Outlaws – African-Am

Some African-American Outlaw relatives:

Dr. Benjamin Speller
– great grandson of James Outlaw

Former Dean of the School of Library and Information Sciences at North Carolina Central University.
I was a tenured Professor at NCCU for 28 year (serving as Dean for twenty years). I retired in 2004 after serving as a librarian, researcher, planning and budgeting officer, and Academic Dean in the UNC System for 42 years. While at NCCU, I also taught Management and Systems Analysis for the School of Business and the NCCU Department of Human Sciences. After retirement, I taught courses on the Internet for the School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University at the main campus and at its program at California State University at Fullerton for five years.

Ben Speller’s retirement dinner
photo by the NCCU Public Relations Department Photographer

“From left to right my brother, Dr. Leslie C. Speller, Sr. Ph.D. (Physics); my close cousin through the Outlaws, Bonds and Spellers, Dempsey Bond, Jr. and his wife, Mary Kay; and of course, me. We really enjoyed ourselves. The Bonds and Outlaws were represented in large numbers at the dinner. My dad’s only brother, late John T. Speller’s son, John Jr. was the surprise relative since he is very reclusive (like some of the Outlaws) and usually only comes to a family funeral. We had not seen him in about 8 years. Everyone said that I have now won hands down as the favorite relative on all sides of these families because quite a few hard core “no shows” at reunions and other family events came to this dinner.”

“Dempsey Bond’s great grandfather is David Cherry Outlaw, son of Edward Cherry Outlaw and nephew of David Standley Outlaw, 1806-1868 (the guardian and uncle of Edward Ralph Outlaw). His great great uncle, George Outlaw, was the mulatto overseer of his father’s, David Outlaw, Plantation and also the Plantation Estate of Edward Ralph Outlaw. Dempsey’s mother is Lula Outlaw. She and some of her brothers have red hair and bad eyesight as did David Outlaw. He is also the ggrandson of Cullen Capehart Speller and gggrandson of James Bond, all plantation owners that links us to the free mulattos, blacks, and slaves in northeastern Bertie County where we all now own land that comprised the Speller, Bond, and Outlaw Plantations.”


James Outlaw 1858 – 1925
& Malinda Mitchell 1859 – 1928

Evidently Edward Cherry Outlaw and his wife who was a Miller both died and left Edward Ralph Outlaw an underage heir. His cousin David Standley Outlaw, the lawyer and political leader in Bertie, was his guardian. I assumed that he lived with his uncle, Walter Miller who never married. At age eighteen 1858, Edward Ralph fathered my great grandfather, James Outlaw, who also lived with Walter Miller. I assume that the slave woman who we have not been able to identify also lived in Walter Miller’s house.
There were conflicting opinions about the paternity of James Outlaw because many thought that David Outlaw, Edward Ralph’s guardian and cousin, was my great grandfather’s father but we knew different, because he had a son and other children that he recognized who l grew up with. They had his genetic markers, red hair and very bad eye sight.

When, my great grandfather married, Edward Ralph deeded him 500 acres of land down the road from Walter Miller’s Plantation. Everyone thought that Walt Miller had made the gift so that make the case stronger so to speak. By the time my great grand father died in 1925, he had 2,500 acres of land in Bertie and surrounding counties that we know about. – Ben Speller

three photos of the James Outlaw Family Cemetery on Outlaw Farm Road off US Highway 13/17 in Bertie County North Carolina

James Outlaw Family Cemetery James Outlaw Family Memorial James&Malinda Outlaw Memorial
the memorial with the two headstones and two granite slabs are:
white marble headstone, James Outlaw, August 15, 1858 – September 1, 1925
grey granite headstone, Malinda Mitchell Outlaw, 1859 – 1928

Maggie Outlaw

Maggie Outlaw 1888 -1985

Here is a photo of my grandmother, Maggie Outlaw, 1888-1985, James Outlaw’s daughter. At the time of this photo, she was 94 and was blind from the same condition as her great uncle, David Standley Outlaw. She was born November 14, 1888 and died October 30, 1985. She married Turner Speller, 1887-1965.
Ben Speller


Maggie Outlaw at age 85

see connections Cherry; Outlaw, Walton Bond

58 thoughts on “Outlaws – African-Am”

  1. This is very interesting. I recently did an ancestry dna, and on my dads side it’s a large amount of outlaws and cherry. Maggie outlaw was my great- grandaunt..

  2. Hi all..
    Im African American. My ggg grandmother was Judia Outlaw. She had children who carried the Cherry surname. They were Wright, Madison, Sarah and Caroline. I don’t know who their father was. Caroline had a son, Charles Cherry. Charles was my great grandfather. Caroline married Spencer Willoughby. Does anyone recognize these names?
    I’m also trying to find out if there are any native American connections…if any of the Outlaws or Cherrys were native Americans.

    1. Ralph Edward Outlaw was Wright Cherry’s father; I am not sure about the others; however, I think that they are too. The Outlaw males married the Cherry female and the Cherry males married the Outlaw females. Slave females were given as servant gifts. So you see the results.

  3. Hello Benjamin,
    Eva Outlaw Roulhac was my grandmother. James Outlaw was my Great Grandfather. I am so glad I discovered this site. Pictures are so rare but I was so happy to see a picture of your mother Maggie Outlaw Speller. A picture is worth more than a thousand words. In my search, I hope to find pictures of my grandmother and my mother.
    Thanks for all you do.

  4. Hi my Name is Ebony and my Family is from Bertie county , North Carolina. My Grandfather is Bernard Stocken Smallwood & My grandmother is Annie Pecora Foreman. My great grandmother on my Grandpa’s side is Mollie Moon Allen and her mother Rosa Speller . On my Grandmother’s side my Great Grandmother is Josie & Her Mother Is Hannah Davis. I’m so lost on where to go next in my family history please help !!! I have a picture of my 3rd great grandmother who last name is Outlaw.

  5. Hi. I am not related to your family at all. Just reading a book, came across a newspaper notice printed April 7, 1866 by Hagar Outlaw who was seeking her children after slavery, Cherry, Viny, Mills, Noah, John, and Eli, and Thomas Outlaw. She was hoping they would find their way home to her before she died. I was just curious how the story ended. There is info about black and white Outlaws in her newspaper notice. You can find it on page 157 of the book Help Me to Find My People by Heather Andrea Williams. Hope this is helpful. Let me know if they were ever reunited.

  6. Edward Ralph Outlaw is the correct order of the name. You are on the correct connection. These are all the same Outlaw families.

    Ben Speller

    1. Hi, I’m just seeing this. I’m a Bond descendant (as well as Read/Reed, Outlaw and Rayner) from Brownsville, TN as well. This is our distant family.

  7. Phillis Outlaw is my 3rd great grandmother. I don’t know anything about her except that she was married to a Bryant Jenkins. My family is from Windsor, Bertie Co. Apparently my maternal grandmother’s family (Sutton) is related to the Spellers, Pugh, and Cooper families. If anyone has any information that would be helpful I would love to hear from you. My family called Indian Woods their home.

  8. Hello All. I can barely finish reading this page, I’m so excited!

    SallysFamilyPlace.com has been a source of info for my family research for months, but today, while trying to find out who the father of Edward Cherry Outlaw was, I saw this page in my Internet search results.

    According to my DNA, I am somehow related to Edward Outlaw and Anne Ivey through 3 of my White DNA Matches. All 3 of them are descendants of Ed and Anne. I can only hypothesize that my 3rd Great Grandfather, Axum Cherry from Bertie County, North Carolina, was a slave descendant of the Bertie County Outlaw slave owners. I think “Grandpop” Axum was also a slave descendant of the Bertie County Cherrys and he may be related to Thomas Cherry, who married Rachel Outlaw. I have 3 DNA Cherry Matches that I am in the process of researching.

    “Speller” is also a family name that keeps popping up in my research and is a surname name in the trees of a couple of my Black DNA Matches.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say Hi to y’all. I need to get back to reading this entire page!

  9. Hey Ta-Wanda,

    Alfred and Lucy are 4th great grandparents, by way of my great-grandma Mary Louise Bronston. I would love to hear more about the connections to the Outlaws in MS.

    1. Hello Everyone.
      First of all thank you Dr. Speller for putting this together and Sallys Family Place for putting this online. My name is James Outlaw III. I am a 4th great grandson of Alfred and Lucy. Can anyone share information on on which farm they were on or where I can find a copy of Ralph Outlaw’s will that mentions them? I am trying to verify the following lineage. Alfred Outlaw => Samuel D. Outlaw => Henry Outlaw => William Herman Outlaw => James Charleston Outlaw.
      Also curious how has your experience been with DNA and has it helped you in your search.
      Hello Shatia – I found some info on first Outlaws in MS, although I can’t verify the how factual it is. Please see below. Here is the link to the site: http://www.mygen.com/users/outlaw/

      MISSISSIPPI, OKTIBBEHA COUNTY, Outlaw, Dossey A., Plantation, 2173 Oktoc Rd., Starkville, 02000354, LISTED, 4/11/02

      Dossey A. Outlaw came to Oktibbeha County from North Carolina at the age of nineteen. He was a member of the first board of Police of the county when he was but twenty-one.
      Outlaw and Beverly had the first brick store in Starkville. Outlaw bought large tracts of land from the Indians. He returned to North Carolina and married Clara Eliza Harris, Jan. 29, 1835. He remained in North Carolina a few months. When he returned to Mississippi his wife’s mother came with them; also his half brother Napoleon Askew; also his stepfather, David O. Askew, his step-father wife, and their children then born unto them.
      Also among this crowd coming to Mississippi from Bertie County, North Carolina was Coom Morgan who was dissatisfied at home. He remained in Outlaw’s employ until after the War between the States. Hence we see the origin of Morgantown of this county, for it is made of descendants of Mr. Morgan, who was so esteemed by the Outlaws.” info from Mr. P G Suddeth. in “1937 History of Oktibbeha County, Mississippi”

      1. Hello James.

        My experience with DNA has been very positive. I studied a little genetics in school, so I know a little about inheritance.

        I am a Black American and when I first got my DNA results back from 2 different DNA ancestry companies, my very short-lived question was, “Who the heck are all these distant (5th to 8th and beyond) White DNA Cousins!?” That question was fleeting, however. Of course I knew who they were. They were my DNA Matches who descended from White slave owners who had children by their White wives AND children by their Black female slaves. And, apparently, there was a lot of that going on back then.

        I’m also very excited that one can trace the ancestries of White DNA Matches descended from White slave owners fairly easily because many, if not most, if not all White slave owners descended from the wealthy nobility of England, Scotland, Ireland, France, etc, and their genealogies are pretty well documented not only through online sources, but also through books.

        A word of caution is warranted, however. Some people appear to actually “create” relatives and connect them to these early Colonial American families, but there is absolutely NO documentation to verify that person’s existence! Or, the actual maiden name of a man’s wife is unknown, so someone may guess her last name or intentionally give her a last name that connects her to a “famous” family. This is particularly frustrating to me. I initially think that I am related to a DNA Match because they have a relative in their tree that connects to a “famous” family already known to me, but then I’m unable to verify that that relative was real. And that may mean that I am not related to that DNA Match through that family line.

        But, overall, I love DNA analysis in ancestry studies. My Family Tree is primarily based on me and my DNA Matches “document-based” ancestry. For example. Bullard Andrews of Chesterfield County, VA is my 5th Great Grandfather. I already knew that his granddaughter, Susan Andrews was my 3rd Great Grandmother. My Aunt used to talk a lot about Susan being White when I was growing up. As of today, 8/4/2020, through my DNA Matches, I have found 11 White DNA descendants of Bullard’s. Susan’s granddaughter, my Great Grandmother Roberta Andrews/Godsey, has I don’t know how many Black descendants! I’ve attended numerous family reunions with them growing up. It is amazing to me that we now know our “White” Andrews ancestry that we had no idea about back then. Furthermore, through a variety of purely online sources, I believe that I have successfully traced my Andrews line all the way back to Guillaume D’Audrieu, who was born about 1000 A.D. in Normandy, France.

        So, Yep! DNA has been great for me!

  10. I am from Bertie County and I am trying to do family history on the Outlaw. My great grandparents are Pate and Mollie Outlaw. If anyone has information please email me.

  11. I am researching my Outlaw line from Bertie, NC. I have been stuck at Alfred and Lucy Outlaw. They are the parents of my 2nd great grandfather Samuel David Outlaw who was the father of my great grandmother Serena Outlaw Smallwood. I would love to see if I can find more. I also recently DNA matched to Outlaw from MS.

    1. Hi I am a descendent of the outlaws as well. Through Emma outlaw. Who had Alexander and Emma and eventuall married with greens and sherrods. My name is deyquan Nesbit. Great great great grandson of Emma outlaw

      1. Also Deyquan your great, great, great, great grandparents are Samual Outlaw and Margaret Outlaw. Their daughter Emma Elya Outlaw was born September 21, 1879, of Bertie County.
        She married Alexander Green (great, great, great parents) of Oak City, after his death married Haywood Bond in 1910 of Bertie County.
        Emma and Alexander daughter your (great, great grandmother) Emma Green married Virgil Sherrod.

        1. Hi Yvonne I am looking for any information you might have on my gggfather Jacob roundtree born in gates county n.c 1813 lived until 1917 deceased here in Virginia. I have a family tree and a picture of him but what i am running into when I try to find more about his parents and family when he was born most research terms white ppl spelled Rountree. I have court documents and his freedmen card. Any info will be helpful to trace my ancestors genealogy…

    2. Hi Ta-Wanda!

      I believe we are related ?
      Alfred and Lucy are my great, great, great, great grandparents.

    3. My name is Amber Outlaw, I am from Los Angeles by way of my father Cedric Outlaw – who is a twin to Frederick Outlaw- among a slew of 10+ more siblings with the Outlaw last name. Their father (my grandfather) is Clarence Outlaw from Starkville Miss. who then relocated to Los Angeles . Now there is a whole family of us on the West coast!

  12. Hello. Outlaw ancestry here also. Does anyone have the MtDna maternal line of L3’s. I am L3e3b1.


  13. ” I assumed that he lived with his uncle, Walter Miller who never married. At age eighteen 1858, Edward Ralph fathered my great grandfather, James Outlaw, who also lived with Walter Miller. I assume that the slave woman who we have not been able to identify also lived in Walter Miller’s house.”

    This part of your narrative intrigues me. My great grandmother, a black woman whose name was Celia Wynn, lived with and had three children with a Walter Miller who never married. I have looked high and low. Unable to find any other information about her. Has anything turned up regarding this slave woman since your original document was printed?

  14. My great grandmothers name was Alice outlaw. She had 3 daughters Inez, Lucille, Mary Alice outlaw, which is my grandmother, and she also had a son but do not know his name. I was brought up in foster care so I do not know much about them but I know they are from Bertie County. If anyone have any information can you please contact me.

  15. Gonna chime in here and ask if anyone has heard of Enoch Outlaw, born sometime around 1810? Not even sure if this is the Outlaw family he belonged to, but if anyone can help me out, let me know.

  16. I am an Outlaw and also found that they come from Bertie County from VA. I’ve done AncestryDNA and haven’t come up with any (that I know of-because most don’t put pictures or extra information). Please find me at: Linda Keveloh. I’d like to help in any way I can and would love to hear your stories as well. Thank you.

      1. Hi, I don’t know if you’ll still see this. But we’re related! Wayyy down the line i’m from the Taylor family in Brownsville, TN. Martilla Outlaw was my great great grandmother. If you see this you can email me at cgoldmon@gmail.com

        -Christa Goldmon
        Descendant of Susie Reed (daughter of Martilla Outlaw), Brownsville, Haywood, TN -from Bertie County, NC

      2. Believe it or not my name is also Jackie Outlaw of the Brownsville, TN Outlaws. I was recently lucky enough to stumble upon my grandfather’s (whom I never met) obituary from 1966. He lived in Medon, TN which is just outside of Jackson. I know that his parents were George and Anna Outlaw because they are listed in the obit. But that’s pretty much where the trail goes cold. I’d love if anyone has any other information about the TN Outlaws. It also lists a brother by the name of Roosevelt Outlaw.

  17. There is an Outlaw Road In Person County. My great grandfather Irving had a brother named James Outlaw. I’m looking to see if any of the Outlaws are connected. Us too, our Outlaw family do not entertain reunions, etc. Apparently my 2nd great grandfather had lots of brothers. Condae. There are Outlaws in Ahoskie as well I hear. My grandmother is of old age I’ve got as many names from her that I could. I would really love some help. Thanks.

    1. There are 3 sets of Outlaws in Bertie County that I know of John and Thelma John had a daughter name Alma he use to be called the peanut man

  18. Can you tell me if you are related to Ada Bond daughrer of Annie Outlaw. They both are buried in Windsor NC in Bertie County on Outlaw Rd?

    1. Hello I am the grand-daughter of Alice Outlaw of Bertie, Co North Carolina( her father was Samuel Outlaw) of Bertie Co. North Carolina.

      1. Hello Tamika, I am an independent film producer that is currently researching Samuel T Outlaw (blacksmith in Onancock, VA) for videos that we will be producing, to be viewed in conjunction with a museum in honor of Samuel and his work. Was Samuel your great-grandfather? If so may I contact you?

      2. How are you? My great grandmothers name was Alice outlaw. I was brought up in foster care so I don’t know much about my family history. She had a daughter named Mary Alice outlaw. I just wanted to see if we are related?

  19. Hi, I am african american and I have traced my Outlaw relatives from Haywood County, Tennessee to Windsor, Bertie, North Carolina and have found two of my ancestors Sam & Lucy Outlaw to Ralph Edward Outlaws Will that I happened to learn about on this website. I have ancestry.com DNA match with white Outlaws that list Ralph Edward Outlaw in the public family tree as their ancestors

    1. I assume you are on the ancestry register, please see if we are kin.
      My name is Lewis Bond my grandmother was an Outlaw and my dna also goes back to Edward Outlaw , Rascoe, Smallwood and Gilliams.

      1. Yes. I am related to the Outlaws. Edward Ralph Outlaw is my great great grandfather. I am also related to the Rascoe’s and Gillam’s through my mother who is a Bond and her mother was a Gillam and Rascoe too. Also DNA verified.

      2. My name is Michael Wilson and my grandfather married Lucy beaulah Rascoe her father and mother name was John Rascoe and Nancy (James) Rascoe. I don’t know if is any relation or not.

    2. are you related to jack outlaw from bertie his son was born in brownsville tenn his name was tillie outlaw and tillie had 18 kids it seems like the bonds and outlaws always lived next to each other and always had kids together

      1. tillie outlaw was my grandfather he had a son name jack outlaw my father an there was about nine brothers an sisters in the family tillie was married to sara my grandmother

    3. My name is Manson Thomas Collins, my grandmother’s name was Sally Anne Outlaw. She married a Thomas Collins from Lafayette, Kentucky aka as the camp ground on Camp Campbell. aka as Fort Campbell.

      1. Since my first post, there are a few corrections. She was born August 22 1864 in Tennessee, father unknown, mother’ maiden name Judice or Judie Outlaw.

    4. Mrs Austin I think we may be related some how I have a picture of a gro. store that was just outside of town of Brownsville that was owned by my uncle ed outlaw on the roof of the store are the names W. Austi , Judy, an M. Wills M,Wills dated my mother for a while we knew him as man wills an he had a son who lived there whos last name was Austin who went to jail a few times for making moonshine you can reach me at jackiet.outlaw@yahoo.com

  20. Hi, I know little about the outlaws in my family. My dad was Clyde Nathan Outlaw his mom was Jean Davis my mom said my dad was 1 of 2 boys by his dad. But that’s where the info stops. Don’t know much about my dad dad…

    1. My great great grandmother was Hattie outlaw. Relocated to Alabama and married a Thomas. Went back to Colerain,NC bertie co.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *