Month: April 2017

The last will and testament of Bettie Battle Taylor Hall.

On 10 July 1917, Judge H. Hall, 30, of Wilson, son of Edwin and Avie Ann Hall, married Bettie B. Taylor, 34, of Wilson, daughter of Henry and Mary Battle of Nash County, in Wilson. A.L.E. Weeks, a Missionary Baptist minister, performed the ceremony in the presence of C.L. Darden, W.H. Burton, and Lee A. Moore.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Atlantic Street, house carpenter Judge Hall, 34, wife Bettie, 37, and roomer Lossie Hooks, 22.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 901 Atlantic Street, carpenter Judge Hall, 42; wife Bettie, 42; son John W., 4; and a lodging family, cook Ellen Battle, 35, and Margrette, 15, Etta, 12, Minnie, 7, Julious, 10, and Norma Battle, 3.

Bettie Hall died 15 September 1939 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was married to Judge Hall; resided at 901 Atlantic Street; worked as a tobacco factory worker; and was born about 1889 in Wilson County to Henry Battle of Nash County and Margarett Lucas of Wilson County. Informant was Ellen Battle.

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Two months before she died, Bettie Hall made out a will. Interestingly, she left nothing to her husband Judge, instead designating as her sole heirs her daughters Ellen Battle and Margaret (no last name listed.)

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North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

915 Atlantic Street.

The eighteenth in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

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As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1930; 1 story; bungalow with traditional one-room, gable-roofed form; half-timber motif in porch gable; alum. sided.”

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 915 Atlantic, rented for $16/month, James Hawkins, 30, truck driver for a hardware company, and wife Sally, 27, a cook.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, Robert Ethridge is listed at 915 Atlantic Street.

Photograph taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2017.

Progressive citizens, pt. 2.

Sometime in 1914, the Wilson Times published a three-page insert highlighting the achievements of the town’s African-American community. “Wilson is fortunate in having a large proportion of sensible negroes,” the writer opined, and counted among the laudable such well-known citizens and institutions as Samuel H. Vick; J.D. Reid; Dr. Frank S. Hargrave; Charles, Camillus and Arthur Darden; Levi Jones; William Hines; Henry Tart; and H.G. Barnes; Wilson Hospital and Tubercular Home for Colored People; the Colored Graded School; First Baptist Church; Saint John A.M.E. Zion Church; C.H. Darden & Sons Undertakers; and Lincoln Benefit Society.

Here is page 2 of the insert:

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  • The small photograph, labeled C.J. Darden, actually depicts Camillus L. Darden.
  • Crockett & Aiken — “Moving Houses a Specialty. Barnes Street adjoining Norfolk Southern Station.” Livery stable owner John H. Aiken died in July 1914. In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 123 Pender Street, widow Gergia Akin, 45, livery stable manager; her brother Alexander Crockett, 47, stable salesman; and two laborers, John Norfleet, 30, and Mose Parker, 32.

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Sanborn insurance map, Wilson, N.C, 1913.

  • City Bakery — “540 East Nash St., under Odd Fellows Hall. First class and sanitary in ever particular.” R.B. Bullock.
  • Down Town Pressing Club — L.B. Barefoot.
  • Dennis Brooks Livery Stables — “Rear Odd Fellow Hall Nash Street.” Georgia-born Dennis Brooks also operated a grocery and a bar.
  • The Globe Theatre — “Odd Fellows Hall Nash St. Only place of amusement of its kind in the county — Colored People.” The Globe was a Samuel H. Vick enterprise.
  • Lincoln Benefit Society — “Chartered by the Legislature of North Carolina as a Fraternal Society. Has councils in the principal towns and cities of the state. Safe, reliable, economical.” Officers included Dr. F.S. Hargrave, president, and S.H. Vick, secretary.
  • Ideal Pharmacy — “Any physician’s prescription will be filled at Ideal Pharmacy exactly as it would be by the best drug stores of the country. We guarantee the quality of drugs, accuracy of compounders, reasonableness of charges, and unexcelled service. Give us a trial.” Darcey C. Yancey opened this pharmacy as early as 1908.
  • J.H. Shaw Groceries — “Fruits, candy, cigars, tobacco, cold drinks and produce. Get my prices before buying cheap for cash.”
  • Dr. W.A. Mitchenor — “Special attention given to the diseases of women and children. … Rear of Ideal Pharmacy.” Dr. William A. Mitchner, a Johnston County native, practiced medicine in Wilson until his death in 1941.
  • Sanitary Shaving Parlor — “The cleanest and most up-to-date in the town. We keep sharp tools, clean towels and pure toilets. Hot towels with every shave if desired. Good barbers always on hand. Satisfaction guaranteed.” Charles S. Thomas (1877-1937) was a native of Bennettsville, South Carolina.
  • R.T. Alston — “Watches, clocks, jewelry, eye glasses, spectacles, etc. I handle the very best grade of watches, such as the Elgin, Waltham, Illinois, Hampden, and Hamilton. Your credit is good. Yes, I will sell you a watch on the weekly payment plan: that is, ‘So much down and so much each week.’ I do a mail order business also. If you want a watch or other jewelry, write me for terms and order blanks. Now in a few days I shall have a large stock of watches, clocks, etc. on hand. Call to see me or write.”  Robert T. Alston was a native of Granville County, North Carolina.

The estate of Ann Williamson.

Documents in the 1822 estate files of Ann Williamson of Nash (now Wilson) County include several references to the sale or “hier” of enslaved people. Williamson was the widow of Joseph Williamson, and Bartley Deans was her executor.

Williamson executed a will in 1807, fifteen years before her death. The will included three enslaved people — women named Pat and Rachel and a boy named Arch.

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A partial inventory in Williamson’s estate records also lists Arch, Rachel and Pat. Rachel and Pat are listed together at one place in the documents and may have been mother and daughter. (Note that, as she was only ten years old in 1822, the Pat in Williamson’s estate could not have been the Pat in her 1807 will.)

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Here, the record of the sale of “Negro gal Pat” to Eatman Flowers for $353.88; the hire of Arch, first to Jesse Sillivant, then to Thomas Williamson; and the hire of Rachel to Ford Taylor. Arch and Rachel were hired out repeatedly.

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Williamson’s estate also included a man named Jack. Below, a receipt for partial proceeds from the sale of Jack to John Watson, executor of Luke Collins:

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In addition, Ann Williamson’s inventory showed that she possessed an elderly enslaved man named Sesor [Caesar] that she had inherited from her husband Thomas Williamson.

Estate of Ann Williamson (1822), North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

 

 

Calvin Bone supports his claim.

More on the contract dispute with Jourdin Artis that Calvin Bone brought to the attention of the Freedmen’s Bureau:

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Black creek N.C., July 3 1867.

Mr. O Compton, I Received your note yesterday in closed you will find the am of my Acct against Jourdin Artis, allso an Acct he should of had to of settled with his hands. Jourdin has never bin to me for asettlement nor nor finished the contract he is oing me right smart Am. now. I thought all last fall he would come & complete the egagement you want the Am of labour done there has bin only 6423 bushels of marl thrown out & agreeable to contract he should of thrown out 26000 bushels. I would go down at once & see you but my crop is allmost ruined with grass I have narry dutiful Sevent or that will do to risk. if you request my going to your office let me hear from you again I shall be at this post office again in five or six days.  Verry Respectfully yrs., Calvin Bone.

Bone attached pages and pages documenting supplies advanced to Artis for laborers Artis employed — tobacco, flour, sugar, whiskey, herrings, mullet, shoes, clothing.

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Including documents that named the workers. Though Bone lived in Black Creek, Wilson County, Artis appears — per the 1870 census — to have hired his hands from nearby Wayne County communities.

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The contract itself:

 

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Witnesseth that the said Jourdin Artis agrees with the Said Calvin Bone that he will clear off dig & threw out twenty six thousand bushels of pure marl on the farm of the said Calvin Bones in the mill Swamp on or before the first of Dcr next

and the said Calvin Bone in consideration of the fourgoing agreement promises and agrees, to and with the Said Jourdin Artis pay one cent a bushel in Specie or its value in Something wee can agree on, and the said Calvin Bone do further to furnish the said Jourdin Artis with one hundred & eighty lbs of bacon or its adequate in herrings & ten bushels of meal during the time he is labouring & digging the above named marl, & the said Jourdin Artis is to give the said Calvin Bone his trade whilst he is performing the above named labour this the twenty third day of July one thousand eight hundred Sixty Six in witnesseth whereoff wee set our hands and seals 

This is a true coppy of the contract with me and Jourdin Artis there was only one ritten Ys truly Calvin Bone

 

North Carolina Freedmen’s Bureau Assistant Commissioner Records 1862-1870, http://www.familysearch.org.

 

 

 

Early 20th-century colored schools.

Rosenwald schools
Evansdale School, near Black Creek
Holden School, Holden’s Crossroads
Jones Hill School, near Wilson
Kirby’s Crossing School, near Kenly
Lucama School, near Lucama
New Vester School, near Sims
Rocky Branch School, near Buckhorn Crossroads
Saratoga School, near Saratoga
Sims School, Sims (partially standing)
Stantonsburg School, Stantonsburg
Williamson School, near Lucama
Wilson Colored High School (later known as C.H. Darden High), Wilson
Yelverton School, near Fountain (partially standing)

Non-Rosenwald Schools
Bynum School, near Driver’s Store
Calvin Level School, near Lucama
Elm City Colored Graded School, Elm City
Farmer School, near Cliftonville
Mitchell School, near Dunn’s Crossroads
Turner School, near Elm City
Wilbanks School, near Bridgersville
Wilson Colored Graded School (later known as the Sallie Barbour School), Wilson

List adapted from “Survey File Materials Received from Volunteer Surveyors of Rosenwald Schools Since September 2002,” http://www.hpo.ncdcr.gov/rosenwald/rosen-volun.htm.

Accidental drowning.

State of North Carolina, Wilson County   }

Be it remembered that on the 20th day of June 1878 I, H.W. Peel one of the Coroners of said County, attended by a Jury of good and lawful men, viz S.M. Warren, Ruffin Lamm, J.H. Worrell, J.T. High, J.M. White, L.T. Raper, Frank Farmer, E. Holoway, G.W. Barefoot, Aaron Skinner, Henry Wiggins & Robt. Strickland by me summoned for that purpose according to law after being by me duly sworn and Empannelled at J. Barefoot Mill Pond in the County aforesaid did hold an inquest over the dead body of William Barnett, col and after inquiring into the facts & 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 deceased came to his death by accidental drowning.  /s/ Frank (X) Farmer, S.M. Warren Foreman, E. (X) Holoway, Ruffin (X) Lamm, G.W. Barefoot, J.H. Worrell, Aaron (X) Skinner, J.T. High, Henry (X) Wiggins, G.M. White, Robt. (X) Strickland, L.T. Raper

——

State of North Carolina, Wilson County   }

Be it remembered that on the 20th day of June 1878 I, H.W. Peel one of the Coroners of said County, attended by a Jury of good and lawful men, viz S.M. Warren, Ruffin Lamm, J.H. Worrell, J.T. High, J.M. White, L.T. Raper, Frank Farmer, E. Holoway, G.W. Barefoot, Aaron Skinner, Henry Wiggins & Robt. Strickland by me summoned for that purpose according to law after being by me duly sworn and Empannelled at J. Barefoots Mill Pond in the County aforesaid did hold an inquest over the dead body of Thos Hooks, cold & his son Al. Hooks and after inquiring into the facts & 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 deceased came to there death by accidental drowning.  /s/ Frank (X) Farmer, S.M. Warren Foreman, E. (X) Holoway, Ruffin (X) Lamm, G.W. Barefoot, J.H. Worrell, Aaron (X) Skinner, J.T. High, Henry (X) Wiggins, G.M. White, Robt. (X) Strickland, L.T. Raper

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  • William Barnett — in the 1870 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County, Virginia-born farm laborer William Barnett, 21, and wife Rosa, 30.

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

Teacher training at A&T.

From the roster of teachers receiving training listed in the 1922-23 Annual Catalog of the Negro Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina —

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  • Lurean Barnes  Lurean Barnes Zachary died 30 April 1963 at Mercy Hospital in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 28 February 1899 in Wilson to Sam Barnes and Ida Hinton; was married to Joe K. Zachary; and worked as a teacher.
  • Mary E. Isler — Mary Isler was the stepdaughter of Owen L.W. Smith. In the 1900 census of Swift Creek township, Pitt County, North Carolina, she is listed as a one month-old in the household of her parents Turney and Cynthia Isler. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County, minister Owen W. Smith, 58, wife Lucy A., 45, son Jessy A. Smith, 27, daughter Carry E. Smith, 10, and step-children John H. Isler, 12, and Mary A. Isler, 10. In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 129 Pender Street, Owen L. Smith, 68; wife Cynthia, 55; stepchild Mary E. Isler, 20, a teacher; roomer John H. Isler, 21; Claud L. Burgen, 29, wife Annie L., 24, and son Claud L., Jr., 1; and five roomers, all tobacco factory workers, John Davis, 33, Major Lewis, 25, Edgar Jones, 25, Walter Walker, 25, and Paul Barnes, 21. On 2 June 1922, Mary E. Isler, 22, foster daughter of O.L.W. and Anna A. Smith, married Clarence L. King, 24, of Wayne County, son of James and Sarah King, in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister B.P. Coward performed the ceremony in the presence of J.D. Reid, C.S. Thomas, and W.T. Darden. By 1940, the Kings were living in the Bronx with daughter Grace, born about 1923. Mary E. King died in New York in April 1981.
  • Fannie F. Ricks — in the 1900 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: railroad track laborer Samuel Ford, 25, wife Mattie, 21, and daughter Fannie, 1. In the 1910 census of Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Wilson Street, railroad foreman Samuel T. Ford, 34; wife Mattie, 30; and children Fannie, 11, Maurice, 9, Willie, 4, and Thomas, 1. On 27 July 1919, Fannie Fort, 21, of Toisnot township, married Wiley Ricks, 21, of Toisnot township. Presbyterian minister A.E. Sephas performed the ceremony in the presence of John Gaston, Saml. T. Ford, and T.H. Nicholson. Fannie Ford Ricks died 9 March 1924 in Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 11 January 1899 in Wilson County to Sam Ford of Halifax County and Mattie Williams of Wilson County. She was married to Wiley Ricks.

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.

Commissioners meeting.

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Wilson Times, 10 April 1896.

  • John Atkinson — perhaps, in the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: John Atkinson, 63, farmer; wife Jane, 58; and children Nellie, 21, James, 19, Nettie, 18, Naoma, 15, Lucy, 13, and Robert E., 8.
  • Amos Bunn — in the 1900 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Amos Bunn, 51 farmer; wife Mojana, 40, cook; children Tildy, 24, cook, Amos, 21, day laborer, William G., 19, Lewis B., 17, and Genetta B., 14, all farm laborers, Sallie B., 13, cook, Jonas B., 10, nurse, Louisanna, 7, Eddie B., 3, and James W., 2, plus mother Tabitha, 80.
  • Abram Moore