Incredibly, Augusta Walker dropped by the Daily Times office a few days after her infant son Leroy Wanamaker was burned to death in a house fire. She wanted to explain the circumstances of the tragedy.
Per his death certificate, Leroy was six months old; was born in Wilson County to James Wanamaker of South Carolina and Augusta Walker of Durham, N.C.; and died in Saratoga township, Wilson County.
No other trace of Augusta Walker is readily found in Wilson County records. She may have only recently arrived when she gave birth in Wilson County and may have had no family with which to leave her son while she worked.
“Henry Knight, colored, who lives near here had his stables smashed by a falling tree. Fortunately he had his team in the field plowing.”
Henry Knight — perhaps, Henry Knight who died 4 July 1919 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 69 years old; was born in Edgecombe County to Lewis Knight; and had been a farmer. Informant was William Knight.
Mark Sharpe, “one of the county’s most industrious Negro farmers,” with some of his young hogs. Sharp bought his 53-acre farm near Wilbanks through a Farm Security Administration program. Wilson Daily Times, 20 August 1943.
Excerpt from my interview with my grandmother, Hattie Henderson Ricks, about where her family bought food during her childhood on Elba Street:
“But when I was a little girl, the only place you could get milk was from the Vicks. It was a quarter. That was the only place we had to get the milk, if you got any. Unless you used canned milk. She had a back porch. Closed-in back porch. Screened in. Anyway, glass in it all around, there on the back porch, and tables out there. One of them things you churn, what I mean, a great, old big urn out there where the milk get too old, and then she’d have buttermilk. And she had a ‘frigerator sitting out there, where she’d taken the shelves out, look like where she’d made a big thing to put it in there. But she would get fresh milk everyday. The cows was somewhere out there, I don’t know where, I didn’t see ‘em in the yard. They wont nowhere up there. But somebody was working for them would go out and get the milk and bring it in these cans where you have, where got the churn in the top of it. And she would put them out there on the porch. Miz Annie seemed to be pretty clean, and the house was clean. Didn’t nobody get sick. Yeah, and they had the two daughters, and I don’t know how many boys it was. Robert was the youngest boy, and I went to school with him, and Doris and I was in the same class in school. And — I didn’t know whether she was a sister to the man, or whether she was sister to the lady, I never did find out which way — but that house, they built that two-story house right next to the Vicks, and they didn’t stay in it, they went to Washington or somewhere. And they rented the house out. And I think somebody else bought it.”
My grandmother, right, and her sister Mamie Henderson Holt, around the time their family was buying milk from the Vicks.
“the cows was somewhere out there” — the Vicks maintained a farm on property they owned east of Wilson’s town limits.
Ruffin 4-H Club — the club affiliated with Ruffin School in Black Creek township.
Beatrice Rogers — perhaps, in the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer James Rogers, 35; wife Agnes, 30; and children James Joe, 12, Beatrice, 9, Leslie, 7, and Josephine, 6.
Alma Wards — in the 1940 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer James D. Worthy, 71; wife Flora Jane, 65; son Essex, 23; daughter Dora Ward, 40, widow; granddaughter Alma Ruth Ward, 10; and granddaughter Celesta Harden, 22.
Vernell Pleasant — in the 1940 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: widower George Pleasant, 55, farmer; daughters Mittie, 27, and Nancy, 22; and granddaughter Vernell, 10.
Magdelene Parker — perhaps the Mary M. Parker below.
Beatrice Newton — in the 1940 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer John Newton, 42; wife Bessie, 32; and children Bennie, 16, James, 12, Beatrice, 10, Charles, 8, and Harvey Lee, 1.
Sallie Parker — in the 1940 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Toney Parker, 45; wife Sallie, 44; and children Willie Lee, 21, Levi, 20, Eli, 18, Walter Lee, 16, Mary M., 13, Sallie M., 11, and Lillie M., 8.
Gerlean Farmer — in the 1940 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: widow Addie Farmer, 32, farm laborer; children Geraldine, 10, Marcellus, 7, Addie I., 6, Elijah, 4, and Charles, 3; and brother-in-law Earnest, 19.
In the summer of 1938, “Baker” photographed farming scenes across North Carolina for the state Department of Conservation and Development. In July, he captured in quick succession two images of a small group of white and African-American men and boys shelling corn on a farm “near Wilson.”
Close-ups of the two photographs:
Shelling Cornnear Wilson July 1938, Department of Conservation and Development, Travel Information Division Photographs 1937-1973, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh.
Samuel H. Vick had his finger in many pots, including tobacco farming. In a three-week span in July 1929, under circumstances that certainly strike a modern reader as suspicious, he lost to fire three barns filled with his tobacco.
Henry Armstrong — in the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Henry Armstrong, 52; wife Minnie, 42; and children Mary, 19, Fred, 18, Rosa, 16, Clarence, 14, Nathan, 11, Daniel, 9, Louise, 8, David, 6, and Henry, 3.
Sugar Hill section — There is a Sugar Hill neighborhood on the western outskirts of the town of Simms and a Sugar Hill Road that runs just east of and parallel to Interstate 95 near the Nash County line. Neither is in Toisnot township. Henry Armstrong’s family’s land was east of Elm City near Edgecombe County. Can anyone pinpoint the location of Armstrong’s Sugar Hill? [Update, 7/28/2020: Jack Cherry identified Sugar Hill as a community along East Langley Road between Town Creek and Temperance Hall United Methodist Church (which is just across the line in Edgecombe County.) His great-grandfather operated a small general store and gas station at the heart of the community and lent his name to Cherry Chapel Baptist Church.]