Tag Archives: slavery

First Wednesdays – Cohabitation Certificates

An example of cohabitation records indexed in the MARS online catalog.

An example of cohabitation records indexed in the MARS online catalog.

Collection Services Section Manager Debbi Blake wrote this month’s “First Wednesday” post for the North Carolina Civil War 150 blog. The post discusses cohabitation certificates and how they can be useful for researchers looking for records of African American marriages.

In addition to the blog post, there are other resources related to these records, including:

  • The MARS online catalog, which includes an index for many of the cohabitation materials.
  • The three-volume reference work Somebody Knows My Name: Marriages of Freed People in North Carolina County by County by Barnetta McGhee White, PhD.
  • Family Search page on the North Carolina cohabitation records.
  • North Carolina cohabitation records are available through Ancestry.com’s North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 page.

 

First Wednesdays – Cohabitation Certificates

[This blog post was written by Debbi Blake, Collection Services Section Manager for the State Archives of North Carolina.]

With the abolition of slavery came many questions about the rights of freedmen, one of which was how to validate marriages. This was answered by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1866 with an act allowing formerly enslaved couples to register their marriages in the county of their residence. This act provided proof that such unions had existed, often for decades. In North Carolina, such certificates were called cohabitation records, most of which are housed in the State Archives of North Carolina. Couples were to appear before 1 September 1866, although it was later amended in order to extend the period until 1 January 1868. The overwhelming majority of couples came before the clerk of court or justice of the peace during the first targeted period of March to September. This stampede resulted in the thousands of certificates in the Archives. [Read more…]

New Finding Aids Online

New finding aids are now available for the following collections:

Audio Visual Materials:

Bracey, Marcus Donald, Photograph Collection, circa 1916-1919
The photographs in the Marcus Donald Bracey collection depict part of the Yadkin Falls Development project on the Yadkin River from 1915-1919 which included the construction of two dams; Narrows Dam, and further downstream, Falls Dam. This collection contains eighty-two (82) gelatin silver photographs and two small log books. The photographs range in size from 1”x1.5” to 8”x10” with the bulk of the collection measuring 3.5”x4.5”. The photographs depict scenes from the Yadkin Falls Development project on the Yadkin River in Stanly and Montgomery county, North Carolina from 1915-1919. It is believed that these photographs were created by an employee of either the builder of the dam, Hardaway Construction Company, or Alcoa. The photographs are shot in a documentary style with focus on work progress, equipment, site characteristics, and damage caused by natural disaster. Subject matter mainly includes construction scenes depicting work on the Falls Dam and the Narrows dam, the first two of the four dams built in the area. The aftermath of the 1916 Flood is represented in seven 3.5”x4.5” photographs depicting the damage caused to the Narrows Dam construction site. Also included are photographs depicting a train derailment, landscape photographs depicting the area around the site, photographs depicting the aluminum smelting plant, and several exterior photographs of the living quarters of workers. (84 items)

Military Collection:

World War II Posters, 1940-1946 (PDF)
This collection contains 354 posters which illustrate many aspects of the United States’ involvement in World War II. The collection is arranged thematically into fourteen series. The majority of the posters were created or distributed by state or national organizations, including the Office of War Information. The posters serve a variety of functions, but primarily they encourage viewers to support the war effort by enlisting in the armed forces, conserving food and other resources, purchasing war bonds, participating in service and relief organizations, and promoting patriotism.

Private Collections:

Fort Caswell Papers, 1909-1912; 1917-1919, Bulk, 1917-1918 (pdf)
Fort Caswell, located on Oak Island, Brunswick County, was occupied by various branches of the U.S. armed forces for much of the period, 1836-1945. The U.S. Army built a full military reservation on the site between the 1890s and early 1900s. By 1916 the fort had been rebuilt and was considered an important east coast military post during World War I. It was sold in 1923, but reacquired and put into service until the end of World War II. These are the working files relating to construction and maintenance of the cantonment and post. The collection consists of the Quartermaster files for construction, 1917-1919; and a few papers from the District Artillery Engineer’s files, 1909-1912. (1 box)

Keeter Family Papers, 1834-1941 (pdf)
James Keeter (ca. 1791-1834) was the son of Henry and Mary Elizabeth Cookesy Keeter. Land granted in 1799 to James’s grandfather, also James, was situated along the waters of Catheys Creek, north central Rutherford County. Other family members made their homes there in subsequent decades and on into the 20th century. Descendants included John Calvin Keeter (1825-1906), his son, Charles Frank Keeter (1864-1945). Many of the papers reflect the family’s land, financial, estate matters; its few letters hint of political involvements and suggest ongoing contact with Keeter family who had migrated to Arkansas. Account books, apparently maintained by John Calvin Keeter and his son Charles Frank, provide more than a glimpse of a segment of the community in north central Rutherford County. John’s work as a wheelright, blacksmith, postmaster, and merchant supported the community’s day-to-day life, and the records tell part of the story. Two journals from the early 20th century hold southern recipes and spiritual poems written down perhaps by Emeline, wife of J.C. Keeter, and by Linette, wife of Frank Keeter. (2.0 boxes, includes one oversize manuscript box.)

Slave Bill of Sale of Jim, a Boy, Mecklenburg County, 1847 (pdf)
Jim was born in slavery circa 1840, and was sold at a young age in a transaction between two residents of Mecklenburg County. Possibly his surname after emancipation or after the Civil War was Johnston or Sloan. This handwritten slave bill of sale transferred ownership of a boy named Jim from Samuel Johnston to E.B.D Sloan, possibly Edward Brice Dobbs Sloan, on 11 December 1847 for five hundred dollars. (1 folder)

Slave Collection, 1748-1922 (pdf)
This is a collection created over time by the State Archives’s staff, consisting of original and photcopied documents relating to slavery in North Carolina, as late as 1862. Consists of original items such as bills of sales, deeds of gift, account of hire of slaves, and also photcopied items (with some enclosures), including bills of sale, deed of emancipation, commitment, court papers, petitions, certification, claims, letters, depositions, and slave births. Includes a manuscript letter of 2 February 1843 written by a friend of John Brown, Augustus Wattles of Ohio (abolitionsist and educator), to William Smith, Michigan, alias for David, a fugitive slave who had belonged to Presley Nelms of Anson County, North Carolina. Additionally, there are three copies of published accounts, each recollections of slavery days. (2 boxes)

Slave Receipts/Bills of Sale, Catey and Children, Cloey [Chloe], a Girl, and Frank, May 4, 1853 and March 5, 1862 (pdf)
Two receipts, one for sale of Catey, and her three children, Mary, Richard, and Sally (Wilmington, N.C. 1853), and the other for sale of Cloey [Chloe], a girl of about 10, and exchange of Frank, age 40 (unknown place, 1862).The first was issued by Ansley Davis to Speir/Spier Walters, both possibly of Robeson County; the second issued by J.B. Hardee to J.A. Thompson, locale uncertain, but possibly, Columbus County, N.C., and/ or Brunswick County, N.C., Horry County, S.C. Though the receipts are from one donor, they are apparently not related. These receipts functioned as bills of sale, with the first transaction in the amount of $1,000, and the second transaction representing an exchange, with payment of an additional $58.75, for Frank.(1 box)

Thornton, William E., Papers, 1950-2009 (pdf)
Dr. William Edgar Thornton was born in 1929 in Faison, North Carolina. After receiving a BS in physics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel, he was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force where he helped develop air-to-air missile combat radar systems for fighter pilots. Thornton helped organize and then directed Del Mar Engineering’s avionics division. He then went to medical school, again at University of North Carolina. Dr. Thornton then rejoined the Air Force to pursue research in aerospace medicine, and continued that work with NASA where he served on Skylab missions and as a mission specialist on two space shuttle missions aboard the Challenger. The papers consist of materials created by or collected by Dr. William E. Thornton during his career in U.S. Air Force, Del Mar Avionics, medical school, and at NASA. These records concern Dr. Thornton’s interests and professional work. Materials include his work developing the Radar Optical Firing Error Indicator for the Air Force to train fighter pilots in air-to-air missile combat. They also include his research in medical subjects like telemetry, cardiography, nuclear magnetic resonance, and aerospace exercise. Dr. Thornton’s medical interests continued from his studies in medical school all the to the end of his career with NASA as he investigated aspects of these subjects in aerospace medicine. The collection is made up of correspondence, research, patent paperwork, news clippings, photographic prints and negatives, and film footage of early test projects, with the dates ranging from 1950 to 2009. (14.0 cubic feet)

Whitfield, Snipes, and Hastings Family Papers, 1850-1986 (Bulk, 1920-1986) (pdf)
Families represented had roots during the 18th and 19th centuries in Caswell and Person counties, but some moved in subsequent generations to nearby Guilford and Durham counties. Most focus is on Hazel Mary Snipes Hastings (1924-2001), apparently the first in her family to attend college, and her life and her family’s intertwined lives as revealed through the long run of letters home to her mother, Rosa Elizabeth Whitfield Snipes Durpree (1897-1989). Papers contain a birth and death record created in the years before 1862 of the Asa and Jane Johnson Fuller family, Person County, written on pages sown into a rebound (cloth and cardboard) almanac. Letters of particular interest were those written during the Great Depression, and those from Hazel Mary Snipes Hastings to her mother during her student days at Mars Hill Junior College, and subsequently while enrolled in the Watts School of Nursing, Durham.Includes a small quantity of photographs and other material, and family letters that extend to 1986. (3 boxes)

State Agency Records:

Revenue, Department of, Secretary and Deputy Secretary’s Office: Subject Files, 1940-1983, Bulk, 1955-1980 (pdf)
Correspondence, memoranda, newsletters, legal materials, fiscal records, federal and state taxation documents, publications, news clippings, other states’ taxation materials, information pertaining to tax administrator organizations as created or accumulated by the department, corporate tax case files, and other administrative documents. (16.0 cubic feet/48 fibredex boxes)