Gay’s old stand.

A regular meeting of the Board of Aldermen of the Town of Wilson was held in the office of C.A. Young this Monday evening, January 2, 1888.

Liquor License was granted to the following parties:

  • Wiley Corbett at Bates Stand
  • Hawkins & Bridgers on Tarboro Street
  • Edwin Rose on Fulcher’s Block
  • Emma Gay at her old stand

No other business appearing the Board adjourned.       C.A. Young, Secretary


In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farm laborer Charles Gay, 35, wife Emma, 25, children Charles, 5, and Mary, 1, and two farm laborers Rich’d Harper, 20, and Haywood Watson, 17.

Charles Gay died in late 1873 or early 1874. Emma was appointed administratrix of his estate, which consisted of personal possessions, cash, accounts receivable, and liquor and groceries from the store he operated. Emma carried on his business; this was her “old stand.”


In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Emma Gay, 35; children Charlie, 15, a steam-mill worker, Mary, 11, Etheldred, 8, and Willie, 6; plus a boarder Fannie Thompson, 19, cook.

In early 1885, pursuant to a judgment against her, Emma Gay lost the half-acre lot upon which she and her family lived.

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Wilson Advance, 12 December 1884.

On 4 February 1892, Henry C. Rountree, 44, married Emma Gay, 44, at the bride’s residence in Wilson. Presbyterian minister L.J. Melton performed the ceremony, and witnesses were Edward PoolMark Blount and S.H. Vick.

Emma Gay Rountree’s will entered probate in Wilson County Superior Court in June 1917:

Last Will and Testament of Emma Rountree of Wilson, North Carolina.

Know all men by these presents that, I, Emma Rountree of Wilson, Wilson County, state of North Carolina, being of sound mind and disposing memory, do hereby make and publish this, my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills by me at any time heretofore made.

(1) I give, devise, and bequeath to my children Mary Strickland, William Gay, Dred Gay, and the estate of my late son Chas Gay all of my property both real and personal with the exception of one dining room table, and one organ. The organ is hereby bequeathed to my beloved granddaughter Emma Gay.

(2) I give, devise and bequeath to Lizzie Whitfield, one dining room table, the same now in use in my dining room.

(3) I give, devise, and bequeath to my children Mary Strickland, William Gay, Dred Gay, and Lizzie Whitfield all money that may be left after paying all debts and expenses of my funeral. The same to be divided equally among them.

(4) I, hereby appoint Rev. H.B. Taylor the executor of this my last will and testament and recommend to the proper authorities that he be appointed guardian for Dred Gay and Mary Strickland, whose mental abilities incapacitates them to manage an estate.     Emma (X) Rountree

Signed by said Testatrix, Emma Rountree, as for her last will and testament, in the presence of us, who at her request, in her presence and in the presence of each other, have subscribed our names as attesting witnesses. Louis Thomas, W.H. Kittrell, S.H. Vick


This Board of Aldermen entry appears Minutes of City Council, Wilson, North Carolina, May 1, 1885-June 16, 1892, transcribed in a bound volume shelved at Wilson County Public Library, Wilson; North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line],


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