Free People of Color, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin, Photographs

A reunion.

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 10.47.52 PM

And with that introductory email began my fruitful and thoroughly enjoyable correspondence with B.H., my third cousin, twice removed. Our common ancestor was Levisa (or Eliza) Hagans Seaberry, mother of Napoleon Hagans (B.H.’s great-grandfather) and Frances Seaberry Artis (my great-great-great-grandmother). In the spring of 2010, B.H. and I entered into a mutually beneficial exchange of information about our shared family. I had little information about Napoleon beyond what I’d found in census records and deeds, I’d lost track of his sons Henry and William, and I was completely unaware of his son, the accomplished Dr. Joseph H. Ward. He cued me into William S. Hagans‘ post-migration life in Philadelphia, shared amazing photographs and documents, and lead me to “discover” Joseph Ward’s early years. In turn, I introduced B.H. to Wayne and Wilson Counties and the lives of the Haganses, Wards and Burnetts before they recreated themselves up North.

This past weekend, I traveled to Detroit for — astonishingly — the first time ever. Our primary purpose was to take in the city’s rich street art culture, but I added an item to the top of the agenda — meeting B.H. Friday night, he and his wife treated us to dinner at an old and storied restaurant near the city’s Eastern Market, and Levisa’s children came full circle.

me and Bill

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

No damages.

More times than I might have imagined, see here and here and here and here and here, members of my extended family have figured in litigation that made its way to the North Carolina Supreme Court. Here’s another such case:

William Hooks v. William T. Perkins, 44 NC 21 (1852).

In 1845, the Wayne County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions bound brothers Rufus Artis and Thomas Artis to William Hooks to serve as apprentices until age 21. At the time of their indentures, Rufus’ age was reported as 7 and Thomas’ as 18. In 1849, after the court determined that Thomas was, in fact, only 15 when apprenticed, a judge ordered his indenture amended to correct his true age. Hooks, apparently, never got around to it.  Meanwhile, William Perkins hired Thomas. Deprived of the young man’s labor, Hooks attempted to enforce the court order, and Perkins took up Thomas’ cause.  Arguing that Thomas was bound to serve him until his true age of 21 — regardless of the age listed on his indenture — Hooks sued Perkins for damages for the period from November 1848 to February 1849 during which Perkins would not turn Thomas over.  The state Supreme Court held that Hooks should have amended Thomas’ indenture to reflect his actual age at the time it expired, per the court order.  Having failed to do so, Hooks was not Thomas’ master when Perkins hired him and was not entitled to damages.

Notwithstanding the court’s findings, Rufus, 11, and Thomas Artis, 20, were listed in the household of farmer William Hooks, along with another apprentice, W.H. Hagins, 15, in the 1850 census of North Side of the Neuse, Wayne County. (William Perkins does not appear in the county’s census at all.)  Worse, by 1860, Rufus Artis had lost ground, as the census of Nahunta, Wayne County, lists him as a 17 year-old — rather than the 21 or 22 year-old he actually was — in Hooks’ household, along with Polly Hagans, 15, and Ezekiel Hagans, 13.  In other words, what Hooks could not get out of Thomas Artis, he appears to have extracted from his younger brother.

Rufus Artis eluded the census taker in 1870, but he was around. On Christmas Eve 1874, he married Harriet Farmer in Wayne County. The family appears in the 1880 census of Nahunta, Wayne County: Rufus Artis, 46, wife Harriet, 30, and daughters Hannah, 13, and Pennina, 9. The family lived very near a cluster of three other sets of extended Artis families descended from Vicey Artis, Celia Artis, and Vincent Artis, none of whom were not known to have been related. (Or, at least, not closely so.) In the 1900 census of Nahunta, Rufus and Harriet, their children grown and gone, shared their home with Harriet’s mother, 73 year-old Chanie Farmer. Daughter Pennina had married Curry Thompson, son of Edie Thompson, on 11 October 1893 in Wayne County. They had two daughters, Harriet (1895) and Appie (1896). On 10 January 1917, Harriet Thompson married John Henry Artis, born 1896 to Richard Artis and Susannah Yelverton Artis. Richard, of course, was the son of Solomon Williams and Vicey Artis, and the brother of my great-great-great-grandfather Adam T. Artis.

Land, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin

Country roads, Nahunta.

This is a section of a 1904 topographical map of parts of Wilson and Wayne Counties, North Carolina. I am amazed at how much of the blueprint, so to speak, of Nahunta, is the same. More than one hundred years ago, kinfolk traveling from Wilson to Eureka or Fremont would have taken the same roads that I drive now. Today these roads are paved, but the paths they cut over branches and through fields across the countryside have otherwise changed little.

wilson-1904_lnr copy 2

1. Turner Swamp Road runs from the crossroads at the center of Eureka northwest to dead-end at Davis Mill Road (9). Jonah Williams‘ church is on this road, and his brother Richard Artis’ family were among early members.

2. Reidtown Road arcs to connect Highway 222 and Turner Swamp Road. It is named for the community formed by the Reid family, free people of color who settled here as early as the 1830s and intermarried with Artises.

3. Napoleon Road, a spur off Reidtown Road, now cuts across Aycock Swamp to meet Davis Mill Road. It remains unpaved, and the only house standing on it is the one Napoleon Hagans built in the 1870s or ’80s. I believe the speck to the left of the road’s end on this map is Hagans’ house.

4. NC 111, which runs with NC 222 northeast to NC 58 at Stantonsburg in Wilson County.

5. NC 222.

6. Black Creek Road connects Fremont (via its Old Black Creek Road spur) and the town of Black Creek in Wilson County. (Black Creek was once the northernmost section of Wayne.) The road is called Frank Price Church Road in Wilson County.

7. Lindell Road runs from Faro Road (8), just south of Eureka, east into Greene County’s Bullhead district. Much of Adam Artis‘ land lay between NC 111 and Lindell Road.

8. Faro Road, the continuation of Turner Swamp Road, runs south from Eureka toward the unincorporated community of Faro, famous as the site where two hydrogen bombs dropped when a B-52 broke up in flight in 1961.

9. Davis Mill Road arcs from Fremont as the northernmost east-west artery across Nahunta.

Births Deaths Marriages

The Goldsboro Smiths.

As mentioned, Nancy Henderson Smith was my great-great-great-grandfather Lewis Henderson‘s half-sister, but she was closer in age to his children. She and her sisters Mollie Henderson Hall Holt and Louella Henderson King Wilson Best Laws were particularly close to Lewis’ daughter Sarah Henderson Jacobs Silver, who reared my grandmother (her sister Loudie‘s grandchild) after she was effectively orphaned.

In 1881, Nancy married Isham Smith. They settled in the Harrell Town section of Goldsboro, where Isham worked as a wagon driver, occasional blacksmith, and then an undertaker. Their children were: Annie Smith Guess (1883-1953), Oscar Smith (1884), Furney Smith (1886), Ernest Smith (1888-1918), Elouise Marie Smith (1890), Johnnie Smith (1891), Mary E. Smith Southerland (1894), James Smith (1896), Willie Smith (1899-1912), Effie May Smith Stanfield (1904), and possibly Bessie Lee Smith (1911). (Was Bessie really a daughter? Nancy was born about 1864! A granddaughter maybe?) Isham died in 1914, and Nancy married Patrick Diggs four years later. After Patrick’s death, Nancy restored her first husband’s surname. She died in Goldsboro in 1944.

Here’s what marriage licenses reveal about this family:


  • Another example of official laziness — though both Annie’s parents were living, only one is named.
  • What Methodist church in Goldsboro? A Google doesn’t turn up much, but revealed that a Rev. J.J. McIntire was an African Methodist Episcopal minister in the South Wilmington (North Carolina) circuit in 1916.
  • James Guess was a multi-faceted businessman, to say the least, with interests in barber shops, pool halls, real estate and a flourishing undertaking operation. He died in 1957 at a hospital in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  • Annie and James had two children, Elma (1905) and James Jr. (1923-1950). (That is interesting spacing, definitely.)
  • Annie Smith Guess died of heart disease 8 August 1953 at her home in Goldsboro.


  • This was a short-lived marriage. In 1910, the census of Goldsboro showed Carrie Smith living at home with her parents, Furney and Clara Wooten, her siblings, and her not quite two-year-old daughter Pauline Smith.  In the 1920 census, Carrie Smith is described as a widow, and she and Pauline remain in Clara Wooten’s home.


  • And again, Isham is named, Nancy is not, though both were living.
  • This time, the Methodist Episcopal church. A search for John H. Isham doesn’t yield anything.
  • Alberta Paschall was soon to be the wife of Johnnie’s brother Ernest Smith, see below.
  • Elma Guess was the 12-year-old daughter of James and Annie Smith Guess. (Or was there another Elma Guess? Twelve seems awfully young to be an official witness.)
  • Five months after he married, Johnnie registered for the World War I draft. His draft card stated that he resided at 100 Smith Street in Goldsboro (his parents’ house); was 22 years old; worked as a laborer for Isaac Cohnes of Goldsboro; was married; and was of short height and medium build with brown eyes and black hair.
  • Sylvia Kornegay Smith gave birth to a stillborn son in 1920, then to a son Herbert in September 1922 who died at age six moths.  Son Russell Smith was born in 1925 and appears to have been Johnnie’s only living child. The family appears together in the 1930 census of Goldsboro, at which time Johnnie worked as a carpenter and Sylvia as a laundress. They split before long, however, as the 1940 census of Goldsboro showed Johnnie and his siblings Bessie and Jimmy living with their mother Nancy Smith. I have not found Johnnie’s death certificate.
  • As late as 1959, Johnny Smith is listed in the Goldsboro city directory living at the Smith “home house,” 309 Smith Street. However, I have not found his death certificate.


  • Nancy, as here, was sometimes called “Nannie.”
  • A Missionary Baptist minister performed this ceremony. Alberta’s church, perhaps?
  • Ernest’s sisters Effie Mae and Annie were witnesses.
  • Ernest and Alberta had had a child together, a stillborn girl, born 1914 in Goldsboro, Wayne County. They had no others.
  • Ernest, a barber, died 5 October 1918 of lobar pneumonia in Goldsboro — five months after he married.


  • Nancy’s second marriage, which ended with Patrick Diggs’s death before 1930.
  • The family appears in the 1920 census, Goldsboro, Wayne County: on Smith Street, Patrick Diggs, tinned at W.A. Works; wife Nancy; stepdaughter Bessie Lee Smith; and widowed “stepdaughter-in-law” Alberta Smith, a cook.


  • Surprise, surprise. My great-aunt Mamie was not the only relative to follow Mollie Henderson Holt to Greensboro.
  • Nancy is listed with her second husband’s name.
  • This is my last sighting of Effie Mae. I have not found death certificates for her or her husband, but neither seems to appear in subsequent census records. And in the 1930 census, their seven-year-old daughter Vivian Stanfield was living with her grandmother “Nannie” in Goldsboro.

nannie smith 1930

And what of Nancy’s remaining children?

  • Furney Smith is elusive. He appears in exactly one census record with his parents (1900) and seemingly none on his own. Perhaps because:

F SMith

Goldsboro News Argus, 27 January 1906.


Goldsboro News Argus, 23 February 1907.

  • Elouise Marie Smith is listed as “Alerwese” Smith in the 1900 census in her parents’ household. I have no trace of her after. A “Mrs. E. Hall” of the home, 309 Smith Street, was the informant on Nancy Smith’s death certificate. Was that Elouise? (Or maybe Effie?)
  • Mary E. Smith Southerland is listed as an informant on the delayed birth certificate of her sister Effie Mae Smith. I have not found a record of her marriage to a Southerland.
  • James “Jimmy” Smith was born 18 April 1896. When he registered for the World War I draft in 1917, he reported that he resided at 100 Smith Street in Goldsboro NC; that he was born in Goldsboro; that he worked as a bottler as a bottling company; that was single; that he was of medium height and weight; and that he had black eyes and hair. He likely was not the James Smith that married Lou Pearl Moses on 15 November 1916 in Goldsboro. He is last seen in his mother’s household in the 1940 census of Goldsboro.
  • Twelve year-old Willie Smith died of kidney disease (“nephritis”) on 29 June 1912.
  • Bessie Lee was born about 1911. If Nancy were her mother, she’d have been in her late 40s when Bessie was born. Not impossible, but perhaps unlikely. Still, she is consistently referred to as daughter, rather than granddaughter, so I’ll leave it there for now. I have no record of any marriage for her, and she and two brothers appear in their mother’s household in the 1940 census.
Births Deaths Marriages, Free People of Color, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin

Collateral kin: Celia Artis and family.

As noted previously, there is no known relationship between Celia Artis and my great-great-great-grandfather Adam T. Artis, though it is likely that most free colored Artises shared a common ancestor in the misty mists of time. Like, the late 17th century. Celia’s family and Adam’s family were among several sets of Artises living in northeastern Wayne County in the antebellum era, and they intermarried and otherwise interacted regularly. Here’s what I know of Celia Artis and her descendants.

Celia Artis was born just before 1800, presumably in Wayne County. Nothing is known of her parentage or early life. She married an enslaved man named Simon and gave birth to at least six children. In 1823, she gave complete control over her oldest children to two white neighbors, brothers (or father and son) Elias and Jesse Coleman, in a dangerously worded deed that exceeded the scope of typical apprenticeship indentures: This indenture this 16th day of August 1823 between Celia Artis of the County of Wayne and state of North Carolina of the one part, and Elias and Jesse Coleman of the other part (witnesseth) that I the said Celia Artis have for an in consideration of having four of my children raised in a becoming [illegible], by these presence indenture the said four children (to viz) Eliza, Ceatha, Zilpha, and Simon Artis to the said Elias and Jesse Coleman to be their own right and property until the said four children arives at the age of twenty one years old and I do by virtue of these presents give and grant all my right and power over said children the above term of time, unto the said Elias and Jesse Coleman their heirs and assigns, until the above-named children arives to the aforementioned etc., and I do further give unto the said Elias and Jesse Coleman all power of recovering from any person or persons all my right to said children — the [illegible] of time whatsoever in whereof I the said Celia Artis have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year above written,    Celia X Artis.

Despite the “own right and property” language, Celia did not sell her children exactly, but what drove her to this extreme measure? Because she was not legally married, her children were subject to involuntary apprenticeship until age 21. This deed records her determination to guard her children from uncertain fates by placing them under the control of men she trusted, rather than those selected by the court.

Despite the deed’s verbiage, it is likely that the children continued to live with their mother during their indenture. Certainly, Celia, unlike many independent women of the era, had the wherewithal to care for them, as evidenced by her purchase of 10 acres from Spias Ward in 1833. Wayne County deeds further show purchases of 124 acres and 24 acres from W[illiam] Thompson in 1850 and 1855.

By 1840, Celia Artis was head of a household of eight free people of color in Black Creek district, Wayne County — one woman aged 36-54; three girls aged 10-23 [Eliza, Leatha, Zilpha]; one girl under 10 [unknown]; two boys aged 10-23 [Calvin and Simon]; and one boy under 10 [Thomas].

In the 1850 census, she was enumerated on the North Side of the Neuse, Wayne County, as a 50 year-old with children Eliza, 34, Zilpha, 28, Thomas, 15, and Calvin, 20, plus 6 year-old Lumiser, who was probably Eliza’s daughter. Celia is credited with owning $600 of real property (deeds for much of which went unrecorded), and the agricultural schedule for that year details her wealth:

  • Celia Artis.  50 improved acres, 700 unimproved acres, value $600. Implements valued at $25. 2 horses. 1 ass or mule. 1 ox. 21 other cattle. 40 sheep. 500 swine. 500 bushels of Indian corn. 100 lbs. of rice. 2 lbs. of tobacco. 100 lbs. of wool. 100 bushels of peas and beans. 200 bushels of sweet potatoes.

She also appears in the 1850 Wayne County slave schedule, which records her (and another free woman of color Rhoda Reed’s) ownership of their husbands:

1850 slave sched Celia ARtis

In 1860, in a surprise move, the census taker listed Simon Pig Artis, Celia’s husband, as the head of household. If he’d been freed formally, there’s no record of it. (Simon Pig’s nickname is explained here.) He is also listed as the 70 year-old owner of $800 of real property and $430 of personal property — all undoubtedly purchased by Celia. Their household included son Thomas, daughter Zilpha, and granddaughters Lumizah, 17, and Penninah, 11. On one side of the family: the widower Adam T. Artis, his three children, his sister and her child; on the other: Celia and Simon’s son Calvin, his wife Serena [maiden name Seaberry, and a cousin of Adam’s next wife Frances Seaberry], and their four children. Other neighbors included Lemuel Edmundson.

The 1863 Confederate field map below indicates “C. Artis” near Watery Branch and “L. Edmundson.” (The stars mark the creek and the towns of Stantonsburg and “Martinsville,” now Eureka.) The family’s cemetery remains on that land, as marked in the second map. (Watery Branch is perhaps a mile south along Watery Branch Road. And Diggs Chapel, presumably, is connected to the family. See Eliza Artis, below. The road visible below Celia’s name on the 1863 map was probably the precursor of Watery Branch Church Road.) Conf Field Map 2

Watery Branch

During the Civil War, both Celia Artis and her son Calvin were assessed taxes by the Confederate state government in the form of tithed crops. In December 1863, Celia had to hand over a tenth of her 2500 pounds of cured fodder to support the war effort.

celia artis conf

Neither Celia nor Simon appears in the 1870 census. It seems likely that Celia was alive for at least a few more years, however, as her estate was not opened until 1879. It was surprisingly small, suggesting that she had distributed most her land and valuables (or otherwise lost them) before her death. Son Thomas is listed as the sole heir to her $200 estate. I don’t know what became of Simon Pig.


Here’s what I know of Celia Artis’ children:

  • Eliza Artis was born circa 1816. She never married but had at least three daughters, Loumiza, Frances and Penina Artis. Descendants assert that the father of some or all of them was James Yelverton, a white farmer who lived nearby. Loumiza is known only from the 1850 and 1860 censuses. Frances was born about 1845. She never married but had at least two children, Sula and Margaret, allegedly by Wilson (or William) Diggs, whom she married in Wayne County on 15 October 1868. (Margaret’s daughters Etta and Minnie Diggs married William M. Artis and Leslie Artis, respectively, a son and grandson of Adam T. Artis. Sula’s daughter Lizzie Olivia married Leslie Artis’ brother Odell.) Penina, born about 1849, married James Newsome. Eliza’s will was filed in Wayne County:

In the Name of God Amen: I Eliza Artis of the County of Wayne and State of North Carolina being of sound mind and memory and considering the uncertainty of human life do therefore make Publish and declare this to be my last Will and testament: That is to say first after all my burial expenses are paid and discharged the residue of my estate. I give and bequeath and dispose of as follows to wit to John Newsom son of James Newsom and Penina Newsom Four Dollars to Francis Diggs all the balance of my personal and real estate that I may be in Possession of at my death during her Natural life and after the death of said Francis Diggs all of said Personal and real estate is to be equally divided between Francis Diggs’s three children Sula Artis Margrett Diggs and William Diggs Likewise I make constitute and appoint Noble Exum and George Exum to be my Executors to this my last Will and testament hereby revoking all former wills made by me In witness whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed my seal this the eleventh day of February in the year of our lord one Thousand eight hundred and Ninety  Eliza X Artice {seal} In the presence of Witnesses John H. Skinner, R.H. X Locus  Hand-written notation in margin: “See Book No 32 Page 320 Register of Deeds Office” [Wayne County Will Book 1, page 524]



  • Letha Ann Artis (the “Ceatha” above) was born about 1820 and married John Artis. They lived in the Eureka area of Wayne County and their children included Sarah Artis, Zachary/Zachariah Artis, James Artis, Mildly Artis Baker (whose grandson Richard V. Baker married Lillie Odessa Artis, daughter of Henry J.B. Artis and granddaughter of Adam T. Artis), William Thomas Artis, Elizabeth Artis Brantham, and Jackson Artis. Letha Ann died circa 1896.

I Lethy Ann Artice of Nahunta Township, State of North Carolina being of sound mind and memory, do declare this to be my last will and testament. I give and bequeath to my son James Artice Five acres of land known as my fathers place to have to hold through his natural life, after his death to Maggie Artis his daughter. But should she want to live on said land before his death, I give her a right, so to do. I give and bequeath to Luby Baker and Anna Baker the children of Mildly Baker Four acres provided Mildly Baker shall be guardian for said children until they reach their majority. I give and bequeath to Bettie Bradford and Brantham Five acres land to have and to hold their natural life afterwards to their heirs. I give and bequeath to Zachary Artice Five acres land. I give and bequeath to John and Octavius the sons of Thomas Artis my son Four acres land if they should want to sell each other all right but no one else. I give and bequeath to Zachary his fathers chest. All heirs to pay Zachary Artice for burial expenses Sarah & Jackson, before coming in possession of the property I give. I also give to Zachary the big pot, I also give him his house, no matter on whose land it falls on. Be it understood I have already given Zachary ½ acre during my life time. I also gave Thomas Two Dollars and a Bull. I also give Baker a cow and calf, Betsey two Dollars I say this to show what I have given. Betsey and Mildly I give one bed a piece, my large bed to be divided between Tom & Zachary. I also give Maggie Artice James daughter, Sarahs chest. I also give the [illegible] and gear to Scintha Ann Artice. All the heirs, with Scintha Ann take my wearing clothes also House furniture also. But should Zachary want any particular thing, as he been my protector let him have it I appoint I.F. Ormond Executor of this will. In witness whereof I Letha Ann Artice have herewith set my hand and seal This 9th day of Oct 1892   Letha Ann X Artice Subscribed by the testator in the presence of each of us and declared by her to be the last will testament Witnesses   J.H. Skinner, Noble Exum  [Wayne County Will Book 2, page 184; proved 2 January 1897, Superior Court, Wayne County]


  • Zilpha Artis was born in the 1820s. She never married and had no known children. She died in 1882, leaving this will:

Know all men by these presents that I Zilpha Artis of the County of Wayne and State of North Carolina being of sound mind and memory but considering the uncertainty of life do make and declare this my last will and testament in manner and form following that is to say. That my Executor Philip Fort shall provide for my body a decent burial according to the wishes of my relatives and friend and pay all funeral expenses together with my just debts to whomsoever due out of the money that may first come into his as a part or parcel of my estate. I give and devise to my niece Francis Diggs all of my entire lands and all my household and Kitchen furniture to have and to hold to her the said Francis Diggs for and during the time of her natural life and after her death to be equally divided between her two children Sula Artis and Margaret Diggs their heirs and assigns forever I give and bequeath to my Sister Eliza Artis the sum of fifty cents I give and bequeath to my Sister Leatha Artis the sum of fifty cents I give and bequeath to Brother Calvin Artis the sum of fifty cents And I give and bequeath to my brother Thomas Artis the sum of fifty cents And lastly I do hereby appoint and constitute Phillip Fort my lawful executor to all intents and purposes to execute this my last will and testament according to the true intent and meaning of the same and every part and clause therein hereby revoking and declaring utterly void all other wills and testaments by me heretofore made. In testimony whereof I the said Zilpha Artis do hereunto set my hand and seal this 19th day of November A.D. 1881    Zilpha X Artis {seal} Signed and sealed in the presence of B.J. Person, John B. Person [Wayne County Will Book 1, page 245; proved 20 September 1882, Probate Court, Wayne County]


  • Simon Artis. I’ve found no record of Simon after his 1823 indenture to the Colemans.


  • Calvin Artis, known as Calv Pig, was born about 1830. In 1853, he married Serena Seaberry, daughter of Theophilus and Rachel Smith Seaberry and a cousin of Adam Artis’ wife (and my great-great-great-grandmother) Frances Seaberry Artis. Their children were Martha Artis Locus, Polly Artis, James Madison Artis (who married Adam T. Artis’ oldest daughter Caroline Coley), Henry T. Artis, Nettie Artis Exum, Ellen Artis, Talitha Artis, Simon Artis, and Jeffersonia Artis. Calvin seems to have died between 1880 and 1900.



Federal population, agricultural and slave schedules;Confederate Papers Relating to Citizens or Business Firms, 1861-1865, National Archives and Record Administration; Deeds, Register of Deeds Office, Wayne County Courthouse, Goldsboro; Will Books, Office of Clerk of Superior Court, Wayne County Courthouse, Goldsboro.

Births Deaths Marriages, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin

Aldridge marriages.

The first in a series* of posts mining the data found in North Carolina marriage licenses:

Aldridge Ashford Marr

  • Reka Aldridge‘s father George W. Aldridge was the brother of my great-great-great-grandfather John W. Aldridge.
  • Wayne County clerks sometimes listed mothers by maiden name, but more often didn’t. Dora was a Greene.
  • I don’t know what black Methodist churches were in Fremont in 1912, but R.R. Grant possibly served Salisbury AME Zion Church. The church is still active, but recently suffered a devastating fire. (Five minutes later: Or not. R.R. Grant appears regularly in the Journal of the North Carolina Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the 1912 city directory for Fremont lists him as Methodist minister. In other words, he and his church were white. Were the Aldridges members? Did they sit in a designated pew? How did that work?)
  • Witness Eva Aldridge was the bride’s sister. William J. Boswell appears in the 1910 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County, as a married, 30 year-old house carpenter. Ezekiel B. Bailey, 23, white, appeared in his mother’s household in the same township.


  • Robert and Mary Eliza Balkcum Aldridge‘s youngest sons, Robert Jr. and Joseph, married relatively late. Joseph Aldridge was 16 years older than his first wife, Lou Berta Manley.
  • Holiness Church.
  • Witness Johnnie Aldridge was Joseph’s nephew, son of John W. and Louvicey Artis Aldridge. W.M. Manley was Lou Berta’s father. “Robert Hob” was possibly Robert Hobbs, who appears in the 1910 census of Grantham township, Wayne County, as a 24 year-old farmer.

Aldridge Faircloth Marr

  • William Aldridge was the son of J. Matthew and Catherine Boseman (or Simmons?) Aldridge. His father died in 1868.
  • The ceremony took place at Edward Simmons, whose identity is not clear to me.
  • Richard Boseman was the son of James and Tempsey Locus Boseman. James Boseman appeared in the household of J. Matthew and Catherine Aldridge in the 1860 census of Buck Swamp, Wayne County. (James may have been Catherine’s brother.) Richard married Lillie Mae Aldridge, Matthew and Catherine’s daughter. Eddie Budd was the son of Haywood and Phereby Simmons Budd. There were several Bryant Simmonses, but this was likely the son (1831-1890) of James and Winnie Medlin Simmons.

Aldridge Green Marr

  • Of course, George Aldridge knew full well who his mother and father were, and both were living when he married Dora Greene in 1884. I see this omission a lot. Laziness or “who cares?” by the Register of Deeds?
  • Benjamin F. Aycock was later elected as Republican state senator.
  • It’s difficult to read the names of the witnesses, but neither appears to be a known relative of George.

Aldridge Handly MArr

  • This is Robert Aldridge Jr.‘s second marriage. His first, to Ransy Pearsall, was in 1903.
  • Frank “F.B.” Daniels appears in the 1910 census of Goldsboro, Wayne County, as a 20 year-old white lawyer. George F. Vann appears in the 1910 census of Stony Creek township, Wayne County, as a white, 20 year-old farmer.

*Actually, this languished in the Draft queue for a few weeks, so it’s not first anymore.

DNA, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

New Ancestor Discovery, no. 1: Stephen Nathaniel Grant.

SN Grant

I don’t know. Am I?’s New Ancestor Discovery “is a suggestion that points you to a potential new ancestor or relative—someone that may not be in your family tree previously. This beta launch is our first step toward an entirely new way to make discoveries, and a way to expand how we do family history.”

Ancestry’s bio of this NAD (it’s based on a compilation of 143 user family trees, and so may be way inaccurate): Stephen Nathaniel Grant was born on November 27, 1820, in Natchitoches, Louisiana, to Stephen Grant and Marie Louise Saidec. He married Marie Celine Armand on February 6, 1840, in Natchitoches, Louisiana. On September 4, 1862, he married Marie Adelaide Elizabeth Armand in Natchitoches, Louisiana. He lived in Natchitoches, Louisiana, from 1850 to 1865 and moved to Calcasieu, Louisiana, sometime between 1865 and 1870. Stephen died on June 3, 1878, in Vernon County, Louisiana, at the age of 57, and was buried in Leesville, Louisiana.

At first glance, I’m puzzled. Natchitoches? All my roots lie north of South Carolina and east of the Appalachians. “Grant,” though. That stirs an antenna.

My great-grandmother Bessie Henderson‘s putative father was Joseph Buckner Martin (1868-1928). Buck’s parents were Lewis H. Martin (1836-1912) and Mary “Polly” Ann Price (1836-1902). Lewis H. Martin was the son of Waitman G. Martin (1810-1866) and Eliza Lewis (1813-??). Waitman G. Martin was the son of Lewis Martin (1779-1820?) and Charity Grant (1788-1864?).

Charity Grant was my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother. Is Ancestry picking up a connection this distant? It has matched me to collateral Price and Lewis descendants. Maybe Grant then.

I know very little about Charity Grant. Unsourced internet information asserts that she was born 7 October 1788 in Wayne County to Ephraim Grant (1765-1864) and Nancy Kinchen. The date of her marriage to Lewis Martin is unknown; their other children were Lavinia G. Martin (1812-1899), Abraham George Martin (1815-1862) and Henderson Napoleon Martin (1821-1877). (Henderson Martin married Bethany Lewis, daughter of Urban and Susan Casey Lewis, and sister of Waitman’s wife Eliza Lewis.) Charity allegedly died in 1864 in Onslow County. There’s a lot about this I don’t trust though. I consulted Marty Grant’s website,, which contains the most detailed accounting of the evidence regarding early Wayne County Grants available. He lists a daughter Charity for Ephraim and Nancy, but notes that she was born in 1824 and married Martin Johnston. The only other early reference that I have for Charity is Michael Grant’s 1818 Wayne County estate record, which mentions Charity Martin as the purchaser of “7 bus. & 3 Pecks corn” at his estate sale. (It also lists Elisha, John and Stephen Grant among Michael’s creditors.) Michael Grant was a close neighbor of William and Elisha Grant in the 1790 Wayne County census. Marty Grant conjectures the three as brothers and Charity as William’s daughter.

I dug a little deeper on Stephen Nathaniel Grant. (Meaning, I tried to make sense of the mish-mash of information in the trees of his descendants on Ancestry.) With no attribution, all seem to agree that Stephen’s father was also named Stephen Grant, born 1770 in Tolland, Connecticut, died 1821 in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana. Stephen Sr.’s father is also uniformly listed as Ephraim Grant, born 1726 in Tolland, Connecticut.

These Stephens and Ephraims stretching from New England through North Carolina to Louisiana are intriguing, but what’s my link? assigned Stephen N. Grant to me as a New Ancestor Discovery on the basis of a DNA Circle. “Using DNA evidence and family trees, we’ve created a DNA Circle of probable descendants of Stephen Nathaniel Grant. You match 2 of 5 members. … Because of this, there is a good chance (up to 70%) you could be either a descendant or relative of Stephen Nathaniel Grant.” (There’s a lot of wiggle room there, notice.)

Here are the five people in Stephen Grant’s DNA Circle by Ancestry user name:

  • M.G. — a “very high confidence” DNA match — 20-30 centiMorgans, meh — estimated in the 4th to 6th cousin range; descends from Stephen via daughter Louisa O. Grant Simmons.
  • D.E. — not a DNA match; also descends from Stephen via daughter Louisa.
  • kehokk — not a DNA match; also descends via daughter Louisa.
  • J.F. — an “extremely high confidence” DNA match — more than 30 cM — estimated in the 4th to 6th cousin range; descends from Stephen via daughter Elizabeth Grant Bolton. J.F.’s cousin administers this account and knows little about this line.
  • AnthonyQuinn1987 — not a DNA match; also descends via daughter Elizabeth Grant Bolton; J.F. and AnthonyQuinn1987 also share (1) Wiley Hunt (1798, Georgia-1880, Louisiana) and Susan Alford Hunt (1812, North Carolina-1880, Louisiana); (2) John Alexander Brown (1819, South Carolina-1881, Louisiana) and Anny Harris Brown (1828, Georgia-1911, Louisiana); and (3) John F. Bolton (1815, Tennessee-1883, Louisiana) and Mary Ann Goodman Bolton (1818, Alabama-1897, Louisiana) as common ancestors.

For now, I have no idea how I relate to M.G. or J.F. (especially at the predicted closeness), or if Stephen Grant was closely related to Charity Grant, or if Grant is a red herring and some other common ancestor ties me to these two.


Agriculture, Business, Land, North Carolina

“I told anybody that it was my land”; or, “Why don’t you stir it while it’s hot?”

The ninth 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.

(Tom Pig Artis’ testimony continued from here.)


I have been claiming this land all the time. I have not been listing it for taxes. Before the mortgage was given I was listing it. I have not listed it ever since 1892, ’till this last year. I listed my other property, but don’t know that listed this land. I have been mortgaging the crops on this land. I mortgaged it one year in 1893. I guess I did. To Mr. Minshew. I don’t know that I described the land in the Minshew mortgage as the land belonging to Napoleon Hagans. I don’t say I didn’t. I can’t tell the date, but I have rented some land from Hagans. Two or three years. That mortgage to Minshew was intended to cover the crops to be made on the 30 acre piece. (Defendant objects to all about mortgage.) I don’t know that I made another crop lien on that same land in 1895. I don’t remember that I made one then. I made a mortgage to Mr. Peacock in Fremont on the same land. I described the land as mine. I don’t know that I said it was known as the Hagans land. I made a crop lien to Peele & Copeland in 1906. That was to cover crops on the 30 acre piece I guess. I described it as the land known as Will Hagans land. I guess, I don’t know. I might have described it as mine. I made Peele & Copeland another crop lien in 1907 on the same land. I described it as the land known as the Will Hagans land, if its there, I expect I did. I didn’t say in that mortgage that it was my land. On April 16th 1908 I made Peele & Copeland another crop lien. I don’t know that I gave them a mortgage this year. I may have. I guess I did. If it shows it, I did. I described it as my own land. First time that I ever put a statement in a paper or that made reference to crop on this 30 acre piece, that they would be grown on my own land. On March 23rd 1908, I made a real estate mortgage on this land to Peele & Copeland for $420.00. This crop lien I made this year, and also this mortgage on this land was made after the action was made to recover the land. I rented some other land from Hagans beside the 30 acre piece. I didn’t have any of the Hagans land under rent beside the 30 acre tract last year in 1907. I had land rented off, but not the Hagans land. (This action was brought March 18th 1908.) The real estate mortgage to Peele & Copeland was given Mar. 23rd, 1908. Was served Mar. 27th 1908, and the crop lien Apr. 16th 1908.) Last year I didn’t have any of W.S. Hagans’ land rented. I cultivated only the 30 acre tract, and lived in the house on the other side. (Summons introduced by Plaintiff.) At the time Mr. Cook was negotiating about buying this land from Hagans I was cultivating the 30 acre tract, and was living across the line on the 24 acre piece. I knew that Cook was trying to buy the Calv place. I didn’t know that he was trying to buy both places then. Not until I heard from other people that he was trying to buy both places. I heard that a few days before he came up here to get the papers fixed. When I heard this news, I didn’t go see Mr. Coley. I happened to see him. I was just passing and saw him. He spoke to me first about it. He said he understood Mr. Cook was about to buy all the land about there, and mine too. He said why didn’t I let him know. He said if he had known it he would have bought some. I told him I understood they were going to fix the papers the next day. I said if he is, I am going to Goldsboro, and he said if you go, and he and Cook don’t trade, tell Hagans to send me a note. I went the next day, and I told him exactly what he told me. I carried it to him. The rumor was that he Cook was buying both places. I told Coley that if anybody got it I would rather him get it, for I didn’t think that I could get along with Mr. Cook. I didn’t have any reference to my place. I didn’t tell Coley that I didn’t mean the 30 acre piece. I told him myself. I told him I understood Mr. Cook was trying to but all the land down there, trying to buy the 30 acre piece and the 24 acre piece. I told him I was coming to Goldsboro, he asked me to speak to Hagans. I told him if anybody had to have it, I had rather for him to have it than Cook. I came and saw Hagans. I didn’t ask Hagans not to sell it to Cook. I didn’t ask him to let Coley have it. I didn’t tell him I would get along better with Coley than Cook. I didn’t say that. I don’t remember that I told Hagans I could get along better with Coley than Cook. I don’t swear, but I never told him that. I told Coley. I told Hagans what Coley said, if he and Mr. Cook didn’t trade to send him a note. Hagans and Coley did trade. They went to my place. I got in the buggy with him. Rode over to Mr. Coleys. They were talking but I don’t know what they were talking about. They were around the house. I didn’t hear a word except that Hagans would see him later, maybe some other things were said, I don’t remember. I didn’t hear how much Coley was to give him for it, not until he had bought it. Mr. Coley came, but I don’t know if he came to see me. He just passed by. He didn’t say anything about renting it. He said he never knew where these lines were, and he said he wanted me to go around and show them to him. I don’t know whether he had any deed for it or not. I went all around and showed him the lines between his and mine too. There was a fence off the line a little. He told me to take the fence and put it around the pasture. He didn’t say he wanted me to. I didn’t move the rails of the fence, because Mr. Cook saw me with my cart. He said that fence was on the line of the 30 acre place, and told me not to move it. I didn’t because Cook said it was on the line. I went to move it. This fence was on the line between the 30 acre place and Cook’s line, not between the 30 and 24 acre pieces. Mr. Coley came back at another time, and talked about renting the land. Never reached any agreement. He said Uncle Tom aren’t you going to rent it. I said “No, I never rented my land.” I told him all the time it was my land, when I was showing him the corners etc. He was Now was the time to stir while it was hot. I told him I didn’t have to rent my own land. I told anybody that it was my land. I don’t know when I told Coley first it was my land. He knew I suppose that it was my land. I told him before I went to see Hagans that it was mine. I offered to buy from Hagans an acre along the 24 acre piece. He asked me if I couldn’t get somebody else to buy the rest of it. I told him I didn’t know. I never offered to buy the 30 acre piece, in presence of Reid or anybody else, nor offered to pay any on the mortgage, but I told him I could take up the mortgage. I told him that this year, and told him so last year. This last winter. I made a mortgage to H.J. Harrell in 1895. It was intended to cover crop on the 30 acre tract. I described it as the Hagans & Ward land. I tended some land on the Ward place, the other was on the 30 acre piece. That was on the 11th of May, 1908. (Book 18, Page 180) Reason I didn’t move the fence was because Cook stopped me. I didn’t go to see Coley and tell him what Cook said. I told him about about it. I don’t remember where I told him, but I told him. I said Mr. Coley Mr. Cook said you gave him these rails, and he said no he didn’t. Cook had done moved the rails. I was aiming to have the line run. I went to have the lines turned out. I knew the fence was off the line for maybe 25 years. I never have had it run. I didn’t advise Mr. Coley to have it run. I showed Mr. Coley lines and corners, because he asked me to go around with him. I told him at the time it was my land. I didn’t tell Coley he would get Cook’s tobacco barn. I told him the line would strike the tobacco barn. It was on my side. There had been a division since then. He had alreday told me that Hagans had sold him the land, he wanted to know the land between me and him. He said, “Let’s go all around and we went with two more men. I told him it was my land. He asked me why didn’t I stir it while it was hot. He said not to let it get cold, do it now. I gave Peele & Copeland a lien on this land for $420. for supplies etc. I owed for supplies last year and for now. I have a statement of how much I owed him. He had crop lien as security last year. I paid him some. I owed him about $300 together with the mule claim and cow, they amounted to about $200 or $300. I gave him a note for $420. I bought the mule from Mr. Pat Coley. He stood for me. That was put in the Peele & Copeland mortgage. They took up my claim for Mr. Pat Coley. I gave them a mortgage for $420.

To be continued.

Births Deaths Marriages, Enslaved People, North Carolina

Collateral kin: Winnie Coley.

I’ve talked about her here and here, but now I’m a little uncertain. Were there actually two Winnie Coleys? Were the mothers of Cain and Caroline Artis and William M. Coley and Patrick, Philip and John Revis Coley different women? Here’s what I know — and conjecture — about her:

  • In 1863, North Carolina’s Confederate government levied a tax on slaveholders across the state. Tax lists survive for only a few counties. (Most deliciously for me, Rowan is one.) I have not been able to find Wayne County’s anywhere, but fortuitously — and a little suspiciously — they were abstracted in Martha Ellis Will’s Wayne County North Carolina Court House Records Four Books 1780-1896. The 1863 tax list of Davis District, shows John Coley, Administrator of Estate of W.W. Lewis, with five taxable slaves. It’s the first record of Winnie and her children:  Winey, age 29; Cane, age 9; Caroline, age 7; Pat, 4; and Nathan, 2. [Who was W.W. Lewis? Coley himself is not listed with slaves, but the 1860 slave schedule tells a different story. There he reported owning 114 men, women and children. And where were Winnie’s other children?]


  • At #272 of the 1870 census of Pikeville, Wayne County, the unmarried 55 year-old John Coley heads a household of possibly related white folks. In every direction, there is evidence of his toppled fiefdom — African-Americans bearing the surname Coley. Were they related to him? To each other? How? (And the non-Coleys in the neighborhood — who among them were also John’s former slaves, men and women who’d disdained his name?) For now, a few. At #270, Trecendia Coley, 36, with Peter, 5, and Dallas Coley, 5. At #273, Winney Coley, 41, with John R., 17, Phillipp, 11, and Mack Coley, 5. At #276, Peter Coley, 50, Harret, 44, Devrah, 16, Delliah E., 15, Napolian, 14, Nicholas, 12, and Thomas V. Coley, 7. At #281, Thomas Coley, 35, Charlotte, 27, Branton, 8, Bealie, 6, Trecendia, 4, Harriett, 1.
  • On 5 May 1872, Patrick Coley, son of Peter Coley “sen.” and Winney Coley, married Debby Coley, daughter of Peter Coley and Hannah Coley in Greene County. [The 1870 mortality schedule of Wayne County records the death of 52 year-old black farmer Peter Coley of Pikeville. Was he Peter Sr.? Also, though no ages are listed on the marriage license, the 1880 and 1900 censuses show Patrick’s birth year as 1849, which is not consitent with the “Pat” listed in the 1863 tax list.]
  • On 2 Oct 1878, Richard Baker applied for a marriage license from the Wayne County Register of Deeds for Madison Artis of Wayne County, 22, colored, son of Calvin and Serena Artis, father living, mother dead, and Caroline Coley of Wayne County, age 24, colored, daughter of Adam Morris [sic, Artis] and Winny Coley, both living.  The ceremony was performed by Fred G. Becton, Justice of the Peace, on 3 Oct 1878 at Winnie Coley’s in Nahunta, before E.L. Becton, Thomas Artis, and Jonah Williams.  [Thomas Artis, son of Celia Artis, was Madison Artis’ uncle. Jonah Williams was Caroline’s uncle, Adam Artis’ brother.]
  • In the 1880 census of Pikeville, Wayne County, Winnea Coley, 71, is listed with sons Jack R., 26, Phillip, 20, and grandson Dallas Coley, 15. [71?!?! This is the same Winnie Coley listed in 1870, but her age is inexplicably 20 years off.]
  • On 5 November 1881, in Wilson County, Winnie Coley, 50, married Alex Barron, 57. The ceremony took place at minister Jessie Baker’s house in the presence of Mary Ellis, Peter Coley and Red Barnes. [Is this our Winnie? If so, she never appears elsewhere with this husband. Which Peter Coley was this?]
  • On 16 February 1882, Phillip R. Coley, 22, son of Peter Coley (dead) and Winnie Coley (living), married Ann Exum, 18, in Pikeville, Wayne County, in the presence of witnesses Christopher Coley, Gard Coley and Olin Coley. [“Grad” Coley appears in the 1870 census in household #279 as the son of Howell and Amy Coley. In 1886, Gard married Ollin Coley [Sr.]’s daughter Miranda. Their witnesses were Philip R. Coley, Dennis Coley and Christopher Coley. Christopher appears in the 1870 census of Pikeville, Wayne County, as the son of Lafayette and Julia Coley. Philip R. Coley witnessed Christopher’s 1885 marriage to Sarah Powell. Ollin Coley Jr. married Christopher’s sister Imogen in the presence of Philip R., Dennis and Christopher Coley in 1885.]
  • On 11 Apr 1888, Charles Battle applied for a marriage license for Cain Artis of Wayne County, age 35, black, son of Adam Artis and Winny Artis, both living, and Margaret Barnes of Wilson County NC, age 38, black, daughter of Sherard Edmundson, dead.  P.D. Gold, minister of the gospel, performed the ceremony on the same day at Margaret Barnes’ home in Wilson before H.G. Phillips, Henrietta Clark and Mary J. Davis.
  • On 26 February 1891, William Coley, 22, son of Napolion Hagans and Winney Hagans, of Gardner’s Township, Wilson County, married Minnie Woodard, daughter of Alfred and Sarah Woodard of Taylor’s township, Wilson. Cain Artis applied for the license and stood as a witness.
  • In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Willie Coley, 30, wife Minnie, 30, children Effie M., 8, and James M., 6, mother Winnie Coley, 65, and sister Zilley Coley, 38. [Where was Zilley in previous censuses? Or was she, in fact, Minnie’s sister?]
  • On 21 July 1909, in Wilson, Wilson County, William Coley, 42, son of Pole Hagans and Winnie Coley, married Mary Mercer, 34, daughter of Sam and Julia Mercer. Jonah Williams, Primitive Baptist Minister, performed the ceremony at the home of W.M. Coley in Wilson.
  • Winnie is not found in the 1910 census or beyond and presumably died between 1900 and 1910.
  • On 23 March 1917, farmer Cain Artis died in Wilson County of pulmonary tuberculosis.  His death certificate reports that he was born March 1851 to Adam T. Artis and Winnie Coley, both of Wayne County NC.  Informant for the certificate was W.M. Coley of Wilson NC.
  • On 15 December 1920, Phil R. Coley died in Nahunta, Wayne County, of stomach cancer. His death certificate reports that he was born around 1861 to Peter Coley and Winnie [no last name], both of Wayne County. J.A. Coley was informant.
  • On 26 January 1928, William Coley died in Wilson County of pulmonary tuberculosis. His death certificate reports that he was born about 1867 to Pole Hagans and Winnie Coley, both of Wayne County.  Informant for the certificate was Mary Coley of Wilson NC.
  • On 3 September 1934, Jack Revis Coley died in Nahunta, Wayne County, of bladder and prostate cancer. His death certificate reports that he was born about 1850 to Peter Coley and Winnie Coley, both of Wayne County.  Informant for the certificate was Philip E. Coley of Fremont NC.
  • In summary, Winnie Coley was born about 1830 and died 1900-1910. Her children included Cain Artis (circa 1851-1917); Caroline Coley, born about 1854; John Revis “Jack” Coley (born in the early 1850s-1934); Philip R. Coley (circa 1860-1920); Patrick Coley (??-??); and William M. Coley (circa 1867-1928); and possibly Nathan Coley (circa 1861-??) and Lafayette Coley (circa 1842-1913).
  • Fun facts: Philip R. Coley’s son Philip Elmer Coley married Genetta Thompson, daughter of Celebus and Lillie Beatrice Artis Thompson. Lillie was a daughter of Adam T. Artis and a half-sister of Cain Artis. Genetta, then, married her half-uncle Cain’s half-brother’s son.
  • Fun facts, 2: William Coley’s father Napoleon was the half-brother of Frances Seaberry, who married Adam Artis. Thus, William’s half-brother Cain was also his first cousin by marriage.
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.)