From cathouse to White House.

Chef Jesse David Pender published his memoirs in 2007 at the age of 92. Pender’s life has been singularly interesting in many ways, but I am most drawn to the book’s first 75 pages, in which he offers a richly detailed account of life in Wilson and Wilson County in the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. Below, I highlight the people and places he mentions from that era.

  • mother and father — On 11 January 1899, Joe Pender, 21, son of Ed and Caroline Pender, married Ella Hinnant, 19, daughter of Eliza Barnes, at Dred Barnes’ house in Black Creek.  In the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Joseph Pender, 21, wife Ella, 22, and daughter Mamie, 8 months. In the 1910 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: on Plank Road, Joe Pender, 28, wife Ella, 20, and children Mamie 11, Dred, 5, and Ernest, 1. In the 1920 census of Goldsboro township, Wayne County: farmer Joseph Pender, 49; wife Ella L., 42; and children Edward D., 14, Maggie, 9, Ernest, 12, Alonzi, 7, Jesse, 4, Georgiana, 3, and Josephine, 1. Ella Hinnant Faulkland died 8 October 1967 at her home at 718 Viola Street. Per her death certificate, she was born 6 April 1886 in Wilson County to Deed Barnes and Luzannie Hinnant. Informant was Georgia Harris.
  • “my brother Elonzie” [also spelled Alonzie and Alonzo] — Alonzo Pender.
  • “my sister Maggie” — Maggie Pender Brooks Blocker (1910-2000).
  • “my niece Abby”
  • “my baby sister Josephine,” — Josephine Pender Thompson Williams, the youngest of Jesse Pender’s 13 siblings, died in Wilson in 2014, aged 96. This photo accompanies her obituary.

  • “my sister Georgia” — Georgia Anna Pender Jenkins Harris (1917-1990).
  • “We lived on a plantation owned by Mr. Frank Hooks which was way out from a little town called Fremont, North Carolina.”
  • “my father’s brother, Uncle Tiko” and his children “HB, Sug, Buddy, Pete and Bessie Mae”
  • moved to Black Creek to “Mr. Johnson Daniels’s farm” from 1923-1926, then to Dudley [in southern Wayne County] from 1927-1928
  • in 1929 “moved back to Wilson County between Wilson and Willsbanks [sic; Wilbanks] on Mr. Dick Cozart’s farm”
  • “my older brother Dred” — Edgar Dred Pender.

Wilson Daily Times, 17 May 1929.

  • a couple named Clyde and Eva; Eva’s brother John — Eva Strickland Roberson died 27 February 1929.

  • family moved into Wilson in 1930, and father took a job in a tobacco factory
  • Zeb Whitley’s grocery and fish market on Nash Street — in the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Whitley Zebediah (c; Mazie) pdlr [peddler] h 202 Manchester. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 702 East Nash, rented for $8/month, Zeb Whitley, 37, wood yard proprietor, and wife Mazie, 38.
  • “Blacks didn’t live on the west side of town. If you were up there, you were working there. We had everything we needed on the east side of town — theater, drugstores, grocery stores and everything else you could think of.”
  • mother went to work cooking and cleaning for Duncan Savage, who owned a outdoor advertising agency
  • “cousin James Robins” who lived in Elm City with his wife Flory and her son Frank, whom he adopted — in the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Elm City-Wilson Road, James Robbins, 26, wife Flora L., 23, and son Frank, 12.
  • stayed with grandparents Dred and Louzanna near Black Creek just before grandfather died in September 1931 — Dred Barnes, 33, of Black Creek township, son of Nelson Barnes, married Luzana Hinnant, 30, of Black Creek township, daughter of Hardy Hinnant, at her home on 14 March 1893.  In the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Dred Barnes, 42; wife Lou J., 37; son Johnnie, 4; and boarder Alex Johnson, 29. In the 1910 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Dred Barnes, 54, and wife Louzanie, 48. In the 1930 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Dred Barnes, 69, and wife Louiza, 67. Dred Barnes died 29 September 1930 in Black Creek township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 70 years old; was born in Wilson County to Nelson Barnes and Annie Daniel; was a farmer; and was married to Luzina Barnes.
  • grandparents’ neighbors James Caper and John Barnes — near Dred and Louzania Barnes in the 1930 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer James Caple, 36, wife Mary, 37, and children Willie, 16, and Augusta, 12.
  • C.E. Artis Funeral Home
  • mother’s sister Aunt Maggie and her son John, who lived in Kenly — Supercentenarian Maggie Hinnant Barnes (1882-1998) was the daughter of Louzanie Hinnant.
  • cousins Buddy and Nell — children of Maggie and Orangie Barnes.
  • Flory Robins’ brother, who lived at 411 East Jones Street
  • friend Jimmy D. Barns
  • hired out on the farm of the Batts family near Elm City (Mr. Batts, wife Lula and sons Douglas and J.D.) — in the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Elm City-Wilson Road [next door to the James Robbins family, above], farmer Leroy Batts, 26; wife Lula, 23; son Armour, 9 months; uncle Stephen B. Strickland, 61; and boarder James E. Pender, 22, farm laborer. [Is this, in fact, Jesse Pender?]
  • Clyde Batts, the tailor in Wilson — in the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory:

  • siblings Margaret and George Pipos, cafe owners — in the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Pappas Geo (Elite Cafe) h 404 E Nash and Pappas Margaret waitress Elite Cafe h 404 E Nash.
  • cooks James and “Jelly Butt”
  • the Dixie Inn, a “seafood and barbecue place”
  • “Aunt Maggie’s husband, Uncle Orangie Barnes, had a sister living in Wilson on Pettigrew Street named Mittie Barnes
  • Martha Coverton, a cook for Betty Powell — possibly, in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 408 South Lodge Street, rented for $18/month, widow Annie Covington, 54, laundress, and children Martha, 20, servant, and James, 9. In the 1930 city directory, Martha Covington was listed as a cook.
  • Betty Powell, a downtown madam who employed Pender from 1934 to 1946
  • Powell’s husband, Mr. Taylor, who raised chickens and ran a cafe on Tarboro Street
  • Mr. Benny, a retired teacher
  • Mr. Howard, a high school principal — William H.A. Howard, principal of the Wilson Colored High School.
  • Dardens High School — Wilson Colored High School was renamed C.H. Darden High School in 1937.
  • Mallie Paul of Wilson and Katie King of Goldsboro, madams in nearby towns
  • Effie Mae Dean, a cook, and her mother Rosie Battle
  • Charles Barnes, houseman and butler for Dick Cozart; Elks Club member; struck by a car and killed in 1937
  • Herbert Woodard‘s place, a motel and cafe on the outskirts of WIlson
  • Shade’s Drugstore — pharmacy owned by Isaac A. Shade at 527 East Nash Street.
  • John D. and his sister Irma Dean [Hines], whom Pender married — in the 1930 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer Lewis Hines, 42; wife Martha, 41; and children William D., 15, John D., 11, Lewis Jr., 8, Annie E., 7, Etta E., 6, and Debora, 2,  plus mother-in-law Jack A. Barnes, 74. 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.
  • daughter Betty Lou Pender, born in 1938
  • house on Carole Street up by Darden’s High School — Carroll Street.
  • parents moved to a house on Vance Street
  • Pa Faulkland, his mother’s second husband, who died in 1956 — Willie Faulkland died 1  November 1955 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 16 November 1883 in Wilson County to Phillip Faulkland and Jannie Farmer and was a laborer. Informant was Ella Faulkland, 718 Viola Street. [He was buried by Hunter’s Funeral Home, 900 East Nash Street — who?]
  • mother’s house on Viola Street — 718 Viola Street.
  • Watson Tobacco Warehouse on Lodge Street
  • Pender, Milton Fitch, Albert Wingate, Cris [Chrisdell] Leach and Albert Gay got taxi licenses and opened Veteran Cab Company in a “little office shack in the backyard of Hamilton Funeral Home” —
  • cousin Frank Durham — Son of James and Flora Robbins, above. On 12 November 1938, at Nashville, Nash County, Frank Durham, 23, son of James Durham and Flora Durham Robbins, married Annie Gray Finch, 23, daughter of Alonzo Finch and Annie Hall Finch in the presence of W.R. Lucas of Elm City and Louis Hines and Dollie Mae Williams Hines of Wilson.

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