Betty, An Indian, A Free Woman By the Laws of Nature

Lisa Y. Henderson, on her blog, Fourth Generation Inclusive, posts this information about Negroe Dick found in Pasquotank County, NC in 1788.

The Petition of Negroe Dick at present confined in the Common Gaol of the County: — by the next friend John Smith.

Most Humbly Sheweth That your Petr. has been taken up by Sundrey Persons supposing him to have been a Slave the property of John Smith one of the people called Quakers and illegally liberated by him.

That your Petr. Is at present confined in Gaol under the acts of Assembly 1777 and 1779.

Sheweth that your Petr. Grandmother, Betty was an Indian, a free woman by the Laws of Nature.

What can we tell from this information?

First, I wanted to see if I could find any hint of Negroe Dick in the 1790 census.  I browsed the entire Perquimans County 1790 census, and there are only five free families of color, four by the surname Overton and one by the surname Ashburn, and none of them having a first name of Dick or Richard.

There are several families that are white that include some free people of color.  Of course, there is no way to know who those people are.  Many of these families also include slaves, so they could be “free” wives or husbands.

An interesting aspect of this record is John Smith, the “next friend” of Negroe Dick.  John Smith is further identified as being a Quaker.  The Quakers were known to oppose slavery.  They often purchased slaves.  They freed them until that became illegal, and after that, the Quakers still “owned” their slaves, but treated them as free.  That indeed maybe what was going on with Negroe Dick and why he was “taken up” and presumed to be a runaway.  He was simply acting “too free.”  John Smith in Pasquotank County does in fact own slaves, but a John Smith, Jr. does not.

The Quakers first arrived in Perquimans County in 1672.  Of course, we don’t know if John Smith was a Quaker before arriving n Perquimans, became a Quaker after the Meeting House was established there, or if John brought Negroe Dick with him from elsewhere, probably Virginia where most of the people who settled in this part of North Carolina were from.  Research on the family of John Smith might reveal more.  Some of the Quaker families from Perquimans County moved from Nansemond and Isle of Wight  Counties in Virginia.

What else can we tell about Negroe Dick?  We know that his grandmother was an Indian, and a free woman.  We also know that this had to be his grandmother on his mother’s side, because that was how legal status, that of free or slave, was determined.  The children’s status followed that of the mother, so if Negroe Dick has the right to be free, it was because his mother did as well and someone in his maternal line had to have been free.

We don’t know how old Negroe Dick was in 1788, but let’s say he was age 30, so born about 1758.  If his mother was age 25 when she had him, and his grandmother the same age when she had his mother, his Indian grandmother would have been born about 1708.  Of course, there is a lot of room for error here.

In Perquimans County, the Yeopim Indians were the original Native tribe.  In 1661, the Indian Chief, Kilcocanen, who took the English name George Durant after his white “brother” George Durant, sold “Durant’s Neck” to European settlers.  The Yeopim didn’t just leave, they lived in Indian town and then they assimilated.  Indian Town was still mentioned and on maps as late as 1778 and 1784 and still on a map in 1808.

It’s also obvious that something inappropriate happened to the children of either Negroe Dick’s grandmother Betty, a free Indian woman, or Dick’s mother.  If Betty was free, then Dick’s mother should have been free, and Dick should have been as well.  Someplace, something went wrong.  It was very common during that time, especially if Betty or Dick’s mother had children by a black man, for those children to be either stolen and enslaved or simply enslaved, without anyone asking any questions.  The only recourse was in court of course.  This was legally available to slaves, but not necessarily practically available.  One can only imagine the bravery it would have taken for a slave to file a suit against their master and the repercussions that might well follow.  This did happen, although rarely, and we know from depositions that often slave owners would then move, or move the slave in question, to a distant location so the slave could not pursue the suit.  Sometimes you were better simply to suffer through.

We also know that Negroe Dick either knew or knew of his grandmother, so he was not entirely disconnected from his family.  This means likely that Dick’s grandmother was a ‘local Indian” and he was not the product of an Indian slave captured and sold.  Of course, the question is, “where was local?”

But sadly, that is all we know about Negroe Dick and his Indian grandmother, Betty.

I wonder if Betty has any descendants today that descend from her through all females.  If so, I wonder if they were from enslaved people, so today, would likely be found among the African American population.  Sometimes people test their DNA and find a surprise, like a Native American haplogroup.  In this case, DNA testing might be the only way that Betty’s descendants might ever know they had a Native American ancestor.  Of course, they would never know her name was Betty, nor her history.  But finding her DNA would afford them a little glimpse into the past, allowing them to connect with an unknown heritage, and making Betty just a little more real, resurrecting the only memory they can ever have of her.

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About robertajestes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
This entry was posted in North Carolina, Quakers, Slaves, Yeopim. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Betty, An Indian, A Free Woman By the Laws of Nature

  1. Vivian Markley says:

    There is definitely a John Smith of the Perquimans Piney Grove Quaker MM. Hinshaw has one there as early as 1737 but the name continues through early 1800. This is interesting in 1763: Jeremiah Cannon and wife Rachel, ordered to make & sign a deed of gift of a negro woman and her increase to the ch of Rachel’s former h, John Smith. I am going on vacation tomorrow but the marriages in this family might prove interesting and I do wonder if this could be “Betty”.

  2. C. Gray says:

    Having some similarster of (NC-Born) Negroes and Mulattos: Bartholomew County, Indiana, no. 3.
    Daniel Oxendine, age 37, born Robeson County NC, registered 19 Aug 1853. He was described as a mulatto man, five feet nine and a half inches high; rather rawboned; medium size; rather light complexion; good teeth, two out; with a small mole on the right side of his upper lip. Witnesses: John A. Abbott and Randolph Griffith.

    Priscilla Jane Oxendine, age 10, born Robeson County NC, registered 10 Apr 1854. She was described as a mulatto girl, daughter of Daniel Oxendine.

    Sarah L. Almenya Oxendine, age 9, born Robeson County NC, registered 5 Oct 1855. She was described as a bright mulatto girl, daughter of Daniel Oxendine, no marks.

    Senith Oxendine, age 7, born Robeson County NC, registered 5 Oct 1855. She was described as a dark mulatto, daughter of Daniel Oxendine, no marks.

    In the 1850 census of Columbus, Bartholomew County: Daniel Oxendine, 33, laborer, born NC, wife Elizabeth, 41, and children Priscilla Jane, 7, Sarah E., 4, Seneth E., 2, Mary Ann, 1, plus Samuel Freeman, 45, and William Gilmore, 12. All born in NC except Seneth and Mary Ann, born in Indiana.

    Found this rather interesting. My family were FPOC, but some of them moved to Indiana. They were free in Surry county(odd), but they did not show up there until 1820. I’m not sure if it was Perquiman’s county or not. There seemed to be quite a few of them, but their last name was Hill, I know that name is not listed as FPOC in Perquiman so maybe its Halifax. I have a 98 year old relative(Gracie Valentine Evans) in Surry county who claims “we came from the Induns” and her mother was born in 1876. I do see many Goins, Hicks, Hickman, Strickland, Oxendine(1), Collins, Gipsons, etc………….. in the area around that time. I’m thinking there must have been a mass migration from somewhere east of some FPOC mixed with Indians. There are also some Smith families believed by all and stated so in the book “African Americans About Surry County”. Another relative there applied for funds from the Cherokee in 1906 alleging that her grandmother was stolen from the Cherokee Indians. There is a copy of the letter that she sent to the Indian Agent who was conducting interviews around Pilot, Surry at the time. There were also the Dyson families.

  3. C. Gray says:

    There was apparently a lot of this going on in NC. The other side of my AA family leads to a supposed Native American man named John Richardson. He shows up in Winston-Salem as a mulatto in 1910,but he was born around Rockingham county and Henry county Va. My father’s mother remembers him as being a reddish complexion with hair that hung down to his shoulder blades.

  4. C. Gray says:

    Wow the whole page have Lumbee surnames and descriptions. Could not get link to work………………
    TAG: INDIANA

    June 6, 2013

    North from North Carolina, no. 2.
    In the 1830 census of Surry County: Arthur Larter listed as head of household with 4 males under 10, 2 males 10-24, 1 male 36-55, two females under 10, 1 female 10-24, and one female 24-36.

    In the 1850 census of Pilot, Surry County, Arter Larter (58, farmer), wife Polly (55), with children Sally (16), Jennings (17), Sanders (13) and Parmelia (11), all mulatto.

    In Owens County, Indiana, Marriage Records: Jennings Larter married Barsheba Harris, 22 Feb 1855.

    In the 1860 census of Marion, Owen County, Indiana: Jennings Larter (27, day laborer, born NC), wife Beshaba (26, b. IN), and children Leason (4), Permelia J. (2) and Mary Ann (6 mos.) In the

    1860 census, Perry, Lawrence County, Indiana: Arthur Larter (67, farmer), wife Mary (63), Elizabeth (43), Sanders, Alford, John, Parmiler (28), plus E. Partridge (15). All born in NC, save E., who was born in KY. Next door: William Larter (36, farmer) and wife Susan (18).

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    April 2, 2013

    Register of (NC-Born) Negroes and Mulattos: Bartholomew County, Indiana, no. 5.
    Catharine Hill, age 32, born Perquimans County NC; mulatto woman; 5’3”; small scar over each eye; resided Johnson County IN; witness Joshua A. Horn; registered 20 Mar 1854.

    Abraham Augustus Hill, age 2, born Bartholomew County IN; negro boy; “a plump little darkie, and, if nothing happens to prevent will make a big one some day”; resided Johnson County IN; witness Joshua A. Horn; registered 20 Mar 1854.

    Andrew Jackson Hill, age 8, born Bartholomew County IN; negro boy; appears sprightly; small scars over left eye and on left cheek; resided Johnson County IN; witness Joshua A. Horn; registered 20 Mar 1854.

    Susan Henrietta Hill, age 4, born Bartholomew County IN; negro girl; “a rightly sprightly little girl”; resided Johnson County IN; witness Joshua A. Horn; registered 20 Mar 1854.

    Alexander Leevy, age 6, born Robeson County NC; mulatto boy; bright, active and intelligent; no marks; father’s name Louis Leevy; Edward A. Herod; registered 21 Sep 1853.

    In the 1860 census of Columbus, Bartholomew County, Indiana: John Blanks, 60, farmer, Milly Blanks, 75, and Eli Blanks, 21, plus Alexander Levy, 14, all born in NC except Milly, who was born in Maryland.

    Priscilla Mitchell, age 45, born Halifax County NC; negro woman; hair slightly gray; widow, no children; witness William H.H. Terrell; registered 10 Nov 1853.

    Jemima Newby, age 15; born Jackson County IN; negro girl; 5’5”; witness Joshua V. Horn; registered 20 Mar 1854.

    Penina Newby; age 50-60; born Perquimans County NC; 5’3”; witness Joshua V. Horn; registered 20 Mar 1854.

    John Newby, age 21; born Jackson County IN; negro’ 5’5”; small scar on right forehead and on knuckle of right little finger; witness Joshua V. Horn; registered 20 Mar 1854.

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    March 5, 2013

    He has a badly executed free pass.
    $25 Dollars Reward. Ran Away from the subscriber, living in Wayne county, 12 miles north of Waynesborough, on the 8th of January last, a mulatto man by the name of EPHRAIM, who has since altered it to JOHN ARTIS. He is between 25 and 30 years of age, nearly 6 feet high, and his foreteeth are somewhat defective. He has a free pass, badly executed, and it is suspected that he will endeavor to go to Indiana with some negroes in Guilford county, who are about starting for that State. The above reward will be given for the apprehension and delivery of said fellow to me, or securing him in any jail in that State, so that I get him again. PETER L. PEACOCK. July 27, 1827.

    The State and North Carolina State Gazette, 16 August 1827.

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    February 27, 2013

    I blame the State of North Carolina.
    THOMAS HEDGEBETH.

    I was born free, in Halifax Co. North Carolina, where I lived thirty-five years. About ten years ago, I removed to Indiana. My father was a farmer, half white, who ran through his farm. If a white man there brings a great account, the white man would carry it against the colored, — the law there does not favor colored people. I cannot read or write. A free-born man in North Carolina is as much oppressed, in one sense, as the slave: I was not allowed to go to school. I recollect when I was a boy, a colored man came from Ohio, and opened a school, but it was broken up. I was in the field ploughing with my father, — he said he wished we could go and learn. I think it an outrageous sin and shame, that a free colored man could not be taught. My ignorance has a very injurious effect on my prospects and success. I blame the State of North Carolina — the white people of that State — for it. I am now engaged in a troublesome lawsuit, about the title to my estate, which I would not have got into, had I known how to read and write.

    There were lots of slaves in the neighborhood where I was raised. After I grew up to take notice of things, I found I was oppressed as well as they. I thought it a sin then, for one man to hold another. I never was allowed to visit among the slaves, — had I been caught visiting them, I should have been fined: if a slave had visited me, he would have been whipped. This prevented my having much intercourse with them, except when I was hired to work by the masters. The conversation among the slaves was, that they worked hard, and got no benefit, — that the masters got it all. They knew but little about the good of themselves, — they often grumbled about food and clothing, — that they had not enough. I never heard a colored man grumbling about that here. They were generally religious, — they believed in a just God, and thought the owners wrong in punishing them in the way they were punished. A good many were so ignorant that they did not know any better, than to suppose that they were made for slavery, and the white men for freedom. Some, however, would talk about freedom, and think they ought to be free.

    I have often been insulted, abused, and imposed upon, and had advantage taken of me by the whites in North Carolina, and could not help myself.

    When I was twenty-one, I went to vote, supposing it would be allowed. The ‘Squire, who held the box objected, and said no colored man was allowed to vote. I felt very badly about it, — I felt cheap, and I felt vexed: but I knew better than to make an answer, — I would have been knocked down certain. Unless I took off my hat, and made a bow to a white man, when I met him, he would rip out an oath, — ”d–n you, you mulatto, ain’t you got no politeness? Do n’t you know enough to take off your hat to a white man?” On going into a store, I was required to take off my hat.

    I have seen slaves with whom I worked, nearly starved out, and yet stripped and whipped; blood cut out of them. It makes my flesh creep now to think of it – such gashes as I’ve seen cut in them. After a whipping, they would often leave and take to the woods for a month or two, and live by taking what they could find. I’ve often heard it said that’s the cause of colored people in the South being dishonest, because they are brought so as to be obliged to steal. But I do not consider it dishonest — I always thought it right for a slave to take and eat as much as he wanted where he labored.

    At some places where I have worked, I have known that the slaves had not a bite of meat given them. They had a pint of corn meal unsifted, for a meal, — three pints a day. I have seen the white men measure it, and the cook bake it, and seen them eat it: that was all they had but water — they might have as much of that as they wanted. This is no hearsay — I’ve seen it through the spring, and on until crop time: three pints of meal a day and the bran and nothing else. I heard them talk among themselves about having got a chicken or something, and being whipped for it. They were a bad looking set — some twenty of them — starved and without clothing enough for decency. It ought to have been a disgrace to their master, to see them about his house. If a man were to go through Canada so, they ‘d stop him to know what he meant by it — whether it was poverty or if he was crazy, — and they ‘d put a suit of clothes on him. I have seen them working out in the hot sun in July or August without hats — bareheaded. It was not from choice, — they could n’t get hats.

    I have seen families put on the block and sold, some one way, some another way. I remember a family about two miles from me, — a father and mother and three children. Their master died, and they were sold. The father went one way, the mother another, with one child, and the other two children another way. I saw the sale — I was there — I went to buy hogs. The purchaser examined the persons of the slaves to see if they were sound, — if they were “good niggers.” I was used to such things, but it made me feel bad to see it. The oldest was about ten or eleven years. It was hard upon them to be separated — they made lamentations about it. I never heard a white man at a sale express a wish that a family might be sold together.

    On removing to Indiana, the white people did not seem so hostile altogether, nor want the colored people to knuckle quite so low. There were more white people who were friendly than in North Carolina. I was not allowed my vote nor my oath. There were more who wished colored people to have their rights than in North Carolina, — I mean there were abolitionists in Indiana.

    I came here a year last spring, to escape the oppression of the laws upon the colored men. After the fugitive slave bill was passed, a man came into Indianapolis, and claimed John Freeman, a free colored man, an industrious, respectable man, as his slave. He brought proofs enough. Freeman was kept in jail several weeks, — but at last it turned out that the slave sought, was not Freeman, but a colored man in Canada, and F. was released. The danger of being taken as Freeman was, and suffering from a different decision, worked on my mind. I came away into Canada in consequence, as did many others. There were colored people who could have testified to Freeman’s being free from his birth, but their oath would not be taken in Indiana.

    In regard to Canada, I like the country, the soil, as well as any country I ever saw. I like the laws, which leave a man as much freedom as a man can have, — still there is prejudice here. The colored people are trying to remove this by improving and educating themselves, and by industry, to show that they are a people who have minds, and that all they want is cultivating.

    I do not know how many colored people are here — but last summer five hundred and twenty-five were counted leaving the four churches.

    From Benjamin Drew, A North-Side View of Slavery. The Refugee: or the Narratives of Fugitive Slaves in Canada Related by Themselves, with an Account of the History and Condition of the Colored Population of Upper Canada (1856).

    Though his age is off by several years, this is possibly the Tho. Hedgepath, 31, farmer, with wife Mary, 28, and children A., 7, M.J., 3, and L., 7 months, listed in the 1850 census of Center, Marion County, Indiana. Thomas, Mary and A. were born in North Carolina; the younger children in Indiana.

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    February 10, 2013

    Register of (NC-Born) Negroes and Mulattos: Bartholomew County, Indiana, no. 3.
    Daniel Oxendine, age 37, born Robeson County NC, registered 19 Aug 1853. He was described as a mulatto man, five feet nine and a half inches high; rather rawboned; medium size; rather light complexion; good teeth, two out; with a small mole on the right side of his upper lip. Witnesses: John A. Abbott and Randolph Griffith.

    Priscilla Jane Oxendine, age 10, born Robeson County NC, registered 10 Apr 1854. She was described as a mulatto girl, daughter of Daniel Oxendine.

    Sarah L. Almenya Oxendine, age 9, born Robeson County NC, registered 5 Oct 1855. She was described as a bright mulatto girl, daughter of Daniel Oxendine, no marks.

    Senith Oxendine, age 7, born Robeson County NC, registered 5 Oct 1855. She was described as a dark mulatto, daughter of Daniel Oxendine, no marks.

    In the 1850 census of Columbus, Bartholomew County: Daniel Oxendine, 33, laborer, born NC, wife Elizabeth, 41, and children Priscilla Jane, 7, Sarah E., 4, Seneth E., 2, Mary Ann, 1, plus Samuel Freeman, 45, and William Gilmore, 12. All born in NC except Seneth and Mary Ann, born in Indiana.

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    February 8, 2013

    Register of (NC-born) Negroes & Mulattos: Bartholomew County, Indiana, no. 2.
    Christy Ann Blanks, age 18, born Robeson County NC, registered 21 Sep 1853. She was described as a mulatto woman; 5 feet 9; no marks or brands; unmarried. Witness: Edward A. Herod.

    Eli Blanks, age 13, born Robeson County NC, registered 21 Sep 1853. He was described as a mulatto boy; “young, likely and growing finely;” hair nearly straight; no marks or brands; son of John Blanks. Witness: Edward A. Herod.

    Elizabeth Blanks, age 15, born Robeson County NC, registered 21 Sep 1853. She was described as a mulatto girl; 5 feet 5 inches and growing; has a blemish on the ball of the right eye; small scar on right arm; no other marks. Witness: Edward A. Herod.

    John Blanks, age 54, born Robeson County NC, registered 21 Sep 1853. He was described as a mulatto man; 6 feet high; no hair on the top of his head where hair ought to grow; crooked left wrist; right big toe wounded by an ax. Witness: Edward A. Herod.

    Willis Blanks, age 21, born in Robeson County NC, registered 21 Sep 1853. He was described as a mulatto man; 6 feet 2; scar on left side of left wrist about one inch long; no other marks. Witness: Edward A. Herod.

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    January 20, 2013

    Register of (NC-born) Negroes & Mulattoes: Bartholomew County, Indiana, no. 1.
    Enoch Jones, age 13, born Robeson County NC, registered 22 Aug 1853. He was described as “rather a light negro”; small scar one-half inch long on back of left hand near wrist; son of William Riley Jones Esq. Witness: George B. Gaines.

    Irvin Jones, age 14, born Robeson County NC, registered 22 Aug 1853. He was described as “rather a light negro”; four feet eleven and one-half inches and growing; with no scars or marks; son of William Riley Jones Esq. Witness: George B. Gaines.

    Lucinda Jones, age 5, born Scott County VA, registered 22 Aug 1853. She was described as a black girl, “lively and of a light complexion,” with a burn scar on the right side of her neck; daughter of William Riley Jones Esquire. Witness: George B. Gaines.

    Lucy Ann Jones, age 40, born Halifax County NC, registered 22 Aug 1853. She was described as rather a dark mulatto woman; five feet two inches; “right arm very much crooked having been broken”; married with eight children. Witness: George B. Gaines.

    Mary H. Jones, age 3, born Bartholomew County VA. “A plump little darkie” with a light unblemished complexion; daughter of William Riley Jones Esquire.” Witness: George B. Gaines.

    Oliver Jones, age 7, born Richmond County NC, registered 22 Aug 1853. He was described as a black boy three and a half feet high, “but will get higher fast;” a “rather light” negro; no remarkable scars; son of William R. Jones. Witness: George B. Gaines.

    Thomas Jones, age 9, born Richmond County NC, registered 22 Aug 1853. He was described as a black boy three feet eleven inches high, a “rather light” negro who “seems to be growing;” son of William Riley Jones Esquire. Witness: George B. Gaines.

    William Riley Jones, age 40, born Robeson County NC, registered 22 Aug 1853. He was described as a rather dark mulatto man; five feet three inches; with a scar about ¾ inch long on the right hand; rather square built; with round features. Witness: George B. Gaines.

    William R. Jones Jr., age 1, born Bartholomew County IN, “plump little nigger baby,” fair-skinned, no scars; son of William R. Jones Sen. Registered 22 Aug 1853. Witness: George B. Gaines.

    Willis Jones, age 12, born Robeson County NC, light negro boy, four and a half feet and growing, no scars, son of William Riley Jones. Registered 23 Aug 1853. Witness: George B. Gaines.

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    December 8, 2012

    Register of (NC-born) Negroes & Mulattoes: Vigo County, Indiana.
    Jethro Bass registered 2 July 1853. Age 70. Mulatto. Born Granville County NC. Resided Lost Creek township.

    Jethro Bass and Polly Mitchell married in Granville County NC on 3 Apr 1809. In 1830, Jethro Bass headed a household of 13 free people of color in Vigo County, Indiana. In the 1850 census of Harrison township, Vigo County, Indiana: Jathro Bass, 70, wife Polly, 60, Emily, 17, and Alfred Bass, 6.

    Lucy Brooks registered 9 July 1853. Age 35. Mulatto. Born Northampton County NC. Resided Harrison township.

    John Brooks registered 9 July 1853. Age 45. Mulatto. Born Halifax County NC. Resided Harrison township.

    In the 1850 census of Harrison, Vigo County, Indiana: John Brooks, 42, Lucinda, 32, Kinchen, 12, Benjamin, 10, Amanda, 8, William, 6, and Augustes, 7 months. John and Lucinda were born in NC; the children, in Indiana.

    George Evans registered 2 July 1853. Age 49. Mulatto. Born Randolph County NC. Resided Lost Creek township.

    Solomon Jackson. Registered 16 June 1853. Age 45. Negro. Born Richmond County NC. Resided Terre Haute.

    John Mathews. Registered 18 June 1853. Age 36. Mulatto. Born NC. Resided Terre Haute.

    In the 185o census of Harrison, Vigo County: John Mathews, 35, wife Lucretia, 23, and Lucy D., 1, plus Amy Halaran, 21, born in Ireland, and George Beard, 26, born in Kentucky.

    George Mitchell. Registered 17 June 1853. Age 25. Negro. Born Rawlegh Way [Wake] County NC. Resided Terre Haute.

    Jeremiah Mitchell. Registered 25 June 1853. Age 61. Negro. Born Rawlegh Way [Wake] County NC. Resided Terre Haute.

    Samuel Mitchel. Registered 25 June 1853. Age 50. Mulatto. Born Orange County NC. Resided Lost Creek township.

    William Morgan. Registered 8 Aug 1853. Age 28. Mulatto. Born Louisburg NC. Resided Otter Creek township.

    Henry A. Newsom. Registered 6 Aug 1853. Age 35. Negro. Born Greene County NC. Resided Harrison township.

    In 1851, when the Indiana General Assembly enacted its second state constitution, it included a provision, Article XIII, prohibiting any Negro or mulatto from entering or settling in the state. To enforce this provision, county clerks were ordered to register Negroes and mulattos already living in Indiana. This post abstracts Vigo County registrants reported born in North Carolina.

    Vigo County Register of Negroes and Mulattoes, Indiana State Archives.

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    November 10, 2012

    Knowing their future would be very dark if they remained, they started North.
    Federal Writers’ Project of the W.P.A., District #6, Marion County
    Anna Pritchett, 1200 Kentucky Avenue, Folklore

    Mrs. Lizzie Johnson, 706 North Senate Avenue, Apt. 1 [Indianapolis, IN]

    Mrs. Johnson’s father, Arthur Locklear, was born in Wilmington, N.C. in 1822. He lived in the South and endured many hardships until 1852. He was very fortunate in having a white man befriend him in many ways. This man taught him to read and write. Many nights after a hard days work, he would lie on the floor in front of the fireplace, trying to study by the light from the blazing wood, so he might improve his reading and writing.

    He married very young, and as his family increased, he became ambitious for them, knowing their future would be very dark if they remained South.

    He then started a movement to come north. There were about twenty-six or twenty-eight men and women, who had the same thoughts about their children, banded together, and in 1852 they started for somewhere North.

    The people selected had to be loyal to the cause of their children’s future lives, morally clean, truthful, and hard-working.

    Some had oxen, some had carts. They pooled all of their scant belongings, and started on their long hard journey.

    The women and children rode in the ox-carts, the men walked. They would travel a few days, then stop on the roadside to rest. The women would wash their few clothes, cook enough food to last a few days more, then they would start out again. They were six weeks making the trip.

    Some settled in Madison, Indiana. Two brothers and their families went on to Ohio, and the rest came to Indianapolis.

    John Scott, one of their number was a hod carrier. He earned $2.50 a day, knowing that would not accumulate fast enough, he was strong and thrifty. After he had worked hard all day, he would spend his evenings putting new bottoms in chairs, and knitting gloves for anyone who wanted that kind of work. In the summer he made a garden, sold his vegetables. He worked very hard, day and night, and was able to save some money.

    He could not read or write, but he taught his children the value of truthfulness, cleanliness of mind and body, loyalty, and thrift. The father and his sons all worked together and bought some ground, built a little house where the family lived many years.

    Before old Mr. Scott died, he had saved enough money to give each son $200.00. His bank was tin cans hidden around in his house.

    Will Scott, the artist, is a grandson of this John Scott.

    The thing these early settlers wanted most, was for their children to learn to read and write. So many of them had been caught trying to learn to write, and had had their thumbs mashed, so they would not be able to hold a pencil.

    Interviewer’s Comment: Mrs. Johnson is a very interesting old woman and remembers so well the things her parents told her. She deplores the “loose living,” as she calls it of this generation.

    She is very deliberate, but seems very sure of the story of her early life.

    Submitted December 9, 1937
    Indianapolis, Indiana

    From “Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves, Indiana Narratives,” Works Projects Administration.

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    November 6, 2012

    United States Colored Troops, no. 1.
    28 U.S.C.T. Nicholas Manuel. Co. D, 28 Reg’t U.S. Col’d Inf. appears on Company Descriptive Book of the organization named above. Description: age 27, years; height, 5 feet 11 inches; complexion, yellow; eyes, black; hair, black; where born, Samson Co., NC; occupation, farmer. Enlistment: when, Dec. 28, 1864; where, Lafayette, Ind.; by whom, Thos. Brown; term, 3 years.

    This is possibly (1) the 12 year-old mulatto Nicholas Manuel listed in the household of Ismael and Martha Manuel in the Northern District of Sampson County and (2) the 31 year-old Nicholas Manual listed with wife Anna, 25, in Washington, Boone County, Indiana.

    8 U.S.C.T. Thomas Artis. Co. A, 8 Reg’t U.S. Col’d Inf. appears on Company Descriptive Book of the organization named above. Description: age, 30 years; height, 6 feet 5 inches; complexion, colored; eyes, black; hair, black; where born, Wayne Co., NC; occupation farmer. Enlistment: when, Mar 21, 1865; where, Wabash, Ind.; by whom, Capt. Cowgill; term, 1 year.

    This is not the Thomas Artis, age 15, listed in the household of Celia Artis (his mother) in the 1850 census of the North Side of the Neuse River, Wayne County. He is possibly the Thomas Artis, age 20, listed as a farmhand in the household of white farmer William Hooks in the same district. He is likely the Thomas Artis, age 27, listed in the 1860 census of Reserve township, Parke County, Indiana, with wife Mary, 22, daughter Sarah C. (2) and “farmer boy” John Bass. Thomas and Mary were born in NC; Sarah and John in Indiana.

    4 U.S.C.T. Mathew Jones. Co. F, 4 Reg’t U.S. Col’d Inf. appears on Company Descriptive Book of the organization named above. Description: age 32 years; height 5 feet 7 inches; complexion mulatto; eyes black; hair black; where born Nash Co., NC; occupation farmer. Enlistment: when, Aug. 30, 1864; where, Bournesville, Oh.; by whom, Joseph Bourgess; term, 1 year.

    Matthew Jones, age 18, is listed with his mother Easter Jones and siblings in the household of white farmer Jacob Ing in the 1850 census of Nash County. Ing was his father. See earlier post.

    Combined Military Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers, National Archives and Records Administration; federal population schedules.

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  5. Carolyn Levi says:

    We have been researching the blanks family of John who migrated from Robeson, NC to Bartholomew county, IN. We have traced our family history to this family ending with John Blanks through Alexander Levi, Levy or Leevy. We have visited both Lumberton NC and Seymour, IN in our quest. Alexander was my husbands, great grandfather, any information would be greatly appreciated.

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