Holman reminisces.

Wilson Daily Times, 28 August 1937.

Among other things George H. Holman recalled about his early days in Wilson was disinterring Confederates from the old white Wilson cemetery for reburial in Maplewood.


In the 1870 census of Bushy Fork township, Person County, N.C., George Holeman, 22, is a farm laborer in the household of white farmer Thomas H. Briggs, 56.

On 6 September 1892, George Holman, 24, son of West and Nancy Jane Holman, of Person County, N.C., married Bell Noell, 18, daughter of Chas. and Chis. Noell, of Person County, in Roxboro, North Carolina.

In the 19o0 census of Wilson, Wilson County: day laborer George Holdman, 46; wife Isibeller, 27, cooking; and sons Nathanial, 5, and Arther, 1.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: George Holden [sic], 57; wife Isabella, 35; and children Arthur, 11, and Thelma, 8.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widow [sic] Belle Holeman, 40, private cook; son John, 21, oil mill laborer; and daughter-in-law Thelma, 2o,

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Holmon Geo (c; Hattie) lab Watson Whse  h 601 Wiggins

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Holmon Geo lab h 601 Wiggins

George Holman died 9 January 1940 at the State Hospital in Goldsboro, Wayne County, N.C. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1856; was a widower; lived in Wilson County; and had worked as a laborer. He was buried at the State Hospital.

Handel’s Chorus performs at the Tobacco Festival.

Wilson Daily Times, 10 August 1940.

Hartford Bess’ Handel’s Chorus sang at the 1940 Tobacco Festival, performing scenes that we would today find cringey. In the spirit of “don’t hate the player, hate the game,” I try not to judge.

Food demonstrations across the community.

Wilson Daily Times, 4 June 1943.


Recommended reading, no. 15: Ed Mitchell’s Barbeque.

On a quick escape to New Orleans during that first pandemic summer, I dropped by my cousin Zella Palmer’s for a little socially distanced catching up. Sitting on her front porch, she told me that she’d been contacted about writing a cookbook/memoir with Wilson barbecue pitmaster Ed Mitchell and his son Ryan. In a time of scarce good news, the alignment of family, friends, food, and folkways in this project felt especially serendipitous, and I urged her to do it. 

My copy of their collaboration, its recipes interwoven with piquant stories and lush photographs of the Mitchell family and East Wilson, arrived yesterday. Surely you’ve got yours, too.