Nash County NC

The obituary of Henry Powell.

Wilson Daily Times, 1 October 1928.

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In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: brothers James Powell, 24, and Henry Powell, 22, both farm laborers.

In the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Powell Henry (c) laborer h 136 Manchester; also, Powell James (c) laborer h 136 Manchester

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: James Powell, 33, farm laborer; wife Martha, 28; daughters Mattie B., 4, and Charity, 1; and lodger Henry Powell, 32, farm laborer.

In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Powell Henry (c) fireman h East nr Nash

On 6 November 1912, Henry Powell, 34, married Sarah E. Hagans, 25, at the bride’s house in Wilson. Primitive Baptist elder Jonah Williams performed the ceremony in the presence of Dempsey Lassiter, Alus Harris, and Charles Parker.

In the 1920 census of Jackson township, Nash County: on Raleigh and Tarboro Road, farmer Henry Powell, 43; wife Sarah, 35; and children Eva, 16, Hallah, 13, Mildred, 11, John, 8, Maso, 6, Ruth, 5, Annie B., 3, Charlie L., 2, and Millie, 3, months.

Cora Miller Powell died 13 November 1926 in Jackson township, Nash County. Per her death certificate, she was born 5 September 1926 in Nash County to Henry Powell and Sarah Hagans, both of Wilson County; and was buried in Nash County. Henry Powell was informant.

Henry Powell died 29 September 1928 in Jackson township, Nash County. Per his death certificate, he was born November 1877 in Wilson County to Ichabod Powell and Mary Ann Lassiter; was married to Sarah Powell; was a farmer; and was buried in Nash County.

Sarah Powell filed for letters of administration in Nash County Superior Court on 9 October 1928. His estate was estimated at $5500, of which $4500 was land. His heirs were his wife and children Ruth Powell, Geneva Woodard, Mahala Powell, J.H. Powell, Mildred Powell, Maso Powell, Annie Belle Powell, Christine Powell, Charles L. Powell, Irene Powell, Freeman Powell, Junius Powell, and Lorenzo Powell.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

The estate of John Flowers.

We examined documents related to the people enslaved by Henry Flowers here. A look at the estate records of his father John Flowers, who died in 1806, reveals that several men and women had been held by the family for almost half-a-century.

Dr. John Vick and William Moore were administrators for John Flowers’ estate. As was common, they hired out four men (and rented out two plantations) for the years 1806 and 1807.

On 5 December 1807, a committee prepared a valuation of the twelve African-Americans comprising Flowers’ human chattel. They were Primus ($250), Peter ($450), Abram ($400), Frank ($425), Toney ($300), Jacob ($150), Will ($125), Annis ($5), Nell ($300), Dorcas ($300), Mourning ($200), and Joan ($175).

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The same day, the committee divided the enslaved into four lots, and Flowers’ heirs drew for them. The first lot — Primus, Nell, Annis and Will — went to Flowers’ widow, Judith, who had remarried to Edward York. The second lot — Peter and Dorcas — went to Claiborne Mann for his wife Nancy, Flowers’ daughter. The third lot — Abram, Mourning, and Jacob — went to son Edward Flowers. The last — Frank, Toney, and Joan — went to son Henry Flowers.

Nell, Annis, Peter, Abram, Toney, and Frank, and Jacob share names with enslaved people listed in Henry Flowers’ estate. In 1807, Nell was a woman in her prime. She is likely the Nelly who died forty years later during the probate of Henry Flowers’ estate. However, Annis, whose valuation in John’s estate likely indicates old age, appears to be a namesake for the other Annis listed with her children in Henry Flowers’ estate records. Census records indicate that the latter Annis was born between 1810 and 1818. Similarly, Henry Flowers’ Peter was born well after John Flowers’ Peter. There is insufficient evidence about Abram, Toney, and Frank.

John Flowers Estate File (1806), Nash County, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

Thanks again to Katherine Elks for alerting me to this rich trove of documents.

The estate of Henry Flowers.

Henry Flowers, who lived on the south bank of Toisnot Swamp in what was then Nash County, died in February 1845.

Flowers enslaved fourteen people at the time of his death, and all were hired out on 4 March 1845, pending the settlement of his estate, which would involve a protracted battle between two sets of children. Though their ages are not listed, this schedule suggests that Frank, Toney, Jim, Peter, and Jacob were grown men at the time. Merica and Peggy were likely very young girls. Annis was a grown woman with four children, and Nelly is likely an older or disabled woman. Beyond Annis and her children, the family relationships, if any, among the fourteen are not stated. Whatever they were, and even if they involved parental or marital relationships beyond Flowers’ farm, this mass hire was powerfully disruptive, as the group was dispersed to live on eight different farms.

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Another version of this account reveals that Nelly and Annis and her children were labeled “parishners.” A parishioner ordinarily is a member of a church parish, but here seems to designate persons who were unable to work, as the estate paid Britton Bottoms and Kinchen Taylor to take these six people. This account also identifies Annis’ four youngest children, Elic [Alex], Redmond, Harry, and Rose.

New leases began at the first of the year 1846, and the group was further shuffled around. Only Toney remained with his previous lessor, John W. Williams. William Taylor leased three adults, plus three of Annis’ four children. The fourth, Ellick, was now old enough to be leased on his own, and he went to W. Roe at a discount price. Nelly, alas, had died.

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Another new year, another reshuffling. William Taylor, husband of Flowers’ daughter Charity,  continued to consolidate his leases over Henry Flowers’ slaves, hiring Frank, Peter, and Annis and her children, including Ellick. Annis had had another child during the previous year, a girl she named Isabel.

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Here, an undated roster of “the negros belonging to the Estate of Henry Flowers Decd.”

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Finally, in 1850, after years of squabbling, the estate began to pay out. Henry Flowers’ enslaved property was divided into three lots. No. 1 consisted of James ($700), Elix ($500), Annis ($300), Isabel ($200), and Frank “old” ($100). No. 2 was Peter ($600), Merica ($550), Redmon ($450), and Rose ($300). No. 3 was Toney ($345), Jacob ($650), Pegga ($550), and Harry ($475). Lot No. 1 was distributed to William Taylor and his wife Charity Flowers Taylor. The remaining lots would go to Charity’s half-sisters, Nancy and Judith Flowers, when they reached adulthood.

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  • Frank
  • Toney
  • James/Jim
  • Peter

Possibly: in 1866, Peter Taylor and Clarisy Taylor registered their eleven-year cohabitation with a Wilson County justice of the peace.

If so, in the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farm laborer Peter Taylor, 32 [sic]; wife Clarsey, 37; and children Harrit, 8, Haywood, 10, William, 5, and Susan, 8 months.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Peter Taylor, 50; wife Clarcy, 36; children Harriet, 17, William, 15, Susan, 10, Henry, 8, Moretta, 6, and Charlie, 2; and granddaughter Clarcy, 7 months.

Charissy Taylor died 16 September 1932 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 June 1836 in Wilson County to Dempsey Cotton; was the widow of Peter Taylor; and lived at 522 Church Street. Informant was Mark Cotton.

  • Jacob
  • Merica

In the 1870 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farm laborer America Flowers, 35, and daughter Anaka, 7.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmworker America Flowers, 55.

  • Peggy

On 22 September 1870, Belford Farmer, son of Ben and Ellen Farmer, married Peggy Flowers, daughter of Henry and Annie Flowers, in Wilson County.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widowed laundress Peggy Farmer, 43, and children Mourning, 23, Alice, 21, Annie, 13, Moses, 16, Ida, 10, Belford, 7, and Mary, 5, and grandsons Willie, 3, and Henry, 1.

  • Annis

In the 1870 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Anniss Taylor, 52; daughter Isabella, 23; and granddaughter Mary J., 4.

In the 1880 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Annis Taylor, 70; daughter Isbel, 30; and granddaughter Mary J., 16.

  • Nelly
  • Ellick

In 1866, Alex Taylor and Laney Locus registered their seven-year cohabitation with a Wilson County justice of the peace.

In the 1870 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farm laborer Ellis Taylor, 34, and wife Lainey, 45; plus Nathanel Locust, 33, farm laborer, and Malvina, 11, and Duncan Locust, 4. [Note that Alex Taylor was born about 1835. This means that he was about 11 years old when deemed old enough to be hired out separate from his mother.]

In the 1880 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Alex Taylor, 42, farmer; wife Delany, 50; and grandson Jessee D. Locus, 12.

In the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Alex Taylor, 70, widower, and boarder Frank Johnson, 20.

In the 1910 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: on Nash Road, widower Ellic Taylor, 75, farmer, and sister Isabel Taylor, 65.

Alexander Taylor died 26 June 1923 in Taylor township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 96 years old; was a widower and farmer; and was born in Wilson County to an unknown father and Anicky Taylor. John H. Clark was informant.

  • Isabel

In the 1870 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Anniss Taylor, 52; daughter Isabella, 23; and granddaughter Mary J., 4.

In the 1880 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Annis Taylor, 70; daughter Isbel, 30; and granddaughter Mary J., 16.

In the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Isbel Taylor, 51, laborer.

In the 1910 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: on Nash Road, widower Ellic Taylor, 75, farmer, and sister Isabel Taylor, 65.

Issabell Taylor, died 26 October 1929 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 84 years old; was single; was born in Wilson County to Harry Taylor and Anicky Taylor; and was a tenant farmer. Informant was John H. Clark. [What was the relationship of John H. Clark to the Taylors?]

  • Redmund
  • Harry
  • Rose

Rose Flowers died 26 January 1919 in Taylors township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 80 years old; was single; was a farmhand; and was born to Henry Williams and Annis Taylor. Informant was Alex Taylor. [It appears that Annis Flowers’ daughters Peggy, Rose, and Isabel had the same father, named Henry, whose surname is variously attributed as Flowers, Taylor and Williams.]

Nancy Flowers Estate File (1848), Nash County, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com; Henry Flowers Estate File (1845), Nash County, North Carolina Estate Files, 1663-1979, http://www.familysearch.org.

Many thanks to Katherine Elks for alerting me to this rich trove of documents.

Hardy Tabourn seeks a Revolutionary War pension.

State of North Carolina, Nash County  }   On this thirteenth day of August Eighteen hundred and Forty four Personally appeared in open Court Hardiman Tabourn a resident of the County of Nash and maketh the following declaration in order to obtain a pension under the act of Congress passed on the seventh day of June Eighteen hundred and thirty two and after being duly sworn according to law doth declare on his oath that he is the son of Burrell Tabourn who Enlisted in the war of the revolution in the year Seventeen hundred and eighty-one For the term of Twelve months under Capt Lytle and after he had served out that time he was drafted for a twelve month tour in the year of Seventeen hundred and eighty two as he has always heard his said father say who will more fully appear by two certificates which he has procured from the Secretary of the State of North Carolina, which he submits as evidence in Connection with his own of his Said Fathers services.

And further declares that his said Father Burrell Tabourn died leaving no widow and that his said father Burrell Tabourn died on the Ninth day of January Eighteen hundred and fortytwo and that he was Eighty one years old when he died and that he himself is forty nine years old and that he has three Brothers and two Sisters Namely Larkin Tabourn forty seven years old, Caleb Tabourn Thirtyfive years old, Boling Tabourn twentyeight years old, Beady Tabourn who intermarried with one Berry Locust Thirtytwo years old and Elizabeth Tabourn Thirty years old and he Further declares that his said Father was at the time he entered the Service a resident of the County of Nash and remained as Such up to this death and that he himself and all his brothers and sisters are Residents of the County of Nash and State aforesaid

And he Further declares that he has always heard his Father Say that he served the last Tower under the same Capt as he did the first two and he said Hardiman Further declares that he hims [sic] and he in behalf of his Brother and Sisters do hereby relinquish all Right to a pension whatever Except this

Sworn and subscribed to the day and date before written Before me  Francis M. Taylor  Hardiman X Tabourn

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In the 1850 census of Nash County: Caleb Tayborne, 51, wife Susan, 50, and children Quilly, 20, Jane, 15, Owen, 15, Martha, 12, Larkin, 12, and Sallie, 10.  Also, Larkin Tayborne, 57, wife Rebecca, 68, Ricks, 24, and Levenia, 15.  Also, Berry Locust, 50, wife Beedy, 45, and children Arthur, 25, Eliza, 19, Hepsy A., 16, Ivah, 15, Alsey, 12, Henry, 10, and Leymon, 8.

In the 1860 census of Old Fields, Wilson County: Hardy Tabourn, 70, farm laborer, living alone.

From the file of Burrell Tabourn, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives and Records Administration.

O.L. and Emma Freeman family portrait.

Bottom: Emma, “Little Emma” and Oliver Lovett Freeman. Top: Irma, Percy and Hazel Freeman.

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Lovett Freeman, 24, of Wilson County, son of J.F. Freeman and Eliza Freeman, married Emma Pender, 23, daughter of Amos Pender, on 25 October 1899 in Amos Pender’s house in Wilson County. Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony.

In the 1900 census of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio: blacksmith Oliver L. Freeman, 25; wife Emma C., 24, school teacher; sister Olive, 8; and roomer Henry Bruce, 20, barber. All the Freemans were born in North Carolina; Bruce, in Tennessee.

In the 1910 census of Rocky Mount, Nash County: blacksmith in buggy shop Oliver Freeman, 36; wife Emma, 34; and children Percy, 10, Hazel, 8, Irma, 6, and Emma, 3.

In the 1920 census of Rocky Mount, Nash County: blacksmith O.L. Freeman, 44; wife Emma, 43; and children Percy, 29 [sic], Hazel,18, Erma, 16, and Emma, 12.

In the 1930 census of Rocky Mount, Nash County: at 1113 West Thomas, Oliver L. Freeman, 55, blacksmith; wife Emma C., 53; and Emma Freeman, Percy Freeman and Harold L. Freeman.

In November 1938, Oliver Lovett Freeman applied for Social Security benefits. His application noted that he was born 12 November 1869 in Wilson, N.C., to Julious Freeman and Eliza Daniel.

In the 1940 census of Rocky Mount, Nash County: at 1113 West Thomas, Oliver Freeman, 64, blacksmith shoeing horses; wife Emma, 63; and daughter Emma, 31.

In 1942, Cornelius Pitt registered for the World War II draft in Nash County. Per his registration card, he was born 6 October 1921 in Rocky Mount; lived at 1110 West Thomas; his contact was Oliver Freeman, 1113 West Thomas; and he worked for Emerson Shops, A.C.L. [Railroad], Rocky Mount.

Oliver L. Freeman made out his will on 5 June 1954 in Nash County. Per its terms, daughter Irma F. Rudd was to receive the homeplace at 1113 West Thomas Street, Rocky Mount; daughter Hazel F. Whisonant, the tenant houses at 1123-1125 Gay Street, Rocky Mount; son Percy Freeman, the tenant house at 1119-1120 Gay Street; and daughter Emma Freeman, the tenant house at 1121-1122 Gay Street. His remaining property was to be divided among his children in equal shares.

Per Findagrave.com, Freeman died 26 June 1955 and is buried in Northeastern Cemetery, Rocky Mount.

Photo courtesy of Mary Freeman Ellis, The Way We Were.

A marriage in 1848.

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Ed. Powell and Thomas Mercer gave bond for a marriage license for Ed. Powell and Mary Jones on 14 August 1848 in Nash County. The couple likely lived in a section of Nash that would be incorporated into Wilson County in 1855.

Nineteen years later, on 10 October 1867, John Allen Jones, son of Edwin Powell and Mary Jones, married Susan Simpson, daughter of Sallie Simpson, at Margarett Simpson‘s house in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farm laborer Jno. A. Jones, 22; wife Susan, 19;  children Thomas, 2, and Jesse B., 7 months; and Rosett Boykin, 10.

In the 1880 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Dempsy Powell, 52, farmer; wife Sallie, 46; daughter Susan A. Jones, 27, and her husband John A. Jones, 34; their children Thomas A., 13, Jessee B., 11, James A., 7, Celia C., 5, Sallie C., 4, and John A., 1; and W.D. Lucus, 21, laborer. [Sallie Simpson married Dempsey Powell in Wilson County in 1855. The family appears in the 1860 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: turpentine worker Dempsey Powell, 30; wife Sallie, 28; and Susan Simpson, 9.]

Many thanks to Edith Garnett Jones for this copy of the Powell-Jones marriage license.

The family of Annie H.F. Pender.

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Annie Hines Finch Pender (1904-1999).

The family history of Annie H.F. Pender illustrates the movement of families among neighboring counties to find the best farming arrangements. The Hineses and Finches moved between Franklin and Nash Counties before settling near Stantonsburg in Wilson County in the 1920s.

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In the 1900 census of Cypress Creek township, Franklin County, North Carolina: Phil Hines, 21, farm laborer.

In the 1900 census of Cypress Creek township, Franklin County, North Carolina: farmer Marcellus Harris, 57; wife Ann, 55; children Anna, 36, William, 21, Laura, 18, and Jesse, 17; grandchildren Anthony, 10, and Sallie, 6; son Daniel, 24; daughter-in-law Drucilla, 25; and grandchildren Pearlie, 2, Mosey, 1, and an unnamed infant boy.

On 22 October 1901, Phil Hines, 22, of Franklin County, son of Jonas and Isado Hines, married Laura Harris, 21, of Franklin County, daughter of Marcillus and Anna Harris.

In the 1910 census of Harris township, Franklin County: on Lower Road, James Hines, 30, farm laborer; wife Laura, 28; and children Wiley, 7, Lula, 6, Anna, 6, Pernolia, 4, and Aron, 2.

Phil Hines registered for the World War I draft in Nash County in 1918. Per his registration card, he was born 13 December 1876; resided at R.F.D. #2, Bailey, Nash County; farmed for M.F. Morgan, Bailey; his nearest relative was wife Laura Hines; and he was literate, signed his name “Phill Hines.”

On 29 June 1923, Mozelle Hines died in Dry Wells township, Nash County. Per his death certificate, he was 4 years old; was born in Nash County to Phil Hines and Laura Harris; and was buried in Wiggins cemetery. Phil Hines, Middlesex, N.C., was informant.

On 21 July 1923, Annie Hines, 21, of Nash County, daughter of Phil and Laura Hines, married Howard Finch, 21, of Nash County son of Bennett and Annie Finch, in Nash County.

Albert Lee Finch died 12 July 1924 in Stantonsburg township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 23 October 1923 in Nash County to Howard Finch and Annie Hines and was buried in Bethel Cemetery.

In the 1930 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: on Snow Hill Road, Aaron Hines, 19; wife Grace H., 21; son James W., Jr., 2; father James W., Sr., 51; mother Laura, 47; widowed sister Phoenolia, 21; brothers Wiley, 25, John E., 14, George, 13, and Mozelle, 12; niece Fannie, 6; and nephews Raymond, 7, Robert L., 3, and Stephen Finch, Jr., 1. [This entry appears to contain significant naming errors.]

In the 1930 census of Jackson township, Nash County: farmer Howard Finch, 23; wife Annie, 22; sons Howard L., 5, Grover, 3, and James A., 2; and lodger Charlie Webb, 28.

In the 1940 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: sawmill laborer Phillip Hines, 55; wife Laura, 45; sons John, 23, Mozelle, 19, and Robert Lee, 17; grandchildren Raymond, 12, Stephen, 10, and Fannie, 13; daughter Lula, 37; grandchildren Dorabelle, 10, Justus Lee, 5, and Sadie Mae, 2; widowed daughter Anna Finch, 37, and her sons Howard, 17, Grover, 13, Randolph, 10, and James, 8; [grand]son-in-law Eddie Freeman, 20; granddaughter Ella, 19, and great-granddaughter Blonnie, 1.

In 1940, John Hines registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 17 October 1913 in Nash County; lived in Stantonsburg; his contact was mother Laura Hines, Stantonsburg; and he worked for Stantonsburg Lumber Company. In red grease pencil: “Cancelled dead Feb 9 1943.”

John M. Hines died 9 February 1943 in Stantonsburg township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born in Franklin County in 1921 to Phillip Hines and Laura Harry, both of Franklin County; worked as a common laborer; was single; and was buried in Red Hill cemetery, Wilson County. Informant was Laura Edmeson, Petersburg, Virginia.

In 1944, Raymond Hines registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 15 March 1926 in Farmville, N.C.; lived in Stantonsburg; his contact was grandmother Laura Hines, Stantonsburg; and he worked for Will Rogers at Stantonsburg Lumber Company.

Phill Hines died 15 March 1946 in Stantonsburg township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 65 years old; was born in Nash County to Jonas Hines and Isadora High; worked as a common laborer; was married to Laura Hines, age 52; and was buried in Red Hill cemetery, Wayne County. Laura Hines was informant.

Laura Hines died 4 August 1960 in Stantonsburg township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 22 March 1896 [actually, closer to 1880] in Franklin County to Sellus and Ann Harris and was widowed. Robert Hines was informant.

Annie Hines Pender, born 11 December 1904 in Franklin County, died 30 October 1999 in Wilson County.

Thank you to Annie Finch Artis for sharing this photograph of her grandmother.

Barbara Jones’ daughter Bethany Jones.

In January 1828, Barbara Jones of Wayne County “in consideration of the natural love and affection which I do bear towards my daughter” transferred to Bethany Jones 100 acres in Nash County bounded by the lands of Jethro Harrison on the north and east, Cuzzy [Keziah] Williamson on the south, and John Grice on the west (minus two acres sold to Mary Hobbs).

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Deed book 12, page 190, Nash County Register of Deeds Office, Nashville, N.C.

——

I have long identified Bethana Jones as a the matriarch of a large free family of color rooted in what is now southwestern Wilson County. However, if this is the same Bethana Jones, this astounding document advances the Jones family genealogy back a generation to Bethana Jones’ mother, Barbara Jones.

The evidence is limited, but suggestive. The time period is correct. Most critically, the named neighbors place Barbara and Bethana Jones’ land in Old Field township in the neighborhood in which Bethana Jones was known to live. Jethro Harrison’s son and grandson were among the men and women who purchased items from Bethana Jones’ 1852 estate sale. Keziah Williamson was the mother of Isaac Williamson, who showed up at Jones’ estate sale. (It seems less likely that this was a reference to Kesiah Williamson, wife of Thomas Williamson, as ownership of property in a married woman’s own name during her husband’s lifetime would have been unusual.)

Barbary Jones appears in a 1782 tax list of Nash County, but no census records, which was not unusual for free women of color. The earliest certain reference to Bethany Jones (other than this deed) is in the 1830 census of Eatmon’s district, Nash County, North Carolina, in which Bethany Jones is head of a household of free people of color that included three males under age 10; one aged 10-23; and one aged 24-35; one female under 10; one aged 10-23; and two aged 36-54. (Were the latter two Bethana and her mother Barbara Jones?)

State v. Martin Locust and Bede Wells.

At April Term 1856 of Wilson County’s Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, a grand jury charged Martin Locust and Bede Wells, both of Wilson County, “being lewd and vicious persons not united together in the bonds of marriage” before and after 1 April 1856 “unlawfully lewdly and lasciviously associate bed and cohabit together … to the evil example of all others.”  William Wells and Josiah Boyett were subpoenaed as witnesses, and jury foreman Jacob Taylor returned a true bill to the clerk of court.

This is the bond Locus and Wells pledged for their appearance in court. Curiously, the names of two co-pledgers were crossed out — Kingsberry Wells and William Wells. Both were likely relatives of Bedie Wells, and William was a witness before the grand jury.

Martin Locus was of African, European and Native American descent. Obedience Wells was white. Their prosecution and, presumably, conviction did not much alter their lives, as they are found living together four years later in the 1860 census. (The third column after their names was used to indicate race or color. Wells’ was left blank; white was the default. Locus’ M stood for mulatto.)

1860 census of Kirbys district, Wilson County.

The 1850 census of Nash County shows the household of Kingsberry Wells and his next-door neighbors, Beedy and Martin Wells, who was actually Martin Locus. (The age disparity is likely a recording error. In fact, Martin Locus and Obedience Wells, listed as “Pheby Wells,” were married in Nash County on 22 November 1822, during a period in which laws forbidding interracial marriage were only loosely enforced. Per descendant and family historian Europe Ahmad Farmer, after about 1830, when North Carolina began to strip away rights from free people of color, the couple made an effort to appear to live separately.)

Martin Locus and Obedience Wells’ son Martin Locus Jr. was the father of Martin John Locus.

1822 Nash County marriage license of Martin Locust and Pheby Wells.

Adultery Records-1856, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

They are non-residents of this state.

Hardy Lassiter died about 1853 in a section of Edgecombe County that two years later became part of the newly created Wilson County. During the probate of his estate, the court ordered this ad placed in an attempt to locate his daughter Sally Lassiter Artis and her husband, Morrison Artis.

The Tarborough Southerner, 24 September 1853.

Where were the Artises?  Indiana.

Morrison Artis, son of Micajah and Bedie Powell Artis, was born about 1822 in or near what would become Wilson County. His father Micajah is listed as a head of household in the 1830 census of Taylor district, Nash County, and the 1840 census of Davis district, Wayne County. Morrison Artis married Sarah “Sally” Lassiter circa 1845. Born about 1827 in what was then Edgecombe County, she was the daughter of Hardy and Obedience Lassiter. Morrison and Sally’s first child, Benjamin F. Artis, was born in 1847, and within a year or so the family struck out for Indiana with Morrison’s family.

In the 1850 census of District 85, Parke County, Indiana: Morrison Artis, 24, farmer; wife Sarah, 21; and children Benjamin, 3, and Rachel, 6 months. All except Rachel were born in North Carolina.

In the 1850 census of District 85, Parke County, Indiana: Micajah Artis, 50, farmer; wife Bedy, 40; and children Arcada, 17, Eliza, 14, Burket, 4, and Henriette, 1. All but Henriette were born in North Carolina.

In the 1860 census of Reserve township, Parke County, Indiana: farmer Morrison Artis, 35; wife Sally, 33; and children Benjamin, 13, Rachel. 10, and Martha, 5. Morrison reported owning $1000 in real property and $465 in personal property.

In the 1860 census of Adam township, Parke County, Indiana: Micajah Artis, 58, farmer; wife Beda, 50; and children Birket, 16, Henrietta, 10, Elmeda, 8, and Benson, 7.

Per Early Black Settlements by County, indianahistory.org, “During the 1850s, the Bassett, Artis and Ellis families left Parke County, Indiana, and established a settlement in Ervin Township. (The Bassett and Artis families were free African Americans who came to Indiana from North Carolina.)  At least 11 families lived in this area that became a small farming community of blacks sometime known as the Bassett Settlement or the Bassett and Ellis Settlement.  They had a school, church, cemetery (located at 950 W.), general store, blacksmith shop and a post office.  Some of the other surnames associated with the settlement include Canady, Griggs, Jones, Kirby, Mosely, and Wilson.

“Zachariah and Richard Bassett served as ministers at the Free Union Baptist Church in Howard County.  The 1870 census list Bassetts, Artis, and Ellis as farmers.  Richard had land valued at $8,400 and Morrison Artis’s land was valued at $2,800.  In 1892, Richard Bassett became the third black person to be elected to the Indiana state legislature.”

The heart of the Bassett Settlement as shown in this 1877 plat map. Two parcels are labeled M. Artis — one, perhaps, Micajah and the other Morrison. A small cross is visible at the center of the image in a parcel marked R. Bassett; it marks the community cemetery in which the older Artises were buried. [For an account of my visit to Bassett cemetery and a family connection to this place, see here and here.]

In the 1870 census of Ervin township, Howard County, Indiana: Morrison Artis, 46; wife Sarah, 40; and children Benjamin, 23, Martha, 16, and William, 1. Morrison reported owning $2800 in real property and $500 in personal property.

In the 1870 census of Ervin township, Howard County, Indiana: Macajah Artis, 65, farmer; wife Bedea, 65; and children Henrietta, 22, Almedia, 20, and Benson 17. Morrison reported owning $700 in real property and $100 in personal property.

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Indianapolis Leader, 30 August 1879.

In the 1880 census of Ervin township, Howard County, Indiana: farmer Morrison Artis, 57; wife Sarah, 55; children Benjamin, 33, Martha, 26, and William M., 11; and grandson Melvin, 8.

In 1891, Morrison Artis was nearly swindled from his life’s accumulation in a fraudulent land transaction.

Kokomo Saturday Tribune, 12 May 1891.

Morrison Artis died in April 1896 after terrible head injuries sustained when his spooked horse threw him, then fell on him.

Kokomo Daily Tribune, 9 April 1896.

Benjamin F. Artis died 8 September 1910 in Coopers Grove, Howard County, Indiana. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 February 1947 in North Carolina to Morrison Artis and Sarah Lassiter; was married to Caroline Artis; and was a retired laborer.

Melvina Bassett died 7 April 1917 in Kokomo, Howard County, Indiana. Per her death certificate, she was born April 1839 in North Carolina to Micajah Artis and Bedie Powell; was the widow of John Bassett; and was buried in Bassett cemetery. William Bassett was informant.

Benson Artis died 17 April 1919 in Kokomo, Howard County, Indiana. Per his death certificate, he was 56 years old; was born in Indiana to M. Artis and an unknown mother; was single; lived at 145 Western Avenue, Kokomo.

William M. Artis died 27 August 1920 in Indianapolis. Per his death certificate, he was born 26 February 1869 in Indiana to Morrison Artis and an unknown mother; was married to Lula Artis; worked as a laborer; and was buried in Kokomo.

U.S. Indexed County Land Ownership Maps, 1860-1918 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.