Sam Thomas papers, 1786-1835.

Creator: Thomas, Sam, fl. 1786-1802.
Collection number: 5067-z
View finding aid.

Abstract: Sam Thomas was a free black man in Stokes County, N.C., in 1786. It appears that he was able to free his wife Amy in 1802. It also appears that members of the Thomas family moved to Ohio in the early 1800s, settling in Zanesville and Chillicothe. Their relationship to Sam Thomas is unknown. At some point, a Sam Thomas was accused of several crimes in Salem, N.C., including poisoning his wife. Items relating to the Thomas family, who had been slaves in Stokes County, N.C. In the earliest document, 1786, Frederick Marshall gave the “Negro Sam” the right to work some land for a yearly rent of either crops or money. There are also bonds, dated 1802, that freed Pleasant Thomas, Sam Thomas, John Thomas, and Amy, identified as Sam Thomas’s wife. These bonds were signed by Sam Thomas and several white men from Salem, N.C., including Francis Clark, Archibald Campbell, and Gottlieb Shober. Also included are an 1826 letter to Mary Thomas in Zanesville, Ohio, from a sibling in Chillicothe, Ohio, which chiefly discusses the health of various relatives; a small printed paper stating that Thomas Laurence of Zanesville, Ohio, was a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1835; and an undated statement, signed by William Johnson and Garrard Johnson, certifying certain criminal charges against “Black Sam Thomas” of Salem, N.C., who was charged with stealing clothes, robbing a wagon, fighting “whitemen,” and poisoning his wife and others who were to be witnesses against him.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: This collection has been digitized and is available online. Click here to link to the finding aid for this collection and to access the digital content.