Redden Sanders Wilkins and family.

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Redden S. Wilkins and daughters Hattie Margaret and Mary Della.

Redden S. Wilkins, 28, of Wilson, and Mary Blount, 31, of Wilson, were married 20 January 1889 by Methodist minister J.H. Mattocks at Peter Rountree‘s in Wilson. Witnesses were Samuel B. Parker and Samuel H. Vick of Wilson and W.E. Palmer of Washington D.C. [Mary Blount may have been a close relative of Samuel Vick, whose mother was Fannie Blount Vick.]

In May 1897, the Wilkinses, who were living in a house owned by Samuel Vick’s father Daniel Vick, suffered a devastating house fire.

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Wilson Times, 20 May 1897.

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Wilson Advance, 21 May 1897.

As posted here, Mary Wilkins, 43, died 27 March 1899, of an “internal tumor.” Undertaker Wootten & Stevens’ register notes that “Mary was wife of Redmond Wilkins, was in bad health for a long time, was a good woman.” She was buried in the “colored cemetery.”

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: teamster Redding Wilkins, 35, a widower, and his widowed mother Iserbella Battle, 85. [His children were not listed in the household.]

On 28 January 1903, Redden S. Wilkins, 33, of Wilson, married Mary [Hines] Boddie, 26, of Edgecombe County, at Haret Hines’ in Township No. 14, Edgecombe County. Witnesses were E.L. Reid, A.S. Henderson and John A. Gaston, all of Wilson.

The 1908 Wilson city directory lists Redmond Wilkins, laborer, at 414 South Lodge Street.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at Lodge Street, Redmond Wilkins, 42, odd jobs laborer; wife Mary, 35; and daughters Hallie, 4, Mary B., 23, a cook, and Isabell, 1. [Mary B. was Redden’s daughter with Mary Blount Wilkins. Hallie and Isabell, in fact, were named Hattie Margaret and Mary Della.]

Redden S. Wilkins died 7 October 1915 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was found dead of a lung hemorrhage. He was born in 1861 in Edgecombe County to Ephram Wilkins and Margaret Battle, both of Edgecombe; was married; and worked as a drayman. Mary Wilkins was informant. Per findagrave.com, he was buried in Hines/Bullock cemetery (his second wife’s family graveyard), near Pinetops, Edgecombe County.

On 6 November, Mary Wilkins applied in Wilson County Superior Court for letters of administration for his estate. She listed his assets as a house and lot valued at about $800.00, money in the bank at $145.00, and house and kitchen furniture at $50.00. As heirs at law, she listed only herself and her daughters, though at least one of her step-daughters — Redden’s oldest child, Lula Wilkins Brown — was living.

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In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 507 Vance Street, widow Mary Wilkins, 45, cook, and daughters Margaret, 13, and Della, 10.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 506 Vance Street, rented for $12/month, cook Mary Wilkins, 47; daughter Della Mary, 18; lodgers Ethel Adkins, 20, a divorced teacher, and Henretta Smith, 53, widow; and nephew Paul Bullock, 21.

On 5 July 1932, Hattie M. Wilkins of Detroit, 24, born in North Carolina to Reden Wilkins and Mary Hines, married Abraham Butler of Detroit, 28, born in South Carolina, a factory worker.

In the 1940 census of Cairo, Alexander County, Illinois: physician Urbane F. Bass, 30, a native of Virginia, and wife Mary Della, 28, a North Carolina native. Urbane reported that he had been living in Saint Louis in 1935; Mary Della, in Wilson, North Carolina. [Urbane was the son of Dr. Urbane Francis Bass Sr., an African-American doctor and first lieutenant in the United States Army who was posthumously  awarded the Distinguished Service Award for his actions in World War I. See also entry for “Urbane Francis Bass” in W. Douglas Fisher and Joann H. Buckley, African American Doctors of World War I: The Lives of 104 Volunteerswhich touches upon Urbane Jr.’s practice in Cairo, which he abandoned several years after his and Mary Della’s home was firebombed in 1952 by segregationists. The family relocated to Los Angeles.]

In the 1940 census of Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan: at 1505 Labelle, Abraham Butler, 37, auto plant laborer; wife Hattie, 34; children Gibson, 6, Mary, 4, and Hattie, 2; and mother Josephine Butler, 69.

Per findagrave.com, Mary Della Wilkins Bass, born 2 February 1909, died 10 February 1988. She was buried in Rest Haven cemetery, Wilson.

Per the U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index, available at http://www.ancestry.com, Hattie Margaret Wilkins Butler Franklin, daughter of Redden Wilkins and Mary Ann Hines and born 9 March 1906 in Wilson, North Carolina, died in August 1993 in Highland Park, Wayne County, Michigan.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user laviemsvie.

——

[Personal note: for a brief period in the spring of 1998, I corresponded prolifically with Deborah Moore Vles, a descendant of Redden S. Wilkins and his first wife, Nelly Bynum Wilkins. Deborah shared with transcripts of letters Redden wrote in 1912 and 1915 to his eldest daughter, Lula Wilkins Brown — his “dear baby” — who had left Wilson for Missouri before 1910. In the letters, tender testaments to a father’s love for his child, Redden asks about his grandchildren, frets about his failing health and laments the distances between their far-flung relatives. I have been unable to find current contact information for Deborah and hope that she will somehow find this post. — LYH]

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