1880s

The estate of Melissa Winstead.

Braswell R. Winstead was a close associate of Samuel H. Vick, attending Wilson Academy and Lincoln University, teaching at the Colored Graded School, helping establish Calvary Presbyterian Church, and working as assistant postmaster and political ally.

Winstead was born about 1866 in Wilson County to Riley Robbins and Melissa Winstead. Melissa Winstead died about 1880, leaving three heirs — adult daughters Jennie Smith, wife of Charles Smith, and Eliza Joyner, wife of Joe Joyner, and minor son Braswell Winstead (whose name is first listed as John Braswell.) Two of the children filed in Wilson County Superior Court to have their mother’s lot in Wilson township partitioned into equal parts. There was a problem though — the lot was too small to yield useful thirds. Accordingly, the Smiths and Braswell Winstead were petitioning for the sale of the property with six weeks’ notice in the local paper for the benefit of the Joyners, who lived in Georgia. The petition was granted.

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  • Charles and Virginia Smith

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Roberts Winstead, 26, farm laborer; Caleshea, 28; Eliza, 15; Virginia, 13; Barnwell [Braswell], 7; Caroline, 19; Simmons, 17; Prince, 14; Frank, 7; and Harret Winstead, 7. [The relationships between the members of this household are not clear. Eliza, Virginia “Jenny,” and Braswell were siblings, but I am not sure about the others.]

On 28 August 1874, Charly Smith, 22, married Jennie Barnes, 17, in Wilson County.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Pettigrew Street, minister Charles Smith, 26; wife Virginia, 22; and children Arminta, 7, John T., 3, and Charles H., 1; and brother-in-law Braswell Winstead, 20, teaching school.

  • Joseph and Eliza Winstead Joyner

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Roberts Winstead, 26, farm laborer; Caleshea, 28; Eliza, 15; Virginia, 13; Barnwell [Braswell], 7; Caroline, 19; Simmons, 17; Prinnce, 14; Frank, 7; and Harret Winstead, 7.

On 3 June 1879, Joseph Joyner, 24, and Eliza Winstead, 23, were married in Wilson County by A.M.E. Zion minister R.B. Bonner in the presence of A. Lindsay, Joseph Hinton, and Jas. Harriss.

In the 1880 census of Wayne County, Georgia: Robert Roberson, 30, and wife Hattie; Joseph Joyner, 25, and wife Eliza, 22; and Jacob Dove, 30, and wife Susan, 25. All were born in North Carolina, except Susan Dove, who was born in Florida. All the men worked turpentine.

Wilson Advance, 10 September 1880.

Blaming the coons.

Wilson Advance, 20 June 1889.

Josephus DanielsWilson Advance advanced a racist theory to explain why the Mount Olive Telegram was not receiving its courtesy copies of “brethren” newspapers — the appointment of African-American postal route agents, “coons … turned loose among loads of mail matter.” Alfred Robinson was one such agent.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Wilson Academy holds graduation exercises.

Wilson Advance, 18 June 1880.

Wilson Academy, a private school, educated the first generation of free African-American children in Wilson. Among its graduates were Samuel H. Vick and his siblings; Daniel C. Suggs and his siblings; Braswell R. Winstead; John H. Clark, Augustus S. Clark, and their siblings; Rev. Edward C. Simms;

A.M.E. Zion minister Joseph C. Price was an early principal of Wilson Academy. Edward Moore served as principal from 1879 to 1881.

Neither the school’s precise location or its establishing body are known. It was graded school, however, and students who wished to go beyond eighth grade had to leave Wilson to attend high school. Many attended the preparatory divisions of colleges like Biddle University, Livingstone College, Shaw University, Howard University, or, quite popularly, Lincoln University in Pennsylvania.

Wilson Academy seems to have closed around the time Wilson established a public graded school in the early 1890s.

George and Ella Green and the development of East Green Street, pt. 1.

By the late 1800s, the area of present-day Green Street east of the railroad tracks — largely farmland — was held by a handful of large landowners, notably George D. and Ella M. Green and Frank I. and Annie Finch. We’ve seen here how the Samuel H. and Annie Washington Vick sold parcels in the 600 block to their friends and family to solidify a middle-class residential district for African-Americans. The Vicks themselves bought fifteen acres from the Greens, which they later divided into the lots they sold to others.

These transactions disclose more early settlers on East Green:

  • On 20 July 1887, for $250, George D. and Ella M. Green, as trustees for F.I. and Annie Finch, sold Leah Battle a one-third acre lot at Green and Pender Streets near Mrs. Procise. The deed was registered 3 January 1889 in Deed Book 27, page 85.
  • On 31 December 1890, for $150, George D. and Ella M. Green sold Short Barnes a one-fourth acre lot on “the  extension of Green Street near the corporate limits of Wilson” adjoining George Green and J.M.F. Bridgers. The deed was registered 1 January 1891 in Deed Book 29, page 150. [Barnes’ house was at 616 East Green.]
  • On 24 February 1891, for $300, George D. and Ella M. Green sold Samuel H. Vick “a lot on the extension of Green Street near the corporate line of Wilson” next to a lot now occupied by Alex Barnes. The lot was irregularly shaped and measured about one and one-half acres. The deed was registered 23 February 1891 in Deed Book 29, page 396.
  • On 24 October 1890, for $150, George D. and Ella M. Green sold Lewis Battle and his wife Jemima a one and one-quarter acre lot fronting on Green Street and adjacent to J.W.F. Bridgers, Samuel H. Vick, and G.D. Green. The deed was registered 21 March 1891 in Deed Book 29, page 488.
  • On 11 December 1891, for $1300.75, George D. and Emma M. Green sold Samuel H. Vick a parcel containing 13 and three-quarter acres adjacent to Sallie Lipscombe’s property, Vance Street, F.I. Finch, G.D. Green, and Samuel H. Vick. The deed was registered 28 December 1891 in Deed Book 30, page 454.

Detail of T.M. Fowler’s 1908 bird’s eye map of Wilson. Green Street slices diagonally across the frame. Samuel H. and Annie Vick’s new multi-gabled mansion is at (1). The church he helped establish, Calvary Presbyterian, is at the corner of Green and Pender at (2). At (3), Pilgrim Rest Primitive Baptist Church, which bought its lot from the Vicks. At (4), the original location of Piney Grove Free Will Baptist Church. 

Hardy and Nellie Harris Lassiter, exodusters.

Hardy Lassiter died in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, on 24 June 1928. Per his death certificate, he was born in Wilson, N.C., to Green Lassiter; was 55 years old; was married to Edith Lassiter; resided at 1801 Texas Street; worked as a laborer for a heading factory; and was buried in Pine Bluff. Julius Lassiter was informant.

Hardy Lassiter actually was closer to 65 years old. He was born about 1864 in Wilson County to Green and Mary Ann Lassiter Powell and was the grandson of this Hardy Lassiter.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Green Lassiter, 46; wife Mary, 31; and children Henry, 10, Sallie, 8, Hardy, 6, and John G., 1 month. Lassiter reported owning $500 in real property and $125 in personal property.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Green Lassiter, 55; wife Mary Ann, 42; and children Henry, 19, Sally Ann, 17, Hardy, 15, John Green, 10, Dempsey S., 5, and Mary C., 2.

On 6 March 1884, Hardey Lassiter, 20, and Nelley Harriss, 17, were married in Wilson County.

Around 1890, Hardy and Nellie Lassiter joined thousands of African-American North Carolinians migrating to Arkansas seeking better opportunities. The family stopped briefly in Mississippi, but had settled in Pine Bluff by the early 1890s.

In the 1900 census of Pine Bluff, Vaugine township, Jefferson County, Arkansas: at 807 State Street, warehouse porter Hardy Lasker, 34; wife Nellie, 32; and children Henry, 15, sawmill laborer, Hardy, 13, Willie, 8, Julius, 5, Mary, 3, and Arthur, 8 months; plus Mary Bass, 53, widow, mother-in-law. Hardy, Nellie, Henry and Hardy Lassiter were born in North Carolina, as was Mary Bass. Willie Lassiter was born in Mississippi. The remaining children were born in Arkansas.

Moses Theodore Lassiter was born 3 May 1901 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, to Hardy Lassiter, common laborer, born in Wilson, N.C., and Nellie Harris, housewife, born in Wilson, N.C. He was the 8th of their children.

Harry Lassiter was born 29 May 1905 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, to Hardy Lassiter, common laborer, born in Wilson, N.C., and Nellie Harris, housewife, born in Wilson, N.C. He was the 9th of their children.

John V. Lassiter was born 28 September 1907 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, to Hardy Lassiter, common laborer, born in Wilson, N.C., and Nellie Harris, housewife, born in Wilson, N.C. He was the 10th of their children.

In the 1910 census of Pine Bluff, Vaugine township, Jefferson County, Arkansas: grain elevator laborer Harvey Laster, 48; wife Nellie, 41; and children Willie, 18, brickyard laborer, Julius, 15, Mary, 12, Arthur, 10, Moses, 7, Harry, 5, and John, 2; plus Mary Bass, 65, widow, mother-in-law.

In 1917, Willie Lassiter registered for the World War I draft in Pine Bluff. Per his registration card, he was born 30 November 1891 in Greenville, Mississippi; lived at 1303 Georgia, Pine Bluff; was married; and worked as a laborer for Riley Corn Company, Pine Bluff.

In 1917, Julius Lassiter registered for the World War I draft in Pine Bluff. Per his registration card, he was born 3 July 1894; worked as a laborer for Union Seed Fertilizer Company; and had a wife and two children.

In 1918, Arthur Lassiter registered for the World War I draft in Pine Bluff. Per his registration card, he was born 18 September 1899 in Pine Bluff; lived at 1601 Texas Street, Pine Bluff; worked as a laborer for Riley Feed Manufacturing Company, East Forest Avenue, Pine Bluff; and his nearest relative was Nellie Lassiter, 1601 Texas Street.

In the 1920 census of Pine Bluff, Vaugine township, Jefferson County, Arkansas: at 1601 Texas, feed store laborer Hardy Lassiter, 55; wife Nellie, 49; and children Mary, 19, Arthur, 17, feed store laborer, Moses, 16, chauffeur, Harry, 14, and Johnie, 12.

On 11 December 1923, Moses Lassiter, 23, married Anna Lawson, 22, in Pine Bluff.

On 1 June 1924, Arthur Lassiter married Irene Melvin in Pine Bluff.

On 7 August 1924, Mary B. Lassiter, 27, married Sam Taylor, 40, in English, Jefferson County, Arkansas.

The 1927 Pine Bluff, Arkansas, city directory lists:

  • Lassiter Arthur (Irene) lab h 2215 e Barraque
  • Lassiter Hardy (Edith) lab h 1601 Texas
  • Lassiter Hardy (Ruby) lab h 910 e 19th av
  • Lassiter Harry porter Fine’s D G store h 1601 Texas
  • Lassiter Jno auto mech h 1601 Texas
  • Lassiter Julius (Emma) h 1601 Texas

On 26 November 1928, John Lassiter, 21, married Rosa Maiden, 18, in Pine Bluff.

On 18 September 1930, Harry Lassiter, 25, married Ruby Evans, 24, in Pine Bluff.

On 25 September 1930, Moses Lassiter, 26, married Ira Campbell, 20, in Pine Bluff.

On 27 June 1938, Julius Lassiter, 43, married Hallie B. Jones, 27, in Pine Bluff.

In 1942, Willie Lassiter registered for the World War II draft in Lake County, Indiana. Per his registration card, he was born 30 November 1891 in Greenville, Mississippi; lived at 1533 Mass. St., [Gary], Lake County, Indiana; worked for Carnegie Illinois Steel; and his contact was John Lassiter, 6033 Calumet, Chicago, Illinois.

In 1942, Arthur Lassiter registered for the World War II draft in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Per his registration card, he was born 18 September 1899 in Pine Bluff; lived at 1717 East 17th Street, Pine Bluff; his contact was Sadie Whaley of the same address; and he worked for Federal Compress and Warehouse, Plant #2, Pine Bluff.

In 1942, John Farrel Lassiter registered for the World War II draft in Chicago, Illinois. Per his registration card, he was born 28 September 1907 in Pine Bluff; lived at 6033 Calumet, Chicago, Illinois; worked for Sunnyside Auto Company, 4511 Lincoln Avenue, Chicago; and his contact was sister-in-law Adele Maiden Porter.

Willie Lassiter died 7 September 1946 in Proviso township, Cook County, Illinois. Per his death certificate, he was born 30 November 1891 in Greenville, Mississippi, to Hardy Lassiter and Nellie Spanks, both of North Carolina; and was buried in Oak Hill cemetery, Gary, Indiana.

Julius Lassiter died May 1965 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

Arthur Lassiter died 6 July 1967 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Per his death certificate, he was born 18 September 1899 in Pine Bluff to Hardy Lassiter and Nellie Harris; lived at 1516 Missouri Street, Pine Bluff; and worked as a laborer at a compress. Mrs. Sadie Lassiter was informant.

Harry Lassiter died January 1980 in Chicago, Illinois.

Mary Lassiter Taylor died February 1987 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

John Farrell Lassiter died 4 February 1997 in Chicago, Illinois.

 

 

 

 

 

McGowan punished — “a move in the right direction.”

Wilson Advance, 26 August 1881.

It’s not clear what crime Nathan McGowan committed by “hurting a white boy,” but he was both fined and “severely flogged” for it.

McGowan, son of Tilghman and Charity McGowan, migrated to Indianapolis, Indiana, in the 1890s.