Where we worked: J.Y. Buchanan, blacksmith.

In 1942, Fletcher Williams registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he worked for “J.Y. Buchanan, Blacksmith Alley, back of Old Quinn Store” in “Alley between Clark Fac. & Old Quinn Furn. Sto.” Two years earlier, Williams had reported to a census taker that he was a blacksmith; he was likely one of the last African-Americans to ply that trade in Wilson.

Virginia native James Younger Buchanan arrived in Wilson circa 1910. He practiced horseshoeing at various stables downtown before establishing his own blacksmithing and horseshoeing business with a sideline in welding and general machine repair. Buchanan died in 1949.

Wilson Daily Times, 29 August 1918.

The encircled building on this detail of the 1922 Wilson, N.C., Sanborn fire insurance map is marked BL. SM. and appears to be the location of J.Y. Buchanan’s shop. Today, it would stand directly behind Casita Brewing Company. “Old Quinn Store,” i.e. R.E. Quinn & Company, was at 231-233 South Goldsboro Street, at top left in this image. “Clark Fac.” was W.T. Clark & Company Tobacco Re-Drying Factory, whose location is now a large municipal parking lot.

Wilson Daily Times, 3 February 1928.

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