Wilson N.C. May 6. 1887
H.D. Norton/ Capt. &c
Enclosed herewith you have a partial report of the condition of the unfortunates among the coloured population of the County, owing to the pressures of other duties. I have not been able to give the matter that attention necessary to give a full & correct report. If a longer time can be given I will give it further attention & report again — I would say that the case of the blind chidlren herein reported is one that calls loudly for sympathy & assistance, five in one family from their birth.
Yours Very Respy &c, J.W. Davis Shff Wilson Co
Table Showing the Number, Sex & Age of the class of ‘Unfortunates’ among the colored people of Wilson County, State of North Carolina
- Sarah Selby, age 54
- Wm. Williamson, age 8
- Edward Williamson, age 12
- Allice Williamson, age 4
- Pauline Williamson, age 5
- Aquilla Williamson, age 7
- Jno. Bailey
- Robt. Hinnant
In the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Edmund Williamson, 50; wife Thany, 44; and children William, 25, Nicie, 23, Eliza, 22, Eddie, 21, Ally, 19, Pollina, 17, Dolly Ann, 15, Isaac, 12, and Raiford, 7. The six hashmarks at right are in the column marked “Blind,” and the occupation of William, Eddie, Alice and Pauline was listed as “gives concerts.”
As described here, the Williamson siblings were educated at the state’s School for the Blind and earned a good living touring to showcase their remarkable voices.
On 12 October 1903, Edmund Williamson drafted his last will and testament. Per his wishes, his “two blind sons William Williamson and Edmund Williamson” and his “blind daughter Leany Williamson” were to equally divide a life estate in all his real estate and then to successive heirs “to remain in the Williamson family forever.” Daughter Dollie Ann Brownricks was to receive a life estate in all Williamson’s personal property, money, stock and crops, with her children Timothy, Bethania and Lizzie Seabury to receive the remainder.
North Carolina Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1863-1872, Goldsboro (subassistant commissioner), Roll 16, Unregistered Letters Received Aug 1865-Feb 1868, http://www.familysearch.org