Map of Wilson, 1882.

This is Gray’s New Map of Wilson, Wilson County, North Carolina, published in 1882:


There, on the right edge of town, encircled here in red, is the sole reference to any building owned or occupied by African-Americans: “Col. Ch.” (Please click the image for a closer look.)

Don’t be mislead.

In 1880, town of Wilson had a population of 1475 of whom about 30% were black. The federal census of that year split the town and surrounding township into two enumeration districts, 303 and 304, and most African-Americans were clustered in neighborhoods in 304, south of the Plank Road (east of town limits), Nash Street (within town limits) and Nash Road (west of town limits). East Wilson, as we know it today, lay more than 25 years in the future, but black Wilsonians had begun to stake claim to the area east of the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad, as shown by the presence of a “colored church” on Pender Street, probably Saint John A.M.E. Zion.

[UPDATE, 23 Jan 2016: After publishing this, I returned to re-examine this map. Sure enough, at Tarboro, between Vance and Lee Streets, is “L. Tabourne” — Lemon Taborn’s house. My point yet stands.  — LYH]


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