freedmen

Please state by what authority they are apprenticed to you.

Bureau R F & A Lands, Office Asst Sub Asst Comr, Goldsboro N.C. July 15th 1867

Barnes William Esq., near Blk Creek NC

Sir:

it is reported at the Head Quarters that you have in your possession three Colored Children named Blaney Barnes, Leonard Barnes and Perry Barnes: which you claim to have apprenticed to you. It is farther represented that these children if apprenticed at all were bound in violation of existing Laws.

In view of these facts you are hereby directed to Report in writing to these Hd. Quarters of your earliest convenience the Authority by which you hold these children in your possession. If they are apprenticed to you please state by what Authority, and if the consent of Parents or next nearest of kin was obtained previous to such Apprenticeship.

Yours Respectfully, J.F. Allison [illegible]

——

In the 1870 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Blaney Barnes, 20, farm laborer.

Blany Barnes married Rachel Cooper on 10 August 1873 at J. Barden’s in Wilson County.

In the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farm laborer Blany Barnes, 27; wife Rachel, 25; and children Larry, 6, Mary An, 4, and William Anderson, 2.

In the 1900 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: railroad laborer Blaney Barnes, 47; wife Rachel, 44; and children Anderson W., 22, Lanettie, 16, and Charlie, 11; plus boarder Dorch Wade, 25.

On 22 September 1903, Blaney Barnes, 50, married Diana Ricks, 45, in Spring Hill township.

In the 1910 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Blaney Barnes, 55, log hauler for saw mill; wife Dianna, 44, farm laborer; daughters-in-law Louvenia Furgerson, 21, and Jane Barnes, 19; grandsons Hiliard, 7, and Joseph N. Barnes, 5, and Willie Furgerson, 4; granddaughter Martha G. Barnes, 12; and boarder Troy Barnes, 23.

Blaney Barnes died 26 April 1915 in Cross Roads township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1844 in Wilson County to Sip Barnes of Wayne County and an unknown mother; was married; and was buried in Barnes graveyard. Informant was Wiley H. Johnson of Lucama.

Roll 17, Letters sent, July-Sep 1867, Goldsboro Assistant Subassistant Commissioner’s Records, North Carolina Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1863-1872, National Archives and Records Administration images, www.familysearch.org

These, and other things too tedious to mention.

In this peevish sworn statement, dated 29 January 1866, Jane C. Barnes airs grievances held over from slavery. A man named Redmond and his family have left her employ, carrying with them items she had “let him have,” presumably at the start of 1865, when slaveholders typically dispensed clothing. She also complained that Redmond had depleted stocks of food and drink she had “put in his charge.” (When and why? Had Jane Barnes and family fled the area during the Civil War?) Tellingly, Barnes griped that Redmond’s “family was an entire expense instead of being a profit” what with his sick children and a wife who had never given her all to the labors imposed upon her.

Jane Barnes’ outrage is not surprising. Her husband had been one of Wilson County’s largest slaveholders, claiming 79 men, women and children just before the war. He estimated their value in the 1860 census as $89,000 — roughly $2.8 million in 2019 dollars. The Barneses’ sturdy plantation house still stands today.

I have not found evidence of the outcome of Jane C. Barnes’ complaint.

——

record-image_.jpg

To be sworn to that it has been given after May 1, 1866

I certify that Redmon had clothing last year to the amount of shirts and of winter pants before he left. I also let him have three gallons of molasses, twenty-five pounds of flour and some lard, also quinine and other medicines for his children. I also let him have one hundred dollars at one time to buy leather, and put in his charge twenty-six gallons of wine and returned only six gallons to me, about the same time I put in his charge fifty-three peices of bacon and when it was returned six peices were missing. His family was an entire expense instead of being a profit, for his three children had the hooping-cough from April up to the time they left, and his wife had to be in the house nearly all the time with them; I further say that his wife never done me a week’s washing in her life by herself. He has had many other things too tedious to mention.

January 29th 1866         Jane C. Barnes

Dear Captain, Above you will find a statement of Mr Wm S Barnes’ wife — I know the lady to be one of very high character & quite an estimable lady.  Yours very truly, J.J. Lutts

——

In the 1860 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer William Barnes, 48; wife Jane, 44; and others. [William Barnes was a brother of Joshua Barnes and Elias Barnes.]

In the 1860 slave schedule of Saratoga township, Wilson County, William Barnes claimed 79 enslaved people living in 12 dwellings on his property. He held an additional 26 in trust for minor heirs.

Reddin Barnes and Martha Barnes registered their seven-year cohabitation on 6 July 1866 in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farm laborer Redmond Barnes, 34; wife Martha, 29; children Adeline, 9, Mary, 3, and Laura, 1; and farm laborer Alfred Simms, 23. Next door: Toby Barnes, 56, and wife Hannah, 84, who registered their 15-year cohabitation in 1866 as well.

In the 1880 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Redmond Barnes, 45; wife Martha, 38; and children Adline, 19, Mary, 13, Laura, 11, Harriet, 9, James, 7, Margaret, 5, Joan, 4, Martha Ann, 2, and Ed, 1.

Roll 17, Miscellaneous Records, 1865-1867, Goldsboro Subassistant Commissioner’s Records, North Carolina Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, National Archives and Records Administration images, www.familysearch.org

 

I never drove off any.

record-image_undefined-17.jpg

Wilson N.C. Dec 22 1865.

Capt. G.O. Glavis, Capt.

I have received your communication by the hands of Mary. I of course do not know what kind of statement has been made to you; but I will make one myself. I have settled with all my employees to their satisfaction. As soon as it was announced that negroes were free I offered wages to those who could earn anything, and expressly told the others I could not give them wages, among these were Mary and Sukey. Mary had 3 children and she was not fit for steady hard work. She was worked as she saw fit. One of her children was sick one month during summer. I employed a physician to attend him, during all this time the mother did not go to work at all. I furnished their diet, houses and all their clothes until they left. The other Sukey has two children and an aged grandfather & mother the last two have not worked for a great many years, and this grand daughter spent a good deal of her time in attention upon them & her children.

I further state that I never drove off any. Who have gone did so of their own accord.

Respectfully &c., J.H. Adams

——

In the 1860 slave schedule of Wilson County, North Carolina, Jesse H. Adams is listed as the owner of 31 enslaved people living in six dwellings. In the population census, Adams is described as a farmer, but he was also proprietor of the newly opened Adams Hotel.

I am unable to identify Mary, Sukey or their families.

North Carolina Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1863-1872, Goldsboro (subassistant commissioner), Roll 16, Unregistered Letters Received Aug 1865-Feb 1868, http://www.familysearch.org

Oust him.

Wilson, N.C., July 31st 1865

J.B. Woodard

Sir, you will oust or cause to leave Mr. L.D. Farmer’s premises one negro man by the name of Warren, also his wife. Should he refuse to leave and not return, bring him to me. Call in any person to your assistance.    W.J. Bullock, Capt. L.P.Y.

——

I have not been able to identify Warren or his wife or the reason Larry Dew Farmer wanted them off his property so soon after Emancipation.

Letter transcribed in The Past Speaks from Old Letters, “a copy of the working papers found in the files of Hugh B. Johnston, Jr., acquired in the course of his lifelong avocation as a professional genealogist and local historian,” republished by Wilson County Genealogical Society, March 2003.

Handy Atkinson and family.

Adv 2 10 1882.png

Wilson Advance, 10 February 1882.

——

On 7 August 1866, Hamlet [sic] Atkinson and Lida Atkinson registered their 17-year cohabitation with a Wilson County justice of the peace.  As set forth here, Handy Atkinson and Lida Williamson had at least four children — Henry, Spencer, Silvia and Angeline. Lida Atkinson died between 1866 and 1870.

On 16 December 1869, Randal Hinnant, son of Emsley Hinnant and Ally Hinnant, married Angaline Atkinson, daughter of Handa Atkinson and Lida Atkinson, at Handa Atkinson’s in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farm laborer Handy Atkinson, 50; and children Nathan, 21, Spencer, 17, Simon, 15, Charity, 13, Sarah, 10, and John, 8. [It seems likely that Nathan, Simon, Charity, Sarah and John were also Lida’s children.]

On 17 February 1870, Henry Williamson, son of Hander Atkinson and Lida Williamson, married Cora Adams, daughter of Mary Adams, in Wilson County.

In the 1880 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farm laborer Handy Atkinson, 53; wife Souson, 26; children John, 15, Thomas, 8, Mary, 6, Hannor, 5, Abby, 2, Harry, 2 months; mother Hagar, 80; and nephew Stanton, 8.

Handy Atkinson died between 1880 and 1900.

In the 1900 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Susan Atkinson, 48; children Calvin, 17, William, 15, Lessie, 12, Daisey, 10, Lafayette, 8, Kizziah, 6, and Ora, 1; step-daughter [sic] Hanner, 24; and grandson Fred D., 7.

In the 1910 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: widowed farmer Susanna Atkinson, 56; children Hannah, 31, Daisy M., 20, and James, 19; and granddaughter Minnie, 10.

Hannah Atkinson died 8 June 1915 in Springhill township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born April 1877 in Wilson County to Handy Atkinson and Susan [last name unknown]; was single and worked as a farmer. Informant was “brother S.T. Atkinson.”

Susan Atkinson died 3 June 1919 in Springhill township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 15 March 1854 to Isaac and Abbie Barnes and was a widow. Informant was Tom Atkinson.

Spencer Williamson died 22 August 1926 in Rocky Mount, Nash County. Per his death certificate, he was 56 years old, was born in Wilson County to Handy Atkinson and an unknown mother; was married to P. Williamson; and lived at 112 North Pine Street, Rocky Mount.

Thomas Stephen Atkinson died 14 July 1928 in Beulah township, Johnston County. Per his death certificate, he was 56 years old; was born in Wilson County in Handy Atkinson and Susie Atkinson; was a farmer; was married to Zillie Atkinson; was buried in Boyette Cemetery. Iva Thomas Atkinson was informant.

C.H. Atkison died 21 March 1929 in Springhill township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 49 years old; was born in Wilson County to Handy Atkinson and Stella Atkison; was a farmer; and was married to Stella Atkison. He was buried in Rocky Branch cemetery.

Lafayett Atkinson died 19 March 1933 in Springhill township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, he was 48 years old; was born in Wilson County to Handy Atkinson and Susan Barnes; was married to Etta Atkinson; and was a farmer.

Channie Barnes died 22 December 1942 in Micro township, Johnston County. Per her death certificate, she was born 6 May 1877 in Wilson County to Handy Atkinson; was the widow of Joseph Barnes; and was buried at Rocky Branch Cemetery.

Daisy Barham died 23 February 1956 at her home at 626 East Vance Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 10 January 1887 in Wilson County to Handy Atkinson and Susan [last name unknown]; was a widow; and was buried in Rocky Branch Cemetery. Informant was Lessie Davis.

Lessie A. Davis died 4 July 1959 in Oldfields township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 2 March 1886 in Wilson County to Handy Atkinson and Susie Barnes and was married to Richard Davis. Informant was Mrs. Willie Blackwell.

 

The estate of Albert Adams.

Albert Adams and Spicey Williams[on] registered their eight-year cohabitation with a Wilson County justice of the peace in 1866. Spicey Williamson Adams is almost certainly the Spicy listed in the 1859 inventory of Hardy H. Williamson’s enslaved property.

In the 1870 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: farmer Albert Adams, 50; wife Spicy, 37; and children Arch, 14, Arnold, 13, Frank, 7, Caroline, 5, and James, 2.

Albert Adams died near the end of 1878. W.T. Williamson was appointed administrator of his estate. Williamson estimated the value of Adams’ estate as about $400 and named his heirs as Frank Adams, Caroline Adams, Arnol Adams, James Adams, Guilford Adams, Albert Adams, an unnamed infant, and widow Spicy Adams.

For the support of Spicy Adams and their children, the court approved the transfer of property from Albert Adams’ estate, including a black mule; three head of cattle; 16 hogs; poultry; perishables like corn, fodder, bacon, potatoes and “turnups greens;” furniture; and cotton seed, totaling $378.25 in value. In January 1879, Williamson sold Adams’ cotton crop for $165.63 and paid off large debts to his bank and a mercantile firm.

Payment of debts owed to Branch, Hadly & Co., the bank that eventually became BB&T.


Payment of Adams’ account at the mercantile firm Moses Rountree & Co.

In the 1880 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: farmer Spicy Adams, 39, and children Frank, 19, Carline, 15,  James, 12, Calvin, 8, Albert, 6, and Dora, 1. Next door: farmer Arnol Adams, 24, and wife Sarah, 18.

On 15 September 1882, Ishmael Wilder filed for letters of administration for Spicy Adams. Wilder estimated her estimated her estate at $500 and named Arnold, Frank, Archibald, James, Calvin Busbee, Albert and Dora Adams as her heirs.

On 1 December 1883, a trio of appointed commissioners divided Albert Adams’ 173 acres among his and Spicy Adams’ heirs. Lot number one went to Arnold Adams; number two to Archibald Atkinson; number three to James Adams; number four to Calvin B. Adams; number five to Frank Adams; number six to Albert Adams Jr.; and number seven to Dora Adams.

[Ten years later, things fell apart. To be continued.]

Estate of Albert Adams, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

Lida Williamson, alias Atkinson, and her children.

As noted here, Hardy H. Williamson’s estate included a woman named “Liddy.”

I have not identified Liddy/Lida/Lydia in census records, but other documents indicate that four of the others listed in H.H. Williamson’s estate inventory — Henry, Spencer, Silvia “Silvy,” and Angeline “Angy” — were Lida’s children.

Handy Atkinson, who appears to have been the father of all four children, was enslaved by a different owner.

On 7 August 1866, Hamlet [sic] Atkinson and Lida Atkinson registered their 17-year cohabitation with a Wilson County justice of the peace.

In the 1870 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farm laborer Handy Atkinson, 50; and children Nathan, 21, Spencer, 17, Simon, 15, Charity, 13, Sarah, 10, and John, 8.

Were these children also Lida Williamson’s? Was Spencer Atkinson the same person as Spencer Williamson? If so, where were Nathan and Charity in 1859 when H.H. Williamson’s estate was tallied?

On 16 December 1869, Randal Hinnant, son of Emsley Hinnant and Ally Hinnant, married Angaline Atkinson, daughter of Handa Atkinson and Lida Atkinson, at Handa Atkinson’s in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farm laborer Randal Hinnant, 22, and wife Angelina, 17.

In the 1880 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Randall Hinnant, 33, Angeline, 26, and children J. Thomas, 10, James H., 8, Lilly Ann, 6, and Roscoe F. Hinnant, 4.

In the 1900 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: Randall Hinnant, 55, Angeline, 48, George W., 16, Sallie A., 14, Survayal, 5, and “hired girl” Susan Hinnant, 40.

In the 1910 census of Old Fields township: George Hinnant, 24, wife Elizabeth, 22, daughter Mary L., 1, mother Angeline, 58, and Percy Hinnant, 7.

In the 1920 census of Old Fields: George Hinnant, 35, Elizabeth, 30, Mary L., 11, James, 9, Mary Lee, 7, Martha May, 6, and Charlie T. Hinnant, 1, and mother Angeline Hinnant, 70.

Per her gravestone, Angeline Hinnant died in 1936. She is buried in New Vester cemetery.

  • Henry Williamson

On 17 February 1870, Henry Williamson, son of Hander Atkinson and Lida Williamson, married Cora Adams, daughter of Mary Adams, in Wilson County.

  • Silvia Atkinson Boykin

On 3 March 1870, Henry Boykin, son of Rear Boykin, married Silvia Atkinson, daughter of Handy Atkinson and Lida Atkinson, in Wilson County.

On 12 February 1893, Harriett Boykin, 20, daughter of Henry and Sylva Boykin, married Samuel Taylor, 26, son of Peter and Zilla Taylor, at Henry Boykin’s residence.

On 17 December 1897, James Boykin, 21, son of Henry and Silvy Boykin, married Mary Jane Kent, daughter of Ned and Liddie Kent.

In the 1910 census of Oneals township, Johnston County: farmer James Boykin, 30; wife Jane, 29; widowed mother Silva, 50; and children Grady, 10, Addie, 8, Fany, 6, Falston, 3, and Tincey, 8 months.

In the 1920 census of Micro township, Johnston County: farmer James H. Boykins, 44; wife Jane, 43; and children Grady, 19, Etta, 18, Fanny, 16, Foster, 12, Henry, 10, Jay, 9, Lillie, 6, John H., 4, and widowed mother Silver, age unknown.

James Henry Boykin died 14 May 1926 in Beulah township, Johnston County. Per his death certificate, he was 48 years old; was born in Wilson County to James H. Boykin and Silva Atkinson; was married Mary Jane Boykin; worked as a laborer at a steel plant in Pennsylvania; and was buried in the family burying ground.

In the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Foster Boykin, 22, wife Ella, 18, and children James R., 2, and Alma, 1; sister-in-law Lily Whitley, 22; mother Silva Boykin, 81; and niece Eula M. Whitley, 3.

Sylvia Boykin died 12 January 1939 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 August 1848 in Wilson County to Henry Boykin [sic; in fact, Henry was her husband] and an unknown mother; was a widow; worked as a tenant farmer; and lived at 507 Warren Street, Wilson. Informant was Addie Boykin, 507 Warren Street.

  • Spencer Williamson

Perhaps, in the 1900 census of Lower Conetoe township, Edgecombe County: farmer Spencer Williamson, 43; wife Mollie, 29; children Spencer, 6, David, 1; plus in-laws Morning, 21, Peggy, 18, and Joseph Rogers, 24.

Perhaps, in the 1910 census of Sparta township, Edgecombe County: Spencer Williamson, 56; wife Mollie, 40; and children Spencer Jr., 15, David, 11, Jessie, 8, Alexander, 5, and Mary, 4.

Spencer Williamson died 22 August 1926 in Rocky Mount, Nash County. Per his death certificate, he was 56 years old, was born in Wilson County to Handy Atkinson and an unknown mother; was married to P. Williamson; and lived at 112 North Pine Street, Rocky Mount.

The last will and testament of Trial Williamson.

Trial Williamson, born about 1805, is likely the “Trion” mentioned in the 1829 will of Hardy Williamson and is certainly the “Trial” mentioned in the 1858 estate records of Hardy H. Williamson. His blood relationship to other enslaved people held by the Williamsons is unknown.

Trial Williamson dictated his will in April 1878 and died the next month.

——

In the name of God Amen! I Tryal Williamson do make and declare this my last will and testament as follows:

Item 1 I give and devise to my wife Rosetta the lands whereon I now live during her natural life or widowhood and at her death or marriage to be equally divided between my daughter Mary wife of John Boykin and my daughter Cherry wife of Daniel Hocutt during their lives and at their deaths to be equally divided between the children of each; that is the children of Mary to have one half and the children of Cherry to have the other half the said lands to be free from the control of their respective husbands John Boykin and Daniel Hocutt.

Item 2 I give and bequeath to my said wife my mare one ox all the hogs bacon and corn & fodder of which I may die possessed. Also all my kitchen and household furniture and farming implements.

Item 3 It is further my will and desire that my cattle one mule colt bees and any other property that my wife does not want be sold and the proceeds of said sale with whatever money I may have at my death be used by my wife for her sole benefit and use the interest to be used by here whenever she needs it.

Item 4 I hereby constitute and appoint my wife Rosetta executrix to this my last will and testament

Signed and declared my last will and testament This 6 day of April 1878    Tryal (X) Williamson

Witness J.M. Taylor, A.S.J. Taylor

——

In 1866, Trial Williams [sic] and Roseta Williams registered their 17-year cohabitation with a Wilson County justice of the peace.

In the 1870 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farm laborer Trial Williamson, 65; wife Rose, 60; and daughters Mary, 21, and Cherry, 19.

On 18 September 1874, Cherry Williamson, 19, married Danl. Hocutt, 24, in Wilson.

In the 1880 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer John Boykin, 42; wife Mary, 29; and children Dock, 19, and Dick, 15 (both sick with whooping cough), Turner, 7, Troy, 5, Betty, 3, and John, 1. [Per the 1870 census, Zadoc and Richard — Dock and Dick — were John’s children.] Next door, widowed farmer Rose Williamson, 68.

In the 1880 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Daniel Hocutt, 30; wife Cherry, 29; and children Jiney, 4, James T., 3, and Tilda An, 1.

Rose Williamson died in 1891. Ishmael Wilder was appointed administrator of her estate. Her meager household goods, purchased by friends and family, netted less than nine dollars.


Handy Atkinson, John Boykin, and Spencer Shaw were among the purchasers at Rosetta Williamson’s estate sale.

Per the terms of Trial Williamson’s will, at Rosetta Williamson’s death, the family farm passed in equal shares to their daughters Mary Williamson Boykin and Cherry Williamson Hocutt.

In 1902, by their attorney W.A. Finch, Cherry Hocutt and her heirs filed a Petition to Sell Real Estate for Division, Including Infants Interest. In a nutshell: (1) Trial Williamson died in 1878 and left a will with the above provision; (2) before Trial died, his land was divided, and the halves were allotted to his daughters; (3) after Rosetta Williamson died about 1891, Cherry Hocutt took full possession of her half; (4) Cherry Hocutt is now 49 years old and has these living children — J.A. Hocutt, age 27, J.T. Hocutt, age 25, M.A. Hocutt, age 22, Ben Hocutt, age 20, Settles Hocutt, age 17, Ida E. Hocutt, age 15, Willie J. Hocutt, age 14, and Lenore Savannah Hocutt, age 12 — and no grandchildren; (5) B.A. Scott has been appointed to represent the interests of the minor children; (6) the Hocutts are tenants in common on their half of Trial Williamson’s 23 1/2 acres in Spring Hill township; (7) in 1889, Daniel and Cherry Hocutt and their children migrated to [Cotton Plant,] Tippah County, Mississippi; (8) the Hocutts wish to sell their half because they “derive no benefit whatever” from it, are too far away to look after it, derive no net income from renting it out, and “the land is hilly and badly washed” and getting worse; and (9) the land is too small to divide among them.

The Superior Court approved the sale, it was advertised, and J.T. Rentfrow was high bidder at $500. Rentfrow promptly filed to partition his property from the half held by Mary Boykin and her heirs — Turner Boykin and wife; Laura Boykin; William Boykin and wife; Cora BoykinBettie Boykin; John Connor Boykin; Minerva Boykin; Sarah BoykinJames Boykin and wife; Ella Boykin; Buck Boykin; and Lizzie Boykin. Turner, Laura and John Connor Boykin no longer lived in North Carolina.

The court ordered this survey, then approved the partition as platted:

Estate Records of Trial Williamson, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com; Estate File of Rose Williamson, Estate File of Trial Williamson, North Carolina Estate Files, 1663-1979, http://www.familysearch.org.

The mother does not wish him to have them.

A man named Abram sought the Freedman’s Bureau’s help in removing his children from John Bailey Batts’ indenture, and Batts wanted to set the record straight. With hubris typical of the times, Batts claimed to have raised the children (by virtue of having held them in slavery from their birth). Abram had once been married to an unnamed woman, but he had left her for Penny. Several children later, Abram left Penny, but was now claiming custody of their children. According to Batts, neither he nor Penny wanted the father to have them.

record-image_undefined-16.jpg

Joyners N.C. Jany 12th 1866

Agent of Freedmen Goldsborough N.C.

Sir, I write to inform you of the condition of colored children born with and so far raised by me the man Abram that claims them had wife and she is still living but he left her and took up with Penny at my home she has several children by him but he has left her (Penny) but now claims her children the mother does not wish him to have them and those you bound to me I wish to retain. Penny can give her statement and I wish to hear from you please write to me and send by the woman Penny or by mail to Joyners Depot N.C. Your favorable consideration will much oblige

Yours verry truly, John B. Batts

——

In the 1860 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer John B. Batts, 32; wife Margaret, 23; children Mary A.F., 4, and Nancy H., 1; Eveline Morris, 21; and farm laborer Elba Lassiter, 16. [Lassiter was a free person of color who probably had been apprenticed to Batts.] Batts reported $1600 in real property and $7740 in personal property [which would mostly have been in the form of enslaved people.]

Batts is not listed in the 1870 census, though he likely remained in Wilson or Nash Counties. I have not been able to identify Abram or Penny.

North Carolina Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1863-1872, Rocky Mount (assistant superintendent), Roll 55, Letters Received Dec 1865-Aug 1868, http://www.familysearch.org

I have no men to send for them.

Though Wilson is a few miles closer to Rocky Mount, Wilson County was under the jurisdiction of the Goldsboro field office of the Freedmen’s Bureau. The people of northeastern Wilson County — the area around Elm City — were closely tied to southeastern Nash and southwestern Edgecombe Counties, and many families moved frequently across county lines for work and family.

In this letter, William Cox, the assistant superintendent at the Rocky Mount field office referred a matter to Goldsboro. In a nutshell: father and son Spencer and Churchwell Bullock signed a labor contract with James J. Taylor of Joyners Depot (now Elm City) in Wilson County. However, the Bullocks had left Taylor’s employ to work for E. Ferrell in “this county” (either Edgecombe or Nash County, Rocky Mount straddles the county line and Joyners Depot was close to both). Cox had no staff to spare to go out and round up the Bullocks and, in any case, because Taylor’s farm was in Wilson County and the contract therefore was approved by the Goldsboro F.O., the problem was not his.

Freedmen’s Bureau, Rocky Mount April 25th, 1866.

Captain Geo. O Glavis, U.S.A., Asst. Supt. Bureau of R.F. and A.L., Goldsboro, N.C.

Captain:

I have the honor to request that two freedmen, Spencer Bullock, and Church Bullock, his son, who have entered into a written contract with Mr. Jas. J. Taylor of Wilson County, and who have left him, The contract is approved by You, The freedmen are now living in this County, on the plantation of E. Ferrell Near Joiners Depot in this County, I have no men to send for them, and as the contract was drawn up in Your County, and as Mr. Taylor lives in Wilson County, I have referred the case to you,

I am, Captain,

Very respectfully, William F. Cox, 2d Lieut. and Asst. Supt.

P.S. I suppose the reason why Mr. Taylor did not go to you is that freedmen are in this county. W.F. Cox

——

In the 1870 census of Tarboro township, Wilson County: farm laborer Spencer Bullock, 56; wife Mathilda, 53; and children Georgewell [Churchwell], 17, Emeline, 9, Leda, 8, and Louisia, 3.

North Carolina Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1863-1872, Rocky Mount (assistant superintendent), Roll 55, Letters Received Dec 1865-Aug 1868, http://www.familysearch.org