letters of administration, estimating the value of Hagans’ estate at $200 and naming his heirs as widow Theresa Hagans and Lucinda Hagans Brantley, who was Hagans’ daughter.

record-image_-3.jpg

On 12 April 1873, Farmer filed an inventory of Hagans’ personal estate, which consisted of meat and lard; household kitchen furniture; “old plunder in & around the houses”; a small amount of lint cotton; corn and peas; a cart and a crosscut saw; fodder; poultry and dogs; a horse and farming implements; sows and pigs; and a garden of greens. All of it was allotted to “Trecy” Hagans for her support while the estate was in probate.

record-image_.jpg

It was a meager showing, insufficient to meet the $300 minimum required for a year’s support.

record-image_-2.jpg

——

In the 1830 census of Edgecombe County, North Carolina, Moses Hagans was head of a household of four free people of color.

In the 1840 census of Edgecombe County, North Carolina, Moses Hagans was head of a household of nine free people of color.

On 10 February 1846, Moses Hagans, “now of Edgecombe,” paid Thomas Hadly of Wayne County $328.50 for 164 1/4 acres on Little Swamp in Nash County. The transaction is recorded in Deed Book 18, page 331. (A mortgage for the purchase is recorded at book 18, page 325.) Little Swamp is now in Wilson County. It rises near Old Raleigh Road; flows south between Radio Tower and Flowers Roads; crosses under Interstate 95 near its junction with N.C. Highway 42; then flows east to join Contentnea Creek.

In the 1850 census of Nash County, North Carolina: Moses Hagans, 48, farmer; wife Pitty, 38; and son Gray B., 19, farmer. Also: Thomas Brantley, 28, turpentine worker, and wife Lucinda, 23.

On 25 October 1857, Moses Hagans applied for a license to marry Trecy Laciter in Wilson County.

In the 1860 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Moses Heggins, 60, farmer, and wife Theresa, 48. Moses claimed $125 in real property and $115 in personal property. [Hagans’ estate records do not mention real property.] Also, Thomas Brantley, 52, farmer; wife Lucinda, 35; and children William, 9, and James W., 6. Thomas claimed $800 in real property, $200 in personal property.

In the 1870 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farmer Moses Hegans, 70; wife Trecy, 50; and James R. Locust, 12, farm laborer. Also: farm laborer Thomas Brantly, 57; wife Lucinda, 39; and son Willie, 15, farm laborer.

Estate Records of Moses Hagans, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

The last will and testament of Thomas Williamson.

On 26 August 1852, Thomas Williamson of Nash County (brother of Hardy Williamson) penned a will whose provisions disposed of these 16 enslaved men, women and children:

  • to wife Kesiah Williamson a life estate in “three negro slaves namely Turner Patrick and Dennis,” with Turner to revert to daughter Tempy Fulghum, Patrick to son Dempsey Williamson, and Dennis to son Garry Williamson
  • to daughter Tempy Fulghum, negro girl Mary (and her increase) already in her possession and negro girl Bethany
  • to daughter Mourning Peele, four negroes Cherry, Merica, Charity and Washington
  • to daughter Rhoda Williamson, Ally, Arnold and Randal
  • to daughter Sidney Boyett, Julien, Issabel and Daneil
  • to son Garry Williamson, “negro man named Jack and one set of Blacksmith tools”

Kesiah Williamson died shortly after Thomas Williamson wrote out his will, and he died in October 1856 in the newly formed Wilson County.  Executors Dempsey Williamson and Jesse Fulghum filed suit to resolve “certain doubts and difficulties” that arose concerning the distribution of Thomas Williamson’s slaves.

In the meantime, the estate hired out Patrick and prepared an inventory that credited Thomas Williamson with 375 acres and 33 enslaved men and women: Patrick, Denick, Jack, Tamar, Mary, Spice, Tony, Thany, Amos, Catherine, Judy, Isbell, Daniel, Randel, Harret, Dilly, Nathan, Denis, Disey, Allen, Charity, Ben, Hester, Ally, Craroline, America, Arnold, Cherry, Bitha, Chaney, Renar, Lydia and Jo.

record-image_undefined-16.jpg

After the Supreme Court rendered its decision, Thomas Williamson’s executors filed an “Account of Sale of the Negros belonging to the Estate of Thomas Williamson Dec’d Sold agreable to the desision of the Supreme Court on the construction of the last Will and Testament of said Dec’d for a divission among the heirs therein named Six months credit given the purcher by given Note with two approved Securites before the Rite of property is changed Sold the 16th of May A.D. 1850 By Garry Williamson and Jesse Fulghum Extrs.” Note that all sold were children. Nine men paid top dollar for 16 children, investments that would be as ash in their hands in six years.

record-image_undefined-15.jpg

John T. Barnes purchased Nathan, age 8, for $927.50; Denick, age 7, for $855.00, Dillicy, age 10, for $508.00; and Carolina, age 7, for $871.00.

W. Swift purchased Ben, age 7, for $800.00, and Harriet, age 9, for $950.00.

Garry Fulghum purchased Amos, age 5, for $552.00, and Catherine, age 3, for $400.00.

Wright Blow purchased Joe, age 5, for $580.00.

James Boyette purchased Allen, 3, for $381.00.

John Wilkins purchased Bethea, 8, for $807.00.

Joshua Barnes purchased Chaney, 7, for $661.00.

William Ricks purchased Renner, age 5, for $600.00.

Ransom Hinnant purchased Dizey, age 5, for $575.00.

And A.J. Taylor purchased Lyddey, age 2, for $416.00.

There’s quite enough to ponder in this post. More later on some of the individual men, women and children whose lives were upended by Thomas Williamson’s death. Estate File of Thomas Williamson, North Carolina Estate Files, 1663-1979, http://www.familysearch.org. 

The estate of Albert Adams.

Albert Adams and Spicey Williams[on] registered their eight-year cohabitation with a Wilson County justice of the peace in 1866. Spicey Williamson Adams is almost certainly the Spicy listed in the 1859 inventory of Hardy H. Williamson’s enslaved property.

In the 1870 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: farmer Albert Adams, 50; wife Spicy, 37; and children Arch, 14, Arnold, 13, Frank, 7, Caroline, 5, and James, 2.

Albert Adams died near the end of 1878. W.T. Williamson was appointed administrator of his estate. Williamson estimated the value of Adams’ estate as about $400 and named his heirs as Frank Adams, Caroline Adams, Arnol Adams, James Adams, Guilford Adams, Albert Adams, an unnamed infant, and widow Spicy Adams.

For the support of Spicy Adams and their children, the court approved the transfer of property from Albert Adams’ estate, including a black mule; three head of cattle; 16 hogs; poultry; perishables like corn, fodder, bacon, potatoes and “turnups greens;” furniture; and cotton seed, totaling $378.25 in value. In January 1879, Williamson sold Adams’ cotton crop for $165.63 and paid off large debts to his bank and a mercantile firm.

Payment of debts owed to Branch, Hadly & Co., the bank that eventually became BB&T.


Payment of Adams’ account at the mercantile firm Moses Rountree & Co.

In the 1880 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: farmer Spicy Adams, 39, and children Frank, 19, Carline, 15,  James, 12, Calvin, 8, Albert, 6, and Dora, 1. Next door: farmer Arnol Adams, 24, and wife Sarah, 18.

On 15 September 1882, Ishmael Wilder filed for letters of administration for Spicy Adams. Wilder estimated her estimated her estate at $500 and named Arnold, Frank, Archibald, James, Calvin Busbee, Albert and Dora Adams as her heirs.

On 1 December 1883, a trio of appointed commissioners divided Albert Adams’ 173 acres among his and Spicy Adams’ heirs. Lot number one went to Arnold Adams; number two to Archibald Atkinson; number three to James Adams; number four to Calvin B. Adams; number five to Frank Adams; number six to Albert Adams Jr.; and number seven to Dora Adams.

[Ten years later, things fell apart. To be continued.]

Estate of Albert Adams, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.