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James Iredell permission pass

Identifier: NCC-0240

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of three items: an original handwritten permission pass signed February 12, 1783 by James Iredell and John Johnston, for London, an enslaved person, to carry a gun as overseer on a plantation in Bertie County; a pre-printed card from "Francis D. Winston, of Bertie" describing the item; a transcription of the document.


  • 1783


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this material except where previously copyrighted material is concerned. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all permissions.

Biographical / Historical

James Iredell immigrated from England and worked as the deputy collector of Edenton, a port in North Carolina, starting in 1774. In 1778 he was elected a judge of North Carolina's superior court, and was attorney general from 1779 to 1781. In 1790 he became a Supreme Court associate justice after being nominated by George Washington.

Francis D. Winston was lieutenant governor of North Carolina from 1905 to 1909 and raised on "Windsor Castle" plantation in Bertie County. Winston was an attorney after graduating in 1879 from the University of North Carolina. He served in the North Carolina Senate in 1887, representing Bertie and Northhampton Counties. Elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives in 1898, he assisted in heading the "white supremacy" campaigns of the Democrats in 1898 and 1900.


.08 Linear Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



The permission pass illustrates the financial cost and special arrangement needed for an enslaved person to carry a firearm in 18th century North Carolina, and that London was classified as "property" by the lawyers issuing the permission.


Folder contains both pieces of a handwritten document identified on separate pre-printed card as "Bond permitting a Negro Overseer to carry a gun. Signed 1783, by James Iredell, Justice Supreme Court, United States. Presented by Francis D. Winston, of Bertie", and transcription of the document.

Immediate Source of Acquisition


Physical Description

The document is fragile and ripped into two pieces with deterioration around fold lines and edges of paper. The upper piece is almost separated into two and has three remaining pieces still affixed of what appear to be green paper tape preprinted with lettering.

Finding Aid for the James Iredell Permission Pass
Various processors.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Edition statement
Various processors. Updated by Amy McDonald, 2012; Stephanie Barnwell, 2019; Beth Morris Weiss, 2019.

Repository Details

Part of the North Carolina Collection Archives Repository

300 N. Roxboro Street
Durham NC 27701 United States