Parker drowns while fishing.

Wilson Daily Times, 27 June 1930.

Matthew Parker’s death certificate told a less nuanced story of his death with a slightly judgey undertone: “Drowned Supposed accidental getting in water over his head and could not swim.”

——

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widow Roxy Parker, 24, and children Joseph, 14, Minnie, 13, Elenn, 12, Armena, 11, Mathew, 10, and Defatie, 2.

Matthew Parker registered for the World War I draft in 1918 in Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 March 1899; lived on Harper Street, Wilson; worked as a laborer for W.T. Clark; and his nearest relative was Roxy Parker.

On 9 October 1918, Matthew Parker, 18, married Emma Knight, 17, in Wilson.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Lipscomb Road, William H. Knight, 32, truck driver; wife Minnie, 24; brothers-in-law Cephus, 29, Menus, 22, and Matthew Parker, 18, all farm laborers; and lodgers Mary, 25, cook, Lebis, 10, and Lovie Saunders, 8. Next door: widow Roxie Parker, 50, and daughter Ellen, 21.

Roxie Parker died 2 October 1925 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 6 May 1919 in Wilson to Matthew Parker and Emma Knight. She died of diphtheria

[Matthew Parker’s older brother Cephus Parker came to his own tragic end in 1944.]

2 comments

  1. Where Corbett Avenue/London Church Road now crosses Toisnot Reservoir was once the location of the “Creature Hole”. The hole was known as a place for swimming when the Toisnot flooded due to heavy summer rains. Such holes and flooded quarries were the swimming pools for folks in Wilson who had no swimming pools. Fate would have it that occasionally untrained swimmers would drown. The shade thrown on the death certificate was possible due to the belief at that time that negros who naturally cannot swim keep trying to swim.

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