1930s

Summerlin fatally injured.

Screen Shot 2018-07-09 at 8.26.46 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-07-09 at 8.27.24 PM

Wilson Daily Times, 7 November 1932.

——

Though the news report did not find it worth mentioning, Benjamin Summerlin, “negro tenant farmer,” was only 13 years old when he was killed.

In the 1920 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Benjamin Summerlin, 24; wife Pearl, 22; and sons Harvey, 4, and Benjamin, 6 months.

Delinquent taxes.

Screen Shot 2018-07-09 at 8.33.08 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-07-09 at 8.31.08 PM.png

Wilson Daily Times, 7 November 1932.

The five columns at right show delinquent taxes for property in the town of Stantonsburg for years 1928, 1929, 1930 and 1931, and the total owed. As in everyday life, tax notices were segregated by race.

  • Wm. & Hannah Artis — [This, presumably, is an error. Hannah Forte Artis was the wife of Walter S. Artis, not his brother William M. Artis. (Both were brothers of Cain ArtisJune S. Artis, Columbus E. Artis, Josephine Artis Sherrod and Alberta Artis Cooper, and their primary residence was across the county line in the Eureka area of Wayne County.)] In the 1930 census of Eureka township, Wayne County: Walter S. Artis, 56, farmer; wife Hannah E., 47; and children Adam T., 18, and Elmer H., 5.
  • Sare J. Artis — in the 1930 census of Stantonsburg, Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: on Yelverton Street, widow Sarah J. Artis, 65; son-in-law Clinton Artis, 30, a sawmill laborer; daughter Mattie, 26, a washerwoman; and grandchildren Ruby, 5, Clinton Jr., 4, and Hazel Artis, 1.
  • Nealy Barnes
  • Wiley Barnes
  • Walter Bynum
  • Adeline Donald — in the 1930 census of Fork township, Wayne County, Adeline Donald, widow, 54, is listed as an inmate of the Eastern North Carolina Insane Asylum (Colored). Donald died 1 January 1931 at the state hospital in Wayne County. Per her death certificate, her regular residence was Wilson County.
  • John E. Ellis
  • Dallas Finnell — Dallas Fennell died 21 April 1935 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 41 years old and married to Sarah Fennell. Informant was Elijah Ward, Stantonsburg.
  • Louis Lewis Est.
  • George Powell Est. — in the 1930 census of Stantonsburg, Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: on Wilson Road, valued at $1000, truck farmer George Powell, 60; wife Fannie, 60, washerwoman; and children Bruce, 21, and Fannie, 16, odd jobs laborers. George Powell died 18 August 1930 in Stantonsburg, Stantonsburg township. Per his death certificate, he was 60 years; a farmer; married to Fannie Powell; and was born in Nash County to Lawson Powell and Lannie Taylor. Robert L. Powell of Stantonsburg was informant.
  • Mrs. Tom Tyson — in the 1930 census of Stantonsburg, Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: on Railroad Street, valued at $700, Tom Tyson, 50; wife Arneta, 36; and children Ordella, 18, Celesta, 13, Ethel L., 11, Hubert, 9, Larry L., 2, and Clementon, 1; plus mother-in-law Ordella Barnes, 58.
  • Dave Ward
  • Tom Whitted — in the 1930 census of Stantonsburg, Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: on Delaware Line, Tom Whitted, 50; wife Kitsey, 35; and children J.B., 25, Bertie, 20, Ada, 18, Claude, 15, Henry, 14, Irene, 13, Aaron, 11, Minnie, 10, and Emma, 8.
  • Titus Whitley — in the 1930 census of Stantonsburg, Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: on Delaware Line, valued at $600, farm laborer Titus Whitley, 75; wife Ida, 71; grandson Leslie, 10; and lodger Allen Edmondson, 68.
  • John Whitley — in the 1930 census of Stantonsburg, Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: on Delaware Line, valued at $600, blacksmith John Whitley, 49; wife Mollie, 25; and children Artillia, 18, Irene, 15, D.H., 13, John W., 10, Mary F., 8, Marjorie, 3, and Clavon, 1 month; plus father-in-law Wiley Locus, 70.
  • James Woodard

Screen Shot 2018-07-13 at 7.26.49 PM.png

Like Wilson, railroad tracks (marked with an arrow) divided Stantonsburg into black and white sections.  

Ossie Mae Royall is yet living.

Wilson Daily Times, 14 January 1939.

On August 10, 1928, Dockery Royall, 28, of Wilson, married Ossie Mae Jenkins, 25, of Wilson in Wilson. Baptist minister B.F. Jordan performed the ceremony in the presence of Lossie Jenkins, Flonnie Farmer, and Maggie Jordan. Walter M. Foster applied for the license.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 321 Hackney Street, rented at $12/month, Doc Royall, 34, body plant laborer, and wife Ossie May, 26, cook.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 203 Pender Street, widow Ossie M. Royall, 33, an elevator girl at the courthouse; her mother Tossie Jenkins, 53, stemmer at a tobacco factory; daughters LaForest, 16, and Evauline Royall, 14; and a roomer named Ed Hart, 45, a laborer employed by the town of Wilson. Ossie and LaForest were born in Wilson; Evaline in Battleboro [Nash County]; and Tossie and Ed in Nash County.

By the late 1950s, Ossie Royall had moved to Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and was working as the dining hall supervisor at Elizabeth City State Teachers College. She died in Amherst, Massachusetts, on 16 March 2000.

 

 

Looping.

In this undated photograph, probably taken in the 1930s or ’40s, shows children and adults — four African-American — looping, or tying green tobacco leaves to sticks for drying.

Photo courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Archives and History, reprinted in Keith Barnes’ The World’s Greatest Tobacco Market: A Pictorial History of Tobacco in Wilson, North Carolina (2007).

Jane Mobley, a remarkable woman.

Wilson Daily Times, 1 June 1931. 

——

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Henry Rountree, 35, farm laborer; wife Patsey, 30; and children Jane, 15, Amos, 10, George, 8, Hannah, 6, Bettie, 4, and Margaret, 1.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farm worker John Mobley, 35; wife Jane, 28; and children Rhoda, 9, Henrietta, 6, Jane, 5, Isaac, 4, and John H., 1.

On 9 March 1898, John Mobley Jr., 21, son of John and Jane Mobley, married Miss Julia Penn, 20, daughter of Lou Penn, in Wilson. Columbus Gay applied for the license, and Baptist minister W.T.H. Woodward performed the ceremony in the presence of W.H. Neal, Sallie Neal, and Lesley Mobley.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: John Mobley, 50, teamster; wife Jane, 46; and children Fannie, 12, Charlie, 13, farm laborer; Patience, 10; Henry, 9; Mary, 7; and James, 23, day laborer.

On 28 December 1904, Fannie Mobley, 19, daughter of John and Jane Mobley, married James M. Moses, 21, son of Carson and Alice Moses, in Wilson. Missionary Baptist minister Jeremiah Scarborough performed the ceremony at F.A. Woodard’s residence. [United States Congressman Frederick A. Woodard was the husband of Fannie Rountree Woodard, whose family had owned Jane Mobley’s.]

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Nash Road, odd jobs laborer John Mobley, 53; wife Jane, 56, nurse; and nieces in law Mary Rountree, 16, nurse, and Patsy Whitehead, 7.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 120 Vance Street, farmer John Mobley, 64; wife Jane, 65; daughter Fannie Mobley, 23; and grandchildren Mary Jane, 7, and Alexander Mobley, 13.

Fannie Mobley, 29, daughter of John and Jane Mobley, married John Faulkland, 28, son of Philipp and Rachel Faulkland, on 2 December 1922. Free Will Baptist minister E.S. Hargrave performed the ceremony in the presence of J.W. Rite, Joseph Faulklin, and Boston Witingham.

John Mobley died 13 June 1923. Per his death certificate, he was about 60 years old; was born in Washington, North Carolina, to Javis and Harriet Mobley; was married to Jane Mobley; resided at West Lee Street; and had done masonry work. Informant was Fannie Faulkland, 200 West Lee Street.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1001 Gold Street, Lamar H. Winstead, 38, book merchant; wife Anabel, 37; son William, 13; and servant Jane Mobly, 85.

Jane Mobley died 31 May 1931 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was about 92 years old; was born in Wilson County to Henry and Martha Rountree; was the widow of John Mobley; and lived at 320 Hackney Street. Informant was Fannie Mobley. [Based on her age in early census records, Jane Mobley was likely no older than her late 70s when she died. Also, contrary to her obituary, it is unlikely that she was born to an enslaved mother, but not herself enslaved.]

 

 

Smith student attains distinction.

Wilson Daily Times, 22 March 1935.

——

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Warren Street, Hester Haskins, 56; and children Estella, 18, Annie, 22, Martha, 36, Ernest, 21, Ambroga, 17, Damp, 12, and [grandson] Joseph, 8.

On 15 November 1922, George Pitt, 31, of Nash County, son of Wiley Pitt and Ida McNair, married Martha Haskins, 30, of Wilson, daughter of Damp and Hester Haskins. James Haskins applied for the license, and Missionary Baptist minister John A. Mebane performed the ceremony in the presence of Glenn S. McBrayer, Jeff Holloway and Eula Farmer.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1200 Wainwright Street, owned and valued at $1700, Damp Haskins, 24, laborer at Coca-Cola plant; wife Sudie B., 21; children Damp Jr., 2, and Hellen, 6 months; widowed mother Hester, 72; brother [nephew] Joseph, 18; Martha Pitt, 52; and nephew Jim R. Haskins, 10.

On 18 February 1931, Jos. F. Haskins, 19, son of Jas. Haskins and Martha H. Pitt, married Beatrice O. Bryant, 17, daughter of Isham and Rossie Bryant. Rev. J.T. Douglas performed the ceremony at Calvary Presbyterian Church in the presence of Judge Mitchell and the Bryants.

In the 1940 census of Washington, D.C.: at 1231 W Street, N.W.: at 1231 W Street N.W., barber John Jones, 37, wife Sarah, 37, and daughter Ruby, 13; and hotel waiter Joseph Haskins, 27, mother Martha, 58, and uncle James, 36, post office department laborer. Both Joseph and Martha reported being divorced, and both had lived in Wilson, North Carolina, five years previously. [Joseph also reported that he had completed three years of college, which suggests that did not finish Johnson C. Smith.]

In 1940, Joseph Franklin Haskins registered for the World War II draft in Washington, D.C. Per his registration card, he was born 8 January 1913 in Durham, North Carolina; resided at 1231 W Street, N.W.; his contact was mother Martha Whitehead Haskins, 1231 W Street, N.W.; and he worked for Dr. R.M. Williams, 1914 – 11th Street, N.W.

On 11 April 1942, Joseph Franklin Haskins married Florence Windom Green in Washington, D.C.

Joseph Franklin Haskins died 16 September 1983 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Johnson C. Smith University Bulletin (1935), page 109.

Work and that woman has kept me right.

Martha Tyson Dixon‘s husband Luke D. Dixon consented to a Federal Writers Project interview, too. His story, starting with his Africa-born grandparents, is electric.

“My father’s owner was Jim Dixon in Elmo County, Virginia. That is where I was born. I am 81 years old. Jim Dixon had several boys — Baldwin and Joe. Joe took some of the slaves his pa gave him, and went to New Mexico to shun the war. Uncle and Pa went in the war as waiters. They went in at the ending up. We lived on the big road that run to the Atlantic Ocean. Not far from Richmond. Ma lived three or four miles from Pa. She lived across big creek — now they call it Farrohs Run. Ma belonged to Harper Williams. Pa’s folks was very good but Ma’s folks was unpleasant.

“Ma lived to be 103 years old. Pa died in 1905 and was 105 years old. I used to set on Grandma’s lap and she told me about how they used to catch people in Africa. They herded them up like cattle and put them in stalls and brought them on the ship and sold them. She said some they captured they left bound till they come back and sometimes they never went back to get them. They died. They had room in the stalls on the boat to set down or lie down. They put several together. Put the men to themselves and the women to themselves. When they sold Grandma and Grandpa at a fishing dock called New Port, Va., they had their feet bound down and their hands bound crossed, up on a platform. They sold Grandma’s daughter to somebody in

“Texas. She cried and she begged to let them be together. They didn’t pay no ‘tension to her. She couldn’t talk but she made them know she didn’t want to be parted. Six years after slavery they got together. When a boat was to come in people come and wait to buy slaves. They had several days of selling. I never seen this but that is the way it was told to me.

“The white folks had a iron clip that fastened the thumbs together and they would swing the man or woman up in a tree and whoop them. I seen that done in Virginia across from where I lived. I don’t know what the folks had done. They pulled the man up with block and tackle.

“Another thing I seen done was put three or four chinquapin switches together green, twist them and dry them. They would dry like a leather whip. They whooped the slaves with them.

“Grandpa was named Sam Abraham and Phillis Abraham was his mate. They was sold twice. Once she was sold away from her husband to a speculator. Well, it was hard on the Africans to be treated like animals. I never heard of the Nat Turner rebellion. I have heard of slaves buying their own freedom. I don’t know how it was done. I have heard of folks being helped to run off. Grandma on mother’s side had a brother run off from Dalton, Mississippi to the North. After the war he come to Virginia.

“When freedom was declared we left and went to Wilmington and Wilson, North Carolina. Dixon never told us we was free but at the end of the year he gave my father a gray mule he had ploughed for a long time and part of the crop. My mother jes

“picked us up and left her folks now. She was cooking then I recollect. Folks jes went wild when they got turned loose.

“My parents was first married under a twenty five cents license law in Virginia. After freedom they was remarried under a new law and the license cost more but I forgot how much. They had fourteen children to my knowing. After the war you could register under any name you give yourself. My father went by the name of Right Dixon and my mother Jilly Dixon.

“The Ku Klux was bad. They was a band of land owners what took the law in hand. I was a boy. I scared to be caught out. They took the place of pattyrollers before freedom.

“I never went to public school but two days in my life. I went to night school and paid Mr. J.C. Price and Mr. S.H. Vick to teach me. My father got his leg shot off and I had to work. It kept me out of meanness. Work and that woman has kept me right. I come to Arkansas, brought my wife and one child, April 5, 1889. We come from Wilson, North Carolina. Her people come from North Carolina and Moultrie, Georgia.

“I do vote. I sell eggs or a little something and keep my taxes paid up. It look like I’m the kind of folks the government would help — them that works and tries hard to have something — but seems like they don’t get no help. They wouldn’t help me if I was bout to starve. I vote a Republican ticket.”

NOTE: On the wall in the dining room, used as a sitting room, was framed picture of Booker T. Washington and Teddy Roosevelt sitting at a round-shaped hotel dining table ready to be

“served. Underneath the picture in large print was “Equality.” I didn’t appear to ever see the picture.

This negro is well-fixed for living at home. He is large and very black, but his wife is a light mulatto with curly, nearly straightened hair.

——

This is the image that Luke Dixon’s interviewer so studiously ignored. The event it depicted, which scandalized white America in 1901, is the subject of Deborah Davis’ recent book, Guest of Honor: Booker T. Washington, Teddy Roosevelt and the White House Dinner That Shocked a Nation (2012).

I have not found Luke Dixon or his parents in the censuses of Virginia. There is no “Elmo County,” Virginia, but New Port may have been Newport News, which was little more than a fishing village in the antebellum era.

Dixon apparently attended night school at Wilson Academy, but it is not clear when. Joseph C. Price headed the school from 1871 to 1873, when Samuel H. Vick was just a child. Vick assumed the helm at age 21 after graduating from Lincoln University.

Doings at Saint Luke A.M.E.

Wilson Daily Times, 20 October 1936.

Wilson Daily Times, 26 October 1938.

  • Saint Luke African Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Ella Bryant — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 200 Pettigrew Street, a duplex shared by two families paying $10/month rent each, tobacco factory laborer Johnnie Battle, 28, wife Annie, 26, maid, and children Clinton, 9, and Willie O., 6; and hospital cook William Bryant, 55, wife Ella, 53, and niece Willie Merrill, 23, both cooks for private families; Ella Jane Bryant died 10 March 1945 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was about 56 years old; was born in Ivanhoe, North Carolina, to John Pridgeon and Maggie Ferrelle; was married to William Bryant; and resided at 200 Pettigrew Street. She was buried in Ivanhoe [Sampson County].
  • Jennie Joyner
  • Will Rogers — perhaps, in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 612 Spruce Street, paying $9/month rent, Wiley Lucas, 73; wife Lizzie Lucas, 64; daughter Ruth Lucas, 19, folder of clothes at a laundry; grandson Lemon Morgan, 15; and lodger William Rogers, 27, W.P.A. laborer.
  • Rev. Coaxum
  • Jeanette Grainger — the “Mrs.” before her name, alone of all the women mentioned in these articles, signifies Grainger’s status as a white woman. In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 202 Broad Street, Jeannette Grainger, manager of state employment office; her sister Rosa McFarand, chief operator at the telephone company; and father Robert McFarland, all born in Virginia.
  • Georgia Mason — in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 110 Manchester Street, rented for $12/month, Melvin Mason, 50, and wife Georgia, 46, both tobacco factory laborers.
  • Mae Pridgen
  • Rev. D.A. Purefoy — Dallie Purefoy died 13 July 1946 at his home at 104 South Vick Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 18 August 1889 in Johnston County to Sam Purefoy of Durham County and Effie Nunn of Johnston County; was a minister; was married to Rhoda Purefoy; and was buried in Wilson Mill cemetery, Johnston County.
  • Johnnie Freeman
  • Jeana Joyner [perhaps same as Jennie Joyner, above]