enslaved people

Israel Hardy, Co. C, 14th United States Colored Heavy Artillery.

Israel Hardy enrolled in Company C, 14th United Stated Colored Heavy Artillery, on 18 May 1864 in New Bern, North Carolina. He reported that he was born in Wilson County, N.C., about 1842 and worked as a laborer. After less than five months of service, Hardy contracted yellow fever, but recovered and returned to duty in November 1864. He was discharged in December 1865.

Israel Hardy returned to New Bern after the war. Within a few years, he moved east into Pamlico County, where he remained the rest of his life.

United States Freedmen’s Bureau records show that Israel Hardy received a $200 bounty for his military service in February 1868.

In the 1870 census of Township #4, Craven County, North Carolina: farm laborer Israel Hardy, 27; wife Mahala, 23; children William, 2, and Henry, 5; and Edward Hardy, 18, farm laborer. Israel Hardy reported that he owned $300 worth of real property and $160 in personal property.

In the 1880 census of Township #2, Pamlico County, North Carolina: farmer Iserel Hardy, 40; wife Mabelle, 29; children Henry, 16, Mabelle, 8, Josie, 10, Susan, 6, Caroline, 3, and Jessy, 2; and boarders Annie, 24, and Henrietta, 10.

On 24 April 1889, Henry Hardy, 24, married Sidney Oden, 21, in Pamlico County.

On 11 August 1892, Samuel Roberts, 21, of #3 Township, Pamlico County, son of John and Tempy Roberts, married Caroline Hardy, 18, of Vandemere, daughter of Israel and Mahala Hardy, at Mahala Hardy’s residence in Pamlico County.

On 29 August 1892, Henry Jones, 24, of Vandemere, son of Simbo Jones and Margaret Washington, married Susan Hardy, 18, of Vandemere, daughter of Isreal and Mahala Hardy.

On 17 October 1894, Edward McCotter, 33, of Pamlico County, son of Barney and Joana McCotter, married Sarah F. Hardy, 22, of Vandemere, daughter of Isral and Mahala Hardy, in Pamlico County.

On 19 March 1898, Israel Hardy, 50, of Pamlico County, son of Peter and Venis Beckton, married Zenia Gibson [or Gibbs], 29, of Pamlico County, daughter of Adam and Rachel Gibson [or Gibbs].

Jessie Hardy died 27 December 1946 in New Bern, Craven County. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 February 1885 in Vandemere, Pamlico County, to Israel Hardy and Mahaliah Hardy, both of Hyde County, N.C.; was married; resided in Vandemere; and worked as a “fishman.” He was buried in Marabelle [Maribel] Cemetery, Pamlico County.

Carrie Roberts died 5 October 1948 in Collier, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Per her death certificate, she was born 13 September 1873 in Bay River, N.C., to Israel Hardy and Mahalia (last name unknown); was the widow of Samuel Roberts; and resided at 4533 Webster Avenue, Pittsburgh.

File #1,071,351, Application of Israel Hardy for Invalid’s Pension, National Archives and Records Administration.

The death of Blount Baker, supercentenarian.

Wilson Daily Times, 7 March 1941.

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In the late 1930s, Blount Baker sat for an interview with a W.P.A. worker in which he spoke of his life in slavery. Baker was one of the last people in Wilson County who had been enslaved.

In the 1940 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Lee Woodard, 31; wife Mamie, 32; children Ella M., 10, David L., 7, James T., 5, Doris, 3, and Robert N., 1 month; mother Ella, 68, widow; Ester Barnes, 40, widow; uncle Blunt Baker, 109, widower; and nephew James R. Farmer, 21.

Blunt Baker died 3 March 1941 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 107 years old; was born in Wilson County to Anyka Baker; was a widower; was a retired farmer; resided near Lucama; and was buried in Eatmon cemetery, Wilson County. Informant was Dock Eatmon, Sims.

The sale of Charity, Aaron, Sarah, Lucinda, and Cloe.

I have undertaken a page-by-page examination of Wilson County’s earliest deed books to look for evidence of the mortgage, sale, trade, or transfer of enslaved people. I found plenty.

  • On Christmas Eve 1861, Ann Scarborough of Wilson County for natural love and affection for her daughter, Mrs. Louisianna C. Murphy, and for one dollar paid by John E.F. Harper of Greene County, sold and conveyed to Harper, in trust for Murphy’s sole use, these enslaved people: a woman named Charity, about 30 years old; a boy named Aaron, aged about 13; a girl named Sarah, aged about 7; a girl named Lucinda, aged about 5 years; and a girl named Cloe, aged about 9. Deed Book 1, page 793, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.

The last will and testament of Hardy Horn.

On 25 January 1830, Hardy Horn of Wayne County dictated a will that included these provisions:

  • sell one Negro boy by the name of Arnold
  • to his wife Edah “nine Negros LigePatienceFannyWarrenDinahJimWinnyAbram & linnet” and their future children until his daughter Sally reached age 15
  • at that time, half of the named enslaved people were to be divided among his daughters Nancy Barnes and Sally, Zilly, and Rebeckah Barnes, and half their increase were to remain with his wife Edah during her lifetime
  • at Edah’s death those enslaved people were to be divided among the children as she saw fit

Horn’s estate entered probate in Wayne County Fall County 1839. After setting aside two-eighths of the enslaved for later distribution to two children born after Horn made his will, on 14 April 1840 commissioners divided the group as follows:

  • widow Edah received Lije ($850); Linnet ($650); Patience and child Hilard ($750); Will ($300); Litha ($350); and Jeffrey ($125)
  • Rebecca Horne received Jim ($800); Jonathan Barnes and wife Nancy Horne Barnes, Warren ($650); James Newsom and wife Sally Horn Newsom, Fanny and child Henry ($750); and Zilla Horn, Pearcy ($350); and Jo ($300)

In a separate transaction the same day, Horn’s youngest children, Mary Ann and Elizabeth, received their joint share — Abram ($750), Diner ($400), Esther ($400), and Hester ($375).

Horn lived between Great Cabin Branch and Black Creek in what is now Wilson County.

Estate of Hardy Horn, Wayne County, North Carolina Estate Files 1883-1979, http://www.familysearch.org.

The sales of Penelope, Emily, Rose, Caroline, Isham, Harriet, Lewis, Haywood, Eugena, Dicy, Teresa, Guilford, Mary, Judah, and William.

I have undertaken a page-by-page examination of Wilson County’s earliest deed books to look for evidence of the mortgage, sale, trade, or transfer of enslaved people. I found plenty.

  • On 1 January 1856, for love and affection, Thomas Hadley of Wilson County sold to Mary Malvina Hadley, wife of Stephen Woodard, nine enslaved people — Penelope, Emily, Rose, Caroline, Isham, Harriet, Lewis, Haywood, and Eugena. Deed Book 1, page 542, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office. [Stephen Woodard Jr. was a physician in Black Creek township. His and Mary Hadley Woodard’s children included Sidney A. Woodard, Paul L. Woodard, and Frederick A. Woodard.]
  • On 3 February 1859, for $6555, David Taylor of Wilson County sold to R.J. Taylor of Wilson County “all of his the said David Taylors slaves to wit Dicy Teresa Guilford Mary (Moll) Judah & William (Bill),” as well a horse and buggy, furniture, all stock in trade in David Taylor’s liquor establishment, and various farm animals. Deed Book 1, page 392, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office. [David Taylor lived in Oldfields township, Wilson County, which had formerly been Nash County. In the 1850 Nash County slave schedule, he is listed with six enslaved people — women aged 40, 55, and 48; two boys aged 5 and 6; and a girl aged 2. Despite the statement in the bill of sale that he was selling “all” of his slaves, Taylor reported in the 1860 slave schedule of Wilson County two women aged 47 and 50, a 13 year-old boy, and girls aged 8 and 12. Robert Jackson Taylor (1833-1912) was David Taylor’s son.]

The sales of Lucy, Betty, Mingo, Venus, Phelda, Cathrin, Redeemed, Easter, Sarah, Caesar, Washington, Gatsey, Jerry, Matilda and her children, Eliza, and Cherry.

More evidence from Wilson County’s earliest deed books of the sale, trade, or transfer of enslaved people:

  • On 11 December 1855, John Gardner of Wilson County conveyed to Thomas Gardner of Wilson County, in trust, a 206-acre tract of land in Wilson County, various farm animals, a buggy, a wagon, four carts, “two Negro women Lucy and Betty,” furniture, a cotton gin, a man’s saddle, and a double-barrel gun. If John Gardner timely paid William D. Petway a $1000 debt, the conveyance was void. Otherwise, the property listed would be sold at auction. Deed Book 1, Page 100, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.
  • On 24 July 1854, Thomas Hadley of Wayne County, North Carolina, in consideration for “love & affection,” gave his daughter Martha Amanda Rountree, wife of Willie Rountree of Wilson County, “one negro man by the name of Mingo one negro Woman by the name of Venus one negro girl by the name of Phelda & one negro girl by the name of Cathrin.” Deed Book 1, Page 115, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.
  • On 7 June 1849, Henry Brinkley of Pitt County, North Carolina, conveyed to Thomas Felton of Edgecombe [later Wilson] County, North Carolina, a 329-acre parcel of land in Edgecombe County on which Brinkley formerly resided, a 65-acre tract Brinkley inherited from Abram Brinkley, “slaves Redeemed, Easter, Sarah, Caesar, Washington, Gatsey and Jerry,” various animals and farm implements, his “interest in the right of his wife in Estate of Ollison Knox,” and other assets to secure a debt. This conveyance was filed in Book 24, Page 661, Edgecombe County Register of Deeds. “Whereas the said Henry Brinkley has paid off and discharged all or a considerable portion of the debt … by the sale of two of the slaves and otherwise,” Felton returned to Brinkley his remaining property on 7 December 1855. Deed Book 1, Page 120, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.
  • On 19 May 1856, Mary P. Battle of Orange County, North Carolina, for $300 paid by Margaret H. Battle, wife of Amos J. Battle, conveyed to James Davis in trust an enslaved woman named Matilda and all her children except the oldest, Eliza. Matilda and children were in the possession of Margaret H. Battle, and Battle was to retain the right to the “use” during her lifetime and, after her death, such right passed to Margaret Battle’s children. [Matilda was one of several enslaved people Margaret Battle had inherited from her father Weeks Parker of Edgecombe County.] Deed Book 1, Page 184, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.
  • On 4 June 1856, Jane B. Hamlet of Wilson County conveyed to John Farmer of Wilson County a 27 year-old enslaved woman named Cherry, a wagon, and two horses to secure a debt in the amount of $520. If Hamlet timely repaid Farmer the debt, the conveyance was void. Deed Book 1, Page 185, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.

The sales of Jason, Lettice, Martha, Lovet, Ben, Britt, Miranda, Elijah, Amy, and Jane (or James Henry).

I finally undertook a page-by-page examination of Wilson County’s earliest deed books to look for evidence of the sale, trade, or transfer of enslaved people. I found plenty.

  • On 12 May 1855, John Harper of Wilson County conveyed to Joshua Barnes in trust for the sole use and benefit of Harper’s wife Mary Harper “three slaves Jason, Lettice & Martha.” After her death or remarriage, ownership of the three would be divided among Harper’s heirs. Deed Book 1, Page 24, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.
  • On 9 July 1855, William Liles of Wilson County for $479.85 sold Levi Baily household and kitchen furniture, a cow, a yearling, seventeen hogs, and (this is ambiguous, but what seems to be the hire of) “one Negro boy named Lovet” until 29 December 1855. Deed Book 1, Page 34, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.
  • On 18 July 1855, Stephen C. Barnes of Wilson County conveyed to William M. Barnes and Jesse Sauls a “certain negro slave named Ben — aged about Ten years.” Ben was in effect security for a debt Stephen Barnes owed to the estate of Bunyan Barnes in the amount of $725. If Stephen Barnes timely paid off the debt, the conveyance of Ben was void. Deed Book 1, Page 37, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.
  • On 4 July 1855, Grooms H. Barnes of Wilson County conveyed to Etheldred Sauls and John Coley of Wayne County the 370-acre tract of land on which Bunyan Barnes had lived, “one negro boy named Britt,” five horses, all his stock and hogs, and various furniture to secure a debt Barnes owed to Jonathan Barnes and James Barnes, trustees of Bunyan Barnes. If Groom Barnes timely paid off the debt, the conveyance was void. Deed Book 1, Page 37, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.
  • On 11 October 1855, for $300, Thomas Allen of Wilson County sold Henrietta Sikes of Wilson County “four slaves Miranda, Elijah, Amy, Jane or James Henry,” a horse and buggy, the cattle on the place on which Allen lived, a roan mare, and “my share & interest in the crop of 1855 on the plantation or farm where I now live which was formerly the property of my Wifes mother.” Deed Book 1, Page 75, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.

The sale of Westley, who is sound and healthy.

Received of John P. Bardin & Wm. H. Bardin six hundred & twenty Dollars in full payment of a negro boy named Westley The title of said negro I will forever warrant & defend I also warrant him to be sound & healthy, January 25th 1858  Amos Barnes

The execution of the foregoing Deed is proven before me by the acknowledgement of Jas. H. Barnes. Let it be registered Jan 29th 1858  J.C. Davis Clk

Deed Book 1, Page 328, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.

The auction of Harry, Violet, Eliza and child, Ben, Dan, and Edy.

Per court order, on 25 December 1856, Gatsey T. Stanton, administratrix of the estate of her husbandWashington M. Stanton, registered the outcome of her auction of seven enslaved people — Harry, Violet, Eliza and child, Ben, Dan, and Edy. The Stantons’ son George W. Stanton was the highest bidder, offering $800 for Harry; $350 for Violet; $875 for Eliza and her child; and $182 for Ben (who was either very young, or very old, or disabled.) G.W. Stanton received a credit of $112 for taking Dan and Edy, who were likely past their working years. This transaction was recorded in Deed Book 1, page 174, Wilson County Register of Deeds office.

The same day, G.W. Stanton sold the same lot of enslaved people back to his mother for what he had paid — $2095.

Deed Book 1, page 259, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office. 

Know all men by these presents that I, G.W. Stanton for & in consideration of the sum of two thousand & ninety five Dollars the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged have given granted bargained & sold & doth by these presents give grant bargain & sell unto Gatsey Stantonsburg Negroes Harry, Violet, Eliza & child, Ben, Dan & Edy to have & to hold unto the said Gatsey Stanton her executors administrators & assigns in fee simple forever.

In testament whereof the said G.W. Stanton doth set his hand & seal this the 25th day of December 1856.    G.W. Stanton {seal}

Notwithstanding his status as a slaveowner, George W. Stanton was a staunch Unionist and in 1868 delivered an incendiary address to the state legislature that some claimed incited freedmen murder and burn the property of white people. (More of this later.)  In 1871, Stanton filed a claim with the Southern Claims Commission for reimbursement for property seized by the Union Army. One of the witnesses on his behalf was 48 year-old Harry Stanton of Greene County, N.C. — surely the Harry noted above. To read Harry Stanton’s detailed testimony, see here. (George W. Stanton’s claim was disallowed. The Commission acknowledged his Union sympathies, but determined that his service as a justice of the peace and in the Home Guard — even if done to avoid active military duty — disqualified him as a loyalist.)