apprentice

The apprenticeship of Cora Joyner.

On 10 September 1902, a Wilson County Superior Court judge ordered 15 month-old Cora Joyner bound as an apprentice to Van Dawson until she reached 21 years of age. A note written at the top of the indenture stated the arrangement was “By consent and presence of Louiza Ann Joyner mother of the child Cora Joyner.”

  • Cora Joyner
  • Louisa Ann Joyner
  • Van Dawson

On 18 February 1897, Van Dawson, 21, married Annie Braswell, 27, at the bride’s residence in Wilson County.

In the 1900 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: day laborer Van Dawson, 23; wife Anne, 37; and niece Sally Armstrong, 17.

In the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Elm City Lane, lumber wagon teamster Van Dawson, 36; wife Annie, 42, laundress; and daughter Estell, 9.

In 1918, Van Dawson registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 2 March 1873; lived in Elm City, Wilson County; was a self-employed farmer; and his nearest relative was wife Annie Dawson. He signed his card with an X.

In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Joe Hagans, 29, mechanic at automobile shop; wife Estelle, 28; sons Joseph, 2, and William I., 1; and father-in-law Van Dawson, 55, farmer, widower.

On 2 September 1932, Van Dawson, 56, of Toisnot township, son of Sarah Dawson, married Jennie Batts, 30, of Toisnot township, daughter of Dennis and William Ann Batts, in Wilson.

In the 1940 census of the Town of Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Cobb Avenue, Van Dawson, 67; wife Gennie, 34, cook; son Lee Roy, 8; daughter Sarrah, 7; and stepdaughter Anna Batts, 15.

Van Dawson died 24 December 1947 in Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 2 June 1874 in Wayne County, N.C., to Tank Ivory and Sarah Dawson; was married to Jennie Dawson; lived in Elm City, Wilson County; and worked as a farmer.

United States Indenture and Manumission Records, 1780-1939, database at https://familysearch.org.

The apprenticeship of Charity Sanders.

On 19 May 1904, a Wilson County Superior Court judge ordered 12 year-old Charity Sanders bound as an apprentice to Julius Hagans until she reached 18 years of age.

Charity was the daughter of Mary Sanders and Edmund (or Edward) Sanders (or Wrenn?) and was likely an orphan at the time of her apprenticeship. Julius Hagans had recently married Charity’s aunt, Martha Sanders.

——

In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: teamster Edman Sanders, 39; wife Winne, 32; son Andrew, 12, day laborer, and daughter Charty, 9; sisters Martha, 19, and Bettie Sanders, 20; and boarders Willie Sanders, 21, day laborer, Preston Bryant, 24, day laborer, and Chrischana Sanders, 18.

On 2 January 1901, Julius Hagan, 36, of Wilson County, son of Richard and Allie Hagan, married Martha Sanders, 22, of Wilson County, daughter of Lovett and Charity Sanders, at Ed Sanders’ residence in Wilson County.

On 6 December 1906, James Tate, 27, of Wilson, son of Isaac and Emily Tate, married Charity Sanders, 17, of Wilson, whose parents were dead and whose guardians were Julius Hagans and wife. Missionary Baptist minister William Baker performed the ceremony at Julius Hagans’ residence in the presence of Martha Hagans, Jason Farmer, and Bettie Boykin. [Charity Sanders, in fact, was only about 15 years old.]

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Raleigh Road, James Tate, 27; wife Charity, 18; step-son Henry Sanders, 3; son Hollie Tate, 2; and lodger John Pleasant, 39. All the adults were farm laborers. [On nearby Finch Mill Road, Charity Sanders Tate’s brother Andrew Sanders, 21, was living with Julius and Martha Hagans as a hired man.]

On 9 February 1914, Charity Sanders, 22, married Cordy Tillery, 22, in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister B.P. Coward performed the ceremony in the presence of Allen Nelson, Edward Hill, and Lacy Sloane.

In 1917, Cordy Tillery registered for the World War I draft. Per his registration card, he was born 9 August 1889 in Manchester, Virginia; lived at Spring Street, Wilson; was a convict of the County of Wilson (for “misdemeanants”); and had a wife and one child to support.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Park Avenue, tobacco factory worker Cordy Tillery, 28, and wife Charity, 27.

In the 1920 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Tillery Charity dom h ft [foot of] Daniel; Tillery Cordy lab h 510 Railroad; Tillery Lorena dom h ft Daniel

Charity Tillery died 18 May 1920 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 25 years old; was born in Smithfield, N.C., to Edward Wrin of Raleigh, N.C., and Mary Saunders of Smithfield, N.C.; was married to Cordy Tillery; worked as a tenant farmer; and lived on Daniel Street. William Smith was informant.

United States Indenture and Manumission Records, 1780-1939, database at https://familysearch.org.

The apprenticeship of the Artis boys.

On 4 February 1871, a Wilson County probate judge indentured William “Bill” Artis, age 5 years, six months, and his brother Joshua Artis, age 4 years, one month, to Jacob H. Barnes. The boys were to serve Barnes until age 21 and learn farming skills.

——

In the 1870 census of Joyners township, Wilson County: George Barnes, 22, farm laborer; Temperance Barnes, 19; Joseph Barnes, 12, laborer’s apprentice; Nancy Artis, 36, farm laborer; William, 7, and Joshua Artis, 3; George Barnes, 20, works on railroad; Robert Barnes, 18, farm laborer; and Isaac Taylor, 19, works on farm.

In the 1880 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County, the Artises were still in Barnes’ household, described as “apprentices to farmer.”

United States Indenture and Manumission Records, 1780-1939, database at https://familysearch.org.

The apprenticeship of Cindary Taylor.

On 25 October 1895, a Wilson County Superior Court clerk issued an indenture binding Cindary Taylor, age 10 years and 8 days, described as an orphan, to serve Jackson Hayes until she was 21 years of age.

A year later, however, the same clerk rescinded the indenture after Jackson Hayes came into court asking to be released. His wife had died, leaving him with “seven children of his own” that were apparently all he could handle.

United States Indenture and Manumission Records, 1780-1939, database at https://familysearch.org.

The apprenticeship of the Hagans siblings.

On 4 December 1869, a Wilson County Probate Court judge ordered 15 year-old Joseph Hagans, described as an orphan, to serve James S. Barnes until he was 21 years of age. Joseph’s siblings Penny, 13, Edwin, 11, George, and Sarah Hagans, 6, were placed under Barnes’ control the same day.

The Haganses were the children of Robert and Sarah Hagans. In the 1860 census of Fields district, Greene County: day laborer Robert Hagans, 31; wife Sarah, 30; and children Mary, 12, Joseph, 8, Penelope, 5, and Edwin, 1. Robert and Sarah Hagans apparently died between 1864 and 1869.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: siblings Joseph, 15, Penelope, 12, Edwin, 11, Sarah, 8, and George Hagans, 6, all described as “farmer’s apprentices.” Their household is listed next to James R. Barnes, a wealthy farmer who reported owning $18,000 in real property. (This is a different James Barnes from the one who apprenticed the Hagans children. James S. Barnes died in 1871. With the exception of Penny — see link above — I have not found the Hagans siblings after 1870.)

United States, Indenture and Manumission Records, 1780-1939, database at https://familysearch.org.

Why should not the girl be returned to her mother?

Screen Shot 2019-09-20 at 10.16.02 PM.png

No. 55        Bureau of Ref. Freedman & Abd. Lands, Office Asst. Supt. Goldsboro, N.C. March 27 1867

Mr. Organ, Stantonsburg N.C.

Sir,

Complaint has been made, that you keep Betsey Homes, aged 15 years & daughter of Julia Homes, without the consent of said Julia & after you promised the mother to bring the girl to Petersburg, Va. — You will please report to this office without delay, if Betsey is bound to you by any offices of the Bureau or if any other objection exists, why the girl should not be returned to her mother.

Very Respectfully, Your obd servant,

Hannibal D. Norton, [illegible], Asst. Supt. Bur. of R.F.& A. Lds.

——

“Mr. Organ” was almost surely John Organ, 38, the Virginia-born bookkeeper who appears with wife Anna and children in the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County. Only the youngest child, four-month-old Ellen, had been born in North Carolina, indicating that the Organs were recent transplants to Wilson County — apparently having dragged Betsey Holmes with them. Incredibly, her mother Julia had managed to track her across state lines and demand that the Freedmen’s Bureau intervene to secure her return to her family.

See also the Fisher brothers, likewise kidnapped from Virginia.

North Carolina Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1863-1872, Goldsboro (subassistant commissioner), Roll 15, Letters sent, vols. 1-2, February 1867-February 1868, http://www.familysearch.org.

Were they illegally bound?

Screen Shot 2019-09-21 at 5.10.16 PM.png

Bureau R.F.&A.L. Goldsboro May 18 /67

Edwards Marcellus J., Wilson N.C.

Sir

Complaint has been made at this office that the boy Freeman and the girls Amanda & Bethany now living with you were illegally bound to you You will please forward a statement of the case to this office on or before the 23rd inst and show cause if any exist why the indentures should not be cancelled.

I am Very Respectfully, Your Obedient Servt

A. Compton, Major 40th U.S.I., Sub Asst Com

——

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Marcellus Edwards, 42; his children Emma, 16, Sallie, 14, Mary, 13, William, 10, Julia, 9, Marcellus, 6, Joseph, 2, and James, 1; Virginia Edwards, 25; plus Freeman, 18, Amand, 16, and Bethena Edwards, 12, all farmer’s apprentices.

North Carolina Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1863-1872, Goldsboro (subassistant commissioner), Roll 15, Letters sent, vols. 1-2, February 1867-February 1868, http://www.familysearch.org.

Their father claimed them.

Don’t let anyone tell you that slavery destroyed the black family. African-Americans struggled against terrible odds to unite sundered families, often standing up to authority in the process.

In June 1866, George W. Blount wrote a letter to the Freedmen’s Bureau on behalf of Josiah D. Jenkins of Edgecombe County. Just months after being forced to free them, Jenkins had indentured eight siblings whose mother had died. Within six months, the children’s family had come for them, and the five oldest had left for more agreeable situations. Sallie, 14, Sookie, 12, and Isabella, 10, were in Wilson County with their elder sister and her husband Willie Bullock. Arden, 16, was working for what appears to be a commercial partnership in Tarboro, and Bethania, 14, was with her and Arden’s father Jonas Jenkins (paternity that Blount pooh-poohed.) Jonas Jenkins had sought custody of his children before their indenture, but his claims had been trumped by a “suitable” white man who “ought” to have them because he had “raised them from infancy” [i.e., held them in slavery since birth] and their mother “died in his own house.”

record-image_undefined-18.jpg

Wilson No.Ca. June 29 1866

Col. Brady   Col.

Mr. Jo. D. Jenkins of Edgecombe County has been here expecting to see you; but as he did not find you here he requested me to write to you and state his case, asking you to furnish him the remedy if any he is entitled to, and such he believes he has. In Dec 1865, Capt Richards Asst Sup F.B. for the dist of Tarboro, Apprenticed to him Eight (8) Orphan Colored children. The indentures he has, five, and the only ones large enough to render any service have been enticed away from him, leaving him with three who are hardly able to care for the own wants every thing furnished. Three of them are in the custody of Willie Bullock F.M. [freedman] whose wife is the older sister of the three. The others – Arden is in the employment of Messrs. Haskell & Knap near Tarboro. Bethania is in the custody of Jonas Jenkins F.M., who claims to be the father of both of her & Arden. The three first mentioned are in Wilson County the others in Edgecombe.

Mr. Jenkins desires me to say to you that if he cannot be secured in the possession of them he desires the indentures cancelled; for according to law he would be liable for Doctors bills – and to take care of them in case of an accident rendering them unable to take care of themselves.

This man Jonas set up claim to Arden and Bethania before they were apprenticed. The matter was referred to Col Whittlesey who decided that as they were bastard children he Jonas could not intervene preventing apprenticeship to a suitable person.

Mr. J is a suitable man to have charge of them and ought to have their services now. He raised them from infancy, and after the mother died in his own house

I am Col,                       Very Respectfully &c, G.W. Blount

An early reply desired.

A note from the file listing the Jenkins children to which Josiah D. Jenkins laid claim.

——

Entry for Josiah D. Jenkins in the 1850 slave schedule of Edgecombe County. By 1860, Jenkins claimed ownership of 36 people, evenly divided between men and women. 

  • G.W. Blount — A year later, George W. Blount was embroiled in his own battle for control over formerly enslaved children. He lost.
  • Jo. D. Jenkins — Joseph [Josiah] D. Jenkins appears in the 1870 census of Cokey township, Edgecombe County, as a 59 year-old farmer who reported $25,000 in real property and $15,000 in personal property — remarkable wealth so soon after the Civil War. John Jenkins, 10, domestic servant, is the only black child living in his household and presumably of the one of the children at issue here.
  • Bethania Jenkins — on 7 April 1874, Turner Bullock, 23, married Bethany Jenkins, 21, in Edgecombe County.
  • Willie Bullock
  • Arden Jenkins
  • Sallie Jenkins
  • Sookie Jenkins
  • Isabella Jenkins — Isabella Jenkins, 22, married Franklin Stancil, 30, on 16 April 1878 at Jackson Jenkins’ in Edgecombe County. Isabelle Stancill died 19 November 1927 in Township No. 2, Edgecombe County,. Per her death certificate, she was about 80 years old; was born in Edgecombe County; was the widow of Frank Stancill; and was buried in Jenkins cemetery. Elliott Stancill was informant,
  • Jonas Jenkins — in the 1870 census of Cokey township, Edgecombe County, Jonas Jenkins, 45, farm laborer. No children are listed in the household he shared with white farmer John E. Baker.

North Carolina Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1863-1872, Rocky Mount (assistant superintendent), Roll 55, Letters Received Dec 1865-Aug 1868, http://www.familysearch.org

Severe whippings for trifling faults.

State of North Carolina, Wilson County }

In the Probate Court Before A. Barnes, Probate Judge, May 8th, A.D. 1871.

George Morris an apprentice by indenture to Thomas White, colored, complaining says:

1st That he was bound by articles of indenture to Thomas White, colored, on the ___ day of _____ 18 ___ by

2nd That the said Thomas White has treated with great cruelty, inflicting upon him severe whippings for trifling faults, especially on the evening of Friday May 5th A.D. 1871 , when he was beaten by the said Thomas White in a most cruel and inhumane manner

Wherefore petitioner humbly asks your Honor that you will by order command the said Thomas White to appear before you at some early day to be named by your Honor to show cause why the articles of indenture above specified should not be cancelled.

George Morris, by Kenan & Durham, his Attorneys

——

  • George Morris — in the 1870 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County, George Morriss, 10, is listed in the household of his mother Eliza Morriss. The family is described as white. [Eliza Morris was the widow of Warren Morris, with whom she appears in the 1850 Johnston County census.] The absence of a color designation behind Morris’ name in this petition can be interpreted as as an indication that he was white, which accords with this census entry.
  • Thomas White — in the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Thomas White, 56; wife Charlotte, 56; and Lucy, 14, Reuben, 15, George, 10, and Lucy White, 3. [The apprenticeship of white children by African-American masters was exceedingly rare, and White was surely taking his life in his hands abusing one.]
  • Kenan & Durham — Col. Thomas S. Kenan (1838-1911) settled in Wilson in 1869 and opened a law practice that flourished and lead to a long and influential legal career.

Apprentice Records-1871, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

Toney Robbins’ side: “Please send me a paper so as I can get them.”

In August 1867, John J. Pender complained to the Freedmen’s Bureau that Toney Robbins was harassing him about Pender’s apprenticeship of three children who Robbins claimed were his grandchildren. Pender asserted that Robbins had no children, much less grandchildren. The Bureau apparently sided with Pender, as the children were with him in 1870 when the census taker passed through.

Here is one of Robbins’ letters pleading for the Bureau to intercede on his behalf.

record-image_undefined-10 copy.jpg

Joyners Depot Wilison Co NC   August 5th 1867

Freedmen Bureau

I ha [written] 2 or 3 letter to Maj Crompto a Bout 3 of my grand Children nor [illegible] Eny Anser then wrote to General Every at Raleigh he said go to the Freedmen Bureau at Rockey Mount in Edgecone County the children is in Wilison County he told me to write to you it was out of his Power as it was in Wilison County

Thy or not Bound By law, So Plese Send me a Paper So as I can get them thy ar living With John J. Pender of Wilison Co

I wait an Anser [illegible] with Respets Tony Robins

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