Haywood Beverly

Haywood Beverly

Place of birth: 
Date of birth: 
circa 1840
Place of death: 
Hillsborough, Orange, North Carolina, USA
Date of death: 
Circa 1870
It is unknown exactly where Haywood Beverly (also spelled Heywood Beverley) was born, but the 1880 United States Federal Census lists his birthplace as Alabama. His parents were likely born in North Carolina, in or near Halifax County, and one or both may have been sold or transferred to someone in Alabama, where Beverly was apparently born circa 1840. Beverly lived in or near Hillsborough since circa 1855.
Beverly married Amanda (she was likely the "illegitimate" daughter of William Alexander Graham) April 21, 1861, in Orange County, North Carolina; but as free blacks (and likely manumitted slaves), they apparently weren’t able to register their marriage until 1866, when they were listed as “freedmen” by the county. However, according to Beverly's friend, Robert Fitzgerald, Beverly was a "free-born mulatto."
In his diary, Fitzgerald described Beverly as an “enterprising man, a tanner and to his charge I have been consigned.” Fitzgerald stayed with Beverly and Beverly's family at their home in Hillsborough for awhile. Fitzgerald noted in his diary that Beverly "has been building a house that cost $1600. A fine building." Fitzgerald's grandniece Pauli Murray, in her 1956 book Proud Shoes, stated that Beverly was "worth $1,700, which made him wealthier than Washington Duke, a poor tobacco farmer of Orange County... [who] was worth only $1,400."
The house that Beverly was constructing was on town lots 117 and 118, on the northeast corner of King and Hassell (Hazel) streets in Hillsborough. He had purchased the lots December 13, 1866, from John Turrentine. In May 1873, Beverly also purchased half of lot 119 from Ann Donelson, the section west of the creek located in the center of the lot.
Since Beverly knew the tanner’s trade, and Fitzgerald was good with business, they decided to enter into a partnership and start a tannery. They soon purchased four acres “on the edge of town” for their own tannery. This “edge of town” was west of Hillsborough, in a town (of sorts) named Chaseville; the tannery lot is described as lot number one in the town.
In late March 1869, the firm of Beverly and Fitzgerald, tanners, launched its business: “Finished Mr. Moore’s 3 hides and delivered them to him. …place 1 kid and 1 sheep skin at H. N. Brown’s Store for sale. Our hides are all stamped with the name of our firm and they look hot.” However, by January 1870, they dissolved their partnership, and in early May, 1871, Fitzgerald sold his interest in the tannery property to Beverly for $400. Beverly, however, continued the tannery business on the property. The 1880 Federal Census lists his occupation as a tanner, and his residence as Hillsboro; in an 1886 business directory, Haywood Beverly was listed as a tanner, and as having an office on King Street and as living in Hillsboro.
In 1870, after the Hillsboro jail was broken into by members of the Ku Klux Klan so as to kidnap two young black prisoners being held there, Beverly traveled with Orange County Sheriff John Turner and several others after the sheriff stopped by his house to borrow his horse and wagon. During Beverly's testimony in court as to the event, where he was called as a witness as to the Klan's activities in the Orange County area, he stated that he and the sheriff followed tracks to "the bridge where the boys were shot," and then he followed the sheriff again, where they "tracked the [KKK's] horses out from Widow Hobbs' three miles to where the road forks, and there one appeared to go to Chatham and the other to Oaks." At that point, across the border in Alamance County, the sheriff divided the group into two groups and Beverly went towards Webb's store in Alamance County on "Woodey's ferry road." They followed the Klansmen's horses' tracks about ten miles from Hillsboro, and about two miles from Webb's store; Beverly stated he had never been in that area before. At that point, he returned home. During his cross-examination, he was interrupted and told to "stand aside" by the chief justice/judge.
In January 1874, Beverly transferred the house lots to his wife, Amanda. The Beverlys had five children; the 1880 census lists them as: Mary, age 18; Julia, age 13; Walker, age 10; William, age 7; and Augustus, age 1. Additionally, in 1870 (according to the census), they had a female, 15-year old "domestic" living in their household.
In August 1887, the tannery property was rented to James A. Cheek, and in April 1888 it was sold to him. Cheek utilized the property for a distillery. According to an article in the Orange County Observer newspaper, Beverly died October 29, 1891. No record of his burial has yet been found, but he was most likely buried in the Margaret Lane Cemetery. His wife Amanda died October 19, 1928 and is listed as being buried in the Geer Cemetery in Durham.

Excerpt from the October 7, 1891 Orange County Observer (via Gary Kueber)


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