The death of Etna Woodard Daniel.

Wilson Daily Times, 8 April 1916.

A brief article reporting the mysterious death of Etna Daniel is chock-full of detail, not all of it accurate. Ben Woodard was a well-known root doctor in Wilson County. Daniel was his step-daughter though, not his daughter. By 1916, wealthy agribusinessman Graham Woodard lived in his town, but his farm was on or near ancestral Woodard land in the White Oak Swamp area. “Darden’s shop” was Charles H. Darden‘s undertaking business.


In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farm laborer Benj’n Woodard, 32, wife Harriet, 31, and children Edna, 13, Frederick, 9, and Venah, 6.

On 17 August 1876, Harry Daniels, 27, married Etna Woodard, 20, at B. Woodard’s, Wilson County.

In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Harry Daniel, 30, and wife Etna, 22.

In the 1900 census of Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas: railroad laborer Harry Daniels, 50; wife Edna, 35; and boarder James Bynum, 21, grocery clerk. [Is this the same couple? If so, when did they, or just Etna, return to Wilson County?]

Per her death certificate, Eatna Daniel died 7 or 8 April 1916 in Wilson. She was 60 years old; was born in Wilson to Isaac Barnes and Harrett Aycock; “fell dead on country road — cause unknown”; and buried in Black Creek. Ben Woodard was informant. [Per the information Woodard supplied, Etna Daniel was not his daughter by his first wife, rather she was his step-daughter.]

Studio shots, no. 215: William M. Perry.

 “To Mr. & Mrs. Clark From William M. Perry”


In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Lodge Street, Robert Perry, 28, public school teacher; wife Mary A., 26; and son William, 5 months.

In the 1920 census of Columbia, Richland County, Virginia: preacher Robert Terry [Perry], 38; wife Mary Ida, 35; and children William, 10, Robert, 9, Allice, 7, John Logan, 5, and Frank, 3.

In the 1930 census of Thomasville, Thomas County, Georgia: at 519 Oak Street, Robert N. Perry, 48, Episcopal church clergyman; wife M. Ada, 46, church school teacher; children William M., 20, Robert N., 18, Alice L., 17, John L., 15, Frank H., 13, and Henry B., 10.

In the 1940 census of Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama: at the Hillman Hotel, lodger William M. Perry, 30, public school teacher.

In 1940, William Montgomery Perry registered for the World War II draft in Bamberg County, South Carolina. Per his registration card, he was born 29 December 1909 in Wilson, North Carolina; lived at 519 North Oak Street, Thomasville, Thomas County, Georgia; he worked for J.E. Blanton at Voorhees N.&I.School; and his contact was his father, Rev. Robert N. Perry, Thomasville, Georgia.

William Montgomery Perry died 12 April 1951 in Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona. Per his death certificate, he was born 29 December 1909 in North Carolina to Robert N. Perry and Mary A. Jackson; was never married; worked as a high school instructor; was a World War II veteran; and was buried in Thomasville, Georgia. Major Henry B. Perry was informant.

Arizona Republic, 13 April 1951.

The application for William M. Perry’s military headstone notes that he was born 29 December 1909; died 12 April 1951; enlisted 13 February 1943; was discharged 16 April 1946; achieved the rank of first sergeant; and was buried in Magnolia Cemetery, Thomasville. Robert N. Perry, 519 North Oak Street, Thomasville, applied.

Military photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user ivan-gilkes.

Studio shots, no. 215: unidentified early 20th-century woman.

Photographer Orren V. Foust was active in Wilson from about 1907 to the 1930s. This formal portrait of an African-American woman dressed in an Edwardian-era satin dress with a high-necked lace collar was likely taken shortly after Foust set up his Wilson studio. Do you recognize her?

Many thanks to Keith Boykin for sharing this photo from his collection.

Booker T. Washington responds.

As explained here, Dr. Frank S. Hargrave and Samuel H. Vick originally planned to open both a hospital and a “tubercular home,” i.e. a sanatorium. The hospital opened in 1913, but the following year Charles L. Coon wrote Booker T. Washington for help securing funding for a facility for tuberculosis patients. Unfortunately, Washington could not help.

Letter from Booker T. Washington to Charles L. Coon, 23 May 1914, regarding Coon’s request for guidence in establishing a tuberculosis hospital for African Americans in Wilson, N.C., Folder 47, Charles L. Coon Papers (1775-1931), Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Lane Street Project: Alice Pierce Maynor.

The Tate family plot lies near the northeast corner of Odd Fellows. Its markers are generally in good shape, but my eyes were often drawn to a small rim of marble barely visible above the soil.

Billy Foster of Foster Stone and Cemetery Care recently prised it up to reveal the handsome little marker of Alice P. Maynor.

Alice P. Maynor Born Apr. 24, 1888 Died Apr. 15, 1915.


On 6 January 1910, Walter A. Maynor, 19, of Wilson, son of Robert L. and Mary Maynor, married Alice Pearce, 22, of Wilson, daughter of Andrew and Alice Pearce, at Noah Tate‘s residence in Wilson. Levi Jones applied for the license, and Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of F.S. Hargrave, E.P. Reid, and Mrs. M.J. Foster.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Nash Street, Walter Maynor, 19, barber, and wife Alice, 23. [The couple had two children, Harriett V. Maynor Whitfield (1910) and Walter Alfred Maynor Jr. (1912).]

Allice Maynor died 13 April 1915 in Wilson, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 26 years old; was born in Wilson County to Andrew Pierce and Alice Knight. Informant was Hattie Tate. Her cause of death was pulmonary tuberculosis.

Photos courtesy of Billy Foster, April 2023.

The 105th anniversary of the school boycott.

Today marks the 105th anniversary of the resignation of 11 African-American teachers in Wilson, North Carolina, in rebuke of their “high-handed” black principal and the white school superintendent who slapped one of them. In their wake, black parents pulled their children out of the public school en masse and established a private alternative in a building owned by a prominent black businessman.  Financed with 25¢-a-week tuition payments and elaborate student musical performances, the Independent School operated for nearly ten years. The school boycott, sparked by African-American women standing at the very intersection of perceived powerless in the Jim Crow South, was an astonishing act of prolonged resistance that unified Wilson’s black toilers and strivers.

The school boycott has been largely forgotten in Wilson, and its heroes have gone unsung. In their honor, today, and every April 9, I publish links to these Black Wide-Awake posts chronicling the walk-out and its aftermath. Please read and share and speak the names of Mary C. Euell and the revolutionary teachers of the Colored Graded School.



The teachers.













And here, my Zoom lecture, “Wilson Normal and Industrial Institute: A Community Response to Injustice,” delivered in February 2022.

Small fire at Lou Miller’s.

Wilson Daily Times, 26 April 1912.

  • Lou Miller

In the 1908 Wilson, N.C., city directory: Miller Lou (c) grocer Elba nr E Green h 630 E Green

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widowed cook Lou Miller; her daughter Cora Washington, 34, a widowed school teacher; her grandchildren Irene, 7, James, 4, and Cora Washington, 1; and two boarders, Mary Hadley, 20, cook, and Mary Pender, 60, widowed servant. 

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 630 Elmo [Elba] Street, teacher Cora Washington, 39; daughters Irene, 16, Janie, 13, and Cora, 10; mother Lou Miller, 70; and boarders Isic Hicks, 28, carpenter, Manuel Wooten, 22, hotel laborer, Dalis Cutter, 20, barbershop laborer, and Eliza Henderson, 42, teacher.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 701 East Green Street, George Farmer, 55, porter for A.C.L.R.R.; wife Cora, 51, school teacher; daughters Lena, 20, teacher, and Janie L., 23, department store elevator girl; stepdaughter Cora M. Washington, 21 (marked as “absent”); mother-in-law Lou Miller, 75; and boarders Mildred Norfleet, 23, courthouse elevator girl; and Amos Moor, 35, hotel porter. [Janie, in fact, was Cora’s daughter and George’s step-daughter.]

Sandy Fork Missionary Baptist Church.

I’d seen numerous references to a Sandy Fork Baptist Church in Wilson County, but was confused because the church I found by that name is a mile or so across the line in Nash County. Even more confusingly, Sandy Fork’s cemetery is on Old Bailey Highway, more than a mile from the church. 

Sandy Fork Missionary Baptist Church off Hornes Church Road in Wilson County.

Lisa Winstead-Stokes clarified the matter for me. Originally, there was a single Sandy Fork church, and a faction broke away to found “Little” Sandy Fork, also known “new” Sandy Fork Missionary Baptist Church of Wilson County. 

Neither the little nor big church is located at the original site of the church, which was near the crossroads just south of Sandy Fork cemetery. Annie Eatmon Locus is regarded as the first “mother” of the new church, which was built on land conveyed by her and her husband Asa “Ace” Locus to church trustees L. Blackwell, Wesley Strickland, Herbert Taylor, and Ace Locus on 18 October 1917.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, March 2023; aerial (without annotations) courtesy of Google Maps.