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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Re: To: Paul Heinegg
In Response To: Re: To: Paul Heinegg ()

Hi Gale. I researched the Manuel family until about 1810, so I don't have anything on the people you mentioned. Did you find Daniel in the 1850 census? That might tell you who his parents were.

I found most of my information in County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions records which you can access by either visiting the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh or by ordering the microfilm of the court records which they sell for a very nominal fee of about $12, which includes postage. You can read the microfilm at the nearest library to you with a microfilm reader--usually your county library. The Sampson County court records are on 5 reels from 1794-1868. You can call the archives, ask which reel has the dates you are interested in, and send them a check for the reel.
If that branch of the family owned land in Sampson County, you might also find information from deeds and or wills.
I read the Cumberland County court records to 1844 and found the following on Manuel:
County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, Minutes 1838-1840, 6 June 1838: State vs. Elizabeth Manuel--defendant discharged as an Insolvent. (She probably was unable to pay taxes on her property, so the law regarding insolvent debtors was applied).
9 December 1841: Ordered that Isaac Manual a free man of colour to show cause why his children should not be bound out.

On the Manuels descending from a white neighbor, I have heard this sort of thing quite a number of times about light-skinned people. Some just assume they must have descended from a prominent white family in the area where they lived.

David P. Thelen, an expert on oral history, wrote that people construct memories in response to changing circumstances, and therefore "the important question is not how accurately a recollection fitted some piece of a past reality, but why historical actors constructed their memories in a particular way at a particular time." In other words, there is no way our ancestors passed through the period of Jim Crow without it having some effect on them: the way they thought about themselves, the way they thought about race, in fact every aspect of their lives. We know for a fact that many families like the Manuels were likely to have married white women. Can you imagine someone saying that during Jim Crow?
Ps. See the on-line book about the light-skinned families in Sampson County (including the Manuels) wanting their own separate "Indian" schools:

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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