Property line.

Samuel H. Vick‘s house still towers over East Wilson, but that of contemporary giant Charles H. Darden is long gone. At first glance, I thought this plat map showed the location of the Darden house on Pender Street near Nash. Upon further study — not quite. The Dardens lived at 111 (formerly 110) North Pender Street, and this two-story house was at 113 (formerly 116) North Pender. The Dardens did own it, however, and rented it as a multi-family dwelling.

A surveyor drew the plat map in August 1946 and titled it “Property of C.H. Darden-Hebron Masonic Lodge #42.” Though the only building drawn in is the house at 113, the block was densely built, and nearby property owners are noted, including Saint John A.M.E. Zion Church, Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church, Columbus E. Artis, D’arcey C. Yancy, and Charles Darden’s son Camillus L. Darden.

The survey apparently was intended to resolve a dispute over the location of the lot line between Darden’s property (or that of his estate, as he died in 1931) and Mount Hebron Lodge #42, which was preparing to erect a replacement hall at 115-117 North Pender. As noted on the map, the boundary descriptions in the deeds for each property were vague. The Masons believed their southern lot line ran right through the middle of the house at 113, while the Dardens placed it a few north of the house’s edge.

The 1908 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, below, shows the old wooden lodge building and the house beside it. (The lot line is notably consistent with the 1946 map plat.) The corner of Vick and Pender was an empty lot, and Smith Street was “Zion Alley.” Charles H. Darden’s house is on the wedge-shaped lot at 110 East Pender.

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On the 1913 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson below, note the newly built First Baptist Church, whose pink shading indicates that it was constricted of brick. Saint John A.M.E. Zion, on the other hand, was a couple of years away from its grandest edifice.

The 1922 Sanborn map, see below, depicts the new Saint John building. The lodge hall is, curiously, absent, and an “old 1st Baptist church” that I have not been able to identify is shown facing Smith Street.  (How old could it have been if it were not built until after 1913?) The Dardens had added several small outbuildings, including a garage, to their parcel. The house at 113 occupies half of a single lot, which is almost certainly a mapping error.

The site today, as shown in an aerial Google Maps view. The building marked “Ball & Cane Club” is the Masonic lodge hall built in 1947. (The club, now defunct, housed their social functions.) The sites of the houses at 111 and 113 North Pender are now under the parking lot of the expanded Baptist church.

——

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 111 Pender Street, valued at $6000, undertaker-proprietor Charles H. Darden, 76; wife Mary E., 67; and granddaughter Cora Brown, 22, drugstore clerk. At 113 Pender, five families: (1) paying $14/month rent, fertilizer plant laborer James Edwards, 29, wife Frances, 32, and Rufus G., 14, Julious G., 12, and Willie G., 13; (2) paying $8 rent, hospital janitor Andrew Reid, 27, and wife Sarah L., 30; (3) paying $8, Carl Henborn, 39, building carpenter; (4) paying $4, Neil Ray, 31, junk shop laborer, and wife Annie, 23; and (5) paying $4, cook William M. Powell, 38.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 113 Pender Street, (1) paying $12/month, Ethel Cain, 32, elementary school teacher, and mother Delia Jones, 66, cook; (2) paying $4, Charles Nelson, 36, pressing club presser, and wife Mamie, 34; and (3) paying $4, Hubert McFail, 35, tobacco factory truck driver, and wife Viola, 20, school teacher.

Plat Book 4, page 46, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson County Courthouse.

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