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Chatham County Historical Association

Preserving and sharing the history of Chatham County North Carolina

Amanda Headen

31 Mar 2024 6:06 PM | Anonymous

Pictured here is Amanda Jane Watson (Bynum) Headen, daughter of Sidney Bynum and Harriet Watson Bynum. Amanda was born into slavery in 1847, near Goldston (Chatham County). She was enslaved by the Watson family. Amanda, also known as Mandy Jane, married Zachariah (Zach) Headen on 8 October 1872. Zach had been enslaved by the Headen family.

A story about Amanda’s young life was related by her daughter Ida, who said her mother “had it better than most enslaved people” because she worked inside the house. However, when Mr. Watson’s daughter married, he gave Amanda to the couple as a wedding present. The couple lived in a big house across from the Sharpe Store on the Pittsboro-Goldston Road. Amanda spent most of her young life there. One day, the son-in-law became angry at Amanda and cut off all of her long black hair. When Mr. Watson heard about this event, he took Amanda back for good.

Zachariah grew corn and wheat from which the family made their own corn meal and flour. They ate year-round from their family’s garden and slaughtered all of their own meat. Zach was a well-known farmer who acquired land. Stories have been passed down through generations that he owned the land where Goldston’s present day JS Waters Elementary School and Mt. Herman AME Zion Church are located.

Zach and Amanda’s children included: Fisher, Hazy, Osker, George, Nina, Gertrude, Esther, Walter, and Ida. Zach gave all four of his daughters names of endearment--Nina was Miss, Gertrude was Babe, Esther (Easter) was Shug, and Ida was Honey. In a 1975 Chatham Record article about the life of 105-year-old George Headen, his sister Ida stated their parents taught their children “to do right, be truthful, don’t steal, and don’t meddle.”

Zachariah and Amanda made sure all of their children attended the one room school at Roberts Chapel Missionary Baptist Church where they learned to read and write and attended weekly services. The date of the photo included here of students at the school is unknown, but could include some of Zach and Mandy’s children.

The descendants of Zachariah and Amanda gather bi-annually during the third weekend in August. Five hundred descendants come to Chatham and Lee Counties from all across the United States. The Zachariah and Amanda Headen Mega Family Reunion has become the largest family gathering in the region.

Our thanks to Jace L. Cox for contributing this story about his great-great-grandmother's family.

#ChathamNCHistory #ChathamCountyNC #FamilyHistory #WomensHistory #HerStory #BlackHistory #AfricanAmericanHistory #Headen #GoldstonNC #1800s #1900s

Chatham County Historical Association  ~   ~  PO Box 93  ~  Pittsboro NC 27312  ~  919-542-6222  ~  

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