Franklin, John Hope. "The Free Negro In The Economic Life Of Ante-Bellum North Carolina, Parts I & II, in The North Carolina Historical Review, Vol. XIX, No. 3, July 1942, pp.239-259; and Vol. XIX , No. 4, October 1942, p. 358-375.
Free Negro slave owners
Franklin discusses the two motives a free Negro owned slaves:
- for the purpose of advancing their economic well-being, and
- for benevolent reasons (p. 373).
John C. Stanly, he notes, owned slaves for both reasons. His case is famous. He was the son of John Wright Stanly. You can read more about them in the links provided.
Throughout his discussion of how many slaves were owned by free Negroes from 1790 to 1830, my mind kept going back to the case of Margaret Carter, our Isaac's grand-aunt. She was the daughter of Abel Carter, and is noted in Paul Heinegg's Free African Americans of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland and Delaware as Margaret Fenner, sister of John Carter. He quotes Byrd's In Full Force and Virtue (p. 41), how in 1797 she petitioned the court for permission to manumit her "negro man slave," named Jack Fennel who was her husband by whom she had a number of children. Through his industry they had acquired a 200 acre plantation stocked with cattle and hogs.
Actually, his estate records show that he owned 240 acres, and that his son Thomas and wife Penny petitioned the court against his mother's family as follows:
Your petitioners further show that they desire to hold and enjoy the shares of said land in severalty, and to that end prey your worship to not to appoint five commissioners to divide the same into fourteen equal shares by proper metes and bounds and to allot to the parties hereto the said share as follows, to Thomas Fenner & Penny his wife one share, to Amos Carter one share, to James Carter one share, to Luke Ward & Betsey his wife one share, John Martin one share for live remainder over, Jesse A Godet & Martha his wife one share, Rufus L. Carter one share, Essau J. Carter one share, Josephus Carter one share, Elija M. Carter, Isaac H.Carter, Garrison E. Carter one share each-- (Sarah George, Theophilus George, Timothy George, Tempy Jayn George and Mary George the last two infants--the children of Elijah George deceased) one share, to the children of Theophilus George deceased (viz Manuel George, James George, Theophilus George, William George, Nancy Gaudet & Martha A. Carter the last three infants,and James Gaudet) one share. . . .Interestingly enough, the Clerk of Courts whose signature appears on these papers is John G[reen] Stanly, the half-brother of John C[aruthers] Stanly--both sons of John Wright Stanly of New Bern.