enslaved people

Another history of London Woodard and his church.

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Rocky Mount Telegram, 29 January 1960.

The take-away:

  • London’s Primitive Baptist is possibly the oldest African-American church in Wilson County.
  • London Woodard was born in 1808. In 1827, James Bullock Woodard purchased him for $500 from the estate of Julan Woodard.
  • In 1828, London Woodard was baptized at Toisnot Primitive Baptist.
  • In 1866, he sought permission to preach among his people.
  • In 1870, he was “dismissed” from Toisnot so that he could pastor the church he founded. He died lass than a month later.
  • London Church appears to have become disorganized after Woodard’s death, but in 1895, Toisnot P.B. dismissed several “colored brethren and sisters” who wanted to reestablish worship at London’s. The same year Union (now Upper Town Creek) P.B. released Haywood Pender, George Braswell, Dublin Barnes, and couple Charles and Rebeckah Barnes for the same purpose.
  • London Woodard married Pennie Lassiter, born free about 1810 and possessed of considerable property, including 29 acres purchased from James B. Woodard in 1859. [Penelope Lassiter was his second wife. His first, Venus, was enslaved.]
  • London and Pennie Woodard’s children were Priscilla (1846), Theresa (1848), Hardy (1850), Haywood (1852), William (1854), and Penina (1858). “Another child was probably named Elba, born in 1844; she was working for the John Batts family in 1860.” [London and Venus Woodard had nine children; Elba was not among either set.]
  • Many “old-time colored Christians” remained members of the churches they attended during slavery. Their children and grandchildren, however, gradually formed separate congregations.

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  • Haywood Pender — in the 1900 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Haywood Pender, 50, farmer; wife Feraby, 45; children Mollie, 39, and Ann, 8; and grandchildren Gold, 5, Nancy, 3, and Willie, 16. Haywood Pender died 15 July 1942 in Elm City, Toisnot township. Per his death certificate, he was born 6 October 1852 in Wilson County to Abram Sharp and Sookie Pender; was a farmer; was a widower; and was buried in Piney Grove cemetery, Elm City.
  • Dublin Barnes — in the 1880 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Doublin Barnes, 25; wife Eliza, 21; daughter Sattena, 2; and Jane Thomas, 12, farmhand.
  • Charles and Rebecca Barnes — in the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farmhand Charley Barnes, 50; wife Rebecca, 57; and children John, 26, William, 23, Annie, 17, Tom, 18, and Corah, 12.
  • George Braswell

$50 reward for runaway Willie.

On 5 February 1853, E.D. Hall, sheriff of New Hanover County, North Carolina, placed an ad in the Wilmington Daily Journal. His office had “taken up and committed” to jail a runaway enslaved man named Wiley. Wiley, who was about 24 years old, told the sheriff he belonged to a woman named Cynthia A. Ellis and had been leased to a Dr. Dortch of Stantonsburg. As was customary, Hall’s ad served notice for Ellis to make arrangements (including paying fees) to take him or he would be sold at auction.

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Three and a half years later, Wilson’s Southern Sentinel newspaper printed this ad:

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Southern Sentinel, 17 October 1856.

Was 30 year-old Willie the same man as Wiley? The name were often pronounced the same way in that era, and it seems so. Having apparently been returned to Wilson County, Willie had run away again in February 1856. The ad is rich with detail. Willie was a “bright mulatto” (this generally meant white-looking, or nearly so); he wore his hair in long plaits; he was a cooper (a builder of staved wooden vessels like barrels and buckets) by trade; he had a wife in Georgetown District, South Carolina (sold away from Wilson County? or met while he was a runaway?); and he refused to look slaveholders in the eye. He was thought to be hiding near the farms of William Ellis or his son Jonathan Ellis near Stantonsburg, as he had relatives in the area.

A month later, Willie was still missing.

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Southern Sentinel, 15 November 1856.

Images courtesy of the N.C. Runaway Slave Advertisements project, which “makes available some 2400 advertisements that appeared in North Carolina newspapers between 1751 and 1840. A collaboration between The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG)  and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T), the project builds on the work of Freddie L. Parker (Stealing a Little Freedom: Advertisements for Slave Runaways in North Carolina, 1791-1840) and Lathan Windley (Runaway Slave Advertisements)and presents digital images of the advertisements alongside full-text transcripts and additional metadata to facilitate search and discovery.”

Slave schedule.

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Prior to 1850, enslaved people were enumerated only as numbers in columns designated for sex and age. In 1850 and 1860, the federal government expanded the census to include “slave schedules.” Though enslaved people still were not recorded by name, they were enumerated individually by age, sex and color and grouped by slaveowner (or representative). Additional columns tallied “fugitives from the state,” “number manumitted,” “deaf, dumb, blind, insane, or idiotic,” and “no. of slave houses.”

These pages are the first and second in the 1860 slave schedule of Black Creek township, Wilson County. In them,

  • Sallie Simms reported that she owned ten slaves aged 7 months to 72 and sheltered them in two houses.
  • William Thompson reported that he owned 22 slaves aged 7 months to 44 and sheltered them in five houses.
  • Dr. A.G. Brooks reported that he owned 29 slaves aged 1 to 55 and sheltered them in four houses.
  • Enos Barnes reported that he owned two teenaged boys and sheltered them in one house.
  • Celia Barnes reported that she owned 28 year-old and 53 year-old men.
  • James Barnes reported that he owned nine slaves aged 3 to 50 and sheltered them in four houses.
  • Jesse Watson reported that he owned one ten year-old boy.
  • James Daniel reported that he owned four male slaves aged 9 to 60 and sheltered them in two houses.
  • Joseph Farrell reported that he owned nine slaves aged 5 months to 38 and sheltered them in one house.
  • James Nusom reported that he owned 22 slaves aged 1 to 28 and sheltered them in four houses.
  • Jesse Sauls reported that he owned seven slaves aged 3 to 26 and sheltered them in two houses.
  • Nancy Bass reported that she owned eight slaves aged 5 months to 36 and sheltered them in two houses.
  • Belinda Aycock reported that she owned six slaves aged 3 to 38 and sheltered them in two houses.
  • Sallie Daniel reported that she owned 14 slaves aged 11 months to 53 and sheltered them in four houses.
  • Elisha Bass reported reported that he owned six slaves aged 3 months to 30 and sheltered them in one house.
  • Jeremiah Bass reported that he owned a 17 year-old girl and two babies, aged 2 years and 4 months, who were probably her children.
  • Ephraim Bass reported that he owned a 36 year-old man.

Snaps, no. 45: Mary Jane Taylor Johnson.

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Mary Jane Taylor Johnson (1863-1940).

In the 1870 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: Lemuel Taylor, 35; wife Martha, 26; and children Thomas, 12, Iredell, 10, George, 8, and Mary, 4.

In the 1880 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: Annis Taylor, 70; daughter Isbell, 30; and granddaughter Mary J., 14.

On 11 November 1881, Ben Johnson, 33, married Mary J. Taylor, 22, in Toisnot township, Wilson County.

In the 1900 census of South Whitakers township, Wilson County: farmer Ben Johnson, 52; wife Mary J., 34; and children Junius, 18, Frank, 15, Hunn, 11, Shug, 9, Bud, 7, Mattie L., 4, Nettie M., 2, and Ben, 1 month.

In the 1910 census of Enfield township, Halifax County: on Crowell Road, widowed farmer Mary Johnson, 48, and children Daisy, 20, Carry, 18, Samuel, 16, Lula, 13, Nettie, 10, Bee Jay, 9, Maggie, 7, and Ida, 5.

In the 1920 census of Rocky Mount township, Edgecombe County: on River Road, Mary Johnson, 50, and children D.J., 19, Maggie, 16, and Ida, 13.

In the 1930 census of Rocky Mount township, Edgecombe County: Sam L. Johnson, 36; mother Mary, 65; adopted daughter Willard B., 20; Nettie Edmond, 30, Delorice Edmond, 5 months; and Ida Johnson, 23.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry user Roxie1104.

Jane Street.

Jane Rountree Mobley was enslaved by Moses Rountree, a leading nineteenth-century merchant. As Carolyn Maye relates, family lore passed to Mobley’s descendants holds that the Rountree family named a street Jane in honor of Jane Mobley. If so, where is it?

There is no Jane Street in present-day Wilson. However, early twentieth-century Sanborn fire insurance maps reveal that this was not always the case. Ash Street, a narrow spur off Nash Street running parallel and just east of Pender Street, was once called Jane. (Was it actually named for Mobley?)  The street is clearly marked in the 1908 Sanborn map:

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However, in the Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory issued the same year, the street was called Ashe, and the 1913 Sanborn map relegated “Jane” to parentheses.

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When Hill’s issued the 1922 city directory, there was no alternate name listed for Ash Street.

 

 

Received at Toisnot Baptist, pt. 3: F-R.

Baptisms of African-American members of Toisnot Primitive Baptist Church, continued from here. The names in parentheses indicate a slaveowner.

F

  • Abraham Farmer (John Farmer’s) was baptized on 28 August 1842.
  • Abraham Farmer was a member about 1870.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Abraham Farmer, 57, farm laborer; wife Cherry, 54; Caroline Armstrong, 30, Jane Farmer, 16; Gray Armstrong, 6; Thadeus Armstrong, 4; John Armstrong, 2 months; York Gill, 35.

  • Anecay Farmer was baptized in 1861.
  • Chaney Farmer was baptized 24 July 1853, dismissed 22 February 1856, and restored to fellowship on 24 June 1871.

H

  • Hannah Horn (Jeremiah Horn’s) was dismissed by letter 22 June 1822.
  • Jeffery Horn (Henry Horn’s) was baptized 24 June 1821.
  • Nancy Horn (Henry Horn’s) was dismissed by letter after 1820.
  • Nancy Horn was baptized 25 December 1853.
  • Sarah Horn (John Horn’s) was baptized 24 September 1826.
  • Hulda was baptized 25 February 1856.

J

  • Jeffry was dismissed by letter 26 September 1863.
  • Jeptha was baptized 25 June 1854.
  • Charlotte Jordan was baptized 26 August 1855.

In the 1870 census of WIlson, Wilson County: farm laborer Thomas Harrell, 47; wife Mary, 34; Mary Jordan, 17; Charlotte Jordan, 51; and Celia Barnes, 110.

  • Fran Jordan (Cornelius Jordan’s) was excommunicated after 1820.
  • Rily Jordan was a member about 1870.
  • Violet Jordan (Henry Jordan’s) was excluded from membership on 24 March 1821 for having “two husbands.”

L

  • Hardy Lassiter, a free black, was a member prior to 1820.
  • Orpha Lassiter was baptized 22 December 1872.

In the 1860 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Silas Lassiter, 38; wife Orpie, 34; children Sallie, 12, Mary, 11, James, 9, John, 7, Elizabeth, 5, Penina, 4, Hardy, 3, Silas, 1, and George, 2 months; and Delpha Simpson, 14.

M

  • Martha Mayo was received 23 July 1870.
  • Milbery was baptized 22 July 1855.
  • Milley was baptized 23 September 1855.

P

  • Caesar Pittman was a member about 1870.
  • Hester Pittman (Jesse Pittman’s) was baptized 24 February 1854.

In Gardners township: Cesar Pittman, 75, and wife Hester, 60.

R

  • Rachel was excluded from membership 23 June 1821 for “Stealing and Lying.”

The last will and testament of Larry Dew.

On 31 October 1861 (the same day as his brother David Dew), Larry Dew of Wilson County penned a will whose provisions disposed of these 46 enslaved men, women and children:

  • to son John Dew as trustee for daughter Harriet Barbee, wife of Joseph Barbee (and to her outright after Joseph’s death), Milly, Sam and Cherry
  • to son John Dew, Laney and her children Juan, Minerva and Della, valued at $700
  • to son Arthur B. Dew, “boy Raiford,” valued at $600
  • to daughter Pennina Dew, wife of William Hooks, Milbry, Louisa, Jacob, and Venus and her children Letha, Jack and Amos
  • to son Jonathan T. Dew, Caroline, valued at $750
  • to son David Dew, Everitt, valued at $600; a cow and calf; a sow and pigs; a feather bed and furniture
  • to granddaughter Sally Harriet Hocutt, Henry, now with Daniel Hocutt in South Carolina
  • to daughter Mary Ann Peel, wife of Stephen J. Peel, Charlotte, Newry and Reuben
  • to son William L. Dew, “boy Woodard,” valued at $600; one gray horse Charley; a cow and calf; a sow and pigs; a feather bed and furniture
  • to son Moses Dew, Arch, valued at $1000; a sorrel horse Selim; a cow and calf; a sow and pigs; a feather bed and furniture
  • to son Willie Dew, Silvira, valued at $900; one mule Jack; a cow and calf; a sow and pigs; a feather bed and furniture
  • to son George W. Dew, Julia, valued at $900; a mule Gin; a cow and calf; a sow and pigs; a feather bed and furniture
  • to daughter Nancy Dew, Eveline, valued at $900; a feather bed and furniture; and $100
  • “the remainder of my negroes, to wit: Litha, Phereby, Amos, Stephen, Toby, Mourning, Isaac, Sylvester, Lucy, Gilbert, Aaron, Linnet, Gray, little Raiford, Winney, Pearcy, Van Buren, little Everitt, Virgil, and Eliza” to be divided equally among his sons and his daughter Nancy

Dew’s estate entered probate in Wilson County in April 1862. These documents from his estate file, submitted to the court in November 1862, chronicle the calculations behind distribution of his human property. Two and a half years later, the work of Dew’s executor was undone by freedom.

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Estate of Larry Dew (1862), Wilson County, North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

An aged negro pays her respects.

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Wilson Daily Times, 23 August 1929.

I have not been able to locate Lucy Worthington in records.

Virginia “Jennie” Wise Boykin’s husband William Monroe Boykin was the son of Hilliard and Willie Flowers Boykin. In the 1850 census of Nash County, Hilliard Boykin reported $200 worth of real estate and, in the slave schedule, ownership of three enslaved people — a 35 year-old mulatto man, a 21 year-old mulatto man, and an 11 year-old black girl. With the creation of Wilson County in 1855, the 1860 census found Hilliard Boykin in Old Fields district of Wilson County (with son Monro, 15, in his household), claiming $3000 in real property and $7655 in personal property, which included women aged 33 and 22; girls aged 3, 2, and one month; and boys aged 7, 5 and 4. Presumably, Lucy Worthington was one of this group of enslaved people.

Studio shots, no. 88: Jack Armstrong, supercentenarian.

Among the dozens of families who migrated up to Wilson County from North Carolina’s southern Sandhills area were those of Dock Roberson and Margaret Armstrong McDougal Blue. After her husband Levi Blue died in Wilson County in 1919, Maggie Blue and Dock Roberson married, and Maggie’s parents John “Jack” and Annie Murphy Armstrong briefly came to live with their blended family in Taylors township. Likely during this time, Jack Armstrong traveled into Wilson to sit for a portrait in Picture-Taking George W. Barnes‘ studio. Jack’s descendants explained that his curled fingers were the result of an injury inflicted during slavery.

John “Jack” Armstrong (ca. 1820-1932), circa 1920.

——

In the 1870 census of Flea Hill township, Cumberland County, North Carolina: farm laborer John Armstrong, 40; wife Anna, 38; and children Dublin, 14, Charles, 9, Penny, 8, Margrett, 7, Elizabeth, 5, Barbry, 4, William, 3, and David, 2; plus Amy Armstrong, 52.

In the 1880 census of Flea Hill township, Cumberland County, North Carolina: farmer John Armstrong, 54; wife Annie J., 43; and children Charley, 18, Margret, 16, Barbra A., 12, William J., 10, David, 8, Joe, 6, Daniel R., 4, and Rebecca, 3; plus A. Murphy, 60, mother-in-law.

In the 1900 census of Geddies Gin township, Cumberland County, North Carolina: farm laborer Jack Armstrong, 75; wife Annie, 68; daughter Janie, 15; and grandson George W. Murphy, 12.

In the 1920 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: tenant farmer Doc Robinson, 55; wife Maggie, 53; children Mary, 18, James C., 19, Virginia, 17, David, 14, Elijah, 12, and Jessie B., 3; Vangie, 32, Geneva, 17, and Addie McDoogle, 15; and Moses Robinson, 8, and lodgers Jack, 103, and Annie Armstrong, 101.

Annie Armstrong died 5 April 1920 in Taylor township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 103 years old; was born in Johnston County to Annie Murphy and an unknown father; worked as a farmer for George Piage; and was married to Jack Armstrong. William Jas. Armstrong was informant.

Maggie Roberson died 5 April 1928 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 55 years old; was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, to Jack and Annie Armstrong; was married to George Roberson; and farmed for Will Carr.

Jack Armstrong died 5 January 1932 in Mingo township, Sampson County, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 11 February 1815 to John Wood and an unknown mother; was widowed; and was a farmer.

Newspapers across the state reported that Jack Armstrong had been “the oldest North Carolinian” at the time of his death.

Wilson Daily Times, 12 January 1932.

Photo courtesy of F. Cooper Jr., great-great-grandson of Jack Armstrong.

The obituary of Henry Rountree.

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Wilson Daily Times, 14 September 1940.

Is this the same Henry Rountree who  spoke of Christmas-time serenades in an 1936 interview by a Federal Writers Project employee? Though it would seem so, the life details of the two Henrys do not seem to match.

Here is this Henry Rountree’s death certificate:

His parents are listed as Spencer and Julia Rountree, not Shark and Adell, as in the F.W.P. interview. The obituary reports his owners as the Tomlin family, but the narrative names Dock Rountree. The obituary centers around Henry Rountree’s work during the Civil War, which the narrative does not mention at all.

In the 1920 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Simon Ricks, 34; wife Lula B., 29; children Mary E., 12, Alexander, 9, Etta, 6, Gertie, 4, and Roland, 2; mother-in-law Fannie Rountree, 58, widow; and uncle Henry Rountree, 74, widower.

In the 1930 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: renting for $2/month, widowed farm laborer Nora Dew, 42; her children Lester, 15, and Etta, 11; uncle Henry Rountree, 85, farm laborer; and boarders Edna, 17, and Ella Lane, 14, and Elijah Terrell, 22.