Births Deaths Marriages, North Carolina, Paternal Kin, Photographs

Carrie Henderson Boseman Grantham.

My grandmother met none of Mama Sarah‘s sisters, but she know of them. Loudie, of course, her own grandmother. And Ann Elizabeth, mother of Minnie and Daniel and Dollie Simmons. And Carrie. Who was a little more elusive because she had no children that my grandmother knew of.  She was only a name Sarah mentioned.

I managed to find a few references to her. The earliest is in the Records of the Congregational Church of Christ in Dudley, vol. II, in which Carrie Henderson appears in membership rolls for 1886 with sisters Suddie, Lutie and Sarah Henderson.  (“Suddie,” or Mary Susan Henderson, was not one of the great-aunts my grandmother knew.) Next to Carrie’s name are these notations: “Bowsman” and “absent.”

“Bowsman” was “Boseman,” actually, the surname of the man Carrie married a year later. Wayne County NC marriage records show that, on 25 June 1887, George Boseman, 24, “col’d,” and Carrie Henderson, 18, col’d, applied for a marriage license.  A.T. Dove, M.G. performed their ceremony on 29 June 1887, in Brogden, before Dortch Winn, Jno. Winn, and Frank Parker.  (They apparently were not wed in Carrie’s church, as Dove was not pastor there.)  The marriage was childless, and probably ended with George’s death.

On 21 Dec 1899, Carrie Boseman, 28, married Arch Grantham, 48, colored, in Brogden township. R.B. Johns, M.G. (of the Congregational Church) officiated and W.D. Grantham and Georgiana Winn witnessed.  The family appears in the 1900 census of Grantham township, Wayne County: farmer Arch Grantham, wife Carrie (29), and (his) children [illegible], Emma, Annie, Barfield A., and Lula A.  Carrie reported 0 of 0 children living.

This is where things stood until a couple of years ago, when I ran across B.B., a descendant of Archie Barfield Grantham (1851-1915) and his first wife, Mary Adeline Raynor (1855-1897). In 1906, Arch married his third wife, B.B. told me — so Carrie, still childless, died within five years or so of their wedding. It was nice to be able to round out the thread of her life in that way, but there was more. For many years, a portrait hung on his grandparents’ wall, a hand-tinted, charcoal-enhanced photograph of Archie … and Carrie.

Carrie & Archie Grantham


Births Deaths Marriages, Enslaved People, Migration, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Mother Ward.

None of us knows the details of the arrangements, or the impact on their willing and unwilling participants, but it is clear that Napoleon Hagans had a messy personal life. His oldest child, William Coley, was born about 1860 to Winnie Coley, an enslaved woman who lived on the nearby farm of John Coley. Winnie had several additional children, fathered by Coley himself and by Napoleon’s brother-in-law Adam T. Artis. Around 1867 — no license has been found — Napoleon married Apsilla “Appie” Ward, born in 1849 to Sarah Ward, an enslaved woman, and her owner, David G. W. Ward, a wealthy physician living in northwest Greene County. Napoleon poured his ambition and wealth into his and Appie’s sons, Henry Edward (born 1868) and William Scarlett (born 1869). Both attended Howard University and settled into comfortable, distinguished livelihoods in farming, education and real estate.

Though Napoleon’s youngest was denied these advantages, he was arguably the most successful of all the sons.  Joseph Henry Ward was born 4 August 1870 in Wilson, North Carolina. (Or Wilson County, in any case.) His mother, Mittie Roena Ward, was Appie Ward Hagans’ twin. (Identical, it is said.) And Napoleon Hagans’ sister-in-law. I know nothing at all of her early years. In 1879, Mitty Finch (Finch? why?) married Virginia native Algernon Vaughn in Wilson. In 1880, the family’s household included Mittie’s mother, Sarah Darden; her husband Algie, a farm laborer; Mittie, a cook; and children Joseph, 8, Sarah, 6, and Macinda, 5 months.

By 1890, Joseph had struck out on his own and for reasons unknown landed in Indianapolis, Indiana. There, he went to work for a physician who would set him on his own path to a medical degree. Joseph’s half-sister Sarah married William Moody in Wilson in 1892 and, by the dawn of the new century, the Moodys and Mittie Vaughn were living in Washington DC. Soon after Mittie joined Joe Ward in Indianapolis, reverted to her maiden name (though keeping the title “Mrs.”), and began a peripatetic life that saw her in and out of the households of her children.

The Indianapolis Recorder, an African-American news weekly, kept close tabs on the mother of one of the city’s most illustrious residents:

Mrs. Mittie Ward, mother of Dr. J.H. Ward will leave today for Washington, D.C., to spend the winter with her daughter, Mrs. Sarah Moody. Her youngest daughter will remain in the city with her brother Dr. Ward.  [12 December 1903]

Ward-Artis.  On Wednesday June 22, at high noon the wedding of Miss Minerva Ward, the daughter of Mrs. Mittie Ward and sister of one of our prominent physicians Dr. Joseph H. Ward, and Mr. Dillard Artis, of Marion, will be celebrated in the presence of the immediate family and a few intimate friends. Rev. Morris Lewis assisted by Rev. T.A. Smythe will perform the ceremony. They will leave at 5 p.m. for Marion, where a wedding reception will be given from 8 to 11 p.m., at 920 S. Boot street, the home of the groom. The bride is well and favorably known in our city’s best circles and is a favorite in the younger social set. The groom is a prominent cement contractor of Marion and a highly respected citizen, owning a great deal of property, which he has accumulated by his industry and business tact. They will be at home at 920 S. Boot street, Marion.  [18 June 1910]

Mrs. Minerva Ward Artis of Marion, spent the holidays with her mother, Mrs. Mittie Ward, of the city.  [31 December 1910]

Mrs. Dillard Artis of Marion, was in the city a few days this week. Mrs. Artis is visiting her brother, Dr. J.H. Ward and her mother, Mrs. Mittie Ward.  [18 February 1911]

Dr. J. Ward of Indianapolis and Master Joseph were guests of his mother Mrs. Mittie Ward and sister Mrs. S.D. Artis of S. Boots street Wednesday.  [19 August 1911]

Mrs. Mittie Ward of Indianapolis, who has been the guest of her daughter for the past week Mrs. S.D. Artis returned home Saturday and on December 5, will leave for Washington, D.C. to spend the winter with her daughter.   [2 December 1911]

Dr. J.H. Ward of Indianapolis was called to this city [Marion, Indiana] the first part of this week to attend the bedside of his mother, Mrs. Mittie Ward, who is ill at the home of her daughter, Mrs. S.D. Artis, in South Boots street.  [25 November 1916]

Mittie Ward died of stroke in Washington, DC, in 1924. She was visiting her elder daughter Sarah Ward Moody and planning to travel to see the younger.


Pittsburgh Courier, 19 April 1924.

Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Paternal Kin, Vocation

The splendid side-wheeler Rough and Ready.

Needham KennedyMathew W. Aldridge‘s father-in-law — just gets more and more interesting.


New Berne Weekly Journal, 17 January 1884.


Daily journal new bern 4 9 1884

New Bern Daily Journal, 9 April 1884.

How did this man, enslaved until 1865, own a steamer plying the Neuse River from Goldsboro down to New Bern??? And why has he left so little trace in the record? I’m on the hunt.

Here’s an article from a Raleigh newspaper announcing the Rough and Ready‘s arrival in North Carolina:

12 8 1847 NC Star Raleigh

Star, 8 December 1847.

Stay tuned.

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

Volte-face, no. 1; or 52 Ancestors: Daniel Artis.

[Though my format only infrequently focus on individuals, I’ve taken up the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge. This is week 4, so I have some catching up to do. We’ll see.]

I had an inkling, didn’t I? Here’s what I wrote in my notes when I found Mariah Artis Swinson’s death certificate:

MARIAH SWINSON.  Died 6 Feb 1955, 500 Creech Street, Goldsboro NC, arteriosclerosis.  Born 14 Feb 1849 to Daniel Artis and unknown. Informant, Mrs. Mary Swinson.  Buried 9 Feb 1955, Elmwood cemetery, Goldsboro NC.  [Daniel Artis?  Is this an error or was Mariah Silvania’s niece rather than her daughter?  I conjectured that Daniel Artis was a brother of Silvania and Vicey Artis.]

Up to then, I had firmly believed that Mariah Artis Swinson, wife of Jesse Swinson, was the daughter of Guy Lane and Sylvania Artis, so I was thrown when her death certificate listed her father as Daniel. I had a Daniel Artis in my file with a question mark behind his name — was he Sylvania and Vicey Artis’ brother? He appears sparingly in records, and here’s all I knew about him:

On 20 Aug 1853, in Greene County NC, Silas Bryant sold Daniel Artis for $325 120 acres adjacent to the mouth of a lane at the dividing line between said Bryant and John Lane, the Bull Branch, and the mouth of Sellers Branch.  Henry Martin witnessed.  The deed was registered 7 Jun 1882.  [Silas Bryant apprenticed the children of Vicey Artis, who may have been Daniel’s sister.  John Lane apprenticed the children of Vicey’s sister Sylvania and probably owned her husband, Guy Lane.]  


In the 1860 census, Bull Head, Greene County NC, 40 year-old free man of color Dannel Artis, a ditcher, is listed next door to the household of white farmer John Lane, who reported $10000 personal property and $25000 real property, included Dannel, Mike, Penney, Dyner, Juley, and Washington Artis, who were Silvania’s children.

I have not found Daniel in earlier censuses. However, a few days ago, following up a request for assistance by a descendant of a Daniel Artis from Greene County, I examined the will and probate records of a Daniel Artis who died in early 1905.  The will, in black and white, stated that Mariah Swinson, wife of Jesse Swinson, was this Daniel Artis’ daughter, not Sylvania Artis’.

So, is Daniel Artis the will-maker the Daniel Artis that I believe to have been a brother of Vicey Artis Williams and Sylvania Artis Lane?

What does his will tell us?

There were two, in fact. The first, dated 15 January 1905, was recorded at the Greene County Courthouse in Will Book 1 at page 514; the second, dated two days later, at page 524.  The legatees are the same, but the gifts packaged differently, so I present both:

Item 1. Page 514 — to daughter Clary Edwards, wife of Henry Edwards, his interest valued at $172 in the tract of land on which Clary and Henry live. The tract was purchased from Debro Cobb with money advanced from Henry Artis. If $172 is more than the other’s children’s share, Clary is to make them even, and vice versa.  Page 524 — to daughter Clara Edwards, wife of Henry Edwards, his interest valued at $172 in the tract of land purchased from Debro Cobb. His agreement with Henry Edwards has not been recorded.

Item 2. Page 514 — to son Henry Artis, 1/4 interest in his real estate.  Page 524 — to son Henry Artis, 40 acres, including the house in which Daniel then lived.

Item 3. Page 514 — to the children of his son Lodrick Artis (Anna Randolph, Frank Artis, Lula Forbes, Madison Artis, Marcellus Artis, Ernest Artis, Dicey Batts and Hannah Artis) 1/4 of his estate.  Page 524 — to the children of Lodrick Artis and his wife Mandy, 40 acres (land Lodrick resided on at the time of his death) and all buildings thereon.

Item 4. Page 514 — to the children of his daughter Prior An Thompson (Isaac Sauls, C.D. Sauls, Maria Edwards and Clara Lane), 1/4 of his estate.  Page 524 — to Prior An Thompson’s children and their heirs, 40 acres that Willis Thompson lives on.

Item 5. Page 514 — $50 to daughter Mariah Swinson, wife of Jesse Swinson, to be paid from the shares of the others in the amount of $12.50 each.  Page 524 — A committee to be appointed to assess value of shares and make Clara Edwards’ share equal to the others, difference to be paid within seven years.

Item 6. Page 514 — none.  Page 524 — Each lot to be taxed $12.50 to pay daughter Mariah Swinson, wife of Jesse Swinson.

Grandson Isaac Sauls was appointed executor in both, Daniel Artis signed each with an X, and both were proved on 21 March 1905.

Whatever his intent at clarification, things did not go well with Daniel’s estate. A Notice of Sale ran four weeks from December 1923-January 1924 in the Greene County weekly The Standard-Laconic announcing the sale of “a certain tract or parcel of land devised to Henry Artis by Daniel Artis by his last will and testament, … containing 40 acres.” The sale was advertised pursuant to a judgment in Greene County Superior Court in the matter of Frances Hall; Bennett Hall; Bessie Woodard, infant; and Alice Woodard, infant, by their next friend Amos Woodard v. J. Settle Artis and Roumania Artis. Settle Artis, who was Henry Artis’ son, had purchased the parcel at a courthouse sale the previous July. Frances and Bennett Hall were Settle’s sister and brother-in-law, and Amos Woodard was another brother-in-law, widower of Settle’s sister Dillie.

I don’t know what Hall et al. v. Artis was about, but the allegations of the next suit over Daniel’s estate — filed in 1930 — are clear. The case caption alone is daunting: Isaac Sauls; Walter Sauls; Luby Sauls; Edward Sauls; Hattie Speight and her husband Walter Speight; Mariah Thompson; Lillie May Sauls, minor, George Sauls, minor, Sarah Sauls, minor, Lillie Lee Sauls, minor, Walter Sauls, minor, appearing by their next friend, Luby Sauls; and Nettie Sauls; Henry B. Lane; Lillie Maud Best and her husband Alex Best; John H. Lane and Carrie D. Lane, a minor, children and heirs at law of Clara Thompson; Penny Edwards, Silas Edwards, Prior Edwards and the Henry Pettaway children as follows: Hadie Pettaway, minor, Willie Harrison Pettaway, Georgia May Pettaway, minor, Minnie Clyde Pettaway, minor, grandchildren of Mariah Edwards, by their next friend Henry Pettaway  v. C.D. Sauls and Duffrey Edwards. In other words, a fight among the heirs of Daniel’s daughter Prior Ann Artis Sauls Thompson.  The crux of the matter is set out in paragraph 10:

10. That the plaintiffs, heirs at law of Isaac Sauls, Mariah Edwards and Clara Thompson are the owners of three fifths of the land devised by Daniel Artis in Item 4 of his will to the children of his daughter Prior Ann and are entitled to have the defendant Cain D. Sauls declared to have the same held in trust for them and are entitled to an accounting of the rents and profits of the same from the date of his purchase in 1908.

Instead, they alleged, C.D. Sauls had been keeping hundreds of dollars of rent for himself and, in 1928, had sold the parcel to Duffrey Edwards for $3000, with full knowledge by Edwards that Sauls was trustee for his relatives. C.D. denied all, of course. In 1937, his daughter and son-in-law, Willie Sauls Burgess and W.D. Burgess, were added as defendants after C.D. and his wife Ada allegedly tried to fraudulently transfer the disputed property to her.  In 1939, the clerk of court entered a non-suit judgment noting that the parties had reached an amicable settlement. No details were included. The matter was over.

So back to my original line of inquiry: who was this Daniel Artis?

Though he often managed to slip censustakers, the enumerator of the 1880 census found Daniel, his children Henry, Clara, Mariah, Prior Ann, and Lodrick, and their children living in a cluster in Bullhead district.  (There was a marker for “Artis Town” at a spot in the road in Greene County. I think it’s in this area.) At #260, Henry Artis, 30, wife Mary, 27, and children Frances, 16, Didida, 8, Missouri, 7, Settle, 3, and Henry, 2. At #261, Henry Edwards, 40, wife Clara, 45, and children Thomas, 19, Wright, 18, Scott, 15, Eliza, 13, George, 11, Henry, 9, Daniel, 7, and William, 5. #264, Jessee Swinson, 23, wife Maria, 20, and son Charles, 1.  #267, Willis Thompson, 28, wife Prior, 32, and his stepsons Isaac Sauls, 19, Cain Sauls, 18, and Richard Sauls, 15.  #268, Timothy Edwards, 22, wife Maria, 21, and children Mony, 2, and Lilly, 7 months, niece Alice Wood, 15, and grandmother Maria Sauls, 60. #269, Lodrick Artis, 35, wife Amanda, 30, and children Hannah, 12, Frank, 10, Lula, 8, Sarah, 4, Monsey, 2, Lodrick, 1 month, and Marcellus, 1. #270, Daniel Artis Sr., 65, wife Eliza, 60, and granddaughter Ida, 9.

This Daniel is roughly the right age to be the one listed in the 1860 census and certainly old enough to have purchased property in 1853.  [A future project: hunt for a plat or metes and bounds to compare that purchase with the land devides in 1905.]  Daniel Artis and Eliza Faircloth registered their two-year cohabitation just over the county line in Wayne County. If they were, in fact, married in 1864, she was not the mother of his children, who were born circa 1835-1860. Like Eliza, though, their mother — or mothers — probably  was enslaved, as were they. If Daniel was the brother of Silvania and Vicey, he followed in their footsteps by looking beyond the free colored community to find a spouse. (It is possible that the Daniel who married Eliza Faircloth was Daniel Artis, born in 1843 to Silvania Artis Lane. He and his wife Eliza appear in the 1880 census of Greene County with children Emma and James.)

It is time, I think, to adjust my files. Unlink Mariah Artis from Silvania and move her to Daniel, then enter all the new names I have for his descendants. The evidence is sparse and circumstantial, but sufficient to make a tentative determination that Daniel, Vicey and Silvania were siblings. They were born within about a ten-year span; they live in close proximity in Bull Head district, Greene County; they are the only Artises in the area (and among few in the county); they all had connections with Silas Bryant and/or John Lane; and there are some commonalities among the given names of their offspring (Silvania had a son Daniel; Silvania and Daniel had daughters named Mariah; and Vicey and Daniel had grandsons named Cain.)


Ancestry composition.

23andme’s version of my ancestry composition.

Screen shot 2014-01-20 at 4.39.48 PM

Nothing surprising. My parents and sister all hover around the same percentages: 58.8% Sub-Saharan African for my father and sister, 61.1% for my mother; 38.4% European for my father, 36.3% for my mother, 39.0% for my sister. I have the lowest East Asian/Native American, but none of ours is high: .6, .5, and .7.  Our few Native ancestors probably lived in the 18th century. Given what I know of my parents’ ancestry, I had expected my father’s European ancestry to be significantly higher than my mother’s, but that just goes to highlight how painfully little I really know.

Newspaper Articles, Paternal Kin

Horribly scalded.

The horrifying account of a farm accident that befell Doctor Simmons, oldest son of Montraville and Annie Henderson Simmons.

8 16 05 L Pharos Tribune

Logansport Daily Pharos, 16 August 1905.

Dock Simmons survived his terrible burns, but bad luck dogged him, and in 1917 he suffered another agonizing injury. Though I have not found his death certificate, evidence indicates that — despite all this — Dock lived into the 1940s.

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

Misinformation Monday, no. 6.

The sixth in a series of posts revealing the fallability of records, even “official” ones.


Again, from “The Adam Artis Family History”

Adam Artis had about five wives and 39 children. His first legal wife was Frances Hagens of Eureka. She was very fair and had beautiful long black silky hair. 

Frances Hagans. By the early 20th century, that this was Frances Artis’ maiden name was accepted wisdom. When four of her children — Vicey Artis Aldridge, Napoleon Artis, William M. Artis and Walter S. Artis — died, their informants replied “Frances Hagans” when asked the name of the mother of the deceased. Researchers find these records and dutifully set down her name this way in the innumerable family trees of her innumerable kin.


But Frances Artis was not born a Hagans. She was a Seaberry, as her earliest records attest. She is Frances Seaberry, daughter of Aaron and Levisa Seaberry in both the 1850 and 1860 censuses. Most tellingly, it is the name Adam Artis gave the registrar when he applied for their marriage license in 1861.


How, this mix-up? It is a case of transferral. Frances’ mother’s maiden name was Hagans and gave birth to a son, Napoleon Hagans, before she married Aaron Seaberry. Napoleon Hagans grew to become one of the wealthiest “colored” men in Wayne County, larger than life, feared and respected by black and white alike. Given the shadow that Frances’ brother (probably half-brother, in fact) cast, it is not surprising that 50+ years after her death, her descendants assumed that she was a Hagans, too.

Maternal Kin, Paternal Kin, Vocation

Where we worked: grocers and storekeepers.

Jesse Artis, Eureka NC – owned and operated a general store, circa 1890.

Mathew W. Aldridge, Goldsboro NC – grocer, 219 Pine Street, 1900s-1920.

nc year book & business directory 1903

John C. Allen Sr., Newport News VA – owned and operated grocery, 2006 or 2206 Madison Avenue, circa 1916-1917.

John W. Aldridge, Dudley NC – owned and operated a general store, circa 1900?-1910.

Columbus E. Artis, Stantonsburg NC – “grocery storekeeper,” circa 1910.

Isaac Lee, Fremont NC – husband of Eva Aldridge Lee; general store operator; circa 1930-1970.

J. Leslie Thompson, Goldsboro NC – husband of Margaret Artis Thompson; storekeeper, circa ??-1960s.

Richard T. Price, Newport News VA — Price’s Confectionery, 12th Street & Ivy Avenue; 1940s-1970s.


The tenth in an occasional series exploring the ways in which my kinfolk made their livings in the 19th and early 20th centuries.