528 and 530 Stemmery Street.

Rear view, December 2011.

This unique set of L-shaped houses, arranged in mirror formation, was among a few dozen shanties and duplexes built in the shadow of the stemmeries, fertilizer plants and cotton oil mills that dominated the blocks between Barnes, Pender, Gay and Railroad Streets, immediately south of Wilson’s black Nash Street business district. Built between 1913 and 1922, one of the houses has been demolished in the years since I took the photo above. Its twin remains, bereft of context.

Sanborn fire insurance map, Wilson, N.C., 1922.

Aerial view of 530 Stemmery Street in 2017, courtesy of Google Maps.

528

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Wright William (c; Esther) lab h 528 Stemmery

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Wright William (c; Esther) lab h 528 Stemmery

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 528 Stemmery, rented for $8/month, laundress Nettie Ward, 46, widow, and her cousins Sarah Harrington, 62, widowed laundress, and Elizabeth Harrington, 22, tobacco factory laborer.

The 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory lists Elizabeth Harrington, Sarah Harrington and Nettie Ward, all tobacco workers, at 528 Stemmery.

Sarah Harrington died 29 October 1945 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 6 April 1878 in Cumberland County to Marsh Evans and Rebecca Lomax; was the widow of Robert Harrington; had worked as a factory worker; and lived at 528 Stemmery. Elizabeth Harrington was informant.

530

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Barnes Geo B  (c; Ethel) lab h 530 Stemmery

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Barnes Geo B  (c; Ethel) fireman h 530 Stemmery

Ethel Barnes died 19 July 1931 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 1888 in Portsmouth, Virginia, to Granville Towe of Hampton, Virginia, and Margret Corprew of Deepcreek, Virginia; resided at 530 Stemmery; was married to George Barnes; and worked  a day laborer at a tobacco manufacturing company. Ambrose Towe, 112 Vick Street, was informant.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 530 Stemmery, rented for $8/month, Blannie Bostic, 25, log cutting laborer; Dallas Bostic, 18, new worker; Ide Bostic, 15; Esque Bostic, 17, farm laborer; and their mother Issabell Bostic, 58, widow, tobacco factory laborer.

In 1940, four of Isabell Bostick’s sons registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per their registration cards, Askue [Askew] Bostick was born 11 October 1921 in Lake City, South Carolina; his address was Bailey, Nash County; his contact was mother Isabelle Bostick, 530 Stemmery Street; and he was employed by farmer Sam Privette of Bailey. Blannie Bostick was born 12 March 1909 in Florence County, South Carolina; resided at 604 Vance Street; his contact was Isabelle Bostick, 530 Stemmery; and he was employed by Dan King, Tillman Road, Wilson. Clifton Bostick was born 15 March 1916 in Lake City , South Carolina; his address was 604 East Vance; his contact was Isobell Bostick, 530 Stemmery; and he worked for Imperial Tobacco, Lodge and South Streets. Mayhue Bostic was born 7 March 1914 in Florence County, South Carolina; resided at 530 Stemmery; his contact was wife Elizabeth Bostic; and he was not employed.

In 1941, Dallas Bostick registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 2 January 1920 in Lake City, South Carolina; lived at 530 Stemmery; his contact was Isabell Bostick, 530 Stemmery; and was unemployed.

The 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory lists at 530 Stemmery tobacco worker Blanie Bostick, tobacco worker Dallas Bostick, dishwasher I.D. Bostick, and Isabel Bostick.

In 1942, Ide Bostick registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 2 August 1922 in Wilson; he resided at 530 Stemmery Street; his mailing address was 609 North 7th Street, Wilmington, N.C.; his contact was Isabell Bostick, 530 Stemmery; and he worked for N.C. Shipbuilding Company, Wilmington.

Askew Bostic died 13 June 1953 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 18 August 1918 in South Carolina to L.H. Bostick and Isabella Hickson; had worked as a laborer; and resided at 530 Stemmery.

Willis Bostic died 3 March 1964 at his home at 530 Stemmery Street. Per his death certificate, he was born 18 March 1905 in Williamsburg, South Carolina, to Lawyer Bostic and Isabella Hickson; he was the widower of Mariah Bostic; and he worked as a laborer. Informant was Isabella Bostic, 530 Stemmery.

Photograph of houses by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2011.

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