New York Age, 11 June 1908.
Rev. Richard Alburtus Morrisey got his start in the A.M.E. Zion church ministry in Wilson in 1887.
New York Age, 11 June 1908.
Rev. Richard Alburtus Morrisey got his start in the A.M.E. Zion church ministry in Wilson in 1887.
New York Age, 13 June 1912.
In news of Wilson, the News & Observer reported that undertaker Camillus Darden had traveled to New York to handle the affairs of Daniel Smith, who had been killed in a electrical accident. The Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company operated both passenger and freight services on its rail rapid transit, elevated and subway network in Brooklyn and Queens, New York. Presumably, Smith, like many Southerners in that time, was working temporarily up North.
News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), 25 October 1919.
In the 1900 census of Lumber Bridge, Robeson County, North Carolina: Eliza Smith, 39, farm laborer; son Ed, 16, sawmill hand; daughters Martha, 7, and Anna, 4; son Daniel, 24, farmer; daughter-in-law Adline, 18; nephew Robert, 17, farmhand; niece Nora, 14; nephews Lennie, 10, and William, 7; boarder Ed McGuire, 33, sawmill laborer.
In the 1908 Wilson city directory: Smith Daniel, driver h 625 E Vance.
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Daniel Smith, 33, furniture store drayman; wife Adeline, 29, laundress; sisters Marthy, 16, and Annie, 14, private nurses; and sister-in-law Lou Bryant, 11.
Daniel Smith registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County on 12 September 1918. Per his registration card, he was born 4 July 1877; resided near Wainwright Avenue; worked as laborer for Quinn McGowan; and his nearest relative was Adeline Smith.
Wesley Jones (1889-1968).
In the 1900 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: farmer Thomas A. Jones, 32; [second] wife Mary, 25; and children Wesley, 11, Earnist, 9, William P., 7, Locus C., 7, Eppie, 3, Bell L., 5, Milbry, 3, and Roxey, 6 months, plus brother Sylvester Jones, 13.
On 27 March 1910, Wesley Jones, 21, son of Thomas and Milbry Jones, of Oldfields township, married Martha Taylor, 22, daughter of Dan and Sandy Locus, of Oldfields township. Josiah Jones applied for the license, and Missionary Baptist minister E.C. Watson performed the ceremony at Fess Perry‘s residence in Oldfields in the presence of Eddie Powell, James Farrell, George Vinson and Fess Perry.
In the 1910 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: Wesly Jones, 21, and wife Martha, 22.
Wesley Jones registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card: he was born 20 January 1889; resided at 825 Stantonsburg Road; worked as a laborer at Contentnea Guano; and supported his wife and three children. He was described as tall and slender, with gray eyes and black hair.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 825 Stantonsburg Street, Wesley Jones, 31, guano factory laborer; wife Martha, 32; and children Alice, 15, Franklyn, 11, Mildred, 5, Lucille, 2, and Vernon, 6 months.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 901 Stantonsburg Street, fertilizer plant laborer Westley Jones, 41; wife Martha, 42; and children Mildred, 15, Lucille, 12, Marion B., 10, Willie B., 6, John W., 4, James T., 2, and Elroy, 3 months.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 901 Stantonsburg Street, Wesley Jones, 51, fertilizer plant laborer; wife Martha, 52, tobacco factory laborer; and children Lucille, 22, teacher at Fremont School, Vernon, 20, Willie, 16, John, 14, James, 12, and Elroy, 10.
At least four men named Wesley Jones, 901 Stantonsburg Street, as their contact person when they registered for the World War II draft in the early 1940s. They were: (1) John Wesley Jones, 901 Stantonsburg, born 10 October 1925, student at A&T College, Greensboro, N.C.; (2) James Thomas Jones, 901 Stantonsburg, born 23 December 1927 and employed at Contentnea Guano; (3) Marion Vernon Jones, 901 Stantonsburg, born 18 August 1919 and employed at Imperial Tobacco Company; and (4) [son-in-law] Calvin Swinson, 1010 Wainwright Avenue, Wilson, born 6 June 1898 in Greene County and employed at Woodard-Herring Hospital.
Wesley Jones died 4 May 1968 at Wilson Memorial Hospital. Per his death certificate, he was born 20 January 1889 to Thomas Jones and Kizziah Powell; was married to Martha Jones; resided at 901 Stantonsburg Street; and had been a laborer at Contentnea Guano.
Detail from 1922 Sanborn insurance map of Wilson, N.C., showing the location of Jones’ home at 901 Stantonsburg Street, just inside city limits, and of Contentnea Guano Company.
Photo courtesy of S.M. Stevens.
Wilson Daily Times, 14 January 1956.
In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: wheelwright Charles Dardin, 44; wife Dianna, 40, sewing; and children Annie, 21, sewing; Comilous, 15, tobacco stemmer; Arthor, 12; Artelia, 10; Russell, 5; and Walter, 4.
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: blacksmith Charlie Darden, 55; wife Dianah, 48; and children Cermillus, 24, bicycle shop owner; Arthur, 22, teacher; Artelia, 18, teacher; Russel, 16; and Walter, 14.
Camillus Louis Darden registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 26 June 1884; resided at 110 Pender Street; was a self-employed undertaker at 615 East Nash Street; and his nearest relative was his father Charles H. Darden.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 110 Pender Street, blacksmith Charles H. Darden, 65; wife Mary E., 55; sons C.L., 35, and Artha W., 27, undertakers; and [step-] daughter Mary H., 19, and Cora B., 11.
Camillus Darden married Norma E. Duncan of Montgomery, Alabama.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 108 Pender Street, Calamus L. Darden, and wife Morma, 30. Their home was valued at $10,000.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 108 Pender Street, undertaker C.L. Darden, 45, and wife Norma, 40.
C.L. Darden executed his will on 1955. He devised his business, Darden Memorial Funeral Home, to his wife Norma E. Darden, brother Dr. Walter T. Darden and nephew Charles Darden James in one-half, one-quarter and one-quarter shares respectively. The property on which the funeral home was located, 608 and 610 East Nash Street, as well as an adjacent lot known as the Darden Shop lot, were similarly devised. His wife was to receive his residence at 108 Pender Street, and property at 203 Stantonsburg Street was to be sold and the proceeds divided between his sisters Elizabeth Morgan and Artelia Tennessee; his nieces Artelia Tennessee Bryant, Thelma Byers and Artelia Davis; and a long-time employee Frank Davis (with provisions to guarantee each received at least $1000.) All personal property was devised to wife Norma, and equal shares in all other real property to nieces and nephews Charles Darden James, Randall James, Johnnie K. Reynolds, Artelia Davis, Thelma Byers, Bernard Tennessee, Eugene Tennessee, Artelia Tennessee Bryant, Norma Jean Darden, Carol Darden, and Charles Arthur Darden.
Camillus L. Darden died 12 January 1956 at Mercy Hospital. Per his death certificate, he resided at 108 Pender Street; was born 26 June 1884 in Wilson to Charles Henry Darden and Diana Scarborough; was married to Norma Duncan Darden; and worked as a mortician. Charles D. James was informant.
The Darden house at 108 North Pender Street.
Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2017; U.S. Citizen Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Tampa, Florida, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787- 2004, digitized at Florida, Passenger Lists, 1898-1963 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com; North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.
On 15 September 1939, Cora L. Bennett, a writer employed by the Works Project Administration interviewed William Arthur Cooper for the Folklore Project. The transcript of the interview is housed at the Library of Congress. Here is an excerpt:
William A. Cooper, artist and preacher gives the story of his life as follows:
“My work has been my life. Whatever degree of success I have had has come about, I believe, as a result of my dogged determination to do something tangible for my race.
“I was born in the country near Hillsboro, N.C. As a small boy I worked on the farm. I worked in the tobacco fields, worming and stemming tobacco as well as in the cotton fields. For about four months in the winter I attended a Mission school in Hillsboro for negros. In summer time I worked as a janitor and some times as a cook or house boy.
“When I was about fourteen I began to support myself, and soon there after went to the Industrial Institute at High Point, N.C. as a work student. I worked on the school farm,
got up at five o’clock in the morning to milk the cows, plow and hoe cotton and corn, and anything else that needed to be done. While I was at this school I also took up brick laying along with my other studies.
“From High Point I went to the National Religious Training School at Durham, N.C. There I took the four year Theological Course. Still working my way through school, I received the Bachelor of Theology Degree from that institution.
“As soon as I had finished I went to Wilson, N.C. where I started out as an insurance man, and at the same time preaching at a small church on Sunday.
“I went from there to Burlington, N.C. where I was elected Principal of a high school. I also served as Principal of the high school at Graham, N.C. and taught at various other places. All this time I was studying law at night and passed the State Bar examination in 1922.
“I became interested in art for the first time a few years before this. I was in bed with a severe cold and while lying idle I thought I would try to do two pictures illustrating the Biblical quotation: ‘Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, but straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be who
find it.’ The members of my church were quite pleased with the pictures. Their pleasure encouraged me a great deal, and from that time on I began to paint other things. It was then I started painting the members of my race, anybody I could get 3 to sit— field hands, teachers, children, cooks or washerwomen. I had taken no formal lessons at the time but I kept right on trying to see what I might do.
“I have attempted to show the real negro through art. I believe that unless we have some record of the negro that is neither burlesqued with black face nor idealized with senmentality, the younger generation of negroes will be deprived of inspiration from their own race. …”
William Arthur Cooper (1895-1974), preacher, lawyer, and artist, painted the portraits of Negro field hands, domestic servants, children, religious and civic leaders and business executives. As a member of the North Carolina Interracial Commission, Cooper made a “good will” tour to colleges and universities in North Carolina where he exhibited his portraits and lectures on art and black culture.
Cooper’s papers, housed at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, include: “Biographical materials; correspondence, concerning portrait commisions, lectures on art, and exhibitions of his work; two account books containing expenditures; receipts; a journal, 1935, containing expenditures and notes concerning his “good will” tour; a report on the tour; Cooper’s publication Educating Through Fine Arts; his book A Portrayal of Negro Life, 1936, which contains reproductions of his portraits acompanied by his explanatory text, and documents related to the book including proposed plans, sales records, and a typescript of the book which contains portraits not included in the published version; price lists for Cooper’s paintings; exhibition catalogs, clippings, miscellany, and a book by Charles C. Dawson, ABCs of Great Negroes; and 36 photographs of Cooper, of his friends and church members, and his portrait paintings.”
The Bathing Girl (1932).
Mary Etta Pender Hagans (circa 1855-1921).
More re Mary Pender Hagans here.
Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user TeiaHarper1.
Wilson Daily Times, 2 November 1949.
In the 1930 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farm laborer Taylor Young, 50, and wife Everlina, 28.
In the 1940 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farmer Taylor Young, 58, wife Everleen, 30; daughter Agnes Young, 27; and lodger Freddy Wilson, 15.
Taylor O. Young died 29 October 1949. Per his death certificate, he resided on Route 1, Wilson; was married to Evelyn Young; was born in April 1885 in Blackshear, Georgia, to Madison Young and an unknown mother; and worked as a farmer.
“Proceedings of the Fifty-fifth Communication of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge, F.A.A.M., held at Rocky Mount, North Carolina, December 8-9, 1925,” digitized at Proceedings of the fifty-fifth communication of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge, F.A.A.M. [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.
In 1991, front desk clerk turned newspaper man Roy G. Taylor (1918-1995) self-published a memoir of his years working in Wilson. Though tinged with the casual racism of the time, My City, My Home offers fascinating glimpses of Wilson in the World War II era.
Here are excerpts:
“And Negroes congregated en masse on Barnes Street in the block in which P.L. Woodard Company is located. It wasn’t that they had to gather there, for they had the privilege of meeting at any place in town, just as did the whites. They liked that area, and too, it was in close proximity to several hot dog joints and other eating places. Few white people were seen in that block on Saturday, and few Negroes were seen on Nash Street. It was a matter of the two races choosing to be with their own kind.” p. 44. [Editorial note: This is revisionism of the worst stripe. Wilson in the 1940s was as rigidly segregated by law as any other Southern town. — LYH]
“In the mid-1940s there were three hospitals in Wilson — the Woodard-Herring, the Carolina General, and Mercy. … Mercy Hospital was for the citizens of color. And it didn’t boast many, if any, doctors in those days. Doctors from both hospitals treated Negroes and performed surgery on them, but the surgeons went to Mercy and took their own nurses, did the operations and left the patients in the care of black nurses and attendants.
“If there was an emergency at either hospital and surgery was required, it was performed at the hospital, and the patient kept there until they came out of the anesthetic. Then they were transported back to Mercy Hospital.
“Mercy Hospital was established in 1913 and had a 40-bed capacity.” pp. 45-46.
[Sidenote: P.L. Woodard Company, founded as an agricultural supply store in 1898, is the oldest established business still operating in Wilson. It’s in the 100 block of Barnes Street between Goldsboro and Tarboro Streets.]