Mission Statement:

"To advance through research, education and symposia, an increased public awareness of the Cape Fear region's unique history."

The Bellamy Mansion

Dr. John D. Bellamy and His Mansion

Cape Fear Historical Institute Papers

 

The Bellamy Mansion in Wilmington

The Bellamy Mansion at Fifth and Market Streets:
John D. Bellamy, Jr. recalls in his 1941 “Memoirs of an

Octogenarian” that “According to family accounts, the

idea for the design of the imposing main house came

from Bellamy’s daughter Mary and was given to

James F. Post, who had become a prominent local

architect as well as contractor.” Post was born in

Caldwell, New Jersey who was drawn to Wilmington

by the building boom which followed the completion

of the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad.


Referred to as “an architectural maverick,” the styling

of the mansion weaves architectural elements of the

Classical, Greek and Italian Revivals with “an extravagant

eclecticism unmatched elsewhere in Wilmington. The

two-story porch features Corinthian columns similar to

those at Thalian Hall, and the entry is heavily carved and

set in an arched surround. The pedimented gabled roof is

crowned by an ornately decorated cupola, in imitation

of an Italian campanile, or bell tower.”

Dr. John D. Bellamy


“My father’s residence…was erected by him immediately

preceding the Civil War. Its construction began in 1857 and was completed the latter part of 1859, or early in 1860. This building

has on three sides, most beautifully proportioned Corinthian

columns, with exquisitely carved capitals.”

(Memoirs of an Octogenarian)


Much of the labor on the mansion was performed by

free-black carpenters and their slaves (Slave craftsmen

assisted master artisans who built and embellished

the Parthenon atop the Acropolis in Athens).

It was common at that time for free-black carpenters and

their slave artisans to bid and win construction projects

against white artisans and contractors. Post himself was

not known to own any slaves though he employed many

who were either owned by black or white carpenters.

Local free-black carpenters Post employed were Frederick

Howe and Elvin Artis, and they likely owned

trained slave artisans.


Post’s architectural plans and specifications were completed

in October 1859, and he entrusted the project supervision to

Connecticut-born architect Rufus Bunnell, whom Post had

employed to help in his office; and free-black carpenter

Artis and his slaves.


This frugality of Dr. Bellamy most likely had him direct Post

and Bunnell to not only order cost-effective materials from

the north, but also to employ less expensive free-black

carpenters who held slave artisans to do their work at a lesser

rate than white artisans. To underscore this, Bunnell recalled

that the " rich doctor was a free-trader” who “notwithstanding

all the feeling that had sprung up against the northern people,

still put the principle in practice and ordered from the North and

every thing that could be cheaper than in Wilmington.”

Early in 1860, Bunnell sent drawings for window sashes,

inside trim, and the 25-foot Corinthian columns for the

“colonnade” to the factory of Jenkins and Porter, on

Canal Street in New York.”

(North Carolina Architecture, pp. 279-282)


(Read more on antebellum free-black and slave labor below)

According to daughter Ellen Bellamy, the family moved

their belongings into the new home at 503 Market Street

in February 1861.

Bellamy Family History:
Dr. John Dillard Bellamy was born at his family plantation

on Wynah Bay (next to Francis Marion’s plantation) at

All Saints’ Parish, South Carolina on 18 September 1817,

son of John and Elizabeth Bellamy.

According to son John D. Bellamy, Jr., “the name “Bellamy”

is of French derivation and was originally spelled “Bellamie”

-- meaning “wonderful friend.”


He continues: “All of the Bellamy ancestors were born in

South Carolina, John Bellamy, the first of the name in Carolina,

was an original Grantee of St. John’s Parish, Charles Town –

his grant being between the Ashley and Cooper Rivers.

In 1665, he had sailed from Holland to the Barbadoes,

and from there to the Carolina coast, with Sir John Yeamans.

A short while later he had settled at Goose Creek, a few miles

above the city, where he spent the remainder of his life. His

son John, had reached maturity and was managing his own

on of the next generation, removed to Buck’s Creek, and it

was his son, John, who owned the plantation on Wynah Bay,

where my father [Dr. John D. Bellamy] was born.”


Dr. Bellamy was educated at the Marion Academy and

“the celebrated Rice Creek [Academy] institution.


“When my father moved to Wilmington in 1837. He read

medicine in the office of the noted physician, Dr. William

James Harris, as was customary in those days for students

who intended to go to medical colleges for their degrees.

In 1839, he was graduated, with honors, from Jefferson

Medical College of the University of Pennsylvania, and

returned to Wilmington to begin the practice of his profession.

On June 12, of the same year, he was married to

Eliza McIlhenny Harris, daughter of his first medical instructor,

and his wife, Mary Priscilla Jennings.”


Though immediate honeymoon plans were to tour Europe,

the sudden death of Dr. Harriss changed everything. His new

wife unwilling to leave her bereaved mother, young Dr. Bellamy

assumed Dr. Harriss’s medical practice in Wilmington and for

many years lived in the Harriss home. [It is noteworthy that

Dr. Harriss was mayor of Wilmington at the time of his death].


He later took on Dr. William W. Harriss as a partner in 1846,

and retired from medicine about 1850 due to ill-health and to

focus more time on his large planting and business interests.

In August 1850, he was elected to succeed Col. James T. Miller

on the Board of Directors of the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad.

By 1860, Dr. Bellamy would hold the distinction of being

the largest stockholder in the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad.

He also served on the Board of Directors of the Cape Fear Bank.

The Bellamy Children:
“Dr. and Mrs. Bellamy’s children included Mary Elizabeth,

who married William J. Duffie of Columbia; Mardsen, who

became a prominent attorney and married Harriet Harleee of

Mars Bluff, SC; William James Harriss, who became a

noted local physician and married Mary W. Russell; and

Eliza and Ellen who remained single and lived in the old

home at Market and Fifth Streets;

John Dillard, who became a prominent attorney and US

Congressman married Emma M. Hargrove of Granville County;

George, known as the “Duke of Brunswick” because of his

political connections, married Kate Thees; Chesley Calhoun

was never married and died in early manhood;

Robert Rankin, the youngest, was a very prominent druggist

and married Lilly Dale Hargrove.”

Dr. Bellamy’s son William James Harriss Bellamy, later

a prominent Wilmington medical doctor, was born at

Wilmington in 1844. He ended his studies at Chapel Hill

in the summer of 1861 to enlist as a private in Company I

of the 18th North Carolina Regiment, seeing action in Virginia

at Hanover Court house, Williamsburg and the Seven Days’

-- being wounded in the shoulder and knee at Gaines’ Mill.

At the end of his enlistment in 1862, he returned to studies at

Chapel Hill for half a session, then raised a company of cavalry in Brunswick county for home defense. He held the rank of

captain assigned to coastal duty with his men, and fought

in the 1865 campaign from Wilmington to Bentonville.

Early Residence in Wilmington:
In 1846 Dr. Bellamy purchased the Governor Benjamin Smith

residence originally built in 1805 while at the zenith of his political

career. It was Smith’s town residence while governor – his

permanent home being “Belvedere,” his plantation in

Brunswick County. Dr. Bellamy lived here until their new

home was built at Fifth and Market Streets.


Being politically-active in antebellum Wilmington and having

secessionist proclivities, son John D. Bellamy, Jr. recalled:

“[When Dr. Bellamy] found that most prominent people in

Wilmington were chiefly Whigs – the Moore’s, the Hill’s,

deRossett’s, Waddell’s and Davis’ – and, being union men,

would not take part in the celebration of South Carolina’s

withdrawal from the Union, he bought all the empty tar barrels

in Wilmington and had them strewn along Front Street, from

Campbell to Queen, and on Market Street from the river to

Ninth Street, and had a great bonfire and procession at night,

three days before Christmas of 1860. He procured a band

of music, and headed the marching column himself, at Front

and Market Streets, with his little son and namesake, the

author, by his side, bearing a torch upon his shoulder!

It was a night to live always in his memory, and of which

he was ever afterwards proud!

Secession Cockade


Bellamy’s Grovely Plantation in Brunswick County:
Alfred Moore Waddell in his 1909

“History of New Hanover County” notes that Bellamy's

Grovely Plantation was originally named “Spring Garden.”

In a deed from Maurice Moore to John Baptiste Ashe,

dated December 5, 1727, in which Moore is described as

“of Bath County,: he conveys 640 acres on the north side

of Town Creek,” about five miles above ye Old Town,

commonly known by the name of Spring Garden,’ granted

to said Moore, June 20, 1725. The name of this place

was afterwards changed by some of Mr. Ashe’s successors

to Grovely, by which name it has been known for more

than a hundred years. It was given, by the will of

Ann R. Quince, to her cousin, A.D. Moore, son of

Maj. A.D. Moore, and for sixty years or more last past has

belonged to the estate of the late Dr. John D. Bellamy.”

(History of New Hanover County, page 45)


From “Memoirs of an Octogenarian”:
“Grovely," in Brunswick county, is located on Town Creek

and consists of nearly a thousand acres, my father having

bought many adjoining tracts to keep settlers from coming too

near – to interfere with his Negro slaves. This old estate was

entered by Maurice Moore, in 1750, and was called by him

“Spring Garden.” He afterwards sold it to John Baptiste

Ashe, who changed its name to Grovely Plantation, a name

it still bears. The plantation had, beside the manor house,

many other buildings – overseer’s houses,

barns, stables and the like.


The manor house, in which we spent a great part of our

summers, must have been built in Colonial times and was

a very substantial and comfortable structure. Near the

home was a dairy and the turkey, peafowl, and chicken

yards, also large orchards and vineyards. My father generally

ran over fifty mules and plows; he raised from six hundred

to eight hundred heads of cattle, and a like number of sheep,

and never killed less than fifteen hundred heads of hogs

per annum, with which he used to feed his slaves in

Brunswick county, Columbus county (turpentine farm

at Grist’s, now Chadbourne) and the slaves of

his plantation in South Carolina.


He planted, during the War, about two hundred and

fifty acres of wheat, which seemed to thrive in that soil equally

as well as in the wheat growing section of the State. Having

no rice fields on Grovely, I have known him to get, at one

times, three thousand bushels of rough rice, which e bought

from Colonel Thomas C. Miller, at Orton Plantation; this was

hulled by his slaves in wooden mortars, with wooden

pestles, and winnowed on elevated platforms.


In the heyday of Grovely Plantation my father cultivated

twenty-four hundred acres of arable land, worked by his

Negroes, who lived in cabins on “The Line.” He raised wheat,

oats, corn, peanuts, and other grains, and his barns were

always filled to overflowing and groaning under their weight.


The Wesleyan Methodist preacher (employed by the year

by my father) held his services on each alternate Sundays,

baptizing infants and marrying the slaves. On Sundays’ when

I was a boy about eight or ten years of age, contemporary

Negro boys, at least fifty in number, would come down from

“The Line” to the dwelling where we lived. They were always

neatly dressed in the woolen and cotton clothes produced by

the spinners and weavers on the hand looms of the plantation.

My parents permitted me to go with these boys into the woods

and on the streams until church time, when I would accompany

them to “The Line” and attend their church services.

(Memoirs of an Octogenarian, pp,1-17)

War and Refugeeing at Floral College:
Early in the war the newly-formed Confederate States of America

relocated its capital to Richmond; Bellamy’s son John wrote that

“Honorable George Davis, who was regarded as the idol

of the people of the Cape Fear by the old families, was

made Confederate Senator, in Richmond, and afterwards

Attorney General in the Cabinet of President Jefferson Davis.

I recollect well when the seat of the Confederate government

was removed from Montgomery, Alabama, to Richmond,

Virginia. When President Davis and members of his

Cabinet arrived in Wilmington, on the way to Richmond,

people welcomed them, en masse! We had quite a large

reception at the depot of the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad,

then on Nutt Street.

My father, being a warm and enthusiastic supporter of

President Davis, and a Secession-Democrat, was very

prominent at the reception; he escorted me across the mall,

and introduced me to the President, who put his hand on

my head and said to me, “Young man, you will live to be

a good man and make a valiant soldier, I know.” The train

departed shortly thereafter, carrying the visitors to

Richmond, where they established the new capital

for the Confederate States.”


The town of Wilmington was transformed with colorful

characters during the war, and the most daring were the

blockade runners who brought goods in and out of

Wilmington. In Memoirs of an Octogenarian, Bellamy’s

son writes that “During the Civil War, one Roberts lived

here, across the street from our home; he was quite friendly

to our gang of boys; afterwards, he became Hobart Pasha

of Turkey.

There also lived here prominent English, French and

German merchants, all engaged in blockade-running,

shipping cotton to various European ports, and

especially to Constantinople. The town was full also of

Confederate soldiers, who encamped at Camp Lamb

in the northern part of the city, at the present site of

Delgado Cotton Mills, now Spofford Mills (today’s

area of Wrightsville Avenue and Dawson Street), and

in South Wilmington, drilling to aid in the defense

of the city and the fortifications of the river”


He continues: “We happened to be, my father and I, at

Grovely Plantation, when Fort Fisher fell, and Fort Anderson

was evacuated, and the Confederate troops retreated to

Wilmington. He had sent a flat-load of provisions and wood

to Wilmington, and when it reached Lower Town Creek

Bridge (on current Highway 133), the Federal troops

seized it and drove the confederates back towards

Wilmington. In the battle that took place, Colonel

[Charles H.] Simonton, afterwards Judge of the United

er’s flat, with other captives, and carried to Wilmington

with the provisions and turned over to the Federal authorities.


I recollect well, having gone down in a buggy to…[the bridge]

to see the condition of the flat and the progress it had made,

when the Confederate troops…passed by and told my father

he had better go back, as the Federals were advancing and

our troops were retreating; just about that time, Minnie balls

came whistling through the air and falling like rain all around us!

We rode rapidly back to our home at Grovely and left

immediately for Floral College, where our family were

refugees until the close of the war.”


Daughter Ellen Bellamy wrote that her father decided

upon a place of refuge for his family due to the reports

of “depredations committed on the women and children”

by Northern troops as they overran Southern territory.

Being so close to Fort Fisher and possible invasion,

Mr. Bellamy rented Floral College in Robeson county

(twenty miles from Lumberton) along with friend

Oscar G. Parsley. Closed due to the war, the college

was composed of two connected buildings, Parsley

moved his family there in 1861 and occupied the

front house. The Bellamy’s did not move there until

the Yellow Fever epidemic broke out

in September 1862.


A short time later the Parsley’s purchased a home

in Lumberton and moved there, perhaps anticipating the

Trustees of the college and their president, Rev. Daniel

Johnson, who planned to reopen the school. The Bellamy’s

then moved into Steward’s Hall on campus which was

their primary residence though they traveled back and

forth to Wilmington. In December 1865, they were in

Wilmington to hear the first bombardment of Fort Fisher

while staying at Grovely, and then back to Floral College

at the surrender of Wilmington.


Northern-Occupied Wilmington:
Son John D. Bellamy relates his experience at the end of the war:

“When Fort Fisher fell…the Federal troops marched to

Wilmington and took possession of the city, and immediately

seized my father’s residence, at Fifth and Market Streets, and

used it for headquarters; first, for Admiral Porter and General

Alfred Terry, the General Schuyler Colfax, and later General

Joseph Hawley, a Brigadier-General in the Federal Army,

though a native of Stewartsville, Richmond county.

My father had to pay severely for this aid and participation

in the so-called Rebellion. Besides his own activity, he sent

two sons to Virginia – one in the army and the other in the navy,

and was preparing to send me, another son, in the event the

war lasted long enough.”



The diary of a Northern occupation commander mentions that

on Wednesday, February 22, 1865: “My troops are put in camp

around the town, and I assume command of the place…and

fix my headquarters temporarily at the house of a Dr. Bellamy,

a fugitive rebel.” (Sprunt, page 499)

Bellamy’s son recalled the visit to Wilmington of a

high-ranking Radical Republican who spoke to a crowd

from the porch of his home: “On day I was with my school

mates, in their home next to the present City Hall, when a

band struck up music and started down Third Street to

Market, and up Market to Fifth, to the Headquarters of

General Hawley, our home.

There were in the procession about three thousand people,

chiefly Negroes. The band stopped at my father’s residence…

and played several national airs; immediately General Hawley

came out on the piazza and introduced to the audience the

Chief-Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States,

the Honorable Salmon P. Chase.

Even then Chief Justice Chase had the presidential bug in

his bonnet. He claimed to have been, in politics, a former

Democrat, and was a candidate for the nomination for

president against General U.S. Grant. He took the

position that the Southern States were never out of the Union,

their efforts at secession being unsuccessful, and being

restored to the former status as States of the Union, they

were entitled to representatives not only in Congress

but in the Electoral College.”


Ellen's Memoirs"

Daughter Ellen Douglas Bellamy captured the Bellamy’s wartime

refugee and postwar experience in her book,

“Back With the Tides,” pp. 10-13:


"(Confederate) Major Watson called out: "Run girls, the blue

jackets are coming!" There they were, like a swarm of bees

through the woods---and did we run! Like a pack of

blood-hounds they rode up---and such awful looking men!

Long hair down to their shoulders, not cut since before the war.

They were mostly from Indiana and Illinois. One of them really

escorted the McLauchlin's home safely, they having asked

for protection. Then they rushed in demanding food and drink.

We had only milk and a barrel of scupperonong wine, made

the summer before at Grovely; when they tasted it and found it

too new and sweet, they pulled out the bung and let every bit

run on the ground. My mother was made to taste all food

before they would, for fear she had poisoned it. There was

a jar of young vegetables, in brine for pickling; one Yankee

tasted these and not finding them to his liking, spit

several times into the contents.

In a twinkling of an eye, the whole house was ransacked;

they appropriated anything they fancied, only missing a

few valuables---jewelry, etc., hidden in a hollow space

each side of the drawers...another big square tin cake-box

full of silver was buried on the lot...surprisingly it escaped

their bayonet thrusts which were made every few feet, feeling

for buried treasure. The silver forks used at every meal, my

mother wore down her stocking legs for several days, the

prongs of one inflicting a painful little

wound on the calf of her leg!

(Yankee) Captain Sharp...proved a "friend in need" and

treated mother and sister with respect, but was a thief

with it all; he showed us a pocket full of jewelry and s

aid that he had "captured" those handsome rugs in

Cheraw (South Carolina). Our servants...were

completely demoralized...Guy, the coachman, came to

Mother and said he did not want to leave but the Yankees

made him, after taking his good shoes for themselves

and making him go bare-footed.

They had also taken my brother John's new homemade

shoes, and left him bare-footed on a cold, rainy, sleety day.

Just before the (Yankee) army moved away my brother

Robbie, a four-year old baby, cried for food. I never knew

'till then how it felt to be hungry. We had nothing to eat,

no wood (they had burned up every fence, no fire)! After

much effort we got a pan of fire coal from a neighbor

and made a little fire in our bedroom, cooked a pone of

corn bread and gave some to each of our

crowd (including the servants).

Joan, our nurse, a very unattractive Negro wench who

already had two children (never been married), rode down

in the ambulance with (Yankee Captain A.) Hickenlooper

(of Ohio)---an adjutant, I believe! Nine months from

that night she gave birth to twins, both mulattos, who

died while small children."

(Back With the Tide, pp. 10-13)

Appendix:

Free-Black and Slave Artisans in North Carolina:
The existence of free-black craftsmen in antebellum North Carolina

came from slaves who had been taught a trade by their owners,

such as that of carpentry, masonry or cabinetry -- and often these

owners did not have enough work on the plantation to keep

them employed year round. Neighbors might hire the slave-

craftsmen and the practice arose of permitting such slaves to

go about the country looking for work.

The slave would carry a written statement to that effect, sort of

a license to work at large. Slaves would often bargain with

their owners and agree to pay him a certain sum each year in

return for the privilege of working whenever they chose, called

“hiring his time.” This could ultimately lead to the skilled and

often-employed slave to earn sufficient funds to purchase his

own freedom, and to purchase his own slaves.

(Antebellum North Carolina, page 531)


Understandably, all slaves did not show the ability for skilled

trades and “only the most likely were taught a trade. The

ordinary procedure in teaching a slave a profession was to

bring him up under the tutelage of a slave craftsman or

apprentice him to a free tradesman. [Those slaves thought

ingenious were bound] to some carpenter or bricklayer.”

(ANC, Page 541)


These skilled free-black craftsman and tradesmen “were barbers,

tailors, tanners, brick makers, carpenters, brick and stone masons,

cabinet makers, caterers, blacksmiths and shoemakers,” and they

often purchased their own black slaves to help in their businesses

(ANC, page 607).

The census of 1830 listed 192 free-blacks in North Carolina

who owned from one to 41 slaves, while almost half of that

number, 92, owned only one

(ANC, page 607).


By 1860, there were twenty-four free Negro mechanics plying their

trade in North Carolina. Very few of the skilled occupations were

without some free Negroes, and many came to be looked upon as

efficient and dependable. Free-black Joseph Dennis of Fayetteville,

was described by a white citizen as “a mechanic of considerable

skill and has frequently been in my employ.” His relative

Phillis Dennis owned 4 slaves herself in 1830.

John Caruthers Stanly, a free-black in New Bern, was one

of the leading barbers of the community and he “used the

profits which he earned at this occupation as his initial

investment in plantations and town property, making him

one of the wealthiest men and slaveowners in Craven

County,” owning 14 slaves in 1830.

Known as “Barber Jack,” Stanly was said at one time to be

worth more than $40,000. His son, John Stewart Stanly, born

a slave, was emancipated in 1802 and by 1830 owned eighteen

slaves himself. Donom Mumford, a free-black brick mason of

New Bern, owned ten slaves whom he employed in his business.

(The Free Negro in NC, Page 608


Free blacks experienced little difficulty in securing employment in

North Carolina in the building trades. Masons, brick makers, and

stone dressers were in demand in North Carolina’s growing towns,

and the protestations of white workers were not strong enough

to cause a ban to be placed on the use of free Negro

workers in these trades.

Free-black slaveowner John Y. Green, who owned

4 slaves in 1830, was a well-to-do carpenter and contractor

in New Bern who amassed a considerable fortune by securing

large jobs in connection with the building programs of his

hometown. It was largely through his own industry that

James D. Sampson was able to become a respected and

wealthy citizen in Wilmington. Almost 500 free-blacks

[in North Carolina] made their living

in the building trades in 1860.”

Certainly there were free-blacks who possessed slaves for the

purpose of advancing their own economic well-being and

free-black slaveholders were more interested in making their

farms or carpenter-shops “pay” than they were in treating their

slaves humanely. The capitalistic-minded free Negro owners of

slaves can usually be identified because of their extensive holdings

of realty and because of their inactivity in the manumission

movement. For thirty years, Thomas Day (of Milton,

North Carolina) used slaves to help him in his cabinetmaking

business. In 1830, he had two slaves; by 1860 he had three.


And large numbers of slaves owned by free-blacks were

not unusual: eleven slaves were held in bondage by

Samuel Johnston of Bertie County in 1790; the 44 slaves

each owned by Gooden Bowen of Bladen County

and John Walker of New Hanover County in 1830;

and the 24 slaves owned by John Crichlon of Martin

County in 1830. “Free Negroes usually held one, two, or

three slaves…"These free-blacks in New Hanover County

owned more than one slave in 1830: Mary Cruise, 3;

Leuris Pajay, 4; John Walker, 44; Roger Hazell, 5;

James Campbell, 2; and Henry Sampson who

owned 5 black slaves.
(The Free Negro in North Carolina, pp. 140-141)

Opposition to Northern and Black Tradesmen:
North Carolina’s white artisans rallied against perceived threats

to their economic status. In 1850 white mechanics held rallies

across the State to object to competition from northern workmen

and underpricing from local free blacks. They petitioned the

legislature to bind all free blacks to white masters for life…or to

encourage them to leave the State.


This measure was not enacted, but ten years later [1860] another

law passed that forbade blacks to hire, apprentice, or own

slaves; this measure, while not retroactive, aimed a potentially

fatal blow at the leading free black builders, who depended

on [slave labor].


White artisans more often leveled complaints at competition from slaves…[and] they attributed their problems not to the slaves but

the [white and black] slaveholding classes. In Wilmington...

On a hot summer midnight in 1857, a group of men vandalized

a building under construction and left notice that “a similar course

would be pursued, in all cases against buildings to be erected

by Negro contractors or carpenters.” The action was attributed

to an “organized association” of 250 or more workmen.


Wilmington white artisans reiterated their claim that blacks who

were “cared for by their master’s, were at trifling expense for

living, and were thereby enabled to underbid them in contracts.”

They insisted this system “cheapened labor to such a degree that

they the white mechanics could not live, and would be compelled

to abandon their occupations or to leave the place.”


[In 1860]…the Wake County Workingmen’s Association…

supported a proposal to tax slaves on an ad valorem basis –

as property taxed “at value” rather than as polls or individuals

[and] this proposal would have increased the tax paid on slaves

and thus hurt slave owners and help those who competed against

slave workers. This was a hot issue in the gubernatorial election

of 1860, and the workingman’s association urged fellow

mechanics and workingmen to “look to their own rights and

interests, and to insist on that political equality and that

participation in public affairs to which they

as free men are entitled.”

The extensive use of free-black carpenters on the Bellamy Mansion

can probably be attributed to Dr. Bellamy's frugal nature and

directing those engaged to save money; and New Jersey-born

architect James Post's regular hiring of less expensive labor

from skilled free-blacks and slaves for his construction projects.

Sources and further reading on this topic:
The Free Negro in North Carolina, John H. Franklin, UNC Press, 1943
Ante-bellum North Carolina, Guion Griffis Johnson, UNC Press, 1937
Land of the Golden River, Lewis Philip Hall, 1980


About the Author:

Bernhard Thuersam is the Director of the Cape Fear Historical Institute

in Wilmington. He is a native of Niagara Falls, New York and a

devoted student of world history since 1958. He is a former

Chairman of the Cape Fear Museum Board of Trustees.

Contact him at bernhard1848@att.net.

Bibliography and Sources:

Back With The Tide, Ellen D. Bellamy, Bellamy Museum, 1937/2002

Cyclopedia of Men of the Carolinas, 19th Century, Brant & Fuller, 1892
North Carolina Architecture, Catherine W. Bishir, UNC Press, 1990

History of New Hanover County, A.M. Waddell, 1909
Chronicles of the Cape Fear, James Sprunt, Edwards, Broughton, 1916

Architects and Builders in North Carolina, Bishir, UNC Press 1990
North Carolina, Rebuilding an Ancient Commonwealth, Vol. III, 1928
Land of the Golden River, Lewis Philip Hall, 1980
Confederate Military History, Clement A. Evans, Broadfoot, 1987
Memoirs of An Octogenarian, John D. Bellamy, 1941