Month: May 2018

1007 East Nash Street.

The seventieth 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. 1930; 1 story; double shotgun with bungalow-type porch posts.”

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: McBrayer Glenn S (c; Lillian) lawyer h 1007 E Nash. [The house is not listed in the 1930 census.]

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1007 East Nash Street, (1) paying $/11 month rent, Elizabeth Hardy, 29, husband Herman, 33, a “P.W.A.” laborer, and son Leroy, 5; and (2) also paying $11/month rent, Carter Powell, 42, stationary fireman for apartment building, and wife Anna, 35.

In 1940, Herman Hardy registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 8 December 1907 in Greene County; his contact was wife Elizabeth Hardy, 1007 East Nash; and he worked for Watson Tobacco Company, Wilson.

In 1940, Carter James Powell registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 4 January 1899 in Nash County; his contact was Sylvester Powell, “no number” East Nash “near Gills Store”; and he worked for Dr. M.A. Pittman, Raleigh Highway, Wilson, who was a second contact.

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hardy Mrs Eliz (c; nurse) 1007 E Nash

Virginia A. Jones died 3 July 1966 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 May 1879 in Wilson County to Enos and Cherry Applewhite; had been a farmer; was the widow of Joseph Jones; and resided at 1007 East Nash. Informant was [daughter] Elizabeth Hardy, 1007 East Nash.

Walter Jones died 31 November 1973 at home at 1007 East Nash, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 August 1921 in Wilson County to Joseph Jones and Virginia Applewhite; had been a cook; and was married to Nora Allen. Informant was sister Elizabeth Hardy, 1007 East Nash.

Elmer Jones died 21 March 1975 at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Durham, N.C. Per his death certificate, he was born 20 January 1920 in Wilson County to Joseph Jones and Virginia Applewhite; had been a porter-electrician; had never married; and resided at 1007 East Nash. Informant was sister Elizabeth Hardy, 1007 East Nash.

Elizabeth Jones Hardy lived in her home at 1007 East Nash until she passed away in 2001.

 Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2017.

Smith student attains distinction.

Wilson Daily Times, 22 March 1935.

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In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Warren Street, Hester Haskins, 56; and children Estella, 18, Annie, 22, Martha, 36, Ernest, 21, Ambroga, 17, Damp, 12, and [grandson] Joseph, 8.

On 15 November 1922, George Pitt, 31, of Nash County, son of Wiley Pitt and Ida McNair, married Martha Haskins, 30, of Wilson, daughter of Damp and Hester Haskins. James Haskins applied for the license, and Missionary Baptist minister John A. Mebane performed the ceremony in the presence of Glenn S. McBrayer, Jeff Holloway and Eula Farmer.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1200 Wainwright Street, owned and valued at $1700, Damp Haskins, 24, laborer at Coca-Cola plant; wife Sudie B., 21; children Damp Jr., 2, and Hellen, 6 months; widowed mother Hester, 72; brother [nephew] Joseph, 18; Martha Pitt, 52; and nephew Jim R. Haskins, 10.

On 18 February 1931, Jos. F. Haskins, 19, son of Jas. Haskins and Martha H. Pitt, married Beatrice O. Bryant, 17, daughter of Isham and Rossie Bryant. Rev. J.T. Douglas performed the ceremony at Calvary Presbyterian Church in the presence of Judge Mitchell and the Bryants.

In the 1940 census of Washington, D.C.: at 1231 W Street, N.W.: at 1231 W Street N.W., barber John Jones, 37, wife Sarah, 37, and daughter Ruby, 13; and hotel waiter Joseph Haskins, 27, mother Martha, 58, and uncle James, 36, post office department laborer. Both Joseph and Martha reported being divorced, and both had lived in Wilson, North Carolina, five years previously. [Joseph also reported that he had completed three years of college, which suggests that did not finish Johnson C. Smith.]

In 1940, Joseph Franklin Haskins registered for the World War II draft in Washington, D.C. Per his registration card, he was born 8 January 1913 in Durham, North Carolina; resided at 1231 W Street, N.W.; his contact was mother Martha Whitehead Haskins, 1231 W Street, N.W.; and he worked for Dr. R.M. Williams, 1914 – 11th Street, N.W.

On 11 April 1942, Joseph Franklin Haskins married Florence Windom Green in Washington, D.C.

Joseph Franklin Haskins died 16 September 1983 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Johnson C. Smith University Bulletin (1935), page 109.

Work and that woman has kept me right.

Martha Tyson Dixon‘s husband Luke D. Dixon consented to a Federal Writers Project interview, too. His story, starting with his Africa-born grandparents, is electric.

“My father’s owner was Jim Dixon in Elmo County, Virginia. That is where I was born. I am 81 years old. Jim Dixon had several boys — Baldwin and Joe. Joe took some of the slaves his pa gave him, and went to New Mexico to shun the war. Uncle and Pa went in the war as waiters. They went in at the ending up. We lived on the big road that run to the Atlantic Ocean. Not far from Richmond. Ma lived three or four miles from Pa. She lived across big creek — now they call it Farrohs Run. Ma belonged to Harper Williams. Pa’s folks was very good but Ma’s folks was unpleasant.

“Ma lived to be 103 years old. Pa died in 1905 and was 105 years old. I used to set on Grandma’s lap and she told me about how they used to catch people in Africa. They herded them up like cattle and put them in stalls and brought them on the ship and sold them. She said some they captured they left bound till they come back and sometimes they never went back to get them. They died. They had room in the stalls on the boat to set down or lie down. They put several together. Put the men to themselves and the women to themselves. When they sold Grandma and Grandpa at a fishing dock called New Port, Va., they had their feet bound down and their hands bound crossed, up on a platform. They sold Grandma’s daughter to somebody in

“Texas. She cried and she begged to let them be together. They didn’t pay no ‘tension to her. She couldn’t talk but she made them know she didn’t want to be parted. Six years after slavery they got together. When a boat was to come in people come and wait to buy slaves. They had several days of selling. I never seen this but that is the way it was told to me.

“The white folks had a iron clip that fastened the thumbs together and they would swing the man or woman up in a tree and whoop them. I seen that done in Virginia across from where I lived. I don’t know what the folks had done. They pulled the man up with block and tackle.

“Another thing I seen done was put three or four chinquapin switches together green, twist them and dry them. They would dry like a leather whip. They whooped the slaves with them.

“Grandpa was named Sam Abraham and Phillis Abraham was his mate. They was sold twice. Once she was sold away from her husband to a speculator. Well, it was hard on the Africans to be treated like animals. I never heard of the Nat Turner rebellion. I have heard of slaves buying their own freedom. I don’t know how it was done. I have heard of folks being helped to run off. Grandma on mother’s side had a brother run off from Dalton, Mississippi to the North. After the war he come to Virginia.

“When freedom was declared we left and went to Wilmington and Wilson, North Carolina. Dixon never told us we was free but at the end of the year he gave my father a gray mule he had ploughed for a long time and part of the crop. My mother jes

“picked us up and left her folks now. She was cooking then I recollect. Folks jes went wild when they got turned loose.

“My parents was first married under a twenty five cents license law in Virginia. After freedom they was remarried under a new law and the license cost more but I forgot how much. They had fourteen children to my knowing. After the war you could register under any name you give yourself. My father went by the name of Right Dixon and my mother Jilly Dixon.

“The Ku Klux was bad. They was a band of land owners what took the law in hand. I was a boy. I scared to be caught out. They took the place of pattyrollers before freedom.

“I never went to public school but two days in my life. I went to night school and paid Mr. J.C. Price and Mr. S.H. Vick to teach me. My father got his leg shot off and I had to work. It kept me out of meanness. Work and that woman has kept me right. I come to Arkansas, brought my wife and one child, April 5, 1889. We come from Wilson, North Carolina. Her people come from North Carolina and Moultrie, Georgia.

“I do vote. I sell eggs or a little something and keep my taxes paid up. It look like I’m the kind of folks the government would help — them that works and tries hard to have something — but seems like they don’t get no help. They wouldn’t help me if I was bout to starve. I vote a Republican ticket.”

NOTE: On the wall in the dining room, used as a sitting room, was framed picture of Booker T. Washington and Teddy Roosevelt sitting at a round-shaped hotel dining table ready to be

“served. Underneath the picture in large print was “Equality.” I didn’t appear to ever see the picture.

This negro is well-fixed for living at home. He is large and very black, but his wife is a light mulatto with curly, nearly straightened hair.

——

This is the image that Luke Dixon’s interviewer so studiously ignored. The event it depicted, which scandalized white America in 1901, is the subject of Deborah Davis’ recent book, Guest of Honor: Booker T. Washington, Teddy Roosevelt and the White House Dinner That Shocked a Nation (2012).

I have not found Luke Dixon or his parents in the censuses of Virginia. There is no “Elmo County,” Virginia, but New Port may have been Newport News, which was little more than a fishing village in the antebellum era.

Dixon apparently attended night school at Wilson Academy, but it is not clear when. Joseph C. Price headed the school from 1871 to 1873, when Samuel H. Vick was just a child. Vick assumed the helm at age 21 after graduating from Lincoln University.

I hope my white friends will remember me.

I do not know the context of this puzzling letter Rev. Jeremiah Scarborough wrote to the editor of Wilson Times.

Wilson Times, 15 September 1899.

Twenty years later, Scarborough was still preaching the gospel of accommodationism.

Wilson Times, 2 June 1919.

——

Scarborough is elusive in records, too. He appears in the 1877 edition of Shaw University’s catalog as a Wake Forest native and graduate of its Normal School division. He is also listed in Claude Trotter’s History of the Wake Baptist Association, Its Auxiliaries and Churches, 1866-1966 (1876) as a pastor in 1878 at Wake County’s Friendship Chapel, near Wake Forest.

The Greatest Generation: M. Elmer Carter Jr.

Milford Elmer Carter Jr. recently celebrated his 95th birthday. Born in Wilson in 1923 to Wayne County natives Milford E. and Beulah Aldridge Carter, he and his family boarded briefly in Cora Miller Washington‘s home at 701 East Green Street, around the corner from the Elba Street home of Milford Carter Sr’s uncle, Jesse A. Jacobs Jr. and, per the 1922 city directory, lived at 905 East Vance Street. The family soon migrated to Pennsylvania, then New York City. M. Elmer Carter Jr. is a veteran of World War II.

Photos courtesy of Carla Carter Jacobs.

Where did they go?: California World War II draft registrations.

These men, who registered for the World War II draft across California, reported that they were born in Wilson, North Carolina.

  • Lenard Barnes

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  • Oscar DeBell

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In the 1940 census of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California: at 300 East 51st Street, renting an apartment for $30/month, Wyman H. Burney, 43, born in Kansas, bartender at steam railroad bar, and Oscar DeBell, 37, born in North Carolina, janitor at a motion picture studio. DeBell reported that he had lived in New York City five years before.

  • Samuel Clinton Dupree

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  • Robert Haskins

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  • Lee Morgan

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In the 1940 census of Oakland, Alameda County, California: Lee Morgan, 51, waiter for shipping company, born in North Carolina. He reported that he had lived in Seattle, Washington, five years prior.

  • Oscar Williams

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Doings at Saint Luke A.M.E.

Wilson Daily Times, 20 October 1936.

Wilson Daily Times, 26 October 1938.

  • Saint Luke African Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Ella Bryant — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 200 Pettigrew Street, a duplex shared by two families paying $10/month rent each, tobacco factory laborer Johnnie Battle, 28, wife Annie, 26, maid, and children Clinton, 9, and Willie O., 6; and hospital cook William Bryant, 55, wife Ella, 53, and niece Willie Merrill, 23, both cooks for private families; Ella Jane Bryant died 10 March 1945 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was about 56 years old; was born in Ivanhoe, North Carolina, to John Pridgeon and Maggie Ferrelle; was married to William Bryant; and resided at 200 Pettigrew Street. She was buried in Ivanhoe [Sampson County].
  • Jennie Joyner
  • Will Rogers — perhaps, in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 612 Spruce Street, paying $9/month rent, Wiley Lucas, 73; wife Lizzie Lucas, 64; daughter Ruth Lucas, 19, folder of clothes at a laundry; grandson Lemon Morgan, 15; and lodger William Rogers, 27, W.P.A. laborer.
  • Rev. Coaxum
  • Jeanette Grainger — the “Mrs.” before her name, alone of all the women mentioned in these articles, signifies Grainger’s status as a white woman. In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 202 Broad Street, Jeannette Grainger, manager of state employment office; her sister Rosa McFarand, chief operator at the telephone company; and father Robert McFarland, all born in Virginia.
  • Georgia Mason — in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 110 Manchester Street, rented for $12/month, Melvin Mason, 50, and wife Georgia, 46, both tobacco factory laborers.
  • Mae Pridgen
  • Rev. D.A. Purefoy — Dallie Purefoy died 13 July 1946 at his home at 104 South Vick Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 18 August 1889 in Johnston County to Sam Purefoy of Durham County and Effie Nunn of Johnston County; was a minister; was married to Rhoda Purefoy; and was buried in Wilson Mill cemetery, Johnston County.
  • Johnnie Freeman
  • Jeana Joyner [perhaps same as Jennie Joyner, above]

The Harris Brothers.

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Elm City’s Harris Brothers Quartet. Left to right: Jesse Harris Jr., William Amos Harris, Archie Harris, James Roscoe Harris Sr., and Willie Richardson (on guitar). [The photo is dated about 1945, but likely was somewhat later, as William Amos Harris was born in 1932 and Archie Harris in 1933.]

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In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Jessie Harris, 34; wife Delphia, 36; and children Rosetta, 12, Alberta, 9, James, 2, and Jessie James, 1; and mother Rosa, 66.

In the 1940 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farm laborer Jack Harris, 43; wife Delphia, 40; children Rosetta, 22, Odell, 20, Annie M., 15, James Oscar, 13, Jessie, 12, Thelma, 10, Amos, 8, Archie, 7, and Chaney Mae, 5; plus grandchildren Ned, 5, and Leroy, 1.

Photo courtesy of Jerry Harris (and printed in the Wilson Daily Times, 25 May 2018).