Snaps, no. 15: Rev. Lafayette “Fate” Melton.

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On 3 December 1907, Mack Melton, 55, of Gardners township, son of Lenzy and Eliza Melton, married Sarah Wootten, 40, of Greene County, in Wilson County. Moses Dew applied for the marriage license, and he, Carrie Melton and Marry Thomas witnessed.

In the 1910 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Mack Melton, 60, wife Sarah, 45, and children Lafyette, 14, Lillie, 12, Gilber, 10, and Warren Melton, 8. Both Mack and Sarah reported that this was a second marriage for each. Sarah reported that seven of her nine children were living.

Fate Milton registered for the World War I draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he resided in Wilson County, was born in Pitt County on 21 December 1895, and worked a farmer.

On 29 December 1921, Fate Melton, 26, of Wilson County, son of Mack and Sarah Melton, married Annie Brooks, 21, of Wilson County, daughter of Grant and Sallie Brooks. Primitive Baptist minister Thomas Bunch officiated at the ceremony, and David Bynum, Leander Harriss and Leander Sauls were witnesses.

Fate Melton was appointed as an elder in the Union Primitive Baptist Association as a young man and served as pastor of at least four Wilson County churches, Oaky Grove, Friendship, Union Grove and Jerusalem Grove. He led Jerusalem Grove from 1924 until his death in 1961; the church is now helmed by a grandson.

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Fate Melton died 4 September 1961 at a Veterans Hospital in Durham, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was a farmer and Primitive Baptist minister; was born 21 December 1896 in Wilson County to Tony Sharp Melton and Sarah Ellis; and was a World War I veteran. Annie Brooks Melton was informant.

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Proceedings of the 58th Annual Session of the Union Primitive Baptist Association found at www.archive.org; military headstone application found at U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

Many thanks to Anthony J. Edwards for permission to feature this photograph.

12 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing the journey of a worthy man. I pray that the family continues to cherish and hold on to the strong foundation.

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    1. Thank you. I deeply appreciate my old neighbor Anthony allowing me to feature this photo of Mrs. Edwards’ father. I had not been aware of his role in the history of Wilson County’s African-American Primitive Baptist congregations.

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  2. Thank you for taking time to research and share this information about my grandfather.

    I knew my grandfather was a ‘ Great Man of GOD’, but I didn’t know this history you
    have provided. Yes, I do cherish and thank God for this foundation.

    My dad was his oldest son, Lafayette J. Melton.
    I truly miss coming to visit my Aunt Bee @ her home, there in Wilson.
    I’m sharing this with my ten year old grandson, Larry Lafayette Roberts. —

    Thanks again and God Bless you.
    Ann M. Melton, Mitchellville, MD.

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    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Your Aunt Bee was my next-door neighbor when I was growing up. I enjoyed learning more about Rev. Melton and his important role in the religious history of Wilson’s black community and am pleased to be able to share with those who knew him best!

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