Month: September 2023

White man sent to the roads for attacking Charles Chapman.

Wilson Daily Times, 27 October 1942.


A stillborn female was born 23 September 1929 in Wilson, Wilson County, to Charlie Chapman of Wilson County and Adlaide Adams of Greene County, North Carolina. Per her death certificate, she resided at 910 Roberson Street and was buried in Rountree Cemetery. Eliza Woodard was midwife at her birth, and Estella Adams was informant for the death certificate.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 911 Roberson, tobacco factory laborer Esther Adams, 50; wife Stella, 48; sons Walter L., 20, oil mill laborer, and Esther Jr., 12; and son-in-law Charlie Chapman, 21, widower, telephone office janitor. 

In the 1950 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 112 Pender, Charlie Chapman, 55, concrete finisher for city of Wilson; wife Mary, 40, cook and housekeeper for private family; daughter Ozie L. Walston, 25, hostess at local theatre, and granddaughter Mary E. Walston, 7.

Wilson Daily Times, 14 June 1954.

Charlie Chapman died 7 November 1956 at his home at 112 Pender Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 5 May 1897 in Lenoir County, North Carolina to Amos Grainger and Loucinda Scott, and was married to Mary Lee Chapman.

Studio shots, no. 224: Peter Coley.

Peter Coley (1842-bef. 1900).

Several Peter Coleys lived in northern Wayne County, North Carolina, in the late 1880s. The portrait above has been labeled as Peter Coley, husband of Rachel Exum Coley, by numerous users. However, considerable misinformation about this Peter is floating around that site, including an erroneous death date of 1924. In fact, Coley died before 1900. His widow and children moved back and forth across the county line between Fremont in Wayne County and Black Creek in Wilson County.


In the 1870 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: blacksmith Peter Coley, 28; wife Rachel, 21; and children Lula, 4, James E., 3, and Mary E., 7 months.

In the 1880 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: farmer Peter Coley, 39; wife Rachel, 33; and children Zola, 13, James, 12, Frany, 10, Willie, 8, Pennelopode, 6, Thomas, 5, John, 4, and Rachel, 1 month.

In the 1900 census of Fremont, Wayne County: John Coley, 23; his sisters Rachel, 21, Pennie, 20, Calie, 19, Rebeker, 17, and Pealie, 12; and [brother] Jack.

On 7 October 1903, Jonah Bunch, 22, of Wayne County, son of Mack and Caroline Bunch, married Pennie Coley, 23, of Black Creek, daughter of P. and Rachel Coley, in Black Creek township, Wilson County. Father P. Coley was dead; mother Rachel Coley lived in Black Creek.

On 25 November 1903, Edward Crummedy, 25, of Black Creek, son of Calvin and Della Crummedy, married Rachel Coley, 25, of Black Creek, daughter of Peter and Rachel Coley, married in Wilson, N.C. Father Peter Coley was dead; mother Rachel Coley lived in Wilson.

In the 1910 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: Jonah Bunch, 24; wife Penny, 26; sons William, 6, and Elijah, 2; nephew Zachariah Coley, 15; and mother Rachel Coley, 65, widow.

On 5 August 1914, John Coley, 37, of Wilson County, son of Peter and Rachel Coley, married Jennettie Rodgers, 34, of Wayne County, daughter of Ed and Lucy Rodgers, in Fremont, Nahunta township, Wayne County.

John Coley died 20 August 1919 in Nahunta township, Wayne County. Per his death certificate, he was 43 years old; was born in Wayne County to Peter Coley and Rachel Coley; was married; worked as a farmer; and was buried in the Fort graveyard, Fremont. Tom Coley, Lucama, was informant.

On 26 December 1922, Jeff Holloway, 55, of Nahunta township, son of Lewis and Caroline Holloway, married Sallie Coley Whitley, 41, of Nahunta township, daughter of Peter and Rachel Coley, in Nahunta.

Rachel Cromedy died 15 November 1924 in Nahunta township, Wayne County. Per her death certificate, she was 45 years old; was born in Wilson to Peter Coley and Rachel [no maiden name]; was married to Ed Cromedy; and was buried in Best graveyard.

Rachel Coley died 26 July 1928 in Black Creek township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was of unknown age; was born in Wayne County to John Exum and Saphonia Exum; was single [but married to Peter Coley, i.e. a widow]; and was buried in Coley graveyard.

James C. Coley died 21 July 1935 in Goldsboro, N.C. Per his death certificate, he was 67 years old; was born in Wayne County to Peter Coley and Rachel Exum; worked as a farmer; and lived at 426 Canal Street, Goldsboro.

Winnie Newsome died 4 August 1936 in Black Creek township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 63 years old; was born in Wayne County to Peter Coley and Rachel Exum; was married to Stephen Newsome; and was buried in Wayne County.

On 24 October 1939, Richard Davis, 63, of Nahunta township, son of Phil and Emily Davis, married Rebecca Newsome, 52, of Nahunta township, daughter of Pete and Rachel Coley, in Nahunta township, Wilson County. Alex Adams of Wilson County was a witness.

Thomas Coley died 28 September 1942 in Mercy Hospital, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 11 April 1874 in Wayne County to Peter Coley and Rachel Elexon; worked as a farmer; was married to Victoria Coley; and was married to Coley Cemetery, Wilson.

Pennie Bunch died 7 August 1944 in Black Creek township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 17 January 1881 in Wayne County to Pete Coley and Rachel Exum; was married to Jonah Bunch; and was buried in Bunch Cemetery, Fremont, N.C.

Maggie Davis died 19 August 1946 in Old Fields township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 9 February 1884 in Wayne County to Peter Coley and Rachel Exium;  was married to Westley Davis; and was buried in Rest Haven Cemetery, Wilson.

Photo courtesy of user foothillsgirl.

The beautiful, yet impressive, wedding of Lucile Dawson and Dr. Simon F. Frazier.

Wilson Daily Times, 17 December 1919.

  • Lucille P. Dawson Frazier

On 1 November 1882, A.D. Dawson, 25, of Wilson, son of Robert and Rachel Dawson, married Lucy Gatlin, 24, of Wilson County, daughter of Joseph and Sally Hill, at Gatlin’s residence in Wilson County. Methodist minister P.M. Hilliard performed the ceremony in the presence of Sam Collins, Lewis Battle, and Martha Tyson.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: dealer in fish Edd [Alexander D.] Dawson, 40; wife Lucy, 40, dressmaking; and children Mattie, 14, Virginia, 9, Lucy, 8, Edd, 5, Clarence, 3, and Augusta, 1.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: restaurant cook Alexander Dawson, 50; wife Lucy, 49; and children Sophie,  25, school teacher, Mattie, 23, stenographer, Virginia, 19, school teacher, Lucile, 17, Alexander, 15, Clarence, 13, Augusta, 11, and Arlander, 1.

On 10 December 1919, Simon Frazier, 24, of Georgia, married Lucille P. Dawson, 24, of Wilson, in Wilson.

In the 1920 census of Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia: medical doctor Simon F. Frazier, 30; wife Lucile, 24; and lodger Martha Daniels, 39, public school teacher.

In the 1930 census of Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia: at 222 East Park Avenue, physician Simon F. Frazier, 40; wife Lucille P., 33; and children Muriel E., 9, Ouida, 6, and Wahwee A., 3 months.

In the 1940 census of Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia: at 222 Park Avenue East, physician Samuel Frazier, 50; wife Lucille, 47; and daughters Muriel, 19, Ouida, 16, and Wahwee, 13.

In the 1950 census of Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia: at 222 Park Avenue, physician S.F. Frazier, 56, and wife Lucille D., 54.

Macon News, 15 May 1952.

Charles J. Elmore, Black America Series: Savannah Georgia (2001).

See this Coastal Courier article about the demolition of the small house Dr. Frazier built to house his rural medical practice. Dr. Frazier had deep roots in Georgia’s Sea Islands and was born in 1890 in the Gullah-Geechee community of Freedmen’s Grove, near present-day Midway, Georgia.


  • Calvary’s Presbyterian Church — Calvary Presbyterian.
  • Almira Frazier
  • Virginia Dawson
  • Clarence C. Dawson — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Clarence Dawson, 23, barber; wife Elizabeth, 22; and daughter Eris, 2; widower father-in-law Charley Thomas, 59; brother-in-law Clifton Venters, 24, his wife Hattie, 20; and in-laws Elton, 29, Marie, 15, Sarah, 10, and Beatrice Thomas, 8.
  • Dr. Cassell
  • Dr. C.C. Dillard — Clarence Dillard.
  • Mrs. Frazier
  • Olivia Peacock — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: post office clerk Livia H. Peacock, 60; wife Annie, 31; children Olvia, 23, Annie L., 21, Livia H. Jr.; Sudie 14, Rubie, 12, Vivian, 9, Bennie, 5, and John, 3; boarders Mary S. Roberson, 32, and Mary Brodie, 20; plus widow Susan Byatt, 62.
  • Eva Speight
  • Arlando Dawson — in 1918, Arlando Richard Dawson registered for the World War I in New York, New York. Per his registration card, he was born 26 August 1900; lived at 121 Pender Street, Wilson; was employed as a waiter at Girard Hotel, 44th Street, New York City; and his nearest relative was A.D. Dawson.
  • Esther Bowser — Astor Bowser?
  • Delores Hines — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 614 East Green, barber William Hines, 35, wife Ethel, 25, and children Delores, 4, and William, 2.
  • Bettie Silver Taylor
  • Mary Jane Tate — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 208 Pender, barber Noah Tate, 42; wife Hattie, 34; boarder Mary Jennings, 28, a public school teacher; and children Helen, 13, Mary Jane, 8, Andrew, 11, and Noah Jr., 3.
  • Inez Tate — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 610 Green Street, Hardey Tate, 50, brickmason; wife Annie, 40; children Inez, 8, and Daisy, 6; and lodgers Rome Bagley, 44, and John Boykin, 28.
  • Dr. and Mrs. F.S. Hargrave — Frank S. Hargrave and Bessie Parker Hargrave.

Lane Street Project: dispelling myths about 1995.

In April 1995, this notice appeared in the local paper:

Wilson Daily Times, 22 April 1995.

Some have questioned whether, at this meeting, the community “agreed” with the removal of headstones and the erection of a central monument at Vick Cemetery. At least one person believes the City made a “reasonable decision” to remove the stones and was attempting “to do the correct thing for the community ….”*

Condensed to their essence, intended or not, these positions blame the Vick descendant community for the current condition of the cemetery and should be rejected. Here’s the record we have:

Sometime in late 1994, the City solicited bids for the restoration of Vick Cemetery. The City’s project description opened with a Project Location and Overview:

In Section 4A of the project description, entitled “Restoration and Improvement S.H. Vick Cemetery Lane St. Wilson, N.C.”: “All existing graves whether marked by a grave marker or not shall be identified and located so as to be able to be re-located after completion of the work. A detailed survey may be needed in order to ensure that graves are marked in the correct location after completion of the work. A drawing showing all graves shall be prepared for future reference. All existing tombstones shall be removed, labeled, and stored until after all work is completed.” 

Per Section 4E: “All graves identified and located prior to construction shall be re-located and marked. Graves shall be marked in one of two ways: (1) Tombstones removed from graves prior to construction shall be reset at the proper grave locations. (2) Any unmarked graves which were located shall be marked by means of a small metal marker as typically used in cemeteries. A map showing the locations of all graves shall be furnished to the City of Wilson.”

(I don’t know who the City Attorney was in 1994, but I have to assume he did not vet this description, as it falls afoul of state law at several points.)

In November 1994, Wilson City Council voted 4-2 to award the contract to PLT Construction Company.

City council minutes – at least as supplied to me per a public records request – do not reflect any later discussions about changing the scope of the Vick restoration project. The City has produced no documents to show when or why the original plan to reset the headstones was altered.

The City’s public meeting took place on 24 April 1995 at B.O. Barnes Elementary. In response to my public records requests, the City has produced no documents reflecting what occurred at this meeting, and I have found no newspaper accounts. Without evidence, I decline to believe that community members were asked if they would rather have than a central monument than the original headstones reset and that they opted for the former. (In any case, removing all the headstones from a cemetery is unlawful, and the general public had no right to determine whether to permanently remove markers from graves to which they had no personal claim.)

On June 5, 1995, PLT submitted its invoice for its work at Vick with the notation “deduct for replacing headstones and portion of survey work. -$4,500.00.” Thus, by early June, PLT had finished its work, and the headstones were gone.

In late August 1995, the Wilson Daily Times announced that the city would erect a single monument in the middle of Vick Cemetery. (The article also said the city would install lighting at the site (which it never did) and that fencing was not necessary.) “It would help, from a maintenance standpoint, to have one big monument,” City Manager Ed Wyatt said, citing the cost and time required to mow around headstones. Wyatt stated that the City’s public works department would store Vick’s intact headstones. (Contemporaneous accounts of Vick often note the small number and poor condition of the headstones. Given the neglect and abuse of Vick over eight decades, there is no wonder that its monuments were lost or badly damaged, but this situation is chargeable to the City, not Vick’s families.) Wyatt also stated that “the general concept of a central monument was first mentioned at a neighborhood meeting.” 

Wilson Daily Times, 29 August 1995.

Again, assuming this was true, we have no evidence of how or when this “general concept” morphed into implemented plan. The community could very well have agreed to a central monument, but intended it to augment, rather than replace, the remaining headstones. (After all, doesn’t Maplewood Cemetery have a big monument on its grounds?) Whatever the discussion was, I am certain that community members were not aware that removing headstones from and grading the surface of a cemetery were unlawful actions. Nor, in my belief, were they advised that the original headstones eventually would  be destroyed or that, in two years’ time, the City would sanction the intrusion of ninety-foot steel transmission poles into Vick’s graves.

Even if benign in some aspects, the City’s intentions in 1995 do not outweigh the impact of the decisions made, and blame or collusion cannot be thrown on the community. The City now has an opportunity to acknowledge the harm done, reconsider its decisions, and make better choices. Let’s do it.

*These quotes are lifted from an email, obtained via public records request, that was sent to Deputy City Manager Rodger Lentz by a Wilson resident on 24 August 2023. The writer, who I doubt was present at B.O. Barnes in April 1995 or is claimed kin to anyone buried in Vick, went on to state: “Hopefully the issue will begin to go away but I fear that there are people who will try to continue to stir this pot.” Rest assured that the stirring has just gotten started.

Take notice: my wife and daughter left.

Wilson Daily Times, 11 August 1911.

This notice concerning a wife and daughter reads an awful lot like a runaway slave ad.

A Hannah Ellis is listed in the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, at 624 Darden Alley. No other Ellis is listed at that address. I have not found a mother-daughter combination named Hannah and Ida Ellis, nor the name of the man who published this notice anonymously.

Lane Street Project: in hope of brighter days.

Rev. H. Maurice Barnes, Rev. Carlton Best, and I held a productive, cathartic meeting with Mayor Carlton Stevens and Councilmember Gillettia Morgan yesterday morning. It was the first of what I anticipate will be many conversations, and I look forward to working together for a better future for Vick Cemetery and the dead lying within it.

I sent this email to the mayor and council back in May. The offer stands for all.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, August 2023.

Lane Street Project: response to the 23 July 2023 records request, part 5.

See below my two takeaways from this email, in which City Manager Grant Goings summarizes and comments on remarks made by the public at the 18 May 2023 council meeting.

First, “Obviously, the company that performed the survey will not recommend we build a fence on top of potential graves. We will coordinate the location of any fence with the survey results. The width of land we have to work with between the survey border and the required road right of way may determine what type of fence options we have.”

  • Here’s New South’s recommendation on fencing. Keyword: “possibly.”

  • There is no “width of land … to work with between the survey border and the required road right of way.” The right-of-way contains graves. The power poles are in the cemetery, running along, but outside, the right-of-way. Where’s a fence going to go?

Second, “Mr. Hooks criticized the Council for following the recommendations of the study as it applies to a fence.”

  • Castonoble Hooks, like every other citizen (or even non-citizen) of Wilson, has every right to criticize council. Full stop.

Third, off topic, but: I happen to agree with the concern expressed by another person about Wilson’s decision not to broadcast public comment.