Notes on N.C. Slavery

This is a snippet of notes that I jotted down while doing some research on Slavery. The source is The James Sprunt Historical Publications, Published under the direction of the North Carolina Historical Society, Vol. 17, No. 1,

Content: The Free Negro in North Carolina; Some Colonial History of Craven County, Published by the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1920

Attributed to the origin[1] of the Free Negro, the most common are:

  1. Cohabitation of white women and negro men;
  2. Intermarriage of blacks and whites
  3. Manumission
  4. Military service in the Revolution
  5. Immigration from adjoining States.

A master could renounce ownership of his slave without the courts permission, prior to 1741. After 1741, the law required county court permission and a licensure obtained.[2]

Quakers[3] of Guilford, Chatham and Randolph counties organized the NC Manumission Society in 1816. Some activities of the Society are as follows:

  1. Investigated cases of kidnapping;
  2. Raised money to purchase slaves;
  3. Worked for increase leniency in emancipation laws;
  4. Sent boat loads of slaves to free territories;
  5. Had “certain parties authorized as agents to receive consignments of slaves from owners who wanted to get rid of them”; In the year 1826, the Quakers had approximately 600 slaves

Until 1861, free Negros could not own slaves in NC[4]  In 1860, 55% of the free negro population in NC were considered “mulattoes”[5]

Notes of Carolina History

  • Before 1663, Carolina belonged to Sir Robert Heath. He did not settle the land, so in 1663 the eight Lord Proprietors took over.
  • There are opinions that the Carolinas were settled prior to 1663, as early as 1651[6] near the Currituck Inlet.
  • 1707 marks the first known settlement of French Huguenots in Craven County. The emigrated from a colony that had settled near Manakin Town, Virginia.[7]
  • Two reasons settlers came to NC:  land was fertile & free and freedom to worship.[8]



[1] Page 5 of Introduction

[2] Page 7 of Introduction

[3] Page 9 of Introduction

[4] Page 19 of Introduction

[5] Page 22 of Introduction

[6] Page 29

[7] Page 31

[8] Ibid