Free People of Color, Land, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Timeline of Napoleon Hagans’ land transactions.

1860 – 18 January. Eliza Seaberry [Levisa Hagans Seaberry] purchased 3.5 acres in Wayne County from Bryan Minshew for the odd sum of $109.37. How (and why) did she make this purchase instead of her husband Aaron?

1860 – In the federal census of Wayne County, Aaron Seaberry reports owning $100 real estate. This is likely his wife’s purchase above.

1862 – The deed for Minshew-Seaberry sale was recorded in Wayne County.

186713 February. Aaron Seaberry filed a mortgage deed conveying to his stepson Napoleon Hagins a “tract of land lately conveyed by Bryant Minshew to Louisa Seabery, wife of Aaron, all interest therein, also one grey mare, four head of cattle, nine head of hogs, all household and kitchen furniture … and 12 barrels of corn, about one thousand two hundred pounds of fodder & about nine hundred pounds of pork, one wagon & cart, and all the farming implements of every description of the said Aaron Seaberry” for $500.  “The condition of this deed is such that whereas, the said Aaron Seaberry is justly endebted to the said Napoleon Hagins in the sum of one hundred & seventy dollars with interest from the first of February 1866, money paid by the said Hagins to William J. Exum for the said Seaberry and at his request and also the sum of two hundred dollars, loaned by the said Hagins to the said Seaberry, the precise date whereof is not remembered, but which the said Seaberry thinks was about eighteen months prior to the date hereof, and whereas the said Seaberry is justly indebted to the said William J. Exum as agent for J.M. Caho in the sum of thirty six dollars & twenty some cents, with interest from 1st January 1861 due by open account & also in the sum of sixty one dollars and thirty eight cents, due by note, the date of whereof is not now remembered by the said Seaberry, but supposed to have been given about two years ago…”  The deed carried a condition that Hagans sell the conveyed property to pay off Seaberry’s debts, with the balance to be paid to Seaberry.

1870 – Napoleon Hagans appears in the federal population census of Nahunta, Wayne County, with $3000 personal property, but no reported real property. Is this accurate? What personal property could Hagans have owned of such value?

18711 January. Hagans purchased two tracts, totaling 221 acres, in Wayne County for $3500 from William Bryant and wife Sarah. The first was on the east side of Aycock Swamp and bounded by Hooker, Fort, Caho and Rodgers; it contained 48 acres and had been conveyed by Ruffin Hooks to J.P. Rodgers in 1861. The second was on Aycock Swamp, contained 173 acres and had been conveyed by John V. Sherard, administrator of the estate of Jesse Coleman, in August 1859. Both tracts were conveyed by William J. Exum to William Bryant and wife Sarah in 1867.

18714 January. Aaron Seaberry purchased 91 ¼ acres for $700 from Eliza Sauls. The deed notes that Seaberry and Napoleon Hagans would pay the $700 on 1 January 1872.

1874 – 25 July. Adam and Frances Seaberry Artis purchased three tracts of land totaling about 109 acres from her half-brother, Napoleon Hagans. All three are on or near Watery Branch, an east-flowing tributary of Contentnea Creek. The first two documents are a mortgage deed and deed of sale for two tracts on the creek. The third is a deed of sale for an additional nine acres nearby. Notably, this last is land upon which Adam had lived in prior years, as it contained the graves of his first wife, Lucinda Jones Artis, and a child. Hagans purchased 9 ¼ acres for $275 from Adam Artis and wife Frances, who was Hagans’ half-sister.

1874 21 April. A justice of peace examined Celia Bailey, wife of William Bailey, to determine her consent to her husband’s sale of land to Hagans. Hagans’ records do not show a copy of the deed for the sale, and it does not appear in Wayne County deed books. Apparently, it was not filed.

1878 – No date. Hagans purchased 3 acres for $45 from William J. Exum and wife. The deed was not recorded until 3 Nov 1885.

1880 – The federal agricultural census of Wayne County shows N. Hagans with 75 improved acres and 200 unimproved, valued at $2000.

1880 – Hagans testified to a Senate Committee that he owned 485 acres purchased for $5500 and a town lot purchased for $500. All his property was acquired after the war. “I rented a farm and started on two government horses. I went to the tightest man I knew and got him to help me.  I rented from Mr. Exum out there.” [Why the discrepancy in acreage and value with what he reported to census takers? If his testimony was accurate, there were several deeds that went unfiled, including that for the town lot.]

18822 January. Hagans purchased 6 acres for $1 from W.J. Carr and wife Lizzie. The tract was situated at Sauls X Roads, beginning in “center of the road leading to Bul-head [in Greene County] near where the Wm Durden old hors stall stood,” along the road to a ditch, then to Fremont road, then to the cross roads, then back to Bullhead road. Sauls Crossroads was later known as the town of Eureka. “Bullhead road” is S. Church Street leading from Eureka, which becomes Faro Road and then Bullhead Road when it crosses the Greene County line. “Fremont road” is present-day Highway 222. This tract, then, was at the very heart of present-day Eureka (which remains, frankly, little more than a crossroads.)

188529 October. Hagans purchased 307.74 acres for $5075 from Thomas Edmundson and wife.

1885 31 October. Hagans purchased 4 acres from Burden West and wife Martha and Freeman West and wife Elizabeth. The tract adjoined “Napoleon Hagins formerly William Bryant W.B. Fort.”

1886 — Hagans bought land in Greene County from G.A. Jones and others.

18882 February. Hagans purchased 71.23 acres for $1500 from Mary Exum. The tract was on the Spring-Bank road bounded by Thomas Edmundson, Hagans, Jack Yelverton, Beaver Dam Branch and Spring Branch.

188822 July. Hagans and wife Absala sold 24 acres to Essex Farmer for $650. The tract adjoined Thomas Artis, “the Jack Wilson land” and Zilphy Artis, bounded by road leading from Sauls X Roads to Stantonsburg, being lot #3 in division of lands of Celia Artis and containing 34 acres. “Absala” signed her name “Appie Hagans,” and Hagans signed with an X. This is the land purchased in 1879 from Celia Artis’ son Calvin. Zilpha Artis was Calvin’s sister. John “Jack” Wilson married another Zilpha Artis, the sister of Hagans’ brother-in-law Adam Artis. Farmer apparently never paid off his mortgage as tract included in 1899 partition of Hagans’ estate.

1889 — Hagans bought land in Greene County from T.F. Jones and others.

18933 March. Hagans purchased 25 acres for $270 from J.W. Aycock and wife.

18944 January. Hagans purchased a lot on Pine Street, measuring 26′ x 220′, in Goldsboro for $700 from A.A. Williams.

189624 August. Napoleon Hagans died, almost a year to the day after his wife. They are buried just west of their house near Fremont.

189921 March. Partition of Napoleon Hagans’ lands, consisting of two tracts in Nahunta township containing 173 and 48 acres, described in deed from William Bryant to Napoleon Hagans; a tract containing 3 acres described in deed from W.J. Exum to Hagans; two tracts containing 75 ¾ and 6 acres, described in deed from Patsey Hall et al. to Napoleon Hagans; three tracts containing 39 ¼, 30 and 8 1/3 acres, described in deed from O.L. Yelverton et al. to Hagans; a tract containing 4 1/8 acres, described in deed from [omitted] to Hagans; a tract containing 25 acres, described in deed from J.W. Aycock to Hagans; a tract containing 9 ¼ acres, described in deed from Adam Artis to Hagans; a tract containing 24 acres, described in deed from Calvin Artis to Hagans; and a tract containing 30 acres, described in deed from Mary A. Exum to Hagans. Total acreage, approximately 475 2/3.


2 thoughts on “Timeline of Napoleon Hagans’ land transactions.

    • Thanks, Terrence. It’s part of my systematic review of what I know about my major players. Also, I recently dropped off a cache of Hagans’ deeds to be digitized at a local library and wanted to provide this info for context.

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