Deed Book 19, page 340, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.
Through much of the 20th century, the overwhelming majority of African-American women in Wilson who worked outside their homes worked either as domestic servants or tobacco factory laborers. Mittie Clarke‘s death certificate identifies her employment precisely — she performed domestic work for Mrs. W.D. Adams.
Mittie Clark’s parents, Rhoden and Sarah Hill Clark, migrated to Wilson from Scotland Neck, Halifax County, North Carolina, circa the 1890s. Rhoden Clark was a mechanic; Sarah Clark, a laundress. Sarah Clark bought a lot on Green Street from Samuel H. Vick in 1898, and the family built a large house, signaling their ensconcement in East Wilson’s Black middle class. Maintaining their position required the contributions of all, however, and the 1900 census shows five of the seven Clark children, ranging from age 13 to 30, engaged in nursing (as in childcare — this was Mittie), dressmaking, laundry work, and work as waiters.
William D. Adams was president of Barnes-Harrell Company, Wilson’s Coca-Cola bottler. His wife, Bess Hackney Adams, was a granddaughter of Willis N. Hackney, founder of Hackney Brothers Body Company.
[Note that Mittie Clark was buried in Rountree Cemetery. This may indicate Rountree, in fact, but more likely Odd Fellows or Vick Cemeteries. No grave markers for her or her family members have been found to date.]
Wilson Daily Times, 7 March 1941.
In the late 1930s, Blount Baker sat for an interview with a W.P.A. worker in which he spoke of his life in slavery. Baker was one of the last people in Wilson County who had been enslaved.
In the 1940 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Lee Woodard, 31; wife Mamie, 32; children Ella M., 10, David L., 7, James T., 5, Doris, 3, and Robert N., 1 month; mother Ella, 68, widow; Ester Barnes, 40, widow; uncle Blunt Baker, 109, widower; and nephew James R. Farmer, 21.
Blunt Baker died 3 March 1941 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 107 years old; was born in Wilson County to Anyka Baker; was a widower; was a retired farmer; resided near Lucama; and was buried in Eatmon cemetery, Wilson County. Informant was Dock Eatmon, Sims.
Wilson Daily Times, 19 March 1941.
- Stokey Manning
In the 1940 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Stokey Manning, 23; wife Nina, 18; and son James, 3.
In 1940, Elbert “Stoky” Manning registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 16 August 1916 in South Carolina; lived at R.F.D. 1, Elm City; his contact was wife Nina Bannon Manning; and he worked for farmer T.J. Wiggins, R.F.D. 1.
- Joe Hester
In the 1940 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: widower Joe Hester, 39; sons Jasper, 16, Walton, 14, and Elmer, 9; and siblings Annie, 21, Edward, 16, and Lawerence Hester, 19.
In 1942, Joe Hester registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 3 August 1900 in Granville County, N.C.; lived at Route #1, Taylors; his contact was W.H. Davis, Route 1; and he worked for farmer U.H. Cozart, Route 1.
- Booker T. Farmer
On 18 September 1937, Booker T. Farmer, 21, of Gardners township, son of Robert and “Babe” Farmer, married Sarah Williams, 22, of Gardners township, daughter of Turner and Lula Williams, in Wilson.
In the 1940 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Booker T. Farmer, 23; wife Sarah, 24; and daughter Fannie, 2.
In 1940, Booker Washington Farmer registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 26 June 1916 in Edgecombe County, N.C.; his contact was wife Sarah Williams Farmer; and he worked for T.J. Wiggins, Elm City.
Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.
Kenney Locus, also known as Lucas.
In the 1930 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Ed Locus, 47; wife Cora, 35; and children Linward, 20, Maggie, 19, Ula, 18, Winnie, 17, Alma, 16, Redelpha, 13, John E., 11, Clinton, 10, Kenny, 9, Josephine, 7, Easter, 5, Louise, 4, Frank, 3, and Nancy, an infant.
In the 1940 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farm laborer Ed Locus, 55; wife Clara, 45; and children Ella, 26, Redelphine, 23, Jhonnie Ed, 21, Qunnion, 19, Kerney, 18, Jasperine, 17, Lottie and Louise, 15, Frank, 12, and Nancy, 10.
In 1942, Kennie Lucas registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 10 November 1924 in Wilson County; lived at P.O. Box 293, Wilson; his contact was mother Cora Lucas; and helped his father Ed Lucas farm. He had a scar on his right leg below the knee.
Kenney Lucas died 14 September 1965 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 July 1927 [sic] in Wilson to Eddie Lucas and Cora Lucas; was never married; worked as a farmer; and was a veteran of World War II. Nancy Farmer was informant.
Photo courtesy of Europe A. Farmer.
Wilson Daily Times, 10 March 1941.
In March 1941, after repeated complaints by “a delegation of negroes,” Wilson County Commissioners were forced to supply two additional school buses to alleviate severe overcrowding on the buses ferrying children to and from the county’s two Black high schools, Elm City and Williamson. A state school commission inspection disclosed that the two buses serving Elm City were carrying 280 children a day on a route that wove across the top half of the county. (Children were picked up in dangerously overcrowded shifts, which resulted in forces tardiness and absences for many.)
Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.
We first met Alfred Boyette here, when claims of his death were greatly exaggerated.
Wilson Times, 7 March 1911.
Wilson Daily Times, 16 November 1946.
Earnestine Ford died 10 November 1916 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was five months old; was born in Wilson to Curtis Ford of Dillon County, S.C., and Mamie Battle of Wayne County, N.C. Curtis Ford, 605 East Green Street, was informant.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Clarcy Williams, 50; roomer Curtis Ford, 37, house carpenter; nephew [sic] Mamie Ford, 24; and roomer Lias L., 4, and Quincey B. Ford, 2. [Mamie Battle Ford was the daughter of Clarissa Williams’ half-brother Richard Battle.]
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 407 Carroll, rented for $12/month, Curtis Ford, 52; sons Quincey, 20, and Harvey G., 19; wife Mayme, 42; son-in-law Liston Sellers, 22; daughter Leah, 22; and granddaughter Yvette Sellers, 2.
In 1940, Quincey Ford registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 23 October 1918 in Wilson; lived at 910 East Green Street; his contact was mother Mamye Ford; and he was employed by E.B. Pittman, 509 East Nash Street.
In 1942, Harvey Gray Ford registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 8 January 1921 in Wilson; lived at 910 East Green Street; his contact was mother Mamie Ford; and he was unemployed. His card is marked: “Dead Cancelled Feb. 19, 1943.”
Harvey Gray Ford died 4 June 1942 in Falling Creek township, Lenoir County, North Carolina, “drowned no boat involved.” He was born 8 January 1921 in Wilson, N.C., to Curtis Ford of Dillon, S.C., and Mamie Battle of Wayne County, N.C.; was a student; and was single. Mamie Ford, 910 East Green Street, was informant.
Mamie Battle Ford died 14 November 1946 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per his death certificate, she was born 29 November 1892 in Wayne County to Richard Battle and Leah [Coley] Battle; was married to Curtis Ford; was engaged in teaching; and was buried in Rest Haven Cemetery.
Quincy Ford died 2 December 1965 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Per his death certificate, he was born 23 October 1918 in North Carolina to Curtis Ford and Mamie Battle Ford; lived at 2037 Master Street, Philadelphia; was a machine operator; and was married to Helen Ford.
Wilson Daily Times, 13 March 1924.
In early 1924, Wilson native Dr. Joseph H. Ward, a major in the Army Medical Corps and a pioneering physician in Indianapolis, was appointed first African-American chief surgeon and medical director of a Veterans Administration hospital. The appointment was poorly received by many in Tuskegee, Alabama, and the displacement of former personnel by a nearly all-Black staff was initially stiffly resisted.
In 1910, Oliver Nestus Freeman obtained a diploma from the Northwestern School of Taxidermy, which taught mail-order correspondence lessons in removing and treating animal hides and mounting preserved animal specimens.
Courtesy of Freeman Round House and African-American Museum.