Appeal for bus for Daniel Hill.

Wilson Daily Times, 16 October 1948.

Daniel Hill parents formed Daniel Hill Educational Club in September 1948 and by December 1949 were able to buy a school bus for the community’s children.


  • Moses Haskins — in the 1950 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 405 West Spruce Street, Moses Haskins, 42, “works on the machines” at tobacco redrying plant; wife Minnie W., 41, babysitting; daughter Gloria, 16; daughter Doris H. Jones, 24.
  • Mattie Randolph — in the 1950 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 405 West Spruce Street, Paul Randolph, 51, automobile dealer mechanic; wife Mattie B., 50, practical nurse in private home; and daughter Betty L., 9.
  • Best Stewart — in the 1950 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 407 West Spruce Street, retail grocery store proprietor Best Stewart, 39; wife Marjorie F., 32, sales lady in retail grocery; children Best Jr., 12, James A., 10, Elemia, 7, Shirley A., 4, Jimmy L., 3, and Constance B., 1; and mother Ellen McCoy Best, 85, widow.
  • William Powell — in the 1950 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 405 Warren Street, William Powell, 61, janitor in body factory; wife Margaret, 45; and children Willie M., 16, babysitting, Joe L., 14, William T., 10, Betty J., 9, Jessie G., 7, James A., 5, Margaret A., 4, and Maud R., 2.
  • Jesse Stewart — in the 1950 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 701 Walnut Street, Edna Stewart, 52, domestic worker; nephew Jessie, 37, retail grocery store proprietor; and niece Annie, 35, grocery store saleswoman.
  • Rev. J.L. Murphy
  • L.H. Lewis

The obituary of Nettie Dunican, well-loved citizen.

Wilson Daily Times, 30 November 1944.


In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Littleton Ellis, 73; wife Judy, 55; and children Lucy, 21, Littleton, 18, Sarah, 16, Maggie, 14, Nettie, 12, and Minnie, 10.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Wiggins Mill Road, farmer Littleton Ellis, 27; his mother Judie, 62; and sisters Lucy, 30, Sarah, 24, Maggie, 23, and Lettie [Nettie], 21.

On 31 March 1912, Tim Duncan, 24, of Wilson, son of Tim Duncan and Delia Ann [no maiden name given], married Nettie Ellis, 24, of Wilson, daughter of Julia Ellis, at the Ellis home in Wilson. Missionary Baptist minister William Baker performed the ceremony.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Nettie Dunican, 31, “farmerette.” [Is this the same woman? She is described as single.]

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Timilton Dunican, 43; wife Nettie, 36; and sons Paul, 17, and Connie, 14.

In the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Route 2 Highway 301, owned and valued at $800, Timothy Dunican, 53, farmer; wife Nettie, 50; and son Connie, 23, farm laborer.

In 1942, Sonnie Ellis registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 9 January 1903 in Wilson; lived at Route 2, Wilson; his contact was Nettie Dunican; and was engaged in farming.

Nettie Dunican died 28 November 1944 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 10 June 1896 in Wilson County to Littleton Ellis and Julia Barnes; worked in farming; was married to Timothy Dunican; and was buried in Bryant Ellis cemetery.

Dr. Barnes speaks at Sallie Barbour School P.T.A. meeting.

Wilson Daily Times, 26 November 1949.


  • Dr. B.O. Barnes
  • Kettie Wynn — Katie L. Wynn. In the 1950 census of Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Main Street, widow Katie Wynn, 55, grocery store sales clerk, and children Marie, 25, Herbert, 23, cab driver, Katie, 22, city school teacher, and Joyce, 14.
  • Inez Taylor — in the 1950 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Fred Dickerson, 59, retail grocery store proprietor; wife Almeter, 51; daughter Dora E., 25, undertaker receptionist; son-in-law William T. Taylor, 27, “U.S. enumeration school”; and daughter Inez, 23, elementary teacher. 

Eleven year-old boy beaten by white men.

In November 1944, a mail carrier found an eleven year-old African-American boy crying in ditch. The child’s leg was broken, and he revealed that he had been chased and knocked by several drunken white men. The mail carrier took him to a white doctor in Stantonsburg, who recommended that he be taken to Mercy Hospital in Wilson.

I have not been able to find more about the incident.

Wilson Daily Times, 7 November 1944.

I suspect that “Rosette” Artis was actually Roselle Artis, a well-known African-American farmer in the Stantonsburg area. However, as best I can determine, Roselle and Rencie Bynum Artis did not have a son who was 11 years old in 1944. The closest was their son Milton R. Artis, who would have been 9 years old.


In the 1940 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: on Old Wilson Road, farmer Roselle Artis, 27; wife Rencie, 20; son Milton, 4; mother Frances, 60, widow; nephews Marion Jr., 10, and Thomas S., 9;  lodgers Jimmie D. Barnes, 21, and Miles Warren, 60.

Ed Mitchell’s Barbeque.

In May 2019, Dr. Joseph H. Ward‘s granddaughter and great-granddaughter, both born and reared in the Midwest, came home to Wilson. Zella Palmer FaceTimed me as she and her mother Alice Roberts Palmer stood outside David G.W. Ward‘s house near Stantonsburg, the house in which Joseph Ward’s mother Mittie Ward and grandmother Sarah Ward toiled while enslaved. D.G.W. Ward was the father of at least three of Sarah Ward’s children, including Mittie. Joseph Ward’s father, Napoleon Hagans, who lived not far away in Wayne County, was my great-great-grandmother’s brother, and thus Cousin Alice and Zella are my people. I was so grateful to be able to share, even if remotely, the tangle of emotions the Palmers felt as they stood on ancestral ground. But who knew there was more to come for Zella in Wilson?

This week, Zella announced that the cookbook she wrote with Wilson’s own barbecue pitmaster extraordinaire Ed Mitchell and his son Ryan Mitchell is now available for pre-order on Amazon, with a publication date of June 2023! Zella is chair of Dillard University’s Ray Charles Program in African-American Material Culture in New Orleans and passionately committed to preserving Black foodways. Who better to capture the family stories and recipes of my father’s old friend Ed Mitchell? And who better than I to provide source material and to introduce the world to Black Wilson at the book’s opening?

My gratitude goes to Ed Mitchell, who has long stood in the gap for the preservation of eastern North Carolina food culture (and respect and recognition for its practitioners and purveyors); to Ryan Mitchell, whose True Made Foods embodies the spirit of sankofa; and to my cousin Zella Palmer, who drew me into this project and showed love and grace when I missed deadlines as I struggled to find words during my father’s illness.

“In his first cookbook, … Ed explores the tradition of whole-hog barbeque that has made him famous. It’s a method passed down through generations over the course of 125 years and hearkens back even further than that, to his ancestors who were plantation sharecroppers and, before that, enslaved. Ed is one of the few remaining pitmasters to keep this barbeque tradition alive, and in Ed Mitchell’s Barbeque, he will share his methods for the first time and fill in the unwritten chapters of the rich and complex history of North Carolina whole-hog barbeque.”

Y’all — get your orders in!

African-Americans baptized at Lower Black Creek Primitive Baptist.

Lower Black Creek Primitive Baptist Church, founded in 1783, was the second church organized in what is now Wilson County. (It closed its doors in 2010.) The church’s nineteenth and early twentieth-century records includes names of enslaved and freed African-American members, who worshipped with the congregation as second-class Christians even after Emancipation.

This page records baptisms “under the Care of Elder Reuben Hays” from 1803 and 1808 and includes references to nine enslaved African-Americans. (Don’t let “servant” fool you.) As Primitive Baptists did not practice infant baptism, the nine were, if not adults, then nearly so, and thus were all born in the 1700s. Some may have lived to see Emancipation, but even if they remained in Wilson County, I have no way to identify them further.

  • Dick, a servant
  • Lewis, a servant
  • Jane, a servant
  • Dick, a servant
  • Will, a servant
  • Harry, a servant
  • Beck, a servant
  • James, a servant
  • Salath, a servant

Copy of documents courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III. Originals now housed at North Carolina State Archives.

A good bargain for some thrifty colored person.

Wilson Daily Times, 4 November 1944.

Residential segregation did not happen organically. By the early 1900s, specific areas of Wilson were designated colored (white was default), and realtors like George A. Barfoot sold the houses within them accordingly. (Barfoot, C.C. Powell, and other white realtors came to own large swaths of housing in East Wilson as a result of wide-scale loan defaults by Black property owners during the Depression.) By the 1920s, several pockets of African-American settlement west of the A.C.L. railroad and north of Hines Street were deliberately cleared to make way for upscale white neighborhoods, creating strict residential segregation patterns that held for much of the rest of the 20th century.