Sampson County NC is named after an immigrant from Ireland who attained local prominence, but whose white family died out.

James D. Sampson (1803-1861) was a wealthy, renowned Wilmington builder in the 1800s. He was one in a ton of free Sampsons of color. There are articles and book citations that recount his story, and his connection to other free people of color. 

This is the story of the Sampson connections. White and colored.  Free and enslaved. Across all of southeast NC. 

James D. Sampson was part of a movement, a multi-generational drive for free person self-sufficiency that started at the beginning of the nineteenth century,  And spanned the full 1800s, as the United States was roiling over race.  A connected set of intermarried people forming a multi-county -- ultimately, multi-state -- community.  Who impacted the state, and the country, as leaders when emancipation of their brethren came.

This is not "Look at how special these mulatto Sampson and related kin were", but "Look at the complexities, richness and depth of our stories as people of color in America. Surely there are more stories when we examine our history more closely"



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