It’s been a while since I’ve researched my family tree let alone
write a blog post. However, today I felt inspired to write something. I
keep this blog active in the off chance that someone outside of my
known family will contact me to help me connect the dots.
I briefly wrote about Alfred Ferebee several years ago
when I found a newspaper article about his murder. It’s jarring to see
your ancestors listed in the paper as murdered. It’s also sad to know
that, because of the era, the killer would most likely not be charged.
I took the time out yesterday to fully transcribe the article as well
as add an additional article regarding this murder. It was published
in The Independent on December 28, 1923. The Independent was a newspaper
for Elizabeth City, NC from Dec. 29, 1922-Sept. 4, 1936.
The Independent – December 28,1923
Mystery About this Killing Friday, December 28, 1923
No One Understands Why Alex Jones Killed This Harmless Negro Tenant.
Continue reading “Alfred Ferebee abt 1875-12/23/1923”
I know I’m late but I’m trying to catch up. But, a few weeks ago, other blogger began posting the surnames their researching. I believe Geneablogie was the first one (I got a Note from him on Facebook).
For those of you who don’t know, the surnames that I’m researching are listed on the right side. I try and tag my blogs with the surnames I’m writing about.
Pasquotank County, North Carolina
Camden County, North Carolina
- Spence (Want to see if the African-American Spence’s of Camden are related to the Pasquotank Spence’s)
This is who I believe to be my 3rd great grand Uncle Alfred Ferebee. I believe that Alfred is the half brother of William Lowry, my 2nd great grandfather.
I found Alfred’s death certificate on Ancestry. It stated he was murdered. The wonderful people at Pasquotank Library were able to send me an article regarding his murder. This is from The Independent, Friday 28, 1923.
The wording is a little hard to read, but it says:
“No One Understands Why Alex Jones Killed This Harmless Negro Tenant”
More or less mystery surrounds the killing of Alfred Ferebee, a negro farm worker at the home of Alex Jones, a prominent Newland Township farmer on the Newland Road, about ten miles from Elizabeth City. Jones is held for a preliminary hearing Friday morning under a $25,000 bond.
Ferebee was brought to the Community Hospital in Elizabeth City last Thursday night in a semi-conscious condition as a result of a blow on his head. He was put under options and died Sunday afternoon without regaining consciousness or making a coherent statement. The autopsy revealed that he had been dealt a crushing blow on the left temple, the blow fracturing his skull from a point over the left eye to a point just behind the left ear. It was a blow that might have been struck from the side or from behind, but could not have been easily dealt face to face. Jones will plead self defense.
Wow! I can’t even believe it. I don’t know the outcome of the case against Alex Jones. But I will be looking into that when I go to Elizabeth City in August. It does go on to say.
Alfred Ferebee was one of the most dependable and respectful negroes in Newland township. He had lived at peace with his neighbors all his life according to reports gathered by this newspaper. For 21 years he had lived in a little tenant house on the grounds of the late W. Frank Williams. He stuck by Mr. Williams during his life time and when Mr. Williams died, Alfred stuck by the widow of his former employer, worked her lands and did many of her chores. He was not a robust negro and is said to have been a consumptive.
My next step is to order the marriage certificate for Alfred Ferebee and Nancy Griffin. I’m curious to see who he lists as his parents.
Another interesting thing I found about Alfred Ferebee is he and Nancy Spence had one child (that I know of) name Charlott Ferebee. I wasn’t even looking for her death certificate when I found it. But, here it is, Charlielottie Ferbee.
The interesting thing about the death certificate is the informant is W.M. Lowrey. This had to be my William Lowry! Not only was he the informant for Alfred Ferebee but for the daughter also?!?!
The puzzling thing is Alfred married Nancy Spence. However, she’s listed by the informant as Nancy Griffin. I will have to order the marriage certificate to be certain about the names. I found a death certificate for a Nancy Frisbee (common misspelling of Ferebee) that died in 1924. Her father is listed as C W Griffin and mother is Sarah Bouges. Everything seems to match, however, I’m not sure about the name.
Searching the marriage certificates for Nancy Griffin yielded a marriage for Nancy Griffin and Moses Spence. Perhaps, Moses died and Nancy remarried Alfred by 1902.
I found a Nancy Spence listed in the 1900 census, living alone and a widow. She’s listed as having given birth to 8 children but only 2 were living. Living next door was Caleb Griffin and his wife Sarah. Possibly the same C W Griffin listed on her death certificate. In their home is their grandson Ernest Spence. Maybe Nancy’s son.
By 1910, Nancy is married to Alfred and they have a 4 year old daughter named Charlott.
The next blog will be ‘AS PASQUOTANK TURNS’. You’ll see how we’re related to almost everyone (black person) in that county thru marriage or blood!.
I’ve had a hunch that this William and Ann Lowery on the 1880 census are related to me. I’ve said it before that I thought that William Barker listed in this census as a grandson is my 2nd great grandfather William Lowry. In addition, the 2 other grandsons, Issaac Boykin and Alfred Ferebee were half brothers to William Barker. I do know that William and Ann Lowery had a daughter named Martha Lowery. She later married James Howell. My thoughts were that she had 3 other children out of wedlock and left them with her parents when she married.
Thanks to Ancestry.com and their new upgrade of North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1975 that contains images of the actual death certificate, I’ve been able to connect some dots. I stumbled upon the death certificate for Alfred Ferebee. This is possibly the same Alfred Ferebee that was living with William and Ann Lowery in 1880. When I reviewed the death certificate, 3 things stood out to me as shocking.
- The mothers name is listed as Martha Laury.
- The informant is W.M. Laury. (Possibly my William Lowry)
- He was murdered!!!
My next step is to find out if there is an article in the newspaper for 23 Dec 1923 that may list Alfred in it and what could have happened. Also, I’ll be ordering the marriage certificate for Alfred Ferebee and Nancy Spence from 1902. Hopefully, it will show who their parents are. What if Nancy Spence is also in my family?!?!?!?!
I’m just so excited that I could have found a half brother for my ancestor. Also, confirmed my suspicions about Martha Lowry and her children prior to marriage.
Today’s family profile is of Aaron Edward Spence. Based on his death certificate, he was born 29 September 1853 in Pasquotank County, NC. I suspect he was born into slavery considering that his parents, Enoch Spence and Susan Williams are not listed on the 1860 census. Nor is he or his parents listed on the 1870 census. Black folk shied away from government people in those days.
I believe that Aaron and his parents were owned by slave owner named Thomas B. Williams. Now this is a guess based on the fact that Susan’s last name was Williams and Thomas’s wife, Ellen, was the neighboring white family in 1880 when Enoch and Susan finally showed up on the census. It’s possible that the family remained serving the Williams family even after emancipation. I know that Thomas owned slaves in 1860. Enoch would have been abt 53 in 1860 and Susan would have been abt 47. I’m ordering the estate records from NC state archives to verify this.
In 1877, Aaron had married Hester Riddick of Pasquotank County, NC (B: 1856), daughter of Edward and Sophia Riddick. Neither Aaron nor Hester shows up on the 1880 census. It’s possible that Hester died in childbirth because by 1888, Aaron had remarried. Dineppa (Dinah) Bogues/Boague of Pasquotank County, NC was his 2nd wife. They both were on their 2nd marriage. Dineppa was previously married to Oliver Foreman. I suspect that Oliver passed away and she remarried. However, she too also passed away. I haven’t been able to find record of that, but divorce was not something that was very common. In 1892, Aaron married for a 3rd time to Cora McCoy of Camden County, NC (B: 1871, D: 07 Oct 1922). That union yielded 9 children. Berna B: 1893, Enoch B: 1894, Herbert B: 1896, Clyde Lee B: 1898, Blariche/Blanche B: 1900, Pearl B: 1902, Mabel B: 1904, Aaron Edward B: 1906 and Charlie Mack B: 1909.
I believe Aaron to have been the youngest of his siblings or the youngest living. By 1900 census, his mother Susan was living with him. She’s listed as 86 years old at the time. She’s also listed on the census as having 6 children and 4 living.
These are possible siblings that I have to research further. Excuse the roughness of this, these are my notes.
- Enoch Spence born abt 1825. Only shows on 1870 census married to Prissy. By 1880, Prissey is a widow.
- Joseph Spence born abt 1830. Living near Enoch Spence on 1870. Married to Tilley.
- John Spence born abt 1832. Living in Pasquotank 1870 married to Winney–oldest son Anderson. Living nearby is a Williams (white) family by 1880, John died and Winney/Vinney is a widow.
- Jennie Spence. Married Edmund Sawyer 1873. Possible sister.
- Martha Ann Spence married Jacob Moore 1880. Possible sister. There’s a Martha L. Moore living with Hardy Measels in 1880 listed as widow and sister in law. Meaning she’s Hardy’s wife (Fanney) sister. Fanny maiden name was Temple. Married Hardy in 1871. May not be the same.
- Martha J Spence married Daniel Godfrey 1894.
- Nancy Spence married Alfred Ferebee jr. 1902. Possible sister. –Side Note, this is also the same Alfred Ferebee that could be a possible half brother to William Lowry. CORRECTION 08/04/08-Her maiden name is Griffin. She married Moses Spence then married Alfred. Not a true Spence.
- Sarah E. Spence married Henry Murden 1894. 1910 Henry Murden living in Pasquotank w/wife Anna. Then moved to PA.
Aaron died in 1920 and Cora died 2 years later in 1922 in Pasquotank, NC. Their death certificates state that they were buried at Hinton BG. However, I haven’t been able to locate that. My grandmother said that it’s located further down on Mill Pond Road. The same road my grandmother and great grandmother has lived for years.
Off to do more research.
For the sake of blogging, I’m only going to use one variation of the last name.
William M. LOWRY was born abt 1871. When I was researching him in the beginning, I only found him on the 1900 Census living with his wife Harriett (BANKS) and their children, Annie P (B: 1892), Maggie (B: 1893), George T. (B: 1894), Rosa J. (B: 1895), Martha A (B: 1899). I knew he had to be on earlier census that listed William. So, I did what any good amateur genealogist would do. I searched Ancestry.com by soundex.
That’s when I came across a William LOWERY and his wife Ann in Newland, Pasquotank, NC on the 1880 Census. This LOWERY was born abt 1820 in VA and I knew he couldn’t be the LOWRY I was looking for. He was much too old. In their home were grandsons of Issaac BOYKIN (B: abt 1868), William BARKER (B: abt 1871) and Alfred FEREBEE (B: abt 1875).
I started researching this William LOWERY and his wife Ann. On the 1870 Census, he’s listed as Wm LOWRY (B: abt 1817). In his home is his wife Annie (B: abt 1816), daughter Martha (B: 1852) and son James L (B: 1854).
With help of FRSNNC, I was able to make some connections. William BARKER listed on the 1880 census with his grandfather William LOWERY, is probably my William LOWRY. They are the same age. Considering that the elder LOWERY had a daughter old enough to have a child of his age. I began to think of the term ‘throw away baby’ and maybe my ancestor was the product of that. It’s possible that by the time he married, he decided to take the last name of his grandparents.
What I have been able to confirm is:
- My great aunt said that William Lowry (B: 1871) had a younger sister named Cora that married Jordan Thornton. Was able to find a marriage certificate for Cora Alphenia HOWARD age 69 and Jordan THORNTON age 71. Her parents are listed as James HOWELL and Martha LAURY Howell. (NOTE: I did the genealogical happy dance when I got this death certificate!)
- My aunt also told me that Cora lived in Washington DC when she met her in the 40’s or 50’s.
- Martha LOWRY married James HOWELL about 1877. I know this b/c in 1880 she’s living with her husband and children. The oldest being 3.
Cora is the link to help with this line of my family. Now, I’m looking for a death certificate.