Southern Claims Commission

9 November 2010

Hi folks! I am sorry I have been away from the blog for so long. I am still pretty involved in my research of the Pettifords, trying to find some untapped resources. Be sure to keep your eye on the database as I am constantly updating information there, mostly for Pettiford, but any other free blacks in antebellum NC are added there as I find new information. For instance, today in the database, I added information on Judy Artis who married Reuben Pettiford and resided in Washington County and also her son Alfred Artis Pettiford, both of which filed claims with the Southern Claims Commission (SCC). Actually, this is one of the untapped resources I've recently discovered! The records for the SCC have been indexed and the records available on (click the link to go directly to the database - you need to be a paying member to access the information though) and also in book format (Gary B. Mills. Southern Loyalists in the Civil War: The Southern Claims Commission. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2004.) If you don't have a subscription to Ancestry, then check your local public library to see if you can get this through Interlibrary Loan and a plug for the State Library of North Carolina, if you are someone who visits the State Library of North Carolina, this book is available in the Genealogical reading room.

What is the SCC?

From my understanding, The Southern Claims Commission was created for pro-Union Southerners could apply for reimbursement to any damage and losses to their property as a result of the Civil War. The one potential problem with this source is that it does not identify anyone by race. It may take a bit of research to figure out if a person who filed a claim was African-American or white (from what I saw today, most of the claims took place after the Civil War was over, so I say "African-American" instead of "free Black" because at that time they most likely were all free - there could be some that were dated earlier that I did not see today, so that is why I say "could have been", sorry for any confusion)


Submit comments Please note that all comments are moderated.

Anonymous said on January 7, 2011 at 4:23 PM>
Hi Erin...Welcome back!

I stumbled on your blog today and found it rather insightful and interesting. I, too, have deep ancestral roots in NC and VA (My roots stem from Bertie, Hertford and Halifax counties, NC; and the Isle of Wight area in VA). I'm wondering if you have any information on the "MELTON" family from Bertie County, NC.

I've been told that my G-G-Grandfather was a full-blood Cherokee Indian from Halifax County (born abt 1820), who's surname was "BOWSER;" and that after the Civil War he changed it to "MELTON" (I haven't yet been able to confirm the info given). I have confirmed, however, that he married "Martha Boon" in Southampton County under the name "MELTON." The 1860 Census lists them as "Free Colored" but I can't find anything on "Jere, Jearrie,...possibly Jeremiah" Melton prior to 1860 (perhaps his name was in fact "Bowser) or after 1870 in Bertie County (name shows then as "Melton").

"Jearrie and Martha" were listed as farmers at Mitchell's Township in Bertie County, NC. One of his sons (my G-Grandfather) married a Mitchell.

During my research I noticed the surnames Melton, Mitchell and Pettiford surfacing together in the same township and on the same census record pages. I'm curious to know if you have any information available to share; or if you can direct me to someone who may have insight and/or information on the Melton family that would further assist in my genealogy research? I would also be interested to know if there is a correlation in the Melton/Pettiford families.

Thanks in advance for sharing.

S. Melton

Erin said on January 30, 2011 at 12:58 AM
Hi Sandra,

I'm familiar with the Melton's, but have not done a lot of research on them yet. In fact, I am a descendant of Melton's myself (John Melton b. abt 1742 and married Elizabeth Jones who lived in Bertie, Edgecombe, and Nash County areas), but I haven't done a lot of research on them either so I'm not sure if they are white or something else.

A thought about your Melton is a variant spelling could be Milton, remember with census data, it is spelled how it sounded to the enumerator (which would explain why my VA ancestors named Foxworthy, after moving to IL, were enumuerated as Coxweathen hehe).

No, so far I have not found any correlation between Pettiford and Melton, but I'm not really looking much in the area of Bertie County either.