Cumberland County Wills and other Records Available to Members of North Carolina Pioneers

Images of Cumberland County from the "Loose" Wills and Estates Collection, 1761 to 1895

Crow, John | Evans, Josiah | Hardin, Mary Ann | Harmack, Benjamin | McMesh, Nancy | McTeran, Archibald | Morgan, W. M. | Newberry, John | Patterson, Daniel | Patterson, Duncan | Patterson, John | Pearce, Margaret | Peacock, Jesse | Pearson, G. W. | Pearson, John Stokes | Pegram, Stephen | Pemberton, Thomas H. | Perry, Jane Beeye | Perry, Peter T. | Peterson, John | Peyton, Thomas | Phillips, John | Phillips, Mark | Plummer, Richard | Porter, Sylvia | Porterfield, John | Potter, Henry | Priest, Mary | Prince, John | Ragland, George | Ramsay, Francis | Ray, Angus | Ray, Ann | Ray, Catharine | Ray, Daniel | Ray, Duncan | Ray, John | Reardon, Thomas | Reding, Timothy | Reeves, Nathaniel | Revels, Thomas | Roberts, Phillip | Robinson, Edward | Robinson, Mary | Robinson, Phillip | Rodgers, Jacob | Rollins, G. S. | Ross, Catharine | Rowan, Robert | Russell, William | Ryals, Richard | Shaw, Duncan | Smith, Sarah R. | Wade, Levi C. | Walker, Farthy | Walker, Francis | Walker, Rachael | Walker, William | Walls, John | Ward, Ollive Warrick, John | Watson, Samuel Westbrook, Elizabeth | White, Rachel | White, Thomas | White, William | Whitehead, William | Whittle, William | Wilder, Mary | Wilkins, Elisha | Wilkinson, Neill | Williams, Mary | Williams, Samuel | Williamson, John | Williamson, Josiah | Wilson, Jane | Wilson, Joseph C. | Wilson, Silvanus | Winslow, Caroline Martha | Yarbrough, Elizabeth


Note: The names in these lists are alphabetical by each district and include the number of acres and details such as the adjoining area. It is helpful to view the tax records, and to follow the ancestor for each year, noting the acreage, etc. This information helps to determine the approximate year of death. And subsequent years help to define different amounts of acreage, as it is divided among the heirs. Look for the same surname, and write down the amount of acreage.
  • 1777-1783
  • 1824-1829

The Harper House in War

The Harper House was built in 1850 near Newton Grove, North Carolina. The home of Amy and John Harper was used as a field hospital during the War Between the States which mostly accommodated Union soldiers. A colonel from the 9th Ohio Cavalry recorded his memory of the bloody and gruesome battle as follows: ” A dozen surgeons and attendants in their shirtsleeves stood at rude benches cutting off arms and legs and throwing them out of the windows, there they lay scattered on the grass. The legs of infantrymen would be distinguished from those of the cavalry by the side of their calves, as the march of 1,000 miles had increased the size of one and diminished the size of the other.”
Source: The Smithsonian, Guide to America, Text by Patricia L. Hudson and Sandra L. Ballard; special photography by Jonathan Wallen.

Cumberland County Wills and Estates

Cumberland County began as a settlement in the Upper Cape Fear Valley between 1729 and 1736 by European emigrants known as Highland Scots. The Cape River was a major transportation center, and ferries and the like began to crop up dating from the 1730s. In 1754, the Colonial Legislature passed an Act that resulted in the division of Bladen County, thus forming Cumberland County. It was named after the Duke of Cumberland (William Augustus) who commanded the English Army. Campbellton was named the County seat in 1778. In 1783 Campbellton was renamed Fayetteville in honor of Marquis De La Fayette, a French general that served in the American Colonies Revolutionary Army.
For anyone who has not visited the beautiful New Bern, it is a lovely coastal city, well worth visiting.

Miscellaneous Wills

  • Peterson, John, LWT, transcript (1788)

Index to Probate Records

  • Loose Wills and Estates 1761 to 1895

Hansel and Gretel Left Crumbs. What Crumbs Did our Ancestors Drop?"

At the beginning of the colonizing of America, European immigrants commenced taking the high risk of travel upon the high seas. The journey lasted from two to three months, with passengers sleeping on slabs in the belly of a brigade or similar vessel. The risk of losing one’s life in a shipwreck during a storm or hurricane was always high, and not only that, merchant ships delivering supplies also suffered setbacks. Although contracts were issued (found in some county deed records) between merchants and ship captains to satisfy any losses, perishable goods did not always survive the sail. And, more importantly, a ship’s manifest containing the names, ages, port of origin, and the destination was kept aboard every vessel. If you are searching for such a manifest at the Federal Archives, do not expect to discover it by the date of arrival.
Sometimes captains did not deliver the manifest to docking authorities until several months later. However, the manifest is a valuable genealogical tool because it provides the port of origin. Thus, a study of the port of origin is indicated and important because it has its own history. For instance, dutch ports during the early 18th century suggest protestant migrations. French ports suggest Huguenots, and English ports suggest protestants, particularly Scotch-Irish Presbyterians. For the most part, the Scotch-Irish embarked from Antrim, Ireland, and landed in Pennsylvania. The trial for these people was a hurried settlement in Berks and Bucks Counties; then, a movement through Philadelphia and down into the Alleghany Mountains. Other routes included joining other Scots in North Carolina, first, along the Dismal Swamp, and later, in Burke County, North Carolina We learn much of this information by tracing the crumbs, i.e., county deeds, wills, estates, marriages, etc. Remember, almost 200 years passed before the First Census of 1790. The records to look for are graves, bibles, military pensions, and importantly, county records because that is where they set down roots.