agriculture

Five-foot collard.

Wilson Daily Times, 16 July 1932.

Cabbage collards are an heirloom variety of collards that originated in eastern North Carolina. Yellow-tinged and more tender than regular collards, they are also less bitter. (In other words, they are delicious.)

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Probably, in the 1880 census of Lumber Bridge township, Robeson County: Ed Currie, 22; wife Effie, 19; and stepson Mac, 10.

In the 1910 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: on Plank Road, farmer Ed Curry, 50; wife Caroline, 23; and sons Clarence, 17, Joe, 12, and Jim, 8.

On 12 February 1925, Ed Curry, 60, married Alice Woodard, 30, in Wilson.

In the 1930 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Eddie Curry, 75; wife Alice, 43; and sons Alex, 12, Willie, 16, and James, 11.

Edward Curry died 21 December 1937 in Saratoga township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 82 years old; was born in Robeson County, N.C., to Jack Curry and Sarah Baldwin; was married to Alice Curry; and was a farmer.

Joe Curry died 18 May 1948 in Snow Hill, Greene County, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was about 50 years old; was born in Florence, South Carolina, to Ed Curry and Caroline Curry, both of Wilson County; worked as a machinist for county schools; was married to Addie Edwards [Curry]; and was buried in Rountree Cemetery, Wilson.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Henrietta Ruffin, champion canner.

Wilson Daily Times, 25 August 1944.

Once again, Henrietta Ruffin was recognized for her canning prowess, here crowned Wilson County champion canner by the Farm Security Administration. Using a pressure cooker obtained via an FSA loan, Ruffin planned to can 800 quarts of fruit, meat, and vegetables in 1944, topping her 550-quart total the year before.

A farm dinner.

The account of the annual lunch the Amos Hayes family hosted for the “help on the farm.” Hayes himself was a tenant farmer, renting his farm from Congressman Frederick A. Woodard, but he operated on a large scale and employed dozens of laborers. Sixty-seven attended the mid-day meal, 33 white and 34 black, seated separately at two long tables spread with “barbecue, chicken, pickles, bread, cake, and other good things to eat.”

Wilson Daily Times, 19 August 1910.

Crop liens and mortgage deeds, no. 2.

Founded in 1899, P.L. Woodard & Company was the leading farm supply outfit in Wilson for much of the 20th century. The company did much of its early business via loans and lines of credit, accepting mortgages on land and livestock to secure debts.

Luther Wilder and wife Katy Wilder already had a ledger account balance of $163.22, but on 6 March 1937, P.L. Woodard & Co. agreed to advance them $148.06 in money, merchandise and supplies for the cultivation of crops on 9 1/2 and four-acre tracts of land in Spring Hill township, “the identical land inherited by Luther Wilder from the estate of Josiah Wilder.” The Wilders gave P.L. Woodard & Co. a lien on their crop as well as on the two tracts of land and a black mare mule. Per the red stamp at left, the Wilders did not pay off the loan until July 1944. 

Deed book 220, page 296.

On 22 May 1937, P.L. Woodard & Co. agreed to advance Seth Wilder and wife Lillie May Wilder $200.00 in money, merchandise and supplies for the cultivation of crops on a 14 and one-half acre parcel in Spring Hill township, “the identical land inherited by Seth Wilder from the estate of Josiah Wilder.” The Wilders gave P.L. Woodard & Co. a lien on their crop as well as on the tract of land, a black mare mule, and all farming implements. Per the red stamp at left, the Wilders did not pay off the loan until November 1947. 

Deed book 220, page 309.

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In the 1910 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Wilson & Raleigh Road, Joseph [sic] Wilder, 44; wife Chestina, 40; and children Almita O., 15, Elizabeth, 11, Seth B., 8, Sidney, 6, and Luther, 4.

In the 1920 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Old Raleigh Road, widow Chestiney Wilder, 51, and children Elizabeth, 21, Seth, 17, Sidney, 15, and Luther, 13.

On 28 December 1924, Seth Wilder, 22, married Aldonia Ruffin, 20, in Johnston County.

Aldonia Wilder died 24 July 1929 in Springhill township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 24 years old, born in Wilson County to Charlie Ruffin of Johnston County and Sarah Jane O’Neil of Wilson County; was married to Seth Wilder; and was buried in Barnes cemetery.

On 14 January 1931, Seth Wilder, 31, son of Josiah and Chestinie Wilder, married Lillie Mae Creech, 24, daughter of Wright and Sallie Creech, in Smithfield, Johnson County.

In the 1940 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Seth Wilder, 37; wife Lillie Mae, 32; and children Willie May, 2, and Seth, 1; Chestiney Wilder, 72; Sally Creech, 57, and her children Sally, 18, Geneava, 16, and Addie Lee Creech, 13; and Waltie Monque, 26.

Seth Wilder registered for the World War II draft in 1942. Per his registration card, he was born 6 May 1902 in Wilson County; resided at Route 1, Box 261, Lucama; was self-employed; and his contact was R.H. Neal.

Seth Wilder died 2 May 1990 in Washington, D.C.

Nothing compares to the loss.

Wilson Daily Times, 10 March 1923.

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. 

Annual farm family picnic.

Wilson Daily Times, 26 June 1941.

County Extension Agent Carter W. Foster published a reminder of the annual county-wide picnic for farm families, held in 1941 at Yelverton School in far southeastern Wilson County.

Wilbanks news.

Wilson Daily Times, 21 June 1897.

Henry Knight, colored, who lives near here had his stables smashed by a falling tree. Fortunately he had his team in the field plowing.”

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  • 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.

Getting milk from the Vicks.

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.

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