1930s

Dancing and games on East Nash Street.

Pittsburgh Courier, 20 January 1934.

  • Mr. and Mrs. R.W. Hilliard — Rufus Hilliard, 35, of Wilson, son of A.H. Hilliard and Penina V. [Wimly?], married Lela M. Washington, 29, daughter of William Washington and Martha (last name not listed) on 30 December 1932 in Wilson. Baptist minister B.F. Jordan performed the ceremony in the presence of J.S. Spell, E. D.[illegible] Fisher and Nancy Wilkins. Rufus Wimberly Hilliard died 5 December 1976. Lela Washington Hilliard died 26 July 1985.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Levi Peacock Jr. — Levi H. Peacock, 22, of Wilson, son of Levi and Hannah Peacock, married Elouise Reavis, 20, of Wilson, daughter of Joseph and Etta Reavis, on 4 October 1922 in Wilson. W.A. Mitchner applied for the license, and Presbyterian minister A.H. George performed the ceremony in the presence of John D. Henry, Henrietta Foster and John H. Parris.
  • Gilda Whitley
  • Jethro Couch
  • Ruth E. Hooker — Ruth Hooker Coppedge died 26 May 1945 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 41 years old; resided at 200 South Vick Street, Wilson; was married to George Coppedge; was born in Wilson to Frank Richard Hooker of Greene County and Eleanor Farmer of Wilson County; and was a school teacher.
  • Allie M. Hines — Within days of the Hilliards’ soiree, on 27 January 1934, Willis E. Prince, 47, son of Turner Prince and Sarah (last name not given) married Alma Mae Hines, 29, daughter of Amos and Sarah Hines, in Wilson. C.E. Artis applied for the license, and A.M.E. Zion minister I. Albert Moore performed the ceremony in the presence of M.W. Hines, C.L. Darden and A.M. Dupree. In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Willis Prince, 54, carpenter contractor, and wife Allie, age not listed.
  • Willis Prince — Willis Ephriam Prince died 2 October 1960 at Mercy Hospital. Per his death certificate, he was born 17 January 1889 in Edgecombe County to Turner Prince and Sarah (last name not listed); worked as a merchant; was married; and resided at 205 Stantonsburg Street. Allie Mae Prince was informant.

The first baby is triplets.

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Pittsburgh Courier, 15 January 1938.

Though this appears to be a heart-warming story — in the wee hours of New Year’s Day, a community erupting in celebration over the birth of bouncing triplets — a bit of fact-checking quickly establishes a tragedy of which the reporter should have been aware.

Tommie and Rosa Bynum Hagans‘ babies — two girls and one boy, in fact — were born prematurely, and the first girl died ten minutes after birth. Her sister succumbed five minutes later. Their brother battled bravely, but passed away on the 3rd, ten days after the date-line and 12 days before the Courier picked up the story. Surely there had been no great neighborhood celebration at the Hagans’ home.

Two years later, Tommie Hagans himself was dead. Per his death certificate, he died 12 February 1940 in Wilson; was married to Rosa Hagans; resided at 509 South Spring Street; worked as a common laborer; and had been born in Wilson County to James and Hannah Bynum Hagans. Joseph Hagans was informant, and C.E. Artis was undertaker.

Emancipation Day. (Happy New Year!)

For decades after Freedom, African-Americans celebrated Emancipation Day — January 1 — with speeches, performances and communal meals. This torn New York Age article, published 4 January 1932, records the New Year’s Day observations of Wilson’s Non-Formal Club, which apparently catered to the city’s tiny black educated class.

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Festivities included:

[Charleston, South Carolina, still proudly carries on the tradition of Emancipation Day observations. For a fascinating account of the city’s celebrations, see https://charlestontimemachine.org/2017/12/28/emancipation-day-2018/ ]

Elders.

Lay leaders with Rev. O.E. Sanders, late 1930s.

First row:

  • Martha Spells — Martha A. Gordon Spell (1874-1966).
  • Sabrina Cobb — Sobrina Robinson Cobb (1874-1954).
  • Lucy Thompson — Lucy A. Thompson died 24 July 1946 at her home at 310 Singletary Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 71 years old; single; a school teacher; was born in Wilson County to Ennis Thompson of Greene County and Hellen A. Ruffin of Louisburg, North Carolina. Virginia D. Humphrey was informant.
  • Rev. Otto Eugene Sanders was pastor of Calvary from 1935-1939.
  • Betty Cannon — Bettie E. Cannon (1879-1963).
  • Sally Phillips — probably, in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Sallie A. Phillips, 71, widow, renter in the household of renters at 608 East Green Street.
  • Pauline Coley — Pauline McQueen Coley (1896-1990).

Second row:

  • Rosa F. McCollum — Rosa Lee McCollum died 25 April 1947 at her home at 418 North Vick Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 17 September 1884 in Wilson County to Gray and Argent Farmer. Elva McCollum was informant.
  • Elna F. Hooker — Eleanor Juania Hooker died 17 October 1944 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 6 November 1877 in Wilson to Gray and Argent Blount Farmer; was a school teacher; resided at 708 East Green Street; and was a widow [of Frank Hooker]. Gray Hooker was informant.
  • Flossie Barnes — Flossie Howard Barnes (1905-1993).
  • Ethel C. Hines — Ethel Cornwell Hines (1894-1983).
  • Olivia P. Norman
  • Beulah Mack — In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: cobbler James Mack, 36, and wife Beulah, 35, at 206 Reid. Beulah Mack died 28 December 1953 in Salisbury, Rowan County, North Carolina. Per her death certificate, she was born 7 September 1895 in Rowan County to Napoleon Brian and Laura Watson; resided at 206 North Reid Street; and was married. Informant was Henry Mack, Salisbury.
  • Ruth H. Coppedge — Ruth Hooker Coppedge died 26 May 1945 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born about 1904 in Wilson County to Frank Richard Hooker of Greene County and Eleanor Farmer of Wilson; resided at 200 South Vick: was a schoolteacher; and was married to George Coppedge.
  • Eliza F. Norwood — perhaps, in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: tobacco factory laborer Egar Ricks, 49; wife Lydia, 62; and daughter Eliza Norwood, 39.

Third row:

  • Christine M. Armstrong — Christine McDaniel Armstrong (1912-1999).
  • Inez Hooker — Inez Argent Hooker (1913-) was the daughter of Frank and Eleanor Farmer Hooker.
  • Maggie Crawford — Magelene Barnes Crawford died 20 March 1971 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 2 August 1893 in Wilson to Short and Frances Woodard Barnes; was a retired music teacher; was a widow [of Clarence A. Crawford]; and resided at 616 East Green Street. Vertist C. Edwards of Tacoma, Washington, was informant.
  • Sophia Dawson — is this Sophia Dawson Artis (1889-??), daughter of Alexander D. and Lucy Hill Dawson and wife of Jesse Artis?
  • Ximena P. Martinez — Ximena Pitt Martinez died 21 December 1973 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 August 1896 to Violet Pitt; was a widow [of Ramon Martinez]; was a retired teacher; and resided at 903 East Vance Street. Informant was Evelyn P. Stoney, Brooklyn, New York.

This singular photograph comes courtesy of Adventures in Faith: The Church at Prayer, Study and Service, the 100th anniversary commemorative booklet of Calvary Presbyterian Church.

The Ques arrive in Wilson.

Nu Alpha Chapter was founded in Wilson, North Carolina, on November 17, 1936. The Chapter was chartered in New Bern on December 5, 1936, with the following officers: Basileus Bro. Boisey O. Barnes (Wilson), Vice Basileus Bro. William Perkins (Tarboro), Keeper of Records and Seal Bro. Aaron Womack (Kinston), Chaplain Bro. D.F. Martinez, Editor to the Oracle Bro. Randolph Armstrong (Rocky Mount), and Keeper of Peace Bro. John Jackson (Goldsboro). The chapter consisted of men from Wilson, Rocky Mount, Tarboro, Greenville, New Bern, Goldsboro, Kinston and surrounding areas. Later, Brothers joined or were initiated from Jacksonville, Elm City, Henderson, Elizabeth City, Beaufort, Plymouth, Scotland Neck and LaGrange. They met monthly on a rotating basis in all the cities represented. (Eventually, as a result of the travel burdens imposed across such a large geographic region, Nu Alpha chartered seven new chapters, including Beta Beta Beta in Wilson in the 1970s.)

Of Nu Alpha’s 61 charter members, these Brothers have been identified as Wilson County residents: B.O. Barnes, John M. Miller, Samuel H. Vick, and Malcolm D. Williams. Over the next twelve years, these men joined the chapter: Spencer J. Satchell (1941), Julian B. Rosemond (1942), Kenneth M. Shade (1945), Charles E. Branford and Ellis Brown (1947), and James C. Ellis and Alvis A. Hines (1948).

Adapted from the website of Nu Alpha chapter, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

The Mitchell family reach a compromise.

3 12 1938

Pittsburgh Courier, 12 March 1938.

For more about Rev. Richard A.G. Foster, see here and here and here.

Georgia Farmer Mitchell died 18 February 1938 at Mercy Hospital. Per her death certificate, she was a 15 year-old school girl; was born in Wilson to Floyd Mitchell and Lucy Farmer, both of Wilson County; and resided at 409 South Warren Street. She died of acute appendicitis and an intestinal blockage.

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Rev. Foster, probably in the late 1930s or early ’40s, perhaps at Yale University, his alma mater.

Photograph courtesy of Sheila Coleman-Castells.

Send-off at Calvary.

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The Africo-American Presbyterian, 15 September 1938.

Class of ’34 reunion.

Wilson Daily Times, 7 June 1984.

  • Rosemyer Savage Lathan (1916-2001)
  • Mamie Taylor Alexander (1915-2008)
  • Francis Artis Edmundson — Frances Percell Artis Edmundson (1915-1992), daughter of William M. and Etta Diggs Artis, who lived in Nahunta township, Wayne County, North Carolina.
  • Vivian Grissom Garner
  • Ada Harris Christian — Ada Odell Harris Christian (1913-1992), daughter of Alus and Martha E. Harris.
  • Daisy Winstead Powell
  • Margaret Battle Thompson
  • Jesse C. Lassiter Jr. — Jesse C. Knight Lassiter Jr. (1914-1989), son of Jesse C.K. and Lessie Dew Lassiter.
  • Jesse Lindsey — John Jesse Lee Lindsey (1914-1994), son of Phil O. and Lugenia Hawkins Lindsey.
  • Rhoda Hinnant Brown — Rhoda Vandelia Hinnant Brown (1914-2004), daughter of Dock and Ardelia Reid Hinnant.
  • Amanda Artis Jones — Amanda Bell Artis Jones (1916-2006), daughter of June S. and Ethel Becton Artis.
  • Virginia Artis Reid — Virginia Maye Artis Reid (1917-2006), daughter of Lawrence and Emma Hedgepeth Artis.
  • Gladys F. McCollum — (1913-1998), daughter of Eddie and Rosa McCollum.
  • James Clinton Bess Jr. — (1915-2002), son of Clinton and Minnie Lockhart Bess.
  • Otho Davis — Otha Richardson Davis (1912-2009), son of Otha C. and Ella H. Davis.
  • Lucille Jones Peterson — Lucille Soisette Jones Peterson (1917-2005), daughter of Wesley and Martha Taylor Jones.
  • Robert F. Sheridan — son of Robert and Fannie McCollum Sheridan.
  • Ida Harris Sherrod — (1914-1990), daughter of Leander and Lucy Brooks Harris.
  • E.M. Barnes — Edward Morrison Barnes (1905-2003), son of Lemon and Elizabeth Barnes.
  • Mary D. Wilkins Bass — Mary Della Wilkins Bass (1909-1988), daughter of Redden S. and Mary Hines Wilkins.
  • Beatrice T. Barnes — Beatrice Taylor Barnes (1912-1995), daughter of Russell B. and Viola Gaither Taylor.
  • Charles Darden James — (1914-1994), son of Randall R. and Lizzie Darden James.