Bob & Lidia Haynes & children – Alexander Sy, Bob Hardin, Catherine, Betsey, Mose, and Caroline


James M. Smith, Last Will and Testament, February 9, 1850

c1840: Caroline is born. Caroline was likely enslaved by the Smith family from the moment of her birth.

February 9, 1850: Bob is a tanner enslaved by James M. Smith. His wife is named Lidia. It is possible that his children are: Alexander Sy, Bob Hardin, Catherine, Betsey, Mose, and Caroline. This is the first mention we have found relating to Caroline, a child he enslaved.

“I give and bequeath to my daughter Sarah L McDowell all the property heretofore placed in her possession + a negro girl Caroline (child of Arsela)…”

However, James M. Smith also enslaved another young girl named Caroline, daughter of Lidia, who he willed to his wife, Polly.

“Also I give and bequeath to my said wife Polly during her natural life the following negro slaves, viz. Bob, (the tanner) and his wife, Lidia and her children….

…and the girl Caroline, (Lidia’s daughter), and her increase together with a good wagon and four horses and mules and harness…

It is possible that Caroline is the 9-year-old female reported as being enslaved by James M. Smith in the 1850 Census, which was recorded on October 9, 1850.

“I further direct that the girl Caroline in which said will be given to my daughter Sarah L. McDowell, be given to my daughter Jane Cordelia, and in her stead I give to the said Sarah L. a negro woman Rebecca and her child Charlotte which I purchased of William W. McDowell and placed in her possession, and further will and direct that the said girl Caroline together with the Piano Forte in my house…” James M. Smith, Codicil to the Last Will and Testament, January 7, 1854

With James M. Smith’s death on May 18, 1856, Caroline became enslaved by James’ daughter, Jane Cordelia. At 19, Jane was only a few years older than Caroline. Because she was unmarried when her father died, one of Jane’s uncles, Montraville Patton, was assigned to be her guardian. It is likely that Caroline traveled with Jane to live at the Patton home until Jane could be married the following year.

April 15, 1857: Jane Cordelia Smith married George Thomas Spears, 29, a business partner of her uncle/guardian, Montraville Patton. George, then, became owner of all Jane’s property — including Caroline. It is likely that Caroline moved with Jane to George’s home in Asheville.

August 16, 1860: W.B. Baird, the census taker in Buncombe County, records George Spears enslaving 16 people. It is likely that Caroline is recorded in these slave schedules as an 18-year-old black female.

April 1864: Caroline marries Mathew Cope.

April 1865: George Thomas Spears and Jane Cordelia Smith build a house at 53 Orange Street in Asheville. It is likely that Caroline is no longer enslaved by the time the couple moves to this residence.

Mathew Cope and Caroline Spears register as a married couple at Buncombe County’s Register of Deeds as required by law. They report that they were married in April 1864. According to the Buncombe County Register of Deeds, which has made these records available online for Buncombe County, cohabitation records were “created to identify and legitimize marriages and children born to those in slavery.”

June 4, 1870: Caroline, 27, and Mat, 30, live alone in Asheville. He works as a tanner. She is “keeping house.” Neither can read or write. For many formerly enslaved people, it was almost impossible to know their date of birth. In 1870, Caroline reported her birth year as c1843.

June 8, 1880: Caroline, 36, and Mat, 40, live alone in Asheville. It is likely that they do not have children. He works as a tanner. She is “keeping house.” Neither can read or write. Caroline reports her birth year as c1846.

June 9, 1880: Caroline Cope, 35, is the daughter of Robert and Liddie Haynes. [Robert is listed on the previous page – not shown here – and is listed as a “farmer.”] 

While this could be a different person, it is likely that this the same Caroline Cope. She has been counted twice. Perhaps she is helping care for her parents.

Two of her sisters are also staying at the home – July Morehead, 40, and Elizabeth Haynes, 30. 

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Haynes is also listed twice in the 1880 Buncombe County Census. She is working as a cook in the C.M McLoud household. [She is still listed as working in the McLoud household in the 1883-1884 Asheville City Directory.] It is possible there are two Lizzie Haynes, but it is more likely that they are the same person. In 1880, Lizzie’s two children, George (12) and Catherine (8), live with their grandparents, Robert and Lydia.

The 1883-1884 Asheville City Directory shows Mat working at Bearden, Rankin & Co’s tanyard and residing on Patton Avenue. Caroline is working as a “washerwoman” (as was the Caroline Cope listed as living with the Haynes in 1880) and residing on North Main Street. 

In 1896, Matt Cope is working as a laborer and has moved to 9 Mountain Street. This is also where Mat and Caroline are living in the 1900 Census (below). However, Caroline is not included in the 1896 City Directory under the surname Cope or Haynes. However, Caroline’s sister, Lizzie, and Lizzie’s children, George and Catherine, are found living at 29 Poplar Street in Asheville. 

George is now working as a butler for the same family Lizzie was cooking for in 1883.

Catherine is a teacher at Catholic Hill School. In 1895, she taught “1st C and D grades” with 24 students. 

June 5, 1900: Caroline, 60, and Mat, 69, host two lodgers in the home they own on Mountain Street in Asheville. Mat chops wood for a living – possibly at a tannery. Neither can read or write. Caroline reports her birth as being in January 1840.

October 27, 1907: Mat dies at “age 65” of “supposed to be old age.” He is marked as “married;” however, there is no space to mark “widowed.”