African-Americans in the American Revolution

Following are just a few of the men from North Carolina who served in the Revolutionary War

Josiah Abshier was head of an Anson County household of 6 "other free" in 1810 [NC:57] and 3 "free colored" in 1820 [NC:12]. He was a corporal who received a pension of $345.97 [Crow, Black Experience, 97].
Caleb Archer was head of a Hertford County household of 5 "other free" in 1790 [NC:26] and 9 in 1800 in Captain Lewis' District. He was allowed 26 pounds pay for service in the Revolution from 10 November 1777 to 10 August 1778 [Haun, Revolutionary Army Accounts, vol.II, Book 2, 280]. On 7 June 1792 he appointed James Carraway of Cumberland County his attorney to receive his payment for services in the Continental line in 1778 and 1779 [NCGSJ VIII:98].

Evans Archer was head of a Hertford County household of 3 "other free" in 1790 [NC:25], 3 in 1800, and 3 "free colored" in 1820 [NC:186]. He was sixty-nine years old on 27 September 1823 when he applied for a Revolutionary War pension in Hertford County Court, stating that he enlisted in Portsmouth, Virginia, for eighteen months until January 1782 [M805-25, frame 0001]. In 1835 he was listed as a Revolutionary War pensioner in a report to Congress [Clark, State Records of North Carolina, XXII:571].

Archibald Artis died before November 1782 when Stephen Powell was granted administration of his estate in Johnston County, North Carolina Court on a bond of 200 pounds. The account of sales of the estate totalled a little over 43 pounds [Haun, Johnston County Court Minutes, III:232]. He was mentioned in the Revolutionary War pension application of Holiday Haithcock which had a testimonial by William Bryan, a Justice of the Peace: ... that in the times of our Revolutionary War free negroes and mulattoes mustered in the ranks with white men in said State

..This affiant has frequently mustered in company with said free negroes and mulattoes ...That class of persons were equally liable to draft - and frequently volunteered in the public Service. This affiant was in the army a short time at Wilmington at the time Craig was near that place and remembers that one mulatto was in his company as a common soldier whose name Archibald Artis - Sworn to and subscribed this 21 day November 1834.

John Artis enlisted in 1781 in Abraham Shepard's Tenth Regiment, Colonel Hall's Company. He left the service on 1 November 1782 [Clark, State Records of North Carolina, 17:190, 16:1007, 15:609].

James Baltrip was a Continental soldier from Bute County who enlisted on 3 September 1778: 5 feet 4" high, 20 years old, dark hair, dark eyes [NCAr:Troop Returns by NCGSJ XV:109].

William Barber, born on 17 May 1745 in Dinwiddie County, was living in Surry County, North Carolina, on 2 January 1833 when he made a declaration in court to obtain a Revolutionary War pension. He stated that he was living in Halifax County, Virginia, when called into the service and moved to Surry County about 1805 [M805-48]. He was head of a Surry County, North Carolina household of 8 "other free" in 1810 [NC:697] and 6 "free colored" in 1820 [NC:670].

Samuel Bell was living in Sampson County, North Carolina, in February 1782 when he volunteered in Captain Coleman's Company under Major Griffith McRae and Colonel Lytle. He marched to Wilmington, to Georgetown, and to Charleston, but was never in any engagement. After the war, he lived in Sampson County until about 1807 when he moved to Robeson County where he applied for and was granted a pension on 31 August 1832 [M804-0207, frame 0489]. He was head of a Sampson County household of 10 "other free" in 1790, 15 in 1800 [NC:509], 5 in Robeson County in 1810 [NC:234], and 2 "free colored" in Robeson County in 1820 [NC:309].

Edmund Bibby was listed among the Continental soldiers from Bute County who enlisted for nine months on 3 September 1778: Edmon Bibby, Place of Abode Bute County, born N.C., 5'4", 20 years old, Dark Fair, Dark Eyes [NCAr:Troop Returns, Box 4, by NCGSJ XV:109]. He was the son of a "Mulatto" woman named Mary Bibby [Chamberlayne, Register of Bristol Parish, 36; CR 44.701.19; CR 015.70001; Bute County WB A:218, 226, 227, 232, 233].

Martin Black enlisted for three years in Stevenson's Company of the North Carolina Continental Line on 16 May 1777. He was in Valley Forge and West Point and reenlisted for eighteen months in Evans Company in 1782 [M805-92, frame 0147]. He was head of a Carteret County household of 2 "other free" in 1790 [NC:128] and an Onslow County household of 4 "other free" in 1800 [NC:143].

Benjamin Blango was a soldier from Beaufort County whose estate was administered before June 1792 by Sarah Blango [NCGSJ XVIII:72].

John Braveboy was a "Black" tithable in Tyrrell County in 1755 [T.O. 105, box 1], head of a Beaufort County household of 1 "other free" and 6 slaves in 1790 [NC:127], 1 "other free" in 1800 [NC:4], and 1 in 1810 [NC:116]. He volunteered as a soldier in Carteret County in 1778 [The North Carolinian VI:728]. He enlisted on 27 August 1778 for three years in Captain Ballard's Company in the North Carolina Continental Line but was listed as a deserter a little over a year later on 29 October 1779 [Clark, State Records, XVI:1020].

Jacob Braveboy was called a "bastard Mulattoe aged about 15" by the May 1774 Bertie County court when it ordered him bound as an apprentice bricklayer [Haun, Bertie County Court Minutes, IV:74]. He enlisted for two and one-half years as a private in Fifth Regiment, William's Company of the N.C. Continental Line on 9 May 1776 and was discharged 10 November 1778 [N.C. Historical & Genealogical Register, II:181]. He was head of a Martin County household of 3 free males and 3 free females in William Barden's District no. 5 for the state census in 1787 and head of a Martin County household of 10 "other free" in 1800 [NC:387].

John Brooks was a Revolutionary War pensioner from North Carolina [Clark, State Records of North Carolina, XXII:571]. He was head of a Robeson County household of 5 "other free" in 1800 [NC:367] and 7 in 1810 [NC:147]. He claimed to be ninety-five or ninety-six years old on 30 May 1853 when he applied for a pension for service in the Revolution and was still living in Robeson County on 22 March 1858 when he applied for (and received) bounty land [Pension File S-6732].


There's plenty more names out there for African American-Native American Revolutionary War Soldiers from NC.  See the entire list at Free African Americans by Paul Heinegg


Links to African Americans in the Revolutionary War Websites

Forgotten Patriots African American and American Indian Patriots of the Revolutionary War

A free downloadable book from the D.A.R.

Black Loyalists in the American Revolution

Black Loyalists- Index to the Black Pioneers - A history of African Americans who fought on the side of the British

Colored Patriots of the American Revolution - From Documenting the American South

NCGenWeb Military Project: American Revolution

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Last updated:  November 08, 2016