Cuts and cooks.

African-Americans dominated certain trades in early twentieth-century Wilson, including barbering and operating eating houses. Here, in their entireties, are the entries for these vocations in the 1908 Wilson city directory. “Colored” people were designated with asterisks.

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  • James Austin — In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 506 Green Street, railroad laborer James Austin, 54; wife Martha, 49, washing and ironing; cousin Neicy Edmundson, 39, cook; and son Charles Austin, 23. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: 507 East Green, widower James Austin, 61, cousin Mac Edmonson, 37, niece Annie Wright, 35, and great-niece Dorthy Brown, 5.
  • S.W. Barnes —Short William Barnes was a carpenter. However, in the 1910 census of  Wilson, Wilson County: Short Barnes, 50, wife Frances, 50, daughter Maggie, 16, and boarder Mark Ellis, 25. Maggie was a barber and Mark, a minister.
  • Jno. Blount — On 4 March 1886, John Blount, 24, married Jane Bryant, 21, at Caroline Vick‘s house in Wilson. Witnesses were Caroline Vick, Julius Watkins and Bettie Rountree. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: barber John Blount, 48, wife Mary J., 44, and son Walter, 9. John Blount died 29 October 1917 in Wilson. He had been born in 1863 in Greene County to Right and H. Blount. Informant was J.M. Blount.
  • Wm. Hines — William Hines.
  • Henry C. Holden — On 4 January 1904, Henry C. Holden, 23, son of Wm. and H. Holden, married Lila Tomlin, 19, daughter of L[emon] and E. Tabron, at Edmonia Taborn‘s in Wilson. Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony. In the 1912 Wilson city directory, Henry C. Holden’s workplace was listed as Mayflower Barber Shop and his home address as “Daniel nr N S Ry.”  On 12 September 1918, Henry Clay Holden of 309 South Street, Wilson, registered for the World War I draft. He reported that he was born 15 April 1876, that he was a barber for Bill Hines at 119 South Tarboro Street, and that his nearest relative was his mother Hawkins Holden, who lived in Smithfield, Johnston County. In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: barber Henry Holden, 43, and Virginia-born wife Mamie, 27, at 309 South Street.
  • Levi Jones — Levi Hunter Jones.
  • A.N. Neal — In the 1900 census of Freeman township, Franklin County: widower Austin Neal, 30, and children Bryant, 3, and Bertha, 1, plus brother Abram, 17, and sisters Tabitha, 19, and Bessie, 21. In the 1912 Wilson city directory, Austin Neal was listed as a barber at 409 East Nash. His home address was “Wainwright av for Freeman.” In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 105 Wainwright, widowed barber Austin Neal, 42, with children Bryant, 21, also a barber, Daisy, 16, Annie, 13, Samuel, 7, and Ruth, 5. In the 1930 census, Wilson, Wilson County: at 1214 Wainright Avenue, barber Austin Neal, 61, wife Lizzie, 38, servant for a private family, and son Samuel, 18, a hotel bell hop. Austin N. Neal died 14 February 1949 at Mercy Hospital of terminal uremia. He was born 11 November 1878 in Franklinton, North Carolina, to Abron Neal and Louise Brodie. He was buried in Rountree cemetery. Mrs. Lizzie H. Neal was informant.
  • Richard Renfrow — On 12 November 1895, Richard Renfrow, 35, son of Julia Gay, married Victoria Knight, 28, daughter of Harriet Knight in Wilson. W.T.H. Woodard performed the ceremony in the presence of Levi Jones, H.T. Ransom and Maggie Ransom. In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: barber Richard Renfrow, 38, wife Victora, 35, her mother Harriet Knight, 61, and Harriet’s grandchildren Hattie, 16, Andrew, 14, and Alis Knight, 12.
  • Tate & Hines — Noah John Tate and Walter Scott Hines. On 24 November 1904, Walter S. Hines applied for a marriage license for Noah J. Tate, 28, son of Hardy and Mary Tate, and Hattie Pearce, 20, daughter of Andrew and Alice Pearce. Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony at the home of Richard Renfrow in Wilson. Witnesses were S.H. Vick, W.H. Simms, and J.D. Reid. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: barber Noah Tate, 28, wife Hattie, 24, and children John P., 3, and Helen, 2. (On one side of the family lived John Blount; on the other, Austin Neal.) Noah J. Tate of 307 North Pender Street, 50, died 3 January 1926 in Wilson of pulmonary tuberculosis. He was married to Hattie Tate and worked as a barber. He was born in Grimesland, North Carolina, to Hardy Tate of Wayne County and Mary Jane Dawson of Pitt County. He was buried in Rountree cemetery.
  • Sidney Wheeler — On 23 December 1896, Sidney Wheeler, 24, married Lou Armstrong, 20, in Wilson. Witnesses were Richard Renfrow, S.A. Smith, and Janie Booth. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: barber Sidney Wheeler, 40; wife Lou, 30, cook; Sidney, 9, Dave, 7, Floyd, 4, and Emma, 2. On 8 March 1912, Sidney Wheeler of 710 Vance Street, age 35, died in Wilson of acute gastritis. Dr. W.A. Mitchner certified his death. He was born in Nash County to Richard and Annie Wheeler, and Lula Wheeler served as informant.

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  • Annie Best
  • Moses Bradon — Moses Brandon.
  • Manda Bynum — Wright Bynum married Amanda Hargrove on 2 January 1890. A.M.E. Zion minister J.H. Mattocks performed the ceremony, and O.L.W. Smith, John Ellis and Haywood Foreman stood as witnesses. In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Wright Bynum, 37, servant, with wife Amanda, 30, and four lodgers, including Jonas Gay, 36.
  • Adelaide Farrell — Adelaide Farrell seems to have lived in Wilson only a short time. In the 1910 census of Snow Hill, Greene County: she was a 55 year-old widowed private cook listed in the household of her son-in-law and daughter, Allen and Mary Barfield. She may have been the Adelaide Farrell, 26, listed with husband Wesley and children in the 1880 census of Center, Chatham County, North Carolina.
  • Sarah Gaither — In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: day laborer Rufus Gaither, 57, wife Sarah, 56, and children Julius, 22, Mandy, 18, Aaron, 17, and Clarence, 15. In the 1912 Wilson city directory: Gaither Sarah eating house 418 e Nash h 401 Stantonsburg rd.
  • E.S. Hargrove — In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widowed laundress Adeline Hargrove, 60, with sons Esau, 20, and Douglas Hargrove, 18, and two lodgers. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Vance Street, D. John Hargrove, 28, wife Vina, 25, and children D[illegible], 8, Willie, 6, Jacob, 4, and John Ben, 2, plus mother Adline, 50, brother Esias, 30, and niece Melia A., 15. In the 1912 Wilson city directory: Hargrove Esau S, gen mdse Viola nr Vick. On 20 July 1912, E.S. Hargrove, 40, married Annie Thomas, 20, in Wilson. In the 1930 census, at 803 Viola Street, Esis Hargrove, 51, wife Annie, 38, and children William, 15, and Maggie, 8. “Esis” was a Baptist clergyman and owned his home, valued at $2000.
  • J. Thomas Teachey — On 12 January 1880, James T. Teacher, 21, son of Andrew J. and Nancy J. Teacher, married Betsey J. Musgrove, 20, daughter of Hay’d and Penny Musgrove, at the Wayne County courthouse. In the 1900 census of Dudley, Wayne County: farmer James T. Teachie, 41, wife Betsey, 37, and children Jhon H.M., 19, Lu V.J., 17, Hareward T., 15, Ann L.J., 13, Betsey J., 10, Julia A., 6, Louis J.E., 3, Susan A.L.B., 11 months. In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Nash Road, house carpenter James Teachee, 53, wife Betsey, 48, and children Haywood, 22, Julia, 18, Louis J., 14, Susie L., 12, and Chas., 10; plus Garfield Granton, 30, Betsey, 23, and son John, 2.  James Thomas Teachey died 27 December 1944 in Wilson, probably of a heart attack. He was a widower and had worked as a contractor and builder. He was 86 years old and had been born in Duplin County to Nancy Teachey. He was buried at Rountree cemetery. Daughter Luvicy Wynn, who resided at 402 North Vick with Teachey, was informant.
  • Sidney Wheeler — Wheeler had a finger in many pots. See above.
  • Isaac Whittaker — In the 1912 Wilson city directory, Isaac Whitaker operated an eating house at 504 Smith Street. Issac Whitaker, single, died 29 April 1915 in Wilson. He was 70 years old and worked as a cook. Leah Whitaker of Enfield, North Carolina, reported that Isaac was the son of Bob and Clara Whitaker.  He was buried in Enfield.

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Sanborn Fire Map of Wilson, N.C., 1908.

 (Click to enlarge.) In eating houses in red: (1) Annie Best, 121 South Goldsboro; (2) Moses Brandon, 127 South Goldsboro. Four other eating houses were three blocks southeast in the 400 block of Nash Street, which straddled the Atlantic Coastline Railroad. Barbershops in blue: (1) S.W. Barnes, 123 South Goldsboro; (2) Richard Renfrow, 126 South Goldsboro, (3) A.N. Neal, 109 East Nash; (4) Henry C. Holden, Branch Bank, 125 East Nash; (5) Tate & Hines, New Briggs Hotel, 209 East Nash Street; (6) Levi Jones, 105 North Goldsboro; (7) William Hines, 119 South Tarboro.

All census and vital records found at http://www.ancestry.com.

15 comments

  1. Thanks for this blog post regarding African Americans succeeding despite racism; I really enjoyed it and am definitely recommending this blog to my friends and family. I’m a 15 year old with a blog on finance and economics at shreysfinanceblog.com, and would really appreciate it if you could read and comment on some of my articles, and perhaps follow, reblog and share some of my posts on social media. Thanks again for this fantastic post.

    Like

    1. Thank you, Shrey! I’ve uncovered a number of forgotten stories of men and women who forged successful paths through harrowing circumstances. We’re in a different era, with unique challenges, but their stories continue to inspire. I’m now following your posts!

      Liked by 1 person

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