1920s

Lane Street Project: Fannie Oates McCullins.

Fannie Oates McCullins‘ broken headstone lies in Odd Fellows cemetery a short distance from her parents and sisters Rosa O. Barnes and Ella Oates.

Fannie Wife of Andrew McCullins

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In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: day laborer Charles Oates, 34; wife Emma, 30; and children Willie, 11, Fannie, 9, Annie, 8, Effie, 5, and Queen Elsie, 4.

On 3 December 1908, Andrew McCullen, 40, of Wilson, son of Emma McCullen, married Fannie Oats, 19, of Wilson, daughter of Charles and Emma Oats. A.M.E. Zion minister J.S. Jackson performed the ceremony in the presence of Charles Knight, Henry Tart, and T.S. Beaty.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: pool room laborer Andrew McCollen, 36, and wife Fannie, 20, tobacco factory laborer. 

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 133 Ashe Street, tobacco factory laborer Andrew McCullers, 40, and wife Fannie, 30, shared a duplex with laborer Bob Strickland, 70, and wife Mary, 45.

The death of Mattie Merritt.

Wilson Daily Times, [16?] January 1923.

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In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Fannie Meritt, 53, widow, washing; daughter Martha, 35, washing; boarder Tom Deanes, 31, preacher; and lodgers William Kiterrel, 34, tobacco stemmer, and Willey Williams, 37, day laborer.

In the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Merritt Martha A (c) laundress h 121 N Railroad

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: laundress Fannie Merritt, 58, widow, and daughter Marthy, 40.

Fannie Merritt died 21 April 1915 in Wilson, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 67 years old; was born in N.C. to Bailum Bess and Millie Jones; and was a widow. Mattie Merritt was informant.

Mattie Merritt died 16 January 1923 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 60 years old; was born in Duplin County, N.C., to John Middleton and Fannie Best; was single; worked as a laundress; and lived on Smith Street. Cause of death: “Heart trouble stated to us. Found dead in her room had not been sick. No doctor in attendance.” Richard Best of Warsaw, N.C., was informant.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Lane Street Project: Rosa Oates Barnes.

Rosa Oats Barnes‘ broken headstone lies in Odd Fellows cemetery a short distance from her parents and sister Ella Oates.

Rosa Wife of Matthew Barnes

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On 25 August 1919, Matthew Barnes, 21, of Wilson, son of Nat and Emma Barnes, married Rosa Oats, 18, of Wilson, daughter of Charles Oats.  A.M.E. Zion minister  B.P. Coward performed the ceremony in the presence of John Norfleet, J.L. Moore, and James Whitley.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Railroad Street, tobacco factory worker Emma Barnes, 48, widow; son Matthew, 23, auto garage laborer; and daughter-in-law Rosa, 18, tobacco factory worker.

Rosa Oates died 18 November 1922 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 18 years old [actually, about 21]; was born in Wilson County to Charles Oats and Emma Williams; was divorced from Matthew Barnes; lived on Ash Street; and worked as a factory worker at Flemmings. Charlie Oats was informant.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, April 2021.

Lula Malone is struck by a train.

Per the first account in the Daily Times, Lula Malone (not “Lizzie”) was struck by a train, but not seriously injured, sustaining only “cuts about the head and arms.”

Wilson Daily Times, 21 June 1922.

Three days later, however, the paper reported a very different story. How could a crushed skull have been missed?

Wilson Daily Times, 24 June 1922.

Lula Malone died 21 June 1922. Her death certificate states “June 1st,” but other dates in the document, including her dates of treatment, are consistent with a death on the 21st. She was 52 years old; married to Leroy Malone; a cook for “Mrs. Daniels”; and was born in Statesville, N.C., to John Griffin. Cause of death: “‘Shock’ (possible internal injury)” with “struck by RR engine” contributing.

Apparently, then Malone’s skull was not crushed. The official cause of death is more consistent with the initial news account. 

Clippings courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Health Department ratings.

Wilson Daily Times, 14 July 1922.

The (county?) health department rated five “colored” cafes during a monthly inspection in July 1922.

Tate’s Cafe, as drawn in the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance maps of Wilson.

  • Central Cafe — per the 1922 city directory, this eatery was located at 415 East Nash Street and had a Greek (or Greek-American) proprietor, Mike Vekrakos.

Central Cafe, as drawn in the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance maps of Wilson.

  • Gilliams Cafe — per the 1922 city directory, this cafe was located at 509 East Nash Street, and Rachel Gilliam was proprietor. Gilliam lived at 228 Smith Street, the narrow lane running parallel to Nash.
  • Carolina Cafe
  • Barnes Cafe

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

For (white) women who care.

This entry in the 1928 Hill’s Wilson city directory is what first caught my eye:

Odessa Beatrice Reid was the daughter of Ietta R. M. Reid and noted veterinarian Elijah L. Reid. Why did she occupy a space at the rear of 109 1/2 West Nash Street? Lawrence Brett & Company were civil engineers; John D. Wells was a tobacconist. Odessa B. Reid, it turns out, was a hairdresser who catered to white women and located her business accordingly.

Reid announced her opening in October 1918, having graduated from a course in the Elizabeth Kink System (about which I can find absolutely nothing). Her beauty parlor was on the second floor of the Carolina Building on Goldsboro Street. (This location is not clear. The building most commonly known as “the Carolina” was at 105 North Tarboro Street, just beyond Nash Street. Interestingly, it had been the site of Lemon Taborn‘s 19th-century barbershop.) Reid kept an 11-hour day and made her client pool clear.

Wilson Daily Times, 3 October 1918.

Nine years later, Madame Reid announced a move to the space over the World Theatre in the Wells Building, today the site of a dance studio.

Wilson Daily Times, 29 October 1927.

She didn’t stay long. A year later, she was in the Tarboro Street Carolina Building in room 12, second floor. She asked that her clients call her home for appointments between 5 and 10 P.M. “on account of the illness of my mother.”

Wilson Daily Times, 2 October 1928.

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In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Eliza [sic] Reid, 38, veterinary surgeon; wife Ietta, 36; and daughter Beatrice, 13.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 650 Viola Street, Eligha Reid, 50, doctor [sic] in general practice; wife Ietta, 44; and daughter Odess, 22, beauty parlor manager.

On 26 September 1923, Heathen Sorrell, 25, of Rocky Mount, N.C, son of Lizzie Sorrell, married Odessa B. Reid, 26, of Wilson, daughter of E.L. and Ietta R.M. Reid. Presbyterian minister A.H. George performed the ceremony in the presence of Levi Jones, Norma E. Duncan, and Ethel L. Hines. (The marriage ended quickly.)

For several weeks in December 1924, the Wilson Daily Times published a Notice of Summons and Warrant of Attachment in Odessa Reid Sorrell vs. Leslie Boise Pender, a case in which Reid Sorrell was seeking a $370.00 judgment. I have no further information about the lawsuit.

On 23 February 1925, Alfred G. Spicer, 24, of Washington, D.C., son of Addie Spicer, married Odessa B. Reid, 27, of Wilson, daughter of E.L. and Ietta Reid, in Wilson. M.E. DuBissette, M.D., applied for the license, and Primitive Baptist Elder Tom Dickens performed the ceremony at Dr. E.L. Reid’s residence in the presence of DuBissette, Reid, and A.T. Spicer of Rocky Mount.

In the 1930 census: at 309 Elba, doctor of veterinary surgery Eliria L. Reed, 67; daughter Odessa B. Spicer, 28, a beauty parlor operator; and wife Ietta Reid, 57. The house was valued at $5000.

On 31 December 1931, in Arlington County, Virginia, Alfred G. Spicer, 31, of South Washington, Virginia, was awarded a divorce from Odessa B. Spicer, 309 North Elba Street, Wilson, on the grounds of desertion.

Odessa Reid Sorrell Spicer, perhaps during her beauty salon years.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 505 East Green, rented for $20/month, veterinarian Elijah L. Reid, 78; wife Ietta R., 65; and daughter Odessa B., 30, a graduate nurse. [When and where did Odessa Reid train as a nurse?]

Dr. Elijah L. Reid died 8 November 1948 at home at 811 Viola Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 25 January 1881 in Wayne County, N.C., to Wash Reid; was married to Ietta Reid; and worked as “doctor (veterinarian).” Odessa Reid, 811 Viola, was informant.

Ietta R.M. Reid died 14 February 1961 at home at 816 Elvie Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate; she was born 12 August 1867 in Edgecombe County to Jairett Staton; was a widow; and was a retired teacher. Odessa Reid, 816 Elvie, was informant.

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com user Joyce Rucker-Barnes.

The death of Paul Batts, 19.

Wilson Daily Times, 9 August 1922.

Nineteen year-old Paul Batts died while working on construction of “the new school building on Kenan street,” i.e. Wilson High School, later renamed for Charles L. Coon.

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In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Street, brickyard laborer Redic Batts, 34; wife Mareliza, 32, laundress; and children Paul, 6, Rayman, 3, and Zadieann, 10 months.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: brickmason Redding Batts, 48; wife Mary Eliza, 47, housekeeper; and children Paul, 15, Raymond N., 12, Zady, 11, and Willie, 7.

I have not found Paul Batts’ death certificate.