He was successful in every business he started.

Herbert Woodard Sr., age 100.

Herbert Woodard Sr., 100, of 1735 Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, died peacefully on Saturday, June 21, 2008, at Pitt County Memorial Hospital, Greenville. Herbert, son of the late James and Nancy Woodard, was born July 4, 1907, in Wilson County. Herbert was reared in Wilson County, where he attended the public schools. Though he never went beyond the 4th grade, what he lacked in education, he gained in common sense and wisdom. In the 100 years he lived, “Herb,” as he was affectionately called by friends, saw a lot of changes in this nation — from the rise of the age of television to the possibility of a black man becoming the president of these United States. He started working at the age of 13 to provide financial stability, not only for his family, but for others as well. Always self-employed, this magnate’s business ventures were successful whether selling coal and fish or by hauling water to men working at the now defunct Hackney Wagon Company. He cleaned septic tanks by day and ran a “Night Club” at night. He was the only black man to own and operate a motel in Wilson. It can be truthfully said that he was successful in every business he started. In celebration of Herbert’s 100th birthday, Mayor Bruce Rose presented him the key to the City of Wilson. Surviving to cherish fond memories are his wife, Mrs. Georgia Battle Woodard, of the home; two daughters, Georgie W. Hobbs of Hillside, N.J. and Annie Miller Woodard of Wilson; three sons, Ralph Woodard of Yonkers, N.Y., Herbert Woodard Jr., and David Woodard, both of Wilson; 13 grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and other relatives and friends. Funeral services for Mr. Woodard will be conducted Friday, June 27, 2008, at 1 p.m. at St. Rose Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, 605 S. Douglas St., Wilson. Bishop M.W. Johnson will officiate. Burial will follow in the Rest Haven Cemetery. The family will receive visitors and friends at a wake on Thursday, June 26, 2008, from 7-8 p.m. at the Hamilton Funeral Chapel, 726 S. Tarboro St., Wilson, and at other times at the residence.

Wilson Times, 25 June 2008.


In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Nancy Woodard, 33, widow, and children Lizzie, 14, Mamie, 11, Hubbard [Herbert], 4, and David, 2. [In fact, Nancy Woodard was divorced.]

On 13 February 1924, Herbert Woodard, 21, son of London and Nancy Woodard, married Mary Jones, 18, daughter of Tom and Mary Jones. Dock Barnes [husband of Herbert’s half-sister Lizzie Woodard Barnes] applied for the license, and A.M.E. Zion minister John A. Barnes performed the ceremony at the bride’s home. Witnesses were Walter Barnes, Roosevelt Lipscomb, and David Downey.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Herbert Woodard, 32, self-employed manager of filling station restaurant; wife Lucille, 28; and lodger Jimmy Long, 24, tire repairer at filling station.

In 1940, Herbert Woodard registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. His card noted that he was self-employed:


Woodard’s original filling station-cum-grocery store, built in 1935.

Jesse “Buster” Forte Jr. in front of a later version of the business.

Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 11.30.43 AM

Woodard’s Motel, at left, and the Herbert Woodard home today. At the time of construction, they were at the far outskirts of east Wilson where Nash Street became Highway 264. Image courtesy Google Maps.

On 9 February 2008, just months before his death, the Wilson Daily Times printed a full-page story on Herbert Woodard in its Life/Feature section. His story is told largely in his own words and those of his children, and all the photos above, except the last, were reprinted from that article.


  1. Hello Lisa Y. Henderson,

    What information do you have on Herbert Woodard (the Barber shop owner in Wilson, NC) Family? This is What I know and What family tree he fit in????????
    Who was David Woodard’s Father, Grand, & Great-grand Father.

    This is all I have.

    I. David Woodard, Sr. 24 Dec. 1912
    II. Ruby Burch abt. 1926 North Carolina, USA
    19 May 2014 Wilson, North Carolina, USA
    1. Thurman Burch abt. 1942, Wilson, North Carolina, USA
    2. David Woodard, Jr.abt. 1943, Wilson, North Carolina, USA
    3. Herbert Woodard , abt. 1945, Wilson, North Carolina, USA
    Shirley Woodard
    4. Vanzelle Woodard, 11 Jul 1949, Wilson, North Carolina, USA
    Evann Reid Birthplace: Wilson Co., N. C.
    15 Jul 1990, Durham, Durham, North Carolina, USA
    Wilson, North Carolina, USA
    Rest Haven Cemetery
    Occupation: Serviceman, Marine Corps.

    5. Shonnie Woodard Ward, 53
    Lee Ward
    6. Ruby Jean woodard Perry, 51
    Tonya Perry
    7. Addie Lee woodard James
    Howard James

    1. Hello! It appears that Mr. Herbert and Mr. David were Nancy Woodard’s children, but perhaps not London’s, as they were divorced when Nancy’s youngest two children were born. However, I really do not know. Have you consulted the Woodards?

      1. I have tried to contact Herb’s son. No response yet. Thanks for your reply I will try again and continue my quest.



    2. Hello Leroy Barnes. I’ve heard your name. My dad is Jesse Woodard. He lived at 1000 Mercer St and moved to Newport News Virginia. His mom was aElla Woodard Bynum. She had daddy, Oscar and William (Bill) by my grandad and several other children by Deb we called him. My Mom was raised by Mary and Walter Hardy on E Nash Street. Her real mom was Betty Barnes who moved to Rockaway NY. Her cousin who raised her later had children…Robert, Benny, Louis, Roy, Leroy, and Mary Hardy. Her children were raised in Wilson and went to Darden. I’m searching family history. Tom and Chester Woodard were my cousins

      1. Hello Rosana, I would love to communicate with you and supply any information requested.
        First, my family tree is located on Ancestry.com. It is named “London Woodard Family Tree.”

        I am on Facebook=Leroi Barnes. My tree also includes Tom and Chester Woodard and the rest of their relatives. My Aunt Helen Woodard Travis and her committee published a family book on Aug 16-17, 1996, Wilson, NC title ” Our Heritage” (1812-1996) based on the Edwards, Evans and Woodard’s family. Sorry, I just discovered this communication.

        Please feel free to contact me any time cousin Rosana. Tell every hello.

  2. Hello! I am Herbert Woodard III daughter. I am looking for more information about my family. I found some cousins but I’d love to learn more. Herbert Woodard Sr.is my great grandfather. They called my father “Junior”

    Thank you!!

    Dahjn Maria (Woodard) Gomez

    1. I didn’t know Mr. Woodard well, but he was one of my dad’s personal heroes. His hotel and nightspot, the Falcon Club, were still in operation in my childhood. I’ve got a few more posts re Mr. Woodard upcoming. Stay tuned!

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