THE WORST OF US ALL (PT 3)

Following his near-death experience in January of 1871, Henderson Judd was reminded of his own physical mortality. A month later, in February of the same year, he gave to Macklin C. Thomas, son of Tillman Thomas and wife Harriet Judd Thomas a $60 promissory note dating to the early 1860’s. Macklin was to use it to cover one of Henderson’s liabilities. And then unrelated and on 29 Mar 1871 , at the request of Henderson Judd, Col. A. A. F. Seawell wrote and executed a deed of trust for the said Judd. Registered in Chatham County and recorded in deed book and page AP-59, Col. A. A. F. Seawell and Jefferson Thomas acted as trustees for Archibald Judd and the other children of Henderson Judd. The deed of trust reads:

“…in consideration of the sum of one dollar to the said Henderson Judd paid by the aforesaid Jefferson Thomas and Aaron A. Seawell together with the further consideration of my affection for Archibald Judd, Adelar Judd, John D. Judd, James Judd, Nancy Judd, William H. Judd, Jonna Judd, Mary H. Judd and Lula Judd of whom I the said Henderson Judd are the reputed father which reputation is admitted to be true.”

In this instrument, three tracts of land along the Cape Fear River totaling 174 acres were placed in trust for the benefit of Henderson’s children. Other property conveyed in trust is also described after naming and including all the land:

“ …also all the stock of horses, mules, cattle. And hogs and all the personal property of every description which I the said Henderson Judd now own or may hereafter become the owner of up to the day and time of my death.”

The subject of Henderson Judd has been well written about from the perspective of the family descendants of which in one article can be found the following:

“On July 27, 1871, Henderson Judd was dead.

The family tells that on that day, Henderson was paid another visit by the Klan, and in retaliation for his testimony against them, Henderson was dragged out of his house, tied to the old oak tree, castrated, and left to bleed to death.”

So, in Mar 1871, Henderson Judd deeded land for the use of his five children who were also his former slaves and who were now free. And then on 27 Jul 1871, he was dragged out of his house, tied to a tree, castrated, and was left to bleed to death. But his story did not end at the base of a tree. On the very same day, “some hours prior to his death, [Henderson Judd] called us to his bedside.” In what’s known as a nuncupative or oral will, Henderson Judd did not die without his final wishes being spoken and recorded.

On the same day, 27 Mar 1871, Henderson Judd was indeed visited at his bedside as his last will and testament reads:

henderson Judd

On this day Jul 27th, 1871, Henderson Judd died & some hours prior to his death he called us to his bedside & made the following request towit that he did not devise his property undisposed of to be left at the disposition of his relations but that Jefferson Thomas should have the home place where he now lives or did live a few hours since in fee simple nevertheless with this provision that the said Thomas should provide for his nephew James Womack by giving him a living out of the said tract of land or so much thereof as would make him a comfortable home left to him the said Jefferson Thomas’ discretion & furthermore that his sister Matilda Womack should have an absolute & indisposable title to the land upon which she now lives adjoining the above described tract & consisting of one hundred acres more or less to her during her live and her children thereafter the above disposition of the remainder of his landed estate he called us to his bedside & requested would be made some hours prior to his death he having disposed of the balance of his land by a paper writing some months since to other parties which will better appear by reference to the same, now in the hands of Jefferson Thomas. The above being his will & wishes we hereby record a few hours after his death as a nuncupative will in testimony whereof we do hereunto set our hands and seals this 27 of July 1871. L. W. Waddill Test: James T. Maddox James (X) Womack The above admitted to Probate as the Noncupative Will of Henderson Judd A. H. McNeill, Judge

So, the old man Henderson Judd has died and at that point life in the neighborhood began to reset its clock accordingly. I’m not sure where Henderson is buried and if that information is even known. As for Yearby Thomas, he lived until 1880 and is buried in Lee County.

By way of the nuncupative will, undevised portions of Henderson Judd’s estate lands had been bequeathed to a select few nephews and a niece. And back in March of the year of his death, the black children of Henderson Judd had received a sizeable portion of his estate lands which was held in the hands of trustees. However, in a last hour oral statement taken on his death bed, the trustees were given the right to sell any of the lands as was needed. And as you can guess, selling they did. Within a year or two, much of Henderson Judd’s land along the banks of the Cape Fear was sold to Mr. Rosser of Chatham County. I can’t morally judge this action as I have no idea whether or not the land was sold for good reason.

juggland

This all is probably one of those things no one wanted to remember, but you’re wrong if you think it’s been forgotten. At the back end of Buckhorn Road stands a sign identifying “JUDDLAND.” Notice the establishment date on the sign. This is the place where Stokes Judd lived and was beaten. It’s the land that passed down from Henderson Judd to Stokes Judd and on and on through his family. It’s not far from where the old school or church once stood. And family descendants return annually to celebrate the memory and the struggles Stokes endured. The story of Stokes Judd can be found at The Curious Case of Stokes Maddox Judd, Former Slave and Confederate Pensioner. There’s also an article written about Henderson Judd and the Outrage on the Cape Fear River. And lastly, the Congressional Report providing detailed background can be found at Congressional Series of United States Public Documents, 1872, Volume 1530

 

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