The obituary of Millie Sutton. (Who was not named Sutton.)

Wilson Daily Times, 20 October 1936.

The deaths of African Americans in early 20th century Wilson generally did not merit mention in the newspaper unless their lives could be framed in terms of their personal service to white people. This obituary could serve as a template in this regard.

It surely was not the Millie Smith Sutton who murdered her brother O.L.W. Smith‘s wife Lucy in 1891. I can find no death certificate for a Millie Sutton in Wilson or surrounding counties in 1936. However, Millie Bryant died 17 October 1936. Per her death certificate, she was 70 years old; was born in Goldsboro, N.C., to unknown parents; lived at 608 East Green Street. Celia A. Norwood, 205 Pender Street, was informant. Was Millie Bryant, in fact, “this good woman”?

Per the 1900 census of Wilson, she was. Millie Bryant is listed as the live-in cook for widower John Selby and family. 

From 1900 federal census, Wilson, Wilson County.

Ten weeks before she died, Millie Bryant made out her last will and testament, leaving all her property to her niece Celia Norwood.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

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