Autry Wright Powell Douglas Hayes Family Research

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The African American Autry Families of Southeast North Carolina

In 1850 and 1860, George W. Autry was the only slave owner with the surname of Autry that lived in the Southern District of Sampson County, North Carolina. In 1859 George owned eleven slaves. According to the North Carolina State Archives, the slaves were named Pharoah, Chasey, Saul, Ned, Juda, Eliza, Sam, Harry, Chainy, Frank, and Chasey Jr. If George's slaves were siblings, it is more than probable that the descendants of Chasey & Sam (Autrys in and around present day Pender County), Frank Autry (Autrys in and around present day Clinton, NC), and Ned Autry (Autrys in and around Bladen and Cumberland County) are all blood relatives.

The first US Census was conducted in 1790. This census contained information on seven white individuals that were using the surname of Autry. Six of these individuals resided in Sampson County in southeast North Carolina at the time .

The six individuals were Cornelius Autry and his sons. Cornelius has come to be regarded by many as the original progenitor of the Autry surname among Anglo Americans in the United States.

According to the 1790 census, Cornelius and his sons did not own slaves.

By1840, the US Census was reporting that there were 35 families that were using the Autry surname. Of the 35, 20 resided in southeast North Carolina.

After Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and the conclusion of the civil war, all slaves were freed. The freed slaves were included in the 1870 US Census. African American Autrys first appeared in this census. This census reported that there were six African American Autry families that resided in Southeast North Carolina.

The following were the six families:

These six are more than likely the progenitors of the Autry surname among all African American Autry that claim ancestry from North Carolina. It is also very likely that they were blood relatives or slaves owned by the same slave owner.

The 1920 US census reported that the total number of Autry households (white and black) had increased to 563. The largest percentage was still found in North Carolina. Of the 563 households, 140 (25%) resided in North Carolina, 77 (14%) in Texas, 74 (13%) in Georgia, 43 (8 %) in Alabama, 28 (5%) in Tennessee and 8 (1%) in South Carolina.

In addition to the African American Autry’s from Southeast North Carolina listed above, the 1870 census listed another African American Autry family living in Union County, North Carolina. The head of this family was Ralph Autry (1833). He moved to Union County from South Carolina. Union County was once part of Anson and Mecklenburg counties. Anson County was once part of Bladen County. Union County is located in south central North Carolina near Charlotte. It borders South Carolina.

Today the number of Autry households has drastically increased. Unconfirmed estimates indicate that 1 out of every 1000 households in North Carolina and Georgia is an Autry household.

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