Cornelius Sale

Brickmaker

Born: (Not Recorded)
Died: (Not Recorded)

Cornelius Sale was a brick maker in Salem, North Carolina during the 1770s and 1780s. He was an African American who resided in the area with his wife, Sally, and daughter, Mary.

Sale is first mentioned in December of 1776 as being sought out by the residents of Salem to make the oncoming year’s bricks and roofing tiles. The Collegium minutes state that “a stock of about 8000 bricks and about 10-20,000 tiles for the roofs” were needed for the pending construction projects. In January of 1777 Sale agreed to burn the bricks needed for the construction projects.

Cornelius Sale is often quoted as having financial troubles that inhibited him from fulfilling the order from time to time citing the “high priced times.” This period was a transitional one for the country and financial hardships were abound for those in the colonies. Sale worked as a brick maker in Salem for two years before encountering further issues. A smallpox outbreak in Salem during 1779 affected him and further inhibited his abilities to fulfill the order of bricks.

Sale’s bricks were numerous, however it was noted by Johann Krause to the Aufseher Collegium that “the bricks which were made by Cornelius Sale cannot be used for outer walls because they are full of faults.” However, Sale was continued to be used to make bricks and tiles, and was part of the work effort in covering the Salem Gemeinhaus by making the roof tiles.