estate auction

The estates of Ephraim Daniel and Zilpha Fort Daniel.

The second in a series documenting enslaved people held by the Daniel family, who lived in the Black Creek area in what was once Wayne County.


Though Ephraim Daniel named only four enslaved people — Simon, Temperance, Robbin and May —  in his will, estate documents reveal that he claimed 26 at the time of his death in 1822. On December 16 of that year, 22 enslaved people were sold to 16 different buyers in the liquidation of Daniel’s estate.

The men, women, and children dispersed from their homes were James (purchased by Hardy Horn and maybe the Jim referred to in Horn’s will and estate file); Jacob; Bob; Oen; Burden; Peter; Enos; Levi; Sarah; Fan; Hester; Jury and child Amy; Silviar; old man Bob; Lany and her three children George, Sintha, and Moses; old man Ned; old man Dick; and Isaac Hoods “the use of him reserved to the old Widow Hood her life time.”

Zilpha Daniel died just two years after her husband Ephraim. An inventory of her estate listed six enslaved people among her property. On 2 January 1826, her belongings went on the block. Her son Rufus hired out Hester; Simon, his wife, and children; and Oen [Owen], who was described as “very sick,” until March 1. On 11 March 1826, all were offered for sale. Rufus Daniel bought Simon, Temperance, and their children Robert and May, whom his father had specifically passed to Zilpha under the terms of his 1822 will.

Estate Files of Ephraim Daniel (1822) and Zilpha Daniel (1824), Wayne County, North Carolina Estate Files, 1663-1979,

The estate of Isaac Amason.

It’s not a common surname in Wilson County anymore, but in the early 1800s a prosperous extended family of Amasons lived in the Stantonsburg area (in what was then Edgecombe County, North Carolina). They owned extensive real property and considerable slaves, and often left estates that spent years in probate as family members bickered, and heirs and administrators died.

This post is first in a series featuring documents from Amason (Amerson) family estate files.


Isaac Amason was born about 1755. When he died in 1828, several of his children were young minors, resulting in a drawn-out estate settlement. At November term, 1843, the Clerk of Edgecombe County Court ordered finally ordered that notices be placed for the thirty days around the county, advertising the sale of enslaved people belonging to Amason’s estate “on a credit of six months, with interest.”

Lemuel DeBerry filed a report with the court detailing his activity pursuant to the order. He posted notices “both in and out” of the county (likely because Amason lived close to the borders of Greene, Wayne, and Pitt Counties) for more than thirty days informing the public that the sale would take place in the Town of Stantonsburg on 27 January 1844. At auction, Isaac Amason’s son David Amason paid $25.50 for “One Old Negroe Man by the Name of Lewis” and $553 for “a Young Woman & Child by the Names of Exelina & her Child,” and son Isaac U. Amason paid $7 for “One Old Woman by the Name of Phillis.”

Note that in the 1820 federal census of Edgecombe County, the last in which Isaac Amason was enumerated, he reported owning three enslaved boys under age 14; one enslaved man aged 14-25; one enslaved man aged 26-44; and one enslaved woman aged 26-44.

In the 1830 federal census, Isaac’s widow Delona [Delana] Amason reported one enslaved man aged 36-55; one enslaved girl under the age of 10; and one enslaved woman aged 36-55. It seems likely that these three people were Lewis, Exeline, and Phillis.

Delana Amason made out a will on 4 September 1841 in which, among other items, she bequeathed to her daughter Jemmima Amason “one negro man named Ned.”

I have not been able to trace forward Ned, Lewis, Phillis, or Exelina and her child.

Estate File of Isaac Amason, Edgecombe County, North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line],

Notice of sale of Mincey property.

Wilson Daily Times, 14 March 1955.

Benjamin Mincey died in 1950. In the settlement of his estate, a commissioner advertised a lot on Wiggins Street that Mincey had purchased 17 February 1905. At the time of purchase, the lot bordered property owned by Charles Darden, Daniel Vick, Gilbert Stallings, and James T. Wiggins. It may have been the lot at 712 Wiggins upon which Mincey built the house he lived in when he died. Wiggins Street was obliterated with the construction of Carl B. Renfro Bridge and the extension of Hines Street in the early 1970s.

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.)

Auction of the estate of Wiley Williams.

Wilson Daily Times, 30 June 1919.

Wiley Williams‘ wife Carrie died of post-influenza pneumonia when the flu pandemic swept through Wilson County in late 1918. Perhaps overwhelmed by grief, Williams took his own life seven months later. Nicodemus Patterson, from whom Williams had rented farmland, stepped in to arrange the sale of Williams’ belongings for the benefit of his three teenaged children.


On 8 March 1899, Wiley Williams, 21, of Wilson County, son of Harriett Williams, married Carrie Sessoms, 22, of Wilson County, daughter of Claude Sessoms, in Gardners township, Wilson County.

In the 1910 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Wiley Williams, 30; wife Carrie, 40; and children Arthur, 10, Ivor M., 7, and Lizzie, 4.

Wiley Williams registered for the World War I draft in 1918. Per his draft registration card, he was born 28 October 1878; lived at R.F.D. 4, Elm City; was a tenant farmer for Nick Patterson; and his nearest relative was wife Carrie Williams. He signed his name with an X.

Carrie Williams died 3 November 1918 in Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per her birth certificate, she was about 47 years old; was born to Claude and Betsy Sessoms; was married to Wiley Williams and was a farm laborer for N.D. Patterson. G.W. Williams was informant.

Wiley Williams died 11 June 1919 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was about 41 years old; was a widower; was born in Wilson County to Duck Barnes and Harritt Williams; and was a tenant farmer. G.W. Williams was informant.

On 16 June 1919, N.D. Patterson filed for letters of administration in Wiley Williams’ estate, identifying his heirs as Arthur V., Lizzie, and Ivah Williams, all minors, and valuing his estate at about $500.

Arthur Williams died 28 January 1928 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Per his death certificate, he was born 25 February 1900 in North Carolina to Wylie Williams and Carrie Session; was married to Della Williams; and worked as a laborer. Daughter Clementine Wormsley was informant.