1910s

Water and sewer for every home.

Petition of Dr. Anderson’s and List of Signers Asking for Water and Sewer to be in Every Home.

To the Honorable, the Board of Aldermen of the Town of Wilson:

We, the undersigned citizens of the town of Wilson, respectfully petition your honorable Board:

1st. That the town of Wilson put water and sewer in every house in the town; because, it is the safest and best sanitary measure known at this time; and we want nothing but the best.

2nd. It is the only plan whereby the town will receive immediate return from water rent to pay all interest on the debt and ultimately the debt.

3rd. That the town buy material and install at cost, the consumer to pay cash when installation is complete, as is now being done in the case of gas.

4th. We protest against in surface closets because they do not give protection to the people, with open wells, all, or nearly all of which have been found to be polluted. It is a mere makeshift and will prove in the end a very expensive proposition. It will costs between Six and Seven Thousand Dollars to install them and Four Thousand Dollars per year to keep them up. This is more than enough to pay interest on sufficient bonds to put in water and sewer.

5th. It will cost approximately $75,000.00 to put it in 1300 closets; interest on that amount at 5 per cent is $3750. The water rent will be $13,000.00. Deduct from this the interest and we have $9250.00 left each year to pay for the upkeep and the other expenses of the plant and to pay on the debt.

6th. These people referred to below pay taxes but have not the fire protection to which they are entitled.

The following are signators:

F.S. Hargrave, Dr. M.S. Gilliam, L.A. Moore, Dr. W.A. Mitchener, C.L. Darden, Jno. H. Clark, Chas. T. Jones, Jno. M. Barnes, A.N. Darden, J.F. Barnes, H.H. Barnes, J.W. Rodgers, D.C. Yancey, G.H. Edmundson, L.V. Arrington, Rev. H.B. Taylor, Chas. S. Thomas, W.P. Evans, B.R. Winstead, M.D. Cameron, W.H. Phillips, G.L. Brooks, W.H. Kittrell, C.A. Crawford, Rev. B.P. Coward, Dr. E.L. Reid, Richmond Pender, G.W. Joyner, J.Z. Staton, W. Pitts, Jno. Cherry, J.J. Langley, W.S. Langley, H.G. Staton, E.S. Hargrave, Jas. Thomas, L.H. Peacock, J.T. Teachie, J.D. Reid, Henry Tart, S.H. Vick, Ernest Winn.

Wilson Daily Times, 27 March 1917.

Transcription courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

State v. Charles Evans, alias Dog Head.

In April 1912, a Wilson County clerk of court typed up notes in the matter of State vs. Charles Evans, who was also known as “Dog Head.” Evans had been charged with highway robbery, apparently on the evidence of Jim Redman, who testified that he had come to Wilson with Evans from Washington, N.C., and had lifted a man’s pocket book and given it to Evans. Bond for Evans was set at $200, but someone dashed off a comment in pencil that went to the core of the alleged crime. Who was the victim? “What man — who?”

It does not appear that Evans or Redman were residents of Wilson.

Criminal Action Papers, 1912, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

Watson charged with hog theft.

Wilson Times, 30 September 1910.

——

  • Hayes Watson — in the 1920 census of Rocky Mount township, Edgecombe County, North Carolina: Hayes Watson, 49, ditcher; wife Lena, 32, laundress; and daughter Viola, 17, nurse.
  • Effie Battle — in the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: drayman Turner Battle, 55; wife Effie, 46, “restaurant;” and children Cora, 21, cook, John, 11, Ernest, 9, Horace, 14, tobacco stemmer, and Mamie, 5.
  • Coot Robbins — on 18 March 1912, Coot Robbins, 29, married Hennie Harris, 27, in Wilson.
  • Ed. Holden — in the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Holden Edward (c) bricklyr  h 305 e Jones
  • Angelina Turner — in the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Jones Street, widow Angeline Turner, 35, cook; daughter Mary, 19; and grandchildren Leonard L., 6, and Annie, 3.
  • M.C. Daniel — probably, in the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Mac Daniel, 45; laborer at wholesale grocery; wife Fanny, 36; and children Thomas, 5, Annie, 4, Willie, 3, Jane, 2, and Beatrice, 5 months.
  • Frank Barnes
  • J.G. Coppedge — James G. Coppedge.
  • Cherry White 

Dew children perish in fire.

Wilson Daily Times, 19 December 1911.

It is difficult to know what to take away from this erratum. Unfortunately, the previous day’s paper is not available for details of the Dew children’s tragedy.

——

  • Oscar Dew — in the 1910 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Oscar Dew, 32; wife Annie, 24, farm laborer; children George F., 2, and Bettie M., 5 months; sister-in-law Fannie Strickland, 26, widow, farm laborer; and “sister-in-law son” Sydney Woodard, 10, farm laborer. In the 1920 census, Oscar and Annie Dew’s children were George F., 12, Annie Bell, 5, Rita Bell, 2, and James Arthur, 5 months. Presumably, the children killed in the fire were Bettie and a child born after the 1910 census was taken.
  • Nora Woodard — most likely: in the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Alfred Woodard, 69; wife Sarah, 59; daughters Nora, 21, and Francis, 17; and servant Bessa Foard, 19. [It appears that Alfred Woodard died 1900-10 — did Nora inherit farmland from him?] In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Woodard Norah (c) h s of Cemetery rd nr A C L Ry

In memoriam: Mary Mercer Williams Bullock, age 105.

Wilson Times, 10 January 2023.

——

In the 1930 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Sam Williams, 26; wife Mary, 17; and son Sam Jr., 2 months.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 527 Lodge Street, paying $6/month for each side of a duplex, widow Louise B. Johnson, 34, laborer in redrying tobacco factory; also Samuel Williams, 37, redrying factory laborer; wife Mary, 28, redrying factory laborer; and children Samuel Jr., 11, Daisy Lee, 6, Cleo, 5, Charlie Lee, 2, and Eugenia, 9 months.

In 1947, Samuel Williams Jr. registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 22 January 1929 in Wilson County; lived at Route 4,  Wilson; worked for his father on Mark Lee Ellis’ farm; and his contact was his mother Mary Williams.

On 30 December 1950, Gurney Bullock, 48, of Ed Bullock and Lula Thomas Bullock, married Mary Mercer Williams, 38, daughter of Demp Mercer and Mattie Knight Mercer, in Wilson.

Samuel Williams [Jr.] died 3 October 1953 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 22 January 1927 in Wilson to Sam Williams and Mary Mercer; lived at 603 Cemetery Street; was married to Minnie L. Williams; and worked as a laborer.

Where we worked: back of the bawdy house.

In From a Cat House to the White House, Jesse D. Pender painted a richly detailed portrait of life in Wilson and Wilson County in the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s — including his adventures as a driver and cook for white madam Betty Powell. Powell and Mallie Paul were among the last of the big-time brothel keepers operating in Wilson’s early twentieth century red light district centered on South Spring [Douglas], South, and East Jones Streets at the heart of Wilson’s blocks of tobacco warehouses. This area, simultaneously, was a solidly working-class African-American neighborhood known as Little Washington and home to Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church’s church and school.

On 28 July 1914, the Wilson Daily Times reported on the visit of the chief of police to all the town’s bawdy houses after “drunk and disorderly conduct at Ola LeRoy’s house a few nights ago and the suicide of” a man named Bunn. Not only had the houses not complied with an earlier directive to shape up, most were in flagrant violation. Ordering all in the trade to leave town by the end of the week, the chief listed his shocking discoveries, naming names:

  • at Cora Duty’s house, he found women from Richmond, Virginia, Washington, D.C.; Washington, N.C.; Chicago, Illinois; and Louisville, Kentucky [in the 1900 census of Wilson, Cora Duty is listed with four “boarders”; in the 1912 city directory, her address is 404 South Spring]
  • at Gertrude Augustine’s house, he found a woman from Jamestown, New York, and evidence that other young women had come and gone
  • at Beck Walston’s, one woman [probably also known as Bessie Walston; in the 1920 census, at 510 Spring]
  • at the house of Gertrude Stone, who hailed from Providence, Rhode Island, a woman from Baltimore, Maryland
  • at the house Jessie Smith, originally of Winston-Salem, N.C., no one else, because they’d all left after Bunn’s death
  • at Ada Coleman’s, no one else, but the weekend before there had been “a bunch of drunken men” and other evidence that she was violating prohibition laws
  • at Bessie E. Stamper’s, no one else, but other women had been seen there
  • at Maude Weston’s, “the others left after the death of Bunn and purpose to stay away until everything is quiet again” [in the 1916 city directory, Weston is at 511 South Spring]
  • at the house of Lou R. Padgett, alias Ola LeRoy, LeRoy and another woman were drunk only a day after LeRoy had been found guilty of disorderly conduct
  • at the houses of Gertie Sears, Lida Simpson, and “Alice,” no one else [in the 1916 city directory, Sears is at 513 South Spring; Lida (Lydia) Simpson appears in directories at 404 South Spring, 310 East Jones, and 312 East Jones; and Alice Hinson at 310 East Jones]
  • at Clyde Bell’s, known as Pat Moore, “a house full of men and beer” [a native of Norfolk, Virginia, in 1916, Bell married L.E. Pittman at her home at 313 Mercer Street]
  • at the house of Fannie Ange, alias Theodora Davis, several women [in the 1916 city directory, at 328 South Street]
  • at “the house where Trixie Clark died,” three women, including Fannie Ange’s sister [in the 1912 city directory, Clark was at 322 South Street; a Clara Clark, age 23, residing at 324 South, died 30 January 1924 of opium poisoning and a pistol shot wound — was this “Trixie”?]
  • at Mollie Johnson’s, one girl [in the 1912 city directory, at 318 South Street; in the 1916 directory, 311 South Street; in the 1920 census, 508 Spring]
  • at Fannie Burwell [Burrell]’s, one woman [in the 1900 census, Burrell ran a boarding house with three young women boarders, including Mallie Paul; in the 1908, 1912 and 1916 city directories, she is at 309 South Street]

Wilson Daily Times, 23 December 1910.

Fannie Burrell died 26 January 1917 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 64 years old; was born in Virginia; and was a “land lord of bawdy-house.” She is buried in Maplewood cemetery.

Burrell had made out a will on 23 November 1916, broadly dispensing her sizable wealth. She left money, diamond jewelry, furniture, land lots, and houses to numerous friends, including two Wilson madams, Mallie Paul and Theodora Davis, and two trusted members of her domestic staff, Mary Floyd and Carrie Strickland. [In the 1910 census of Wilson, Mallie Paul and Mollie Johnson are listed on either side of Burrell on Jones Street.]

To Floyd, her cook, Burrell left her house on Spring Street (or $400, if the house sold under option.)

To her “faithful servant and friend” Strickland, Burrell left a house at the corner of Spring and Hines Streets (or $400).

Robert N. Perry, the rector of Saint Mark’s Episcopal, witnessed Burrell’s execution of the will. He was her neighbor at 315 South Street.

Little Washington/the red light district as drawn on the 1913 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson. At (A), Saint Mark’s Episcopal and at (B) a “Sanctified Church (Negro).” The numbers mark addresses associated with white bawdy houses from 1900-1922 — (1) 313 Mercer (Clyde Bell); (2) 404 South Spring (Cora Duty; Lida Simpson; Alice Hinson); (3) 418 South Spring (Fannie Burrell); (4) 508 South Spring (Mollie Johnson) (5) 510 South Spring (Bessie Walston); (6) 512 South Spring (Nan Garrett); (7) 511 South Spring (M. Weston); (8) 513 South Spring (Gertrude Sears); (9) 308 [renumbered 409] East Jones (Betty Powell); (10) 310 [renumbered 410] East Jones (Alice Hinson); (11) 312 East Jones (Lida Simpson; Alice Hinson); (12) 314 East Jones (Evelyn Belk); (13) 309 [renumbered 304] South (Fannie Burrell; Mallie Paul); (14) 311 South (Mollie Johnson); (15) 314 [renumbered 309] South (Mallie Paul); (16) 318 South (Mollie Johnson); (17) 322 South (Trixie Clark); (18) 328 South (Theodora Davis).

——

  • Mary Floyd

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Spring Street, Mary Williams, 20, tobacco factory laborer, and lodger Junis Floyd, 35, odd jobs laborer.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 311 Hines, Seary Mitchell, 31, and wife Gertie, 19; Junous Floyd, 41, gas plant fireman; wife Mary, 32, tobacco factory worker; brother Allen, 25, tobacco factory laborer; and roomer Pattie Williamson, 40, private cook. [Next door: Mollie Johnson, above.]

Junius Floyd died 30 November 1929 in Forks township, Wayne County, at the hospital. Per his death certificate, he was 50 years old; was married to Mary Floyd; and worked as a laborer.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 519 South Spring, widow Mary Floyd, 40; son James A., 9; and roomers Bertha Johnson, 27, and Ellen Williams, 22.

Mary Floyd died 13 May 1931 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 46 years old; was born in Franklin County, N.C., to Saul Williams and Hellen Richardson; was married to June Floyd; lived at 519 South Spring; and worked as a tobacco factory laborer. Bertha Smith was informant.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Spring Street, brickmason Goodsey Holden, 50; wife Laura, 47; daughters Estella, 25, Bertha, 24, laundress, and Ione, 20, laundress; and lodger Carrie Strickland, 18, hotel chambermaid.

In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Strickland Carrie (c) dom h 603 S Spring

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 603 Spring Street, brickmason Goodsey Holden, 59; wife Laura, 52; and roomer Carrie Strickland, 29, tobacco factory worker.

In the 1920 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Strickland Carrie I (c) hairdresser h 603 S Spring

In the 1922 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Strickland Carrie (c) hairdresser 528 E Nash h 504 S Lodge

Many thanks to J. Robert Boykin III for transcribing “Ordered to Leave Town: Disorderly Conduct in ‘Red Light District’ Causes Mayor Dickerson to Issue the Order,” Wilson Daily Times, 28 July 1914.

 

State vs. Frank Jenkins.

Ten days after Frank Jenkins testified about a shooting involving a grocer and a bystander, Carrie Strickland pressed charges against him for kidnapping a little girl. 

“… Frank Jenkins did unlawfully, willfully, feloniously forcibly and fraudulently kidnap and carry away Mabel Jenkins, the said Frank Jenkins having previously thereto forfeited his right to the care and custody of said Mabel Jenkins.”

Strickland swore that she had tended Jenkins’ sick wife and their daughter Mabel; that the woman asked her to take the child; and that the woman had died in late 1911. Strickland had kept Mabel until 20 November 1912, and Jenkins had never said anything. She had “kept [the girl] well clothed and sent her to school.” On the morning of the 20th, Jenkins had stopped Mabel as she walked to school. She had run, but he had caught her and taken her with him. 

Strickland said Jenkins had occasionally sent food in a little wagon when she first began to care for his wife, but stopped. Jenkins did not visit his wife, but Strickland saw him in and out of another house. 

——

  • Frank Jenkins

 On 15 November 1906, Frank Jenkins, 18, of Wilson, son of John Batts and Alice Jenkins, married Sarah Wells, 18, of Wilson, daughter of Jacob and Claud Wells, in Wilson. Neptune Lee applied for the license, and Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widow Sarah Wells, 52; children Sarah, 22, laundress, Mabel, 5, and Frank, 3; grandson Russell, 2; lodgers Frank Jenkins, 25, horseshoer at blacksmith’s shop, and Sarah Marrian, 29, factory laborer; and brother John Wells, 43, odd jobs. [Despite their marriage in 1906, Sarah Wells is listed with her maiden name, and Frank Jenkins as a lodger in the household.]

On 28 November 1912, three days after Strickland swore out a warrant [and apparently before he was arrested and posted bond], Frank Jenkins, 28, of Wilson, son of John Batts and Alice Batts, married Ethel Barnes, 22, of Wilson, in Wilson. Missionary Baptist minister William Baker performed the ceremony.

Ethel Jenkins died 22 February 1913 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 22 February 1891 in Wilson to George Barnes and Emma McGowan and worked in washing. Frank Jenkins was informant.

On 6 December 1913, Frank Jenkins, 26, of Wilson County, married Pet Tucker, 28, of Wilson. Missionary Baptist minister William Baker performed the ceremony.

In 1918, Frank Jenkins registered for the World War I in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born in 1884; lived at Spring Street, Wilson; worked as a horse shoer for Holmes & Boykin at Centre Brick Warehouse; and his contact was wife Pet Jenkins. 

Wilson Daily Times, 4 December 1918. Jake Tucker was the shopkeeper against whom Jenkins testified in 1912.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 319 Goldsboro Street, John Batts, 56, oil mill laborer; wife Alice, 46; grandchildren Mabel, 15, and Frank Jenkins, 13; and roomers Lucy Taylor, 32, dishwasher in cafe, Josephine Atkins, 24, private cook, George Owens, 27, Charlie Howard, 34, oil mill laborer, Olivers Wheeler, 21, tobacco factory worker, and Roland James, 26. [Eight years after her father was charged with kidnapping, Mabel Jenkins and her brother Frank Jr. were living with their father’s parents.]

Also in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Frank Jenkins, 36; wife Pet, 23; and son Haywood, 4.

On 22 November 1921, James Bennett, 27, of Wilson, son of Wash Little and Rosa Bennett, married Mabel Jenkins, 18, of Wilson, daughter of Frank and Sarah Jenkins, in Wilson. James Barbour applied for the license, and A.M.E. Zion minister A.L.E. Weeks performed the ceremony.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 511 Spring Street, rented at $20/month, blacksmith Frank Jenkins, 43; wife Pet, 32; and children David, 15, Haywood, 13, Mary E., 8, and William H., 4.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 404 East Hines, rented at $12/month, blacksmith Frank Jenkins, 53; wife Pet, 41; children Mary Elizabeth, 19, laborer at redrying tobacco factory, William H., 18, and Haywood, 24, laborer at redrying tobacco factory; and daughter-in-law Laurine, 22, laborer at redrying tobacco factory.

Frank Jenkins died 8 August 1945 at Duke Hospital, Durham, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 6 August 1884 in Wilson to John Jenkins and Alice [maiden name not given]; was married to Alice [sic] Jenkins; and worked as a blacksmith.

Wilson Daily Times, 11 August 1945.

  • Carrie Strickland

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Spring Street, brickmason Goodsey Holden, 50; wife Laura, 47; daughters Estella, 25, Bertha, 24, laundress, and Ione, 20, laundress; and lodger Carrie Strickland, 18, hotel chambermaid.

In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Strickland Carrie (c) dom h 603 S Spring

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 603 Spring Street, brickmason Goodsey Holden, 59; wife Laura, 52; and roomer Carrie Strickland, 29, tobacco factory worker.

In the 1920 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Strickland Carrie I (c) hairdresser h 603 S Spring

In the 1922 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Strickland Carrie (c) hairdresser 528 E Nash h 504 S Lodge

Criminal Action Papers, 1912, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

State vs. Jake Tucker.

In November 1912, Mayor O.P. Dickerson heard preliminary evidence in a charge against of Jake Tucker for assault with a deadly weapon. 

Mack Sharp testified that he was at Tucker’s store, heard Tucker and his son fighting, and heard Tucker fire a shot.

Will Jefferson testified that Tucker “had some trouble” with his son Smoot Tucker, shot at him, and hit Jefferson.

Frank Jenkins corroborated Jefferson’s statement.

——

  • Jake Tucker — in the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Spring Street, retail grocer Jake Tucker, 45, wife Jane, 45, and children Andrew, 19, a factory laborer, Walter, 15, a bootblack at a barbershop, Pet, 13, Joe, 12, Bessie, 10, and Viola, 7.
  • Mack Sharp — in the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: tobacco factory laborer Mack Sharp, 43; wife Katie, 29, laundress; and children Harvey, 12, servant, Williard C., 10, Earnest, 8, Samson, 6, Nellie B., 3, and Elexander, 18 months.
  • Will Jefferson — perhaps: William Jefferies died 29 October 1914 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1875 to William Jefferies and Harriet High; lived at Daniel Street Extended. Kattie Jefferies was informant. 
  • Smoot Tucker — Andrew Tucker.
  • Frank Jenkins — in the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widow Sarah Wells, 52; children Sarah, 22, laundress, Mabel, 5, and Frank, 3; grandson Russell, 2; lodgers Frank Jenkins, 25, horseshoer at blacksmith’s shop, and Sarah Marrian, 29, factory laborer; and brother John Wells, 43, odd jobs.

Criminal Action Papers, 1912, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.