The obituary of Lena Mitchell Kent, 104.

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Lena Mitchell Kent, 104, of Wilson, died Tuesday, July 30, 2019. Funeral will be 1 p.m. Friday at Mount Zion Progressive Primitive Baptist Church. Burial will follow in Hamilton Burial Gardens. Visitation will be 7 p.m. Thursday at Carrons Funeral Home. Arrangements are by Carrons Funeral Home.

Wilson Daily Times, 31 July 2019.

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On 15 December 1888, Laurence Mitchel, 21, of Cross Roads township, son of Primus Mitchel, married Ester Darden, 18, of Cross Roads township, daughter of Martin and Jane Darden, at Primus Mitchel’s in Cross Roads.

In the 1900 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farm laborer Laurence Michel, 29; wife Easter, 24; and children Alonza, 8, Nettie, 6, Eddie, 4, and Babe, 1.

In the 1910 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Lawrence Mitchell, 40; wife Easter, 36; and children Alonzo, 19, Nellie, 17, Eddie, 13, Jesse, 11, Bettie, 7, Coy S., 5, Mattie, 3, and an infant, 11 months.

In the 1920 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Lawrence Mitchell, 30; wife Louisa, 30; and children Altie, 29, Bettie, 17, Colasta, 14, Mattie, 12, Wiley, 9, Cleveland, 6, and Lena, 4.

In the 1930 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Lawrence Mitchel, 57; wife Louisa, 45; and children Cleveland, 17, Lena, 15, and Easter, 16.

On 9 October 1937, in Smithfield, Johnston County, Joseph Kent, 25, of Lucama, son of Joseph Kent and Minnie Kent, married Lena Mitchell, 22, of Lucama, daughter of Lawrence Mitchell and Easter Mitchell.

In the 1940 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Joe Kent, 27, and wife Lena, 24.

In 1940, Joe Kent Jr. registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 8 October 1912 in Wilson; lived at R.F.D. #1, Lucama; was married to Lena Kent, wife; and worked for T.R. Smith, Lucama.

Studio shots, no. 117: Lillian Whitfield Stokes.

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Lillian Whitfield Stokes (1914-2003).

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 715 Stantonsburg Street, house painter James Whitfield, 27; wife Lizzie, 25, hotel cook; children James Jr., 8, Lillian, 5, and Helen I., 5 months; and father Andrew Whitfield, 69.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1004 Washington Street, valued at $3000, building painter James Whitfield, 34; wife Lizzie, 31, laundress; children James Jr., 18, Lillian, 15, and Hellen, 12; and father Alleck Whitfield, 81.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1004 Washington Street, valued at $3500, house painter James Whitfield, 37; wife Elizabeth, 45; and daughters Lillian, 27, and Helen, 22.

On 8 March 1943, Donald C. Stokes, 34, of Wilson, son of Sidney and Sallie Stokes, married Lillian E. Whitfield, 28, of Wilson, daughter of James and Elizabeth Whitfield in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister William A. Hilliard performed the ceremony in the presence of Charles James, James Whitfield and Edra M. Hilliard.

Donald Collins Stokes, Jr., was a native of Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

Lillian Whitfield Stokes died 7 July 2003 in Parkville, Maryland.

Photos courtesy of Ancestry.com user Doniellestokes.

Caesar Parker of Keo, Arkansas.

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Undated issue of the Arkansas Gazette.

OLD DARKIE PASSES ON TO REWARD LEAVING MANY GOOD EXAMPLES FOR OTHERS TO FOLLOW

By Robert Sakon

In the early hours of the morning of June 27, 1940, Caeser Parker, colored, passed away. His passing was indeed marked by the stillness of the morning as he had lived his life, quiet and peaceful. Caeser Parker was born in Wilson, North Carolina in the year 1861 and moved to Arkansas in the year 1890. During this time he had resided in and around England and Keo. Coming to Lonoke county as a young man Caeser Parker, with his wife, began his lifelong work farming, producing from the earth that which all of us must depend upon. During this time he raised his family of three boys and five girls, which still survive. In the year of 1924 in the month of March, his wife died. It was a severe blow to lose his mate of forty years. So well was his family thought of that at the funeral of his wife the Colored Baptist church at Keo could not hold the ones who came to pay their respects. In the year 1926, Caesar remarried, still determined to continue his life farming, living among those who knew him best. He joined the Baptist church at Keo in 1892 and was a deacon for 44 years, the oldest deacon in that church in the point of service. At the time of his death he was living on the farm he bought from Mr. Jimmy Cobb 25 years ago. This forty acre farm was his pride and joy.

Surviving are two sons, Will and R.D. Parker of Keo; three daughters, Lula of Little Rock, Etta of Tucker and Mary Armstrong of Los Angeles, Calif. His funeral was held on the evening of June 30, at the colored Baptist church of Keo where every seat and available space was filled with those who came to pay their respects to this well known and beloved colored person. Among the many white people to attend were Mr. and Mrs. M. Adler, Mrs. A. Lindenburg and Robert Sakon of England, and many from Keo and surrounding territory. The pastor of the church called upon the writer to say a few words. Robert Sakon said: “We enter this world without our consent; we leave against our wishes, yet, if each and every one of us can live the life of the deceased then we can proudly have no fear of the hereafter. A better colored person never lived than Caeser Parker; he always was a person that was well loved by both the white and the colored. He has built a place in the hearts of all of us who knew him that can never be replaced. Caeser Parker added much to the prestige of the colored race; he lived a life that was without blemish his record was clean he was not as well known as the great Booker T. Washington, the colored educator, or as powerful with his fists as Joe Louis, but to us who knew him he was a champion in every way. everyone whether he be white or colored can proudly point to in his record of 79 years never once being in trouble of any kind. His death is a great loss to the colored people, but is a goal that to live like him is to have the respect, the best interest, the betterment of their race because of the respect of the white people and the colored. W.M. Wilson said that in the passing of Caeser Parker one of the best beloved darkies of our time has passed beyond. Caeser Parker was always trying to help, always taking pleasure in aiding the American Red Cross with his bit, always trying to build up goodwill for those of his race, in life, as in death, kind, gracious and peaceful.

——

Caesar Parker (1861-1940).

In the 1870 census of California township, Pitt County: John Parker, 50; wife Piety, 40; and children Esther, 20, Sarah, 18,  Green, 16, and Ceasar, 8; [and grandchildren] John, 3, and Lucy, Fannie and Rose, 8 months. [No cohabitation record exists for John and Piety Parker in either Wilson or Pitt Counties. Assuming Caesar Parker’s birthplace is correct in his obituary,  it is not clear if the family was originally from Wilson and moved to Pitt, or were Pitt County natives who lived briefly in Wilson.]

In the 1880 census of Falkland township, Pitt County: John Parker, 60; wife Pietty, 50; children Esther, 33, Greene, 25, and Ceasur, 18; and grandchildren John, 11, Lucy and Fanny, 9, Henry, 5, and Sarah, 4.

On 26 January 1882, Caesar Parker, 21, son of John and Pristy Parker, married Judy Newton, 20, daughter of Abel and Mary Newton, in Falkland township, Pitt County.

In the 1900 census of Lafayette township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: Ceaza Parker, 39; wife Juda, 42; and children Mattie, 16, Ned, 14, Daniel, 12, Louvenia, 18, Herbert, 4, Piety, 4, and Mary A., 1. Next door: Bud Fobes, 27; wife Esther, 23; and sons Artha, 1, and an unnamed newborn; plus boarder Piety Parker, 80. All over age 4 were born in North Carolina.

In the 1910 census of Lafayette township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: on Witherspoon Road, farmer Caesar Parker, 49; wife Judah, 47; children Louvenia, 17, Hubbard, 15, Piety, 13, and Mary A., 11; and Frank Dancy, 10

In the 1920 census of Lafayette township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: on Keo Road, Caesar Parker, 60; wife Judie, 62; daughters Piety, 23, and Mary A., 20; and granddaughter Emma, 5.

In the 1930 census of Lafayette township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: farmer Ceasar Parker, 69; wife Annie, 56; grandchildren Emma Parker, 16, Herbert Moore, 9, and Lottie Greene, 6; and stepsons Leroy Newsom, 19, Willie Newsum, 18, and Elihue Austin, 16.

In the 1940 census of Lafayette township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: on “unimproved dirt road running west into Keo Road,” in a house owned and valued at $200, farmer Caesar Parker, 79; wife Annie, 68; daughter Prince Brockman, 40; her children Cumy, 16, Elvira, 16, Mary, 14, Andrew, 12, Willie, 8, and Almary, 6; and granddaughter Lottie Parker, 16.

Caesar Parker died 27 June 1940 in Lafayette township, Lonoke County, Arkansas. Per his death certificate, he was 80 years old; the son of John Parker and Piti Etta of North Carolina; was married to Annie Parker, 66; and worked as a farmer.

Images courtesy of Ancestry.com user Joanetta Counce.

Studio shots, no. 116: Josephus and Minnie Taylor Johnson family.

The unsuccessful legal battle of Josephus Johnson to have his children educated in white Wilson County schools is chronicled here. As noted in earlier posts, despite admitted remote African ancestry and the verdict of the North Carolina Supreme Court, the Johnsons continued to live as white people in their community and beyond.

Here are Minnie Etta Taylor Johnson, Josephus S. Johnson, and their oldest children Carl, Arthur and Fannie.

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And three of the Johnsons’ sons as adults:

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Carl Johnson (1903-1978).

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Luther Johnson (1908-1985).

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James Clinton Johnson (1911-1962).

Photos courtesy of Ancestry.com users Mary Barber, Joe Whisnant, and welderpbr.

All invited to the farm family picnic.

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Wilson Daily Times, 21 June 1947.

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  • C.W. Foster — Carter W. Foster.
  • Helen T. Wade — In the 1947 North Carolina Manual, published by the North Carolina Secretary of State’s Office, Helen T. Wade is listed as the colored home demonstration agent for Wilson County. Wade married Charles E. Branford in 1950.
  • Frederick Douglass High School was Elm City’s African-American high school from 1939 until the end of segregation in Wilson County schools in 1969.

Bunyan Barnes’ apprentices.

Under laws authorizing the involuntary apprenticeship of poor orphans and the children of unmarried parents, county courts in antebellum North Carolina removed thousands of children from the homes to be bound to serve their neighbors. Hundreds of indentures dot the pages of Wayne County court minute books, and free children of color were disproportionately pulled into the system. Apprenticeship created an inexpensive, long-term and tractable labor supply for white yeoman farmers, many of whom could not (or could not yet) afford to purchase enslaved people.

Wayne County lost its northern tip to the newly created Wilson County in 1855. By pinpointing the locations of the farms of the men (and rare women) to whom they were indentured, we are able to identify the following free children of color as residents of the area that would become Wilson County’s Black Creek township and parts of Crossroads township.

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Bunyan Barnes was born about 1809 and died before 1870. Per Wilson County Founding Families, S. Powell and H. Powell, editors, Barnes was the first postmaster of Bardin’s Depot (now Black Creek) and owned property along the Wilson and Goldsboro Road (now Frank Price Church Road) between Canal Branch and Dickerson Mill Branch in Black Creek township.

  • Stephen Mitchell, 8, and Warren Mitchell, 7, were bound to Bunyon Barnes in 1833.
  • John Hagans, 15, was bound to Bunyan Barnes in 1844.

Apprentice Records, Wayne County Records, North Carolina State Archives; federal censuses.

Minerva Louise Ward Artis Biggins Hanks.

After he left Wilson, Joseph H. Ward‘s close family members migrated to Washington, D.C. Once he was established in Indianapolis, Indiana, however, his mother Mittie Ward Vaughn and younger half-sister Minerva Vaughn, also known as Minerva Ward, joined him in the Midwest.

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In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Sarah Darden, 57, son-in-law Algia Vaughn, 23, daughter Mittie, 22, and grandchildren Joseph, 8, Sarah, 6, and Macinda Vaughn, 5 months. [Joseph “Vaughn” was actually Joseph Ward, listed with his stepfather’s surname.]

In the 1900 census of Washington, D.C: William Moody, 27, wife Sarah S., 24, and children Augustus, 5, and Crist Moody, 4, plus sister-in-law Minerva Vaughn, 10, mother-in-law Mittie Vaughn, 46, and mother Fannie Harris, 55, all born in North Carolina.

Indianapolis News, 12 December 1903.

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Indianapolis News, 2 January 1909.

On 11 June 1910, Minerva Ward married S. Dillard Artis, of Marion, Indiana, son of Thomas and Esther Hall Artis (who were migrants to Indiana from Wayne County, North Carolina.) Per Grant County Indiana Biographies, www.genealogytrails.com, Artis “began as janitor of the court house located in Marion, Indiana in 1900. He later accepted private contracts trimming trees, laying sod and making lawns. This work led to contracts for digging cellars, sewer and cement work, street building, and finally municipal contracting. Dillard had a cement contract connected with the $100,000 residence of J. W. Wilson, with the First Baptist Church and numerous others as well as finishing contracts on tar via roads amounting to $840,000 in 1914.” (Artis’ first wife, Asenath Peters Artis, died in December 1909.)

Indianapolis News, 18 June 1910.

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Indianapolis Star, 26 June 1910.

In 1911, Dr. Ward and his young son, Joseph Jr., visited his sister and mother in Marion.

Indianapolis News, 19 August 1911.

Per Google Street View, the house at 920 South Boots Street, Marion, Indiana, today.

Dillard and Minerva Artis’ social life was occasionally noted in Indiana newspapers. For example, in 1915, they were guests of Mr. and Mrs. Beverly Lafoon of Kokomo, Indiana.

Kokomo Daily Tribune, 10 April 1915.

And in 1916 they joined the J.H. Weavers of Weaver, Indiana, for dinner.

Indianapolis Recorder, 4 November 1916.

But just a few weeks later:

Indianapolis Recorder, 25 November 1916.

In the 1920 census of Chicago, Cook County, Illinois: at 486 South Wabash, Diller Artis, 44; wife Minerva, 41; mother-in-law Mittie Ward, 56; and three lodgers, John Smith, 30, and William, 49, and Anna Brown, 46. Artis was working as a railroad poster. [What happened?] Minerva claimed that she and her father were born in Indiana. [In fact, both were born in North Carolina.]

The couple apparently divorced between 1920 and 1923.  On 1 January 1923, Minerva Ward married Jonas B. Biggins in Denver, Colorado. (Dillard Artis died in 1947 in Evanston, Illinois.)

The 1935 Denver, Colorado, city directory lists Jonas B. Biggins as a Pullman porter and Minerva Biggins as a charwoman at the Custom House.

However, per Findagrave.com, Jonas B. Biggins died in 1935 and was buried in Denver. On 15 July 1936, Minerva Louise Biggins married John Q. Hanks in Greeley, Colorado. The couple is listed in the 1936 Denver directory living in the home Minerva had shared with her previous husband.

In the 1940 census of Denver, Colorado: at 1433 East 25th, owned and valued at $4000, John Q. Hanks, 49, butler; wife Minerva, 37; and son Roy, 7. [Roy was born in Illinois. Whose son was he — John’s or Minerva’s?]

In 1942, John Q. Hanks registered for the World War II draft in Denver. Per his registration card, he lived at 1433 – 25th Avenue, Denver; was born 5 February 1889 in Osage, Kansas; his contact was wife Louise Hanks; and he worked for Laurence C. Phipps, 3400 Belcaro Drive, Denver.

John Hanks died in May 1966 in Denver. I have not found a death date for Minerva Ward Artis Biggins Hanks.

A heinous charge.

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Wilson Mirror, 6 November 1889.

Algie Vaughan’s stepdaughter was Sarah Ward, who was about 15 in 1889. Sarah’s mother Mittie Ward had two children, Sarah and Joseph H. Ward, before she married Vaughan in 1879. This terrible incident may explain why Mittie reverted to her maiden name and Minerva used “Ward” as an adult.

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On 6 May 1879, Algenon Vaughn, 22, married Mitty Finch, 27, in Wilson.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Sarah Darden, 57, son-in-law Algia Vaughn, 23, daughter Mittie, 22, and grandchildren Joseph, 8, Sarah, 6, and Macinda Vaughn, 5 months. [Joseph “Vaughn” was actually Joseph Ward, listed with his stepfather’s surname.]

Ruby Jane Lassiter comes home.

Ruby Jane Lassiter, born 19 August 1923 in Wilson, N.C., died 30 August 1943 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

On 30 August 1943, two months after she arrived in Indianapolis (and 11 days after her birthday), 20 year-old Ruby Jane Lassiter was dead. Her family entrusted her body to Jacobs Brothers Funeral Home, and the newly digitized records of that establishment detail the arrangements to bring her home.

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(Plummer D. and Cary D. Jacobs, born in 1897 and 1901 in Dudley, Wayne County, North Carolina, were the nephews of Jesse A. Jacobs, Jr.)

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In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: at 709 Lipscomb Road, owned and valued at $1000, truck gardener Jesse C. Lassiter, 41, widower, and children Jesse C., Jr., 15, James D., 13, Ernest D., 12, Annie B., 10, Mildred P., 8, Ruby J., 7, Lesie D., 6, Harvey G., 5, and Wade, 2. [Mildred Lassiter Sherrod died six months prior to her sister Ruby, also of tuberculosis.]

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 709 Lipscomb Road, WPA laborer Jessie Lassiter, 50, and children Ruby, 16, Lessie L., 15, Harvey, 14, and Wade, 12.

Many thanks to Allen County (Ind.) Public Library’s Genealogy Center, the Indiana African American Genealogy Group, and the Indiana Genealogical Society for collaborating to digitize Jacobs Brothers Funeral Home’s records and to digitalblackhistory.com for bringing this database to my attention.

The last will and testament of Jacob Taylor.

On 9 July 1860, Jacob Taylor of Wilson County penned a will that included these provisions:

  • To son William T. Taylor, two parcels totaling 224 acres on the public road from Hadley’s Mill to the Town of Wilson, near the “poor house land” and Great Branch, plus “two negro boys Raiford and Pomp
  • To daughter Louiza Martin, wife of John H. Martin, 200 acres and “two negro boys Alfred and Deberry
  • To Taylor and Martin, to divide or sell and divide the proceeds, “two negroes Charlotte and Frank

The approximate location of Jacob Taylor’s farm between Hadley’s Mill and the County Poor House land.

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Perhaps, Deberry was, in the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Berry Taylor, 28; wife Caroline, 26; and children Hardy, 8, Robart, 5, Loucenda, 3, and John, 5 months; plus farm laborer Berry Strickland, 18.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Pompy Taylor, 30, was listed as a farm laborer in the household of Benj’m Farmer, 48.

Likely, in the 1880 census of Stony Creek township, Wayne County: railroad worker Pompey Taylor, 40; wife Lindy, 34; and children Jack, 16, Zackary, 8, Lotty, 6, Penny, 3, and Annie, 6 months. Pompey reported that his father was born in Africa.

In the 1900 census of Stony Creek township, Wayne County: farmer Pompey Taylor, 59; wife Linda, 50; and children Annie, 19, and Jacob, 13.

in the 1910 census of Stony Creek township, Wayne County: farmer Pomp Taylor, 69, and wife Lindy, 60.

 

Images available at North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.