Wynn’s Chapel.


Wynn’s Chapel Free Will Baptist Church was organized in the early years of the nineteenth [sic; twentieth] century. The original church was located on what was then called the “hill” beside the railroad track at the southern end of Elm City.

Two of the charter members were the late Willis Wynn and William Birstel [Burston].

In 1956, the original church burned to the ground. The present church was then erected on Armstrong Street on the east side of Elm City.

The present pastor is Rev. E.R. Reid, Jr., who resides at 911 Washington Street, Wilson, N.C. A few of the officers now serving are deacons and trustees: Cecil Hagans, Mason Benjamin, George Bunn, Talvin Latham; secretaries: Bertha Evans and Geneva Dew.

The oldest members are Mrs. Ellen Birstel Pender and Edward Norman.

— Elm City Centennial Committee, Elm City North Carolina Centennial 1873-1973 (1973).


  • Willis Wynn — Willie Wynn Jr. was born about 1875 in Wayne County. Per his death certificate, he died 11 February 1940 in Wilson; was a widower; resided at 1102 Atlantic Street, Wilson; worked as a laborer; was the son of Willie Wynn and Annie Williams. Geneva Dew was informant, and he was buried in Elm City.
  • William Birstel — in the 1920 census of Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County: farm laborer William Birtsal, 51; wife Ida, 41; and children Lizzie, 18, Salmon, 20, Pearl, 11, William, 10, James, 7, and Lee Roy, 3.
  • E.R. Reid Jr.
  • Cecil Hagans — Cecil Lane Hagans (1916-1982) was a son of Julius and Grace Hagans.
  • Mason Benjamin — Mason Benjamin (1912-1995) was a Florence, South Carolina, native.
  • George Bunn — George Emerson Bunn Sr. died 16 February 1974 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 1 November 1911 to Emerson and Ella(?) Bunn; resided in Elm City; and had worked as a laborer. Carrie Cooper was informant.
  • Talvin Latham
  • Bertha Evans — Bertha Rountree Evans (1922-1985).
  • Geneva Dew — Geneva Wynn Dew was born 31 August 1911 in Wayne County to Willie and Jennie Hussey Wynn. The owner and operator of Dew’s Rest Home, Dew died 17 November 1984 in Wilson.
  • Ellen Birstel Pender — Ellen Burston, 18, of Toisnot township, daughter of William Burston, married Gold Pender, 22, of Toisnot township, son of Haywood and Mollie Pender, on 10 December 1917 at the bride’s home in Elm City. Baptist minister James Brown performed the ceremony in the presence of Rev. Fred Gardner of Ayden, North Carolina, and J.D. Hockaday and W.R. Hockaday of Elm City.
  • Edward Norman


  1. Do you know if this Willie Wynn Jr. was also married to a Victoria Ricks at one time? The Willie Wynn and Jeanette Hussey Wynn in this article are the in-laws of my 3rd great uncle – Eddie Lee Joyner.
    But, I have a Willie Wynn Jr. and Victoria Ricks who are my 2nd great-grandparents. Trying to confirm that this is a great coincidence. All in Wilson, NC. Can you assist?

    1. Hi, Lisa. No, these are two different Willie Wynns. Willie (husband of Jennie) was born about 1875. The other Willie, who married Victoria in 1909, was a decade or so younger.

      1. Thanks, noticed that, but here’s my dilemma – one of my father’s grandparents and one of his 2nd cousin’s (verified through DNA testing) grandparents should be siblings. And the only commonality is the name Wynn – Bessie Wynn, supposedly born of Willie Wynn Jr and Victoria Ricks and Pink Wynn, supposedly born of Willie Wynn and Jenny Hussey. But documents are saying these are two different Willie Wynns. :-/ The ‘Willie Wynn Quandary’.

      2. A word of caution re Wynn DNA. There was heavy endogamy within this Wayne/Duplin County family in the 19th century. Some of my cousins are descended from multiple related Wynn lines. (I.e. from more than one of the alleged brothers Adam, Charles, Gray, Levi and Washington — who actually were probably a combination of brothers and cousins, and included William, James and some sister/cousins). As a result, cM match totals between Wynns may predict closer relationships than in reality.

Leave a Reply