Civil War, Free People of Color, Military, North Carolina, Paternal Kin, Photographs

Lane photographs.

My Daniel Artis/Christopher Lane posts have attracted even more fruitful attention. S.C. has researched the John Lane family for her half-brother, who is descended from one of Christopher Lane’s brothers, and has generously shared photos she has collected.

This photo, taken perhaps in the 1980s, depicts the ruins of John Lane’s house in Bullhead, Greene County. It was in and around this house, presumably, that Sylvania Artis‘ children worked during their involuntary apprenticeship to Lane. S.C. says the house has since been pulled down, though some its interior was salvaged. She also said the family’s cemetery is nearby.


And then this rather leprous image shows Christopher C. Lane, the young soldier who took Daniel Artis with him as a valet when he entered Confederate service.


Many thanks to S.C. for reaching out and for sharing these photographs.

Civil War, Enslaved People, Free People of Color, North Carolina, Oral History, Paternal Kin

Daniel was always spoken of with respect and love.

I recently received a comment from a reader in response to my posts on the Daniel Artis family. She was hesitant to contact me because her ancestor John Lane had owned slaves — quite possibly some of the people I’ve written about — but was anxious to share a story about Daniel that had been passed down in her family for 150 years. I was surprised and excited to read her message and encouraged her to get in touch. Here’s our April 28 exchange:

Hi, Tammi! Please forgive my excitement and inability to wait for your response. I’m traveling to NC next week to meet some of my newfound Sauls relatives — descendants of Daniel Artis. I’m just beside myself wondering about John Lane — whom I believe apprenticed several of Daniel’s sister Sylvania’s children and might have owned Sylvania’s husband, Guy Lane. I know you’re busy, but I hope you’ll be able to touch base soon. Thanks again!


Lisa, thank you for getting back to me! … Yes, apparently there were a few children apprenticed. I recall, I think, five or six on one census. The younger Daniel Artis was 17 years old on, I think, the 1860 census in my g-g-grandfather John Lane’s home. From my family’s handed down stories, the little Daniel was my g-g-g-uncle Christopher Lane’s body servant. Christopher was one of John’s sons and only about seven years older than little Daniel. So they kind of grew up together. The story is that when they both grew up Christopher went to War and Daniel was allowed to go with him as his servant because Christopher was an officer. Only officers could take a servant with them. Daniel was considered free before the war although an apprentice as you probably know. Well, Christopher was captured by the northern troops and taken to their POW camp at Fort Pulaski, Ga. He died there from dysentery. The thing that my family is grateful for is that Daniel went to the camp with Christopher and stayed with him until his death, never leaving his side. When he died, Daniel made his way back to Bull Head, NC to let Christopher’s family and his father John Lane know what happened to him. Daniel was always spoken of with respect and love for what he did for Christopher.

I thank you so much for replying to me, Lisa, because I’ve always wanted to thank his descendants for what Daniel did and for his devotion to our family in such a terrible time. I always wondered if the Daniel Artis next door who was older was related to little Daniel. I saw on the census that he owned property near John Lane, my relative. I hope this information helps some, and I wish all of his relatives happiness and blessings.


What a pleasure to hear from you! The Daniel you speak of was the older Daniel’s nephew. “Your” Daniel was the son of Sylvania Artis, a free woman of color, and Guy Lane, her enslaved husband. My direct ancestor, Vicey Artis, was the sister of Sylvania and Daniel the elder. Vicey also married a slave, Solomon Williams. Most of their children were apprenticed by Silas Bryant, a close neighbor of John Lane’s. Daniel the elder’s wife was enslaved, as were their children.

Thanks so much for sharing the story about Daniel the younger. I had no idea that he served in the War. I need to look in my files, but I don’t think I know much about him, though I recall that he married Eliza Faircloth. I do not know of any his descendants either. I grew up in Wilson NC, but with no knowledge of my Greene County links. During a visit home this weekend, I’m going down to Bull Head to meet some Saulses and visit Artis Town cemetery, which is where Daniel the elder was buried in 1905. I’ll keep you posted on anything I find about Daniel the younger.

If you are willing, I would love to share Daniel and Christopher’s story on my blog. I so appreciate your coming forth with this bit of history. Researching African-Americans is generally incredibly difficult, and so much lies locked away with other families. I always dream that someone will contact me just like you did!

Best wishes, keep in touch, and thanks again!


I’d be honored for you to use Daniel’s story, of course. I’ve also dreamed and wanted for years to find his relatives, as I mentioned, so I could thank all of them. To be honest, I don’t know if the younger Daniel was enlisted or just went along as an aide to Christopher. I’m only learning recently about the service of black troops both Confederate and Union. I don’t think Daniel was enlisted but I may be wrong. I’ve found the Saulses in many of my genealogy searches but not able to make a connection directly to the Lanes. I can’t remember if I mentioned but my genealogy research came to a brick wall with my g-g-grandfather John Lane. No one anywhere, not even knows who his father was for sure. I have hints but nothing else. It’s all fascinating.

I can only imagine the difficulty there must be tracing African American genealogy, but I see DNA is being used which is great. It’s part of why I find Scuffalong so interesting. There’s so much information. I really love hearing about Vicey, Sylvania and the elder Daniel since their names have come up so often in my own research. And so happy to meet you, a descendant! Many of my Lane ancestors ended up in Wilson, NC after leaving Bull Head. I’m not sure why, but there were many there in my research including a great-grandmother of mine. Please pay my respects at the Artis Cemetery, to their memory, Lisa, when you visit it. Feel free to write me anytime, if you have any thoughts or questions or just to say hello!


CCLane Page 2

Christopher C. Lane enlisted in the 3rd North Carolina Infantry on 23 April 1861 at Snow Hill, Greene County. He was wounded at Gettysburg on September 1863, recuperated at home, then returned to war. He was captured 12 May 1864 at the Battle of the Wilderness, Virginia, and sent to Fort Delaware. In August, in retaliation for the Confederate Army’s imprisonment of Union officers as  human shields in Charleston, U.S. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton sent 600 Confederate officers to Morris Island, South Carolina, to serve as human shields. Lane was among them. After 45 days, the men were transferred to Fort Pulaski, Georgia, and imprisoned in dismal conditions. Christopher Lane died there on 8 December 1864.

I have found no record of Daniel Artis’ service to Christopher Lane during the Civil War, which is not surprising. He was not a soldier; he would not have enlisted. The role of body servants in the early days of the War is the subject of intense debate, and Artis’ status as a free man of color, rather than a slave, further complicates any assessment of his motives (or volition) in following Lane to war.

Many thanks to Tammi Lane for reaching out and sharing a part of Daniel Artis’ life that would otherwise be lost to his family.


Image found at

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

Age 121?!?

ImageOn March 30, 1932, in Lucy, Tennessee, just north of today’s Memphis International Raceway, an old man closed his eyes a final time. His doctor described his death in an unusually detailed, almost poetic, passage: “causes due to advanced age weakening of heart muscles beats slowing down until stopping quietly but regular.” He was, according to the death certificate, 121 years old, and his name was Guy Lane.

Guy Lane?!?!

I scanned the rest of the form: farmer … living in Shelby County … born in North Carolina … son of Guy Lane … an informant named Lillie ….

My great-great-great-great-grandmother, Vicey Artis, born free in or near Wayne County around 1810, had a sister named Sylvania. Both women married enslaved men. (And their brother Daniel married an enslaved woman.) On 31 August 1866, Vicey Artis and Solomon Williams and Sylvania Artis and Guy Lane registered their decades-old cohabitations in Wayne County and thereby legalized their marriages. Old Man Guy died before 1880, but ….

Sylvania and Guy Lane’s twelve children, who used both parents’ last names, were born over the course of more than twenty years.  Morrison Artis, born 1837, was first, followed by Mary Artis (1839), Jane Lane Sauls (1842), Daniel Artis (1843), Mitchell Lane (1845), Mariah Artis (1846), Guy Lane Jr., Penny Lane (1850), Dinah Lane (1851), Julie Lane Sutton (1853), Washington Lane (1855) and Alford Lane (1859).

In 1869, Guy Lane Jr. married Dinah Dew in Wayne County. They appear together in the 1870 and 1880 censuses and had at least six children: Ora, Moses, Lizzie, William, Mary S., Milton F. Lane, and a girl. By 1900, though, Guy and his family are nowhere to be found in North Carolina. Instead, they surface 800 miles due west, just outside Memphis. (Had they been Exodusters sidetracked on the way to Arkansas?)  Guy had a new wife, of four years — Eliza, born in Tennessee — but his youngest two children, Milton and Guy Jr. (actually III), both born in NC, were with him. In 1910, on the Memphis & Shakerag Road, 60 year-old Guy and Eliza Lane are listed with eight year-old daughter Lilly. Both reported that they had been married twice, and Eliza reported that only one of her nine children was living. In the 1920 census, the couple are living with Lillie and her husband Robert Burnett. Guy continued to work as a farmer, and his age is reported as 78. Ten years later, in 1930, Guy and Liza are living alone again, and his age has leapt inexplicably to 114. By time he died in 1932, Guy had gained another seven years.

The credible evidence suggests that cousin Guy Lane, in fact, was born about 1848, making him a more reasonable 84 years old when his heart slowed down until stopping quietly. He is not forgotten.

Births Deaths Marriages, North Carolina, Other Documents

Aunt Jane and the alligator.

While perusing the November 2001 issue of Trees, the publication of the Wilson County Genealogical Society, I ran across a previously unnoticed article about Jane Sauls and her daughters and their encounter with an alligator on their farm near Stantonsburg.  (“Unnoticed” in that I’d read it years ago, but not appreciated what I was reading.) Jane was a first cousin to my great-great-great-grandfather, Adam T. Artis (1831-1919).

Pages from November 2001

Jane Lane Sauls was born circa 1842 in Greene County NC. She died on 16 Dec 1928 in Stantonsburg township, Wilson County, North Carolina.  She was one of several children of Sylvania Artis, a free woman of color, and her husband Guy Lane, an enslaved man, but is not found in the 1850 or 1860 censuses.

In the 1870 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County, farm laborer John Sauls, 35, wife Jane, 27, and children Mary, 3, and Silvany, 1, are listed with Trecinda Barnes, 20, Jane Barnes, 7, and Edwin Barnes, 1. No marriage record for Jane and John has been located, and their relationship to the Barneses is unknown.

The 1880 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County, shows farmer John Sauls, 45, wife Jane, 36, daughters Mary, 12, Silvany, 9, Anner, 7, and Lucy, 6, plus Jane’s sister Fanny Lane, 14.  (Sister? Really? I’d bet niece.)

On 30 Nov 1894, J.W. Coley applied for a marriage license for Morrison Artis of Wayne County, 50, colored, son of Guy Coley and Sylvania Coley, both dead, and Jane Farrior of Wayne County, 35, colored, of unnamed parents, both dead. (This is the only instance of Coley as a surname for Guy.) The ceremony was performed by D.F. Ormond, Justice of the Peace, on 6 Dec 1894 at John Sauls’ Nahunta township, before B.W. Best, John Sauls, and J. Reid.  Morrison Artis was Jane Lane Sauls’ brother.  Some of the siblings adopted their mother’s surname, Artis; others used their father’s, Lane.

The 1900 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County, shows John Sauls, wife Jane, daughters Mary and Sylvania Sauls, and “grandchildren” Louvenia (Apr 1883), Henry (Oct 1885) and John Lane (Oct 1886). In fact, these children were probably the children of Jane’s brother Alford Lane.

The 1910 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County, shows John Sauls, 76, wife Jane, 56, Mary, 38, Sylvany, 36, Anna, 33, and Snobe, 10, plus niece Louvenia Lane, 23, and boarder Freeman Swinson,14. Anna reported that she was divorced; Snobe was her son.  John B. Sauls, alias Snow B. Nobles, died in 1925. His father was Columbus Nobles.  Freeman Swinson was the son of Jane’s sister Mariah Artis Swinson.

The 1920 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County NC shows Anna Sauls, 45, widowed, sharing a household with her sisters Sylvania, 46, and Mary, 49, widowed mother Jane, 76, and cousin Levenia Sauls, 28.

Jane Lane Sauls died 16 Dec 1928 in Stantonsburg township, Wilson County, of paralysis due to hypertension and cerebral hemorrhage.  Her death certificate reported that she was born in 1842 in Greene County NC to Guy Lane and Sylvania Artis, both of Greene County, and she was the widow of John Sauls. She was buried 17 Dec 1928, Union Grove cemetery, Wayne County, by C.E. Artis, Wilson NC.  (C.E., son of Adam Artis, was her cousin.)  The informant was Anna Sauls, Rt. 6 Box 94, Stantonsburg.

Anna Sauls died 20 Dec 1950 in Stantonsburg township, Wayne County, of cerebral hemorrhage. Her death certificate reports that she was a widow and was born 1 Jan 1878 in Wayne County to John Sauls and Jane Lane. She was buried 23 Dec 1950, Union Grove cemetery, Wayne County NC. The informant was Louvenia Sauls, R#2 Box 300, Stantonsburg NC.

Sylvania Sauls died 23 Oct 1957 in Stantonsburg township, Wilson County, of cerebral hemorrhage.  Her death certificate reports that she was about 87 years old and was born in Wayne County NC to John Sauls and Jane Lane. She was buried 28 Oct 1957 in Union Grove cemetery.  The informant was Louvenia Sauls.

Mary Sauls died 29 Dec 1960 in Fremont township, Wayne County, of cerebral hemorrhage. [Did all these women really die of strokes, or was that a default diagnosis?] Her death certificate reports that she was born 3 Sep 1861 in Wayne County to Johnnie Sauls and Jane Lane. Mary was buried 3 Jan 1961, Union Grove cemetery, Wayne County.  The informant was Anna Ray, Rt. 2 Box 143, Fremont NC.