517, 519 and 521 Smith Street.

Wilson Daily Times, 23 September 1985.

I offer the photo above not for the East Nash Street parking lot ribbon-cutting, but for the rare view of three early 20th-century houses on Smith Street. Smith Street is not located in the East Wilson Historic District, nor was its single block included in the Wilson Central Business-Tobacco Warehouse District, though it lies just behind East Nash and Pettigrew Streets. Its mid-section once densely packed with working-class housing, Smith Street is now completely cleared.

A 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson shows that the first two houses are 517 and 519 Smith Street (formerly Zion Alley). The house at right, 521, does not appear and was built between 1922 and 1928.

(The parking lot was built on the site of houses and shops at 527, 529, 531, and 533 East Nash Street and 514 and 516 Smith Street.)

The 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory lists domestic Lula Hill at 517; domestic Jane Taylor at 519; and cook Minnie Smith at 521.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 517 Smith Street, renting for $10/month, widow Emma Bissette, 30, and lodgers Mattie Coleman, 22, and John Harington, 34. At 521 Smith, at $16/month, widow Minnie Smith, 37, cook, and lodgers Elnora Norflet, 24, laundress; Davie Shoulders, 26, painter; and Alfreter, 6, and William E. Norflet, 4.

Samuel H. Vick owned 517 and 519 Smith Street and lost them with dozens of other parcels of land in a forced sale in April 1935.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 517 Smith Street, renting at $9/month, Ardelia Currie, 66, washing; son Garfield McMillan, 53, farm delivery for retail grocer; roomer Albert McPhail, 21, dishwasher at the Elite Cafe; granddaughter Ardelia McWorsins(?), 26, maid; and roomer Sara Gregory, 24, laborer. At 521 Smith, renting at $10/month, Luther Newsome, 50; wife Helen, 30; and children Mildred, 15, Beulah, 13, Luther, 1, and Donnell, 2 months.

In 1942, Elex [Alex] Currie registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 30 May 1898 in Robeson County, N.C.; lived at 517 Smith Street, Wilson; was an unemployed odd jobs laborer; and his nearest relative was Ardelia Currie, 517 Smith Street.

Ardelia Wearring died 13 July 1943 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 29 years old; was born in Robeson County, N.C., to Garfield Mills and Alice McCary; was married to Sam Wearring; lived at 517 Smith Street; and was buried in Rountree cemetery.

Ardelia Currie died 23 August 1943 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 60 years old; was born in Robeson County, N.C., to Hardy Curwell and Laura Jane Smith; worked as a laundress; was widowed; and lived at 517 Smith Street. She was buried in Rest Haven Cemetery, and Alex Currie was informant.

The 1947-48 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory lists factory worker Rosa Hicks at 517 Smith; Victoria Lane at 519; and Jack and Addie Vail at 521. Vail operated a grocery store at 315 Elba Street.

An auctioneer advertised 521 Smith Street for sale in the spring of 1948.

Wilson Daily Times, 16 April 1948.

Wilson Daily Times, 17 July 1958.

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