Author: Lisa Y. Henderson

History. Genealogy. Culture.

Hannibal Lodge building burns.

Wilson Daily Times, 29 October 1997.

For more about the Odd Fellows Hannibal Lodge building, see here and here. Shortly after it erected this building, Lodge #1552 established the Odd Fellows cemetery that now lies abandoned and overgrown on Lane Street.  

The obituary of John W. Jeffries (or Jefferson).

Wilson Daily Times, 27 June 1938.

The “local negro fire company” was, of course, the Red Hots.

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On 20 November 1887, John W. Jefferson, 36, of Wilson County, son of Jack Jefferson, married Lizzie D. Dotson (or Doster) at “the rectory at St. Timothys church.” Episcopal priest B.S. Bronson performed the ceremony.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: day laborer John Jefferson, 52, widower.

In the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Jeffreys John V (c) lab h 708 S Spring

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 360 Spring Street, odd jobs laborer John Jeffries, 60, and wife Maggie, 30.

In the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Jefferson John (c) lab h 708 S Spring

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 607 Spring, house carper John Jefferson, 68, and wife Maggie, 31.

In the 1920 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Jefferson John (c) lab h 607 S Spring

In the 1922 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Jefferson John (c) carp h 521 Spring

In the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Jeffreys Jno W (c) carp h 521 Spring

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Jeffries John W (c) carp h 521 Spring

John Wesley Jeffrey died 27 June 1938 at Mercy Hospital in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 9 May 1849 in Harnett County, N.C.; lived at 307 Spruce Street, Wilson; was divorced from Maggie Wilson; and was a laborer.

An open safe.

Wilson Mirror, 26 November 1897.

The mid-1890s’ surge of white supremacy, best and most horrifically exemplified in the Wilmington Massacre of 1898, created an atmosphere in which crude and casual racism flourished even in “respectable” publications. The Wilson Mirror led a story about a robbery with this gratuitous doggerel.

  • Riley Faison — Riley Faison, 30, of Wilson County, son of Henry and Sophia Faison, married Frances Farmer, 26, of Wilson County, daughter of Tom and Polly Farmer, on 8 May 1902. A.M.E. Zion ordained elder N.L. Overton performed the ceremony at Frank Barnes’ plantation in Toisnot township in the presence of Mattie M. Overton, James Smith, and Polly Farmer.
  • Ed. Barnes
  • “across the railroad near the Methodist church” — in the vicinity of Saint John A.M.E. Zion Church. 

Negro weddings.

Who knew that “negro wedding” was a whole subgenre of blackface?

… Me either.

But it was, and quite popular in Wilson County as late as the 1940s.

In 1927, Mrs. R.H. Llewellyn, clever and entertaining, entertained the Rotary Club with a negro wedding and a negro sermon. 

Wilson Daily Times, 14 December 1927.

In 1938, Stantonsburg High School’s senior class’ evening of “good clean fun and amusement” included a negro wedding.

Wilson Daily Times, 11 March 1938.

In 1941, Saratoga High School’s Beta Club presented a negro wedding whose finale was a stirring “Dark Town Strutter’s Ball.”

Wilson Daily Times, 26 February 1941.

Participants did not need to make up their own mockeries. Titles of negro wedding plays include “Henpeck at the Hitching Post,” “My Wild Days are Over,” and “The Coontown Wedding.” Characters in Mary Bonham’s “The Kink in Kizzie’s Wedding: A Mock Negro Wedding,” published in 1921, include Lizzie Straight, Pinky Black, Sunshine Franklin, Necessary Dolittle, George Washington Goot, and Uncle Remus. The opening lines: “CAPT. COTTON — ‘Bein’ as Ise de Knight ob de Hoss-shoe, an’ while we’s waitin’ fo’ de bridal paih, we will practice de riding’ gaits.’ ALL GROOMSMEN — ‘Thank-u-doo, obleeged-to-you!’ (They salute the Captain.)” Charming.

Killed as she crossed the street.

Wilson Daily Times, 23 May 1928.

Mattie Farmer was knocked down and killed as she crossed from one side of the 500 block of Nash Street, where she lived, to the other. 

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Mattie Farmer died 23 May 1928 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 28  years old; was married Eli Farmer; lived at 522 East Nash Street; worked as a common laborer; and was born in Laurinburg, N.C., to Henry and Hattie McLaurin. She was buried in Rountree cemetery.

Ernest L. Artis Jr., Atlantic City ’45, Lincoln ’49.

The Herald, the yearbook of Atlantic City High School, Atlantic City, N.J., 1945.

Born in Wilson in 1928, Ernest Lee Artis Jr. and his parents Ernest and Louise Artis joined the Great Migration during the early years of the Depression.

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On 13 June 1923, Ernest Artis, 21, of Fountain, son of Joe and Ella Artis, married Louise McNair, 18, of Plymouth, N.C., daughter of Rufus and Louise McNair, at Louise McNair’s resident at Plymouth, Washington County, N.C.

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Artis Ernest L (c; Louise) (Service Barber Shop), h 404 N Vick

In the 1940 census of Atlantic City, Atlantic County, New Jersey: at 700 Ohio Avenue, Ernest Artis, 36, barber; wife Louise, 35, storekeeper; and son Ernest, 12. All were born in North Carolina.

Ernest Lee Artis registered for the World War II draft in Atlantic City in 1946. Per his registration card, he was 27 September 1905 in Wilson County, N.C.; lived at 720 North Ohio Avenue, Atlantic City; his contact was wife Louise Artis; and he was self-employed at 135 North Penn, Atlantic City.

Ernest Artis Jr. registered for the World War II draft in Atlantic City in 1946. Per his registration card, he was born 2 January 1928 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 720 North Ohio Avenue; his contact was friend Anna Butler, 705 North Ohio; and he was a student at Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania.

The Lion, the yearbook of Lincoln University, 1949.

Hurt in an odd accident.

Wilson Daily Times, 16 February 1929.

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  • Henry Holloway  

On 23 October 1897, Henry Holiway, 23, of Crossroads township, son of Anson Canady and Maggie Wiggins, married Millie Purvies, 19, Crossroads township, daughter of J.K. and Mary Purvies, at Poney Renfrow‘s tenant house of Crossroads township.  

In the 1900 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: farmer Henry Holiway, 25; wife Millie, 23; and children Amos, 7, and Cora Lee, 1 month.

In the 1920 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Buck Horn and Kenly Branch Road, farmer Henry Holloway, 47; wife Millie, 45; and children Mattie, 17, Beatrice, 14, Pearline, 12, Narcissus, 9, and Elizabeth, 6.

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Holloway Henry (c; Millie) lab h 908 Mercer

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Holloway Henry (c; Millie) lab h 908 Mercer

In 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 704 Warren Street, tobacco factory sweeper Henry Holloway, 67; wife Millie, 60; and grandchildren Cora Lee, 13, and James, 9.

Henry Holloway died 16 December 1966 at his home at 903 Mercer Street, Wilson. He was born 5 August 1871 in Durham, N.C., to Maggie [no last name listed]; and was a laborer. 

  • Rev. LeRoy Pearce

Rev. LeRoy R. Pearce died 15 December 1961 in Rich Square, Northampton County, N.C. Per his death certificate, he was born in 9 October 1884 in Fayetteville, N.C., to Rufus and Mary Pearce, and was a minister. 

The resting place of Cornelius Barnes.

After reading about Cornelius Barnes, Officer Jose A. Rivera Jr. visited Bethel cemetery to look for his grave. Officer Rivera and the Stantonsburg Police Department have taken an interest in the upkeep of this historic graveyard, and he sent this photo this morning. (The marker was carved by the fine folk artist and stonecutter Clarence B. Best.)

Thank you!