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

Rest in peace, Milton Bickett Dove Sr. (1923-2017).

One of the earliest of the many sweet surprises my genealogical research has uncovered is that I am distant cousin to a close college friend, Lorna Dove. Lorna is descended from Durant Dove, alias Durant Henderson, whose mother, Nancy Henderson, I believe to have been the sister of my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Patsy Henderson.

I met Lorna’s father Milton Dove in the days leading up to our graduation from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. I knew of his tremendous work as a community activist in Kinston and was proud to claim a bit of kinship with him.

Today, I learned that Mr. Dove passed away last week at the age of 93. My deepest condolences go to the Dove family, who shared their father with so many for such good. Rest in peace, Milton Dove!

“KINSTON – On December 12, 1923, Milton Bickett Dove Sr. was born to Hosea and Rosella Dove on the family farm in the Woodington area of Lenoir County, North Carolina. He was a lifelong resident of Lenoir County having attended the public school system and graduating as valedictorian from Adkin High School in 1941. He passed away peacefully at his home on October 26, 2017. He met and married Mary Frances Mills on March 29, 1942 after which they moved to Kinston staying first in the Mitchell Wooten Courts Housing Projects, then in Lincoln City, and finally on Beech Avenue. Together they raised five children, Velma, Milton Jr., Kaye, Timber, and Lorna. Milton opened Dove’s Auto Service in 1946 and made many real estate investments. With the support of his wife Frances, he was able to pursue his life’s passion, community service. He worked with the Boy Scouts of America serving as scout master for many years, participated in Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the Black Artist Guild, and the Greater Kinston Credit Union. The family frequently joked about the fact that he served as president of the elementary school PTA long after his children had left the school. In 1976 when the Lenoir County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was established, he was elected as the branch president. He was an NAACP Golden Heritage Lifetime Member and encouraged everyone to join as a lifetime member. While branch president, school desegregation was a primary initiative, however they also fought to eliminate discriminatory employment practices and spearheaded a voter registration drive. The NAACP presented him with many awards as he worked on the county, conference, and state levels. Throughout his life, he worked against Jim Crow Laws and upon discerning that they understood and accepted the risks associated with public protests, he encouraged his children to stand up for social justice. He successfully sued the Kinston School District for conducting a separate but unequal education system. The lawsuit resulted in a court-ordered integration plan resulting in his daughter Lorna’s enrollment in the previously “whites only” Northwest Elementary School. Prior to that, his daughter Kaye was one of the first black student enrollees in Grainger High School under the Freedom of Choice Plan. Attending the March on Washington in 1963 along with a bus load of other community activists was one of his fondest memories. Also being an ardent supporter and admirer of Nelson Mandela, in 1997 he visited South Africa and toured Mandela’s home in Soweto and the place of his 27-year imprisonment, Robbins Island. The trip to South Africa was truly a high light of his life. He was predeceased by his wife, Mary Frances; brothers, Wiley, Jarrell, King David; and sister, Ella Gray. He is survived by his sister, Eva Mae and brother, Alvin (Crystal) as well as five children, Velma Dove (Brian), Milton Jr., Kaye Jackson (James), Timber Washington (Lester), and Lorna Mills Dove (Daniel) along with a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. The funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, November 1 at the United American Free Will Baptist Tabernacle, 1011 Dr. J.E. Reddick Circle, Kinston, NC. Burial will follow in Mills Memorial Gardens. A wake will be held from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, October 31, at Mills Funeral Home. Viewing will be held one hour prior to the service Wednesday at the church. Arrangements are by Mills Funeral Home, Inc. Sign the guest book at kinston.com.”

Standard
Agriculture, Civil War, Free People of Color, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Confederate Citizens File: Durant Dove.

Form of the estimate and assessment of agricultural products agreed upon by the assessor and tax-payer, and the value of the portion thereof to which the government is entitled, which is taxed in kind, in accordance with the provisions of Section 11 of “an Act to lay taxes for the common defence and carry on the government of the Confederate States,” said estimate and assessment to be made as soon as the crops are ready for market.

Rice — Quantity of gross crop. — 5 bush. Quality — #2. Tithe or one-tenth. — 1/2 bush. Value of one-tenth. — $2.00

Cured Fodder – Quantity of gross crop. — 700 lbs. Quality — #2. Tithe or one-tenth. — 70 lbs. Value of one-tenth. — $280

Ground peas – Quantity of gross crop. — 7 1/2 bush. Quality — #2. Tithe or one-tenth. — 3/4 bush. Value of one-tenth. — $4.50

I, Durant Dove of the County of Onslow and State of N.C. do swear that the above is a true statement and estimate of all the agricultural products produced by me during the year 1863, which are taxable by the provisions of the 11th section of the above stated act, including what may have been sold of consumed by me, and of the value of that portion of said crops to which the government is entitled. /s/ Durant X Dove

Sworn to and subscribed to before me the 28th day of November 1863, and I further certify that the above estimate and assessment has been agreed upon by said Dove and myself as a correct and true statement of the amount of his crops and the value of the portion to which the government is entitled. /s/ F. Thompson, Assessor.

——

The Confederate Papers Relating to Citizens or Business Firms, 1861-1865 (NARA M346), often called the “Confederate Citizens File,” is a collection of 650,000 vouchers and other documents relating to goods furnished or services rendered to the Confederate government by private individuals and businesses.

 

Standard
Free People of Color, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

An action for seducing away two colored boys.

John Jones v. James Mills, 13 NC 540 (1830).

Jones sued Mills in Jones County Court for “seducing” two apprentices from him. Jones produced evidence of his indentures of the boys, and Mills countered with proof that Jones had not properly executed bond, as required by law, not to remove the apprentices out of the county. The trial judge charged the jury that Jones had indentured the boys and taken care of them, and Mills, a stranger, “could not avail himself of any irregularity or defect in the bond” as a defense to the suit. The jury returned a verdict for Mills, and Jones appealed. The North Carolina Supreme Court overturned the decision, opining that, even if the bond were defective, the apprentices had not been turned loose, “fit subjects to be seduced and employed by any stranger that thinks proper to interfere.

——

I first encountered this case many years ago when I was researching my master’s thesis, which examined the involuntary apprenticeship of free children of color. The published decision in Jones v. Mills is not terribly interesting. I was stunned, then, when I peeked into the case file, now stored at the North Carolina State Archives: “This was an action on the case for seducing away two colored boys Durant and Willis Henderson alias Dove claimed by the plaintiff as his apprentices by virtue of indentures with the County Court of Onslow.”

Durant and Willis Henderson — alias Dove?

I knew that my Hendersons originated in Onslow. I also had a good friend during my college years who was a Dove. A bit of research quickly established that L.D. was a descendant of Durant Dove, via his son Lewis James Dove. Further research, still ongoing, strongly suggests that Durant and Willis’ mother, Nancy Henderson alias Dove, was the sister of my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother, Patsey Henderson. Their father appears to have been Simon Dove, a free man of color from Craven County.

The case file also reveals that John Jones bound Durant and Willis in 1819 to serve as his apprentices and learn the art of farming. They remained with Jones until 1828, when Mills took them into Jones County, giving rise to this suit.

 

Standard
Free People of Color, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Sisters?

The case for Nancy Henderson and Patsey Henderson as sisters is circumstantial, but strongly suggestive.

(1) With a handful of exceptions, they and individuals who appear to be their children are the only known free “colored” Hendersons in Onslow County, North Carolina, in the early 1800’s. I have not found record evidence of any colored Hendersons prior to 1809. (The exceptions: three Henderson girls apprenticed circa 1810 who may have been too old to have been Patsey or Nancy’s children. I have not been able to trace them forward from their apprenticeships.)

(2) Nancy and Patsey are named in Onslow County court records as mothers of children bound out as apprentices, and Nancy may have apprenticed two of Patsey’s. (Between February, 1821, and November, 1824, seven Henderson children were shifted from master to master nine times.  In the 25 years between 1809 and 1834, 14 Hendersons — sisters, brothers, cousins, nieces, nephews — appeared before the bench on 17 occasions.  A group of white families dominated the apprenticeship of Henderson children — Richard, Adam, and Houston Trott; Jesse and Jason Gregory; James Glenn sr. and jr.; Lewis, William, and Uzy Mills; John and Steven Humphrey, William and Jesse Alphin.  I know no familial relationship between Nancy or Patsey and any of these families, but Mills relatives gave evidence concerning Nancy’s parentage.)

(3) Nancy’s children (Durant, Willis, Miranda, Patsey, Gatsey, Minerva, William and Betsey) and Patsey’s children (James and Bryant) were roughly the same age and were occasionally apprenticed together.

(4) Several names recur among the grandchildren of both women. Nancy’s son Durant Dove (alias Henderson) had children named Lewis James, Julia, Susan, Eliza, Edward and Nancy. Patsey’s son James Henderson had children named James, Lewis, Susan, Julia, Edward and Nancy. Durant reared his family in Onslow and Lenoir Counties NC. James reared his in Onslow and Sampson. James left Onslow in the 1850s. Despite the physical distance and probable lack of contact, both men drew from the same pool of names for children born well into the 1870s.

Standard
North Carolina, Paternal Kin, Photographs

Conviction?

These men were convicted of the August 1922 murder of mail carrier Cyrus Jones in Swansboro, NC, largely on the testimony of another man, Willie Hardison, who was tried separately for the murder. Hardison later confessed that he had made up their involvement under the threat of being lynched. The state electrocuted Hardison in 1923, but both the trial judge and the prosecutor wrote letters requesting executive clemency for George Williams and the brothers Frank and Fred Dove. After almost six years on death row, the three were given full pardons in March 1928 by Governor A.W. McLean.

Image

Sidenote:  My people are from Onslow County, just west of Swansboro.  My furthest traceable Henderson ancestor was a free woman of color named Patsey Henderson, born about 1800.  Patsey’s sister Nancy married (or perhaps didn’t) a free man named Simon Dove.  The Onslow County Doves, including Fred and Frank, are descended from their son Durant Henderson, alias Durant Dove.

Image from “Capital Punishment in North Carolina,” Special Bulletin from the North Carolina State Board of Charities and Public Welfare, Raleigh, N.C. (1929). Copy courtesy of the North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Standard