Rev. William Henry Cully: Probate Record #5

It has been since June 2012, since I have written on the probate records of my 2x Great Grandfather William Henry Cully.  He passed away in 1902 and he left no will requiring the courts to approve an administrator of the estate.  My Great Grand Uncle George W. Cully was appointed the administrator when his mother Nancy forfeited that role as it was customary for a male child to handle the affairs of their father.

If you are interested in seeing prior posts of the probate records, you can go to these links WHC Probate Record #1, WHC Probate Record #2, WHC Probate Record #3 &4

Below is a page showing what the court case is pertaining to and who is the administrator and where the case is filed.


W. H. Cully, Decd,

Geo. W. Cully, Administrator

Filed Sept 29, [?] 1902

O & D, Book P

Folio 171


North Carolina, Estate Files, 1663-1979, Craven County, C-Cully, W H (1902) Image 6 of 25,, accessed 3/27/2014 updated



I have spent so much time searching for information on the lives of my Cully line, so for me to find this document, it is revealing.  I have known through Census records that my 2x &3x Grandfathers owned land in North Carolina and through family stories handed down.  I just had no proof on paper per se’.   This page below shows the location of land and the amount owned by William H. Cully.  What I found even better was that the document noted where I could find the deeds and the folio they were filed in.

I will be ordering these soon from the North Carolina, Craven County Recorder of Deeds.


North Carolina, Estate Files, 1663-1979 Craven County C-Cully, W H (1902) Image 7 of 25, as last accessed 3/27/2014 update


North Carolina
Craven County
W. M. Watson, Esq

Geo. W Cully, Administrator
Of estate of
W. H. Cully, dec’d

To The Court:
Geo. W Cully, administrator of the estate of W.H. Cully, deceased respectfully returns the following as a just, true and perfect inventory of all the real estate, goods and chattels of his intestate, which have cause into his hands, or into the hand of any person for heir, as such administrator, since the oath of his qualifications.
Real Estate
One tract of land in No. 5 township, Craven County, N.C. containing 300 acres, being land conveyed to W. H. Cully dec’d by deed recorded in Book 74 Folio 92 office of Register of Deeds. {400.00}
One tract of land in No 6 township Craven County, N.C. containing 290 ½ acres, being land conveyed to W.H. Cully, dec’d by deed re- in Book 85 Folio 500 said record.

The next page I will be presenting in the next post is an inventory of personal property of William…I was even more thrilled with all the things that were listed on the inventory sheet as the document revealed what type of farming my ancestors did.

[My Thought]  A Negro family with property between 1800-1902 was a rarity in North Carolina, but not uncommon at the same time.  There were Negro/Native American families that owned land such as the Carter’s, Doves, George’s Goddette’s , Whittington’s, etc.  
It makes me wonder if these people of color still had to struggle and deal with racism in their community regardless of their economic standing in New Bern.  Were they the exception as long as they stayed where they were?  Of course I am thinking that they had to deal with racism and they had to deal with hate crimes or at least be on guard with the fear that they may fall victim to such a crime.
William’s death announcement stated that he was a well respected colored man.  Was he respected by the Whites because he stayed in his place?


  1. One thing that strikes me is the accounts where our families are called “well to do” Negro farmers by whites of the time; yet, they lived like the poor. They were land rich. It interests me that Cully owned so much land in New Bern. The city was a different life than Township 5, North Harlowe. It was here that there was more racism, although I have read that it was much less than in most areas. Much of that has to do with being a North Carolina port city. African Americans had skills that whites needed, i.e. sailors, and this made the city more integrated. At the same time, people did have to stay within bounds to some degree, but not like in the deep south. I have read that sidewalks were shared, and African American businessmen ran shops as nowhere else except in the North Carolina shores.

    I have found that the one thing which distinguishes those who stayed and remained poor from those who “moved on up” and attained a degree of riches was education. Those who lived in North Harlowe who did not have the opportunity to go to New Bern for an education past the 8th grade (6th grade in the early years) remained as laborers in fields or factories. Those who were able to attend High School and on to college were better off in their adult lives. And for people of this time, only a handful of those relations in the Carter, Dove, Moore, and George families were able to attain this.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. That is awesome that you found this. Wow! He had lots of land. I have wondered the same thing about my ancestors too since they were from the same area. Were they respected as long as they stayed in their place? I think they became masters at the dance. What I mean by that is that they knew how to handle themselves depending on the company that was around them black or white. Great stuff, can’t wait to read more.

  3. WOW! Excellent discoveries!!! I recently made some fabulous discoveries via probate records too on my mother’s side of my tree; so I know exactly how you’re feeling right now! I’ve been hanging out here at your place in cyberspace all this week and I’ve truly enjoyed all of the information that you have posted here. I also want to THANK YOU for the link to my site; I have a link back your website as well. I promise that I won’t be a stranger and will visit often to see how your research is going. Again, KUDOS to you and I wish you much continued success with your research!

  4. Yvette Porter Mooresays: Reply

    @Claiming Kin..I love your site..Excellent information and I am so pleased that you came over to visit mine. :-). Thank you for adding a link too.

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