County payments.

In the era before robust municipal services, Wilson’s County Commissioners contracted with private citizens to perform certain public work. Occasionally, African Americans benefited from such contracts, but most obtaining public money received them in the form of witness fees for court appearances.

“A statement according to the law of the amount claimed and allowed by the Board of County Commissioners and to whom allowed beginning 1st Monday in September 1879 and ending 1st Monday in September 1880, and the county revenue for same period, to wit:”

Wilson Advance, 1 October 1880.

  • Nathan Blackwell, D. Lassiter, Harriet Blackwell, Edwin Blackwell — Nathan Blackwell and Delphia Locus Lassiter were parents of Edwin Blackwell. (The couple would marry in 1890.) Harriet Blackwell was Delphia Lassiter’s daughter. (It is not clear whether her father was Matthew Lassiter or Nathan Blackwell.)
  • Jack Williamson
  • Richard Lindsey — in the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Pettigrew Street, mechanic Richard Lindsey, 51; wife Olive, 42, “keeping house & midwife;” and sons Richard, 14, Henry, 11, and Austin, 23, drayman.
  • A. Rhodes
  • Charles Darden — Charles H. Darden was a blacksmith whose sideline building coffins turned into one of the first African American undertaking businesses in North Carolina.
  • Charity McGowan — McGowan was married to the town jailer, Tillman McGowan.
  • Handy Gully — in the 1880 census of Toisnot township, farm laborer Handy Gully, 24; wife Easter, 19; and daughters Ella, 3, and Rena, 4 months.
  • Sheppard Best — in the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Shepherd Best, 51, and John Terry, 41, both “keeping water tank on R road.”
  • Lewis Phillips — in the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: brick mason Lewis Phillips, 35; wife Dilly, 17; and son Charlie, 1 month.
  • Samuel Mitchell — in the 1880 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: laborer Samuel Michel, 22; wife Jane, 22; daughter Minnie, 4 months; and laborer Benjamin Edwards, 25.
  • Amos Hinnant — in the 1880 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Amos Hinnant, 45, and wife Lendy, 34.
  • Zina Boyett
  • Sol Applewhite –in the 1880 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Solomon Applewhite, 60; wife Alley, 60; and children Susan, 18, Cew, 16, Vance, 14, Beedy A., 12, and Danford, 10.
  • Swift Ford — in the 1880 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farm laborer Swift Ford, 24; wife Mary, 18; and children Mary, 3, and Falcus, 1.
  • Hilliard Ellis


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