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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Melissa Wiggins and her family

I'm searching for the origins of this family. Melissa Wiggins (probably her married name) born in North Carolina c.1812. Her children were Polly, Wiley, Dupree, Primus, Madison, and John. John was only 5 months old in 1850. There may have been more children. They moved to Mississippi in the early 1840's, and they are one of the very few families of Free Persons of Color in the 1850 Yalobusha County MS census. Melissa and some of her children were listed as mulatto, the other children were listed as black. I haven't been able to find out who her husband was, but he was probably living nearby.

Her immediate neighbor there was my g.g.g.grandfather, John Broadstreet (1788-1854). He came from old Edgecombe County, North Carolina (on Hominy Swamp, in present Wilson County). Through his 1854 probate records I have found that in 1854 he had one male slave named Primus. The 1850 Slave Schedule lists him with only one slave, a black male age 54, most likely Primus. Since Melissa Wiggins had a son named Primus, I am wondering if this slave Primus was Melissa's husband.

In the 1840 census John Broadstreet is listed with several Free Persons of Color in his household, all under the age of 10, along with 1 slave. Free Persons of Color are few and far between in the census, that's why I am very interested in this family. I can't seem to find anything much about the origins of the Wiggins.

Has anyone else come across Melissa Wiggins, or the name of Primus Wiggins, or any of these other names in their North Carolina research?


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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