AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum
Re: FPOC in the census 1790-1860
In Response To: Re: FPOC in the census 1790-1860 ()
Although some Cabarrus County records were destroyed by fire in 1874, some of the surviving records could provide you with answers about Joel House's race.
The minute books of the County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions regularly recorded apprenticeship assignments for white and colored children. The possibility exists that if Joel House was apprenticed as a carpenter in Cabarrus county, that some reference to his apprenticeship agreement survived.
Due to the 1874 fire, surviving apprenticeship bonds begin in 1875, much too late to record Joel as an apprentice, or as a master of an apprentice.
Some of the early records of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions have been abstracted and are available. One publication you should consult, if you haven't already is:
Cabarrus County, North Carolina court of pleas and quarter sessions.
Abstracted by Margaret B. Bost ; Edited by Larry Hayer, Clarence Horton Published in Concord, NC by the Cabarrus Genealogy Society in 1994.
Holdings : v. 1 (1797-1805); 2 (1805-1817) 3 (1821-1828)
The records are available in manuscript and on microfilm at the North Carolina State Archives.
Depending upon the laws at that time, and Joel's parents economic and social status, he could have been apprenticed from birth until the age of majority (21), so you should look at minutes from approximately 1810/1813 until about 1831/34.
John Faggert could not have apprenticed Joel House, because he was too young, and also because he was never listed as a carpenter in the census (though of course you still have to check records to see if he was a carpenter).
I've seen references to members of the Reed/Reid family being apprenticed in the above volume by Margaret B. Bost. With the Reed/Reid family, the minute references identified each child's mother and their grandfather's name. In each instance, the minutes identified them as free and colored.
Miscellaneous tax records survive (1860-1921 manuscript & microfilm also at the NC State Archives) that might identify Joel House as a person of color. Since he was a carpenter, he probably owned tools, and some of the tools he possessed may have fallen into a taxable property category. You've mentioned in other posts that the census enumerator reported $125 dollars worth of personal property in 1860. You should check the tax records to see if he was listed, and listed as a minority.
My other suggestion would have been to search the early tax records, but they no longer exist (probably burned in the 1874 fire).
I descend from a family of carpenters from New Hanover and Cumberland counties. I recently located three apprenticeship bonds on an ancestor and located the corresponding entries for his apprenticeship in the minutes of the court of pleas and quarter sessions. The bonds contained key evidence: my ancestor's age, his color, and the second was the fact that he was an orphan in 1843. He wasn't identified as an orphan in 1838, so this helps me set up a time frame within which to search for his parents.
Afrigeneas once had a link to a list of black craftsmen in North Carolina that I am unable to find. However another researcher published a list, (link to an old rootsweb post :
"Black Craftsmen in North Carolina" by Gale Farlow
that might lead you to other research sources.
You might also consider searching records of nearby counties. Since Joel was a carpenter, he may have traveled often for work, and Cabarrus was where he was living while he worked for the Faggert and other county families.
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