This 1923 plat map detailing part of Frank Rountree’s property shows, at left, the block now home to Wilson’s main United States post office and, right, the location of a Family Dollar store.
The 1922 Sanborn fire insurance maps of Wilson reveal more detail about Rountree’s property. The houses he owned in this block are marked with asterisks. Most were double-shotgun houses built as rentals for African-American tobacco factory workers.
Rountree’s properties on the other side of Hines are again marked with asterisks below. The houses fronting the north side of Hines Street had white occupants, but the double-shotguns behind them on Sunshine Alley and along South Goldsboro had Black tenants. (West of the tracks, especially on the southern perimeter of downtown, segregation patterns were checkerboard, blocks by block.) See more about short-lived Sunshine Alley here.
Plat Book 1, page 268, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson; Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, N.C., 1922.
Ed Johnson — Edward Johnson died 15 April 1924 (two weeks after his store burned.) Per his death certificate, he was born 12 February 1869 in Durham County, N.C., to Martin Johnson and Francies Burks of Durham County; was married to Rachel Jane Johnson; was a self-employed grocery merchant; and lived at 406 East Hines Street. His wife Rachel Johnson was the daughter of his landlord Lewis Townsend.
On 31 January 1910, Fletcher Bowling, 34, of Wilson, married Lucy Barnes, 25, of Wilson, daughter of Rhoda Barnes, in Wilson. Holiness minister Leroy Wiggins performed the ceremony in the presence of William King, Bertha Wiggins, Lemuel Hargett, and Elder J.R. Beamon of Mount Olive.
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Walnut Street, Fletcher Bowling, 34, and wife Lucy, 25.
George Fletcher Bowling registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County in 1918. Per his registration card, he lived on Mercer Street, Wilson; was born 8 August 1975; worked as a plumber’s helper for J.R. Hinton, Tarboro Street; and his nearest relative was Maria Bowling, Simpsonville, Greenville County, South Carolina.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Fletcher Bowling, 45, plumber; wife Lucy, 40, tobacco factory laborer; and daughter Ruby, 18 months.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 508 Spruce Street, paying $16/month in rent, Fletcher Bowling, 54, city sewer laborer; wife Lucy, 54; and daughter Ruby, 12.
In the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: at 407 Spring Street Alley, Fletcher Bowling, 66; wife Lucy, 56; daughter-in-law Ruby Powell, 22, retrying tobacco factory laborer; and grandchildren Billy and Bobby, 5, and Edna Earl, 4.
Fletcher Bowling died 25 December 1940 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1878 in South Carolina to George F. Bowling and Mariah Smith; was married to Lucy Bowling; was a common laborer; lived at 407 Spring Street Alley; and was buried in Masonic Cemetery.
Detail, Sanborn fire insurance map, Wilson, N.C., 1908.
Cross-referencing the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory and the 1908 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson reveals the specific locations of Black-owned businesses just after the turn of the century. Above, the intersection of the 100 block of East Barnes Street and the 200 block of South Goldsboro Street.
William Hargrove — in the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: blacksmith William Hargrove, 32; wife Leuvenia, 30, washing; daughter Bessie, 6, and Lillie, 3; widowed sister Mary Boddie, 25, cooking; and cousin Julious Heat, 20, farm hand.
Isaac J. Young‘s blacksmith shop operated in the present-day location of Worrell’s Seafood. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 315 Spring Street, horse shoer Isaac J. Young, 46; wife Laura, 29; and sons Cornelius, 12, and Robert, 9; plus lodger Henry Moy, 5.
Mary Jane Barnes — in the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: widower Sampson Sharp, 57, and children Mary J., 19, Earnes, 17, Frankling, 15, and Eva, 13. Jacob Barnes, 25, of Wilson, son of George and Silvia Barnes, married Mary J. Sharp, 21, of Wilson, daughter of Sampson and Ella Sharp, on 8 April 1903. Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of S.E. Dortsch [future wife of Walter S. Hines] of Goldsboro, Annie F. Connor of Charlotte, and Geneva Battle of Wilson. Mary J. Barnes died 27 October 1920 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 6 April 1881 in Edgecombe County, N.C., to Samptson Sharpe and Lillie (maiden name unknown); was married to Jake Barnes; and lived at 814 Nash Street.
Jake Barnes — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Nash Street, Jake Barnes, 40; wife Mary J., 38; and children Gretchard, 14, Fred O., 11, Walom E., 8, Eva F., 6, and Mattie G., 3; and brother-in-law Frank Sharpe, 34.
As here, the applications below were made for military headstones to be installed in “Rountree Cemetery,” i.e. Rountree, Odd Fellows, or Vick Cemeteries. Of these, only James F. Scott’s grave marker has been found. (Another is now in Rest Haven, presumably the result of an exhumation and reburial.) The number of missing military headstones provides scale to the total loss of monuments in these cemeteries.
James Franklin Scott
The gravestones of James F. Scott and his father, the Rev. John H. Scott, have been located in Odd Fellows Cemetery. (Rev. Scott applied for his son’s gravestone.) However, they were found piled and stacked with more than a dozen other markers, and the location of the actual graves is not known.
Frank Scott’s headstone. Interestingly, the marker is engraved with after-market text — a birthdate and an epitaph, “Who is now with the Lord.”
Howard M. Fitts applied for the marker on Barnes’ behalf, as he did for many veterans.
Marcellus Lassiter died 4 July 1947 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 12 April 1897 in Wilson County to John Lassiter and Isabell Gear; worked as a laborer; was a World War I veteran; was the widower of Mamie Lassiter; and was buried in Rountree cemetery. Informant was Hardy Lassiter of Baltimore, Maryland.
Hubert Romaine Mitchener
Hubert Mitchener’s gravestone now stands in Rest Haven cemetery.
Sam Nash registered for the World War I draft in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 20 February 1890 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 1069 West Lexington Street, Baltimore; and worked as a laborer for B. & O. Railroad.
Minnie Nash of Baltimore submitted the application and requested that the headstone be shipped to Rosa Battle, 913 Washington Street, Wilson.
John W. Pitts
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 904 East Vance Street, John W. Pitts, carpenter, 53, born in South Carolina; wife Penina, 52, hotel maid; and son Junius, 20, farm laborer.
Nathan Austin died 22 July 1948 at a Veterans Hospital in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1893 in Wilson County to Marshall Ingram and Louise Ingram Austin; was a widower; lived at 610 Taylor Street, Wilson; and was unemployed.
Robert E. Ashford
[This is not the Robert Edward Ashford born 23 November 1918 in Wilson, who was white.]
Robert Edward Ashford registered for the World War II draft in 1942 in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 23 July 1923 in Wilson; lived at 614 East Green Street, Wilson; his contact was mother Rosa Ashford; and he worked at the Marine Base in Jacksonville, N.C.
Rosa L. Ashford submitted the application.
Fred Hyman registered for the World War I draft in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 15 September 1887 in Tarboro, North Carolina; lived at 1323 South Markoe Street, Philadelphia; was a farmer for “Dougherty” in Haddonfield, New Jersey; and was married.
Fred Hyman died 23 August 1947 at a Veterans Hospital in Kecoughtan, Virginia. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 September 1888 in Tarboro; was separated from Magnolia Hyman; lived at 1233 South 47th Street, Philadelphia. His body was shipped to Wilson, N.C., to the care of C.H. Darden & Sons Undertakers.
Sam Hyman, 816 Mercy [Mercer] Street, Wilson, submitted the application.
John Henry Jackson
John H. Jackson died 7 April 1946 at the Veterans Hospital in Asheville, N.C. Per his death certificate, he was born 27 September 1872 in Surry County, N.C., to Tom Jackson; was married to Ida Mae Jackson; worked as a laborer; lived at 1201 East Washington Street; and was a veteran of the Spanish American War.
Henry Hines died 11 March 1937 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 16 October 1892 in Wilson County to Mary Hines; was married to Lela Hines; lived at 808 Suggs Street; and was a day laborer for Farmers Oil Mill.
Will Dixon registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County in 1917. Per his registration card, he was born in 1896 in Farmville, North Carolina; lived on Stantonsburg Street, Wilson; was a laborer for W.L. Russell Box Company, Wilson; and was single.
A three-page Wilson Times insert published about 1914 highlighting the town’s “progressive colored citizens” featured City Bakery, then located at 540 East Nash Street, “under Odd Fellows Hall,” with R.B. Bullock as proprietor.
The bakery had a predecessor though, as shown in the 1912 city directory:
Hill’s Wilson, N.C., City Directory (1912).
Sanborn fire insurance map, Wilson, N.C., 1913.
This detail from the 1913 Sanborn map shows the location of the oven in the back of the small brick “bake house.” In 1914, City Bakery boasted that its premises were “sanitary in ever particular.” Such a claim must have been difficult to make when it sat within feet of multiple rail lines.
Richard Bulluck — Bulluck is listed in the 1912 directory living at 412 South Lodge Street.
In the 1880 census of Rocky Mount, Nash County: farm worker Right Whitley, 31; wife Tempie, 32; and children Blunt, 10, Ellin, 8, Bunch, 7, and Ann Wright, 2.
Ellen Whitley married Will Clark on 31 October 1896 in Nash County, North Carolina.
Ella Clark died 13 June 1913 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 35 years old; was born in Nash County to Wright Whitley and Tempie Lewis; was widowed; lived at 313 Goldsboro Street; and “fell dead on street — some cardiac event.” Eli Bryant was informant.
Thanks to Joe Stair for finding and photographing Ellen Clark’s headstone.
[Update: While searching for a different group of markers, I spotted the red flag Joe Stair placed at Ellen Clark’s headstone. I also noticed two small terra cotta pots placed nearby. Happenstance? Or evidence of flowers placed in her memory decades ago? — LYH, 4/20/2021]