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

I stated the fact.

The fourth 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. Paragraph breaks inserted for better readability.

Plaintiff introduces John Rountree who being duly sworn, testifies as follows:

I know Tom Artis. I heard him say that the cotton was for rents. I heard that for the last 14 years. I collected the rent for W.S. Hagans for several years. I heard Tom alude to it as rents. I heard last September after the land was sold, that it was interest. I never heard anything but rents to that time. I had a conversation with Tom, and carried a message to Hagans for Tom. This last Fall Tom came over to the gin house where I was ginning, and said to me that he understood that Hagans was going to sell the 30 acres piece of land, and said to me to tell Hagans if he pleased not to sell till he gave him notice, because he wanted to buy it. I delivered that mesage to Hagans. Hagans said alright he would sell it to him as soon as anybody, but he didn’t want to sell one piece at the time. We didn’t talk about the sale to Coley.


I have lived at W.S. Hagans’ for about 18 years. I farm at Hagans’. I rent land. I pay him 1/3. I collected Tom’s rent along in the Fall. Hagans has asked me to go to Tom and ask him to send his rents. Uncle Tom sometime would bring the rent and Hagans wasn’t there, and he would give it to me to keep for Hagans. Tom called it rent when Pole Hagans was living. (Plaintiff objects.) I wasn’t there when he sent it to W.J. Exum. While Mr. Exum was living, I didn’t see Tom taking his cotton there. I didn’t tell Hgans that I would swear the old man always called it rent. I had no right to, I didn’t tell the lawyers I would swear to that. I stated the fact that he always called it rent. I told Tom that Hagans had sent me for the rent two or three times. I knew it was rent. I told Hagans that I had his rent from Tom. I told Coley that the old man called it rent last summer. They had me subpoenad before then. I told him Tom always called it rent. I told Mr. Coley’s lawyers that last summer. I never told Hagans, he knew it.

Agriculture, Free People of Color, Land, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin

I never heard anything but “rent.”

The third 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. Paragraph breaks inserted for better readability.

Plaintiff introduces Jonah Reid who being duly sworn, testifies as follows:

I have heard Tom Artis say that he was going soon to pay his rent with cotton to [William S.] Hagans. I don’t know how often I have heard him speak of that, I have heard him say something about it several times when rent was due. I didn’t hear him say what lands. Some times he was cultivating the three pieces, sometimes the 30 acre piece. I am his son-in-law. I never lived with him. Live back of his house. Never heard him call it anything but rent cotton, not interest cotton. (Defendant objects.)


I told Hagans that I heard the old man say he was going to pay his rent, that was along in September, I think this past September. The only reason I told him was he asked me. He came by where I was working on the road. He asked me how long I had been in the family. I told him 16 years. He asked if I had ever heard anything but rent. I told him no. That’s why I told him. That’s all he asked me. Tom worked the three pieces, then afterwards the 30 acre piece. That’s all I remember Hagans said. I didn’t know there had been a suit about the land. Hadn’t had the suit yet. I said I didn’t like to say anything about my father-in-law. Hagans didn’t tell me that he Artis was claiming that he was paying interest. I just answered what he asked me. I told him I had never heard any thing but “Rents”.


Jonah Reid was married to Magnolia Artis (1871-1939), daughter of Thomas and Loumiza Artis Artis. Loumiza Artis was a sister of my great-great-great-grandfather Adam T. Artis. One of Adam Artis’ wives, Frances Seaberry, was William Hagans’ paternal aunt.


Education, Enslaved People, Land, Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Other Documents


My grandmother tells a story:

… Jay and I were supposed to clean the house on Saturday. You know, do the vacuuming and dusting and cleaning and everything. And then I would play, and we would play, and Grandma would say, “I’m gonna tell your mama. I’m gonna write your mama and tell your mama how you act.” She said, “I can’t write her right now ‘cause I’m nervous,’ you know.” Couldn’t write a lick. [I laugh.] Couldn’t read …. I don’t think she could read or write, but I know she couldn’t write. Bless her heart. She says, “I’m gonna tell your mammy on you. You see if I don’t. And, see, if I wont so nervous, I’d write her, but I’m too nervous” – couldn’t write any more than she could fly! [Laughs.]

Martha Miller McNeely, born into slavery in 1855, may not have been able to read or write, but her children signed their names in clear, firm hands that evidence both their early education and their easy familiarity with penmanship. Their father Henry, the literate son of a slaveowner, may have taught them rudiments, but they likely attended one of the small country schools that dotted rural Rowan County. (My grandmother said that her mother Carrie finished seventh grade and was supposed to have gone on to high school at Livingstone College, but the family used her school money to pay for an appendectomy for one of her sisters.) The document below is found in the estate file of Henry’s half-brother, Julius McNeely, who, unlike Henry, was not taught to read during slavery. Julius died without a wife or children, and Henry’s offspring were his sole legal heirs.

Power of attorney

Signatures are often-overlooked scraps of information that yield not only obvious clues about literacy, but also subtleties like depth and quality of education and preferred names, spellings and pronunciations. They are also, in original documents, tangible traces of our forebears’ corporality — evidence that that they were once here.


 Interview of Margaret C. Allen by Lisa Y. Henderson, all rights reserved. File of Jule McNeely, Rowan County, North Carolina Estate Files 1663-1979, Original, North Carolina State Archives.

Agriculture, Land, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin

I would be glad if you would wait a few days.

The second 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. Paragraph breaks inserted for better readability.

Plaintiff introduces H.S. REID who being duly sworn testifies as follows:

I know the Defendant Tom Artis. I had a conversation with him in reference to payment of cotton to [William S.] Hagans. This last fall I was on the road with Hagans and met Tom Artis carrying a bale of cotton. Heard conversation between Artis and Hagans. When we met in the road Tom said, “You are leaving home, and I have started to your house with a bale of lint cotton.” Hagans told Tom to carry it on as quick as he could, for he needed it about as bad as he ever saw anyone. He said that in a joking way. Hagans started off, and he said, “Hold on Captain!” He told him that he understood that he was going to sell the land down there. Hagans said yes, that it was for sale. Tom said, “I would be glad if you would wait a few days Captain, I think I can raise the money for that place, didn’t say what place just then. Hagans said he had rather sell it altogether. Tom said if he would give him a few days until he could see his boys, he thought he could raise the money for it all. Hagans said alright, it was all for sale. That was about the end of the conversation and we parted. Later then that one day, at Eureka, Artis asked me if I knew when Hagans would be out at his place. I told him about the day Hagans told me he would be out there. Artis said I wish I would deliver a message to Hagans for him, “ask him not to sell that place to Mr. Wright Cook. Said if he did, he would be out of house and home. He said he would rather Hagans sell it to Coley, for he thought he could get along better with Mr. Coley. I delivered the message to Hagans when he came out home. I think this is about the substance. That last conversation was a short while before the sale I think. Am not real sure when it was.


I told this conversation about Tom wanting Hagans to wait before he sold the land. I told several people, I don’t remember all. I am not able to tell. I think Hagans and I talked about Tom Wanting to buy the land. I am not positive. I heard Hagans say that the old man wanted to buy the land from him, as I remember. I think I told the lawyer about the first conversation.

HENRY S. REID recalled by Defendant.

I don’t know that on the occasion I met Tom Artis, that he forbid Hagans selling his land. It wasn’t mentioned that day. I have never admitted to Tom that he forbid Hagans selling that land.

Land, Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Photographs


I had a bad feeling.

When the Welch-Nicholson House was nominated for the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, it was being used for storage and in parlous condition. Already nearly 200 years old, it seemed unlikely to me that the place could still be standing, much as I hoped it might. Over the weekend, I sent a message to Ann Swallow, National Register Coordinator at the North Carolina Historic Preservation Office of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. I wanted to know if the original application file for the house was available for perusal by researchers. First thing Monday morning, she responded. Yes to my question, but this: “We were informed in early 2014 at the end of a survey conducted by the North Carolina Department of Transportation that the house was no longer standing.” Ms. Swallow kindly attached two photos of what’s left.



So. There will no emotional return to the house in which my great-great-grandmother Harriet Nicholson spent her earliest years.

Births Deaths Marriages, Enslaved People, Land, Maternal Kin, Newspaper Articles, Other Documents, Paternal Kin, Photographs, Virginia

The life of Joseph R. Holmes, radical.

I’ve written of Joseph R. Holmesdeath. What of his life? The details are sketchy and poorly documented. Nonetheless, here is what I know.

  • Joseph R. Holmes was born circa 1838, probably in Charlotte County, Virginia. His parents are listed as Payton and Nancy Holmes on his death certificate. I don’t know what the “R” stood for.
  • According to Luther Porter Jackson, Joseph had a brother named Watt. According to my great-aunt Julia Allen Holmes, he also had a brother named Jasper Holmes, born circa 1841, who was her grandfather.
  • The “Inventory and Appraisal of the Personal Estate of Capt. John H. Marshall,” filed in Charlotte in June 1857, lists 20 “Negroes,” including Joe, $600; Peyton, $900; and Nancy, $1000. There’s no Jasper. Nor are there any children bearing the names of Nancy’s younger children, some of whom who were born before 1857. Thus, though I’m tempted, I can’t draw any conclusions about whether these enslaved people are Joseph R. Holmes and his parents.
  • Joseph probably was last owned by John H. Marshall’s son, judge Hunter Holmes Marshall, whose plantation “Roxabel” was (and still is) located about five miles west of Charlotte Court House.
  • Joseph learned to read and write most likely as a child, as he exhibited a well-formed penmanship when in his mid-20s.
  • He was trained as a shoemaker or cobbler.  In Negro Office-Holders in Virginia 1865-1895, Luther Porter Jackson
    asserted that brother Watt was also a shoemaker and that Joseph was “hired out by his master to engage in shoemaking by traveling from plantation to plantation.”
  • However, according to “Shooting in Charlotte Court House,” published in volume VIII, number 2, of The Southsider quarterly, Joseph served as a butler for Marshall, then became a cobbler and opened a shop on the Kings Highway (now U.S. Route 360) near Dupree’s old store.
  • Some time around 1865, Joseph married Mary Clark, born about 1849 to Simon and Jina Clark of Charlotte County. The couple had at least four children: Payton (1865), Louisa (1866), Joseph (1867) and William H. Holmes (August 1868).
  • Tax records filed in Charlotte Court House for 1866 list Joseph R. Holmes in District #2 (T.M. Jones, revenue commissioner), paying one black poll tax, as well as taxes on four hogs valued at $5 and $20 worth of real property. I have not found a deed for this property.
  • In 1867, Joseph R. Holmes was elected to represent Charlotte and Halifax Counties at Virginia’s Constitutional Convention. In A List of the Officers and Members of the Virginia Constitutional Convention, Holmes is
    described:  “… Jos. R. Holmes. Colored. Shoemaker. Can read and write a little. Ignorant. Bad character.” [This comes from an unfortunately unattributed photocopy of a page from a scholarly journal. I’ll hunt down the source.]
  • Charlotte County tax records for 1867 show Joseph R. Holmes living at A.J. Johnson’s in District #2, paying only a black poll tax. (This seems to indicate that he was landless and working as either a sharecropper or tenant farmer.)
  • In 1867, he registered to vote at Clements’ in Charlotte Court House. (So did Watt Carter, who may have been Joseph’s stepfather.)
  • On 2 May 1868, Joseph Holmes purchased 11 1/2 acres in Charlotte County from A.J. Johnson for $92. The metes and bounds: “beginning at a corner on John R. Baileys on the Roanoke Valley Extension Rail Road marked as the plat (A) and thence along the Road South 15 W 22 poles to a corner at B. thence off the Road a New line S 70 E 17 poles to corner chestnut oak S 25 E 46 poles to pointers on John P. Dickersons line, thence his line N 55 E 44 poles to pointers on William H. Fulkers line thence N 57 W 80 poles to the beginning.”
  • An entry for August 1868 in the Charlotte County birth register shows a son William H. born to Mary and Joe Holmes. Joe’s occupation was listed as “radicalism.”
  • A letter Joseph wrote on 22 August 1868 is preserved among Freedmen’s Bureau records. In it, he requested of Thomas Leahey, Assistant Subassistant Commissioner at the Bureau’s office in Farmville, Virginia, that a school be established in the Keysville area. The plea was effective, and there’s a 24 November letter in the records from Leahey to Holmes enclosing vouchers for rent for the school, as well as triplicate leases for “Mrs. Jenkins'” signature. “I send them in your charge (believing you call to the D.O. daily) in order there may be no delay.”
  • An anonymous article in the 23 November 1868 Richmond Whig, signed “Roanoke,” reported a visit to Charlotte County and, among comments about African-Americans and politics, stated: “They seem to be realizing the fact that politics won’t fill their empty stomachs nor clothe their naked bodies, and those who have been idle during the summer and did not make hay while the sun shone, meet with no sympathy and are left out ‘in the cold.’ I passed by the shop of our former representative, ‘Hon.’ Joseph Holmes, a few days ago; he was busily at work pegging away at a pair of boots. I told him I thought he was much better at making a boot than a constitution; and as he was anxious to make a pair for me, I believe, he agreed with me.”
  • On 3 May 1869, Joseph was shot and killed in front of Charlotte County Courthouse by a group of men that included John M. Marshall, Griffin S. Marshall, William Boyd and M.C. Morris. The Marshalls were sons of his former master.
  • In the 1870 census of Walton, Charlotte County: Wat Carter, 70, wife Nancy, 70, and children Mary, 23, Liza, 17, and Wat, 16; plus Payton, 4, Louisa, 3, and Joseph Homes, 2, and Fannie Clark, 60. I strongly suspect that Nancy Carter was Joseph Holmes’ mother and Wat, his stepfather. The young children are clearly Joseph’s. Mary may have been his half-sister, but more likely was his widow.) The younger Wat is likely the “Watt” referred to L.P. Jackson’s book.
  • Joseph Holmes, age 12, son of Joe and Mary Holmes, died 11 March 1880 in Charlotte County.
  • H.C. Williamson’s Memoirs of a Statesman: Being an Account of the Events in the Career of a Mississippi Journalist-Legislator were published by descendant Fred Thompson (actor and failed Republican presidential candidate) in 1964. In reminiscing about his youth, Williamson wrote: “Among the bolder of this presumptuous class of Negroes in my native county was one named Joe Holmes, a saddle-colored shoe cobbler, who occupied a small hut on the side of the public road a few miles from our home. Holmes aspired to the office of representative in the State Legislature and insolently asserted his equality ‘with any white man.’ Feeling that he was protected in his new-found rights by his white allies, he denounced, in public harangues throughout the county, the men who had so lately been the masters and believed themselves secure in control of that government which they had constructed and hitherto maintained. Such a condition prevailing over all the Southern States prompted the organization and active operations of that secret society of native, white southern men known as the Ku Klux Klan, which proved to be the salvation of the remnant left of southern homes and southern civilization. I remember passing Holmes’ shop one dae day and seeing nailed to the door the picture of crossbones and skull (the sign of the Ku Klux Klan, as I afterwards learned). But this did not deter him in the least. A short time thereafter, he fell in the Court House door, pierced with a leaden messenger of death from an unknown source, as he was entering to make an inflammatory speech to a horde of Negroes assembled.”

Birth, death, marriage and court records at Charlotte County Courthouse, Charlotte Court House, Virginia; other records as noted. Thanks, as always, for the incalculably valuable assistance of Kathy Liston.

Enslaved People, Land, Maternal Kin, North Carolina

Between mills.

I was on my way to posting this map when I stumbled across the Welch-Nicholson House application. Back to it:


Historian and genealogist Margaret Miller created and holds the copyright on this map of early Iredell County settlers and landmarks. The county, taller than wide, stands on a narrow foot, and I’ve excerpted a section that covers roughly the top fifth of its territory. The world of my 19th-century Iredell County ancestors was largely contained within the borders of the superimposed red box. There, just south of the Yadkin County line, is the Nicholson Mill that anchored the farm that James Nicholson bought in 1826. His half-brother John Nicholson lived on adjoining land, and their children Thomas A. Nicholson and Rebecca C. Nicholson married in 1839. Thomas and Rebecca reared their children in the house James had owned, and their slaves worked both the mill and the farm. One enslaved woman, Lucinda, likely worked with Rebecca in the house and, in 1861, gave birth to a daughter, Harriet, whose father was Thomas and Rebecca’s son Lee. That same year, Lee married Martha Ann Olivia Colvert.

In the early 1870s, the adolescent Harriet Nicholson met John Walker Colvert, a 22 year-old farmhand still living on the farm at which he had been born a slave. That farm, which is also where Martha “Mattie” Colvert was reared, was near Eagle Mills, the ill-fated cotton mill on Hunting Creek due south of Nicholson Mill. Mattie’s father William I. Colvert, an early small-scale industrialist, had been a partner in the development of Eagle Mills in the 1850s. William’s father John A. Colvert had died just a few years after arriving in Iredell County, and William — still a child — had inherited a boy named Walker Colvert, later the father of John Walker Colvert.

Just a few miles apart as the crow flies, Nicholson Mill and Eagle Mills were the poles of the community in which Harriet Nicholson’s family and John Walker Colvert’s family lived for generations before merging in my great-grandfather, Lon W. Colvert.

Agriculture, Enslaved People, Land, Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Other Documents, Photographs

The Welch-Nicholson House and Millsite.

How have I overlooked this?

The house in which Thomas A. Nicholson lived, in which J. Lee Nicholson grew up, in which Lucinda Cowles Nicholson toiled, and in or around which Harriet Nicholson spent her childhood in slavery is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Since 1980. And only today did I find the gloriously detailed nomination report — which includes a photo! And to think that I must have been within a few hundred feet of the place, if it’s still standing, when I nosed around the Nicholson cemetery in the rain last December.

Bear with me. Here’s the entire report, all 13 pages’ worth. I’ve only read it through once, but give me time.













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.

Free People of Color, Land, Paternal Kin

Lisa Henderson Collection

Thanks to Will Robinson for his good work and to my cousin Bill Hagans for entrusting me with the preservation of these documents!

Wilson County Public Library Local History and Genealogy Blog

lisa_henderson _collection_16 William and Sarah Bryant are selling land to the renowned (and maybe a little infamous) Napoleon Hagans in 1871.

lisa_henderson _collection_14 Plat of Edmundson land being sold to Napoleon Hagans.  Did you know I used to be a land surveyor?

Last week when Lisa Henderson was in town to give her presentation, she also brought by a collection of family deeds for me to digitize.  My focus at graduate school was in the digitization of historic, archival records so anytime someone brings me musty old documents, I am very happy. These deeds are records that may not be in the state archives and if they are they are not easy to access. Very few of North Carolina’s historical records have been digitized so anyone that wants access has to plop down at the archives and sort through them.  Hopefully, in the not too distant future, all of their holdings will be digitized…

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