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

The house and the lot on which they now live.

Buck Martin never married. At the end of his life, he and his bachelor brother Alfred lived together in the “home place,” perhaps the house they had grown up in, which Buck owned. Just down the road lived another unmarried brother, Dortch, and their widowed sister, Virginia “Jenny” Martin Herring.

A few months before his death, Buck drew up a will that insured that Alfred would keep a roof over his head and that, more importantly, his younger children and their mother, Sarah Barfield, would not be dispossessed of the house and acre of land upon which they lived. By its terms, the will provided that the Barfields could remain on the property for the duration of their lifetimes and those of their survivors, after which it would revert to his brothers or their heirs. In fact, they did not stay quite so long. Sarah Barfield died in 1942, and the property reverted to Buck’s brother Ira’s children. Lillie Barfield Holmes bought the house from them, but it later burned down.

MARTIN -- Buck Martin Will

[Sidenote: Buck Martin died 18 June 1928 of sarcoma of the right thigh. His brother Ira died of heart failure exactly ten days later.]

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

Zilpha’s will.

State of North Carolina, Wayne County    }   I, Zilphy Wilson, of the County and State, aforesaid begin of sound mind and memory, but considering the uncertainty of my earthly existence to make and declare this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following, that is to say: — That my Executor hereinafter named shall provide for my body a decent burial, suitable to the wishes of my relations and friends, and pay all funeral expenses together with my just debts out of the first money that may come into his hands as a part or parcel of my estate.

Item 1. I give and bequeath to my daughter Bettie Reid 7 acres of land to be cut off the North East corner of the tract of land on which I now reside for and during her natural life, and after her death to be equally divided between all of her children that she may have now, or may have living at the time of her death, the said Bettie Reid not to have possession of said Land until the debts against my estate are paid.

Item 2. I give devise and bequeath to my son Adam Wilson and my daughter Vicey Wilson, share and share alike all of the tract of Land on which I now live, with the exception of the seven acres given away in Item first of this will, with all the priviledges and appertances thereunto belonging for and during their natural like, should they both have heirs, then they to have their mother & Father part, and should Adam or Vicey only one of them leave heirs, then and in that case I give said land to the surviving heirs of that one to them and their heirs in the fee simple forever.

Item 3. I give and devise unto my son Adam Wilson and Vicy Wilson, share and share alike, all of my Household and Kichen furniture of every description Farming implements of every description, Tools of Mechanics &c &c, Stocks of all kinds, and all the poultry of kind to them and their heirs in fee simple forever.

Item 4. It is my will and I so direct, that my son Adam Wilson to retain possession of the whole of my land at yearly rental of seven hundred lbs. of lint cotton which is to be applied to the payment of the debts against my estate, as soon as said debts are paid, I direct that Bettie Reid be put in possession of the seven acres of land given to her in a former Item of this Will. I also desire that my daughter Bettie Reed become an equal heir in my household and kitchen furniture with my son Adam and daughter Vicey.   Changes made in Zilphia Wilson’s Will Oct[?] 4, 1893

Item 5. I give and devise unto William and Jonah Wilson children of William Wilson Sixty dollars to be paid to them when they arrive at lawful age.

Item 6. I give and devise unto Johney, Lominary, Levy, Laronzo Locus, Children Louisa Locus Sixty dollars to be paid to them as they arrive at lawful age.

Item 7. It is my will and so direct that the Legacies mentioned in Items 5 & 6 of this Will be assessed by my son Adam and my Daughter Vicy Wilson, and I direct that they pay to each one of the above mentioned heirs, as they arrive of lawful age their proportionable part of said Legacies with interest on the same from the time the debts of the estate are settled.

Lastly, I hereby constitute and appoint my brother Jonah Williams and my son Adam Wilson Executors to this my last Will and Testament, hereby revoking all the Wills heretofore made by me.    Zilphy X Wilson

Signed and sealed in the presence of Fred I. Becton and Thomas Artis, who witnessed the same at her request.  /s/ Richard H. Battle, Fred I. Becton


Zilpha Artis Wilson was born about 1828, the first known child of Vicey Artis and Solomon Williams. About 1855, she married John “Jack” Wilson, a free man of color of completely unknown origins. That year, Jack bought 55 acres in Wayne County from Zilpha’s brother Adam Artis and settled his family close to the Artises.

Zilpha and Jack Wilson’s children were William Wilson (1856), Louisa Wilson Locus (1858), Elizabeth “Betty” Wilson Reid (1864-1947), John Adam Wilson (1865-1916) and Vicey Wilson (1869).

Zilpha Wilson’s will was proved 17 December 1902 and recorded at page 421 of Will Book 2, Wayne County Superior Court.

Enslaved People, Maternal Kin, North Carolina

Juda’s children.

As noted earlier, Elizabeth Kilpatrick’s will seems to establish that Juda, an enslaved woman born perhaps in the 1790s, was the mother of at least two children, the Dave and Lucinda specifically referred to in Kilpatrick’s will. Under its terms, Dave’s ownership passed to son Robert Kilpatrick and Lucinda’s to daughter Mary Kilpatrick. Elizabeth’s estate file shows that her administrator sold Negroes Juda ($50.00), Matthew ($425.00) and John ($200.00) on 29 August 1829 and “Negro Kesy” for $74.75 on 30 October 1830. (Their buyers are not listed.) Assuming that Kesy, Matthew and John are the “children not disposed of” in the will, Juda was the mother of at least five children.  Only Lucinda can be further accounted for.

In 1834, Mary Kilpatrick sold Lucinda and her children Alice, 3, and John, 1, to Samuel and John W. McNeely. John disappears from the record. However, Alice, known as “Allie,” bore at least one son, Joseph Archy, and probably several other children, including Alexander, Stanhope and Mary. All – save Alice, who perhaps had died – appear in J.W. McNeely’s Confederate tax assessment in 1863.

Lucinda herself gave birth to two more sons, Julius, about 1838, and Henry W., in 1841. Julius’ father is unknown, but appears to have been a black man. Henry’s father was John Wilson McNeely himself.

Enslaved People, Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Other Documents

How we came to be McNeelys.


Rowan County, North Carolina, 1819. Widow Elizabeth Kilpatrick is close to death. Her daughter Mary is to receive “one feather bed and all my beds clothing of every kind, all my dresser furniture, my chest, one pot, one dutch oven, one pot rack” and “my negro girl named Lucinda.”

Don’t forget Lucinda. She’s my great-great-great-grandmother, and you’ll see her again. And Juda? In paragraph 5? Probably Lucinda’s mother. “All her children (not disposed of)” suggests that Dave, who went to Robert Kilpatrick, and Lucinda, were Juda’s disposed-of children. Who were the others?


Rowan County, North Carolina, 1834. Mary Kilpatrick files a deed for the sale of “one negro woman named Lucinda aged about twenty years one negro child named Alice aged three years and one negro child named John aged between one and two years,” plus a few other sundries to Samuel and John W. McNeely, who are father and son. This is the Lucinda that Mary Kilpatrick inherited from her mother in 1819. Remember John Wilson McNeely. You’ll see him again, too.


Rowan County, North Carolina, 1843. Samuel McNeely‘s will. To his beloved son John W. McNeely, he leaves “a negro woman named Lucinda and all her offspring.” Lucinda, then, may have been the only slave Samuel ever bought, and she returned his investment handsomely.

One of Lucinda’s offspring was Henry W. McNeely, whose father was the very John W. McNeely who owned him.  Henry, my grandmother Margaret Colvert Allen‘s maternal grandfather, was born in 1841 in western Rowan County and died in Statesville, North Carolina, in 1906.