North Carolina Census Records and Total Free Blacks in Each North Carolina County (1820-1860)

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North Carolina Free Blacks By County Census Records (1820-1860)

Total Free Blacks in Each North Carolina County (1820-1860)*

North Carolina: TOTAL FREE COLORED PERSONS
County 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860
ALAMANCE 0 0 0 327 422
ALEXANDER 0 0 0 24 24
ALLEGHANY 0 0 0 0 33
ANSON 147 160 140 103 152
ASHE 40 102 59 86 142
AVERY 0 0 0 0 0
BEAUFORT 326 487 703 903 728
BERTIE 250 207 303 322 319
BLADEN 142 188 292 360 435
BRUNSWICK 209 408 374 319 260
BUNCOMBE 33 92 87 107 111
BURKE 75 202 264 163 221
CABARRUS 17 44 109 120 115
CALDWELL 0 0 0 109 114
CAMDEN 117 200 158 297 274
CARTERET 109 139 144 150 153
CASWELL 293 352 326 423 282
CATAWBA 0 0 0 18 32
CHATHAM 183 276 317 303 306
CHEROKEE 0 0 23 8 38
CHOWAN 156 168 160 109 150
CLAY 0 0 0 0 0
CLEVELAND 0 0 0 58 109
COLUMBUS 77 62 56 151 355
CRAVEN 1,744 1,003 1,112 1,538 1,332
CUMBERLAND 564 686 862 946 985
CURRITUCK 146 132 149 190 223
DARE 0 0 0 0 0
County 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860
DAVIDSON 0 150 131 191 149
DAVIE 0 0 92 83 101
DOBBS 0 0 0 0 0
DUPLIN 61 169 261 345 371
DURHAM 0 0 0 0 0
EDGECOMBE 258 228 354 283 389
FORSYTH 0 0 0 154 218
FRANKLIN 159 368 433 563 566
GASTON 0 0 0 26 111
GATES 163 327 382 396 361
GRAHAM 0 0 0 0 0
GRANVILLE 521 759 801 1,090 1,123
GREENE 65 108 249 116 154
GUILFORD 208 382 637 694 693
HALIFAX 1,551 2,079 1,837 1,870 2,452
HARNETT 0 0 0 0 103
HAYWOOD 19 63 21 15 14
HENDERSON 0 0 35 37 85
HERTFORD 788 953 802 873 1,112
HOKE 0 0 0 0 0
HYDE 146 160 251 253 257
IREDELL 25 30 39 30 29
JACKSON 0 0 0 0 6
JOHNSTON 115 125 127 184 195
JONES 152 186 180 142 113
LEE 0 0 0 0 0
LENOIR 114 126 235 145 178
LILLINGTON 0 0 0 0 125
LINCOLN 27 67 116 36 81
MACON 0 38 55 106 115
County 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860
MADISON 0 0 0 0 17
MARTIN 92 319 383 323 451
MCDOWELL 0 0 0 213 273
MECKLENBURG 29 140 101 156 293
MITCHELL 0 0 0 0 0
MONTGOMERY 18 110 72 44 46
MOORE 54 76 73 170 184
NASH 218 283 409 629 687
NEW HANOVER 219 336 565 886 642
NORTHAMPTON 725 936 792 830 659
ONSLOW 60 101 113 172 162
ORANGE 562 619 631 481 528
PAMLICO 0 0 0 0 0
PASQUOTANK 532 1,038 1,076 1,235 1,507
PENDER 0 0 0 0 0
PERQUIMANS 213 343 307 450 395
PERSON 80 148 210 295 318
PITT 29 60 30 100 127
POLK 0 0 0 0 106
RANDOLPH 228 350 361 405 432
RICHMOND 57 153 336 225 345
ROBESON 428 605 1,223 1,230 1,462
ROCKINGHAM 150 211 275 419 409
ROWAN 139 135 98 116 136
RUTHERFORD 41 95 126 220 123
SAMPSON 168 241 257 477 488
SCOTLAND 0 0 0 0 0
STANLY 0 0 0 49 45
STOKES 195 233 165 149 86
SURRY 112 185 208 284 184
County 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860
SWAIN 0 0 0 0 0
TRANSYLVANIA 0 0 0 0 0
TYRRELL 51 58 86 130 143
UNION 0 0 0 51 53
VANCE 0 0 0 0 0
WAKE 734 833 1,009 1,306 1,446
WARREN 190 292 329 444 402
WASHINGTON 77 136 159 240 299
WATAUGA 0 0 0 29 81
WAYNE 157 144 464 665 737
WILKES 143 137 171 224 261
WILSON 0 0 0 0 281
YADKIN 0 0 0 0 172
YANCEY 0 0 27 50 67

*North Carolina had 86 counties in 1860, but presently there are 100. Some counties, through the years, have even consolidated with neighboring counties.

Source: United States Census

Recommended Reading: Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World. Description: Winner of a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award, David Brion Davis has long been recognized as the leading authority on slavery in the Western World. Now, in Inhuman Bondage, Davis sums up a lifetime of insight in this definitive account of New World slavery. The heart of the book looks at slavery in the American South, describing black slaveholding planters, rise of the Cotton Kingdom, daily life of ordinary slaves, highly destructive slave trade, sexual exploitation of slaves, emergence of an African-American culture, abolition, abolitionists, antislavery movements, and much more. Continued below…

But though centered on the United States, the book offers a global perspective spanning four continents. It is the only study of American slavery that reaches back to ancient foundations and also traces the long evolution of anti-black racism in European thought. Equally important, it combines the subjects of slavery and abolitionism as very few books do, and it connects the actual life of slaves with the crucial place of slavery in American politics, stressing that slavery was integral to America's success as a nation--not a marginal enterprise. This is the definitive history by a writer deeply immersed in the subject. Inhuman Bondage offers a compelling portrait of the dark side of the American dream.

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Recommended Reading: The Impending Crisis, 1848-1861 (Paperback), by David M. Potter. Review: Professor Potter treats an incredibly complicated and misinterpreted time period with unparalleled objectivity and insight. Potter masterfully explains the climatic events that led to Southern secession – a greatly divided nation – and the Civil War: the social, political and ideological conflicts; culture; American expansionism, sectionalism and popular sovereignty; economic and tariff systems; and slavery. In other words, Potter places under the microscope the root causes and origins of the Civil War. He conveys the subjects in easy to understand language to edify the reader's understanding (it's not like reading some dry old history book). Delving beyond surface meanings and interpretations, this book analyzes not only the history, but the historiography of the time period as well. Continued below…

Professor Potter rejects the historian's tendency to review the period with all the benefits of hindsight. He simply traces the events, allowing the reader a step-by-step walk through time, the various views, and contemplates the interpretations of contemporaries and other historians. Potter then moves forward with his analysis. The Impending Crisis is the absolute gold-standard of historical writing… This simply is the book by which, not only other antebellum era books, but all history books should be judged.

 

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Recommended Reading: North Carolinians in the Era of the Civil War and Reconstruction (The University of North Carolina Press). Description: Although North Carolina was a "home front" state rather than a battlefield state for most of the Civil War, it was heavily involved in the Confederate war effort and experienced many conflicts as a result. North Carolinians were divided over the issue of secession, and changes in race and gender relations brought new controversy. Blacks fought for freedom, women sought greater independence, and their aspirations for change stimulated fierce resistance from more privileged groups. Republicans and Democrats fought over power during Reconstruction and for decades thereafter disagreed over the meaning of the war and Reconstruction. Continued below...

With contributions by well-known historians as well as talented younger scholars, this volume offers new insights into all the key issues of the Civil War era that played out in pronounced ways in the Tar Heel State. In nine fascinating essays composed specifically for this volume, contributors address themes such as ambivalent whites, freed blacks, the political establishment, racial hopes and fears, postwar ideology, and North Carolina women. These issues of the Civil War and Reconstruction eras were so powerful that they continue to agitate North Carolinians today.

 

Recommended Reading: Bluecoats and Tar Heels: Soldiers and Civilians in Reconstruction North Carolina (New Directions in Southern History) (Hardcover). Description: In Bluecoats and Tar Heels: Soldiers and Civilians in Reconstruction North Carolina, Mark L. Bradley examines the complex relationship between U.S. Army soldiers and North Carolina civilians after the Civil War. Postwar violence and political instability led the federal government to deploy elements of the U.S. Army in the Tar Heel State, but their twelve-year occupation was marked by uneven success: it proved more adept at conciliating white ex-Confederates than at protecting the civil and political rights of black Carolinians. Bluecoats and Tar Heels is the first book to focus on the army’s role as post-bellum conciliator, providing readers the opportunity to discover a rich but neglected chapter in Reconstruction history.

 

Recommended Reading: The Civil War in the Carolinas (Hardcover). Description: Dan Morrill relates the experience of two quite different states bound together in the defense of the Confederacy, using letters, diaries, memoirs, and reports. He shows how the innovative operations of the Union army and navy along the coast and in the bays and rivers of the Carolinas affected the general course of the war as well as the daily lives of all Carolinians. He demonstrates the "total war" for North Carolina's vital coastal railroads and ports. In the latter part of the war, he describes how Sherman's operation cut out the heart of the last stronghold of the South. Continued below...

The author offers fascinating sketches of major and minor personalities, including the new president and state governors, Generals Lee, Beauregard, Pickett, Sherman, D.H. Hill, and Joseph E. Johnston. Rebels and abolitionists, pacifists and unionists, slaves and freed men and women, all influential, all placed in their context with clear-eyed precision. If he were wielding a needle instead of a pen, his tapestry would offer us a complete picture of a people at war. (Midwest Book Review) The Civil War in the Carolinas by civil war expert and historian Dan Morrill (History Department, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Director of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historical Society) is a dramatically presented and extensively researched survey and analysis of the impact the American Civil War had upon the states of North Carolina and South Carolina, and the people who called these states their home. A meticulous, scholarly, and thoroughly engaging examination of the details of history and the sweeping change that the war wrought for everyone, The Civil War In The Carolinas is a welcome and informative addition to American Civil War Studies reference collections.

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