Martin County, NCGenWeb

An NCGenWeb/USGenWeb Project


Photo: W.C. Chance

Many thanks to Julia Chance for submitting this photo of her grandfather, W.C. CHANCE.  In the early 1900s, Mr. Chance was principal of Higgs Industrial Institute  a school of African American youth located in Parmele.



Historical and Pictorial Record of Weeping Mary Missionary Baptist Church

davis_herb_photo_revWe are so pleased to receive this donation from Herb Davis (pictured left).

He has written an wonderful history of his church, the Weeping Mary Missionary Baptist Church in Jamesville, NC. The church was founded in 1866 by former slaves and others under the leadership of Rev. Abram Mebane. Present-day pictures can be viewed at their Facebook page

If you are unable to see the document embedded below, you can access it here. Many thanks to Mr.Davis! His work to document the history will be greatly appreciated by many.


Bear Grass Civil Rights March

From the online collection “Daily Reflector Image Collection” is this picture of a civil rights march December 16, 1963 in Bear Grass.

See more pictures here.


Introducing Mavis


Mavis Jones is a genealogist with ties to Martin County and has recently added her surnames of interest – Ewell, Everett & Jones to our Surnames page.

Mavis has two blogs, one of which she devotes to her research progress of her family from Martin County, Conversations With My Ancestors.  Visit Mavis’ blog today!


Petition of Ned Hyman

Source: Schweninger, Loren, Marguerite Ross Howell, and Nicole Marcon Mazgaj. The Southern Debate Over Slavery / Edited by Loren Schweninger. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2001.

In the above-mentioned book appears a petition of Ned Hyman, a slave who was at that time living in Williamston, Martin County, filed in 1833. The petition is a great source of genealogical information, giving details of Ned’s life:

  • he was born 44 or 45 years prior
  • he was a slave of Jno. Hyman of Bertie County, NC
  • when John Hyman died (Ned was about 14), Ned became the property of Samuel Hyman
  • Samuel Hyman died in 1828
  • when Ned was about 27 he married Elizabeth Hagans, a free woman of color
  • Ned & Elizabeth had 3 children, Penny, Sarah and Ned Jr.

The petition was filed to try to obtain their emancipation.  It’s an interesting read! Check it out at Google Books.


Negro Education in Martin County

Over on Google Books, one of the books I looked at this evening is  — Jones, Thomas Jesse. Negro Education: A Study of the Private and Higher Schools for Colored People in the United States. Washington: Govt. Printing Office, 1917.

The book is available in its entirety as a PDF file.  Page 423 has a profile of  Martin County Training School. Here is an excerpt:

Principal: William Claudius Chance
A school of elementary grade which has been selected as a training center for supplementing the facilities of the surrounding county schools.  The school was founded by the principal and received county aid for some time previous to 1914, when it was taken over by the county.  It has an advisory board of prominent southern white men.

Attendance — Total, 150; all elemtary, borders, 15
Teachers. — Total, 4, all colored; male 1, female 3
Organization — The regular eight elementary grades are fairly well taught.  Some instruction in cooking and sewing is provided.  The school plans to develop a course in the theory and practice of teaching as soon as possible.

Read more online here.


Rifle Accident

From the 12 Nov 1903 issue of the Kinston Free Press newspaper of Kinston, Lenoir County, North Carolina

Thinking a rifle was not loaded, Zach Jackson, a clerk in Hamilton, sent a ball crashing through the head of Abe Sherrod, a colored man, of good reputation.  The darky may live.  The citizens of Hamilton subscribed $300 for Abe’s benefit, which indicates the substantial esteem in which the man is held.


Miss I.L. Price

From the Jul-Sep 1911 issue of the Journal of the National Medical Association (Volume 3, No. 3, pg. 249).

Miss I.L. Price, Class of 1911, Tuskegee Institute Hospital, is engaged in private duty nursing at Williamston, N.C., and states that she receives $20.00 per week for her services.


Prof. W.C. Chance – Principal of Higgs Industrial Institute

From the December 30, 1909 issue of the Robesonian, newspaper of Lumberton, NC

Prof. W.C. Chance, colored, principal of Higgs Industrial Institute at Parmele, Martin county, is in Lumberton canvassing for his school.  He has a letter from Congressman Jno. H. Small highly recommending him.  Prof. Chance got his training at the A. and M. College at Greensboro.  His school was started last October, employs three teachers and emphasizes industrial work, especially agriculture.  J.G. Goddard, cashier of the Martin County Bank at Williamston, is treasurer of the institution and R.J. Peele, superintendent of public instruction is secretary.  Congressman Small says that Prof. Chance is doing a good work and is worthy of any assistance that may be given him.


Williams Sykes: former slave

The Library of Congress hosts the fulltext documents of the Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938.  I decided to search for Martin County, and I located a slave narrative from William Sykes.

William was interviewed while in state prison at the age of 78 years old. He tells that he and his mother Martha  belonged to Joshua & Catherine Long of Martin County and his father Henry belonged to Squire Ben Sykes of Tyrell County.  It seems that Squire Sikes lived in Gum Neck and owned more than 100 slaves.  William had several siblings: Henry, Benjamin, Columbus, Hester, Margaret, Lucy & Susan.

During the war, he and his family were sent to Mitchell county to the home of Judge Clayton Moore and his father Jim, and stayed there after the war. William was in jail for manslaughter.


I located William and his family in the 1870 census. The family is living in Jamesville. Henry is 33, Martha is 34 years old. They have 6 children at this time – Lucy (14), Susan (15), Margaret (13), Hester (9), William (3), and Isadora(sp?) is age 1.  Given that in William’s narratives he talks as if he were actually part of the family during the war, I wonder if he was not in fact, older than 3 in 1870.  The family lives next door to a family of black Moore’s, which goes along with his stated family’s relationship with the Moores in Mitchell county.

sykeshenry1870 Source Citation: Year: 1870; Census Place: Jamesville, Martin, North Carolina;                                               Roll: M593_1147; Page: 529; Image: 365.