Baltimore Afro-American, 14 March 1942.
Baltimore Afro-American, 14 March 1942.
The Times (Shreveport, La.), 19 September 1902.
New York Age, 20 September 1919.
Charles Henry Moore, an Amherst College graduate who helped establish North Carolina State Agricultural and Technical University, served as a regional director for the Rosenwald Fund, whose school-building initiative Charles L. Coon largely opposed. Moore published an account of his school tour in May 1920 in volume 49, number 5, of The Southern Workman, Hampton Institute’s monthly magazine. The article did not mention Coon’s rudeness during Moore’s visit to Wilson County.
Clinton J. Calloway was director of agricultural extension work at Tuskegee Institute and managed the Rosenwald program.
For more re Wilson County’s Rosenwald schools, see here.
William Henry Richardson (1911-1983)
In the 1920 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer George Richardson, 44; wife Lottie, 37; and children Annie George, 15, Mary J., 11, and William H., 9.
In the 1930 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Lewis Barnes, 73; daughter Charity, 27; sons Needam, 25, and David, 23; grandson Rosco, 15; daughter-in-law Hannah Bullock, 15; and roomer William Richardson, 25.
On 8 October 1932, William Henry Richardson, 21, son of George Richardson and Laura Bullock, married Queen Esther Evans, 21, daughter of Levy Evans and Lucy Coleman, in Greensville County, Virginia.
In 1940, William Henry Richardson registered for the World War II draft in Rocky Mount, Nash County, North Carolina. Per his registration card, he was born 28 November 1911 in Wilson County; resided at 2206 South Church Street, Rocky Mount; his contact was wife Queen Ester Richardson; and worked for the W.P.A. in Rocky Mount.
Photograph courtesy of Ancestry.com rogerbarron52.
Wilson Daily Times, 26 March 1948.
Seventy years later, Edwards Funeral Home — still operated by the Edwards family — remains a cornerstone of East Wilson business. Its website sets out the company’s history:
“On a calm, sunny day in March 1948, two brothers, Oliver H. and James Weldon Edwards, opened the doors of Edwards Funeral Home, Inc. at 805 E. Nash Street in Wilson, North Carolina. The story does not begin there. Rather it begins with the conception and dream that two brothers had of being entrepreneurs and opening their own business, a funeral home. Oliver, the older of the two, lived in Raleigh and worked at a funeral home as a licensed funeral director. He encouraged James, who had just completed a tour of duty with the U.S. Army in World War II, to attend school in funeral service and mortuary science rather than pursue another career and major. James was in New York City by this time, and he began and completed American Academy of Mortuary Science in New York City (now American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service) as a licensed funeral director and mortician. The dream moves toward reality. Having met two of the requirements (experience and knowledge) for starting an enterprise of this type, both men had to decide where to locate the business. The decision was a fairly easy one – to go home. “Home” was the tri-county area of Wilson, Nash, and Edgecombe Counties where the Edwards family had deep roots, dating back several generations to at least the 18th Century and where the brothers, as well as the extended family, grew up, went to school, and attended church. Their father, the Reverend B.H. Edwards, was a highly respected Baptist minister who pastured Sandy Fork Missionary Baptist, Red Oak Grove Missionary Baptist, Rising Sun Missionary Baptist, and Mary Grove Missionary Baptist Churches over a span of 42 years. In their youth, Reverend Edwards carried his boys (and all his children) throughout the various church communities and neighborhoods in these counties. Thus, Oliver and James knew the people, and the people knew them. The decision was made – Wilson. The brothers, encouraged by their parents and wives, bought a two story white frame house in East Wilson. Located on the main thoroughfare, this “home” was a classic representative of the Colonial Revival type of architecture. It still has the original interior paneling, crown molding, woodworking, winding stairway and a marble hearth fireplace. The site was chosen as much for its location and the charm of this house far for the warmth and friendliness of the neighbors and the neighborhood (some of whom reside there today). The funeral home (with interior and exterior renovations and expansions) remains in the same location today due mostly out of a desire to remain in the area where the family still lives and because of the history and symbolism of the structure. Oliver and James worked hard and opened the doors to Edwards Funeral Home and established it as a thriving business. Both brothers ran the business until Oliver’s death in July 1963. James assumed leadership, ownership and management of the business until May 1982 when he died. James’ widow, the former Josephine Farmer from Nash County, assumed leadership, after her husband’s death. She wanted to keep the dream and legacy alive for their children, Angela and Carla. Having worked as a classroom teacher in the public schools of Nash and Wilson Counties for 36 years, Josephine joined the ranks of the funeral home staff upon her retirement in 1987. Under her watchful nurturance, the funeral home continued to operate and prosper in a profession that has been traditionally dominated by men. Despite “being a woman in a man’s world,” Josephine expanded the funeral home to include, among other changes, a chapel with an organ. The chapel has a seating capacity of 200 people. Her commitment to the business, the people, the community and to serving Wilson and surrounding counties is evidenced by her ever presence at the funeral home and at funerals. Josephine’s community orientation and dedication to Wilson County is also evidenced by her service as a county commissioner, per participation in the various local, civic, and service organizations/clubs and her service through appointment on state committees by Governor Hunt. The future of Edwards Funeral Home, Inc. is certain. It is moving into the second millennium under the family oriented leadership of Mrs. Edwards with the support of her children: Angela R. Edwards Jones, Carla D. Edwards Williams, Tyrone P. Jones, III, and Darryl A. Williams. Hopefully the third generations will keep the legacy alive with the grandchildren, Darian and Carlin Williams. The legacy lives. Mrs. Edwards remembers and is appreciative for the kind support of her patrons throughout the years. She hopes to continue serving you in the difficult times during and after the loss of a loved one. She gives the best in dignified, personalized, professional care and service at the time of death and afterwards. Edwards Funeral Home, Inc. hopes to continue this tradition of meeting people’s needs with friendliness, kindness, understanding, warmth, innovation, and confidentiality. Over these sixty years, many employees have helped to insure quality service and care to patrons. Mrs. Edwards is thankful to all persons who have assisted the family since 1948. The fine tradition of service with dignity continues to be the aim of the Edwards Funeral Home staff. ‘Let Gentle Hands and Kind Hearts Care For You When Loved Ones Depart.'”
Pittsburgh Courier, 9 October 1943.
This photo was posted to Pinterest with the title “Reid boys from Wilson NC.” It appears to date from the 1940s or thereabouts. Can anyone identify which set of Reid brothers, or perhaps cousins, is depicted?
Wilson Daily Times, 31 May 1948.
Wrote Roy Taylor in My City, My Home: “And Negroes congregated en masse on Barnes Street in the block in which P.L. Woodard is located. It wasn’t that they had to gather there, for they had the privilege of meeting at any place in town, just as did the whites. They liked that area, and too, it was in close proximity to several hot dog joints and other eating places. Few white people were seen in that block on Saturday, and few Negroes were seen on Nash Street. It was a matter of the two races choosing to be with their own kind.”
Taylor’s take on the privileges and choices of legally sanctioned and enforced segregation is ridiculous, but this passage does offer context for the location of Gus Gliarmis’ cafe on the southern edge of downtown, far from Wilson’s African-American neighborhoods in the 1940s.
Pittsburgh Courier, 3 January 1942.
Robert E. Vick, son of Samuel H. and Annie Washington Vick, was a groomsman in the Atlanta wedding of Alice Clarissa Clement, whose father Rufus E. Clement was president of Atlanta University, and Robert Joseph Foster of Monroe, Louisiana. Vick is seated bottom right in the right-hand photograph.
Many thanks to S.M. Stevens for the referral.
This house is not within the bounds of East Wilson Historic District. However, South Lodge Street — below the warehouse district — has been an African-American residential area since the turn of the twentieth century.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 506 [sic] Lodge Street, cafe proprietor Jessie Strickland, 28, and wife Viola, 27, and roomers Mack Strickland, 18, transfer truck driver, and James Johnson, 20, guano company laborer.
In the 1922 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Strickland Jesse (c; Viola) propr Strickland Cafe h 504 S Lodge
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 504 Lodge Street, owned and valued at $4000, Jesse Strickland, 46, and wife Viola, 37. Their occupations are listed as farm laborer and “manufacturing [illegible]/own plant.” However, it appears that entries are off by a line, and should read “manufacturing [illegible]/own plant” and cook for private family.
In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Strickland Jesse (c; Viola) 504 S Lodge
In a familiar tale of woe, the Stricklands defaulted on their mortgage, and Wilson Home & Loan Association advertised the property for auction.
Wilson Daily Times, 10 November 1930.
Jessie Strickland died 18 March 1932 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 40 years old; was born in Wilson to Mose Farmer and Hannah Strickland; was a clerk in a store; and lived at Spring Street. Informant was Viola Strickland, 504 South Lodge.
In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Mable Annie (c) maid h 504 S Lodge
In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Mable Annie (c) h 504 S Lodge
Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2017.