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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

52 Ancestors: #11 Cassie Exum Sherrod

This post is part of an ongoing research challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. The challenge was created by Amy Crow.  Ms. Crow asked that each participant write about one ancestor per week. Last week I wrote about Jack Sherrod. This week, we will look at Jack's wife, Cassie Exum Sherrod.

Cassie Exum Sherrod was my great-great grandmother who was born about 1850. I am a descendant of her first born child, Fannie Sherrod Powell. Besides Fannie, Cassie and Jack were the parents of William, Ida Sherrod Wilson, Mary, John, Benjamin, Dallas, Exum, Arthur, Sissie and Cora Sherrod Ward Powell Barnes.

This page is from Jack and Cassie's bible.
The bible is currently in the possession of a granddaughter of Arthur Sherrod.

According to Jack’s pension file, Jack and Cassie were married on January 11, 1868 by Ben Sauls.  At the Wayne County Courthouse in Goldsboro, NC, is a book titled “Black Marriage Register April 1867-October 1867.” This book or cohabitation report lists Jack’s parents name but unfortunately, Cassie’s parents are not listed; however, we do have her maiden name: Exum. 



Most of their lives, Cassie and Jack lived in Wilson and Wayne counties N.C.  In 1870, Jack and Cassie were living in the Black Creek area of Wilson County, NC.  Jack was 26 years old, Cassie was 25 and Fanny was 4 years old. Black Creek, NC is less than 20 miles from where Jack lived as a slave (Goldsboro, NC). I don't know why they left Wayne county but perhaps they left the area to get away from their former owners. 

1870 Census report for Jack and Cassie 

Ten years later, 1880, Cassie and her family were living in Nahunta in Wayne County, NC. Jack was described as a 37 year old farmer.  Cassie was 36 years old and Fannie was the oldest of the children.  Besides Fannie, there was William, Ida, Mary, John and Benjamin. On the 1900 census, Cassie and Jack reported that they had been married for 32 years.  Cassie stated that she gave birth to 11 children with 9 living.  This probably includes the seven still living at home:  Ida who is described as a school teacher, John, Benjamin, Dallas, Exum (which was Cassie maiden name), Arthur and Cora. The two deceased children were daughters, Mary and Sissie who perhaps was born "still born" at birth. 

1900 Census record of Jack and Cassie


By 1910, Jack and Cassie are living with 2 grandchildren in their home.  The census states that they have been married for 42 years and only 8 of their children were living.  The grandchildren living with Cassie were Thomas who was 8 years old and Zelma who was 5 years old.  Thomas and Zelma were children of John Sherrod. John died in 1904.

1910 Census for Jack and Cassie


In 1915, Jack Sherrod died.  After his death, Cassie lived most of her life in Wilson, NC.  She outlived Jack by 25 years. Jack died on May 8th; he was 72 years old.  His son Arthur was the informant for his death certificate and Arthur provided Jack’s parents names as: Tempie and Denis Barnes.

1915 Death Certificate for Jack Sherrod

Following Jack's death, Cassie petition for a widow's pension but she had to verify Jack's death.  Her  relatives whom I believe are her brothers, Noble and George Exum, provided testimonies on Cassie’s behalf after Jack died.  Apparently neighbors and relatives came to the house after Jack died. 

 Cassie’s Widow Pension File


Noble Exum on July 15, 1915 said that he had known Jack since Noble was 10 years old and that they all lived in the Sauls neighborhood (Eureka).  Noble said that Cassie lived with his parents and that she was 17 or 18 years old when she married Jack.  Noble was 12 years old when the couple married and he was present at the couples’ wedding.  George B. Exum said that Cassie lived in his father’s home at the time of their marriage.  George had known Jack since George was 6 or 7 years old.  In 1870, I found George and Noble living with their parents who might also be Cassie’s parents or her older brother: John and Safronia Exum.  John Exum's personal property valued at $400 according to this census. I believe that Noble and George are Cassie’s brothers.  If not, why was she living in their home and why did she marry in their home. 


1870 Census Record for John and Saphronia Exum

 In 1940, Cassie died. She was living in Wilson, NC and she was 90 years old. Unfortunately, the informer for her death certificate state that Cassie's parents were Cassie and Louis Hall. I know this isn't correct because in Cassie's own words from the many document found in Jack's pension file and her cohabitation record; Cassie said that she was an Exum. I believe the information that Jack and Cassie provided rather than the information that someonelse provided. I know by experience that some of the information provided on death certificates are incorrect and that’s how I feel about Cassie’s parents names on her death certificate. 

One of the many documents found in Jack's pension file located at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.


As former slaves, Cassie and Jack did well for themselves. They raised 10 children and assisted in raising some of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Three of their grandchildren still resides in the Wayne county area, including a granddaughter who lives in the "homeplace" or as one relative called it "the house that Jack built."   


I still have a number of questions concerning Cassie. First, was Catherine her real name and was Cassie her nickname? Was John Exum her brother or father and why was she living with John and his wife when Cassie married Jack Sherrod? Who was her people and where did they come from if not North Carolina? And finally, was Cassie owned by the same slaveowner as Jack? 


1870 Census - Black Creek, Wilson, North Carolina; Roll: M593_1166; Page: 452A (Jack and Cassie Sherrod).

1870 Census - Nahunta, Wayne, North Carolina; Roll: M593_1165; Page: 159A (John and Saphronia Exum).
1900 Census - Nahunta, Wayne, North Carolina; Roll: 1223; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 0107; FHL microfilm: 1241223.
1910 Census - Nahunta, Wayne, North Carolina; Roll: T624_1137; Page: 18B; Enumeration District: 0112; FHL microfilm: 1375150.


1 comment:

  1. Hi. My name is Ailia and I read your post. I recently read a book my father gave me about my family and a quick Google search got me this far. Best of luck to you in you research. I'd love to hear more about what you've found since you began.

    Take care,