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We Were Here: Enslaved in Cumberland County, North Carolina



  • Negroes for Sale, Runaway, Wanted, or Hired Out from Fayetteville or Cumberland County, North Carolina before 1865


Were there any Fayetteville or Cumberland County, NC enslaved before 1865? That is the question I had on my mind when someone said, "No. There were no slaves in Cumberland County, NC." I have been thinking about this. She had to be wrong. She said this in a meeting with other members. African Americans were in that room.


This has bothered me. I know I need facts with sources. None of my ancestors were enslaved in Cumberland County, NC. My husband, Ellis, had a co-worker who got my book. He has Fayetteville ancestors who were enslaved.


I knew how to search the newspaper. I used Newspaper Titles · DigitalNC. I looked up: Negro, Negroes, Fayetteville in Cumberland County.


This is the results:


There were over four hundred pages. Searching before 1830 would have given us even more enslaved. In 1855 part of Cumberland County was divided into Harnett County, so you have to search Harnett County after 1855 to find more enslaved.


Even though in some cases the name of the enslaved may not be on the newspaper article, but you can search the name of the person who took out the ad. In some cases, the name of the enslaver or administer is in the newspaper article. If you have questions, just email me: robinfoster@genealogyjustask.com. Here are some newspaper articles before 1865 that I found:


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Carolina observer. (Fayetteville, N.C.) 1816-1833, April 28, 1825, Page 1, Image 1 · North Carolina Newspapers (digitalnc.org)

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I happened upon a newspaper article about the Fayetteville Arsenal and Armory. The cornerstone of the arsenal was placed on April 19, 1838. Where can you go to learn more about the arsenal? NC History Center on the Civil War, Emancipation & Reconstruction.


History of the Fayetteville Arsenal Site is part one of the video series commissioned for two local university students, Dorien Caldwell from Fayetteville State University and Angel Garcia from UNC Pembroke. If you have ancestors from this area, please contact them to find out if your ancestor could have worked at the arsenal.


Some of you have not purchased my book, My Best Genealogy Tips: Finding Formerly Enslaved Ancestors. It assists you in thinking about where else you could have looked. Let us share with everyone our findings (sources) so that everyone can have the truth.

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