News of Turner 4-H Club.

Wilson Daily Times, 6 March 1942.

Like all rural Wilson County schools, Turner Colored School had an associated 4-H Club. Turner School closed in 1949 when its pupils were assigned to the newly built Frederick Douglass High School.


  • Maggie Dew — in the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Joseph Dew, 28; wife Mittie, 27; and daughters Julia, 4, and Maggie, 1.
  • Daisy Armstrong
  • Willie C. Maryland — in the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Richard Maryland, 36; wife Mary, 30; and children Dasie Lee, 14, and Willie C., 12.
  • Frances Weaver — in the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Lonnie Weaver, 40; wife Anner, 34; daughter Frances, 9; and widowed mother-in-law Clara Daws, 56.
  • Rose Armstrong
  • James Hall — in the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Sela Hall, 34, and children Sylvester, 16, Joe and Joseph, 15, James, 13, Ora Lillie, 9, Erma Lee, 7, and Mildred R., 4.
  • Daniel 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, 6 months.
  • C.W. Foster
  • Vera Armstrong — in the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Harvey Lee Armstrong, 36; wife Lelah, 30; and children Vera, 11, James, 9, Harvey Lee, 7, Mary, 5, Shirley, 3, and William E., 1.

Watch the girls score!

Wilson Daily Times, 2 February 1940.

In 1940, after leadership by boys proved uninspired, girls took over Wilbanks 4-H Club, which met at Wilbanks Colored School.


  • Odessa Hardy — in the 1940 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: widow Viola Hardy, 36, farm helper, and children Odesa, 15, Albert, 13, and Arthur L., 10.
  • Cora Lee McNair — Cora McNair traveled a few miles from Edgecombe County to 4-H Club in Wilson County. In the 1940 census of Lower Town Creek township, Edgecombe County: William McNair, 70; wife Marina, 50; daughters Mary, 18, and Cora, 12, and extended family.
  • Mamie Dell Sharp — in the 1940 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Allen Sharp, 64; wife Mary, 56; son Mark, 27; daughter-in-law Clara, 23; and grandchildren Odel, 17, Roosevelt, 16, Mammie D., 14, Suddie M., 5, Barbara G., 3, Rudolph, 2, and Eugene, 8 months.
  • Willie Atkinson 
  • Mary Lee Weaver — in the 1940 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Ephram Weaver, 71, farmer; wife Carrie, 65; children Annie, 28, Mattie, 25, and Jessie, 20; granddaughter Mary L., 12; and lodger John Taylor, 18.
  • Jane E. Boyd —Jane Amos Boyd.

Shaw brothers win corn show prize.

Wilson Daily Times, 7 January 1936.


  • C.L. Spellman — Cecil L. Spellman.
  • S.T. Shaw — Seth T. Shaw.
  • L.J. Wilder — Luther J. Wilder.
  • J.R. Shaw — James R. Shaw. In the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer James Shaw, 40; wife Lossie, 35; and nieces Eunice, 11, and Nora, 10.

The apprenticeship of John Ellis.

On 6 January 1871, a Wilson County Probate Court judge ordered 14 year-old John Ellis bound as an apprentice to Francis R. Ellis until he reached 21 years of age.


In the 1870 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County, 14 year-old John Ellis is listed as a “farmer’s apprentice” in the household of William and Rebecca F. Ellis.

United States Indenture and Manumission Records, 1780-1939, database at

Typical tenant farm house.

This early twentieth-century photo shows a typical tenant farm house with one or two rooms and a shed-roofed extension. Most African-American farmers in Wilson County were tenant farmers or sharecroppers and would have lived in a house similar to this one.

Photo courtesy of Stantonsburg Historical Society’s A History of Stantonsburg Circa 1780 to 1980 (1981).

Harris makes highest corn yield.

Wilson Daily Times, 19 November 1935.

  • Volious Harris

In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Sidney Harris, 50, wife Hattie, 40, and children Emma, 17, Oliver, 16, Nathan, 13, Novella, 11, Volious, 8, Hattie M., 6, Beatrice, 3, and Clarence, 1.

In the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Sidney Harris, 59, wife Hattie, 50, and children Novella, 22, Volious, 17, Hattie Magarette, 15, Beatrice, 13, and Clearance, 12, and granddaughter Deloris McMillian, 6.

In 1942, Volious Lee Harris registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 17 June 1921 in Wilson County; lived at Route 2, Elm City; his contact was Sydney Harris; and was a student at A.&T. College, Greensboro, N.C.

On 21 July 1945, Volious Harris, 24, of Elm City, son of Sidney and Hattie Harris, married Helen Underwood, 25, of Goldsboro, N.C., daughter of William and Nellie Underwood, in Goldsboro, Wayne County, N.C.

Volious Harris died 28 February 1989 in Goldsboro, N.C.

Levi Simmons wins a second scholarship.

“Wilson County – July 30, 1940. Levi Simmons, Minshew Club member granted this second A and T College Club Scholarship for achievement in club work. The second project – 2 pigs. He will enter A and T in September to pursue an agriculture course.”

We’ve met David Levi Simmons before, here, here, here, and here. Simmons was a committed member of Minshew 4-H Club, which met at Minshew School near Black Creek.

4-H club member Levi Simmons with pigs for club project, University Archives Photograph Collection, 4-H Youth Development Photographs, UA 023.008, Special Collections Research Center, N.C. State University Libraries, Raleigh, N.C.

Bushrod Dew’s crop lien.

On 17 January 1903, Howard, Graves & Company agreed to advance Bush Dew up to one hundred thirty dollars in supplies to enable Dew to cultivate the land in Wilson township Dew rented from S.H. Morris. In return, Dew gave Howard, Graves a lien on his crop as well as a eleven year-old black mare mule, an iron axle cart, an open buggy and harness, and all his farming implements.

Deed book 66, page 233, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.