estate

The estate of William J. Armstrong.

William J. Armstrong died in Wilson County in September 1856. Several months later, his heirs, as tenants in common, petitioned for the division of his enslaved property, identified as Quinny, Abram, Jim, Birden and his wife and child, Ned, Tony, Harry, Julann and her two children, Lizett, Nance and her child, Ciller and her two children, Jane, Lucinda and two children, Berry, and Mahala.

At January term 1858 of the Wilson County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, a team of commissioners reported their division, randomly allotted, thus:

  • Lot 1 to Catherine Armstrong, consisting of Abram, Avy, Nelson and Allis, valued at $2275.
  • Lot 2 to Caroline Armstrong, consisting of Julan, Mahala and Nancy, valued at $2175.
  • Lot 3 to Willie G. Barnes and wife, consisting of Quinny, Harry, Scilla and her child, valued at $3050.
  • Lot 4 to George W. Armstrong, consisting of Ned, Clary, Sarah and Barry, valued at $3100.
  • Lot 5 to James G. Armstrong, consisting of James, Burton, Rufus and Lucinda and her child, valued at $3325.
  • Lot 6 to John H. Winstead and wife, consisting of Tony, Lizette, Lucinda, Jane and her child, valued at $3320.

Some notes:

  • The petitioners clearly underestimated the number of enslaved people William Armstrong had owned at his death.
  • Scilla and one of the Lucindas were each separated from one of their (youngest) children. (Children over about age eight would have been listed individually.) Julann and Nancy were completely divided from their children.
  • Burton, who seems to have been the only man with a wife living on the Armstrong plantation, was separated from his wife Clary and child.

Only a few of the men, women and children formerly enslaved by William J. Armstrong are readily identifiable in post-Emancipation records:

  • A Wilson County justice of the peace registered Abram Armstrong and Cherry Proctor’s 16-year cohabitation in 1866. In the 1870 census of Joyners township, Wilson County: Abraham Armstrong, 52, wife Cherry, 32, and children Nancy, 16, Haywood, 14, Nelson, 12, Joshua, 11, and Burlee, 7. As Cherry Armstrong and children were owned by a different enslaver, this Abraham’s son Nelson is a different person than the Nelson listed above. So is Nancy.
  • A Wilson County justice of the peace registered Burton Armstrong and Clary Armstrong’s 18-year cohabitation in 1866. In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Burden Armstrong, 45, farm laborer, who owned $400 personal and $300 real property, and wife Clara, 38. Burton and Clara Armstrong became Exodusters and are found in the 1900 census of Portland township, Ashley County, Arkansas, with granddaughter Laura Binam, 6.
  • A Wilson County justice of the peace registered James Armstrong and Pricilla Braswell‘s two-year cohabitation in 1866.
  • In the 1880 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Lucinda Armstrong, 41; her children Charley L., 16, Gray Anna, 13, and Shadrick, 10; her sister Lizette Armstrong, 51; and Mourning Pitt, 80. Charley Armstrong may have been the child allotted with Lucinda to James G. Armstrong. Though they presumably spent the last decade of slavery owned by Barneses, Lucinda and Lizette retained Armstrong as their surname.
  • A Wilson County justice of the peace registered Ned Armstrong and Eliza Whitehead‘s cohabitation in 1866.

Images of estate documents available at North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

Ruffin’s negroes, part 1.

Lemon Ruffin executed his will shortly before leaving for war as a Confederate soldier. He did not return. He died as a prisoner of war in Illinois in 1864, age 32. (His brothers Etheldred, George W. and Thomas Ruffin also died in the war.) As set forth in more detail below, Ruffin received the bulk of his enslaved property as an inheritance from his exceedingly wealthy father Henry J.G. Ruffin, who died in 1854. An inventory of the elder Ruffin’s estate listed 138 enslaved people held on plantations in Franklin, Greene, Wayne and Edgecombe Counties.

——

I Lemon Ruffin of the county of Wilson, State of North Carolina, being of sound mind and memory, but considering the uncertainly of my existence, do make and declare this my last will and testament in manner and form following, that is to say:

First: That my executors shall pay my debts out of the money that may first come into their hands on part or parcel of my estate.

Item: I give and bequeath to my sister S.B. Ruffin my tract of land situated in Wilson Co NC adjoining the lands of Warner Woodard & others on Tosnot — to have and to hold to her and her heirs in fee simple  forever.

Item: I give and bequeath to my sister M.H. Fugitt the proceeds of the sale of the Negro slaves Amos, Sallie and Henderson. Amos to be sold in Alabama. My will and desire is that Sallie and Henderson be brought to N.C. and sold in Wilson County.

Item: I give and bequeath to my sister, Nina W. Ruffin, the Negro slaves Crockett and Harriet to her and her personal representatives forever.

Item: I give and bequeath to my brother, Dr. W. Haywood Ruffin of Misourah the Negro Slaves Isse(?)  the first and her three children and grandchildren, viz; Eliza, Esther, Elizabeth and Haywood.

Item: I give and bequeath to my brother, Thomas Ruffin, the Negro slaves Patience and her children named Isaac, Lettuce & Jerre and the youngest child to him and his personal representative forever.

Item: I give and bequeath to my brother, Etheldred Ruffin, Beck and all her children named Ned, Elving(?), Arabella and Thom to him and his personal  representatives forever.

Item: I give and bequeath to my nephew, Samuel Ruffin, Jr. of Mississippi, the Negro slaves Isse(?) the 2nd commonly called Son[illegible] to him and his personal representative forever.

Item: I give and bequeath to my niece Mary L. Ruffin the negro slave Creasy to her and her personal representative forever.

I do whereof I the said Lemon Ruffin do hereunto set my hand and seal this 24th day of June 1862.

——

In the 1860 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Lemon Ruffin is listed as a 28 year-old farmer living alone, with $5000 in real property and $21,600 in personal property.

These are the relatives listed in his will:

  • sister S.B. Ruffin — Sarah Blount Ruffin.
  • sister M.H. Fugitt — Mary Haywood Ruffin Williams Fugett.
  • sister Nina W. Ruffin — Penina Watson Ruffin Ruffin of Franklin County.
  • brother Dr. W. Haywood Ruffin — William Haywood Ruffin, who migrated to Lexington, Missouri (and later Choctaw County, Alabama.)
  • brother Thomas Ruffin
  • brother Etheldred Ruffin — Etheldred F. Ruffin, Greene County.
  • nephew Samuel Ruffin Jr. — son of W. Haywood Ruffin, but migrated to Pushmataha, Choctaw County, Alabama, to join his uncle Samuel R. Ruffin. Samuel R. Ruffin was the largest slaveholder in that county at Emancipation, and a list of his slaves reveals a number of first names common among Henry’s slaves. See below.
  • niece Mary L. Ruffin

Henry John Gray Ruffin, father of the above and husband of Mary Tartt Ruffin, died in 1854 in Franklin County, North Carolina. He had accumulated immense wealth and prudently executed a precise will, which entered probate in Franklin County. Among the provisions to son Lemon Ruffin were one-half interest in a plantation on Toisnot Swamp in Edgecombe [now Wilson] County (son George W. Ruffin received the other half) and “twenty negro slaves of average value.” (In addition, Mary Tartt Ruffin was to receive  “my old negro man servant Bryant now living at my Tossnot plantation.”) The inventory of Ruffin’s property listed 51 people enslaved on his Franklin County plantation, 50 enslaved on a plantation in Greene and Wayne Counties, and 37 in Edgecombe. (Other enslaved people were distributed among his children prior to his death.)

When distribution was made in September 1854, Lemon Ruffin received Beck, age 23, and her children Wyatt, 3, and Ned, 1; Patience, 32, and her children Isaac, 5, Lettuce, 3, and Jerry, 1; Maria, 45, and her children Eliza, 7, Hester, 5, and Elizabeth, 1; Isaac, 44; Reuben, 43; Crockett, 21; Isaac, 9; Arthur, 9; Sally, 19; Charlotte, 50; Harriet, 12; and Henry, 13. Per the inventories of Ruffin’s plantations, most had been enslaved on the Greene/Wayne County farm previously.

In the 1860 slave schedule of Wilson township, Wilson County, Lemon Taylor is listed with 21 slaves living in three dwellings. He enslaved eight males aged 6, 11, 15, 20, 25, 25, 51 and 52, and 13 females aged 1, 5, 7, 7, 9, 9, 11, 18, 18, 20, 25, 40 and 50. (Above him on the list was his brother G.W. Ruffin and his 22 slaves, aged 3 to 43.)

Two years later, Lemon Ruffin’s will showed that he retained ownership of 14 of the 20 enslaved people he had inherited from his father. Beck’s son Wyatt was likely dead, but she had had three more children, Elvin, Arabella and Tom, in the interim. Maria was dead or sold away; her children Eliza, Hester/Esther and Elizabeth were listed with their grandmother Isse (who seems to have been the “old” Isaac of the inventory, though Isaac is generally a masculine name). Reuben, Charlotte, Arthur and Henry do not appear in Lemon Ruffin’s will, but Crockett, young Isaac, Sallie and Harriet do. Lemon had also purchased or otherwise come into possession of Amos, Henderson and Creasy. (There are an Amos and Creasy listed in the “residue” of Henry Ruffin’s slaves after distribution. Perhaps Lemon had purchased them from the estate.) Per Lemon Ruffin’s will, Amos, Henderson and Sallie were in Alabama (on lease? on loan?) Sallie and Henderson were to be brought back to Wilson for sale, but Amos was to be put on the block In Alabama. None of it came to pass, as Ruffin’s estate did not enter probate until 1866, when his formerly enslaved property was beyond reach.

A North Carolina-born Amos Ruffin, age 35, appears in the 1870 census of Township 13, Choctaw County, Alabama, with his wife and children. Was this the Amos who was targeted for sale in Lemon Ruffin’s will?

In 1866, Patience Ruffin and Michel Ward appeared before a Wilson County justice of the peace to register their 16-year cohabitation. In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmworker Patience Ward, 50, and daughter Lettuce, 20, with Mitchell Ward listed next door.

None of other men, women and children Lemon Ruffin possessed at his death are clearly identifiable in post-Emancipation records.

Sidenotes:

  • Children up to about age 7 were usually grouped with their mothers for purposes of sale or distribution. It is almost certain that the children listed with Patience and Maria in Henry Ruffin’s distribution were merely their youngest and that their older children were separated from them.
  • Though enslaved people sometimes married men or women with whom they shared an owner, more often they married outside the farm or plantation on which they lived. Patience Ruffin and Mitchell Ward are an example.
  • Wealthy planters often owned multiple plantations and moved enslaved people among them at will. Henry Ruffin divided his Edgecombe (Wilson) County plantation into halves. However, the people who had lived on that plantation during his lifetime did not necessarily remain in place after his death. In fact, it appears that the 20 people with whom Lemon Ruffin stocked his half of Toisnot plantation came primarily from his father’s Greene/Wayne plantation. The former Toisnot slaves were shifted to plantations elsewhere. This kind of movement resulted in the further splintering of families as parents owned by neighboring enslavers were left behind.
  • White eastern North Carolina slaveowners were among the earliest settlers of Alabama in the early 1800s, taking North Carolina-born enslaved people with them. Slaveowners who did not leave North Carolina often sold their “excess” enslaved property to meet the ravenous labor needs of Alabama’s booming cotton economy.
  • Herbert G. Gutman argued in his exhaustively researched The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom 1750-1825 that enslaved African-Americans strove to maintain and transmit ties of kinship by repeating first names among generations of a family. Though we do not know the relationships among all the Ruffin slaves, this pattern can be observed among them. More on this later.

Images of estate documents available at North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

The estate of Wilson Sharpe.

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Wilson Sharpe died without a will in late 1900, and the Court appointed Samuel H. Vick and Braswell R. Winstead to assist as commissioners in the handling of his estate.

Sharpe’s sole heir was his widow Cherry Sharpe, who was entitled to an immediate portion of his assets for her support. There was not much; she received an old buggy and harness, an old gun, some cart wheels, and pile of old tools. This being insufficient, on 15 January 1901 the commissioners reclaimed property that T.R. Lamm had taken, presumably to settle a debt — a forty-dollar mule, eight hogs, and $25 worth of corn and fodder.

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In the 1870 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farm laborer Wilson Sharp,42, and wife Cherry, 27.

In the 1880 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farmer Wilson Sharp, 52; wife Cherry, 45; nephew Jerry Bynum, 6; and James Mitchel, 47, with wife Rosa, 33, and son James G., 11.

In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Wilson Sharp, 65; wife Cherry, 40; and children Willie, 16, Eva, 9, and Besse, 2 months. [These were likely foster children.]

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Tilman’s Road, widowed farm laborer Cherry Sharp, 65, living alone.

Images of estate documents available at North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

The division of the Ned Kent farm.

Ned Kent of Springhill township passed away 22 July 1940. The details of his will are detailed here.

Nearly eight years later, Wilson County Superior Court accepted the report of the commissioners appointed to divide Kent’s land among his many heirs. Born into slavery, he had accumulated 159 acres in southern Wilson County.

Book 150, pages 409-410, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson County Courthouse.

The interested parties were: James Kent and wife Nettie; Louise Kent Barnes and husband William Barnes; Narcissus Kent Lucas and husband John Lucas; Percy Kent and wife Cherrie; Cassanda Kent Williams; Jane Boykin; Jennie Lucas and husband W. Fred Lucas; Charlie Kent and wife Victoria Kent; Roscoe Kent and wife Mary; the children of Clara Ann Kent Hamilton (Purcelle Hamilton, Clara Beatrice Hamilton Payne and Matthew Hamilton); Fred Kent’s daughter Thelma Kent Barnes; Ada Kent Williams‘ son Willie Kent; the children of Arcelars Kent (Daisy Kent Williams, Chaney Kent Parker, Helen Kent Lipton, Ned Kent and Jim Kent); the children of James Kent (James R. Kent, Joseph W. Kent, Bessie Hardy, Thaddeus Kent, Johnnie W. Kent, Algie Marie Kent and Flora May Kent); the children of Narcissus Kent Lucas (Pearl Lucas Barnes, Kezzie Lucas Boykin); the children of Percy Kent (Carnell Kent, Lydie Frances Kent Craddock and Davie Nell Kent); the children of Louise Kent Barnes (Nannie Barnes Paschall, Sophie Mae Pulley, Benjamin Barnes, Randolph Barnes, Lydia Barnes Griffin, Gaybella Barnes Harris, Willie Mae Barnes Strickland, Glintle Lee Barnes Finch, Marcus Barnes, Mercedes Barnes, Joya Dennis Barnes, Kay Georgia Barnes and Shirley Barnes); the children of Jane Boykin (Grady Boykin, Willie Foster Boykin, William Gay Boykin, John Henry Boykin, Lillie Mae Boykin; Addie Boykin Miles, Fannie Boykin Clark, Tincie Boykin Williams, and Lydia Boykin Finch); the children of Jennie Lucas (Carrie Lucas Williams, George Lucas, William Lucas, Raspor Lucas, Callie Lucas, Emily Lucas, Chellie Lucas Gastings and Oscar Lucas); the children of Charlie Kent (James O. Kent, Roy Kent, George Kent, James T. Kent, Hubert Kent, Ned Kent, Ruth Kent Hinnant, and Janie Kent Richardson); and Casanda Kent Williams’ son Eddie Williams., plus any “unborn and unascertained children.”

Ned Kent’s farm was divided into 13 lots of just over 12 acres each. Lot #4, which contained the family cemetery, was slightly larger to compensate. A plat map shows an unpaved road running through lots 1 through 6 and a creek running at the edge of lots 7 through 10. Lots 1, 6 and 12 contained dwellings.

Plat Book 5, page 71, Register of Deeds office, Wilson County Courthouse.

The Kent land today, just west of Sullivan Road in far southwestern Wilson County. The road remains unpaved, and the cemetery is well-kept. Per Wilson County, North Carolina Cemeteries — Volume 1, a publication of the Wilson County Genealogical Society, the graveyard contains about 51 graves, including Ned Kent and wife Lydia; their daughter Mary Jane Kent Boykin, her husband John H. and son Grady; their sons Charlie and Marcellus; and others. The tiny creek at the bottom edge of the plat map is now an arm of Buckhorn Reservoir.

A close-up of the Ned Kent family cemetery and the road that runs past it:

Photographs courtesy of Google Maps.

The last will and testament of George A. Barnes.

George A. Barnes dictated his will on 24 August 1907.

He had detailed wishes: (1) all his crops to his wife; (2) a life estate in all his land to his wife, Annie Barnes; (3) subject to the life estate, his house and four acres on Hominy Swamp to son George and daughter Minnie, with certain stipulations re its disposal;

(4) subject to the life estate, two acres to daughter Edmonia Farmer; (5) subject to the life estate, two acres to son Joshua Barnes; (6) subject to the life estate, two acres to son Billy Barnes; (7) subject to the life estate, an 18-acre tract to son General Barnes (minus Joshua’s two acres), which is “perfectly fair” because General furnished one hundred dollars for his father to purchase the land and because General cared for George and Annie in their old age.

George A. Barnes died in the spring of 1910, and son George Washington Barnes applied for probate of the will on 11 May 1910. As his widow Annie Barnes held a life estate in all his real property, his estate required minimal handling. However, Annie Barnes died the day after Christmas 1917, and less than a month later their children (and spouses) sold all but two of George A.’s 28 acres for $3000 to A.F. Williams, a white physician (who had treated their mother in her final illness.) The remaining two acres belonged to son Joshua Barnes, who, astonishingly, died exactly one week later of tuberculosis.

Deed Book __, Page 6-7, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson County Courthouse, Wilson. 

——

George Barnes married Anaca Mercer on 31 October 1866 in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: George Barnes, 30; wife Annie, 24; and children Hardy, 8, Rena, 7, Edna, 1, and Jesse, 3.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: south of the Plank Road, farmer George Farmer, 41; wife Anna, 34; and children Hardy, 19, Reny, 17, Jessee, 12, Edmonia, 11, George, 9, Minnie Adeline, 6, Joshua and General, 3, and William, 1 month.

In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: George A. Barnes, 60, farmer; wife Annie, 53; children George, 23, teacher, Joshaway, 22, farmer, and Jenerl, 22, teacher; grandson Paul, 11; son Harda, 32, and daughter-in-law Nancy, 30.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on County Line Road, farmer George Barnes, 71; wife Annie, 66; son Joshua, 34; and grandchildren Charlie, 8 , and Hattie Palm, 5.

Annie Barnes died 26 December 1917 in Wilson township. Per her death certificate, she was 72 years old; was born in Wilson County to George Battle; and was a widow. George Barnes was informant.

Joshua Barnes died 29 January 1918 in Wilson township. Per his death certificate, he was about 40 years old; was born in Wilson County to George A. Barnes of Wilson County and Annie Battle of Edgecombe County; and died of consumption. George W. Barnes was informant.

George Washington Barnes died 13 April 1936 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 65 years old; was born in Wilson County to George A. Barnes of Wilson County and Annie Battle of Edgecombe County; was married to Mary Barnes; and worked as a photographer.

General Barnes died 7 January 1938 at his home at 518 North 58th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Per his death certificate, he was 62 years old; was married; was born in North Carolina to George Barnes and Annie Battle; and worked as a clerk/postal employee. Mary Barnes was informant.

Edmonia Farmer died 18 January 1947 at her home at 706 East Green Street. Per her death certificate, she was 77 years old; was born in Wilson County to George Barnes and Annie Parker; and was married to John Wash Farmer. Informant was George W. Farmer, 1207 Carolina Street.

Minnie Baines died 5 December 1963 at Mercy Hospital. Per her death certificate, she was born November 1877 in Wilson County to George Barnes and Annie (last name unknown); was a widow; and resided at 309 North Reid Street. Informant was Hattie Evans, 309 North Reid.

North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

The division of Kenyon Locus’ land.

Plat Book 2, Page 171, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson County Courthouse.

Kenyon Locus‘ estate included about 66 acres of land in Taylors township, Wilson County. His property was divided and platted in January 1942, a little over a year after his death. It was bordered on the north side by a road leading to the Wilson-Nashville Highway [N.C. Highway 58] and on the west by a road leading south to Wilson via Ellis Chapel. The property to his south was jointly owned by Charlie Brantley and Mollie Howard, heirs of Henderson Brantley. To the north was acreage owned by Will and Sylvia Howard (or Batchelor) Lucas. A house and several other buildings cluster on a small road that hooked across the northwest corner of the property.

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In the 1880 census of Jackson township, Nash County: John Locus, 30; wife Delpha, 30; and children Frank, 10, Dora, 8, Kenny, 5, Nancy, 4, and Samuel, 9 months.

In the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Johnnie Lucus, 43; wife Delpha, 51; children Kinion, 26, Nannie, 24, Edwin, 15, Sidney, 12, and Susan, 9; and grandsons Bunion, 5, and Martin L., 3.

In the 1910 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: on Howards Path, John Locust, 66; wife Delphia, 64; children Kinyan, 36, and Susie, 19; and grandchildren Bunyan, 15, Luther M., 13, and Roxie, 7 months.

In the 1920 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: John Locus, 77; wife Delphi, 65; son Kennie, 48; and grandchildren Roxie, 11, and Luther, 23.

In the 1940 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Kerney Locus, 67; wife Bell, 53; and lodger Frosty Pond, 33.

Kenney Locas died 10 December 1940 as the result of a terrible farming accident. Working in a field on his farm, he slipped off a stalk cutter and suffered a crushed leg and pelvis. He was taken to Mercy Hospital, where he was declared dead. Per Locus’ death certificate, he was 66 years old; was married to Isabella Locas, age 55; was born in Wilson County to John Locas of Wilson County and Delphia Taylor of Nash County; and worked as a farmer.

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The division of Henderson Brantley’s land.

Though he died in 1916, Henderson Brantley‘s land in Taylors township was not divided per the terms of his will until 1946. His son Charlie Brantley and daughter Mollie Brantley Howard received equal shares.

——

In the 1850 census of Nash County, North Carolina: Betty Brantley, 50, and her children Kimbrel, 25, Henderson, 14, and Guilford B. Brantley, 12, all described as mulatto.

In the 1910 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: on Howards Path, Henderson Brantley, 70, widower; daughter Bettie, 23; and cousin Dock Howard, 38.

On 9 April 1915, Hence Brantley executed a will in Wilson County. Under its terms, his daughter Bettie was to receive 22 1/2 acres, including the home place; son Charley Brantley was to receive an adjoining 22 1/2 acres; and daughter Molie Hourd was to receive his remaining land. His money was to be split evenly among the children. Brantley named his “trusty friend” Grover T. Lamm executor, and Lamm and Dock Howard were witnesses.

Henderson Brantley died 2 December 1916 in Taylor township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 80 years old; was a widower; was a retired farmer; was born in Nash County to Bettie Brantley. Informant was Charles Brantley.

Bettie Brantley died 8 December 1919 in Taylor township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 40 years old; single; and was born in Wilson County to Henderson Brantley and Mollie Boone. Charlie Brantley was informant.

In the 1940 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Charlie Brankley, 63; his sister Mollie Howard, 53; and lodger Earnest Howard, 30, a farm laborer.

Charlie Brantley died 8 January 1948 in Taylor township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was single; was born 1 August 1874 in Nash County to Hence Brantley and Mollie Boone; was a farmer; and was buried in Brantley cemetery. Mollie Brantley was informant.

Mollie Howard Brown died 1 January 1974 in Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 15 April 1878 in Wilson County to Henderson Brantley and Mollie Boone; was a widow; and was buried in Howard cemetery. Earnest Howard was informant.

Plat book 2, page 218, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson County Courthouse.

Littleton Ellis’ land division.

Littleton Ellis‘ land was surveyed, divided and platted in the spring of 1942, several decades years after his death between 1900 and 1910. The road slicing across the middle of the plat map appears to be today’s Forest Hills Road, with directions east “To U.S. Hwy. No. 301” and west “To Road Leading to Wilson Via of Winstead Sch.”

Plat book 2, page 175, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

The estate of Elijah Cox.

Less than a decade after gaining freedom, Elijah Cox passed away in southern Wilson County. He had assembled a small farm in Cross Roads township, but it would not pass intact to the next generation.

Receipt for reimbursement to Ben Cox, alias Horne, for clothing purchased “for burying father.”

Dr. R.E. Cox filed a claim against the estate for medical care provided in Elijah Cox’s final illness.

In 1874, Patience Cox applied for letters of administration in Wilson County Superior Court for her husband’s estate. His heirs were named as Haywood Sauls and wife Fannie; Sherrod Cox and wife Diana; Simon Dew and wife Telitha; Jerry Everett and wife Jane; Ben Barnes and wife Hester; Ben Cox; William Horne; and Warren Barnes. His estate file reveals that Cox owned about 56 acres at his death and that his debts were estimated at $175. For her support, Patience Cox was allotted barrels of corn, shucks, fodder, cotton seed, cattle, hogs, peas, potatoes, garden tools, plows, and household and kitchen furniture, which essentially wiped out Elijah’s personal property. As a result the court ordered Cox’s land sold to create assets to pay off his debts.

Inventory of Elijah Cox’s estate.

In a final accounting after the sale, heirs received payments of about $16 in February 1876.

Request from Cox’ daughter Fannie Sauls of Fremont, Wayne County, to have her share delivered via her husband Haywood Sauls.

——

In 1866, these formerly enslaved couples registered their cohabitations in Wayne County (Haywood Sauls and Fannie Newsome, 4 years) and Wilson County (Simon Dew and Litha King, 18 years, and Benjamin Barnes and Hester Barnes, 20 years.) I have not found cohabitation records for Elijah and Patience or their other children. (Sidenote: the multiple surnames used by Elijah’s children — Cox, Horne, Barnes, King, Newsome — suggests that they had different mothers or were held in slavery by several different owners.)

In the 1870 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: shoemaker Elijah Cox, 66; wife Patience, 65; and children (or grandchildren) Jerry, 11, Clara, 5, and Patience Cox, 3. Cox claimed $150 real estate.

In the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Ben Jamin Horne, 33; wife Mandy, 26; and children William Henderson, 14, Alvester, 10, Hilliard, 8, Amos, 6, and Louetta Cox, 3; and mother Patience Cox, 70.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: wagon driver Haywood Sauls, 46, and wife Fannie, 56.

In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Simon Dew, 55; wife Lithy, 48; children Lany, 27, Peter, 25, Lucy, 23, Diannah, 21, Isaih, 20, Hilliard, 18, Hester, 16, Aarch, 14, Liscy, 12, Patience, 10, Sarah, 8, and Simon, 6; and grandchildren Zilpha, 13, Roxie A., 2, and William, 1.

In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Benjaim Barnes, 52; wife Hester, 52; and children Ervin, 17, Rebecca, 16, Bettie, 13, Larry, 10, Thomas, 8, and Benjaim, 6.

North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

The estate of Alex Crockett.

Alexander Crockett died 22 February 1920 in Wilson. He left no will.

Crockett was unmarried, and his sister Georgia Crockett Aiken filed for letters of administration on the estate. She and their brother James Crockett were the sole heirs, and she estimated Alex’ estate value at $400.00. Aiken and E.D. Barnes posted bond.

Dr. William A. Mitchner filed a claim for $65 against Crockett’s estate, presumably for services rendered during his treatment for tuberculosis.

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In the 1880 census of Little Washington, Goldsboro, Wayne County, North Carolina: William Crockett, 35, drayman; wife Rachel, 41, seamstress; and children James, 11, Alex, 9, Georgianna, 8, and Robert, 1.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 123 Pender Street, Georgia Akin, 45, widow, livery stable manager; brother Alexander Crockett, 47, stable salesman; and roomers John Norfleet, 30, and Mose Parker, 32, both laborers. [Georgia’s husband John H. Aiken had been a partner with Crockett in Crockett & Aiken, a livery, transfer and house-moving outfit.]

Alexander Crockett died 22 February 1920 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 9 August 1875 in Wayne County to William Crockett of Chester, South Carolina, and Rachel Hill of North Carolina; was a self-employed livery and transfer operator; and was single. Informant was Georgia Aiken.

North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.