Month: November 2015

Snaps, no. 2: Nina F. Hardy.

Nina Aldridge Hardy

Nina Hardy, circa early 1960s.

Nina Frances Faison Kornegay Hardy was born March 15, 1882, probably in northern Duplin County, to John Henry Aldridge and Addie Faison. She seems to have been married briefly to Joe Kornegay in 1899 in Wayne County, but is not in the 1900 census. By 1910, she had made her way 40 or so miles north to Wilson and was listed as “Nina Facin,” boarding  on Elba Street in the household of Jesse and Sarah Henderson Jacobs. The census also shows a “Nina Facon” living and working as a servant in the household of Jefferson D. Farrior in Wilson. Though described as white, this is almost surely Nina Faison, who cooked and cleaned for the Farriors most of her working life.

In an interview I conducted, my grandmother Hattie Henderson Ricks (1910-2001) said:

Aint Nina lived up over the Farrior house on Herring Avenue.  Herring’s Crossroads, whatever you call it.  And that’s where she come up there to live.  Well, the maid, as far as the help, or whoever, they stayed on the lot, where they’d have somewhere to sleep. So Aint Nina was living on Nash Road, way down there, and when we went to see her, me and Mamie would run down there five miles. She was working for Old Man Farrior then.  When she was living out in the country, she was working for white people, and so she went up to their house and cooked for them.  And when we’d go down to her house, she’d have to come from up there and cook when she get home.  So we would go and spend a day, but it would be more than likely be on her day off.  But when we had the horse and buggy, Mama drove out there once, and we went, I went with Papa with the wagon to where you grind corn to make meal, down to Silver Lake or whatever that place was down there.  Lord, them were the good old days.  

The Farriors, their back porch was closed in.  It had windows.  And had a marble floor in the back, and that stairway was on, where it was closed in on the back porch, you could go upstairs, and there was a room up there.  You couldn’t go from out of that room into the other part of the house.  You had to come back down them steps then go in the house.  And that’s where Aint Nina stayed.  I said, Lord, I wouldn’t want to have stayed up there.  And then something happen … She had to come down and go down the steps, go upstairs, I mean, and come out of the kitchen, and then go up them steps out on this porch in her room.  So she stayed up there.  Lord, I wouldn’t want to stay up there.  She get sick out there, she couldn’t get nobody.  I didn’t see no – I was up in there one time, and I went up there just to look around.  Well, she had a nice room, nice bed and chair and dresser and everything.  There was a whole set in the room where she was.  That was the only time I was up there. But I wouldn’t want to stay up there.

In 1917, Nina married Julius Hardy in Wilson township.

42091_343642-01380

It is likely their house that my grandmother and great-aunt visited out on Nash Road:

They had guinea chickens.  A car run over a chicken and killed it, and it kept going.  And we, me and Mamie, was going out there, and we picked up the chicken and carried it ‘round there.  And Aint Nina poured water and scald the chicken and picked it and cooked it, and we had the best time eating it.   Wont thinking ‘bout we was going out there to eat.  And so we come walking in there with that chicken, and she wanted to know, “Well, where’d you get that?”  “A car run over it, and we picked it up and brought it on over so you could cook it.”  And she said, “Yeah, it’s good.  A car just killed it?”  And it wasn’t too far from the house.  And I reckon it was one of her chickens anyhow.  Honey, she cooked that old stewed chicken, had to put pastry and vegetables in it.  Lord, we stayed out all that time, then had to come home from way out there.  But we was full. 

And her brother, his name was James Faison, lived across the street from her, and his wife, and I think the lady had been married before because they wasn’t his children.  It was two girls.  And he worked at the express, at the station.  The place was on that side, Nash Street station was over on this side.  Baggage used to come over there.  The baggage place where’d you take off the train.  That’s where you put it over on that side at that time.  And he was working over there.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County, Nina Hardy is listed as a maid in the household of lawyer William D.P. Sharpe Jr., next door to Annie V. Farrior and her brother Marvin Applewhite. Did the families share her services?

Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 3.04.02 PM

In 2004, a Farrior descendant sent me copies of several photos of Nina Hardy. They were likely taken in the early 1950s, a few years before Annie V. Farrior’s death. The Farriors’ grand home, with its immense columned portico, was demolished in the 1960s.

scan10002

Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 9.38.35 PM

Undated photograph of the J.D. Farrior house found at Images of North Carolina, http://www.ncdigital.org. Color photo in possession of Lisa Y. Henderson. Many thanks to J.M. Brock for sharing his family photos.

Coartney runs away.

Halifax Free Press 5 4 1833

Halifax Free Press, 4 May 1833.

$25 Reward.

RAN AWAY from the Subscriber, about six months since, a negro woman named COARTNEY — she is about 5 feet 6 inched in height, very black, and about 30 years old. I have no doubt she is lurking about Sparta and Mrs. Hunter’s, near Tarborough. I will give $35, is she is delivered to me in Stantonsburg, or confined in any jail in the State. All persons are forbid harboring or employing her under penalty of the law. WM. STEWART.

Stantonsburg, April 26th, 1833.

I would not go back to North Carolina for any consideration.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 10.14.59 PM

In the 1880 census of Russell township, Putnam County, Indiana: laborer Joseph Ellis, 27, and wife Prissa, 23, both born in North Carolina.

In the 1900 census of Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: widowed day laborer Joseph Ellis, 48; son Theodore, 16, and daughters Margaret, 10, and Vera, 8.

Senate Report 693, Part 2, 2nd Session, 46th Congress.  Proceedings of the Select Committee of the United States Senate to Investigate the Causes of the Removal of the Negroes from the Southern States to the Northern States (1880).  U.S. Congressional Serial Set.

 

I groan and endure it.

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 10.10.58 PM

Carrie Cooper, 20, school teacher, was living alone in Wilson township, south of the Plank Road, when the 1880 census taker arrived.

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 1.10.20 PM

Mahala Williamson was born in Old Fields township, Wilson County, to Patrick and Spicey Williamson. On 11 June 1892, she married Henry S. Reid, of Nahunta, Wayne County, son of Washington and Penninah Reid, in Wilson in the presence of Samuel H. Vick, Elijah L. Reid, and M.H. Cotton. (Henry was a brother of veterinarian Elijah Reid and principal/banker/hospital officer J.D. Reid. His first wife, Emma E. Hicks, daughter of Mariah Hicks, was a sister of Owen L.W. Smith.) Mariah apparently died soon after the wedding, as Henry again married in 1896.

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 1.14.15 PM

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 1.14.47 PM

Lucy Leary Robinson‘s father — who “fell in the John Brown raid” — was Lewis Sheridan Leary (1835-1859).

From Twenty-Two Years’ Work of the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute at Hampton, Virginia (Records of Negro and Indian Graduates and Ex-Students with historical and personal sketches and testimony on important race questions from within and without, to which are added, by courtesy Messrs Putnam’s Sons, N.Y., some of the Songs of the Races gathered in the School (Hampton Normal School Press, 1893).

Charles Battle.

Wilson_Daily_Times_9_16_1910_Charlie_Battle_death

Wilson Daily Times, 16 September 1910.

Charles Battle, son of Benja Sorsby and Edith Battle, married Lear Hargrove, daughter of Alfred Parker and Venice Hargrove, on 20 June 1869 in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census, Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County: blacksmith Charles Battle, 27, wife Leah, 29, and daughter Susan, 9 months.

In the 1880 census, Wilson, Wilson County: blacksmith Charles Battle, 35, wife Leah, 30, and children Adelia, 5, Geneva, 2, Virgil, 1 month, and Nicholas, 18.

In 1900 census, Wilson, Wilson County: blacksmith Charley Battle, 50, a widower; son Charley, 10; and Menerver Edwards, 58, a hired washwoman.

In the 1910 census, Stantonsburg, Wilson County: blacksmith Charlie Battle, 60, and son Charlie Jr., 21, also a blacksmith, were lodgers in the household of widowed farmer Sarah Artis, 48, and her children Willie, 22, Lillie G., 16, and Nora, 10, grandsons Marcellous, 14, and Alexander Artis, 10, and son-in-law Paul Harris, 22.

As detailed here, Charles Battle’s son Charles Tecumseh Battle became a prominent teacher of manual trades in Oklahoma, Mississippi and Alabama. However, his presence in Stantonsburg in the 1910 census and his biography suggest that his father was visiting a different son in Alabama when he passed away. Was it the Nicholas R. Battle, 56, farmer, born in North Carolina, listed in the 1920 census of Chandler township, Lincoln County, Oklahoma, with Mississippi-born wife Dora J., 58, and Oklahoma-born son Henry N. Battle, 12?

Charles Battle was buried in the Masonic cemetery on Lane Street, Wilson, beside his wife Leah and mother Edith.

IMG_7983

Charles Battle, 30 August 1841-12 September 1910.

IMG_7982

Leah Battle, 1 March 1851-8 March 1898.

IMG_7984

Grandmother Edith Battle, 4 April 1818-3 March 1899.

Little Richmond?

In 1895, Richmond Maury Tobacco Company of Danville, Virginia, purchased a site at the south corner of South Railroad and Stemmery (then Taylor) Streets and erected a five-story frame building. (The original building burned in 1920 and was replaced by a three-story building in 1922.) Richmond Maury operated a tobacco stemmery here, a facility in which the stem of a cured tobacco leaf was stripped prior to processing for packing and shipping. In 1896, Maury sold the plant to Tobacco Warehousing Trading Company of Virginia, which retained the Richmond Maury name. The stemmery employed scores of African-Americans, and a 9 January 1896 article in the Wilson Advance asserted that three or four hundred people had shown up at a labor call. The factory needed experienced hands, however, and brought in workers from Virginia to fill its needs. This influx of laborers had to be housed, and in June 1896 the Wilson Daily Times reported approvingly on Richmond Maury’s plans for a mill village called “Little Richmond.”

Wilson_Advance_6_11_1896_work_begun_at_Little_Richmond

Wilson Daily Times, 11 June 1896.

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 9.17.50 PM

Sanborn map, Wilson, North Carolina, December 1897.

Over the next four months, the company brought in more than one hundred factory hands by train.

WDT_8_14_1896_Little_Richmond_63_hands

Wilson Daily Times, 14 August 1896.

WDT_10_16_1896_50_negroes_Little_Richmond

Wilson Daily Times, 16 October 1896.

The boosterish mood quickly faded, however. Just two weeks after “a car load of 50 negroes” from Lynchburg arrived, the editor of the Times complained that Little Richmond was already a “young hell” well on its way to ruining Wilson’s reputation: “We stand and wonder at each outrage and think, well perhaps this is the climax — but instead it gets worse.” He attributed a swelling crime rate to the influx of African-Americans drawn by Wilson’s tobacco boom and urged immediate intervention.

WDT_10_30_1896_Little_Richmond_hell

Wilson Daily Times, 30 October 1896.

Richmond Maury got the hint. Blaming the problem on “outsiders” raising ruckuses, it hired a personal prosecutor to make sure that all Little Richmond residents charged with crimes felt the heavy hand of justice.

WA_3_11_1897_attempts_to_control_Little_Richmond

Wilson Advance, 11 March 1897.

Here’s Colonel Bruton in action:

WA_3_11_1897_Spencer_Barnes_Little_Richmond

Wilson Advance, 11 March 1897.

Seven months later, the cutting and shooting continued unchecked.

WDT_10_15_1897_Little_Richmond_shooting

Wilson Daily Times, 15 October 1897.

A month later, the Wilson Advance described “the Little Richmond Negroes” as workers bought from Danville, Lynchburg and other old tobacco centers to work in Wilson’s new stemmeries. The paper had no suggestions for dealing with this “source of annoyance.”

WA_11_11_1897_Little_Richmond_id__039_d

Wilson Advance, 11 November 1897.

Thirteen years later, Little Richmond (and Grabneck, a black neighborhood north of downtown) remained a disagreeable locale to many, as indicated by concerns raised over the possible placement of passenger rail station in the neighborhood.

WDT_6_24_1910_Little_Richmond

Wilson Daily Times, 24 June 1910.

So just where was Little Richmond? (Editor’s note: I’d never heard of it.) Though the landscape is much changed, the basic street grid is not, and the section is not hard to find.

Little Richmond

What’s there now? Not much. The houses of Little Richmond were clustered along Railroad and Stemmery Streets and across the tracks on Layton and Wayne Streets. Few remain, and none on Railroad or Stemmery. (The sole set of cottages left on Stemmery date from a later period.) On-line aerial maps show the factory that replaced Richmond Maury, but they are outdated. The buildings were demolished in 2013.

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 10.10.00 PM

In the matter of the negro quack.

At the end of their monthly meeting on 2 December 1889, the esteemed doctors of the  Wilson County Medical Society tentatively tackled a sensitive subject. The notes described the matter vaguely: “The society engaged in a private discussion concerning the practice of a negro quack in the town of Wilson, no action was taken but the matter was continued to the January meeting for further consideration.”

Wilson Co Med Soc Minutes re Black Quack Doctor_Page_01

By the January meeting, however, a crisis had arisen. The “negro quack” was tending to the county sheriff, Jonas W. Crowell, and someone had told Crowell that the Medical Society was secretly discussing the matter. (Was “negro quack” code for “root doctor“?) Dr. William S. Anderson was accused of being the snitch and of having put Dr. C.E. Moore in a bad light. Moore moved for a special session to get to the bottom of the matter.

Wilson Co Med Soc Minutes re Black Quack Doctor_Page_02

Wilson Co Med Soc Minutes re Black Quack Doctor_Page_03

Wilson Co Med Soc Minutes re Black Quack Doctor_Page_04

Eleven physicians showed up for the inquisition. Several testified that discussion at the December meeting was to have been kept strictly private. Dr. Herring averred that he had learned some time after the meeting that Crowell had been told, and he “took steps” to ferret out the identity of Crowell’s informant. Crowell himself admitted in testimony that Dr. W.S. Anderson had told him that the doctors had censured him, but had not named names. Besides, Crowell said, he had already heard much the same thing from other sources. Dr. Ruffin testified that Crowell had told him “he supposed the Medical Society had its secrets and that he would not ask me if it had discussed the matter,” and Ruffin had told him he would not, but he had heard it “discussed freely about town.” Crowell had responded that he “was satisfied” that the Society had in fact discussed it and that “his conduct had been severely criticized” and that the doctors had proposed to “boycot him and his family by refusing to attend them.” After all evidence was introduced, the members voted on Dr. Anderson’s guilt. The vote tally was 5-5, whereupon Dr. Walter Brodie moved to just drop the whole thing. Carried.

Wilson Co Med Soc Minutes re Black Quack Doctor_Page_05

Wilson Co Med Soc Minutes re Black Quack Doctor_Page_06

Wilson Co Med Soc Minutes re Black Quack Doctor_Page_07

(On another note: On 7 July 1890, Dr. Albert Anderson read a paper on the spleen, a subject suggested to him by “a post-mortem on a negro boy whose spleen weighed 3 1/2 lbs and the dimensions were: 11 1/2 in long, 5 1/2 in wide and 3 1/2 thick. Just 8 times too large.”)

Wilson Co Med Soc Minutes re Black Quack Doctor_Page_09

Minutes of the Wilson County Medical Society, 1887-1891, copy courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III. 

Class portrait, Stantonsburg Street School.

Classroom 001

Colored Graded or Stantonsburg Street School (later known as the Sallie Barbour School), circa 1933. Annie Marian Gay is second from left on the top row. First on the row below her is Lucian J. Henderson. The boy at far right on the third row from the bottom is a Diggs. The teacher is believed to be Elizabeth Courtney Plummer Fitts. Please contact me if you can positively identify any more of these children.