Month: July 2018

Batts Grocery.

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This photograph depicts the interior of Graham W. Batts’ grocery at 418 South Goldsboro Street. Batts is standing at right. The unidentified African-American man and woman at rear likely were employees.

The west side of the entire 400 block of South Goldsboro Street — between Jones and Hines Streets — has been demolished. 418 stood in what is now the grassy side parcel of a Family Dollar store.

Photograph courtesy of Keith Thomas. Many thanks for sharing.

Andrew Cotton, seaman.

Andrew Cotton applied for a Seaman’s Protection Certificate in May 1936. American seamen carried the document as proof of citizenship in foreign ports. Per his application, Cotton was born 19 June 1904 in Sharpsburg, North Carolina; resided at 207 West 137th Street, New York City; and had last worked on the S.S. Evangeline as a waiter. He was 5’8″ with dark brown skin, brown eyes and black hair and had no identifying marks.

In the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Levy Edwards Road, Isaac Cotton, 44; wife Flonnie, 34; and children Coloneous, 18, Lucy, 16, Sidney, 13, Mary, 11, Isaac E., 8, Andrew, 6, Levy, 4, and Clarence, 1.

Passenger lists from 1938 to 1954 show Cotton shipping out of ports on both sides of the Atlantic, including New York, New York; Yarmouth, Nova Scotia; Saint Georges and Hamilton, Bermuda; Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; Hamburg, Germany; Gourock, Scotland; Southampton, England; Cobh, Ireland; and Genoa, Italy.

U.S. Applications for Seaman’s Protection Certificates, 1916-1940 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com; original document at Application for Seaman’s Protection Certificates, 1916-1940, Records of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation, 1774-1982, Record Group 41, National Archives, Washington, D.C; New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

Nurse Allen, faithful and thoughtful, dies.

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Wilson Daily Times, 7 June 1937.

In the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Allen James eating house 217 S Goldsboro h 112 Ashe and Allen Rachel cook h 112 Ashe

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Allen James B (c; Rachel) restr 217 Goldsboro h 900 Atlanta

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 900 Atlantic Street, rented for $20/month, cafe proprietor Jim Allen, 45; wife Rachel, 32, private family nurse; children Elouise, 10, and Fred, 8; and lodgers Floyd Baker, 26, laborer; Gertrude Kannary, 27, cook; and Katherine, 10, Dortha, 7, and Elouise Baker, 1.

Per her death certificate, Rachel Allen died 5 June 1937 at Mercy Hospital. She was 40 years old; was married to James Allen; was born in Dunn, North Carolina, to Edward Armstrong and Cornelius [sic] Armstrong; worked as a midwife and practical nurse; and resided at 405 East Green Street. Maggie Armstrong of Durham was informant.

 

 

These streets, 1904.

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The United States Geological Survey’s 1904 topographic map of Wilson Quadrangle offers clear detail of Wilson just after the turn of the 20th century.

East Wilson’s streets are clearly recognizable to anyone who knows them today:

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A few observations:

  • The long diagonal at top right is now Ward Boulevard and, once it crosses U.S. Highway 301, Lipscomb Road.
  • Crowell, Vance, Viola and Green Streets terminated at the town limits, just west of present-day Vick Street. Elba is the tiny street between Green and Viola.
  • Church Street runs parallel and south of Green.
  • Though Manchester appears to continue north across Nash Street, it in fact doglegged slightly to become Ashe Street.
  • The street I’ve identified as East may have been Narroway.
  • Once it crossed city limits headed east, Nash Street became the Plank Road. It is now known as Martin Luther King Parkway east of U.S. Highway 301.
  • Pender Street became Stantonsburg Street when it crossed Nash. Now, just past Cemetery Street, the street is Black Creek Road. Another road branches off to join Lane Street. Just south of what is now Lincoln Street, the road branches again. The eastern branch (below the number 133) is now Stantonsburg Road.
  • The map shows a couple of houses on the north side of Lane Street, located on land that is now part of Rest Haven cemetery. The map also shows a tee intersection at elevation 131. One may still turn left toward Rountree cemetery on the continuation of Lane Street, but there is no road to the right.
  • The waterway in the top right corner is Toisnot Swamp. The smaller waterways south of Toisnot are branches of Hominy Swamp.

On the other side of town, Grabneck is also clearly visible at upper left:

 

The colored people deserve this relief.

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Wilson Daily Times, 19 February 1937.

In 1940, the city of Wilson took definite steps to close down the town’s old colored cemetery, which had had no burials since the mid-1920s, and move its graves to the new cemetery, Rest Haven. As this article demonstrates, however, conditions at Rest Haven were also challenging. Unpaved and poorly maintained roads and access drives, as well as bad drainage, blocked burials for weeks at a stretch, forcing undertakers to put bodies in storage.

An aged negro pays her respects.

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Wilson Daily Times, 23 August 1929.

I have not been able to locate Lucy Worthington in records.

Virginia “Jennie” Wise Boykin’s husband William Monroe Boykin was the son of Hilliard and Willie Flowers Boykin. In the 1850 census of Nash County, Hilliard Boykin reported $200 worth of real estate and, in the slave schedule, ownership of three enslaved people — a 35 year-old mulatto man, a 21 year-old mulatto man, and an 11 year-old black girl. With the creation of Wilson County in 1855, the 1860 census found Hilliard Boykin in Old Fields district of Wilson County (with son Monro, 15, in his household), claiming $3000 in real property and $7655 in personal property, which included women aged 33 and 22; girls aged 3, 2, and one month; and boys aged 7, 5 and 4. Presumably, Lucy Worthington was one of this group of enslaved people.

Obituary of Mary Mercer Williams Bullock, 104.

Mrs. Mary M. Mercer Bullock, 104, of 1712 Westwood Avenue, Wilson, NC, passed away on January 4, 2017 at Wilson Medical Center.

The funeral service is scheduled for Wednesday, January, 11, 2017 at 12:00 noon at Contending For The Faith Church Ministries, 1006 Academy Street, Wilson, NC.  Elder Johnny Stevenson will deliver the message and burial will follow in Rest Haven Cemetery, Lane Street Ext., Wilson, NC.

A public viewing is scheduled for Tuesday, January 10, 2017 from 2:00 pm until 7:00 pm at Stevens Funeral Home, 1820 Martin Luther King, Jr. Parkway, Wilson, NC with the family present for an inspirational wake service from 6:00 pm until 7::00 pm.

Mrs. Bullock was preceded in death by her first husband and the father of her children, Samuel Williams.  Later, after Mr. Williams passed, she married Gurney Bullock who also passed prior to her death.  In addition, she was preceded in death by her parents, Dempsey Mercer and Mattie Knight Mercer; two sons, Samuel Williams, Jr. and Charlie Williams; one daughter, Elnora W. Williams Green; five brothers, Robert Mercer, Charles Mercer, Will Mercer, James Mercer and Walter Lee Mercer; and one sister, Cornelia Barnes.

She leaves cherished memories to: four daughters, Daisy Credle (Hubert) of Bayboro, NC, Cleo Applewhite (June) of Wilson, NC, Lugene Williams of the home and Mattie King of New York, NY; 22 grandchildren; 55 great grandchildren; 43 great great grandchildren;  and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.

Arrangements are Stevens Funeral Home, 1820 Martin Luther King, Jr. Parkway, Wilson, NC.

——

In the 1920 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Dempsy Mercer, 40, widower, and children Charley, 17, William, 15, Robert, 10, Walter, 9, and Maggie, 8; and sister-in-law Maggie Hines, 26, and her children Lula, 8, Silvy, 7, and James, 4.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 527 Lodge Street, Louise B. Johnson, 34; Samuel Williams, 34; wife Mary, 28; and children Samuel Jr., 11, Daisey Lee, 6, Cleo, 5, Charlie Lee, 2, and Eugenia, 9 months. Johnson and Samuel and Mary Samuel Williams worked in a tobacco redrying factory.

Samuel Williams died 5 June 1949 at Mercy Hospital in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 23 December 1904 in Wilson County to Bill Williams and Rachel Andrews; was a farmer; resided at Route 3, Elm City; and was buried in Rountree Cemetery. Mary Williams was informant.

Gurney Bullock, 48, son of Ed and Lula Thomas Bullock, married Mary Mercer Williams, 38, daughter of Demp and Mattie Knight Mercer, on 30 December 1950 in Wilson.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user credler2.

Obituary of Elizabeth Parker Baines, 99.

Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 10.00.21 PMMrs. Elizabeth Parker Baines, 99, of Wilson, NC died Tuesday, November 22, 2016, at Wilson Medical Center in Wilson. Funeral services will be held at 11 am on Saturday, November 26, 2016, at Mount Hebron Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 700 S. Pender St., in Wilson with Pastor Derrin Davis officiating. Entombment will follow in the Thomas – Yelverton at Evergreen Memorial Park, 2706 Nash Street in Wilson. Public viewing will be on Friday, November 25, 2016, from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Edwards Funeral Home Chapel. The family will assemble at 10 a.m. at Edwards Funeral Home on Saturday for the procession to the church. Condolences may be directed to edwardscares.com. Personal and professional services are entrusted to Edwards Funeral Home 805 Nash St. E. in Wilson.Obituary on-line.

Eating houses.

1916-17

Hill’s 1916-17 Wilson, N.C., city directory.

  • Smithy Atkinson
  • Nan Best — Nannie Best. In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 330 South Spring Street: widow Nannie Best, 61, her daughter Frank, 30, son Aaron, 21, and daughter-in-law Estelle, 19, and a lodger, nurse Henrietta Colvert, 24.
  • Burt L. Bowser
  • Dennis Brooks — In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County, 35 year-old Georgia-born merchant Dennis Brooks, wife Mary, 27, and daughter Aleo[illegible], 8, shared a household with Jordan Taylor, 50, and wife Matilda, 40. That same year, Brooks testified concerning a letter in the coroner’s inquest into the death of James A. Hunt. In 1904, Brooks testified at the coroner’s inquest into the death of George Williford concerning a conversation that took place in his bar.
  • Charles Hines — possibly, in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 408 Wiggins Street, grocery man Charlie Hines, 31; wife Eva, 29; children Anna, 3, and Charlie Jr., 7 months; and cousin Maria King, 10.
  • Goodsy H. Holden — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 603 Spring Street, brickmason Goodsey Holden, 59; wife Laura, 52; and roomer Carrie Strickland, 29, tobacco factory worker.
  • Willie A. Johnson
  • Frank Scarborough
  • Annie Smith

1925 eating houses

Hill’s 1925 Wilson, N.C., city directory.

  • James Allen
  • John Barnes
  • William I. Barnes — William Ichabod Barnes. In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 401 Pine Street, tobacco laborer Samuel Ennis, 26, wife Maggie, 29, and sons Freeman, 12, and Earl, 2; boarder John Smith, 21, a wagon factory worker; cafe owner William I. Barnes, 30, wife Madie, 27, and children Weldon, 12, Dorothy, 11, Rachel, 9, Ethel G., 6, Vera, 2, and Virginia R., 6 months.
  • Laura Benger
  • Ezekiel B. Braswell — Braswell Sanitary Cafe. in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1120 East Nash, rented for $18/month, cafe proprietor Ezekiel Braswell, 38; wife Mary, 29, public school teacher; daughters Mary E., 5, and Parthenia, 3; and roomer Matilda Cherry, 26, public school teacher.
  • George Cooper — Cooper & Barnes.
  • Peter Lupe
  • Rachel Gilliam

Central Cafe, Starr Cafe and Wilson Cafe served an African-American clientele, but were owned and operated by Mike Vekrakos, Gus Gliarmis and Major M. Gartrell. Vekrakos and Gliarmis were Greek immigrants, a group that dominated the cafe business in Wilson.

204 North Pender Street.

The seventy-sixth 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, this house is: “ca. 1922; 2 story; John Spells house; L-plan cottage with patterned-tin roof; asphalt shingles.”

A 1905 plat of Pender Street property shows that John Spells (or Spell) owned this lot as early as 1905. The house has been demolished. In the photo above, Ashe Street (parallel to Pender) and its elbow intersection with Darden Lane (formerly Darden’s Alley) are visible beyond the vacant lot at 204. The darker green area at left marks the former continuation of Darden Lane to Pender Street. Today, a foot path — just visible below the green house at far left — snakes diagonally to exit into Pender via the former driveway of 208 North Pender, the now-demolished Best house.

In the 1908 Wilson city directory,  Jno. S. Spell appears as a contractor living at 133 Pender Street. (133 was the earlier number of the lot now designated 204 North Pender. Whether the house surveyed for the nomination committee was the same house that earlier stood at 133 is not clear.)

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Pender Street, carpenter John E. Spell, 50, wife Martha A., 39, and son John E., Jr., 16.

In the 1925 Wilson city directory, the following are listed at 204 Pender Street: Jno. S. Spell, carpenter; Jno. S. Spell, Jr.; and Martha A. Spell, dressmaker.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 204 Pender Street, building carpenter John L. Spell, 65, and wife Martha, 46, a seamstress. They owned the house, which was valued at $3000.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 204 Pender Street, odd job laborer J.S. Spell, 74, born in Pitt County, and wife Martha, 65, an invalid born in Oxford. Grocery deliveryman Arthur Darden, 27, and his wife Bettie, 19, rented rooms in the house.

John Stephen Spell died 31 January 1946 at Mercy Hospital in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he resided at 204 Pender Street; was married to Martha Spell, age 61; was 80 years old; was born in Pitt County to Easter Spell; was a carpenter; and was buried in the Masonic cemetery. M.G. Spell was informant.

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Spells Martha A h 204 Pender

In May 2018, the Wilson Times published this notice:

PUBLIC NOTICE

WILSON COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

OFFER TO PURCHASE PROPERTY

204 North Pender Street

The Public will take notice that the Board of Commissioners of Wilson County has received and proposes to accept an offer to purchase the property located at 204 North Pender Street, PIN# 3721-59-1516, in the amount of $1,000. Additional information may be obtained by contacting the County Manager’s Office, 252-399-2803, 2201 Miller Road South, PO Box 1728, Wilson, NC 27896-1728, http://www.wilson-co.com, or by email amparrish@wilson-co.com.

Any person may raise the bid within ten (10) days of this notice. The bid must be raised by at least 10% of the first $1,000 and 5% of the remainder. The raised bid must be delivered to the Clerk to the Board located in the County Manager’s office and must include a 5% bid deposit.

Raised bids will be advertised until no further qualifying upset bids are received.


The 1922 Sanborn map of Wilson, N.C., shows the original course of Darden Alley hard by the north edge of 204 North Pender. 204, 206 and 208 have been razed.

Photograph courtesy of Google Maps.