Abijah Collins

Born in North Carolina circa 1790, Abijah Collins was designated as a mulatto and "free person of color" on US census records. She was of Native American heritage and lived in Hyde County, North Carolina. Hyde county was the sight of one the earliest reservations in North America. The Tuscarora War was the most terrible Indian war that ever took place in North Carolina. On February 11, 1715 a treaty of peace was made with the surviving Indians, and they were assigned a reservation on Lake Mattamuskeet in Hyde County. Abijah is a descendant of these natives.

I have been unable to identify her parents, but believe she had two sisters living in Hyde County, namely, Milly Collins (my great-great-great grandmother) born circa 1788 and Charity Collins born circa 1792.

In 1841 Abijah purchased a 150 acre plantation on the east side of the Pungo River for the astounding cost of $400.00. On May 20, 1848 she entered into a deed of trust borrowing $250.00 from Francis M Burgess. The deed covered the plantation where Abijah lived and if she failed to repay the loan, the land would be sold at public auction. The following year, she executed another deed of trust borrowing $450.00. The security for this note included her plantation, a horse, a yoke of oxen, 15 head of cattle and believe it or not a Negro man named Solomon about 55yrs old. Solomon Spencer also known, as Solomon Davis was a former slave that Abijah had purchased earlier and made him her husband. Note: North Carolina law prohibited marriage between a free person of color and a slave.

In 1860 a mortgage bill of sale was executed between Abijah and my great-great grandfather John Collins. He borrowed $53.55 with interest for one year. He offered as security, a two-year-old mare called Fil. If John did not pay her back then the mare belonged to her.

Abijah died in 1862 and left a will. In her will she gave her colored husband Solomon to her son John, and asked that the executor of the will be his protector and see that "my husband Solomon Collins is not to suffer if he should not be able to support himself". Her son John received the plantation where he lived. Son Samuel received the plantation where he lived and daughter Prudence received the 150 acre homestead. Abijah also owned land in Durens Neck, which were given to her three grandchildren Montgomery, Franklin and John Ann Collins. She left one dollar each to three other children Orashe, William and Jones Collins.

Abijah was a remarkable woman. At a time when women had almost no rights she was allowed to enter into contracts, buy and sell property and yes even buy a husband.

If you have information or questions, please e-mail Lillian Barnes.email icon

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