1880s

Mortality schedule, no. 7: Wilson township, 1880.

Each of the United States federal censuses from 1850 to 1880 included a mortality schedule enumerating individuals who had died in the previous year previous. Each entry noted the decedent’s family number in the population schedule, name, age, sex, color, marital status, place of birth, month of death, occupation, and cause of death.

Here are abstracts from the 1880 mortality schedule for Wilson township, Wilson County:

  • 1 Barnes, Walter. 9 months old, died in August, cause illegible, no attending physician. “Walter Barnes was taken with vomiting in the morning & died in the evening about 3 oclock. Father & Mother know not what caused death had not Phisician with him”

In the 1880 census of South Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer George Barnes, 41; wife Anna, 34; and children Hardy, 19, Rena, 17, Jessee, 12, Edmonia, 11, George, 9, Minnie Adeline, 6, Joshua and General, 3, and William, 1. The census taker noted that Rena had a toothache.

  • 32 Unnamed infant. 1 day old, died in May, cause illegible, no attending physician.
  • 32 Unnamed infant. 1 day old, died in [illegible], cause illegible, no attending physician.

In the 1880 census of South Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Turner Eatmond, 30; wife Cherry, 23; and brother David, 15.

  • 74 Unnamed infant. 1 day old, died in June, cause illegible, no attending physician.

In the 1880 census of South Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer George Barnes, 48; wife Nicy, 45; and children Robert, 15, Roscoe, 8, Martha, 7, Edwin, 5, and Earnest, 3.

  • 129 Sutton, Roxana. 1 year old, died in May of remittent fever.

In the 1880 census of South Wilson township, Wilson County:

  • 148 Smith, Redmond. 13 years old, died in October, “burned to death,” no attending physician. “Carosine can exploded.”

In the 1880 census of South Wilson township, Wilson County: farmworker Abraham Smith, 34; wife Louzetta, 34; and children Louis, 13, Penelope, 8, Susan, 6, Mariah, 5, Caroline, 3, and Clarcey, 1.

  • 153 Moore, Isiah. 27 days days, died in June, smothered to death, no attending physician. “Mother overlaid child in Bed while she was asleep _ Child 2 years old _ Mother says was all its life unhealthy”
  • 153 Moore, Nathan. 2 years old, died in March of fever, no attending physician.

In the 1880 census of South Wilson township, Wilson County: farmworker Rhoda Moore,  30, and children Lazarus, 10, Peter, 8, and Nelly, 4.

  • 162 Harriss, Lucy. 7 years old, died in August of fever, attending physician Joseph Bynum.

In the 1880 census of South Wilson township, Wilson County: Sam Norvall, 25; wife Gracy, 23; and children Lizzie, 3, and Charlie, 11 months; and daughter Cathren Dupree, 6.

  • 160 Vines, Vina. 8 years old, died in June of bilious fever, attending physician Joseph Bynum.

In the 1880 census of South Wilson township, Wilson County: farmworker Sampson Vines, 27; wife Emily, 20; and child Mary, 1.

  • 164 Cobb, Celia. 13 days old, died in September of fits, no attending physician. “Child was [illegible.]”

In the 1880 census of South Wilson township, Wilson County: farmworker Benjamin Cobb, 54; wife Elizabeth, 42; children Mary, 18, Elizabeth, 16, Moris, 12, Benjamin, 10, and Elizabeth, 6; plus boarder James Sullivan, 35, farmworker.

  • 181 Wooten, William. 5 months, died in September of teething, attending physician J.K. Ruffin.

In the 1880 census of South Wilson township, Wilson County: Benjamin Wooten, 27; wife Clary, 24; and daughter Mollie, 5.

  • 183 Barnes, James. 1 year old, died in February of fever, no attending physician.

In the 1880 census of South Wilson township, Wilson County: farmworker George Barnes, 35; wife Jane, 24; and children Alice, 5, Esther, 4, and Mama, 5 months.

  • 194 Barnes, Willie Mack. 3 years old, died in June of “congestion chill,” attending physician R.G. Barham.

In the 1880 census of South Wilson township, Wilson County:farmer Lemon Barnes, 32; wife Nancy, 26; and children Morrison, 8, Jessee R., 7, Ida, 6, Eddie, 3, Lemon Jr., 2, and General, 2 months.

  • 203 Barefoot, Rose. 90 years old, widowed, died in October of old age, no attending physician.

In the 1880 census of South Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Jacob Short, 55, and wife Milly, 46.

  • 208 Farmer, Jonah. 1 year old, died in May of measles, attending physician C.C. Peacock.
  • 208 Farmer, Infant. Stillborn in October, no attending physician.

In the 1880 census of South Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer George Farmer, 28; wife  Ann, 34; and children Sarah, 14, William, 12, Mourning, 8, James, 6, and David, 5.

  • 241 Unnamed infant. 1 day old, died in January of “bleeding at navel,” no attending physician.

In the 1880 census of South Wilson township, Wilson County: farmworker Brister Huffman, 26; wife Emma, 21; children Charles, 3, and Annie, 1; and mother-in-law Julia Harriss, 60.

  • 242 Young, Pattie. 6 years old, died in April of dropsy, attending physician C.C. Peacock.

In the 1880 census of South Wilson township, Wilson County: farmworker Henry Young, 45; wife Zilpha Ann, 21; and children Joseph, 15, Nettie, 13, and George, 10.

  • 256 Gay, Spencer. 30 years old, married, worked at brickyard, died in February of consumption, attending physician C.C. Peacock.
  • 256 Barnes, Roscoe. 1 year old, died in October of “congestion chill,” attending physician C.C. Peacock.
  • 256 Barnes, Infant. Stillborn in September, no attending physician.

In the 1880 census of South Wilson township, Wilson County: widow Adeline Gay, 26, works in a nursery; sister Harriet Barnes, 24, washes and irons; nieces Lilly, 4, and Mary Barnes, 2; and mother Jennie Oneal, 50.

  • 266 Unnamed infant. 1 day old, died in February of inanition, no attending physician.
  • 266 Unnamed infant. Stillborn in October, no attending physician.

In the 1880 census of South Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Gilbert Stallings, 28; wife Georgeanna, 23; and daughters Clooa, 6, and Mary, 2.

  • 295 Ricks, Axa. 54 years old, married, kept house, died in November of disease of womb, attending physician C.C. Peacock.

In the 1880 census of South Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer William Ricks, 55.

  • 323 Artice, George. 5 years old, died in April, poisoned, attending physician C.C. Peacock.

In the 1880 census of South Wilson township, Wilson County: washwoman Mittie Moore, 25; daughter Etta, 7; and [daughter?] Francis, 18, cook.

  • 127 Brooks, Tony. 85 years old, died in December of paralysis, attending physician J.K. Ruffin.

In the 1880 census of North Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Merriman Woodard, 52; wife Jane, 35; children Marietta, 15, Edmond, 13, Zany, 12, Cornelia, 8, Flora, 4, and Merriman, 2; and niece Dora Batts, 13.

  • 137 Blount, William.  No age listed, died in May of “consumpsion”; attending physician C.C. Peacock.

In the 1880 census of North Wilson township, Wilson County: the household of white farmer Asa Hill, all hireling Frank Edwards, 20.

County schools, no. 7: Brooks School.

The seventh in a series of posts highlighting the schools that educated African-American children outside the town of Wilson in the first half of the twentieth century. The posts will be updated; additional information, including photographs, is welcome.

Brooks School

Brooks School dates prior to 1881, making it the earliest documented rural African-American school in Wilson County. Brooks was not a Rosenwald school. It was consolidated with other small schools in 1951, and its students then attended Speight High School.

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Wilson Advance, 11 February 1881.

Dr. Alexander G. Brooks had been a wealthy slaveowner and may have donated the land upon which the school was built.

Location: Per a 1936 state road map of Wilson County, the approximate location was just east of Black Creek on present-day Woodbridge Road, in the vicinity of Bunches Church.

Description: Per The Public Schools of Wilson County, North Carolina: Ten Years 1913-14 to 1923-24, Brooks School was a one-room school seated on one acre.

A February 1951 report on Wilson County schools found: “The Brooks Colored … building is in ‘fair condition’ and has only two teachers for seven grades ….” Wilson Daily Times, 16 February 1951.

Known faculty: Principal Alice B. Mitchell; teacher Nora Allen Mitchell Jones.

Farmer’s mare stolen.

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Wilson Advance, 21 June 1888.

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The 1900 census of Wilson County lists three men named Toby Farmer, any of whom might have been the man whose horse was stolen. (Though barber Tobias Farmer, who lived in town, is least likely.)

In Black Creek township: John Melton, 42, farmer; wife Lucy, 43; sons John, 15, and Samuel D., 3; stepson Johnson Farmer, 23; and father-in-law Tobious Farmer, 75, widower.

In Wilson township: Tobias Farmer, 70, wife Willie, 69, and son Warren, 48.

In Wilson town: day laborer Junius, 22, Rosa, 17, Freeda, 10, Robert, 7, Richard, 5, Mark, 2, and Ericker Farmer, 7 months, plus boarder Tobias Farmer, 48, barber.

The estate of George W. Thompson.

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Wilson Advance, 19 June 1890.

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In the 1870 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farm laborer George Thompson, 57; wife Rilda, 43; son Rufus, 8; with Cherry Bailey, 42, and Bitha, 25, and Mittie Bailey, 16.

In the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer George Thompson, 62; wife Marilda, 52; son Rufus, 20; and granddaughter Hattie Thompson, 6.

Apparently on his deathbed, George W. Thompson made out his will 16 December 1885.

He left all his property to his wife Rilda during her lifetime, then his land to son Rufus, and, if Rufus had no heirs, to granddaughter Cora Thompson. After Rilda’s death, his personal property was to be sold and the money equally divided between son Rufus Thompson, Courtney Peacock, and Cora Thompson. Solomon Lamm was appointed executor.

George Thompson died within days. His executor filed to open his estate and prepared this inventory of his property. Though relatively meager, the list represents a laudable achievement for a man who had spent the bulk of his life enslaved.

Unfortunately, George Thompson’s debts outweighed the value of his estate, forcing the sale advertised in the notice above of a ten-acre parcel adjoining the property of M.V. Peele, Isaac Rich, and Henry Peacock. Marilda and Rufus Thompson had left the area, however, and could not be found in the county for service.

George Thompson Will, George Thompson Estate Records, North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

Samuel N. Hill of the People’s Advocate.

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I. Garland Penn, The Afro-American Press and Its Editors (1891).

Samuel N. Hill died in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in March 1918. The New York Age ran his obituary.

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New York Age, 30 March 1918.

Many thanks to John Sullivan of Wilmington’s non-profit Third Person Project for sending this Black Wide-Awake’s way. 

Arrested for stealing a bucket of lard and a pair of pants.

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Wilson Mirror, 11 April 1888.

In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Henry, 8, Mary, 15, Apsley, 10, and Small Blount, 18, and Grace Edwards, 20, all hotel servants. They lived next door to Sarah Blount, 44, hotel keeper.

On 16 January 1873, Small Blount, 21, married Laura Best, 23, in Wilson. P.E. Hines performed the ceremony.

On 6 January 1876, Small Blount, 22, married Anna Pender, 18, in Wilson. P.E. Hines performed the ceremony.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Lodge Street, livery stable worker Small Blount, 30; wife Anna, 22; daughter Addie, 3; son Bruce, 6 months; and cousin Mary Blount, 22, house servant.

Statement of disbursements.

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  • Charles Darden

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Charles H. Darden, a blacksmith turned undertaker, was Wilson’s leading African-American businessman in turn-of-the-century Wilson.

  • Sylvester Seabury

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  • Mike Taylor

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Mike Taylor was the son of Abi Taylor, above.

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  • James Artist

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  • George Artice

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  • Fred Davis

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Fred M. Davis was a Missionary Baptist minister.

  • Daniel Battle
  • Henry Newsom
  • Ben Bell
  • Austin Linsey

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  • Charles Darden

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  • Patrick Williamson

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  • Small Blount

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  • Caesar Wooten

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Caesar Wooten murdered Mittie Strickland during an argument on Vance Street near the railroad track, launching a four-year manhunt.

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  • Charles Bynum
  • Bettie Privett
  • Alice Privett

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In November 1888, Charles Bynum was tried and convicted of manslaughter in the shooting death of Henry Privett, brother of his girlfriend Bettie Privett.

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Mack Bynum was the father of Charles Bynum, above.

Wilson Mirror, 26 December 1888.

A rare opportunity to rent.

In 1881, Rufus Wright Edmundson ran an ad in the Wilson Advance for the lease of a house on a seven-acre lot on the east corner of Vance and Pender Streets. Wilson’s segregated residential patterns had not yet set, and Edmundson was able to extol the virtues of the parcel to white potential renters. East Wilson’s rapid development is hinted at in the notice — “all nearly new as premises were in original forest seven years ago.” Soon, Vance Street would become the southern edge of white settlement in East Wilson, and Edmundson’s property would be developed for the town’s newly emerging African-American middle class.

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Wilson Advance, 16 December 1881.

Rev. John W. Perry, Episcopal priest.

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Educated at Saint Augustine’s College in Raleigh, North Carolina, John W. Perry was a deacon when appointed in 1882 to serve Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church in Tarboro. Perry was ordained a priest in 1887 and two years later was assigned to lead the congregation at Saint Mark’s in Wilson in addition to Saint Luke’s. He shared these posts for the next twelve years.

See Rev. Dr. Brooks Graebner, “Historically Black Episcopalian Congregations in the Diocese of North Carolina: 1865-1959” (2018), for more on Rev. Perry.