The Stantonsburg Hawks.

Wilson was not the only county town to field an African-American semi-pro baseball team. From 1945 into the late 1970s, the Stantonsburg Hawks traveled neighboring counties

John Lee Woodard (1917-1995) was the team founder, and players throughout its history included his son Willie Woodard, Ernest D. Hall, Frederick Brown, Johnnie Streeter, Roy Lee Pender, Marvin R. Artis, George Artis, Tommy Rogers, Nathaniel Green Jr., William Sutton, Henry Revelle, Carter Knight, Raymond Mackey, Marvin Sessoms, Levy Daniel Jr., Melvin Hodges, Cleveland Leach, Joseph Green, Julius Green, Theodore Ward, Douglas Artis, Melvin Artis Jr., George Atkinson, and Ronnie Diggs.

I am trying to identify the Hawks’ earliest players, teammates of John L. Woodard. Do you know of anyone who played baseball with them in the 1940s?

I recognize three men in this photo — Ernest D. Hall seated at front left; Willie Lee Woodard (son of John L. Woodard, front row with glove on ground; and George Artis, second in second row. Who do you see?

Thanks to Tiyatti Speight for bringing this team to my attention and for the copy of this wonderful photo.

Teen stabs teen; goes to movie.

Wilson Daily Times, 21 October 1942.

On 11 December 1942, Willie Lucas pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of Hezekiah Reid. He received a sentence of three to five years in prison, but was paroled by Governor J. Melville Broughton in August 1943, having served nine months.


  • Willie Lucas
  • Hezekiah Reed

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Westover, farmer Zion Read, 56; wife Lara, 25; and children Zoreana, 8, Hesicar, 12, William, 4, and Walter E., 0. 

Willie Reid died 20 October 1942 at Centre Brick Warehouse, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 June  1923 in Wilson to Zion Reid and Laura Davis; was single; worked as a laborer; and was buried in Rountree Cemetery. Cause of death: “homicide — knife wound of left breast.”

Notice to colored Imperial employees.

Tobacco factory work was seasonal, and late fall meant the end of work for hundreds across Wilson County. The color line extended even to applying for unemployment benefits, and “colored claimants” who had worked at Imperial Tobacco were directed to report to Darden Funeral Home to continue their claims.

Wilson Daily Times, 20 November 1940.

The Lord told me to.

Wilson Daily Times, 22 November 1948.


In the 1900 census of Otter Creek township, Edgecombe County, N.C.: Joseph Wooten, 38; wife Chaney, 28; and children Cora, 11, James, 6, Lossie, 4, and Nora, 1.

In the 1900 census of Sparta township, Edgecombe County: Watt Vines, 30; wife Emma, 29; and children Eddie, 11, Patsey, 5, Junius, 3, and Yettie, 3 months. 

In the 1910 census of Otter Creek township, Edgecombe County: Joseph Wooten, 50; wife Chaney, 40; and children James, 17, Lossie, 15, Jacob, 11, Mark, 9, and Andrew J., 1.

On 27 January 1915, James Wooten, 21, of Edgecombe County, son of Joe and Chaney Wooten, married Yettie Vines, 18, of Saratoga, daughter of Watson and Emma Vines, in Saratoga. Joe Wooten applied for the license, and Primitive Baptist minister Ruffin Hyman performed the ceremony in the presence of C.C. Vines, J.J. Vines, and Miles E. Reid.

In the 1920 census of Otter Creek township, Edgecombe County: James Wooten, 25, and wife Yettie.

In the 1930 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: James Wooten, 36; wife Yattie, 30; and William J., 7.

In the 1940 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Jim Wooten 45; wife Hattie, 39; sister Mary Bullock, 50; and cousins Melba M., 9, and Ada R. Edwards, 6.

The 8 December 1948 Daily Times reported that Yettie Wooten, an “aging colored woman,” had been sentences to ten to fifteen years in state prison, with a recommendation that she placed in the division for the criminally insane. 

Yettie Vines Wooten died 9 October 1990 in Wilson. 

Sgt. Ernest Barnes is stationed in Germany.

Wilson Daily Times, 23 June 1945.


In the 1920 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: on Elm City Road, Mahaly Barnes, 51, and children Benessia, 19, Elizabeth, 18, Jason, 17, Lizzie, 18, David, 16, Mattie, 15, and Ernest, 8.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widow Mahaley Barnes, 61; sone Earnest, 17, tobacco factory laborer; and Jason Smith, 24, tobacco factory laborer.

On 14 September 1939, Ernest Barnes, 27, of Wilson, son of Joe and Mahalia Barnes, married Lucile Stewart, 24, of Wilson, daughter of Noah and Mary Stewart, in Wilson. Elder Marshall Cooper, Baptist minister, performed the ceremony in the presence of James Aycock, Eddie Ricks, and Junius Best.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1321 East Nash, Ernest Barnes, 28, cook; wife Lucile, 28, cook; mother Mahaley, 73; sister Bernice Hines, 35, tobacco factory stemmer; and her children William, 16, Ossie May, 14, James Cleo, 12, Lester, 11, Paul D., 7, Bernice, 5, and John Eddy Hines, 3.

In the 1950 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1321 East Nash, Mahalia Barnes, 84; Ernest Barnes, 38, cook; Lucille Barnes, 38, cook; and granddaughter Occie M. Hines, 24, “never worked.”

Earnest Barnes died 19 March 1968 at the Veterans Administration hospital in Durham, N.C. Per his death certificate, he was born 24 January 1912 in Wilson County to Joe Barnes and Mahalia Barron; and worked as a “domestic (cooking).” Informant was Lucille Barnes.

Lucille Barnes applied for a military headstone for her husband on 25 March 1968. The application noted that he was ranked Staff Sergeant and had served in World War II in the 242nd Quartermaster Truck Company.


School bus overturns near Rock Ridge.

Wilson Daily Times, 1 November 1943.

This accident likely involved one of the vehicles the County Commission purchased in 1941 to alleviate extreme overcrowding on rural school buses


  • Williamson High School
  • Hilliard Ellis — in the 1930 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: farmer Hilliard D. Ellis, 28; wife Ella, 23; and children Doereatha, 4, and Hilliard Jr., 1.
  • Harland Sessoms
  • Helen Willingham
  • Lessie Davis — probably, in the 1940 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: farmer John Davis, 65; wife Willie, 54; and children William H., 24; Mattie L., 20; Jessie, 18; Lessie, 16; and Willie, 15.
  • Nora Farmer
  • Perlie Jane Jones
  • Mozzelle Hamilton — in the 1940 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: farmer Jacob Hamilton, 53; wife Beulah, 51; and children Ethel, 15, Othel, 18, Lawrance, 13, Mozell, 11, and Hubert, 8.
  • Beatrice Wilkins — in the 1940 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: farmer Clifton Wilkins, 42; wife Sardie, 42; and children William, 14, Beatrice, 11, John Jr., 9, and Jeff, 7; plus daughter Sally Ann Bagley, 19, widow, and her children Nellie May, 3, and James Jr., 1.


Pfc. C.H. Lucas receives letter of recommendation.

Wilson Daily Times, 29 September 1945.

  • C.H. Lucas — Charles H. Lucas.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 208 Jones Street, South Carolina-born drayman Henry Lucas, 35; wife Mamie, 35; and children James, 16, Leroy, 14, Milton, 12, Lucille, 10, Alma, 5, Margret, 6, and Charles, 2.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Henry Lucas, 56; wife Mary, 55; and children Lucille Lucas, 28, Alma Thompson, 24, Margaret Wright, 23, (and her daughter) El L. Wright, 2, [Alma’s daughter] Jacqueline Thompson, 3, Charles Lucas, 22, and Amelia Lucas, 20.

Charles Henry Lucas registered for the World War II draft in Kinston, Lenoir County, North Carolina. Per his registration card, he was born 11 July 1918 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 1018 North Queen Street, Kinston; his contact was mother Mamie Battle Lucas, 914 East Queen Street, Wilson; and he worked for H.C. Hines, Kinston.

In 1950, Charles Henry Lucas applied for World War II compensation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Per his application, he was born 18 July 1917 in Wilson; lived at 4020 Spring Garden, Philadelphia; entered military service on 8 June 1944 and remained on active duty. His beneficiary was Margaret Lucas Wright, 4020 Spring Valley.

Charles H. Black died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 24 October 1974.