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.

CROSS EXAMINED.

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.

CROSS EXAMINED.

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?

Standard
Agriculture, Business, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

“They call me Tom Pig.”

The eighth 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.

Defendant introduces TOM ARTIS, who being duly sworn, testifies:

My name is Tom Artis. They call me Tom Pig. I own some land, 30 acres. (Plaintiff objects.) I have been living on the 30 acre tract of land 25 years, except one year. I mortgaged this land to Mr. Exum. (Plaintiff objects.) I don’t know about how long it was. About 25 or 30 years. (Plaintiff objects.) I don’t know what became of that mortgage. I got Hagans to take it up. (Plaintiff objects.) I don’t know who was present when I got Hagans to take it up. When Hagans agreed to take it up, Mrs. Exum, Hagans and myself were present. I own the 30 acre tract and lived on the the tract adjoining. After Hagans took up the papers, he told me that I could build on that place, or on the 24 acre piece. He said he thought it best for me to build on mine, he might die sometime, and there might be some trouble about me holding the house. I did so. He furnished the lumber, and I did the work. I decided to build on his side. After I built there I had been paying the 800 lb. of lint cotton year in and year out. (Plaintiff objects to each and every statement of the foregoing evidence.) The 800 lb. of cotton was to keep up the taxes and the interest of the money. (Plaintiff objects.) I have been paying this 800 lb. of cotton all the time. (Plaintiff objects.) I left that place one year. I left because my house got in such a bad fix, and I couldn’t stay there, and run my business like I wanted to, and I went over to Mr. Jones’. I rented the land. I rented it to Simon Exum. He gave me 950 lb. for the 30 acre place. I rented the Calv Place and the Adam Artis place. I moved back after one year at Mr. Jones’ place. I built on the Hagans place. Since then I built the piaza and shed room, to my own expense. Borrowed money from Hagans. I paid him back. He didn’t pay for the repairing of it. He furnished some shingles. Got 1/4 covered. I never asked W.S. Hagans to sell the 30 acre tract of land. I never said to Hagans in the presence of Reid or anybody else that I wanted im to sell it. I never asked anybody to buy the 30 acre tract of Hagans. Not the 30 acre tract. I had a conversation with Mr. Coley with reference to buying that land. I was talking about the Calv place. My land wasn’t brought in. The Calv place is the place I rented and lived on. That’s the land I spoke to Mr. Coley about buying from Hagans. He said if Mr. Cook and Hagans didn’t trade to send him a note. I told Hagans, he said tell him Coley, if his hands were not tied. I remember going over to Mr. Coley’s mill with Hagans. I didn’t hear any conversation bwteen Hagans and Coley with reference to buying this tract of land. They were off from me. I didn’t know what they were talking about. I heard them say when they came back to the buggy, Hagans said that he would see him again shortly. I don’t know if he said what day. Next I heard after that was that Hagans had sold it all to Mr. Coley, mine and all. I never rented the 30 acre tract of land. I know Jno. Rountree. I never asked him to go to Will Hagans and ask him to give me an opportunity of buying the 30 acre piece of land. I never said to Will Hgans, Jno. Rountree or Henry Reid, or anybody that I wanted Hagans to give me the opportunity of seeing my boys in Norfolk, so I could buy the 30 acrea piece. I asked Hagans what he would take for the acre back of my huose, of the Calv place. I told him I would buy that. His answer was, “Can you find a buyer for the other part of the Calv place.” I told him I didn’t know. He walked about his buggy house door. He said, “Uncle Tom” I can’t take what that mortgage calls for for your land, land is so much more valuable now than it was when yours was given. It passed off at that. Next I heard he had sold it to Coley.

To be continued.

——

N.B. Calvin “Calv Pig” Artis was Tom Pig Artis’ brother. He sold the Calv Pig place to Napoleon Hagans in 1879. (Tom and Calvin apparently derived their nicknames from their father Simon Pig Artis, who had been an enslaved man.)

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

A home for his lifetime.

The seventh 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.

Defendant introduces JESSE ARTIS who being duly sworn, testified:

I had a conversation with Tom Artis and Hagans about this land. I was working there for Hagans (Plaintiff objects) as carpenter. Tom Artis was working with me. The Old man Hagans was talking to Tom about claim which Mrs. Exum had on his land, and was telling him that he had some money at that time, and was would take it up if he wanted to, and give him a home for his lifetime. He left us, and Tom talked to me. I told him he did not know whether he would have a home all his life or not. I advised Tom to let Hagans take up the papers, and Tom did so. Hagans told me next day that if Tom should pay him 800 lb. of cotton he should stay there his life time. When he paid him his money back, the place was his. I don’t know that Tom and I are any kin. Just by marriage. We are not a member of the same Church.

CROSS EXAMINED.

When I was a carpenter ‘Pole told me all about this on his place. He took me into his confidence. I don’t know whether he told me all. He told me a good deal.

——

Jesse Artis (circa 1847-circa 1910) was a brother of my great-great-great-grandfather Adam Artis and his brother Jonah Williams, the latter of whom also testified in this trial.

Standard
Agriculture, Land, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

No need for exodusting.

Napoleon Haganstestimony before a Senate committee was not his last word on the migration of African-American farmers out of North Carolina. Nine months later, he — or someone for him, in any case, as he was unlettered — penned a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, recounting his agricultural success and exhorting his “race” to cast down their buckets where they were. His sentiments were echoed by Jonah Williams, his friend, neighbor, pastor and brother-in-law’s brother. (Jonah, too, was illiterate. Both men, however, were strong believers in the value of education and saw that their children received the best they could afford. See here, here and here.)

Goldsboro_Messenger_12_30_1880_exodusting

Goldsboro Messenger, 30 December 1880.

Standard
Land, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin

He was rejoicing at the opportunity.

The sixth 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.

Defendant introduces JONAH WILLIAMS:

I have had a conversation about this land. All I know is what Hagans and Tom told me. The first talk was with Napoleon Hagans. (Defendant objects.) Best I remember I went to him to borrow some money to open my brick yard in the Spring. He referred to this deal and some other deal. Tom wanted to take up some papers, and had done so, and I remarked to Hagans how much better off than he was before. He said he was rejoicing at the opportunity. He promised to give 800 lb. of cotton until he could work a advance to him. He said if Tom did that he would never disturb him his life time. I asked Hagans to have it in a written contract, that his heirs might dissent from it. He replied that 800 lb. was a good interest on his money, and his heirs would probably be satisfied. I had a conversation with Tom. I saw him two or three weeks after that. (Plaintiff objects.) I spoke to him about Hagans taking up the Exum paper. He told me Hagans had ***** to take that up. Hagans had given him a chance to pay the debt off. Whenever he paid anything on the principle, he would not have to pay the 800 lb., but simply a lawful interest on the money. I advised Tom to do his best and pay some in on his principal.

CROSS EXAMINED.

He said that he had taken up the mortgage; had it transferred. He said Claim, I might have said mortgage. I don’t say ‘Pole Hagans told me all his business, but I knew about as much as anybody. Said he was going to let him, (Tom) pay 800 lb. of cotton until he could pay the principle. Mortgage given in 1881 to Mrs. Exum. This conversation about 12 or maybe 14 years ago. Don’t know whether it was as late as 1890. Began brick business in 1893. I can’t tell whether it was in 1880 or ’90. ‘Pole Hagans died about two or three years before this took place.  Tom married my sister. He is not a member of my church. I turned him out. He is a Primitive Baptist. I preached Napoleon Hagans’ funeral.

 ——

Elder Jonah Williams was a brother of my great-great-great-grandfather, Adam T. Artis. Adam Artis married Napoleon Hagans‘ half-sister Frances Seaberry. Tom Artis married Jonah and Adam’s sister Loumiza Artis.

Standard
Agriculture, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

A burned barn, an old well, and Officer Smith.

Goldsboro_Daily_Argus_6_11_1904_hagans_barn

Goldsboro Daily Argus, 11 June 1904.

Beyond the story of Officer Smith’s swift comeuppance, there is “Will Hagans’ barn, in the northern part of the city.” William S. Hagans and his family lived in Goldsboro at this point, and his landholdings were 15 miles north in the area of Fremont and Eureka, near the Wilson County line. For what, then, did he use a barn in town?

Standard