1910s

“Times were hard and a poor nigger had to live”: the death of George Taylor.

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Wilson Times, 7 May 1918.

In a nutshell (with some augmented facts): policeman Leon M. Cooper arrested George Taylor on suspicion of theft of a chicken from Morris Barker. Taylor asked for leniency. As they walked toward the police station, Taylor “broke and ran,” and Cooper fired several shots in his direction “to scare him.” Taylor was struck and killed. After an inquest, a coroner’s jury exonerated Cooper. Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme.

——

  • George Taylor — in the 1880 census of Saulston township, Wayne County: farmer Jordan Taylor, 34; wife Winnfred, 43; and children Diana Taylor, 15, Nellie Langston, 14, and Robert, 12, Eliza, 11, George, 10, Rufus, 8, Mary, 9, and Jordan Taylor, 6. On 9 February 1892, George Taylor, 21, of the Town of Wilson, son of Jordan and Winnie Taylor, married Kate Lane, 20, of the Town of Wilson, daughter of Charity Lane. Baptist minister Crocket Best performed the ceremony in the presence of Mary Best, W.A. Rogers, and Vinae Araton(?). In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farm laborer George Taylor, 30; wife Catherine, 29; and daughter Nancy, 6, were listed in the household of widow Ellen M. Clark, 40. George and Catherine were servants. On 19 December 1906, George Taylor, 35, of Wilson, son of Jordan and Winnie Taylor, married Maggie Batchelor, 30, of Wilson, daughter of Peter Batchelor. A.M.E. Zion minister N.D. King performed the ceremony at Jordan Taylor’s house in the presence of Leiston Pitt, Henry Stewart, Jordan Taylor and Willie Mitchell. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: wagon factory laborer George Taylor, 38; wife Marguerett, 32; and daughter Nancy, 16, a private cook. Per his death certificate, George Taylor died 4 May 1918, “shot by police & killed while under arrest.” He was about 44 years old; was born in Wilson County to Jordan Taylor and Winnie (last name unknown); and worked as a carpenter.
  • Officer Cooper — in the 1920 Wilson city directory: Cooper Leon M police h 410 N Tarboro
  • Morris Barker — in the 1920 Wilson city directory, Barker was listed as proprietor of a department store at 113-115 South Tarboro. (Lithuania-born Barker lived on Maplewood Avenue and was part of Wilson’s tiny Jewish community.)
  • Kenan and Tarboro Streets

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(A) C. Culpepper & Son, (B) Morris Barker’s 5 & 10-cent store. Kenan Street is just beyond the left edge of this section of the 1913 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson.

  • Mr. Culpepper’s shop — in the 1920 Wilson city directory: Cicero Culpepper & Son is listed as a horseshoer and Wheelwright at 222-224 South Tarboro.

Wheeler family tragedy.

Misfortune dogged the Wheeler family for decades.

Wilson Daily Times, 6 March 1896.

Sidney Wheeler was a man, not a boy, and married nine months after this mishap. On 23 December 1896, Sidney Wheeler, 24, married Lou Armstrong, 20, in Wilson. W.T.H. Woodard performed the ceremony in the presence of Richard Renfrow, S.A. Smith and Janie Booth.

In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: day laborer Sidney Wheelus, 27; wife Lula, 23; and son Sidney, 8 months.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Sidney Wheeler, 40, barber; wife Lou, 40, private cook; and children Sidney, 9, Dave, 7, Floyd, 4, and Emma, 2.

In March 1910, Sidney Wheeler Jr. accidentally shot his sister in the head while playing with a gun. She died instantly. Their mother was away from home cooking supper for Frederick Woodard’s family; their father presumably was also at work. The Wheeler girl’s name is unknown. The 1900 census lists only one child; the 1910, only one daughter, Emma, who lived to adulthood. Though described as eight years old, Sidney Jr. was more likely about ten.

News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), 17 March 1910.

Fourteen months later, Sidney Wheeler Jr. (still described as eight years old) was charged with assault with a deadly weapon against General Tyler, “another colored boy.”

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Wilson Daily Times, 19 May 1911.

The Daily Times published two articles about the incident. The second doubled down on the sensationalist editorializing, but there seems little question that Sidney Jr. engaged in unusually violent behavior.

Wilson Daily Times, 19 May 1911.

Six months later, a Raleigh paper picked up a local-interest bit from Wilson and printed it using the exaggerated dialect and descriptions saved for negro anecdotes. In a nutshell: Anderson Dew visited Sidney Wheeler”s barber shop. With half his face shaved, Dew attempted to spit. Wheeler warned there was no spitting while he was shaving. Further, there was the matter of Dew having  testified against Wheeler on a liquor charge. Dew distracted Wheeler’s attention, then jumped from the chair and ran off to tell this tale.

The Farmer and Mechanic (Raleigh, N.C.), 7 November 1911.

Sidney Wheeler died 8 March 1912 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 35 years old; was born in Nash County to Richard and Annie Wheeler; worked as a barber; was married; and resided at 710 Vance Street. Lula Wheeler was informant.

Six and-a-half years after their father died, Sidney Wheeler Jr.’s younger brother Dabbie fetched up in court on a breaking and entering charge. As he had already done time on a county road gang, the judge sentenced him to five-to-ten in the state penitentiary.

News & Observer, 7 September 1918.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Hackney Street, college cook Lula Wheeler, 49, widow, and children Richard, 12, Emma, 10, John, 8, and Sammie, 6.

Dabbie Wheeler died four years into his prison term of tuberculosis of the shoulder joint and bowels. He was 17.

Dabbie Wheeler died 21 June 1922 at the State Penitentiary in Raleigh, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 27 August 1904 in Wilson to Sidney Wheeler and Lula Armstrong and worked as a laborer. He was buried in Chapel Hill.

Ten months later, Sidney Wheeler Jr. escaped from a prison camp near the Rocky Face Mountain quarry in Alexander County, North Carolina. I have found nothing further about him.

Alamance Gleaner, 5 April 1923.

Lulu Wheeler died 5 May 1925 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 11 August 1878 in Elm City to Emma Armstrong; she was the widow of Sid Wheeler; she resided at 523 Church Street; and she did housework for Atlantic Christian College. Emma Wheeler was informant.

Suffer the little children: alimentary and gastrointestinal disorders.

Well into the twentieth century, children faced harrowing odds against reaching adulthood. Disease, accidents, and violence bore them away in sorrowful numbers. In the 1910s, 17% of American children died before age 5, a figure that was higher for Southern and African-American children. Few children who died in Wilson County were buried in marked graves. In town, most early burials were in Oaklawn, Rountree, or the Masonic cemetery. The Oaklawn graves were exhumed and moved to Rest Haven in the 1940s, Rountree was engulfed by pine forest, and their headstones, if they ever existed, have been lost over time.

By allowing us to call their names again, this series of posts memorializes the lives of children who died in the first twenty years in which Wilson County maintained death records. May they rest in peace.

Diarrhea and dysentery

  • On 29 October 1909, Mary Perry, 2, of Wilson, daughter of Ed and Mary Perry, died of “supposed to be diarrhea.”
  • On 16 April 1910, Bettie Louise Askew, 5 months, of “corner of Vick Viola,” Wilson, daughter of John Askew and Dosia Boykin, died of diarrhea.
  • On 14 May 1910, Mary John Rodgers, 10 months, of Wilson, daughter of J.W. Rodgers and Mary E. Thomas, died of dysentery and bronchitis.
  • On 6 October 1910, Lillie Christine Foster, 1, of 132 Manchester Street, Wilson, daughter of Claud Foster and Cora White, died of “summer diarrhoea.”
  • On 20 May 1920, Clide Parker, 1, of Saratoga township, son of Henry Parker and Mary Barnes, died of dysentery and ileocolitis, with “too much rich food” as a contributing factor. [The certificate noted that Parker had been born on Edwards’ farm, WIlson County.]
  • On 29 June 1915, Estella Farmer, 15, of Stantonsburg township, daughter of Robert Farmer and Pennie Bynum, died of acute dysentery.
  • On 27 May 1917, Louis Armstrong, 12, of Black Creek township, son of Bill Armstrong, died of dysentery.
  • On 31 May 1917, Dorsey N. Powell, 10 months, of Wilson township, son of Dorsey Powell and Ella Hines, died. “No doctor. This child was cutting teeth, which effected the stomach, causing diarrhea.”
  • On 1 October 1917, Cecil Thomas Lucas, 1, of Elm City, daughter of Wiley Plymouth Lucas and Minnie Cooper, died of diarrhea and enteritis due to “faulty feeding.”
  • On 24 June 1918, Willis Edmundson, 21 months, of Saratoga township, son of Doc Edmundson and Mary Cullen, died of dysentery and was buried at Mrs. Eliza Barnes’ place.
  • On 30 June 1923, John Wesley Reid, 2, of 707 Harper Street, Wilson, son of John C. Reid and Byner Cutchon, died of summer complaint. [Summer complaint an acute condition of diarrhea, occurring chiefly in infants and children during weather and caused by bacterial contamination of food. The condition is associated with poor hygiene.]

Stomach disorders and conditions

  • On 16 October 1910, Chas. H. Gunn, 1, of Wilson, son of Moses Gunn and Annie Barnes, died of gastritis.
  • On 21 November 1910, Joseph Batts, 13 months, of Wilson, son of Willie and Oliver Batts, died of gastritis.
  • On 17 May 1917, Naomi Petway, 2, of Toisnot township, daughter of Allen Petway and Annie Mercer, “started with a very sick stomach, died in 24 hours.”
  • On 11 July 1917, Emma Davis, 1, of Wilson township, daughter of David Davis and Mary Johnson, died of gastritis.
  • On 24 July 1930, Detha Lee Mitchell, 22 days, of Taylors township, daughter of Gus Mitchell and Cora Hicks, died of starvation and dehydration and congenital pyloric stenosis.
  • On 8 August 1930, Ben Dalton Ricks, 27 days, of Toisnot township, son of Dalton Ricks and Quinnie Farmer, died of pyloric stenosis.
  • On 30 August 1930, Laura Mae Dew, 2 months, of 412 Lodge Street, Wilson, daughter of William Dew and Laura Cogdell, died of gastritis, with bad milk a contributor.

Indigestion

  • On 23 December 1910, Lucial Whitehead, 1, of Wilson, daughter of Henry Whitehead and Victora Ennis, died of “don’t know, was suffering from indigestion at the time.”

Pellagra

  • On 30 June 1916, Mark Parker, 6, school boy, of Wilson, son of Herbert Parker and Mary Simms, died of probable pellagra. [Pellagra is a disease caused by lack of niacin in the diet.  In the early 1900s, it reached nearly epidemic levels among poor people in the South as a result of over-reliance on milled corn in the diet.]
  • On 19 June 1918, Johnnie Hagans, 5, of Wilson, son of Alonza Hagans and Fronney Anderson, died of pellagra.

Intestinal disorders and conditions

  • On 14 November 1909, E.G. Bostis, 1, of Wilson, son of E.G. and Julie Bostis, died of “supposed to be bowel trouble.”
  • On 27 April 1910, John William Barnes, 11 months, of Wilson, son of J.M. Barnes and Annie Darden, died of “inflammation of bowels.”
  • On 9 June 1910, Johnnie Bryant, 10 months, of Wilson, son of Anthony Bryant and Bertha Best, died of entero-colitis.
  • On 11 July 1910, Marie R. Taylor, 4 months, of Wilson, daughter of Rev. H.B. Taylor and M.L. Taylor, died of entero-colitis.
  • On 29 June 1911, Charles Fletcher Morgan, 1, of 504 Stantonsburg Street, Wilson, son of Calvin Morgan and Almater Bynum, died of intestinal cramps.
  • On 2 June 1914, William Maning Barnes, 3, of 109 East Street, Wilson, son of Lemon Barnes and Lizzie Smith, died of intestinal catarrh.
  • On 3 June 1914, Vanjaline Williamson, 4, of Wilson, daughter of William and Hattie Williamson, died of an “obstructed bowel, cause unknown, should have been operated on.”
  • On 24 June 1914, Ernest Artis, 12, of Stantonsburg township, son of Willie and Mollie Artis, died of an intestinal perforation, with typhoid fever as a contributing cause.
  • On 29 July 1915, Howard Simmons, 13, of Wilson, son of John Simmons and Emma Bray, died of intestinal obstruction.
  • On 26 April 1917, Davis Snookums Barnes, 1, of Old Fields township, son of Wiley Barnes and Martha Homes, died of “acute enteritis caused from eating fresh green vegetables.”
  • On 9 May 1917, Willie Moore, 1, of Wilson township, son of Samuel Smith and Clara Moore, died of “possibly bowel trouble and teething.”
  • On 20 August 1917, McChata Barnes, 1, of Wilson, son of William Barnes and Maedie Taylor, probably died of ileocolitis.
  • On 12 September 1918, Novilla Barnes, 13, “in school,” of Saratoga township, daughter of Ned Barnes and Allice Locust, died of an intestinal hemorrhage, with typhoid fever as a complicating factor.
  • On 24 December 1918, Pauline David, 3, of Taylors township, daughter of Herman David and Annie Parker, died of “elleo-colitis, probable cause.”
  • On 10 June 1922, Jessy Hussey, 12, “school child,” of Wilson township, son of Willie Hussey and Bessie Holmes, died of gastroenteritis with “non-ripe berries” a contributing cause.
  • On 6 September 1922, Rematha Barnes, 8, of Stantonsburg, daughter of L.R.S. Barnes and Edealia Scott, died of an intestinal obstruction.
  • On 15 April 1929, Jessie Henderson Jr., 5 months, of Wilson, son of Jessie Henderson and Pauline Artis, died of ileo-colitis. He was buried in Rountree cemetery.
  • On 21 February 1930, Euraline Thompson, 7 months, of Cross Roads township, daughter of Addie Thompson and Lenetta Newsome, died of acute intestinal toxemia improper feeding.
  • On 17 June 1930, Herline Fulton, 8 months, of Taylors township, daughter of Rufus Fulton and Maggie Blackburn, died of “acidosis and dehydration. Undetermined. Possible intestinal obstruction operation too hazardous to attempt.”

Poisoning and esophageal burns

  • On 15 March 1916, Lee Roy Vick, 1, of Black Creek township, son of Willie Vick and Nancy Lewis, died from eating lye.
  • On 12 June 1916, Claude Homes, 4, “farmer’s child,” of Stantonsburg township, son of Stanford Homes and Louisa Pate, died of “poison from potash, accidental.”
  • On 23 October 1917, Allie Hunter, 8, of Old Fields township, daughter of James Hunter and Rosetta Barnes died of “ptomaine poisoning from eating sour vegetables.” [Ptomaine is “any of a group of amine compounds of unpleasant taste and odor formed in putrefying animal and vegetable matter and formerly thought to cause food poisoning.” Ptomaine poisoning, then, is a non-scientific term, no longer in use, for food poisoning.]
  • On 13 May 1917, Willie Benjamin Wells, 1, of Wilson, son of Willie Wells and Mazie Holland, died of “ptomaine poisoning from eating fish.”
  • On 18 June 1917, Ruffin Rowe, 8, of Lucama, son of Ruffin Rowe and Piety Tucker, died of “ptomaine poisoning ate cold cabbage not thoroughly cooked & highly seasoned with meat.” He was buried in the Rose graveyard.
  • On 18 March 1918, Olivia Dickens, 3, of Wilson, daughter of R.D. Dickens and Nora Joyner, died “supposed of poisoned milk.”
  • On 29 May 1919, George Braswell Jr., 2, of Old Fields township, son of George Braswell and Lizzie Bridges, died of “stricture esophagus for caustic lye.”
  • On 20 December 1918, Andrew Tinley, 3, of 117 Manchester Street, son of James Tinley and Lula Coppedge, died of “constriction of esophagus” as a result of drinking of boiling water from tea kettle.”
  • On 20 December 1923, Connie Barnes, 2, of Spring Hill township, daughter of Fletcher Barnes and Jemima(?) Wilder, died of accidental poisoning with lye. He was buried at Rocky Branch.

Nutritional disorders, marasmus and inanition

  • On 27 July 1916, Timothy Vick, 1, of Cross Roads township, son of John Vick and Thanie Williamson, died of “nursing from a pregnant mother — unknown.” He was buried at Williamson cemetery.
  • On 7 March 1917, Louisa Speights, 3, of Wilson, daughter of Jacob Speights and Rebecca Robbins, died of malnutrition.
  • On 16 July 1917, William Alonzo Finch, 20 days, of Elm City, son of Alonzo Finch and Annie Hall, died of “inanition due to inability of mother to nurse and lack of suitable diet.” [Inanition was a term for exhaustion caused by lack of nourishment.]
  • On 12 August 1917, David Junius Smith, 10 months, of Toisnot township, son of David Smith and Lessie Dawes, died of inanition resulting from improper feeding.
  • On 14 August 1917, Matha Matlena Braswell, 9 months, of Stantonsburg township, daughter of Ezecial Braswell and Minnie Barnes, died of morasmus and improper feeding. She was buried at the Jack Sherard place. [Marasmus is severe malnutrition causing a child to be significantly underweight.]
  • On 18 January 1919, Mayetta Jones, 1, of Saratoga township, daughter of Oscar Jones and Sue Edwards, died of “some wasting disease, don’t know exactly, looked like morasmus, don’t know cause unless was tuberculosis.”
  • On 10 November 1930, Gonnell Wallice Hagans, 2, of Wilson, son of Isaac Hagans and Essie Mae Farmer, died of rickets. [Rickets is the softening and weakening of bones in children, usually because of an extreme and prolonged vitamin D deficiency. It is not, in and of itself, a fatal disorder.]

White people surprised by colored fair.

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Wilmington Morning Star, 30 December 1913.

The white people may have been surprised, but this was not the first “colored fair” in Wilson. The Wilson County Industrial Association, headed by Samuel H. Vick, sponsored fairs as early as 1887 and 1888. Politician and newspaper editor John C. Dancy was a featured speaker at the 1888 event, too.

The last will and testament of Courtney Goffney.

On 12 October 1914, Dr. William A. Mitchner tendered to the Clerk of Wilson County Superior Court a document purporting to be the last will and testament of Courtney Goffney. Satisfied that the document was authentic, the clerk entered the will into probate.

Goffney’s wishes were simple: (1) erect a suitable marble or granite headstone over the graves of her and her husband William “Billie” Goffney and (2) give all her property, real and personal, to her beloved nephew Sylvester Goffney.

——

In the 1870 census of Swift Creek township, Edgecombe County, North Carolina: farm laborer Spencer Battle, 55; wife Eda, 49; and Constance, 26, Annie, 7, Mende, 2, Ovia, 24, Corteney, 19, Paul, 16, and George Battle, 14.

On 29 December 1881, William Goffney, 30, married Cortney Battle, 27, in Edgecombe County.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: teamster William Gwaltney [Goffney], 56; wife Courtney, 50; step-son John Bunn, 25, blacksmith; and nephew Sylvester Gwaltney, 6.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Street, widow Courtney Goffney, 50; Ada Battle, 30(?), graded school teacher; and lodger Sylvester Goffney, 16, factory laborer.

Courtney Goffney died 9 October 1914 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 2 September 1845 to Spencer and Edia Battle and was a widow. Informant was Constance Battle, Rocky Mount, N.C.

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

State v. Goffney, 157 N.C. 624, 73 S.E. 162 (1911).

This case reached the North Carolina Supreme Court on appeal from Wilson County Superior Court.

In summary, the lower court convicted Sylvester Goffney of housebreaking. He appealed; the Supreme Court reversed the decision and dismissed the case.

Goffney appealed on three grounds, the first two of which were deemed without merit. The third: “It is contended by the learned counsel for defendant in a well-prepared brief that, upon the state’s evidence, no crime has been committed, and with this position we fully agree.”

George Barnes and Joe Barnes were partners in Barnes Brothers, a business that Goffney was alleged to have broken into. One of the Barneses testified: “I know the defendant, have known him for four years. He has been in my employ for several years, during which time I found him honest. He assisted me in my store and business a portion of the time. In consequence of statements made to me by Richard Farmer, a negro boy in my employ, I instructed Richard to induce [Goffney] to break in my store. On the night of July 7th Policeman Wynne, myself, and others watched the store, and about 12 o’clock we saw the defendant, Sylvester Goffney, and Richard Farmer go to the store, and saw defendant, Goffney, remove tacks holding a window pane, and remove the window, and enter the store. Richard Farmer immediately afterwards also entered the store through the same window. Policeman Wynne, myself, and others, who were watching the store, after firing pistols, entered the store, and arrested the defendant, Goffney, and required said Farmer to accompany us.” The only other witness corroborated Barnes.

The court’s determination: In the case at bar it appears that Barnes, the owner of the building entered, directed his servant Richard Farmer to induce the defendant to break in his (Barnes’) store; that the servant obeyed his orders, and that he and defendant entered the store together, and that Barnes was present watching them, and arrested defendant after he entered.

If it were possible to hold the defendant guilty of a felony under such circumstances, then Barnes could be likewise convicted of feloniously breaking and entering his own store, for he was present, aiding and abetting the entry of the defendant and induced him to enter. That would of course be a legal absurdity.

“Upon the facts in evidence, no crime was committed because the entry was with the consent and at the instance of the owner of the property. His honor should have directed a verdict of not guilty. Reversed, and proceeding dismissed.”

——

Here’s how the Wilson Daily Times reported the trial:

Wilson Daily Times, 11 July 1911.

A few interesting points from this account:

  • The Barnes Brothers operated a store in Samuel H. Vick‘s Odd Fellows building on East Nash Street “below the railroad.”
  • Sylvester Goffney had recently left their employ to go work for veterinarian Elijah L. Reid. The Barneses’ had regarded him as a trustworthy employee.
  • One of the Barnes brothers slept on a cot in the store. Goffney stopped by to visit, fell asleep and spent the night in the store.
  • The next day, Richard Farmer, an employee described as a “little boy” or “little negro,” cautioned Barnes that Goffney had solicited his help to rob the store — and cut Barnes’ head off.
  • The next time Goffney visited, Barnes refused to let him in. He later heard someone try the door, fired a shot, and all went quiet.
  • Barnes then directed Farmer to conspire with Goffney to break into the store. Barnes and a policeman hid while Farmer and Goffney entered through a window, then arrested both.
  • On the stand, Farmer testified that Goffney also planned to rob the restaurant of Richard Gaither, “a cripple and blind negro” and “fix” his wife.

Two months later, the Times reported a verdict:

Wilson Daily Times, 8 September 1911.

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In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: teamster William Gwaltney [Goffney], 56; wife Courtney, 50; step-son John Bunn, 25, blaksmith; and nephew Sylvester Gwaltney, 6.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Street, widow Courtney Goffney, 50; Ada Battle, 30(?), graded school teacher; and lodger Sylvester Goffney, 16, factory laborer.

In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Goffney Sylvester lab h 409 Stantonsburg Road

In 1914, Sylvester Goffney was designated beneficiary of the estate of his aunt, Courtney Goffney.

In 1918, Sylvester Goffney registered for the World War I draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 10 August 1894 in WIlson; resided at 147 Suggs Street, Wilson; and was unemployed. [Goffney signed his card with a firm, strong signature, evidence of a good education and opportunity to practice.]

In the 1920 census of Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan: auto factory laborer Sylvester Goffney, 25, was a lodger in the household of Ida L. Taylor, 42, on Saint Antoine Street.

In the 1930 census of Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan: at 2135 Riopelle Street, Sylvester Goffney, 35, roomer, porter in barbershop.

In January 1937, Sylvester Goffney applied for a Social Security number. Per his application, he was born 10 August 1894 in WIlson, North Carolina, to Christopher Goffney and Kate McCowan.

In the 1940 census of River Rouge, Wayne County, Michigan: renting at 450 Holford Street, Sylvester Goffney, 45, porter at veterans hospital, and wife Mattie, 41, confectionery clerk.

In 1942, Sylvester Oliver Goffney registered for the World War II draft in Wayne County, Michigan. Per his registration card, he was born 10 August 1894 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 450 Holford Street, River Rouge, Michigan; his contact was Mrs. P. Henry, 475 Holford; and he was unemployed.

In the 1947 Wyandotte, Michigan, city directory: Goffney Sylvester (Mattie) conf 518 Elliott h 516 [Elliott]

Sylvester Goffney died 22 March 1948 in River Rouge, Wayne County, Michigan. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 August 1894 in Wilson, N.C., and was married.

 

He is a Wilson negro and a bad one at that.

One hundred years ago today:

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The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), 16 March 1919.

  • Kit Shaw
  • Luther Barbour — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 809 East Nash, John Barber, 27; wife Ethel, 26; mother Sallie, 59, teacher; and brother Luther, 32. Luther is described as single.

The program.

The Times published the full program of commencement exercises for Wilson Normal and Industrial Institute’s first graduating class. The composition of the school’s board of directors reveals the depth of investment by East Wilson’s elite. (Even veterinarian E.L. Reid, whose brother J.D. Reid lit the match that started the public school boycott conflagration.)

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Wilson Times, 28 May 1919.

  • Harry C. Eldridge and J. Bassett Willard published Arcticania, or Columbia’s Trip to the North Pole, an Operetta in Two Acts, a “juvenile fairy spectable,” in 1916. Eldridge and Elizabeth F. Guptill published Midsummer Eve, a Musical Fairy Play for Children in 1920.
  • S.H. Vick — Samuel H. Vick, former teacher, former postmaster, real estate developer.
  • W.S. Hines — Walter S. Hines, barber.
  • W.H. Phillips — William H. Phillips, dentist.
  • N.J. Tate — Noah J. Tate, barber.
  • C.L. Darden — Camillus L. Darden, undertaker and business owner.
  • W.A. Mitchner — William A. Mitchner, physician.
  • J.W. Rogers — John W. Rogers, businessman.
  • D.C. Yancy — Darcy C. Yancey, pharmacist.
  • M.H. Wilson — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 126 Pender Street, Virginia-born house contractor Mansfield H. Wilson, 60; son Samuel H., 20; and sister-in-law Lucy Richards, 40.
  • L.A. Moore — Lee A. Moore, merchant and insurance agent.
  • William Hines — barber and real estate developer.
  • E.L. Reid — Elijah L. Reid, veterinarian.
  • A.L.E. Weeks — Alfred L.E. Weeks, Baptist minister.
  • R.R. Forman — Organist, pianist and composer Allie Waling Forman (1855-1937) registered her work under the name Mrs. R.R. Forman.
  • Frederic Boscovitz composed the duet “Bella Napoli” in 1900.
  • Rogenia Barnes — in the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Manchester Street,
  • Lillian Wilson
  • Boisey Barnes — Boisey O. Barnes, half-brother of Walter and William Hines.
  • Lester Mitchell
  • Willard Crawford
  • Addie Davis — Addie Davis Butterfield, daughter of Baptist minister Fred M. Davis Sr.
  • Jos. Rosemond Johnson — James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) composed “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” as a poem in 1900, and his brother John Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954) set it to music in 1905. In 1919, the year of the Industrial School graduation, the NAACP dubbed the song the “Negro National Anthem.”
  • R.N. Perry — Robert N. Perry, Episcopal priest.