Month: April 2016

Eating was just as necessary.

WDT 4 10 1911 Henry Locus

Wilson Daily Times, 10 April 1911.


In the 1850 census of Nash County, North Carolina: Delany Locust, 28, with Lucy, 25, Nathan, 12, Henry, 8, Goodson, 6, Nelly, 4, and Mary J. Locust, 3.

In the 1860 census of Winstead, Nash County: Delany Locus, 43, with Nathan Locus, 22.

Captain Jesse Sharpe Barnes organized the Wilson Light Infantry  in 1861. When the company was mustered in the United States Confederate Army, it became Company F, Fourth Regiment, North Carolina State Troops. Barnes died in battle on 31 May 1862 at Seven Pines, Virginia.

JS Barnes

Capt. Jesse S. Barnes.

Photograph held in Liljenquist Family Collection, see Prints and Photographs Online Catalog, Library of Congress

The last will and testament of Britton Simms.

On 30 September 1825, Britton Simms of the Black Creek area (then in Wayne County, now in southeast Wilson County), “being in a low state of health but in perfect disposing mind and memory,” penned a will whose provisions included:

  • to daughter Mary Chance “two Negroes one by the name of Harper and Lot his wife”
  • to daughter Sally Daniel “three Negroes by the name of Ollif, Arch and George
  • to Britton Daniel “one Negro girl by the name of little Haner
  • to granddaughter Kiziah Bardin “one Negro girl by the name of Selah
  • to granddaughter Polly Bardin “one Negro girl by the name of Hanah
  • to grandson James Daniel “one Negro boy by the name of Pompy
  • to grandson Robert Aycock “one Negro boy by the name of J[illegible]”
  • to grandson Jesse Aycock “one Negro boy by the name of Tom
  • to grandson James Bardin “one Negro boy by the name of Abram
  • to grandson Moses Daniel “one Negro girl by the name of Lany

North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line],

Edmonia and Carrie Taborn.

As noted here, free-born Lemon Taborn was a barber in the town of Wilson as early as 1860. A remembrance published in the Wilson Times in 1921 mentioned that Lemon’s first wife and child died around the time of the Civil War and were buried near Pender Street. I have not been able to discover their names.

WDT 12 30 1921 Taborn cemetery

Wilson Daily Times, 30 December 1921.

On 18 July 1870, Lemon Tabourne, son of Hardy Taylor and Celey Tabourn, married Edmonia Barnes, daughter of Louisa Barnes, “in church.” Minister C.C. Doelson performed the ceremony.

In the 1870 census, in the town of Wilson, Wilson County: barber Lemon Taber, 28; wife Edmina, 17; and daughter Stella (by his first wife?), 5; plus domestic servant Tillman Blount, 13, and Terry Noble, 18, barber. Edmonia reported that she was born in Virginia. In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County, the family is listed in a household on Tarboro Street.

Together Lemon and Edmonia Tabourn had at least seven children: Elma (1873), Carrie (1875), Lucy (1877), Joshua (1878), Lila (1884), Jacob Astor (1886) and Thomas Henry (1890), and possibly an eighth, Douglass.

Though Lemon lived until 1893, he may have been ill and unable to work regularly for several years before. As early as 1889, local newspapers were taking note of the presence in his shop of his wife Edmonia and, especially, teenaged daughter Carrie.

Mirror 5 11 1889

Wilson Mirror, 11 May 1889.

Mirror 8 7 1889

Wilson Mirror, 7 August 1889.

The Mirror was positively smitten. In verbiage usually exclusively reserved for white women, Carrie was described as “lady-like,” “graceful,” and — incredibly — possessed of “strokes as soft as the noiseless fall of silverest moonbeams upon the placid bosom of an unruffled lake.”

mirror 9 24 1890

Wilson Mirror, 24 September 1890.

Mirror 2 25 1891

Wilson Mirror, 25 February 1891.

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Wilson Mirror, 20 May 1891.

Nirror 7 29 1891 Carrie Taborn to DC

Wilson Mirror, 29 July 1891.

Even the Advance boasted, though it’s not clear who the third woman was.


Wilson Advance, 20 August 1891.

Perhaps to the dismay of the Mirror, on July 18, 1893, Carrie Taborn, 18, married Frank Sears, 21, of Wayne County, at the Presbyterian Church. David Wyatt, C.H. Bynum and S.H. Vick witnessed the ceremony. They settled in Goldsboro, where Sears was a barber, and Carrie apparently retired from the business.

Five months later, Lemon Taborn was dead. With her youngest child only 3 years old, Edmonia may have determined that she had better prospects in her hometown in Virginia. Before long though, she was back in Wilson, cutting hair for a former rival.

Mirror 8 8 1895

Wilson Mirror, 8 August 1895.

Edmonia resurrected the family business in short order, and, as they came of age, her sons Henry, Astor and Douglass (who may have been a grandson) took it over. [N.B.: This generation of the family adopted the spelling “Tabron.”]

WDT 3 3 1899

Wilson Daily Times, 3 March 1899.

Carrie Taborn Sears died 4 July 1903, apparently without children, and was buried in Goldsboro’s Elmwood cemetery. Edmonia Barnes Taborn died 13 July 1925.

He works on his farm every day.

“Uncle” Wade Barnes, one of Wilson county’s oldest colored residents, paid us a visit today. He is now in his 72d year and was born in Wilson county, where he has spent most of his life. He is in good health and able to work on his farm every day. He says he can well remember when Wilson did not have a court house or jail. Uncle Wade also remembers the civil war. He was then owned by Mr. Larry Farmer and went with him to war and helped thrown up breast works for the soldiers to fight behind.

Wilson Times, 2 July 1917.


In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Silas Barnes, 49, wife Rosa, 45, and children Feribee, 20, and Wade, 23. [Note, then, that Wade would have been a teenager during the Civil War.]

In the 1880 census of Gardners township, Wilson County:Wade Barnes, 33, wife Adeline, 25, and children John, 6, Willis, 3, and Varina, 2, plus grandmother Dury Simms, 60.

On 20 August 1892, Wade Barnes, 45, son of Silas and Rose Barnes, married Julia Thompson, 26, daughter of Ben and Fereby Artis, all of Gardners township.

In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County:Wade Barnes, 53, wife Julia Ann, 36, and children Betsey, 16, Martha, 15, and Ned Barnes, 9.

In the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Farmers Mill Pond Road, Wade Barnes, 64, wife Julie A., 47, son Ned, 19, daughter Betsey, 23, and grandson Frank, 14 months.

In the 1920 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Washville Road, Waid Barnes, 75, and wife Julia, 56, with son Ned Barnes and family next door.

In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Wade Barnes, 83, wife Juliann, 65, grandson Frank, 21, lodger Alevia Batts, 39, and sister-in-law Mary Westray, 50.


He is a suitable person to have custody.



TURNER WILLIAMSON, first being duly sworn, says:

That he is a resident of Wilson County, North Carolina, sixty years old, and has lived in Wilson County all of his life; that on the 18th. day of November, 1914, the affiant and Leacy Williamson were married to one another in Wilson County, North Carolina, and lived together until March 5th. 1920, when the said Leacy Williamson, without cause or legal justification, separated herself from the affiant, and has lived separate and apart from him since that date; that prior to the said separation, there had been born of the marriage two children, viz: Sarah Williamson, now six years old, and Amy Williamson, now two years old; that at the time Leacy Williamson separated herself from the affiant, she took with her both of the said children and has had them with her continuously since said date; that she has refused to surrender the custody of the said children to this affiant, their father, and has refused to permit the said children to visit the said affiant or to permit the affiant to visit his said children; that the affiant is, in every way, a proper and suitable person to have the custody of the said children; that he owns eighty-seven acres of valuable Iand in Cross Roads Township and in addition thereto has sufficient personal property to meet the requirements of his said farm and of his family; that the said Leacy Williamson although of correct character, is not a suitable person to have the custody of the said children by reason of her temperament, her lack of estate and her physical inability to provide for the said children the necessities of life, and to educate them.

The affiant has repeatedly endeavored to have his wife return to his household and bring with her his children that he might support and educate his said children, but because of the antagonistic influence of the brothers and sisters of the said Leacy Williamson, she has refused and still refuses to return to his household or to surrender to this affiant the custody of his children, or to permit him to exercise any paternal care or authority whatsoever over his said children.

WHEREFORE, the affiant prays that by proper Writ of this Court the said Leacy Williamson be required to have the said children, Sarah Williamson and Amy Williamson before the Court at such time and place as may be designated by the Court that the custody of the children may, by the Court, be awarded, and for such other and further relief as may be proper in the premises.

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Sworn to and subscribed before me this 31st. day of October, 1921. /s/ J.D. Barden CLERK SUPERIOR COURT


On 17 December 1914, Turner Williamson, 55, married Leecie Dew, 35, both of Cross Roads township. [Turner was the son of Patrick and Spicey Williamson.]

In the 1920 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Turner Williamson, 62; wife Margarett B., 52; and children Bessie, 25, Effie, 23, Monte, 19, Turner, 17, Anne, 15, George, 13, Sarah, 4, and Amie, 8 months. A couple of odd points: (1) Turner Williamson married Margaret Barnes on 8 October 1891 in Wilson County, but, per her gravemarker, Margaret Barnes Williamson died in 1908 (and Turner is listed as a widower in the 1910 census); (2) if, per the petition, Turner and Leacy Williamson lived together until 20 March 1920, why was she not listed as his wife when the censustaker enumerated their household on 28 January 1920?

A sad coda: Amy Williamson died 25 March 1926, just short of her eighth birthday, of acute pericarditis and tonsillitis.

Marriage Records, Office of Register of Deeds, Wilson County; Death Certificates, Vital Records, Office of Register of Deeds, Wilson County; Child Care Records, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

Trustees of the Colored Methodist Church of Elm City.

WDT 11 15 1910

Wilson Daily Times, 15 November 1910.


I have not been able to identify W.S. Allen, but in the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: 55 year-old rock quarryman John Jones; Virginia-born laundress wife Mollie, 45; and children Annie B., 15, John, 15, and William, 5.

Minutes of the Turner Swamp Primitive Baptist Association.

Elder Jonah Williams (1841-1915) was involved in the establishment of nearly every church in the Turner Swamp Primitive Baptist Association, including Turner Swamp (1897), Barnes (1898), Little Union (1899), and Rocky Mount (1908). Turner Swamp still meets at or near its original location just north of Eureka in Wayne County. Barnes Chapel was close to Stantonsburg, in southwest Wilson County. Little Union Primitive Baptist Church, which is under reconstruction, was in the Town Creek area east of Elm City. I have not been able to find current references to Rocky Mount Primitive Baptist Church. London’s Church, now inside city limits, was then just north of the town of Wilson. The church is closely associated with London Woodard, an enslaved man who was purchased by his free-born wife, Penny Lassiter. Just after the Civil War, London, who had been a staunch member of Toisnot Primitive Baptist Church, founded an African-American congregation, which reorganized as an independent Primitive Baptist congregation in 1897.

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Barnes Church, near Stantonsburg. Said to have been built by slaves of a Barnes family, the structure served an active church into the 1960s. A slave cemetery is said to lie across the road. Photo taken in November 1961 by Guy Cox. Image found here.

Elder Williams participated in five Association annual sessions before his death, and the minutes of two survive, including the 1914 session excerpted below.

Minutes 5th Ann TSPBA

Minutes 5th Ann 1

5th Ann TSPBA 2

5th Ann TSPBA 3

The accommodating and faithful transfer man.

WDT 3 14 1919 Henry Tart

Wilson Daily Times, 14 March 1919.


In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Walter S. Mitchel, 42, mason; wife Elizabeth, 36, laundress; and children Ada, 14, and Esther, 18; plus, wagon factory laborer Oleone Brooks, 18, and laborer Henry Tart, 18.

Henry Tart registered for the World War I draft on 18 September 1918. He recorded his address as the corner of Green and Reid Streets, his birth date as 11 April 1884, and his occupation as self-employed in the transfer business. His wife Julia C[lark] Tart was his next-of-kin, and he signed his card in a neat, well-spaced hand.

Upon Henry’s death, Tart’s wife applied for Letters of Administration for her husband’s estate. She listed four surviving daughters, all minors — indeed, young children — Olivia, Julia, Josephine, and Miriam Tart.


North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database online],

Unknown cause.

Coroner’s Inquest held over the dead Body of Smithy Artis

State of North Carolina, Wilson County }

Be it remembered that on the 3rd day of March 1874 I H.W. Peel Coroner of Said County attended by a Jury of Good and Lawful Men (viz) J.J. Bynum, Elbert Felton, J.C. Barnes, Hardy Skinner W.J. Owens, Benj’n Baker, Josiah Hinson, S.H. Gay, Frank Edmundson, Willie Ruffin, Benjamin Dupree, John Ellis by me Summoned for that purpose according to Law, after being by me duly Sworn and empanelled at Gray Webb in the County aforesaid did hold an inquest over the dead body of Smithey Artis (col) and after inquiring into the facts and circumstances of the death of the deceased from a view of the corpse and all the testimony to be procured, the Jury find as follows, that is to say, that the Ds’d came to her Death by some unknown cause to the Jury.   /s/ S.H. Gay, Frank (X) Edmondson, Willie (X) Griffin, Benjm (X) Dupree, John (X) Ellis, J.J. Bynum (foreman), Elbert Felton, J.C. Barnes, Hardy (X) Skinner, W.J. Owens, B.B. (X) Baker, Josiah (X) Hinson. H.W. Peel, Coroner.


In the 1850 census of Edgecombe County, North Car: “free b[lack]” Smith Artis, 25, and her disabled son, George, 9 (described as “idiot”), in the household of white farmer Elisha Carter. The term in that era was commonly used to describe people who were deaf.


In the 1860 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Smithy Artis, 38, and son George, 21, in the household of Zilpha Daniel.

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Smith Artis, 50, with son, George, 28 (described as “idiotic”).

Coroner’s Records, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.