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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Re: David Owin of Rockingham District, NC

Have you looked at his death certificate? I checked the Ancestry.com NC death index and saw that a David Owens died in Anson County, NC on March 4, 1927. Perhaps his death certificate will help to clarify the matter.

One theory I'll throw your way, is to consider the possibility that he may have lived temporarily in Ohio at some early point in his life and that the informant/relative may have given the census enumerator the wrong birthplace based upon that knowledge.

I don't know if you've delved into the Richmond County, NC records, but since that is where you found him in the 1860 census, then you should might want to look at court records in that area. Since David was a blacksmith by profession, he would have needed to apprentice under someone, and the court records might reflect this. You should search through records around the time that he would have ended his apprenticeship to see if he appeared in the records. You might even find a surviving record of his apprenticeship. I have found such documents in Cumberland County for several free boys of color, so I know they were recorded.

One thing you might also do, is locate all blacksmiths in the target county/counties, and then search through the records to see if they registered apprenticeship. This might help you to narrow down the likely master/trainer of your ancestor.

Following David Owin/Owens in the census records from 1860 to 1920, he moved from Richmond County (1860), was probably working in New Hanover County (1870) while his family was living in Anson County (1870). And of course he continued to live in Anson County, according to the census, until 1920.

Was your ancestor part indian? The reason I ask is that his life parallels others that I've seen in NC. I've seen individuals who suddenly appeared in records, who were mixed race and who seem to have lived in the same areas for years. However when you try to trace them back to their origins, especially during the 1830's, there's little documentation. I've been studying a community in Fayetteville, Cumberland County, NC, and they follow this pattern. Some members of the community migrated to Ohio and Indiana, then returned after the Civil War. Their lineages can be traced to a point, and then the lines get really blurry around the mid to late 1830's. This is precisely around the same time when Indians were being pushed off their lands, and free people of color were being pushed out of the south. Somewhere in between this, existed this mixed race group, and they were pressured regardless of the the groups to which they belonged. I wish I had substantive studies to recommend that you read that reflect this.

One last suggestion, you should check the local newspapers in Anson county to see if anyone published an obituary on the David Owens who died there in 1927.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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