The occupation and industry columns in federal population schedules sometimes yield unusual results, even in an era in which most African-Americans in Wilson worked as farm laborers, tobacco factory hands, or domestic workers.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County, 48 year-old Deal Tillman gave his occupation as:
Tillman spent much of his life in Randolph County and only lived a few years in Wilson.
In the 1910 census of Trinity township, Randolph County, N.C.: Sandy T. Tillman, 75; wife Tempa, 78; daughter Adaline, 50; granddaughter Ella, 24; great-grandchildren Roy, 6, and Mary, 2; and grandson Dealie, 20, farm laborer.
In 1917, Dealie Tillman registered for the World War II draft in Randolph County, N.C. Per his registration card, he was born 12 July 1892 in Trinity, N.C.; resided in Trinity; worked as “keeper of kennel” for Dr. P.P. Satterwhite, Trinity; had a wife and two children; and “claims right leg stiff from fracture; thumb on left hand disabled.” [Dr. Preston P. Satterwhite was a Kentucky-born retired surgeon and art collector with homes in Palm Beach and New York City. His marriage to Florence Brokaw Martin, widow of a Standard Oil executive (and herself an heiress) allowed him to retire from the practice of medicine early. I have found no record of Satterwhite’s maintenance of a residence (or kennels) in North Carolina, but, per the Asheboro Courier, Florence Satterwhite’s brother, socialite W. Gould Brokaw, owned an estate with a kennel, called Fairview, near Trinity The kennel was just one of many in the county catering to well-heeled Northerners game for hunting.]
Asheboro Courier, 7 January 1915.
In the 1920 census of Trinity township, Randolph County: Deal Tillman, 28, manager of dog kennels; wife Effie, 25; and children Albert, 7, Ruth, 5, and Mary, 2.
In the 1930 census of Blue Springs township, Hoke County, N.C.: Deal Tilman, 41, dog trainer at kennels; wife Julia, 39; daughters Alberta, 17, and Ruth, 15; and others.
In the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: at 314 New Bern Street, rented at $10/month, Deal Tillman, 49, dog trainer in private practice; wife Julia B., 48, cook at training school; and grandchildren John, 13, and Bertha Smith, 11.
In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Tillman, Deal (c; Julia; 2) porter h 204 Powell
Deal Tilghman died 29 December 1941 at his home at 204 Powell Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 25 July 1892 in High Point, N.C.; was married to Julia Tilghman; and worked as a laborer. He was buried in Rest Haven cemetery.
Julia Tilman died 19 December 1945 in Raeford, Hoke County, N.C. Per her death certificate, she was born 4 July 1891 in Red Springs, N.C. to Archa and Nerva Melvin; was the widow of Deal Tilman; and was a teacher. Bertha Smith, Raeford, was informant.