New Grabneck.

By the mid-1920s, Grabneck was gone. A mile and a half away, however, New Grabneck emerged in a clutch of unpaved streets on the far side of Hominy Swamp, a tributary of Contentnea Creek that wends its way, generally unobtrusively, across south Wilson. Per the 1930 Wilson city directory, all of the residents of this new settlement were African-American.

Hill’s Wilson, N.C., City Directory (1930).

Several of New Grabneck’s residents, including Bertha Best Freeman, Ida Jordan, Jeremiah Scarborough and Frank Mitchell, had lived in Grabneck. Was this coincidence, or were Grabneck’s people deliberately resettled on vacant property on another edge of town?

New Grabneck was short-lived. As noted in this recollection by Marjorie Fulcher Stewart (a Best descendant), the area was cleared about 1960 in an urban renewal project that created moderate-income and public housing for whites.

This undated World War II-era air raid warden district map shows New Grabneck as an unpaved L off unpaved Connor Street, which branches from South Tarboro Street. Connor Street is now Forrest Road, and the New Grabneck lane is Jefferson Street. (See Paul Sherrod’s recollection here.)

Locations of former Grabneck and New Grabneck communities today. Map courtesy of

Air raid district map in private collection of Lisa Y. Henderson.

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