Jesse Pender, veteran and chef.

In 2011, a Palm Springs, California, news reporter interviewed Wilson native Jesse D. Pender Sr., then 96, about his World War II service, his early work for a brothel keeper, and his years cooking for a president.


The Desert Sun, 4 December 2011.

In the 1920 census of Goldsboro township, Wayne County: farmer Joseph Pender, 49; wife Ella L., 42; amd children Edward D., 14, Maggie, 9, Ernest, 12, Alonzo, 7, Jesse, 4, Georgiana, 3, and Josephine, 1.

On 29 December 1937, Jesse Pender, 23, of Wilson County, son of Joe and Ella Pender of Wilson County married Erma Dean Hines, 18, daughter of Louis and Martha Hines of Wilson County, in Nashville, Nash County.

In 1940, Jesse David Powell registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Note his employer.

Betty Powell and Mallie Paul, Depression-era Wilson’s most notorious white madams, ran neighboring brothels on Jones and South Streets. In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County, Georgia native Bettie Powell, 46, is listed without occupation, and her three lodgers, all white women in their early 20s, were occupied as “companion-private home.”

Betty Powell made out her will in March 1945. After disposing of bonds, bank accounts, real property and jewelry, she bequeathed “all the residue of my estate to Jesse Pender and all of the girls including my maids, that may be residing with me at my death, to share and share alike.” She died just over a year later.

Wilson Daily Times, 7 May 1946.

Pender’s workplace before Betty Powell hired him to drive. Advertisement, Facts About Wilson North Carolina, Wilson Chamber of Commerce (1934).

Pender at age 102. Photo courtesy of “A Flowery Tribute in Palm Springs as Warplanes Fly in Formation in Memorial Day Salute,” The Desert Sun, 29 May 2017.

Thanks to my frequent collaborator S.M. Stevens (and her grandmother Willia Jones Turner) for forwarding this clipping. North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line],



  1. Hello Lisa,

    Thanks, for adding the information about Mr. Jesse David Pender.
    I already have his family in my tree, because he is my stepfathers
    Lesie Hinnant, Sr. 1st cousin and my brother Leslie Hinnant, Jr. talks
    to him at least every 2-3 months.
    when he’s in Wilson he stop by the house to see the family. I want to thank
    you and all the contributor for this family History.

    Again, Thanks,
    Leroy Barnes
    Hampton, Virginia

      1. Maggie Pauline Hinnant Barnes lived to be 114 years
        Young and Jesse David Pender is 103 Years Young, It my
        understanding Jesse Pender Father name Joseph “Joe” Pender
        and Mother name is Ella Hinnant. Ella Hinnant is Maggie
        Pauline Hinnant Barnes Sister, With Gods Blessing, it’s
        possible he could live to be at least 114 Years Young.

        Leroi Barnes

    1. Hi Leroy, I am Jesse Pender’s grandaughter and my sister and I are his caregivers. would love to talk with you. I can be reached at 805-428-5508.

    2. Hello Lisa Y. Henderson,

      Enclosed is Information on Obituary for Jesse David Pender, Jr;
      You might be interested in adding it to your Collection, in the Pender’s Surname.
      Family Photos is included at the site.

      Go to:

      Under his Photo Click: PLAY TRIBUTE MOVIE

      Eternal Hills Mortuary & Crematory at Eternal Hills Memorial Park1999 El Camino Real, Oceanside, CA
      Obituary banner image

      Jesse David Pender Jr.
      JUNE 18, 1944 – OCTOBER 3, 2018
      Obituary of Jesse David Pender Jr. PLAY TRIBUTE MOVIE
      Jesse David Pender was born on June 18, 1944 in Richmond, Virginia and passed away on October 3, 2018 in Rancho Mirage, California and is under the care of Eternal Hills Memorial Park, Mortuary and Crematory.

      Viewing will be held on October 25, 2018 at 4:00 pm at Eternal Hills Mortuary Chapel, 1999 El Camino Real, Oceanside, California. Funeral Service will be held on October 26, 2018 at 1:00 pm at Eternal Hills Mortuary Chapel, 1999 El Camino Real, Oceanside, California.

      Serving as pallbearers are Robert Pender, Jesse Pender, Donald Mack Jr., Jeffrey Law, Dajon Preston, Roger Bearman.

      You may leave a message for the family by clicking here.

      Robert Pender
      Jesse Pender
      Donald Mack Jr.
      Jeffrey Law
      Dajon Preston
      Roger Bearman


      Thursday, October 25, 2018

      Funeral Service

      Friday, October 26, 2018

      U know Barnes, He’ll do the job,

      Leroy Barnes

  2. My name is Willie Barnes, Jr and my parents are from Wilson. I was born in Wilson in 1950 but moved with my parents to Norfolk, VA in 1960.

    My father was Willie Barnes and his siblings were Annie Mae Battle, Rosetta Pender and Ernest Barnes. My grandmother’s name was Mary. All my immediate family are deceased.

  3. great article
    my name is Ronald Crutchfield I was born in Wilson 210 e. Hines ST.
    I knew mr. Jessie Pender brother, Ernest Pender and his wife Lillie Mae
    they lived 204 E. Hines ST. His nephew was a friend of mine Ernest Pender JR.
    and Dorothy Pender, I was little about seven but I remember them.

  4. my name is Stephen Williams and Uncle Jessie is on of my first Uncle aunt erma seen Pender is my mother’s sister he is inthe family

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