1940s

Where did they go?: Arkansas World War II draft registrations.

In the 1880s and ’90s, thousands of African-Americans left North Carolina for Arkansas, seeking better fortune. Many settled in Lonoke, Jefferson and Pulaski Counties in the east-central part of the state, including the families of these World War II draft registrants.

  • Jethro Aycock

In the 1880 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Samuel Acock, 36; wife Jane, 35; and children Sam, 15, Fannie, 13, Harrett, 12, Amos, 10, Emma, 8, Mattie, 6, Hannah L., 4, Maggie, 2, and Jeathroe, 1.

  • Peter Aycox

In the 1900 census of Barraque township, Jefferson County, Arkansas: farmer Green Aycock, 52; wife Janie, 48; and children Robert, 30, Lary, 18, and Peter, 13; plus mother Faine Aycock, 81.

  • Jim Baker

In the 1910 census of Lafayette township, Lonoke County: on England Road, farmer James Baker, 26, wife Mae E., 23, and children Bertha, 3, and Annie, 7 months.

  • Clayton Barnes

In the 1910 census of Lafayette township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: farmer Clayton Barnes, 24; wife Jennie, 25; step-daughters Lizzie Phillips, 12, and Carrie Phillips, 8; plus sister-in-law Lucelia Jones, 18. The adults were born in North Carolina; the children in Arkansas.

  • Richard Barnes

In the 1930 census of Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas: at 1515 Bishop Street, owned and valued at $3000, Richard B. Barnes, 40, an office building porter, and wife Hazel Barnes, 30.

  • James Columbus Bynum

In the 1880 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: laborer Larence Bynum, 24; wife Edney, 19; children James, 1, and Mary J., 1 month; mother-in-law Liddie Bynum, 55; brother Isac Bynum, 22; and sister-in-law Anna Bynum, 17.

In the 1930 census of Well township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: farmer J.C. Bynum, 51; wife Florence, 50; daughter Odessa, 12, and adopted son Columbus Webb, 5. J.C. and Florence were born in North Carolina; the children in Arkansas.

  • Charley Augusta Bynum

In the 1880 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County, see James C. Bynum above.

In the 1900 census of Richwoods, Lonoke County, Arkansas: Laurance Bynum, 55; wife Edna, 39; children Mary, 19, Charlie, 17, Hattie, 16, Rachel, 9, Lewis, 6, Cora, 3, and Laurance, 11 months; grandsons Mack and Romie Notsie, both 1 week; and son-in-law Ed Notsie, 25. The Children after Rachel were born in Arkansas.

  • Josh Griffin

In the 1910 census of Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas: at East 11th Street, Josh Griffin, 28, public works laborer; wife Lizzie, 30; and stepson Willie Sanders, 6.

  • Tom Hooks

In the 1920 census of Barraque township, Jefferson County, Arkansas: on Little Rock Road, farmer Thomas Hooks, 43; wife Lula, 44; and children Thomas, 16, Nathan, 14, Carolina, 14, Corena, 10, Nora B., 7, Wilber, 6, Vandie, 4, and Fredona, 1. All the children were born in Arkansas.

  • Andrew Jackson Jones

  • George Daniel Jones

In the 1900 census of Williams township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: Virginia-born farmer Peter Jones, 50; wife Ellen, 44; and son George, 20, both born in North Carolina.

  • Robert Daniel Parker

Perhaps, in the 1900 census of Lafayette township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: farmer Ceaza Parker, 39; wife Cinda, 42; and children Mattie, 16, Willis, 14, Daniel, 12, Luvenia, 8, Huburt, 7, Piety, 4, and Mary A., 1.

Where we shopped: Hill’s Fish Market.

Wilson Daily Times, 22 August 1944.

Brothers William and Joseph Meade Hill owned and operated a fish market on East Nash Street near Pender (the site later of Dr. Julian B. Rosemond‘s dental office.) The market’s location assured that it served a mostly African-American clientele.

What curious text: “For Your Protection … Always let the little fishes that swim around our adv. dive down into your Telephone Directory or Radio Station WGTM and bring up your Seafood Telephone Number 3291. It’s a number that guarantees fresh seafood.”

Spicie Eatman dies.

Wilson Daily Times, 26 January 1944.

In the 1940 census of Bailey township, Nash County: on Finch Perry Road, farmer James Terrel, 60; wife Della, 58; children Luther, 26, Jessie D., 24, and Millard, 15; grandson Robert, 14; and lodge Spicy Eatmon, 99, an old age pensioner.

Spicie Eatman died in the Wilson County Home and was buried at New Vester. Her death certificate identified her mother as Gracie Flowers.

[Sidenote: I know nothing more about Spicie Eatman. I can say unequivocally, however, that the twenty years she spent enslaved were not the sum total of her long life.]

Removal of graves from abandoned cemetery.

As noted here and here, I have long been intrigued by the disappearance (in space and memory) of Wilson’s first African-American cemetery, sometimes called Oaklawn or Oaklawn or Oakdale. Yesterday, the mystery was solved.

In the late summer of 1940, the Wilson Daily Times for several weeks ran a “Notice of Removal of Graves from Abandoned Cemetery.”  Town Commissioners had declared Wilson’s “colored cemetery” on Cemetery Street abandoned as there had been no burials there in 16 years. The Commissioners proposed “to remove all graves to the new cemetery for the colored race situate near the Town of Wilson, N.C., and known as Resthaven Cemetery.” Interested persons had 30 days to object.

Wilson Daily Times, 13 September 1940.

Whether or not there were objections, the work of removal commenced. It seems likely, then, that the oldest headstones in Rest Haven (such as those of the Dunstons) mark graves moved from Oaklawn, rather than Rountree cemetery, as I earlier speculated.

[Of course, as I learned back in February, the Cemetery Street cemetery was never entirely forgotten, at least by people who lived in the neighborhood. Harry Harris recently shared the history of the Turkey Bowl, an informal neighborhood football game taking place on holidays. The original game, he said, was played Christmas Day 1958 at the “old Carnival Ground,” then an open field at the corner of Barnes and Stantonsburg (now Pender) Streets. In 1965, the game moved to Stephenson Street, in “the projects,” where it became “part of the fabric of local community culture.” After several years, however, the game was again moved “because the ladies who lived there at that time reminded us that we were playing on sacred ground as the projects were built upon the grounds of the old Black cemetery, hence Cemetery Street.”]

Map courtesy of Bing.com.

 

Who was the victim?

Pittsburgh Courier, 16 May 1942.

In a nutshell: James Applewhite was arrested and charged with the murder of Willie Fate. A burial society paid an undertaker to conduct Fate’s funeral. After the service, a burial society adjuster thought he saw Willie Fate on his way home. The society contacted the Wilson County draft board for information about Willie — presumably, his whereabouts, if not dead — but got none. Had the adjuster seen Willie’s brother Perry Fate instead? Or was Perry the man dead and buried? Applewhite confessed, but whom did he kill? Perry was nowhere to be found.

Willie H. Fate’s death certificate shows that he was killed on 25 April 1942 on 264 Highway by a pistol shot to the chest. Toney Funeral Home of Spring Hope, Nash County, performed the burial, but there’s no indication of the society that paid for it.

Apparently, the matter was not cleared to the satisfaction of the United States military until 10 August 1942, when Willie Fate’s registration card was cancelled.

Willie H. Fate’s draft registration card.

——

In the 1930 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Robert Fate, 33; wife Monna, 31; children Alice, 17, Willie H., 17, Perry, 11, Geneva, 7, Robert Jr., 5, and Mary E., 2; and in-laws Alice Jurant, 55, and Melvin Jurant, 56. All save the youngest three children were born in South Carolina.

In 1940, Willie Henry Fate registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 27 January 1917 in South Carolina; he resided at R.F.D. #4, Wilson; his contact was Lula Fate; and he worked as a laborer for Mark Ellis, R.F.D. #4, Wilson.

In 1940, Perry Fate registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 7 January 1920 in Florence, South Carolina; resided at Route 1, C-10, Elm City; his contact was M.L. Ellis, Route 4; and he worked for James L. Ellis, Route 1, Elm City.

Littleton Ellis’ land division.

Littleton Ellis‘ land was surveyed, divided and platted in the spring of 1942, several decades years after his death between 1900 and 1910. The road slicing across the middle of the plat appears to be today’s Forest Hills Road, with directions east “To U.S. Hwy. No. 301” and west “To Road Leading to the Wilson Via of Winstead Sch.”

Plat book 2, page 175, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

First grade at Sam Vick.

The Wilson Daily Times printed this photo of Addie Davis Butterfield‘s 1945 first grade class at Samuel H. Vick Elementary. Mrs. Butterfield is top right, and the children include her nephew William Bayard Davis Jr. (front row in white shirt and tie), Rudolph Kersey Bullock (laughing beside Davis), Jessie Gertrude Baldwin Pouncey, Patricia Ann Tabron Bates, Alton Ray Kirk, Robert Eugene Dew, Earline Blount, Callie Joyce Bowens, Sarah Frances Greene, Reuben Hammonds, Luther Mincey and Raymond Bell. The caption attributes the photo to the collection of Diane Davis Myers, Butterfield’s niece.

Clergymen.

Hill’s Wilson, N.C., City Directory (1947).

  • William W. Askew, Baptist — William Wesley Askew. Per his death certificate, William Askew died 2 March 1956 in Wilson; was born 13 March 1890 in Bertie County, North Carolina, to Isaac and Mance Askew; was married to Elizabeth Askew; worked as a minister; and resided at 1104 Rountree Avenue.
  • W. Samuel Barnes, Baptist — pastor of a Missionary Baptist church.
  • Frank F. Battle, Baptist — pastor of Good Hope Missionary Baptist church.
  • Chester B. Beamon, Methodist — A.M.E. Zion minister.
  • Walter Bobbitt, Baptist– Walter Lee Bobbitt, pastor of Saint John Free Will Baptist. Per his death certificate, Bobbitt died 26 February 1952 at his home at 109 Stantonsburg Street, Wilson; was born 19 November 1896 in Pitt County to Sidney Bobbitt and Millie Payton; was a minister; and was married to Annie Bobbitt.
  • Edward H. Cox, Baptist — Eddie Harrison Cox, pastor of Piney Grove Free Will Baptist. In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: minister Eddie H Cox, 49, and wife Carrie H., 32.
  • Hattie Daniels, Holiness — Hattie Owens Daniels. Per her death certificate, Hattie Daniels died 25 April 1979 in Wilson; was born 4 July 1900 in Chester County, Georgia, to Mack Owens and Mary Gardner; was widowed; resided at 908 Wainwright Street; and was a minister and kindergarten teacher. Informant was daughter Deborah Daniels of the home.
  • Fred M. Davis, Baptist — Fred Marshon Davis Sr., pastor of Jackson Chapel First Baptist and others.
  • Jacob Edwards, Holiness
  • John A. Everette, Methodist — pastor of Trinity A.M.E. Zion Church.
  • John L. Hart, Apostolic — John L. Hart died 6 February 1963 at Mercy Hospital. Per his death certificate, he was born 28 January 1901 in Wilson County to Benjamin Hart and Temie Ann Jones; was married; was a minister. Elouise Hart, 1200 Washington Street, was informant.
  • Obra J. Hawkins, Presbyterian — Obra Jeffrey Hawkins, pastor of Calvary Presbyterian.
  • William A. Hilliard, Methodist — William Alexander Hilliard was pastor at Saint John’s A.M.E. Zion Church. In 1942, he registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card: he resided at 119 Pender; his mailing address was 2449 Woodland Avenue, Kansas City, Missouri; he was born 14 September 1904 in Greenville, Texas; his contact was Mrs. Veta Watson of 2449 Woodland; he was employed as a minister in the A.M.E. Zion connection serving in Wilson.
  • Jefferson Holloway, Methodist — pastor of an A.M.E. Zion church. Jefferson Davis Holloway died 7 November 1982 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 14 November 1885 in Wilson County; was married to Ella Holloway; and resided at 323 Griffin Street.
  • Edward Ingram, Holiness — pastor of Nazarene Holiness Church.
  • Robert Johnson, Episcopal — Robert Josiah Johnson, Saint Mark’s Episcopal.
  • Charles T. Jones, Baptist — Charles Thomas Jones, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church.
  • George Little, Baptist — pastor of Mount Zion Free Will Baptist Church. George Washington Little died 1 April 1957 on the A.C.L. railroad tracks near Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 12 July 1910 in Wilson County to Wash Little and Louise Barnes; worked as a minister and laborer; resided at 606 North Carroll Street. Louise Little was informant.
  • William McLondon, Holiness — pastor of Mount Zion Holiness Church.
  • Otto E. Sanders, Presbyterian — Otto Edward Sanders, former pastor of Calvary Presbyterian.
  • R. Buxton Taylor, Methodist — Russell Buxton Taylor, A.M.E. Zion minister.
  • William Thomas, Baptist — pastor of a Missionary Baptist church.
  • Cleveland Thompson, Holiness
  • Roosevelt Wheeler, Holiness — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 812 East Vance, minister Roosevelt Wheeler, 26; wife Minnie, 24; and lodger Jessie Edwards, 17.
  • William E. Willoughby, Holiness

Studio shots, nos. 38 and 39: Hattie Henderson Ricks.

Shortly after World War II, Hattie Mae Henderson found work at Wilson Awning & Tent Company’s factory on South Douglas Street.

Hattie Factory 01

As recalled here, handling fabric and sewing the oversized tents was challenging work. The dresses and skirts women commonly wore in the 1940s were not suitable for maneuvering atop the long tables on which the tents were stitched, so Henderson and other female workers donned full-legged dungarees on the factory floor. These photos were taken in unnamed Wilson studios during this period.

Hattie Henderson in trousers

Photograph in the collection of Hattie Henderson Ricks, now in the possession of Lisa Y. Henderson.