Month: June 2023

The obituary of Noble Wade.

Wilson Daily Times, 29 May 1948.

In the 1900 census of Liberty County, Georgia: Alex Waide, 52; wife Grace, 40; children Pinky, 16, Jno., 13, Joe, 12, Alex, 11, and Rabbit, 10; and grandchildren Letty, 8, Walter, 6, Noble, 3, and Bob, 5.

In 1917, Nobles Wade registered for the World War I draft in Dodge County. Per his registration card, he was born “don’t know 1895” in Hawkinsville, Georgia; lived in Chester, Georgia; worked as a laborer; and was married.

In the 1920 census of Chester, Dodge County, Georgia: Noble Wade, 25, railroad section laborer, and wife Josiebell, 27.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Deborah Swindell, 40, beautician; daughter Deborah, 16; and lodger Noble Wade, 38, cook for railroad crew, born in Georgia.

Noble Wade died 23 May 1948 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 May 1896 in Georgia; was married to Ethel Wade; lived at 505 Lane Street; and worked as a laborer.

Lane Street Project: the return of New South Associates.

Yesterday morning, I sent the mayor, all council members, a department head, and the communications director an email that read in pertinent part:

As usual, I received no acknowledgment of even receipt from any of the ten recipients. I’ll let you know when I do, but don’t hold your breath.

New South Associates returned to Vick Cemetery yesterday. They were not there to perform additional ground-penetrating radar work. Rather, in pursuit of the city’s obsession with throwing up a fence first and foremost, they came to mark grave anomalies on the city’s newly flagged boundaries. Vick Cemetery descendants and Lane Street Project monitors showed up throughout the day to observe New South’s work.

Here’s some of what they saw.

Small wooden stakes, numbered and spray-painted fluorescent orange, mark the head and foot of a grave anomaly. This grave, located perhaps ten feet from the edge of the ditch, lies well outside the surveyed property line and inside the public right-of-way.

The power poles are inside the Vick Cemetery boundary. The City did not file utility easements before or after setting high-voltage power poles in its own property, i.e. the cemetery, and the location of wooden markers clearly demonstrates that these poles were likely punched into graves.

Another view of pole 1 and guy wires discussed in yesterday’s post. The survey corner stake is adjacent to a stake reading RIGHT OF WAY EDGE.

The survey flag at the rear western corner of the cemetery. The yellow post is another natural gas pipeline marker.

This headstone is inside Odd Fellows Cemetery. The City erected the chainlink fence between Odd Fellows and Cemetery at an unknown date, but likely post-1996. In this photo, the survey flag stands at the fence.

Here’s another survey flag marking the boundary between Vick and Odd Fellows. (The vantage point faces toward the street.) Notice the gap between the fence and survey flag. This is what happens when there’s no plat map, and folk are eyeballing lines.

By the way, the strip of land along the fence was not subjected to ground-penetrating radar. We don’t know how many graves lie in this portion of Vick.

Finally, look at this: at the rear eastern corner of Vick Cemetery, the property line is in the woods outside the fence.


Thank you, B.S., for these photos!

The death of George Hines.

Wilson Daily Times, 14 August 1911.


On 20 February 1890, George Hines, 28, married Luvenia Lipscomb, 24, in Wilson township. Missionary Baptist minister J.T. Clark in the presence of Frank Lipscomb, John Blunt, and Nestus Bagley.

In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Georgie Hines, 35; Lue, 34; and Howard, 9, Herbert, 7, Mary L., 5, and Joseph, 1; and mother Mariah, 62.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Tillmans Road, farm laborer George Hines, 53; wife Liew, 48; children Howard, 19, Hubbard, 17, May Lillie, 12, Joseph, 10, Nora, 8, Robert, 5, William, 4, and Charlie, 2; mother-in-law Maria Lipscombe, 72, widow.

Herbert Hines died 3 June 1942 in New Bern, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1895 in Wilson to George Hines and Lue Lipkins [Lipscomb]; was married to Minnie Hines; worked as a laborer; lived near Wilson; and was buried in Rest Haven Cemetery.


The death of Lottie Best.

Wilson Daily Times, 6 June 1911.


In the 1880 census of Saint Marys township, Wake County, N.C.: Patsy Dunston, 50, and daughters Lottie, 17, and Minerva, 7.

On 27 April 1882, Daniel Best, 23, married Lottie Dunston, 20, in Wilson County.

In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: tobacco stemmer Daniel Best, 40; laundry woman Lottie, 35; and children Henry, 17, Sarah, 16, both tobacco stemmers, Daizell, 13, nurse, John, 11, tobacco stemmer, and Griffin, 7.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: odd jobs laborer Dave Best, 54; wife Lottie, 45, laundress; and children Henry, 26, Sarah, 18, Dezell, 16, James, 15, Griffin, 10, and Harry, 4 months.

Lottie Best died 5 June 1911 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 45 years old; was born in Wilson County to Joe and Winnie Best; was widowed; worked as a cook; lived on Pender Street; and was buried in Wilson. John Best was informant.

John Hazely Isler, pharmacist.

Charlotte Observer, 2 February 1960.


In the 1900 census of Swift Creek township, Pitt County: Furney Isler, 40, farmer; wife Cynthia, 34; children Francis L., 11, Pearlie M., 8, James W., 7, John H., 2, and Mary A., 1 month; and niece Nancy A. Isler, 25.

On 31 March 1908, in Grifton, Pitt County, Owen L.W. Smith, 56, married Cynthia A. Isler, 43, daughter of Madison and Phyllis King. Smith brought his new wife and her children, including son John Hazely Isler, to live with his family in the Saint John A.M.E. Zion Church parsonage.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: minister Owen W. Smith, 58, wife Lucy [sic] A., 45, son Jessy A. Smith, 27, daughter Carry E. Smith, 10, and step-children John H., 12, and Mary A. Isler, 10.

Isler was listed among Fourth Year High School students in the Biddle University Catalog, 1916-1917. North Carolina Digital Heritage Center.

In 1918, John H. Isler registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 27 February 1898; lived at 129 Pender Street, Wilson; was a student at Biddle University, Charlotte, N.C.; and his nearest relative was Cynthia Smith, 129 Pender.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 129 Pender Street, Owen L. Smith, 68, wife Cynthia, 55, stepchild Mary E. Isler, roomer John H. Isler, and eight other roomers.

Yorkville (York, S.C.) Enquirer, 31 May 1921.

Though his obituary dates his pharmacy to 1931, ads in the local college newspaper showed Rex Drug Store was operating as early as late 1929.

Charlotte University Student, 1 December 1929.

In the 1930 census of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina: at 310 Alexander Street, Alvira Rudisill, 64, widow; daughters Lillian Rudisill, 32, Joreatha Isler, 28, and Willie M. Rudisill, 26, all teachers; son-in-law John H. Isler, 31; and grandson John H. Isler Jr., 8.

In the 1940 census of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina:at 320 South Alexander Street, widow Elvira Rudisill, 74; daughter Lillian, 40, teacher; son-in-law John H. Isler, pharmacist at Rex Drug Store; grandson John Jr., 18; son-in-law Ruben McKissick, 33, shoemaker at shoe shop; and daughter Willie Mae, 32, teacher.

In 1942, John Hazely Isler registered for the World War II draft in Charlotte, Mecklenburg, North Carolina. Per his registration card, he was born 27 February 1898 in Grifton, N.C.; lived at 320 South Alexander, Charlotte; his contact was Joreatha R. Isler; and he worked at Rex Drug Store, 417 East 2nd, Charlotte.

In the 1950 census of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina: Elvira W. Rudisill, 84; daughter Lillian L., 43; son-in-law John H. Isler, 44; daughter Joreatha J., 42; son-in-law Rheuben McKissick, 40; and daughter Willie, 40.

Charlotte Observer, 5 August 1951.

Dr. John Hazely Isler died 31 January 1960 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 27 February 1900 in Grafton, North Carolina, to Ferniet Isler and Cynthia King; was married to Joreatha Rudisill Isler; lived at 1531 Beatties Ford Road; and was a pharmacist at Rex Drug Store.

History speaks at Eastern Carolina Village.

I’m excited about this opportunity to speak at Greenville’s Eastern Carolina Village and Farm Museum on August 3. I’ll be talking about the ways and places we can find evidence of our enslaved ancestors. It’s difficult work, but not impossible with patience and providence. Come through, Pitt County!

Lane Street Project: absent a plat map, a photographic analysis of the survey flags.

Today, New South Associates is scheduled to return to Vick Cemetery to do whatever it is the City has asked it to do. Per news accounts, “New South will flag unmarked graves along the cemetery’s property edges and provide a map showing which graves were marked, officials said.” Does this mean New South will perform GPR surveying in the areas along the edges of the cemetery not surveyed last year?  The City has not meaningfully engaged the descendant community since the Mayor promised transparency at the May 11 public forum, so we have no idea.

In the inexplicable absence of a plat map of the property, here are a few observations based on photos of the survey flags. First, an aerial (courtesy of showing the four power poles along the front edge of the cemetery. (I have previously referred to the three enormous steel poles, but there is a fourth wooden pole, labeled 1 below.)

These photographs were taken yesterday. In the first, the viewer is standing close to and with his back to the ditch at the far western edge of the cemetery. Wright Farm is at right; Vick Cemetery at left. Two survey flags mark the corner at the boundary of the farm and cemetery. The wooden power pole, which bears a City of Wilson tag, appears to be imbedded in the property line. The pole is tethered to a guy wire anchored in the ground. The anchor rod is inside the cemetery property line. Power poles are typically set in the ground at a depth of 10% of the overall height of the pole, plus two feet. Thus if this is a 30-foot pole, five feet of the pole is below grade, and 25 feet above. The anchor rod is attached to an anchor also set several feet below ground. To the right of the power pole is a fiberglass post marking a natural gas pipeline. This pipeline likely was laid circa 1959, when the first gas pipelines arrived in Wilson, but there is no record of a utility easement for it. We know it wraps around two sides of the cemetery.

The next photo was taken from a vantage point in the road several feet east of poles 1 and 2. Four guy wires anchor pole 2; a conifer has grown up around their anchor rods. All are well inside the boundaries of the cemetery. Note the survey flag placed several feet back from the edge of the ditch. As I’ve noted before, the “official” property line here is determined by the 60-foot public right-of-way, which is measured 30 feet in either direction from the center line of the street. No such right-of-way would have been observed during Vick Cemetery’s active period from 1913 to about 1960, and it is likely that graves extend into this space.

Consider Rest Haven and Masonic Cemeteries, which were laid out around the corner on the same street circa 1900, on land that was then outside city limits. After the City annexed the area, it needed to widen and pave Lane [now Bishop L.N. Forbes] Street. In order to achieve standard street width, curbing was laid to the very edge of the graves, resulting in dozens (if not hundreds) of graves inside the public right-of-way. See, for example:

The next photo shows a line of three survey flags marking the front edge of the property at the public right-of-way. It’s difficult to say — a survey map would be definitive — but it appears the power pole is inside the cemetery property. The steel poles are enormous. If they are, say, 60 feet tall, then eight feet of that length is underground. New South did not survey this area in its first visit to Vick.

And finally, a close-up of the bottom of pole 4, taken from the driveway into the small parking lot at Vick Cemetery, which has room for about five cars. At bottom left, we see the corner of the parking area. New South surveyed only the bumped-out area of the parking stalls and found evidence of 18 graves beneath it. The power pole is ten to fifteen feet away. In just a sliver of the little peninsula of grass between the parking lot, the pole, and the ditch, the survey found ten graves.

Many thanks to B.W. and T.S. for quick photos. Lane Street Project is a community collective. It’s going to take all of us to stay on top of what is happening at Vick Cemetery. This is a Sankofa moment if ever there were one. We don’t have to look back very far to see what needs to happen differently going forward.

Vick Cemetery’s descendant community and its allies demand transparency, accountability, and dialogue. Join us for an initial  Zoom meeting tonight to learn more.

The obituary of Edgar Mitchell.

Wilson Daily Times, 26 May 1950. 


In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Tillman’s Road, Allen Mitchell, 54; wife Eliza, 44; and children Frank, 20, James, 16, Junius, 13, Allen, 11, Floyd, 9, Earnest, 7, Pearlie, 5, Edgar, 3, and Madie, 2.

On 25 December 1925, Edgar Mitchell, 22, of Greene County, son of Allen and Eliza Mitchell, married Gertrude Joyner, 19, of Greene County, daughter of Walter and Clora Joyner, in Speights Bridge township, Greene County, North Carolina.

In the 1930 census of Speights Bridge township, Greene County: farmer Edgar L. Mitchell, 26; wife Gertrude, 25; and son Edgar, 3; boarders Thomas Wood, 23, and Edward McKinley, 21; and Ethel Pope, 20.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on New Bern Street, fertilizer plant laborer Edgar Mitchell, 31; wife Gertrude, 27, tobacco factory laborer; and son Edgar L., 13.

In 1940, Edgar Mitchell registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 15 October 1906 in Wilson; lived on Hadley Street, Wilson; his contact was wife Gertrude Joyner Mitchell; and he worked for Contentnea Fertilizer Company.

Edgar Mitchell died 24 May 1950 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 11 September 1905 in Wilson County to Allen Mitchell and Eliza Williams; was married; lived at 1009 Stantonsburg Street; worked as an oil mill laborer; and was buried in Rest Haven Cemetery. Pearl Barnes, 1013 Woodard Avenue, was informant.

Wilson Daily Times, 31 May 1950.

Lane Street Project: a flashback.

As the wheels begin to turn for Vick Cemetery, let’s flash back three-and-a-half years.

As a representative of the Vick Cemetery descendant community, I continue to seek dialogue with the City on the best path forward for Vick Cemetery and again request transparency and accountability in all matters concerning this space, including an investigation into the whereabouts of the grave markers the City removed from cemetery in or about 1996.

The obituary of Ella Ward.

Wilson Daily Times, 3 June 1950.


In the 1900 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Abraham Bynum, 47, a widower, and children Annie, 19, Addie, 18, Walter, 16, Oscar, 15, John, 12, Willie, 11, Hattie, 9, Ella, 7, Arthur, 1, and Harley, 5.

On 15 November 1913, Albert Ward, 26, of Saratoga, married Ella Bynum, 20, of Saratoga, in Stantonsburg, Wilson County.

In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: cropper Albert Ward, 30; wife Ella, 25, and children Willie, 4, and Robert, 11 months.

In the 1940 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: Albert Ward, 48, hired laborer in ditching; wife Ella, 42; son Robert Lee, 21, saw mill worker; and daughter Naomi, 19.

In 1940, Robert Lee Ward registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 7 January 1919 in Greene County, N.C.; lived in Saratoga, Wilson County; his contact was mother Ella Ward; and he worked for M.A. Tyson, Stantonsburg.

Ella Ward died 1 June 1950 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 1 November 1893 in Wilson County to Abraham Bynum and Jane Atkinson; was a widow; lived near Saratoga, Wilson County; and had worked in farming. Columbus Ward was informant.

Naomi Artis died 3 November 1963 in Saratoga township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 9 May 1920 in Wilson County to Albert Ward and Ella Bynum; was married Frank Artis Jr.; and was a laborer. Martha Kay Artis was informant.

Columbus Ward died 2 April 1964 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 16 October 1916 in Wilson County to Albert Ward and Ella Bynum; was married to Helen Marie Ward; lived at 809 Mercer Street; and worked as a laborer.

Robert Lee Ward died 31 January 1971 in Stantonsburg, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 February 1919 to Albert Ward and Ella Bynum; was married to Florine Artis; lived in Stantonsburg; and worked as a farm and sawmill laborer.