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?

Rev. William Henry Cully: Probate Record # 3 & 4

A probate record can be a very revealing document as we have an opportunity to peer into the lives of our ancestors. We find out about the people close to them, the things they owned and many times we may find information that will break down brick walls.

This is a continuance of my Maternal 2x Great Grandfather’s probate file.  If you are just joining my blog and want to see the beginning to catch up, the archives are to the right of this post.  You can start here:


State of North Carolina,
Craven County

I, George W. Cully, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I believe W.H. Cully died without leaving any last will and testament: and that I will well and truly administer all and singular, the goods and chattels, rights and credits for the said W.H. Cully and a true and perfect inventory thereof return as provided by law; and all other duties appertaining to the charge reposed in me; I will faithfully and honestly perform with the best of my skill and ability.  So help me God.

Sworn and subscribed before me, this 29th
Day of September 1902 }

WM Watson C.S.C         }         George W Cully

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, }  Before the Clerk of the Superior Court.
Craven County.
IT BEING SATISFACTORILY PROVEN To the undersigned, Clerk of the Superior Court for Craven County, that W.H. Cully late of said County, is dead, without having made and published a Will and Testament and it appearing that George W. Cully is entitled to the Administration of the estate of said deceased, and having qualified as administrator according to law:
          NOW, THESE ARE THEREFORE TO EMPOWER the said Administrator to enter in and upon all and singular, the goods and chattels, rights and credits of the said deceased, and the same to take into possession whatsoever to be found, and all the just debts of the said deceased, to pay and satisfy, and the residue of said estate to distribute according to law.
          WITNESS, my hand and the seal of said Court, this the 29th day of September 1902
WM Watson Clerk Superior Court.

Now after these two documents, we are going to see more about the life of William H. Cully, and what he owned and how he lived.

Cully Family Surname: (My Matrilineal Line) Part #1

Betty Peters

My late-mother Betty Mae (Peters) Porter mentioned on numerous occasions that she was going to write the Memoirs of  her Life on Sugar Hill, NY.  She also wanted to include her family history that had been passed down to her.  I heard many stories about her mother Agnes Cully and her family.
I had promised my Mother that I would help her with her genealogical research, and so I do this in her honor and memory.

My Mother only knew her grandparents names and the stories told to her by her mother Agnes;  (Ambrose E. Cully and Nora A. (Gilliam) Cully  both died before Betty was born.  The Cully family originated from North Carolina and Ambrose went to Worcester, MA in the late 1880’s.
Ambrose was born before slavery ended in 1863 (even census and other various records show otherwise) and died in 1925.  Ambrose’ wife Nora gave birth to so many children, that her body did not have time to recover, and therefore died by the time she was Forty. The account is that Nora gave birth to 10 up to 21 children…as of date, I can only document 12.

When I initially began my research, I had the habit of not documenting and indexing the records.  I would save the records on and print out a copy if I was able to.  I did not have a system of filing and staying organized, so at this time I am having to backtrack. Thanks to fellow Genealogist and Family Connection, Debra Newton-Carter, she has really challenged me to raise my standards with my research and documentation.

Many stories were told to me by my Mother or were recorded on tape, and  written down in manuscript form.  These stories needed to be backed up with historical records so I could confirm what was told. My goal is to place each ancestor in historical context.

First thing I did was to back up what I did know.  I went to to look at the 1930 U.S. Federal Census to see my Mothers household  composition in the 1930 US Federal Census.

(1930 US Federal Census)

My mother Betty Mae Peters was listed as 3 11/12 years old and she was living with her parents
Charles Irving (32) and Agnes (28) and the family resided at 79 St. Nicholas Place, NY NY.  

Source Citation:Year 1930; Census Place; Manhattan, NY, NY,  Roll 1577,
Page 12A, Enumeration District 1019; Image: 314.0

I wanted to know more about my Mother’s Grandfather Ambrose Elander Cully and his Paternal line. (More details to come in upcoming posts.) According to my mother’s journal,  Ambrose was sent away as a young man by his father (William) to Worcester, MA due to the race issues in North Carolina in the late 1880’s.  My mother stated that Ambrose’s father gave him some timber land.  (Have not confirmed this, as It is possible that Ambrose’ Grandfather gave his father William Henry Cully timberland.) Ambrose married Nora Ann Gilliam in 1889 and started his family in Worcester.  

Not knowing Ambrose’s life prior to North Carolina, I initially looked at Census Records on to continue developing the life of Ambrose’s family in Worcester, MA.  I decided I would look at North Carolina once I felt that I exhausted my Record Search in Worcester.  

I wanted to know when and where Ambrose Cully and Nora Gilliam got married. The information was on FamilySearch.

Ambrose & Nora’s Abstracted Marriage Record from Family Search

Original Record:

Marriage Register in City of Worcester, MA 1889; Record # 340, Film # 1415228,
Digital Folder # 4279733, Image # 00999

With the Marriage record, I took note of who Ambrose’s parents were: William H & Nancy E.  Nora’s parents listed were: Daniel & Hannah.

I also took note of the Marriage date: (conflict in year)  On the abstracted document, it states marriage took place on July 23, 1890, but on the original registrar book it shows July 23, 1889.  I tend to believe it is (1889) according to the original.  Ambrose was (25) and Nora was (19).

At this point, I wanted to know what the family composition was in the years 1900 and 1910 since there was a huge question as to how many children my Great Grandmother Nora Cully had, or at least who lived.  Below I have listed: 

1900 United Stated Federal Census

According to the Extracted 1900 US Fed Census The Family consisted of:

Ambrose Cully (34) Nora (29) S Hannah (9) F Sarah (8) S William (7)
E Kate (4) H Osburn (1)  M Agnus (0) 
The Family resided on 12 Eastern Avenue, Worcester, MA in 1910 at the time of Census

The 1910 United States Federal Census
Abstracted Source Citation: Year 1910; Worcester, Ward 3,
Worcester, Mass, Roll T624_631; Pg 50B, Enumeration Dist 1869
Image 990, FHL # 1374644
The Family Composition in 1910 is as Follows:

Ambrose Culley (41), Nora A (39), Hannah S (19), Zara F (18), William E (17) Catherine (14)
Osborne A (11), Agnes M (10), Ralph C (5), Wendell P (4), Raymond (2), Mrs. Hannah Gilliam (68)

The Family resided at 181 Shrewsbury Street, Worcester MA

So there were additions to the family. By this time Nora’s mother Hannah Gilliam is living with the family, which agrees with what my mother told me that the grandmother raised the children while Nora spent most of her time trying to recover from one pregnancy after another. 

By 1920, Nora was already dead.  Nora died November 9, 1911. 

(The Death Certificate confirmed that Nora A. Cully died due to complications of a miscarriage at 7 1/2 months.  She actually gave birth to a daughter, Nora J. Cully who was born a few days before Nora A died)  I also took note of Hannah’s maiden name (Nelson)

Below is proof of Nora J. Cully’s birth as she is not listed in the 1910 Census:

(Nora J was born November 4, 1911, 5 days before her mother Nora A Cully died)

After Nora died the younger children were sent to live in various locations.  The exact details were not known until I began digging in the records, I was able to see the age of the children, what relatives took them in, and which one’s stayed with  the father, Ambrose, and which one’s were already supporting themselves. (I will show this in a future post)

At this point I was wondering if Nora had more children that were not listed in the 1900 and 1910 Census and never found after the 1920 Census.

I was able to find Birth Records for two stillbirths, one child Sydney H, who I have not found beyond birth records. I am believing that Nora did have other births but probably ended in miscarriages as it was told she had up to 21 births.

Male Cully, July 5, 1902 (Birth)
Male Cully, May 23, 1910  (Birth)
Male Cully (Death Record) May 23, 1910
Index of Death Records in MA (Death Male Cully 1902& 1910)
Unpublished birth records, People of Color (No longer online)
Thomas L Doughton had posted College of the Holy Cross

So with this information, the children that Nora Ann (Gilliam) Cully gave birth to and are accounted for are:

Sydney H
Hannah Sidney
Zara Frances
William E (died at 19)
Catherine V.
Osborne Ambrose
Agnes M
Ralph C
Wendell Phillip
Raymond Mansfield
Stillborn Male Cully (1902)
Stillborn Male Cully (1910)

I have been able to document twelve of the children of Ambrose and Nora..I will later show the descendants of these siblings…But before I show the record of descendants, my next posts will be on the next two ascending generations of Ambrose E. Cully.

Go here to see Part #2

The material, both written and photographic on these pages is the copyright of Yvette Porter Moore unless stated. Material on this site may be used for personal reference only. If you wish to use any of the material on this site for other means, please seek the written permission of Yvette Porter Moore
© 2010-2011


Treasure Chest Thursday: Rev. William Henry Cully (abt 1830-1902)

I have known for the past six years the name of my 3G-Grandfather, but really knew nothing about him.  With today’s technologies, I have been able to trace my pedigree of the Cully family back to the 1800’s, which is usually difficult when you are searching for someone that is a “Person of Color” before the Antebellum Period. 

I discovered that my family on the Cully line were a “free people of color” in the early 1800’s, as my 4G-Grandfather, William Cully, Sr. had been bonded to William Dove of New Bern, Craven County, NC as an apprentice in the trade of a Cooper.  (I have reason to believe that the Cully’s were related to the Dove’s in the 1800’s, but I have not found any proof, except in later generations the Dove’s married into the Cully line.”  The link below will show proof of William Cully and his brother James Cully being bonded at a very young age.

Below is the 1850 Census of my 3G-Grandfather’s family.  In this census William Cully, 17, son of William Cully, is who I began focusing on so I could put some skin on his bones.

Name: William Cully
Age: 17
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1833
Birth Place: North Carolina
Color: Black
Gender: Male
Home in 1850 (City,County,State): Craven, North Carolina
Family Number: 710
Household Members:
Name Age
William Cully 50
Mary Cully 40
William Cully 17
Jessy Cully 16
Phebe Cully 14
Mary Cully 3
Source Citation: Year: 1850; Census Place:  , Craven, North Carolina; Roll: M432_626; Page: 311B; Image: 185.
(Then in the 1860 Census William Cully Jr., was listed with his wife Nancy.)  Following are the other Census Reports.

1860 United States Federal Census about William Culley

Name: William Culley
Age in 1860: 29
Birth Year: abt 1831
Birthplace: North Carolina
Home in 1860: Reevs, Craven, North Carolina
Gender: Male
Value of real estate: View image
Household Members:
Name Age
William Culley 29
Nancey A Culley 25
Sidney A Culley 5
Julia A Godett 12
Jeremiah Godett 3
Source Citation: Year: 1860; Census Place: Reevs, Craven, North Carolina; Roll: M653_894; Page: 6; Image: 11; Family History Library Film: 803894.

1870 United States Federal Census about William Culley

Name: William Cally
[William Cully] 
Birth Year: abt 1835
Age in 1870: 35
Birthplace: North Carolina
Home in 1870: Township 5, Craven, North Carolina
Race: Black
Gender: Male
Value of real estate: View image
Household Members:
Name Age
William Cally 35
Nancy Cally 33
Sarah Cally 9
Ambrose Cally 7
Melvina Cally 4
Mary Cally 2
George W Cally 5/12


Source Citation: Year: 1870; Census Place: Township 5, Craven, North Carolina; Roll: M593_1132; Page: 283B; Image: 18; Family History Library Film: 552631.

 The Census of 1880 shows my Great Grand father Ambrose Cully along with Williams wife Nancy and their other children.

1880 United States Federal Census about William Culley

Name: William Culley
Home in 1880: Township 5, Craven, North Carolina
Age: 47
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1833
Birthplace: North Carolina
Relation to Head of Household: Self (Head)
Spouse’s Name: Nancy Culley
Father’s birthplace: North Carolina
Mother’s birthplace: North Carolina
Neighbors: View others on page
Occupation: Farmer
Marital Status: Married
Race: Mu
Gender: Male
Cannot read/write:


Deaf and dumb:

Otherwise disabled:

Idiotic or insane:

Household Members:

Name Age
William Culley 47
Nancy Culley 43
Ambers Culley 18
Melviney Culley 14
George H. Culley 10
Metildie Carter 22
Mary J. Candey 3


After 1880, I was not able to find information on my 2G Grandfather as very few US Census reports of 1890 did not survive a devastating fire.

So after more investigation I discovered on the New Bern, NC Public Library website at The Kellenberger Room, there were listings of Obituaries.  William H Cully was listed and so I ordered his obit.   With this piece of evidence of William H. Cully’s life, I was able to pinpoint his actual date of birth and his date of death and learn a little more about what type of individual he was.

[obit Below]

New Bern Daily Journal Aug 6, 1902
Rev. William H Cully, a highly respected colored man of this city
Died Saturday morning at the advanced age of 72 years. The
Deceased was noted for his piety and other traits of good character,
And many friends.  By his Industry and steady habits, he accumalated
A very good bit of property.

This was my treasure Chest item, which now will lead me to land deeds.

© Yvette Porter Moore-All Rights Reserved