Month: March 2018

94 acres, more or less.

Just two years into freedom, Patrick Williamson paid $163 to purchase his first real property at auction. According to his descendants, some of the land remains in the family’s hands:

This Indenture made the 28th day of January 1868 between Thomas Lamm administrator of Martin R Thorn deceased of the County of Wilson State of North Carolina of the first part & Patrick Williamson of the county & State aforesaid of the second part, Whereas at the Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions held for the County of Wilson on the fourth Monday in October 1867 it was ordered by the said court in a said cause then pending in said court wherein Thomas Lamm administrators petitions that the land mentioned in the petition in this case be sold  on a credit of six months &c and Thomas Lamm in pursuance of said order did on the 22nd day of October 1867 sell at public auction the tract of land hereinafter described having first been given lawful notice of the time & place of sale by advertisements at which sale the land was struck off to Patrick Williamson for the sum of one hundred & sixty three dollars that being the high bid for the same & whereas said party of second part having complied with the terms of said sale & whereas the said Williamson hath fully paid off said purchase money together with all Lawful Interest, Now Therefore the Indenture witnesses that the said Thomas Lamb administrator had granted bargained sold & conveyed to the said party of the second part his heirs & assigns The tract of land in the county of Wilson known as the Martin R. Thomas tract adjoining the lands Wilie Lamm Ransom Thorn et al containing ninety four acres more or less to have & to hold the same to him & his heirs forever      Thomas X Lamm

A Barnes

The Execution of the foregoing deed was duly acknowledged before me by Thomas Lamm the subscriber this 29th day of Dec 1868 Let the same be registered.    A Barnes Probate Judge

Deed book 2, page 568, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson, Wilson County.

Surprise verdicts?

Just after Christmas 1948, an all-white jury acquitted Woodrow Taylor, a white service station operator, in the murder of Hugh Bynum, a black man.

In a nutshell: Bynum and Taylor had a “conversation” about a pack of cigarettes. Bynum stepped out of the store. Taylor followed and asked, “You don’t think I’ll kill you?” Bynum said no. Taylor went back in and returned with a shotgun. Again: “You don’t think I’ll kill you?” And shot Bynum in the chest. Or, “the gun went off” — Taylor said it fired accidentally when he tried to set it down on a “cold drink crate.” And he denied aggressively questioning Bynum. The jury believed him.

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Wilson Daily Times, 29 December 1948.

Bynum was not the only black man whose manner of death went before a jury that day. On 7 October 1947, William Cooper was thrown into the street at Nash and Pender Streets when M.O. Tripp, driving drunk, struck his wagon. Cooper died two weeks of later of injuries sustained, and Tripp was charged with manslaughter. The Daily Times reported the verdict in this case the next day. Surprise.

Wilson Daily Times, 30 December 1948.

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In the 1920 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Lynn Bynum, 70; wife Lena, 50; and children Patience, 18, Lynn, 8, Harvey, 6, Hubert, 5, and Bunny, 3.

In 1940, Hubert Bynum registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born in 1915 in Edgecombe County; resided at Route 1, Stantonsburg, Wilson County; and his contact and employer was his first cousin Jack Bynum. He was described as “feeble-minded” with a “displaced eye.”

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In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: William F. Cooper, 43, delivery man for ice and coal company; wife Lillie, 30, cook; and step-daughter Anna Bobbitt, 16.

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“Wide A-wa-ake Lo-ove!” — the Wilson County roots of Tupac Shakur.

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Tupac Amaru Shakur (1971-1996).

Via his maternal grandfather, Tupac Amaru Shakur had roots in Wilson County. He and his mother, Afeni Shakur, were descendants of Jack and Cassey Exum Sherrod, whose homestead was profiled here. Jack and Cassey Sherrod’s daughter Fannie married George Washington Powell, a native of northern Nash County. The couple and their children were tenant farmers or sharecroppers and moved often among the counties surrounding Wilson. Fannie and George Powell’s daughter Lena B. Powell married a Greene County native, Walter L. Williams, and this family also appear to have been sharecroppers in Wilson and bordering counties. Walter L. Williams Jr. married Rossie Bell McLellan of Robeson County, North Carolina, in Portsmouth, Virginia, in 1944. The couple returned to North Carolina, where the future Afeni Shakur was born Alice Faye Williams in 1947.

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In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Jack Sherard, 26, wife Cassey, 25, and daughter Fanny, 4.

In the 1880 census of Nahunta, Wayne County: farmer Jack Sherod, 37; wife Cassey, 28; and children Fanny, 12, William, 9, Ida, 7, Marcy, 2, John, 5, and Benny, 11 months.

On 18 October 1893, George Powell, 24, of Town of Wilson, son of Lawson and Lany Powell of Nash County, married Fannie Sherrod, 23, of Town of Wilson, daughter of Jack and Cassa Sherrod of Wilson County. A.M.E. Zion minister L.B. Williams performed the ceremony in the presence of Rev. L.J. Melton, Rev. Fred M. Davis, and S.A. Smith.

In the 1900 census of North Whitakers township, Nash County: farmer George Powell, 33; wife Fannie, 20; and sons Earnest, 4, Sylvester, 3, and James C., 1.

In the 1910 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: farmer George W. Powell, 42; wife Fannie, 40; and children Earnest, 14, Sylvester, 12, Carter, 9, Lena, 8, Burser, 5, Ida, 3, and Bruss M., 2.

In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer George Powell, 51; wife Fannie, 51; and children Silvester, 22, Cartis, 20, Lena, 18, Bertha, 16, Ida, 14, and Fannie, 12.

On 31 March 1920, Carter Powell, 21, of Green County, son of George and Fannie Powell, married Anna Barnes, 18, of Stantonsburg, daughter of Harry and Rena Barnes, in Stantonsburg, Wilson County. George Powell witnessed the ceremony.

On 12 June 1921, Lena B. Powell, 21, of Saratoga, daughter of G.W. and Fannie Powell, married Walter Williams, 28, of Greene County, son of Henry and Sarah Williams, in Saratoga. Rev. E.H. Cox of U.A.F.W. church presided, and John Williams of Saratoga, H.T. Dillard of Wilson, and Mable Speight of Saratoga witnessed.

In the 1930 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer George Powell, 60; wife Fannie, 60, washer woman; and children Bruce, 21, and Fannie, 16.

In the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Buckhorn Road, farmer Walter L. Williams, 37; wife Lena B., 29; and children Walter Jr., 8, Ernest H., 6, Lafaett, 3, Hattie M., 1, Ada G., 1, and sister-in-law Fannie I. Powell, 16.

George Powell died 18 August 1930 in Stantonsburg township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1869 in Nash County to Lawson Powell and Lannie Taylor; was a farmer; was married to Fannie Powell. Informant was Robert Powell, Stantonsburg.

In the 1940 census of Great Swamp township, Wayne County: farmer Walter Williams, 48; wife Lena, 39; and children Walter Jr., 18, Ernest Hubert, 16, Lafayette, 14, Hettie May, 12, Ada Gold, 10, Juanita, 8, Sharon, 6, and Charles Ray, 9 months.

In 1942, Walter Williams Jr. registered for the World War II draft in Goldsboro, Wayne County. Per his registration card, he was born 2 April 1922 in Walstonburg, North Carolina; resided at 505 East Chapel Street, Goldsboro; his contact was mother Lena B. Williams, Route 1, Fremont, North Carolina; and his employer was Ossie Wiggs, Route 1, Goldsboro.

On 26 July 1944, Walter Williams Jr., 23, of Walstonburg, North Carolina, son of Walter Williams Sr. and Lena B. Powell, resident of Norfolk, married Rosabella McLellan, 26, of Rowland, North Carolina, daughter of Kenny McLellan and Rosa Lee Powell, resident of Portsmouth, in Portsmouth, Virginia.

Alice Faye Williams [later, Afeni Shakur] was born 10 January 1947 in Robeson County, North Carolina, to Rossie Bell McLelland and Walter Williams Jr.

Joseph Sylvester Powell died 13 July 1958 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 1896 in Wayne County  to George Powell and Fannie Sherrod; was unemployed; was married to Minnie Powell; lived at 108 Powell Street. Informant was Bertha Reid, Wilson.

Bertha Powell Reid died 6 June 1970 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 1 January 1904 to George Powell and Fannie Sherrod; and resided at 118 Irma Street. Mrs. Fannie Burgess, 404 East Banks Street, Wilson, was informant.

Tupac Amaru Shakur was born 16 June 1971 in New York City. [His birth name was Lesane Crooks.]

Bruce Powell died 5 October 1971 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 21 December 1906 to George Powell and Fannie Sherrod; was a farmer; was married to Blonnie Sauls; and resided at 108 Powell Street.

Rev. Walter Larry Williams died 6 November 1973 in Kenly, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 March 1893 to Henry and Sarah Williams. Informant was Mrs. Ada Jones, Kenly.

James Carter Powell died 13 October 1980 in Wilson Per his death certificate, he was born 4 January 1900 in Nash County to G.W. Powell and Fannie Sherrod; worked as a butler; and was a widower.

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Afeni Shakur (1947-2016).

Many thanks to Edith Lee Harris for bringing this connection to my attention.

Image of Tupac Shakur courtesy allhiphop.com, copyright holder unknown; image of Afeni Shakur (c) Associated Press, 2016.

 

 

Greetings.

This linen postcard depicts scenes from Wilson, including notable buildings, a tobacco auction, and three African-American fieldhands — all children — posing under the watchful eye of a white boss.

The Curt Teich & Co. card is undated, but in Historic Wilson in Vintage Postcards (2003), J. Robert Boykin III places it in the 1930s. He also identifies the farmer overseeing the children as C.D. West.

She slapped him. He slapped back and kicked, too.

Wilson Daily Times, 1 January 1943.

The story is not only astounding for the audacity of Henry Barefoot‘s stand in his own defense, but also for the even-handedness of justice meted out to the juvenile, even if it left the judge indignant.

(Meanwhile, undertaker Columbus E. Artis and Lemore Hannah appeared before the bench on charges of operating an unlicensed taxi.)

  • Henry Barefoot — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 308 Lane Street, presser Linwood Barefoot, 43; wife Bertha, 38, laundress; and sons John, 18, hospital kitchen helper, Stanley, 15, Norris, 13, Henry, 12, Curtis, 12, Jerome, 8, and Marvin, 5. (It is worthwhile to note that Henry left Wilson sometime after this incident. When he registered for the World War II draft at age 18, he was living in Baltimore, Maryland.)
  • Columbus E. Artis
  • Lemore Hannah — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 709 Vance Street, Lemore Hannah, 30, furniture store worker; sister Ruth, 20, factory worker; daughter Ollie, 7, and Camilla Hannah, 2.

 

Studio shots, no. 74: Dora Taylor Davis Strickland.

Dora Taylor Davis Strickland (1876-1949).

In the 1880 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: Elithia Driver, 60, “staying with niece”; Harriett Taylor, 35, and her children Margrett, 12, Ellen, 9, John H., 6, and Dora, 4. Elithia and Harriett were white; Harriett’s children were mulatto. Next door: farmer Ivory Evans, 50, and wife Sally, 45, both mulatto.

Ivy Evans, 56, of Taylors township, son of Betsy Evans, married Harriett Taylor, 47, of Taylors township, daughter of Sally Taylor, on 10 May 1890 in Wilson County.

On 7 April 1900, John Davis, 50, of Wilson County, married Dora Taylor, 21, of Wilson, daughter of Ira [Ivy] Evans and Harriette Taylor. A justice of the peace performed the ceremony in Old Fields township in the presence of John A. Jones, James E. Jones and Deal Howard.

In the 1900 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer John Davis, 63; wife Dora, 25; and children John D., 21, Joseph H., 19, James I., 17, Minsey J., 14, Richard E., 12, Gale A., 10, Sidney A., 7, and Iva, age illegible.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Ellen [sic] Evans, 39; wife Eliza, 25; son Thomas, 18; mother Harriet, 68, cook; widowed sister Dora Davis, 28; and nieces and nephews Levi, 14, Ivy, 12, Lillie, 10, Mamie, 5, and Margaret Davis, 2.

Levi Evans, 23, of Taylors township, son of Dora Evans, married Nancy Coleman, 18, of Taylors township, daughter of Tom and Mollie Coleman, on 8 September 1916 in Taylors township.

On 4 February 1919, Dora Davis, 45, of Nash County, married Isiah Strickland, 35, of Nash County in Wilson County. S.B. Davis, minister of the Church of God, performed the ceremony at Bryant Lucas’ house in the presence of Jack Smith of Wilson and Bryant Lucas and Tomas Eatman of Nash County.

In the 1920 census of Jackson township, Nash County: Isac Strickland, 36; wife Dora, 46; and daughters Lillie, 19, Margrett, 12, and Henretta, 6.

In the 1930 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Isaac Strickland, 40; wife Dora, 50; mother-in-law [sic] Margret Strickland, 23, and her son Elgin, 2; and daughters Henrietta, 18, and Mamie Davis, 24.

Leroy Taylor, 33, of Wilson County, son of Herbert and Bertha Taylor, married Margaret Davis, 26, of Wilson County, daughter of John and Dora Davis, on 26 May 1934 in Nashville, Nash County.

Levy Evans died 6 November 1970 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 18 July 1898 to Dora Evans and an unknown father; was married to  Lottie Joyner; and had worked as a farmer.

In 1945, Elgin Alton Davis registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 25 August 1927 in Wilson County; resided at Route 1 Box 265, Wilson; his contact was Dora Strickland, same address; and he worked for Floyd Williamson, Route 1.

Mamie Davis Pulley died 16 May 1971 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 10 September 1905 to John Davis and Dora Evans; was a widow; and resided at Route 1, Wilson.

Dora Strickland died 6 August 1949 in Taylor township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 22 July 1899 in Wilson County to Ivory Evans and Harriet Taylor and was married to Isaac Strickland.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry user RoslynRivers.

 

Supercentenarian.

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Maggie Hinnant Barnes at age 115.

“Maggie Pauline Barnes (née Hinnant; 6 March 1882 – 19 January 1998) was a verified American supercentenarian who holds the record for the oldest verified person from the state of North Carolina. She claimed to be 117 but her age was verified as being born on 6 March 1882 (according to a family bible; the 1900 census said “Mar 1881”) and she died 19 January 1998, from gangrene infection, at the age of 115 years, 319 days. She was survived by 4 of her 15 children. She was the 3rd-oldest verified living person and the 2nd-oldest in the United States after Sarah Knauss, although she has since been surpassed by Jeralean Talley, Besse Cooper, and Susannah Mushatt Jones, among others.

“Maggie Pauline Hinnant was born in Black Creek, Wilson, North Carolina as the daughter of Louzaine Hinnant and an unknown father. She married William Orangie Barnes at Maggie’s stepfather Dread’s farm in Black Creek, Wilson 22 October 1899. The couple would have 15 children, of which eight would reach an adult age: Lillian, Clara, Gladys, Nell, Willie, Mary, Ruth and Mildred. The family moved to Kenly, Wilson, North Carolina in 1904 and Maggie spent the remaining part of her life in this area. Maggie Barnes died in Kenly, Johnston, North Carolina 19 January 1998 aged 115 years, 319 years.”

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On 22 October 1899, William Barnes, 22, of Wilson County, son of Gastin and Waity Barnes, married Maggie Hinnant, 19, of Wilson County, daughter of Luzana Hinnant, at Dread Barnes‘ house in Black Creek. Joseph Farmer, Grant Farmer and C.H. Darden were witnesses.

In the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Orange W. Barnes, 21, sawmill laborer, and wife Maggie, 18, farm laborer.

Entry and photo from gerontology.wikia.com.

Cockrell’s Grocery.

Wilson Daily Times, 16 August 1946.

Cockrell’s Grocery, at the corner of Green and Pettigrew Streets one block east of the railroad, served a largely African-American clientele. The building at 404 East Green now houses Saint Mary’s Love and Faith church, a Holiness congregation. Billy Strayhorn and Swindell McDonald, despite their length of service, were teenagers at the time this article was printed. I cannot identify William White with certainty.

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404 East Green Street, courtesy Google Maps.

Obituary of James Taylor.

Wilson Daily Times, October 1944.

In the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: James Taylor, 19, farm laborer; his mother Martha, 57; sister Mallie, 27, and her children Anna, 14, Maggie, 11, Alice, 6, and Mattie Taylor, 2.

On 13 December 1905, James Taylor, 23, of Taylor township, married Dora Locus, 36, of Nash County, in Wilson County.

In the 1910 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: on Farmer’s Mill Road, farmer James Taylor, 28; wife Dora, 34; nephews James, 8, and Booker T. Taylor, 6; niece Mattie Taylor, 12; stepson Willie Locust, 16; and niece Maggie Parker, 22, and her children Wiley D., 3, and Odus Lee Parker, 8 months. Next door, Lemon Taylor, 79, and wife Martha, 69.

In the 1920 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: on Nash Road, farmer James Taylor, 38, and wife Dora, 42.

In the 1930 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer James Taylor, 48; wife Dora, 50; and sister-in-law Mattie, 30, widow, and her children William M., 12, Irine, 11, Mildred G., 10, and Ardie L., 6.

James Taylor died 4 October 1944 in Taylor township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 71 years old; was born in Wilson County to Leonard Taylor and Martha Farmer; was married to Dora Taylor; was a farmer; and was buried in Farmer’s cemetery.

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.

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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.

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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.