1900s

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.

Jackson buys from the Vicks.

In 1902, Samuel H. and Annie M. Vick sold Joseph S. Jackson a narrow strip of land lying between Jackson’s lot at 618 East Green Street and the Vicks’ lot.

The Jacksons’ two-story house at 618 East Green Street, shown here on the 1922 Sanborn map of Wilson, no longer stands.

It was replaced relatively recently by this small gable-front house:

Book 68, page 551, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson County Courthouse.

Report of vaccinations, pt. 5.

In the winter of 1902, doctors in Wilson County commenced a vaccination campaign to counter the spread of smallpox across North Carolina. Physicians in the county were paid ten cents per resident inoculated and sent in lists of patients to justify their fees. Dr. T.L. Brooks, who operated Brooks & Whitley, Druggists, with W.R. Whitley, practiced in Black Creek and surrounds. In February 1902, the County paid him $13.70 for fees and expenses related to 136 vaccinations.

The following list of African-American patients is abstracted from the roll Dr. Brooks submitted to the County:

Earnest Parker, 17

Fred Dawson, 19

Francis Farmer, 22

Nettie Atkinson, 22

Nellie Atkinson, 19

Julia Fields, 18

Naomy Atkinson, 15

Sallie Jordan, 16

Lucy Atkinson, 14

Jane Jordan, 13

Cresy Whitaker, 12

Charity Fields, 8

Rosa Jordan, 13

Nettie Newsome, 10

Lewis H. Newsome, 7

Alford Jordan, 9

George Jordan, 11

Patsy Whitaker, 19

Mary Jordan, 9

Matthew Whitley, 16

Clara Crumidee, 13

Orangy Barnes, 23

Geo. Dew, 26

Bud Crawford, 26

Frank Tomlin, 30

Bud Tomlin, 18

John Whitley, 56

Richard Whitley, 19

 

Report of vaccinations, no. 4.

In the winter of 1902, doctors in Wilson County commenced a vaccination campaign to counter the spread of smallpox across North Carolina. Physicians in the county were paid ten cents per resident inoculated and sent in lists of patients to justify their fees. Dr. Edwin G. Moore practiced in Elm City and surrounds. On 3 February 1902, the County paid him $52.70 for fees and expenses related to 164 vaccinations (including ten pounds of sulphur used to treat three houses.)

The following list of African-American patients is abstracted from the roll Dr. Moore submitted to the County:

Sidney Harriss, 8 January 1902, age 18

Clarence Drake, 8 January 1902, age 14

Fred Gaston, “, age 12

Ivy Barnes, “, age 15

Nellie Ellis, “, age 17

Blanche Barnes, “, age 12

Haywood Ellis, “, age 13

Martha Ellis, 9 January 1902, age 20

Haywood Ellis, “, age 10

Lily Hall, “, age 18

Cora Gaston, “, age 16

Violet Bullock, “, age 16

Lena Armstrong, “, age 18

Wm. Armstrong, “, age 7

Ricks Whitaker, “, age 14

Ben Whitehead, 10 January 1902, age 19

Jennie Bunn, “, age 16

Ivrah Farmer, “, age 23

Almeta Williams, “, age 14

Mag Bullock, “, age 12

Elmer Gaston, 11 January 1902, age 9

Alma Gaston, “, age 7

Tom Coggins, “, age 16

Mag Armstrong, “, age 14

Etta Kelly, “, age 14

Pearly Mitchell, “, age 11

Viola Kelly, “, age 8

Flossie Gaston, “, age 7

Ada Gaston, “, age 15

Georgia Gaston, “, age 17

Serena Hunter, “, age 12

Julius Mitchell, 13 January 1902, age 10

Nina Gaston, “, age 13

Walter Locus, “, age 11

James Rosser, “, age 9

Maggie Ricks, “, age 16

Mancy Gaston, “, 9

Gus Gaston, “, 7

Malvina Johnson, 14 January 1902, age 16

Arie Williams, “, age 15

Catherine Hall, “, age 6

Anna Belle Hall, 15 January 1902, age 12

Minerva Anderson, 16 January 1902, age 15

James Anderson, “, age 9

Jno. Red Barnes, “, age 18

Redmond Barnes, “, age 66

Kinny Ellis, ” , age 17

Will Barnes, 17 January 1902, age 26

Scilla Parker, “, age 40

Nathan Williams, 18 January 1902, age 60

Alice Williams, “, age 40

Emma Williams, “, age 14

Melvina Whitehead, “, age 42

Wily Bynum, “, age 38

John Ellis Sr., “, age 46

Ed Barnes, “, age 27

Caroline Reid, 20 January 1902, age 21

Farro Sanders, 21 January 1902, age 13

George Sanders, “, age 13

Wily Barnes, 30 January 1902, age 30

Jno. Ellis Jr., “, age 19

Nan Williams, “, age 13

Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

Totals.

This table reveals the stark disparities in wealth between whites and blacks in early twentieth century Wilson County.

The columns, representing tax categories and values, are Number of Polls; Number Acres Land; Value Land and Timber; Number Town Lots; Total Value Real Estate; Total Value Personal Property; Aggregate Value Real and Personal.

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[I am intrigued by the differences in land ownership among African-Americans in different townships. Some surely is attributable merely to population, but I wonder about additional causes of inequality. Why so few taxable individuals or landowners in Stantonsburg township? Why were African-Americans in Spring Hill township so much more prosperous? I have some theories, but I want to explore more. — LYH]

Report of the North Carolina Corporation Commission as a Board of State Tax Commissioners (1907).

Shaw secures a debt.

To secure debt of $54.55 and an additional loan of $100, Spencer S. Shaw agreed in the event of default to convey to Hawley & Revell an iron gray mule, a Hackney top buggy, five hogs, a one-horse wagon, and several farm tools.

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In the 1900 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Spencer Shaw, 40, wife Tabitha, 41, and children George A., 17, James R., 11, Hattie, 9, Joeseph G., 6, Seth T., 5, and Albert S., 2.

In the 1910 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Wilson and Raleigh Branch Road, Spencer Shaw, 51, wife Bitha, 49, and children James R., 21, Joseph T., 16, Seth T.,14, Albert S., 11, Merlin S., 9, Willie H., 7, and Alice M., 5.

In the 1920 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Shaw Avenue on Springhill Road, farmer Spencer S. Shaw, 60; wife Bitha, 60; and children Albert, 22, Marlie, 19, Willie, 16, and Alice, 14.

Wilson Daily Times, 12 January 1920.

In the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Buckhorn Road, farmer Spencer S. Shaw, 70; wife Bitha J., 70; sons William H., 26, and Seth T., 34; daughter-in-law Georgeanna, 24; and grandchildren Alice M., 4, Seth T. Jr., 2, and Franklin S., 6 months.

Book 72, Page 292, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson County Courthouse, Wilson.

The brickmasons’ strike(s).

Newspaper reports reveal a strike (or series of strikes) by African-American brick masons in Wilson in the first decade of the 20th century. Though the record is sparse, these articles offer rare glimpses of black workers flexing their economic muscle, and surprising hints of the reach of organized labor during a time and place well-known for hostility toward unionization.

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Wilmington Messenger, 21 October 1902.

Brickmasons led by Goodsey Holden struck for a nine-hour work day consistent with that required by “the International union.” The protest, at least temporarily, resulted in concessions from the contractors for whom they worked.

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News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), 2 April 1903.

Six months later, bricklayers struck again, crippling progress on the construction of several large brick commercial buildings, including Imperial Tobacco’s new stemmery. Contractors brought in nearly 20 masons from Raleigh and Durham to pick up the work. The sub-headline suggests that the men refused to cross picket lines once they arrived in Wilson, but the article does not address the matter. Masons in those cities were also engaged in strike activity.

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Greensboro Daily News, 18 March 1906.

Three years later, Will Kittrell was arrested and charged with conspiracy and blackmail for allegedly warning a Henderson brickmason to leave town. Contractors continued to import masons from across North Carolina to fill the gap created by Wilson workers’ refusal to work without limits on long workdays.

——

The estate of Wilson Sharpe.

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Wilson Sharpe died without a will in late 1900, and the Court appointed Samuel H. Vick and Braswell R. Winstead to assist as commissioners in the handling of his estate.

Sharpe’s sole heir was his widow Cherry Sharpe, who was entitled to an immediate portion of his assets for her support. There was not much; she received an old buggy and harness, an old gun, some cart wheels, and pile of old tools. This being insufficient, on 15 January 1901 the commissioners reclaimed property that T.R. Lamm had taken, presumably to settle a debt — a forty-dollar mule, eight hogs, and $25 worth of corn and fodder.

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In the 1870 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farm laborer Wilson Sharp,42, and wife Cherry, 27.

In the 1880 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farmer Wilson Sharp, 52; wife Cherry, 45; nephew Jerry Bynum, 6; and James Mitchel, 47, with wife Rosa, 33, and son James G., 11.

In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Wilson Sharp, 65; wife Cherry, 40; and children Willie, 16, Eva, 9, and Besse, 2 months. [These were likely foster children.]

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Tilman’s Road, widowed farm laborer Cherry Sharp, 65, living alone.

Images of estate documents available at North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.