“These are names of slaves born to free mulatress ages of the children of Eliza Hall
William Henry Hall was born Feb the 11th 1844
Patrick Hall was born October the 6th 1845
Margaret Ann Hall was born Feb the 12th 1847
Louiser Hall was born April the 9th 1849
Balam Hall was born Feb 7th 1851″
These entries (the first sentence in a different hand) were inscribed in the Bible of Lewis Ellis (1794-1854) of Edgecombe County. Ellis’ good friend, James Bullock Woodard (1793-1863), was the father of Eliza Hall’s five children. (Who were, of course, as free as their mother.) The 1850 census of Edgecombe County lists Eliza Hall, age 26, with her children Wm., 6, Patrick, 4, Martha [sic], 3, and “girl,” 1. In 1860 (after the formation of Wilson County), the Halls are listed in Saratoga district, Wilson County. The Bible remains with descendants of the Ellis family.
I possess a Bible left to my grandmother by her great-aunt Sarah Henderson Jacobs Silver. There are three inscriptions inside the front cover. “This book was give to Sarah Jacobs from Ganny Caroline 1920 of Wilson NC” — that’s my grandmother’s handwriting. Then, faintly: “Present by Mrs Caroline Vick of Wilson N.C. present in May 18th year 1904.” Then: “Gladys OKelley book give to her by Charity Pitt keep as long as I live no one to take it a way from me year 1913 Dec 23.”
Carolina Williamson Vick was born in Newton County, Georgia, in 1844. How or why she came 425 miles north to settle in Wilson, North Carolina, may never be known, but a clue might lie in her maiden name. “Williamson” was a prominent southwest Wilson County family that included slaveholders. Did some migrate — or sell their slaves — South? Carolina was in Wilson by 1880 when she is listed in a household headed by 28 year-old Robert Vick. They are married and have three children, Alice, 18, Willie, 15, and Cora Vick, 3. (It appears that the older two children were Carolina’s children and Robert’s step-children.) By 1900, Carolina was living in the 700 block of Green Street. She spent the reminder of her life living with a rotating series of children, grandchildren, in-laws and lodgers and serving as a midwife to women in the community. “Granny Caroline” died in July 1925.
The Bible’s frontispiece introduces another owner:
Unfortunately, her name is too common for identification.
The “Births” page introduces another family. Or maybe families. Gladys O’Kelly is there, and there are two Carolina Vick entries.
The others seem to be members of an extended family found in the 1880 census of Hillsboro, Orange County, North Carolina: Yank Strayhorn (45), his wife Patsey (36), son Isaac (18), son-in-law Louis Pitt (25) and daughter Charity Pitt (23), children Rose (24), Jane (17), Henry and Reuben (13), Sandy (23) and Clara (21), and grandchildren Richard (3), Adeline (12) and Margaret (9). (Lewis Pitt married Charity Strayhorn in Edgecombe County in 1872 and moved to Wilson.) Gladys O’Kelly seems to have been the daughter of Rose Strayhorn’s daughter Gatsey and her husband, Reubin O’Kelly, both of Orange County.
In Memoranda, there are Madison Perry, son of Carolina Vick’s daughter Cora and Isham Perry, and the Shiverses:
I’ve been unable to find all the Shiverses, and what I have found doesn’t align cleanly with the dates inscribed here, but this appears to be a family that lived in Greenville, Pitt County, at the turn of the 20th century.