1. William1 Harman, born about 1632, was about 40 years old when he made
a deposition in Northampton County Court in 1672 [Orders 1664-74,
fol.156a-f]. He arrived in Virginia as a slave sometime before 1648
when he was claimed as one of the headrights of planters Lewis
Burwell and Thomas Vause [Nugent, Cavaliers & Pioneers, I:171-2]. In
1654 he was called the slave of William Andrews when he recorded his
purchase of a calf in Northampton County, Virginia, Court [DW 1654-
55, 38]. William Andrews died about this time and his widow, Mary,
married William Smart [DW 1654-55, p.85, fol.85]. In 1660 Smart sold
William Harman to William Kendall who, on the same day he purchased
Harman, agreed to sell him his freedom if he could provide sufficient
security for the payment of 5,000 pounds of tobacco within two years
[DW 1657-66, 70, 74 by Deal, Race and Class, 398-412]. This was 1,000
pounds more than his purchase price. He was still listed in Kendall's
household in 1664 and 1665 [Orders 1657-64, 198; 1664-74, 15].
In March 1666 he sold a colt to Jane Gossall, the 22 year old
daughter of Emmanuel Driggers, and stated in the deed that he
intended to make her his wife, promising that the colt would be her
sole property as long as she lived [DW 1655-68, pt.2, fol.12]. He had
married Jane by June 1666 when he submitted the letters of
administration on her first husband's estate to the court [Orders
1664-7, fol.24, p.24]. He was head of his own household with his
wife, Jane, in the Northampton County list of tithables from 1667 to
1677 [Orders 1664-1674, 42; 1674-79, 190].
He appeared to have been equally friendly with slaves, free African
Americans, and whites. According to the court deposition of a
neighbor, he spent New Years Eve of 1672 drinking rum and sugar with
the slaves on John Michael's plantation [Orders 1664-74, fol.125].
He made a deposition in court about an argument he had witnessed
while at the home of John Francisco [Orders 1664-74, fol.138,
fol.143, fol.146, fol.156a-f, fol.157]. And in the summer of 1683
there was a court hearing about an argument among 6 white neighbors
of his who were gathered at his house to help him harvest his crop
[OW 1683-9, 15-16].
In the summer of 1675 he was involved in a dispute with William Gray
over the possession of a gun that once belonged to Francis Payne.
Payne's widow, Amey, had delivered the gun to Harman, perhaps as a
gift, and her second husband, William Gray, white like her, protested
and took it back. The court ordered the gun returned to Harman [OW
In September 1673 Jane was the wet nurse for the illegitimate child
of Nicholas Silvedo, a Portuguese servant, and English maidservant
Mary Gale [Deal, Race and Class, 405]. William and Jane were
tithables in their own Northampton County household in 1677 [OW 1674-
9, 190]. William was still living in April 1699 when he recorded the
livestock mark of his son, Manuel Harman [DW 1651-4, 31 at end of
volume]. Jane may have been the Jane Harman who bought a "parcel of
cloathes" in the 15 June 1700 sale of the estate of Philip Mongon,
deceased [Orders 1692-1707, 262]. William and Jane's children were
i. Frances, born perhaps 1667. She had an illegitimate child by a
white man, Samuel Johnson, in 1685 [OW 1683-9, 112], another in
1686 by Jarvis Cutler, and two more before 1692 [OW 1683-9, 358,
386; OW 1689-98, 160-1]. In May 1690 Thomas Carter was security
for her fine of fornication [OW 1689-98, 35, 58]. She married
a slave, Anthony George, by 1693 when she recorded her livestock
mark in Northampton County Court [DW 1651-4, 26 at end of
volume]. See further the George history.
ii. Manuel1, born perhaps 1670, recorded his livestock mark in court
with his father in April 1699 [DW 1651-4, 31 at end of volume].
iii. Edward1, born perhaps 1672. He and (his brother?) John Harman,
Johnson Driggus, John Driggus, and Samuel George were "ffree
Negroes" who were convicted of stealing a hog and then abusing
and threatening several whites "in an insolent manner" in 1702
[Orders 1698-1710, 102, 106]. He moved to Accomack County where
in 1711 he purchased 100 acres of land a few miles from
Chincoteague in the northeastern part of the county. He and his
wife, Patience, sold this land 25 years later [DW 1729-37, fol.
235-p.236; Whitelaw, Virginia's Eastern Shore, 1333].
iv. John1, born perhaps 1674.
2 v. William2, born perhaps 1676.
2. William2 Harman, born perhaps 1676, was a tithable head of his own
household in the Northampton County list of Hillary Stringer in 1720
and a "Negro" tithable head of a household in Stringer's list for
1721 [L.P. 1720, 1721]. He was called William Harmon "Negro" in
December 1721 when he paid Hannah Carter's fine of 500 pounds of
tobacco for having an illegitimate child [Orders 1719-22, 144]. He
died during the winter of 1725/6 when his Northampton County estate
was valued at 32 pounds [DW 1725-33, 32]. Two of his children, Edward
and Jane, chose Philip Mongon as their guardian [Orders 1722-9,
226]. His children were
i. ?Dinah Mongon, wife of Philip Mongon.
3 ii. Jane, born about 1706.
iii. Edward2, born perhaps 1707, a "Negro" tithable in his father's
household in the list of Jacob Stringer in 1723 and 1724 [L.P.
1723]. He was tithable in Philip Mongon's household in 1726, a
"negro" tithable in Matthew Welch's Northampton County household
from 1727 to 1731, and taxable in the household of Henry
Speakman from 1737 to 1744 [L.P. 1726 - 1744].
iv. ?Nan, born say 1710, a "negro" taxable in Thomas Moor's
household in the 1726-28 list of Matthew Harmonson.
v. ?Jeffry, born say 1712, taxable in Abraham Bowker's Northampton
County household in 1727 and 1728.
vi. ?George1, born about 1717, a 10 year old "orphan Mulatto" bound
apprentice in Accomack County on 5 March 1727 to Jeptha Perry
and then bound instead to Benjamin Salmon on 3 August 1736 when
Salmon complained to the court that Perry neither taught him a
trade nor "put him to School" [Orders 1724-31, 95a; 1731-36,
190]. On 30 September 1766 the Accomack County Court ordered
that he be added to the list of tithables [Orders 1765-67, 235].
3. Jane Harmon, born about 1706, was 21 years old in February 1727/8
when she petitioned the Northampton County Court to allow her to take
control of the remaining part of her father's estate which was then
in the hands of her guardian, Dinah Mongong (Philip Mongong's widow)
[L.P Pk#12, February 1727/8]. She was a "Negro" tithable in Philip
Mongon's household in the 1727 list and in the household of Richard
Malavery (Dinah's second husband) in the 1728-31 lists of John
Robins. She may have been the same Jane Harmon who was living in
Accomack County on 25 April 1749 when several of her children,
Elijah, Harman, Solomon, and Nimrod, were bound apprentice
shoemakers. They were
i. Elijah, born about 1735, a 14 year old bound to Hezekiel Purnoll
on 25 April 1749 [Orders 1744-53, 327].
ii. Harman, born about 1738, an 11 year old bound to Hezekiel
Purnoll on 25 April 1749 [Ibid.].
iii. Solomon, born about 1743, a 6 year old bound out on 25 April
iv. Nimrod, born about 1747, a 2 year old bound out on in Accomack
County on 25 April 1749 [Ibid.], head of a Worcester County,
Maryland household of 6 "other free" in 1790 [MD:124].
Other Virginia descendants were
i. Jemima, a "free Negro" living in Accomack County on 4 July 1768
when the court presented her for not listing her tithable
[Orders 1768-9, 227].
ii. Emanuel2/ Immanuel, a free African American laborer living in
Northampton County on 2 June 1760 [L.P. #50 (June 1759-June
1760)], perhaps the Emanuel Harman who was head of an Accomack
County household of 6 "other free" in 1800 [Virginia Genealogist
2:153] and 8 in 1810 [VA:29].
iii. Emanuel3, born about 1789, listed in a register certified in
Accomack County on 29 September 1807: a light Black, 5 feet 7-
1/2 Inches ... Born free [Register, #5].
iv. Southey, head of an Accomack County household of 5 "other free"
in 1800 [Virginia Genealogist 1:108].
v. Stephen, head of an Accomack County household of 9 "other free"
in 1810 [VA:100].
vi. Ann, head of an Accomack County household of 5 "other free" in
1800 [Virginia Genealogist 1:108].
vii. Scarburgh, head of an Accomack County household of 4 "other
free" and one slave in 1810 [VA:101].
viii. Molly/ Mary, head of an Accomack County household of 4 "other
free" in 1800 [Virginia Genealogist 1:157] and 7 in 1810
ix. George2, born say 1760, taxable on 2 horses and 3 cattle in
Accomack County in 1787 [Schreiner-Yantis, 1787 Census, 82] and
head of an Accomack County household of 5 "other free" in 1810
[VA:29]. He served as a soldier in the Revolution. His only
heirs, Betsy, Comfort, Leah and Sarah Harmon applied for a
pension for his service in Accomack County Court on 25 September
1832 [Orders 1832-36, 16].
x. Easter, head of an Accomack County household of 4 "other free"
in 1810 [VA:30].
Their descendants spread to Maryland, North Carolina, Delaware, and
i. John2, born perhaps 1727, taxable in Northampton County,
Virginia, in 1743 and 1744 [L.P. 1743, 1744], head of a Halifax
County, North Carolina, household of 4 "other free" and one
white man over 16 years of age in 1790 [NC:63] and 9 "other
free" in 1800 [NC:316]. On 30 October 1795 he sold 100 acres,
tools, furniture, cattle, and hogs in Halifax County to Joseph
Lantern, Moses Matthews, and John Kelly [DB 17:920] and sold 100
acres near the road from Halifax Town to Enfield old courthouse
to Joseph Lantern on 3 December 1795 [DB 18:130].
ii. James, born perhaps 1755, a "mulatto" bound an apprentice
carpenter to George Chappel in Princess Anne County, Virginia,
on 17 July 1759, no age or parent named [Minutes 1753-62, 357].
iii. Lazarin, head of a Worcester County, Maryland household of 6
"other free" in 1790 [MD:124].
iv. Jeremiah, head of a Worcester County, Maryland household of 6
"other free" in 1790 [MD:124].
v. Thomas, head of a Georgetown District, Prince Frederick's
Parish, South Carolina household of 5 "other free" in 1790
vi. Abraham, head of a South Orangeburgh District, South Carolina
household of 3 "other free" in 1790 [SC:101].
vii. Craftshoe, head of a Liberty County, South Carolina household
of 3 "other free" in 1800 [SC:806].
1800 Delaware Census, "other free" heads of families:
Harman, Benja. N. 4 p.23 Kent County
Harman, Hargul Ditto 3 p.327 Broadkiln, Sussex Co.
Harman, John 4 p.342 Nanticoke, Sussex Co.
Harman, Nathan 4 p.424 Dagsborough Hundred, Sussex Co.
Harman, Betsey Negro 8 p. 327 Broadkiln, Sussex Co.
Harman, Abraham 5 p.328 Broadkiln, Sussex Co.
Harmon, Benj. N. 3 p.7 Duck Creek, Kent County
Harmon, William N. 2 p.43 St. Jones Hundred, Kent County
Harmon, James N. 3 p.45 St. Jones Hundred, Kent County
Harmon, Gabriel N. 3 p.45 St. Jones Hundred, Kent County
Harmon?, Glasco 4 p.38 Little Creek, Kent County
1810 Delaware Census:
Harman, Thos. 8 p.303
Harman, Manuel N. 12 437
Harman, Wm.5 p.303
Harmon, Argiel? 6 p.427
Harmon, Nathan N. 9 p.410
Harmon, Eli 3 p.404
Harmon, Manuell 10 p.426
Harmon, Fethid? 7 p.363
Note that I have come across Harmon as a first name among white
families, and that it was totally unrelated to this family.
As to Indian research, I have done the following:
Over the past ten years I have read every surviving county court record
and list of tithables in North Carolina for the colonial period and
several for the period up to about 1800. I have read nearly every
Virginia county court record and list of tithables for the colonial
period, but still have a few more to go.
I have found no evidence of a free Indian community in Virginia or North
Carolina. When I come across Indians in my research, they had usually
married into the mixed-race community. They did not form their own
separate community. They appear to have been color blind.
Even on the Virginia reservations, they appear to have made no
differences when choosing mates. A census of the Nottoway Reservation
by the Governor in the early 1800s found not a single Indian married to
or living with another Indian. They were all living with whites or
mixed-race African Americans.
So, it is not possible to know what percentage of the community was made
up of people whose ancestry was originally Indian. I would guess that
every mixed-race family that can trace its origins to the colonial
period married someone with at least some Indian ancestry, but I'm
afraid we will never be able to prove this.
Some families who have proved Indian ancestry were the Bass, Bartlett/
Bartley, Cockran, Cockeril, Cypress, Dungee, Hatcher, Letrell, Pinn, and
Whitehurst families. In Accomack County they were the Jeffrey, Press,
and Fisherman families. But from the very beginning they married into
the mixed-race community, so someone with their name may today have no
obvious Indian ancestry. For example, the Bass family have documented
ancestry from a white man who married an Indian in 1638. I have not
been able to identify another Indian in this family. However, I have
found quite a number of proved Bass family marriages to mixed-race
African Americans, starting as early as 1729.
Prosperous mixed-race families were accepted into the white community in
many areas of the Southeast, and the communities called them Indians
just before and after the Civil War to protect them from the
discriminatory "free Negro Laws."
Most free mixed-race people were the descendants of white women who had
children by slaves or free African Americans. Many married whites and
became respected members of the white community. They had light skin
and straight hair, so it was easy enough to assume they were Indians or
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