802 Viola Street.

The one hundred twenty-eighth in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this house is: “ca. 1908; 1 story; L-plan cottage with turned-post porch and brackets.”

Jesse Ward registered for the World War I draft in Wilson in 1918. Per the registration card, he was born 15 June 1881; lived at 703 Viola Street; worked as a carpenter for Boyle-Roberson Construction, Newport News, Virginia; and his contact was Mary E. Ward

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 703 Viola Street [Wilson city house numbering was changed about 1921], house carpenter Jessie Ward, 36; wife Mary, 34; and children Mabel, 17, Gertrude, 12, Kerfus, 7, Malachi, 5, Dempsey, 3, Virginia, 2, and Sara, 1 month. 

Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, N.C., 1922.

Jessie Ward died 13 June 1923 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 38 years old; married to Mary Etta Ward; lived at 802 Viola Street; worked as a janitor and carpenter at graded school; and was born in Wilson County to Jessie Ward and Classy Burney.

Virginia Dare Ward died 15 June 1923 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 14 February 1919 in Wilson to Jessie Ward and Mary Sherrod and lived at 802 Viola. Like her father, she died of arsenic poisoning. 

Mary Etta Ward died 12 June 1925 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 41 years old; was the widow of Jessie Ward; lived at 802 Viola; was born in Wayne County to Dempsey Shearard and Harriet Hill; and was buried in Rountree cemetery. Informant was Solomon Shearard. 

Wilson Daily Times, 4 August 1925.

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hodges James (c; Gertrude) driver h 802 Viola; Hodges Joseph (c; Pearl) lab h 802 Viola

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 802 Viola, rents at $16/month, laundress Anna R. Parker, 65, widow; grandchildren Gurtrude, 7, Emma M., 5, Matthews, 4, and Dorthy, 2; and daughters Ellen Gay, 27, laundress, and Minnie Knight, 29.

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Parker Minnie (c) lndrs h 802 Viola; Parker Roxie A (c) lndrs h 802 Viola

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 802 Viola Street, Solomon Shearard, 60; wife Josephine, 52; and children Flora, 15, Beulah, 13, Elmer, 11, and Solomon, 21; plus “son’s wife” Mildred, 18, and grandson Ernest E., 8 months. [Solomon Sherrod (also known as Shearard) was the brother of Mary Shearard Ward, above.]

In 1947, Elmer Lee Sherrod registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 30 March 1929 in Wilson County; lived at 802 East Viola; worked for BPOE Elks Home, East Nash Street, Wilson; and his contact was Solomon Sherrod, 802 East Viola.

Solomon Shearard died 6 February 1948 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 21 October 1878 in Wayne County, N.C., to Dempsey Shearard and Harriett Hill; was married to Josephine Shearard; lived at 802 East Viola Street; worked as a common laborer; and was buried in Rest Haven cemetery.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2020.

One comment

Leave a Reply