custody

Dick complains that I keep his sister’s children.

State of North Carolina }

Wilson County     }

I B.F. Briggs

The Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions hereby Certify that at October Term A.D. 1865 the Court apprenticed to Mrs Elizabeth Whitley seven children to wit – Drury age 10 years, George 16 years, Easter 14 years Turner 18 yrs Sophia 14 yrs Robert 12 yrs Adelade 16 years of age &c

Given under my hand and seal of office at office the 6th day of April A.D. 1867

B.F. Briggs, Clerk

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Stantonsburg N.C. April 6th/67

[illegible] H.G. Norton

Goldsboro N.C.

Dear Sir

Yours of the 2 Int to hand contents noticed you stated that Dick Whitley (col) complains that I keep his sisters children without his consent & refuses to let the same return to him. I have not got the children nor have not had nothing to doe with them at all. My wife had the children bound to her at the time they were bound. We did not know whire Dick Whitley was and think that he had not been in the county for Several months, the children has in the neighbourhood, two uncles & grand mother & none of them has not complained at all in reguard to the children. Dick has not made any application for the children, nor does nothing for the support of his old helpless Mother, We are willing to doe any thing that is legal or right: in regard to them we send now a copy of the indentures, if you desire that I should come down inform me

Very Respectfully           /s/ Gray Whitley

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Stantonsburg NC, Apr 22nd, 1867

Maj. N.D. Norton

Yours of April 20th is to hand regarding five children who are at present working with my wife. In reply I would State that your letter of April 2nd came duly to hand makeing inquiries about said children, and I wrote to you at one, acknowledgeing the receipt of said letter, but failed to address it to you officially in the envelope and suppose from this cause you have not received it. The children alluded to, are as you have been informed, orphans, having lost both parents. Their mother during her lifetime and while a slave belonged to my wife, and after the close of the war, they having no protector, my wife made application to the county court of Wilson and had them bound to her. In my former reply to your letter of April 2nd I give you a correct statement concerning the children and enclosed also the certificate of the county court clerk of Wilson to the effect that the said children had been bound to my wife, I regret that the letter and certificate have not reached you. If you desire it, I will obtain and forward to you another certificate from the clerk of the county; the children have been brought up by my wife from infancy and have living near them two uncles and two aunts, who seem to be willing that I should retain them, and theas I imagine should have some voice in the matter. They have never raised any objections to my keeping the children, and the children seem to be willing to remain with me. I think that as a majority of the living relatives of the children are willing that they should stay with my wife she having raised them and the children seems to be well contented thus far and I really think that we should be allowed to keep them. Dick has not been seen in this vicinity for 12 months which he has living near us an Old Mother almost helpless he does nothing for her nor seems to care nothing for her so I think if he had the children but little assistance they would get from [illegible] Hopeing to hear from you soon and also hope that the above explanation may be satisfactory I am

Yours truly, Gray Whitley

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Farmer Gray Whitley, 55, and wife Bettie appear in the 1870 federal census of Stantonsburg, Wilson County. No black children are listed in their household, nor are any elsewhere with the names listed above.

Freedmen Bureau Records of Field Offices, 1863-1878 [database online], http://www.ancestry.com.

His wife raised him almost like a white child.

Wilson N.C.

Jany 5th 1865.

Col. Whittlesey

Col.

Moses Daniel (Freedman) reported to the Superintendent of Freedmen at Goldsboro that his former master Jacob Daniel a highly respectable citizen of this County refused to give to him his child Bob – whereupon the Superintendent Geo. O. Glavis ordered Mr. Daniel to give the child up and Mr. Daniel to obey the order & prevent any disturbance gave the boy up. He now appeals to you to have the boy restored to him. He is willing to have the boy bound to him and will do all in that regard that may be required. The following circumstances are the bases on which he makes his appeal. The mother of this boy Bob never had any husband and died when the boy was not over six months old. The Man Moses was the slave of Mr. Daniel and had a wife by whom had children at a neighbors (Mr. Farmers.) It may be that Moses is the father of the child but if so it is an illegitimate one. The Boy Bob has been raised by Mr. Daniels wife almost like a white child – and was esteemed highly and has never evinced any desire to leave his home. He is now about 15 years of age. The Reputed father by reason of the order aforesaid has taken the boy and hired him as common laborer to a Mr Barefoot in this County, as Mr. Daniel has been informed.

Common justice it is thought would restore the boy until he is twenty one to the one who has been at all the trouble and expense of raising him. Your Kind offices are respectfully prayed for in behalf of Mr. Daniel.

By Your Obt Servant     G.W. Blount

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Farmer Jacob Daniels, 64, appears in the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County. There is no Bob or Moses Daniel in Wilson County, but in adjoining Nahunta township, Wayne County: Moses Daniel, 27, wife Clarkey, 40, plus Smith, 18, Harry, 21, and Jane Daniel, 10.

Records of Assistant Commissioner of the State of North Carolina; Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands; Record Group 105, National Archives; Freedmen Bureau Records of Field Offices, 1863-1878 [database on-line], Ancestry.com.