Constable Blow runs down an escapee.

Wilson Advance, 1 March 1888.

Wilson township elected a series of African-American men to the office of town constable in the 1880s, including Edward C. Simms, Gray Farmer, and Joseph Blow.


  • Joe Blow

In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Charity Blow, 32, domestic servant, and children Joseph, 18, Lenday, 9, Thomas, 3, and Lucind, 1.

Constables were paid out of the county treasury, and several disbursements to Blow appear in year-end summaries published in local newspapers.

From “Statement of Disbursements of Wilson County,” Wilson Advance, 15 December 1887.

Blow left office in November 1888, and “a true white man” took his place.

Wilson Mirror, 7 November 1888.

Wilson Mirror, 26 December 1888.

The county’s fiscal year ran December 1 through November 30, so Blow’s final payments, made after he left office, were not reported until the following year.

Wilson Advance, 19 December 1889.

Blow apparently died before 1900. In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Jane Blow, 40, with children Marry, 21, Bettie, 20, Ro[illegible], 16, Henretter, 13, Henry H., 11, and [grandson] Auguster, 2.

On 23 January 1907, Lemon Barnes, 21, son of Charles and Jack Ann Barnes, married Henrietta Blow, 20, daughter of Joe [deceased] and Jane Blow, at Jane Blow’s residence. Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of Merriman Watkins, James Taylor, and Charles H. Barnes.

On 27 May 1909, George Scott, 21, of Johnston County, N.C., son of Lendora Scott, married Henrietta Blow, 22, daughter of Joe and Jane Blow, at Jane Blow’s. Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of Etter Armstrong and W.O. Barnes.

On 26 October 1930, July Wells, 60, son of Adam Wells and Sylvia [no maiden name], married Henrietta Scott, 43, daughter of Joe and Jane Blow. Rev. Holaday performed the ceremony on Suggs Street.

Henry Harrison Blow died 31 August 1937 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 49 years old; was born in Wilson to Joseph Blow and Jane Barnes; lived at 902 Mercer Street; worked as a common laborer at a tobacco factory; was single; and was buried in Wilson [probably, Vick Cemetery.] Henrietta Scott was informant.

Jane Blow died 3 April 1938 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 79 years old; was the widow of Joe Blow; was born in Wilson County to Hardy Hinnant and Mildred Barnes; and was buried in Wilson [probably Vick Cemetery.] Bettie Earp was informant.

Banks Blow died 26 June 1943 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 56 years old; was born in Wilson to Joe Blow and Jane Barnes; was married to Mary Blow; lived at 707 East Green Street; worked as a common laborer at a tobacco factory; and was buried in Rountree Cemetery [probably, Vick Cemetery.]

Bettie Blow Earp died 17 April 1954 in Kenly, Johnston County, N.C. Per her death certificate, she was born 15 April 1877 in Wilson County to Joe Blow and Jane Barnes. Informant was James H. Blow, 115 South Reid Street, Wilson.

  • John Field

“Everything in his house was rolling around” — the 1886 earthquake.

The devastating earthquake that roiled Charleston, South Carolina, on 31 August 1886 was felt in Wilson and beyond.

Wilson Daily Times, 5 September 1911.

The writer’s recollection focused largely on the reactions to the tremors of African Americans living in various parts of town. Where was “‘Lucas Line’ upon the railroad”?

Mahala Artis’ property.

Mahala Artis lived in a house on Goldsboro Street, owned by George H. and Elizabeth P. Griffin. After Griffin died in 1881, and the property went into default, trustee H.G. Connor advertised it and Griffin’s carriage and wagon factory for sale.

Wilson Advance, 21 December 1883.

Eleven years later, Artis’ own property was advertised for sale for non-payment of taxes.  Artis was on her way out of Wilson, however, and in 1899 sold her lot at the corner of Green and Pender Streets to Samuel H. Vick.

Wilson Advance, 22 March 1894.

The murder of Mordecai Hagans.

We first met Mordecai Hagans, born a free man of color, here, as an employee of Wilson’s Confederate hospital.

Fifteen or so years later, Hagans was murdered.

Wilson Advance, 16 July 1880.

(Josephus Daniels was editor of the Advance at the time, so it’s no surprise he thought it paramount to note that Hagans faithfully voted the white supremacist Democratic ticket. He tells us nothing of Hagans’ family, his occupation, his history — but we know this.)

Wilson Advance, 30 July 1880.

The Advance‘s follow-up was devoted almost exclusively  to the exculpation of J. Frank Eatmon, primarily via inferences from the testimony of Hagans’ “old, half-idiotic” unnamed wife, who had been severely beaten the night her husband was killed.


In the 1860 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: Mordecai Hagans, 23, farm laborer, living alone.

In the 1870 census of Upper Town Creek township, Edgecombe County: farm laborer Mordecai Hagans, 37, and wife Cherry, 45.

In the 1880 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: laborer Mordicia Hagins, about 50, and wife Cherry, about 45. [They are listed immediately after the households of J. Frank Eatmon and Pearson Eatmon’s mother Aquilla Eatmon and likely lived on the property of one or the other.]

The estate of Prince Daniel (1889).

When Prince Daniel died about 1889, his modest estate reflected a life painstakingly built since the end of slavery.

Daniel died without a will, and a white farmer named Perry Renfrow, with whom he had a close relationship, was appointed administrator of the estate. On 29 February 1889, Daniel’s belongings went up for sale at auction. Among the family, friends, and neighbors that purchased farm implements, furniture, and utensils were David Rowe and his father Ruffin Rowe; husband and wife Gaston and Waity Barnes; Alford Jordan; Raiford Daniel; and Condary Barnes.


On 31 August 1866, Prince Daniel and Absley Simms registered their cohabitation with a Wilson County justice of the peace.

In the 1870 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farm laborer Prince Daniel, 55; wife Absley, 40; and Isaac, 13. Daniel reported owning $100 in personal property.

In the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Prince Daniel, 67, and wife Absley, 44. [Next door: farm laborer Isaac Daniel, 23; wife Zilla, 24; and daughters Virginia, 5, Ella Jane, 3, and Mobelia, 3 months.]

On 9 June 1883, a Wilson County Probate Court judge ordered Jennie Daniel, 9, and Ella Daniel, 7, bound as apprentices to Prince Daniel until they each reached 21 years of age. Perry Renfrow was witness to the transaction. [These were Isaac and Zilla Daniel’s daughters. Why were they bound to Prince?]

Prince Daniel Estate File, Wilson County, North Carolina Estate Files 1663-1979, http://www.familysearch.org; United States Indenture and Manumission Records, 1780-1939, database at https://familysearch.org.

Letters at the Post Office.

Wilson Advance, 12 January 1883.


  • Cage Archer — in the 1860 census of Edgecombe County, North Carolina: Micajah Archer, 50; wife Eliza, 40; children Martha, 18, Margaret, 16, Elizabeth, 12, James, 7, Julia, 4, and Sarah, 1; and Francis Faithful, 8.
  • Jane Barnes — perhaps, in the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Lewis Barnes, 70; wife Jane, 58; daughter Maggie Bullock, 38; children Leecy, 25, Lossie, 18, G. Mary, 17, Joseph, 16, Needham, 15, and David, 13; and grandchildren Charity, 5, and Oscar Bullock, 3.
  • Geo. W. Barnes
  • Mack Barnes
  • Louis Holloway — in the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm worker Edward Holloway, 39; wife Harriet, 39; and children Lewis, 20, Abigail, 11, James S., 6, and Milly, 3.
  • Nellie Harris
  • Buck Mitchel
  • Charity Pitt
  • Frank Whitfield
  • Jas. F. Williams