Brothers William M. Artis and Walter S. Artis were primarily residents of the Eureka area of northeast Wayne County, but owned property in Wilson County. (As did their siblings Cain Artis, June S. Artis, Columbus E. Artis, Josephine Artis Sherrod and Alberta Artis Cooper.) Walter Artis and wife Hannah E. Forte Artis sued William Artis and wife Etta Diggs Artis for the partition of three lots they jointly owned in the town of Stantonsburg. (Filing suit does not necessarily indicate an adversarial situation. It is simply the mechanism for initiating a legal division.)
In January 1941, a trio of commissioners met to partition the three lots into two more-or-less equal parts:
- Lot 1 — This 50′ by 150′ lot at the intersection of Broad and Yelverton Streets was allotted to Hannah Artis. [This is odd and interesting. Why Hannah alone, and not to her and Walter jointly? He was alive in 1941, and they were still married.] Because Lot 1 was more valuable than Lot 2, Hannah was to pay William $212.50. Also, William had sixty days to move a small building behind the store on Lot 1 to Lot 2, or it would become Hannah’s property, and the owner of an oil tank buried on Lot 1 had sixty days to move it or to come to terms with Hannah. [The “store” is identified here as the building rented by John Whitley for a blacksmith shop.]
- Lot 2 — A 100′ by 150′ lot (comprising two lots on a town plat map) adjacent to Lot 1.
Hannah Artis and William Artis split the cost of the proceeding, paying $22.35 each.
The approximate location of the Artis lots at the corner of West Broad and North Yelverton. As in Wilson, Stantonsburg’s African-American community was clustered “across the tracks.”
William and Etta Diggs and three of their children, circa 1930s.
Deed Book 150, page 315, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson County Courthouse, Wilson. Photo from personal collection of Lisa Y. Henderson.