Shamiya Leary, 4th Grade

Joe Welcome

Do you like history? If you do this is a story for you.  Joe Welcome was born 1774 in Edenton, North Carolina.  Joe was born a slave. Josiah Collins was Joe Welcome’s master.Josiah was a wealthy merchant and planter. Old Welcome could have been Joe Welcome’s father.  Joe Welcome had a grandson named after him. Joe Welcome also had children named Gilbert and Bill Beasley.

 In 1800, Joe was on a team of slaves constructing buildings. In the years 1806-1807, he spent several months renovating St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. He was paid twelve shillings and six pence per day.  Joe Welcome was able to visit Edenton during Christmas. In those days, the slave owners would let slaves attend celebrations so they would be happy. In October Joe Welcome rode in a boat to obtain bricks from brickmakers. In November Joe Welcome plastered piazzas in the interior of the building.  Private individuals employed him to build projects. Joe Welcome was a private individual.

Joe Welcome was able to work independently.Joe Welcome was paid because of his high skill level.  African Americans worked as part of the principal builders. Slaves who were skilled carpenters or blacksmiths sometimes hired out by their owners to others at their trades.

He died in July of 1859 at age 85. Joe Welcome built a lot of buildings and some are still standing today.


Built Heritage of North Carolina:  Historic Architecture in the Old North State [Abstract]. (n.d.). Special Collections Research Center, 1-12.

Edenton Women’s Club (Ed..) (1992). Edenton:  An Architectural Portrait. Elizabeth City, NC: Wally

Boyette, C. (2015, March 2). [Personal interview]

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