Month: October 2020

The obituary of Susan Mincey.

Wilson Daily Times, 7 June 1928.

  • Susan Mincey, wife of B.J. [sic] Mincy — In the 1880 census of Speights Bridge township, Greene County: farmer Prince Minshew, 52; wife Susan, 35; and children Frank, 12, Henry, 11, and John, 3. In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farmer Prince Mensey, 60; wife Susan, 52; children Ben, 19, Emma, 19, and Oscar, 12; and niece Rosetta Mensey, 7. [Prince, Ben and Oscar Mincey are buried in Odd Fellows cemetery; Susan Mincey probably was, too.]
  • Rev. E.D. Cox — probably Eddie H. Cox, a Free Will Baptist minister.
  • Revs. Davis, Kennedy, Coward, Hargrove and Bynum — Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis; probably John E. Kennedy or L.V. Kennedy, both A.M.E. Zion; Bryant P. Coward, also A.M.E. Zion. 
  • Tom King
  • Dock Royal — Dockery Royal. In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Royal Dock (c; Ossie M) lab Hackney Bros Body Co r 321 Hackney
  • Walter Foster
  • Tobe Belma — Tobe Bellamy.
  • Gus Mercer — in the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Mercer Gus (c; Daisy) h 715 Harper
  • Hardy Tate
  • Boldon Tyson — in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 408 Youngs Allie, Bolden Tyson, 65, light plant janitor; wife Mary, 49, laundress; daughter Christana, 14; and sister-in-law Jimie Ellis, 39.
  • Margie Jones — Jones Margie (c) dom r 805 Robeson
  • Annie Mae Neal
  • Henrietta King

The Negro was given a very raw deal.

In 1919, Samuel H. Vick drafted a lengthy letter to the Daily Times to protest treatment of African-American patrons of the John Robinson Circus. 

The exact nature of the “raw deal” is not clear, but appears to involve forcing Black customers to buy premium-priced reserve seating rather than general admission tickets. Also, refusing to honor purchased tickets. And humiliating patrons by directing them to “the Nigger Wagon” and “the Nigger Hole” when they tried to enter the show. Vick’s anger is clear, but measured. He notes the general good relations between Black and white Wilsonians, but laments the potential for disruption of that goodwill by a rude stranger. Who could blame a Black man for losing his cool?

Wilson Daily Times, 1 October 1919.

Studio shots, no. 161: Jonathan and Annie H. Ellis and children.

Ernest Ellis, Jonathan Ellis Sr., Darlena Ellis, and Annie Hagans Ellis, ca. 1908.

——

In the 1870 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farm laborer James Ellis, 48; wife Zana, 38; and children Eliza, 14, [her son?] James, 5 months, Cora, 13, Macoid, 10, Oscar, 6, and Anna, 1.

In the 1880 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farm laborer James Ellis, 59; wife Zana, 49; children McCoid, 18, Oscar, 17, Anna, 11, James, 10, Johnithan C., 8, and Benjiman S., 5.

Annie Hagans, 18, of Wilson township, daughter of Laurence and Mary Hagans, married Jonathan Ellis, 32, of Wilson township, son of James and Zanie Ellis, on 11 January 1905. Benjamin Ellisapplied for the license, and Primitive Baptist minister Jonah Williams performed the ceremony at Laurence Ellis’ house in Saratoga township in the presence of M.L. Newby, F.S. Hargrave, and S.H.Vick.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Johnathan Ellis, 37; wife Annie, 23; and children Earnest, 4, Dollina, 2, and Johnathan, 1.

In the 1920 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: on Rocky Mount Road, farmer John Ellis, 47; wife Annie, 53 [sic]; children Ernest, 14, Dollena, 12, John Jr., 11, Nettie, 7, Chasey, 6, Nathaniel, 6; and sister-in-law McCordy Ellis, 50.

On 30 November 1927, Ernest Ellis, 22, of Toisnot township, son of Johnston [Jonathan] and Annie Ellis, married Virginia Bullock, 18, daughter of Alfred and Maggie Bullock in Wilson.

On 18 January 1928, Darlena Ellis, 19, of Taylors township, daughter of Jonathan and Annie Ellis, married Earlie Farmer, 21, of Taylors township, son of John and Cleo Farmer, in Wilson. 

Earlie Farmer Jr. died 10 February 1929, aged 2 months, 2 days, in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born in Nash County, N.C., to Earlie Farmer Sr. and Darlina Ellis. He was buried at Williams Chapel cemetery.

In the 1930 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Early Farmer, 21, and wife Dailena, 20, both farm laborers.

In the 1930 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Earnest Ellis, 24; wife Virginia, 19; and son James E., 1.

In the 1940 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: farmer Early Farmer, 30, and wife Darlena, 32.

In the 1940 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Earnest Ellis, 33; wife Virginia, 28; and children James Earl, 10, Charles, 9, and Ruby Mae, 7.

Ernest Ellis registered for the World War II draft in 1940 in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 21 December 1905 in Wilson, Wilson County; he lived at Route 2, Box 274, Elm City; his contact was wife Virginia Bullock Ellis; and he worked for Morrison Webb.

Jonathan Ellis died 12 February 1944 in Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 14 October 1875 in Saratoga to James Ellis and Zannie Applewhite; was married to Annie Ellis; was a farmer.

Photo courtesy of Cathy Thorne Bynum.

Rev. Edward C. Simms, Presiding Elder.

This brief bio of Rev. Edward C. Simms is found in souvenir volume issued for an A.M.E. Zion General Conference. I do not have the access to the full volume, its title, or its date of publication.

REV. EDWARD CUTHBERT SIMMS, P.E., Tampa, Fla.

Rev. Simms hails from Wilson, North Carolina, and of the year 1862; he graduated from the Wilson Academy in 1883; was converted there in 1875; joining the Farmer A.M.E. Zion Church at the same time. He became a preacher in 1896 at Norfolk, Va., and joined the Virginia Conference. Later on, he was ordained deacon at Hickory, N.C., in 1897, and ordained elder at Franklin, Va., in 1899.

His pastoral labors were exerted at Mosley Street A.M. E. Zion Church, Norfolk, Newport News, Va., and Mount Sinai Church, Tampa, Fla. He built the Centreville Chapel in Norfolk County, and Zion Chapel at Bear Quarter, Va. Rev Simms is a prominent member of the South Florida Conference, and a preacher who draws and holds an audience. As a pastor his success reaches the best average. This will be his first official appearance in the General Conference. He makes a highly acceptable administrator and his constituency love, honor and revere him. 

Biographical Souvenir Volume of General Conference A.M.E. Zion Church

Norfolk Virginian, 9 May 1897.

In its coverage on the Philadelphia Conference of the A.M.E. Zion Church, the 30 May 1908 edition of the Washington Bee noted that “Rev. E.C. Simms, a delegate from Florida, died suddenly from heart disease; a sum of one hundred dollars was raised by Conference for his funeral, and a Florida delegate was sent to accompany the remains home.”

——

In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Esther Simms, 45, and Ned Simms, 19, both farmworkers.

On 8 May 1879, Ned Simms, 25, married Nicy Best, 26, in Wilson. Benjamin S. Brunson performed the ceremony at the A.M.E. Zion Church in the presence of Hayes Best, Jas. Harriss, and S.A. Smith.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: school teacher Edward C. Simms, 33; wife Nicy, 26; and Edward, 7 months.

In the 1900 census of Norfolk, Virginia: at 62 Moseley, teacher Edward C. Simms, 44; wife Nicy, 43, nurse; and children Edward, 20, porter, Theodocia, 18, teacher, Sacona, 16, errand boy, Adonis, 14, Cicero, 12, Henny, 10, and Hattie, 6. All were born in North Carolina, except the youngest two, who were born in Virginia.

In the 1906 Tampa, Florida, city directory: Simms Edward C (m) pastor A M E Zion Church, h 952 Harrison 

In the 1908 Tampa, Florida, city directory: Simms Edward C Rev (m) pastor A M E Zion Church, h 952 Harrison

E.C. Simms died 14 May 1908 of diabetes at 313 North 38th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Per his death certificate, he was 55 years old and was born in Virginia to E.C. Simms of North Carolina and an unnamed mother born in Virginia. Informant was J.B. Harris [who apparently knew little about Simms.] He was buried in Norfolk, Virginia.

In the 1910 census of Tanner Creek, Norfolk County, Virginia: at 4 Byrd Street, widow Nicey Simms, 50, and children Adonis, 22, candy maker in factory, Henrietta, 18, and Hattie, 15.

Nicy Simms died 6 January 1922 in Norfolk, Virginia. Per her death certificate, she was 60 years old; was a widow; lived at 914 Dunbar; and was born in Wilson, N.C., to Daniel Bass [Best] and Jane [last name unknown]. Theadesia Simms of Norfolk was informant.

Adonis Simms died 9 July 1930 in Norfolk, Virginia. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1887 in North Carolina to Edward Simms; worked as a laborer; and was married to Vessie Simms.

Privett is perfectly willing to take them.

State of North Carolina, Wilson County }

This is to certify that Stephen Privet of above named county and state has on his premises three children of color — whose mother is dead — and have no known father — name and ages as follows viz — Mary aged about ten years, Amy aged about five years, William aged three years — I have no hesitancy in commending the above named Stephen Privett as a suitable person to have said children of color bound to him — as he is perfectly willing to take them — Said children have no visible means of support. Given under my signature, this 5th day of Dec: 1865   Wm. G. Jordan J.P.

——

In the 1860 slave schedule of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Stephen Privett, who claimed ownership of one 18 year-old black man, one 20 year-old mulatto woman, and two mulatto girls, aged 3 and 1. [The girls may have been Mary and Amy, and the woman their mother.]

In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Stephen Privett, 59; wife Isabella, 55; children Cornelia, 21, and Robert, 18; farm laborer Joseph High, 20; and “apprentiss” William Privett, 8 [an African-American boy].

North Carolina Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1863-1872, Rocky Mount (Assistant Superintendent), Roll 56 Labor contracts, Dec 1865-Jul 1867. Hat tip to Debby Gammon for the lead on this document.

John H. Skinner, pastor, educator and journalist.

SKINNER, JOHN HENRY — Clergyman — b. Sept. 13, 1867, Wilson, N.C.; s. A. and Mary (Barnes) Skinner; educ St. Augustine Normal Sch., Raleigh, N.C.; A.B. State Normal Sch., Fayetteville, N.C., 1881; A.B. Tuskegee Institute, Ala., 1922; D.D. Baptist Coll., 1922; A.M. Am. Correspondence Coll., South Daniel, N.Y., 1896; m. J.H. Lane, Dec. 30, 1895 (deceased 1902); four children, Lena, b. Nov. 11, 1896; Lillie May, b. Oct. 5, 1897; Claude, b. Sept. 10, 1898; Flossie Pearl, b. Nov. 11, 1899; second marriage, Nelissa Peterson (deceased); one child, Mary V., b. 1910; third marriage, Mrs. Florence Dew; taught, Pub. Sch. Wilson County, for four years; established The Fremont Enterprise; taught in Wayne County, N.C., for fourteen years; taught in Green[e] County, N.C., for eighteen years; founded the Baptist College, Kenly, N.C., 1920; President of same, 1920-present; Associate Editor, City Paper, Kenly, N.C., 1926-present; Principal, Graded Schools, Kenly, N.C., 1926-present; General Moderator of two conferences for the sixth term, mem A.F. & A.M. Knights of Pythias; Pol. Republican; Relig. F.W. Baptist; Address, Kenly, N.C.

He began teaching when fourteen years of age and has been a teacher since 1881. He managed a newspaper in Freemont, N.C., for two years, teaching at the same time in Wayne County, holding then a First Grade Certificate. Was Dean of teachers in Greene County for ten years, resigning to found the Baptist College, of which he has been President since 1920.

The Baptist College began its work in 1909 in Fremont, N.C., and later was moved to Kenly, N.C. It held two months’ sessions each summer until 1920 when under the supervision of Rev. Skinner it began its eight months’ sessions.

The purpose of the school is to train young men and women in the elements of an English education, to prepare them for teaching and provide a Theological course. There are a number of buildings and a dormitory for boys and girls.

Joseph J. Boris, ed., Who’s Who in Colored America, vol. 1 (1927).

——

Teachers and students of the Original Free Will Baptist School, also known as Skinner’s College, circa 1923. John H. Skinner is at far right. Skinner was also principal of Kenly Colored Graded School, a Rosenwald school. Photo courtesy of Johnston County Heritage Center.

In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Aaron Skinner, 37, carpenter; wife Mary, 25; and son John, 9; domestic servant Esther Barnes, 21; and Willie Battle, 2.

J.H. Skinner, 24, of Wayne County, son of Aaron and Mary Skinner of Virginia, married J.A. Lane, 23, of Wayne County, daughter of Amos and Penny Lane, on 30 December 1885 in Nahunta township, Wayne County.

In the 1900 census of Fremont, Wayne County, N.C.: school teacher John H. Skinner, 37; wife Jackan, 36; and children Adie L., 12, Lillie M., 10, Claud, 8, and Clasie, 4.

On Christmas Day 1904, J.H. Skinner, 41, married Ida Artice, 25, in Greene County, N.C.

In the 1910 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County, N.C.: public school teacher John H. Skinner, 49; wife Ida, 38; and children Lillie, 20, Claudie, 17, and Flosey, 14.

On 7 September 1913, J.H. Skinner, 45, of Johnston County, married Melisa Peterson, 20, of Johnston County, in Beulah township, Johnston County.

On 17 May 1919, Richard Swinson applied for a marriage license in Greene County for J.H. Skinner, 51, of Greene County, and Rosa L. Ellison, 27, of Greene County, daughter of Harvey and Laura Ellison. The license was not returned.

In the 1930 census of Beulah township Johnston County, N.C.: on Matthew Donal Street, widower John H. Skinner, 60, teacher at Brower(?) School.

On 10 May 1930, J.H. Skinner, 60, of Kenly, son of Adam and Mary Skinner, married Elizabeth Williams, 45, of Kenly, daughter of Dock and Mary Parker, in Kenly, Johnston County, N.C.

J.H. Skinner died 16 November 1937 in Kenly, Beulah township, Johnston County, N.C. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1851 in Wilson to Aaron Skinner and Mary Barnes; was married to Elizabeth Williams Skinner; and worked as a teacher and minister.

I have not been able to find more about Skinner’s Fremont Enterprise or City Paper. Excerpts from columns Skinner contributed to the Kenly Observer in 1926 are quoted in Research Report: Tools for Assessing the Significance and Integrity of North Carolina’s Rosenwald Schools and Comprehensive Investigation of Rosenwald Schools In Edgecombe, Halifax, Johnston, Nash, Wayne and Wilson Counties (2007) and will be examined in detail in another post, as will a former student’s memories of the school published in the Kenly News in 1985.

T. Johnson and D. Barbour, Images of America: Johnston County (1997); hat tip to J. Robert Boykin III for the lead.

 

Studio shots, no. 160: Annie Hagans Ellis.

Annie Hagans Ellis.

In the 1900 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Larnce Haggan, 49, wife Etha, 44, and children Joe, 21, Augustus, 19, Oscar, 18, Charlie, 16, Annie, 13, Connie, 10, Lena, 8, Mollie, 7, William L., 4, Minnie, 3, and Pattie, 1, and Lawrence’s widowed mother Alice Hagans, 70.

Annie Hagans, 18, of Wilson township, daughter of Laurence and Mary Hagans, married Jonathan Ellis, 32, of Wilson township, son of James and Zanie Ellis, on 11 January 1905. Benjamin Ellis applied for the license, and Primitive Baptist minister Jonah Williams performed the ceremony at Laurence Ellis’ house in Saratoga township in the presence of M.L. Newby, F.S. Hargrave, and S.H.Vick.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Johnathan Ellis, 37; wife Annie, 23; and children Earnest, 4, Dollina, 2, and Johnathan, 1.

Frederick Douglas Ellis died 8 September 1918 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 8 December 1917 in Wilson County to Jonathan Ellis and Annie Haggans.

In the 1920 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: on Rocky Mount Road, farmer John Ellis, 47; wife Annie, 53 [sic]; children Ernest, 14, Dollena, 12, John Jr., 11, Nettie, 7, Chasey, 6, Nathaniel, 6; and sister-in-law McCordy Ellis, 50.

In the 1930 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Jonathan Ellis, 51; wife Annie, 43; children Jonathan J., 21, Nettie, 18, Chasie, 17, Nathaniel, 15, Macordie, 5, Leroy, 3, and Pattie M., 2; and boarder Mcordie Ellis, 58, widow.

In the 1940 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer J.C. Ellis, 67; wife Annie, 52; children Macordia, 12, Larry, 13, and Pattie May, 12; and sister Macord Ellis, 75.

In 1940, Jonathan Ellis registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 30 January 1909 in Wilson; lived at R.F.D. 2, Box 273, Elm City; his contact was mother Annie Hagans Ellis; and he worked for Morrison Webb, Elm City.

Jonathan Ellis died 12 February 1944 in Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 14 October 1875 in Saratoga to James Ellis and Zannie Applewhite; was married to Annie Ellis; was a farmer.

In 1944, Leroy Ellis registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 17 November 1926 in Nash County; lived at Route 2, Box 261-A, Elm City; his contact was mother Annie Ellis; and he worked for Rosa Watson, Washington, D.C. “rent the farm.”

Thanks to Cathy Thorne Bynum for contributing this photo of her grandmother!

The mysterious deaths of Miles and Annie Pearson.

An anonymous letter arrived at the sheriff’s office on 13 January 1922. Miles Pearson had killed his wife, it said, and fled the scene, leaving her lying the yard. The sheriff and several deputies rushed to the scene to find Annie Pearson‘s body, shot through the heart and mutilated by hungry animals. 

“Pistol shot wound through the heart. Murdered by husband”

The Daily Times reported on 14 January that the Pearsons were sharecroppers who had been on this farm, owned by Lithuanian Jewish brothers-in-law Morris Barker and Morris Popkin, just weeks. Their animals were found tied up and famished. 

… and then Miles Pearson was found in the woods, shot in the back.

Wilson Daily Times, 16 January 1922.

A Black man named Jim McCullen and two white men, prowling about the farm, found Pearson’s body stretched out behind a log with a shotgun nearby. Suddenly, it seems, everyone recalled a man and woman who’d been living with the Pearsons and were nowhere to be found. A week earlier, some said, they had briefly borrowed a horse and buggy from George Barnes, but had not been seen since.

“Pistol shot wound Murdered by unknown parties No Doctor in Attendance”

Were the Pearson murders ever solved?