Formerly 515 South Spring Street, this house is not within the bounds of East Wilson Historic District. However, South Spring Street, now Douglas — below the warehouse district — has been an African-American residential area since the turn of the twentieth century.
The house likely originally comprised only two rooms — known as the “saddlebag” type. An ell at the rear would have been added later to encompass a kitchen and bathroom. Current tax records show that the house measures 792 square feet.
In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hargett Lemuel (c; Beadie) lab h515 Spring
In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Whitley Connell (c; Louise) USA h515 Spring
It seems unlikely that Pernelpa (or Penelope) Battle Maryland was actually 106, or even 100, at the time of her death. Earliest records show that she was born about 1840. (Further, her father Primas Battle, per census records, was born about 1812 — just a year before her alleged birth year.) A resident of Rocky Mount most of her life, Neppie Maryland was living with son John Maryland Jr.‘s family near Elm City in Wilson County at the time of her death.
In the 1870 census of Rocky Mount, Nash County: John Maryland, 47; wife Penelope, 30; and children Sidney, 13, Henry, 12, Maron, 10, Noah, 8, Haywood 6, Scoffield 4, and Walter, 1.
In the 1880 census of Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County: farmer John Maryland, 58, born in Maryland; wife Melvel, 40; and children Haywood, 17, who was deaf; Schofield, 16; Walter, 10; Mary, 9; John, 7; Hattie, 6; Primas, 4; and Jonas, 2.
In the 1900 census of Rocky Mount, Nash County: day laborer John Marland, 77, born in Maryland; wife Pernelope, 67; and Jonas, 19, Claud, 12, and Jesse Marland, 7.
Walter Maryland died 20 August 1917 in Sharpsburg, Edgecombe County. Per his death certificate, he was born 5 May 1868 in Edgecombe County to John Maryland and Pernelphia Battle; was married; and was a tenant farmer.
Pernelpa Maryland died 20 August 1919 in Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born in 1813 in Edgecombe County to Prymas Battle and Mary Battle, both of Edgecombe County. Informant was George Wright of Sharpsburg, N.C. She was buried in Nash County.
Haywood Maryland died 8 April 1923 in Rocky Mount, Nash County. Per his death certificate, he was 71 years old; was born in Edgecombe County to John Maryland of Maryland and Panella Battle of Edgecombe County; was a carpentry laborer; was married to Tarnettia Maryland; and lived at 800 South Church Street, Rocky Mount.
Sida [Sidney] Jones died 27 June 1936 at Douglass Farm in Township No. 11, Edgecombe County. Per her death certificate, she was 80 years old; was born in Edgecombe County to Albert Grant and Neppie Maryland and was a widow. Turner Battle of Rocky Mount was informant.
Primus Maryland died 13 May 1959 in Norfolk, Virginia. Per his death certificate, he was born 23 May 1885 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, to John Maryland and Penelope Maryland; was retired from Norfolk & Western Railroad; and was never married.
The white people may have been surprised, but this was not the first “colored fair” in Wilson. The Wilson County Industrial Association, headed by Samuel H. Vick, sponsored fairs as early as 1887 and 1888. Politician and newspaper editor John C. Dancy was a featured speaker at the 1888 event, too.
Charlie Farris — Charles Patrick Farris (1907-1958), son of Joseph and Rosa Selim Farris.
Emanuel Hill — in the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Henry Hill, 54, farm laborer; wife Rosa, tobacco factory laborer; daughter Mamie Autry, 28, tobacco factory laborer; sons William, 22, oil mill laborer, Jessie, tobacco factory laborer, Emanuel, 17, “new worker, and Benjamin Hill, 14; daughter Mertina Hill, 12; and grandchildren Deloris, 6, Dorthy, 4, and Timothy Autry, 2. Emanuel Hill registered for the World War II draft in 1942 in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 15 July 1922 in Wilson; lived at 104 Carroll Street, Wilson; his contact was Mrs. Evelina Carr, 1308 East Nash; and he worked at Norfolk Naval Base, Norfolk, Virginia. (He was described as 5’10”, 166 pounds.)
David Cox — possibly: in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 208 Pender Street, Leslie H. Cox, 58; wife Mary J., 53; children Nancy, 26, servant, Flossie, 20, servant, Leslie Jr., 18, hotel bellhop, David, 16, “new worker,” and Ardelia, 13; and grandson June Lee Cox, 9. David Cox registered for the World War I draft in Richmond, Virginia. Per his registration card, he was born 17 September 1923 in Wilson; he resided at 1216 West Moore Street, Richmond (later, 269 West 153rd Street #5, New York, New York); his contact was Flossie K. Cox; and he worked for Nagoo Sanyons, 904 North Boulevard. (This David was 5’2″, 202 pounds — could it really be the same man?)
Harvey Ford — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 409 Carroll Street, carpenter Curtis Ford, 52; sons Quincey, 20, and Harvey G., 19, tobacco factory laborers; wife Mayme, 48, teacher; son-in-law Liston Sellers, 22, tobacco factory laborer; daughter Leah, 22, and granddaughter Yvette, 2. Harvey Gray Ford registered for the World War II draft in Wilson in February 1942. Per his registration card, he was born 8 January 1921 in Wilson; lived at 910 East Green Street; was unemployed; and his contact was mother Mamie Ford. (He was listed at 5’9″, 150 pounds.) Harvey Gray Ford died in a drowning accident on 4 June 1942 in Falling Creek, Lenoir County, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 8 January 1921 in Wilson to Curtis Ford of Dillon, S.C., and Mamie Battle of Wayne County, N.C.; was a single student; and resided at 910 East Green, Wilson.
Bruce Bynum — in the 1920 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Josh Bynum, 43; wife Mamie, 28; and children Robert, 16, Bertie, 6, Belva, 4, Bruce, 2, and Beulah, 5 months. In the 1940 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: Belvar Bynum, 23, farm laborer; brother Bruce, 22, WPA hospital laborer; sister Beulah, 21; and nephew George, 7. Bruce Bynum registered for the World War II draft in 1940. Per his registration card, he was born 2 February 1918; resided at Route 2, Walstonburg, Wilson County; his contact was friend Willie Robert Owens; and he worked for Edd Gay. (Bynum was still at fighting weight. His card shows he was 5’8″, 165 pounds.)
Howard Pepper — probably: Willie Howard Peppers registered for the World War II draft in 1940. Per his registration card, he was born 16 February 1914 in Durham, N.C.; lived at 508 Stantonsburg Street, Wilson; worked for the Town of Wilson at its city lot; and his contact was wife Mary Edna Peppers. (The card lists him as 5’6″, 150 pounds, but the registrar noted: “believe 5’8″ weight 170.”)
In the 1910 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: Henry Coleman, 38, farmer; wife Mary J., 28; and children Stella, 13, Willie, 8, Josiah, 7, William, 5, Mattie J., 4, and Sallie, 2.
In the 1920 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: on Old Wilson and Raleigh Road, farmer Henry Coleman, 50; wife Mary Jane, 40; and children Stella, 22, Willie, 19, Joesire, 17, William H., 16, Mattie J., 13, Sallie, 12, Bell, 10, Stephen, 8, Wiley, 7, and Eva, 1.
On 27 February 1929, William Henry Coleman, 24, of Old Fields township, son of Henry Coleman and Mary Joyner, married Cornelia Jones, 24, of Old Fields, daughter of George and Martha Jones, in the presence of W.M. Morris of Wilson, and Dave Powell and George Jones of Sims.
In the 1930 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: farmer William H. Coleman, 25, and wife Conelia, 25.
William Henry Coleman registered for the World War II draft in 1940. Per his registration card, he was born 15 December 1904 in Wilson County; his contact was father Henry Coleman; he lived at R.F.D. 2, Wilson; and he worked for WD. Boyette.
Cornelia Coleman died 19 June 1975 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 5 March 1905 to George Jones and Martha Jones; was married to William H. Coleman; was engaged in farming; and was buried in Coleman Memorial Cemetery.
Third in a series abstracting some of the folders of actions filed in Wilson County Superior Court. (The allegations of misdoing summarized are derived from court pleadings and were not necessarily true.)
Alice Barnes v. Alonzo B. Barnes
February term, 1905. Married November 1897. Defendant Alonzo Barnes abandoned plaintiff in 1900.
Lonza Barnes, 21, of Stantonsburg township, son of Stephen and Adline Barnes, married Alice Brooks, 22, of Stantonsburg township, daughter of Gray and Darkis Brooks, on 1 December 1897 at Darkis Brooks.
Nellie Barnes v. John T. Barnes
Married 10 April 1893. Defendant John Barnes abandoned plaintiff on 3 June 1893. Couple has one living child. Defendant now living in open adultery with Jennie Ruffin, alias Barnes.
John T. Barnes, 20, married Nellie Campbell, 19, on 7 April 1894 in Wilson County.
Jenny Barnes v. Amos Barnes
May term, 1875. Married 4 November 1870. Plaintiff charged that on 1 September 1874 defendant beat her with a large switch or stick in a cruel and inhumane manner and that he had transmitted to her venereal diseases that kept her confined to her bed and unable to work for long periods. Defendant denied all. Witnesses subpoenaed were Willie Strickland, Jacob Strickland, Mintus Woodard, Mary Hines, Balaam Bynum, Jane Bynum and William Mercer.
Amos Barnes, 22, married Jennie Woodard, 18, on 4 November 1872 in Wilson County.
Daniel Barnes v. Mariah Barnes
Fall term, 1882. Married May 1877 in Black Creek township. Defendant Mariah abandoned plaintiff Daniel in January 1880, had committed adultery with Henry Barnes and Isaac Dew, and given birth to “a bastard.” Witnesses subpoenaed were Jack Hooks, Sarah Barnes, Henry Barnes and Isaac Dew.
Daniel Barnes, 24, married Mariah Barnes, 18, on 18 May 1878 in Black Creek township.
Handy Barnes v. Annie Barnes
Married April 1903 in Edgecombe County. On 4 July 1903, defendant Annie committed adultery with Van Edwards and abandoned plaintiff.
Presented below are a representative number of live Wilson County Merchants and professional men. The energies of the individuals composing these firms are not only devoted to the upbuilding of their own interests, but also to make Wilson County a bigger, better and more prosperous place in which to live. Consult this page often, when the services or merchandise of these people are needed, buy with them or consult them, they want and will appreciate your business.
Boyette & Holford Grocery — As described in the East Wilson Historic District nomination report, the brick, parapet-fronted building at 513 East Green, built about 1908, was one of the major groceries in the neighborhood. White-owned through its various iterations, the store largely served an African-American clientele.
I post this piece not to feature the writer’s casually racist mockery, but to highlight lost slang expressions and social practices. The use of canned heat, or Sterno, as an alcohol substitute was widespread in the early 20th century. (See blues guitarist Tommy Johnson‘s Canned Heat Blues. “Crying canned heat, mama, sho’ Lord killing me ….”) Often called “squeeze” because the gel was strained through cloth before consumption, in local idiom the intoxicant was known as “smoke.” As to “Center Brick orange brandy,” I have not found other references to the intentional consumption of paint remover, which, whether in solvent or caustic form, is highly poisonous.
Centre Brick Warehouse, by the way, was for decades a major player in Wilson’s tobacco market. Photograph courtesy of Images of Historic Wilson County, Images of North Carolina, digitalnc.org.