The sixty-second 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.
As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1913; 2 stories; Hardy Johnson house; Queen Anne house composed of hip-roofed central block and projecting cutaway bay; porch has been modified and original gazebo removed; porch has been modified and original gazebo removed; Johnson was a fireman for the railroad.”
Robert C. Bainbridge and Kate Ohno’s Wilson, North Carolina: Historic Buildings Survey, originally published by the City of Wilson in 1980 and updated and republished in 2010 under the auspices of the Wilson County Genealogical Society, provides additional details about this house, including the photo above. “Built c. 1901 for Hardy Johnson, a fireman, this house is a good example of the type of large house built in Wilson at the turn of the century. Asymmetrically massed with a prominent cross gable wing to one side with a two story faceted bay, the house is transitional in style resembling a Queen Anne house in its massing, but possessing some Colonial Revival details. The generous and well preserved porch has a handsome faceted corner pavilion and a pedimented projecting entry.”
The photo, probably taken about 1979, appears to show a notice of the kind often posted to communicate rooming house rules. By the 1940s, many of the largest homes on East Green had been converted to multi-family dwellings. The house has been demolished.
Hardy Johnson, 26, of Wilson township, married Martha Woodard, 25, of Wilson township, daughter of Martha Woodard, on 25 November 1892 at the Amerson place, Wilson. John Ellis and Martha Woodard were witnesses.
In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: day laborer Hardy Johnson, 33; wife Martha, 31; and children Jessee B., 10, Pauline, 7, Saniga, 5, Roscoe, 3, Herbert, 2, and Johnny G., 5 months.
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: railroad laborer Hardy Johnson, 48; wife Martha, 40; and children Pauline, 17, market laborer, Thomas, 15, Rosco, 13, Hermon, 11, Jonnie, 10, Alford, 8, Joseph, 6, Annie L., 4, Hardy, 2, and Maggie L., 5 months.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 634 Green, Hardy Johnson, 50, foreman at electric light house; wife Martha, 48; and children Sidney, 20, laborer for barber; Roscoe, 23, John, 18, barber, Alfred, 18, Josey, 15, Annie Lee, 13, Hardey, 11, Russell, 8, and Martha, 4; plus lodger James Small, 22, barber.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Hardy Johnson, 61, flagman for A.C.L. Railroad; wife Martha, 60; children Allie L., 19, Martha, 13, and Russell, 17; sister-in-law Maggie Gaston, 50, divorced; granddaughter Mary Johnson, 6; and roomer Duffy Smith, 24, fruit store merchant.
Hardy Johnson died 25 December 1932 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 October 1871 in Edgecombe County to Jacob and Clara Johnson; married to Martha Johnson; worked as a day laborer; and resided at 705 East Green.
Martha Johnson died 18 December 1934 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born about 1870 in Wilson County to Martha Woodard; the widow of Hardy Johnson; and resided at 705 East Green. Informant was Martha Gray Johnson, 705 East Green.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County, several families are listed at 705 East Green, which was by then a rooming house: paying $8/month, tobacco factory stemmer Thomas Rodgers, 37, wife Minorh, 33, housemaid, and children Ruth, 15, Joseph, 14, Otis G., 12, and Walter, 8; paying $6, servant Mary Anderson, 27; paying $6, garage mechanic James Ellis, 33, wife Minnie, 33, tobacco factory hanger, and children James Jr., 10, and Minnie, 8; paying $6, tobacco factory stemmer Sylvia Diggs, 51, daughter Edwina, 17, servant, and grandson James Jr., 1; paying $6, servant Lena Williams, 43; and paying $6, servant Dora Ellis, 33.