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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Delpha Dennis aka Robinet born NC ca. 1804

Am looking for any records of this free woman of color in NC or anywhere else prior to 1828.

Georgia Messenger, 28 April 1828, p3, c5:
"Delpha Dennis, twenty four years old, yellow complexion, occupation a spinster, born in North Carolina" was on the list of "free persons of color, who have come forward and registered their names" with the clerk of Inferior Court for Upson County, GA, in April 1828.

A court case 25 years later in a Mobile Alabama ciourt elicited this testimony about Delpha Dennis (aka Robinet) and Major Francis Haynie who probably migrated from NC and was living in Upson County GA for the 1830 census, holding 30 slaves and having Delpha and her children in his household. He later moved to Alabama then ultimately to Arkansas:

Interrogatories in the case of Girl Sarah In the Matter of her Freedom vs Louisa Huggins, Mobile County Circuit Court, Fall term 1853, case no. 27493

Nicholas B. Williams (October 26, 1853): "My knowledge of Delpha, (or Delpha Robinet I think she calls herself) the mother of Sarah, commenced in Upson Co. in the state of Georgia about the year 1829 or 1830. I first became acquainted with her at the house of Maj. Francis C. Hanie. Whilst on a visit to Maj. Hanie's, he called my attention to the woman Delpha, and said she was the best, or one of the best hoe hands he had on his plantation, that she was a free woman, that he feed [sic] and clothed her, as he did his negroes, and that she worked as constantly and cheerfully as any hand he had, and appeared to be perfectly satisfied. In the same conversation, he stated, that before he moved years before, Delpha was living in the neighborhood and John a favorite negro fellow of his, took up with her, to wife, and when he (Hanie) was about to move to this county, she (Delpha) packed up, and came off with his negroes, saying that she had rather work for him, for nothing, as long as she lived, than to give up John, her husband, and that she had been with him since that time.
". . . Delpha was reputed to be free in the neighborhood where she lived at that time."
[Delpha's age in 1853] "I do not know the exact age of Delpha but should judge her to be about fifty years of age. . . . My knowledge of Delpha, as before stated, commenced about the years 1829 or 1830, which was before the birth of Sarah. . . . In the neighborhood where she lived in Georgia, it was generally reputed, and believed, that she was the daughter of a white woman, by a black man. . . . I cannot state positively, but my impression is Delpha was born in North Carolina. She came to this state [Alabama], as well as I remember, about the year 1834 with Maj. Hanie's negroes. . . . I would call her a copper color. . . . Sarah the petitioner was born in Upson County, State of Georgia – I cannot state positively, but my impression is she was born in 1834."

Movements of Delpha described by witnesses in the same court case:
(1) Delpha possibly born in North Carolina
(2) arrived in Upson County, Georgia, about 1829-1830, with Haynie [but we know she was there in April 1828].
(3) moved with Haynie to Tallapoosa County or Coosa County, Alabama, about 1834
(4) moved with Haynie to Wetumpka, Coosa County, Alabama
(4) lived at the house of Charles P. Zimmerman, in Montgomery County, then
(5) lived with Robert Dodds, then
(6) returned to Charles P. Zimmerman, then
(7) went to live with Thomas Goulding, then
(8) went to Wetumpka, then
(4) returned to live with Charles P. Zimmerman, her Guardian, in Montgomery County, and was living at his house in 1853.

In the 1850 census, Montgomery Co. AL, Delpha is called Delphy Dennis.

I would be happy to learn of documentation about Delpha Dennis prior to 1828, particularly her origins in NC and her movements until her arrival in Upson County..

Possible clue: Major Francis C. Haynie may be the person named 1820 census, Rutherford Co., North Carolina, Francis Haney (7 whites only in household, no slaves, no FPOC).


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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