Hyde Co., NC Apprentice Papers
Free Persons of Color

(1771 - 1865)

The apprenticeship system was widely used to provide for children who, in most instances, were poor orphans lacking estates or bastards without parents or means of support. Such children were bound out by the Court who oversaw their care to serve masters who in turn were to provide them with training and lifeís necessities. An apprentice indenture was a contract between local authorities and the master. These indentures could contain the name and age of the child, its fatherís name, the masterís name and occupation, the term of service, and the mutual obligations of master and apprentice.

The following data on Apprenticeship Bonds for Free Parsons of Color was extracted from research done by R. S. Spencer, Jr. and published in the High Tides, the journal for the Hyde County Historical and Genealogical Society. His research on Hyde County Apprenticeship Bonds (1771-1865) appeared in High Tides, Volume XII, Spring & Fall (1991) and Volume XIII, Spring (1992) issues and include all apprenticeships, white and free colored. A forth part dealing with apprenticeships (1866-1911) appeared in High Tides, Volume XIII, Fall (1992) issue but was not included here since the designation of "free persons of color" was not used after the Civil War.

It should be noted that the Mattamuskeet Indians were not referred to the in Hyde County records after 1804. Thereafter, they were included with free blacks as free persons of color. Due to their small numbers, their intermarriage with blacks, and on a smaller scale with whites, and also because of the apprenticeship system which separated children from their parents, the racial identity of the Mattamuskeets as Indians was lost. During the period from 1804 to 1834, Hyde County apprenticeship bonds dealt mainly with orphans. However, for the next thirty years until the end of the Civil War, due to events within the county and throughout the south, the children of "free persons of color" were apprenticed en masse.

There are two fibredex boxes of apprentice papers for Hyde County warehoused at the N.C. State Archives in Raleigh, NC. These boxes contain folders which are labeled 1771-1833, 1834-1839, 1840-1845, and 1846-1849, etc. The loose apprentice papers are filed by date in one of these folders, however, have not remained in chronological order within the folders due to use by researchers.

Sources:
Hyde County, North Carolina Apprentice Papers, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC
The Mattamuskeet Documents: A Study in Social History, by Patrick H. Garrow
North Carolina Research, Genealogy and Local History, Edited by Helen F. M. Leary and Maurice R. Stirewalt
High Tides (Spring & Fall, 1991 & Spring, 1992)

Thanks to R. S. Spencer, Jr. for permission to use this data.

Go To

Part 1 (1771-1845)

Part 2 (1846-1852)

Part 3 (1853-1865)

Copyright 2002

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