Where we worked: good government jobs.

Henry E. Hagans, Washington DC – secretary to U.S. Congressman George H. White, circa 1898.

William S. Hagans, Washington DC – secretary to Congressman White, circa 1899-1900.

J. Frank Baker, Dudley NC – husband of Mary Ann Aldridge Baker; postmaster, circa 1896.

Mary Ann Aldridge Baker, Dudley NC – postmaster (assumed husband’s position after his murder), 1897-1911.

Caswell C. Henderson, New York NY – laborer, clerk, courier, U.S. Customs House, 1900s-1926.

Fred Randall, Washington DC – director, Cardoza Playground, DC Government, circa 1917; clerk, post office, circa 1930; special mail clerk, circa 1940.

Hardy Randall, Washington DC – postal employee, circa 1917.

Toney C. Brewington, Norfolk VA – carrier, post office, 1936.

Jesse P. Breedlove, Washington DC – husband of Edna Randall Breedlove; manager, War Department, circa 1940.

Oscar Randall, Washington DC – skilled helper, US Government Bureau of Engraving & Printing, circa 1917; Chicago IL – civil engineer, Chicago Sanitary District, 1930s.

North Carolina, Oral History, Paternal Kin

Friend or family?

I used to go down there [to Mount Olive] and stay with her and Cousin Jesse. And Cousin Cousin Annie Cox and Uncle Hardy was living at that time, and I used to go down there. I stayed with her when Cousin Jesse, her husband, come up to bring tobacco to sell.

I don’t think neither one of ‘em ever went North. Cousin Annie and Cousin Hardy Cox. At least her husband [Hardy], his legs was twisted. They used to come to Wilson. When he walked, each of ‘em would go ‘round at the same time. They pushed up some kind of way. Worse than Bobby [Henderson, a cousin who’d had childhood polio.] And I asked Mama, I said, “What is wrong with him?,” and she said, “I don’t know.”  I guess he was doing right good. He could walk on ‘em. I didn’t see him with no stick. But he just real – one would go one way and then the other one’d go the other way. I didn’t want him to see me watching him, so I didn’t never ask him nothing about it. ‘Cause he was [inaudible] down there to Uncle Lucian [Henderson]’s house. 

Who were Hardy and Annie Carter Cox to my grandmother? Were either of them her blood relatives? I’ve talked about Annie Carter Cox’s family here. Hardy Cox was born about 1851, probably in Sampson County, to Henry Cox and Easter Bennett (or perhaps Beaman.) The family is not found in the 1860 census and was likely enslaved until Emancipation. In 1870, however, they were listed in Westbrook township, Sampson County: Henry Cox, 51; wife Esther, 37; children Hardy, 20; Martha, 18; Mariah, 14; Adaline, 12; George, 9; Isaac, 5; and Ida, 8 months; plus Phillis Bennet, 53. [Sidenote: my great-great-great-grandparents Lewis and Margaret Balkcum Henderson were also in Westbrook in 1860.] Ten years later, Hardy Cox, 30, and wife Martha, 28, were living a few miles north and are enumerated in Brogden township, Wayne County. [Again, as were the Hendersons.] Their little household was sandwiched between that of Green and Betsy Jane Thornton Simmons and his Bryan and Betsy Wynn Simmons. [North Carolina Marriage Indices show Hardy marrying Betsy J. Simmons on 16 January 1873 in Wayne County. Who is this? Neither Green nor Bryant had daughters by that name of an age to marry in 1873.] I have not found Hardy and Martha’s marriage license. [Is this actually Betsy J., misnamed?] However, in early 1884, Hardy married 20 year-old Virginia Ann “Annie” Carter.


A few items in this license stand out. First, here’s another example of the lackadaisical data entry that undercuts the reliability of so many of these records. Annie certainly knew her parents’ names, though both may have been deceased when she married. More interestingly, the witnesses: Hillary Simmons (at whose home the wedding took place), “Lucious” Henderson and Bryant Simmons Jr. Hillary Simmons was a son of George W. and Axey Jane Manuel Simmons and a nephew of Green and Bryant Simmons above. Bryant Junior was either Bryant’s son, born in 1866, or Hillary’s brother Bryant C. Simmons, born 1851. Lucious, of course, was Lucian Henderson, whose sister Ann Elizabeth Henderson had married Hillary Simmons five years previously.

No smoking guns then, just an intricate interweaving of several families via marriage and proximity. The marriage of Annie Carter Cox’s brother Marshall Carter to M. Frances Jacobs (whose brother Jesse Jacobs married Lucian and Ann Elizabeth’s sister Sarah Henderson in 1896) was another binding tie between Hardy and Annie and my grandmother’s people. There were others, too, but later and less likely to have drawn Hardy and Annie close enough to my grandmother to be called “Cousin.” For example, in 1907, Ira Cox, son of Hardy’s sister Mariah Cox, married Louvenia Jacobs, daughter of Jesse and Frances Jacobs’ brother John R. Jacobs. And in 1915, Marshall and Frances Jacobs Carter’s son Milford E. Carter married Beulah Aldridge, my grandmother’s paternal aunt.)

Births Deaths Marriages, Free People of Color, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Carter kin?

Several months, when I was examining delayed birth certificates filed in Wayne County, North Carolina, I asked who the A.J. Carter was listed as a cousin on Christine “Nora” Aldridge Henderson‘s birth record. Today I found a marriage license for A.J. Carter and Mallie Simmons, and it hit me suddenly that A.J. was Ammie J. Carter, (1) oldest of A. Marshall and Frances Jacobs Carter’s sons, (2) thus, nephew of “Papa” Jesse A. Jacobs Jr., and (3) brother-in-law of Beulah Aldridge Carter, my great-grandfather Tom Aldridge‘s sister.

But how in the world was Ammie Carter Nora Aldridge Henderson’s cousin? “Play” cousin? Or blood?

Ammie Carter, born about 1881, was the son of Archy Marshall Carter and Margaret Frances Jacobs. His mother Frances was the sister of “Papa” Jesse A. Jacobs Jr., who reared my grandmother, and the daughter of Jesse Sr. and Abigail Gilliam (or Gilliard) Jacobs. Jesse and Abigail’s parentage is unclear, but they are believed to have been born in Cumberland or perhaps Sampson County. As far as I know, neither was related to Nora Aldridge’s parents, John W. Aldridge and Louvicey Artis.

Marshall Carter (1860-1922) was the son of William and Mary Cox Carter of Sampson County. I know little about them. Their census records are muddled by duplicate, but conflicting, entries, and most of their children seem to disappear from the record. (An exception: daughter Virginia Ann “Annie” Carter (1863-1930) married Hardy Cox. They were close enough to Sarah Henderson Jacobs that my grandmother called them Cousin Annie and Cousin Hardy Cox. More about her later.)

William Carter was the son of Michael Carter (circa 1805-circa 1875) and Patience, maiden name unknown, of Sampson County, whom I know only through the 1860 and 1870 censuses, in which they are enumerated in Sampson County. They both seem to have died before 1880. My lack of knowledge about Robert Aldridge or Mary Eliza Balkcum Aldridge‘s parents makes me hesitate to say that either (or neither) was related to Michael or Patience Carter. The same holds for Mary Cox Carter’s parents, whoever they might have been.

In short, for now, I have no anwers.

Agriculture, Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Oral History

He had it in his pocket.

My mother: Tell Lisa about that thing you were telling me about your step-grandfather. Mr. Hart.

My grandmother: Mm-hmm.

Mother: And what he brought you.

Grandmother: He used to always bring us something, you know. It wouldn’t be much, but it would be a little something, you know. So this night, he brought me a chick. A little live chick. And told me to raise the chick, and I did. And it was a –

Mother: Where was it, Ma? Where was it when he brought it to you?

Grandmother: He had it in his pocket. [We laugh.] He had it in his pocket. And, oh, they were called game chickens. And they got great big bodies and long necks and their heads were small. You know, they’re funny-looking, but they’re very productive. You know, they lay a lot of eggs. And he had all kinds of stuff like that. He was a lawyer, really. But he did real estate, and he farmed. But anyway, he gave me this chick, and it was a hen. And she laid eggs and everything. And so Mama sat the eggs, sat her on her own eggs, and she hatched this little group of chickens, you know. And I don’t know why it was separate from any other ‘cause Mama had chickens and all. She had chickens then, but anyway this chicken was separate from the chickens, and it was ‘round on the side of our house. And the house wasn’t, you know, where you cover the bottom of the house. It wasn’t –

Me: Oh, yeah. It was up on pillars.

Grandmother: Yeah. And right there where she was there was none, and she made a little coop for her and her chicks. They would run around, but they would come back to that thing ‘cause she was in there. And one day a dog came along and was messing with the chickens, and oh, this hen was just a-jumping up and screaming and carrying on and stuck her head out the thing, and the dog bit her head off. Lisa, I nearly died. And you know, Mama wouldn’t cook her. We wouldn’t have eaten her nohow.

Me: Did she have a name?

Grandmother: I can’t think of the hen’s name. I can’t think of it, Lisa. But I’m sure she had one.


Game hen, courtesy http://www.ultimatefowl.com.

Interview of Margaret C. Allen by Lisa Y. Henderson; all rights reserved.

Births Deaths Marriages, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin, Religion

Reverend Silver’s circle.


  • This is the license for my great-great-great-uncle Joseph Aldridge‘s second marriage. I’ve written about Martha Carrie Hawkins Henderson Aldridge Silver here. What startled me was to see who performed the ceremony — Reverend Joseph Silver, whom Martha would marry almost 20 years later!
  • I still don’t know why the wedding was in Wilson, unless that’s where Martha lived. Reverend Silver lived near Enfield, so he was pretty far off his beaten path.
  • And how did Columbus “C.E.” Artis, brother of my great-great-grandmother Louvicey Artis Aldridge, get involved? Joseph was Vicey’s brother-in-law, but that hardly seems a reason for C.E. to apply for his and Martha’s license.


  • Reverend Joseph Silver, Sarah Henderson Jacobs‘ second husband, was prominent in North Carolina’s Holiness Church movement. Until recently, I’d been unable to find their marriage license, though I knew when and where they were married. When I tracked it down I realized that its illegibility probably has resulted in its being misindexed.
  • That’s Joseph Sliver at the top.
  • Barely legible, Sarah Jacobs and her parents Louis [sic] Henderson and Margaret Henderson.
  • I haven’t been able to find anything about Reverend J.H. Scott. I assume he was head of a Holiness congregation in Wilson. Sarah herself was very active in the domination as an evangelist.
  • I knew they’d married on Elba Street. My grandmother told me this: “When Mama got married there on Elba Street, there at the house.  Yeah.  He come up there …”  It’s so funny to imagine my four and not-quite seven year-old uncles with my grandmother, squeezed in a corner of that tiny front room, fidgeting as Mama Sarah took her vows.


  • Five years after Mama Sarah died, Reverend Silver married Martha Aldridge. Astonishingly, he lived almost a decade and a half longer.
  • A Justice of the Peace performed the ceremony? That’s odd for such a prominent Holiness preacher.
Business, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin

That is the promise I made my father.

The tenth in an occasional series excerpting testimony from the transcript of the trial in J.F. Coley v. Tom Artis, Wayne County Superior Court, November 1908.

W.S. HAGANS recalled by Referee.

I testified that I told Tom that I wouldn’t sell this land to anybody who wouldn’t make the same agreement on which he had been living on the land, that is the promise I made to my father in his presence. I requested Mr. Coley to carry out this agreement. Mr. Coley said he would let the Defendant stay as long as the Defendant could let him. I considered it the same promise I made my father. I told him what rent the old man was paying. He didn’t agree to let him stay for the same rent. Said he would raise it. Said he would let him stay as long as he would protect him, and give him good crops.


The conversation was before the delivery of the deed to Coley. I remember the occasion when Henry Reid and I were together, we talked with Tom about the land. Reid was on my buggy one day, and we met the Defendant. The Defendant wanted me to sell him this 30 acres of land, and I told him that I would prefer selling it all together. He wanted to purchase the property from me in the presence of H.S. Reid. That tract that Coley gave mortgage on was additional security, was worth 4 or $5000. That was the 60 acre tract. (Coley mortgaged.) He gave me notes due for January of next year, and the January following. I have traded those notes. (Plaintiff objects.) Artis stated to me when he came to my house that it would be to my advantage to sell to Mr. Coley, in preference to Mr. Cook, on account of Mr. Coley would not only take the two pieces, the 30 and the 24 acre lot, but would also take the 9 3/4 acre lot, and that he wanted me to let him have it, on the grounds stated yesterday, Mr. Cook being disagreeable etc.


I think I told all these reasons yesterday; I am repeating this because my lawyer asked me. I just didn’t think about the Henry Reid statement. I told my lawyer. I said I would not let anyone have the property, until they had made me the same promise I made my father in presence of Defendant. Mr. Coley also agreed to it. I didn’t say it because I wasn’t asked. I told Mr. Cook that he must let the old man stay there. Mr. Cook said that he had no desire whatever of removing the Defendant. I told Mr. Cook that I heard that he wanted to move his son-in-law up there, and I feared that on that account he would interfere with the Defendant. Mr. Cook said his son-in-law was very well situated on another place, belonging to him, Cook.

What did it take to call a white man “disagreeable” in open court in 1909?