The ascetic James Atkinson.

Wilson Daily Times, 28 March 1930.

  • James Atkinson  

Probably, in the 1880 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: farmer John Atkinson, 43; wife Jane, 28; and children Cora, 11, Edna, 8, Mattora, 6, Nellie, 4, and James Gray, 1.

In the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer John Atkinson, 63; wife Jane, 58; and children Nellie, 21, James, 19, Nettie, 18, Naoma, 15, Lucy, 13, and Robert E., 8.

In the 1910 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: James Atkinson, 29; mother Jane, 55, widow; sisters Nellie, 31, and Nettie, 18; and boarders Lillian, 8, and Elmira Woodard, 2.

James Atkinson died 9 December 1943 in Black Creek township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 64 years old; was born in Wilson County to John Atkinson and Jane Newsome; was single; and was engaged in farming. He was buried in Farrells cemetery. Willie Woodard, Black Creek, was informant.


  1. What was the point of this coverage becoming a newspaper article? Was it mockery of what appears to be a docile person being put on public display as a human phenomena? Oh! the gall of some people to exhibit such authority over someone else!!!

    1. I often ask this question. I am acutely aware when I share such articles that I may be perceived as piling on whatever mean-spirited intent was originally meant, which I do not want to do. I engage in a balancing act as I consider whether a particular article provides valuable information about a life that otherwise went unrecorded and unremarked upon. It is so difficult to put flesh on the bones of the names we find in census records — newspaper articles offer an admittedly distorted window.

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