1900s

Hines Street school?

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What school is this?

The 1908 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson shows a two-story wooden structure with an exterior staircase on East Hines Street near South Spring labeled “School (Negro).” (South Spring Street is now Douglas Street. Thus, this building would have been facing south on Hines in the block leading up to Lodge Street.) It’s not the Episcopal parochial school, which was a one-story building next to the church at South and Lodge Streets, and I am not aware of any other private schools for African-Americans operating in Wilson at the time.

This is the sole listing in the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, which is for the Colored Graded School:

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By 1913, an extra story had been added to the building, and the exterior stairs removed. It was then labeled “Lodge Hall (Negro).”

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Sanborn fire insurance map, Wilson, N.C., 1913.

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Approximate location today on Hines just east of South Douglas. Aerial view courtesy of Google Maps.

Anatomy of a bird’s eye view.

I first blogged here about the 1908 Fowler bird’s eye map of Wilson. While visiting the Freeman Round House and African-American Museum recently, I had the opportunity to closely examine an enlargement of the map. Here are more details:

This house, later numbered 108, was the residence of the family of Mike and Rachel Barnes Taylor.

The original location of Wilson’s African-American Episcopal church was at the corner of Lodge and South Streets.

The 1908 Sanborn map of Wilson shows the church facing the bulky R.P. Watson & Company Redrying Plant. Below, the corner today. The green storage building occupy the church’s former footprint.

Jesse and Sarah Henderson Jacobs bought the house at 303 Elba Street, top, in 1908. The lower building, on Vance Street, housed the Wilson Normal and Industrial School, the private school started after the Colored Graded School boycott in 1918.

  • Oaklawn cemetery

Fowler’s map depicts white Maplewood cemetery, but Oaklawn is just a blank expanse of turf. The unnamed street running through this area is Cemetery Street. The large building across the road was the Colored Graded School.

Condolences on assassination of President McKinley.

Correspondence from and to Owen L.W. Smith, Consul General to Liberia, concerning the assassination of President William McKinley.

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Papers Related to the Foreign Relations of the United States with the Annual Message of the President Transmitted to Congress December 3, 1901 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1902).

A visit to Wilson.

On 3 September 1908, the New York Age’s society page announced that Martha Farmer of Portsmouth, Virginia, was spending the week visiting family and friends in Wilson. Martha was the daughter of Benjamin and Mollie Barnes Farmer, who migrated to Portsmouth about 1893.

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New York Age, 3 September 1908.

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Robert Barnes, son of Tony  Flowers and Hannah Bass, married Harriett Barnesdaughter of Sampson Farmer and Ann Barnes, on 20 July 1867 in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of California township, Pitt County, North Carolina: Robert Barnes, 40; wife Harriet, 30; and children Robt., 12, Nathan, 11, Amos, 7, John, 8, William, 6, Mary, 3, and Alfred, 8 months.

In the 1880 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: blacksmith Robert Barnes, 70; wife Harrett, 40; and children Robert, 21, Nathan, 13, Amos, 17, John, 14, William, 12, Mary, 9, Alford, 8, and Lillie, 7.

Benjamin Farmer, 26, of Wilson County, married Mollie Barnes, 18, of Wilson County, daughter of Robert and Harriett Barnes, on 1 February 1888 in Saratoga, Saratoga township. Crummell Bullock applied for the license, and minister Thomas J. Moore performed the ceremony in the presence of D.H. Calhoun and A.J. Tyson.

In the 1910 census of Portsmouth, Virginia: at 308 Chestnut Street, Benjamin Farmer, 44, insurance agent; wife Mollie, 38; and children Martha, 19, Charles, 18, and Lee, 16; plus niece Cora Barnes, 17, and aunt Phebe Pope, 67, widow.

In the 1920 census of Portsmouth, Virginia: at 308 Chestnut Street, Benjamin Farmer, 48, insurance collector; wife Mollie, 49; and daughter Martha, 27, public school teacher; plus aunt-in-law Phoebe Pope, 81, widow.

Phoebie Pope died 22 October 1922 in Portsmouth. Per her death certificate, she was about 88 years old; lived at 308 Chestnut; was born in Wilson, N.C., to Cherry Rodgers; and was “retired many years” from domestic work. J.W. Barnes was informant.

In the 1930 census of Portsmouth, Virginia: at 308 Chestnut Street, owned and valued at $1800, Ben T. Farmer, 56, insurance agent; wife Mollie, 55; and daughter Martha Boyd, 38; plus roomer Peter Solomon, 52, navy yard laborer.

On 16 March 1948, Benjamin Farmer died at his home at 308 Chestnut Street, Portsmouth. Per his death certificate, he was born 2 September 1868 in Wilson County to Joshua and Martha Farmer; had lived in Portsmouth 55 years; was married to Mollie Farmer; and worked in insurance. Martha F. Boyd was informant.

Mollie Farmer died 9 January 1962 in Portsmouth, Virginia. Per her death certificate, she was about 92 years old; was born in Wilson, N.C., to Robert Barnes and Harriet (no maiden name); and lived at 436 Chestnut Street. Martha Boyd was informant.

Martha F. Boyd died 8 April 1973 in Portsmouth. Per her death certificate, she was about 82 years old; was born in North Carolina to Benjamin and Mollie Farmer; lived at 436 Chestnut; and was a retired teacher.

Minerva Louise Ward Artis Biggins Hanks.

After he left Wilson, Joseph H. Ward‘s close family members migrated to Washington, D.C. Once he was established in Indianapolis, Indiana, however, his mother Mittie Ward Vaughn and younger half-sister Minerva Vaughn, also known as Minerva Ward, joined him in the Midwest.

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In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Sarah Darden, 57, son-in-law Algia Vaughn, 23, daughter Mittie, 22, and grandchildren Joseph, 8, Sarah, 6, and Macinda Vaughn, 5 months. [Joseph “Vaughn” was actually Joseph Ward, listed with his stepfather’s surname.]

In the 1900 census of Washington, D.C: William Moody, 27, wife Sarah S., 24, and children Augustus, 5, and Crist Moody, 4, plus sister-in-law Minerva Vaughn, 10, mother-in-law Mittie Vaughn, 46, and mother Fannie Harris, 55, all born in North Carolina.

Indianapolis News, 12 December 1903.

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Indianapolis News, 2 January 1909.

On 11 June 1910, Minerva Ward married S. Dillard Artis, of Marion, Indiana, son of Thomas and Esther Hall Artis (who were migrants to Indiana from Wayne County, North Carolina.) Per Grant County Indiana Biographies, www.genealogytrails.com, Artis “began as janitor of the court house located in Marion, Indiana in 1900. He later accepted private contracts trimming trees, laying sod and making lawns. This work led to contracts for digging cellars, sewer and cement work, street building, and finally municipal contracting. Dillard had a cement contract connected with the $100,000 residence of J. W. Wilson, with the First Baptist Church and numerous others as well as finishing contracts on tar via roads amounting to $840,000 in 1914.” (Artis’ first wife, Asenath Peters Artis, died in December 1909.)

Indianapolis News, 18 June 1910.

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Indianapolis Star, 26 June 1910.

In 1911, Dr. Ward and his young son, Joseph Jr., visited his sister and mother in Marion.

Indianapolis News, 19 August 1911.

Per Google Street View, the house at 920 South Boots Street, Marion, Indiana, today.

Dillard and Minerva Artis’ social life was occasionally noted in Indiana newspapers. For example, in 1915, they were guests of Mr. and Mrs. Beverly Lafoon of Kokomo, Indiana.

Kokomo Daily Tribune, 10 April 1915.

And in 1916 they joined the J.H. Weavers of Weaver, Indiana, for dinner.

Indianapolis Recorder, 4 November 1916.

But just a few weeks later:

Indianapolis Recorder, 25 November 1916.

In the 1920 census of Chicago, Cook County, Illinois: at 486 South Wabash, Diller Artis, 44; wife Minerva, 41; mother-in-law Mittie Ward, 56; and three lodgers, John Smith, 30, and William, 49, and Anna Brown, 46. Artis was working as a railroad poster. [What happened?] Minerva claimed that she and her father were born in Indiana. [In fact, both were born in North Carolina.]

The couple apparently divorced between 1920 and 1923.  On 1 January 1923, Minerva Ward married Jonas B. Biggins in Denver, Colorado. (Dillard Artis died in 1947 in Evanston, Illinois.)

The 1935 Denver, Colorado, city directory lists Jonas B. Biggins as a Pullman porter and Minerva Biggins as a charwoman at the Custom House.

However, per Findagrave.com, Jonas B. Biggins died in 1935 and was buried in Denver. On 15 July 1936, Minerva Louise Biggins married John Q. Hanks in Greeley, Colorado. The couple is listed in the 1936 Denver directory living in the home Minerva had shared with her previous husband.

In the 1940 census of Denver, Colorado: at 1433 East 25th, owned and valued at $4000, John Q. Hanks, 49, butler; wife Minerva, 37; and son Roy, 7. [Roy was born in Illinois. Whose son was he — John’s or Minerva’s?]

In 1942, John Q. Hanks registered for the World War II draft in Denver. Per his registration card, he lived at 1433 – 25th Avenue, Denver; was born 5 February 1889 in Osage, Kansas; his contact was wife Louise Hanks; and he worked for Laurence C. Phipps, 3400 Belcaro Drive, Denver.

John Hanks died in May 1966 in Denver. I have not found a death date for Minerva Ward Artis Biggins Hanks.

The colored firemen’s convention.

The Red Hot Hose Company of Wilson hosted the 1904 convention and tournament of North Carolina Volunteer Firemen’s Association (Colored). Southern Railway ran this notice of special round-trip rates for firemen and brass bands making the trip from various points across the state.

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The Morning Post (Raleigh, N.C.), 28 July 1904.

Colored insurance organization sued.

Samuel Vick‘s Lincoln Benefit Society did business well beyond Wilson. In 1909, Annie Graham, executrix of the estate of Fred Graham of Wilmington, North Carolina, sued Lincoln for a $500 benefit the company refused to pay out, claiming the Grahams paid the final premium to an unauthorized person.

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Wilmington Morning Star, 16 July 1909.