602 Viola Street.

The one hundred-fifty-seventh in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this building is: “ca. 1908; 1 story; two-room, central-hall house with turned post porch.”

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In the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Jackson William H Rev h 613 Viola

The 1913 Sanborn fire insurance map shows that the original house number was 613.

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: White James (c) hostler h 613 Viola

In 1918, George Lane registered for the World War I draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 1 June 1879; lived at 613 Viola Street; worked as a brick laborer for John M. Barnes, Green Street, Wilson; and his nearest relative was Mamie Lane, 613 Viola. He signed his card with an X.

In the 1920 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Lane George (c) col h 613 Viola

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: renting at 613 Viola, George Lane, 43, tobacco factory laborer; wife Mamie, 30, washing and ironing; and children John, 11, Clyde, 7, George Jr., 6, and Louise, 1.

On 21 November 1920, an unnamed infant girl was born dead at 613 Viola to George Lane and Mamie Washington Lane. Her mother was informant for her death certificate.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 602 Viola Street, Samuel Sweny, 53, painter, and children Neoma, 17, Laney, 15, Easter, 13, Gracy, 12, John H., 10, and George P., 7.

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Swinney Saml (c) pntr h 602 Viola; also, Swinney Naomi (c) student h 602 Viola

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 602 Viola Street, Samuel Swinney, 76, painter, daughters Ester, 22, a tobacco stemmer, and Gracie, 22, superintendent at NYA project, and sons Johnnie R., 18, “in CCC camp,” and George, 17.

Samuel W. Swinney died 24 December 1940 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 59 years old; born in Roberson County to Richard Swinney and Fannie Manning, both of Dillon, South Carolina; and a widower. Grace Swinney of 602 Viola Street was informant.

The 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory lists Elizabeth Swinney, maid; George Swinney, tobacco worker; Grace Swinney, teacher; and John Swinney, grocer, at 602 Viola. John Swinney’s grocery store was at 612 Viola.

In 1942, Johnnie Richard Swinney registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 13 May 1921 in Wilson; lived at 602 East Viola Street, Wilson; his contact was Lonnie Thompson, 602 East Viola, Wilson; and he worked in “business (store).” 

In 1942, George Cleo Swinney registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 15 April 1923 in Wilson; lived at 602 East Viola Street, Wilson; his contact was Naomi Hunter, 11 1/2 North Pender Street, Wilson; and he worked for Thurston Motor Line, Wilson. 

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Swinney Geo (c) student h 602 Viola; also, Thompson Lanie S (c) cook ACC h 602 Viola

Wilson Daily Times, 28 May 1963.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, April 2022.

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